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What I Know about Life

18 Aug

So, I’m feeling melancholy today with all the back to school craziness, and this post doesn’t have anything at all to do with writing or my books.  It has to do with life.  And how it passes with increasing speed each year.

One of my favorite quotes is from Robert Frost:  “In three words, I can sum up everything I know about life:  It goes on.”   How true is that?   Loved ones die?  Life goes on.  Disaster?  Heartache?   Life goes on.

But I think sometimes we forget that on a daily basis…. as we scramble to get up at 6am and get our kids ready for school on time, as we scurry to pick them up and shuttle them to practices and rehearsals and games.   Life goes on, every second— and every second is one you’ll never get back.

My daughter Bella started middle school this year.  Middle School!!!  A minute ago, she was two years old and my shadow.  She wanted to be with me all the time, and was the sweetest thing in the world. I called her Ellie-Bellie and she was scared of monsters under her bed.  And now.  Middle school.   She doesn’t want to hold my hand anymore or let me do her hair.  (But she’s still scared of monsters under her bed…)

Then:

Ella on slide2003

Now:

Elle on way to school, 6th grade

My son Tristan is 16.  When he was born, he was 6 lbs and 20 inches long.  Now, he’s 6’3″ and 210 lbs.  And he’s not done growing.  I used to call him Tristie, and he collected bugs in his little bug box and liked to feed the ducks.  He was also scared of monsters, so my husband used to search them out before bed with his cell phone as his “monster detector.”  Now, Tristan is a Tight End on his football team and is stronger than I ever thought about being.  Seriously.  He can easily beat me arm wrestling with one hand, while I use two.  He’s no longer scared of monsters.  In fact, when we watch horror movies, he laughs while I look at the screen through my fingers.

He’s funny- and makes me laugh on a daily basis… and I’m always wondering… when the heck did he grow up so much?

Tristan (and me) then:

Mom and Tristan reading book

Now:

Tristan sailing

OMG, I love my kids.  I love all the stages, even the moody ones.  I love how they change every day.  I love looking at my daughter and seeing how pretty and smart she is, and thinking, OMG, I MADE that.   And looking UP at my son, and watching how strong and fast and funny he is, and thinking I MADE that.  It’s a miracle and a blessing and they’re mine.

But life goes on.

And every day that passes is one closer to the day that they’ll each leave my house.  They’ll go to college where instead of eating food cooked by me, food that I know is organic and nutritious, and they’ll grab trays and eat in a cafeteria or pop popcorn in their dorm microwave.  They’ll do things everyday that I won’t be there to hear about, except for over the phone.

Sometimes it makes me sad and panicky, but above all, it makes me proud.  I’m growing them up to be strong and proud and independent.  And while they’re mine, they’re also the world’s, and I have full confidence that they will CHANGE the world.  I don’t know what they’ll grow up to be.  A brain surgeon?  A Navy Seal?  An Ambassador?

All I know is…. I’m doing my best to raise them right.  To teach them right from wrong.  To teach them to cook, and sew on a button, and stand up for themselves and be graceful and kind.  And because of these things, they’ll grow up to change the world in some way.  They’ll grow up to change THEIR world.  I’m doing my best to team them not to let the world change THEM.

Gah.  It makes my throat tighten up and my eyes water, and I’m not a crier.  But our kids have that power over us.  They truly are our hearts walking around outside of our bodies.  And that’s fine.  Someone’s gotta have my heart– it might as well be them.

My point here is…. we need to remember, in the middle of all of these busy, loud, giggling, hectic, chaotic days…. that life goes on.  We’ve got to cherish each day… when we’re picking up their dirty clothes for the millionth time, or struggling to hear a phone call with them yelling in the background, or breaking your favorite vase during a rowdy game of indoor football, or muddy prints across your clean floor, or “Hey mom, I need six styrofoam cones for school tomorrow” when it’s 11pm the night before.  During all of this, remember that life goes on.

