Sign of the times we live in….le sigh
Luckily, I am still, and I remain, negative.
Get vaccinated, peeps. Wear your masks. And for God’s sake wash your hands!!!
Sign of the times we live in….le sigh
Luckily, I am still, and I remain, negative.
Get vaccinated, peeps. Wear your masks. And for God’s sake wash your hands!!!
When I was pregnant with my daughter, 32 years ago, I embroidered this for her nursery room. It hung in her bedroom for 5 years and then was transferred to a hallway with other things I’d made.
This now hangs in my grandson’s room. I gifted it to him when he was born and my daughter was glad I did.
I love stuff like this that you can pass down, you know? PS> this is the original mat and frame – I never changed anything.
This is one of my favorite paintings and was the basis for the cover of my fourth book, THE VOICES OF ANGELS. I spotted this photo in a museum eons ago and it always stuck with me.
See the resemblance between the two?
One of my favorite people – and authors – Bonnie Edwards has a new addition to her RETURN TO WELCOME Series, CLAIMING SHANDY and she graciously allowed me to help her get the word out. Check out the wonderful cover:
She thought her divorce was final…
Welcome WA, where rumor, gossip, and old grudges endure long past their best before date.
Justin Camden wants his life back. His wife back. His son back. And he’s returned to Welcome to get them. Justin has a plan for the Christmas season and moving in with his ex and his boy is just the beginning.
Shandy Camden is stuck. Her big oaf of an ex-husband has finagled his way into her home for the entire month of December. He claims to want an old-fashioned family Christmas with their son. She’s forced to let Justin stay because refusing will break her son’s heart.
Slowly, Shandy sees that her ex may have another agenda. But she doesn’t believe in the magic of Christmas the way their son does. Helpless and forced to live with her ex, Shandy struggles to overcome her growing attraction to the only man who’s ever left her. The only man she’s ever loved. But Justin left once and if he leaves again, she’ll never recover, and neither will their son…
When the truth comes out, Shandy and Justin may well have discovered that more than anything, Christmas is about love.
Warning: This book has lots of groveling in it. If you don’t want to read about a divorced man making things right, then this romance isn’t for you.
December 1 Welcome WA
Justin Camden was no quitter. Never had been and he wasn’t about to give up now. But first he had to do battle against the dragons breathing fire in his gut. He’d never been this scared. Not even at fourteen when his dad caught him out driving his mom’s car at midnight.
He parked outside the Welcome Bar & Grill and called his buddy, Jake Morrow who was inside with a group of friends. Friends who included Justin’s wife, Shandy.
Everything he wanted to accomplish tonight hinged on whatever BS line Jake had come up with. “It’s me. I’m here. What did you tell her?”
In the background, Justin heard happy people greeting each other over the distant sound of a Christmas song. The season had begun. He climbed out of his car while he heard Jake excuse himself to take the call.
The background noise had receded, but Justin couldn’t have heard right. “What?”
“Every hotel in the area’s infested. Didn’t you know?” Jake said with a smirk in his voice.
“She’ll never believe that.” He had his hand on the brass door pull. Yanked it toward him.
“I believe she does believe me.”
He shook his head. No way. Shandy was the smartest woman he’d ever met and for the past three years, she’d been made of stone. He had to make her crack, but nonsense about bedbugs wouldn’t do it. The flame-thrower in his belly belched. Maybe he should turn around and leave.
“Plus, I told Shandy how much Brianna and I are enjoying our honeymoon period,” Jake was saying. “She can’t force you to stay with us. She has to let you stay at her place. She’ll have no choice.”
“Our place.” The home they’d bought together, to raise their family in. “You ass. Bedbugs?” He was inside the vestibule now, looking through the stained-glass partition, searching the restaurant side of the building. “I see the table.”
Jake stood a few feet away from the group. “Don’t worry, you got this,” he said, looking right at him through the multi-colored pane.
“My best and only shot.” He ended the call, plastered a smile on his face and made his way through the tables to where Shandy sat beside an empty chair. If this crazy bedbug story worked, he’d have a chance to get her angry. He needed her angry.
If she were angry with him, it was a sign that she still cared. That he could still make her feel something for him.
An angry Shandy was honest, and open. Angry Shandy was not a stone angel, cold and remote, the way she’d been for too long. He needed honest and open or his plan to return to Welcome and be the husband and father he wanted to be would fail.
Justin Camden was no quitter. He doused the flames in his gut.
Bonnie Edwards has been writing all her life, starting with a poem about Santa suffering with gout. She was seven, Santa was a thousandteen years old. Delighted with writing, she went on to write family sagas, humorous contemporary romance, romantic suspense, erotic paranormal ghost romances and more.
