My books are on Kindle Unlimited and Shores of Mercy releases January 31


My blog is mainly for rambling (hence the title Boondock Ramblings) and not for promoting myself, but I decided to share today that all three books in the Spencer Valley Chronicles are on Kindle Unlimited or are available for purchase on Amazon (in ebook and paperback form).

Also, Shores of Mercy will be on sale on January 31, but you can pre-order it today, HERE for $1.99. Read below for descriptions of each book.

In addition, I am developing some paperback journals to sell and you can find links to them below:


Book Tracker and Book Reviews:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BSJHLR3Z

Sermon Notes:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BNV25Y84



Sketchnotes Sermon Notes:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BPGHZZRF

Reading journal for tracking what you are reading:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BRCXD1NK

Gratitude journal:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BPGMSSJW





A simple journal to list what books you’ve read:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BQNL7TWM



Upcoming will be a quote journal and a praise and prayer journal. I’m really having a lot of fun designing these.


If you have not read my fiction books or know what they are about, here are the descriptions of each of them and a link to them:

A Story to Tell

Can she find a new life of her own, without losing all that she already has?

Blanche Robbins is 17 in 1957 and feels like her life is going nowhere. It’s certainly nothing like the exciting lives of the characters in the books she reads.

When Hank Hakes begins paying attention to her and asks her to run away with him, she sees the offer as a ticket to a new, more exciting life away from her rural upbringing.

The decision sets into motion a life Blanche never expected or wanted.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y2P819W

A New Beginning

Can Blanche open her heart again after it failed her once before?

Five years later Blanche Robbins could still vividly remember the moment she broke Hank Hakes’ nose with her foot after he broke hers’ with his fist. She could still hear the sick crunch of bones under her heel and still clearly see in her mind his glazed eyes before they closed.

Blanche knew if she didn’t remember how Hank had beat her, she might let her walls down, leaving her son and her vulnerable again. She wasn’t about to let that happen.
That’s why she didn’t like the idea that her best friend might be trying to set her up with J.T. Wainwright.
Blanche wasn’t about to let anyone break down the walls she had built around her life and heart, walls to protect her — but more importantly – her son.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088FBM7V3

Where the Wildflowers Grow

Two books in one. The story of a young girl and her tumultuous journey into adulthood. A journey mixed with heartache, hard lessons, but also faith and joy.

A Story to Tell

Blanche Robbins is 17 in 1957 and feels like her life is going nowhere. It’s certainly nothing like the exciting lives of the characters in the books she reads.

When Hank Hakes begins paying attention to her and asks her to run away with him, she sees the offer as a ticket to a new, more exciting life away from her rural upbringing.

The decision sets into motion a life Blanche never expected or wanted.

A New Beginning

Blanche doesn’t know how to let down the walls she built up during the mistakes of her past. As she forges a new life and looks back on heartache, now with her son, she bristles when her best friend, Emmy, suggests Blanche meet Emmy’s cousin J.T. Wainwright.

She isn’t interested in a romantic relationship, not after her last experience. She built walls around her heart for a reason. To protect herself and, more importantly, her son.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09FJ7K9QM

The Farmer’s Daughter

Will the desire to change their lives bring two people together and will the Tanner family be able to save their family farm?

Molly Tanner thought she’d be further in life by now, but, no. At the age of 26, still living on her parent’s dairy farm in rural Pennsylvania, wondering if there is a life for her somewhere other than little Spencer Valley. While wondering, though, her family faces financial struggles, her best friend falls into a deep depression, and her brother’s best friend starts acting weird around her. Weird as in — is attractive Alex Stone flirting with her?

Alex has his own challenges to face, mainly facing past demons that make him feel like he’s not worthy of the love the Tanner family has already shown him, let alone the love of the woman he’s fallen for while working side-by-side with her in the barn each day.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08TVHHL4B

Harvesting Hope

Can she forgive him for what he can’t forget?
The last year has been a whirlwind of trials and triumphs for the Tanner family.

With injuries, near foreclosures, and a family tragedy behind them, Jason Tanner, the oldest of the Tanner children is facing his own struggle after his longtime girlfriend, Ellie Lambert, overhears the secret he’d planned to tell her himself.
Now, in addition to trying to keep his family’s dairy farm sustainable during a hard economic season, Jason is dealing with the heartbreak of Ellie’s decision to end an almost 10-year relationship.

In an effort to bury his feelings, he throws himself into his work on the farm and into volunteering with Spencer Valley’s small volunteer fire company, where tragedy strikes the foundation of his faith during an already vulnerable time.

Ellie has her own challenges to face as she tries to navigate a time of life where her expectations have been turned upside down and shaken out. As she copes with the decision to walk away from her relationship with the man she saw as her best friend, her flighty, less responsible younger sister shows up to further complicate an already complicated situation.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B094M615GK

Beauty From Ashes

Can two women figure out their chaotic, confusing lives together? And how will the men in their lives fit in their journey?

Liz Cranmer feels trapped in a prison of shame. Now a single mother at 27 she feels like the whole town, especially her church-going parents, view her as a trashy woman with no morals. That’s not how she used to think of herself but — could they be right? And if they think that, then what does God think of her?

Ginny Jefferies, 53, has hit a few snags of her own in life. Her husband, Stan, barely acknowledges her, her job as the town’s library director has become mundane and stagnant, and her youngest daughter is having some kind of identity crisis. Pile on the return of a former boyfriend and you have the makings of a potential midlife crisis.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09T2P69XV

Shores of Mercy



There was a time in Ben Oliver’s life when his career was more important than anything — including his girlfriend, Angie, who he walked away from when she told him she was pregnant. Even before that night, he’d been drinking too much, but after that night, the drinking got worse.

That was four years ago. Now he’s sober and opened a law office half an hour from where he grew up. He’s stayed away from Angie and the little girl he never met because he believes their life will be better without him, but when her family moves back to the area and her parents ask him to be involved in his little girl’s life, his past catches up with him.

Judi Lambert has battled her own demons and is now fighting for her sobriety. She wants to kick her party-girl lifestyle to the curb and she’s well on her way. Not far into the journey to get her life back on track, though, she’s forced to relive a traumatic experience with a man she’d once thought was simply her ticket to a good time.

When Judi and Ben’s worlds collide, can they work together to get their lives back on track? And can Judi work to help Ben get Angie and his daughter back again?

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BK5CQDVZ



I also sell stock photography at Alamy and Lightstock. Links to my accounts on those sites, here:

Lightstock () and Alamy .

Sunday Bookends: Children suck all our energy to increase their power, my first full audiobook and time travel thriller.

Welcome to my weekly post where I recap my week by writing about what I’ve been reading, watching, writing, doing, and sometimes what I’ve been listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

I didn’t have a lot of time for reading this past week because I was helping my neighbor watch her great-grandchildren (she had children young as did her children and her grandchildren so she’s not a 100-year old great grandmother. She is a – well, I don’t think it’s polite to tell a lady’s age on my blog). They are two little girls, one a year younger, the other a year older than Little Miss. All three together are a combined force that drains the energy from the souls of adults and sucks them into themselves so they can grow stronger with unbounded energy that 43-year old women only dream of.

