Another anniversary. Another gift-giving dilemma!

IMG_3248Thirty five years is a long time. At least it’s a long time to buy someone gifts. My husband and I are celebrating our 35th anniversary today, and I’ve been running around trying to find something meaningful, functional, interesting, desirable (I’d settle for one of those qualities!) as a gift suitable for the occasion.

The fact is, I’m gifted-out. The creative juices in that department have dried up. And he’s pretty short on offering up ideas. He doesn’t need anything. Doesn’t want anything. In fact, he’s all for clearing out cupboards and closets and throwing things away! All of my cool ideas seem to relate to his business, so nix those. They’re business expenses. Tax write-offs. But . . . but . . . it’s our anniversary. Shouldn’t I do something to mark the occasion? I mean, I get flowers, probably a nice piece of jewelry and maybe a little chocolate, too! I’m easy!!! Those things work. Every. Time.

I remember when we used to celebrate, or at least remember, the anniversary of our first date. Of our engagement. Hahaha! Really? These days I’m more than happy to let those things petrify in the past.

Sure, anniversaries are special. And they only come once a year. But, hey, so do birthdays and Christmas and other holidays. Valentine’s Day!?! Are you kidding me? I just bought you a Christmas gift! And once we had kids? Oh, great, throw Father’s Day in there, too. Every year.

Don’t get me wrong. I actually like giving gifts. I usually enjoy the process of finding the perfect present. I like the creative task of wrapping the packages. But the rapid succession of birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and anniversary has really taken its toll this year. Today is also our daughter’s birthday, so there’s that. Spring break is next week, so there’s that. Not to mention a few books to write!

People say give experiences instead of gifts. Sure, we’re going out for a nice dinner. We’ll have wine and dessert. On our 25th, we took a trip to Hawaii. But those dream vacations are expensive. They require time off from work, a ton of coordination, details, decisions, etc. Maybe next year.

For now, I’ll just have to hope that the “it’s the thought that counts” sentiment still holds true! I tried! 🙂

Do you have any go-to gifts that always hit the mark?

International Women’s Day: Strong Women in Fiction

urlIt’s International Women’s Day!

I was with a group of women fiction writers last week, and someone mentioned the occasion. The authors at this meeting realized we all write about strong women. To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, each of us agreed to post an excerpt from our writing featuring one of our strong female characters. And we want to share them with you.

Unexpected_Legacy_CoverI present Kate Austen, interim principal of a suburban high school, who faces hostility from male peers in Unexpected Legacy, fiction with romantic elements.

Bruce accompanied Kate to the office where they signed the log for opening the school safe, deposited the money, and locked up again. Bruce had already turned, heading for the door, when Kate glanced at the log. Her head snapped up.


He stopped and gave her a nod. “See you Monday.”

“Bruce, wait a minute. I don’t see your signature on here for any other day this week. You said you’d put the money in the safe.”

“Yeah. I did.”

She clenched the clipboard in her hand, but resolved to keep her voice calm. Don’t overreact, Kate. “Without signing and without a second staff member verifying what you put in?”

He shoved a hand inside a pocket and scowled at her. “It’s nothing that needs to be verified, Kate. There’s no accounting on this. It’s completely outside of school business.”

She bristled at his tone. “I disagree. Any time we’re collecting money, whatever the reason, there needs to be careful record of it and personal accountability. We’re talking about several thousand dollars here, and it’s our responsibility to make sure that every dime collected is accounted for and used for the purpose it was intended.”

Bruce’s eyes shifted from her to somewhere beyond her, as if he were bored by the conversation. When he looked back at Kate, his eyes challenged her. “Are you suggesting I would mishandle funds?”

“Not at all, but if there were ever a question of propriety, we’d need to be able to show clear and accurate records.”

Bruce continued to stare at her a moment, then glanced at his watch. “Are we done?”

Kate let go of the log. “We can discuss this further on Monday,” she told him, her voice clipped. “From now on, please refrain from putting anything in or taking anything out of the safe without my authorization.”

Your authorization?” he repeated.


Both hands went to his hips as he stared hard at her. “District policy says another staff member.”

“I’m aware of that, but you didn’t follow district policy, so I’m adding a stipulation. For the time being, I’d like you to see me if you need access to the safe.” She gave him the sweetest smile she could muster. “Just to be sure we’re on the same page.”