So we meed to embrace today, and love it while it’s here.  And don’t blink.  If you do, you’ll miss something.

T carrying Elle

T and Elle Sears Tower Skydeck

Merry Christmas from me… and Pax Tate!

25 Dec

Merry Christmas!

I sit here in my office, staring at my laptop as my children play with their new gadgets and my husband has holed himself up to watch his new Star Wars box set.  I thought it would be a perfect time to wish you a happy holiday!

This year has brought me so many blessings.  I can’t begin to count them all, but please know that YOU are among them.   You have read my work, supported me, encouraged me, written me notes, tweeted me, Facebooked me…. your support and encouragement has been incredible and I am thankful for you every minute.

If you didn’t see it already, I wrote a little short story featuring Pax.  One of the questions that I am asked the most frequently is… “When will we see Pax again??”

I don’t know if he will ever get another book.  I haven’t decided yet.  Half of me wants to leave his happy ending the way it was.  But the other half of me misses him (and Mila!) so much that I’m tempted to re-open his story.  Hmmm.  We’ll see.

What do YOU think?  Would you like for Pax’s HEA to stay perfect?  Or would you like to read more about him?

For now though, if you want a little Christmas glimpse of him, you can find his short story HERE on Autumn Review.  :)

I’m going to be taking the next week or so off of social media.  I’ll be spending time with my family and writing a bit, so you won’t hear from me much. But I do want you to know that I wish you the very best for 2014.  I hope you have a fabulous holiday and that you enjoy every second with your families.  Hug them tight and count your blessings.  That’s part of what this holiday is all about.

I’ll see you next year, folks!  :)

A Christmas Giveaway and My reorganized release schedule

27 Nov

Happy Tuesday! :)

So, I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be doing a Christmas giveaway of some sort in December. I’m still thinking about the details. I’m thinking maybe a twelve hotties of Christmas or something. I’m thinking that 12 hot characters from my books will give away a prize on the 12 days of Christmas. Not sure on the details, but it will definitely be something. And I’ll definitely announce the details here on my blog soon. Just as soon as I come up with them. :)

Also, my release schedule has changed a bit. Because my muse is a fickle, fickle thing, I’ve been working on an entirely new project. It will release next. I’ll announce details as I have them. It’s a raw, visceral project that I really hope you love.

After that, this winter, the second Cougar Chronicles will be released, but also the finale of The Moonstone Saga. I’ve had tons of questions about that final book, so we’ve pushed it up on the release schedule. It’s coming soon folks– this winter. :)

That means that the second book in the Minaldi Legacy will be pushed back until early spring. But it’s coming, too. No worries!

So, I just wanted to keep you guys apprised of my schedule. Oh– one more thing, while I’m thinking of it. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I just want to mention it again. The sequel to Princess has been indefinitely put on hold. It may or may not get written and released. I have it all planned, but I’m not sure when it will ever come to pass.

That about wraps it up with my announcements. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and that you are looking forward to Christmas as much as I am! :)

HUGE YA Book Sale for Black Friday!

23 Nov

Tired of the malls and the stores? Looking for gifts without breaking the bank? How about 20 Young Adult books each priced at 99 cents now through Monday on Amazon? Buy some books for yourself. Gift books for others. Books are still the biggest entertainment bang for the buck, and there’s SO many great titles to choose from.

Like romance, adventure, humor, or contemporary? How about Sci-fi, fantasy, or mythology? We’ve got you covered!

Asylum by K.A. Tucker

Awaken by Sarah M. Ross

The Book of Lost Souls by Michelle Muto

The Childe by C.A. Kunz

Dead Heat by Lisa Nowak

Echo of an Earth Angel by Sarah M. Ross

Fairy Metal Thunder by J.L. Bryan

Forever Me by Thomas Amo

Here by Ella James

How to Date an Alien by Magan Vernon

Inheritance by Willow Cross

Masquerade by Cambria Hebert

Natural Selection by Elizabeth Sharp

Perception by Lee Strauss

Prey & Magic (Book 5 of the Blood & Snow Series) by RasShelle Workman

Soul Kissed by Courtney Cole

Soul Quest (Book 1 of the Soul Quest Trilogy) by Amy Mauer Jones

Transfer Student by Laura Elliott

The Truth About Faking by Leigh Talbert

Whisper – Heather Hildenbrand


Utter Randomness: The Best Iced Coffee Recipe- EVER

6 May

Happy Sunday!!