They raced up and down the street on bikes and scooters; looked for “creepy things” under our porch and under the porch of the garden shed (they found or resident garter snake there); used a huge box to careen down our stairs in (I watched them for this one and our stairs aren’t super steep so it was fairly safe); tried to convince the neighbor to let them see her little dogs (even though the poor girl had just had her wisdom teeth pulled and didn’t even know where she was); chased our kitten to try to keep her from climbing a tree (again. It also didn’t work. She climbed two trees while they were here, one of them twice in the pouring rain.); jumped on the neighbor’s trampoline; picked black raspberries from the bushes by our garden shed; painted masterpieces and almost ruined their new clothes; inhaled a lot of sugar, and the youngest later skinned her knees all up when she fell off her scooter. A huge part of the above list happened in only the first two hours they were at my house Wednesday.

Injuries seemed to be prevalent in the three days I watched them – or was it four? I honestly started to lose track of days somewhere in there. The oldest was stung by a wasp at her nanas one day. At first only her little sister was coming up to visit but when the oldest found out her sister was coming, she jumped off the couch, swollen and painful hand and all, and came too. I spent half the morning worried she was either going to pass out from the Benadryl or swell up and stop breathing from the reaction she was clearly having. Her nana (as they call her) and I conversed and agreed on a plan of action should any of that happen. Eventually, the swelling went down some, but a day later her hand, up to her elbow, was still pretty puffy.

When they wanted to go look for snakes under our house, the oldest joked she was going to pick one up when they found one. I told her absolutely not. “You’ve already been stung by a wasp. Let’s not add snake bite to that, even if the snakes around here aren’t poisonous.”

Later she hit her head on our heating vent when falling out of the box that went down the stairs (she didn’t hit it super hard) and also had a huge blister on the back of her foot that ripped open at some point before I took her back to her nana.

Their mother works swing shifts at a large Procter and Gamble plant near us, to explain why they are sometimes with their great-grandmother several days in a row.

Friday my neighbor said to me, exhaustion permeating her words, “They’re going home tomorrow morning. Thank God.”

It cracked me up. They are a lot of fun, but yes, absolutely draining with all their unending energy.

One other notable event that happened last week was the baptism of my husband. I won’t dwell too much on it because it is something that my husband wants to keep private for the most part, but I can’t help mentioning it because it was an exciting day for our family.

 What I’m Reading

When I did find time for reading (like a whole hour all week) I read The Cat Who Knew A Cardinal by Lilian Jackson Braun, which is comfort reading for me. It’s a hardback copy I bought from a library sale. At night, when the lights were off, I started a Walt Longmire mystery, book four, Another Man’s Moccasins. 

 I am also reading Journey to ChiYah, a Christian indie book by Kimberly Russell

 For the writing side of things, I am reading The Story Equation by Susan May Warren

I also listened to an audiobook for the first time. Cast The First Stone is the first book in the True Lies of Rembrandt Stone Series by David James Warren. It is a time travel thriller.

I had a horrible time listening to it not because it was bad (not at all), but because I was always being interrupted by a child or pet or there is a TV in the background. It didn’t help that the cheap headphones I bought from the Dollar General broke so I couldn’t drown out everything around me. I hear other people talk about listening to audiobooks in the car, but I don’t go anywhere far enough away to give me time to listen to a book. I don’t work out or take walks alone often enough to listen and when I’m cooking dinner there is usually a dog that wants me to let her out 15 times, a kitten getting herself in trouble or a 6-year-old asking for me to spell something for her (which I’m totally fine with, don’t get me wrong).

Anyhow, I decided to try this one as an audiobook because I have three books to read before I review book four for a blog tour in August. They are short, serial-type books, written to be almost like TV episodes so I should be able to get through them before then, but I thought having an audiobook might help me get through them faster. Now I’m not so sure.

David James Warren, by the way, is three people. David Warren, Susan May Warren, and James L. Rubart. Two of them write Christian fiction, but this series is a time-travel series with almost no spiritual or Christian arc in them at all, so if you are not a fan of Christian Fiction, you will still like this series. It’s listed under thriller and time-travel thriller on Amazon.

Little Miss and I are still reading The Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder at night. The Boy is not reading this summer and the husband is reading Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss.

What I’m Watching

This weekend we watched some old NBC shows, The Equalizer and Kolchak. I also watched a British sitcom called To The Manor Born and I’m also continuing Jonathan Creek, a British mystery/crime show.

 Blog posts I enjoyed this week

 I’m stealing this addition to my Sunday Bookends from Michele at Blessings by Me. I love the idea of featuring some of my favorite blog posts once a week. Here are three I enjoyed this past week.

I loved this post from indie author Scott Austin Tirrell about the difficulty in hiring professional editors. It hit the nail on the head and I did reblog it yesterday.

I also really enjoyed this post by author Becky Wade about God not always telling us the how of life, but only asks us to obey.

This post on Inspy Romance by author Angela Ruth Strong about a motorcycle trip and the idea for a really crazy Christian Fiction book had me cracking up and shaking my head.

What I’m Writing

I am still editing and putting last-minute touches on Harvesting Hope while my mom and husband and others read it and help me proof it.

I’ve also started books three and four of the series. I haven’t decided which story will be book three and which will be book four. A friend would like me to hurry up and tell her what happens with Liz and Ben’s lives, but I am really itching to write the story of my middle-aged librarian, Ginny Jefferies, which I started over a year ago. Do any of my regular Friday and Saturday Fiction readers have a preference? Let me know in the comments.

I shared a blog post last week on Hope, Hearts, and Heroes (an excerpt of Fully Alive that most on my blog have already read) and also shared a Randomly Thinking post on Thursday.

What I’m Listening To

As I mentioned above, I am listening to the first book in the Rembrandt Stone series on Audible. Other than that, I have not had much time to listen to anything else.

So that’s my week in review. What have you been reading, watching, listening to, or doing lately? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: Visiting Old Stomping Grounds, preparing the garden, and very different book genres on my list

 

If I usually comment on your blog and I haven’t lately, please don’t feel slighted. I am having a horrible time keeping up with blog commenting lately. I’ve been having a few busy days with homeschool winding down, attending a writer’s conference, trying to stick to a self-set deadline for Harvesting Hope (the book formerly called The Farmers’ Sons), planning a garden again this year, running various errands, and reading books I told people I would read for them.

I was recently telling a blogging friend how my errands take a little longer than some people’s because if I want to go to a bigger store, like a Walmart or Aldi’s, for groceries, I have to drive 45 minutes to an hour either north or south or west. Friday we drove north because I had planned to pick up my new eyeglasses. Sadly, the optometrist’s office has new hours I wasn’t aware of and is now closed on Fridays. I still had to pick up a Walmart order 20 minutes further so we kept driving, back to the town we moved from last year. Because we were going to the town my son spent most of his childhood in, he asked to take his bike so he could ride around town while I picked up the order and made an Aldi’s run. 

He likes to walk or ride around town and reminisce about the good days of living in the town. I vaguely miss the place, but mainly the idea of what could have been in regards to failed family and business relationships, and friendships are at the forefront of my mind when I return.

It was nice to see the house our family lived in for about 15 years. The new owners have remodeled some and I’m glad to see it. What they’ve done to the front of the house – transforming the odd red paneling on the front of the house to blue — is what I always wanted to do when we lived there.

My children commented several times Friday that the town had been a good town to live in and that they miss the house. Sometimes I do miss the house, but I don’t miss the town much at all, especially now that the place is being infiltrated even more by drug dealers and addicts. My husband said he has been writing up a lot of police briefs for the newspaper he works at related to drug incidents in that area recently.

