A Couple Of Wanderlings…

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Being the writer/photographer that I am, I love to travel. I love to see new places and more than that, I love to share my passions with my husband of seven years.

So, we turned what we both love to do into a blog. Yeah, I know there are tons of travel blogs out there, and I know many travel as their job. But that’s the difference. We do it because we love it. We are real people going on adventures together. So, with that in mind, what you might read from us will always be the absolute from our hearts truth on something.

We have just decided to begin a new adventure together, one that will take us to places we never knew existed. Then, we bring it to you!

Now I want you to go to our site, A Couple Of Wanderlings and follow us we wander the world together. Your support by reading what we have to say is a gift. We both appreciate you all!

OF BLADE AND VALOR Book Tour!

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Welcome to my nightmare! lol
I had my post finished, I only needed to add the blog tour buttons and I was set! At about 8pm my time, I found out that my website was running blank. That’s right…all these people trying to visit my site can’t see a darned thing. Trying to get my IT guru on the line has proven to be impossible. Therefore, I am beginning again. Please, bear with me.

It can be difficult for me to really get into a book. I have my favorites and find it a challenge to open my heart to other authors sometimes. Funny isn’t it, that I felt compelled to start my own publishing house? I am very tolerant of other writers, I just don’t always get sucked in.

Most people read for entertainment. They read to escape the harsh realities of their own world. This was how I started out when agreeing to read Cheryl Alleway’s book, Of Blade and Valor. However, as I went along and became lost in the hills of Scotland, I learned a lot about myself.

How can a book teach you about yourself? Well, if you read and your face fills in on the body of the heroine, you begin to think about possible plot twists or reactions that you might have to certain circumstances. What would you really do? I did this all the way through and came to the conclusion that I am not as strong as Deb Douglas. We are the same in many ways, but she is much stronger than I.

Within the pages of this book, I saw a fierce love for family. The relationship between Deb and her father is to be cherished. Not everyone can say that their father showed so much emotion for his daughter. Not many would teach their child to fight with foreign technique knowing it would save her life. But fathers do teach us the fundamentals it takes to survive once we fly the nest. Even if you don’t feel that you can go to them as an adult, they still took it upon themselves to prepare you for your life ahead.

It also showed me that it is okay to love again. There is room in your heart for more than one soul. When one relationship ends, you mourn and grieve…but another will come and fill that void once the tears dry on your pillow. It is most difficult to let go and start a new chapter. It is scary. But it can be worth it.

I found that my dearest character, Henry, plucked the strings of my heart with his bent body and huge heart. It isn’t often that you read a book that includes the disabled and casts them as a hero. I loved that Henry the Hen found a suitable place within Cheryl’s heart and he rests within mine. You see, I know a man who has a tumor in his brain. There isn’t anything anyone can do about it, but he gets on like there is nothing wrong. His body shuffles him around and his stories can become more like ramblings at times, but he is quite the extraordinary man and I love him for who he is. I find that most are not as tolerant of him as I am and it makes me sad…there are few people on this planet who would give you his own shirt if you needed it. Henry is this man to me. I found that I smiled in spite of him and my eyes filled with tears as I saw this man I know being a hero.

I learned that you are a leader whether you think you are or not. There is always someone looking at what you are doing. Are they actions worth emulating? Would you be proud if your best friend took up your worst habit? You have the power to change people’s lives even if you think you are a nobody. I have the power to change people’s lives. I do change people’s lives and whether for the good or the bad is only up to me.

Standing up for the little guy sometimes means that you fight the giants of our day, just as Deb faces her own giants. There are times that you have to be the thorn in the side of those who deal unethically or mistreat those below them. This goes for the working environment as well as recreational moments like eating out. I was told once that I must not be very smart because I worked in a gas station. He told me that since I was a manager, I must be smarter than most, but I wasn’t intelligent. I have never forgotten that. Be the one to stand up for those hard workers whether close to you or not. I once worked for a man who was a terrible manager of people and I told him: “A team is only as strong as its leader.” He responded: “I disagree, but thank you for your feedback.” Think about it.

There are many more points and since I am nearing a hefty 1,000 words, I should come to a close. There are many books that transport you places but there are few who make you think about yourself in ways you normally don’t. It offers you the chance to hope for love and be grateful for all you have.

If none of the posts have convinced you to grab this book, I hope this one will do it. You are missing out on such an adventure and such love and hope. Loyalty. Latch on and crave more. I did.

