NOVEMBER might just be my favorite month. The fall leaves are still hanging on and I get to pull out my sweaters and tights, I was married on a sunny, cold day in November, and we celebrate my favorite holiday--Thanksgiving.

So, to celebrate November, let me tell you about my newest project and a fantastic giveaway!

Every once in a while an opportunity comes along that feels extra special. This project is one of those opportunities and the fun has begun. Let me tell you a little about it.

Twelve months, twelve best-selling & award-winning authors, twelve romances that span centuries, one match maker.

To get to the match maker and her incredible story, you can order the prequel novella HERE.

Then, starting in January, you can begin reading the books inspired by--and featuring--the match maker. Each is a stand-alone novel, so no one will have to hate me for a cliffhanger ending. (Hopefully those of you that were upset with me during The Husband Maker series have forgiven me enough to give my novel in this series a chance wink, wink)

My contribution to this project, Broken Things to Mend, comes out January 1, 2016 and is available for preorder HERE.

I'm really proud of this book. Celia and Silas are damaged people who feel their circumstances have forced them into hard, lonely lives. The possibility of connecting with and loving someone takes them by surprise. The baggage of their painful pasts might be too much to overcome.

To celebrate this exciting project, I'm sponsoring a giveaway on my blog for a $50 Amazon gift card. That would go a long way toward buying each of the books in this project, but of course it's yours to spend however you wish.

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Book Recommendations for 2015 (so far)

So far in 2015, I've read 56 books. To some of you that might sound paltry, to others it may sound like a ton! In every writing class or conference I've ever attended, we're told the best way to be a better writer is to READ, READ, READ. So I have. And now I want to share some thoughts with you.

Take heart! I'm not going to review everything I've read here. It would take too long and if I didn't much care for it, why would I waste your time with it? I'd love to hear what you think of some of these, if you've read them. If not, feel free to share some of your favorites.


Not sure what to say about this book except that it was life changing. For real. Marie's advice can sound a little kooky sometimes and I'll admit, I have yet to let my socks speak to me and let me know the way they want to be folded, BUT... the point of this book is that we should rid our homes of everything that doesn't bring us joy. If we don't love something and it doesn't spark joy, it's gone. (It's talking about things, not husbands who come home from work grouchy or kids that won't clean their rooms.) We were house hunting when I read this book and found the house we put an offer on shortly after I finished it. Because we were in major upheaval and transition anyway, I decided I'd try to put the book's advice to use and I GOT RID OF SOOOO MUCH. I did my best to only fill the new house with things I loved, things that made me happy. It wasn't perfect--some things spark joy in my husband and kids that I'd just as soon not have in the house, but it really was an amazing experience and I totally recommend reading this book. I think it might change the way you look at your things and it really does make tidying up easier. That right there is magic!

The Reagan Diaries by Ronald Reagan

Not to get too political, but man, could we ever use another man like Ronald Reagan on the political landscape today. I loved this book. It's a diary with daily entries that reads just like a ... diary. I learned so much about President Reagan, his family, life in the white house, and how government works. It was fascinating. I listened to the audiobook whenever I was cleaning the kitchen or folding clothes. It was hard to put down and a couple of times I was moved to tears as he talked about his feelings at the time of the shuttle explosion or after he was shot or when he called the parents of a fallen soldier. Great book!

THE BOYS IN THE BOAT by Daniel James Brown

I'm not even sure where to start on this book, except to say that I think everyone should read it so we can talk about it. Maybe I should say everyone should LISTEN to it because Edward Herrmann does an absolutely brilliant job narrating this book.

To many people it might not sound that interesting. It's about the 1936 American olympic rowing team and their quest for the gold medal. Okay, a two second google search lets you know they won the gold that year, so (yawn) whatever. NO. NO. NO. Travis and I were taking a road trip and I wanted to find something that might be interesting to him that wouldn't (hopefully) bore me to tears and vice versa. We started listening to this and it was kinda interesting. And then it was pretty interesting. And then it was "let's sit in the car after we've parked and finish this part." And then it was "let's go for a drive and listen to another chapter." And then it was "Oh man, I don't want this to end." And then it was tears, literally, because it was over. 

So please read it so we can talk about it. I loved it and the next time I have a chance to choose a book for a bookclub, we'll be rowing our way to the olympics.