Last weekend I helped my dad and family rototill and prepare the space for my garden in between sessions of an online writer’s conference I was able to attend via zoom. The two main speakers for the event were James Rubart and Rachel Hauck, well-known Christian fiction writers. I plan to write a blog post about the event later this week. The conference was so much fun I am saving up money for another virtual conference being held in Philadelphia in August.

As for the garden, I hope to pick up the seeds and plants this week, but I can’t plant anything until we install the fencing around it. Otherwise the deer will eat my plants. For now my cat and probably all the neighborhood cats are using my raised garden beds as their litter boxes. Little Miss and I have decided to plant potatoes, summer squash, carrots, beets, cucumbers and maybe green beans. We probably don’t have the space for all that, but we’ll see.

What I’m Reading

I finished The Sowing Season by Katie Powner last week and really enjoyed it. It is the story of an unlikely friendship between a 15-year old girl and a 63-year old retired farmer. The book takes the farmer, Gerrit, through the emotions following him selling the farm he worked on his whole life, as well as various family issues that resulted from his past workaholic nature. The young girl, Rae, is dealing with her own issues stemming from her parents urging her to do well in school so she can become a lawyer like her father. Throw in a teenage crush or two and you have the makings of an engaging story that kept me reading late at night.

I started a new book this week that is similarly engaging. Love Happens at Sweetheart Farm by Dalyn Weller. 

From the back of the book: What if your pursuit of happiness robs someone you love of theirs?

 Lexi is the frazzled owner of Sweetheart Farm and B&B. Ian is a burnt-out fund manager desperate for a way out of his soulless job and an engagement he never wanted with a woman he doesn’t even like.

 And when Ian shows up at the B&B, needing space and quiet to rethink his life, there’s certainly no way this pampered rich city boy could ever be a suitable match for Lexi. But her wise and hilarious grandmother keeps sprinkling that blasted sweetheart herb everywhere and praying for lonely hearts to find love. And God listens.

I’m also still reading Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson (A Longmire Mystery book) and Rooms by James Rubart. The Craig Johnson books are not “clean” and not my usual type of book but I am in love with the characters. Just be warned if you ever pick one up that there is swearing and some other not-so clean subject matter.

Little Miss and I finished On The Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder this week as well.

What I’m Watching

I started watching Jonathan Creek this week. I’ve heard a lot about the show over the years. I’ve only watched the first two episodes, but so far I like it. I’m watching it through AcornTV through Amazon.

Tonight I’ll be watching episode five of The Chosen, which is a crowd-funded TV series about the life of Jesus. They show the episodes on Youtube and they are available for 24 hours and then you have to download the app to watch the rest. The first three episodes are still on Youtube currently. 

I know I’ve mentioned the show here before. If you have seen other shows or movies about Jesus and didn’t like them, then you definitely have to watch this one. It’s nothing like any other show you’ve ever seen about the Bible. Here is a preview for Season Two.

What I’m Listening To

I have been listening to podcasts about fiction books or how to market books. It’s starting to make me feel very inferior in this whole book writing venture, but then I try to remind myself to just have fun, which has been my motto since I started sharing my fiction here on the blog.

I’ve also been listening to Cory Asbury’s live album.

What I’m Writing

Last week I shared two chapters of The Farmer’s Sons (Harvesting Hope), one on Friday and one on Saturday.

On Thursday I shared a Randomly Thinking post.

So there’s my week in review. How about yours? What are you reading, watching, listening to, writing, or doing? Let me know in the comments. 

Sunday Bookends: ‘Is that you spring?’ The ever growing To Be Read pile and Maverick

Welcome to my weekly post where I recap my week by writing about what I’ve been reading, watching, writing, doing, and sometimes what I’ve been listening to.

This post is going up late today (Sunday) because I completely forgot yesterday was Saturday. I don’t know how to explain that really. My family and I went on a small outing Friday and then again yesterday and in between I became obsessed with rewriting A Story To Tell, my first book, to republish it with a new cover on Amazon. I became so obsessed I totally lost track of time. I don’t plan to spend a lot of time “rewriting” it because I have set up an actual deadline to finish The Farmers’ Sons and I want to stick to that.

Our outings this week weren’t super exciting by most standards but at least we left the house. Friday we took Zooma the Wonder Dog to be groomed and while she was being groomed we visited Books-A-Million again, like we did a few weeks ago. They were having an outside used book sale so I snatched up a few Christian fiction authors I’ve been wanting to read. Christian fiction with a little more edge than an Amish romance (good grief, there are way too many of those out there).

I also found Agatha Raisin Mysteries book by M.C. Beaton in the bargain bin. After getting a few pages in, I think I know why it was in the bargain bin. Not only is it not the best written book, but there was at least one, maybe two typos in the first chapter. The typos made me feel a little better about my own typos since the book was published by a well-known New York Publishing House and still had typos!

I will probably still finish the book, but it wasn’t what I expected. More on this book and the other books I found in the next section.

Zooma looked beautiful after her grooming session, but apparently she did not like the heavy duty blow dryer and bit at the air. When I first came in the woman made it sound like she’d bit her, but thankfully she only bit at the air. Zooma is not a fan of hot hair being blown at her, I guess, but I don’t know a lot of dogs (or people) who are.

They put a complimentary bandana on her which I knew I had to get a couple photos of her in as soon as I could because she wouldn’t want to keep it on. I was able to grab a few photographs of her looking regal before, I’m sure, she found some deer poo to roll in. There is so much deer poo in our backyard left over from the winter and she loves to roll all in it. Apparently, there wasn’t enough space in the woods for the deer to do their business so they used our backyard as their toilet.

Yesterday we drove an hour to find a Chick-fil-A in the dining hall of a local campus. That is literally the only Chick-fil-A near us, with the other ones being about three hours south. My son has wanted to go to a Chick-fi-A for years so a couple of months ago my husband took him to one, but yesterday he took the whole family. I can’t eat any of the food there because of my various food issues, but they had a salad place next door, inside the student dining hall, so I grabbed a salad for myself.

Then, because our day just couldn’t get any more exciting, we stopped at Wal-Mart and Aldis for groceries. I know. We are some crazy, crazy partiers. But at least we did it all on the first official day of spring and it acted like the first day of spring, for the most part, with sunny, yet chilly, weather.

What I’m Reading

I am still a bit behind on my reading. Last week I finished Death Without Company by Craig Johnson and continued reading Dark of Night by Indie author Carrie Cotton.

I also continued reading You Belong with Me by Tari Farris, but it’s not really holding my interest as much. It’s a pretty standard romance at this point.

I also continued King of the Wind with Little Miss and we will probably finish that this week. This book has been a little more depressing than the other Marquerite Henry books, but it is still good.

At Books-A-Million I snatched up a couple of Colleen Coble books because I’ve been wanting to read her but her books are pretty expensive in paperback and on Kindle. I also grabbed a Francine Rivers book I haven’t read yet.

I grabbed the first book of a Ted Dekker series that I already had the second book of. Both were bought at two different places, both on clearance.

All the books, except two, were hardcovers.

A run down of the books I grabbed:

  • The 49th Mystic by Ted Dekker (to join Rise of the Mystics)
  • Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble
  • One Little Lie by Colleen Coble
  • And the Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers
  • The Ezekiel Option by Joel Rosenberg
  • The Dead Ringer by M.C. Beaton

I’m not sure when I will get to all of those books, but I’m sure I’ll be passing them on to my mom first because she reads faster than me.

As for The Dead Ringer by M.C. Beaton (as mentioned above), this is the 28th book in the series, written right before she died in her mid-80s, so it is possible that this book wasn’t even written by her. It would probably be a better idea for me to read a couple of the earlier books in the series, when she was in her prime. Right now the book reads more like a how-to narrative. I don’t know how else to explain it. I’m pretty certain I will still read it, though.

