My Life in Review – The Traveling Midori

I have been a member of a group on Facebook for almost a year now. It is a group of people who are enamoured with Midoris, and to celebrate the year anniversary of the group and to promote friendship, one of the members came up with the idea of traveling Midoris. The concept behind the group was that there would x number of groups – depending upon the number of interested parties – and each group would have its own hand-made Midori. This Midori would take a year-long trip to be documented by each member of each group as they in turn hosted the Midori for a week in their lives.

I think the group ended up with approximately ten groups of ten people. These Midoris are traveling world-wide at this very moment, and to me, that is exciting. I am part of the Pioneer Dorian group and I am experiencing my week right now! Each of these Midoris have been hand-crafted by the members of the group and are works of art in their own right. Each person hosting the Midori is encouraged to document their life and add a little of themselves to the book, giving each book its own unique history. It will take a year for each Midori to complete its journey. At that time, the books will be assigned to a new group and begin a new year of travel.

It is very interesting to flip through the pages and see what other’s have chosen to leave of themselves. Some of the participants are artists, some are writers, some lead busy lives, and some lead quiet lives. The journey of each book is also being documented on Instagram with the hashtags #travelingdori #pioneerdorian and others, each representing the name of the group’s Midori. You’ll find us on Twitter and on Facebook in the Traveling Dori group.

This is my story:

I received a package in the mail on Saturday, June 7, 2014. I wasn’t expecting the package as we are not warned ahead of time. It is a surprise for each of us when the Midori will arrive. Even as I opened the envelope, and peered inside, I was still not certain what I was seeing. It was when I pulled out a leather sleeve and looked inside that I realized I was the next recipient of the Pioneer Dorian. As I sat down and began to thumb through the different books, I was taken by surprise by the artistic talents of the person before me. It gave me pause, and I began to picture what I might leave behind for the next person.

Where the person before me was surely a free spirit – drawing and writing in a random fashion – I am not. I shall leave my mark upon the Pioneer Dorian in a much different way – a way that speaks to me, as the next recipient of this piece of history will no doubt do. I will decorate my pages with stickers and washi tape. I will add a ribbon marker to mark my place, pink, as that is my favorite color.

While some are whimsical, I am not. If I contribute art, my mark will be a carefully thought-out Zentangle with precise lines made with intention.

As I turn the pages of this wonderful book, this traveling Midori, I will bring order to it for the short time it is with me – then, I shall send it forward where it will be transformed once again.

I hope you enjoyed the story and enjoy the pictures of the traveling Pioneer Dorian – next stop – Georgia, USA!

Top Ten Best-Ever Healthy Weight-Loss Tips by Elle Eriksson (Media Blitz, Giveaway)

 

 

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Top Ten Best Ever Weight Loss TipsTitle: Top Ten Best-Ever Healthy Weight-Loss Tips

Author: Elle Eriksson, RHN
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 122
Genre: Health and Wellness
Format: Kindle

We all know that being slim does not always mean being healthy. In Top Ten Best-Ever Healthy Weight-Loss Tips, Elle Eriksson offers you sensible, effective ways to shed those unwanted pounds while improving overall health and wellbeing.

Blending personal wisdom with professional training and experience, Elle shares her insight and provides strategies for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Also included in these top ten tips is “a little food for thought” as the author explores some of today’s concerns around food quality and production.

With a variety of options for all body types, Elle guides you toward successful weight loss, using a whole-foods diet and realistic steps to attaining an active, balanced lifestyle. This easy-to-use guide includes a 21-Day Food/Weight/Fitness Journal along with real-life weight-loss success story.

Elle Eriksson, RHN, is a registered holistic nutritionist, nutritional  consultant, urban gardener, and cooking instructor. In her passionate concern for both the planet and animal welfare, she incorporates these issues into her down-to-earth approach to food, health, and weight loss. Elle lives with her family in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Purchase Top Ten Best-Ever Healthy Weight-Loss Tips in these formats:

 
Kindle
Hardcover
Paperback

 

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour by Donna Huber

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With so many books being completed each day and our there on the market, how do you make sure your book gets out there to your audience? You arrange a book tour, AND who better to help you out than someone who has been blogging and participating and even arranging virtual book tours! Meet Donna Huber, my friend from Girl Who Blogs.

Donna has written a short book on the secrets to being successful with a blog tour. It is a great book and a very informative one. If you have any questions, please comment and Donna will be back to answer them.

Donna was kind enough to write about blog touring. Thanks Donna!

When to Do a Blog Tour

I am part of several author groups and in all of them I’ve seen authors ask when was the best time to run a blog tour for their book. It is a good question to ask since tours can be very time consuming, particularly in the preparations, and if the author hires a company, it can be costly. In truth, a tour can be scheduled whenever.

My one rule for timing a blog tour – have a buy link available. A lot of book buyers are impulse buyers and tours do get books sold. Also, readers who follow tours are seeing a lot of books. You don’t want to rely on their memory to make sales.

While you can do a tour whenever, the type and duration of the tour may vary depending on the author’s objective. Let’s take a look at some times an author might want to do a tour and what kind of tour would work best.

Book Launch

Blog tours as part of the book’s launch is probably the most popular. For indie authors, the launch is flexible, which is great for the author who is planning their own tour. Getting a book ready for publication is a lot of work and can be stressful. If the author is handling their own formatting and submitting their book to retailers, they may not have the time to plan a tour at the same time.

For my ebook, Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour, I went with a soft launch and then followed up with a tour a month later. It gave me time to get my ebook listed at most retailers and time to write up the guest posts. Also, it gave bloggers the opportunity to read the book and get their reviews ready.

I recommend for a book launch to go big and showy. An author will want to have a great giveaway prize and line up at least a few big bloggers. A 15 – 21 stop tour works best for book launches.todolist

Sale Events and Holidays

Pairing a tour with a holiday or special promotion can boost sales. The tour doesn’t have to be long or overly involved. If the author is short on time, an excerpt tour would be a great idea. It saves time because guest posts and interviews aren’t required, though providing a few “extra goodies” does help. For an example of an excerpt tour, check out the one I organized for Terri Morgan’s Playing the Genetic Lottery (http://www.girl-who-reads.com/2013/02/free-ebook-excerpt-tour.html)

Introducing the Next Book

For authors who write series they often go with cover reveals for introducing the next book coming out. While cover reveals are easy for the author, bloggers and readers are growing tired of them. A new angle needs to be found. I recommend a short tour for the previous books in the series that also reveals the cover of the next book. While picking up a few reviews, the tour should focus on guest posts, interviews, and excerpts. Look for bloggers who have already reviewed the book(s) to take part. A good giveaway for this kind of tour is previous books in the series.

billboardA tour can be a great way to promote a book. A blog tour can be done any time, but authors should take care to allow enough time for proper planning. Also, continually touring, even virtually, grows tiring for both the author and the reader. To avoid tour burnout, reserve blog tours for events. Instead, schedule 2 – 3 blog appearances each month to keep your name in front of readers.

Purchase Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour on Amazon:

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She’s b-a-c-k…from life’s distractions, family drama, medical appointments, and shopping

I’ve been kind of missing in action lately, but I’m back. Hope there is someone out there that noticed, after all, we all like to know we’ve been missed.

My husband has been suffering with a neck injury with different diagnosis coming in from a chiropractor, a PCP, a doctor of physical medicine, and now a physical therapist. One was insistent that cracking the neck and back was going to fix it. While I didn’t agree with the method, I was willing to support my husband’s choice to try non-evasive first (although in my opinion, that constitutes evasive). With that treatment ending and the symptoms worsening, we then took it to the next level and medical doctors. We know there is arthritis in his neck, but none of this was explaining the numbness and pain radiating down his arm.

After x-rays and an MRI, we are now in physical therapy and at least things are beginning to make sense. The therapist was able to isolate the nerve causing the pain and some interesting things have begun to happen. Hopefully, improvements will follow. Seems between the two of us, we’ve been making a few too many trips into New Orleans to Ochsner.

Physical therapy is proving to be quite the interesting journey. Luckily, we found a wonderful therapist who doesn’t mind being asked questions and explaining everything going on. I have been known to irritate even the nicest of doctors with my questions. I never left the “why” stage behind. She would do something and I’d ask what she was doing, why she was doing it, and what she hoped the outcome would be. I was very impressed because she is very open with us. She is also confident that the nerve is not permanently damaged and she can restore what has been damaged through treatment. After three months of horrible pain, it is nice to see Hubby finding some relief. The physical therapist also uses dry needling and that is interesting.

I only have one comment. If that is how women act when they are PMSing, geez, no wonder we get on everyone’s last nerve!

