One Full Week- A Marine for Christmas

So, it has been one full week since I released A Marine For Christmas, and I have been amazed!

Thank you for all of your support! I am grateful for everyone who bought the book or downloaded it in Kindle Unlimited. I am also grateful for everyone who gave it a rating or left a review.

It made the decision to self-publish the rest of my books easy. I had fun, I am still learning a LOT, and I am excited. The thing that is probably the most appealing is the freedom to write what I want, how I want to and then control when it is available. For those that know me, this is not a surprise!

If you haven’t read the book, you can get it here: Amazon

If you have the book, please rate it or leave a review. Also, if you could take a moment and like the NICE reviews I would be so grateful!

You can find me and my books on Goodreads, a review here would also be greatly appreciated. Follow me (this is different than being my friend) and you will get notices when I have a new book available.

Also, if you join the newsletter over there in the sidebar, you will get notices of new books and exclusive content.

I can’t say it ENOUGH- Thank you!

Out of the Shadows will be released in January and a cover reveal this week!

This One Thing That Will Bring Peace to Your Marriage

Grace.

That is the one element that will make your marriage better. Grace will make any relationship you have better- including the relationship you have with yourself.

What is Grace exactly?

grace

Definition of grace

 (Entry 1 of 2)1a: unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification

b: a virtue coming from God

c: a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance

2a: APPROVALFAVOR stayed in his good graces

b archaic MERCYPARDON

c: a special favor PRIVILEGEeach in his place, by right, not grace, shall rule his heritage— Rudyard Kipling

d: disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency

e: a temporary exemption : REPRIEVE

3a: a charming or attractive trait or characteristic Among disagreeable qualities he possessed the saving grace of humor.

b: a pleasing appearance or effect CHARMall the grace of youth— John Buchan

c: ease and suppleness of movement or bearing danced with such grace

grace verb gracedgracing

Definition of grace (Entry 2 of 2)

1: to confer dignity or honor on The king graced him with the rank of a knight.

2: ADORNEMBELLISH graveled walks graced with statues— J. A. Michener

There is a lot to this one word, but I think the part that applies the most to marriage is “disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency“. Frequently, we demand more from those we live with, especially our spouse. We let our anger show, our impatience colors our words, and we keep a long list of flaws and mistakes. But, what would our marriage look like if we responded with grace instead of “justice” or harshness?

I think sometimes, especially for women, we think it is our duty or job to fix everyone around us. The world tells us that we do that by pointing our every flaw and demanding perfection. That isn’t how God does it. He offers GRACE every second of every day. If we are in a new season, he offers grace. If we are struggling, he offers grace. If we are learning a new way of being or doing, he offers grace.

Grace is key to living at peace.

My therapist once asked me what I wanted to remember in January when I thought about the holidays.

Peace- Joy- Reverence-Laughter- Ease

But most of all, in every season of my life, I want peace.

You need grace to have peace. You can’t be at peace with yourself if you don’t extend grace to yourself. You can’t live at peace with others if you don’t extend grace to others. There is a time for calling someone on their sh*&$. But those times are NOT everyday and not in every moment. Plus, if you are constantly busting someone over every flaw and mistake, they are not listening to you. However, if you deal grace like a drug dealer deals meth, people will listen when you come to them out of love and talk with them about a problem or pattern that needs attention.

GRACE should be thrown around like confetti on New Year’s Eve. Give it freely because God has certainly given it freely to you.

I also looked up antonyms for Grace:

Bitterness. Disapproval. Hostility. Unforgiveness.

Wow, sometimes you can learn more by looking at what something is not than what it is.

Jesus is our Prince of Peace. How fitting that His Father is a God of Grace.

Gratin Dauphinois- The Best Potatoes!

Food is essential to romance. Regardless of where the food comes from- a fancy restaurant, a cool dinner, or from home. The old saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” has a lot of truth to it. I don’t know many women who are impervious to a man who cooks for her- or at least brings her tacos.

In A Marine for Christmas, Lucas is no different. Dixie blows his mind with Gratin Dauphinois and Beef Carbonnade. What good love story doesn’t have good food? I love cooking, I love growing food, and I love serving that food to those I love. So, my characters do as well. I hope you enjoy the recipe I have included for you!