On our way to the groomer Friday, the local library called and left a voicemail on my cellphone to let me know the library is open again. I thought it was funny they said they were calling their most loyal patrons and I’ve actually only been to the library twice in a year.

I’m sure I will wander down there soon but for now I have to finish a couple of books I promised two indie authors I would finish.

What I’m Watching

I’m still working my way through the Agatha Raisin movies, and still making fun of them, but still enjoying them.

This week we also watched an episode of the old Maverick show with James Gardner and then, since I had never seen it all the way through (that I can remember), we watched Maverick with Gardner and Mel Gibson. We watched it with our son and had to explain to him that when we were teenagers Mel Gibson was the hottest actor around.

We did fill him in on Mel’s fall from grace as well and I pointed out it happened after Passion of the Christ, which he himself had predicted it would. Mel told Jim Cavaziel when they started filming Passion of the Christ that forces would come against them and he was right.

What I’m Listening To

I’m still listening to Needtobreathe and since Zach Williams dropped a new single, I’ve been listening to him as well.

What I’m Writing

Last week I rambled about my insomnia battle, which I thought I’d let you know cleared up after I stopped taking the magnesium glycinate at night. I have no idea why I can’t take magnesium glycinate at night, but I can’t. It did, however, make me feel very good the next day, even when I didn’t have a lot of sleep. I tried taking it during the day this week but found, ironically, it made me sleepy during the day. Or, I could have simply been tired during the day because I was actually getting sleep and my body was completely confused.

I also shared some random thoughts, as one does here on my blog.

On Friday, I shared a short section of Lily, a novella or novel (haven’t decided which yet) that I will be working on sometime in the future.

I hope to share more from The Farmers’ Sons this Friday.

So that’s my week in review, how about yours? What have you been reading, watching, listening to or doing? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: Melting snow, I am a super slow reader, and starting over with The Farmers’ Sons

Welcome to my weekly post where I recap my week by writing about what I’ve been reading, watching, writing, doing, and sometimes what I’ve been listening to.


What’s Been Occurring

The snow has finally melted after two-and-a-half months of it covering the ground. There are still traces of it here and there, mixed among the squishy, yellow and ugly grass, but we expect it will be gone by next week. With the snow gone we could see the damage left by the heavy snow and the damage by the deer eating the bushes down to stubs because they couldn’t find enough to eat during this winter.

We took advantage of the warmer weather by exploring outside one day at my parents’ while The Boy helped my dad load some wood from a tree that fell during high winds last month. We plan to use the wood for our woodstove on the chilly days we know will still come because Pennsylvania always brings warm days mixed with cold well into April. While they loaded wood, my daughter, who doesn’t always like messes, squished her hand in mud and jumped up and down in the water in the ditch by the road.

Zooma the Wonder Dog chased sticks and tried to jump for the ones The Boy was breaking up sticks for the kindling pile.

Our neighbor even journeyed out with their new little Shitsu puppy. It was like people had been sleeping all winter and woke up this week. Of course, we’d seen our neighbors in the winter too – outside, shoveling and shoveling and shoveling and shoveling.

The warmer weather has been nicer for me this week because with it has come sun and I’ve needed that to counteract the effects of hormonal insomnia that has settled on me.

What I’m Reading

I am reading the same books I’ve been reading for the last couple of weeks because I am a super slow reader. I pushed aside the more political non-fiction simply because I need a break from political everything and anything, not because I don’t enjoy the writers.

For fiction I am reading a supernatural suspense book called Dark of Night by independent author Carrie Cotton, which will be released March 25.

It’s a very good and edge-on-your seat novel. I will post more information on it when I finish it later this week, but for now, here is the description:

A new life, a new love, and even a new name. For former secret agent Andromeda Stone – now Joanna Carter – a normal, boring life with her handsome husband was the happy ending. But an old enemy resurfaces, determined to leave nothing unfinished, and Andy must step back into the nightmares once again. Andy and Will each face their own worst fears in their search for answers. Will this new mission cost Andy more than she’s willing to pay?
When the journey takes her to deeper and darker places than she’s ever been before, Andy discovers it’s more than just answers she’s looking for.

I also hope to finish up the second book in the Longmire series, Death Without Company by Craig Johnson this week.

For a lighter romance, I am reading Tari Farris’ You Belong To Me on days when I can’t handle anything too stressful or heavy (which is actually almost any day lately).

Little Miss and I finished Sea Star this week and are back to reading King of the Wind also by Marguerite Henry. This is one of the first full books, if not the first that I read by myself. I still remember picking it out at the library. It was the photo of the stallion on the front that caught my eye because I loved horses and always wanted one even though my dad always told the story of how his horse bit him when he was a kid and how much work horses are.

The book was hardcover, large, like 8 inch by 11 inch, but thin so it did perfectly under my arm when I carried it home from the school library. I loved that book but now that I’m reading it again with Little Miss, I am surprised that some of it didn’t scare me back then. The talk about sultans cutting off heads and killing people in villages to test muskets was graphic and I skipped over it for Little Miss. I was probably in sixth grade when I read it and she’s only six so she can wait a few more years and read it on her own.

What I’m Watching

I’m continuing on with Agatha Raisin. I’m on to the second season which is actually three 90-minute movies. The first season was eight 44 minute episodes. I believe the third season is also three 90-minute movies.

My husband and I finished the mini-series version of And Then There Were None, based on the novel by Agatha Christie. The BBC produced it and it left me feeling very creeped out, even more so than the book did. I wouldn’t say I recommend it, unless you enjoy horror films and psychological thrillers. The actors were excellent, which is probably why it creeped me out so much. I did not like how they changed some parts of the book, especially the ending (although the change wasn’t that drastic since the outcome was still the same). The movie was a lot more graphic than the book and added some extra details to make it more visually exciting, I guess you would say.

I needed some lighter fare after all the murder movies and shows we watched this week, so we watched a couple of episodes of Lovejoy (a British show about an antique dealer who seems to always get himself in trouble or ends up tricking some bad guys out of money) and I also watched a show about farmers on Acorn TV. In other words, we watched a lot of British television again this week.

I also enjoyed this clip from comedian Tim Hawkins and I think many of my readers will too (you just all seem like those type of cool people, you know?)

What I’m Listening To

I had Needtobreathe’s latest album on loop this week and love it. I find it inspiring for when I want to write a little more “artsy”.

My husband has been listening to Cory Asbury’s live album, and I am going to download that because I really enjoyed what I heard on the live feed I found on YouTube.

Last night my son and his friend and I listened to some classic Johnny Cash. It was weird to hear a 14 and 15-year old singing Cash, but always cool. Some

What I’m Writing

I completely dismantled the original chapters of The Farmers’ Sons this week after a bout of depression about my writing and insomnia Sunday night into morning. One good thing about the insomnia is that I get a few hours, then wake up, so during that wakeful period I brainstorm for the book or future books and sometimes I even get up and write it down. It’s nice to have that quiet time with no interruptions to write.

I knew I could make my fiction writing better, so I started trying to do so this week, focusing more on how I used to write when I was a youngin’, though hopefully less dramatic than I was then. I like what I came up with better than what I shared before. I shared the first chapter, rewritten, on Friday.