She may jump around within romance, but all her stories come with a tear, a laugh, and a happy ending. Published by Kensington Books, Harlequin Books, Carina Press, and Robinson (UK) Bonnie’s stories stretch from short stories to novellas and novels. Now, she’s happy to be publishing her work herself.
With 40 titles to her credit, she has been translated into several languages and sold books worldwide. Aside from standalone romances, she has 6 romance series that include Christmas romances and beach reads. Contemporary family sagas find a home in Return to Welcome. Learn about more exciting releases and get a free romance by subscribing to her newsletter, Bonnie’s Newsy Bits
Cheers and happy reading!
I do have a lot of mugs!! haha
This is another fav because, really, when it comes down to it this is exactly what writers are: storytellers.
Some are better than others, assuredly.
But within every writer is a burst of inspiration that cries out “Let me tell you a story.”
I post a lot of pics of Maple Leaf because she is just the center of my home universe now. I love this one because of what she is doing. She usually waits at the front door – which is glass – for my hubby to come home every night. The moment she sees his car she goes bananas!
With the weather being so friggin’ cold here I don’t like to open the front door because all the cold comes in. Maple has figured out a way to still watch for hubby every night by sitting on the couch ( which she is theoretically not allowed on) and gazing out the window for him. The moment his car pulls into the driveway she goes bonkers.
She’s a pretty smart cookie to have figured this out. Especially since – and I repeat – she is not allowed on the couch.
I know this is a bit of an odd photo, but it made me laugh. Here’s why: this is a pic of Maple Leaf. She was sick the other day and I put a blanket over her to keep her warm. She was completely covered when I left the room. I came back a moment later and she’d stuck her right paw out of the blanket, still completely covered everywhere else. I got a good laugh out this because I sleep the same way – with one leg out from under the blankets.
Like mother like canine….
From my WIP for Magnolia Blossom THE HAUNTING OF WILTON JUNE (No release date yet but soon, I hope!)
My heroine, Jerica, is a botanist
Here ya go:
For three days they avoided one another, each telling themselves it wasn’t really avoidance as much as work that occupied their every waking moment.
Jerica knew it for the lie it was on the first day as she set out with her deliveries. From the moment Will walked out of the cottage she’d thought of little else but him.
And that kiss.
She’d analyzed it, conceptualized it, even going so far as to make a little mental chart enumerating all the ways Will’s kiss made her feel.
#1 like she was cherished.
#2 like she mattered.
#3 like she was a desirable woman.
#4 like if she’d given him the slightest prompting they would have wound up in her big brass bed spending the rest of the afternoon, evening, and night doing wild and wicked things to one another.
Her cheeks grew warm from the memory of his tongue mating with hers, sipping from it, drawing nourishment, as she printed instruction labels for the salves cooling in her workroom.
Her legs grew restless as she fantasized what his body looked like under his comfortable clothes. All that lean and lithe muscle under his shirt had felt staggering when she’d run her hands up his chest.
Her thighs shook at the remembrance of the way his erection had pressed, throbbed, and grown larger when it had been nestled against the apex of her jeans.
She berated herself when she had to start an emulsion of Slipper Elm tea twice because she’d miscalculated the right amount of elm powder and honey. She’d been picturing Will the way he looked as he’d sat across from her eating the soup and sandwiches she’d prepared. The light in his eyes had been bright, the blues in them meshing into a startling chaos of color. His lips had grown wet from sipping the soup, tiny traces of tomato-red sticking to the corners.
You need to get a grip, girl.
Once you start breaking out in an erotic sweat from the way a soup color looks on someone’s mouth, it’s time to take a break, reboot your brain, and call it a day on the naughty-thoughts-daydreaming.
Which is what she did.
Unfortunately, the moment she laid her head down on her pillow Will’s face popped into her brain again and thoughts of whether he slept in his underwear or nude raced through her mind.
She pictured both, individually, and had to throw the warm blankets off her growing-hot body.
The man simply occupied he thoughts to the point of ridiculousness.
Why, was the question plaguing her.
People come into your lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. The artist who painted me today’s photo is life-time keeper.
The first day of kindergarten, my daughter made a forever friend. Luckily the young lady’s mother became one of mine, as well. I watched this 5-year-old grow into an inquisitive, lovely, and funny child, teenager, and then woman. Along the way, she found her passion in photography and art. As an aside, my professional headshot picture was taken by her. Several years ago when I embarked on this writing journey she painted me today’s photo. It’s a little play on words because you can interpret it two ways: as write, being I must write now, and as a just do it – right now! I love that.
If you’re looking for an amazing photographer for a family shoot or a wedding, you can contact her here: STEPHANIE RITA PHOTO
If you’re looking for some amazing art to line home, you can view her stuff here: Stephanie Rita Creative
She truly is a lifetime keeper!
