Saturday, December 18, 2010

Minute to Win It Christmas Party

This is the day our children and their families gather at our house to celebrate Christmas. I always try to think of things that will be fun and involve the children as well as the adults. This year, I've decided to set up a table with items to play some games from the television show "Minute to Win It."

I have presents for our grandchildren and in order for them to receive their gift, they will have to pick one person to "win" it for them. They will be encouraging the person as they go through the movements required to finish in one minute. I'll start with the youngest children and move toward the oldest. I can't wait. I'm sure I'll get some great pictures and videos.

I always strive to make Christmas less stressful by not having a traditional gift exchange for the adults. This year those who want to participate will bring a white elephant gift. It is purely optional, so no one has to feel obligated. But, I have a fun way to handle the exchange for those who do participate. We'll have one for the kids and one for the adults.

I also have some fun singing games just for fun. A friend told me about the card game "Would You Rather..?" I purchased it and I think it will lead to some great laughs as well.  Of course all ages can play.

Instead of cooking a big meal, I set up a deli buffet and each family brings a side dish. We always have plenty of food and everyone leaves with a full tummy.

I'll share some pictures on my blog Monday.

Do you have any family gatherings that you attend? Care to share?

Friday, December 17, 2010

While My Hair Dries...

Why does it take so long for my hair to dry enough to style it? I've yet to find the perfect thing to occupy me while it air dries. I don't like to use the blow dryer on my hair too often because it tends to dry it out. So, I decided to hop on blogger this morning while my wet curls surround my scalp and the furnace pulls out the moisture.

So, you knew when you clicked on this blog title that you'd be reading about hair. Women are so fickle when it comes to our hair. We use all kinds of chemicals, curling irons, dryers, hot rollers, perms, straighteners, tints, and so much more just to make our hair look "better."

Why? Why are we not satisfied with what God gave us? I have a dear friend who has beautiful curly hair. It is thick and luxurious with a "just permed" curl. I love it. She hates it. She likes to get her hair straightened. I suppose if my hair were curly all the time, I might want to know what it would feel like to have my hair move around my shoulders. But, since my hair doesn't look like the models on television when it is straight, I try to compensate by occasionally getting a perm. Then I hate it. I can't do anything with it. The top doesn't blend with the rest because the top of my hair doesn't take a perm well.

So, here I sit writing a nonsense blog while I wait for my curls to dry enough to style.

What about you? Are you ever satisfied with your hair?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Free Read by Guest Blogger Wendy Davy

It has been snowing, well, flurries anyway, for the past two days. My Christmas tree is up and the inside and outside of the house is decorated. Our annual family Christmas party is two weeks away. I'm getting excited. I'm looking forward to the Candlelight service at our church on Christmas Eve. My guest today has a special Christmas gift for each of you. Please help me to welcome Wendy Davy to my blog.

Wendy Davy is an award winning, inspirational romance author with several titles available. She uses her active imagination and love of adventure to create faith based stories of the heart. When not writing or chasing around her young children, she spends time reading, enjoying her real-life hero and watching movies.

Christmas Free Read and a Glimpse at Reluctant Bridesmaid, Coming March 4, 2011.
It’s that time of year again. Fun-filled shopping, holiday treats and STRESS!!! Why not take a break and read a quick free Christmas story? Stop by and download a copy of Mistletoe and Miracles.

Here’s what it’s about: Noelle Barkley wants a man, and she’s willing to go out on a limb to get him. But, when she lands into the arms of a stranger, she discovers God’s plan is better than hers could ever be.

And, here’s a look at my upcoming release, Reluctant Bridesmaid:

Jordan Harrison dreads walking down the aisle…

When her widowed mother is swept away by a handsome, wealthy architect, Jordan fears the hasty engagement will end up in disaster. After all, how well can her mother know the guy after only a few months? When Jordan races to Breckenridge Manor to delay the wedding, she runs into more than she’s bargained for — a handsome, understanding man intent on helping her heal past wounds and open her mind to new possibilities.

