Books for 2021

Some people have one genre or a couple of authors that they love and that is all they read. Some folks only read non-fiction, others have certain genres that they will NOT read- never ever under any circumstances. Not me, I love reading and will read just about anything. Of course, I do have favorites in both genre and authors. I have read quite a few books this year- these are a few worth owning:

Non-fiction:

Beautiful Outlaw, Fathered by God, and Moving Mountains by John Eldredge

Without Rival by Lisa Bevere

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

Fiction

Naked in Death, here, by J.D. Robb

AND, of course,

Out of the Shadows and Compliments to the Chef by Holly K. Ross

Out of the Shadows and Compliments to the Chef book cover photo

Summer Reading

Summer is here! Time for books that make you laugh, cry ( just a little bit), and cheer when the good guys win and lovers get their happily ever after.

Check out The Pride of Galveston Series

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How To Compost On a Small Scale

Composting on a Small Scale

Spring flowers in a container garden fertilized with compost

We’ve talked about composting before, but compost is so vital to healthy plants and beautiful gardens that we are going to talk about it- again.

This time, however, we are going to talk about composting on a small scale.  Many of us in Galveston do not have a large yard, if any, so a large composting bin or pile will not work.  At my home on Winnie Street, there is no soil to dig in, it is all concrete.  So, I have container gardens and a container compost bin. So, if you find yourself in a small gardening situation or even an apartment, this method will work for you.

The average kitchen produces plenty of green matter for a compost pile.  Green matter is fresh vegetation that is high in nitrogen.  Fallen leaves and old newspaper or boxes provide plenty of brown matter.  If you are using paper or cardboard, the smaller you tear or shred it, the better.  The brown matter is dried vegetation that is high in carbon.

What I use for my container is a large plastic pot that housed an ornamental tree from the nursery.  When I first began the compost bin, I layered leaves 2-3 inches thick with kitchen scraps about 1 inch thick then topped with another layer of brown matter.  You want a lot more brown matter than green matter.  I wet this down and left it alone.  In a few days, I stirred it.  If it got dry, I watered it.  My pot does have a few holes in the bottom so that it drains.  Given time, the ingredients break down and look like black soil.

There are a lot of myths about compost.  If your compost smells, you are doing it wrong.  Add more dry brown matter to the pile to correct the smell.  Rodents are not attracted to a compost pile unless you are adding meat scraps or cooked food- which you shouldn’t do.

Regardless of the size of your garden, compost is essential. Feeding plants is crucial to their health, all soil can be depleted regardless of the type of gardening that you are doing. In a container, the soil can be depleted much faster than in a garden bed. So, adding compost is a great way to feed the soil in a container garden.

Composting also keeps garbage out of the landfills. By converting your kitchen scraps such as vegetable trimmings, coffee grounds, and egg shells into black gold for your flowers and plants, you are helping the environment in so many ways.

There are many other ways of composting, including vermicomposting, but a simple bucket and some old leaves will get it going. You can also turn your compost into the best liquid fertilizer- compost tea.

As I have created gardens and grown all manner of plants for over a decade, people always ask how I get the great results.

COMPOST is the answer.

Here are some of the results:

Do not spread the compost on the weeds.”

William Shakespeare- Hamlet

Compost does make things grow, but thankfully weeds detest fertile soil. So, the more compost you use the more fertile your soil and the less

weeds you will have. Beautiful!

Here are some common kitchen items that make GREAT compost:

  • eggshells
  • vegetable trimmings
  • coffee grounds
  • old coffee
  • old tea
  • newspaper
  • paper towels
  • tea bags
  • old lettuce from the drawer of your refrigerator
  • any old veggies from the drawer of your refrigerator
  • banana peelings
  • paper egg cartons

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Holly K. Ross, where happily ever after is a way of life. Writer on Galveston Island
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Grace and Parenting

Today was an ordinary day. I made Tony breakfast and once he headed off to work I went to my balcony. On my balcony I watch the activity of my little block. I love watching the different flowers bloom across the street, the neighbors walking with their toddler, the mourning dove moving from tree to tree. I also love writing in my prayer journal, reading my Bible and praying over my island, I love Galveston. And I love this morning routine that grounds me and sets my intentions for the day. Yoga is a new addition and the benefits have been so great that it is a permanent addition.

On days with a relaxed agenda, I get to read on my balcony.

Reading on the balcony, Galveston Texas, Pretty legs and flowers on Galveston Island

I, then, sit down to my desk. What comes next is anybody’s guest. Sometimes I get straight to work answering emails and sending docs wherever they need to go. Other days, I create social media content or write. Some days a very vibrant three year-old greets me and climbs up into my lap. This morning she didn’t. She fell back asleep in her bed after being up since 5:30 am.