As a writer, I am first a voracious reader. I love reading books about the craft of writing and try to get in at least 4 or five new ones every year.
Under the title WHAT I’M READING NOW is this new little gem I picked up the other day. I am almost done with it. For a romance writer, tropes are something I think about all the time when I am starting a new story or trying to figure out why one I’m writing isn’t working.
This book is very easy to read and chock full of examples of tropes in the movie world, books, and every day life. Love that!
DO you have an ALEXA? Do you find her helpful or wickedly annoying? LOL
This one was given to me for Christmas several years ago by my daughter. It’s synced to my phone so that’s why my picture is on full display. I must say there are times I adore having her for the ease and swiftness I can get information from her like, how many cups in a half-gallon, which I needed to know for a recipe. Or what’s the weather like in… where we are traveling that day.
Other times? I want to yank her plug from the wall. We can’t say her name anywhere in the house without hearing, HOW CAN I HELP YOU? boom from her. It’s pretty creepy, actually. Hubby and I have taken to spelling her name out when we refer to her.
Who says technology makes your life simpler? I never did, that’s for sure.
Namaste Kitty resides in a sunny corner of my backyard. Beneath the statue are the remains of my beloved, crazy-ass cat Felina who lived to the age of 18. When she passed away in my daughter’s bedroom one warm and bright summer day, my heart broke in two and has never fully recovered.
Felina Catina Jaeger came to us at barely 8 weeks old from the Human Society when my daughter turned 6 years old. From the moment she entered the house she was best buds with my 7 year old Lab, Ella and never left either her side or my daughter’s. She’d sleep on our beds, under the covers if we let her, on us, across us and always with us.
The day I had to call my daughter in her apartment and let her know Felina had passed is one of the bottom 5 days of my life.
They leave us much too soon, kids. Much too soon.
From the upcoming MIX & MATCH, dropping on 3.1.2022
“What’s wrong with this one?” Donovan asked when she shook her head. “Seems fine to me.”
“It’s too hard.” Jasmine pressed down on the mattress with both hands and met resistance.
“Aye, and you said the other was too soft. I feel like we’re starring in a Grimm’s tale instead of shopping for a guest bedroom mattress.”
“You don’t want your parents or anyone else who comes to visit to be uncomfortable, do you?”
“No. But we’ve been to three stores already and found nothing to your liking.”
“That’s why they call it shopping.” She rolled her eyes. “You can’t pick the very first one you see. You’ve got to shop around. You’ve got to try them out. You don’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive to see how it handles, do you? A bed is the same way.”
“What do you propose we do to take it for a drive? Sleep on it?”
“Don’t be snide. Here.” She led him to one labeled comfort sleeper. After pressing down on it with her hands and noting how firm, yet supple it was, she said, “This one looks promising. Lie down.”
“What? Here? On that?”
“How else are you going to know how it feels?” She sat on the bed, bounced a few times, then assumed a supine position, her feet pointed toward the bottom. Patting the mattress, she said, “Come on. Hop on. Take it for a spin.”
With his hands fisted on his hips and his brows glued together over his eyes, he shook his head. Then he shrugged and settled down next to her.
They were on a bare, king-sized mattress in the middle of a commercial bed store, surrounded by other shoppers and salespeople. It never occurred to Jasmine there was anything remotely sexual about reclining on the bed with him. They were merely shopping for an item he needed.
The moment his back hit the mattress and he turned his head to look at her, that notion flew out the proverbial window and her pulse started racing.
The bed was big enough they could stretch out their arms and only barely touch fingers, but to Jasmine it suddenly felt small and intimate.
She bolted upright then threw her legs over the side so she could sit on the edge. For some reason sitting on the bed seemed less… carnal.
“Aye, this feels brilliant,” he said. “More comfortable and cushy than me own bed, for sure.” Donovan was oblivious to her discomfort as he rolled side to side, testing the coils and springs.
Jasmine stood, her face feeling as if she’d stayed out in the sun for days.
“Can I help you two?” A salesman with an I-hope-to-make-a-sale cheek-wide smile approached them.
Donovan pulled off the bed to stand. The salesman stuck out his hand, which Donovan took.
“If you two are looking for a bed that’s gonna last a lifetime, you’ve found it,” he said. “I’ve gotten letters from dozens of couples who’ve told me how pleased they are with this mattress brand. Everyone from the kids who come in on cold mornings to cuddle to the pets who find their way at the bottom of the bed during the night love the comfort of this brand.”
For some reason Jasmine felt the urge to clarify the situation.
“Oh, we’re not together.”
