Thursday, August 20, 2015

17 Things I Love About Us

Look at those two innocent 20-somethings. The world before them all bright and glorious. The sweetness of young love . . .

Fast forward a few years to today . . . . Mr. Ferguson and I celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. To mark the occasion, I thought I'd make a list. Mr. Ferguson and I love lists.


17 Things I Love About Us

17.  The Real Us. On the way to school today, my daughter asked if we could listen to a song on my iPod. It was actually back at home, so we decided to try the radio. A song came on I never heard before, but part of the lyrics jumped out and grabbed me.

"If I showed you my flaws, If I couldn't be strong, Would you still love me the same?"

Other than God, my hubby is the only person I've ever been able to share the real me with. My weird quirks, annoying traits, etc.  It was a gradual thing, little bit by little bit when we were dating. He was the first guy I felt like I could be honest with who didn't get scared away. He stuck. Now I tease him that he's mega super glued to me and is never allowed to unstick.  =)

16.  Talk, Talk, Talk. We don't really fight - as in yell at each other.  We just talk. Sometimes we get annoyed with each other and need to take a short break. But then we come back together to talk some more until we figure things out.

15. Listen, Listen, Listen. I am so totally not a computer person, but Mr. Ferguson is the geek of geeks. He works all day with technology I can't even begin to understand, but we still share our day with each other. I may not understand the ins and outs of his job, but I get that he has deadlines, projects, and coworkers. I listen, ask questions, and yes, he can totally tell when he's gotten too techy and my mind went mushy. He just smiles, dials the tech talk back and hugs me. I love that.

14. Giving Advice . . . Or Not. Mr. Ferguson listens to me too. All. Day. Long. Oh the joys of working from home together. Something will happen - an email from a reader, the kids forgot their lunch again, someone annoyed me, a hilarious video I discovered on Facebook, and the list goes on. I pop into his office to see if he's on a conference call. If he's not, then he's fair game for a quick conversation. Usually, it's a fast "Guess what?" or "Watch this!" But when I'm annoyed, he patiently sits, lets me vent, then evaluates my openness about receiving advice or staying quiet until later. It took several years to fine tune this amazing gift, but master it he has. Note: Reining in my tidbits of wisdom is still a work in progress. It may take another ten or so years.

13. Staying Connected.  Speaking of working from home together - I absolutely adore it. We've worked this way through most of our marriage. When he actually has to go into the office, I miss him dreadfully. When the kids were still at home, he took lots of 10 minute play breaks throughout the day to spend time with us. Once the munchkins were all in school, we started using the breaks to go on walks, have lunch together, and just chat for a few minutes here and there.

12. PDA. I love that my hubby gets embarrassed by PDA (public displays of affection - outside of our home). Holding hands, hugs, arms around the waist - that's all okay. I give him a kiss and the man is on the verge of blushing. Of course, I take advantage of that and tease him as sneakily as I can, as often as possible.

11. Teasing Our Children. Yep, this counts as things I love about us. When it comes to teasing, we keep it gentle and follow up with hugs. Lately, my teens think affection between mom and dad is gross. Which totally means we do things like, "Oh sweetie, come here. I need a big smoochy kiss," while the kids cover their eyes, gag or melt to the floor in agony. Parenting together is so much fun. (Well, most of the time.)

10. Hey You Sexy Thang! I'm no longer the little 96 lb, size two, 20-something from the day we got married. In fact, I haven't seen that size since about six months after our wedding when I was prego. Over the years, I've fluctuated up to size 20 and down and up and down. It's a never ending battle of frustration, health and fitness. The one thing that's helped me to stay positive is my hubby consistently telling me that I'm beautiful and sexy. The number on the pants don't matter to him. He loves my smile, my hugs, and yes, everything about my body. I thank God for Mr. Ferguson's attitude every single day.

