Another Free Ebook to Close Out 2021

FREE from now until January 3, 2022 at 11:59pm PST.

Love at first sight, heartbreak, revenge, redemption, and second chances—LAST CHRISTMAS has all that plus a dash of humor and a pinch of mystery!

Last Christmas, he stomped on her heart. This Christmas he's going to pay!

If you haven't had enough Christmas and Holiday Romance yet, here's a story that will get you in a good mood for the New Year đź’–

Takeaway Truth

Read LAST CHRISTMAS, and have a very Happy New Year!

7 Reasons to Try Kindle Vella

Want a riveting story in bite-sized pieces?

Welcome to Kindle Vella, serialized stories you can read on your cell phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop.

Yes, this is the next big thing from Amazon.

There are only 3 drawbacks to Kindle Vella at this time. For most of you, this won't prevent you're trying the next big thing

1. They're available only for U.S. residents only, but that's probably going to change. 

2. The phone app is only for iPhone, not Android, but that too will probably change in a few months.

3. Unbelievably, they're not available on Kindle devices yet. Weird, right?

Oh, by the way, the main story page has 1 URL and each episode page has a different URL.

You can click here to download the iPhone app or plan to read on your tablet, laptop, or desktop. Go ahead. Give it a whirl. 

7 Reasons to Try Kindle Vella

1. They're bite-sized chunks of stories made for those odd bits and pieces of time most of us have.

You know, standing in line anywhere, waiting for the water to boil to cook pasta, waiting for your kids at music lessons, commuting to work, soaking in a bath at the end of a long day, etc.

2. You love to read, but you feel you don't have the time to tackle a novel.

3. The first 3 episodes of all Kindle Vella stories are free. No money required.

Sample any and all. I think you'll find a story that grips you. Shop Kindle Vella

4. You carry your phone with you everywhere you go. If you're not into using your phone for reading, try it. The New Year is right around the corner so learn something new!

5. You're bored with the same old thing on TV and want a great story to sweep you away.

6. You like to sample different kinds of stories without investing a lot of money.

7. You like to try new things to see if it's something that works for you, and you love introducing other people to the latest and greates gadgets, apps, etc.

How to Get Started

To get you exploring serialized stories, I'm pointing you to my Kindle Vella, Stone Angel, a paranormal romantic thriller.

Instead of book covers on Kindle Vella, each story has a round image, usually with no text because the story title and author name appear below the round image.

The one at left is the artwork you'll see on Kindle Vella for Stone Angel.

The first 3 episodes of Stone Angel are free.

Episode 1: Dark Heart

Episode 2: Sand Drifts Through Glass

Episode 3: The Favor

About Stone Angel

Who holds the secret of Time?

The time of birth? The time of death? The time of things yet to unfold?

Grain by grain, sand sifts through the hourglass. Second by second, Aurelia's hope for survival fades. Once passion and love filled her life. Now, only fear and pain remain. Tonight will probably be her last on this mortal plane.

Or does Destiny have other plans for her?

Takeaway Truth

Kindle Vella serials are in many different genres and types of stories. Give Stone Angel a try—first 3 episodes are free. If you like what you read, please click LIKE at the end of each episode and click FOLLOW on the main page. Thank you!

Happy New Year Gift: Free Ebook

Free from now to January 1, A Moment in Time: From Holiday to Holiday is free.

This collection of 4 stories set during Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, and St. Patrick's Day is free at most ebook sellers. Just click this universal link and select your favorite bookseller. 

Holiday Fun

We've had several holiday celebrations, and we're resting to be ready for New Year's Eve. 

I'll be traveling again, but I've set up posts to keep you entertained and/or informed during the New Year.

Takeaway Truth

Enjoy A Moment in Time: From Holiday to Holiday

99¢ Sale: Christmas RomCom Not Hallmark Suitable

Looking for a Christmas romance where the romance is more than a searching glance, holding hands, and chaste kisses?

How about a happily-ever-after RomCom that's sexy and funny? 

What if it's only 99¢ on sale?

I've got you covered. Just One Look is the Christmas romance for you.

For another 24 hours, it will be on sale! This Rom Com won't ever be turned into a Hallmark movie so if you're tired of the unrealistic ultra-sweet holiday movies, try this book instead.

