Sunday, February 5, 2017

A #WintersRespite #Readathon - Wrap Up

Best laid plans and all that…

I had 4 books on my TBR for the #WintersRespite readathon, but got through 3… well, considering I gave up on Grey early on, only 2.

However, I did an editing read-through of my own book Keeping Claudia—131,000 words. (Happy to report, that little beauty is safely in the hands of my new editor.)

But I loved, loved The Hunger Games! I've already picked up the second in the series, Catching Fire and plan to start it ASAP!!
Poor And the Mountains Echoed has once again been pushed aside... 
(Note to self: Read that book before the summer!)

Check out other Wrap Up comments at Seasons of Reading

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Keeping Claudia Update

Get your tissues ready

I found myself crying as I finished re-reading my edit copy of Keeping Claudia. These characters have come to mean so much to me, they're like family.

It looks like release will be… (fingers crossed) sometime early March. I really hope you guys will love this story as much as I do.

Your Song sung by Lee Mead (originally by Elton John) was a strong inspiration during the writing.

A little fun with

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Winter's Respite Readathon: The Picks

Readathon Picks

Here's my list of possible suspects for the next 2-weeks:

1st Up was War of the Heart (A Snow Globe Christmas) by Jenna Victoria. Finished it and reviewed in earlier post. Visit post here.

2nd Up is Grey by E.L. James. The subject and genre is a complete departure from the last book I read, War of the Heart, but it does have a Christian in it! I've been curious about this one for some time and decided it was time to see if the story could hold up to the success of the previous ones. So far, I'm not impressed…

3rd Up is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I know what you're thinking: What's taken you so long to get around to this one, Suzanne? Everyone has read this already, eons ago! And that is exactly why it's on my list, thank you very much.

4th Up is And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. This one's been sitting around my house gathering dust, watching other books come and go. While I thoroughly enjoyed both Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, for some reason, I pass over this one every time I'm looking for something to read. Well, no more excuses… unless I just can't get to it before the 2 weeks are up. We'll just have to see, won't we?

I'll be mighty impressed with myself if I get through all of these, 'cause this author (yeah, that's me) has her own writing to do. I'm editing my 2nd novel to send to my editor. Wish me luck!

What have I written? I'm glad you asked. Check out Saving Toby here.

The deets in case you missed them on my earlier post: 

Michelle over at Seasons of Reading is hosting this readathon, Jan. 16-29. 
It's 2 weeks long, but don't stress, you can read as much or as little as you like. You don't even have to participate the whole 14 days! 
Best of all, it's free and you can win prizes!

Care to join us?

To check it out and sign up, head on over to Seasons of Reading:

You can also check out #WintersRespite on Facebook

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Winter's Respite Readathon 2017

Winter is the perfect time for readathon!

If you're like me, you probably have a huge TBR that needs taming.

Michelle over at Seasons of Reading is hosting this readathon, Jan. 16-29. 
It's 2 weeks long, but don't stress, you can read as much or as little as you like. You don't even have to participate the whole 14 days! 
Best of all, it's free and you can win prizes!

Care to join me?

To check it out and sign up, head on over to Seasons of Reading:

You can also check out #WintersRespite on Facebook.


I guess I should make a reading list, because everyone knows to be successful at anything, one really needs to set goals (or at the very least, have a plan!)

Last night, I finished my first book, "War of the Heart" by new author Jenna Victoria.
The story takes place in a contemporary setting, and then, through time travel, the couple, Louise and George travel back to Great Britain during Christmas 1940. Great setting with WWII raging through the streets and everyone fearing for their lives and having to ration food and goods on a daily basis. What I loved most was the abundance of interesting little details about that time period, things I'd never known.
The book is Christian Romance, not a genre I've read before, but it was extremely well written and I really enjoyed it!
My rating:
I'll be back tomorrow, armed with my reading list goals!


Saturday, September 17, 2016

How many people will smile today because of you?

photo courtesy of

A challenge

In our busy, fast-paced world, I'd like to offer you this challenge: Make a conscious effort to make the people you come across during your day smile. 

My husband is a natural smile-maker, and a champion of making people feel good about themselves. He has a smile, a greeting, and kind words for everyone he meets during his day — the clerk at the deli, the men and women he sees briefly, who sign work orders — and he's liable to break into song and dance at any given time, around perfect strangers. Because of this, many, many people enjoy his company.

I find the more I smile, the more uplifted and positive I feel at the end of the day. It's such a good feeling, I wish everyone could experience it. The truth is, a smile is such a simple, easy thing to share.

In case you need a few suggestions, try these:
  • Smile and say good morning, hello, or have a great day!
  • Not only hold the door for someone, but step back and let them go first.
  • Say something nice about someone's clothes or hair style
  • Tell them a funny story or a joke
  • Make eye contact and smile!
You don't need to be a clown, or break into song like my husband, but have some fun with it, or just smile. I bet you'll be surprised with the overall positive responses you get. And notice, too, how making someone smile has the bonus effect of making you feel pretty darn good! 

Monday, July 25, 2016

When a special pet dies: A Eulogy for Scout

I pause, mop and bucket of soapy water in hand, to look one last time at the tiny clay paw prints that crisscross my wood floors.

