Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Going Au Naturale

Going, going, and still going!

It's been a few months (or several? Time passes when--well, you know that old saying) since my decision to stop coloring my hair and just let my natural gray come in. By now I think it's safe to say that I have my dad's genes. Papi had a head full of chestnut brown hair for years (which went great with his espresso-brown eyes) and his hair really didn't turn mostly silver until right before he passed away in his late 70s.

And I'm not sure that picture to the right is a good representative, but you can see my gray mixed in with the dark brown, at least with the sun coming into the car and highlighting it.

Keep in mind that I'm one of those women who've experimented with color over the years. Lots of blond frostings, full head of black, blond and auburn, even a strawberry blond that, to put it bluntly, looked absolutely terrible on a naturally brunette Cuban woman. I didn't dye my hair because of age but rather because I liked changing my look from time to time.

There comes a time, though, when Nature really does know best. Just yesterday I was picking up foundation, and the hair color aisle was right next to the makeup aisles. I was tempted to pick up a box of auburn but promptly thought: "Nahhhh! I'm really liking the gray!"

Recently, too, a friend at work, who keeps her hair short, passed a group of us in the hallway and turned everybody's head. Though her new hairstyle would look great in any color, the silver in Barbie's hair totally MADE that gorgeous look. She was wearing more than her natural color; she was wearing confidence. That's the way this beautiful lady carries herself, though--not only with confidence, but with humor, personal style and grace.

She wears her silver with aplomb.

Speaking of short hair, I have flirted with the idea of getting mine cut again. It's just that it's taken so long to grow it to this length, so I'm hesitant to do that, plus I'd really like to see what it looks like as a long, silver bob! I'll check back again in a few months, perhaps with more strands of gray or a new 'do that, like Barbie's, shows off the color Nature has given me.

How about you? You walking past the hair color aisle these days, too? Has your silver also, like me and other women, inspired you to take a look at your wardrobe and make decisions about what you should keep, what you should give to Goodwill, and what you truly love to wear? Because I haven't given up on paring down, either, even when it comes to clothes. That means having only clothes that we honestly love and will wear in that closet.

We're women in our 50s, after all. We don't have to do whatever fashion dictates. WE decide what style is!






Saturday, January 23, 2016

Happy January

You'll not hear me say this often, but we North Carolinians just went through a snowstorm yesterday. And believe it or not, THERE'S STILL SNOW OUT THERE!

How about you? If you're up north, it's going on even worse up there with this system that's moving up the coast. My prayers are with you, that you & your family keep safe.

But two days spent indoors can be...well, boring. LOL! There's just so much TV- and movie-watching you can do. So as you can see from the photo on the right, I'm keeping busy doing some cabinet-cleaning and reorganizing. It's been a couple of years, but I'm still trying to pare down. I mean, really, who needs 5 glass Pyrex tops with no containers to go with them?!

In between busywork, I'm also doing some writing. Haven't been doing that in quite a while, ever since the publication of Goodnight, My Love. Instead, I've been refilling my well--something that we as writers need to do sometime.

For now, I'm done with some of our cabinets. Off to get a strenuous walk with the hubby out in that snow! And when I return this week, some news on new books/stories I'll be working on in 2016.

Stay safe!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Christmas House





No, that's not the name of an upcoming book, although it would make for a great idea!

Much thanks to Dennis & his beautiful wife, Louise, for an awesome tour!


Recently, a dear friend of ours, Dennis, and his wife, Louise, invited us to their home here in the Carolinas, having told us they have 54 Christmas trees in their home. Fifty-four Christmas trees! Of course, Bill and I had to see that for ourselves...and we weren't disappointed.




What a whimsical and fun tree, the "Bathtub Tree!"
As it turned out, that was no exaggeration. Dennis and Louise are, in fact, the owners of over 50 trees, each of which has its own theme and color scheme--like the M&M (one of my favorite candies!) above. Lots of magic and imagination go into the decoration of these trees, which are actually the brainchild of Louise. This wonderful lady has collected the trees over the years, and who begins decorating them as early as August of each year.