Takeaway Truth

1 romantic comedy + 99¢ = a fun weekend read. Get Just One Look today.

Free Christmas Romantic Comedy

Nobody's Cinderella is FREE so grab your copy now.

This is the only time this book has been free in 2021. Get your free copy today.

Free ends at 11:59pm PST on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021.

Darcy wished on a star. Uh oh! Be careful what you wish for!

"ANOTHER WINNER! I love Ms. Reeves' heroines. There is a little bit of them in all of us and that endears us to them even more. Just enough conflict, steam, misunderstandings, and humor. If you haven't yet read Joan Reeves...what are you waiting for?" —Kayealoha Review

About the Book

Darcy Benton is the oldest clichĂ© in the world—a woman with a secret crush on her boss. She'd fallen in love at first sight with him. Other than that, she's no-nonsense, practical, mature, and sober. She's just the kind of woman Chase Whitaker wants as head of accounting for his company. She's definitely not the kind of woman he wants in his bed.

Enter Darcy's meddling, matchmaking best friend who has a plan to transform ugly duckling Darcy into a hottie who will attract Chase. All it takes? A makeover, a couple of little white lies, and a wish on a star. Uh oh! Darcy should have remembered: Be careful what you wish for!.

Get your FREE copy of Nobody's Cinderella today!

Takeaway Truth

Subscribe to my free newsletter and get notices of free and bargain books a day before it's posted on the blog.

That makes a difference when the free books are limited to a certain number.

When you confirm your subscription, you'll also receive a download link for a free ebook romance. Happy Holidays!

Most Loved & Hardest to Sing Christmas Carols

Most of us learned Christmas carols in Sunday school. I'm from the generation where we also sang Christmas carols in school.

That immersion really made the songs stick with me. 

Long ago, I'd learned from the choir director which songs were most difficult to sing. It's ironic that the carols most difficult to sing are also on the most popular list of Christmas carols.

Of course, I know Silent Night had to be number 1 on everyone's favorites list, and it was. 

Most Loved Carols

1. Silent Night, Germany 1818.

2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, England 1760.

3. O come All Ye Faithful, England 1744, variation 1841.

4. O Holy Night, France 1847.

5. What Child Is This?, England, 1865.

6. We Three Kings, U.S. 1857.

7. The First Noel, England 1823.

8. Away in a Manger, Germany circa 1500s, variations 1887 and 1895.

9. O Little Town of Bethlehem, U.S. 1868.

10. Joy to the World, England 1719.

Most Challenging Christmas Carols To Sing

1. O Holy Night

2. Away in a Manger

3. Angels We Have Heard on High

4. Carol of the Bells

5. The First Noel

What these commonly sung carols have in common is the vocal range needed to sing the carol properly.

Takeaway Truth

Just about everyone likes to sing Christmas carols and other holiday favorites. Maybe it's because we know the songs so well that we sing without feeling inhibited. We sing with joy!

Monday Quote to Get You Going

I read a wonderful quotation yesterday and wanted to share it with you today.

It's perfect for someone who is wondering if what they're trying to create is worth their time. Should they work to complete the project or quit?

"Follow your inner moonlight." —Allen Ginsberg

We all have something inside that we want to express whether it's music, art, writing, or any kind of endeavor that calls to us to create.

Don't be afraid. Go for it.

Takeaway Truth

Follow your inner moonlight, and bask in its light.

7 No Cost Ways to Strong Immune System

People look to doctors to take care of their health which is a good thing.

However, it's also a good thing to be proactive and take care of YOU so your health and immune response are as strong as can be.

In this CoVid era, a lot of attention is paid to improving one's immune response.

Here are some simple things that cost no money that you can do every single day to make sure your immune system is strong and ready to combat whatever is thrown at you.

1. Clean up your diet.

Everything starts with what you put in your body. If your diet is primarily convenience foods, i.e., fast food burgers, delivery pizza, deli foods and baked goods, there's definitely room improvement. Work toward a better diet because it's impossible to "cold turkey" the unhealthy foods and stay with the healthy veggies and proteins.

