Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Report: Until I Found You, by Victoria Bylin

Winner of Lorna Seilstad's book is: KimT

I have found my new favorite Contemporary Romance author!! Victoria Bylin told an outstanding story with a serious thread of women's lit-style woven and a fantastic take on life as a single-something late-twenties/early thirty year old.

I'm not sure what was better.

The location? Pure California mountain ski--yum. Log Cabin? To die for. Small town vs. Hollywood glitz--it was all there.

The hero? Bad boy, player, handsome, gutsy, writer, stinkin' wow, turned into a reformed bachelor fighting his whims and gut while seeking to honor the Lord. It's like the yummiest hero.

The heroine? Angsty, lost, but filled with independent purpose and hope that she can stand on her own. Totally down with a relationship that is convenient and satisfies her desires--on the outside. But inside, craving that loyalty, faithfulness and grace that comes first from God and second from a hero rooted in God's grace.

I loved this book! Five times five stars!!

Here's the back cover copy:

When Kate Darby swerves off a mountain road to avoid hitting a California condor, she ends up trapped in her car, teetering on the edge of a cliff. Terrified, she breathes a prayer that changes her life: “God, if you’re real, I want to know you.”
It’s Nick Sheridan who comes to Kate’s rescue. Nick is handsome, confident, and seems to develop a habit of rescuing her, but Kate is in town only until her grandmother recuperates from a stroke. She’s not planning to fall in love with one of the locals.
Nick Sheridan is a reformed veteran of life in the fast lane, a new Christian, and a travel writer. When he sees a car dangling on the edge of a cliff, the daredevil in him jumps into action. He doesn’t expect to be swept off his feet by the car’s occupant. He’s made a vow: no dating for a year. And it’s a vow he intends to keep in spite of his attraction to Kate Darby . . .
BUY: Amazon | B&N | Christian Book

________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

#TBT - Buh Bye NICU

Awwww, there's my baby girl. Three days old and finally we get to hold her. Tiny little creature, her little lungs just weren't quite ready when, in typical Kokomo Jo fashion she decided she was impatient and was going to make her appearance NOW.

Love this girl!! and even the days in the NICU were treasured. But boy was it nice to say buh bye and bring my girl home! :)

What's your favorite Throwback Thursday memory?

_________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Goal Setting for June

My plot board and plotting supplies.

It's that time again! Evaluation and goal-setting time. At the end of last month, I laid out four goals I had for the month of May. Here on the cusp of the month of June, it's time to look back at where I've been and ahead to where I want to go.

Here are my goals for last month:

  • Write at least 25K words on a new story.
  • Write 8 blog posts
  • Clean out my closet and gather five bags of things to be donated from around the house.
  • Plant my flowerbeds and flowerpots

  • So, how'd I do?

    Write at least 25K words on a new story...hmmm...nope. (This one didn't happen, but for a very good reason which I will go into in another blog post soon. :) )

    Write 8 Blog Posts -- Check! (Between this blog and my personal blog. :) )

    Clean out my closet and gather five bags of things to be donated from around the house. -- Check, Check! (Much thanks to my daughter for her assistance with this one. Together we purged our closets and got a bunch of clothes to donate.)

    Plant my flowerbeds and flowerpots. -- Check, Check, Check! (They look beautiful! Blooming, growing, vibrant and fragrant. Yay!)

    I got three out of four goals accomplished for the month of May. Not bad, says I.


    Now it's time to set goals for June:


    • Outline and start Steeped In Love, a new novel set in a St. Paul tea shop at the turn of the last century. (15K words minimum)
    • Write 8 blog posts
    • Firm up plans for a vacation, destinations, accommodations, possible sights to see.
    • Finish the cross-stitch I'm working on and get it framed and mailed to its recipient.

    So, how did you do with your goals for May, and what are your goals for June?

    _____________________________________
    Author of Historical Romance

    Reluctant Bookkeeper 

    Homeschool Mom (for 1 more week!)