Our latest trip into New Orleans this week was for follow-up blood work and an ultra-sound for me. The numbers having to do with my liver and gall bladder were elevated. I have two rare blood disorders and have blood work done every six months to monitor my elevated red cell count and platelet count. Those numbers are elevated, but within the same high range they have been for a year. I have to admit that if I get another tech that hurts me the way this one did, I’m calling for someone new. I have a huge bruise on my arm. She stuck me and then moved the needle around for a while (which, by the way I could feel) before she managed to hit the vein. I don’t watch, but I could feel it and it hurt. I told Hubby he needs to be my advocate next time and instead of watching, needs to stop them. He said had she moved it one more time, he had decided that he was going to stop her and call for someone new.

On the bright side, I did a little shopping this month and bought some cool stuff. I’ll be sharing those goodies throughout the week. First up are my little books from May Designs. I have recently returned to journaling and a pretty book is always enticing and I love these. I also have one for the Facebook group 360/30. The group gives a month’s worth of thought-provoking prompts at the beginning of each month. And I use the third for my medical records.

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Don’t you just love them?

 

And where do you put such pretty little books? Well – in a pretty little pouch. I found these cute Hadaki bags on-line. It came in a set of two, one of which was the perfect size for my little books, along with a pretty colored pen for each book. You’ll come to notice I’m more than a little obsessed with pretty pouches. I have amassed quite a collection through the years and I love mixing them up and using them for different purposes. One can never have too much pretty pretty.

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I even received a cute pink lollipop!
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I decided to leave the pretty green ribbon that held them together. I cut it and tied a piece to each zipper.
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The colors are so bright and cheerful.
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I even used the pretty pink envelope that came inside. I hole punched it to fit my planner and then used one of my Martha Stewart punches to make the cute top design, then added stickers.
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Even the inside lining is pretty.

I recently found a couple of shopping apps and I’ve been trying them out. You receive a list of items each week and if you purchase any of them, you can earn money back. It isn’t always items I use, but I’ve managed to rack up about $4 for just buying what I already buy. One is Checkout 51 and the second is Ibotta. I think they are available for both iPhone and Android.

I also use Grocery IQ as my grocery list app. It is connected with Coupon.com and I was able to utilize a few coupons there as well. One was for antiperspirants. It’s no secret that I love my Secret – unscented that is. When I sweat I do not want to smell like baby powder sweat, or citrus sweat. Anyone else with me? Well, being Southern I suspect that if I am invited on a picnic – and sweat – those in attendance will sniffing the air to see who smells like the Ambrosia (with a twist of sweat.) My new deodorant, thanks to a coupon, is Secret Citrus (I kid you not!) I truly just do NOT want to smell like something when I sweat. The best case scenario would be to not smell, but do you really want to smell like Spring – with a touch of sweat? Who thinks up these fragrances? We truly need to have a sit down with them – and soon.

We had a little family drama this week as well. If you follow my blog, you know that I adore my German shepherds. Ryka never darts out in front of the truck when we come through the gate, but this time she did. I had just closed one gate after Hubby came through and was starting to close the second when I looked up and saw Ryka start to cross in front of him. It happened so fast. The truck bumper hit and flipped her and then she rolled to a stop as Hubby did, right against the tire.

I did what any good Southern lady would do. I let out a blood curdling scream. Jamie Curtis in Halloween doesn’t have anything on me! I think I frightened Ryka more than getting hit by the truck did, but thankfully, she got up and walked away. I still shudder when I think about it. I was quite upset the entire afternoon and that night I spent about an hour just cuddling and playing and rubbing them before I came inside.

I was always concerned about Calypso because she insists on running down the drive in front of the truck and escorting us to the garage. Before the truck, we had a suburban and we could at least see her ears as she galloped along. The truck is so high, she would have to be a horse to be seen. Ryka always lagged behind and this was completely out of character for her. As they say, “All’s good in Hollywood,” at least momentarily.

There were loads more adventures and family drama this week, but I’ll save that for another day. As always, thanks for taking the time to visit here and I wish you a wonderful weekend. I have a book giveaway, so if you love a good romance, be sure and leave a comment there. The book is Waiting on You and the link is: http://mylifeonestoryatatime.com/2014/04/05/waiting-on-you-by-kristan-higgins-review-giveaway/

Thanks for visiting!

 

 

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Stephen Downing is Dead by Dan Goss Anderson (Media Blitz)

cover44712-smallFresh out of law school, Owen didn’t expect that his first case in the territory of Arizona would be a murder trial, where he would be called to defend a Mexican national accused of killing a respected townsperson. Nor did he expect to have such intense feelings for the victim’s wife. Owen’s new neighbors in this new town don’t have much love for their Mexican neighbors, so he’s on his own to prove his client’s innocence. Who really did murder Stephen Downing?

Stephen Downing is Dead is a “whodunit” mystery set in 1905, the final days of the wild western frontier, but the national tensions between Anglos and Mexicans in the border areas will feel familiar to readers today. An early reviewer called it “…an engrossing historical fiction set in Arizona territory beginning in the rough and tumble days of the early 1900’s.”

Dan Goss Anderson is a man of the desert. He grew up mostly in the southwest, and completed a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing at the University of Arizona. In his forties, he enrolled in law school and became a public defender. He now lives in southern Arizona, where he writes fiction and practices law. He is available for guest columns and interviews (I’ve included potential topics and questions at the end of the email.)

Peer Publishing is a small, independent press owned by Anderson and distributed through Ingram Book Distributors.

Book Title: Stephen Downing Is Dead

Author: Dan Goss Anderson

Author Bio:

Dan Goss Anderson grew up mostly in the desert southwest. After a stint in the military, he worked odd jobs until finally returning to school to study creative writing. After completing a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing, Dan went on to teach college writing courses while freelancing for various magazines. In his forties, he once again returned to school, this time to study law, and became a public defender. He now lives in southern Arizona, where he divides his time between fiction writing and the practice of law.

Cover copy:

Territorial Court, Arizona, 1905

Fledgling defense attorney Owen Bartlett understands that this murder trial, against a seasoned prosecutor, is way over his head. Having come west to leave his past behind, he planned to build a new life in this wild, open land. But with only a law degree from the Boston YMCA and no courtroom experience, he has been roped into defending a man accused of murder. Now he faces a jury of ranchers, storekeepers, miners—men with little love for Mexicans like Owen’s client, Miguel Cordero. If he fails, Miguel will hang.

Behind Owen is Miguel’s wife, Gabby, her future too in Owen’s hands. In the rear of the courtroom, the widow Eva Downing listens, her heart in her throat with the secret knowledge that the wrong person has been accused of murdering her husband. She does not yet know, or care, that this young defense attorney from Boston has already fallen for her.

Stephen Downing is Dead follows the trajectory of three intertwined lives, each shaped by the killing of Stephen Downing and by the trial of his accused murderer. It’s the story of the search for a redemption that seems always just out of reach, a tale of cowardice, ambition, and real love at the dawn of the modern American west.

Publish Date: February, 2014 (hardcover); June, 2013 (trade paper and ebook)

Publisher: Peer Publishing

Genre:  Historical Mystery/Fiction

Number of pages: 278

Book Price: Trade Paper $14.95, Hardcover $23.99

ISBN: Hardcover 978-0-9892009-2-9, Trade Paper 978-0-9892009-0-5, eBook 978-0-9892009-1-2

Retail links:

http://www.amazon.com/Stephen-Downing-Dead-Goss-Anderson-ebook/dp/B00D3WHDT8

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stephen-downing-is-dead-dan-goss-anderson/1115464997

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780989200929

Web links:

https://www.facebook.com/StephenDowningisDead

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18008393-stephen-downing-is-dead

https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/show/id/44712

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40 Bags/40 Days Declutter Charity Challenge

For the last few years, I have participated in a challenge that I first saw introduced by the lovely Sarah over at Clover Lane. It’s called the “40 Bags in 40 Days challenge” and the idea is to rid your home of unneeded and unwanted “stuff” by filling a bag every day during the 40 days of Lent. By the end, you will have donated/sold/tossed 40 BAGS of clutter.

I have to admit that the first year I did this challenge, I was a bit overwhelmed. Sarah suggests writing down 40 different areas of your home that you want to focus on during the challenge, and that was definitely helpful for me. I broke things down into very small categories and even dedicated one day to just cleaning out file drawers {not even my whole desk}. Following that daily plan of one small area at a time made things much more manageable. Also, instead of trying to fill an entire big garbage bag each day, I would focus on grocery size bags for the small projects. In the end, I had collected 21 black garbage bags/boxes and 19 grocery bags of STUFF we didn’t need. Some went into the recycling bin, some went to our garage sale, and some went to charities.

As much as I enjoy the decluttering process of this challenge, I think the part that I love most is finding new charities to contribute to. Having “too much stuff” is a blessing we take for granted sometimes. There are people that would do anything to have shoes without holes, dress clothes appropriate enough for a job interview, pots and pans to make meals at home, toys for their children to play with, glasses to see with, etc. And if we have extras of these things lying around, unused, why not give them to people who need them?! Use this challenge and every day of Lent {regardless of your religion} to give back to your community. To give to people in need. To do something good with all those blessings you take for granted.

