Cover Reveal for Finding Amy!!

Finding Amy Cover 7-19-16
Finding Amy
Amy #3
Release date: September 30th
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Preorder: Amazon

I’m so excited to introduce “Finding Amy”! Doesn’t she look happy? I do believe she just might’ve found her happily ever after!! And for the readers who’ve been with her since the beginning, I’m sure you’re asking the question…who is her happily ever after with? You will have to stay tuned. Specifically, until September 30th. That’s when the questions will be answered in the final release.

In the last book of the Amy series, this naïve girl gets a few of her own questions about life and love answered. And some are not entirely what she ever dreamed. A few characters from the past will pop back in to check on her, and some new ones will be introduced. As the time for the release draws near, I’ll be posting these character inspirations on my Pinterest board, as well as Facebook. So stay tuned to meet the new lineup!

This is what’s coming:

Amy Whitfield travels across the country, either in search of something or to run away from someone. She hasn’t quite figured it out. Living on the little island of Classique just might help her decide. Here she discovers a lot of unanswered questions about the past. Not to mention, she meets someone in particular that challenges her thinking about the present.

I’m counting the days…are you?

Giveaway Time!

One luck winner will receive eBook copies of Waking Amy and Leaving Amy. Ends August 31

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Evening on the Creek

IMG_3677By the time I could get my camera out, the boat was almost gone. You can still see some of it though!

It was a wonderful Sunday, as we got to spend some time on the water. After we attended 2 birthday parties, we scored a boat ride. By the way, anyone in the market for an island house? We have one for sale! And when I say island house, I mean it. The house is completely surrounded on all sides by water. I should go there to get some writing done this summer! It kind of reminds me of Jesse Stone. You know, the Tom Selleck movies on the Hallmark channel? He lives in a house surrounded by water. But I think you can drive somewhat to his. Then you walk across a long bridge. As for ours, you get there only by boat. I had a great time visiting and I’m sure it will get my creative juices flowing.:)

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Offline

Keep-it-simpleTwo things happened last week. One was good, and one…not so good.

Not so good first. My smallest boy loves Monopoly. And when I say loves Monopoly, I mean wants to play it every day. To the point everyone runs when he comes asking for players. So what did we do? We bought him the electronic version. One that he can play any time the moods hits. Does he need any of us to pull this off? Nope. He can play the xbox guy who lives in the machine. Is this a good thing? You’d think, but I feel we just took a vintage game loving boy and fed him to the electronic wolves. Okay, so he does still plead for “real” players to play with him on the electronic version…but is it the same? He doesn’t even need to be the banker in this version. So much for counting skills.

Now the good. Which if you ask my daughter, she’d tell you that this in fact is the very bad news of my report. Oh well, she’ll see the light in years to come.

Okay, so last Friday my daughter changed her password on her phone. You know, the little Apple device that stays burning hot from being in use 24/7. The little earbuds attached to it has begun to grow skin around them because she wears them like an accessory. Always be-bopping and singing. To the point you feel she’s in a continuous rock concert and you’re the fixed audience member.

So she changed her password, woke up, couldn’t remember it, and consequently the phone locked her out. We tried connecting to iTunes to no avail. If we further try to hack it, all items saved will be lost. As in all her pictures, her video of the one and only concert she ever attended, and her music. No… she didn’t save any of it on a cloud, for those out there wondering.

So why is this the good news? Well, I feel for her…really I do. I don’t want her things to be lost to cyberspace. But…she comes around a lot more. Interacts with us, reads books again, plays with her brothers, and tonight I saw her sleeping with her plushes! Poor things have been locked away since Spotify came into her life.

