December is a crazy month, isn’t it?
The hustle and bustle of the holidays and pushing to tie up those loose ends by the end of the year is just… stressful, and when you have kids, there’s an urgency to do it all. Christmas baking, holiday shopping before school is out, and not to forget the extra gatherings that take planning and time.
Whatever is on your calendar this month should be enjoyable and fun. It’s what I’m focusing on instead of the stress it can bring.
Here are five things that help me feel a little less stressed so that I can enjoy the company and all its festivities.
1. You might have heard this before, but I’ve been doing it for many years, and it’s helped
me to stay organized and on budget. It also forces me to stick to an outline instead of getting sucked into buying other stuff. My husband and I get each of the kids four gifts that match this phrase:
Something to WEAR
Something to READ
Something they WANT ( within reason )
Something they NEED
2. I try and shop in the morning to avoid crowds. If you’re a morning person, like me, you can feel a sense of accomplishment if you’re home by lunchtime. It also gives me downtime before picking kids up from school.
3. I plan my days. Staying organized by what needs to be done for the week is an excellent way to avoid extra stress. I make a list and stick to it. Of course, last-minute things always pop up, but I do my best to accomplish what I can. My motto: One day at a time.
4. I stick with my workout regime. Even if I can only do half an hour, it’s an excellent way to recharge and feel like I’ve done something to benefit me. On those more challenging days, walking my dog helps clear my head and fills me with energy.
5. I don’t do a lot of Christmas baking, but I let my three children pick one thing they want me to make with them. This is a great way to spend time with each of them and accomplish a task.
Wherever the holidays take you, I hope it brings you less stress and more joy.
I’d love to hear how you eliminate stress over the holidays. Please share. I’m interested!
Until next time, have a great week!
I’m going to be honest. I had no idea what I was going to blog about until I sat down and opened my computer. The idea of sharing my thoughts makes me cringe. I like being the writer, the mom, the wife…I often think, why would anyone care what I have to say? Then, I remembered the reason for my blog is to engage, inspire, and connect with like-minded people. The only way to do it is by sharing my interests and maybe a little about me. You can find me on X, Facebook and Instagram.
I’ve even joined TikTok, and plan to get the course to post more there.
I've met incredible creatives through social media, and some I call friends. I’ve discovered new-to-me authors and enjoyed their books. Right now, I’m on a winning, reading streak. You know when you finish a book and pick up the next one with high hopes but think it can’t be as good as what I just read? Then, you’re reading and are incredibly happy because you’re enjoying the world you’re in. Love that. Don’t you?
I hope readers will enjoy the next book in my Moonlight Valley series. It comes out in a few weeks. I’m nervous about it. I always am when publishing a book. I wonder what people will think about my ex-military hero and small-town newspaper reporter. If you want an advance copy of my book in exchange for a review, you just have to sign up at https://booksprout.co/readers. It’s free. You can find me there and click on my profile.
Thanks in advance for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure getting to know people. Drop me a comment and tell me what you’re reading. If you want to see what I’m reading, check me out on Goodreads.
Hey Lindsay! Thank you for being on my blog. I’m excited to have you and to talk about your debut, The Christmas Promise. Already a bestseller! Congrats! The cover is charming and intriguing, too with the beautiful coastal house set in snow and the lit-up trees… makes me want to surround myself with Christmas vibes. Are there any special decorations that hold a place in your house?
There is an angel that we put up high above us in a special place every year. I tell my girls she blesses us with health, happiness, and joy.
Again, congratulations on your debut! Already hitting Amazon’s bestseller list. How did you celebrate your release?
My husband took me and my family out! I also had a celebration with my friends at my home.
Can you tell us a little about your book?
The Christmas Promise is a heartwarming romantic holiday story that carefully weaves the past and present together, all through the lens of my main character, Charlotte. The story begins with what she initially believed to be a simple work trip soon unravels into a journey of history, family secrets, falling in love and self-discovery.
The story explores depths of love, but also brings my readers in the picturesque snowy landscapes of New England, which ads an extra layer of charm and allure to the narrative. And, of course, it wouldn't be a true holiday story without a touch of magic, infusing the setting and festive atmosphere into every moment.
What inspired you to write this story?
Well, many think it was a painting and it wasn’t! It was my love for ruby rings which was a part of the painting from the auction. Not only are rubies rare, but just so beautiful. The red stone also symbolizes deep emotions…love and passion which as the reader learns in my story – is directly related to my present and historical main women.