You probably know you should eat several servings of vegatables each day, drink water, cut back on sugar, etc. You've heard all of that advice a million times. Take action.

Analyze what you eat on a daily basis. Pick 1 meal to clean up. Be consistent with that meal. Then take another step. You know your own body so if you are on medication, talk to your doctor. If you're not on crucial medication, research online a healthy way of eating.

2. Move your body.

Park at the end of the parking lot not as close as you can get. Walk to the entrance. 

Instead of leaving a shopping cart where you unload it at your car, walk it back to the store.

Use methods like that to increase how much you walk. Take every opportunity to move. If it's difficult at first, keep at it. When you progress, add some other movement to it.

3. Learn to manage your stress.

We're all stressed, but some manage NOT to have emotional breakdowns, develop ulcers, or have heart attacks or strokes. Let me add, learn to manage your stress without pills. Walking is a great stress reliever. So is laughing, dancing, talking with friends—with anyone who makes you feel good.

Go hardcore and take up meditation. There are hundreds of YouTube videos that teach you how to meditate. You may find it makes you feel so good you'll want to do 5 minutes in the morning before work and again in the evening to relax.

4. Learn to manage your emotions.

Yes, you really can manage your emotions which is far better than letting your emotions manage you. 

No one makes you feel angry, sad, resentful, etc. by what they say to you. It's what you say to yourself after hearing what they say that creates those emotions.

There are thousands of books, videos, and podcasts to help you learn to manage your emotions. If you're miserable for whatever reason, you don't have to stay that way. Take action now by working on yourself. (One great YouTube channel is Fight Mediocrity.)

5. Get Vitamin D the natural way.

If you go outside for 20 minutes with the sun shining on your arms and legs, that will improve your Vitamin D conversion in your body. CoVid researchers found that low levels of Vitamin D was a risk factor for severe CoVid. Taking supplements isn't good enough.

6. Don't sleep with your cell phone.

Cell phones create an electro-magnetic field. Exposure to EMFs can interfere not just with sleep but also with your immune system, endocrine function, and the jury is still out on whether it can cause cancer or accelerate cancer.

7. Get enough sleep every night.

Turn off the TV, computers, phones, screens of every sort at least an hour before you go to bed. 

Set up a bedtime ritual where disconnecting like that is the first step. Shower or bathe. Listen to music. Relax your mind and body.

Takeaway Truth

Take charge of your health and start today. Start before you have a health event that makes you regret procrastinating.

Saturday Share: 9 Thrifty Cleaning Tips

I'm late posting today because we drove to our house in the country to pick up some boxes of kitchen items stored there. I never realized how much "stuff" I'd accumulated until we moved in July. I guess everyone has that epiphany when moving.

 After loading the car with boxes, we drove home to Houston.

Now that I've unpacked those boxes (and still didn't find my layer cake pans!), I'm sharing some easy tips on how to save money during the holidays. That's something we're all thinking about I'm sure.

These tips may be something you want to incorporate in the New Year so you can save on cleaning and maintenance. So get a gallon bottle of distilled white vinegar so you'll be ready to get started.

Caution: Do NOT use vinegar on anything that is brass or has brass trim. Vinegar will turn brass black.

10 Thrifty Tips: Cleaning and Maintenance

1. Clean your dishwasher to make it look new and last longer.

Have you ever noticed how grungy the inside of a dishwasher is? Look at the door hinges. Is there gunky build up there? White vinegar is cheap at $2-3.00 a gallon, depending on whether you buy generic or brand name.

To clean your dishwasher, pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the bottom of your dishwasher when it's empty. Then run the dishwasher through a normal cycle. Do this once a month.

2. Clean your shower spray head.

If you notice the shower spray head isn't spraying uniformly from each hole, you don't need to replace it. You just need to remove the calcium deposits clogging the little holes. You don't even need to remove it to clean it.

Take a ZipLok bag that's large enough to fit over the spray head. Pour vinegar into it and cover the spray head with the bag. Either tape the bag in place or use big rubber bands to secure it. Let the vinegar work on the spray head for at least an hour. Remove the bag. Run the shower with hot water. If all the little holes aren't open, tape the bag back in place for another hour. Do this when you notice the calcium build-up is clogging the holes again. 

