2020 didn’t go as planned… and 2021 isn’t off to a good start…
as a matter of course
just one kind word to another person.”
Happy New Year
Hello, my friends, family, and fans,
I hope this latest missive finds you all healthy, happy, and as safe as you can be. I personally am grateful for the end of 2020. It was a miserably long year for so many reasons. But a creative and productive one for many people I know as well, not me mind you. Many of my friends have put out amazing new books, while others have strengthened their writing and editing skills making their current stories better than ever.
For me, it’s been a quiet year, for the most part, a few hiccups, and glitches, a few side trips to recharge and recover, and so, so much cooking. In just the last few months, I’ve made five huge batches of soup, (Chicken Noodle, Chicken and Corn Chowder, Split Pea and Ham, Potato and Bacon, and Zuppa Toscana Olive Garden Style)! I made an enormous batch of beef stew, and a slightly smaller batch of spaghetti, balsamic chicken, and potatoes, and of course the annual a double batch of pozole in green sauce. This dish happens to be a requested favorite from so many of our friends and family, so I make it every year at New Years, making sure there’s enough for everyone to have a container for their freezer.
While I love cooking, and am not that bad at it most of the time, I’m not a huge fan of the daily drudgery of making sure food is ready for tonight’s dinner. So, I’ve gotten into the habit of making enormous batches of our favorites that freeze well in my 20+ quart roaster. It’s a crockpot on steroids that does everything from making my turkey during the holidays to mass-producing much of our sauces and soups.
It happens to be one of my most cherished Christmas gifts from my husband, and all it took was telling him I’d no longer attempt to make him New England Style Boiled dinner without one! Shrugs. It worked and for the last ten years, it’s been my constant companion in the kitchen. This year I bought us a small air fryer. I’m pretty impressed with it so far. I don’t have a large house, and I have an even smaller amount of storage space, so my poor roaster, Instant Pot, and now air fryer takes turns hanging out in their boxes in the garage until we can make room for them on the counter to use.
While I’m usually hit and miss with my Christmas cards and annual letter for those that don’t read my blog or just like getting cards from us this year, I figured people needed the pick me up more than ever, so I put in the effort and sent out more than 150 cards. If you would like a card sent to you each Christmas, please reach out and let me know. I would be delighted to add you to our growing list of friends, family, and fans.
Some Fun Stuff:
A friend has started selling Color Street Nail polish so we’re hosting a Facebook virtual party. Please join us if you love Color Street Nails, or are looking for something fun for a friend. These sets make lovely gifts.
All Things Writing:
2020 was exhausting, and overwhelming, so to say that I’d been distracted is the understatement of the year. I bought a new video creating software though I haven’t even had the chance to open it and try it out, I’m hoping to be able to really learn more of it in the coming year, to make more fun and entertaining things for the books. My third book came out in May, in e-book format, and was available for sale on all platforms worldwide, but there was a glitch with the paperback, so it’s release was delayed. But in pure 2020 style, it was delayed months, not days or weeks as we had expected. I’m so happy to say that it did make it out in time for the Christmas season and hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.
If you read it, I would love to hear from you. I love to get feedback from my readers whether it’s you loved it or wished there was something different. This is how my first three books were created. Friends and family asked about an earlier point of the main character’s life, so of course, Her Guarded Heart was born out of that request. Then fans read it and asked if there would be more stories about Addison’s French roommate Sophie, so of course, both Her Heart’s Desire and His Heart’s Promise came from those requests. Before that none had even been dreamed of.
I’m currently working on a story for Claude’s mother Leila, and Sergei’s Uncle Yuri who we met in the first book. I hope to have that out by this summer. So please send me any thoughts or questions you might have they are always welcome.
One of my amazing critique partners released her debut book at the end of September and of course, I have been so distracted that I have missed my last three newsletters, so I’m doing it now. Her stories are fabulous and her characters are just the right mix of snarky, and serious.
Diane writes contemporary romantic suspense with heart, humor and hometown heroes. When she’s not writing, reading, she’s elbow deep in a home improvement project. She enjoys seeing new places whether she’s on an ATV trip with the family or through a book. But her favorite place is the small Minnesota town where she lives with her husband, son, and crazy canines.
