Blessings

Counting blessings…

Over The Backyard Fence

First of all, a belated happy Fourth of July to our U.S. readers. I hope you were able to enjoy a safe and sane day/evening.

This shelter-in-place has been both a struggle and a blessing. Staying home so much has been hard, being someone who likes to travel. We are not going through what some people are, and we’ve tried to help where we could. I know we’re lucky to be able to wait out this virus until they have a way to prevent it. But that doesn’t mean my head and heart aren’t a little screwed up. I have dips into depression that I have to claw my way out of. This hasn’t been easy for any of us and I’ve been trying to journal the process for me, as well as what I see happening in the world.

On the flip side, one of the ways I’ve tried…

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Moments of Joy

A few of my favorite things…

Over The Backyard Fence

2020 has been a pretty tough year so far. My household is on Day 87 of sheltering-in-place, though we have made the occasional trip out for necessaries we couldn’t get delivered. And we got to stare at different walls for a few days when we went to my sister’s last week. It hasn’t been easy. I like to travel and we’ve now cancelled our 4th and final trip for 2020.

But that’s peanuts compared to what others are struggling with. With the world in crisis, it can be hard to find joy in life, and that’s the focus of my blog today.

Finding the joy.

To that end, here are some of the joyful things in my life. I hope some of them give you ideas that make you smile.

  1.  Getting along with my husband for this long. Who’da thought? 🙂 Actually, he’s been my rock through all this…

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Projects and Legends

Reblogging my post from Over The Backyard Fence. How long does it take to crochet an afghan?

Over The Backyard Fence

As this post, my husband and I are on day 56 of our stay-at-home time. We’re still married and are actually getting along pretty well, thank goodness. For me, an interesting happenstance has come out of this time. I’m finishing incomplete projects, like the art project I posted about last month.

And this:

So, there are urban legends and there are family legends. I’m about to tell the tale of one of our family legends. A crocheting one.

When my daughter found out she was pregnant with our first grandchild, I let my joy fill me with enthusiasm. I did what most budding grandparents, at least, grandmothers, do. I decided to make a baby blanket. I don’t quilt, though I admire those that do. I don’t knit. I have, on a rare occasion, crocheted, so that was what I opted for.IMG_1805

I finished the project this week. My grandson, our…

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East of the Mountains

With everything that’s going on in the world right now, I first want to send my fervent prayers that everyone is staying safe and healthy. COVID-19 is scary, especially for folks, like me, who are in the susceptible age group. I wish you all healthy environments!

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The March reading challenge was a book with a nature word in it. For that, I dug through my to-be-read pile and found East of the Mountains, by David Guterson. This is the same author who wrote Snow Falling on Cedars. I realized I haven’t read that one, either. Or seen the movie. After reading this one, I may well pick Snow Falling on Cedars up.

EastoftheMountains

What It’s About:

When he discovers that he has terminal cancer, retired heart surgeon Ben Givens refuses to simply sit back and wait. Instead he takes his two beloved dogs and goes on a last hunt, determined to end his life on his own terms. But as the people he meets and the memories over which he lingers remind him of the mystery of life’s endurance, his trek into the American West becomes much more than a final journey.

My thoughts:

I read the jacket – this story is about a dying man’s final journey. I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it, but I’m glad I did. First, it’s an intimate look at the thoughts of someone dealing with a difficult diagnosis. Recollections of his life, including picking apples in the orchards of Eastern Washington and his time overseas in the war. The joy of meeting his wife. The despair that loss brings.

But there was also hope in this story. People who help him on his journey, both with time and wise words. When it ended, I smiled.  It was poignant, at times starkly human, and, well, it is an in depth look at the resiliency of humans under duress.

So it’s a recommend from me, but it’s also not for the faint of heart. Still, a smile touches my face as I think of it, so take that as you will.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone!

Earth Legacy conclusion now available…

It’s here! I’m thrilled to announce that the conclusion of the Earth Legacy series is now widely available.  And, to celebrate, the first TWO books in the series are on sale for $2.99 through Monday! Coaster2

This fantasy series with a YA flavor has been a long time coming. Growing up, I immersed myself in the tales of Tolkien, McCaffrey, Brooks, and so many more fantasy authors. My brothers and I read the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series many times each. We even took time off work to see the movies together when they came out.

This is not a story of goblins and orcs. Instead, there is a dedicated village, led by the burdened druid Bhren, who are the last vestige of strength against a dark Druid bent on subverting Earth’s magic. These are stories of angst and of growth, of betrayals and loyalties, and of hope for a better future.