As I watch Cheyenne and Savannah in this season of motherhood, that season where you don’t really ever feel rested and you answer the same question 452 times, I am amazed. I am amazed at the patience and grace they operate with and extend to their children. They are far more relaxed than I was with them. I was convinced that if I didn’t jump on every little hint of rebellion or misbehavior, they would grow into lewd women who dealt drugs and ran around with strange men- or something of the like. It seems so ridiculous now, but when you are raised with religion as your master and grace is unheard of, these are the things you think. Now, I know that there is no need to fear.

I did learn to relax as the years went by and I spoke of it often. I am so utterly grateful that they listened and God’s grace was and/is abundant. I have watched my girls mother with excellence, not perfection but who even wants perfection? They find joy in their children. I am so stinking proud of them I can’t hardly stand it.

Because of the job they are doing, I can simply enjoy my grandchildren. Tony and I can pick them up and take them anywhere. They are funny and happy and spunky. We laugh at their antics even if it wears us out. I mean, I had forgotten just how much energy it takes to raise children! I can rest knowing that we did a good job and now my children are doing a good job.

God’s grace covers the weak spots and He promised me He would show me his salvation. He also promised me that my children would be taught by the Lord and great would be their peace. I have walked through enough to know that He is faithful, if he made me a promise, He will keep it. I can laugh at the days to come because my God is with me and them.

And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Isaiah 54:13

He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.

Psalm 91: 15-16

I love my ordinary days. They are filled with life- which could be boring or monotonous but I choose to see the beauty and blessing that surrounds me everyday. I pray prayers of gratitude daily, how could I not? I am fully aware of just how blessed I am.

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Kind words are like honey, marriage, romance, love, happily ever after

Book Release! Compliments to the Chef is LIVE!

Compliments to the Chef is LIVE on Amazon- Action Romance Holly K. Ross Island Inspired Writer

Today is the DAY! Compliments to the Chef is live and available at Amazon. It is a Kindle book but you don’t have to own a kindle to read it. The Kindle App is free and will work on any device such as a phone, laptop, or tablet. Just download the app and you can search by my name, Holly K. Ross.

I love romance, a good love story, a good story, and a happy ending. This book is all of those things. The world is filled with angst and anxiety, my books are not. There is danger, but strong men and women face the danger, trust each other, and love wins. This is what makes a great story, a great love story, and the best kind of romance. Of course, every one gets a happily ever after.

As with most all my writing, it is island inspired. Regan LaRue is BOI (born on the island) in Galveston. She heads off to the University of Texas in Austin on a golf scholarship. She chose Austin because the city had the same vibe as Galveston along with great music and food- just like Galveston. She then passes on the MBA route for culinary school. Running her own business is her passion which leads her to cross paths with Chance Blakely- an easy going, pretty boy, lobbyist- at least that is what Regan thinks he is, and he is, but he is also more.

There are fireworks as his Alpha male ways clash with her fierce independent streak. With four older brothers and a father, she knows just how to handle an Alpha male. He blows it up more than once, but his comebacks are legendary.

Love wins and it is one fun ride.

It was tough wrapping up this book because I knew that I wouldn’t get to hang out with these people that I love every day. I know I sound weird, but if you hate for a book to end because you will miss the characters, trust me, the writer gets just as attached. But, I am so delighted to share them with you!

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So What Happens When You Write A Book?

So many things and, at the same time, not so much. Compliments to the Chef goes live on Friday and once I completed the editing and formatting there isn’t much to do. Except marketing- which is super important because if no one knows the book is out there, how can they buy it? But still, compared to the huge amount of work that went into writing 66 thousand words, it doesn’t feel like much.

Compliments to the Chef- Book #2 in The Pride of Galveston Series- action romance
https://www.amazon.com/Compliments-Chef-Millionaire-Pride-Galveston-ebook/dp/B08VGDHXX4/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=holly+k.+ross&qid=1620136321&sr=8-1 You can pre-order now!

Once Friday comes, I will stalk the reports page at Amazon for about a week by then I will be engrossed in the next WIP (work in progress) and I will only be checking the reports page about once per month.

Of course, the process for me is different because I am self-publishing and I am very NEW to the whole process. I know there are other platforms so research is on my list of things to do and I am working on learning how to go with the paperback. Honestly, but the time Hard Thunder, the second book in the Hard Company Security Series, is out- my process will be completely different.