3. Make your own bathroom cleaning solution.

Rather than use a commercial product like Tilex, make a solution in a clean bucket with:

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup ammonia

1/4 cup Borax 

1 gallon of water. 

Caution about Borax. Even though this is a natural ingredient, it can be toxic. Take the same kind of precautions you'd use with a dangerous chemical. Don't breathe in this mixture's fumes. Run the vent fan when using and wear rubber gloves.

Dip a sponge or a scrub brush into the solution. Scrub the tile, countertops, and fixtures. Rinse well with warm water. Air dry.

In case you don't have a bucket for cleaning, you can order one that will last for years.

I had to do that after Darling Hubby used my mop bucket that I've had for years to mix up tile grout. Ruined the bucket!

I found another Rubbermaid Roughneck Bucket on Amazon. The design is great for dipping a rectangular sponge mop into it. The usual round buckets don't work as well. Plus it's got a pour spout.

I hated to see that it had increased in price since I'd bought my old one, but I bought it anyway. I know it will last many years.

4. Clean your plumbing drains.

The best way to make sure your drains don't clog up is to regularly clean them this easy way. Clean the drains this non-toxic way. It's effective and a lot less damaging to your pipes than those commercial harsh chemical drain cleaners.

First, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain. Second, pour in 1 cup of white vinegar. The two combined together will bubble and foam up. (Remember doing this in elementary school science to make a volcano?) When the bubbling and foaming stops, run the hot water for 3-5  minutes to flush the drain. Then turn on the cold water to the drain.

5. Clean a wooden cutting board.

Unlike plastic cutting boards, you can't put a wooden cutting board in the dishwasher to clean and sterilize it. Instead, use white vinegar. It's naturally anti-viral, antiseptic properties make it perfect for this use.

Simply take a plastic spray bottle filled with undiluted white vinegar and spray the cutting board thoroughly. Let the vinegar stay on the cutting board for a few minutes—5 minutes tops. Immediately wipe it off with a damp cloth. Then let it air dry before putting it away.

If you don't have spray bottles, you can get them just about anywhere. Amazon has quite an assortment.

5. Clean a wooden cutting board.

Unlike plastic cutting boards, you can't put a wooden cutting board in the dishwasher to clean and sterilize it. Instead, use white vinegar. It's naturally anti-viral, antiseptic properties make it perfect for this use.

Simply take a plastic spray bottle filled with undiluted white vinegar and spray the cutting board thoroughly. Let the vinegar stay on the cutting board for a few minutes—5 minutes tops. Immediately wipe it off with a damp cloth. Then let it air dry before putting it away.

If you don't have spray bottles, you can get them just about anywhere. Amazon has quite an assortment.

6. Clean your microwave the easy way.

All you need is a clean sponge, a microwave-proof bowl, and some white vinegar. I'm on the petite side, and my microwave is mounted over the stove. I used to have to stand on a kitchen step stool to clean it.

Now I just fill a bowl with equal parts white vinegar and hot tap water. Put it in the microwave and set the time for 2-3 minutes, or however long it takes for the water to boil. Leave it in the microwave for 5-10 minutes so the steam from it will soften up any spills. Remove the bowl. Use a sponge or even a paper towel to wipe the inside down. The result? Sparkling clean inside.

7. Make fresh cut flowers last longer.

When you get cut flowers, a packet of floral preservative probably comes with it. When that's used up, you can use a mixture of white vinegar to keep them fresh. It's easy. Just mix equal parts of white vinegar and white sugar to fresh water.

For an average-size flower vase, 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of sugar is about right. The sugar is food for the flowers. The vinegar lowers the pH level in the water and prevents bacteria.

8. Clean your stainless steel appliances.

Forget all those expensive stainless steel cleansers and polishers. All you need is white vinegar in a spray bottle and a microfiber cloth. Spray the surface down and then wipe with a microfiber cloth.

If your stainless steel fridge is the shiny kind rather than a matte finish, take a tiny bit of mineral oil on another cloth and polish with that.

