New Release: Ten Minutes in the Sin Bin by M.J. Schiller

I'm delighted to welcome M.J. Schiller to SlingWords today. She's here to tell you about her compelling new romance, Ten Minutes in the Sin Bin.

For those of you who may know nothing about ice hockey, the sin bin is the penalty box.

Ten Minutes in the Sin Bin is Book 1 of a new series, Devilish Desires

Scott McCord always got what he wanted. The trouble is, he doesn’t know what that is this time.

Scottie McCord is an NHL forward who doesn’t do a lot of looking back. But when Elise Scofield moves to the same West Coast city he plays for, he can’t help but reminisce.

I’m psyched Elise will be close by. She’s a lot of fun, and I need to get the 411 on her breakup with Hunter. I warned him when they first started dating that I would be none too happy with him if he hurt Elise. Not that I have a thing for her. Sure, that kiss when we were kids was the hottest moment of my life, but that’s just because it was a first. She’s like a sister to me now.

Elise Scofield is making a fresh start. A move to sunny California may be just what she needs, especially with Scott there.

Scottie and I have always been close, “two straws in a soda” is my mom’s weird way of putting it. We’ve gotten over that awkwardness of having kissed a long time ago, and fallen into an easy brother-and-sister-type of relationship. He’s the best. And who knows? He might even introduce me to an eligible hockey player or two.

But when Scott’s teammate says he’d like to spend TEN MINUTES IN THE SIN BIN with Elise, Scott becomes hot enough to melt the ice that he plays on. Then when Scott finds out his opposite winger is only trying to win a bet by bedding Elise, he wants to check his teammate into oblivion. But why are his feelings always so amped up around Elise?

One thing’s for certain; he’s determined to keep Sergei from hurting Elise. And when he’s determined, he gets what he wants.

The only problem is...this time around he’s not sure what it is he wants.

Bet You Want to Read an Excerpt

I put the puck on the ice between us and hoped to catch her gaze, but she was focused. Her lips were in motion; she was strategizing. I chortled. “You’re so cute when you think you have a chance of winning.”

“Shut up and play.”

I raised my brows. Ooh, touchy.

We tapped ice, then stick, ice, then stick, ice, then stick, and then with lightning speed she got the puck.

In her excitement, though, she let the puck get away from her. Rookie mistake. She had to go deep into the corner to regain control, which gave me the opportunity to get in position in front of the net. Our eyes met. She knew it was over. If she took a shot, I wouldn’t let it go in, and I’d take it to the other end before she’d finished her follow-through. 

She skated warily to the blue line, giving herself time to think, then poured it on, weaving across the ice, going backhand to forehand and back, honed in on me, hoping I’d commit one way or another. I opened my legs to give her a glimpse of the five-hole and she bought it, taking her shot. I didn’t have goalie’s pillows to seal it off, but I still managed to block it. Elise lost an edge and went sliding into the boards with a loud thud. She moaned, lying face down on the ice.

“Elise!” Forgetting everything else I sprinted to her side. “Are you okay?”

“Oh.” She lifted her head, grimacing. “What happened?” she said shakily. She got on all fours.

I tried to assess the level of damage. “Where does it hurt?”

“Umm…” She lunged to her right, hooking the puck with the blade of her stick and swung it into the net. “Yes!”

It took me a second to realize I’d been had. “Wait. That didn’t count.”

“I didn’t hear any whistle, so the play was not dead. I won.” She rolled onto her butt and extended her arm for me to help her up.

I jerked her to her feet and again her closeness made my throat tighten. “I should have dumped you on your butt.”

She removed her bucket, shaking free all of that gorgeous hair and grinning at me. “Yes. You should have.” She tapped my lips with her finger. “But you didn’t.”

I really, really wanted to kiss her. Like, knock her onto the ice and rip off her pads. And rip off my pads. And touch her smooth skin. And feel her lips under mine. And—

“Are you coming?”

She had glided about halfway across the ice and had pivoted, looking at me with a little cocky lift of her chin. I let out a scream that was partially a deep-throated yowl, partially an unidentifiable shout and rushed her. She shrieked and jumped then tried to race away from me, but I caught her at the boards where she had been hindered by opening the gate, trapping her in my arms, my mouth at her ear.

“You, my dear, are a cheat.”

Meet the Delightful M.J. Schiller

M.J. Schiller is a lunch lady/romance-romantic suspense writer. 

She enjoys writing novels whose characters include rock stars, desert princes, teachers, futuristic Knights, construction workers, cops, and a wide variety of others. 