Known as the man with nerves of steel, Tanner Breckenridge lives up to his reputation, but it doesn’t take long for him to discover he has a soft spot for Jordan Harrison, the daughter of his father’s future bride. Loyal to his father, but captivated by Jordan, Tanner puts his heart on the line and risks everything for a chance at love.

Here’s a sample:

“I think a little bit of fun would do you some good.” He winked as he took one long stride toward her. He bent and scooped her from the chair.

“Tanner!” she shrieked, clutching his shoulders. His warm skin covered granite muscle underneath. She squirmed, but her movements pressed her harder against his chest as he lifted her into his arms.

He sauntered to the dock’s edge as if he had no care in the world. The water, crisp and clear loomed below.

Adrenaline spiking, she tucked her head against him. “You don’t want to do this.”

“I don’t?” A low, deep chuckle formed in his chest, vibrating against her cheek. “You can swim, right?”

“Yes, I can swim.”

“You just don’t like the idea of taking the plunge do you? Marriage or otherwise?”

“I have nothing against marriage…in general,” she defended. “And, this isn’t about my opinion regarding ‘the plunge’. This is about you,” she poked him in the chest, “tossing me into that cold water.”

“How do you know what it feels like until you try it?”

She lifted her head to offer a witty remark, but lost her breath as she found herself eye-level with Tanner’s sun-kissed neck. His scent, earthy and masculine surrounded her. She looked up. From this angle, his jaw-line appeared more defined, his features more chiseled, and his eyes a lighter shade of blue. She swallowed, but her dry mouth refused to moisten.

“Are you ready?” A small, faint scar melded into the creases beside his left eye as he smiled.

Flustered, she asked, “R-ready?” Her breathing came in quick, shallow gasps as her gaze travelled to his mouth. As good as it felt to be held in his strong arms, she wondered what it would feel like to have his lips pressed against hers.

Magical? Maybe. Out of the question? Definitely.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a blessed Christmas!

Wendy Davy

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

If Only It Were As Easy As That!

I received an email from a new writer asking for advice. The question: "Should I seek an agent or self-publish?"

Wow. I remember when I was there. I had written my first book and I felt like I'd finally achieved my dream. All I needed to do was send out my manuscript and I'd be published! I dreamed of seeing my book on the shelves of local bookstores, sitting at a table piled high with my books while I signed autographed copies for the long lines waiting to talk to me. If only the publishing world were as easy to break into as that!

Reality is nothing like the dream. But, the last thing a new writer needs to hear is something to destroy the dream. Many new writers get discouraged and quit before they've even begun. Publishing is a tough business.  It's not something a person does with hopes of becoming rich. The truth is very few authors ever reach a status of being able to support themselves by publishing their books. Most of us write because we love writing. We love receiving feedback on our books that even one person has been touched in some way by the words we so painstakingly penned, one difficult word after another.

My advice to this new writer, and to anyone else who is curious, is to join a writing group. To succeed, writers need support from others who are doing the same thing and struggling with the same obstacles. Take online classes, attend workshops, learn the craft of writing, and most of all...keep writing new material. Learn how to market yourself...not your book. People will buy from names they recognize more so than from an unknown person who has an interesting book cover or book title. Make your presence known. It takes time and it takes perseverance.

Without my local writing group, the hundreds of online classes I've taken, and my growing support group, I would have stopped writing after that first book. I would have continued dreaming about my goal, but I wouldn't have worked at achieving it. Writing is a business, just like any other business. And, just like any other job, if you don't love what you do, you'll move on.

And, with that, I'll step down off my soapbox. I wish all writers, whether published or aspiring, a group of wonderful supporters and the joy of reaching your goals.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Single Rosebud... worth a thousand words.

 Amid all the dormant plants, and a layer of snow, a beautiful red rosebud stands bravely, refusing the give in to the blast of winter. Isn't that a beautiful sight?

Our outdoor semi-feral cats perch along the logs lining our back yard bushes, soaking up any warmth from brief glimpses of sun. As the day draws to an end, they move to the shelters we have provided to protect them from the harsh elements.