9. Refresh your towels.

Sometimes laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and even mineral deposits from water can make towels smell not quite clean enough. Simply run them through a washing cycle using 1 cup of white vinegar instead of detergent. That will make them smell wonderful and improve the tactile feel also.

Takeaway Truth

I hope you'll try these thrifty tips. They really will save you quite a bit of money. Leave a comment if you one of the tips and tell me how it worked for you.

Origin of Book Ideas

Everyone seems to want to know where writers get the ideas for their books. I've been asked this many times.

In fact, I started putting in a short article in the back matter of my novels telling what inspired me to write that particular story.

That doesn't happen so much now that I don't do autograph parties. Mostly, I get asked that by people I meet who discover I'm a writer.

I'm always happy to talk about that subject so I don't mind, but some authors get bored having to answer that same question all the time.

To beat boredom, they should answer with a witty quip like, "At my local mall, but I buy only when they're on clearance."

All Kidding Aside

Writers get ideas from everything they've experienced. People they meet. Things they read. Stories they hear. Television, movies, eavesdropped conversations. Everything is idea fodder for the author—especially found items.

Intriguing ideas from unexpected finds are especially interesting like things left in books bought at used bookstores, garage sales, etc.

Once in an antique cabinet I bought, I found a flyer dated August 1967 from Key City Drive-In Theatre. It was in perfect condition. In fact, I'm framing it to hang in our media room.

Idea File

I jot down ideas and toss them into an expandable  file. Found items get scanned and saved. The drive-in brochure I saved in an archival sleeve.

I've torn pieces from newspapers and other print publications and saved notes I've found in used books.

For instance, I saved a scrap of paper I found in a used book I bought. The cryptic note talks about a woman who is a slut and lists some Bible verses. I looked them up in the Bible.

I don't know who owned that book before I bought it, but whoever it was had a freak flag flying.

Another intriguing tidbit I tossed in my idea file is an ad torn from a newspaper. Yep, found it inside a book I bought at a used bookstore. By the way, I changed the phone number in the personal ad which reads:

"J.E.P. ALBUQUERQUE, CHA-CHA-CHA Lessons Needed. Hurry, he is dying. Call Julia @ (555)123-4567.

How intriguing. Think about all the possibilities. Was it from someone wanting to hire a hit man? Or maybe a hit man reporting the mission is over? Could it be from a CIA spook checking in?

I think it's finally time to use that tidbit. I think it's going to be the opening lines in a new book I've scheduled for spring 2022. (Yikes! Does this make me a target for getting whacked?) 

I've found the Woolworth's lunch counter menu you see at left, a Berlin movie theater "coming attractions" leaflet, and a hate-filled letter from a disgruntled university English teaching assistant.

I assume the letter was written by a man. He dismisses anyone from Texas as "stupid redneck kikkers," (his spelling). He hates politicians, hates kikkers, and he makes other appalling declarations.

He ends his nasty-gram with, "Your loving slave, Me, of course!"

Sheesh! Hope the recipient of that letter ran in the other direction.

From Expandable File to Notebook

When my expandable file folder gets too fat, I go through it at the end of the year which is why I'm writing this post. I've been culling the idea file.

Ones I want to save, I place in a binder. When I use the idea and write the book, I move the notes or scraps of paper to a big envelope where I store each book's research notes, outline, etc. when I've finished writing. Some ideas I leave in the expandable file; others I toss in the trash.

Takeaway Truth

If you're lacking book ideas, go browse through used books or just eavesdrop on conversations—which is easy since everyone talks on a cell phone as if they're alone in the world instead of surrounded by people. There's no telling what you might find or hear.

Top 10 Worst Christmas Movies

See that picture at left? Yep, we're going to talk about movies at which viewers want to throw rotten tomatoes.

Everyone talks about the best Christmas movies, but no one really talks about the worst. If you do a little research online, you'll find several "worst Christmas movies" posts.

I'm not mentioning any Christmas movie I saw this year. The opinions below are mine. I was forced to watch the ones below and did so out of politeness at holiday family gatherings. I did research lists of worsts from various websites, and I wasn't surprised that the ones on my list are on other lists too.

Top 10 Worst Christmas Movies

10. Santa Claus 3: the Escape Clause starring Tim Allen and Martin Short. To be honest, I never really liked the previous movies in this franchise, but that's just me. I know tons of people who loved the first one.