The learning curve is actually part of the fun for me, I like challenges and I like learning new things. So, improving my process and my marketing are pieces of this business I actually like.

What I do NOT like is editing! As I mentioned, this book is 66,000 words- I have read these words at least twenty-five times. I think I have just about memorized the whole freaking book. I have an editor in my daughter and she is so great. She has read the book that many times, as well. It’s not even her favorite genre. As the business grows, I will hire a professional who does this for a living and Savannah will be very grateful.

You know what I learned through editing this book? I never spell the word caramel correctly- LIKE NEVER. Spell check catches it every time. It just did when I typed it out in the previous sentence. So, its always a learning process and that is a good thing.

In a nutshell, here is how it goes:

  • Write the Rough Draft
  • Re-write
  • Re-write
  • Edit
  • Edit
  • Edit
  • Edit
  • Edit
  • Promote
  • Publish
  • Promote

It’s very simple, and yet it is not.

I have heard some say that writers hide behind the pen. This is such a lie. Writing reveals who the writer is, what they dream of, what they love, how their mind works- a writer is very exposed when they publish their work. That is what makes it hard to hit the publish button or the submit button if you are submitting it to an agent or publishing house.

I love this process. I love writing. I enjoy writing my books as much as I enjoy reading books- this surprised me. I will keep writing my happy books with happy endings and I hope you enjoy reading them!

When you do read them, please leave a review on my website, Amazon, or Goodreads- even better, leave a review at all three. Even if it is just once sentence.

I write the characters I love meeting in real life. They are never boring.

just don’t be an idiot. if her love was tough to win, i assure you her forgiveness is harder

JmStorm

Chance had to learn this the hard way. Love wins, but the fireworks along the way are spectacular!

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Write about what interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things
and nothing

My Biggest Fan- Restoring Home

Who’s your biggest fan?

Do you know who mine is? My husband.

He is my biggest fan and relentless supporter and I am his.

For me, being his biggest fan is easy. Tony is Mr. Steady, he rarely finds himself in a bad mood and his continual optimism is inspiring.

Me? I am a hot mess most of the time. And yet, he focusses on my strengths and praises me. He is convinced there is not a better writer, mother, wife on the planet.

You should be your spouse's biggest fan. Restoring Home, Marriage, and Love
st f

This means the WORLD to me. I struggled this past weekend. I had a writing deadline (which I met) and this had me in a funk. Not because I was behind and there was too much pressure. I thrive under pressure, I was struggling because of the onslaught of self-doubt that comes every time I meet a goal and whenever my work is about to be published. I get sideways and have a hard time picking up a pen or typing a sentence. This sort of behavior in its various forms has been present my whole adult life.

But, does my husband roll his eyes or tell me to get over it?

No, he tells me how brilliant I am. He focuses on my strengths and loves me through it. He accepts me the way I am and pushes me to believe in myself and to keep pursuing my goals and dreams.

I pray to God, that I am the same for him.

This world is nasty and mean, we have an enemy whose ONLY purpose and goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. Our home should be the safe harbor in the storm. Everyone in your home should feel safe, loved, and encouraged.

So, be your spouse’s biggest fan and relentless supporter.

If you are sitting there thinking that there is nothing to praise or support- you aren’t looking hard enough.

If you both go at each other like you are each other’s worst enemy- go get help. You are destroying your marriage and your kids. Grow up, stop seeking the drama and get help with breaking the dysfunctional cycle.

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. 21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 18:20-21

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12:18-19

We have the power to build a happy marriage, well-adjusted kids, and a happily ever after and that power is in the words we use.

We have the power to wreck our marriage, destroy our kids, and trash our happily ever after and that power is in the words we use.

Watch your mouth!

Watch Your Mouth! Be careful with your words in your marriage. Speak kindly to your husband, wife. Holly K. Ross
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Kind words are like honey, marriage, romance, love, happily ever after
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Where to Eat in Galveston- Koop’s BBQ Kitchen and Catering

Wow, this place is so freaking good and so far from “normal”! Yes, they serve mouthwatering BBQ but that is just the beginning. But whatever they are throwing down, I am picking up- and then stuffing in my mouth.

Hamburger from Koop's BBQ Kitchen & Catering. Great food in Galveston TX, Holly K. Ross. Galveston Island
Cheeseburger from Koop’s BBQ Kitchen & Catering. Great food in Galveston TX,

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

Harriet Van Horne

You can tell that the folks at Koop’s love this food they serve! Everything is made from scratch and you can’t beat the flavors. Not only will you have a huge selection of BBQ in various forms such as tacos, lasagna, sandwiches and more, but on certain days you can find crab and shrimp mac & cheese, chicken spaghetti, and whatever else comes out of the creative minds and talented cooks at Koop’s.