In her mind everybody has a romance. She is the mother of a twenty-seven-year-old and three twenty-five-year-olds. That's right, triplets! So having recently taught four children to drive, she likes to escape from life on occasion by pretending to be a rock star at karaoke. However…you won’t be seeing her name on any record labels soon.

Takeaway Truth

Doesn't Ten Minutes in the Sin Bin sound utterly delightful? If you agree, then you'll want to get your own copy. This book publishes tomorow. Buy it today so you can start reading in the morning!

You'll find this book, available in ebook and paperback editions, at the following booksellers:


Nook book


Happy Reading!

Free Book Weekend: Every Little Lie

It's Free Book Weekend, and I'm sharing a free book giveaway

Subscribers to my free newsletter received this offer yesterday.

Now I'm sharing this with blog readers.

For the first time ever, I'm giving away free copies of Every Little Lie, a passionate Romance with the drama of Women's Fiction. 

One reviewer said this about the book: "I recommend EVERY LITTLE LIE highly and I'm pretty sure anything Joan Reeves writes will be equally enthralling!"

Get your copy asap because this free offer ends Sunday, August 28 at 11:59pm PDT.

Why You'll Love Every Little Lie

"Lovely, emotional story, I thoroughly enjoyed it. ...about coming to grips with a painful past and finding a path forward through forgiveness. 

"It does an excellent job of exposing how childhood abuse—any abuse, actually—can impact one’s life, influencing critical choices and leaving invisible scars that never quite heal.

"It doesn’t get preachy, just unfolds in a logical way that helps the reader understand the heroine and why she feels and acts the way she does.

"Widower and dad of three, Max Kenyon has his own baggage, but it hasn’t damaged his self-worth, only created obstacles to his happiness. He’s willing to scale those obstacles for Elizabeth, because in her he sees a possible future." —CRich, VINE VOICE

"Joan Reeves is an intelligent writer with a style that pulls you in immediately, just because her words flow so beautifully. Add to that a little mystery and suspense and you've got yourself one page-turner." —MS, Amazon Review

Takeaway Truth 

Get your free copy and have a weekend of great reading with Every Little Lie . The regular price of $3.99 resumes after 11:59pm PDT, Sunday, August 28, 2022.

Choices Determine A Happily Ever After

The choices one makes determines the future including a Happily-Ever-After life.

That's true for our lives and for characters in a novel. We all want to live happily ever after, don't we? 

That's the thene of  Second Chance Bride, Book 2 of All Brides Are Beautiful, which is on sale now for only 99¢. Sale ends 09/06/2022, at 11:59pm CDT. Get your copy today!

About Second Chance Bride

Second Chance Bride stars Constance Quinn, the wicked stepmother from the first book.

 One reviewer who loved the first book [April Fool Bride] said, "I wasn't even going to read this after meeting Constance (aka wicked stepmother) in book 1. But am glad I did!! Second chance at love well done!"

I'm happy to report she gave Second Chance Bride 5 stars! I hope I get the change to write Defiant Bride, the proposed third book in this series, sometime before the end of the year.


Life is full of choices. Come to a fork in the road, and go left. Life ends up one way. Turn right, and life ends up a different way.

Sometimes, if you've made the wrong choice, you may end up hating the life you're living, but you're trapped by the choice you make. That's what happened to Constance Quinn, the heroine of Second Chance Bride.

When she was plain old Connie rather than the elegant sounding Constance, she took a fork in the road, and she's lived with regret ever since.

Now, she has every material thing she wanted, but she has none of what she needs—Love.

Unfortunately, knowing what you need doesn't mean you get it. Constance realizes that when she falls in love with Alex Martinez.

He's the only man she wants—but the one man she can never have. She has secrets and is terrified that Alex may find out what she's hiding.

How To Find Your Own Happily Ever After

Romance novels teach readers that happily ever after doesn't just fall into your lap. Like most worthwhile things in life, it must be earned.

You earn it by opening yourself to someone else—letting them see all of you, the public face and the person inside. Your assets and your negatives—triumphs and failures. You earn it by loving someone enough to want what's best for them, by overcoming challenges and conflicts. Sometimes you earn it by sacrifice.

Last, but certainly not least, you earn it by grabbing hold of a second chance if one comes your way. Constance does all of these things—especially this last one.

Takeaway Truth

I hope you'll grab a copy of Second Chance Bride while it's on sale. I think you'll really enjoy this novel of passion, romance, and second chances.

