It’s all about the detail

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In a new book that I’ll be writing for Love Inspired, my heroine grew up with a vintage dollhouse. I’ve been looking forward to writing this book because I just love dollhouses, and one day when I have a little more space, I intend to buy one and pour myself into decorating the rooms.

The dollhouse in my book is based upon this one. (To see where you can buy it, click the picture.)

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The delight of dollhouses is in the detail.

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Furniture is made to scale–and it absolutely enthralls me!

1225_md77267_md77076_md73094_mdAs you can see, I’ve done a lot of fantasizing about the dollhouse I’d love to own… but for now, it will have to be limited to my newest novel. This research is such fun!

Anybody else love the idea of owning their own dollhouse?

New contract!

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I’ve been offered a contract by Harlequin Heartwarming for a runaway bride story that I pitched to them earlier this spring. This will be my second book for this line in Harlequin, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to writing with this group of talented authors.

Photo by Christine Matthews

Photo by Christine Matthews

If you’d like a quick writing update, I’ve finished writing (and handing in) my Western Romance novel tentatively titled THE TRIPLET’S COWBOY DADDY. That book is due in bookstores April 2017. After that, I was working on final edits for A BAXTER’S REDEMPTION, which is my first book with Harlequin Heartwarming. Those are now complete, too, and that book will be released January 2017.

I’ve been planning an upcoming Love Inspired book which I will be writing in the fall, tentatively titled THE LAWMAN’S RUNAWAY BRIDE. (Yes, another runaway bride story, because I find them so much fun, but it’s an entirely different kind of story…)

But now that I have this new contract just in time to fill in a little gap of time between other books, I’ll be writing this Heartwarming story. I’ll give more details on the story closer to the book’s release, but I’m just thrilled to be able to throw myself into this new story. It has lots of drama and a romance that I hope you’ll love as much as I do!

So this is a quick list of my upcoming releases: (as far as I have dates.)

The Cowboy’s Christmas Bride (Harlequin Western)
Nov 2016

A Baxter’s Redemption (Harlequin Heartwarming)
Jan 2017

The Cowboy’s Valentine Bride (Harlequin Western)
Feb 2017

Triplets’ Cowboy Daddy (Harlequin Western)
April 2017

The Lawman’s Baby (Love Inspired)
July 2017

Happy Summer, everyone!

The Cowboy’s Christmas Bride

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I just got my cover for The Cowboy’s Christmas Bride, so I thought I’d share it with you! This book hits the shelves November 2016.

Christmas Bride

Hope, Montana is no longer home to Andy Granger, who sold his piece of the family land to developers. He’s only back to run a cattle drive in his brother’s stead. But the community can’t forgive him for selling out. And Dakota Mason, the beautiful cowgirl he hired, has every reason to hate him…

Ranching is in Dakota’s blood. And now the developers have cut off water her neighboring ranch desperately needs. She’s only on the ride for a paycheck–not to turn her back on her community. And definitely not to fall for some overly protective urban cowboy. But Andy may surprise everyone… including himself.

Β Let me know what you think!:)

 

Smart or Kind?

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What would you rather have people think about you: that you’re smart, or that you’re kind?

Now, the obvious “right” answer is kind. I think we all know that. When people are on their death bed, they don’t normally regret not having finished that second Master’s degree so much as they regret the time they didn’t spend with loved ones. But with these kinds of questions, there isn’t really a right or wrong answer–it’s more about our personal perspectives, hang ups, hopes for the future.

CSIRO_ScienceImage_11172_CSIRO_scientistMy honest, knee-jerk reaction was “smart.” Does that scare you a little? I’m not a sociopath, I swear. I don’t mean that I want to be revered for my genius, just respected for my hard work. Let me explain…

As a woman, I get patted on the head a lot. (Figuratively, of course.) There is a lot of talking that goes on to keep a woman in her place. Women even do it to each other! There are the mommy wars where women argue over parenting choices, tearing each other apart for breast-feeding vs. bottle, or daycare vs. stay-at-home.

There is even pressure for women to get married, if they’re single, or the have kids if they don’t have any yet. Women are shamed for being too fat, shamed for being too thin, encouraged to have a “nip and tuck” to look as young as humanly possible. She isn’t blond enough. She isn’t pale enough. Heaven forbid she age. The message to women is “change who you are.” Pressure, pressure, pressure.

Be pretty. Be young. Be sweet. Be funny. Be entertaining. Be sexually attractive to every male within your vicinity–that is success!

Well, you know what? I want to be smart! Kind? of course! But in our media-driven society, that is taken for granted in a “good woman.” Kindness, sweetness, generosity… but smart isn’t in the list that is assumed for women. Smart isn’t considered necessary to a woman’s survival. Somehow “sexy” made that list, though…:/

It’s like that question of whether you’d want to be loved or respected. I land on the side of respected. Again, of course I want to be loved by the people closest to me, but to be respected by those who know of me would point to a life well lived. And I’m too pragmatic to go chasing after the love of strangers. If I needed universal love pointed at me in order to be happy… well, I’d never be happy. So I’ll take respect.

