Archives for December 2014

Traditions and Resolutions

This past Christmas was a chance for our little family to start a new tradition. Mr. B and I decided that in order for our kids to open their gifts, they had to give something before they could receive.

Now, with a four year old, a 16 month old and a six month old, this act of kindness had to be a small gesture. One that they could preform, learn a small lesson, then get to the gifts. Dad and I decided this year, the children had to take food to the local police station on Christmas morning in their pajama’s before they could even touch one single thing from Santa.

The act was very well received. Here is a picture for you.

Isn’t that the cutest elf you’ve ever seen!

And as far as resolutions go, it’s that time again. Time to buckle down, get serious, and make some new and improved changes for the New Year. Everyone makes resolutions whether we outright claim we do or not. Everyone has something they want to change. I have several!

I want to write two novels in 2015.

I want to lose thirty pounds-forty would be better.

And I want to take a vacation.

The vacation part sounds the easiest of all, but in all honesty, will probably be the most difficult to achieve with our schedules.

What do you want to achieve for 2015?

Erin Bevan

Footloose and Fancy Free

the true one

Author Samanthya Wyatt is here to tell us about what she does since she’s retired and gives us a little glimpse into her latest release The True One.  Book two in the One and Only Series! 

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Finally, I’ve retired from my day job.

I don’t have to tell any writer how difficult it is to find time to put words to paper, let alone create them in your mind. But I am finding I do not have the abundance of time I thought I would to contribute to my writing.

My neighbor came to my house one day and said, “We see you leave in the morning and you don’t come home. Didn’t you retire?”

Between soccer games, football games and cheerleading, I’m keeping the roads hot. And I am blessed to have more time with my mother.

The early hours could be anything from a lazy, relaxing, take time to dress morning—to a set the alarm, get my granddaughter to school or take mom to the doctor morning. Then there are the mornings of anticipation where I head to my laptop for a few precious moments of picking my brain.

I love to have fun. My hubby is so silly, and his playfulness has rubbed off on me. Anything can come out of my mouth sometimes, just for fun. I’ll say things that don’t make sense, have people raising their eyebrows, or just busting out with laughter.

One of the things I had looked forward to was spending more time with hubby. Cruising in our 1969 Mustang convertible is just one of the perks, and my day is not complete without a kiss goodnight.

I’m just enjoying life, so I’m thrilled to celebrate my new historical, The True One.

Find out what happened to Kat’s brother in the thrilling sequel of the One and Only series.

     The True One

Captain Stephen Radbourn accepts an intriguing proposition which results in horror. His ship in splinters and his men captured, he is a broken man. A band of rebels rescue their leader from a dungeon, taking the near dead captain with them. Fearing capture and thinking the tortured man will die, they leave Stephen in the care of a woman, who he believes is an angel of mercy. A man of passion, with a trail of satisfied maidens to prove it, he finds his heart captured by the lovely widow. But she forces him to choose—her or revenge.

Jennifer Faircloth departed England full of a young girl’s fantasies of romance and adventure. Her young husband dies leaving her a widow to survive alone in a foreign land. When a near death English captain is dropped at her door, memories emerge of the family she foolishly left behind. While caring for him, her curious imagination turns to an overwhelming awareness she cannot deny. He must flee for his life and he takes her with him—back to England—back to the family she’d deserted. She wants her family to forgive her, but she wants Stephen’s love even more.

Is there a book 3? Of course.

The third book in the series is about Giles. You met him in the first book as Morgan’s best friend—the duke.

I love romance. In my younger years I read every book I could get my hands on. Once I found historical romance novels, I couldn’t put a book down. I fell in love with the characters and needed to know their happy ending. I would have liked to live in the Regency time period. Dashing Lords and pirates seem so romantic. I had all these ideas running through my head and one day I just put words to paper. The more I wrote the more I became involved with the characters, and they seemed to take a life of their own.

I research for background information in order to visualize my characters in their element. The characters in all of my books are fictitious. However, I have taken real life experiences to achieve the emotion for their situations.