New Release from Caroline Clemmons

Good news, Readers! Caroline Clemmons has a new Historical Western Romance that published his month.

Even better, it's a mail order bride story! Yes, you'll want to grab a copy of Gentry and the Mail Order Bride.

This new release from bestselling western author Caroline Clemmons is Book 1 in the Texas Hill Country Mail Order Brides Series.

Here's What to Know About

Sometimes the perfect match is the one you didn’t expect.

Nothing much riles Gentry McRae. He works hard on the ranch he co-owns with his best friend, and is content with his life. He’s proud of all they’ve accomplished in the ten years since the war. That is, until his partner dies and leaves his half of the ranch to his mail-order bride—and wills the bride to Gentry. 

“Now just a doggone minute, I don’t plan to marry for years!” But, a single woman can’t reside on a ranch where four men live without ruining her reputation. What’s a good man to do, except marry the woman when she arrives?

Heidi Roth has been spurned for being too plainspoken and too tall. In addition, her sister constantly makes fun of her for those reasons. That’s why—with many doubts—she’s willing to travel for months from Germany to Texas to marry a man who once lived in her town. 

When she arrives, she learns her prospective groom is dead, but left her his share of a ranch. She has serious doubts, but agrees to wed Gentry to protect her reputation. Sure enough, from the next day, one event after the other happens to complicate her life—yet she is happy. Until she sees the will and learns they are not equal partners as Gentry had led her to believe.

Want to Read Excerpt?

The comments from her sister and cousin fueled her actions. She strode from the house toward the matchmaker’s home. Though she did not want to risk the matchmaker again, she longed to get away from the people who belittled her. Something must change.

Being ten inches over five feet meant she towered over most people. Being tall did not mean she had no feelings. She wanted her own husband and children. She was tired of her sister and cousins making snide remarks about her height and lack of a husband or children. Each of the matches Mrs. Heinz suggested was a man Heidi had known all her life. Each disliked that he was several inches shorter than she. She had no control over her height. Each wanted a younger wife, not someone nearly twenty-five. Neither liked a woman who spoke her mind, but she would not pretend to be what she was not.

Their town was simply too small to have many bachelors. Mrs. Heinz relied on word of mouth for her matchmaking business. Heidi wanted to run into the forest and never return. Instead, she held her head high and walked the half-mile to the home of Mrs. Heinz.

The matchmaker smiled broadly and her eyes sparkled when she greeted Heidi. She didn’t get paid unless the couple she matched actually wed. Heidi was surprised Mrs. Heinz was so friendly after two failed attempts to find her a husband.

About Caroline Clemmons

Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To compensate for this illogical error, she writes about handsome heroes, feisty women, and scheming villains in a tiny office surrounded by research books and mementos. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd indoors on their pets.

The over seventy titles she has created have made her a Top 100 Amazon historical author, a bestselling author, and won awards. She writes sweet to sensual romances, both historical and contemporary as well as time travel and mystery. In addition to her series she has written single titles and contributed to multi-author series and box sets. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading, dining in restaurants, browsing antique malls, delving into genealogy, checking Facebook, and taking the occasional nap.

Find Caroline on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Join her and other readers at Caroline’s Cuties, a Facebook readers group for special excerpts, exchanging ideas, contests, giveaways, recipes, and talking to like-minded people about books and other fun things.

Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books and follow her there.

Follow her on BookBub. To stay up-to-date with her releases and contests, subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here and receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?

Takeaway Truth

Caroline Clemmons is one of my favorite authors. If you're looking for a heartwarming romance with great characters, she always delivers. Get a copy of Gentry and the Mail Order Bride today. It's a Kindle Unlimited Free Read for Subscribers or buy for $2.99 and keep forever.

Found an AlphaSmart 3000

Today is my lucky day.

I found an AlphaSmart 3000 on Amazon.

My Alpha Smart, purchased new in 2001 for $220.00 was what I drafted many of my books on through the years.

Since it's about the size of a binder, I carried it in my purse or tote bag so it was handy when I had wait time like at a doctor office.

I nearly cried when I realized this past January that mine no longer worked. I visited various websites to see if it was repairable, but I found it wasn't—at least not at an affordable price.

What Is An AlphaSmart?