I hesitate to wash them away and consider taking a photograph as a keepsake—the last evidence that he was here, but my logical, sensible side argues, "It was just a cat." I take a few breaths, attempting to keep the tears at bay. You see, I believe, a pet is a just pet... at least in theory, and until you throw a sweet, one-eye orange tabby kitten into the picture.

Scout was an abandoned kitten, rescued and taken care of by the wonderful local feral cat organization, PAWS of Sayville. He was sickly when he and his littermates were found, and as a result, lost his left eye. On adoption day, unlike the other mewing kittens who clung to us with their razor sharp claws, when the PAWS volunteer placed that slinky yellow kitten in my 14-year old daughter's arms, he was placid and content to be held, and even started to purr. We hadn't considered adopting a physically disadvantaged pet, and at home, getting used to his new surroundings, he ran into table and chair legs. We cringed and then laughed when we realized he was fine. The sweet nature of that kitten made him a good choice with my young children.

My kids agreed on the name Scout. As they didn't agree on much those days, that was a big deal. Scout was supposed to be my daughter's cat. Not mine. I was a young mother with more than enough responsibilities. I didn't want another charge to take care of, but when my children weren't home, our new kitten followed me around, room to room, making games out of my everyday tasks, like bed-making, where he'd run under the sheets and try to catch my hands as I tucked and smoothed bed corners. I found I didn't mind my new shadow companion. The packed out eye-socket caused some health issues in those first weeks home. When I took him to the veterinarian's office, I remember placing him on the examining table, so small and defenseless, but still so trusting, and my heart expanded with love and admiration for that brave yellow kitten.

Scout and Jazmin
Professed dog-lovers, both my husband and son expected to feel indifferent to our new pet. But Scout wasn't going to sit idly by and accept that. He pushed his way into every moment, watching television with us, lying nearby at dinnertime, curling up next to us while we read and slept. It wasn't just those quiet moments, though. Scout endured the kids playing with him, loving him, and handling him in the way energetic kids do, all without biting and scratching them. He domineered the dog's bed, looking kingly in the center of the oversized cushion, was an unexpected mouser, befriended our two dogs, and if a cat could have a sense of humor, Scout had one. He loved to play and was always up for a little fun. A kitty arm would suddenly appear from behind furniture, or upon his perch on a chair, he would swat at one of the dogs passing by, instigating a little good-natured interaction. He was proudly introduced to all who entered our home.
And even the cat-haters who spent time at our house could be found petting our cool, one-eyed cat. Scout was always around, and such an easy presence, visitors could neither ignore nor resist liking him.

Scout and Luna
The years brought a lot of changes to our family. My daughter grew up, went away to school, and took a job out of town; our two dogs aged and their lives ended; and new pets entered our lives. Scout was with me through it all. Several years ago, we brought home a kitten to keep him company. Unfortunately, she came with a case of ringworm. The kitten didn't suffer from the fungus, but she passed it onto Scout. Treatment called for frequent baths and topical medication. Scout, like any cat, had a strong distain for water, but true to his nature, he endured the baths and daily medications and barely gave me the stink eye afterwards. At an advanced age of 11, when most animals are intolerant of changes, Scout made allies with our new, giant, not-so-gentle Greater Swiss Mountain puppy. Their interactions, highlighted by their extreme physical dissimilarities, brought about a new energy to the house and many laughs.

Scout and Winston
Illness came swiftly and without notice. The average housecat can live 15 years, some as long as 18, and at 12, Scout had grown into a fairly large, healthy male cat. We fully expected to have him around for several more years. We attributed his less active behavior to growing older, but when his fur became rumpled and dull, we took a trip to the veterinarian. We were shocked when blood and urine results revealed kidney issues. We thought we could manage the condition with a special diet and medications. The first week, everything went to the wayside as I catered to Scout's condition. I had to administer fluid under his skin via a needle. As usual, Scout was a champ, letting me stick him daily without much fuss. That first week he seemed fine, but two days later, the bottom fell out. He went into complete kidney failure, and Scout's health rapidly declined. The veterinarian suspected it was cancer, and his once strong body became like a twisted towel, wrung of moisture, weak and bony thin. His once insatiable hunger, the one that our family often joked about, was gone. Uremic ulcers in his mouth made it too painful to chew. He spent his days in a new hiding spot, under the entertainment center, and when he left it, it was only to drink, which he did almost every hour, a futile effort to make up for what his kidneys could no longer do. He swayed like a leaf in the wind on his way to the water bowl, putting his feet in the water as if trying to absorb the liquid through his skin and flush his body. The combination of constant wet feet and need to use the litter box created that crisscross pattern of clay paw prints across my floors.

It's a terrible choice to have to make to put a pet down; even when you know it's merciful to do so. The vet administered the sedative and put him in my arms. He tucked his little face into my chest and went to sleep. That gentle soul purred right up until the end.

It's my inclination to try and be logical about the loss of yet another family pet. I grieved the loss of the others, but I am truly brokenhearted over losing Scout. He was extraordinary and stands alone in my mind and heart. As I mop away the paw prints, the last visible traces of Scout's presence, I am flooded with memories of little moments of laughter and comfort he brought to my family and me on a daily basis. Those moments are as countless as they are precious. His little kitty shoes will be hard to fill and his absence will be felt a very long time.

Rest in peace little buddy...
Scout 2004-2016