There are two things you need to know:

#1- If you are offered Bacon Jam- say YES!

#2- Come early because they sell out fast- EVERYDAY

Seriously, they do sell out of the day’s specials but they do allow you to call ahead. The best way to keep up with what is available for the day is to follow them on Facebook.

These folks are fun and they make great food. You can beat the local food scene and Koop’s is definitely a star on the island.

Koop’s is closed on Sundays and Mondays, and open from 11:00 am to 4:00pm Tuesday- Saturday. You won’t be disappointed when you put this local eatery on your list.

As I said, you can call ahead and place your order. The only thing better than their BBQ is eating it on the beach which is just a few blocks away.

Koop’s BBQ Kitchen & Catering- 409-539-0059, 1110 Tremont, Galveston, TX 77550

For more good eats in Galveston, go to Texas Travels.

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A Sneak Peak- Compliments to the Chef

As she rolled the last crate in, she shucked out of her black chef’s coat. Hopping out in just her skinny black jeans and black tank, she turned to shut the doors.

“Need any help?” came a deep sexy voice.

Regan screamed, jumped and reached for her gun strapped to the small of her back.  Before she completed the draw, her brain registered that the voice belonged to the very handsome lobbyist.

“You!  Don’t you know better than to surprise someone like that?” she said as she fought to regain her composure.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“Can I help you?” asked Regan in a tone that didn’t really sound all that helpful or sweet.

“You can have drinks with me tonight.” he said with a smile that had the same effect on Regan as a hot biscuit has on butter.

Even while melting, her tone was icy, “ I don’t even know your name but it doesn’t matter because I don’t date lobbyists.”

He grinned even bigger, “My name is Chance Blakely.  How did you know I am a lobbyist if you didn’t know who I am?”

Chance Blakely, Regan didn’t know him, but she did know of him.  He was not only a lobbyist but a heavy hitter in Austin.  Anyone involved in Texas politics knew who he was.

“For three years, I have served dinner to the who’s who in Austin.  It doesn’t take long to learn to recognize a lobbyist.”

“You say lobbyist like it’s a bad thing.” he said.

Good gracious, thought Regan, that grin.  Ignoring her girl parts, her brain continued,  “Anyone who advocates for a cause because of how much they are being paid, isn’t not someone who has any core values.”

“So, you are judging me because of my profession without even knowing me.”

“Yeah.”

“Wow, you don’t even feel bad about it.  Just one date, that’s all I ask.  Let’s see if you still don’t like me after one date.”  He was pushing but not in a way that was offensive.  He was smooth as silk, charismatic and not one bit ruffled by Regan’s tone or her words.

“I am not sure what part of ‘no’ you aren’t comprehending.  I would ask if you were always this dense but given the ring on your finger, I already know the answer.” said Regan as she nodded towards the college ring on his hand.

Chance glanced at his hand and looked up surprised.  “Let me guess, you are a Longhorn.”

“Hook ‘em”, Regan made the Longhorn sign of her Alma Mater, University of Texas. “See, we were destined to fail. You’re an Aggie and I’m a Longhorn.  So, we’ll just leave it alone. You go back to your lovely date and I’ll go on with my life.”

“She’s not my date.  No, I don’t think I’ll leave it alone.  How about breakfast?”

Regan couldn’t help but chuckle, he was so charming.

“No.” she said and stepped towards the door.

He moved and cut her off.  Her whole body reacted to his close presence.  He stood a great deal taller than her.  If her gaze were level, she would be looking at the button in the middle of what appeared to be some very defined pectoral muscles.  She had a thing for broad chests.

“Do I look like a serial killer to you?”

“No, what you look like is a heartache looking for a place to happen.  Now, are you going to move aside or am I going to have to pull my sidearm?  Please understand, I was raised knowing that you only pointed a gun if you intended to fire it.”

“No need to go there.  I’ll see you around.” He was still grinning like she was the most fun he had had in a long time.

“No, you won’t.  Have a nice night.” Said Regan as she headed in the staff entrance.

The Pride of Galveston Series, Romance, Love Story, Book, Happily Ever After by Holly K. Ross
Romance

If you think you fall in love with characters as a reader, imagine how the writer feels! I love Chance Blakely and Regan LaRue. Once again, the hero has his hands full with a smart-mouthed Texan- and this one even had a Cajun granny.

You get to Meet them May 7th! You can pre-order now or sign up for this newsletter and get notified when the book goes live.

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