It's a writer's best friend because of its many wonderful attributes:
  • runs 500+ hours on 3 double A batteries
  • does nothing but act as a word processor meaning no loss of focus from social media and email dinging when you're trying to write. (Yes, you could turn off all of those distractions, but how many of you actually do this?)
  • has a cable that connects to your computer so you can print out what your write
  • works for PC or Mac, no software needed. No software means no upgrades which means it works seamlessly forever until it eventually dies.
  • Has 8 Files in which you can input thousands and thousands of words. When you want to transfer what you wrote to a computer, just connect the cable, open your favorite text app like Word or Word Perfect, select the file to send, send it, and save the file to your computer.
  • Automatically saves everything you write. You can push the off button in the middle of something and when you open the AlphaSmart again, what you were working on is right there.
  • Keyboard has a great "touch" so your fingers fly across the keys
  • The small window that shows your text only shows a few lines at a time which is wonderful for writers who have the habit of editing every sentence as they're trying to draft a chapter.
  • it's lightweight and you can carry it anywhere
  • you can use it outside, inside, or riding in a car
Best of all, the AlphaSmart I purchased today was only $66.00 plus sales tax. Previously, I found an AlphaSmart 3000 on Amazon, but I procrastinated, and someone else snapped it up.

If you're looking for an easy way to train yourself to write to the end BEFORE editing, get an AlphaSmart. Check Amazon and eBay and do a Google search. 

Takeaway Truth

I'll have it in my happy little hands on Friday. It's Amazon fulfillment with free returns so if it's not as good as the vendor stated in the product description, I can return it. But, oh, I hope it's as wonderful as I expect. I'll give you a full report after I've checked it out.

Review: 13 Lives, Amazon Prime Original

If you're looking for an edge-of-the-seat thriller, you must watch Thirteen Lives, an Amazon Prime Original.

Based on the 2018 daring rescue of 12 Thai boys and their coach who were trapped in a flooded cave, the film, directed by Ron Howard and starring Viggo Mortenson and Colin Farrell is a taut retelling of that event.

Like most "based on true event" movies, not all of the details were told, but there wasn't any dramatization added either which makes this an even more amazing movie.

I remember being captivated by the story and wondered if those 13 could be rescued. It took days. Watching the movie, I'm amazed that divers managed to save all of the 13.

Harrowing doesn't begin to describe the event. If you're even a little claustrophobic and/or scared of water, you may want to take something to calm your nerves before watching this. But don't miss it.

Even though you know the outcome, the movie is a real nail biter. It's also inspiring that in the face of such danger, people of many nations can come together and work to save others.

Takeaway Truth

Two thumbs up for this movie. It's awesome—the best movie I've seen in a while.

Saturday Share: 12 Reasons to Keep Baking Soda Handy

Although the title of this post is 12 Reasons to Keep Baking Soda Handy, I could have said 3 Reasons instead—Cleaning, Cooking, and Health—so I'll group the 12 reasons under those categories.

About Baking Soda

Baking Soda has been in use as far back as 3500BC when Egyptians used it to dry out dead bodies for mummification as well as using it for everyday cleaning.

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, a salt. If you taste it, you'll notice it tastes salty. In fact, if you ever wonder if a flour in a canister is self-rising flour or all-purpose flour, one way to tell is to touch your finger to the flour and taste the residue on your finger. If it tastes salty, it's self-rising flour because baking powder, which is made from baking soda, and salt are added to AP flour thus making the flour taste a bit salty.


(1) Baking soda cleans the air naturally unlike commercial candles and air fresheners which mask odor with a chemical scent. Baking soda absorbs odors. That's why it's used in refrigerators. You see, most odors are acidic. Baking soda is a basic so when it reacts with an acid, or odor, it neutralizes it. You're not limited to putting a box in your fridge. Place some in small bowls in a room that smells a bit funky.

Remember to change out the baking soda used to absorb bad odors because it's chemical ability to interact with acids lessens over time.

Even though an ordinary box of baking soda will work in the fridge, I like the fridge-freezer boxes with the tear-off slot that exposes the paper-covered baking soda to the fridge air.

(2) If you burn something while cooking, rather than scour the pan, simply place about a cup of water in the pan and a couple of tablespoons of baking soda. Bring the solution to a boil and let it cool. Then a minimum of scouring will clean the pot easily.

(3) Keep the bathroom and kitchen drains flowing smoothly without a commercial drain cleaner. Simple pour some baking soda down each drain, add vinegar which is an acid, and it will bubble and clean the drain as it goes down. Run hot water after, and you'll have a clean-smelling drain. (That of course is the basis for the volcano science experiment kids love.)