Within each of us, there is that strength to persevere despite obstacles and storms that invade our lives. We seek the warmth of the sun and stand bravely like the rosebud, despite the odds.


Monday, December 06, 2010

Monday Mix-up

Boy, it sure is Monday!

First I wake up to a layer of snow, 20 degree temps, with wind! Brrr. I'm so not ready for this weather yet. I forgot to get the long extension cord from the shed which I need to run the leaf blower, which helps me with small amounts of snow on the sidewalks and driveway.

Second, I was supposed to interview Tanya Hanson on my blog today, and realized last night that I had forgotten to send her the questions! My public apologies to Tanya. I have contacted her about appearing at a later date this month.

I am not a fan of Monday!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

In the Mood for a Christmas Story?

Celebrate Christmas a little early by giving a present to yourself! LIGHTING THE TREE is available on Kindle for only $.99. If you don't have a Kindle, you can download a FREE Kindle application for your computer. Enjoy!

Friday, December 03, 2010

A Day for Smiling

Lately I've been in a funk about my writing. Things in my life have been sapping my energy and I've had nothing left to put into the words I write. I went to bed last night looking at a new window opening and path laid out before me through the grace of God. Today, I awoke with a joy in my heart for beginning a new phase in my life.

Today, I'll organize my office into a comforting writing place. I have found the excitement for writing again. It's a new day and a new beginning. With the joy of Christmas only three weeks away, my heart is singing a song that lights my face with a smile.

On Monday, I will be interviewing Tanya Hanson in "the Blog Studio." I hope you'll stop by and join the audience!

If you haven't checked my free fall newsletter on my website, you might be interested in grabbing the recipe I've posted there for a fabulous cheeseball. It makes a great dish to take to parties, or a great gift to give during the holidays.

I wish you a day full of joy and a heart full of love!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

An Inspiring Author - by guest blogger Cindy Green

I’ve been asked many times which authors have inspired me. Well, of course, there are several but one which really comes to mind is L.M. Montgomery. She is famed for writing the Anne of Green Gables series. But did you know she wrote A LOT more books and a plethora of short stories? In the late 1980’s and into the nineties, her short stories were republished into anthologies with similar themes. Today, on the top row of the book shelf in my office, I have all my Montgomerys – there are 33 book titles there. She had a certain way of turning a phrase. And, of course, I related to her stories – especially Anne since I’m a redhead too. I still pick up and read one of her books now and again. Last summer, I reread Anne of the Island & Anne’s House of Dreams. They sure read a lot faster than they used to. Many of her heroines loved to write especially her Anne character and Emily from New Moon. But I think it was the fanciful way she wrote that inspired me. I wanted to write like that, create like that, think like that. I recently found a couple more of the STARTED stories that I wrote as a kid, and they are filled with the presence of L.M. Montgomery. I still like to think there is a little bit of her in my writing along with all the other authors who have influenced me throughout my life.

It was due to reading my favorite authors that I got into writing. I wondered…could I write something like this for publication. I took up my pen (or should I say computer keyboard) and began to plot out a new story. I wrote at night when everyone was in bed and finished the first draft in a record six days. Of course, I spent time editing and polishing that manuscript and reading up on how to craft a romantic story. My original publisher released that book in 2006 under the title The Spirit of Christmas. Two years later the company folded and my story became an orphan. I reworked and rewrote the story and found it a new home with Champagne Books. All I Want for Christmas is that reimagined novel.

I learned so much from those first favorite authors: Montgomery, Alcott, Austen. While reading a book, you should be entertained to be sure, but it’s when you delve a bit deeper with your characters to make your readers care even more about those characters that you really begin to touch lives as an author. This is what I learned from my inspiring authors.

Here is an excerpt from All I Want for Christmas, a sweet best-friend romance:

Kathryn Graham hates Christmas. She hates the snow, the decorations, the whole nine yards. Nick Pringle on the other hand can’t get enough of the season. He may be her best friend and fellow writer at Redburn Weekly Magazine, but sometimes his exuberance gets on her very last nerve. Now they’ve been assigned to cover the orphan toy drive story. It’s just a puff piece, not the serious journalism Kathryn hopes for, but maybe there are no old stories, just new angles.

