Monday, February 24, 2014

Moving is Hard Work!

My husband and I are in the middle of a major move so we can be closer to our daughters and their families. I love the house we're leaving, and I enjoy the weather in Florida, but the heartstrings are tugging us toward the Carolinas.

Fortunately, I didn't listen to people who teased me about packing so early. Many of them said, "Don't worry so much about it. You know it'll get done." Well, yeah, it will get done, but that's only because I started packing early.

Here are some of my tips for future moves:

  • Start collecting boxes when you first start thinking about moving. 
  • It's never too early to start packing.
  • Resign yourself to begging grocery stock clerks for bottled water boxes because they're super sturdy.
  • Find your closest U-Haul store and purchase boxes for lampshades and hanging clothes.
  • Accept the fact that you'll be using dozens of rolls of packing tape.
  • When you stop using something, donate it, recycle it, or throw it away. You don't want to have that on your busy schedule while you're trying to move.
  • If you can fit it into your budget, hire someone to pack your things and go have a massage.
  • If you can't afford to hire someone to pack you, get it done as early as possible and then go have a massage.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Story Characters Seem Real

As the author of about 40 novels and novellas, I've become quite attached to many of my story characters, something I used to keep to myself. However, some of my readers admit that they experience the same thing.

Here are some of the comments I've received (slightly edited to make them more grammatically correct):

"The setting in your Aloha series brings me back to the days when I lived in Hawaii. My favorite character was Betty, but I enjoyed getting to know all the others almost as much."

Here are links to the 2 books in my Aloha series and a blurb about each:
Aloha Reunion - College senior Leilani is blind-sided by the emotional impact of Jeff Sorenson's arrival in Hawaii. Her physical attraction to him is evident from the moment he steps off the plane with his sister Betty, who has returned for a reunion of old school roommates.

Jeff has a history of being a ladies' man, so Leilani tries to guard her heart. But Jeff joins the group in a mudsliding adventure, and then he manages to get Leilani alone in the waves at Waikiki, where they're nearly an even match at bodysurfing. No matter how much she fights her feelings, she's unable to resist his charms, and when he sweeps her off her feet, she knows she can't stop herself from falling completely and totally in love with Jeff. There's only one problem: Jeff lives in Arizona and Leilani's future is in Hawaii.

Forever Aloha - Betty Sorenson, sister-in-law of Leilani from Aloha Reunion, returns to Hawaii by means of a job transfer. Betty's new boss Mark Diaz is a man who never seems satisfied with anything she does on the job. Since she can't seem to change him, she decides to do a good job and make the most of what she has, even if her boss is a sourpuss. 

Mark's goal has never been to climb the corporate ladder, but he feels that he needs to meet his father's expectations. His position in the bank in Hawaii is a compromise - to satisfy his father's ambition for him and to put him close to the waves. He loves surfing, and he does it every chance he gets. As these two are thrown together, both in and out of the office, she's intrigued by how different he is away from the bank, and she finds herself falling in love with him. He's attracted to everything about her. It is possible for these two to meet the challenges of their differences and find true love?

***

"I love your books, especially the ones in your Class Reunion series. I was always awkward and self-conscious during high school, so I was unsure about going to my own class reunion. but after seeing how insecure the people in your stories were in the beginning, I think I'll go. Thank you for showing me a different side of the people we all knew in high school."

Links and blurbs to the 3 books in my Class Reunion series:
Pretty Is as Pretty Does - Priscilla Slater goes to her ten-year high school reunion with equal parts dread and eager anticipation. Even though she’s a successful owner of a chain of hair salons and no longer has the mousy brown hair, crooked teeth, and discount-store wardrobe, she still feels like the ugly duckling. But when she arrives at the reunion, Priscilla soon realizes that her old classmates aren’t exactly as she remembers them. With humor and a just a touch of sassiness, Priscilla finds herself facing her own truth—and she may be surprised at what she discovers.

Bless Her Heart - As Priscilla Slater’s 15-year class reunion approaches, she decides to attend out of curiosity… and to flaunt her latest achievement—taking her business to a national level with the possibility of a TV show. As if getting ready for the event and putting up with the pranks of her former classmates isn’t enough, Priscilla’s hometown visit is further complicated by her parents’ separation. 

With the once-solid sanctuary of her home broken at the foundation, there’s only one thing Priscilla’s parents can agree on: no matter what sort of accolades their daughter receives as a hair stylist, she’s not living up to her potential. Eager to escape the painful reality of her childhood home, Priscilla bolts as soon as a call from New York brings good news: her offer to purchase one of the best salons in the country is likely to come through. But returning to New York means returning to Tim, Priscilla’s best friend and business pal who has been impatiently suggesting their relationship should be more than a friendship. Despite her recent achievements, will Priscilla learn that success doesn’t always result in popularity—or love?

Tickled Pink - Priscilla Slater shows up at her 20-year reunion as a national celebrity. Her hair salon dynasty has skyrocketed, and to top it off, she has her own line of hair products. She has become a huge success with the “Ms. Prissy Big Hair” line that lets women with the thinnest of locks get the coveted “big hair” look so popular in the South. Her classmates have finally come to terms with adulthood, but they’re handling it with the grace of a Southern woman wearing white after Labor Day. It’s just downright awkward! 