Thank you Erin, for helping me celebrate my new book.

 To find Samanthya, please visit her website here: www.samanthyawyatt.com

Erin Bevan

Christmas Traditions

Today, I have author Ryan Jo Summers here to tell us a little about her Christmas Traditions and how she likes to spend extra time with her pets during the holidays.

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My Christmas holidays have seldom been the traditional Norman Rockwell pictures people tend to imagine. Growing up, we had a tree and exchanged gifts. Ironically, I usually got books or something animal related and age appropriate. Family was far away so we seldom traveled or had out of town visitors. Dinner was a nice, yet simple affair. When the day was done, so was the holiday, without much reflection or conversation as to its original meaning.

During my teen years, I worked in vocations that served those who traveled–first as a waitress and then a gas station attendant–so I was on the clock most of the busiest part of the day. I’d usually get a plate of holiday dinner delivered to me later in the day and did any gift exchange around my work schedule.

Then came the married years, with young children. I tried to provide for them what I thought had been missing from my youth. Scouring magazines, I found ways to introduce seasonal messages and create holiday memories for them. One example was to build a nativity by adding one piece each day, explaining the importance of each piece. Husband had close family so large meals, guests, decorations and traveling all became new rituals. This happy time lasted a few years.

Now single once again, with family living thousands of miles away, I have reinvented holiday rituals. I put up the tree and decorations just after Thanksgiving. I like to enjoy it a full 5 weeks before I decide it’s time to come down. Honestly, it’s the lights I love most of all, and savor my nightly light glow as far down into January as I dare go. (usually somewhere in the first week) I try to bake special treats for friends, neighbors, co-workers and special people, getting great pleasure when I can trek about delivering my goodies. Particularly, I like to make coffee cakes, sheet cakes and sometimes cookies or pies. For myself I indulge in various slow cooker soups and stews. I love trying new recipes.

For my birthday last year I made a chocolate layer cake that literally took three days to bake–in various increments as time allowed. It started with a basic chocolate two layer cake, had chocolate mousse filling, fudge ganache icing and ended with bittersweet chocolate drizzles and edging. Elaborate but I welcomed the challenge it presented. Sort of a celebration of all I had conquered that year.

Lastly, I spend time with my pets, whom currently include my blue & gold Macaw, Taz, and five cats– Muldoone, Whymzie, Kryshnah, Aspen and Avery Faith. I try to spend a little less time writing and more time just with them. I also journal more than normal. And spend quiet time in reflection and on hobbies. Sort of using the holidays to step aside from my daily routines.

First, journaling is my private outlet. Similar to a blog but more personal and intimate. Observations, events, reflections, meditations, and tons of prayers and answers go into my journal. Lamenting and weeping go in there as well. Hobbies include poetry and painting.

This year I bought paper mache Christmas ornaments to paint and hang on the tree. Years ago I cross stitched some birds on cloth and made ornaments. When I was younger, I used to be quite crafty with needle, canvas and glue gun. Now I prefer to paint things like ceramics and acrylic on canvas. And create life sized carousels from children’s hobby horses. (A throwback to my love of horses) Other hobbies are bird watching. I cook suet to attract various birds to the yard and delight in seeing what new ones show up. And fish watching. I have two large fish aquariums in my study and can actually feel my blood pressure slow down as I stare into their peaceful underwater world of lighthouses, shipwrecks and darting fishes.

While holidays are important, whether they be Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter, I try to keep the reason for the celebration foremost in mind, adjusting my life to reflect an observance of the day. Celebrations now are lower key, which is okay, but I try to keep self-awareness high all season. Holy Week, Christmas, New Years passage, etc… all are markers of something important. All garner space in my journal, thoughts and prayers. That is my most important tradition.

bio pick 2010Ryan Jo Summers makes her home in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She likes to write poetry, free lance work, short stories and romances with a twist on different genres. The lovely scenery and her beloved pets provide endless inspiration. In her spare time, she likes to complete word puzzles, read and paint. Though she lives in the mountains, she likes to write and dream about the water’s edge.