“I mean, we’re together, here and now, just not together like a couple. The bed’s not for us. It’s for him.” She pointed at Donovan. “For his guest bedroom. His parents are coming for an extended visit and he wants them to be comfortable. We’re not a couple. Just friends,” she added.
Donovan’s brows were kissing again by the time she finished babbling. The salesman’s smile dimmed, when he turned his attention to Donovan.
With a nod, Van explained what he was looking for in the way of cost and availability.
Me thinks the lady doth protest too much, hee hee!
here’s the preorder link if you’re intrigued: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09P48WPZC
I always show you Maple’s puppy stew when it’s already in the containers. This is what it looks like when it’s cooking. Today was cooking day. I have enough for the next 21 days now. She gets fed this every morning and since day 1 of giving it to her she’s had no more diarrhea, skin allergies, or weepy eyes.
Here’s a quick funny story.
You all know I cook every week for my parents. I usually do It on Mondays. A few months ago I was cooking Maples stew at the same time I was cooking my parents’ meals for the week.
After I delivered them I got a call from my mother saying, “Peggy, that stew you made was the most delicious stuff ever.” I was baffled because I hadn’t made them stew that week. Then it hit me: I must have given them some of Maple’s food by mistake.
Of course, I didn’t tell her she was eating the dog’s food. I may be dumb at times but I’m never stupid!!
Here’s the recipe if your dog has severe allergies to EVERYTHING like mine does.
2lbs skinless, deboned chicken pieces
2 lbs stew meat, or lamb cut into bite-sized pieces
2 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 lb shelled peas
1lb green beans
1 lb cut carrots
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled, and chopped
2 cups barley or brown rice ( i alternate every month)
1 teaspoon oregano
2 cups cut squash ( if you want)
1 lb corn kernals ( if you want. Some dogs don’t digest corn well)
Place everything in a stew pot. Cover with water until just covered. Bring to a boil then once it is, cover and simmer for 2.5 hours or until meat and veggies are very tender ( no longer than 3 hours).
Place into individual containers and freeze. I have 2 cup containers. Defrost one per day. Maple gets hers as her breakfast.
Remember I showed you my Aerogarden the other day? This is the scaled-down, garden herbs version that I bought last year on one of the VIEW’S Deal of the day for 1/2 price. You’re supposed to grow herbs in it. I choose to grow lettuce.
You all may be asking HOW MUCH LETTUCE CAN 2 PEOPLE EAT? but’s it’s really 3 people.
Well, 2 humans and a dog. Every night for supper Maple has a salad of lettuce, chopped carrots and either salmon or chicken.
from the upcoming MIX & MATCH 3.1.2022
The Friday night social scene in Heaven N.H. wasn’t the eclectic, happening, busy one she’d grown used to while living in Manhattan. She and her ex had routinely made Friday a date night when his work schedule allowed and they’d attended many a packed jazz bar or bistro over the years. Mood lighting, expensive décor and a drink menu that boasted thousand dollar bottles of wine and champagne had been the norm, along with cocktails going for upwards of twenty-five dollars a glass.
The Love Shack, Heaven’s own answer to the bar scene, was a wooden, rustic, brightly lit establishment with butcher block tables covered in gingham tablecloths and where the most expensive bottle of wine topped out at sixteen dollars. The costliest cocktail served was a four dollar cranberry Cosmo that was heavy on the Ocean Spray and light on the vodka and Cointreau.
Jasmine scanned the bar where Olivia told her her date would be waiting. There were three men scattered down along the rail. Two she recognized from high school and one guy whose face she couldn’t see because his back was to her. When he turned she realized immediately this was not the man she was due to have drinks with.First there was no way this guy was 36 years old. Her mother would have called him Gramps.Clue number two was the wedding band on the hand holding his beer. It was so tight, the skin surrounding it swollen, his knuckle hair squeezed around it, indicating it had been there for decades.Nope. This wasn’t her guy. A cursory glance around the place showed most of the tables were taken with couples.Her date had yet to arrive.
“Hey, Jazz,” the bartender and owner, Kick Loomis said from his perch drying beer glasses behind the bar.
“You squattin’ or sittin’, sweetheart?”She’d been in the place enough times in her life to know he meant was she going to sit at the bar or take a table.
Jasmine was self-conscious enough she didn’t want to be seated on a bar stool, sitting alone while waiting for her date, especially when one of the guys she’d gone to school with tossed her an inquiring eye and a raised eyebrow. She didn’t want to get into a how-you-doing-what-you-been-up-to-since-high school chat. If her memory served, and it always did, the guy had been one of the football heroes of Heaven High back in the day. Those glory days were long gone and she had no desire to listen to him dredge them up.
She spotted an empty table in the corner and nodded toward it.
“I’ll send Raylynn over with a menu.”
She nodded and as she was about to head for it felt a tap on her arm.
