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An Excerpt from Floating Loose

Floating Loose

Good morning! I wanted to share a quick excerpt from Floating Loose since I realized I hadn’t done that yet. I sincerely hope you enjoy it! And if you have any friends who enjoy romance, the holidays are coming soon….

 

An Excerpt from Floating Loose.

 

They walked out onto the grass much farther down the creek than where they’d first started and hadn’t gotten more than a few steps before the rain came. They just looked at each other and smiled. They were mostly soaked anyway, so the rain wasn’t going to do them much more harm. They walked at a casual pace, holding hands and talking, until they were about halfway back. Then the wind kicked up and instead of falling gracefully, the rain began to pelt them in the face.

Continue reading An Excerpt from Floating Loose

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“Crafty” Like Me

If you’re crafty in the same way that I am, it means that:

A. You’ve started lots and lots of projects and haven’t finished too many of them.

B. You still hang onto these projects because you’re gonna.

C. Over the years, you’ve taken on progressively easier crafts so that you can have the satisfaction (albeit much less satisfaction, proportionate to the project itself) of actually finishing.

One craft activity I enjoy is counted cross stitch. Back in the day, I actually finished a couple of small-to-medium sized projects. My two best, however are this one…

wreath-xstitch2

Gorgeous, right? Wait…did you think I made this? No, silly. This is the picture on the package.

 

 

wreath-xstitch3

THIS is what I have done on it, so far. 10 years and counting.

 

…and the one of the Marine Corps emblem that I’m making (present tense being used loosely here) for My Marine. I would put up a picture of that one but I haven’t seen it in roughly 9 years. I’m sure I didn’t throw it out, though. It’s got to be here somewhere.

flower-xstitch

My 10 stitches are in the gray line on the bottom, to the right of the vase. Nice, huh?

 

Here’s the one that my mom and I made a few years ago. I put the first 10 or so stitches in that bad boy and my mom wrapped up the last 20,000.

 

 

 

 

magnet-craft

Who doesn’t need fridge magnets? They’re decorative AND practical.

 

 

Several years back, when I finally began to clue in to my weakening devotion to crafting, I made these little gems to commemorate a trip to San Antonio we took with some friends. I glued magnets to the backs of these tiles I bought while we were there. Even sent some to our friends! BOOM!

 

 

 

scrapbook-paper

Enough for 7 different moods.

 

What I really wanted to share, though, might be my most ridiculously easy project yet. I was looking for a cute dry erase board and found pretty quickly that there really aren’t any. So I endeavored to make one myself. I purchased an 8×10 frame with glass and some scrapbooking paper. Since the paper was cheap (69 cents for the regular and 1.99 for the sparkly) I got several sheets so that I could change the look of my board to fit my mood. This project literally involved…cutting paper. As it turned out, after I cut out the 8×10 piece, I still have enough left for another 4×6, so I went back to the store for another frame.

And guess what…after I cut out the 4×6, I still had enough for a second 4×6! Too bad I didn’t figure that out until after the second trip to the store. The hardest part of this project was the fact that I didn’t do the math on the measurements ahead of time, and making trips to the store.

dry-erase-boards

Bada bing.

 

Anyway,  my fellow not-THAT-into-crafting crafters, if you’re looking for a stupidly easy craft with a really cute outcome, here it is, kiddos.

 

 

 

 

Before you go, I’d like to invite you to take a minute to look around my website. You may notice that it has undergone some construction and has a whole new format and some cool new features, like better/easier to navigate blog categories and also the awesome new rotating review spot that allows me to share some of the very nice comments from some of the reviews that people have written about my books. Take a stroll around the site and if you’ve enjoyed this post, please feel free to share!

 

 

 

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Real Life Inspiration

Before I switch gears and turn my focus to my new book, Floating Loose, which is scheduled to be released on June 28, 2016, I wanted to do this post, which I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I wanted to share a few pictures of some of the real life places that were inspirational in one way or another when I was writing Legacy of the Dog.

Picture the Donovan’s house on the left and the stable on the right. Plenty of space for everyone to park in between.

A view out across the field. Imagine grass instead of…are those soybeans? In the distance, the woods that they walk through to get to the stream.

When I began writing about the Donovan’s property, I was describing the way everyone came up the long drive and parked between the house and the stable, which were across the driveway from each other. As I was picturing it and doing my best to give a feel for it in words, I realized that the place I was describing was my cousin’s farm in Michigan. He’s a dairy farmer and also grows corn and soybeans, among other things. He and his family are completely awesome–some of my favorite people in the world! Once I realized that I was describing their property, it was fun to picture exactly how the Donovan’s property was arranged against that backdrop.

 

white hawk

Their town gets a name. White Hawk, Colorado

For my first two books, when I was choosing a place for the stories to occur, I first chose an area of the country. I went pretty specific and found actual spots on the map. And then I made up town names, which is a lot harder than it sounds. You’d be surprised how many of the town names you make up already exist. Give it a try sometime. For Legacy of the Dog, I chose Colorado, near the Rocky Mountains and then began the search for a name. In the end, I picked a name that had the feel I was looking for, which was sort of rugged and outdoorsy. It also happens to be the name of a country club in a neighboring town.

In the final scene of the story, when Ty and Jessie finally get a chance to be alone and talk, they go to a park with a small lake and a walking path. There are fountains in the lake and lots of trees and benches. And again, I was describing it before I realized that I had an actual place in my head. This park is two or three towns over from where I live, but it’s close to my brother’s house and I go by fairly frequently. I made a special trip over there the other day to take some pictures for this post.

Centennial Park 2

The park with the walking path and fountains.

Centennial Park 3

Where Ty and Jessie finally got things figured out between them.