I’m supposed to be writing right now… while my house is serene and quiet (because all of the monsters are still asleep.  My daughter used to take offense at being referred to as a monster, but she’s gotten used to it….) but I felt the need to share this recipe with you first.  Because it’s awesome.

So, I love iced coffee.  LOVE it.   And while cruising around on Pinterest the other day wasting time, when again I should have been writing, I came across a link to this iced coffee recipe.  After I read the blog entry, I was surprised to learn that I’ve been doing it all wrong this whole time!

You aren’t supposed to brew hot coffee and refrigerate it– you are supposed to COLD-BREW the coffee with a LOT more coffee than you normally would use.   At first, I was a little skeptical and I thought, ‘Is this really going to make enough of a difference to warrant the extra work?”

Um, the answer is YES.  Yes, it is just that delicious.  And honestly, it’s not extra work.  It’s easy.

You can find step-by-step instructions here on The Pioneer Woman’s blog (which I just subscribed to.  If she can totally change my life with this iced coffee recipe, who knows what other magical tidbits she’ll have up her sleeve?  Well, I for one, want to find out!)

But.  The gist is:  You dump an entire bag of your favorite ground coffee into a huge bowl.  Fill with a gallon of water and cover overnight.  In the morning, line a strainer with either cheesecloth or coffee filters.  (I used the filters because I don’t have any cheesecloth).  Dump the coffee mixture through the strainer into a clean container.  I did this process twice to make sure that I got all of the grounds out.  Then, pour it into a pitcher.  It can stay in the fridge that way for a month or so.

The Pioneer Woman lists a recipe of condensed milk to use in the coffee, but I haven’t tried that yet.  For me, I fill my glass with ice, fill it 3/4 full with the coffee, use 4 packs Splenda, then dump Sweet Italian Cream creamer into it.  OMGosh.  It’s the best iced coffee I’ve ever had.   My husband didn’t believe me that it was so much better than normal, so he took a dubious sip of mine- and I swear to you.  His eyes glazed over and he practically ran to the fridge to make his own.  Seriously.  It’s good.

So good that I wanted to share it with you.  :)  Since I start my morning every day in the Spring, Summer and Fall with iced coffee (I usually drink hot coffee when it’s snowy), this recipe has seriously changed my mornings.   Thank you, Pioneer Woman!

Okay.  Enough of my random musings.  I’ve gotta get to writing while I still have peace and quiet around here.  Have a great Sunday everyone!

Sealed With a Kiss!

8 Feb

Since it is so close to Valentine’s Day, a group of the Paranormal Plumes and I decided to take turns writing about our first kiss… or the first one that really mattered, anyway.

Obviously, the first one that counts for me anymore is my first kiss with my husband…so I figured I’d share that with you. It’s not a super-exciting story, but it’s mine.  :)

I was introduced to my husband by a mutual friend after I moved to Indiana from Kansas.  Before we ever met face to face, he and I  emailed back and forth for a good two months.  I think I fell in love with his sense of humor long before I even saw his face.  For me, a great sense of humor is absolutely essential-the most important thing.  I love to laugh.

The night that I met him, we decided to have dinner.  I told him what I would be wearing and he told me the same.  We met at the restaurant and sat and talked for hours…instantly clicking.  He was tall, handsome and I loved his smile.  When it was time to go home, he walked me to my car.

But he didn’t kiss me.   In fact, he didn’t even ask me for my phone number!  I was totally astounded since I thought the date had been awesome.

