Posted in Adventure, Teenagers, Uncategorized, Writing

Spring Break Is Here

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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 Education, Uncategorized

Making A Difference, Part 2

This morning I wrote a short post about how I need to see the little things I do on a daily basis can make a difference for the kids I work with. It was sort of a pep talk to get me in the right frame of mind to face the day and the challenges ahead.

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By this afternoon, I had tears in my eyes. But they were the good kind. Because a group of fifth graders inspired me and made me so proud to be a part of their education.

I started working with most of these kids in Kindergarten. There were a lot of them, four classes with about five or six more students than when my kids were that age. There were enough volunteers to provide some support, but not enough to give them the best start in school. So the district hired three aides, or paraeducators, to rotate through the classes and give each student that extra attention they needed.

That was the year I went from being a parent volunteer to paid staff. Over the years, I’ve added hours and changed roles based on the needs of the students.

But back to the kids. These are the kids I’ve worked with all six years. I helped many of them go from not being able to write their name or open their milk carton to reading multi-syllabic words and being able to open their Gogurt without getting it in their hair. We went from making ABC books to researching on their Chromebooks. We learned about seasons and the solar system, geology and the Gold Rush, farm animals and fractions.

Today the my fifth graders held a Living Wax Museum. After weeks of research and preparation, they arranged themselves around the classroom, dressed as famous people throughout history as students, school staff, parents, and a pair of police officers from our community came through the exhibit. Each character stood still until someone pushed a button on their poster and they would then give three to five facts about their famous person.

It was amazing. I learned about Edison and Elvis. Jackie Robinson and Jackie Kennedy. Steven Spielberg, Stan Lee, and Sally Ride. Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Houdini. Anne Frank and Annie Oakley. Malala Yousafzai and Marie Curie. Walt Disney and Willie Mays. Babe Ruth and Derek Jeter. J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl, and Dr. Suess. Princess Diana and President Kennedy. Bob Marley and Ben Franklin. Laura Ingalls Wilder and  Leonardo Da Vinci. Deborah Sampson and a few more I can’t recall because by the time I got to all of them, I had a few goosebumps.

These kids stayed in character (for the most part) in position (really hard, especially after being cooped up for rainy days on end) and replayed their message to at least four classes.

And every single one of them did an outstanding job. Even if they forgot their lines, they kept going, improvising with other facts they’d learned about their character. They stood or sat in place while other classes made their way around the room, sometimes skipping over a person they didn’t know about, or coming back and pressing their buttons only seconds after they just finished speaking.

Did I mention how amazing they were? How they inspired all of the adults in the room? How they made us sigh, and cry a little at how lucky we are to work in public education?

Posted in Baseball, Books, Romance, Uncategorized

Love and Baseball and Romance

It’s February, and that means a very special day is coming up this month. On February 14, Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training.

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Oh, and I’m told it’s also Valentine’s Day. Which is the perfect time to share a Romance with your sweetie.

Come on, Ladies. How many times have you wished your man has acted more like the heroes of your favorite Romance novels?

And how many times have you Men wished there was some kind of manual to help you understand women?

Guess what. There is hope. Which is at the heart of the Romance novel. And in my More Than A Game series, there is also baseball.

I’ll admit, that I’m especially romantic about baseball. One of the first movies my husband took me to way back when we were dating was Field of Dreams. And for my bachelorette party, I watched Bull Durham with my bridesmaids. Our Anniversaries often involve baseball games. Oh, and a few years ago, my ultra romantic husband bought me Javier Lopez’s batting helmet at the game used store at San Francisco Giants Fan Fest.

And I have a bit of a romantic side myself. I did name the hero of my first book, Johnny Scottsdale, after my husband. Well, the name his cousin used to call him when they were kids to tease him. Cousin Mike told my sweet honey that he wasn’t really a Mathews, his real name was Johnny Scottsdale, and he was left on the doorstep. But I got the last laugh.

So, if you’re looking for a Romance that you can share with your sweetie, I have had several men tell me they enjoyed Better Than Perfect. And it happens to be on sale this month for only 99 cents. Plus, the eBook means they don’t have to worry about their friends seeing the cover.

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The other books in my More Than A Game series are good too. And they just might inspire a game of catch, or whatever.

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Hope you enjoy celebrating Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training day. It’s the most romantic day of the year. (Unless you’re married to a pitcher or catcher. Then the rest of us thank you for your sacrifice).

Posted in Uncategorized

Reflections on 2016 and Looking Ahead to 2017

It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone. I know a lot of people are looking forward to the New Year with hope. “Maybe 2017 will be the year when I (insert dream here).”

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For those of you hoping to finally achieve whatever goal you’re hoping for, whether it’s better health, financial freedom, or following a long-held dream, I say go for it. It’s not too late, and it’s not too soon, either. Of course, dreams don’t always come true on our timelines, but they never come true if they remain only dreams.

But before I think about what I want to accomplish in the next year, I need to reflect a bit on what I did do in 2016.

I released three books in 2016.

Earning A Ring, More Than A Game 4 came out in January

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Swept Away, A Swift River Romance 1 released in July

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And right before Christmas, In Too Deep, A Swift River Romance 2 came out.

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I attended my second Romance Writers of America National Conference in San Diego. I got to meet my publisher, several of my fellow Kensington authors and some of my favorite authors. I cried through Robyn Carr’s Lifetime Achievement Award and laughed with my new best author friends.

I celebrated my 23rd Wedding Anniversary with my husband.

My oldest son graduated from High School and my youngest son graduated from Middle School.

My Senior went to the State Ski Championships in Mt. Shasta.

My younger son went to Italy with his grandparents and aunt  uncle.

We took a family trip to Wilson, Wyoming, near Jackson and the Grand Tetons.