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In the midst of war torn Scotland, a baby girl is born to Jacob
Douglas and his young wife. The conflict between the English and the
Scots breeds trials of loyalty that tarnish the landscape, while Jacob
teaches his strong-willed child the skills she will need to face her
uncertain future. Behind the veil of war, villains pillage their land,
pilfer what is not theirs and do not fear retribution for their deeds.
There is none strong enough to make a stand; no one, until Deb
Douglas. Keeping her father close to her always, he radiates a courage
that motivates her fight for freedom, for love, and for her land. Deb
rallies those she meets to join her cause, which frees the secrets
from her past that have been buried for many years. While destiny is
all-knowing, Deb never backs down and faces it all with the courage of
a man and the heart of a Scot!

Get your copy today!

Amazon.com (Kindle Version) .99! ASIN# B00DR1TCYE

Paperback or Hardback Version (Not Autographed) $24USD and up ISBN# 9781304121820 (PB) 9781304193735 (HB)

Paperback or Hardback Versions (Autographed) $24USD and up

Tomorrow’s Tour Stop! Visit R. Rose and check out her work!

**GIVEAWAY**
For every time you get involved and comment on tour posts, the more times you will be entered into a drawing for one of two necklaces inspired by this book or one of two calendars featuring photos that were also inspired by this work! Get involved with our participating bloggers and win! To thank our hosts, please take a moment to look at their work as well!

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Happy Birthday to me! My eBooks are Free!

So I was born on June 18th, 1973. According to my kids, I am old. According to my body, I am old. According to my mind, I am old. But according to my heart, I am young. I will always be young.

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To help me celebrate my big 40, I am putting my eBooks on sale for absolutely nothing and this is only on my birthday.

With the release of The Benevolent Light happening soon, now is the time to catch up on the rest of the Aspen Series.

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Beginning at one minute after midnight, well, my time of course, you will be able to take advantage of such a sale. Don’t wait! Being able to break my own records of the most downloads would be such an amazing feeling on a day such as my own birthday. 😀 These downloads will be available on Amazon.com in Kindle books.

I want to thank all of you for following me here. I hit a very cool 100 followers just yesterday. Thank you for reading, thank you for believing in my dreams for me, and thank you for being fans. I think that the greatest experience would be to meet you all in person…spend a few hours just talking. That would be amazing because it is you, my readers and fans, that keep me going. You make me want to keep plucking away at the keyboard, one scene at a time and one chapter on top of another. It is true that I write for myself…but I suppose I also write for acceptance, for entertainment, and for your approval. It makes me most happy.

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When I blow out the candles and laugh with my family and friends, I will think of those of you who have read my work and who have raised me to where I am today.

I am forever grateful…

To Bully Or Not To Bully? That Is The Question…

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Bullying has been a part of life from the beginning of time.
That statement does not erase the effects that those words and behaviors have on a person. No amount of apologies or take backs can heal that scar the victim will wear the rest of their life.

We read about nasty kings from the old days, the ones who would tax the people beyond their abilities just to make them miserable and their purses heavier. They would steal brides from their new husbands and take their virginity just because they could. They would devise the burning of homes and crops to force people to bend to them. This is bullying, right?

It seems that every television show has to have a protagonist who has to make someone’s life pretty miserable. Even family shows like “Little House on the Prairie”, for all its goodness and value, Nellie Olsen was just an evil person. Watching that show, however, did not prepare me for the bullying I would endure through my middle school and high school years. So did that show “teach” the concept that bullying is okay? Well, I don’t think so. If anything, it showed that the good can prevail…that other people do grow up eventually.

I had a handful of kids that liked to tease me mercilessly, from slamming my locker shut on me to calling obscenities…many of which I didn’t even understand…, and those who would wait for me after a religious class and muss up my hair asking if I had horns under there. I could name two girls who would wait for me to get off the bus and spray shaving cream in my hair, blow up condoms and say horrid things. I could go on. If I showed any of the emotion that was ripping out my insides, they would come at me all the more. I didn’t have a leader I felt I could turn to…and if I spoke up, who knew what they would do to me then!

Eventually, I really struggled to find acceptance. There were girls who pretended to be my friends and then just drop me at the drop of a hat. There were some, guys and girls, who are still my friends today. But I sacrificed some as I tried to gain others. In the end, I felt as though I didn’t belong anywhere. I imagined that every kind word anyone dared to say toward me was with an evil intention. I acted out to gain attention…

Now that I have children, I have become very protective over them. Will I ever know the extent of what happens to them in school? As I trust others to keep my kids safe…mentally and physically? Probably not. I do my very best to pump up their self-esteem so that the bullies of the world cannot touch them but I wonder if even my power as “Mom” can withstand the abuse from other children.

