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Home Again

It gives me such pleasure to discover a new favorite author or a book that I know I will read a second or even a third time. I find myself talking about it to everyone I run into, and if I find out they already love that author or have read the book, it’s an extra rush.

Lending a favorite book out…it’s hard. I am possessive of my collection. Especially in this era of the e-book. If I have a genuine physical copy of a book, it’s because I either fell in complete and utter love with the Kindle edition, or found I had a hard time letting go of a library copy.

I must be growing up or something, because lately I have been lending out Tim Farrington’s books like crazy. Seriously. These books are making a round robin of the members of my Centering Prayer group. I’ll lend my copy of The Monk Downstairs to M and when she brings it back to the next meeting tell her, “Oh, just give it to K.”

It’s working out. All my babies have come home.

My latest prodigal is Tim Farrington’s The Lazarus Kid. It’s the THIRD novel he’s written about Mike Christopher, a former monk building a new life in San Francisco. The Monk Downstairs  is followed by The Monk Upstairs . They are spectacular. I also featured his debut novel The California Book of the Dead on this blog last week. There are a couple more novels of his and a wonderful memoir. I hope to talk about them in the near future.

Farrington has a gift for creating characters you wish you could meet for coffee. They’re by turns generous, selfish, compassionate, thoughtless, silly, and incredibly deep. Deep is also the word I’d use to describe the major themes in his work–finding the extraordinary in the mess of the ordinary, fundamentally flawed people living out their own highly idiosyncratic idealism, and the human search for the transcendent. Good stuff!

Three Ways to Deal with the Hard Stuff

This is going to be short. It has to be. Thanks to an unexpected case of tendinitis–though is there ever a case that is expected?–in my left shoulder, I’m typing it with my non-dominant hand as I wait for the Ibuprofen to kick in.

And my blog reboot had been going so well!

Luckily, I did some serious spiritual work during my disappearance from social media. Let’s see if any of that meditation, mindfulness, and gratitude practice took root. Right now, I’m calling upon the sage advice of Eckhart Tolle, whose books I’ve read and re-read this past year. As he sees it, there are three sane ways to deal with hard breaks:

  1. Change the situation.
  2. Leave the situation.
  3. Surrender to the situation.

My tendinitis IS. I can’t change it. I also can’t walk away from it. I can only accept that this is what’s happening to me NOW. Well…Tolle admits that there is a fourth way to deal with hard breaks–suffer. But why bother? This injury has caused enough inconvenience and physical discomfort, must I add anger, resentment, impatience? Must I wound myself far more deeply and painfully than the stab in my shoulder?

No.

Not saying it will be easy. I can’t drive like this. I have a disabled mother who requires a lot of physical assistance, and a stepfather who will need transportation to/from a medical procedure in about three weeks. He’s counting on me to provide it. So this is scary.

But I can feel the fear, the frustration, acknowledge it, and then let it go.

So even if my shoulder is injured, I am just fine.

All the rest? It will work out the way it works out, and probably a lot more smoothly without me getting hysterical.

Want to know more about how to thrive no matter your circumstances? Start here:

Why You Should Read What You Love

Seems it’s best to read what you genuinely enjoy rather than what you think you should read, or what you’d like to be “seen” reading. Here’s happiness expert Gretchen Rubin’s take on the matter:

“I wanted to make more time to read–more books, with more enjoyment. To do so, I gave myself permission to read at whim. Samuel Johnson observed, ‘If we read without inclination, half the mind is employed in fixing the attention; so there is but one half to be employed on what we read.’ Science backs this up. When researchers tried to figure out what helped third-and-fourth-graders remember what they read, they found that the students’ interest in a passage was far more important than the “readability” of the passage–thirty times more important.”

So when not compelled by work or school or promises to your author sister-in-law, READ WHAT YOU ENJOY.

And if you want to read more from Gretchen Rubin, I suggest starting with The Happiness Project.

NEW RELEASE! A NUN WALKS INTO A BAR

 

Release Blitz:
A Nun Walks into a Bar
by
Tracey Jane Jackson
Mar 29th
 

 

 

 

After growing up in an abbey, orphan
Sadie Ross becomes Sister Abigail Eunice. Her life and career are on track
until a chance meeting with a handsome stranger in a place no nun should ever
go.

Ryder Carsen’s sister is missing, and he doesn’t
have time for distractions. But when a pretty nun walks into his bar, he can’t
ignore his attraction to her, even though she’s not the “sister” he’s looking
for. He’s relieved when she walks out of his life for what he believes is
forever.