I’ll be working on more chapters this week, and I am also working on a piece of flash fiction for the summer issue of Spark Flash Fiction magazine. I wrote some flash fiction in the past and enjoyed it. Those pieces could only be 300 words and this one can be up to 1,000.

I also shared an update on how homeschooling went for us in February and what we are doing now for the kids’ lessons.

Welp, that’s my week in review. How about yours? What have you been doing, reading, watching, listening to, or writing? Let me know in the comments.  

Sunday Bookends: Her last Name Is Really Raisin? And Let’s See How Reading Non-Fiction Goes

Welcome to my weekly post where I recap my week by writing about what I’ve been reading, watching, writing, doing, and sometimes what I’ve been listening to.

What I’m Reading

Non-fiction has been the theme this week, to a point. I can only take small doses of non-fiction anymore and if I get too much by my two to three minutes of news viewing a day, then I don’t open the non-fiction books I have on my Kindle or in my hands. Speaking of Kindle, I’ll be buying a lot more of my non-fiction books as hardcopies in case Amazon decides they want to delete my books from my Kindle or cloud. A monopoly book company isn’t going to tell me what I can and can not read, thank you very much.

So, anyhow, in non-fiction, I started Jordan Peterson’s new book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life this week. It was released Tuesday.

I wouldn’t call myself a Peterson follower, but his intellect and ideas intrigue me. He’s not a Christian writer, though he references the Bible often, so I wouldn’t base my life strictly on all that he says. Still, he has some good points.

This book presents some challenges for the intellectual giant who faced some serious health issues with his wife and himself in 2019 and almost all of 2020. During a time when his daughter needed surgery outside of his country of Canada and his wife faced cancer, Peterson was already starting to suffer from the effects of an autoimmune issue he developed in 2017 from food and benzodiazepine his doctor prescribed to help with anxiety from the autoimmune condition. He’d also continued the benzodiazepine to help with the stress he was under from becoming a public figure when he stood up against a Canadian law aiming to force people to call people by the pronoun they said they wanted to be called by. Peterson felt personal freedoms were being stripped from people by laws being passed to say they had to refer to people by whatever pronoun they wanted. Students and others tried to get him fired and bam — his notoriety was off and running.

The side effects of the drugs, coupled with the rest of the stress Peterson was under caused his body, essentially, to fall apart and also threatened a mind that even his critics have called brilliant. Only in the last few months has Peterson been able to get back to writing, speaking, and presenting his ideas (which are not all political and not as extreme as some of his critics would like you to believe), mainly through finishing this book (the sequel to 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos) and starting a podcast. He has been unable to return to teaching or to treating patients. He was a clinical psychologist before all his health issues hit and while being a professor at the University of Toronto.

The second non-fiction book I am reading is by Ben Shapiro, a conservative commentator who I sometimes enjoy and who sometimes grates on me, depending on what topic he is rambling about.

Ben’s book, How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps, was written last year and focuses on the idea that the ability to hold civil disagreements, especially when it comes to politics, is disintegrating and that many want that disintegration to happen so that we never have actual discussions about what we disagree with, we simply pick sides, stand on our sides, and scream at each other. While we are screaming at each other we also try to “cancel” each other and tell anyone who doesn’t follow politics what they can and can not read, see, listen to, watch, or talk about. In other words, the world is out of control and Ben doesn’t like that and believes the rest of us shouldn’t either.

The book’s main point is that many of us have preconceived notions about each other based on politics and that’s not a good thing.

I’ll be reading more of the book this week to see what all Ben has to say.

I also hope to start a book by Steven Furtick that I’ve had in my Kindle for a while and didn’t realize it: Seven Mile Miracle.

I will, however, need to break up my non-fiction reading with some fiction so I am continuing Death Without Company by Craig Johnson and also started a light romance by Tari Farris called You Belong With Me.

Little Miss and I finished Stormy: Misty’s Foal this past week and started Sea Star by the same author (Marguerite Henry).

I also finished Lord of the Flies, which I was reading with The Boy for his English. He will probably finish it next week. His progress is broken up by me asking him to do various questions and chapter quizzes in the middle of his reading assignments.

I rambled about my feelings about the book and how different it was for me to read it as an adult than a 10th grader, last week on the blog.

 What I’m Watching

I was unnecessarily excited when I saw The Mallorca Files Season 2 pop up on Britbox last week. The excitement I felt either shows how sad my life is or how necessary it is for me to have something to drown out my depression. Actually, it demonstrates both. Either way, it turns out my husband must also have a sad life and the need to drown out depression because he was also excited and we watched two episodes of the six-episode series in one night. They usually offer more episodes, but filming was cut short because of You Know What.

I also continued to watch Agatha Raisin, a series about a woman in public relations who becomes an amateur detective in the small town she lives in. There was a movie before the series, which I discovered this week and now helps me understand why the first episode of the series simply seemed to start in the middle and not explain what other cases Agatha had helped the town and their bumbling police department with.

The show is okay but mainly features an annoying, pushy woman with no filter, wearing an annoying hair cut that resembles what some historians say Cleopatra wore, nosing around town, pushing her way into people’s business, and accusing everyone in the town of murder until she accidentally stumbles on the actual criminal.

My son and I joked that when new people move into town and Agatha accuses them of murder the rest of the people in town laugh. Then they assure the newcomer, “Oh, that’s Agatha. Don’t worry. You’re not a part of the town until she accuses you of murder.”

Despite our making fun of the show, I will most likely continue to watch it to give my brain a break from actually having to think too much. I finally paid attention to the beginning credits of the show and saw right before I published this that the show is based on a series of books with the same character, and in some instances by the same name of the episodes, by M.C. Beaton. I glanced at the beginning of one on Amazon and plan to buy one in the future.

On Sunday of last week, I took a DVD of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, a movie from 1948 with Cary Grant and Myrna Lloyd. Even The Boy laughed at it. It is a very funny movie for anyone who is looking for a laugh these days. It ages well because what Mr. and Mrs. Blandings go through to build a new house is spot on with what still happens today. The social commentary from the oldest daughter about the world is also hilarious because, again, it sounds so much like conversations many of us are having today.

I was surprised by the daughters talking back to their parents and jokingly asked my parents, who would have been 4 when this movie came out if they ever talked to their parents that way. I knew, the answer already, of course, but my mom’s wide eyes and head tilt, as if to say, “Are you serious right now?” was totally hilarious. Less hilarious was the fact my grandfather was abusive, which I was reminded of when my mom said, “Am I alive right now?” That obviously meant that if she had ever spoken to her father the way those children did, he would have whipped her into Sunday.

My dad never answered, but I am pretty sure his father would have smacked him pretty good if he had spoken back to him, based on the stories I heard about him. He was not, however, abusive like my other grandfather. A quick clarification: my maternal grandfather was abusive, but he later knew admitted he was wrong and did offer an apology to my grandmother, mother, and aunts before he passed from cancer in the late 1980s.

What I’m Listening To

This week I have been listening to a lot of Christian worship or Christian contemporary, including Cory Asbury and Danny Gokey. I also listened to some Brandon Lake, Needtobreathe and threw in some The Dead South just be eclectic and weird.

What’s Been Occurring

I love the weekly post idea that Erin at Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs, stole from Bella at Over the Tea Cups.

 Erin writes about her week as if we are all sitting around having a cup of tea (I’ll take herbal, please, Erin. I have a caffeine allergy, sadly. Don’t be afraid to slide a cookie over to me too.). 

I may adopt this idea as well and post it on Saturdays, but for now, I’ll keep my ramblings about my week to one post. I mean, how many posts about my boring life do you need to read a week? Well, a couple I suppose since I only write about my boring life on my blog. Ha!