9. Chasing Dreams. When hubby wanted to run his own software contracting company, we figured out how and made it work. When I wanted to go back to college, he adjusted his work schedule so I could attend classes and he could take care of the kids. One year, Mr. Ferguson did a themed Christmas. He had been thinking about the things I loved to do, but gave up when our oldest son was diagnosed with autism so I could be active in therapy programs, etc. The theme he chose was writing. He wrote me a beautiful letter, gave me all sorts of supplies and even a briefcase to organize it all into. Then he pushed me back into my love of writing. Look where we are today. We're each doing work we love, with people we admire. We wouldn't be here without the dreams, and most especially, each other's support.

8. Play Time. Board games have always been a big part of our marriage. As newlyweds, we didn't have a kitchen table, chairs or a couch. So we cooked dinner, then sat on the living room floor and played Sorry or card games. And let me tell you, I'm competitive. We weren't allowed to stop playing until I sufficiently kicked his butt. Mr. Ferguson was competitive enough to not give in and let me win, no matter how late it got. We had so much fun in that little living room. Our game collection has expanded and our kids share our love of board games with us. It's not an every day thing, but school breaks are guaranteed to be kicked off with a huge stack of games to make our way through.

7. Try New Things. Over the years, we've tried a lot of new things together. 5K's with the kids (he ran, I jogged down the hills and walked the rest), home projects, planting flower beds (sadly, my black thumb caused my plant deaths), geek cons, writing conferences, pallet projects and so much more. Last year, it was a Jane Austen ball. Mr. Ferguson was hesitant at first, but we both had a fabulous time! We keep a running list of things we think would be interesting to learn about, travel to, or try. Some turn out to be one time disasters, others we enjoy and do again. But I really like that we do it together.

6. Holding Hands. We dated for a while before Mr. Ferguson first asked if he could hold my hand. When our hands met, they shifted one way, then another, until they settled together into an unique lock, with our pinky fingers twined around each other. It makes me feel safe and loved and just ours.

5. Mr. Ferguson Cooks and Does Laundry. 'Nuff said.

4. Sense of Humor. It's gotten us through A LOT of rough times. For instance, one year just before Thanksgiving and in the middle of NaNoWriMo (I was less than 5K words from finishing), Mr. Ferguson's appendix decided it was done with his body and wanted out. Right before going into surgery, Mr. Ferguson said 2 things - 1) Go to the waiting room, get to work on your book and finish your word count before I'm done, and 2) I always thought it would be cool to have your author friends kill me off in all sorts of interesting ways in their books. We could have a "John got killed off" bookshelf collection. Yeah. I think the drugs had kicked in by then. But I did go to the waiting room and write. Then I sat in his hospital room and wrote a whole bunch more. He'd wake up for a few minutes, ask about my word count, then conk back out. A very stressful time for us both, but is something we laughed about then and now. Looking for a different point of view than the most obvious really does help in tough situations.

3. Praying Together. There's nothing sweeter than hearing your spouse pray for you, your family, and specific things we need help with or that he wishes for us. Prayer also helps us to find calm when we aren't connecting and are annoyed with each other. It heals and brings us together.

2. Ending the Day Together. Each night, we fall asleep holding hands. I hope we're still doing that when he's lost every single hair on his head and I'm a chubby, wrinkly gray haired grandma.

1. Forever. I'm grateful we have a perspective of loving each other and being best friends so that we want to be together forever.




I'm so grateful for the 17 years that have turned our initial sweet young love into a stronger, more enduring love filled with friendship, respect, laughter, hugs, empathy and support. We've shared many beautiful moments, a bucketful of challenges I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, and oh so many tears, laughter, and joy. Neither of us are perfect, but together we are an incredible team. I can't help but think that this is what love really is. But there's a little niggling something in my mind that says after another 17 years of life together, I'll say again, "This is what love really is."

Monday, August 17, 2015

Cover Reveal: Vocal Crush by Lisa Swinton

I'm so excited for Lisa Swinton's new book, Vocal Crush! Vocal Crush

Can you ever out run a broken heart?

Lexi Court spent seven years traveling the world, living the nomadic Broadway life, in an attempt to outrun the broken heart Nick Rivers gave her. Now, there’s nowhere left to go.