My 15 year old son has struggled with acceptance and has been dealing with bullying at his school. While I understand that this is commonplace anymore, it sucks to relive those dark and terrible days with him. He has found an outlet in martial arts and boxing. For quite a while, he has been able to hide his temper when others aggravate him. But just last week, he was tormented by another student until he finally snapped. That moment suspended him for two days, a light sentence I know, however, my thoughts stray to this kid who thought he was so cool to get my son to react to his abusive words. Who has taught this kid that it is okay to badger another human being until they retaliate? Is it the parents, or lack thereof, television, peer pressure? I would just like to know how someone can justify ruining another’s life, their self image, their hopes of fitting in at such an awkward time in life.

I am not the sort of person I feel I should have been. I am jaded. I don’t trust people. I look in the mirror and see a monster in the glass. I struggle daily with my sense of self-worth. So when I speak to someone, I do evaluate how my remark will make them feel. However, I am human and I have slipped when I feel my line has been crossed. But I don’t remember a time in my entire life that I have felt that it is okay to damage another’s frame of mind.

As parents, writers, and social media participants, we should be setting the example that it is NOT okay to be a part of this sort of behavior. The sad truth is that some do not know the difference. We are allowing this trend to grow rampant and it needs to be squashed. Freedom of speech is one thing…assault on another human being (whether words or actions) is not. It should never be.

When I write, I do indeed have a protagonist. I have bullies…they are a part of life. However, I find solutions to rid my world of them. Real life is no different. I would like to walk up to those who had mistreated me as a kid and slap their faces! But you know, that makes me no different than them. I am better than that. But if I get my hands on the kid who thinks it is funny to torment my son, and we will have meet your maker kind of meeting. I do not wish my experiences on anyone, much less my own child.

So be on the lookout for some nasty ends to some terrible bullies of the medieval times. I won’t tolerate it even if it is all made up!

Reliving History through a Medieval Christmas

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As we have settled into our modern day holiday traditions, the history of such traditions becomes lost. If you find that you would like to switch up the holiday experience, bring the family home for a bit of a lesson in how our culture adopted the ways of olde and still celebrate it in the style of yesterday.

Be creative when sending out your invitations (or delivering them) to those you would like to have present. Printed parchment rolled into scrolls and sealed with wax really set the stage. They are expensive to mail, so you may want to hand deliver all of them that you can. Another fun idea is to use the parchment paper like a summons to the lord’s court but instead of spearing it with an arrow in your guest’s door, you can use stickers that look like a wax seal to post it. Don’t knock on the door for delivery, just post it and leave it as a surprise. In the information printed, you should request that everyone come dressed in costume to further the experience.

In the early days, gifts were not exchanged as they are now. It was not until later that the tradition in lieu of the Three Wisemen began. If any gifts were given, it was usually the landlord of the town bestowing gifts on his staff or specific tenants depending on their station. It might have been a meal or a new tunic (shirt), never anything of great monetary value. There were many varying degrees of status in those days. The wealthier you were, the better your gift. That might mean that Jack down the street was privileged to a meal that included a boar’s head! Yet Mike was of a lesser station so he had to bring his napkin and plate with him and eat goose. However, Mike was allowed to take the leftovers with him in his napkin to share with others. Boy, how we have changed through time! How you handle the giving of gifts is up to you. Taking away the burden of finding that perfect gift from the family might make for an even more lighthearted evening!

At one time, it was not allowed to decorate within the home. Many pious people would decorate outdoor trees with hanging apples. Holly and Ivy would deck the entry doors of the home. Both plants are evergreen and symbolize new life that is promised to return in the spring, but Holly is said to begin with white berries that turn red, which refreshes within our minds the moment when the crown of thorns was placed on Jesus’ head. It is considered a very holy plant. The Christmas tree was a German tradition that was practiced in England many, many years later. Yet, medieval England did use the boughs for decoration.

The typical spread for either the Christmas feast or Epiphany (Jan. 6th) was a boar on the table, an apple in its mouth, mincemeat pies, and puddings like Frumenty. Less fortunate families would sport a goose or other waterfowl unless they were not lucky enough to have gotten a boar on a hunt. Turkey is an American bird and was not present on any table until settling the colonies.

Carols went through a time, when religion was cast in dark shadow, that it was outlawed. The carols we sing today took root in those days. However, it was viewed as being vulgar by the church. The carol of “The 12 Days of Christmas” was a learning song of memorization. Each of the gifts that were given by the true love (God) represented values of their church that they committed to song in order to worship and pass the ideals to their children. If you have time, decode some of the carols and trace their origins back in history. Share that with your guests as you sing songs through the night and think of those who were not free to worship God how they felt was appropriate.

 

In all, Christmas was a time of reverence and love. Often times in our day, much of the emotion is lost in the expectation of gifts. Taking a step back in time may take some of the commercialism out of your holiday celebrations. It could very well bring a sense of belonging and unity to your family this year.

Ketchup? Really?

My youngest son is a hilarious kid.