Sadie’s life takes a surprising detour when she
finds her path crossed with Ryder’s once again. When they are brought back
together, Ryder knows he’s found the only woman he’ll ever love, but time is
running out for his sister.

Will Ryder save his sister from the men who took
her?
When a source far too close to home threatens
Sadie, will she trust Ryder enough to let him save her too?
 

 

    

 

    

 

 

CHAPTER ONE
Sister Abigail Eunice
I HAVE BEEN told
I look like Mila Kunis, and you’d think this was a good thing, but in my line
of work, it’s more of a hindrance. You see, I’m a nun. Admittedly, I’m not a
very good one, but nonetheless, I am, in fact, a nun.
Which (in a very
roundabout way) led me to a tiny, hole-in-the wall bar at the edge of the Pearl
District in Portland, Oregon, on a quiet Wednesday night.
I was supposed to be
meeting my friend, Laura, for dinner, but as I stepped off the MAX, I realized
I’d gotten off at the wrong stop and, as was my luck, the small wet sprinkle
coming from the sky quickly turned into a downpour.
“Well, crap!” I
slapped a hand over my mouth and mumbled, “Sorry, Lord.”
Seriously, I was the
worst nun ever.
Unsure of which
street I was on, I took shelter under an awning next to a building with a frog
motif, but no other identifying information. Frustrated, I fished my phone out
of my purse and tried to figure out where I was. I had a missed call from
Laura, and a new voicemail, which I could only guess meant she wouldn’t be able
to make it.
“Hey, lady. I’m so
sorry, I’m stuck at work and I can’t get down to the Pearl for another hour. Do
you still want me to try or do you want to resched?” Yes, she said, “resched.”
“Anyhoo, text me and let me know what you want to do. Love ya, ’bye.”
Laura Chan was my
oldest friend. She was actually the only one who knew me before the nunnery,
and therefore knew me as Sadie Ross, not Sister Abigail Eunice. Laura’s parents
had moved from China, and into the house next door, the summer before second
grade. She’d spoken very little English, but we still managed to communicate
and we roamed the neighborhood, inseparable until my parents’ death. I adored
her, even though she wasn’t always reliable. Ever hopeful, however, I always
gave people the benefit of the doubt, so here I stood, only slightly protected
from the pouring rain. And it was pouring. I fired off a quick text to
Laura, pressing send… just as my phone died.
“Oh, holy mother of—”
I pulled my sweater closer around me and stepped toward the building’s entrance
so I could warm up and perhaps borrow a phone, but just as I moved away from
the wall, something came loose from above, dropping a bucket’s worth of
collected water on my head. I let out a quiet squeak and pulled off my now
soaked veil, yanking open the heavy wooden door and slipping inside.
“ID,” a gruff voice
demanded.
I nodded even though
I couldn’t see anything in the dark space, reaching into my purse and pulling
out my Oregon ID.
A large hand swiped
it from me then handed it back. “Sister Abigail, you look lost.”
I let out a snort.
“You have no idea. I’m stranded and my phone died.”
“Ryder can call you a
cab.”
“Ryder?”
“Owner.” He nodded
toward the back of the building. “He’s at the bar.”
“Do I really need to
go to the bar?” I asked.
“Lady, he’s got the
number for the only cab company he trusts and if I let you leave in one from a
company he doesn’t trust, he’ll be pissed.”
I gave him a look of
mock concern. “That sounds serious.”
Bouncer dude
chuckled. “Yeah, he’s got this weird thing about sweet women being protected.”
“What about women who
aren’t sweet?” I challenged.
“Those too.” The
bouncer laughed. “But the sweet ones always seem to get special treatment.”
I smiled. “Okay, I’ll
head to the bar.”
“Good plan.”
I walked past the
pool tables, dartboards, and a jukebox playing something with a heavy drumbeat
next to the bar, the counter of which ran the length of the building. There
weren’t a whole lot of patrons, just a few who looked as though they paid
weekly rent for their stools. However, I was surprised by the heart motifs