When she accepted a position as a high school drama teacher in Las Vegas, Lexi hoped to get over Nick, find a nice guy, and settle down. But what should be a quiet summer gets turned upside down when Lexi's best friend, Taffy, drafts her to be an emergency replacement coach on a televised vocal competition.

Feeling out of her league among the other three celebrity coaches, Lexi fights for the most promising contestants to be on her team. One note from a single voice shatters her summer. Nick unexpectedly auditions and joins Lexi's team. With her vocal crush on him raging as strong as ever, she has nowhere to run from Nick’s dreamy looks or siren voice.


Lexi has no doubt that Nick can win the competition. The question is does he want to win her heart as well or will he damage it beyond repair?

Learn more about Lisa Swinton . . .

Blog: http://www.lisaswinton.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLisaSwinton

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

#StrongWomen: Perseverance

per-se-ver-ance, noun, steadfastness in doing something despite difficulties, failures or opposition.

We don’t get to pick our challenges.

They are dropped into our lives without warning or permission. I found the only control I had was the ability to choose my reactions. Over the years, I’ve been frozen by fear, overwhelmed by work, cried out in prayer, and would have loved a “Get Out of Your Challenge Free” card.

I’m grateful that I’ve always felt driven to move forward, search for resources, connect with others, and count my blessings. Some days I failed and had to pick myself up and try something else. Some days I succeeded and paused to celebrate, then set bigger goals. It’s vital to persevere and just keep trying to make life better and happier, no matter what hand you are dealt.

Your Turn

What helps you push through your challenges? Share your thoughts or experiences in the comments section.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Love Under Construction Cover Reveal and Giveaway!


They say that love and business don’t mix . . . 


Charlee is angry...

What do you do when your boss makes someone else the lead on a big renovation project that should rightfully be yours? You quit. On second thought, that might not be the best idea, but Charlee Jackson has never been one for second thoughts. Instead, she lands a big contract of her own. She’s jumping into her new life—work boots, tool belt and all. Now she just needs to form a company and hire contractors and buy supplies and get an office and not fall in love with her former boss's son. Yeah. Definitely not that last one.

Peter is torn...

You can’t date someone who works for you, but now that his dad let Charlee walk out the door, Peter Elliot is considering his options. Charlee was their top renovation expert, his best friend’s sister, and the only thing that made the drudgery of running a large construction business bearable. But how do you date a competitor, especially one your father is trying to drive out of business? It would be stupid to make your dad angry right before he retires and hands the company over to you. Right?

When Charlee and Peter are scheduled to work on the same Indulgence Row house, their feelings and priorities are put to the test. They need to make a choice, and they better be quick about it, because the whole mixture is curing fast and threatening to crumble to pieces.

LOVE UNDER CONSTRUCTION
by Danyelle Ferguson
Published by Wonderstruck Books
Coming Sept. 8th, 2015
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25469733-love-under-construction


Other books in the series: Sweet Confections



About the Author

Danyelle Ferguson discovered her love for the written word in elementary school. Her first article was published when she was in 6th grade. Since then, she’s won several awards and has been published world-wide in newspapers, magazines and books. She’s grateful every day to work in her dream jobs – author, editor, and nurturing her readaholic tendencies.

She grew up surrounded by Pennsylvania’s beautiful Allegheny Mountains. Then lived for ten years among the majestic Wasatch Mountains. She is currently experiencing mountain-withdrawal while living in Kansas with her husband and four angels-in-training. She enjoys reading, writing, dancing & singing in the kitchen, and the occasional long bubble bath to relax from the everyday stress of being “Mommy.”


Share the Love Giveaway!


Share the Love Under Construction cover on your social media and be entered to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash, plus a Sweet Confections ebook by Danyelle Ferguson. There are several different ways to enter - and none are "mandatory." Choose your favorites, share & like away, and cross your fingers to win the prize. The giveaway is open internationally and ends at midnight (CT) on Thursday, May 7th. Good luck & thank you!


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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Homecoming: Safe Haven by Heather Justesen and a $25 Giveaway!

Safe Haven is the fourth, and final, book in the Homecoming romantic suspense series by Heather Justesen. If you haven't read the series yet, then you should absolutely check it out!