Just imagine if we went offline sometimes. For an entire day. Minus the shakes we’d get over in about an hour, we might actually be able to focus on something else. Imagine that.:)

Not in a Long Time

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…have I been to a concert. And boy, was this one different! Warning: my age is going to show through in this blog post! I took my newly turned teenage daughter to see a concert Friday night. Things have certainly changed since the last concert I went to. Granted, this was a “boy” band. The one I last saw was Motley Crue. (no comment on long ago that must’ve been, please). The audience in last night’s arena were mostly wide-eyed girlies. Motley Crue brought out the wilder crowd. Still, there were more differences I noted. By the way, have concert tee shirts always been priced higher than the concert tickets? Ouch.
I had forgotten how deafening it could get. Seriously, I couldn’t hear right for about 10 minutes after we left. Both me and my daughter laughed at how our voices sounded like we’d just inhaled helium. Every time one of the band members said something, it sounded like Charlie Brown’s mother. I couldn’t understand a thing! But all the little chippies would go wild and yell even louder. Yes, I was the one who casually held one finger in my ear, just so I could salvage some hearing later on. I put it down when my girl would turn to look at me, making sure I was digging it just as much as she was. I didn’t want to look like a total dork. What was a little hearing impairment when it came to looking cool?
Speaking of cool, it was amazing seeing the message that is being sent out to young people. Not really cool at all, actually. I saw shirts that read, ‘I’m a Loser’, and other ones that said, ‘I’m just a reject’. Who makes these to sell? Where has all the good messages in the world gone? Shouldn’t we be building self esteem? Not printing belittling labels for young girls to buy and wear! Crazy.
Then there was the time when the band was still setting up and a song began to play. Everyone in the audience began going crazy and there was a sudden uniformity as everyone began singing. ‘I’m just a teenage dirtbag’ was the lyrics. Everyone seemed to know all the words. Wow. Just wow. Dirt bag? Really?
Instead of lighters, everyone swayed in unison with their smart phone flashlight apps. It was a tremendous sea of white lights. I took a video. Which I wasn’t the only one. That’s all you saw–everyone with their cameras out, recording the whole thing. I guess they’ll go home and upload it to their account. There were even some girls wearing signs on their backs, asking people to follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Sign of the times!
It was a good time had by all. My daughter soaked it all up. I’m so happy to have been a part of that memory with her. Although I didn’t know one song anyone played, I enjoyed watching her sing to each of them. Which was the most different thing about it. This band has no songs out on the radio. Seems you can get a YouTube account, record some songs on it, and gain yourself a fan base that stretches across the country. Today’s technology is going to squeeze out some of the more traditional ways of how it’s been done in the past. And I’m happy because of it. There is some real talent out in the world, and YouTube, The Voice, American Idol, and even self-publishing is letting those naturals shine through the cracks!:)

What About Kindness?

kindness2When in doubt…   When you have nothing else to give…  Give kindness. Who doesn’t want it? Who doesn’t need it? And don’t you feel a whole lot better when you give it? It’s like give a gift, get a gift. Just watching someone smile from you being kind is a big reward. At least it is to me.

You can change a person’s day with just a kind word. A compliment. A gesture of goodwill. Seriously. You have no idea what people are going through. Or if they have anyone in their lives that pay them kindness. But nowadays, it seems people are becoming so detached and so critical.

I was watching a show tonight and they had a commentary on what phrases people took offense to. Can you believe you’re not supposed to tell someone their shoes look nice? Are you kidding me? Where is this world coming from? It’s going to get to the point that when you do offer kindness, you might get slugged. People will expect you’re doing it for an ulterior motive, or doing it incorrectly.

Where have the old days gone? I’m getting a bit over done with this politically correct world. When a compliment isn’t acceptable. It’s almost like you need to carry around a book of translation for what’s acceptable to say.

Let’s bring back old fashioned compassion, empathy, and kindness. Trust me, I’m pretty sure it’s worked in the past.

 

Flower Shopping Down South

IMG_0667Every year I travel down south, I manage to stop by my all-time favorite flower shop. It’s located in Smithfield, North Carolina, about three hours from my home. This year I was able to visit it twice!!:)

DeWayne’s is the perfect place for any gardener to visit. From the girl who just wants one potted vine to sit on her window ledge in the kitchen, to the green thumb who spends all weekend toiling in their fronts and back yards, weeding and pruning to get just the right look.

They’re doing an overhaul in the store and I couldn’t be more excited. You want it? They carry it. And not only do they carry plants, trees, shrubbery, and flowers…they carry clothing, flags, bags, fountains, and jewelry. Yes, jewelry. How much more perfect can you get? It’s a good thing they aren’t located closer to me. That’s all I’m saying.