Of course, whenever you read a story, you conjure up your own pictures in your mind of what everything looks like. Do these pictures look anything like what you pictured when you read it? If you haven’t read it, go ahead. You can get back to me when you’re finished. I’ll wait.   😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JILL!

flamingos

Can you tell which one is me? Exactly.

I always thought of myself as pretty nondescript. Just one of the crowd. Not really standing out in any way. This, by the way, has always been fine with me. When I see someone I haven’t seen in a long time, my default assumption is that I remember them, but they won’t remember me. Is this normal? Huh. Maybe I should check with a therapist. (Just kidding. I don’t care in the least whether I’m normal or not.)

 

 

Continue reading JILL!

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Middle School Talent Show

Four or five years ago, my daughter decided to participate in the middle school talent show. She and a friend played the piano and did very well. I’m super proud of her for many reasons, but the main one is below.

First, let me tell you what any kind of public speaking/performance seems like to me.

Hell.

hell

This is actually just a bonfire, but I’m guessing it’s like this, only probably, like…bigger and more.

I don’t do any kind of public speaking or anything that resembles it in any way. Believe me, if you saw me trying, you’d be happy if I just sat back down. Why? Because I panic so hard that it’s just painful and uncomfortable for everyone. It’s just a bad scene. A huge NOPE.

microphone

Yeah…I don’t think so.

Therefore, anyone who participates in something like this is already Superman/Wonder Woman in my book. Add to that the fact that these were kids…KIDS…no older than fourteen. Suffice to say, I was impressed before I even entered the building.

But then there was this one girl in particular. She was introduced and came out onto the stage to sing her song. She started with a small, cracking voice and quickly made a mistake. She panicked and left the stage. A moment later, the vice principal came out and said that she was going to come back and try again later and he introduced the next act.

Boy, could I feel for that girl. She was me and I was her. Except that I wouldn’t have gotten up there in the first place. I thought…poor thing, we won’t see her again tonight.

singing with mic on fire

This isn’t her, but it was like this…with the microphone on fire and everything.

But she did come back out a few acts later. She started tentatively again, but then found her groove and nailed her song. I was blown away by the courage it took to come back out on the stage a second time, in front of everyone. And by the applause, I wasn’t the only one who saw it that way. I wanted to go up to her and hug her and tell her how great she did. But I didn’t know her so…you know…creepy.

This is my shout-out to all you public speakers and performers of any sort. God bless you guys. You’re amazing. I’d hug you, but…you know…creepy.

 

 

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#notgreatatselfies

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person. Based on that, I think it’s safe to say that being able to take a good selfie is not related to IQ. Thank goodness for that line of reasoning. It’s what allows me to not feel bad about my lack of selfie skills.

Spectacular shot from the Space Needle

Breathtaking view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.

This one’s actually not that bad. A Chihuly glass exhibit with the pieces sitting on a clear ceiling and lit from above.

In considering the subject, I came up with a list of REAL reasons why selfies are hard.

  1. My arms aren’t that long.
  2. Sometimes there’s a glare on the screen and I can’t even see what I’m taking a picture of.
  3. An unfortunate thumb injury (8th grade) which doesn’t allow my right thumb to bend all the way, making it extra hard to push the button with one hand.
  4. I have a big head. (big head+short arm=not much space for background)

Though they are not frame-worthy, they are usually laugh-worthy. At least the kids think so. They think it’s funny that we look so confused. In reality, we’re not confused, we’re just squinting — see #2 above.

There’s that glare I was telling you about.

“Can you even see what’s on the screen?” “Not really.” “Just take it anyway.”

I’m decent at taking regular pictures, though. In fact, the background on my website — the picture of the Rocky Mountains — is one I took myself on a vacation to Colorado a few years ago. So I’ve got that going for me. And if I decide to get serious about upping my selfie game, I’ll just give Kim Kardashian a jingle and get some pointers. #sheISgreatatselfies

 

 

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A Quick Trip to Chi-Town

My Marine and I are thinking about updating our bathroom. Not a full re-do. Just a couple of tweaks. And, really, we’re still in the kicking-it-around stage. Don’t hold me to it.

Maybe something like this.

Or this.

Last weekend we went into Chicago to look at some specific stores the man had heard about – you know…the ones with fabulous sinks, fabulous tile, fabulous tubs, etc. We looked around, took some pictures, got some ideas. Then we got down to the meat of the trip. First, we went to lunch downtown with a gift card we had. Cha-ching! Free! Then we went to Crate & Barrel and Bloomingdale’s.

Guess how much this mirror costs. Go ahead. Take a stab. (I’ll put the answer at the bottom so you can think it over)

I hadn’t been to Bloomingdale’s before. We specifically wanted to go because the store in Chicago is housed in the old Medinah Temple, which was an ornate auditorium built in 1912 and used for the Shrine Circus, among other things.

Stained glass windows

Domed ceiling

Bloomingdale’s built the store inside the building, but preserved the beautifully restored architectural details. It’s quite lovely and worth a look if you’re in the area. It was a thoughtful and responsible way to merge history and commerce and preserve a Chicago landmark.

Salt and Pepper Shakers

The best part of the trip? My awesome new salt and pepper shakers. Life is good, folks. Life is good.

 

 

(The answer to the cost of the mirror is $17,000. Don’t worry, those are real crystals, so it’s totally worth it.)

 

 

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Furniture Builder (Not So) Extraordinaire

In an effort to class up my office, I decided to replace the chipped up metal file cabinet which has very few files in it. Its main job is to keep the printer off the floor and I figured a more stylish piece of furniture could accomplish that task just as easily. After checking around at a few stores, I ended up at Target, like I always do. I love that place. They carry everything I didn’t realize I needed.

The cabinet in progress

The cabinet in progress

Continue reading Furniture Builder (Not So) Extraordinaire

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