You could call these scalloped potatoes, but Gratin Dauphinois has so much more flair!  It is hard to go wrong with potatoes, they are a humble food from the earth that need only a little dressing up.  You will be hard pressed to find a menu that can’t be complimented with a potato dish.  With the potatoes cooked in the oven with milk/cream, butter and a little garlic, the simplicity is deceptive.  This taste is subtle but engaging, the texture is smooth, and the experience is wonderful.

This dish complimented the Beef Carbonnade the family greatly enjoyed at our Christmas Dinner.  There was not a bit left after dinner, always a compliment to the cook!  Unless of course there is none left because the cook did a poor job of planning for her guests, but that was not the case- this time.

The humble potato!

Gratin Dauphinois

3 pounds of boiling potatoes– peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick (the food processor works great for this)

1 cup of whole milk – I like to mix 3/4 cup whole milk with 1/4 cup cream- adds to the richness and wonderful texture.

1 clove garlic– pressed and spread on bottom of a buttered flame proof baking dish- I prefer a deep dish 9 inch cast iron skillet

3 tablespoons of butter plus more for greasing the bottom of the dish.

Once you have buttered the cast iron skillet and spread the pressed garlic, place the potatoes in the skillet spreading in layers.

Season the milk with salt and pepper, pour over potatoes.  Add more cream until the milk is 3/4 of the way up.  Place on burner and heat just to a simmer- this is a very important step so that the liquid and potatoes come together in the oven.

Distribute 3 tablespoons of butter (real butter, not margarine) on top of potatoes.

Bake in a 425′ oven for about 25 minutes- until the liquid is absorbed and the potatoes are tender.

Serve and be happy!  That is some flat out good food!  Great food does not have to be complicated to be wonderful.

Release Day! A Marine for Christmas is LIVE!

Today is the day!

You can find the book on Amazon

This is my first fiction book to self-publish and I am excited to see how this goes.

All Dixie ever wanted was a home in the country with a family of her own. That dream was shattered when her husband left the day after he graduated medical school with his new plastic surgeon.

Four years later she is highly successful with her own business, but her heart still longs for what it wanted most.

Lucas Hardwick is ready for a change. On a recommendation from a friend, he finds himself in LaRue, Texas looking for the right property to relocate his security firm. He knows exactly what he is looking for in a property. His heart, however, is looking for something more.

Dixie is stunned when she is attacked on a quiet sidewalk in her sleepy little town. When she meets the eyes of her rescuer, Dixie finds herself looking into the eyes of the first man in four years who tempts her heart to dream again.

Will this Christmas make dreams come true or will the attacks on Dixie’s life succeed?

My Leading Man

Every writer has to have an inspiration, a muse, or archetype from which they draw. Because I am an incurable romantic, I write romance. In real life, I WANT everyone to get that happily ever after.

When it comes to the leading man in a story- regardless of the genre- I am only drawn to an Alpha male. I have absolutely no use for anything less. Power is a tricky thing, but one thing that it always is is attractive. I truly believe that is the appeal of a uniform, it represents power and strength.

Now, here is where we get into arguments. So many assume that an Alpha male is a bully, a brute, or abusive. Many book reviews I have read stated that they did not like the male lead characters because they were Alphas and Alphas were toxic. Here is where they are wrong. A true Alpha is a leader, a protector, a warrior, and a good guy. I wouldn’t follow anything less and I wouldn’t trust my future to anything less. This also means, that I wouldn’t write anything less.

Those men that are bullies, brutes, and abusive are actually weak men who act out loudly. They don’t have what it takes to lead and let others around them succeed so they beat them down either emotionally, physically, mentally or all of these above. This is not strength. A fearful man is just as dangerous. A man who shrinks back in fear cannot be trusted to protect or fight for what is important.

I have had the pleasure of being married to an Alpha male for nearly 30 years. When we met, I had a lot of unhealed wounds. He was the safe place for me to heal. He loved me as I was, took my anger (even when he wasn’t the reason I was angry), let me be myself without criticizing who I was. He even took the physical punches I threw, but not for long because he wouldn’t tolerate abusive behaviors. He never raised a hand to me but he scared me good and I never hit him again. That is what an Alpha looks like.

I have also raised an Alpha male. I have seen how the heart of a warrior develops by watching it emerge early on and seeing what it looks like through each stage. My son has a very different personality from my husband, but their hearts are the same.

