Posts Tagged ‘Excerpts’

Thank you…

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

My family and I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday week.

christmas vintage

And I wanted to say a special thank you to all who’ve supported Christmas on Mimosa Lane’s release. My first women’s fiction/contemporary romance hybrid was quite a risk to take. My emotional, angsty voice is something you dig, or you really REALLY don’t. Going with Montlake and their primarily digital plans for the book was a scary shift in publishing paths, too. But to all my readers and fans I wanted to say, OMG, your response to the book has been overwhelming. I couldn’t be more blown away.

COML Front 240x360

At the time of this blog post, COML has 69 Five Star reviews, is still the #1 Family Saga on Amazon, and has sold more than 40,000 copies in just two months!

What can I say, except that you guys ROCK!

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for embracing this special book and the series I’ve been lucky enough to begin at Montlake. Now, I’m off to finish Book Two, aiming for a late Summer/early Fall release ;o)

Here’s to an exciting 2013!

Holidays and Healing: “Unable are the Loved to die…”

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

“Unable are the Loved to die, for Love is Immortality…” ~~ Emily Dickinson

When you write a Christmas book about loss and grief and recovery…and love, you’re walking a tricky path full of obsticals and blind paths and possible pitfalls you can’t see coming.

It’s kind of like navigating the holidays while you’re missing loved ones or dealing with the emptiness that’s left behind when someone who should still be here is gone from your life for good. Except that the holidays are all about hope and healing and believing in a better tomorrow, regardless of what’s troubling you today, so I guess that’s why I tackled such deep and personal subject matter and characters in my first ever holiday story.

hope etching bird

It’s too easy to focus on only the loss of someone.

It’s too easy to ignore it entirely.

What’s harder is remembering and loving and wanting them here still, once they’re gone, and believing that what’s best about them is still with us.

It can be nearly impossible this time of year to feel hopeful that a lost love’s future in our lives is still possible. But it is. And if we give ourselves a chance to believe that, what a bright and ever-expanding future that can become.


The loved ones we’ve lost, no matter how painful their passing, are immortal. They’re forever  part of who they’re helping us to become.

We honor them by remembering and hoping during the holidays and beyond, even when some memories may at first be too painful to process. (more…)

Safety… What defines yours: hope or fear?

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Be honest, had been Mallory’s wise advise–a woman who hadn’t felt safe enough to be honest about who she really was with anyone in their community, no matter how much she clearly wanted to belong in their world.

Safety, he’d learned from both his job and the last six months as a single father, wasn’t something you waited to come to you. You had to make your own safety happen…

~~ Pete Lombard, Christmas on Mimosa Lane

It’s an interesting paradox–the interplay between what makes us feel safe and what challenges us to step outside our comfortable lives.

No one in this country is really feeling comfortable today, I wager, so it seems like the perfect time to tackle this reader guide question for Christmas on Mimosa Lane. Because this book ( all my books, really) is about feeling safe and feeling like you belong and finding the community and family and personal confidence you need to keep that feeling, no matter what happens.


But here’s the thing. We are our own safety. How we see the world and the past and the danger we perceive and what’s really there, that’s a choice. We can be tied to what’s damaged in us, or we can focus on what we choose to become despite what’s broken. It’s entirely up to us. We can be afraid or we can be be fearless, regardless of any other variable, no matter how tragic.

Fearlessness isn’t stupidity or naivete, mind you. Pretending we don’t have a problem is another kind of fear. In fact, it’s the worst kind. It’s how we’re guaranteed never to move forward. So that’s another choice we make to say we only deserve the brokenness that scares us.

We are the only change we can control.

we are our own safety

Not the outcome. Not the threats. Not the determined evil that will find us if it truly wants to, no matter how hard we fight or how much we prepare. But what we chose to make our future about–the next minute, day, week, year, decade of our lives–that’s our victory or our failure. It’s all that we are, a series of determined realities, a perspective that says we either hope or we fear.

Hope or fear?

Which will control you?

Which do you suppose ends up controlling my COML characters? ;o)

The Soul of the Matter: For love is immortality…

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Unable are the Loved to die
For love is immortality…

                                       ~~Emily Dickinson

This is one of my favorite ED quotes. It’s one of the truths of this world and this season that will never pass. And, yes, it’s the emotional core of my first ever Christmas novel.

