All Things Gratitude

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Gratitude fills my heart, my home, my life. And I’m so grateful for that. But I also realize that it’s all too easy to get busy with living and default, as human beings often do, to feelings other than gratitude, forgetting to be grateful. Especially for the small, simple things in life that make a big difference.

So I’ve created a gratitude jar that sits on my kitchen counter. Right beside it are pre-cut strips of paper and a pen for easy access. No excuses that there isn’t time to find a pen or “I’ll get to it later.” My husband and I frequently fill out a slip as we pass by the jar, and family and friends who visit are encouraged to participate as they wish.

Our plan is to go through each item of gratitude on New Year’s Eve as a reminder of all that we have to be grateful for in the past year. And what a way to bring in the new year–with hearts filled with gratitude!

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. -Melody Beattie

Another item of mention that I’m so excited about is that a non-fiction article I wrote titled Gratitude in All Things has been published in an anthology titled Colorado’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Nonfiction and has been released this week. Yay! It can be found here and here


May I suggest making your own gratitude jar? Get creative. Got kids? Have them help! Make it a family activity.

And in the meantime, let me know what you’re grateful for last week, today, in this moment.

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. -William Arthur Ward

Shear Deception Now Available!

Book two in the Melanie Hogan Mysteries, Shear Deception, is now available. Book three, Shear Malice, is in progress.

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Amazon, Welcome to the Bookstore

When a body is discovered in the woods by Melanie’s Minnesota lake house, it nearly gets both her and her estranged mother, Violet, killed. Melanie retreats to the familiar and comfortable surroundings of the beauty salon she owns with her best friend Claire, but when the details surrounding the death begin to unravel, Melanie is thrust into the middle of the investigation.

When her grandmother, Rose Donnelly, is the next target, Melanie will stop at nothing to catch the killer. Melanie begins unraveling a tangled web of lies and deceit that finally reveals the painful truth of the question that has haunted her since youth. The truth that ultimately cuts her loose from the burden of her past that has held her captive for far too long and sets her on a path to freedom.

** Reviews are greatly appreciated. 🙂 **

 

Shear Madness is now Available!

My second book, Shear Madness, is now available!  **Doing a little happy dance**

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Melanie Hogan is anything but your average beauty salon owner. She’s created a life for herself that’s an exact contradiction to that of her wanderlust, absentee mother who bailed on her when Melanie was four years old. She has gone above and beyond to make sure her life is stable, predictable, and…boring. While deciding to add some spontaneity to her life, she learns an important lesson: Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. And she does. 

Velma Johnson, the town busy body, keels over in Melanie’s stylist chair just as she’s about to reveal a secret to Melanie. As details emerge around Velma’s death, Melanie enlists the help of her best friends and business partners, Claire Davis and Jack Dancy, to find the killer. Could it be one of the three girls who work side by side with Melanie at the salon, all of whom were present when Velma died? Or one of their clients that were present as well? Or what about Buford Woods, the client who threatened to have the last laugh when Melanie refused to date him and who suspiciously shows up outside the salon right after Velma died? 

It’s a race against time as Melanie finds herself prey to a stalker intent on ruining her life, and one who’s behavior is escalating. As Melanie sets out to solve the puzzle that has become her life, someone is dead set against letting her discover the truth, much less live to tell about it. And as she discovers the truth, she finds a missing piece to an unfinished puzzle from her past.

(Available at Amazon in soft cover and Kindle, and soon Barnes and Noble)

 

It’s hard to believe that I can make money at something I love so much. Now I didn’t say a lot of money, mind you, but a mere few bucks is more than worth it when you love what you’re doing so much it breathes life into you. When that “something” is something I can’t imagine not doing. When doing that “something” brings  joy beyond what I’d ever dreamed.

I’ve made so many friends in the writing community, and it’s that community that has encouraged me to keep on keepin’ on.

And to those of us who have moments where it feels nearly impossible, let’s remember the words of Winston Churchill.

Never give up

And now it’s off to plan some marketing strategies and to do some serious writing to catch up on my word count for Camp NaNoWriMo. Life is amazing! 🙂

 

The Inheritance – Prologue

The Inheritance

I want to share the prologue to my novel, The Inheritance. If interested, it can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Old Firehouse Books.

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The stars shone brilliantly above, sparkling through the moon roof of the Mercedes, the countryside speeding by as the car hugged the road’s twists and curves neatly and tightly. The benefit event Victor and Vivian had attended, and hosted, had been a huge success, and they were both reflecting upon the amount of money they had raised for the cause of feeding the poor.  A cause they both cherished and held near to their hearts.  The outpouring of kindness from the hearts of so many strangers wanting to give to something other than their own bank account had astonished them.