Did I mention bird houses, little hot air balloons that twirl in the wind, and souvenir-type things? Little signs that say the wittiest things. Of course it takes a seasoned shopper only a few hours to muse around at everything, and still something will be missed.

Anyway, I got me the “Tom” plant pictured above. Not named after Tom in “Waking Amy”, I assure you. I first found this type of plant at the Thomas Jefferson home in Charlottesville. It has a distinct smell and I love the little bundles of flower petals it produces. I especially love the pink ones. They were too small this go around.      The sweet potato vine next to it, I purchased because it reminded me of my trip to South Carolina. The house we stayed had a few on the front porch. I enjoyed caring for them my week there. They have a vibrant green color and can stretch for miles. No, I don’t know if they actually produce sweet potatoes. I guess I’ll find out!

Earlier in the year when I ventured to Beaufort, I stopped into the flower shop and picked up some of these. Every year I border a section of my walk with impatiens. They add nice color and burst out, filling in all the naked little areas of mulch.

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I try to save a spot in the shade for the coleus. On my first trip to the store, I purchased two. One of which got taken down by a rather oversized dog who was determined to nap in that particular area. I can’t blame him, it’s the only shady spot out front. But still…my poor coleus. So on the second trip, I got more. I’ve since blocked the entrance to said “cool spot”. He must slumber in the back on the hotter days.

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And don’t you love this new little purply thing? I’m not certain of the name. I left the spike outside with it, but it promises to grow extremely fast. I can’t wait. And you shouldn’t either. If you’re going to be on I-95 anytime soon, check on exit number 97, I believe. You won’t be sorry!

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Death by Opinion

naïve_skullI’m finally back home from my whirlwind of getaways! The last bed I slept on in the hotel was sooo much more comfortable than the one in Seabrook. I prefer soft, so I sunk between the questionable sheets last night and slept very sound. Tonight, I’m in my own–no fears of who slept here twenty four hours ago and what they might’ve left behind.:)

Anyway, while I was away, I got a chance to cruise through Facebook for a moment. Which by the way, it was only a moment. For anyone who has attended college orientation for freshmen, my hats off to you. OMG. Information overload. I was lectured to for the better part of two days straight. I think I could serve on the panel of one of those information sessions without a problem. And don’t you know it, there’s always that one person who has to raise their hand and tell about an experience they had about such and such. I began singing songs in my head every time I saw her hand fly up. Even the faculty began ignoring her waving appendage.

Back to the subject of my blog. I was on Facebook when I read a post from a fellow author. She had made mention concerning her political views. I might’ve blogged about this before….if I have, bear with me. I was just amazed with the backlash she received from one picture she posted. I do not intend to mention names or describe the picture, just know that it clearly stated her opinion about one of the presidential candidates. My, my. She had people stating they would never buy her books again, that she was using her name to further the other candidate’s chances of winning…you name it, it was commented. Others chimed it stating they would use their library card from now on when it came to her books. My jaw fell to the floor. Are you serious?

Okay so first let’s get something straight…if you are in the public eye, however small of an eye, you just never, never, never discuss politics or religion. It’s safe to say there are others out there that don’t share in your opinion. Yes, that’s right…YOUR opinion. As in, keep it to YOURself. Or suffer the consequences. Now, I realize her ability to produce the books she does has very little to do with who she’s going to check the box in November to be our next president, but by nature, it still leaves you with the stinky smell of what’s she thinking…who she’s supporting. As in, “are you kidding me?” But I can then get past it and read the book in good conscience. It’s not as if the money I pay for the book is going directly to support the person I don’t wish to win.  Whatever candidate she chooses to vote for is her choice. I get one too!

I’ve come across articles in magazines where celebrities flat out bash a candidate. If I don’t share the same opinion, it’s human nature to give them the stinkeye for all of two minutes and think differently of them. Of course I’m talking about if they hold a rally in order to bash the opponent or use airtime to talk ill of them. Because let’s face it, what are you gaining from getting down there in the ditch with whomever in order to make your point? You could be losing a lot of fans because of it. Instead, rise above. Yes you can have an opinion, but clearly state it and move on. No mud slinging required.

