Posted in Adventure, Teenagers, Uncategorized, Writing

Spring Break Is Here

spring mountains

I think this picture sums up this Spring in Northern California perfectly. After years of only getting winter from 6-10 am, this year’s winter is lingering. Yet, signs of spring are everywhere (especially my truck, it’s covered with pollen and tiny flowers that blew off my maple tree).

As an educator, I’m ready for a well-deserved and much-needed break. But I’m also a writer, so I’m hoping to make this a productive vacation. I have some research to conduct for a new series, and then I really need to make some progress in drafting the first book in the series.

You’d think that by my eighth book, drafting would become easier, or at least more efficient. Not so much. I’m trying to outline more, and in some ways it is easier. I know what needs to happen, but there’s still a lot of writing that needs to be done between plot points.

I took two days to go skiing with my family. I’m the last one to get into the sport, despite having gone to high school in Tahoe. The rest of them started young. I still remember taking my oldest up to Mt. Shasta when he was about three. At the time they still had a rope tow and he couldn’t get the hang of it, causing a major meltdown. Not good for the snow conditions. So my father-in-law took him back to our cabin and had him ski down the driveway. After a few runs, he was a skier. It’s taken me thirty years to get the hang of it. But if I’m going to spend time with my teenagers, I need to do what they enjoy. And trust me, I’m much better at skiing than video games.

This was from a few weeks ago. My kids don’t actually ski with me. But they’re more than happy to join us for lunch. If we’re buying.

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This is the view from the top. You can see Lake Tahoe, always a beautiful sight, especially when the lake is full.

We’re expecting another storm later in the week. Which will make the last two weekends pretty spectacular.

Then we’ll look forward to spending the summer on the river. We’ll catch a few baseball games. Hopefully we’ll spend some time at our family cabin near Mt. Shasta. And the cool part, is that all of this can be considered research for my books.

 

 

Posted in Adventure, Books

Get Swept Away by a Good Book, Not The Storm

California is experiencing major storms this winter. After several years of drought, we’re finally getting a really wet winter. I mean, really, really wet. The local meteorologist said this recent storm has brought us up to 197% of normal precipitation. Wow.

Hopefully, the damage won’t be too bad, and farmers, wildlife, and cities will benefit from replenished water reserves.

Many are looking forward to epic whitewater this summer. I know I am.

When I first started writing Swept Away, the first book in the Swift River Romance series, we had experienced a fairly late winter. My kids were still playing baseball and the first month of the season was hampered by rainouts.

Then we experienced several years of drought. But last year it started to turn around, and with a lot of help from my editor, I revised the book for publication in July.

It’s currently on sale at most major retailers. Only 99 cents to get a taste of whitewater and the ultimate adventure–love.

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Here is a picture of the American River last summer.

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And earlier this week.

 

Stay safe, stay dry, stay inside with a good book. 

Posted in Adventure, Books, Education, Road Trip, Teenagers, Writing

End Of Summer Blues

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My youngest son started his Freshman year of high school yesterday. His brother will start college in two weeks. And I will go back to work at the elementary school on Thursday. A lot of people complain about school starting so early. They didn’t go back until after Labor Day. The reason for the early start is to finish the first semester before Christmas break. Which means no studying for finals over the holiday. No major projects due the day after New Years. I’m good with that.

The hard part for me isn’t the day on the calendar. It’s all the things I was going to accomplish over the break. Cleaning out the closets, re-covering the patio chairs, redoing the second shower that has been unusable for months. Staining the deck. Finishing the second AND third books in my Swift River Romance series.

Add in a family vacation, which could be our last with our oldest son since he’s taken a job as a whitewater guide and will be working the whole summers for the foreseeable future.

Let’s see, what did I accomplish this summer? Besides catching up on my sleep?

I finished the second book, while we were on our family vacation. We took a road trip to Jackson, Wyoming. We were able to stay at our cousin’s place in Wilson, we took day trips to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, and the boys were able to explore bike trails in the area while I worked in the shadow of the Tetons.