This year, I plan to use my 40 Bags/40 Days list a little differently. Instead of listing 40 areas of my home, I am going to list out my 40 “bags” and where they went. I want to be able to look back and see how much I was able to recycle, how much I was able to sell and most importantly…how much I was able to donate to people in need.

Although there are many places that will take most of your items {like AMVETSSalvation Army or Red Cross}, there also some other wonderful charities that are looking for specific items like shoes, dress clothes, eye glasses, plastic toys, etc. Here are links to some charities I have worked with in the past and some I hope to work with again this year:

For gently used shoes: Share Your Soles
For gently worn or new dress clothes: Dress for Success
For old {good condition} eyeglasses: Lions Recycle for Sight
For gently used plastic toys: Second Chance Toys
Used books: Reading Tree
Old cell phones: Cell Phones for Soldiers
Gently worn coats and jackets: Operation Warm

 

I am so excited to get started on this year’s challenge and hopefully get my whole family involved too. And of course, to help you all out with this challenge, here is a free planner printable to help you track your 40 bags/40 Day:

 

Use it to plan out the 40 areas of your home you want to tackle in the challenge, or use it like I am and track your “bags” and where they are going.

Start Spring off right with an organized home, and a full heart :-)

Download the Large {8.5 x 11} list HERE.
Download the Small {5.5 x 8.5} list HERE.
Download the XSmall {3.75 x 6.75} list HERE.

 

I am reposting this from my friend, Jen, at Polka Dot Posie. (http://www.thepolkadotposie.com/2014/03/40-bags40-days-declutter-charity.html ) Let’s all join in and make the next 40 days count!

Don’t forget to check Southern Charm Planners on Facebook! at https://www.facebook.com/groups/LouisianaPlannerGirls/

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How’s your pillow treating you? Seriously!

If you are me, this is a serious question. I’m not someone who falls asleep the moment their head hits the pillow, or in my Hubby’s case as it is on the way to the pillow. I really expect him to hit the back of the bed one of these days. He honestly falls asleep before his head hits the pillow – must be nice.

I am always in search of a better pillow because I’m convinced that the perfect pillow will send me into dreamland that much sooner. I am also rough on a pillow. I punch. I squish. I beat it. And, after all of that, I plump it up and expect it to become a cloud on which to lay my weary head.

I was contacted recently to receive and review the Sweet Slumber pillow by Reverie. I actually ignored the email the first time around and agreed when I got the second email. No reason, just wasn’t sure how legitimate the email was. Now, I’m glad I did agree.

I received the pillow and couldn’t believe how heavy it was. As I began to read the enclosed literature, I realized where the weight came from. The Reverie’s Sweet Slumber pillow is composed of shredded natural rubber to simulate down. I received the standard/queen size but it is also available in a king size. It is 100% cotton quilted, and the cover is removable and machine washable. The pillow is also hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial and dust mite resistant.

The Reverie company was founded in 2003 and is a leading manufacturer of adjustable foundations, mattresses and pillows. Going to the website and requesting a catalog would answer any curiosities you may have. It is a really interesting system.

Getting back to the pillow, my initial thoughts after doing my squish, squeeze, pound test was that it really did resemble a down pillow – which is what I use. I put a pillow case on it and tossed it on the bed to try out. The first two or three nights I really loved the pillow. It was like sleeping on a down pillow. I could do all my pounding and fluffing and then sink down in a cloud of soft pillow to sleep. And, I slept good on those first few nights.

Around the fourth night of sleeping on the pillow, I began to notice a slight rubber smell. I continued sleeping on the pillow for an additional three nights before I went back to my regular pillow. Although originally, I slept wonderfully, the smell began disturbing my sleep. Aside from the smell, the pillow is fantastic. It is soft and I was able to snuggle into it for sleeping. I truly am disappointed that I could not continue sleeping on the pillow as those first few nights were really restful.

The bed system looks interesting, but I would be leery of trying it because of my experience with the pillow. If the company can find a solution to the rubber smell, I would not mind purchasing at least the pillows, and perhaps in the future, the bed.

The web site and additional information can be found at: http://www.reverie.com

I am unsure of what I might rate the pillow due to the smell. As I said, it is truly a comfortable pillow and has many things going for it. I plan on contacting the company to see if they perhaps have a solution. If they respond, I will definitely add their response to this post.

***I did receive a prompt reply from the company on my questions referencing the smell.

“Some people do notice the smell of the natural rubber in the pillow, but they typically notice it on the first night, if at all.  It does dissipate over time, and know that it’s not a synthetic smell such as memory foam.”

I received the Sweet Slumber pillow free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

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Is that my Fossil bag you’re peeking in?

Yes, I have reached a new low or plateau – whichever way you want to look at it. I’m blogging about the contents of my purse – and this is making me laugh. There is just something about the contents of a purse that intrigues women.

I have been on a mission to locate the perfect bag (for me) for so long I can’t remember a time when I haven’t. I think I may have stumbled on to it at last – the perfect bag I mean; the Fossil Sydney Shopper. This is the most amazing purse as far as I am concerned. It has loads of room on the inside and holds all of what I refer to as my necessities. There are also multiple inside pockets for organizing, and the straps are a great length.

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I carry a number of things that I couldn’t possibly do without when I leave the house. I must have my personal planner – of course. I also use it as a wallet. There are a number of sections in my planner, but the most important are the section with my money and cards, and then my calendar, which I use for making appointments while away.

Next, I have a pencil bag, and a little monogrammed pouch for all of those little items you don’t want rolling about in your bag. This pouch also makes changing bags so much easier. I have my pepper spray – of course – who leaves home without that? I also have my flosser (in the toothbrush case) and my keys, along with my cute little Hello Kitty glass case. It’s winter so I carry a neutral color pair of gloves (my matching ones are in various coat pockets.)

The two smaller pouches (blue and little birdies) hold my ear pods for my iPhone and my iPhone charger. That’s about it, unless I toss in my Kindle last-minute.photo 1 copy 5

All of my gear fits quite nicely with room for a water bottle if I want to bring one along. If I adjust everything really well, I can also squeeze my 13″ laptop into my bag. I don’t carry it around often, but should I want to, there is room for it in the bag.

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Hope you enjoyed the tour! As the little green lizard (?) says “What’s in your wallet (bag)?”

 

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A Peek at how my week is shaping up and a DIY!

I have a dark corner in my kitchen and it drives me absolutely crazy! Hubby has a difficult time understanding this because I don’t seem to need light anywhere else. I am perfectly content to only use lamps in the house, rather than the overhead lights. Maybe it’s the ambiance. Who knows?

But, the kitchen, especially this corner (the only corner) is another story. I need light. I want light. And I had light – until the bulb burnt out – AGAIN! Hubby has been busy trying to finish a rent house that I am close to renaming “Murphy’s Law”. Seems the guy has  moved in and grown roots. Anything that can go wrong, has gone wrong. I’m sure you know the drill.

But, getting back to the light – this is not the first time it’s burnt out. Hubby installed these two pot lights (as I refer to them) under the counter only months ago and already they have both burnt out. They aren’t cheap so I’ve decided to just return them and ask for new ones. I am really tired of buying new lights every few months. Hubby’s back was bothering him and I can be very impatient at times. Who, me? Yes, me. I see a problem. I see a solution. I want it done. Case in point. Light burnt out. I have a new one. It needs to be installed.

I decided that it couldn’t be all that difficult to do. Before I met Hubby, I was quite an efficient woman. I decided with the long hours he has been working, it might be a good idea to become a little more independent again. Being old-fashioned works for us. He’s the man. I’m the woman. He does the man things. I do the woman things.

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After a little contemplation, I finally figured out that since the housing was already installed, there must be a way to only change out the guts.

I was correct. I even cut and connected the cord to the new plug. It is amazing how simple the quick connects are. I can’t wait to use this new-found knowledge on other things. I’m an accident waiting to happen so that might not be so good. But, getting back to the light, I managed to do everything right, only I was having trouble snapping the little light into the casing. I was matching up the holes with the piece on the light and therein lay my error. I should have just shoved it up and it would have snapped into place. I was being a little too correct and technical.

The light works and needless to say, I am one proud person! And, let there be light once again!

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It is also the corner where I keep my jar of cup cake liners. For the past several years I’ve just shoved them into the jar haphazardly as I’ve purchased them. I was sort of partial to the riot of color going every which way, which is unusual for my personality. The other day I had about five minutes to spare and decided to empty it out and reposition the papers. I think I like the stacks now. It provides color in the corner of the cabinet. There are some plain papers to the back of the jar that I actually use.

And, now a sneak peek at how my week is shaping up. I have been into using pink and aqua and blue lately when decorating my planner. This week, after visiting with a friend who absolutely loves bright colors, I chose an orange – quite a difference from my usual pastels. I think I am kind of liking it for a change.

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I also found some really cute free printables at Lime Tree Fruits http://limetreefruits.com/freebies/. Who wouldn’t want to write out a grocery list on this cute design or keep track of expenses?