    Earl Grey Aficionado 

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    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

    Memorial Day Memories

    He was and always will be my hero. I would have loved to have a moment this past weekend  to sit by his resting place and have a chat. Grampa was my bff as a little girl. He was the epitome of a grandpa and a hero.

    Awarded the bronze star, the purple heart, a medal for being in all five of the major Pacific battles, (Okinawa, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Midway, Philippine Sea) and more, like the Battle of Attu, Grampa never lauded himself as a war hero. In fact, it wasn't until after he died Gramma even told anyone that he'd earned those medals. It was evidence of his humility and more so, evidence of the honor he gave to his fallen comrades of whom he boasted proudly.

    To me, Grampa was just ... Grampa. As a child, his most heroic act to me was introducing me to coffee and dunking sugared doughnuts in it. Or reading books while he rocked me in his lap as he suffered from war-induced Multiple Sclerosis. Tapping his thumb over the well-worn edges of his Bible, holding Gramma's hand, sorting out his daily vitamins, and driving a diesel station wagon.

    He was Grampa.
    He was a hero.
    He was mine.

    What hero do you memorialize this week?

    _________________________________

    Jaime Wright - 

    Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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    Monday, May 26, 2014

    Happy Memorial Day

    Breath the fresh air.
    Say a little prayer.
    Thank the Lord above.
    For what others have sacrificed for what they love.




















    Happy Memorial Day!

    Friday, May 23, 2014

    Book Report & Giveaway: While Love Stirs, By Lorna Seilstad

    With the influx of foodie novels coming our way, it was bound to reach into the historical romance genre. And WHAT FUN! it was to go through this latest by Lorna Seilstad.

    Charlotte Gregory is an old-fashioned "foodie". She's been through culinary school, is intent on reforming the local hospitals nutritional program while providing patients with food served on fine china, and currently assists in selling the latest new thing: gas stoves.

    There's a delicious and savory love triangle, with the main hero being a man after my own tastes: snarky, a tad rude, terribly OCD, with a penchant for the bland and boring. Enter Charlotte to stir things up a bit and make this well-ordered world erupt with chocolate volcano proportions.

    Ms. Seilstad, writes colorful characters loaded with sass, opinion, humor and grace. This is a funny, spirited historical romance at the turn of the century when men were encountering women finding their voices.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

    If you were to be a chef or a baker or someone with culinary skills (unlike me), what concoction would be top on your menu? Let us know and enter to win your copy of While Love Stirs 

    Winner of last week's drawing of One More Last Chance is Kari Davidson!
    _________________________________

    Jaime Wright - 

    Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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    Thursday, May 22, 2014

    TBT: Milestones

    It's May 2014. 

    Ten years ago, I graduated with my Masters Degree.
    Twenty-five years ago, I graduated from my undergraduate program.
    This year, my youngest graduates from high school.

    The first week of my new job, my nurse asked me what my goals were. I replied, "to be six months further down the road." Of course, six months would hardly have given me the experience I have now. But I'd just left a job where I'd become expert, and started a job where I was merely a novice.

    There is only one way through to becoming an expert. 
    The journey. 

    Do you set goals?

    In five years, I'll be....well, five years older.
    Our daughter will have been out of college for three years, our son for one.
    Our nest might not be empty quite yet.
    My graduate loans will finally be paid off.
    We will have celebrated graduations again. Will there be weddings?
    Will our children live near or far? Will we travel to visit them in far away places?
    Vacations? Price of gas? Published?
    My parents will be 80 and 81.
    Lord willing.

    Looking back, graduation in 2004 seems like just yesterday, and Ben was 9 and Emily 11.
    In ten years from now, I'll be....yep, you guessed....older.
    Our daughter will be 31, our son 29.
    My parents 85 and 86.
    Will retirement loom ahead?
    Grandchildren?

    Today, while I scurried to and fro, accomplishing life, Chuck Swindoll reminded me that after six days of creative work, God took time to rest.