THESE IS MY WORDS by Nancy E. Turner

I had heard of this book many times and it always seemed to pop up on social media when people were recommending books, but I had no idea what it was even about. Then I went to Book Club and some of the ladies were talking about it in such glowing terms that I thought I'd better get with the program and read it. It was so good. Written in diary form, it's an historical novel with heart, humor, drama and romance. Sarah, the main character, is fantastic.

THE FALL OF FIVE by Pitticus Lore

I've read these four. I'm starting the fifth (The Revenge of Seven) and then there will be two more. My teenage son started reading these a couple of years ago and asked me to read them as he was. Well, this isn't really my kind of book, so I was fairly noncommittal about it. He just finished the most recent one (The Fate of Ten) so I'm still behind, but surprisingly, these have been pretty interesting and well-written. Bonus: It's been nice to talk to him about them. Be warned, there is some swearing in these books, which I'm not a fan of, especially when it comes to putting these words in kids' books so they start to think it's normal, but I was thrilled when I mentioned that to my son and he said he had emailed the author and asked him if he could cut back on the swearing. I don't know if the author cared about his email, but I sure did. Anyway, it's been a more entertaining series than  I had thought it would be and you or your kids might enjoy it if they like science fiction type stuff.

BY THE WAY, the hardback covers are pretty cool (under the dust jacket) and they are now hanging on my son's wall like art. His idea.







The Power of The Matchmaker - TWELVE Cover Reveals!

Remember when I told you about the project I'm involved in for 2016? If not, you can read more about it here. 

Well, today is the cover reveal day and I can't think of many things more exciting than revealing TWELVE covers on the same day! Okay, technically we can all think of things that would be more exciting--wining the lottery, a personal Brandon Flowers concert, a new baby. But since none of those are happening, this has to be right up there!

And check those out. They're gorgeous aren't they? And the stories that go with them are going to be awesome. You can go to Goodreads to read the descriptions and add them to your "to read" list. 

The novella that gives you the Matchmaker's backstory is available for preorder now on Amazon. It's a lovely little story that will have you eager for more. Each book is a stand-alone novel by a different author with one common character--Miss Pearl, the matchmaker. Can't wait!!!

The Kiss that Launched 1000 Gifs

Kiss that Launches 1000 gifts by sheralyn pratt

I really enjoyed this book. Sheralyn has created likable characters who are easy to care about, great chemistry, entertaining situations and believable conflict. I planned to spend a few days reading the book but found myself letting other things slide so I could finish it quickly. One more chapter became two and then three and then the book. It was a fun summer escape, for sure.

  The Kiss That Launched 1,000 Gifs by Sheralyn Pratt Each weekday from 2:00-4:00 p.m., Grace and Ashton cohost Battle of the Sexes, a radio program arguing the he-said/she-said issues of the day. Their fiery debates often have listeners wondering if there’s more to their relationship than just talk, even though Grace has been dating Phillip, Mr. Tall, Dark, and Perfect, since long before she ever met Ashton Miller. Yet when news comes that Battle of the Sexes is on the bubble for cancellation, Grace and Ashton need to step up their efforts to engage their audience to keep the show alive. When a charity organization approaches them and proposes that the two of them kiss for a fund raiser, Grace and Ash agree to kiss for a good cause. A kiss is just a kiss, right?
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Author Sheralyn Pratt Sheralyn's first job was as a karate instructor, which taught her that practice does not make perfect; practice makes habit--good or bad. Martial arts also taught Sheralyn that a master is simply a person who can effortlessly do all the actions a beginner finds difficult or maybe even impossible. Sheralyn has worked in many fields throughout her life, but her 12 years as a karate instructor have shaped how she does everything, including writing and mentoring. She likes to keep things light and fun, but she's also aware that life is journey and that if you're going to buy a book, your life should better for it. So, fiction or nonfiction, know that each of Sheralyn's books are designed to take you to a new place. Maybe that book is designed to help you escape for a few hours, or maybe it's a book designed to teach you a new skill. Either way, Sheralyn hopes it's a good way. ;)
25_Amazon_Paypal $25 Blog Tour Giveaway Enter to win an Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 8/5/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Good Friend is Hard to Lose

This is Pepper. She's been part of our family for 6 1/2 years. She has been a loyal, protective, pleasant part of our family. She has kept the kids company, been a walking/jogging companion, been fun to show off (look at her, she's beautiful) and kept us entertained. She was calm and gentle and patient and funny. She knew her boundaries and never came into the kitchen. Even though she could have eaten absolutely anything off the counter, she was only tempted by peanut butter cookies. She was obedient and lazy (in the best way) and happy. We've loved her and Savannah has adored her.