“Excuse me. Jasmine?”
She turned at the sound of her name, spoken in a deep, soft voice blessed with a charming accent and found herself face to face with the gorgeous guy she’d spotted in her mom’s office. The one Sharmaine had been sucked on to like a tick
.Good Lord, he was even better looking up close and personal than he’d been, seated, and ten feet away from her. Stunning blue eyes, the color of freshly laid Robin’s eggs topped a face with high cut cheeks and a jaw forged from granite. Midnight hair curled around his ears and caressed the nape of his neck. Layered waves fell across his head in a chaos of perfection.
She’d been right about his height. Most men she could stare straight in the eyes due to her own long legs. But she had to tilt her head back a bit to look into this man’s striking ones.“You are Jasmine, aye?” Even his voice was gorgeous, the song of Ireland singing through it.
She nodded, her own voice deciding now would be a good time to leave on vacation. And when his smile took a slow stroll from one corner of his full, thick lips to the other, showing perfect, straight white teeth, the tips of her fingertips began to tingle like she’d fallen asleep on them and spent the night with them cuddled beneath the weight of her body.
He-of-the-handsome-face stuck out his hand and declared, “Good. Olivia said to meet you here. Donovan Boyd, but everyone calls me Van. Lovely to meet you.”
Jasmine knew she should shake his hand. It was the polite thing to do, wasn’t it? For some reason, her brain wasn’t sending any signals down her arm to lift it up to his outstretched one.
Donovan, or Van, kept his hand out, his smile in place, and ticked his head to the left a hair. A clap of booming laughter rang out from somewhere behind her and finally propelled the gears in her brain to start turning again.
After a head shake where she actually heard her brains rattle, she extended her hand and slipped it into his.
She’s still in the cone and still NOT allowed on the couch – but deems it okay for her to not only go up there but fall asleep in this ridiculous position as well using the arm rest as her own personal pillow.
Honestly, this dog is the love of my life and the bane of my existence!
So I didn’t go once during the pandemic year 2020 and only went back right before Omicron hit.
But…I have been going 3-4 times a week with hubby, masked, and keeping my distance from everyone. It actually feels good to be out and exercising instead of on the treadmill all alone in my basement ( which is where I spent 2020/2021.)
Keep fit, kids!
I’ll be taking this down today and returning it to storage until next year, but wanted to show it to you for today’s photo.
This is my Nativity set. The reason it is so near and dear to me is that the stable was my beloved mother-in-law’s. It is over 60 years old and get this: the light bulb still works and has never been replaced. It’s true when people say they don’t make stuff like they used to — even lightbulbs!
The Nativity set is mine, a Willow Tree set it took me three years to collect. I simply love it. The figurines may not be in proportion to the stable itself ( in real life they would be Amazonians!) but I think the overall aesthetic still works.
In my never-ending quest to be healthier, I purchased an Aerogarden for our family last Christmas. I grow lettuce, exclusively, in it because hubby and I like salad every night as our first course to dinner.
It’s a breeze to operate and so far we’ve been through 3 cycles of new plantings. AS a cost differential, I pay 15 dollars every 6 months for 1 box of 9 lettuce pods, which last me between 4 and 6 months of daily use. If I purchased the same amount of lettuce every week in the inflated grocery store now, I would pay about 4 dollars a week/16 a month.
15 dollars for 4-6 months instead of 64-96 dollars for the same time period?
Yeah, this garden is a good thing. It’s already paid for itself twice over.
This goofball has an abscess on her paw and continues to lick it despite our continual verbal commands not to, hence… the cone of shame.
I love this picture because she looks like she is smoking a cigar when it’s actually one of her organic bones she loves so much.
This dog is the love of my life and the bane of my existence. In the 15 months we’ve had her she’s been to the vet’s office more times than my older lab had been in 12 years. She’s definitely my middle child, kids – rambunctious, energetic, off the wall at times, but so sweet, loving, and smart, too.
This little cutie is my 85-year-old mother. I took this right before the holidays when she had a routine MD appointment for a follow-up visit after her last hip surgery.
She’s wearing a Christmas sweatshirt I bought her last year – at her request – and the faux fur hat is from 1969. Yes, she’s had it that long. The blue jacket she bought on the dollar table at a local church bazaar 15 years ago. The woman knows the value of saving a penny and never paying retail if you can avoid it – lessons I learned at her knee.
In the past year she’s had an outbreak of shingles that incapacitated her horribly and left her with nerve damage in her forehead, broke her right hip in a fall at home that resulted in surgery and a 10 week stay in a rehab center, and welcomed her first great-grandchild. She is no longer mobile without the aide of quad-walker or a wheelchair, so she hasn’t been outside the house for anything other than hospitalizations and doctor visits in almost 2 years.