(4) I saw a video from an appliance repair expert who said it shortens the life of an oven to run the self-cleaning feature because the high heat necessary to melt the baked on goo will make your oven die sooner than it should. Instead, mis up a paste of of baking soda and a tiny bit of water, spread it on the baked on grease, add a little vinegar to it for that volcano reaction. Let it set for a bit then wipe clean. No heat needed.


(1) Baking soda acts as a chemical leavener. It reacts with an acid to produce carbon dioxide — or loads of bubbles — a process that allows cakes, cookies, and other baked goods to rise. Cookie recipes often call for baking powder and a smaller amount of baking soda. The baking soda makes them light and chewy. Often, recipes that call for buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt, or soured milk also call for baking soda. Buttermilk pancakes with baking soda makes the lightest fluffiest pancakes ever. Try my recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes which I posted several years ago. That will make you a believer.

(2) Add a pinch of baking soda to ground beef to help it brown faster and be juicier. Lessen the salt you would normally add since baking soda is salty.

(3) If canned tomatoes are too much acid for your stomach, try adding 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to them. It will neutralize the acid without affecting the taste.

(4) Tenderize chicken with baking soda. Simply rinse the chicken, pat dry, rub with baking soda, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours but no more than 5. Rinse off the baking soda and cook according to your recipe.


(1) Baking soda has always been a popular antacid for heartburn and indigestion with the older generation. I remember my grandfather used to mix 1/2 teaspoon in a half a cup of water, stir, and drink. If you have heartburn and nothing to relieve it, you might try this, but remember that baking soda is a salt. If you're medically restricted from salt, avoid this home remedy. I certainly wouldn't do this very often because just a half teaspoon has 629 milligrams of sodium.

(2) Use a mixture of baking soda and water as a produce washer. Soaking fruits and vegetables for about 15 minutes in a solution will remove more than 90% of pesticides from apples better than merely washing the apple under running water. The baking soda degrades residual pesticide so it can be washed away.

(3) Got bug bites? Don't bother with the OTC itch creams. Try a paste of baking soda with a little water. Apply to the bite several times a day. It works.

(4) If you have persistent vomiting becaus of morning sickness, eating something tainted, or for whatever reason, rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water. This not only cleans your mouth and freshes your breath but also prevents your tooth enamel from wearing away when plagued by persistent nausea.

Takeaway Truth

I hope you'll try some of these tips. Have a great weekend!

Friday Facts About Back to School Shopping Tradition

 Ironically, the back to school tradition of shopping for school supplies and new clothes began with the college crowd in the 1930's.

(1) As young women began to attend colleges in greater numbers, they began to affect higher education and the fashion world. Like today's generation of young women, they wanted to wear the latest trends. 

(2) Large department stores were the main retailers for clothing then, and they began marketing to college women with what was actually a pop-up store within the larger department store. This in-house college shop appeared in the early fall and went away after college started.

(3) The clothing offered in these impromptu shops were the latest trends, influenced by college students who actually worked in the college shops.

(4)  Clothing manufacturers tried to create their own line for college women as well as tried to enforce their own traditional values on fashion such as a disdain of "men's clothing for women" i.e. trousers, but women rejected the manufacturers' ideas of what was trendy and fashionable.

(5) Young college women had their own ideas about fashion, and it was mostly based on comfort such as the Sloppy Joe cardigan which parents and young men hated. The Sloppy Joe was an extremely oversized cardigan sweather, and stores couldn't keep them in stock.

(6) Shopping for back to school supplies is a more recent addition to the Back to School Shopping Tradition. Even though writing tablets containing sheets of newsprint with widely spaced lines for young children to practice printing have been manufactured since the late 1800s, most children could not afford them until about mid-century. By the 1950s, those writing tablets were commonly purchased.

(7) By the 1960s, the spiral notebook with lined paper that's still used today made its debut.

Takeaway Truth

In this digital age, school supplies and fashion trends still rule the back to school sale market.

Welcome to the Dog Days of Summer

Yes, we made it to the Dog Days of Summer, the hottest part of the summer. Allegedly.

The summer has been blistering this year. Mother Nature seems to be bent on either flooding the world or burning it up.

With a week ahead forecast to be 100+ most days, I think we can safely say this is the Dog Days.

Why Call August the Dog Days

The expression Dog Days comes from the ancient Romans who dubbed the hottest, most humid days of summer as diēs caniculārēs, translated as dog days. They called these weeks that because this was the time of the year when the star Sirius, aka Dog Star, was the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog).