hanging and taped up in a few key places. I guess it made sense… Valentine’s
Day was tomorrow, so the bar was probably getting ready.
A tall man with his
back to me turned and I felt sucker punched. Like, as in, the breath left my
body.
His light-blue eyes
met mine and seemed to peer into my soul. I froze, unable to take one more step
under the weight of his scrutiny. He crossed his arms, keeping eye contact, and
I was drawn into his tractor beam-like pull. I inched forward, one baby step at
a time, taking in his light-blond hair, a full beard—not quite Portland hipster
full, but still sexy-as-heck full. When my gaze landed on his lips he gave me
this incredibly delicious sideways smirk, and Lord help me, I wanted him to
kiss me.
See? Worst nun ever.
“You lost, Sister?”
“How did you know I’m
a nun?” Without my veil, most people just threw pitiful glances at my clothes
as though I didn’t know how to dress in anything fashionable. I wore a sturdy
black wool dress, black tights, and a gray button-up cardigan.
“Couple years of
Catholic school. ’Course, I never saw a nun who looked like you, but it’s your
shoes that give you away. It’s always the shoes.”
“Oh.” I bit my lip,
glancing at my feet. “Well, you got that right. They call them sensible… I
call them ugly.”
“Not touchin’ that
one.” Ryder smiled. “You need directions?”
I shook my head. “I’m
that tale of woe, I’m afraid. My friend couldn’t make our dinner date and my
phone died.”
“You need a cab?”
“Yes, but do you mind
if I just warm up for a minute?”
“You want some tea?”
I couldn’t stop a
huge smile of relief as I sat on one of the stools. “I would love some
tea.”
“Give me your phone
and I’ll charge it for you.”
“No, that’s okay.” I
waved my hand dismissively. “I doubt you’ll have a charger that works.”
He chuckled. “You’d
be surprised.”
I pulled out my
six-year-old flip phone and slid it to him.
“Right,” he said.
“Solve that one,” I
retorted with a giggle.
“Oh, you don’t think
I can?” He pulled open a drawer next to the cash register. After testing
several cords against my phone, he let out a, “Gotcha!” and faced me again,
plugging my phone into the wall. “Found one.”
“How is that even
possible?”
He laughed. “We never
throw anything away and people leave shi—ah, stuff here all the time.”
I raised my hands and
gave him quiet applause. “Well done, sir. Well done.”
He grinned and handed
me a cup of hot water and a couple of tea bags. I was pleasantly surprised to
see he had my favorite licorice flavor and steeped it in the water while Ryder
went about his business.
“You look like you’re
gearing up for Valentine’s Day,” I said, and sipped my tea.
Ryder shook his head.
“Not my choice.”
“Aren’t you the
owner?”
He chuckled. “Doesn’t
mean I’m not ruled by my patrons.”
“Ah, so not a
romantic, then.”
“Just think men
should show their women they love ’em every day… not wait for one day out of
the year. The whole holiday is a farce, in my opinion.”
I smiled. Maybe he was a
romantic.
As he freshened my
hot water, I wondered what my fellow sisters would think about the predicament
I’d gotten myself into. Granted, they rarely left the abbey, but they also
didn’t have jobs like I did.
Being a fourth-grade
teacher and working for the Catholic school next to our living quarters was a
perfect setup for me. Lately, however, I’d been feeling restless and I know
Reverend Mother noticed. In fact, I had a meeting with her in the morning and
it sounded serious, so being late or tired would not be an option. Perhaps my
ill-fated evening was cut short for a very good reason. Mother always says God
works in mysterious ways.
“You ready for that
cab?”
Ryder’s question
pulled me from my thoughts and I smiled, shaking my head. “Is it okay if I
stick around for a little bit?”
“Knock yourself out.”
He glanced at his watch. “But you’re outta here within the hour. It gets a
little rowdy at night.”
“Your bouncer warned
me about you.”
“Yeah?”
I wrapped my hands
around the cup, warming them. “He said you’re very protective of women.”
He glanced behind me