I hear from readers daily who love the deeper and darker elements of Mallory and Pete and Polly’s story. AND from readers who are railing that I would do something so realistic, when lighter and happier novels are what a lot of us think about reflecting a “holiday” spirit.

heart candycain

But what better message could there be to wrap a story around, than that those we love are always with us, even after their gone?And, at least for this writer, how should I show the reader a path to truly believing this truth, other than to begin with what this time of year can feel like if we’re still clinging to the loss of someone important in our lives, rather than the love that they will always bring to us whether or not we still have them physically?

Yes, Emily Dickinson wrote a lot about loss. Yes, I do, too.

 But I sense in her poetry, which I’ve been obsessed about since I was an intense little girl, her search for hope and healing and purpose–despite the difficulties of her life. I’ve been on that path myself since losing a good bit at a very young age.

So, when it came time to create images of little girls missing their mommies and husbands moving on from losing wives and grown women learning to trust and belong when their formative years were all about betrayal and being separate–you had to know I’d be painting with a brush that doesn’t gloss over reality on its rush to the happily ever after dream I want my characters to claim.

The title of this second book of my heart is Christmas on Mimosa Lane. And I’ve created the most beautiful Christmas morning I could have imagined.

heart holiday stencil art

However, that morning happens in the very last chapter and the very last scene of the book. (more…)

A review from a reader who shouldn’t have but found love…

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

I am not a fan of the Sad Christmas stories, but this one, for me, was exactly the right story at the right time in my life. I bought this thinking I needed a really happy, uplifting Christmas tale to make the realty of my life easier during this Christmas Season. Instead, I found that what I really needed was to cry, to see others were much worse off than I. This is definitely not the feel good happy Christmas that the majority of us think we are creating each holiday, but it is the one that most of us find at the end of all of our frenzied preparations. It is one unlike what most of us live.

This is a story of heartbreak, loss, desolation and still somehow in all of the loss there is this glimmer or hope and of the human spirit struggling to master everything negative in our world. Is also a story of tremendous love and the realty of what a life on the streets might be like for a child.

While it is not the usual Christmas fare, for some of us who are struggling with a loved one who no longer remembers us or any of the wonderful Christmas’s they created for their loved one’s; it is a story of triumph, love, hope and the memory of the times when things were better than they are now.

Read, Cry, Heal and Remember the GOOD TIMES…

I’ve already posted on the blog today, but I couldn’t help myself. THIS is why I write these stories.In case there’s any confusion in anyone’s mind why I do what I do with the family dramas and romances I write, this is the type of reader I write them for.

Yes, I demand a happy ending. But it’s the reality we begin with the the journey and the emotions I hope you all feel as you read that I’m mining for.

Thanks to the above reader for leaving such a frank and honest review. And for the 5 Stars, no matter how unexpected the story turned out to be, or how far away it was from the happy escape she began reading it for…

If this were your last Christmas, what would it be?

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

I know. The blog title sounds grim, when in fact, it’s my challenge for us all. In my Christmas novel, a father and daughter are dealing with the first holiday season after losing their wife/mother–and the memories of the previous Christmas they hadn’t known would be their last. The result–make THIS holiday the home and family and cherished memories they’ve always longed for. Why put it off? Why not go for everything. No holding back. No saving for later. Revel and indulge and fight to the last breath for whatever good now can be…

santa fighting gloves

Several of Christmas on Mimosa Lane’s reader’s guide questions challenge you to think about what “good” and “happy” and “home” mean to you and your life and your holiday–so does the story and its characters. Many of the Emily Dickinson quotes I use are in-your-face reminders to see now far better than you do before or tomorrow. Life here. In this day. Make your home today what you want it to be. Make your life a struggle not simply to overcome a past failure or achieve future goal, but to be present for yourself and others in ways that guarantee that this moment is the best it possibly can me.

If this were your last Christmas, and you knew that now, what wouldn’t you do to make this year’s the very best ever? Would you let anyone stand in your way, or any memory tarnish this holiday’s experience? Would you hold out for next year or the one after, shortchanging what now could mean to you and the ones you love? I don’t think so. Neither do the characters in my novel.

And, you see, I write redemptive Christmas stories is by showing flawed characters, like you and me, with a lot of hurdles to clear before they get their happy ever after. It’s not until the middle of COML that we see the story turn toward a positive, potentially, ending. And even then, Mallory and Pete and Polly must fight to the very end, or they’ll lose what they want most. Just as we all do. Even Santa. (more…)

Past and Present and Future Christmas…

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

What’s most important for me this time of year is feeling that rush of memories and smiles and hopes for another holiday season like my favorite ones from before. For my reader groups, and for all of us, our Week 2 book club discussion is about this past and present phenomenon. Are we ever really feeling only now this time of year, or are we enjoying so much of the idealistic holidays we’ve had before and wishing for even better memories to come?

christmas vintage

I write about it in a slightly different way in Christmas on Mimosa Lane–where our characters deal with their memories (both good and bad) so they can focus on the beautiful holiday they’re making now. This is the only way for them to have their chance to be happy. Some of us struggle with being happy, too, this time of the year, while the rest of the world seems to be celebrating non-stop.