Laugh and Take It In Stride

Here's a quote to give you a chuckle. The handsome young Lord Byron once wrote: "The English winter—ending in July, to recommence in August."

I don't know if that's still true in England in light of the changing weather patterns. I do know that I'd welcome a little English winter—commencing right now. But it's not going to happen.

The temperature this morning at 7:45, according to the patio thermometer, was 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The slight breeze is hot.

Stay inside and read a book. Walk in the early morning. Drink lots of water when you're outside. Go to a pool.

Takeaway Truth

Seasons change, and I'm hopeful September will bring an end to triple digit temperatures. Stay cool, readers! 

5 Secrets To Improve Blogging

Today, I'd like to give you 5 Secrets to Improving Blogging.

1. Know what you want to say. Plan in advance what your blog content will be. What are you passionate about? What interests you so much that you want to share that with others.

2. Organize your thoughts. Make a few bullet points so you can communicate your information effectively rather than ramble and go off on tangents.

3. Keep your post short and to the point. You may know much about your topic, but there's no way you can put all that into a single blog post.

4. Learn how to format for the online readers. Reading print on paper is vastly different from reading text online. Break your post up with sub-headings and illustrations.

5. Consistency of publishing a blog is what builds an audience.

Today's content is an excerpt from my book on blogging, Blog Ops: Search and Destroy Bad Blog Elements, Rescue Hostage Blogs, Be a Better Blogger.

Blog Ops is available on Amazon Kindle for only 99¢.

Review: Locke & Key Season 3

Last week Netflix has released Season 3 of Locke & Key, and I'm sad to say it seems the series has come to an end. 

Darling Hubby and I binge-watched the new season this past weekend, and it was a respectable end to a fabulous series. (So many series end poorly so it's nice to find one that does it well.)

If you haven't heard about Locke & Key, it's a Netflix original series that deuted in 2020. It's based on an American graphic novel series written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, and published by IDW Publishing.

Currently, Locke & Key Volume 1 is a Prime Membership free read or you can buy it for 99¢.

I don't read many graphic novels, but this is one I couldn't pass up. The art shown at left is actually the cover art for Volume 1.

If you haven't seen the previous seasons, go back and start with Season 1 because the imaginative story shifts back and forth from current reality to memories of the past.

The Premise

A guidance counselor is murdered by a studient. Trying to move forward and leave the past behind, his widow moves their three children from Seattle back to Massachusetts where her husband grew up.

To their surprise, Keyhouse, the family home, is a Victorian mansion with as many secrets as there are rooms. Magic lives in Keyhouse, but the children—2 teens and a pre-teen—are the only ones who realize it. Adults can't see the magic. In fact, their conscious minds rationalize every odd occurence.

From that jumping off point, the story expands wtih dramatic highs and lows, scary horror, and magical events. As with anything "special" like the magic the keys can work, there's a price to pay, and the kids learn the price can be high.

Throw in a portal to another dimension, a psychopathic killer, demon possession, teen love and angst, and those in the know recognize that the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Locks and keys abound in this series. You may find yourself wishing you had some of these magical keys, or maybe not when you see the harm some cause.

Spoiler Alert

Check out the list of all of the keys and what they do on the Locke & Key Wiki

This Wiki is actually about the graphic novel series, but many of the keys listed are used in the Netflix series.

The Cast

Connor Jessup as Tyler Locke, the oldest of the 3 kids.

Emilia Jones as Kinsey Locke, the daughter who's the middle child.

Jackson Robert Scott as Bode Locke, the precocious youngest child who seems smarter and more intuitive than anyone else in the series.

Darby Stanchfield as Nina Locke, the long-suffering mother who hasn't a clue.Laysla de Oliveira as Dodge whose beauty hides her evil heart.

Griffin Gluck as Gabe, one of the boys who falls for Kinsey.

You'll recognize many of the other members of the cast, and they're all excellent in their respective roles.

My Review

Like the previous 2 seasons, Season 3 features imaginative storytelling with a compelling premise. 
The characters are likable even though sometimes you want to scream at them, "Run, you idiots."

There's so much unexplored mystery and unresolved aspects to this mythical world that you may be like me and want to read the graphic novels to learn more. 

The series has the usual teen conflict fueled by hormones and emotions, but you'll see how the characters grow which is what fiction is all about.

Each episode builds upon the previous ones, and the cliffhangers at the end of each season will make you immediately click for the next episode of the new season.