Despite that, she wakes up every day and the first thing she does is say a prayer of thanks to God.
When I was giving her a shower a few weeks ago she said to me, out of nowhere, “I can’t believe I’ve lived this long.”
I mumbled, “Me, either,” to which she shot me the glare she used to when I was an errant child.
85 years old and she can still instill parental fear in her 61 year old daughter. That’s the power of an old-school, Irish-gened mother, kids.
Cherish your parents, peeps, no matter how old you are. You won’t have them forever. Tell them you love them daily and show it whenever and however you can.
from the upcoming first book in my new HEAVEN’S MATCHMAKER series, MIX & MATCH, releasing 3.1.2022. ( here’s the preorder link for amazon:) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09P48WPZC
Olivia Joyner smiled as she hit enter and sent her RSVP response to the on-line wedding site. This affair was going to be such a joyous event and excitement filled her to be included on the guest list.
Of course, since she’d been instrumental in the bride-and-groom-to-be meeting and falling in love, it made perfect sense she would be invited to the nuptials.
Olivia sat back, still smiling, and gave herself a mental pat on the back. She’d done it again – another successful match between two people who might never have met if not for her. As a third generation matchmaker, she got such a kick out of the wins – the couples who found their happily ever after.
But of course, for every tick in the match column, she could always depend on some not taking root. The couple might look perfect on paper, all the planets aligning, all the answers to her in-depth questionnaire in sync. But for some unforeseen reason there’d be no chemistry, no spark, no little zing when hands met, or gazes locked. Looking perfect on paper was one thing, but, try as she would like to, Olivia couldn’t force an attraction on someone if it wasn’t organically there.
Case in point, the client she was currently waiting for while at a cozy table for two in Joy’s House of Java. The coffee shop was a staple in the small town of Heaven, New Hampshire and once upon a high school age Olivia had worked as a barista.
The original Joy went to her maker a generation ago, the shop now owned and operated by her granddaughter.
“You want a refill,” Destiny, the said granddaughter, asked as she waddled up to the table, coffee carafe in hand, the other over her just-about-to-pop pregnant belly.
“I’m good, Des, thanks.” Olivia smiled. “I’m waiting for someone.”
Destiny nodded, her hair a cloud of waves courtesy of the fresh blowout she’d treated herself to at the Nirvana Day Spa and Salon, bobbing with the motion. “Jasmine Green. Heard she went out with the new doc in town last night.”
Olivia fought the strong urge to roll her eyes but kept her smile in place while internally groaning. Gossip was the mother’s milk of small towns and the residents of Heaven were devout lactose lovers. Olivia strove to protect her clients’ privacy despite the wagging tongues surrounding her in the town she’d been born and reared in – no easy feat.
As if she’d been summoned by the utterance of her name, Jasmine Green blew into the coffee shop, glanced around, and when she lit on Olivia, came her way.
“Hey, Des,” Jasmine said as she tore off her sunglasses and plopped into the chair opposite Olivia. “Can I get a full brew, extra milk, four sugars, please?”
“I was already saying it in my head when I spotted you,” Destiny replied. “You’ve been drinking the same thing since we were in high school. Be right back.”
Another head bob and she left them.
Garbed in a bright blue scrub suit, a stethoscope wound around her neck and her nursing pins attached to the front of her scrub top, Jasmine had, obviously, just come from a shift at Holy Mother of God Hospital. Her red hair was tucked back into a messy bun, her face makeup-free. Weariness colored her deep hazel eyes and when she leaned forward and placed her elbows on the table, a heavy sigh escaped from between her lips.
“Tough day?” Olivia asked.
“They all seem to be lately.”
Destiny returned, carrying a steaming mug. Silently, she placed it in front of Jasmine.
“So.” Olivia took a sip of her own brew. “Tell me about last night.”
Jasmine took a breath and then blew on her coffee. “I hate doing this again, but,” she said after taking a gulp, “well.” She shrugged and Olivia got the impression she was embarrassed.
“What? Come on, Jazz, talk to me. I can’t help if I don’t know what happened.”
She rolled her eyes and said, “Nothing happened, that’s just it. The date didn’t go well.”
“Why not? Did he say or do something to put you off?”
“Was he rude? Condescending? Obnoxious?”
She answered with a shake of her head.
“Did he say something off color or insulting? Tell me. What is it? Because on paper you two are a pretty good match.”
And there were. Both were in the health profession so they had a lot to discuss on the work front. Both only children. Both divorced. They enjoyed the same type of music and both were exercise enthusiasts, in addition to a myriad of other attributes Olivia considered compatible.
“He’s, well, boring is the best word. And kinda…stuffy. He reminded me of an older uncle or even grandfather. Stodgy.”