    He TOOK TIME. Notice the active verb tense. It takes an act of will to stop.
    Disengage, and just BE with God. Tonight I sat on the patio and just smelled springtime and listened to the birds. When I look back over the last ten years, I can't help but recall the lives and faces of those who've passed on to heaven. Too many of these losses were premature.
    We hope for a full, fruitful life.
    Lord willing.

    TAKE TIME. Smell the beauty of God's creation. Walk with God.
    In twenty years, what will my accomplishments matter if I don't walk with God?

    Where will you be in 5 years? 10 years? 20?
    What will your story be?
    How do you actively TAKE TIME?
    -------------
    Blog post by Anne Love-
    Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
    Nurse Practitioner by day. 
    Wife, mother, writer by night. 
    Coffee drinker--any time.
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    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    Reunited, And It Feels SO GOOD!




    Reunited, and it feels so good...

    (I'll wait while you finish the song...)

    YAYAY! This week I was reunited with my engagement ring, which had been at the jewelry shop for repair. When the lapidary called to say it was ready, I hotfooted clear to the north side of town to get it so fast I'm pretty sure I left tread marks in the driveway.

    It looked so beautiful, fully restored and just as I remembered it. Except for one thing: it was so shiny! Like brand new. In comparison, my wedding band looked a little dingy. The folks at the Rochester Lapidary Jewelers were kind enough to clean my wedding ring so that the pair would look like they matched once more.

    Last week, to help me while away the time until I could be reunited with my engagement ring, I offered to give away a copy of North Star Brides my 3-in-1 collection set in Northern Minnesota along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

    I'm happy to say, after asking my daughter to pick a number at random, Christina Smith is our winner. Christina, if you will email me at ericavetsch at gmail dot com with your mailing address, I'll get a copy of the story collection on its way to you ASAP.

    While at the jewelers, I couldn't help but browse a little bit. I'm not a big jewelry wearer, but I do love to look. I am especially taken with opals. Some say if you're not born in October, you shouldn't wear opals because it's bad luck, but I don't subscribe to that nonsense. :)

    I also like aquamarines, because that is my birthstone.

    Do you have a favorite gemstone? What is your birthstone?

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    How To Kill A Flower Garden


    I need your help! Seriously. Here's my dilemma. It's getting time to plant my flower planters and pots. Every year I start out strong, with beautiful arrangements of pansies and fuchsias, daisies and other sundry delicates.  I also use some of my mom's standbys of geraniums and marigolds.

    Then comes June and July. The hot months, the sandy soil and dry pots, the busy schedule, the missed day or two of watering, etc. And the pansies shrivel, the fuchsias curl up into a death stare, and I decide that the next year I'll plant cactus.

    The only flowers that survive my intermittent watering schedule and blazing sun are the standbys: geraniums and marigolds.

    But I don't want just geraniums and marigiolds--although they are becoming somewhat sentimental to me--so here's where you come in.

    Any ideas? What are hardy but pretty flowering plants that can survive the hot summer's abuse and don't require morning and night watering?




    _________________________________

    Jaime Wright - 

    Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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    Monday, May 19, 2014

    I Love Window Boxes!

    I love window boxes! Jaime, Erica, and I have flowers on the brain. Two years ago we put some in and I had to research how to plant them. We have a great green house two miles from us, and they were a great help. My boxes have one-inch holes in the bottom for drains.
    1. Fill the boxes with potting soil and work in the fertilizer and plant food. Oh, and pick flowers that don't clash with red.


     2. I set out the plants in front of each box to make sure the arrangement is balanced.


    3. Put them in and water.


     4. By June it looks like this!


    What are your favorite summertime flowers? Please share!
    -------------
    Blog post by Anne Love-
    Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
    Nurse Practitioner by day. 
    Wife, mother, writer by night. 
    Coffee drinker--any time.
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    Friday, May 16, 2014

    Book Report & Giveaway: One More Last Chance, by Cathleen Armstrong

    I ventured away from my typical historical romance to read a contemporary by an author new to me. Cathleen Armstrong is a sophomore author, this being her second novel, but I didn't even realize it was the second in a trilogy. The character and story were stand a lone and I appreciated that.