9. Jingle All the Way starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman, and Rita Wilson. Arnold as a crazed parent desperately needing to get his kid the hot toy of the season? No. Didn't do it for me. 

8. Home Alone 3 starring—sorry, cast—no one with star power needed to pull this one off. They should have stopped at the first Home Alone which was genuinely funny and refreshing.

7. Four Christmases starring Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, and Robert Duvall. How could all of those actors make such a tedious, un-merry movie?

6. Christmas with the Kranks starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. How could Tim Allen make such an unfunny movie?

5. A Christmas Story 2 starring Daniel Stern is an insult to the endearing holiday classic that so many of us love. Stern should have said no thanks.

4. Jingle All the Way 2 starring Larry the Cable Guy. I know there are millions probably who think the "Gitterdone" guy is hilarious. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. The first move was bad so why make a sequel?

3. Jack Frost starring Michael Keaton. Who thought this was a great premise for a holiday movie? Kill the main character within minutes of the opening credits then reincarnate him as a snowman? Stupid.

2. Fred Claus starring Vince Vaughn as Santa's sleazy brother. Come on, people. Stop making mean-spirited movies that suck the Christmas spirit from viewers. This was the second holiday stinker for Vaugn.

1. Silent Night, Deadly Night and all of the sequels to this horrible horror film. Christmas horror film are 3 words that simply don't go together. It's just so wrong. 

Takeaway Truth

Christmas movies should make a person feel good, not dispirited. Maybe awful Christmas movies are written by depressed pessimistic screenwriters. Readers, jingle all the way to the Comments section and tell me what Christmas movies you dislike.

Review: A Cry in the Dark: Carly Moore #1 by Denise Grover Swank

Recently I read A Cry in the Dark: Carly Moore #1 by Denise Grover Swank

I had downloaded it quite some time ago, but I've had little time to read until recently. Now I'm trying to make up for lost time.

I scrolled through all the books in my digital library, saw the book in my library list, and pulled it up on my Kindle because I recognized the author's name.

I'd forgotten what the book was supposed to be about. I always look at the cover when I open a book on my Kindle. The cover looked more like a romance novel cover than a mystery.

I shrugged, opened the book, and started reading. I ended up getting little sleep that night. A Cry in the Dark is well written with interesting characters and gripping scenes of mayhem and murder.

Blurbing the Book

Caroly Moore is a woman trying to disappear, and she has the fake identity papers to make it happen. What she doesn't have is a dependable car. She ends up riding with a tow truck driver to the nearest town—an eyeblink of a small town where there's an atmosphere of danger and distrust. With a population of unique personalities, Carly fits right in.

Stuck in the Smoky Mountain town that's dying with every passing day, she nevertheless finds refuge and friendliness in many. She thinks everything is going to work out well—until she witnesses a cold-blooded murder.

After that, she has all she can do to stay alive.

Takeaway Truth

Good book with a smart heroine determined to set things right, and a logical setup for a series. If you haven't read A Cry in the Dark, put it on your "to read" list.

Review: 3 Christmas Movies from Netflix

There's a reason I'm showing the movie poster for The Christmas Chronicles starring Kurt Russell. I'll get to that later.

During the last 2 weeks, I've watched the latest Christmas movies offered by Netflix. Darling Hubby was a good sport about it. 

The ones he didn't like he was kind enough to just roll his eyes and snicker unlike our son-in-law who feels required to make snide remarks from opening credits to the end.

{Rolling my eyes!}

The Netflix Christmas movies most anticipated were The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star starring Vanessa Hudgens; Father Christmas Is Back starring Kelsey Grammer, Elizabeth Hurley, and an ensemble cast; and A Castle for Christmas starring Brooke Shields and Cary Elwes with Lee Ross playing the duke's footman/sidekick/castle tour guide. FYI, Lee Ross has the best lines of the movie.

The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star

Vanessa Hudgens gamely stars in the 3rd take on lookalike girls impersonating each other. The first movie was good. The second was okay. This one gave me the impression that the wrap party shown in the closing credits had everyone—especially the prince who ended up with the American girl from the first movie—thinking: "Thank God I don't have to repeat this role which showed my character getting dumber with each movie."

