How about a bagel with your romance?

Available on Amazon

One feisty female chemist. One straight-laced businessman. Combine with stinky bagels, quinoa, and stir to find the unexpected.

 

Leah is living a new healthy lifestyle and has a deliciously perfect recipe for her family’s failing bakery. There’s just one problem: Grandpa’s head of operations, Ben, is Leah’s ex-heartthrob. When her Grandpa kicks the bucket, he has two final conditions for Leah’s inheritance: Save the bakery and get married within one year. Can she make her family’s business a huge success and get a man, any man, to say ‘I do’ in less than twelve months while keeping it all a secret?

 

If you like fast-paced, witty banter, follow this delightful Jewish couple through the good, bad, and hilarious to discover love among the bagels. Download your copy today!

Freebie Friday!

What a hypnotist can do for you! Find out in Henrietta. FREE on Amazon through Sun, the 27th. https://amzn.to/2s6nVTm

 

The Way We Met – A PreOrder Deal

Yay! “The Way We Met” is now available for pre-order on Amazon. These are such fun stories, I can’t wait for everyone to read them.

 

I’ve got a great deal for people who preorder this collection of 10 love stories: one FREE story while you wait for the book to go live! Just email your receipt from Amazon to: thewaywemet.receipts@gmail.com. The free story will be in your inbox ASAP.

 

This book will only be $0.99 until Sept 17, so get it for less plus a free gift while you can. The FREE story is available only until Sept 6.

 

The Way We Met: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074YB9J8W

 

 

Stop The Bullying

Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_airdone'>airdone / 123RF Stock Photo</a>I’ve lived fifty-one years on this earth before it happened: Someone bullied me. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been picked on occasionally, for one stupid thing or another. Is it possible to attend thirteen years of public school in the United States without being picked on? Unlikely. But today someone bully-shamed me on Facebook for something when I was completely innocent of ill intent. I learned a lot from the experience.

Being bullied or publicly humiliated or shamed, whatever name you put on it, makes you take stock of yourself. It puts your self-esteem in a check status. It threw me for a bit, but, thankfully, as a reasonably well-adjusted, mature, responsible adult, I was able to take a step back and regroup. I have a lifetime of experiences to draw on to remind myself that I am not the terrible things that were said about me. I am NOT a B-word. (I’m sure my siblings would heartily disagree in an instant. They have their personal reasons, but eventually, perhaps reluctantly, they would agree that deep-down I am NOT a B-word.) Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to adjust themselves after such an attack.

I was brought back to a pivotal moment in childhood. (If we only realized when they were happening in childhood that our stupid, little choices were critical decisions, we would maybe give them more thought.) A developmentally disabled boy sat in a seat alone on the bus, and some other boys were picking on him, telling him he was “no good,” that “nobody would ever want to sit with him,” and other similar bully phrases. I got mad. The boy was defenseless, nearly mute, so I sat next to him and told the other boys to go sit on their brains. It was a split-second decision that defined who I became as a person. I was never bullied. I was the defender of those who were bullied, and I defied anyone to harass me because of it. Anyone who went to school with me, I hope, would agree that I was NEVER the one to find fault with someone else for ANY reason. I’m sure I made my share of stupid mistakes, as any kid does when they’re developing their sense of priorities and values, but I did NOT pick on people.

When someone accused me today of being the kind of person who WOULD do that, and shared their wonderful opinion with a large group of my peers, it struck like a knife to my core. There is a big difference between having a contrary opinion about something and making a personal attack. I was expressing my opinions, and that was all. In this era when our world is so split by differences of opinion on policies, we all, adults and children, need to take a step back and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes before we lash out in public forums. Yes, you are legally allowed to express yourself here. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Go off on your own and take a few deep breaths. Say a mantra. Do what you’ve got to do to get yourself under control before words come out of your mouth or you type that text or post.

Words can bruise far more than anything else you throw at someone.