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So that’s my week on this Monday. I’m sure the calendar will be filling up as the week continues. How’s your week shaping up and what type of planner are you using these days?

Stay tuned because on Wednesday I’ll be giving you a sneak peek at my Fossil bag and what’s inside!

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It’s in The Little Things by Gayle Suzane (Excerpt & Guest Post)

It's in the Little Things by Gayle Suzanne on Closed the Cover

Do you believe a happy life is meant for others but not for you? Are you ready to shift energy and improve your life?

Our lives can be inundated with trials and pain. Somewhere in between our struggles we might lose hope for living a fulfilling, enjoyable life.  You may have suffered from bullying, addiction, rejection or other forms of hurt that has left you feeling badly about yourself.  We might believe that a happy life is meant for others but not for us.

It’s in the Little Things is a book about loving God, loving yourself, and loving others.  Through personal experiences, stories are shared that can transform your life.  Some stories are lighthearted and others are more emotional and deep.  Most have messages of how to appreciate seemingly insignificant events in life and how to take small steps to improve your circumstances.  These little things can have a profound impact on your life.  This book is designed to inspire, uplift and guide you toward a life you love.

  • File Size: 801 KB
  • Print Length: 220 pages

Gayle Suzanne is a Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner (CPC, ELI-MP), workshop facilitator and speaker. She has a deep desire to help those with self-esteem issues and those who have dealt with rejection, bullying or emotional abuse. Gayle has a passion to empower and inspire people to see their gifts and talents and the beauty within. She has been described as compassionate, humorous, insightful and intuitive. She is a mother, wife and step-mother and lives in Charlton, Mass. She is a member of International Coaching Federation, New England Chapter.

Guest Post by Gayle Suzanne

I am entering my 50th year. My body is starting to show signs of aging.  I’ve had my share of aches and pains – jolting me into the reality that I’m not 20 years old anymore.  I now enjoy Sunday afternoon naps.  I prefer staying in on a Saturday night snug in my jammies by 7pm.   Appears that the tiny little lines near my eyes have settled in for the long haul, even though I’ve desperately tried to remove them with expensive cream.  The fact that I’ll have to go to my hairdresser every 6 weeks for the rest of my life to cover up the one inch gray halo that outlines the edge my face… and now I realize that my eyebrows need a color boost too (I tried plucking out all the gray but realize that if I continue I’d soon be eyebrowless…)  Things that were once perky are now droopy.  My once taut neck resembles something served at Thanksgiving dinner.  I’ve had to accept that I just don’t remember much anymore.  Sometimes I look at a piece of celery and can’t remember what it is.  The memory loss comes and goes.  This is my daughter’s pet peeve with me – she will tell me something 5 times and it just doesn’t register.  It’s not that I am intentionally forgetting, it’s like my brain is too full.   Then I’ll repeat the same thing 5 times in a row.  We’ll find the cell phone in the fridge or the car keys in the silverware drawer.   My vision is not great – one eye near sighted, the other far sighted.  I can’t hear much now either.  I mis-hear lots of stuff too. Lyrics to songs – forget it.  For years I sang the song In My Midnight Confession as Immaculate Conception!   I now appreciate Easy Spirit and Clark footwear.   My most recent sign of aging – if I laugh too hard sometimes I lose control and a piddle a little.  Ugh.

Yet in my heart I still feel as young and crazy as I did in college.  For over thirty years my college roommates and I have gone to Cape Cod for girls weekend. We are silly, zany and nuts – we crack up and love life.  We basically revert back to giddy teenagers (well, I do anyway).  We jump in bed with each other on Sunday morning, making goofs and tease and taunt.  It’s harmless fun – we go out to dinner and playfully fight for the front seat (well, I do anyway) come home, have a drinky poo, crank up the stereo and dance in the living room.  Last time the song Maniac from Flashdance blasted on the radio and we pulled out a portable potty and did the Chair Dance on it (well, I did anyway).  Last year I took a trip to Florida with my roommate.  Her condo happens to be right up the street from a former teen heartthrob – so what would a mature almost 50 year old woman do?   You got it –  we belted out “I Think I Love You” outside his house at 2 am.  Wonder why he didn’t come out and take a picture with us?  So, the next day we went back to his gated home and my friend (who I might add is 1 year and 2 months older than me) proceeded to dig through his garbage to find a souvenier for us to take home.  She came up empty handed as her search was cut short when a police car rounded the corner.  She literally had 3 seconds to run back to the car and shift into gear.  I didn’t witness the whole scene because I was scrunched down beneath the dashboard.  I do have my pride you know.

So even though my neck might wiggle a bit, I know at heart I’m young and fun and vibrant and free and certainly not feeling that I’ve been around for as long as I have.

Age really is just a number.

Galye Suzanne will be on tour along with a giveaway. The full tour schedule and rafflecopter can be found through this link: http://www.closedthecover.com/its-in-the-little-things-virtual-tour.html

Excerpt from It’s in The Little Things

The “Cool Crowd”
It is interesting to think about the whole concept of the “cool kids.” The ones I grew

up with picked on and humiliated some of the nicest kids I knew. Marie was picked on all through Junior High also. She was sweet, smart, kind, silly, and interesting. Her parents were strict and she was sheltered and shy. She minded her own business every day on the bus and during school, yet she was tortured every day. Some days watching her being tortured by other kids took the focus away from me and I felt relief because at least one person was picked on more than me. I always felt guilty about that, but she was my wall of safety. I remember one day we were on the bus on the way home from school and her stop was the street before mine. She was in front of me waiting to get off and the bus stopped short. She lost her footing and fell down the steps and her butt was stuck in between the door and the first step. Everyone behind me on the bus roared with laughter. That happened forty years ago and I still remember her face– the embarrassment, the shame, the humiliation. I still remember the vicious laughter surrounding her.

I’ve thought about that incident many times over the years. That fall could have happened to anyone standing in that spot. The cheerleader, the football quarterback, the pot head, the pageant queen. It was so unfortunate that it happened to Marie. I think of people that have been picked on and their lives may have been molded by the abuse they suffered. The image I had of myself was molded by others. I felt worthless, damaged and no good.

In more recent times, I recall an occasion when I was at a school sporting event. I was sitting alone on the field. Down the field there was a group of five women who usually sat together and always seemed like they were having a good time. I usually sat by myself or with another friend, yet I would say hi to the group of women as I walked by. This particular day my friend was not at the game so I sat near the other women and initiated a conversation. I tried to make small talk for a few minutes but did not get a warm response. I honestly felt like I was back in Junior High School. Their coolness implied that I was not good enough to be in their company. I was forty-one-years-old. I thought it was ridiculous. I felt slightly rejected and a small pang of hurt rushed through my body. I stayed where I was and did not continue in conversation. I sat quietly and watched the game. Then one of the mothers started saying negative comments about one of the kids on the field. As she rolled her eyes, she said in a rude and disgusted manner that the young girl was not running fast enough and should not be playing that position at all.

It’s in The Little Things has 23 5 star reviews. Check it out and purchase  It’s In The Little Thingshere:

Win a copy here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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What do you do with old underwear?

I’m having fun today.

Do you ever throw yours away? 

 

No matter how many holes there are?

Ladies' underwear advertisement, 1913

 

 

       I am here to confess – and my sisters and anyone else who knows me well, will be looking around thinking – where is my sister and what have you done with her because SHE doesn’t talk about these things – back to confessing – I actually threw a pair of underwear away today. The kicker is – they were clean, but none-the-less full of holes.

 

       Seriously, do you throw underwear away, or are you like me? I see that it needs to be trashed, but then who throws away dirty underwear? Yuck! I know, who is going to see it? So, I wash it, and then I think – I’ll just wear it one more time, it is clean after all and so the cycle continues. The underwear never makes it to the trash! 

 

       Today, I threw away a pair of clean underwear. Now, I am asking all of you to fess up – do you throw away underwear – and if you dare – clean or dirty? I am throwing down the gauntlet. Leave your confessions below and know that we’ll keep them in the strictest of confidence. 

 

Be sure to follow my blog. 

 

You never know what subject will come up next! 

 

Donna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Organizing a Gift Wrapping Station

I live in a small cottage in Southern Louisiana and some organizing problems require innovative solutions. One of these problem areas for me was a gift wrapping station (other than the dining room table.) The neighbors were selling off an old house that had a wash shed attached. Hubby came up with the fabulous idea to take it off their hands and bring it over to our piece of land. He and a friend quite literally drug it over – behind a tractor. The two of them admitted later that they had a contingency plan – one I never knew about. If it began to fall apart as they entered the highway making the corner into our yard, they were just going to scape it off to the side of the road. I, for one, was so happy that plan never came into play. However, I have to admit that my fingers and toes were crossed as they slid it down the long driveway and turned into place at just the right angle for me.

IMG_1003The old wash shed came to rest in its place next to a large and growing oak tree in our back yard. This is also the dog kennel and each of my shepherds has a matching house under the overhang to the left.