But it's not just trees: Check out the beautiful decorative items, all with the theme of Christmas, below.

What an inviting dining room! Santa and Mrs. Clause never had a more beautiful table!



Louise is an award-winning bowler, and  Dennis also shares a love of bowling, so it's not surprising to find this one!



Dennis & Louise's beautiful nativity scene, plus scenes with Jesus during His ministry, which takes up their entire coffee table!

Closing with an idyllic winter scene, complete with skaters on a frozen pond.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Free Book for a Few More Hours

Did you get a jump start on the Christmas season when it comes to your shopping? The hubby and I did today! We started off with breakfast at Cracker Barrell, then headed to the stores. Bill and I even squeezed in time to pick out, buy AND decorate our Christmas tree. By no means are we done, but we're ahead of schedule!

If you've been doing the same today, just note that you also have time to pick up one more little gift--this one from me to you--and that's a FREE copy of my newest book, GOODNIGHT, MY LOVE! But hurry, because this offer is almost over.

However, I've decided to give ONCE UPON A PAINTED HORSE, my Christian romance (featuring an abandoned amusement park, said to be haunted!) for FREE until Monday.

Happy Reading & Merry Christmas (Shopping)!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Excerpt from GOODNIGHT, MY LOVE

Taking a moment tonight to post this excerpt from my latest book, GOODNIGHT, MY LOVE, which is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes, Kobo & more. Enjoy!

Excerpt:

“Hey, Gina. You got your head in the clouds?”
She had been staring glumly at the phone. That was a possibility, wasn’t it? Tony could always call the phone at the bakery. He could hang up if Donnie or anybody but she picked up.
“Hi, Kelly. Whaddya need?”
Kelly Whelan arched an eyebrow at her. “How ’bout, ‘Hello, Kelly? Haven’t seen you in while.’ Not just ‘Whaddya need?’”
Gina glared sullenly at him and folded her arms across her chest. If he was teasing, she wasn’t in the mood for that; if he was seriously scolding her, then she wasn’t in the mood for that, either.
“Hello, Kelly. Haven’t seen you in a while. Catch any fish out there?”
He rested one arm on the counter, leaning over the glass. “Yeah, we did. Lots of ’em. Made some money.”
“Well...good.” Easing up on the attitude, she grabbed a slice of parchment paper to take a cookie from the tray beneath the glass counter. “That’s cause for celebration. Congratulations.”
It wasn’t Kelly’s fault she was upset over Tony seemingly having disappeared. To make up for it, she offered him a cookie, one of the ones she knew the fisherman liked, with the raspberry jam in the center.
His expression softened. “For me?”
“Yes! Enjoy it. Congratulations.” She wasn’t apologizing. Maybe she’d been rude—a little—but he’d been rude, too, and he wasn’t apologizing to her, either. “Anyway, I’m glad you’re home safe.”
Finally, he broke into a grin. He also looked better than usual. Not as straggly, like the other rough-and-tough fishermen. He was wearing a nice shirt and pants, and he’d gotten his hair trimmed. She had to say, Kelly looked decent, even sort of cute, when he was clean-shaven and dressed well.
“See any mermaids out there?” Now she was the one teasing.
“Yeah. One that looked like a crazy, little Italian bakery girl I know.”
Gina didn’t know quite what to say to that. She tried to mask the fact that she was mildly flustered with a laugh.
“Really, did you ever see anything out there? Anything...like a mermaid?”
Donnie stepped out of the kitchen with a fresh tray of pastries. He and Kelly exchanged nods in greeting.
“Kelly, how’s it goin’?” Her brother smiled.
“Good. Taking a little break.”
“Yeah? Must be nice to be rich, man.”
They both laughed. Donnie didn’t seem at all troubled that Kelly was sharing a conversation with her. He liked the fisherman. Kelly was his neighbor and he’d known him for years. They’d hung around together, though Donnie was a couple years older. There was mutual respect between them.
Why couldn’t Donnie have liked Tony as much as he liked Kelly?
Because he’s not even trying. Maybe he’s jealous because a lot of guys are jealous of Tony. He’s handsome and he’s had a lot of girlfriends, so naturally the other guys are all jealous of him.
“I haven’t been lucky enough to see one myself. But I’ve heard stories from fishermen who swear they’ve seen them out there.”
It was slow that morning. Gina welcomed the downtime, since many days she was busy and barely had time to catch her breath.
To Kelly’s credit, too, he wasn’t treating her like a silly kid. He even came across as if he were enjoying their little talk.
Gina felt comfortable to be herself at that point. “I believe them. I believe they’ve seen them.”
“Hey, so do I. Just because I haven’t seen one myself, doesn’t mean something’s not out there.” He grinned. “I’ll keep in mind you like mermaids. If it’s possible, if I ever see one, I’ll get my picture taken with one for you.”
That made her giggle. “Get her autograph on the picture, too, if you can. Not—not getting anything today?”
“Cup of coffee. That’s it for me today.”
“Okay. The usual? Two sugars and light with cream?”
“You got it.”
Was he impressed that she knew that? Gina remembered how all the regular customers took their coffee. It was nothing special, yet she did pride herself in that.
“Uh...I heard my sister saw you this weekend. Getting ice cream at the beach?”
Gina had just finished pouring his coffee and placing the carafe back onto its burner when she heard those words. Instinctively, she glanced at the door, almost expecting Donnie to emerge at that very moment.
“Yes, it was nice to see her,” she said, quickly changing the subject. “How is your mom? I don’t see her much. Or your other sister and brother. I always seem to be here, you know?”

