Category: Blog Posts

A new Fortune Bay Christmas Novella!

Get this 100+ page Christmas novella on Amazon.  (Only 99 ¢)

I’m excited to get this book out in time for Christmas! <G>

I know, that should be a given, this being a Christmas story and all, but this has been a difficult year in a lot of ways. First we had the big move and downsizing for my husband and myself, some health issues and, just when I thought we were sliding into the new normal, a death in the family in September.

But as always, the writing was a balm, and as well, real life provided lots of inspiration.

You might remember Star, independent and plucky, arriving in Fortune Bay in Home for Christmas, and saving Marshall from the paparazzi in Starting Over.

But in the end, she still hadn’t found her own happily-ever-after. (I know a lot of you readers were rooting for her. ) As usual, though, the HEA is not exactly what she’d thought it would be – although it might be exactly what she wanted.

And when she moves into the Murphy’s cabin, of course Augusta can’t help but interfere  lend a hand!

You can read the back blurb HERE.

Get this 100+ page Christmas novella on Amazon. Only 99 ¢

And of course it will also be available in paperback form.

Don’t have a kindle? Don’t let that stop you.

It’s easy – and free! – to get a kindle app on your phone &/or tablet. (I read on my phone all the time.) You can find the easy instructions HERE.

Now it’s time for me to take a deep breath and do some reading myself. Any suggestions?

(Don’t forget to get Starlight and Tinsel today!)

Until next time,

 

Brandied Cherries

My state of the art cherry pitter.

For years we had a big – I mean BIG – cherry tree, but eventually it fell to disease and we had to chop it down and plant another. That one didn’t reach maturity before we had to move, but by then I was hooked on having a freezer full of cherries. Now every year I wait like a cougar in a tree for the prices to drop: $6.99, $4.99, $3.99, then, finally last week, $2.99 a pound and I pounced!

Judy sneaking cherries

The California cherries are the first, then Washington state, then finally, fresh BC cherries from the Okanagan Valley, the inland, fruit and wine producing region of the province.  Sweet, dark and Juicy, this year they are very BIG – almost too big for my doubled barrel cherry pitter. Yes, I’m serious about my cherries.

I usually freeze them with a dusting of sugar (don’t judge me!) but this year I seemed to hear about brandied cherries at every turn. “Too much trouble,” I thought, but they did sound good – Christmas gifts, I rationalized – and I soon found myself in the liquor store, looking at Brandy.

“Use a brandy you would want to drink,” the recipe cautioned. But I knew I wouldn’t want to drink any of it. Then I saw the Sliivovica (pronounced Slivovi-ch-a) and was flooded with fond memories of travelling in Eastern Europe where every generous host brings out the Sliivovica. Not good tasting! But as a woman I could gracefully decline, and our Czech friend Peter could say he was driving, but my poor husband always had to drink a glass with the host – even at breakfast!

Those were the days.

So I bypassed the fancy French brandy and bought the bottle of the crystal clear Croatian Plum Brandy, the only brand of Sliivovica they sold. Peter had told us how as children, in plum season, they would collect prune plums on the way home from school and drop them in a barrel fermenting in the shed on the way into the house so their dad could make his own Sliivovica. We visited his house, family compound really, in a small Czech town where his Aunt and cousin’s family still live, and I could just picture it.

So I bought the bottle, and then was plagued with doubt as to whether it would work in my recipe. And, like most of my cooking attempts it had quickly become my recipe.

But oh my goodness! I tasted a bit of the liquor after boiling the cherries in it with the sugar, cinnamon stick and cloves and wow! It’s going to be amazing! Now if I can just wait the prescribed 4 – 6 weeks.

I might have to buy another bottle and make another batch. The cherries will be around for at least another week.

Let me know how yours turn out!

 

Don’t miss this Summer Long Weekend Sale

 

Book one in the Fortune Bay series available for 99¢ until July 4, 2018.

at Amazon.com

and KOBO US

 

 

Don’t have and eReader? Click here to read how to access these eBook deals on your android tablet, iPad or phone.