Ashwood Blues Series Blurb–
Welcome to Ashwood, Minnesota with hardworking cops and the civilians that complicate their cases while stealing their hearts. This sleepy suburban city has some shady elements as well. Murders, bad cops, and powerful criminals work in the shadows.
Suspect My Heart Blurb–
If love and hate are two sides of the same coin, murder could be a flip away.
As prime suspect in her ex-husband’s disappearance, single mother Lorna Doyle longs to trust CJ, the sexy cop, but the only one way to protect her children from the thugs sniffing around is to keep her cheating ex’s secret.
Homicide detective CJ Whittier has an ex-wife, perpetually disappointed parents, and a dead body. Of the three, he prefers the dead body. His teenage daughter is the only good thing in his life, until Lorna.
With a high value stolen collectibles deal going down soon and a dead dealer in their quiet Minneapolis suburb, CJ rushes to find the victim’s silent partner before the killer does. He can’t shake the feeling there’s a connection between his murder victim and Lorna’s missing ex. His cop senses whisper Lorna’s hiding something. Is she the killer or the next victim?
With his head and heart at war, can he keep things professional while he seeks the truth?
In the next couple of months, we plan to bring some more free books to you not only through the usual Bookfunnel Promotions, but also between good friends of mine. We are looking to get more ARC reviews of our books to show more readers what we are all about,
January Kindle Unlimited Romance Reads
January 15, 2021 ~ January 31, 2021
January 15, 2021 ~ February 28, 2021
Her Guarded Heart – (Book 1)
Now exclusive to Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited
Her Heart’s Desire – (Book 2)
Now exclusive to Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited
His Heart’s Promise – (Book 3)
eBook available on all platforms (Paperback is here!)
Lost . . .The love of a lifetime . . .
Sophie Compte and Claude Durand have suffered and survived myriad challenges in their long and storied relationship but are finally living their dream—working side by side at her family’s internationally lauded championship horse breeding farm in the French countryside. Impatient for the day of their lavish wedding to arrive, they look forward to saying their vows and stepping into their forever, together.
Shattered hearts, devastated dreams . . .
Sophie and Claude’s dream has barely begun when a horrific tragedy shatters their idyllic life bringing with it unimaginable loss and soul-crushing sorrow. Facing life without Claude, Sophie fears that nothing can or ever will be the same again. Is the depth of love they shared enough to carry Sophie through an uncertain future?
And yet, true love never dies . . .
With fierce independence and stubborn determination, Sophie faces her new reality. As grim acceptance begins, Fate turns the tables yet again, bringing a stranger to Sophie’s door. With him comes equal servings of joy and pain, and memories of the bond she and Claude once shared. Is love enough? Can love prove powerful enough to resurrect two damaged hearts? Does Sophie dare to wager her future on the strength of the past? And if she does, will the memory of his heart’s promise prove strong enough to survive the most difficult test of all?
Final Book Trailer Video:
Travels and Adventures:
I ran away from home for a week to Arizona to visit an old high school friend. I haven’t seen her since we graduated some 25 years ago. It was so fabulous to relax with a glass of wine, and catch up. Dawn, yes, her name is Dawn as well, has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. Hands down, there is no one in this world more open, inclusive, and willing to take on the world on behalf of others. About three years ago, with her husband Dan, and the support of their biological children, agreed to foster, with the intention to adopt a little boy. A year later, far more drama than could be expected followed, and two of his sisters ended up leaving the foster home they were in and sent to live with Dawn and the foster family that had the third sister. So now two homes have two kids. While ideally people’s first reaction would be, oh keep the children together… Always… BUT that said, each of the children has serious medical issues and physical handicaps, which makes it far better for everyone for them to not be in a single home limited to trying to care for all of them equally. Dawn and Dan have befriended the other foster/adoptive family and the four children are regularly together for playdates, to be able to grow up together, without losing the support and focus each of the children needs to be able to thrive despite their traumatic beginnings. They are also in regular contact with much of their biological family as well.
My husband and I also made a quick trip to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Carson City. We drove up to Virginia City and took in the old town, followed by a trip to La Pine, Oregon to visit our dearest of friends and to reconnect as life tends to get in the way. La Pine is a beautiful quaint little paradise in the central part of Oregon, their house is nestled on an acre of trees and land, giving them the peace and tranquility, anyone could hope for.