I went to work demolishing the inside to better utilize the space. Hubby built shelves along one side and came around the corner to the front and back doors. Along the opposite side, he built a long countertop with shelves underneath and a shelf along the top.

One end houses my craft supplies and the other houses my newly organized gift wrapping station. For anyone who has had to drag out the containers of gift wrap and hunt for scissors and ribbon due to lack of space to wrap gifts, knows that this is a godsend.

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Before setting up the gift wrapping station permanently, it was tucked into the corner. As time went on and I took the time to use it, I began to figure out how I needed it to work and set about accomplishing my goal.

I added a rod under one of the shelves to hold my collection of ribbon and then mounted mop racks on the wall beneath the shelf to hold my wrapping paper. I actually used two of the racks that mounted across hold mops and brooms. I installed them vertically and the polls holding my wrapping paper fit perfectly.

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I store extra rolls of paper upright in a tall garbage bin. Some ribbon is stored in glass jars and I have since added a basket with my tape dispenser, cards, and scissors.

I will reveal the remaining side of my Garden House in another post. It is set up with areas for gardening, my cookie cutter collection, and items for entertaining.

 

Hoppin’ The Boxes! 8 Authors! 8 Sets of books! Win Prizes!

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Welcome to my stop for Hoppin the Boxes Today I’ll be featuring

M.P. McDonald

But –
There are Over 60 stops – with plenty of excerpts, information and a giveaway!
These Eight Authors are presenting their Boxed Sets with Excerpts, Character Bios, and Prizes
Barbara Silkstone with the Wendy Darlin Tomb Raider Boxed Set
Cheryl Bradshaw with the Sloan Monroe Boxed Set
Christy Hayes and the Golden Rule Bundle
Donna Fasano and the Single Daddy Club Boxed Set
Faith Mortimer and the Diana Rivers Mystery Set
M.P. McDonald and the Mark Taylor Omnibus
Melissa F. Miller and the Sasha McCandles Series
Sibel Hodge and the Sibel Hodge Box Set
This tour will run from 11 – 18 November
Giveaways!
Reader drawing is international
Grand Prize Winner : $60 Giftcard to Amazon or Barnes and all eight boxed sets
First Prize Winner: $40 Giftcard and all eight box set
Second Prize winner – 4 (winner’s choice) boxed sets
(see the giveaway tool at the bottom of the post!)

And now.. I present

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Mark Taylor Omnibus Boxed Set ~ Purchase Now: Amazon

This is a collection of all four books in the Mark Taylor Series.

Mark Taylor: Genesis: Prequel
Mark Taylor’s life changes forever when he finds an antique camera in an Afghan bazaar. Back home in Chicago, he discovers that the camera has a strange and unique ability–it produces photographs of tragedies yet to happen. What else can he do but attempt to save lives and thwart catastrophe?

No Good Deed: Book 1
Mark Taylor discovers first hand that no good deed goes unpunished when after the unthinkable happened and everyone ignored his frantic warnings, thousands died. Suddenly, the Feds are pounding on his door and the name they have for Taylor isn’t urban hero. It’s enemy combatant. And, it means they can do anything they want to him. Anything at all.

March Into Hell: Book 2

Mark’s life takes a dark turn when his heroism becomes the subject of a newspaper article. The media attention and a harrowing encounter while saving a young woman, puts him in the sights of the ruthless cult leader who covets the secret to Mark’s power.

Uncomfortable in the public spotlight, Mark suspects he’s being tested by the force behind the camera’s prophetic magic. Battling his own self-doubt, he must maintain the secret or risk certain death.

Deeds of Mercy: Book 3

An unexpected visitor from Mark’s past brings him unwanted attention from the authorities. Unable to decide who is friend and who is foe, Mark becomes a fugitive from the law, but with thousands of lives at stake, he is forced to put aside his fear of capture, and instead, seek help from his pursuers.

About M.P. McDonald

M.P. McDonald grew up the fifth of eight kids–and was the baby for the first eight years of her life until her little sister came along and ruined it all. Okay, she didn’t really ruin it, but M.P. went from being the baby to being a middle child and all that entails.

Always an avid reader, she could be found curled up on the couch or in a chair reading a book because chances were, she wasn’t going to get to watch what she wanted on one of the four channels on TV. The competion was too fierce.

After an average high school career, she went on to study respiratory therapy and still works in the profession more than twenty-seven years later. Last, but never least, she is mother of three wonderful kids–two grown and one just entering the teen years.

Follow M.P. McDonald: Website § Blog § Facebook § Twitter § Pinterest

Mark Taylor: Genesis: Prequel
Purchase Now: Amazon
“Good morning, Mo,” Mark said as his friend waved him into his apartment. “I brought some coffee and donuts.” He raised a bag of donuts and balanced a cardboard tray with the coffee cups and an assortment of creamers in his other hand.
“Thanks. Just set it on the kitchen table. Be careful of the papers and photos though.”
Mark complied, angling his head to see the picture peeking out from beneath the papers. It was the blue color that had caught his eye. It was the color of many of the burqas that the women in Afghanistan had worn. He had seen a few other colors like black or gray, but blue had been the most common color.
He started to reach for the photo, but Mo grabbed his arm. “Hold on. I have them numbered and stuff. I don’t want to mess it up.”
“Sorry.” He tried not to take offense at the reprimand, but there was something about Mo’s tone that bugged him. Taking a coffee from the tray, he shrugged off the annoyance and peeled the plastic tab back on the lid. Ignoring the creamers—they were for Mo, he took a sip. Maybe his own feeling of anxiety about his dream and his irritation with Mo was simply a lack of caffeine.
“So how does this all work?”
Mo shrugged. “I have a few connections. In fact, our trip was paid for by a sponsor.”
“Really?” Mark grinned. It had bothered him that his friend had paid for the tickets and accommodations, such as they were, but he reminded himself that he hadn’t been paid for his work while over there either and he had taken time from his own business to go. “Who’s the sponsor? A women’s organization?” It made sense to him.
Instead of answering, Mo narrowed his eyes. “It doesn’t concern you.”
Taken aback, Mark set his coffee down and spread his hands. “Did I piss you off somehow?”
The hostile look dropped off Mo’s face and although a smile replaced it, it didn’t quite reach his eyes. “No. I just have a lot on my mind.”
“Look, I’ve got a lot on my mind today too, so why don’t we do this another time?”
“But you might forget the details.”
Thinking back to the circumstances surrounding the photos, Mark shook his head. “No way.”
Mo scowled, made a shooing motion and said, “Then go. I know this means nothing to you. I might just throw all your photos away.”
Stunned at the reaction, Mark remained rooted to the kitchen floor for a moment, but then spun for the door ready to slam it on his way out, but instead, he stopped with his hand on the knob and turned to face Mo. “You know, I was honored when you asked me to go to Afghanistan with you. It was an opportunity to do some good and I wanted to be a part of it, but I have to admit that I was also eager to get my photos in your book.” His face heated at the admission as he avoided Mo’s eyes. “Most of my jobs are ads in magazines or catalogs. Basically, my photos sell stuff. That wasn’t how I envisioned my career when I started out. I looked at this as my big chance to make an impression—you know, like those iconic photos in Life or Time.”
He paused and blew out a deep breath as he tried to put into words the frustration he felt, his hand tightening on the knob. “But after seeing that woman beaten, it just seemed like I wasn’t able to do enough—that I won’t ever be able to do enough—but I still gotta try. So, you do whatever you want to do with the photos, but you are dead wrong when you said the book meant nothing to me.”
The anger had eased from Mo’s expression, but he remained silent.
With a firm nod, Mark left, pulling the door closed behind him with a soft click.