But the gist of the sentiment behind Pete and Polly and Mallory’s story is realizing that you can make your holiday now whatever you want it to be–make it look however you want it to look–no matter what you or anyone else has been saying should make you happy. First, though, you have to decide–for yourself–exactly what that happy will look like, instead of assuming it will look like everyone else’s holiday.

christmas charming

What we want is usually a combination of before and now, with a sprinkle of what we hope could be. (more…)

Winners, winners, winners…

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

October and November contest winners below! Thanks to everyone for being so patient. Amazon gift certificates and spooky cereal and even a vintage Trifari Rudolf pin, so check out the list and see of you’ve won. Oh, and my December contest is up–more Amazon free stuff AND I’m giving away a vintage Trifari Christmas Tree Pin just like the one Polly and Mallory love in Christmas on Mimosa Lane. It’s a shorter contest this month, so you can have your tree to wear during the holiday and your gift certificate to buy something special to read during your time off ;o). So be sure to enter before the 15th!

November Contest: Rudolph Vintage Trifari Pin and Amazon Gift Certificate

trifari rudolph

  • The winner of this Rudolph Trifari treasure: Mary Preston, who commented on October 27th.
  • The winner of the $5 Amazon Gift Certificate: Felicia Plastini, who commented on November 20th.

October Contest:  Spooky Cereal and Amazon Gift Certificate

Franekberry (more…)

December Contest: Oh, Vintage Trifari Christmas Tree!

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Look for a October and November contest winner announcement next. But before we go there (so I can link THIS announcement into that one ;o), we continue to celebrate the season and Christmas on Mimosa Lane’s release (currently the #1 Family Saga on Kindle!) with a short December contest for my fans and supporters and blog faithful. This beautiful Vintage Christmas Tree from Trifari, just like the one little Polly loves so much from her mommy’s collection in COML could be express mailing its way to you on December 15th!

trifari christmas tree

To enter, share your favorite Christmas Morning Memory in the comments before December 15th.

Christmas on Mimosa Lane, as a title, is all about the ending of the story: How do Pete and Polly and Mallory make their “perfect” Christmas morning dreams come true? Later today, I’ll blog the second of my Reader’s Guide/Book Club posts about that very thing–what makes Christmas perfect for you, what does your ideal morning or holiday look like, and do the commercials and promotions and more materialistic flood of media messages this time of year make your holiday happier or maybe a little harder to deal with?

To get you started, check out last week’s reader’s guide/book club post: Happy Ever After Holidays.

So, overall, how do your holidays find their way to your hearts and how do you share what’s most special to you… And what does perfect mean in your life, on that magical morning we wake and rush to our trees to celebrate our blessings?

Chat away in the comments for your chance to win a priceless Trifari Christmas Tree of your very own!

Oh, and a second winner will receive a $5 Amazon Gift Certificate ;o)

Contest closes midnight December 15th!

Hope for the Holidays: What we think we know…

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

We think we know people. We think we understand what places and seasons and even holidays mean to us. Then in an instant something shifts that changes our lives forever. We see so much of that these days, on TV news and the Internet and social media. Lives changing with so little warning the new directions they take are riviting and heartbreaking AND inspiring to watch. What do I see when I look at scenes like this? Hope. I see people learning how to come together and become stronger for the community and families they’re making stronger…and learning how to hope in the midst of what should be breaking them.

hope hand candle jar

Holidays can be hard, especially for people who need that “perfect” holiday experience more than others. These are times when we’re looking for a shining light to lead us. We’re wanting a reason to believe. We’re hoping…and praying we won’t be disappointed.

Those are the holiday stories I see and try to tell. The ones where heroes rise out of difficulty and find a way to keep fighting and wanting and believing. As much as pure escape would be nice, it wouldn’t be my ideal. Reality is always there, and I’m looking as a reader and a writer for a reflection of what life is really like when it’s hardest, and THEN what it becomes when we push our way through a difficult time to that rewarding, hopeful moment when we’ve proven to ourselves and the ones we love that everything actually is going to be okay.

hope rhinestones

Christmas on Mimosal Lane is built that way. It’s not a straight ride from a page one to a happy ending. (more…)