A Free Read for Your Week

We’re expecting snow in Denver tonight. You may think that’s not a remarkable occurrence in Denver at this time of year, and normally I’d agree with you.

But this winter has been unusually dry for us. We’ve had precious little rain or snowfall, here in Denver and up in the high country where ski resorts rely on fresh snowfall.

It’s such an unusual weather pattern for us; in fact, I’ve been doing my daily walks in 60 to 70 degree weather . . . in March! It’s a little crazy!

Tonight we’re expecting snow, and tomorrow I intend to enjoy all the things that naturally go with a wintry day. I’ve already promised myself that if I’m good and get all my chores done (that includes writing at least 500 words on my current work-in-progress), I get to do what I love to do most on a snow day:

Curl up on the couch with a good book.

Pinterest

Sounds good, right? I’ve already got my afternoon planned, and I know what I’ll need:

  • A soft blanket to cover my legs
  • A freshly brewed cup of cinnamon apple spice tea
  • A dog or two to cuddle with
  • A great read

Pinterest 02

And I’ve already selected the book I’m going to read: Promise of Peppermint by Valerie Comer.

Valerie is one of my favorite authors; I never miss her books. If you haven’t read any of Valerie’s novels, you’re in luck, because right now you can read Promise of Peppermint for free!

Free Read

All you have to do is click here or on the pink graphic above to go to Valerie’s website. Just sign-up for her monthly newsletter, and you’ll get a link to download Promise of Peppermint.

It’s a great way to read one of Valerie’s books for free and decide if she’s an author you’d like to read in the future. And if you decide her style of writing isn’t for you, just unsubscribe from the newsletter.

Easy-peasy.

I hope your Monday is a great one. Stay warm . . . and enjoy the book!

(P. S. I’m a fan of Valerie’s Christian romances, but I don’t know Valerie and I don’t get any compensation for recommending her books. I just like sharing my favorite authors and books with you.)

 

Happy 2018! And My WOTY

Hello, January 2018!

This post is a little belated because I have been down for the count with the flu. I’m talking eleven days of laying on the couch, doing absolutely nothing but bolstering the stock prices of companies that manufacture facial tissues and cough drops.

Today is the first day I’ve felt well enough to try to put words on my computer screen … which is oddly appropriate, given my blog topic today.

You see, I write a lot on a typical day. I have a dedicated writing time when I sit down at my keyboard and give full reign to the stories and novels that live in my imagination. I write thousands of words on a weekly basis.

Some of the stories I write are, in my opinion, pretty good. Some of the chapters in my novels are so-so compared to others. But regardless of the quality of the words I produce, I write every day.

There’s just one problem . . . None of the stories and novels I’ve worked on are finished.

None.

Stop Go signs

It’s weird, because I know I can write a complete novel. I did it a little over four years ago when I typed “The End” on the last page of Ask Me Again. Ask Me Again was a contemporary Christian romance set in Colorado (my favorite place!). It was the first book I ever wrote. Several friends, family members, and ladies from church read it and gave me positive feedback; so I went for it. I self-published it on Amazon to see what kind of reception it would get.

The book garnered five reviews; not a lot, but they’re all positive. I took those positive reviews as a good sign, and immediately started work on a new novel.

A new novel I never finished.

I can’t explain it. I don’t know why I started, but never finished, any any stories or novels since Ask Me Again was published. I don’t know why my brain gives up on writing as soon as a bit of dialog gets hard or a scene doesn’t work.

Speed Bump Ahead sign

It’s almost as if my usual determination flies out the window as soon as the story gets a little challenging. Instead of pushing through the difficulty, I find myself giving up, and turning my attention to a different story, hoping it will be easier to write, only to repeat the process again and again.

Go Back Wrong Way

In my heart and my head, I know there’s no magic way to write a book. Every plot will have its challenges. Every scene has the potential to go annoyingly off-track.

But if I ever want to be truly satisfied with writing my stories, I know I have to complete them.

So here’s my Word of the Year for 2018:

Finish.

In 2018 I vow to finish one of the many books or stories currently stored in the WIP folder on my computer. I vow to finish SOMETHING I started in my creative writing process.

Go the Extra Mile

I vow to push through and write those extra words when my brain is telling me it’s just easier to give up and move on to another project.

I vow to finish a book. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be publication-ready. It just has to have those magical words typed on the final page:

The End.

So that’s my goal for 2018. I have twelve months to get it done, and I think I can do it. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

Showing Off My Fan-Girl Side

Today’s post is something of a continuation of my last post, but not by design. I originally intended to write about an entirely different topic, but I got side-tracked.

First, I’ll make a confession: I love writers. Whenever I get a chance to meet one—and I’ve met a good number of writers at book signings and conferences over the years—I get pretty giddy. Giddy in the same way some people get when they meet a Hollywood celebrity.

In my defense, I have shelves full of books that have earned the “keeper” designation. These are books I read and loved; most of them I’ve re-read several times; all of them touched me emotionally or conveyed a story that was so powerful I instantly wanted to run out and buy the author’s next book. Which brings me to author Lisa Wingate.

I’ll confess I’m a big fan of Lisa Wingate’s books. I read her novel Word Gets Around about seven years ago and enjoyed it so much I’ve been buying her books ever since. I never miss a new Lisa Wingate novel.