    What I enjoyed? A new State! Finally, a book in a State of the Union that doesn't sport a massive Star as it's emblem, or have prairie grass, or even the ocean. The little glamorized State of New Mexico is the setting for this book, which I appreciated since my grandparents were from New Mexico and I still smell the oil fields and feel the sand beneath my feet.

    The romance was palpable, and experiences an upset by the intrusion of a youngster who desperately need a mother-figure, while her uncle struggles to adapt to his new guardianship. Chris and Sarah have all sorts of obstacles to overcome. His restaurant with a menu that is so traditional to the town, God forbid anyone change it up. Sarah, with an old boyfriend she's still debating on wedding. And my favorite character, her grandmother Elizabeth.

    It's a heartwarming contemporary romance. Not especially witty or snarky, but straightforward and solid. A good clean read with strong elements of faith.

    What could've been different? I thought it a bit strange a twenty-something would buy Grandma a landline phone. I would've just bought mine a cell phone and forgot the whole landline thing altogether. And the cds....yep....I would've just used the app on the cell phone to stream music. But those are forgivable inconsistencies and perhaps I'm just a whack job who thinks everything in life should be housed on my three inch by five inch cellular device. ;)

    What about you? Have you been to New Mexico? If yes, what did you love about it? If no, what do you think is one of its defining features from what you do know about NM?

    Leave an answer and an email addy to enter to win your copy. (USA only) Winners will be announced next Friday!

    Winner of Promise to Return, By Elizabeth Byler Younts, is Gail H.!


    _________________________________

    Jaime Wright - 

    Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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    Thursday, May 15, 2014

    Throwback Thursday - Register Cliff,



    Located just a short drive from Guernsey, Wyoming you will find a sandstone bluff covered in historic graffiti. My family and I made a trip there several years ago now, and it was so cool to see this evidence of travelers along the Oregon Trail. It made me wonder at the hundreds of stories, the thousands of people who had passed along that trail, leaving one life behind, reaching ahead to fulfill a dream. Were they exhausted? Were they still hopeful? Were they regretting their choice to strike out to cross the enormous continent and leave everything they'd known, families, homes, cities. Bravery, desperation, dreams, hopes. What motivated them to venture so far into the unknown


    One of my favorite inscriptions is by Wagon-master Tex Serpa, who led a wagon train past Register Cliff in 1859.

    Another popular inscription is that of G. O. Willard, formerly of Boston, who passed along the cliff in 1855. I have to wonder how the Bostonian was faring, having crossed the Great Plains, traversed hostile Indian country (and heading into more) with the mountains looming ahead.






    Register Cliff is a sandstone cliff and featured key navigational landmark prominently listed in the 19th century guidebooks about the Oregon Trail, and a place where many emigrants chiseled the names of their families on the soft stones of the cliff —it was one of the key checkpoint landmarks for parties heading west along the Platte River valley west of Fort John, Wyoming which allowed travelers to verify they were on the correct path up to South Pass and not moving into impassable mountain terrains—geographically, it is on the eastern ascent of the Continental divide leading upward out of the great plains in the east of the U.S. state of Wyoming. It is notable as a historic landmark for 'registering' hundreds of emigrants on the Oregon Trail (thus also the other northern Emigrant Trails that split off farther west such as the California Trail and Mormon Trail) who came to follow custom and inscribed their names on its rocks during the western migrations of the 19th century. An estimated 500,000 emigrants used these trails from 1843–1869, with up to one-tenth dying along the way, usually due to disease. Register Cliff is the easternmost of the three prominent emigrant "recording areas" located within Wyoming, the other two being Independence Rock and Names Hill.


    Have you ever been to Register Cliff? What would you like to inscribe to leave a record of your passage?