How to read eBooks without an eReader.

Don’t have an eReader? Or even if you do, you might want to turn your tablet or phone into an eReader. Start taking advantage of online book deals, whether from kindle, kobo or nook. Do like the iPad users do and download a free app to turn your PC tablet, iPad or phone, whether android or iPhone, into an eReader.

The advantages to reading on an eReader are many:

  • they are often lighter or smaller than a bound book
  • you control the font size, and screen brightness and color
  • buy books instantly by connecting online
  • link your tablet and phone (by downloading an app in your user name to each) then check in with your book anywhere, anytime you have your phone
  • eBooks are generally much less expensive than even paperbacks
  • take advantage of special  eBook sales and giveaways
  • connect to free books at your library without going to pick them up
  • no stacks weighing down your nightstand

The downside?

  • no nice paper smell and feel
  • it is harder, although not impossible, to share books

I’m a convert, for all of the pro’s reasons. And while I have a kindle and used to have a kobo reader,  lately I have also been reading my kindle books on my phone and think I might go for a small reading tablet when my kindle gives out (although they seem to last forever) so I can access my kobo library.

Try it yourself. Go to the app store on your device and download the appropriate app, set up an account at the online retailer, if you don’t already have one, register your device(s) and you’re ready to go. If you have an iPad or iPhone, you might have one hidden on your device that will access apple books.

Then download the free e-copy of the first book in the Fortune Bay series, Summer of Fortune from the sidebar on the right and start reading. Then I’ll send you notifications and general news whenever I have a new book out or on special sale.

 

 

Take control of your life

It isn’t often you get to change your life. I mean really decide what happens next. Too often we are just pulled along on the current of our lives, barely  keeping our heads above water, never mind planning ahead.

This afternoon we shut the door on our old house for the final time. Our home for 22 years, the house where our children grew up, I felt surprisingly little regret. It was time. The house and yard were much too large for us two empty-nesters, and I gladly turned my attention to our nice new house, less than two thirds the size of the old one with two tiny gardens and a view of the lake.

This morning we did a final dump run, and as I tossed a bin of paper file folders into recycling I realized how symbolic it was. I felt truly liberated from the intention all those folders held, writing jobs I thought I might do in the days I was struggling as a magazine writer.

Then out went a box full of wrongly-cut picture framing mats that I thought I might one day do a painting to fit. I suddenly realized that backwards thinking like that is just added (unnecessary) pressure.

I’m not a hoarder but I am thrifty. Normally I don’t throw away anything that might come in useful someday but for the last few weeks while packing I gave myself permission to do just that, and painful as it still was (old habits die hard)  a wonderful freedom came with it.

I gave myself permission to formulate my new life, not view myself through the lens of the past. For instance, I’ve been an artist/painter for 30  years and look forward to getting back into painting for fun, oils and acrylics, a couple a year, hopefully outside “en plein aire” with friends. But I don’t have to keep mountains of paraphernalia connected with the printmaking that I  did in school (graduating in 2000.) That’s not me anymore. So although I moved it all, I plan to pass it on to other artists who will really use it, as soon as I can.

All of my fabric went to Goodwill. (Gasp!) I realized I don’t make clothes from scratch any more – I just buy fabric. (LOL)

The first book in the Rocky and Bernadette series.

And gardening is looking like fun again, tending my two small courtyard gardens rather than  wrestling with an unruly half acre.

Of course there are many things I can’t change, but I realize now that I didn’t have to physically move to gain this sense of liberation. It was mostly a state of mind. I encourage you to take the time to figure out what is important and what is sucking your energy, and make a few simple changes of space and mind to free up more time for what you really enjoy. The things that feed your soul.

One thing I am not giving up is my writing. I am so glad to get back to it after the past two crazy months! And, in fact, my next book, Temple of the Jaguar, the first Rocky and Bernadette mystery, will be out in two weeks.

You can  Pre-order it now.

But more on that next time.

Be kind to yourself.