Olivia did her best to hide her shock. The Hunter Reinhart she’d taken on as a client didn’t strike her as any of those things. Not boring, not stuffy, and certainly not like a man past his prime. She’d been thrilled when he’d hired her, and had been captivated by his good looks, respectful manner, and charming smile.
“There was just no…spark, no,” Jasmine shrugged “something special between us. Several times during dinner I wanted to yawn but knew I’d look rude if I did.”
“What did you two talk about?”
“In all honesty I can’t remember. None of it seemed particularly interesting.”
Once again, Olivia employed her face-blanking talent so she wouldn’t give her thoughts away.
“I’m sure he was as bored as me.”
“What makes you say that?” She refrained from telling her the doctor had called this morning, claiming the date went well and he wanted to see Jasmine again if she agreed.
When Jasmine had contacted her, Olivia thought it would be easy to find her a match. The thirty-three year old nurse had recently moved back home to Heaven from New York after her acrimonious and public divorce, intent on getting her life back to some semblance of normalcy. She’d sought out Olivia because, as she’d stated in her email, she didn’t want to get involved in the bar scene and most of the guys in the small town she’d known all her life, attended school with, and hadn’t considered them marriage material before she left town, her opinion unchanged now that she was back. Even with that declaration, Olivia had thought it would be an easy task to match her with someone.
After three dates with three different men, the latest one the newest doctor in town, Jasmine found none to her liking.
All the men she’d met were perfectly charming, suitable, and successful, but Jasmine found flaws with each of them. Olivia was beginning to think the woman was looking for someone—or something—who didn’t exist.
Either that, or she still carried a torch for the ex who’d publicly humiliated her when he left their marriage for a model ten years Jasmine’s junior.
“At this rate, I’m beginning to think I’ll end up like my mother. Alone, depressed, and bitter,” Jasmine said, then heaved another soul-crushing sigh.
Olivia kept her own counsel. She never wanted to give up on a client discovering their one true love. But Jasmine’s words were worrying and Olivia was concerned they just might prove true.
Intrigued? Hee hee. More snippets to follow.
Happy Sunday, peeps
So, my year-long quest to put up a photo a day that makes me happy starts with – what else? – food.
Specifically, blueberry muffins.
I made these yesterday for hubby – a full dozen – and snapped this picture just in time because right now, this morning, they are gone! All of them. And I didn’t eat a single one.
Baking is one of those things that gives me such joy and brings a smile to my face. Luckily, most of the stuff I bake isn’t for me – it’s for hubby – or else I’d be featured on My 600 Pound LIfe. Hubby? The man’s a furnace – burns everything he eats, unlike me, who is a store-er. Every morsel that goes in my mouth shoots right to my fat cells, storing up in case of the apocalypse.
Genetics really sucks, peeps.
Happy 2022, peeps.
So last January 1 I posted a picture almost identical to this one
– the only difference was my glasses.
It’s 2 am here on the East Coast. The New year rang in officially here 2 hours ago. I can’t say I am sad to see 2021 go. There were some highlights to be sure – the birth of my first grandson the biggest and happiest, but for the most part, 2021 wasn’t one I will remember with a great deal of pleasure. Here’s hoping 2022 sees us out of this pandemic ( get vaccinated, people) and that we can learn to love one another again, remembering our differences are our strengths.
I’m starting something new in 2022 on my Instagram account to get me to remember to smile more. Every day I’ll post one new picture of something going on in my life that’s a positive. It could be a picture of my crazy dog, the beautiful area I live in, or even just a picture of me doing something that makes me happy, like baking or cooking. By validating every day that there is something to smile about in life, I hope to give you all a reason to smile, too. So, enjoy today. Hope you got some sleep ( unlike me, the chronic insomniac) and that 2022 starts in a wonderful way for you. ~ Peg
here’s my Instagram link so you can follow me on my journey:
2021 was, for me, a weird year. Personal losses, professional highlights, and a mix of mental and physical ailments marked 365 days that should have brought us out of the pandemic and back into normalcy.
As I sit here in my office writing this, I think reflecting on the past year is one way to plan for the next, so here goes.
2021 in review.
wrote and published 4 full-length books and one prequel/novella
won 2 writing awards
got a new contract for 5 books with a new publisher
entered the Kindle Vella world and am kicking it!!
Attended my first writing conference/book signing since 2019, the Fall in Love New England conference
Had two book signings in my local Toadstool Bookshop for new releases.
lost 22 pounds ( of the 50 I need to lose)
welcomed my first grandson
saw my nephew married
kept my parents covid-free and healthy
had a negative mammogram but a positive melanoma biopsy that resulted in 1 Mohs surgery on my face and one excision on my shoulder. ( not fun!)