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Darby Adams has a successful Bed & Breakfast Inn, a wonderful son and a happy life in the coastal town of Driftwood Shores. Then a guest is found dead in one of her rooms. Suddenly she is the number one suspect and her world is spiraling out of control.
The surviving family wants answers so they hire new-in-town private investigator Sam Golden to undeniably prove her guilt and have her put away. Sam begins his new case in a dual role, in the guise of being Darby’s much needed friend while looking for the evidence to send her to prison.
Until strange things begin happening at the B & B–scary things. Finally Sam has to question his thoughts on her guilt or innocence. Meanwhile, Darby leans on Sam to weather each new challenge and threat. Feelings begin to develop between Darby and Sam. Until Sam is forced to tell Darby the truth about him, effectively destroying what tenderness they had.
Until a new threat forces Darby to trust Sam once more. She will bet her freedom and life on his skills, but can she trust her heart?

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/When-Clouds-Gather-Ryan-Summers-ebook/dp/B00Q5MVTFM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1417400615&sr=8-2&keywords=when+clouds+gather

Erin Bevan

Not So Picture Perfect

We all do it. Before children, even when we have children we envision their pictures with Santa Claus or the annual family photo. You take the time to plan your outfits right down to your daughters hair bows. You make sure everyone is coordinating without matching too much, and if you’re like me, you even take the time to make a prop.

You picture just how picture perfect your photo session is going to be. You don’t take into consideration the weather, naps or the lack thereof, how hungry your kids are, or even how much your smallest one spits up. No, because you just KNOW that when it’s time for you and yours to take family pictures, the stars are all going to align perfectly in your favor.

Yeah, right!

Getting a picture for the Christmas card this year has been no small task. My family photographer was sick the weekend of our scheduled photo shoot. The absolute last weekend (in my mind) to get a picture done in an orderly manner for a Christmas card. I’m a little OCD about things. I think I’ve told you that before. Anyway, when she told me she couldn’t do the shoot, my world was rocked! She’s super booked, so getting into another weekend with her is like trying to win those concert tickets on the radio. May the odds be ever in your favor, but like all those other people on the Hunger Games besides Katniss and her boy toy, the odds are not in your favor, and they weren’t in mine.

So, what’s a girl to do, but call on a family member to come snap a few pics. I will say, to my sister-in-laws credit, I think she did a fabulous job for being nothing other than a mommy with a camera. With my clan you can’t expect perfection. Here are the one’s I chose for the card. The best of the thousand we took. IMG_2145-2

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And my personal favorite

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But, I can’t show you the good without showing you the bad. Here are a few of the bloopers. My vision was to get a picture of all three of my kids on this crib that I painted and decorated specifically for this Christmas picture. Well, Chloe and Clark individually were great. All three of them, not so much. Poor Charlie!

This is my brother

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What do you want me to do?

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Slap him? Okay!

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Oh! Kiss him. I thought you said slap him. I’m sorry!

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Erin Bevan

What’s your family tree?

Today, I have guest blogger Bonnie S. Johnston here to tell us a little about her latest release The Dark Side of the Mountain. Do you know your family tree? I sure don’t!

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Thank you Erin for having me today. Writing this novel about an ancestor of mine has been a gratifying endeavor, not without problems and years in the making. I have researched my ancestry for decades but sparked little interest in family members who hate charts and could not care less about census records. When I retired from teaching freshman English at a branch of the University of Cincinnati, I decided to write a narrative of one event, the massacre at Fort Seybert in 1758. My original narrative was loaded with history and failed to elicit any interest also. My dilemma continued.

Finally, I decided to write an historical novel, hoping for more interest. It was a new experience to write about the daily living in the 1750s and required extensive reading. Then, too, I had to imagine thoughts and actions of people living 250 years ago during the French and Indian War under terrible conditions. I had to fill in the blanks where information does not exist.