and then met my eyes again. “Bennie talks too much.”
“Maybe so.” I
shrugged and then sipped my tea again.
“What do people call
you other than ‘Sister’?”
“Nothing. I’m Sister
Abigail Eunice. Although my parents named me Sadie.”
Now why did I share
that? I hadn’t used my real name in years.
He leaned against the
bar. “Pretty.”
My breath caught. “My
parents thought so,” I said once I could speak again.
“But not you?”
“No, I like it fine.
I guess I don’t really think about my name much.” I shrugged. “My students call
me Sister and I don’t have many friends outside of… well, outside.” I shook
my head. “Gosh, that sounds so narrow.”
Ryder grinned.
“Sheltered perhaps.”
“That’s very
gracious, Ryder.”
He cocked his head.
“Never been called gracious before.”
Elbow on the bar, I
settled my chin in my palm. “That surprises me.”
“Of course it does.
You’re a nun.”
“Meaning?”
“You’re gracious to
everyone, so you assume others will be gracious as well.”
“I’m not gracious to everyone.
I’m a nun, not perfect.”
Ryder shrugged. “Fair
enough.”
“I should go.”
“Probably a good
idea.” He grabbed his cell phone and put it to his ear. “Hey. Got time to drop
someone home?” He faced me. “Where do you live?”
“Beaverton.”
“Beaverton. Great.
Yeah, five minutes works. Thanks.” Ryder hung up and slid his phone back in his
pocket.
“You’re pretty
friendly with the cab company, huh?” I took the last swig of tea and set the
cup down.
“One of my guys is
taking you home.”
“I thought you were
calling me a cab.”
“Can’t let a nun pay
the cab fare all the way to Beaverton.”
I frowned. “You don’t
think I can pay for cab fare?”
“Not what I said,
Sister.”
“Wow, you really take
this whole I-am-man-hear-me-roar stuff, to a whole ’nother level, huh?”
His gaze went to
something (or someone) behind me and he nodded. “Ride’s here.”
I decided not to
argue; probably because it would do absolutely no good, and slid off my stool.
“Thanks for the tea.”
“Anytime, Sister.”
Somehow, him calling
me “Sister” felt lacking. I took a deep breath. Lordy, I was ridiculous… and
I probably needed to confess, but I knew I wouldn’t.
Again, worst nun
award goes to…
Ryder grabbed my
phone and stepped out from behind the bar. “My number’s in there if you need
anything.”
“What would I need?”
I asked, and took the phone from him.
He shrugged. “You
never know, Sister. It’s a resource. Feel free to use it.”
What a strange thing
to say.
“Thanks for
everything, Ryder,” I said, leaving my internal thoughts in my head.
“No problem.” He
nodded toward his friend. “This is Reese. He’s gonna take you home.”
Reese was tall, dark,
and handsome as they say, but he had an edge about him that made me a little
nervous. His hair was longer than Ryder’s and kind of shaggy, and he was quite
muscular. I was fairly confident he wouldn’t hurt me, but had I met him under
different circumstances, I might have declined a ride.
A warm hand settled
on my back and I felt a shiver steal down my spine.
“You okay, Sister?”
he asked.
“Yes, fine.”
“You’re safe with
him, yeah? You have any issues, you call me.”
“Okay.” I stepped
away from his touch and forced a smile. “Reese, it’s lovely to meet you. Thank
you for the ride.”
“No problem.” He
waved his hand toward the door. “This way.”
With a backward
glance and smile to Ryder, I followed Reese out to the car, grateful he wasn’t
a big talker. Our conversation consisted of him asking me for my address and me
giving it to him. The rest of the ride strictly featured me gripping the door handle
(as was my habit). I hated cars and avoided them whenever I could.
It didn’t take long
to arrive at the rectory and I thanked Reese and climbed out of the car, a
little taken aback when he followed. “I’m fine from here.”
“Ryder’d kick my
a—rear if I didn’t make sure you made it inside safely.”
“Right, his
protection fetish.”
Reese chuckled but
didn’t comment.
I led him up the
brick walkway and to the back of the building where I unlocked the door and
stepped inside. “Thanks again for the ride.”
“My pleasure, Sister.
Have a good night.”
He walked away, and I
closed and locked the door.