I also have a love of history and learning how things used to be. Being in New England, it’s rich with history- I even live in a New England colonial home, dated in the 1700s… so new concepts and ideas are always around me. But the idea of crafting a story centered around a red ruby ring, during Christmas, began to take shape…and the idea of bringing the past and present into the characters sparked.
You’re a mom, nutritionist, podcaster, blogger and romance author. You are busy! When do you write? And, do you make writing goals? What does that look like?
I carve out one hour a day, sometimes I will get two, like if my mother is helping me with the kids or my oldest is home to babysit. That hour is never at the same time, it’s when I can actually get that hour! I make a goal of 500 minimum words a day, but usually get to about a thousand in that hour. I’ve also grown pretty good at writing with background noise of children playing! So sometimes that hour is in the backyard while my younger two girls are playing.
Writing takes a lot of brain power. I often forget to bring a water bottle to my desk so I can stay hydrated, but what about snacks? What do you snack on when you’re writing?
Isn’t it funny how we may not be hungry until the moment we sit down to write? That happens to me every time! I make these homemade protein oat balls and usually have a bowl of fruit to munch on while I type and of course…something warm to drink! Cinnamon tea is my favorite right now!
Thank you, Lindsay, for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. How about some fun facts?!
Chocolate chip pancakes are my go-to when I want to indulge!
What music do you listen to?
Give me anything from the 90s and I am happy!
What are you reading?
Currently I am finishing up Nicolas Sparks: Dreamland. I have to get a couple of his novels in a year. I will be diving in holiday reads and a couple other fall picks on my radar once I finish his.
Best place to write?
At home, in an armchair chair my mom handed down to me. The cushions are so comfortable!
You can find out more about Lindsay in her weekly newsletter, Love is the Reason, where she talks about love, food and healthy living.
Connect with Lindsay on her website: https://www.authorlindsaygibson.com/
Thanks for joining me today. I have USA Bestselling author, Roxanne Snopek with me to talk about her new book, The Cowboy’s Lost Family.
Hello and congrats, Roxanne! What a beautiful cover. This is the first book in a new series. I have to say, I love the title and by reading the synopsis, I’m guessing it will be an emotional read. What can readers expect?
This a dual timeline story, with the present-day narrative exploring a man’s search for his genetic roots and going through a huge identity crisis as a result. He meets a woman who’s dealing with family difficulties of a different kind and they both help and challenge each other to view themselves differently.
The past narrative follows the story of the man’s birth mother and yes, it’s pretty emotional at spots! In writing her scenes, I drew heavily on my own experiences of being pregnant, anticipating the birth of this new life, feeling overwhelmed with love but also of panic, and inadequacy. Her story is heart-breaking and, while this is fiction, it’s unfortunately close to real life for many women.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I’ve always been fascinated by the story behind the story. A thing happens. (In this case, a young, single woman becomes pregnant.) “Facts” circulate. Opinions are given. Reputations are built or destroyed. But life is always, always nuanced. In times and places where social norms are subject to rigid, shame-based oversight by a critical minority, women and girls who experience “out of wedlock” pregnancies are heavily censured. They might be denied the ability to make important decisions for themselves and are usually denied the opportunity to tell their stories.
Now that technology has made DNA testing and genealogical research accessible to the average person, many families are discovering previously hidden secrets. Whether this creates fresh wounds or allows old wounds to heal, the truth is transformative. The story must be told…. In my book, at least!
Do you have a favourite scene or chapter in the book?
The scene where the hero and heroine go out into the river hills on horseback was a delight to write. They find the remains of an old homestead, with a family burial plot and have a beautiful conversation about the meaning of history and connection, to family, to the land. To each other. They’re surrounded by the beauty of nature and recognize that they each share a yearning for something they’ve never quite been able to articulate. Until now. 😊
You are not only an author, but recently, you’ve earned your editor’s certification and work as a freelance editor. How has the writing process changed for you, or hasn’t it?
I wish I could say that my work no longer needs editing but alas, that is not so! The processes are still so different, in terms of what part of the brain they use. However, during revisions, I try to read my work like that of a client’s, and it does help me see where the holes are.
What excites you about editing someone else’s work?
I love helping reveal an author’s unique voice, identifying those things they do that nobody else can do, and bringing that out. I also love showing them ways to make those punching turning point moments more powerful. Often, it only takes a bit of rephrasing, or moving a few words around, to suddenly bring a passage to life.
Okay. Now for some fun facts:
What are you reading?