Her health has been deteriorating for the past year or so. Great Danes usually live 7-10 years and she was 9 1/2. She was hurting. I'm pretty sure her eyesight was getting bad, as things that used to be no problem like hard-surface floors were beginning to scare her. After years of either going downstairs to sleep in Joe's room or upstairs to sleep in Savannah's room, she could no longer make it up the stairs. We made her a bed on the main floor, but even getting the few steps into the backyard became more difficult. The last few days, she's barely been able to get to the door and that's been with difficulty, so we knew it was time.

Yesterday we took Pepper for her last ride in the car. We drove to the mountains with the windows down and let the wind blow in her happy face. We stopped in the shade and opened the back so she could hear the water and feel the little breeze. We had a prayer and then took her to the vet, where we stayed with her, she and Savannah looking at each other, while she went to sleep for good. It was a painful and difficult day and there will be many sad and lonely days to come. Enjoy running around in heaven until we meet you again, Pepper.

Exciting News! The Power of the Match Maker

During the summer of 2014, Rachael Anderson, Heather Moore and I started talking about working on a series together. We created a dream list of authors we thought would be a good fit on the project and with little tweaks here and there, as well as an intensive planning meeting, we were ready to roll.

Of course, Rachael, Heather and I will all contribute books, (I'm doing a cover shoot for mine this week) but get a load of the great authors who are joining us: Kelly Oram, Julie Wright, Heidi Ashworth, Taylor Dean, Michele Paige Holmes, Janette Rallison, Regina Sirois, Sheralyn Pratt, and Jaima Fixsen. I've read books by all these authors and I can tell you, this is a stellar lineup. I'm honored to be working with them.

We wanted the series to span various eras, from historical to contemporary, which means that the matchmaker, Miss Pearl, will live beyond a normal life span. She will also possess various powers that she'll use to carry out her work as a matchmaker, so this series will have some magic realism in it as well.

Heather has written a lovely novella that serves as a prequel to the series, so you'll be able to get to know Miss Pearl and how she came to be a matchmaker. 

Each of the 12 books in the series are stand-alone stories. Some will be historical romances, other contemporary romances, but they will all feature Miss Pearl.

The novella is coming November 3, 2015 and you can now add it to your Goodreads list!

Jeremy's Promise - Review

Jeremy's Promise (1)
Jeremy's Promise
Jeremy's Promise by A.R. Talley 

 The trip that was meant to save Annie and Jeremy’s marriage brought it to near ruin. Now Annie has returned home, frightened and confused. Jeremy, too, is frightened—and angry. What will it take to save their marriage? It’s clear. Jeremy needs to forgive—Annie needs to forget. A promise is made. A tragedy occurs. A second honeymoon is disrupted. A chance encounter brings David Andrews back into Annie’s life. Annie is determined to remain faithful. She’s made a promise she intends to keep—Jeremy’s Promise.


Sigh! I loved David's Song, the first book in this series. I loved the confusion over past love, the rekindling of feelings, the hard choices, and Annie's desire to do what was right. I loved David, a flawed, unhappy man who had it all. I felt bad for Jeremy, the second choice when they were dating who now had to feel like the second choice again. It was heartbreaking for all three of them.

Now time has passed and (SPOILER ALERT**STOP READING HERE IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW TOO MUCH) Jeremy has passed away.

Call me skeptical, but that just seemed way too convenient. They solid, decent but boring husband is conveniently out of the way so Annie can be a good, faithful wife while longing for David. Granted, she can't completely give herself over to him because she promised Jeremy, something we see in flashbacks to the time they saved their marriage. It just didn't feel believable to me and I hate that I felt that way because I liked David's song so much. Maybe I'd have felt differently if the book hadn't been about Annie and David's attraction. Perhaps a book devoted to Annie and Jeremy without any David at all would have been a good second book, so we as readers could fall in love with Jeremy. He feels like second choice in both books and no matter how the reader tries to rehabilitate him and their marriage in flashbacks, I still just felt like he was the poor, boring second choice and now Annie is having to give up her great love in order to be loyal to the second choice she married.