Nick Pringle has been in love with Kathryn practically since the day they met. When he realizes that she’s lost her Christmas spirit, he figures he’s just the guy to help her find it again. But will any of his plans make a difference in her? Will she ever see him as anything more than her smart-aleck partner? Then again maybe he’ll get what he wants for Christmas after all.

Outside the air remained chilly, forcing the use of a coat, but it was still fine December weather. Kathryn wrapped a scarf around her neck as she walked down the street with Nick. The last time they’d been together, she’d held his hand and it had felt so comforting. For some reason today, she felt at a loss with him walking several inches away from her. There was something building between them and if she didn’t do something about it—it would only get worse.

Emboldening herself, she grabbed Nick’s arm and wrapped her hands around it. His eyes dropped to hers and filled with puzzlement. She could imagine the thoughts going through his head—like ‘what was on her mind now?’ Or ‘what am I in for this time?’

She parted her lips and smiled at him. “Don’t you just love Christmas, Nick?” She waited to see how he’d react to her using his words from last week. The same words she’d rebuffed at that time and now understood so much better.

“Christmas? Isn’t that just about commercialization?” He smiled as he threw her own words back at her with a grin.

“And where did you ever hear such a horrible thought, Nick Pringle?” She filled her voice with feigned reproach.

They shared a smile as they continued down Main Street. A little thrill moved in Kathryn’s chest. This felt right; it felt good. The friendship she had with Nick could never be replaced. She glanced at the store windows decorated for the season. It reminded her of shopping with her mother and sister as they looked for Christmas gifts for her father. It was one of only a few fond memories she shared with her family. Soon after that Christmas, her parents divorced and her life fell apart.

Kathryn studied Nick’s face again, his raised cheeks and straight nose, rounded just perfectly at the end. He tilted his head at her and formed his lips into a closed smile. Never had she encountered such understanding and empathy in anyone until she met Nick Pringle. He oozed kindness and warmth and yet he had a teasing kind of personality when he wanted to use it. It’s why they got along together. He was easy-going and she was wound tighter than a toy top. But he could dish out the sarcasm when necessary. It kept the friendship interesting and fresh. More than that, he made her feel safe—as if she could tell him anything.

“Nick, did I ever tell you my father left my mother the day after Christmas when I was twelve?”

Concern etched Nick’s face and his eyes grew soft. “No, you never did.”

Kathryn curved her mouth to one side and sighed. Then she faced forward, letting go of Nick’s arm and shoving her ungloved hands into her coat pockets. “I can still remember what he said when he left. Lorraine and I were in the living room still figuring out all the gifts Daddy had thrust upon us the day before, when he came down the stairs with his suitcase. He said, ‘Marion, I promised to stay until Christmas, but Christmas is over. I’m leaving now.’”

“That’s unbelievable.” His arm slid around her shoulders and she didn’t shrug him off as she usually would. Instead she snuggled close to him and rested her face against the softness of his overcoat.

“My mother tried to get him to stay, but he left anyway. He didn’t even say goodbye to me or my sister. I started thinking about that the other day, and I realized that it is because of how my father left us that I hate Christmas.”

“You never hated Christmas.”

She raised her eyes up to his. “I did.” A sob caught in her throat. “I hated Christmas.

Available at Champagne Books (just reduced to 2.99), All Romance e-books and Amazon.


Cindy K. Green is a multi-published author with degrees in History and Education. Previously a middle school English & History teacher, she now homeschools her own children and writes in several genres: Inspirational, Contemporary, YA, Suspense and Historical romance. Find out more about Cindy and her books at You can also visit her on her Blog. In addition, she has a Homeschooling Blog and a Teen Fiction Blog. She can be reached by email at She’s on Myspace Facebook Twitter and Twitter for her YA friends. And she has a Newsletter.