THE GIVER OF STARS, by Jojo Moyes. It’s amazing. I can’t wait to go to bed so I can read it! I also have it on audio so that when my eyes are too tired, I can listen. I love switching back and forth. Before that, I read THE MAID’S DIARY by Loreth Ann White. It’s just great. I can’t say enough. It’s no coincidence that both these books feature strong women faced with extraordinary hardships.
Sweet tooth or salty?
Salty. Kettle Brand Krinkle Cut Truffle and Sea Salt potato chips, to be exact. 😊
Morning or Night person?
Haha, I like to go to bed early and get up late, lol! Actually, my husband was away for a week recently, so I had to take over the morning dog-walking routine (which I always used to do, before he retired!) I was reminded of how much I enjoy being outside first thing in the morning. My best reading time is at night when the world is quiet and dark, so while I go to bed around 9:30, I don’t sleep until closer to 11.
Paperback or ebook?
I still buy physical books, but my e-reader is so much more convenient in bed, most of my reading is on e-books.
When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I like puttering in my garden, swimming with the grandkids, baking sourdough, training the poodle to do higher math, enjoying happy hour with neighbors. Pretty boring, mostly, lol! But get out a karaoke machine and watch out! (It’s so much fun, the dog howls along!)
To find out more about Roxanne, you can visit her website:
Are you still soaking up summer, or have you fallen into fall?
Here in British Columbia, It’s back to routine and fighting the clock to get to school, sports, and activities, but for now, I’m going to soak up the remainder of our summertime fun and make the best of it while I can.
I love beach days, lazy days, pajama days, and birthdays.
Aww…it’s been a good summer. I did it all and loved every minute of it.
I also read some pretty awesome books, from romcoms to small-town romances.
I’m gearing up for editing mode on my second book of the Moonlight Valley series, Rescuing His Heart. There’s been a delay in a publication date but will hopefully come out by the end of this year.
I’ve also started writing a new book. This one is for a different series… the idea for this was hovering in my brain for months. I knew who the heroine was as well as part of her story, but her hero had to be someone she could count on for support and love despite of everything she's going through. I put too much pressure on myself to plot the story that it sucked all my creative juices out of me. I had finished writing the previous book ( a book I love and can’t wait to share one day ), and my brain felt scrambled trying to develop an another book that readers could enjoy equally. I had lived and breathed the last book I wrote, and the characters had become ‘real’ people as I strived to bring them their happy-for-now ending. I want the same entertainment and joy in all my books. While building the story, I realized there were a lot of missing pieces. I wasn’t ready to write about these characters, so I gave it time. I let the ideas brew. I reread another work-in-progress story and wrote a short story, hoping it would trigger anything to ignite my inspiration. Still, the characters didn’t hound me to tell their story.
My hero is a dad to a five-year-old and passionate about the outdoors. My heroine is newly divorced and striving to prove herself to her family by managing her café. It’s a second-chance romance, a troupe I seem to write a lot about, probably because I love how people change and grow and become their best version of themselves, so by the end of the story, they’ve earned their best life.
I’ve got a couple more summery reads to finish before switching to sweater-weather books, so I’ll be ignoring the pumpkin spice latte advertisements and soaking up what I can on my patio chair with a cup of coffee and a book. Or, my laptop. I’ve got a book to write.
Find out what I’m reading by following me on Goodreads.
If you are a writer, what's your favourite season to write?
Rescuing His Heart, book two in my Moonlight Valley series, is coming out this October. I’m excited to share this story. I poured my sweat and tears into it, pushing myself to bring you a realistic story about friendship and finding love. It’s a story about being at the right time and place, even when it doesn’t feel right; it’s fate. Two strangers meet without knowing how much they need each other, but once they’re on their journey, they find out just how much they need each other physically and emotionally.
Rescuing His Heart posed a few challenges. First, it involved a U.S. Air Force Pilot, and second, he’s a pilot, so I had to interview an aviation mechanic to get the details I needed to create the plot. Sarah, the heroine, is a newspaper reporter, and I drew on my own experience to make her someone who thrives to do
more with her life and to fulfill a void.
I love the friend angle that runs in my Moonlight Valley series. Three best friends find their place in the world with each other and the men who support their journey.
Have you recently read a book you’d recommend?
I just read Kimberly Ann’s Second Chance with A Country Star. I was gifted the advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review, and I have to say, it’s steamy! This story is based in BC, Canada, where I’m from, so I love the setting. I think Kimberly did a great job of creating the hero and heroine. I really felt their connection and what they had to strive for to get their happy ending.