The writing is still good. It's still interesting and engaging and I wanted to know how it was going to end, but the saving of the marriage told the way it was and the death of Jeremy were just a little too convenient to be believable to me.

Praise for Jeremy's Promise A.R. Talley, gives you a believable look at the struggle of one couple to reconnect and heal their marriage, with dialog which sweeps you into the moment as if you were there with them, experiencing both their pain and recovery. Kudos to the author who has once again produced a book I couldn't put down, as well as one I felt compelled to read multiple times. ~Donna Dech Jeremy's Promise second book in a trilogy by A.R. Talley is an awesome, emotional, romantic, highly recommended, well written story with captivating and engaging characters. ~Debbie Ballard This is not a book I would have picked by myself! I loved it from start to finish! Eagerly waiting for the third book in the trilogy to come out!! I highly recommend this book! ~Goodreads
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Author A.R. Talley 
 A. R. Talley lives in Ohio with her husband Doug and the last of her seven children (the rest have flown the coup.) She loves to cook, read, write, watch movies, play piano, and laugh. Her second favorite vacation involves the British Isles and a small cafĂ© in Scotland.
    25_Amazon_Paypal $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/19/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway


Yes, I put the title of this post in all caps with exclamation points because I'm yelling. I'm actually screaming. If you could see me, and if it would help, I'd be jumping up and down and waving my arms. And then I'd get right in your face. Like this [ ] close.

If you don't respond well to yelling, please don't tune me out because what I'm about to tell you is important. So important that hearts are on the line, self-worth is on the line, even lives are on the line.

The community I live in is in crisis. We have an epidemic of young people who, for whatever reason, are in such pain that they're thinking death is preferable to the pain they're enduring. Death! I know we're desensitized by the things we see and hear in movies and on the news, but do you understand what I'm saying? We have kids that are in such pain that they think removing themselves from this life--from their families, their friends, their potential, their future--is preferable. They're going to miss out on laughter, interesting classes, falling in love, holding their own baby, feeling the accomplishment of a good job, great concerts, exciting vacations, contented evenings at home, spiritual experiences, opportunities to serve and uplift others, and so much more.

I'm not privy to every detail about every one of these kids who have committed suicide or have attempted it. I personally know one sweet girl and one young man and I'm aware of their circumstances. I've heard of the circumstances of others, but some I have no idea. What I do know is that for at least some of them, they were the victims of unkindness at the hands of others, and in this digital age, some of that unkindness has been dealt out by their peers via social media. I'm going to share with you a couple of examples that I have first-hand knowledge of.

1. Earlier this year, my son was part of a group message with a bunch of his friends. My son was on his phone silently reading the texts from the group as they came through. Then he groaned.

"What's wrong?" I asked.
"I hate this group message thing."
"The guys are just bagging on each other."
"Really? What are they saying?"

He proceeded to read to me from the string of messages. It started out with boys debating the merits of the different sports they play. Hocky is preferable to soccer or basketball, etc. Then it escalated. Boys were calling each other names. Then a few of them decided to gang up on a boy that figure skates. When he said figure skating required many of the same skills as other sports, he was mocked. And I don't mean a gentle ribbing. I mean things that horrified me.

"Have you said anything?" I asked my son.
"No. I've just been reading them."
"You need to say something."
"I usually just stay out of it. Once in a while I tell everyone they need to stop ripping on each other, but I don't like getting involved. I wish I wasn't on the group message."
I appreciated that he recognized the awfulness of it, but at the moment, when one boy was being targeted in such a cruel way, that wasn't enough.
"Sometimes it's best to stay out of things," I said. "But sometimes you have to say something. You have to stand up for the one who's being bullied. It's what Jesus would do."

My son left the room for a few minutes and when he came back, he said, "Does this sound okay?" Then he read me his message. "Hey you guys, it's late and this has gotten out of control. _____ can play hockey _____ can play baseball, I can play basketball, and _____ can skate. Everyone can do what they like and what they're good at. It's their own choice and calling each other names is lame. It's late and everyone's saying things they probably wouldn't say to each other in person, so let's just turn off our phones and go to bed." Then he turned off his phone.

I cried. Because I'm a baby and I cry all the time and because I was so proud of my son. "Good job. That took courage."
"I prayed about what to say," he said.