Best thing about PS3 was Hudgens ability to tackle 3 characters in one movie.

 Father Christmas Is Back

Elizabeth Hurley's boobs stole the show. This movie was a hoot even though some parts were excessively annoying. Overall, enjoyable.

A Castle for Christmas

Oh, if fiction was only like real life. Brooke Shields is a multi-millionaire romance author. {Another eyeroll from me.} Cary Elwes is a duke in Scotland with a castle he can't afford. I'll be honest. The best thing about this movie was the tartan evening gown Ms. Shields wears to the ball.

Yet, somehow Cary Elwes and Brooke Shields make you like them individually. Together, maybe a few sparks. Of course, it's set in Scotland an has a castle and Westley from The Princess Bride, so watch it and judge for yourself.

Takeaway Truth

Why the poster for The Christmas Chronicles starring Kurt Russell, a movie that premiered in 2018? Because it's still the most fun Christmas movie in years. If you see a great holiday movie, leave a comment and tell us all about it.

Christmas Trivia: Christmas Cards

Digital Christmas cards are okay, but I like the cards one can hold in the hand.

I love displaying them, and I save them each year.

The practice of giving Christmas  cards began many years ago. People wrote special letters to family and friends.

Eventually, someone got the idea of making a card with a Christmas design. The first one was thought to have been printed in 1843 in England.

Prior to that, wood engravers made prints with religious themes, but no one produced the prints in quantity. That first printing in 1843 was 1,000 prints of a family party with the words "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You."

The printing of Christmas cards in the U.S. began in the mid-19th century by a variety store owner in Albany, New York. The American version of the card with a holiday design and greeting carried an advertisement: "Pease's Great Variety Store in the Temple of Fancy."

Carry the tradition on and send holiday cards, if only to those special people in your life. Amazon has an amazing assortment from funny to spiritual and everything in between.

Takeaway Truth

In each card, write something personal and heartfelt. Remember to write the year on the inside of the card. Maybe one day, the cards you send will be valuable collectibles for your descendants or for those who actually pay to collectr old greeting cards.

3 Cute Holiday Gifts for Strong Women

Christmas Gift Buying has begun.

I've been scrolling through websites looking for special gifts to order and have delivered. 

By December 1, we'd received 3 Christmas cards. I feel as if I'm behind already. Maybe you feel that way too. So I thought I'd toss out a few ideas.

If you're looking for gift ideas for women friends and family members, here are some suggestions you might like.

They're perfect for strong, sassy women and can be used as tree ornaments, gift tags for packages, or stocking stuffers. 

These gifts are from WriteWay, my Cafe Press shop where you'll find original designs on products for readers, wriiters, and sassy women of all persuasions.

3 Cute Holiday Gifts for Sassy Women

First up is this Santa ornament with a cute Santa graphic and a quote by Louisa May Alcott.

"Nothing provokes speculation more than the sight of a Woman enjoying herself."

Next up is an adorable Snowman Picture ornament with a different Alcott quote. 

"Nothing is impossible to a determined woman."

Next is the same shape picture ornament with a winter scene and laughing woman graphic.

This also has a Louisa May Alcott quote.

"The emerging woman will be strong-minded, strong-hearted, strong-souled, & strong-bodied. Strength & beauty must go together."

Takeaway Truth

I love creating designs that celebrate strong women because I love giving gifts like that to the women I know.

More gifts are being added daily so check back tomorrow.

Christmas Trivia: That Famous Cricket

Ever hear someone say, "Jiminy Christmas?"

I've heard it in old movies and wondered how Disney's Jiminy Cricket became Jiminy Christmas.

It's actually a direct reference to Jesus Christ and dates all the way back to 1664.

That's when someone recorded the Latin phrase Jesu domini as Gemini, pronounced as people say Jiminy Cricket.

Yes, many Americans pronounce Geminii as GEM-UH-NIGH. All that aside, I'm pretty sure Walt Disney named the famous cricket based on that phrase.

Takeaway Truth

Fascinating little tidbit, isn't it? Happy December 1!