No Good Deed: Book 1
Purchase Now: Amazon

“Good morning, Mo,” Mark said as his friend waved him into his apartment. “I brought some coffee and donuts.” He raised a bag of donuts and balanced a cardboard tray with the coffee cups and an assortment of creamers in his other hand.
“Thanks. Just set it on the kitchen table. Be careful of the papers and photos though.”
Mark complied, angling his head to see the picture peeking out from beneath the papers. It was the blue color that had caught his eye. It was the color of many of the burqas that the women in Afghanistan had worn. He had seen a few other colors like black or gray, but blue had been the most common color.
He started to reach for the photo, but Mo grabbed his arm. “Hold on. I have them numbered and stuff. I don’t want to mess it up.”
“Sorry.” He tried not to take offense at the reprimand, but there was something about Mo’s tone that bugged him. Taking a coffee from the tray, he shrugged off the annoyance and peeled the plastic tab back on the lid. Ignoring the creamers—they were for Mo, he took a sip. Maybe his own feeling of anxiety about his dream and his irritation with Mo was simply a lack of caffeine.
“So how does this all work?”
Mo shrugged. “I have a few connections. In fact, our trip was paid for by a sponsor.”
“Really?” Mark grinned. It had bothered him that his friend had paid for the tickets and accommodations, such as they were, but he reminded himself that he hadn’t been paid for his work while over there either and he had taken time from his own business to go. “Who’s the sponsor? A women’s organization?” It made sense to him.
Instead of answering, Mo narrowed his eyes. “It doesn’t concern you.”
Taken aback, Mark set his coffee down and spread his hands. “Did I piss you off somehow?”
The hostile look dropped off Mo’s face and although a smile replaced it, it didn’t quite reach his eyes. “No. I just have a lot on my mind.”
“Look, I’ve got a lot on my mind today too, so why don’t we do this another time?”
“But you might forget the details.”
Thinking back to the circumstances surrounding the photos, Mark shook his head. “No way.”
Mo scowled, made a shooing motion and said, “Then go. I know this means nothing to you. I might just throw all your photos away.”
Stunned at the reaction, Mark remained rooted to the kitchen floor for a moment, but then spun for the door ready to slam it on his way out, but instead, he stopped with his hand on the knob and turned to face Mo. “You know, I was honored when you asked me to go to Afghanistan with you. It was an opportunity to do some good and I wanted to be a part of it, but I have to admit that I was also eager to get my photos in your book.” His face heated at the admission as he avoided Mo’s eyes. “Most of my jobs are ads in magazines or catalogs. Basically, my photos sell stuff. That wasn’t how I envisioned my career when I started out. I looked at this as my big chance to make an impression—you know, like those iconic photos in Life or Time.”
He paused and blew out a deep breath as he tried to put into words the frustration he felt, his hand tightening on the knob. “But after seeing that woman beaten, it just seemed like I wasn’t able to do enough—that I won’t ever be able to do enough—but I still gotta try. So, you do whatever you want to do with the photos, but you are dead wrong when you said the book meant nothing to me.”
The anger had eased from Mo’s expression, but he remained silent.
With a firm nod, Mark left, pulling the door closed behind him with a soft click.

March Into Hell: Book 2
Purchase Now: Amazon § Audible

“Fine. You don’t have to convince me anymore. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Mark gathered his trash and deposited it in the garbage can. Now that he was on his way to his loft, the fatigue that he’d kept at bay by sheer willpower swept through him. Maybe he’d just go straight to bed. He glanced at his watch. It was only seven o’clock, but he was beat. Before he could put the plan into motion, his cell phone rang. He glanced at the number and groaned, wanting to ignore it, but knew he couldn’t. He’d agreed to this arrangement.
“Hello, Jim.”
“Why aren’t you carrying the phone I issued you? I tried calling you earlier.”
Mark entered the loft and kicked his shoes off. “Now you’re starting to sound like my mother. Yeah. I guess I forgot to grab it this morning. I had a lot on my mind.” He refused to apologize — not when he’d never wanted the damn secure phone to begin with.
“Yes, I saw that. All the more reason to keep the other phone handy. You’re supposed to avoid attracting attention. I would hardly call this article as keeping a low profile.”
“I had nothing to do with the article. I spoke briefly to the reporter, but I told her nothing that she didn’t already know.” He eased down on the couch and let out a sigh as he relaxed. His back was still sore from yesterday’s adventure.
“Why didn’t you tell her to forget the story?”
“Listen, Jim, the last time I checked, the press had the right to free speech, or is that is that not true anymore?”
Jim was silent for so long, Mark pulled the cell from his ear and checked to make sure they were still connected. He knew it still rankled Jim that judicial process hadn’t been followed with the enemy combatant thing, but Mark didn’t care. It was nothing compared to the anger he’d been forced to bury away.
“Nobody is talking about taking away any rights. It’s not even about free speech, it’s about maintaining national security. Do you have any idea how valuable your ‘gift’ could be? But that’s beside the point. If you didn’t cooperate, where did she get the photo of you? It’s an old one, so someone had to give it to her.”
Mark stifled a yawn and scrubbed his fingers against his scalp. “I have no idea. It’s kind of funny, actually. The picture is one of the first taken with the camera.”
“You mean the special camera? I thought only you used it.”
“Not long after I came back from Afghanistan, I had the camera sitting on a counter in the studio while I was doing a commercial shoot with a few kids for an ad. One of the kids picked up the camera and caught me off guard. I meant to send that picture to my mom because she complained that I’m a photographer, but she never had pictures of me.” He shrugged even though Jim couldn’t see him. “I never got around to giving it to her though.” He put his feet up on the coffee table, crossing them as he searched for the TV remote in the cushion of the couch.
“So how did the reporter get it?
Damn, Jim was like a dog with a bone. “How the hell should I know? I haven’t seen the picture since I got out. I figured it disappeared with just about every other thing I owned.” He couldn’t resist that last dig.
“Mark, I’m sorry if this is coming off like I think this is your fault. I know it’s not. It just makes me really nervous to have one of my guys in the spotlight.”

Deeds of Mercy: Book 3
Purchase Now: Amazon § Audible

“While you were getting patched up, we combed through every file we had on Mohommad Aziz. According to the records, he was sent back to Afghanistan in December of 2002.”
Mark couldn’t stifle the wave of resentment that rose within him. “He was released before I was?”
Jim’s eyes were unreadable as he tapped his pen against the pad twice before nodding. “Yes. He held dual citizenship, and so his American citizenship was revoked and he was sent back under the condition that he never return. His last known residence was with his uncle in Afghanistan.” He glanced at his notes and continued, “The uncle holds office in Kundunz province and has some political connections, apparently.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” It was ludicrous. Mark had been released only after he had nearly been broken. He’d returned home to nothing. No home, no business, and his personal life in shambles, while Mohommad had no doubt returned to a hero’s welcome from his extended family in Afghanistan. Anger heated a path from his chest to his head, and his face burned. “I guess I didn’t have enough connections to get released sooner.”
Jim bowed his head in acknowledgement. “I’m sorry. I tried.”
Mark pushed out of the chair and paced a few steps. His instinct was to leave–to get away before he exploded with rage. It was as if everything he’d tried to forget, the anger, frustration and resentment that he’d quashed and locked into a vault in his brain, had suddenly sprung free to run amok. It was barreling around inside his head, crashing into the barriers he’d carefully constructed.
He stalked halfway to the couch, halted and faced Jim. “You’ve known this for how long?”
“Since shortly after Mohommad was released. I received a memo.” He tossed the pen on the pad of paper and spread his hands. “What difference does it make? It’s not like I personally set him free. I only questioned the man one time before he was sent to another facility.”
Mark gave his head a little shake, trying to comprehend the last bit of information. “You interrogated him? Were you the one who told him about the camera? For some reason, I thought it was another team. I mean, it wasn’t like he was held in the same brig as I was…or was he?” Mark had to know.
Jim stood and approached Mark. “I can’t discuss this with you, Mark. You know that.”
“Like hell you can’t! It’s not like there’s some kind of interrogator/interrogatee confidentiality clause, is there?” Mark knew he wasn’t being rational, but he couldn’t stop. “Do you all take classes on interrogation ethics?” He flung his arm toward the bookcase, pointing. “In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if you have Torture Methods for Dummies as some of your lighter reading.”
Jim flinched almost imperceptibly. “Settle down.” He put his hand on Mark’s shoulder in a manner meant to calm him.
Mark shrugged the hand off, ready to do more if Jim tried to resist. “Don’t tell me to settle down. I’m pissed off and I think I have a right to be. You kept me locked up for over a year. I can’t get that time back. I came to terms with it, but only because I thought justice had finally won out, but it didn’t, did it? Because if it had, Mo would still be locked up and everyone would be safer.”

Please be sure to check the other tour stops where you will see ….

Miller book Banner photo MillerBooks_zps807a3ca1.jpg
Melissa F. Miller and the Sasha McCandless Series
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Sibel Hodge and the Sibel Hodge Box Set

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Barbara Silkstone with the Wendy Darlin Tomb Raider Boxed Set

Bradshaw books banner photo BradshawBooks_zps02409aed.jpg
Cheryl Bradshaw with the Sloan Monroe Boxed Set

Hayes books Banner photo HayesBooks_zps02cb4b16.jpg
Christy Hayes and the Golden Rule Bundle

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Donna Fasano and the Single Daddy Club Boxed Set

Mortimer book banner photo MortimerBooks_zps0b2b635c.jpg
Faith Mortimer and the Diana Rivers Mystery Set


Giveaways!

Reader drawing is international
Grand Prize Winner : $60 Giftcard to Amazon or Barnes and all eight boxed sets
First Prize Winner: $40 Giftcard and all eight box set
Second Prize winner – 4 (winner’s choice) boxed sets

Follow the HOP – Using THIS LINK

Technology Thursday: Learning to use the Key Ring App

It is a foregone conclusion that way too many people out there are running out to purchase iPhones and then not utilizing them! It seems that everywhere I go, I end up teaching someone about an app.

If you follow my blog, you have already been witness to some of my screwups – like tripling my contacts, etc. You can take it from me – on good authority – that there is simply no reason not to play around with apps and your phone. If you mess something up, you simply head on over to iTunes and begin searching, because I promise you – there is an app to fix it because someone else has already beat you to the screwup.