 

 

 

New York Times Bestselling Author,
Tracey Jane Jackson, was born and raised in New Zealand, and that’s where her
love of horses was formed. Her grandfather taught her to ride at four years
old, and she couldn’t get enough.
Her love and passion for Abraham Lincoln and the
entire Civil War era might have come from her American father, however, he lays
no claim to influencing her. Tracey’s mother used to tell her she was simply
born in the wrong place in the wrong time.
Tracey hasn’t always wanted to write. It took
her a long time to get started, but now she doesn’t seem to be able to stop,
the joy of escaping to the 1860s is too much fun.

She’s been happily married and gooey in love
with her husband for more than twenty years. They live in the Pacific Northwest
with their two sons.

BE SURE TO SIGN UP ON MY MAILING LIST FOR
SPECIAL COUPONS AND CONTESTS.

 

 

    

 

    
Hosted by
Obsessive Pimpettes Promotions
 
    

 

 

Meet Author Georgia Rose

Georgia Rose 2

Author Georgia Rose

My genre is: romantic suspense – I write mysterious and romantic adventure stories with plenty of action and strong characters.

I started writing because: I had a story that had finally come to me in a complete form and this time I was determined to get it down before it disappeared from my head, as my ability to be able to hold onto such thoughts in the past has been pretty ephemeral.

The best thing about being a writer is: when I get the chance to spend some time in the fictional world I am creating and write a bit more of the story I am trying to tell.

My current favorite read:
I have been fortunate since starting to write to have found some terrific writers in the online world I often inhabit, and I’ve enjoyed many wonderful books, but there is one that leaps to mind that I have not been able to forget since reading it. Once Upon A Time In The City of Criminals by Mark Barry. I recommend it everywhere I go.

GET GEORGIA ROSE’S Before the Dawn WHILE IT’S ON SALE!

Before the Dawn

‘…he moved closer and slowly ran the point of his blade along my jaw line as he spoke softly, intimately, to me.

“So, you are Trent’s woman. Now that is very…appealing.” I glared back at him silently.’

There are testing times ahead for Grayson and Trent as trouble threatens Melton Manor. When an attack is made against those on the estate, Grayson gets caught in the middle finding herself and those around her in terrible danger. Terrified when she thinks tragedy has struck again she fights to protect those she now views as family and, suffering bloodshed and pain, confronts  her fears – both those brought by the enemy and by the one she loves.

Buy links – where it is currently on offer at 99c/99p!

Universal link for Before the Dawn at Amazon:- getbook.at/BeforeTheDawn

Death & Dominion by Carol Hedges

In this third murder mystery starring Victorian-era London detectives Stride & Cully, a case of arsenic poisoning becomes something much more sinister.

Death & Dominion: A Victorian Sensation Novel

Death & Dominion: A Victorian Sensation Novel

One thing that amazes me about this series is how Carol Hedges manages to set her novels firmly in their time and place and still give each book a twist that makes it completely unique. For DIAMONDS & DUST (my review), that means a scary, otherworldly flavor. HONOUR & OBEY (my review) out-Dickens Dickens in its realistic lens on the social and economic inequities of the era, while at the same time setting loose a gruesome serial killer who would make Jack The Ripper tremble in admiration. This time around the author dips her pen into the Victorian “sensation” novel, with its domestic melodrama, smooth-talking con-men, and cunning acts of revenge.

The plot of DEATH & DOMINION seems straight-forward at first–murder by arsenic poisoning–but things get complicated as the bodies multiply and useful leads lay thin on the ground. Detectives Stride & Cully, still the favorite prey of the local gutter press, are stonewalled by some of London’s most genteel ladies and gentlemen, who have more to hide than most courtesans–including our favorite ex-madam, Lilith Marks. Her cameo appearance is one of my favorite things about the book. I also enjoyed the Belinda Kite subplot. This “lady’s companion” with a murky past is a great mix of vulnerability and daring. She and the handsome trickster Mark Hawksley are a perfect match. Awful as they are (well, as awful he is and she would LIKE to be) I found myself rooting for them.

Hedges does a wonderful job exposing the seedy underbelly of Victorian propriety, especially when it comes to marriage and fidelity. I followed with morbid fascination the icy home life of Frederick and Georgiana Undershaft. Georgiana’s situation and her personal quandary–what does a good wife have the right to expect from her husband–remained with me long after I finished the book.

I will say that the wrap up of both the main plot and the sub-plot left me a little dissatisfied. Here I need to take care not to ruin it for you. Let’s say that both main parties get what they deserve, though the means of this “rough justice” is highly melodramatic. Now, this fits right in with the conventions of the Sensation Novel–soap opera at its finest. I can appreciate this, but being a modern reader, I would have preferred a more extended and character-driven wrap up.

BOOK DESIGN FOR AUTHORS

A great book deserves to look the part!

I’ve featured Deb Dorchak and Wendi Kelly of Blue Sun Studios, Inc. here a couple of times now. That’s because they are good. Whether it’s their own Bonds of Blood & Spirit paranormal series or the book design and website creation services they provide to their clients, they are known for QUALITY.

The Bonds of Blood & Spirit paranormal saga

The Bonds of Blood & Spirit paranormal saga

If you’re in or near the Las Vegas area, you have an opportunity to learn how they create their stunning book covers.

Starting February 6th Deb will present a four-part course BOOK DESIGN FOR AUTHORS.

Basically, it’s everything you need to know to get started with Adobe Photoshop and InDesign.

Deb values one-on-one time with her students, so attendance is limited to SEVEN for each four-week cycle. So you want to secure your place today.  Click HERE for program and registration details.