So what do you do as a parent when all he wants to dress up as for Halloween is food? His birthday falls just three days after the holiday, and all he wanted a few years back was a “hotdog” costume. Really? Really. So, I obliged him and found a “hotdog” costume and since it was after Halloween, I think it cost me less than $10.  He was overjoyed!

 

So this year, while we were trying to figure out costumes, I asked him what he wanted to be. He said, “Ketchup”. I just looked at him for a minute. “Or I would settle for Mustard.”

Wow.

This kind of personality, dear readers, is what my fun little children’s book is based on. While Zeek is not Dimitri, he loves the same dinner, his mom, and is very compassionate and sensitive to other people while having a crazy and fun personality. Zeek is just as curious and motivated as my son.

I love this kid with all my heart…as I love my other three. He just has that kind of aura about him that makes  people gravitate to him. Ketchup or not. By the way, I talked him into being a dark overlord type character for Halloween. lol

 

 

A Thank You

You know, it is very hard to step out on the stage and allow yourself to be vulnerable and judged by the public. It is quite different to make your work available over keeping a journal. Both are equally great cruades, but I didn’t care so much about who read my work or even if they did.

Now, it is a different case. I have been on a mission for some time now and finally decided it was time to really get serious about what I do because I have been told by many that I do it well.

I am having an affair with my characters. They never leave me alone. They are consuming my mind. I love them dearly. I cry when they feel sorrow. I have put in my sweat, tears and blood pressure for my readers’ benefit. It was for them that I continued to tell my characters’ story. I’m in love with my whole world and I want you to be too.

So…I want to applaud those who have taken the time to actually read my posts and my books. I owe a debt of gratitude to those who retweet me on Twitter. And I will love every one of my fans who propelled me forward even when I wanted to give up. You all know who you are and I will be forever grateful. Please keep spreading the word and telling the world how much you love the Aspen Series or Hyde and Zeek.

For those who have promoted me and wish me to mention a special you have going on or a new book being released, let me know! I am here to make the system work. And know that if I “like” your posts, it means I read them and they moved me in some way.

Sweet Little Mira from Noble Courage

How different children are today than they used to be. I see the differences in my own kids from when I was a kid their age. Don’t get me wrong here, there are many similarities too…

I have tried my hardest to instill in my children the value of work. They are more than eager to go work for someone else (like mowing lawns or washing cars, lol) but they won’t do chores around the house to help out. Why is that?

I remember when five dollars a week for allowance was nice cash to have! However, nowadays kids would rather go without the five bucks in their pocket to be able to do their own thing. No, they want twenty bucks to mow the lawn. They want ten bucks to wash the car. They expect money for doing the simple everyday chores around the house.

I can understand wanting to make your way in the world, but it takes work to do that. I will pay for a stellar job done and great work ethic. Few kids possess this anymore. Why is that? Because they are Millennial kids. They have been raised in a technological society that hands them things almost instantly and they are used to that. They want more of that in everything that they do…including work. These kids really do want money for doing nothing.

So it rests upon us to continue to train them up and teach them the way we were taught and mold them into good responsible adults. Perhaps one day, our technology will no longer be around. These kids won’t know what to do. But it will bring back the fairly forgotten imagination again and force us all to do more for ourselves.

I love my kids with all my heart. I think they will be great people in society as they continue to grow and I am proud of my son who is putting himself through college because he wants a better life. I hope I had something to do with that. 🙂

“I thought I could stay here and do chores for you. See how pretty she is? I can be her pretty helper and you could pay me some tiny money, my lord,” she begged.

Money isn’t so tiny anymore, from a child’s perspective. But Mira was motivated and haunted. She also wanted a better life. I suppose we should all be careful what we wish for and find happiness in what we have around us. Do something to make each day a great one and pass our ethics, our morals, and our knowledge to them so they can be successful too!

*Get your copy of Noble Courage for .99 on Kindle

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Purpose in Life

“Don’t you take her from me now! For once let something good stay in my life and make me feel I have a purpose!” ~ Thorne Darktower, Noble Courage Chapter 4

I know we all have moments where we feel like this too. To be truthful, I’m going through it right now. But there comes a point when people cannot fill the voids you have in your heart, you must find the strength to heal those yourself. Believe me, it feels an impossible feat. But it can be done. Hobbies and pets can help you find a place within that you may feel might be lost. Your spouse should be one to turn to, one that can help you in whatever stage of life you find yourself. And for any of you that are religious, don’t forget to lean on God. He is there to carry you while you ail. We all have a purpose, we just need to fiure it out, use our talents in the right way, and when someone wrongs us, have the ability to forgive them and move on knowing you are better than all that.

Life is too short to let others control how you live it. Take control of your life and make it what you want it to be!  🙂