Tommy Talker

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When I was a little girl, my grandmother gave my brother and I a ventriloquist dummy. It used to belong to my uncles when they were boys, and my grandmother passed it along to us. In fact, I’ve been told that there were two of them at some point, but I honestly don’t remember the second one, or what happened to it.

We played with that dummy for years.I loved Tommy Talker. He featured in stories I used to make up and tell my brother at bed time when we were supposed to be sleeping. Yes, even back then I was an avid storyteller. 😉 “Once upon a time, there was a boy named Tommy who was accidentally flushed down the toilet.” (Hey, I told stories. I’m not saying they were layered and deep.)

He spent time in the corner of bedrooms, had the place of honor in piles of stuffed toys, and eventually got tossed into the toy boxes in the basement and stayed there until my brother and I were far too old to play with toys. The other toys were thrown out and my mother rescued him.

 

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Well, a month or so ago, my mom found Tommy Talker in some old boxes, and she sent him to us for my son to play with. He needed a little bit of patching up. That old cloth is incredibly fragile, but I managed to get him back into shape again, and my son is the third generation to play with Tommy.

Sometimes, I’ll stumble across Tommy in the rocking chair, or on the couch, and there is just something sweet about carrying Tommy to my son’s bedroom at night. Because I remember when Tommy was my buddy, when he’d been the guest at my tea parties, and when he’d starred in the dramatic tales of a boy named Tommy who navigated the underground world of the sewers… And now, as a grown woman looking into his gentlemanly face, I still feel like we still share secrets.

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The corner market on beautiful

I’m currently working on a Heartwarming manuscript that features a plus-sized heroine. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, and I finally have my chance! My reason? I don’t think that thin women have the corner market on “beautiful,” and I’m tired of plus-sized characters being depicted as women with low self-esteem who are desperate to be thin–the loyal friend, the comedic side-kick. So I’m writing Liv Hylton, my beautiful, vivacious heroine who refuses to diet. She’s opening her own bookstore, and she has plans for her future… just as soon as she can get this pesky cop out of her hair.

The hero has been attracted to her for a few years now. Now she’s single, but he’s investigating her for a criminal case, so the timing is miserable. Still, a guy can hope, right?

Normally, romance is geared toward fantasy… The womanizer who meets the one woman to tame his gallivanting ways for good, for example. Or the heroine’s pregnancy that makes the hero desperate to settle down and just raise some kids already. Realistic? Not in my experience. Fun, though! And don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy reading them because the fantasy is enjoyable.

In this respect, my story leans more towards reality. A beautiful woman of more common proportions attracts a good-looking guy’s attention. And he thinks she’s stunning! Not so far-fetched, is it? 😉

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A little wish fulfillment

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When I was pregnant with my son, I was really looking forward to cute maternity clothes and all the fun of baby planning. As it turned out, I spent most of my pregnancy on bed rest, and the last part in the hospital, so I missed out on all that pregnancy fun.

This Christmas, I have two releases–both of which have pregnant heroines… and  yes, these are a little bit of wish fulfillment for me. I get to fantasize about being pregnant all over again–but also being allowed to walk around! LOL!

Montana Mistletoe Baby

Boy's Christmas Wish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy isn’t easy for all of us. I had one baby boy and was advised by several doctors to just enjoy  him and not put my body through that again. So Mr. Johns and I took all that medical advice to heart and decided that our family was complete. All of our eggs in one basket.

I do have a few pictures of me pregnant before it got really difficult, though. This is a picture of me (4 months pregnant in 2008) alongside a picture of my mom when she was 8 months pregnant with me back in 1978.

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Babies are a wonderful thing! And I’m finally old enough now (39 this year!) where when I put on a little bit of weight, the first guess isn’t that I’m pregnant. It’s strangely freeing!

So while I won’t be having anymore babies, I do get to fantasize about pregnancy and childbirth through my writing. And this Christmas, it’s all about the babies.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of these releases. The Western Romance, MONTANA MISTLETOE BABY wraps up my Hope, Montana series. As you may know, the Western Romance line is closing in 2018, but if you like my cowboys, you’ll be seeing more of them in both the Heartwarming line and Love Inspired. 🙂

 

Heads up–a sale on my titles!

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I just thought I’d give you all a heads up that Harlequin is putting two of my books on sale from October 6-11, 2017, on Amazon, Nook, IBooks, Kobo and Google.

Regularly $4.99, these two books are going down to $1.99 for these few days only!

 

runaway bride

Damsel in distress…or veiled threat? 

Bernadette Morgan left her cheating fiancé moments before they were supposed to marry in the society wedding of the year. Now she’s stuck in Runt River, Ohio, with a broken-down car and a tattered wedding dress. All she wants is a place to hide. But what she finds are a handsome mechanic, a little boy and family secrets that could change everything. Because the toddler Liam Wilson’s raising is actually her cousin’s child. And she’ll do anything to protect him from her politically ambitious family, even if that means rejecting the possibility of love with Liam…

 

 

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Valentine Bride

A Time to Heal 

Brody Mason needs a nurse. As soon as he can walk again, he’ll leave Hope, Montana, and go straight back to the army. But Kaitlyn Harpe? That’s adding insult to injury. Not just because she’s a daily reminder that Brody’s fiancée, Kate’s sister, married his best friend while he was fighting in Afghanistan. But because Kaitlyn had kept the truth from him.