Lost my father-in-law to a myriad of medical issues.
For the first time since I started doing it, I was unable to complete the Goodreads reading challenge this year. Time, as they say, just flew.
I turned 61. Unbelievable.
Not bad. Not great, either, when you consider I could have written a lot more since I’m home for the pandemic and retirement.
So, looking toward 2022
First and foremost I have to lose the rest of the 50 pounds for my daughter’s big – 3 times delayed – super wedding reception in May.
I have 7 books on the docket to write for 2022 and am seriously hunkering down to start them in January
I have 3 conference/book signings booked for the year starting in July.
I am going on a family cruise (covid-permitting)
I want to be a better person in every way so I am going to start meditating daily
I want to be around for my grandson’s life so I am eating healthier.
I want to grow my book sales, online presence, and reader loyalty.
Some of these are lofty goals, some are not. Either way, I sincerely hope 2022 is better than 2019/2020/2021 has been. We need a break. I need a break.
Happy New Year, peeps.
Eons ago my daughter won the New Hampshire State Spelling Bee and competed in the Scripps National Spelling bee in Washington, DC.
It’s fairly impossible to explain how proud her father and I were of her.
Her entire extended family took a trip to Washington DC for 4 days to watch her compete. Thrilling doesn’t begin to describe it. Back then I was a frequent patron of a paint-your-own-pottery store in my home town and to commemorate the event, I made this ornament:
Every year when I put it on the tree my daughter groans. Too bad, I always tell her. This was an event so profound in her parents’ lives that it has to be remembered every year.
She still groans, but at least she lets me put it up, hee hee.
Such a happy memory, just what an ornament should be.
More tomorrow, peeps.
I like pop culture, not gonna deny it. I’m a little out of the times this year because I’ve been busy with other stuff, but when my daughter was little, we had a ton of ornaments from tv shows, pop icons, etc.
Today I’ve got a trio of ornaments that I still put up on the tree because they are so stinkin’ cute and they represent girl empowerment to me.
The PowerPuff Girls was a TV show back in the day about 3 little girls who possessed extraordinary powers. But they were still little girls even though they flew around protecting the world from bad guys and that I think that was the greatest part of their charm. Even though they were superheroes they still had sister fights, little girl tantrums, and still needed to learn life lessons on each episode.
Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles were the cuties’s names and I bought these for my daughter when she was 7 years old.
They’re tiny, but they’re mighty.
More tomorrow, peeps.
Professions are easy to turn into Holiday ornaments. The other day I showed you one set of the nurse/doctor ones I’ve received over the years. Today is my retirement career.
You all know I retired from my job in 2015 when I got my first writing contract with The Wild Rose Press. The day I turned in my resignation was one of the happiest – and scariest – of my life. Happy because I was finally being given an opportunity to do what I loved, full-time. Scariest because…no income. The potential for income was there, but I knew it was going to take a few years ( read: several!) before I saw any substantial cash in the royalties department. I still can’t support myself to this day on what I make as a full-time writer each year, but it’s way better than when I first started out in 2015.
That year, for Christmas, I bought myself this ornament as a testament to my new career:
It’s perfect in so many ways, but mostly because it’s a. a typewriter, and b. pink.
I wish I had my own pink typewriter in real life. I have a writing friend who actually does. I’ll need to save up to get myself one, one of these days.
More tomorrow, peeps.
So in a previous blog post I told you all that I have over 120 pairs of shoes.
Don’t judge. I’ve worn each and every one of them at least once. Many have had to be re-soled I’ve worn them so much. And despite what hubster thinks, I am not channeling Imelda Marcos. I truly love shoes and wear different pairs all the time.
I remind you of this because of today’s ornament. Several years ago I went shopping with a friend to buy shoes for a wedding. I would up with three pair that day because I couldn’t make up my mind which would go best with the dress. I fully intended to return the two that didn’t.
I found two other outfits in my closet they went perfectly with them, so…
Again – no judging.
For Christmas that year she gifted me this ornament:
And I kinda think the text says it all.
More tomorrow, peeps.
Hubster and I met at a hospital where I was working as a nurse and he was interning. Yes, we are that quintessential Doctor/Nurse relationship older romance book lovers adored, heehee.
When my husband discovered my love ( not obsession!) of holiday ornaments, it stood to reason at some point we would get a few that espoused our professions.
We weren’t wrong.
One of my best work friends who had watched us all through our courting years and through our long-distance engagement, gave us these the year we got married.
My sister-in-law Mary gave Larry this one eons ago. I love it sosos much!!!
DO you have any profession-themed ornaments? I’ve given a glass blow-dryer to my hairstylist and one year to my manicurist I gave a tiny replica bottle of polish. Cute, you know??
More tomorrow, peeps.