Please, God, don’t let him say anything.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

NOW RELEASED -- GOODNIGHT, MY LOVE

In spite of this busy month, my new book, GOODNIGHT, MY LOVE, is now available on Amazon! Coming soon, also, to all your favorite stores. Below is more info (really, its blurb) about this romantic, old-fashioned love story, which you'll find more info on here.

It's exciting for me to be publishing this book, which as I said earlier had been bought years ago by a now-defunct small press which never put it out. NEVER. It was listed as BABY, IT'S YOU, but it was never available.

But that's okay. That's all yesterday's news, because without the original, this book has been rewritten entirely (and woot!! for the first time, baby, it's got a COVER!). And now, I'm excited to say, it is now published and available for readers FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER.

You can get this book for the low price of 99 cents, a full-length 20th Century historical, because I really would love to get it in your hands, and who doesn't look for a great deal at this time of year?

As promised, here is the blurb...and soon to follow, an excerpt (or two!):

While still in high school, Gina Bertoletti finds her free time taken up with working in her family’s bakery. Life suddenly takes an exciting turn the first time she lays eyes on handsome and charming Tony La Rosa. Gina is convinced that Tony, a local young man with dreams of leaving that seaside town for Hollywood, is destined to become her own personal leading man.
Enter Kelly Whelan, a rugged fisherman with responsibilities beyond his years, who is almost the polar opposite of Tony. Both men will have an impact on Gina, whose heart will learn the difference between that thrilling first love and the much more rare and lasting true love.

Pick up your copy today!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November Catch-up

It's been a while since I last posted, so I definitely owe some updates! This is typical of me because I go through times when I don't blog; instead, I concentrate on the writing part of this business. Which, after all, is what writers do--but I still miss blogging and filling in readers.

So, as you can tell by my little WIP meter on my sidebar to the right, GOODNIGHT, MY LOVE is actually turning out to be a bit longer than anticipated. The first draft will be done this week, without delay, and I'm shooting for a release date of November 28 or 29 (right after Thanksgiving). Really happy to be bringing this book to readers, considering its journey as the never-before-available BABY, IT'S YOU.

Also: This book, a rewrite with no original on hand, is totally new and bears very little resemblance to the original. LOL! The characters are there, but it's gone from a category romance to more of a mainstream romance (shorter in length, however).

Hoping you enjoy it, that it brings you much reading pleasure, and that you can relax with an apple cider or mocha frappuccino with it in between your Christmas shopping, decorating and party-going.

More updates to follow!