That’s why I have a hard and fast rule that the only people who get to hear my opinion are the ones sitting at my dinner table…at home. Repeating it to the public is like shooting yourself in the foot. And personally I need that foot.:)

The Aftermath

home-sweet-homeI finally made it home, and boy am I thankful!! Going away always make me appreciate the many thing I have when I return. Although the trip was glorious, I am always happy to return to my own home. My own little niche in the world. Where all my things are, my dishes are, and my bed IS! Oh, how I missed my bed. Is it just me, or can anyone else ever get a TRULY good night’s sleep in someone else’s bed? The sheets alone spook me. Are they really clean? And  like, who put their heads on the pillows for the last year and drooled through the pillowcase. Did they ever get washed? Is it just dried junk among the stuff and fluff? Yikes.

I don’t want to come across all whiney and unappreciative about getting to go away, but going away gets everything off track. One of our larger dogs had to be kenneled, so he was a bit weird about returning to his schedule of 3 times out a day. Our toy Yorkie always seems to have amnesia when she returns to us, looking as though she doesn’t remember the routine in the house. Sidenote: We have to find another place to put her next time. We’ve run out of family and friends to take the loud-mouth. All she does is bark when she’s away from home. Major problem.

I’m spending the day washing clothes and unpacking. Again, not to complain, but it takes two days to get back to normal after a vacation. Then I get to get up and do it all again. We have an overnight orientation with my college boy this week. I’m only half-unpacking—my toiletries are remaining in the bag for the next hotel. This week will fly by after I return. I’ll continue to unpack and catch up at work. In no time, the weekend will be upon me and so will the month of July. Can we just take a breather and bring the hands of the clock to a slow crawl? Just for the rest of summer break?  :)

 

Once a Year

IMG_0649I am in Charleston, SC this week. Well, technically Seabrook, but I get to the city once before going back home. I love the Old Exchange and the downtown area. There is so much history here. Is it sick that I love walking and visiting the old cemeteries? The old iron gates, intricate and so worth the picture taking. I love the doors on houses, the gorgeous flower boxes, and the water with all the masts clinking back and forth. Everything.

Today was a bit hot as we traversed through the shopping area. King Street was busy with tourists, and the horse and carriages were streaming through every five minutes. The drivers belting out the history of the old city and kids hanging out at all the candy shops, sticky and happy. It was a lovely day in the city. One of my favorite days of vacation. IMG_0650

We will spend the rest of the day on the beach relaxing. The winds have been really gusty this trip. The first day we couldn’t open our mouths without gritting sand. It’s died down a bit, but there’s always a breeze to cut the sun’s severe rays. Shamefully two boys got a bit burned. It’s so hard to reapply when they’re so busy splashing and carrying on. I even managed to get a red nip on my shoulder. Murphy’s law is that there will always be that three inch spot that the lotion doesn’t manage to grace!

IMG_0651It’s half-way through the week…time to think about returning home. Why is it that vacation weeks fly by and work weeks crawl?:)

Work in Progress

IMG_0634During my word drought, I still have the need to create. So I chose to work on this wall hanging I began a few months ago. It’s a type of whimsical flag quilt. Of course, after I cut and sewed on all the flags, I got distracted with another project. That’s just like me! Why can’t I see something through to the finish? Without it taking years to complete? I made curtains for my sewing room. Well, one curtain. After I saw what my window looked like, I closed up my thread box and haven’t finished the other three windows in two years. Ahhh…

I’ve recently added the yellow strings and I’m working on including some more color with borders for this quilt. Forgive the wrinkles–it’s been smooshed into the corner of my work station. And it’s muslin. It’s being a bit stubborn.

I enjoyed picking out the different candied flags. I’m not sure where exactly it would look good. Perhaps a candy shop? The quilt I fashioned if from was made with lemon-lime colors and draped across a crib. It was quite cute. But I have no idea what I’ll do with this one!  Should I ever complete it. :)  I think I hear my dusty Etsy shop calling.

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