 

Word Gets Around

So I was glad to learn there are other Lisa Wingate fans out there just like me.

Today’s post on the Inspy Romance blog is all about Lisa Wingate and her books. In the post Lisa reveals a few hints about the novel she just finished writing (think World War I era), and she shares a link to her Pinterest site . . . plus many more little gems about her books and writing process.

I hope you’ll you’ll head over to the Inspy Romance blog and check out her interview. Maybe you’ll become a Lisa Wingate Fan-girl, too!

 

The book I’ll read this weekend is . . .

Don’t you love it when you learn one of your favorite authors has a new book available?

Regina Scott is one of my favorite authors. I first began reading her historical romances at least fifteen (or more!) years ago.

Some of her stories are light-hearted and fun; some have an element of suspense. No matter the plot or premise, I can always count on an entertaining read.

So I was pleased to learn Harlequin Love Inspired has published her latest novel, His Frontier Christmas Family.

Cover_His Frontier Christmas Family

It’s book seven in Regina’s Frontier Bachelor series, but it’s a great book that stands alone … no need to read previous books in the series to enjoy this one.

Britt Reads Fiction (my go-to site for book reviews) just posted a five-star review of His Frontier Christmas Family, and I’ve already pegged it as the book I plan to cozy up with this weekend to help get me in the Christmas spirit. I’m so looking forward to reading it!

I have a few more Christmas-themed novels to read in the days leading up to Christmas, but Regina Scott’s books stand out for me as some of my favorite all-time reads.

How about you? Is there an author whose books you never fail to read and enjoy?

 

Short Stories by Grace Livingston Hill

If you’re a fan of Grace Livingston Hill, you may know a lot about her life and her books. I thought I did; and I thought I’d read all her books. For proof I have a good collection of her vintage hard-backs on my bookshelves at home.

But something I didn’t realize until recently was how much Grace wrote for magazines and newspapers.

For years she wrote a weekly newspaper column dedicated to the Christian Endeavor movement.

Evening Star Jul 11 1903
Grace’s byline in 1903. From her regular column in the Washington, D.C. newspaper, Evening Star.

She also wrote short stories and serialized books for a number of different magazines.

I came across a couple of those old magazine issues not too long ago; and once I began to read Grace’s short stories, I knew I had to find more. I’ve been on a mission to find her stories ever since.

It’s tough going. Magazines from about 1900 to 1910 (when Grace was at the height of her short-story production) are hard to find. And some of the magazines she wrote for went out of business  long ago—their records ending up who-knows-where.

But I’ve been faithfully searching for those old magazines and I’ve had some success.

And each time I find a new story by Grace Livingston Hill, I realize what a gem it is and I have to share it!

I’ve reproduced some of her short stories on the Isabella Alden blog. You can click on the images to read the stories for free:

Beginning at Jerusalem Cover

Hazel Cunninghams Denial

You can also find a collection of some of Grace’s early short stories in Faith and Love. It’s a compilation of stories by Grace and by her mother, Marcia Livingston. The book is available on Amazon.com. You can click on the link to learn more and read an excerpt.

Cover_Story Collection

I hope you enjoy reading these hard-to-find gems as much I did!

Taking Control of Clutter . . . Again

In my spare time (IS there such a thing???) this week I’ve been cleaning up the clutter in my garage.

I’ve done it before (actually, I’ve done it several times before) but the clutter keeps coming back. It starts out small. Usually, when I’m in a hurry, I will set something down on the workbench “just until I have time to put it away.”

Garage clutter
I take comfort in knowing my garage does not look quite this bad. Still, it’s bad enough.

Of course, I never get around to putting the item where it belongs. And since it looks so lonely out of place by itself, I end up putting other things with it, until I have a jumbled pile of items begging for a home. Even worse, I’ve lost track of what’s in the pile.

Is it any wonder I can’t find what I’m looking for?

I’ve read enough about this syndrome to know I’m not alone. Clutter is rampant in American garages just like mine.

Einstein Quote

And it’s rampant on American desks, too. Desks like mine.

This is another area where I can show my true colors as a Pile Person. I have piles for everything on my desk, and each pile is important. At least, I think they’re all important. But since I haven’t looked through any of the piles in months, I can’t be sure, because I don’t remember what’s in those piles.

Here’s an example. One pile consists of ten 3.25″ disks. They’re all clearly labeled, so I know they contain information I’m going to need someday. Although neither my PC nor laptop read 3.25″ disks, I still hang on to them, even though the documents they contain are lost forever because I can’t access them because I can’t read the disks. It’s a vicious cycle.

Messy Desk in my Head

I don’t know why I tend to collect things in piles. I will probably have to invest in a minimum of seven to ten therapy sessions to figure it out.

But I can say that when I get the urge to go through my clutter—as I did this week in the garage—and sort and organize and discard, I feel great!

Clutter Fairy

In fact, I felt so great I immediately rewarded myself with a bowl of ice cream and the words, “You deserve it.”  Maybe ice cream and the chance to strut around the house like a winner is sufficient encouragement to make me tackle all that clutter on my desk.

Or maybe not.