We all have those pesky store discount cards dangling from our already full key rings – well, not me. But, they were corralled in my wallet, taking up valuable real estate.

I was doing one of my favorite pass time hobbies – surfing iTunes. Does anyone else do this? I came across an app that was named quite appropriately –  Key Ring App.

No longer do you have to shove an actual key ring full of store discount cards in your purse, or heaven forbid, your pocket.

You simply scan all of your cards (library, store, hotel, etc.) into the app using your phone camera. When you check out at a store that you have a card for, simple open up your app and the cashier will scan the bar code from your phone. The app can also be shared with another person.

You can have all of the individual store apps on your phone, but I have had others tell me that they sometimes have trouble while attempting to scan at the stores. This app has never given me any problems, AND the bonus is that they are all located in one app, not scattered around my phone.

This app also sports additional features are just plain wonderful! Using your GPS, it will find store promotions in your area.

The ‘Offers’ icon finds and shows me the coupons available through the stored cards I entered.

Under the ‘Sales’ icon, I can view the sale papers of the stores where I have loyalty cards. No more searching high and low for the sale papers when I’m ready to shop!

Did I mention that it is also FREE! How great is that!

I want to hear from you. Do you use Key Ring or another similar app?

Be sure to follow my blog and tune in next Thursday for another episode of ‘Technology Thursday’.

keyring app

We meet in the middle – Tuesdays with Donna, A Little Southern Comfort

It seems my life resembles one country song after another lately. Take for instance,Thursday. I picked out my clothes for a meeting I needed to go to. Since the weather here in the South is normally stifling, I didn’t put my jacket on. Because the weather is so hot, I decided to wear one of the cute thin cotton shells that I have. I tossed the jacket over the dining room chair alongside my brief case and phone – all things I did not want to forget. As it got closer to my designated leaving time, I gathered up the last of my belongings I needed and headed out the door. I grabbed my jacket (or so I thought.)

Fifteen miles later I pulled up in front of the parish office and got out of the car. I reached back in to retrieve my jacket, briefcase and bag only to find no jacket. I was mortified. The cute sleeveless blouse I had chosen to wear under my jacket  was a little thin side. In other words you could see through it. After panicking and searching frantically for a jacket that wasn’t going to magically appear, I called hubby.

I was frantically telling him I had left my jacket at home and there was just no way I could sit and conduct a meeting in a room full of men in a see thru shirt, and could he please meet me with my jacket – all in one unbelievably long breath. Of course being such a sweet husband he said yes. I then proceeded to tell him to look on the dining room chair and on my office chair and so on. He then got a little perturbed and told me he would find it but I needed to hang up. What is it with men? Can they not walk and talk at the same time. I wanted to stay on the phone walking him through each room and be there when he located it so I could quit panicking. Okay, so I can be a little OCD at times.

I began heading back down the highway from wince I had come hoping to meet hubby in record time even though we were now encroaching into the work knockoff traffic. He then called me to say he was hung up in traffic (there is only one road up and one road down the bayou so this was not good). I was driving through a little town and began announcing every landmark I was passing in the hope that he would say “I’m almost there.” “I am passing the post office. ” “I am passing the library. ” “The post office?” “The library?” As in we have one of those? Picture me rolling my eyes and wondering if I would actually meet him in our driveway rather than on the road.

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We finally met at a small grocer. He was traveling north and as I approached the store I saw him put his blinker on and turn in from the far side. We met with our windows already rolled down. He handed off my jacket and it was “Bye” “Bye” and we were both off again. Reminded me of my favorite Dr. Seuss book, Go  Dog Go. “Hello!” “Hello!” “Do you like my hat?” “No. I do not.” “Goodbye!” “Goodbye!” I managed to get back in plenty of time to begin the meeting on time.

My birthday is coming up soon and I’ve been wanting a laptop. So…Hubby said I could get one. My cousin was in from Georgia so it ended up being the perfect time. I would get to visit and do something fun – like buying a computer at the same time. And, I needed his expertise.

As always, when I arrived at their house on Monday morning, a wonderful meal was waiting for me. I’m a challenge to cook for because I’m so finicky, but, he’s learning. He scrambled eggs and melted smoked gouda cheese on top and then spooned it onto tortillas. He then folded the tortillas and put them back in the pan to toast them. When I tell you, it tasted like a little bit of Heaven, believe me. Some of my favorite ingredients – eggs, cheese, and tortillas. Can’t go wrong in my opinion. Doesn’t that look good?!

photo 1photo 2

And, all of this on a Monday morning. I normally do not schedule anything for a Monday because I am not a Monday person. I normally hang around the house in my pajamas until the grass is dry and then I get dressed and mow grass. Supper is whatever I find frozen, usually gumbo. It’s sort of a non-lazy lazy day. So, to not only be up and about, but in New Orleans at 9:30 in the morning – well it was a miraculous day all around.

I’ve spent most of today attempting to navigate around the Mac. One difference I’ve found is that there are not as many menus available in the programs as there are on the PC. I am finding that quite a challenge. Next up on my list is to try to download a few favorite fonts. I was not at all successful in my twenty thousand tries today. Maybe tomorrow will be the day.

I invite to leave a comment on how your week is going. See you next week!

Green Acres is the place to be…Tuesdays with Donna, A Little Southern Comfort

Down here we call it life on the farm.  Two days this past week my phone has rung and it’s been Hubby telling me the tractor broke down – again – and could I come and tow him back. The first time this happened, I got to ride the tractor. That in itself was a feat. His tractor is awaiting the repairman as we speak, so he was using his friend’s tractor to bush hog, and when I tell you I could have used a step-stool, translate that into a LADDER, to climb onto this thing.

     Hubby told me to climb up and all I had to do was steer to keep it behind the truck. I walked to one side, and then to the other side. This was one high tractor! Hubby was beginning to get impatient and asked me if I was climbing up. I’m like, “Yeah! If I can figure out how!” So, Hubby, being the gentleman he is (this is the South), offered to help. I was looking at him and he was looking at me, and then he asks what kind of help did I need. I guess it was akin to, “I was looking back to see if he was looking back to see if I was looking back to see if he was looking back at me…” This, of course, made me start laughing, and when that happens, forget trying to climb on a ten-story tractor, I was lucky I wasn’t sitting on the ground from laughing so hard. The thought of poison ivy, which I already have, kept me standing.

After a good stiff look from Hubby, I managed to curtail some of the giggling and he hoisted me up. My feet didn’t even reach the floor when I was sitting in the seat. He climbed into the truck and proceeded to bounce me all the way back to the front of the back of the property (try to figure that one out.)

     Once, it seems, wasn’t enough. The second time the tractor broke, he was a mile back and this time HE got to ride the tractor. Poor thing. I finally got the whole show going – it took several tries to get the traction that was needed. So, finally, we are on our journey back to the front (of the back) of the property and he’s bouncing around on the tractor. I got a little (okay – a lot) too close to the trees on one side and he was getting whipped around and of course I wasn’t seeing the hand signals telling me to move over away from the trees. I was too busy enjoying the bug free air conditioned, music jamming ride! Poor Hubs. That is one patient man. 

     We made it back to the front (of the back) in one piece. Well, I did. He was a mite worse for the wear. I apologized – profusely – and he just tells me it’s alright, I was doing the best I could. Should I be insulted? 

Green Acres is the place for me. Farm living is the life for me…

Hubby and I were heading out the door for one of many trips we make to Lowes when he is building a house. With the amount we buy, Lowes should come to me, but that’s another story. I passed by the bathroom and Hubby is primping. I stopped to make the comment that he looked “bootiful” and he tells me that if I think he looks good, it must be true – because I’m so picky. Ummm. Didn’t know quite how to take that one, so of course, I texted Jessica for her input. She said picky is good, so I’m all good. Hey! That’s life on the farm!

     My cousin recently decided to start a home cooking business. Kelly loves to cook so it is the perfect business. He forwarded his brochure in progress to me for some input – which means I totally took over! I couldn’t help it. My creative side just took flight. I had designed several brochures at one of my jobs (a long time ago) and I really enjoyed it. I have to say, whoever orders from him will have a culinary delight! 

     Meanwhile, I have been attempting to catch up on my reading. My Kindle crashed and after trying everything known to man, which included wiping my Kindle clean, as in no pdf files, etc. All my books from authors and publishers – gone. Amazon finally said we will send out a new one. That Kindle arrived and guess what? It took two days to download a book. I phoned Amazon and she checked their records and saw this, and sent out another Kindle. I’ve been through so many Kindles the last two weeks, I have forgotten what number I’m on. The one I have now seems to be working, although it takes a while for the downloads to start. Once they do, I can download them pretty quickly. I just haven’t figured out why it takes so long to start. Even with all the problems, if any of you are wondering, I would still buy another Kindle. I have been really satisfied with the product even though I have had a few problems (laughing here.)