Asserting the maturity that her classmates have often lacked, Priscilla holds her head high. But she can’t ignore everything. When she catches her mother in the arms of her former high school principal, Priscilla can’t get out of town fast enough. Eager to get back to her more comfortable life, Priscilla runs head on into an ultimatum: Tim tells her they’re not getting any younger—as if she has to be reminded.

***


"That bird in your Bloomfield books cracked me up. In fact, I think he stole the show. As a lover of parrots, I know how much they can talk and tell secrets. I also liked Pamela after I got to know her better. She and Murray obviously care deeply for each other but didn't want anyone else to know. My bird Georgie once told my next door neighbor she looked like a monkey and smelled like one too. That came from a song my children used to sing when they were little."


Links and blurbs to my Bloomfield books:
Waiting for a View - Pushing 40, Bloomfield’s garden club vice president Sherry Butler has never moved out of her family home, still works at the same card shop where she landed a job after high school, and so resists change that she never accepted years of marriage proposals from Theo, the only man she ever loved. Once he moves on, Sherry is pursued by Brad Henderson, an old friend who always seems to be there when she needs a helping hand. His kindness only annoys Sherry until one day she is shocked into self-reflection when a little girl points to her and asks her mother if she’s “the sad woman who will wind up being an old maid.” 

With a friend’s encouragement, Sherry plans a turnaround, putting her house on the market and her name on the waiting list for a nice apartment with a view of the lake. She also agrees to go out with Brad, another bold step outside her comfort zone. Letting go of the past is about as simple as an elephant picking up a pea, but for the first time in her life Sherry will leap into the exhilarating world of the great unknown, a place where faith is crucial and true love is waiting.

For the Love of Pete - Widow Bethany Hanahan is trying in vain to fill an empty heart and an empty nest. The result is a home filled to the brim, but something is still missing. That’s when her new gardening club friends come to the rescue, encouraging her to let go of the past as well as the present clutter –emotional, spiritual, and physical. It’s not long before Bethany is finding friends, not bargains, to fill her days. But has her life become too full for someone like Pete Sprockett, a childhood friend, for whom her romantic feelings are beginning to bloom? 

Join the quirky, loving community of Bloomfield as they do what they do best – poke their well-meaning noses in and intervene in times of need –in author Debby Mayne’s second novel in what has become a five book series about a community where life is simple and love is real.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Good Memories

Sometimes I like to look back on my life so far and think about some of the wonderful things I've experienced or seen. There are so many that I couldn't possibly list them all here, but I'll put a few highlights that still make me smile.

  • Living in Japan and Hawaii - Both of those places might seem exotic to some people, but to a military brat, each one was just another assignment. But I still enjoyed and appreciated the privilege of living there. I'm still friends with many of the people I met in Hawaii, thanks to social media.
  • Being a member of Kappa Delta sorority at the University of Southern Mississippi - I was blessed to be a part of this wonderful organization with girls who cared about each other (and still do) and tried to make the world a better place by participating in philanthropies and gracious everyday living. KD was and still is a a great place for college women to make lifelong friends. 
  • Marrying my husband Wally - We got married 33 years ago on my 26th birthday, and I'd do it all over again if given the choice.
  • Welcoming daughters Alison and Lauren into this world - As we approach Alison's birthday on February 16, I think about the day she was born and how excited and nervous I was. Lauren joined her sister two years and nine months later and completed our family. Wally and I are blessed to have two such sweet and loving daughters.
  • My first and second book contracts - I'll never forget the day I got "the call" from my very first book editor Erin Cartwright (Niumata) from Avalon Books. She said she loved my story and wanted to buy my book. I think I walked on air for at least a week after that. Then a little more than a week later, Becky Germany from Barbour called and bought my second book. 
    My first book Lessons in Love
  • Gaining sons-in-law - Wally and I were thrilled when our daughter Alison married Jason and Lauren married Ryan. We couldn't have hand-picked better husbands for them.
  • New granddaughters - The sun seemed brighter on the days my granddaughters Emma and Sophia were born. Sometimes when I think about them I feel as though my heart might burst, I love them so much.


Now I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for my future.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fabulous Coconut Oil!

In my quest for good health, I've been using as many natural products as possible - for eating and my beauty routine. One of the things I've discovered is that coconut oil has way more uses than I originally thought.
Enjoy the many benefits of coconut oil.
Photo courtesy of Mconnors/Morguefile.com

Here are some I'd like to share:

  • Cooking - This one is obvious. It has a much higher smoking temperature, which means your food won't burn before it's done. It's always frustrating to have something charred on the outside and undercooked inside.
  • Skin softener - If you suffer from dry skin, try rubbing a little coconut oil on your skin, and you'll be amazed by how quickly it works.
  • Eye makeup remover - For years I've been using petroleum jelly to remove my mascara, but coconut oil works more quickly and is better for my eyes.
  • De-frizz hair - If you suffer from frizzy hair, avoid looking like Bozo by smoothing a pea-sized amount of coconut oil over your tresses. Your dry hair will soak it right up.
  • De-chap lips - There's no need to suffer from cracked or flaky lips when you can rub a little bit of coconut oil over them.
  • Exfoliate - Mix a little bit of coconut oil with salt for an all-natural skin exfoliator. 
  • Cuticle softener - Massage a little coconut oil into your cuticles to help prevent hangnails.


I would love to hear about more ways to use coconut oil.