Anyhow, on the subject of boring, our week was boring. We did school work, I went to the store once, we picked up some Subway, and I messed around with figuring out book promotion and reading up on improving my writing skills for fiction (and everything else). I publish my books for fun but if it brought in a little money on the side to support our family, that would be helpful. My husband says I will get better with each book I write. I hope he is correct on that front.

What I’ve Been Writing

Writing about book promotion is a good way to move into what I have been writing lately. I’ve already mentioned a couple of times on the blog that I published The Farmer’s Daughter last week. I don’t like to keep mentioning it because this blog isn’t about advertising or marketing. I do know some of you followed it, however, so I will mention that the final version of it is on sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Apple iBooks, Scribd, and Kobo.

If you have read the book and liked it, please feel free to leave a review on whatever source you read it from. Reviews help indie authors immensely.

I have been posting excerpts of The Farmers’ Sons on Fridays and this week I posted on Friday and another excerpt on Saturday.

Earlier in the week I:

 reviewed Sweeter by Jere Steele;

wrote about how God can fill in the gaps between our creativity and how it can benefit others;

wrote a parallel between how our world has gone mad and Lord of the Flies

So that is my week in review. How about you? Reading any good books? Watching anything good? Do anything exciting? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: The Moonstone, Finally reading A Classic, Bookstore Bliss, and Warmer Temperatures Come Upon Us

Welcome to my weekly post where I recap my week by writing about what I’ve been reading, watching, writing, doing and sometimes what I’ve been listening to.

What’s been occurring

The weather has finally started to warm up and has helped to take the foot and a half of snow we had left on the ground to about 8 inches. I can see the corners of my garden boxes now and there is grass peeking out of the snow on a hill on the other side of town. We’re hopeful to see the grass in our yard for the first time in two months.

Our cats seem to have some sort of cabin fever. They’re so bored with looking at the snow they now come into the bathroom when I’m taking a bath and just stare at me, which is creepy. Pixel is getting used to Scout, the kitten we brought home in August. She still doesn’t love her, but she tolerates her and Pixel is either enjoying chasing Scout or is hoping to kill her. I’m not sure which.

My animals have teamed up now too. Pixel and Zooma did it before, but now Scout gets in on the action when she can. Pixel is very adept at opening doors and if Zooma wants to get in a room, Pixel finds a way to open the door for her. My daughter has a door that slides open and closed and in the morning, when I get up for my third trip to the bathroom, either I or my husband close it to keep the animals from waking Little Miss up too early. Pixel knows how to open the door so she slides her paw under it, moves the door and Zooma runs in and jumps on the bed for cuddles. Scout seems to be learning how to do the same thing from Pixel because my husband found her in my daughter’s room one morning after he’d already closed the door.

On Friday we took a family trip to a book store. Yes, we are that boring. We live in a rural area and there aren’t a lot of malls or bookstores around us so we took a 45-minute trip to eat at a Cracker Barrel and walk around a Books-A-Million at a small mall down the road from the restaurant. I had been wanting to go to this store since my husband visited it and sent me photos. So many books in one place! I haven’t been to a bookstore in years but my husband and I used to go to Barnes and Noble near our old home (near in this area means a 30 minute drive), walk around, look at books and sip coffee (coffee for him, milk and sugar with a splash of coffee for me) so this brought back memories.

When we walked in to this store I seriously almost cried to see so many books. I kept going, “Oh. Oh. Oh it’s amazing.” I don’t know if I am sheltered or what but the idea of so many worlds under so many roofs was exhiliarating to me, especially since I have gotten back into reading again in the last couple of years. The Boy was embarrassed by my exuberance and wandered into the fantasy section so no one would know we were together.

I couldn’t find a section for Christian fiction and thought they might have slid them into the regular fiction section, or removed them all together, but a half an hour into our exploration of the store (it was fairly large), I found an entire corner dedicated to “religion”, which was mainly Christian-based books.

There were four or five sets of shelves of journals, Bibles, devotionals, Christian living books and an entire wall of Christian fiction. Sadly, since I found the section so late, I didn’t have as long to peruse the books as I would have liked. Print books are so expensive anymore ( trust me, I know why — when I price mine on sites, you have to set them high or you will make next to nothing as the author from their sale), but I did find a used copy by a new-to-me author, Nancy Mehl.

I also grabbed a couple of bargain classic books. I originally had a larger pile, but we have bills so I put two back. I grabbed Emma by Jane Austen and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and I was going to buy Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but for financial reasons (like I was trying to spend too much on the week before we pay our mortgage) I put that one back, hoping I’ll still be able to buy them after all the ranting and raving some in our country are doing about what is racist and what isn’t. I want to make sure I have these books in print in case some try to ban them and in case Amazon decides to remove them from my Kindle, which I learned this week they are doing with books they have deemed “unacceptable.”

What I’m Reading

It seemed like a good transition to move from the bookstore visit to what I’ve been reading. This week I finished Sweeter, a book by an indie author, Jere Steele. It was a nice, easy-going and light read. I’ll have a review for it on the blog later this week.

I enjoyed Sweeter but decided to switch to Death Without Company: A Walt Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson for a little more grit and suspense. I shouldn’t read Longmire books before bed, though, because then I have very intense dreams about being chased or trying to solve a murder in Wyoming.

I will probably start Emma this week as well to keep me to my plan to read more classics this year.

Little Miss and I are still reading Stormy: Misty’s Foal by Marguerite Henry. This book is a little tougher than some since it deals with the aftermath of a winter storm that wiped out more than half the pony population of Assateague Island. I’ve been skipping the many references to “airlifting dead ponies off the island” and instead reading “lifting debris off the island.” I don’t think the 6-year old needs to go to sleep picturing dead ponies being dragged onto the backs of trucks.

The Boy and I took a break from reading The Lord of the Flies this week, but will pick it back up on Monday.

What I’m Watching

We’ve been watching The Muppets and Friday we watched episodes with John Cleese, Peter Sellers, and Steve Martin. I loved all three but enjoyed Sellers the most. He was such a versatile talent.

We also went back to Doc Martin this week. We started season 4 and I don’t know if I will enjoy these later seasons as much as the first. I’m finding Louisa annoying and sort of want to throttle her and hug her all at the same time. Continuing on the British show theme, I started Agatha Raisin this week on Acorn TV and enjoyed the first episode. I will not, however, watch this series with my kids. It is not graphic so far but there are some adult themes featured that I’d rather not discuss with them.

What I’m Writing
Last week I shared some random thoughts, but not much else. I shared some photos from February as well. I have a few posts lined up for this upcoming week, however. I am also working on a couple of fiction stories, The Farmers’ Sons (notice the name change there. I had meant to change that before. It’s a book about at least three farmers’ sons, maybe a couple of more), and Lily. I may share the prologue of Lily sometime in March, but I’m not sure I’m ready to share this one yet. It’s going to be a tough one for me, dealing with some tough topics, but I still hope to have some joy in it.

As I mentioned Friay, The Farmer’s Daughter, is available now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple iBooks, Scribd, and Smashwords.

For blog readers, I am offering the first two chapters free HERE.

I shared photos of our week yesterday in the February recap post, but here are few from the past week.

The hills are bare but still pretty impressive from this overlook. Our area isn’t called the “Endless Mountains” for no reason.
My dad decided to take us up to the overlook on this road, covered completely in snow. The higher we got the more snow was on the road and I was starting to get nervous, but Dad has a 4-wheel drive truck so he seems to think he can go wherever he wants. Luckily we made it down the road safely.