     I spent a few days picking trash up out of my yard and throwing it back over the fence where it belonged. Yes, I have officially digressed to the neighbor’s level. I can’t help that they are lazy and instead of picking up trash, they mow over it and instead of blowing it around their own yard, they choose to blow it through the fence into my yard. I just tire of being the nice, normal person and picking it up and throwing it away. Either way, I have to pick it up. At least it’s helping to whittle away my waist as I bend. 

     On Sunday I went to visit a friend and just as I was leaving Hubby called. I grabbed my phone from my bag and when I was finished speaking with him, I thought I put it securely in the outside pocket, which is my habit. Then I tossed my bag on the sofa and went to the ladies room before leaving. I didn’t notice that my phone had fallen out on the sofa. I left and on the way home stopped at Walmart to do a little grocery shopping. I got sidetracked when I noticed the swimming pools that I use for Ryka and Calypso were on sale and they each needed a new one. I headed over to the garden section and bought a few and stowed them in the suburban. 

I then went back into the store and grabbed a buggy, tossed my bag in – that’s what we ladies do – and when I checked the pocket that normally holds my phone, I came up empty. I then searched my entire bag, nothing. Then, panic set in. I retraced my steps to the garden center and asked if they had seen an iPhone (described the case – it’s distinct) and got a couple of looks that seem to say, “Are you kidding? Do you think that I’d give it to you?”  Feeling like that was a dead end, I then headed back to my car and searched it, coming to the conclusion that it must have fallen out of my bag at my friend’s house. I couldn’t call her because I don’t know her number – it’s in my phone.

At this point, I headed back to my friend’s house several miles away, only to find that she had already left for an appointment. So, I got back on the road with a heavy heart because, like most people, the phone is my life-line. My appointments, alarms…let’s just say everything is on the phone.

I was doing some heavy praying during the 14 mile trip back home. And, as always, my prayers were answered. About half-way home, it came to me that I have the find my phone app on my phone and as soon as I got home, I ran to the computer and tracked my phone to my friend’s house. It was there and I’m sure you can feel my relief. If it had been traveling somewhere, I had the option to wipe it clean or set off an alarm. I also could have locked it, but I have the lock set already.

Then, the drama wasn’t over. I had to wait for Hubby to get home so I could use his phone to call her. I finally got my phone back Monday evening. That drama is over – thank goodness.

Monday evening I had book club  That is always a hoot. Seems like we discuss books less and less. There is just too much other drama to catch up on! Last night was an all time good time. We really had good stories to share and laughed until we all had tears in our eyes.

I mentioned last week being part of a “Planner’s Addict” group on Facebook. My sister is also a member and we decided to go to Michael’s before I went to book club. That was so much fun, and there were some great sales going on. I got loads of Washi tape and stickers. I had a friend with me and we met up with my sister at the Lowes and were going to go to Michael’s together.  I am not a shopper so it had been a while since I went to Michael’s so I was all excited. I pulled up to the highway and put my blinker on and imagine my surprise when my sister pulls up along side to head the opposite way. I was a little baffled and told my friend that I didn’t know where my sister was headed. She laughed and asked me when was the last time I went to Michael’s. Seems Michael’s moved about a year ago – told you I am not a shopper!

     That’s my week in review. Feel free to comment on your week! We Southerner’s love to visit.

 

 

Come A Little Bit Closer, The Sullivans Book 7 by Bella Andre

***Hot New Release***

Movie star Smith Sullivan can’t afford any distractions. He’s staking his entire reputation on his new film…but he can’t stop thinking about Valentina Landon and the fire he sees smoldering just beneath the surface.

Valentina isn’t averse to sensual pleasure, or even to the idea of finding true love, but as a Hollywood business manager she’s watched too many smart women fall for actors…only to be torn apart when the fairytale comes to its inevitable end.

But when intense weeks together on set turn their heated attraction into red-hot flames of passion, Smith knows he has to find a way to convince Valentina to let him get a little bit closer. Close enough to completely steal her heart…the way she’s stolen his from the start.

To read an excerpt and my review, click here:

Come A Little Bit Closer, The Sullivans Book 7

 

Happy New Year 2013! Join me for gifts galore!

It’s a blog hop with lots of stops and prizes!
Something for everyone!
I have an Amazon Gift Certificate for
for one lucky follower!
Announcing the
Happy New Year 2013
Giveaway Hop
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Babs Book Bistro
January 1st – 7th 2013
A Rafflecopter Giveaway
In order to enter, you will need to click the following link and play the Rafflecopter on my other blog. Hope to see you there!

My Life. One Story at a Time.: Happy New Year 2013! Join me for gifts galore!

This giveaway has over 200 blogs participating!

Don’t Store Gloves in Coat Pockets

Even though it’s the most convenient place to stash them, to keep your 

Oxblood Gloves

 

gloves in the best condition you should avoid sto

ring them in your coat pockets. Why? Because your hands perspire when you’re wearing gloves (yes, even when temps are below freezing), and they need to dry out once you’ve taken them off, which they can’t do wadded up in your coat pockets. Instead try putting them next to your keys on your entry table. That way they’ll dry out, and you won’t forget them when you rush out the door.


This is a reprint from Simply Stated (the link is below).


I thought I’d share this tidbit – because guess what!? I’m a confessed princess and that means there is a pair of matching gloves and a hat for each coat I have. And, guess where I’ve been shoving those little matching gloves? That’s right! In the pocket of the matching coat!


I guess this proves that you are never too old to learn a new trick!


Do you have any little tidbits you’d like to share? Please leave a comment.

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What do you do with old underwear?

Ladies' underwear advertisement, 1913
Ladies’ underwear advertisement, 1913 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’m having fun today.

Do you ever throw yours away?

No matter how many holes there are?
       I am here to confess – and my sisters and anyone else who knows me well, will be looking around thinking – where is my sister and what have you done with her because SHE doesn’t talk about these things – back to confessing – I actually threw a pair of underwear away today. The kicker is – they were clean, but none-the-less full of holes.
       Seriously, do you throw underwear away, or are you like me? I see that it needs to be trashed, but then who throws away dirty underwear? Yuck! I know, who is going to see it? So, I wash it, and then I think – I’ll just wear it one more time, it is clean after all and so the cycle continues. The underwear never makes it to the trash!
       Today, I threw away a pair of clean underwear. Now, I am asking all of you to fess up – do you throw away underwear – and if you dare – clean or dirty? I am throwing down the gauntlet. Leave your confessions below and know that we’ll keep them in the strictest of confidence.
Be sure to follow my blog.
You never know what subject will come up next!
Donna

Gracie takes a turn on the treadmill


Yes
. I’ve been walking on the treadmill.
treadmill

AND, hanging on for dear life I might add.
       Since the heat down here in the South is so hot it’s makes you want to just sit on the porch with the fan going with a tall glass of iced tea, and nothing much else; I came to the conclusion that this Southern gal wasn’t going to be doing much walking.
       Then, on a trek through the garage, I looked over my shoulder and spotted the treadmill. I began thinking that walking might not be so bad if I turned on the air conditionerand walked in the sweet coolness rather than 1000+ degrees outside.
       Having never used the contraption, it took me a while to figure out that you need a key to turn it on; and you have to plug it in. After I managed to turn the treadmill on, I began to walk, slowly, VERY SLOWLY. Then, I thought, this isn’t so bad, but it sure is boring – and I hate being bored! The first time I used it, I walked a whole ten minutes before I just couldn’t stand theboredom anymore. Then, my mind started to wander and I remembered seeing people on television using their headphones. The light bulb went off and I thought, “Yes! Music!” should help keep me from being bored.
       Yesterday, I managed a whole sixteen minutes – 3 songs on the iPod. AND, I graduated from 2 to 2.5 -that is very slow to slow- in my speed. Today, I walked for twenty minutes at 2.7! And, if that wasn’t enough to brag about, I actually walked with no hands today instead of hanging onto the bars for dear life! It was a little iffy a couple of times as I envisioned myself being hauled off the end as I missed a step.
        I have a habit of hitting random play on the iPod, so it is always a surprise what song comes on next – sort of like having your own radio station. It is amazing that the last song I end up listening to is a Gospel Song, no matter how long I walk. What a way to end my workout and start my day!
       Then, when I got off and started up the steps to the house, I had to back down the steps and get my land legs back. I may never walk outside again. Who ever invented the treadmill, I thank you!
Don’t forget to follow my blog. You never
know what I’ll be up to next!
Donna

Thursdays – Where Truth is the Dare

Question of the Day: Where Truth Is the Dare   [QUES OF THE DAY] [Paperback]

It’s Thursday again – and we all know what that means!

Here is this week’s question.

Truth? or Dare?


What do you keep in a safe place?


When I read this question, my immediate response before contemplating a deep answer was “my heart”. Even after contemplating and attempting to come up with a one of a kind unique answer, I have to stick with my first. I keep my heart in a safe place – most of the time. It comes from experiencing a lot of hurt in my life. It is a defense mechanism for me and it is just who I am.


I look forward to hearing your answers! 



Thank you all for participating.