The House of Donato Series Box Set

I’m thrilled to offer a box set of all three books in The House of Donato Series, available on Amazon for a limited time at the reduced price of $3.99. This is a great chance to, more or less, get two books for FREE!

The Prolific Reader Giveaway

Find some great FREE Reads on Melanie Tomlin’s website: The Prolific Reader.

Lincoln Cole Giveaway

Lincoln Cole is hosting a giveaway of some great free books Feb 12 – 20th through #instaFreebie. Check it out.

Another Valentine Romance Giveaway

Get some awesome FREE Romance reads on Ali Parker’s Giveaway from Feb 3-17th.

Valentine Romance Giveaway

I’m very excited to be part of my first InstaFreebie Group Giveaway. Find forty-three (43) different Romances (Chick-Lit, Romantic Comedies, etc.) you can download for FREE. Click the picture to learn more.

ChickLit Freebies

 

Goodreads Giveaway of Margaret

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Margaret by Patricia M. Jackson

Margaret

by Patricia M. Jackson

Giveaway ends February 14, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Margaret: Available on Amazon

Margaret: Book #3 in the House of Donato Series

Available on Amazon

From Jan. 13 – Jan. 17 Download Margaret for FREE. Regularly priced at $3.99, from Jan. 18 – Jan. 22 the price goes up to $0.99. Get it while it’s hot!

What holds a relationship together during difficult times?

Peggy, a gifted pianist, building a future at Julliard, finds herself roommates with Brian Donovan. He was only doing her a favor, too occupied with law school and working for the FBI to notice she was around. At least he was kind enough to explore Manhattan together.

Donovan has no interest in a relationship with the luscious and exotic Peggy, convinced that there is no place in a cop’s life for a family. When a hot case causes disharmony, they end up playing a different tune. Do they have what it takes to guard their new love against harm?

Margaret is the culmination of a new adult romance series, “The House of Donato.” This pleasantly paced tale filled with real-world conflict, ripped from the headlines, skillfully interweaves suspense and passion into a story three books in the making. Enjoy this sensitive love story today.

Margaret: Available for PreOrder

Margaret: Book #3 in the House of Donato Series 

Available for PreOrder on Amazon

What holds a relationship together during difficult times?

Peggy, a gifted pianist, building a future at Julliard, finds herself roommates with Brian Donovan. He was only doing her a favor, too occupied with law school and working for the FBI to notice she was around. At least he was kind enough to explore Manhattan together.

Donovan has no interest in a relationship with the luscious and exotic Peggy, convinced that there is no place in a cop’s life for a family. When a hot case causes disharmony, they end up playing a different tune. Do they have what it takes to guard their new love against harm?

Margaret is the culmination of a new adult romance series, “The House of Donato.” This pleasantly paced tale filled with real-world conflict, ripped from the headlines, skillfully interweaves suspense and passion into a story three books in the making. Sign-up for pre-order to get this sensitive love story for only 99 cents on Jan 13th.

The Waterside Sentinel

I was conceived with warm, loving hands in a spirit of fun and adventure. All things so conceived rarely stay intact and inevitably I shall not survive. I was inspired thought destined to act only as a temporary sentinel of the reality and goings on around Waterside. I stand now on the frozen pond, proudly facing the gales and gusts of December alone. There’s no snow on the ground any longer, except at my base, a despondent dissolving line of slush lovingly created by Grandpa Nick in a moment of festive cheer. His love for his grandchildren was my germ of my creation.

The winds are strong today, after the torrential rains and squalls of Christmas Day. The sky had been filled with deafening thunder and lightning that saturated the gloomy, gray heavens of the holiday. The air is filled with flakes and pellets of ice that bite into my snowy cheeks and clash against my being. I’m just so thankful that the rain has stopped as it was eating, like acid against my flesh, withering my being inch by inch with every blast.