2. I know of a girl. She's a talented, beautiful, funny girl. She has shiny, gorgeous hair and one of the prettiest smiles you've ever seen. There was a time in history, before we became completely obsessed with skin and bones, when she would have been called Rubenesque. (the definition of rubenesque is a woman who is full-figured, curvy and shapely. A plus-sized model with beautiful curves is an example of someone who would be described as rubenesque). This girl has a friend who is shaped similarly. A few days ago, she and her friend were devastated when, as they were hanging out with some friends, (she has a crush on one of them) and they got hold of a guy friend's phone (as kids regularly do) and read a text conversation (as kids regularly do). In the conversation, this boy and a couple of his friends (including the crush) were discussing the girls they know. The first line was a little thrilling. "_____ and _____ are cool girls." "Yeah, too bad they're chubby."

And then the conversation continued and two beautiful, talented, funny, clever girls were left feeling horrible about themselves. Incidentally, at least one of them started a diet the next day. This is a sixteen year old girl who should be thinking about dancing, not dieting. She should be laughing, not crying.

When was the last time we picked up our kids' phones and read through their text messages? When was the last time you looked at what they're posting on instagram or facebook or twitter? Don't give me any crap about privacy and trusting your kids. If you're not checking up on them, you can blame trust and privacy until you're blue in the face, but I know what it really is. You're lazy. It's a hassle to go through hundreds of text messages. It takes a lot of time. And then what? If you find something inappropriate, then you have to address it. It's just so much easier to convince yourself that your kids wouldn't do anything wrong. It's just simpler to assume your kids' social media presence is uplifting and above reproach.

But I have news for you. You took on the job of parenting your kids and you have a right to know what they're doing.

Forget rights. You have a freaking obligation. And then when you find something, you have the duty to do something about it. Teach them manners. Teach them kindness. Teach them sympathy and empathy. Teach the value of others.

I suppose it's possible that you never learned those lessons yourself. Maybe you're a rude, jerk who never learned tact and kindness. Maybe you're one of those people who mocks others for their appearance, for things over which they have no control. Maybe you're the kind of person who makes fun of handicaps and deformities. If you're a jerk who condones jerkish behavior, there might be no hope for your or your children.

BUT MOST OF US KNOW WHAT'S RIGHT AND WHAT'S WRONG. So please, please, I beg you, please, let's start paying attention. Let's start holding our kids (and ourselves) accountable. Let's stop being a source of pain for others and instead be a source of kindness and uplifting and good will.

I've spent the last several days mourning as one more boy--a beautiful boy with a world full of potential--chose to end his life. Would a kind word have changed things for him? Maybe.

Pay attention. Check up on your kids. Read their texts. Follow their social media. Make sure they're being kind and if they're not, love them enough to parent them, love them enough to teach them. Social media and cell phones aren't necessities. They're privileges. If they're being used in a cruel way, take them away. Love your kids enough to make them accountable for the privilege.

That's what it all boils down to. Love. The Savior taught love. We need to love enough that we rid our little corner of the world of cruelty and pain.

***To those of you who do monitor your children and take the opportunity to teach them, thank you.***

In the Words of the Pointer Sisters ...

I'm So Excited!

A really cool thing happened today and it's all thanks to you guys.

I was told by several people when I started The Husband Maker Series that I shouldn't be too discouraged if sales dropped significantly with each book. After all, unless it's a series like Twilight or Harry Potter that builds and builds and has all kinds of hyped media behind it, the numbers will probably drop with each one. But that's okay, because I might be able to generate more interest by running promotions and sales when they're all out, so i should keep my chin up.

It's good advice and definitely something I tried to be prepared for.

And then today I opened my preorder report to see how the numbers were comparing with the preorders on the second book (The Match Maker). And lo and behold, the preorders for The Wife Maker have exceeded the preorders for The Match Maker. AND THERE'S STILL A DAY AND A HALF LEFT!!!

This was surely unexpected. The reception to The Husband Maker (book 1) was mostly good, but many of you were annoyed with me for the cliffhanger. (A few of you may have even hated me.) I'm sorry about that. Sort of. I was super grateful when so many of you stuck with me for book 2 and even left it great reviews in spite of the second cliffhanger. And now so many of you are excited enough for book 3 to actually buy it in advance and I've had so many emails and messages from so many of you expressing your eagerness to see how things turn out for our unlucky-in-love Charlotte.