To read posts from other women authors about their strong women characters, please follow the links below. Happy International Women’s Day! Enjoy!


Joyce Brown, author of cozy mysteries

Pamela B. Eglinski, author of suspense and historical fiction

Theresa Hupp, author of historical fiction

Juliet Kincaid, author of historical fiction

Happy Heart Day!

Happy Val

Hello, everyone! Hope you all are feeling the love today from significant others, fans, friends and family! Many thanks to all the readers who’ve shown my books a little love! Right back at you!

Today, the hubs and I are going out for a nice lunch and skipping the restaurant crowds tonight. Coming up on our 35th anniversary, we’ve kind of been there, done that! 🙂

There will most likely be chocolate and wine this evening.

However you celebrate the day – or not – enjoy!


Here’s to Heartwarming Holidays!


Hey, friends!

It’s that time of year –– time for some jolly holiday fun!

Join me and several other awesome authors, in the Heartwarming Holiday Blog Hop! It’s your opportunity to meet new authors and a chance to win a Kindle Fire 7 with Alexa!

Here’s how it works:

Visit each author blog in the hop and look for their “Heartwarming Holidays” blog post. 
Look for the title that includes the words “heartwarming” and “holidays.”
Visiting each blog in this hop is mandatory in order to be eligible for the grand prize, so be sure to comment on all “heartwarming holidays” posts from each of the following blogs between December 4 – 9, 2017:
Nicole Morgan, Suzanne Jenkins, Holly Cortelyou, Darlene Deluca, Casi McLean, Sensuous Promos, and  The Book Pub.

Speaking of heartwarming, it’s one of the words that always comes to mind when I describe my novel Unexpected Legacy.


You might fall in love with hero Matt Dalton who’s just found out he has a 16-year-old son. You might relate to the leading lady, an up-and-coming high school principal who champions her students. And you’ll definitely cheer on Brady, the teenager who’s dealing with the traumatic effects of an accident and the loss of his best friend.

It’s a heartwarming story of bravery, resilience, and, of course, love! One that will leave you with a satisfied smile! Perfect for cozy holiday reading!


Wishing you the happiest of holidays and best of luck!



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Fall . . . season of love or loss?

Well, it’s that time of year. So far this week, I’ve: 1. Worn socks. 2. Turned on my electric blanket. 3. Turned the heat on in my house. Sigh.

Yes, it’s pretty out. Sort of. We’re seeing yellow, orange and red in some of the trees. But it’s messy, too. The patio is littered with leaves, as is the yard. Leaves are caught in the bushes, ground cover and patio furniture. We have a lot of trees, and I can’t keep up. (Not to mention the oak mites.)

A few flowers are valiantly trying to hang in there, but you can tell the jig is up. It’s that time of year. The mornings are chilly. The days are shorter. Those pretty falling leaves are just a prelude of what’s to come.

And that’s my whole issue with fall.

For many, fall is a favorite season. You like the milder temps. You’re ready to wrap up in scarves and sweaters. For me, fall is a loss. A warning. It’s the mourning of long, warm summer days. Yep, end of October, and I’m still mourning summer. It’s my season. Flip flops! No coats, jackets, scarves, gloves and other baggage to haul around and keep track of. No warming up the car. No raking or scraping or shoveling!IMG_2451

So, facing the inevitable, I pulled a few waning plants out of sad-looking pots and put some pumpkins on the porch. Ah, pumpkins! Now there’s a bright spot in fall. I have to say, I’m happy to be done with the days of finding the perfect pumpkin patch and making costumes and trick-or-treating. But I do like the pumpkins even if they’re just bought at the neighborhood grocery store. This weekend, we’ll hollow them out and roast the seeds. And for a day or two, I’ll enjoy the fruits of fall. 🙂

What do you enjoy about fall?

A weekend of bookish fun awaits!

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OK, who’s looking for some fun? If you’re in the Dallas area, you won’t want to miss this! Bring a friend, your book club, or just yourself and join us for Readers and ’ritas Nov. 10 -13. Parties, books, authors, scavenger hunt, swag, prizes . . . and did I mention fun?!

I’m so looking forward to this event. I love visiting with readers and chatting about books. Add in food and drink, and what’s not to like, right? And for me, another exciting plus is that the weather is Dallas is currently projected to be in the low- to mid-70s for that weekend. Woo-hoo. In other words, perfect!

Click here for the full agenda and list of authors and guest speakers.

Hope to see you there!