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Month: April 2020

Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 4/27/20 – Autism Awareness, Hallee’s Brew, Temperance’s Trial

Hello! Welcome to Monday Morning Coffee and Chat! Today I’m talking about autism awareness week, the rewrite of my WWII novella TEMPERANCE’S TRIAL, and answering the question, “I’m always looking for yummy coffee… When will Hallee’s Brew be available?”

Links talked about in this video are:

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Introducing Hallee’s Brew!

I am so excited to announce the release of Hallee’s Brew, my own personal brand of coffee!

I was at the warehouse and saw how they roast the beans, tasted all of the different levels of roasts, chatted with the roaster, and can tell you with all of my coffee-loving snobbery, that this coffee is amazing!

My personal favorite and what I recommend is dark roast. It doesn’t taste burnt at all. It is very smooth, very rich. Our young coffee connoisseur Jeb (the 11-year-old) preferred the light/medium, but did enjoy the medium with a little cream.

We chose this specific Honduran bean because the distributor is a missionary in Honduras and works very closely with the village that grows and harvests this bean. Every dime we pay him goes to his ministry in Honduras. You can read more about it at this link.

Get your coffee today!

Ground/Whole Bean


Red Pitted Against Blue

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I quit following politics and watching the news the summer of 2007. Before then, I’d been very active in my political party and when the presidency changed, I watched a shift in behavior and attitude that was almost like two opposing teams on a football field stopped when the ball changed hands and switched jerseys. It occurred to me at that time that both parties are essentially the same and the puerile pundit blabbering is going to only ever be for their party and insanely against the opposing party NO MATTER WHAT. It made me crazy.

Fast forward to the now. I’ve watched more news in the last 6 weeks than I have in the last 13 years. Seriously. And I’ve discovered a few things with the perspective of a clear mind forged from a 13-year hiatus from the ridiculous:

  • The puerile pundit blabbering is going to only ever be for their party and insanely against the opposing party NO MATTER WHAT.
  • The political divide in this country is going to be what destroys us. Here’s something that no one says anymore: I didn’t vote for my governor, but he’s done an incredible job, an amazing job, and I’ll probably vote for him in the next election.
  • Even with time tables and scientific facts, and actual hard evidence, the blue and red divide isn’t being breached to find a common ground. THAT’S RIDICULOUS. Oh my word. I can’t even.

The whole (R) vs. (D) is a little embarrassing, really. And like the last election, with clear eyes garnered from a 13-year hiatus from the absurd, I’ll likely vote (I) because I refuse to cast my vote between the lesser of two evils.

Also, there’s a news host that I have a total girl crush on who I feel like must be my soul sister. I won’t say who it is, because I won’t be labeled politically because you’d be wrong. However, every time I hear her speak, I want to just sit at her feet and soak in how she forms sentences and delivers the words. I want to be that well-spoken and that fluid with delivering my thoughts.

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Valerie’s Verdict – Serious Writer Book of the Year Semifinalist!

Congratulations to Valerie’s Verdict, Serious Writer’s Book of the Year Semifinalist!

I am so honored to be included in the list of books for book of the year and am waiting in anticipation for the announcement of finalists in May!



Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 4/20/20 – Valerie’s Verdict is a Semi-Finalist!

Hello! Welcome to Monday Morning Coffee and Chat! Today I’m talking about Valerie’s Verdict being named as a semi-finalist for Serious Writer’s Book of the Year, and the chaos around redecorating my boys’ rooms.

Books talked about in this video are:

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Interview with Carol Raj and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I’m happy to have Carol Raj. As a linear writer — meaning I start at the beginning and write to the end, I’m fascinated by someone who can write a book out of order! Her book sounds like a lot of fun! Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of it. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.

Tell us a little about yourself. I grew up in the Midwest, lived in the beautiful state of New Hampshire for forty years, and recently moved with my husband to Georgia. We have three successful children and five grandchildren with one more on the way.

Tell us about your current release. The Curious Prayer Life of Muriel Smith is about an impoverished retired teacher. When she prays for someone to mow her lawn, she gets carjacked. How could God get everything so wrong? Things go from bad to worse until… Well… You’ll have to read the book.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? I wish I knew how! Sometimes a long walk helps. Sometimes reading a book about writing triggers an aha moment. Often I write chapters out of order and fill in the gaps later.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? In second grade my story about a duck earned a gold star and a prominent place on the classroom bulletin board. I decided then that I wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first novel when I was in sixth grade, worked on my elementary school newspaper, and was a copy editor for my high school yearbook. My father was my greatest encouragement.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I always felt that if I couldn’t get a traditional publisher, my work wasn’t good enough to self publish. So I never even considered it.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? (1) Join a good local or online critique group. (2) Once your work is the best you can make it, go to a conference and sign up for as many editor and agent appointments as you can. If you’re lucky, someone may make an offer, but, even if no one does, you’ll get valuable individualized feedback.

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? The plot and characters are for my own enjoyment, but I do follow generally accepted guidelines, like word count appropriate for the genre.

I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book and go in a different direction? When I started Muriel, I knew the beginning and the ending but nothing about the middle. Trouble is, nobody else liked the original ending. The published ending is revision number four and 180 degrees different.

Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when you started this story? I was sitting in a car in a parking lot while my husband ran into a store “for just a minute.” He laughed at me for locking the car doors, and I thought: What if I had been carjacked? And what if I hated to drive?

Here is where you can find Carol online:

Carol is giving away an ebook copy of her book to a reader! See below how to enter to win: a Rafflecopter giveaway


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