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We spent most summer weekends on the river, where my oldest boy worked as a raft guide and the rest of us played in our own raft, bringing friends and family along for the ride.

And we will end the year where we began it, on top of Mt. Shasta, for night skiing and celebration.

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Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year.

Posted in Books, Romance, Uncategorized

In Too Deep, A Swift River Romance #2

It’s release day. In Too Deep, A Swift River Romance #2 is finally here. It’s the second book in my new series, and my sixth book overall.

Oh, baby!
For the first time in her life, adventure reporter Miranda Wilde has a plan that doesn’t involve scaling mountains or swimming with sharks. Miranda is about to do something scarier—she’s about to become a mother. Determined to deliver the news to her unborn baby’s father, Miranda arrives in Swift River to find the rugged resort owner with whom she shared an unexpectedly sexy weekend. Except Carson Swift is out of town—on his honeymoon—leaving his twin brother in charge. It’s all Miranda can do not to fall apart in Cody Swift’s strong arms….
Miranda is the only woman who ever tempted Cody to settle down, which is exactly why he doesn’t reveal that he’s the twin who shared those soul-searing nights with her. Cody knows Miranda needs more than a rough-edged river guide to give her the life she deserves. Then he learns Miranda is carrying a baby—his baby—and he’s ready to stake his claim. But can he prove his heart is in the right place—and that this is one adventure they’re meant to have together, for a lifetime?

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He could do this. Get her on the river, show her a good time, and somehow find a way to bring up the fact that he was the guy she was looking for, not his brother, Carson. Cody had been kicking himself for not making plans to meet up with her again after their little adventure in the desert. But they’d both made it very clear that a continued relationship was not possible. She lived in San Francisco, but traveled a lot for work, so it would be difficult to connect.

And Cody? He’d never had a relationship that lasted longer than a weekend. And by Sunday he’d felt trapped. So he’d been surprised at how disappointed he was to watch her drive away after five days together. He knew the name of the magazine she worked for and she knew he had his own company in California, but they hadn’t exchanged numbers or any means of communication.

So now he wondered what had made her change her mind. Or was it just coincidence that brought her to his river? His company? Didn’t matter. She wanted a story. He’d give her a story. Hopefully one with a happy ending. Maybe a love scene or two.

“So, Miranda.” Just saying her name brought back memories. How her skin held the day’s warmth like the sandstone. How her smile brightened his nights like the full moon. And her touch? Her touch was like an oasis. “You’ve been on the Yampa. What other rivers have you run?”

“The Salmon, the Pacuare, the Zambezi.” She rattled off the rivers in Idaho, Costa Rica, and Africa as casually as someone might list roadside attractions.

“I haven’t traveled outside of California much.” Cody hoped he didn’t sound too much like a stick in the mud. “I’ve got pretty much everything I need right here. I’ve got my river to run, trails to hike or bike, beautiful women to entertain.”

He flashed his trademark grin, hoping she’d fall for it, like she had back in Utah.

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Posted in Books, Random, Teenagers, Uncategorized

December Birthdays and New Releases

While everyone else is busy with holiday shopping, office Christmas parties, and decorating and baking, I’m trying prepare for the release of my 6th book In Too Deep (A Swift River Romance #2) on December 20th.

I also have the next round of edits on my 7th book, coming out next fall. Oh, and get the proposal finished for the next series.

But I got a little sidetracked by my birthday last Monday.  We had a simple celebration, dinner with my husband and two sons. Then my mom came into town and took me to dinner the next night. And we had a Christmas party on Thursday. And on and on it goes.

As I get older, and my kids get older, I have found the joy in doing and buying less. I’m happy with a nice dinner and maybe a warm pair of socks. And the giant barrel of cheese balls my son’s bought me. (Although at least one of them helped me eat the whole thing).

My kids are happy with less, as well. They needed new ski equipment this year and we went ahead and got it now instead of waiting to put it under the tree. Because, hey, there’s snow. And they have already gone up enough to have paid for their passes that we bought them at the end of last season.

I see some clothing and gift cards making their way into the stockings and under the tree. And Hot Wheels, because they are a tradition in our family ever since my oldest was two and would get extremely excited to get a new Hot Wheel.

I wish I could get half as excited by anything as he was over a new car or Thomas train when he was little.

The only thing that comes close is getting a great review on one of my books. Or hitting a bestseller list. That would be a great gift. Even getting a message from a reader telling me that they enjoyed my books is much more meaningful than some trinket or knick-knack or even jewelry.

But I’d be okay with a nice dinner out, a bottle of Boeger wine, and of course books by my favorite authors.

 

Posted in Books, Romance, Uncategorized

Swept Away, A Swift River Romance Book 1, On Sale Now

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With the upcoming release of In Too Deep, A Swift River Romance Book 2, coming in December, my publisher has put Swept Away on sale for a limited time on Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and Google.

What better way to hold on to summer a little longer than spending long hot days on the river, and longer hotter nights in the arms of a sexy whitewater guide?

Carson Swift may look exactly like his twin brother Cody, but they’re as different as tie dye and camouflage. Reliable, responsible, and usually the designated driver, Carson is also over being his brother’s keeper, but suddenly his plans to break free are complicated by the woman they fish out of Hidden Creek . . .

Lily Price is not your typical damsel in distress. Infidelity, infertility, and downsizing provide a triple threat to her ego, but falling into the swollen river nearly ends her life. If not for the handsome stranger—make that two handsome strangers—she might not have had a chance at having a baby by any means necessary . . .

As Carson helps Lily overcome her fear of the river, she helps him save his rafting business from going under. She also saves him from abandoning all that is important to him in order to get a taste of freedom. Together they find that love is the ultimate adventure.