If you love YA, I’d recommend Something More by Jackie Khalilieh. This story follows Jessie, a 15-year-old girl who gets diagnosed with autism weeks before going to high school. Jackie is another Canadian author whom I wouldn’t hesitate to read her next book. I think anyone looking to read a YA about self-discovery with positive vibes then you’ll enjoy her humor and heart.
A rom-com writer I’m obsessed with is Sarah Adams. I’ve read two of her books recently, and I’m contemplating which one to read next. I’ll end up reading all her books, eventually. They’re a feel-good, fun-loving read. The one I finished is The Cheat Sheet. So good! I love a good sports hero romcom. If you have a sports romcom author you’d recommend, drop me a note in the comments.
You can find out what I’m reading now by following me on Goodreads.
Thank you for joining me on my blog, Kimberly Ann! I’m so happy to have you.
It’s been wonderful to see you publish the Logan Creek series and I’ve enjoyed reading it myself. You’ve started a new series, Whiskey Falls. Is this a twist from Logan Creek, or a completely new cast of characters?
Thank you so much for having me and thank you for reading Logan Creek!
Like Logan Creek, Whiskey Falls is a fictional town in British Columbia, Canada. There's a small connection with Brett from Baby, It's Cold Outside but they are all completely new characters.
What can your readers expect from Whiskey Falls? ( Heat level, family drama etc)
Whiskey Falls is going to be a lot like Logan Creek in that it has all the small town feels set around a family and friend group. I'm diving a little deeper into some emotional situations and storylines, but the feel is about the same. It's a medium heat level with real-life situations and relatable characters.
Book two, Second Chance with A Country Star, will be available August 25th. What can you tell us about it?
I'm so excited for Second Chance with a Country Star to come out! Greyson Wallace is a country singer that had everything going for him, until one party caused a scandal that led to him losing it all. Forced to go back to his hometown of Whiskey Falls, he and his daughter need to adjust to each other while also figuring out what their next step is. It's there that he is reunited with his first love, Ella.
I can’t wait to read the book. Do you have a favourite scene?
That's such a hard one to answer! I think it would have to be a scene at the beginning of the book where you see Greyson hit his rock bottom. It's an emotional scene and I like it so much because we often don't get to see men in romance novels break down and get to be emotional.
One of the things your readers know about your books, is that they’re set in British Columbia, Canada. I love this about your books. What inspires you to set your story in these Canadian towns?
Thank you! As a Canadian I love reading about stories that take place in Canada and until recently, they were hard to find. I wanted to be able to represent my beautiful province and show off how amazing it is. Even though Logan Creek and Whiskey Falls are fictional towns, the areas around them I mention are very much real and so beautiful.
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Paperback or ebook? Paperback, but I usually read ebook because it's easier.
Favourite season? Fall
What are you reading now? Do you have a favourite book series? I'm reading Adam by A.K. Otsana. My favourite book series is the Bailey Brothers by Claire Kingsley
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I like to read or do something outside. We have a large garden, so I try to get out and take care of that when I'm not writing.
Thank you so much!
Kimberly Ann lives in BC, Canada with her husband, two children and ridiculously cute German Shepherd. When she’s not dreaming of stories, she homeschools her two children as they explore the world together, reads anything she can get her hands on, and drinks a lot of coffee.
Growing up with her head lost in a book, it was no surprise when she picked up a pen, or her laptop, to write her own. Kimberly Ann’s stories are based on the world around her as she brings her imagination to life with stories of small towns, swoon-worthy men, and the women that keep them on their toes.
Check out more of Kimberly Ann's books on her website:
I’m ecstatic to have Meredith Schorr on my blog.
I read her first book, As Seen on TV, and loved it, so
I’m super excited to read her second book,
Someone Just Like You, releasing July 25th!
I laughed when I read the synopsis. It
sounds entertaining, so I needed to ask Meredith
what inspired her to write this story.
How did your story come about?
Meredith: When I decided to write an enemies
to lovers romcom featuring characters with a past,
I was inspired by my own family and our
neighbors across the street, the Solons. I was
the youngest of three girls and my best friend was
(and still is) the youngest of the three Solon siblings.
I imagined an alternate reality where Ronni was a boy instead of a girl and instead of us being best friends, we hated each other only to fall in love as young adults. Voilla! (That's not to say that Molly is based on me because she wasn't, but the relationship between the families was very much inspired by the Schorrs and Solons.)
Charlene: Do you have a favorite scene in the book?