Click on the links below to select your store:

Book 1 – Survival: https://books2read.com/u/bpp5MJ

Book 2 – Enlightenment: https://books2read.com/u/mYroPd

Book 3 – Birthright:  https://books2read.com/u/bWRx91

Survival

Guilt-ridden druid trainee Rianth Royan is on the run. From a Dark druid, from a betrayal, and mostly, from herself. She is not who they think she is. How can she be? She has no powers.

Earth is dying. Only she can free the magic intended to heal the earth before it’s eternally bound to the darkness. And only one person can protect Rianth while she seeks her magic. Kaiden Darcy, True-Named protector. Friend. Betrayer.

Together, Rianth and Kaiden must gather their allies, safeguard a magical talisman, and find Rianth’s suppressed powers to conquer a powerful evil. If they fail, Earth and every living creature will perish…

Enlightenment

For Kaiden Darcy, duty is everything. As True-named protector, he’s tasked with the safety of his home and Rianthe Royan, the prophesied one designated to save Earth from surrendering to the darkness.

Except Rianthe’s powers are stifled by some unknown cause. She needs help, so she follows a cryptic clue seeking insight. As she struggles to master her magic, the brother she raised from a babe disappears.

Kaiden, realizing the urgency of Rianthe’s quest, leaves his own responsibilities behind to go in search of the boy, unaware that search will bring him face to face with bad blood. Family blood. His blood.

Birthright

Rianthe Royan tried hard to deny her destiny, even running from it until it returned to haunt her. Now, she is left with no choice. She must accept who she is or Earth will perish and humanity founder.

In the final throes of survival and under threat of extinction if she fails to bring back the light, Rianthe must give everything she has, everything she is, to ensure the survival of those she loves. She must battle the Dark druid bent on binding Earth’s magic to her will and destroying everything in her path.

Together with her ally and protector, Kaiden Darcy, and the few left in their home village, Rianthe will take on their fiercest enemy yet.

Humanity believes Rianthe is their salvation. Now all she needs to do is believe in herself.

Links to Survival:

Amazon iBooks  Kobo  nook

 

Enlightenment, Earth Legacy 2

It’s here! The second story in the Earth Legacy series is now widely available in eBook and print formats.

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Kobo   iBooks   Amazon   nook   google-play

What the story is about…

The past is only forgotten until it invades your present.

For Kaiden Darcy, duty is everything. As True-named protector, he’s tasked with the safety of his home and Rianthe Royan, the prophesied one designated to save Earth from surrendering to the darkness.

Except Rianthe’s powers are stifled by some unknown cause. She needs help, so she follows a cryptic clue seeking insight. As she struggles to master her magic, the brother she raised from a babe disappears.

Kaiden, realizing the urgency of Rianthe’s quest, leaves his own responsibilities behind to go in search of the boy, unaware that search will bring him face to face with bad blood. Family blood. His blood.

Ryan Earth Legacy

And coming soon…Birthright, the trilogy’s finale.

Christmas in Icicle Falls by Sheila Roberts (Romance/Small town life)

I thought I’d offer some holiday warmth in my review this month. It’s been rainy and cool in the Pacific Northwest. I hope your weather is mild and not causing you problems. And I wish you all a peaceful holiday season filled with laughter and love.

Sheila Roberts Christmas in Icicle Falls

My Thoughts:

I loved this book. Ms. Roberts seamlessly weaves multiple characters’ lives and growth into a heartwarming holiday tale. I especially love the ugly-tree project. It’s got me looking at things differently. Muriel’s angst was spot-on, and Sienna and her son wrapped their lives around my heart. I’ve been a fan of Sheila Roberts for a long time and this story reminded me of the reason why. It’s a highly recommend from me.

What the story’s about (author blurb):

When Muriel Sterling released her new book, A Guide to Happy Holidays, she felt like the queen of Christmas. She’s thrilled when the new tree she ordered online arrives and is eager to show it off—until she gets it out of the box and realizes it’s a mangy dud. But rather than give up on the ugly tree, Muriel decides to make a project out of it. As she pretties up her tree, she realizes there’s a lesson to be learned: everything and everyone has potential. Maybe even her old friend Arnie, who’s loved her for years. Except, she’s not the only one seeing Arnie’s potential…

Meanwhile, Muriel’s ugly-tree project has also inspired her friends. Sienna Moreno is trying to bring out the best in the grouchy man next door, who hates noise, hates kids and hates his new neighbors. And while Olivia Claussen would love to send her obnoxious new daughter-in-law packing, she’s adjusting her attitude and trying to discover what her son sees in the girl. If these women can learn to see the beauty in the “ugly trees” in their lives, perhaps this might turn out to be the happiest holiday yet.