Takeaway Truth

If you're looking for a compelling storytelling with great visual imagery, imaginative premises, believable characters, great special effects, and a narrative that makes you beg for more, Locke and Key is what you want to watch.

August Bargains To Buy & What NOT to Buy

Piggy bank feeling a little empty? I know mine does. We just finished paying homeowners' insurance, flood insurance, and auto insurance.

How the prices had escalated since a year ago was shocking!

Not only insurance is more expensive. So is everything else whether you're talking the price of gasoline or food. Everything costs so much more than a year ago.

I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for bargains and rather than giving "things" as gifts, I'm giving gift cards more frequently so the recipient can put the card to what they might really need.

I found a few bargains you might be interested in and thought I'd share, but first let me tell you...

What Not to Buy

This list is short, and the reason not to buy these things right now is that they usually go on sale in the next few months.

Major Appliances — on sale in  September
Mattresses — September
New iPhone — sales start in September through November
Fall Clothing —  sales start in November
Android Phone — sales start in November
TV — sales start in November

Amazing Bargains at Thrift and Recycle Stores

The first place I want to tell you to shop for bargains is your local Habitat for Humanity Recycle Store. I hope you're lucky enough to have one in your community. Often, stores like this may be called Recylce Stores or even Free-cycle Stores where things are free if you just go pick it up.

The Habitat for Humanity Recycle Store I visit whenever I have the chance has amazing bargains. Their inventory consists of everything from light fixtures, kithen cabinets, furniture, appliances, doors, windows, patio pavers, and art so many other things.

The stock comes from homeowners who are remodeling and donate their perfectly-good "old" items to contractors who overbuy quantities of building materials and businesses who have unsold stock but must make a place for new stock. We have a friend who flips houses, and he has bought entire kitchen essentials from cabinets, granite counters, and new appliances at stores like this.

The last time I was in there I saw a life-size 19th century Italian sculpture of the 3 Muses. Of course, the people who run the store aren't idiots. The price of this statue was $10K, but I could see a hotel, resort, museum, or millionaire buying it. I have to admit it was beautiful.  

Below are the other August bargains you can find.

Bargains Available to Anyone

(1) Textbooks. This is for anyone with kids or grandkids going to college in the fall. 

Textbooks have always been astronomically expensive, but you can get bargains with used ones at the off-campus bookstores. 

I didn't know you can buy used college texts on Amazon. It's a good idea to compare the prices at off-campus and local used bookstores with those offered by Amazon's Used Textbooks

(2) Nutritional Supplements. It's no secret that Darling Hubby and I take a lot of supplements—everything from CoQ10 to NMN and Betaine. We take about a dozen various supplements on a daily basis. I think this is one reason we are seldom sick. Haven't had a cold in years.

The thing about supplements is you want to take a high-quality supplement. Once I shopped locally for the supplements, but it was difficult to find a non-GMO, GMP-facility manufactured supplement for all of them not to mention finding them at an affordable price. So I now order 99% of all supplements from Amazon. 

It's easy to compare cost per unit and find them Vegan, non-GMO, and manufactured at a GMP (Good Manufacturing Process) facility. If you take supplements, comparison shop at Amazon to see if you're getting the best deal for your money. Enter the type of supplement in the search box and any other criteria that meets your need.

3. School supplies.

Check the price of laptops. These have become back to school items in today's world. Compare prices at your local stores and online.

If you miss out on something on your kid's school supply list because of limited stock, or you're just pressed for time, try Amazon Back to School Supplies and have them shipped to your home.

On the Amazon Back to School page, you can search for the list of supplies required from your local schools by grade and zip code.

Get free delivery if you're a Prime member. If you're not yet a Prime Member, sign up for Amazon's 30-day trial membership. If you don't think Prime Video, Music, and free delivery on most items are worth the annual cost, cancel before the trial membership is over. Be sure and read about what you must do before signing up. 

(By the way, you can link your Amazon Prime Membership to Zappos if you like ordering shoes from that amazing company.)

(4) Tax Free Weekend. If your state offers a tax-free weekend for buying back to school clothes and shoes, find out when it is and take advantage of it. That's a big savings in most states especially when combined with sale prices on warm weather clothes. It's still hot here in Texas, but the stores are stocking fall and winter clothing. All summer clothing is discounted so add that to tax-free, and it's the lowest prices we see in a year.