Meredith: That's such a hard question! I've read the book so many times in all of its iterations and one scene that tugs at my heart each and every time is when Jude takes care of Molly while she's sick and she struggles with her changing feelings for him. It's a big turning point for their relationship.
Charlene:What’s your favorite character in the book?
Meredith:I'd have to say Molly. She's just such a good person with a kind heart. She cares a lot about other people and genuinely wants them to be happy, often taking too much responsibility for it.
Charlene: You have a day job, so do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
Meredith: During the week, I write before my day job in the morning and immediately after work in the evenings. I typically don't write late at night choosing to unwind with television or other author's books. I also write for several hours on weekend mornings/afternoons. Of course, I juggle this with my personal life. It's really hard, but I love it, so I make it work. I'd like to go part time on the day job in a few years. It would be so nice to have two days a week where I can focus on my writing and open up more evenings and weekends for "fun" things. (Not that writing isn't fun, but you know what I mean!)
Charlene:What are you reading or watching on TV right now?
Meredith:The easier question is probably what aren't I watching. I'm a self-proclaimed TV addict. I'm currently watching Silo, Hijacked, Glamorous, And Just Like That, Jack Ryan, Platonic, The Lincoln Lawyer, and The Bear. I prefer to stretch each show out over a longer period of time over binging because waits between new seasons are so long that I want to prolong my enjoyment for as long as possible. I'm a Gen Xer who is used to delayed gratification!
Tea or coffee? Tea.I actually prefer coffee, but have
temporarily (I hope) given it up due to stomach issues.
Chai/Matcha lattes are tasty substitutes.
Sweet tooth or salty? Salty
Paperback or ebook? I love collecting paperbacks but read
faster on my Kindle
Favourite season? Fall
Morning or afternoon person? Morning
It’s been a pleasure featuring you on my blog. I’m looking forward to reading,
Someone Just Like You.
Thanks so much for having me, Charlene!!
Check out Meredith's homepage for preorder details.
Do you have a favourite weekend getaway that doesn't take a lot of effort to get there, and gives you instant gratification?
When my kids were young and flying was undesirable, my hubby, the kids, and I would drive to the Okanagan to Osoyoos and its neighbouring town, Oliver, for a vacation.
These towns located in British Columbia, close to the US border of Oroville, Washington, offer beautiful landscapes and summer desert heat. It’s a place to unwind and enjoy the outdoors. It’s known for award-winning wineries and is home to cidery, distilleries, and breweries. With all the fun rolled up into one exciting place, this small town has a big city feel, perfect for a setting in a book. It’s a place I love, and it’s what inspired me to set my fictional town, Moonlight Valley.
One summer, while exploring Oliver, aka Wine Country, I toured with friends and did wine tasting. The stunning views of rolling hills, the acres of grape vines, orchards, mountains, and Osoyoos Lake… is paradise. It has all the qualities of a small-town dream. My mind wandered about how these wineries came into existence, and as I learned, some had been in families for generations. What a great place to be inspired!
Emily Hill, my heroine in Playing For Love, is a proud winemaker wanting to carry out her passion and commitment that Cottage Hill’s Winery is known for. Still, when hit with financial troubles, she fears somebody might remove her family’s name if she can’t find the money to save it. She can’t fathom a future without her business, and when her old crush brings home the Stanley Cup, she’s not just fighting for her career; she’s fighting the feelings that surface again and doesn’t want help from the only man who has her heart.
I hope you enjoy Moonlight Valley and get a taste of what the Okanagan has to offer.
Wherever your summer plans lead, I hope you have a great time.
Hi! I’m here… ugh, I know, I’m totally late posting my blog. It’s 7 p.m., and I’m just sitting at my computer. I could tell you I didn’t have time to write, but the truth is, my blog idea changed about five times during the week, and well, I thought I could sit down, and the words would flow like an open tap. It didn’t happen. #momlife got the best of me, and instead of brainstorming, I poured my energy into everything else. What a week! Spring soccer wrapped up, we had ball hockey practices and games, and we celebrated two birthdays. By this morning, I was moving like a sloth, but I still focused on my to-do list on my desktop calendar. It's how I stay organized.
How do you get your ‘work’ done by the end of the day? Do you file it in your brain and hope you'll remember, scan your notes on your phone, or manually check it off?
There’s something satisfying about using a pen-to-paper method and crossing it off as I go.
Depending on deadlines, here’s an example of what my calendar might look like:
2. Write daily word count
If you want a productive day, write down two or three things you want to accomplish. Note how you feel when you finish them. By the end of the week, I bet you’ll achieve more than you thought and feel great about it, too.