 

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And I ordered the parts for the shower, calculated the tile needed, and I’m in the process of trying to figure out what to do about the fact that the tile we have is about eight square feet short of what we need. And since the tile I want to use is about ten years old, it’s going to be really hard to get an exact match. I’m thinking I’m going to have to find something in a similar texture but a different color. Darker, maybe. Then there’s the demolition of the old tile and getting a plumber in to do the inside parts of the shower so I can tile the walls after ward. It’s going to have to be a weekend warrior project.

I attended the Romance Writers of America annual convention in San Diego. Had a wonderful time meeting other authors, taking workshops on craft and finding my readers, meeting with my publisher, and celebrating the world of Romance.

My fifth book, Swept Away, was released. This is the first of three books in the Swift River Romance series.

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I went through the editing process on In Too Deep, the second book in the series and I’m working on Diving In, the third book.

I’m working on a proposal for a new series.

We have taken a couple of trips down the American River in our ancient raft. We even got to see our oldest son while he was working and did our best to embarrass him by asking if he remembered his sunscreen when he paddled past us.

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We attended a wedding and a Bar Mitzvah. We’ve taken a couple of day hikes, gone swimming, and spent some time at our family cabin near Mt. Shasta.

So I guess it was a good summer, even if it felt too short. I have a feeling they’re only going to get shorter.

 

Posted in Adventure, Romance, Uncategorized

How It All Started

Twenty -three years ago I married my best friend.

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It started in a fraternity house in Reno. Who wouldn’t fall in love with a guy who kept Diet Coke and good toilet paper in his room? Especially when he dazzled me with tales of his life on the river.

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That was my boyfriend in the green helmet.

He bought me a life jacket long before he ever bought me jewelry.

 

 

But he did eventually buy me jewelry.

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And flowers

He’s taken me out to a ballgame

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And in all these year’s he’s only let me go once

He’s proven to me time and time again that LOVE is the ultimate adventure.

 

Posted in Adventure, Road Trip

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I recently got back from a family vacation to the Washington D.C. area. It was the first vacation I’ve taken in years that didn’t involve any writing. Not even on the plane. I barely had time to post to Facebook that I was actually standing in front of the Gutenberg Bible.

I did stop by the Books-A-Million Store in D.C. to get a look at my books in a real bookstore. It was pretty cool, and kind of surreal to find the books I had written sitting on a bookstore shelf. The employees were really nice and they were thrilled to talk to me about my books and have me sign the copies they had on the shelf.

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The rest of the trip was spent walking and doing all the touristy things.

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The White House

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The Lincoln Memorial

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The Library Of Congress where I did see the Gutenberg Bible.

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Pretty amazing.

We also went to Mt. Vernon

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Washington Monument

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Gettysburg and the Arlington National Cemetery but I didn’t take pictures.

We spent a lot of time walking, riding the subway, and waiting in line with thousands of school kids, or as my soon-to-be-Senior son looks down upon, upcoming Freshmen.

We did catch a ballgame at Camden Yards. And since the head groundskeeper is a woman and the heroine of my next baseball book is also a grounds keeper, I guess I did work after all.

A good thing, since I got my next round of edits on my fourth book when I landed at LAX.

Vacation is over. I’ve got editing to do, emails to catch up on, and a few blog posts to write for my upcoming blog tour for my third book, Making A Comeback, which comes out on July 7. That’s in two weeks. Better get busy.

Posted in Adventure, Romance

Welcome Cd Brennan

Today I’d like to introduce Cd Brennan, and an excerpt from her Lyrical Press New Adult Romance.

Tell me a little about what inspired the Love Where You Roam series.

The Love Where You Roam series was inspired by my own backpacking adventures when I was (much) younger. The heroines travel out into the world, looking to find themselves, to figure out who they are and what they want from life. (U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” comes to mind). And along the way, they fall in love when they least expect it.

The stories revel in those “first days” of falling in love, the wonderment and confusion, especially when it comes to individuals from very different cultures. They are sweet romances, humorous and light-hearted. Not too much angst or drama, but plenty of characterization and action and watching what happens when worlds collide. Put two very different individuals into an intense environment, equals the perfect formula for a great story.