The children are gone now, having hauled the gifts from their grandparents to their own homes and preparing for another year of school. In a few days, they will forget all about me but I will remain sturdy and steadfast until that magic day when the rain makes me completely forgotten. I will remain here as the sentinel of this neighborhood, protecting and seeing all. I watch the beaver as he hides in his strong and cozy hut, sleeping peacefully through the winter. My being will melt away until I become from whence I came, a part of the beauty of nature. Until that time, I will see to my post and watch over my kingdom.

 

Holiday Desperation

GravyEarlier this year, I published a blog post for those of us inclined to plan extensively for the Christmas holiday season. Now it’s time for everybody else: those who have either failed to plan, had life happen to them (that’s me this year) or who wouldn’t ever think of planning for Christmas. Hubby and myself have both been down for extended periods this fall with influenza (or a similar dread illness) and there just wasn’t an opportunity to shop for the holidays. I certainly didn’t feel up to dragging myself through a mall only to expose countless numbers of citizens to the virus that had done me dirt. So I find myself in the rare position of not having planned much at all for the holidays and I know I’m behind.

So what is there to do? Is it too late to redeem myself and, assuming I won’t be on death’s door by December 25, come up with some type of holiday to remember and cherish?

The following are some helpful links with tips to save the day. All is not lost. Sometimes, even with the greatest of intentions and plans, life has a way of making you sit up and take notice of what’s really important. I have a roof over my head, I’m not starving and I have love in my life. The rest is, pardon the pun, gravy.

10 Tips for Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers 

Last Minute Gift Guide

10 Last-Minute Holiday Shopping Tips

Last Minute Gift Shopping

Procrastinator’s Guide to REALLY Last-Minute shopping

3 Tips to VERY Last-Minute shopping

 

Pre-Holiday Diet Promises

Holiday MealEvery year it happens. Those of us who deal with weight issues are confronted with holiday parties, desserts, meals, and meal preparation that tempt us, tire us and add a few pounds that we do not need. And every year I make myself the same promises. I will not over-eat. I will not give into temptation. I will maintain a healthy diet.

Some years I’m more successful than others at keeping my promises to myself. I’ve found, at least for me, that it’s a lot easier if I go into the holidays with a mindset and a plan for how to handle nutrition. The planning is part of my overall scheme to keep myself and my family stay healthy and happy.

The handful of years where I stuck to my plan, I was able to come out of the holiday season without having gained weight and I didn’t feel as though I’d “suffered” or “sacrificed” anything from the joy of the season.

Maybe this isn’t an issue for you. If it is, I’ve included a few links to helpful plans that you can consider to help you with a plan to keep your scale from becoming your enemy after Santa comes to visit.

Eating Well article

American Heart Association guide

Sutter Health Community Health Resource Center

Real Simple article

WebMD Naughty List of Holiday Foods

UCLA Dining Guide

 

Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Squash

halloween-jack-o-lanterns-1056413-640x480We find ourselves, once again, approaching Halloween with its ghosts, goblins, and candy in abundance. One of the tried and true emblems of this holiday is the glorious pumpkin. Many a child has longed for the day when mom or dad take a carving knife to the orange mass, after picking through piles of them to find just the right size and shape for the desired effect on Halloween evening. I loved when my mom would pull the “guts” out, clean them in a strainer and roast the seeds in the oven with a little olive oil and salt. There was no better treat on the earth.

So what about that glorious orange fruit has made it the wonder, symbol and spiked-tooth representative of the holiday? How did that one veggie get such an honor? And is it a veggie or is it a fruit?

Squash3 03JUL2012What follows are fun facts you didn’t know about squash. There are links if you’re interested in more information, including the historical reason why pumpkins are used for “Jack-O-Lanterns.” Who knew there was so much to know about squash?

  • Pumpkin is a member of the Cucurbita family which includes squash and cucumbers.
  • The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.
  • In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
  • Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
  • Pumpkins are 90 percent water.
  • Squash comes from the Narragansett Indian word “askutasquash.” This roughly translates into “eaten raw or uncooked.”