So that is my week in review, how was yours? Let me know in the comments!



Sunday Bookends: Changing leaves, Hadley Beckett is not a boy, and Matthew Macfayden is no Colin Firth

Sunday Bookends is my week in review, so to speak. It’s where I share what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been listening to, and what I’ve been writing. Feel free to share a link or comment about your week in the comments.

What I’m Reading

How awkward it was when I ordered a book for my birthday and thought that the main character was a man because I was too clueless to know that the name Hadley is a girl’s name. Ha! But truthfully, I didn’t care what sex of the main character was because so far I have enjoyed both of Bethany W. Turner’s other books and knew I would enjoy this one too. I enjoyed Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish as much as Wooing Caddie McCaffery and more than The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenback (though that was a fun one too).

This book followed the same “formula” so to speak as Wooing Caddie McCaffery, with one chapter written in the first person and focusing on Hadley Beckett, the sweet Southern belle chef, and cooking show host, and the next being written in the third person and focusing on the unlikely love interest of chef world cad Max Cavenaugh. I am not usually a fan of books that switch point of view once you get into it but Bethany does it in such a creative way I don’t mind it with her books. It’s her style and it works for her. I probably wouldn’t try it with another author.

For those who might be interested in the book, here is the Goodreads description:

Celebrity chef Maxwell Cavanaugh is known for many things: his multiple Michelin stars, his top-rated Culinary Channel show To the Max, and most of all his horrible temper. Hadley Beckett, host of the Culinary Channel’s other top-rated show, At Home with Hadley, is beloved for her Southern charm and for making her viewers feel like family.

When Max experiences a very public temper tantrum, he’s sent packing to get his life in order. When he returns, his career in shambles, his only chance to get back on TV and in the public’s good graces is to work alongside Hadley.

As these polar-opposite celeb chefs begin to peel away the layers of public persona and reputation, they will not only discover the key ingredients for getting along but also learn the secret recipe for unexpected forgiveness . . . and maybe even love. In the meantime, hide the knives.

Fan-favorite Bethany Turner serves up a heaping helping of humor and romance with this thoroughly modern story centered on cooking, enemies, and second chances. 

Next week I’ll offer my own review of the book in a separate post.

I’ve been trying to find another book to enjoy reading as much as I did Hadley’s story. So far I’m trying different books, looking for the happier reads, and rejecting anything that starts out with tragedy or death. Or if not rejecting, taking my time to read them so I have only small slices of depressing subjects to read. Two books that so far deal with some sad topics but that I’m still trying are Down Where My Love Lives by Charles Martin, which is two novels in one (The Dead Don’t Dance and Maggie.) and Just Like Home by Courtney Walsh. Walsh writes mainly romances so I’m gathering this one is a romance.

For some reason, I am also still pushing through The Cat Who Said Cheese by Lillian Jackson Braun, even though it is terribly boring and isn’t featuring Qwilleran’s cats Koko and Yum-Yum enough.

What I’m Watching

I watched the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice with a group of sweet romance authors and readers Friday night. We were commenting back and forth about the characters, plot, but mainly the actors or how the movie was directed and that’s when Facebook started blocking us from commenting. Facebook is like a lot of people in this day and age — they ruin everything and take the fun out of life.

Luckily we were all still able to post status updates within the discussion and converse back and forth. Bethany Turner, the author I mentioned earlier in this post, was on with us and hilariously argued that the 2005 version was not as good at the 1995 BBC mini-series, which starred Colin Firth.

I had to agree with Bethany Turner, who is a massive Colin Firth fan, that Matthew Macfayden is no Colin Firth and that I much preferred Colin’s Darcy. All this to say that I’m not necessarily a huge fan of Jane Austen or her movies, but it was fun watching it with a group of women so we could all make fun of the movie, or swoon in some parts, at the same time.

As per our usual pattern of being behind the trend, we finally saw Hamilton on Disney Plus this week as well. We enjoyed it and it is brilliant, but I didn’t like the last half-hour as much as the first two hours. Yes, it was 2 hours and 40 minutes. This was my favorite song, but sadly, I can never listen to it again because it was stuck on a loop in my head all week after watching it. (Sorry ahead of time for the cheesy graphics on this one. It was the only clip of the song I could find.)

What’s Been Occurring

Nothing much has been happening this week. It’s been pretty routine. Homeschool, errands, cooking meals, working on my novella and novel. Blah, blah, blah.

Little Miss has a new friend who she’s been seeing a few times a week. The little girl’s great-grandmother, who lives at the end of our short street, watches her during the week and sometimes on the weekends. I’m glad to have a little friend for my daughter because she hasn’t had any real friends her age for most of her life. I had actually prayed the week before that God would send her some children her age for her to play with. I’m regretting that prayer a little bit because it means walking her back and forth between my house and my neighbors a few times a day, but I’m still glad to see her learning how to play well with others.

It has been nice to watch our trees change from green to brilliant orange, red, and yellow almost overnight. The trees in our backyard were a dull orange at the beginning of the week and by Saturday morning they were on fire with colors.

Sunday Bookends is my week in review, so to speak. It’s where I share what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been listening to, and what I’ve been writing. Feel free to share a link or comment about your week in the comments.

What I’m Reading

How awkward it was when I ordered a book for my birthday and thought that the main character was a man because I was too clueless to know that the name Hadley is a girl’s name. Ha! But truthfully, I didn’t care what sex of the main character was because so far I have enjoyed both of Bethany W. Turner’s other books and knew I would enjoy this one too. I enjoyed Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish as much as Wooing Caddie McCaffery and more than The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenback (though that was a fun one too).

This book followed the same “formula” so to speak as Wooing Caddie McCaffery, with one chapter written in the first person and focusing on Hadley Beckett, the sweet Southern belle chef, and cooking show host, and the next being written in the third person and focusing on the unlikely love interest of chef world cad Max Cavenaugh. I am not usually a fan of books that switch point of view once you get into it but Bethany does it in such a creative way I don’t mind it with her books. It’s her style and it works for her. I probably wouldn’t try it with another author.

For those who might be interested in the book, here is the Goodreads description:

Celebrity chef Maxwell Cavanaugh is known for many things: his multiple Michelin stars, his top-rated Culinary Channel show To the Max, and most of all his horrible temper. Hadley Beckett, host of the Culinary Channel’s other top-rated show, At Home with Hadley, is beloved for her Southern charm and for making her viewers feel like family.

When Max experiences a very public temper tantrum, he’s sent packing to get his life in order. When he returns, his career in shambles, his only chance to get back on TV and in the public’s good graces is to work alongside Hadley.

As these polar-opposite celeb chefs begin to peel away the layers of public persona and reputation, they will not only discover the key ingredients for getting along but also learn the secret recipe for unexpected forgiveness . . . and maybe even love. In the meantime, hide the knives.

Fan-favorite Bethany Turner serves up a heaping helping of humor and romance with this thoroughly modern story centered on cooking, enemies, and second chances. 

Next week I’ll offer my own review of the book in a separate post.

I’ve been trying to find another book to enjoy reading as much as I did Hadley’s story. So far I’m trying different books, looking for the happier reads, and rejecting anything that starts out with tragedy or death. Or if not rejecting, taking my time to read them so I have only small slices of depressing subjects to read. Two books that so far deal with some sad topics but that I’m still trying are Down Where My Love Lives by Charles Martin, which is two novels in one (The Dead Don’t Dance and Maggie.) and Just Like Home by Courtney Walsh. Walsh writes mainly romances so I’m gathering this one is a romance.