Eventually, I completed my tale and the book has been published only to be confronted by additional problems. Descendants of the families involved had different interpretations of the events as they were passed down in family history. Genealogical researchers have various opinions about the event also.

In the end, the book is, after all, an historical novel, fiction, and my purpose was to write of the struggles and self-reliance of these early frontier settlers during very difficult times in the history of this country. I am not certain that I have succeeded, at least with my own family who do not have my interest in ancestry. However, I have met numerous distant cousins on the Internet, some of whom are as obsessed with genealogy and history as I am. For example I met distant cousin Jed who wrote about Braddock’s gold and some French and Indian War re-enactors, a group I did not know existed.

In the meantime, I continue to write and enjoy the process.

BonnieA blend of fact and fiction, The Dark Side of the Mountain describes two turbulent decades in the life of Anna Margaretha Mallow, an extraordinary woman caught up in events she cannot understand or control. Moved by her husband to the frontier of Virginia at the beginning of the French and Indian War, she and her five children are forced to seek safety at Fort Seybert from the notorious Chief Killbuck, who is on a death march to save his people and culture. Surviving what becomes a deadly massacre, Anna and her children are taken captive and marched to the Ohio River Valley where she endures indescribable losses and change. Only courage and perseverance sustain her during his dark period in American history.

Bonnie PicBonnie Johnston holds degrees from both Miami University and University of Cincinnati and has spent decades researching history and genealogy. Her first novel The Dark Side of the Mountain describes the tragic life of her ancestor Anna Margaretha Mallow who survived the Fort Seybert massacre in 1758. Unfortunately, stories of the women who settled this country and endured extreme difficulties and hardship during the French and Indian War and the Revolution are rare.

She lives with her husband Frank Miller in Mason, OH and is retired from the University of Cincinnati where when taught English and was the former Director of the Writing Lab.

You can email her at bonniesnotes@yahoo.com

Erin Bevan

All for Naught

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Ever feel like you’re just spinning your wheels? I do, especially with this little guy in tow. I’m a little crazy and a little OCD. Let’s just throw that out there. If this were an episode of Friends, I would be a combination of Monica and Phoebe. Monica for the cleaning freakiness, and Phoebe because she’s quirky and writes her own songs like I write books. Then again, I do hope my writing is a little better than “Smelly Cat”.

Anyway, back on topic. I live in a three thousand square foot home, and I don’t say that to brag, I say that to tell you that with all that space, you would think I would have everything organized and put away. Well, I try. I really do.

Most of my time is spent cleaning. Cleaning the same counter tops what feels like five thousand times a day, sweeping the same floor at least a few hundred, and let’s not even go there with the vacuuming. Note to my readers everywhere: DO NOT, and I mean DO NOT, under any circumstances buy a wool rug. I don’t care how dang pretty it is or how discounted it is. Don’t do it. Save yourself countless hours of vacuuming, and don’t believe the fine print that says shedding will stop. They LIE!

Everyday, my life goes a little like this.

Wake up

Pee- very important

Make Bed

Make Coffee- Also very important.

Clean living room

Turn on Sofia, Mickey, Doc or whatever Disney Channel spectacular Chloe wants to watch.

Clean something- dishes, floor, start laundry, something!

Wipe counters

Go get screaming boys from bed.

Feed screaming boys.

Clean again- floors, dishes, table top.

Get dressed.

Clean bathroom from messy husband.

Clean diapers Clark has thrown everywhere.

Clean crayons Clark has thrown everywhere.

Get daughter dressed-clean clothes Chloe has thrown everywhere.

Remember I haven’t brushed teeth and go do that.

Put on socks and shoes and try to start loading everyone in car to get to our respected locations.

Forgot to dress the boys- stop and do that.

Round everyone up again to go to the car.

Realize on the way out the door, Clark has thrown more toys and yet more crayons all over the place.

Note to self-throw away all the dang crayons.

Come back from gym and start the process all over again.

Realize it’s all for naught and say screw it!

Erin Bevan