So when “people” at large think of me, I’d like to be considered smart. Of course, I want to a kind person. I want to be loving. I want to be a good cook, for that matter. At the end of the day, I think kindness matters more than power, but the lure of having my work acknowledged and respected… to have men look at me and instead of rating my attractiveness, to think, “Oh! That’s Mrs. Johns. She’s incredibly good at what she does.”

At the cost of kindness? Never. But I still want smart.

 

What about you? Smart or kind? Loved or respected?

When the dog bites, when the bee stings

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While I’m busy clattering away on my current project, I decided to share with you the sorts of things that I find inspiring.

Tea, being one of them. I always have a pot on the go, and when Mr. Johns wants to be thoughtful, he brings me a great big mug of it with extra sugar. Anyway, this is the sort of things that leaves me relaxed and creative… cute tea accessories. I can’t explain it… it’s what works.

Any other tea lovers out there?

(If you’d like to see the Etsy shops where you can buy these items, just click on the photos.)

il_570xN.421950068_i7pt–This is just adorable, isn’t it?

LOL!

LOL!

 

I think Mrs. Johns would go nicely on this set, don't you? ;)

I think “Mrs. Johns” would go nicely on this set, don’t you?πŸ˜‰

 

Long distance love mugs. So cute!

Long distance love mugs. So cute!

I thought this was rather clever! :)

I thought this was rather clever, especially since the handle would be held by the left hand…πŸ˜‰ A fitting ending for that long distance romance, too.

I love Etsy shops–it’s like window shopping without having to leave my home. Have a wonderful day! As for me, it’s back to the manuscript–right where I belong.❀

Tiny cooking

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Everyone has to find something that relaxes them, and I stumbled across something that this author finds oddly soothing… tiny cooking.

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Have you seen the videos yet? This is where someone cooks a real, edible “meal” on a tiny, dollhouse sized stove. It’s enthralling! Tiny cooking utensils, plates, forks, cups… all served on a teeny table. It’s less than a quarter of a bite in total, and logistically, this is a total waste of time, but somehow, it hits me right in the pleasure center.πŸ˜‰

Here is a video of tiny frying pancakes:

 

Here is another video of tiny donuts being made:

 

There are videos from tiny curry to tiny sushi. It’s a whole “thing.” And possibly the most soothing thing you’ve seen in a long time! You’re welcome.:)

 

 

 

 

I have a secret passion

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I just love aprons–I truly do not own enough of them! But they are the sort of thing that I don’t tend to buy for myself terribly often. I should, and in the future I probably will, but so far, I’ve been too practical. (Ironically! LOL!) I tend to own aprons that I can toss in the wash, because I use aprons for their original purpose–to attract the splatter. (I’m a bit of a messy cook.)

Anyway, while toodling around on Etsy, I came across these beauties. They are probably too cute to survive my kitchen for long, but I do love them… and thought I’d share a few of my favorites. (If you want to see where to buy them, just click the photo.)

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1950’s housewife–this one might be the perfect blend between cute and functional.

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“Mrs. Johns” would go nicely on this one.πŸ˜‰

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I own two aprons much like this one–pastel pink and pastel yellow. They have survived surprisingly well, but whatever shirt I wear with them, doesn’t.πŸ˜‰

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Unique and pretty. But how would you wash it??

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I don’t know why, but this one makes me feel happy just looking at it.πŸ˜‰ Maybe it’s because it looks like it’s been starched.

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I Love Lucy inspired

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This one is so pretty that my morbid imagination immediately goes to my splattering, simmering spaghetti sauce.

Would you use a pretty, frilly apron? Or is it not practical enough to survive your kitchen, either?

A few photos

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The Johns family went on vacation! We didn’t go too far–just to the mountains. If you’ve never been to Banff, Alberta, it’s VERY worth the trip. So, without further ado, here are a few photos.:)

This is one the way--we couldn't see mountains yet, but the land started to get a few hills. That's something! ;)

This is on the way–you can just barely see mountains on the horizon. (Exciting for us prairie people!)

 

Mr. Johns and our son throwing rocks into a mountain lake. Still en route.

Mr. Johns and our son throwing rocks into a mountain lake. Still en route.

 

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On the way up the mountain in the gondala. Terrifying, by the way! But worth it.:)

 

This is the view that makes it all worth it!

This is the view that makes it all worth it!

 

 

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At the bottom. :)

At the bottom.:)

 

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And there you have it–our Banff, Alberta vacation. Only a couple of days, but so very worth the trip.:)

Is love really necessary?

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Today, I’m blogging over at the Heartwarming blog about whether or not passionate romantic love is necessary for a successful and happy marriage. I read an interesting article by a woman who thought it would be a good idea to marry a good friend she truly respected and cared for in order to enjoy the social benefits that come withΒ  marriage. But make no mistake–she didn’t love him.

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Come by! I’d love to hear your take on it! Would YOU marry someone for another reason besides toe-curling passion?

Click HERE

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