Puzzled, I asked him, “Do you want my number?”   He very hurriedly took it- cramming the number into his phone as fast as he could.  I couldn’t figure it out- because like I said, I totally thought we had had an awesome time.  (I learned later that it was because he had a horribly upset stomach- and he didn’t want to be sick all over me.  Nice!)

So we didn’t kiss that night. But he did email me the next day to tell me what a great time he’d had and asked, “When do I get to see you again?”  I thought it was a sweet question and we got together the next weekend.

We went to eat at a great local Mexican place and then went back to his apartment for a movie.  He sat on his end of the couch and I sat on mine, never touching… and the entire time I was thinking… what is the deal here?  We were hitting it off perfectly, we were clearly attracted to each other.  Why is this guy not making a move?  Am I misreading this?  Am I a total idiot and can no longer speak a fluent dating language?

After the movie ended (and to this day, I can’t even tell you what it was), I got up to leave.  He started joking about something… something about hearing voices.  I laughed and asked him what the voices were telling him.  And he said, “They want me to kiss you.”

So he did.  And it was amazing.  He was absolutely, without a doubt, the best kisser ever.  Hands down, end of story.   I apologize to the other guys in the world who I have kissed… truly.  But my husband has that one won.

Anyway.  Here we are, over a decade later, and I still think that is true.  My husband is the best kisser in the world and he is still making me laugh.

Happy early Valentine’s Day, everyone!

It’s my friend Nichole Chase’s turn to dish about her first kiss tomorrow.  Check her out!

Why Do We Love Vampires Soooo Much?

16 Jan

I was thinking about this on the way to the grocery store earlier.  (I know… random thoughts by Courtney Cole…)

What was I thinking of, you might ask?       Oh, this…this…. and this.  :)

      

Why do we have such a love affair with vampires?  In theory, we should be disgusted.  Cold, dead vampire skin should be repulsive… and let’s not even think about the…um, private vampire parts… which would/should be cold and dead, too.  Eew.

But these guys don’t look cold and dead, do they?

Sigh.  Man, is Eric like the hottest thing on the face of the planet or what?  And I don’t usually even go for blondes.  And therein, I rest my point.   There’s something so inordinately sexy and romantic about the fact that vampires are immortal.  The sheer thought that they have been around for hundreds of years, gleaning experience as they go… is just tantalizing.  They are forbidden, mythical, magical.  Total sexiness.

And because the thought is so sexy, we tend to gloss over what the physical reality would be.  Drinking blood?  Eew.   Sleeping Underground like in Trueblood?  Eew.   Never being able to go out in sunlight?   No thanks.   Cold, creepy vampire skin?  Eew.

But the romantic thoughts in my head… well, they don’t include any of those icky things.  In my head, they are warm, vibrant and real.  And very, very romantic.   Of course, in my head, I alter quite a lot of reality.  For instance, in my head, Taylor Lautner is a bit taller and is 29.  :)  But we won’t go there.

I was thinking about this fascination with vampires because I was thinking about my new book, Soul Kissed.  I had always said that I wouldn’t write a vampire book- not because I didn’t like them, but because there is already so much good vampire stuff out there. The market doesn’t need my take on the subject.    And Soul Kissed toes that vampire border, but doesn’t exactly cross it.

The main character Em, is the daughter of the goddess of witchcraft and she’s been cursed as a soul-sucking blood-drinker. But she’s not a vampire.   Really. She’s not- just ask her.   And her love interest may or may not end up being immortal- but he’s definitely not a vampire and he’s certainly not dead.  He’s warm and vibrant- the total opposite of a vampire.  I hope you find him as sexy as I do.   (Yes, Brennan actually exists in my mind.  Hey, my mind is a very colorful place…)

Anyway, Soul Kissed is available now on Amazon here.  And if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow it for free.  :)

Anyway, this ends my totally random and pointless musings about why vampires are so sexy.    If you’d like to chime in the comments section about why YOU think vampires are sexy, feel free.  I’m curious about what other people’s thoughts are on this subject.  :)

Have a great day, everyone!

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