For Thanksgiving and Christmas, we did our annual pilgrimages down to Baja to sit in our RV at the beach and just enjoy the daily sunrises. We spent most of the week completely alone, other than carefully distanced conversations on the beach with another couple we met while there, and a couple of dinners with local friends. The location we stay at is usually bursting at the seams, but this year there were only a handful of people and only two that stayed the entire time we were there. Most were in and out so we didn’t talk to them other than a friendly wave hello.
We were impressed with the way that Baja was handling the safety measures, everywhere we went, made sure we had a mask on, took our temperature, and made sure that we washed our hands with the sanitizer provided. While this seems simple, many we know at home do not follow even these basic guidelines, we were happy to see that we were in a place that took this as seriously as they could. We are all in this together. Patience and respect for our fellow man are what will get us through this.
And don’t worry, I promise, we were quarantined between each visit, to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy. Everyone needs to find their balance to stay safe and stay sane at the same time. I participate in lots of zoom calls to catch up with my writing friends, emails are exploding more than usual and of course, messenger and text messages are a daily must as well. Personally, I have found Costco and the supermarket to be more of a war zone and a treacherous battlefield to navigate than almost everything else we do.
Rubi went on the road trip with me and was as always a hit with the kids, and everyone fell in love with her. She knows just how to worm her way into even the hardest of hearts.
On Halloween, Rubicon got a baby brother. Meet CJ. He’s a handful. He’s also going to be a giant, just like his daddy. His dad is a Silver Labrador Retriever, and his mom is a Blue Queensland Heeler and Golden Retriever mix. He’s the sweetest little thing though, and Rubi just adores him. They play together, nap together and are inseparable already. This was exactly what Rubi needed. The cats are adjusting to the newest member and while not thrilled about the addition, they are happy that Rubi is now distracted and giving them some much-needed space.
The New Creative Space:
With all the things going on at home, and in the world, remodeling my home office was put on the far back burner. Unfortunately, a new computer became an urgent necessity far more than French doors at the moment. This was an expense we had hoped to put off for at least another year but it just wasn’t to be. While it makes me sad to think of all the excitement that had built up over the last few months, it’s just another casualty of 2020, and I must suck it up and make the best of it.
The door will have to wait until after it warms up again, tearing a hole in the house in the rain isn’t an option. But we have started to focus on paint colors, so far, we’ve tested out five and hate them all pretty much. Ironically two are just a lighter version of the aqua we already have in the guest room and we were disappointed in that color because it turned out so much brighter than expected. My friend down the street ended up doing a mint color in her new craft room and it looks fabulous in that room. I’m not sure why it has been so complicated to get the right color in my head, but it feels like I need to get it right in order for this room to really be my writing sanctuary and not just the “home office”.
My husband installed the can lights in the ceiling, so now the room is far brighter. I light bright spaces, I’m not a fan of the dark, it strains my eyes too much and gives me headaches when I try to work in dimmer areas. I know I’m strange. I don’t even like the “eye saver” mode on my monitors.
A Facebook ad popped up and for some reason, I absolutely fell in love with this rug. My girlfriend is going to give me grief for the rest of my life since I’ve loathed all floral designs on clothes etc forever… But this one just pops, I don’t know what it is, other than the vibrant colors, but I can’t get it out of my head. Maybe if we buy it and put it in the office, we can design the color scheme around it. Who knows, maybe that’s what I’m missing.
While we were in Mexico a friend from Canada bought a new rig and we got to take a peek. It had an electric fireplace in it that I fell in love with so now I’m jonesing for a gas/electric whatever small room fireplace for my office. It wouldn’t be much different than the little space heater that I have next to me, but it would be far, far pretty if I was honest. But I’ll have to do some serious searching to find the right one and I just haven’t had the time. Hope to find something that looks good soon though.
But I hope to have a new office set up some time by the end of 2021 even if it isn’t exactly how I had originally planned. Sometimes things just don’t go as planned, no matter how hard you try. It is what it is. Shrugs.
But I am always up for new suggestions and ideas, so keep them coming. I really do love hearing from you.
To keep up with all of the changes, and make suggestions, tell me what you like or don’t like, all suggestions are welcome, follow my board on Pinterest here: New Home Office