(5) Big Sales on Patio Furniture, Garden Tools, Air Conditioners, etc. August is when all the stores start clearing out the summer items like BBQ grills, window air conditioners, garden tools, lawn mowers, edgers, patio furnishings, nursery plants, and other similar type items. Check the garden centers at the big box stores as well as the local nurseries if you need to spruce up your outdoor entertainment area and refresh your landscaping.

(6) Luggage. With vacations winding down, stores locally and online are putting their luggage on sale. Check locally and online to get the best deals.

(7) Prime Student 6-Month Trial Membership. I didn't know this was available, but I think it's a great gift for a college-bound kid or grandkid. 

The Student Membership offers special benefits to college students including:  Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping (with no minimum order size), exclusive deals and promotions for college students. 

You can also send them an Amazon Gift Card or a gift card for their favorite shopping destination—most kids have a favorite shopping place whether online or in a brick and mortar store.

Takeaway Truth

I've always been a bargain shopper, and I think more people are seeing the benefits of comparisin shopping as they try to make their money stretch farther.

Summer Thoughts About Summer Delights

As summer draws to a close, I want to share some Summer Delights that usually aren't available the rest of the year.

1. Homemade ice cream.

We're making this icy cold vanilla sweetness today. It's light and melts on your tongue unlike the "heavy" commercial ice creams packed with vegetable gums to make them thick and HFCS to make them sweet.

I've never had better ice cream anywhere. It's so good that when I announce, "I'm making ice cream," we suddenly have company for dessert. I use Cousin Maybelle's recipe. (Yes, that's really her name, and don't laugh. She was a wonderful lady.) There is nothing better than the homemade vanilla ice cream from this recipe handed down through 3 generations.

2. Crape myrtles and lantana.

I love gardening and especially love the bright colors of summer flowers and shrubs. Lantana is stunning with all of the different varieties that offer a near-rainbow of colors. Although lantana is a flowering shrub, I'm always snipping branches and putting in flower vases to have fresh flowers indoors every week. I do the same with crape myrtles and also stick a rose or two in. If you're not growing a flowering shrub, you're missing an amazing opportunity to always have something blooming.

3. The smell of honeysuckle on the fence. 

Honeysuckle in the evening is the most wonderful perfume nature creates. If your climate allows, I urge you to plant some—especially if you can do it near a patio or porch. The smell is unforgettable.

[Honeysuckle Image by Alexei from Pixabay.]

4. Porch swings, rockers, and hammocks.

If you've got a porch or a patio, you should have something that swings and/or rocks on it. There's nothing more relaxing than lazing away in a porch swing or a hammock in a cool shady spot—unless it's a rocking chair. 

There are many kinds of outdoor furniture that swings or rocks. The motion is soothing. A chaise lounge will work nearly as well especially if you have a good book on a reading device. Actually, an ebook is even better than a print book because you can turn the pages with a touch of your fingertip.

5. Visiting with neighbors.

In today's busy world, we usually don't see our neighbors since most have 2-income families unless we're all outside on a weekend day, working in the yard. It's nice to take a break and chat with the neighbors this way.

6.  Flip flops, sundresses, and cork sandals.

I do love to wear breezy sundresses like this one. I find they're cooler than tee shirts and shorts on 100+ degree days.

I never seem to find very many in the local stores, but Amazon has a great selection

I choose flip flops if I'm just hanging loose or cork sandals if I'm going somewhere. Cork sandals are the best because they make me taller. Since I'm on the petite side, I love anything that adds 3-4 inches to my height—comfortably.

7. Beach reads.

Summer is when people have more leisure time to read. Ebooks are a bargain, and Kindles, smartphones, etc. make it so easy to grab bargains and always have something great to read.

For Your Consideration

Try a hot romance for a hot summer day at the beach or anywhere else you may be. The Trouble With Love takes place at a beach resort during a hot Texas summer. Here are a couple of reviews that might inspire you. 

"A thoroughly delightful romance. The story of not one but three separate and equally lovely couples. What a merry chase this story is. I absolutely loved how it all wove together to create a satisfying and lovely romance." —Amazon Review

"If you like your heroes hot you'll love FBI agent Hogan, who's caught up in a family conundrum during his vacation. 

"Together with deputy sheriff Susannah they manage to get themselves into all sorts of trouble. 

"Sparks fly between them with both determined not to fall in love and of course failing. Lovely secondary romance as well for Susannah's mother. Lots of fun and laughs in the hot Texas sun!" —Amazon Review

Takeaway Truth

That's my list of favorite summer delights. What's yours? By the way, The Trouble With Love is a Kindle Unlimited book so you can read for free if you're a subscriber.