The history of pumpkins and Jack-O-Laterns

Pumpkin Patch Facts

Random Squash Facts

Mysteries of Squash

Squash Food Facts

Christmas in October

Christmas in OctoberYou may be saying to yourself: Serious? She’s talking about Christmas in October? So you think October might be too early to start thinking about Christmas? Well, you may be right, but I contend that for some people, it’s just about perfect, if not a little late.

When it comes to Christmas, in my experience, there tend to be two types of people: those who can’t plan enough and those who like to do things last-minute. Perhaps it’s the same types of people who try to get ahead in high-school, making sure all their assignments get turned in on time, who keep up with the reading throughout the semester and study for two hours the night before the final … those are the planners. The other group is the kids who partied four nights a week, crammed the last week of the semester to see if they could turn everything in before the end of the term and stayed up late drinking caffeine until their bladders swam in Diet Coke … those are your last-minute shoppers.

This post is for the planners of the world. It’s October and time to start your Christmas plans. Get the lists going, plan your budget and menus, update your addresses for sending cards and plan this stuff out. Need some ideas? Some checklists? The following links are for you! I’ve tried to sort out everything the planning-type-person would ever need.

I’ve done the Christmas thing both ways, but I can say I was never really “in the mood” when I did thing by the seat of my pants. Even when I decided not to stress about things, not having a plan made me crazy by the big day, even when it was just the two of us having turkey and no gifts. Personally, I am much more able to get in a holiday spirit if I know where the money is coming from, have an idea of what we’re doing, when, how and with whom and can look forward to festivities. Even if things change, at least it’s a pathway in the wilderness.

Have fun planning for the holiday and, if you’re one of those last-minute people, just hold on. I’ll have a post for you in December!!

Christmas Planner Checklists

The Ultimate Checklist – From Soup to Nuts

101 Days to Christmas (Started Sept 15th, but you can catch-up, right?)

Financial Planning for Christmas (Great tips for online shopping!)

General Shopping Advice

Wiki How’s Shopping Advice (You can never fail with Wiki How.)

 

 

Happy Step Family Day

StepFamilyDayFamilies come in all sizes and shapes. Families are not defined as they were in the 1950s, the Cleaver-version with a mom wearing heels and pearls waiting at home for dad to come home so she can bring him a cocktail, a pipe, and slippers while their 2.2 children anxiously await him coming back from the office. I’m thrilled the days of Ward and June, Wally, and The Beaver are over.

The world today has families of all sizes, shapes, and varieties. My husband and I (and our little dog too) make up a type of household commonly referred to as DINKs (Dual Income No Kids).

One of the most prevalent types of families today are Step Families and today is a special day to take the time to honor and celebrate living in or having a family close to you defined as a “Step Family.” It is an extraordinary kind of family that originates from loss, therefore, inherently, anyone living in such a family is managing, in some fashion or another, sometimes in big ways and sometimes in small ways, how members adjust to and grieve that loss.

Whether stepfamilies come about as a result of the death of a parent or divorce, the resulting remarriage, even without kids, constitutes a different kind of relationship that needs care, time and consideration of all the emotional baggage and issues involved the loss. Even when the children in stepfamilies are adults, there are still sometimes issues of concern that arise.

I had two step-grandparents myself growing up, which was somewhat unusual in those days. I always considered it an honor to have three sets of grandparents instead of two. I treated them as if they were my actual grandparents and hoped they thought of me as their grandchild. That’s not to say that the boat my step family rode in was always in smooth waters, but we stayed on the boat and nobody ever drowned. There were occasional times of conflict to work through. There were rarely times when everybody was happy all of the time, but the resiliency of a stepfamily can be just as strong as a natural one-couple family.

Take time to today to celebrate your stepfamily, the half or step-people in your life. The following links are excellent resources to help guide families through the transitional periods involved with newly-forming stepfamilies. There are some great FAQs and clarification of some commonly held myths about stepfamilies.