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A WORLD APART

She left home to find herself…and found love along the way.

Lizzy travels to Scotland to track down her roots, hoping where she comes from will help her figure out where she needs to go. An Aussie girl through and through, tough as nuts and a bit wild, she believes there’s nothing so wonderful as a world seen through wine-tinted glasses…

…until she meets Hottie Hamish, Bridge of Allan’s most eligible bachelor.

Hamish is Lizzy’s polar opposite in every way. He’s serious, driven, and motivated, focused on becoming the youngest associate professor at the Glasgow School of Art. But he’s hiding a social phobia behind his gruff exterior that makes it almost impossible to connect with people…

…until he meets Lost Lizzy, all sunshine and lightness, an Australian beauty with the proverbial heart of gold.

Where they come from may be worlds apart, but atop a Scottish Munro, they begin to realize where they’re going is best traveled side by side.

CONTENT WARNING: Graphic descriptions of haggis ingredients.

A Lyrical Press New Adult Romance

Excerpt

Hamish squeezed the steering wheel repeatedly as if it was a soother ball. At least he refrained from grinding his teeth. He turned to Lizzy. “And how do you find this funny?”

“I don’t find it funny, ha ha,” Lizzy stressed. “More funny as in fun.”

“This is fun to you?”

“Sure! Why not? It’s an adventure! Out here on the side of a beautiful mountain under the stars. So we sleep in the car. Sounds good to me. There can only be a few hours until light, anyhoo, right? Not to mention, my adventure is with a fine and handsome Scotsman.” She playfully punched Hamish in the arm, an exaggerated smile on her face. “That’s you, Hamish.”

Luckily the darkness hid the blush that rose from his neck. Even now, he found it hard to believe women found him attractive. Too many embarrassing and awkward moments with girls when he was younger made him think otherwise.

He cleared his throat. He could tell her now about his interview tomorrow, but it wouldn’t help the situation. “I’m worried about Rennie.”

Barely the words were out when Lizzy had hopped over the center console of the front seat and launched herself into the backseat. The jacket she wore caught on his travel coffee mug, spilling the contents onto Lizzy as she landed with a hmph.

“No worries,” she said, smearing the cold coffee into her jeans.

Lizzy peered over the seats, then reached over to stroke each dog’s head.

“Both are sound asleep. Charlie is even snoring–” Lizzy broke off suddenly, turning around to face front. She pulled her knees to her chest. Her teeth were chattering.

“Lizzy, get in with the dogs.”

“Wh-wh-what?” She looked at him as if he was a complete tosser.

Her body had begun to convulse to counterbalance her heat loss.

He drew in a deep breath through his nose and tried again. “Please, get in the back.”

“You wa-wa-want me to go sit with the dogs?”

“Aye.”

“You’re a real shit, ya know. I don’t deserve this. Sure, I know I was out with them all day, but it was ba-ba-better than waiting on your girlfriend.”

“Eh? What are you talking about?” Maybe she had already reached delirium. He needed to get her body temperature up as quickly as possible.

“That princess Marie at your house this morning, she said you said I would cook her breakfast. And there I was serving her food like a ser-ser-servant girl. It wasn’t gourmet cuisine or anything, but I still cooked it for her!”

“Marie?”

“You’re telling me you don’t even remember her name? And here you came across as such a refined gentleman on Sunday. I should have listened to the rumors. They are obviously all true.”

Hamish hadn’t the slightest idea what Lizzy was going on about. Unless she meant his colleague’s daughter who had spent the night. He had barely said two words to her before he excused himself to prepare for his interview. His brother Alasdair had taken her to the Crooked Arm for the pub quiz night.

“I was hired to clean your house and cook some tea for you, not to wait on your shags. You never said anything about cooking for the girls you brought home–”

“I’m going to fold down the seats.” Hamish interrupted her before she got herself worked up any further.

“What the bloody hell for?”

“Lizzy, please! You’re having a delayed hypothermic reaction.”

A confused look passed over Lizzy’s face. “From the cold coffee?”