Click here for more information about Sheila.

Dewey the Cat

Dewey by Vicki Myron

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron (All ages, but there’s a circle of life aspect that parents should consider before reading with children.)

This was a book that I knew my husband would want to be part of, so I read this story out loud, one chapter at a time, my voice choking up at moments and one laugh or tear shed each evening. Dewey (as in “Dewey read more books”) grabbed hold of our hearts. It is a true story and is profound in its depiction that all earth’s inhabitants are sacred. I highly, highly recommend this story, but be sure to have a box of Kleenex handy.

 What the story’s about (author blurb):

Dewey’s story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility (for a cat), and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.

As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history.

 

Click here for more information about Dewey.

Fool’s Gold by Cari Davis (historical romantic suspense)

Where did October go? It usually goes by slowly for me, mostly because Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday. But it went. For me, it was full of edits and blurb-writing. Oh, and a cover for the first in my fantasy series, releasing February, 2019.

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I’m so, so grateful to the graphic artist who designed this. Thank you, Bethany Maines of liltdesign.com!

I picked up a historical story a while back and got pulled right into it. Fool’s Gold is the debut story for Cari Davis and I’ve clicked that “Follow” button on Bookbub so I can grab her next story when it comes out.

Cari Davis Fool's Gold

I was completely entertained by this story. It feels well-written, well-researched, and like the author has a good grasp of the 1800’s. Honestly, it completely distracted me. Melissa Bertrand is a strong, passionate woman in an era where that is not looked kindly on. And Sebastian’s protective instincts hit high gear when she’s put in a dangerous position. I loved the progression of their relationship and the plot grabbed me from the beginning. Honestly, I loved this story. There’s a lot at stake for a lot of people and I had to know how it turned out.

Here’s what the story is all about (Author blurb):

Penniless and estranged from her wealthy family in New Orleans, Widow Doña Melissa Bertrand de Cabrillo must barter her way from California to Louisiana in order to save her niece, even if it means posing as the wife of a perfect stranger.

Gold miner and banker Sebastian Henderson needs to find a wife soon . . . or at least a woman willing to play the role. Doña Melissa provides the perfect solution, but sharing a cabin with the tempting southern belle proves more challenging than their bargain—and more dangerous—after a passenger aboard their steamship is murdered. Melissa is convinced the death is connected to her family’s events in New Orleans.

Thrown together by necessity, united by love, Melissa and Sebastian must unravel a murderous scheme threatening to tear them apart.

Click here for Cari’s website

Caelan’s Captive by Faye Avalon (Sexy Romance/Otherworld)

My windows are open as I type this blog, but I feel like this may be the last opportunity I get for that. Rain is returning to the Pacific Northwest and the mornings now are quite a bit cooler. Life is insane with three writing projects going on at the same time. And tv is back. I can’t believe the fall schedule has started. That means my evenings are more relaxing, though, especially Tuesdays, when NCIS is on. I miss Abby, but I like her replacement. And, well, to be honest, I’ll watch anything with Mark Harmon in it. (Summer School, anyone?)

I read a romance a while back that really stayed with me. I think it was because the world was rich and unusual. So I thought I’d share it with you.

Faye Avalon Caelan's Captive

Here’s what I wrote in my review of this story:

I was captured from the beginning, when Lahna is adrift, then rescued by Caelan. Both have strong reasons to distrust, but their attraction for each other is impossible to resist. I love this richly described island world, it’s strong characters, and the story. In fact, I want more… Of the world, of the secondary characters, of everything. This story is emotional, sensual, and one of my personal favorites.

Here’s what the story is about (author blurb):

Escaping the king’s harem, Lahna finds herself at the mercy of a warrior prince who holds her captive and makes no secret of his desire to have her. Lahna hasn’t fled from one tyrant only to become the captive of another, and she certainly has no intention of warming the bed of the fearsome prince … even if he does make her body burn and her senses reel.

Caelan suspects his voluptuous captive may have been sent to spy on him and discover his plans to liberate his land from the tyrannical rule of the king. But her arrival provides him with the perfect opportunity to set those plans in motion. First, that means making her his, and in doing so he might just satisfy the craving for her that heats his blood and fires his loins.

But can Caelan really trust her? And can Lahna trust him to keep her safe when it matters most?

 

Click here for Faye’s website.