Victor’s mind traveled to his beloved wife of 36 years.  The way she gracefully made her way through the crowd of those eager to get their chance to speak with her.  The way she so eloquently spoke at the podium, moving the hearts of everyone in the room as she spoke from her heart, creating a visual for them of her trips to third world countries to work with so many children living in such devastating poverty.

He had never seen her look more beautiful than she had that night in her simple black dress that fit her curves so perfectly, her shining black hair cut to a length just below her chin, shining radiantly in a halo of soft hues beneath the overhead lights that had been dimmed to create the perfect ambiance.

Vivian had been the love of his life since high school, and when she finally agreed to go to a movie with him in their junior year, it was based on the condition that her best friend and beau could go with them.  He had agreed, happy to have any opportunity to spend time with her.  He recalled how nervous he had been on his way to pick her up, the movie and dinner he had been saving for in anticipation of this event a distant thought.

His thoughts traveled to how far they had come from that day.  The journey their love had taken.  The private practice that had netted him more money than was even fair for one person to earn, Vivian’s love for art and her pieces she was able to sell for a handsome amount, their travels to other countries, visiting those so much less fortunate than they, placing into perspective what life is really about.  An experience that changed the entire way they lived their own lives.  They had managed to put away a considerable amount of money for each of their three children, but it was there that his thoughts became more clouded.  Stormy clouds after the brilliant sunshine.

Vivian studied the lines of her husband’s handsome face, noticed his furrowed brow, the seriousness, almost sadness that seemed to settle there.  She suspected he was thinking of their children and her heart ached for him.  She knew Victor assumed it as his personal failure that their children had become so estranged from them, from each other, and from God, each so lost in life, on a road that would surely carry them through so much heartache.

She placed a warm hand on his leg, simple, yet solid, assurance they were in this thing called life together.  Though it looked more like a deep valley than a mountaintop at times, especially lately, they were still in it together.  Good times and in bad.  Sickness and in health.  They had weathered a lot of storms throughout the years, and this is one they would survive as well.  As long as they had each other.

It was at that moment that Vivian and Victor looked at each other.  And it was at that moment Victor saw Vivian smile warmly at him and look forward, the headlights from an oncoming car illuminating her face.  He didn’t see the car itself that came careening around the corner, taking that corner entirely too fast.  Too fast to be able to stop.  What he did see was the look of surprise on Vivian’s face as she looked ahead, saw her reach for the dashboard in front of her, and as if in slow motion, turned his head to see the oncoming car right before it crashed into his.  The sound was deafening, metal on metal, screeching, sliding, Vivian’s screams and the feel of her hand grabbing his arm in panic, then a pain beyond anything he had ever known as his life broke into a million pieces realizing what was happening.  And just like that, there was nothing.  Nothing but silence in the dead of night.  The ink black that covered the night sky was now overtaking his mind and body, as he drifted away toward the most penetrating, whitest light he had ever imagined.  Something so beautiful it couldn’t possibly be real.  And he couldn’t possibly resist it.  Especially when he saw his beloved Vivian standing there, holding out her hand, beckoning gently, for him to join her.

 

 

T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

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My Top Three This Week:

3.)  Publishing a blog post and seeing the pop-up box that says no errors have been found! 🙂

2.)  My novel, The Inheritance, completed and available on Amazon, and that sweet feeling of thankfulness as I held that first copy in my hands.

1.)  An early morning walk with my dog, Roxie, a cup of coffee, the fresh coolness of morning on my face, a light breeze tousling my hair, inhaling the scent of pure freshness. Ahhhhh…..summer. 🙂

What are you grateful for this week?

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Peace

 

 

 

 

 

Drumroll…

My novel, The Inheritance, is now out in softcover, as well as Kindle, at Amazon.  I would be immensely grateful to anyone who feels led to share this on their blog to help spread the word. Thank you so much! It’s this writing community of amazing bloggers that has given me the courage and inspiration to keep walking the journey to completion of this baby. 🙂

The Inheritance

When Victor and Vivian Forrester meet their unexpected fate on their way home from hosting a charity dinner, it leaves their three estranged adult children with an unexpected fate of their own. Madison has the perfectly planned life of which her two young children are the center, leaving no room for anything or anyone else, including her husband. Her career as a psychiatrist enables her to validate her self-worth and give her children everything they need. She has made a promise to herself that her children will never be without, vowing to give them the best childhood anyone could ever have. Maxwell is a successful partner of a law firm, who is as skilled at playing the ladies as he is in the courtroom. He has long since written off his family in order to avoid having to answer to anyone. Molly is a writer and free spirit who has lost herself in the miry pit of self-pity, claiming her title as black sheep of the family. She tries to drown and numb the pain from years of being misunderstood by her family. What none of them expect after the shock of their parents’ death is the shock of learning what is in the will their parents carefully constructed, listing what is required of each of them before they can claim their substantial inheritance. Those requirements take them on a journey of self-discovery and change that leads to a much greater wealth than any of them had ever expected.

Peace.