The Kaitlyn he knew before he deployed would never have perpetuated a lie like that. But this new person—the confident, beautiful woman with hidden depths in her eyes—is nothing like the shy, serious girl he knew. This Kaitlyn troubles him. Because Brody is starting to wonder if he proposed to the wrong sister…

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So pick these two up for you e-reader while the prices are nice and low! 🙂 I really think you’ll like them!

 

 

Cheaper than Therapy

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I often wonder how much of myself—my fears, my frustrations, my hopes—that I reveal in the books I write. I tell myself that it’s just a story and that because I’m working with a certain structure that I’m safe from revealing too much about myself to strangers. But I’m not sure that’s true!

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The above meme applies to me—except, I don’t perch on the ledge of tall buildings. But I do work out all of my internal stuff in my writing, and that writing ends up on the shelves of your local bookstore a few times a year. When I look at it that way, it’s a bit intimidating!

In fact, when I starting writing books professionally, I stopped writing in my personal journal. The reason was that if I worked out my stuff on paper in my journal, there was nothing left to pour onto paper for my novels. And my writing was much better if I saved it up.

I find that it’s easier to explore my thoughts and feelings through fiction than it is to do it head on. I come at things sideways with fiction, and the things that never happened are more true than the things that have.

Writers say that their books are “a little piece of themselves.” And that sounds poetic and sweet. Maybe even a little bit sappy. In real life, it’s actually more daunting. Who knows what we give away without knowing? Everyone else gets to hide behind a nice veneer of respectability.

We authors gave that up long ago.

 

When it rains it pours

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I have two Christmas books coming out in the upcoming holiday season, and over two days, I got two boxes of books!

I love it when my own personal box of books comes in, because it really feels official then. That’s when I can hold it, flip through it, remind myself what I said in the Dear Reader letter… It just feels concrete! Until I’m physically holding it, it’s just a manuscript. 😉

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Boy's Christmas Wish

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Montana Mistletoe Baby

So now a new bit of work starts: setting up giveaways!

And giving copies to personal friends and family, of course.

I’ll post on the blog and on Facebook when the giveaway are all set up so you can have a chance to enter.

And in the meantime, I’ll just be holding my books… LOL!

 

Just around the corner!

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Don’t hate me for this… but I’m a Christmas person. 😉

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I’m a planner, so I like to get my holiday stuff together early so I don’t have to stress out in December. And I know I’m not alone in that! So I’ve already started my Christmas shopping.

This year, I also have TWO Christmas releases, and I’m really excited. I love a good Christmas story, and writing these was a real pleasure, even though they were written during the summer months… Anyway, without further ado, this is what I have coming your way in the next few months:

~Free Online Read: Thanksgiving with Her Boss
October 30, 2017 – November 26, 2017
(I’ll give you a link when I get it.)

~
Boy's Christmas Wish
November 2017
A lot has changed—and a lot hasn’t 

Five years ago, Beth Thomas’s engagement to Danny Brockwood ended when his secret child was dropped off on his doorstep. Now eight months pregnant—and about to be a single mother herself—Beth is back in her Alberta hometown, where the rugged mechanic is raising his son.

She wants to hate Danny; discovering he’d hidden his toddler from her was the reason she left. And now Danny’s bought out the beloved corner store that had been in Beth’s family for generations. But their still-simmering chemistry isn’t all they have in common. Can two single parents win back each other’s trust with the help of one determined boy?

~

Montana Mistletoe Baby
December 2017
A COWBOY FOR CHRISTMAS?

Barrie Jones needs a Christmas miracle. Five months pregnant, she’s already the talk of Hope, Montana, because she won’t tell anyone who the father is. And now her ex, Curtis Porter, is back in town, throwing her life into chaos.

Curtis is about to retire from bull riding, which means selling the building that houses Barrie’s veterinary practice—essentially putting her out of business—so he’ll have enough money to start over. He’s the bad guy, right? And Barrie should know better than to give him a second chance, but Curtis seems different… He’s talking about settling down, maybe becoming a family man. Has Curtis really changed? And can Barrie change, too, and trust Curtis to do right by her and her baby?

 

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of these two books. MONTANA MISTLETOE BABY will be my very last Western Romance, since the line is closing. But you’ll be able to find more of my cowboy stories through Love Inspired moving forward.

Now, back to your regular programming… Enjoy the very first day of Fall! 🙂

You. Don’t. Know.

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So I went to see my doctor the other day, and while I am quite healthy with not too much to worry about, my blood tests showed some levels that are a teensy bit high. I’m 39 in a few weeks, so this is the age that these things start to show up, I suppose. All perfectly normal.

So my doctor said, “No biggie. Just cut out cakes and stuff like that.”

Me: I don’t eat cake and stuff. I’m celiac, remember? So I just don’t bother.

Doc: Oh… What about dairy?

Me: Allergic to dairy and soy.

Doc: And SOY? Oh crap… What DO you eat?

So I told him. And the only thing he could see to remove from my diet was meat. You read that right–MEAT! So my doctor decided it would be good for me go vegetarian for a few months, “just to see if it changes anything.”

So my diet is now even more restricted, and I have to tell you… I’m not loving it.

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I feel like the above meme applies to me right now… except I’m fine with carbs. I’m missing the protein!

If you read closely, in my books, I talk about food I can’t eat a lot. Grilled cheese sandwiches, pies, cakes, cookies, cheesecake, sub sandwiches, cheese in its many forms… Well, take a look at the books I write in the next few months, and I can pretty much guarantee my characters are going to be noshing down on a meat smorgasbord! LOL!

These are romance novels–our little indulgences. Let me have this.