Buy links

AMAZON   AMAZON UK   AMAZON AUSTRALIA  iTUNES   B&N   KOBO   BOOKWIRE

 

Author Bio

Having traveled and lived all over the world, Cd Brennan now talks with a strange accent, a mix of distant terminology, a blend of culturally cute but confusing euphemisms that leaves everyone looking at her with a blank stare. Luckily, her Australian husband (who she met in Ireland) and her two Aussie/Yankee sons have no problem understanding her – well, except for the word NO.

Now settled back “home” in Michigan, she enjoys reliving her glory days by writing about them. She considers the last fifteen years abroad the perfect research for her Love Where You Roam series; matchmaking women and men from different cultures, even different hemispheres, helping them find their true one across oceans of difference.

As destiny plays a hand in all the stories, Cd Brennan truly believes that what is for you, won’t pass you by. She hopes to inspire others to get out there: “Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” [Mark Twain]  And of course, fall in love.

Get in touch with her at www.cdbrennan.com

 Blogging with Cd Brennan

A bit of fun and usually lots of laughs. Sign up on the tab on her website!

Sundae With Nuts

Answer any or all of the ten questions below. I don’t mind if it is only one! I want it to be fun, not offensive to you in any way. The questions were designed for a single answer to allow the blog follower some speculation, but if you want to elaborate, please feel free!

1.       Favorite knickers: cotton, lace, silk or errr…leather?

2.       Who is your fantasy male or female? Or both?

3.       What language, when heard spoken, makes you frisky? (like Jamie Lee Curtis in A Fish called Wanda)

4.       What vehicle, abode, beach, construction site or other locale did you lose your virginity.

5.       Do you believe in love at first sight?

6.       If you could play a board game during sex, what would it be?

7.       Any special “toys” you’d like to give mention to for their outstanding achievements?

8.       I *heart* Peter Cetera. What song immediately swoops you back to your “first days” of falling in love?

9.       Most romantic or sexiest destination out there.

And last but now least.

10. Favorite ice cream flavor.

Alternate questions

1.       Who was your first crush or kiss?

2.       If you become a best-selling author and sell your movie rights, what will be the first thing you do when you hear? Other than contact Cd Brennan and offer to share with her, of course.

3.       I wanted to be a helicopter pilot and a cowgirl when I grew up (still do). What did you want to grow up to be when you were a little girl?

 

Please attach a cover of the book that you want to promote and website and buy links. No bio or blurb or excerpt necessary. I’ve had enough of those!

 

 

Posted in Adventure

Starting The Year Off With A Challenge

After sleeping in and spending most of the morning lounging around, my family decided to take a short hike. The weather was beautiful, and I’m trying really hard to appreciate the sunshine and not worry about the lack of rain.

We drove about fifteen minutes to the Cosumnes River where a lot of people like to go rock climbing. We parked on the side of the road and took a short hike down a rather steep trail. Again, I was trying to enjoy the moment and not think about how much steeper it would be coming back up.

My sons trotted off ahead of us. And I tried not to look when they stood on the side of a cliff. Because that’s what they do.

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But they love the outdoors and we’re pretty lucky to have so many spectacular places to explore nearby.

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The boys headed down the water. Climbing over boulders and under giant rocks. My youngest son only got stuck once. My husband invited me to join them, which meant having to go “bouldering” which is like rock climbing only with no ropes. A couple of spots were pretty difficult. My legs aren’t as long as my husband’s and my fear kept getting in the way.

It was a long way down in a few places. And I’m pretty sure the water was cold.

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Inviting on a hot summer day, but not so much in January even if it was almost seventy degrees out.

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It was worth the hike. Even if my legs were shaking, more from not being sure if I could get back once I got out there than from actual exertion. Although there were a few spots where I had to stretch myself physically.

Oh and I’m pretty sure I found gold but had no way of bringing it with me.

Not a bad way to start the year. I hope the new year holds many more challenges and that I will be able to overcome them. Sometimes I’ll need a helping hand and sometimes I’ll just need to take the leap.