For some reason, I am also still pushing through The Cat Who Said Cheese by Lillian Jackson Braun, even though it is terribly boring and isn’t featuring Qwilleran’s cats Koko and Yum-Yum enough.

What I’m Watching

I watched the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice with a group of sweet romance authors and readers Friday night. We were commenting back and forth about the characters, plot, but mainly the actors or how the movie was directed and that’s when Facebook started blocking us from commenting. Facebook is like a lot of people in this day and age — they ruin everything and take the fun out of life.

Luckily we were all still able to post status updates within the discussion and converse back and forth. Bethany Turner, the author I mentioned earlier in this post, was on with us and hilariously argued that the 2005 version was not as good at the 1995 BBC mini-series, which starred Colin Firth.

I had to agree with Bethany Turner, who is a massive Colin Firth fan, that Matthew Macfayden is no Colin Firth and that I much preferred Colin’s Darcy. All this to say that I’m not necessarily a huge fan of Jane Austen or her movies, but it was fun watching it with a group of women so we could all make fun of the movie, or swoon in some parts, at the same time.

As per our usual pattern of being behind the trend, we finally saw Hamilton on Disney Plus this week as well. We enjoyed it and it is brilliant, but I didn’t like the last half-hour as much as the first two hours. Yes, it was 2 hours and 40 minutes.

What’s Been Occurring

Nothing much has been happening this week. It’s been pretty routine. Homeschool, errands, cooking meals, working on my novella and novel. Blah, blah, blah.

Little Miss has a new friend who she’s been seeing a few times a week. The little girl’s great-grandmother, who lives at the end of our short street, watches her during the week and sometimes on the weekends. I’m glad to have a little friend for my daughter because she hasn’t had any real friends her age for most of her life. I had actually prayed the week before that God would send her some children her age for her to play with. I’m regretting that prayer a little bit because it means walking her back and forth between my house and my neighbors a few times a day, but I’m still glad to see her learning how to play well with others.

It has been nice to watch our trees change from green to brilliant orange, red, and yellow almost overnight. The trees in our backyard were a dull orange at the beginning of the week and by Saturday morning they were on fire with colors.

What I’ve Been Writing

I finished Quarantined here on the blog last week and shared a hodge podge of chapters from The Farmer’s Daughter. I’m now in the middle of rewrites and editing of Quarantined with a hopeful publication date of Oct. 10 on Kindle. My husband is both content and line editing it for me and I hope he can do the same after I rewrite and edit The Farmer’s Daughter this winter.

Photos of the Week

Sunday Bookends: Apple orchards, birthdays, and light reading

Sunday Bookends is my week in review, so to speak. It’s where I share what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been listening to, and what I’ve been writing. Feel free to share a link or comment about your week in the comments.

What’s Been Occurring

We celebrated my birthday Saturday (yesterday) by traveling to Watkins Glen, N.Y and Lake Seneca, one of the seven Finger Lakes that run throughout New York, picking up some lunch and eating at a park next to the lake. We followed that with a trip to an apple orchard outside of town.

While at the park we were swarmed by some bullying seagulls who later stole our last two garlic knots while my son’s back was turned. He said one distracted him by tipping the container upside down while two others swooped down and stole the pieces of warm knotted bread drenched in garlic butter. I was in the car with Little Miss who had decided the 58 degree temperature, combined with the breeze blowing off the lake, was too cold for her and that she wanted to eat her lunch in the car.

After leaving the park, we walked along the marina, to the gazebo at the end of the dock (where I once met William Shatner, which I mention every time I say I visited Watkins Glen. Long story. I’ve probably already written about it here, somewhere anyhow.) before heading to the apple orchard. Both places were pretty packed with people, the orchard especially. We were able to pick from a couple of rows of apples only as the other rows weren’t ready. We, as a group of short people, had fun trying to pick the larger apples, which were all up high.

Besides being with my family all day, the highlight of the day was hearing from my youngest niece, who we haven’t heard from in about a year. Receiving a call from her out of the blue meant more than I can say but hearing her say she loved and missed me pretty much broke me into a blubbering mess. I cried. It was an awesome birthday gift because I’d been wanting to reach out to her and her sisters but the family situation there is sometimes hard to read so I’m never sure I should. Reading teenagers is hard enough but figuring it out when it comes to our odd little family who fails to communicate well makes it even harder.

Having my daughter hold my hand and tell her dad and brother, “I’m just going to stay back here with the birthday girl” was another weepy moment for me.

The next birthday is Little Miss’s in two weeks and she’s already making plans, or already telling me to do, in other words. She talks about it every day. I hate to think this way, but in the past we’ve tried to invite all the people she wanted and half the time they didn’t show so I dread inviting people and having her disappointed. I have a feeling that as long as family is there, she will be happy.

What I’m reading

I bought myself a paperback book last week for my birthday and when I flipped the pages and sniffed it, the smell of ink and paper immediately transported me to my bedroom at about the age of 11, long after I was supposed to be asleep, holding a flashlight, reading Little House on the Prairie. I mean immediately. I sniffed it and said “Little House on the Prairie.”

The memory was that clear.

The book I bought, Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish by Bethany Turner, has been a wonderful distraction from life lately, pulling me completely out of my own world and into Chef Hadley Beckett and Chef Max Cavanaught’s world.

Bethany has such an entertaining style to her storytelling. Her stories are full of humor, cultural references, and fun imagery and yet still remain clean.

One of my favorite descriptions of hers in this book so far is how Hadley describes how Max’s shirt fits him: The T-shirt sleeves strained just slightly to their resting point mid-way down his bicep, and with his arms crossed over his chest, as they were now, you could almost hear an audible sigh from the front of the shirt, as it was allowed a moment to relax from the tightness that Max’s well-toned chest and shoulders usually created.”

I finished Bethany’s book The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenback last week and also enjoyed that, even though it felt to me like she tried to shove too much into the final chapters. It was her first book, though, so that’s understandable. I know I haven’t got a clue about writing a book and try to shove too much into them when I do. Or I don’t explain enough in them. It’s a learning process.

I’m also reading The Cat Who liked Cheese by Lillian Jackson Braun but I’m not sure I’ll make it because it is terribly boring so far and I’m half way through.

What I’m Watching

I’ve been watching a lot of British comedies this week: Two’s Company (an old one from the 70s or 80s) about an American woman living in London who hires a British butler; Black Books about an Irish bookstore owner who is totally nuts and his two friend (who are also a bit nuts); and You, Me, & Them about a younger woman (33) in a relationship with an older man (59) and their crazy families.

You, Me, & Them deals with a lot of adult subjects but is still cleaner than some shows. However, I find it really odd that the parents of the teenage girl assume she’s having sex and drinking and just accept it and let the girl run all over them. I know it’s supposed to be a comedy and a little illogical, so I try to let it go, though. I wouldn’t let it go in my real life though.

What I’m Writing

I shared the second to last chapter of Quarantined on Thursday and another chapter of The Farmer’s Daughter on Friday.

What I’m Listening To

I have been listening and watching to a devotional with Chip Ingram on Living on the Edge Minstries, but I have also been listening to some of Living on the Edge’s podcasts on my phone.

At night I have been listening to At Home At Mitford from Focus on the Family’s radio theater, even though I’ve listened to it a few times before already.

Photos of the Week