We no longer have to fear the wicked step-mother who won’t let Cinderella go to the ball. Stepmothers are rarely that evil. Let’s try to think of them as the Lady dad found to love instead. It’s hard to hate someone your daddy loves.

Information From:

National StepFamily Resource Center

Fact Sheet

Common Myths

FAQs

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

 

Great Places to See Fall Colors

Maybe you’ve noticed, but I love autumn. There is something about the colors of nature in the fall season that I think cannot be improved upon. After all, Mother Nature is an amazing artist. Every year I make an effort to see as much of the brilliant tapestry of Her artwork as I possibly can. In my case, you are likely to find me roaming Highway 61 between Duluth and Grand Marais. It is an amazingly beautiful drive along the North Shore of Lake Superior that cannot be beat.

Not everyone has the world’s biggest lake as a backdrop, but almost everyone can find fall colors. Perhaps this post can help you find a beautiful drive in your area. These sites have pictures, maps and sometimes advice on the best time to plan a trip. ENJOY the picture show this autumn. Have fun and be careful driving!!  You still have to keep your eye on the road part of the time.

  • The Mississippi River
    The Mississippi River
  • Michigan
    Michigan
  • The Midwest
    The Midwest
  • East Texas
    East Texas
  • The Ozarks
    The Ozarks
  • Oregon
    Oregon
  • New England
    New England

United States – Find a Scenic Drive Near You

MASHABLE – SEVEN SCENIC FALL FOLIAGE DRIVES 

Michigan Tours

Midwest Tours

East Texas

The Ozarks

Oregon

New England

 

A Final Goodbye to Jacob

TwentJacob-Wetterlingy-seven years ago (minus fifty days) I started a search for someone I never met. I’ve been looking out of the corner of my eye ever since that day on October 22, 1989 for a patch of red in every bean or cornfield I pass. Every time I walked or hiked a trail along a river or a forest stream anywhere in the State of Minnesota I looked for an eleven-year-old boy named Jacob.

I was a college freshman, albeit a twenty-three-year-old college freshman, the day Jacob Wetterling was abducted and I heard about it that evening when I was at a Michael W. Smith concert in downtown St. Cloud. I walked home that night along the banks of the Mississippi River searching for that child. I searched that river for hours that night. My friends thought I was nuts, but my heart went out to another woman named Patty whose life was forever changed that day. I went out to St. Joseph, through St. Cloud, all over Central Minnesota, looking for that kid. I walked for miles, through hills and valleys, swamps and forests. Every spare moment I had I spent looking for him until the snow was so deep and the weather so cold that it just wasn’t possible for anyone to find him alive.

I remember the day I decided to stop actively looking for him myself. I sat in the bathroom of Mitchell Hall and cried my eyes out, knowing, deep in my heart, that it was highly unlikely anyone would ever find him alive. I wondered then and I still wonder today if I walked past his body somewhere, if I missed some mound of overturned earth where someone buried him in a frantic, hectic and evil moment.

Today is the end of my searching. I can stop looking for him now. I can stop leaving my light on for him. Those feelings I had so many years ago when my own personal search for him ended have all come flooding back to the surface. My heart aches for his mother, father and siblings. I cannot even imagine what is going through their hearts and minds on a day like today, to finally find him after such a long time.

I cannot understand what lurks in the heart or mind of a man who could sit by for this long and watch people going through the kind of longing and searching that people in Central Minnesota and the state as a whole have gone through. What kind of a monster lets people he talks to every day search in vain for someone, walk through forests and glens, swamps and gullies until their feet have blisters, when he knew it was for nothing? I don’t want to understand that kind of a person. All I can say to him is may God have mercy on your soul because no woman or man on Earth will.

Today is a day to finally say goodbye in my mind to that search and to a boy I never knew and never found. May his soul continue to rest in peace. God has had him in his loving embrace all this time and will hold him forever. May his family someday come to find some semblance of peace from this unspeakable loss.

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