There is a misconception that Alpha males don’t feel deeply or get attached. This is so wrong. They do feel deeply. They are loyal. They are driven. They love deeply, so deeply that they would sacrifice their own safety or life in order to protect what is theirs and who they love. I have watched Tony do whatever was necessary to ensure that our children had what they needed and I have never had to wonder if I was loved.

Because of their strength of character, they aren’t afraid to get physical. Both my husband and my son will settle an argument with their fists- if it’s needed. However, it is rarely needed. I feel safe knowing that if anything went down, my husband will take care of me. Honestly, I could be as wrong and wrong could be and Tony would defend me. We might have a serious talk when we got home, but he will have my back no matter what.

So, it is easy to see where I get my inspiration for the leading men I write. In each and every one of them, there is a piece of Tony Ross. The characters have different personalities, but that warrior heart is the same. My characters talk a lot more than my husband, so much of what he says is in what he doesn’t say.

He also isn’t very reactive. This is a good thing because I am VERY reactive. But in a good story, people need to react. So, I write scenes that would cause Tony to react. This means that the love interests gets physically attacked or threatened, and/or quite often shot at- but nobody dies because in my world everyone gets the happily ever after.

Everyman needs a battle to fight and beauty to rescue- these are the men I write. I simply write him again and again and thank God that every night I sleep next to Tony Ross.

Don’t let that easy going smile and quiet personality fool you, mess with me or one of his children and he will rain down hell.

I adore him.

A Marine For Christmas- Cover Reveal

As I promised, this is the over reveal!

Well, sort of-

I have two covers and you get to vote on your favorite!

#1

#2

Leave your choice in the comments!

A Christmas Novella Coming Soon

As you already know, I have been exploring the possibility of self-publishing. As I weighed the pros and cons and read many articles on the subject, I thought how it would be nice if I had a book to experiment with before I pulled the trigger on my novel, Out of the Shadows.

About three weeks ago I woke up with a story idea playing in my head. I thought, “What if I wrote a Christmas Novella and had it drop December 1 on Amazon.”

I liked the idea! If you don’t know, generally a novella is between 17,000 and 40,000 words. I did the math and knew if I averaged 2000 words per day, I could be done in 10 days.

Looking pleased with myself.

So, I sat down and began to write. 14,000 words in, the computer ate 10,000 words. I almost despaired. But, I wanted to meet that goal! So, I kept typing. Turns out, that was just an unexpected edit. I like this version better!

Now, I’m 26,000 words in and should be finished by Friday.

Yay, me!

Stay tuned, a cover reveal is on the way!

Best Advice I Ever Got

When I was all of 19 years old, I was getting married. Lots of people weighed in on my decision- some welcome, some not. But I had one uncle I was very close to who always said the bold and brave things to me.

He told me to let Tony have sex whenever he wanted it. If I did, I would never have to worry about Tony cheating.

He and my aunt had a great marriage so I took his advice. Best thing I have ever done- other than choosing Tony as my life-long companion.

I have learned a few things over the 28 years that have come and gone.

For one, Tony is not the kind of man to cheat- regardless. Just as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, Tony Ross is a faithful man.

The other thing is that sex is an easy barometer to the overall health of a marriage. Think about it, it is the one thing that sets a marriage relationship apart from any other relationship. You can’t legally or in good conscience pay for it. You can pay for childcare, housekeeping, therapy and so on- but you can’t pay for sex. Now, you can get it for free but then we cross the moral line.

If I don’t want to be intimate with my husband on a regular basis, or vise versa, then something is wrong down deep in my relationship.

Another benefit to this advice was that I was not swayed by the idiotic idea that I should withhold sex from my husband in order to maintain control or manipulate him. This would have done considerable damage to our relationship. Thank God for an Uncle not afraid to talk about sex!

Heels & Brett Bentley

I love a great pair of heels. So does Brett Bentley. One of the fun parts of writing is that you can make the character anything you want to- strong, stylish, whatever.

As a matter of fact, you can live any life you can imagine as a writer. This is the FUN part. I enjoy the writing process just as much as I enjoy reading.

One day- you will have the chance to read Brett’s story- either via self-publishing or by traditional publishing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Connect with me! Over to the right, follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

The Best Belongs At Home

So often, we give our best to our boss or our coworkers or our church family and we are so spent when we get home that our family gets the leftovers.

Leftovers are, 9 times out of 10, gross. Nobody wants leftovers, certainly not on a regular basis.

If we want a thriving marriage, then we must give our spouse our best. The world can take the leftovers, not the one who means the most to us.