Thank you so much! and I hope you find it worth the wait. Thank you for those of you who have commented, left reviews, and messaged me. It's so much fun to hear from you and to hear that you care about Charlotte and Angus and their friends and family.

If you haven't already signed up for my newsletter, please click the newsletter tab above and sign up so you'll know about new releases (including novellas for Flynn and Aleena since I can't stand to leave them without their own happy ending). I plan on having some free content available to my newsletter subscribers sometime this year as my way of saying thank you.

Anyway, thank you! Thank you!

Thank You!!!

A few months ago, I ran a Kickstarter to help fund the production of The Match Maker for Audible. It's available on Audible now, in case you're interested. The Husband Maker is also available.

Thank you to all of you who contributed to the successful Kickstarter campaign. I appreciate your support so much. Thank you, Vea, Louise, Abi, Tawnie, Pam, Donna, Missy, Tracy (I think this is Julie), Mark (I think this is Sami), Dana, Katie, Sharon, Derek, Melissa, Tressa, Rachael, Arlene, Emily, Connie, and Karalee.

The Wife Maker! Available for Pre-order

It's almost February 14, which means Valentine's Day! It also means (dun, dun, dun!!!) . . .

The Wife Maker. 

Find out if Charlotte finally gets her happily ever after!

The Wife Maker is available for pre-order right now, so click  ***HERE*** to order your copy and it will magically appear in your e-reader on Saturday.

Thank you to so many of you who have sent your messages of encouragement and impatience as you've waited for me to finish writing Charlotte's story. I so appreciate it.

And please sign up ***HERE*** for my newsletter so you can be the first to know when I release Flynn and Aleena's novellas.

I hope you, my wonderful readers, have a fantastic Valentine's Day!


Goodbye 2014 & My Word of the Year for 2015

A Few Highlights (and lowlights) of 2014:

  • A trip to Maui with my husband.
  • A trip to San Francisco with my family. Sadly, this is both a highlight and a lowlight because of a big mistake I made. My husband had business in San Francisco and I wanted to do some research for The Husband Maker series, so the family took off by car. My oldest son couldn't miss a couple of days of classes, so we booked him a ticket on Priceline. It was cheaper for him to get a flight to Portland via San Francisco and then just not finish the trip, so that's what I booked. He rode the train from school to the airport and entered his ticket information in the kiosk. It wouldn't accept it so he got in line and told the agent that his ticket wasn't working. The very rude agent informed him (very rudely) that his ticket was for the following week. Priceline wouldn't work with us, so Bruce didn't get to join us. We still had fun, and Travis managed to arrange some work in Portland the next week and took part of the family to meet Bruce, who was now flying to Oregon for no other reason than to keep from totally wasting my mistakenly purchased ticket. They had a good time, but I cried bitter tears that he didn't get to join us in San Francisco and had to spend the weekend at home alone.
  • I published Lost and Found (part of the Ripple Effect Romance Series), Maggie's Song (found in the Timeless Romance Anthology - Love Letters), The Husband Maker and The Match Maker.
  • Bruce spent three months studying in China and traveling around Asia. It was fun for me, too, as he Facetimed with me from just about everywhere he went.
  • I was graced with kidney stones several times but none were large enough to need surgery!
  • Veronica came home from her successful and wonderful mission.
  • I attended two writer's conferences.
  • We had everyone home for Christmas for the first time since 2010.
  • Savannah got her driver's license and relieved me of some of the running around.
  • Joe made both the Lone Peak and CMBA basketball teams.
  • Savannah had a sledding accident and suffered a concussion and memory loss. It was really troubling and scary.
  • Bruce took his heaviest load at school yet and spent the entire semester sick.
  • Travis and I were the chairmen of our ward Christmas party.
  • We started eating differently which meant I did A LOT of cooking from scratch.
  • Veronica started working at Great Harvest again.
  • Joe passed all the girls in the family in height.

For the past few years, I've chosen a word to focus on during the year. This year, my word is inspired by the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. I just finished reading it this month and it was excellent. I highly recommend it. My word this year is:


I want to eliminate nonessential things so I can give essential things the time and energy they deserve. A few of the things I want to eliminate are wasted time, clutter, unnecessary spending, and judging and unkindness.

To quote the book, I hope to "do less, but better."

Happy 2015!