When the US Marshall sends the newly-married Bo and Tosca into hiding in a little Montana town, they settle in for a safe, quiet life while they prepare for the court case against Tosca's former boyfriend. Charles has other plans, though—he wants her dead before she can testify. And he's found their safe haven.

Safe Haven is available in both paperback and ebook on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Also, enter to win a $25 gift card!




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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cover Reveal for Marrying Christopher by Michele Paige Holmes

I'm so excited for my friend, Michele, and her upcoming novel, Marrying Christopher, which will be out in July 2015! Isn't her cover breathtaking?
 
The cover just makes me itch to know more . . . 

Having seen both his sisters Grace and Helen happily married, Christopher Thatcher is free to pursue his dream of life in America. With adventure in his heart and mind, he boards one of the first steamships set to cross the Atlantic in the record breaking time of only twenty-five days. Within the first two of those, his resolve—to avoid women and the complications they often bring to a man’s life—falters when he meets Marsali Abbott, a young woman with a past even more troubling than his own. Whether from years of habit protecting his sisters, or simply because he feels drawn to Marsali, Christopher chooses to help her and becomes her friend. As the truth about what awaits Marsali in America becomes evident, he is faced with a more difficult choice, one that will impact their lives far beyond four weeks together at sea.

Add Marrying Christopher to your Goodreads list (because I know I am right away!):

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25292540-marrying-christopher
 
And of course, this is a series. So if you haven't read the other books, here they are:
 
 
Purchase the other books in the Hearthfire Romance series:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble


About the Author:
 
Michele Paige Holmes spent her childhood and youth in Arizona and northern California, often curled up with a good book instead of out enjoying the sunshine. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Elementary Education, and found it an excellent major in which to indulge her love of children's literature.

Michele is the author of six romance novels, including the 2007 Whitney Award winning COUNTING STARS. In 2014 Michele launched the Hearthfire historical romance line with the publication of SAVING GRACE and LOVING HELEN.

Michele has been a member of the same critique group for over fifteen years and feels that joining a critique group is the single best thing an author can to do help improve his or her writing. She has been a member of RWA and URWA, LDStorymakers, and The League of Utah Writers. Michele enjoys both attending and teaching at conferences.

When not reading or writing romance, Michele is busy with her full time job as a wife and mother. She and her husband live in Utah with their five high maintenance children and a Shitzu that resembles a teddy bear, in a house with a wonderful view of the mountains. You can find Michele on the web at michelepaigeholmes.com and on Facebook and twitter.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Happy YA Book Release Day for Between Now & Never by Laura Johnston

Contemporary YA Clean Romance

Now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kensington PublishingKobo, and other online retailers.


A convict’s daughter should never fall for an FBI agent’s son, certainly not a feisty teenager like Julianna Schultz who is furious over her mother’s incarceration and the injustice of it all. But that’s exactly what seventeen-year-old Julianna finds herself doing when Cody Rush, the cocky son of the FBI agent who put her mom behind bars, moves into her hometown of Gilbert, Arizona.




Cody Rush—studious, principled, athletic, good looking and blond to boot—is everything Julianna hates, or so she thinks. Yet a series of ill-fated events one night brings them dangerously close, entangling the futures of two people who were never meant to be…




Excerpt—Photo Booth

JULIANNA

We listen to the monotone voice reel off instructions. Four pictures. A light will flash before each picture is taken. Etcetera. How I ended up in this position I’m not sure. We both sit, staring at our reflections on the dark plastic and, no doubt, both stuck on the same thought that crosses everyone’s mind when they’re on this seat.
“Quick,” I say, “what should we do?”
A flash of light. Picture one down. Both of our mouths were hanging open, blank stares straight ahead.
We burst into laughter and can’t stop. A second flash. Picture number two: both of us laughing.
Our gazes meet and we pull ourselves together, his eyes never veering from mine. He leans toward me, coming halfway before pausing, his eyes seeking permission. I regard him with equal parts terror and anticipation, the intimacy of the situation whispering a thrill. He closes the distance between us and glides his nose through my hair. My heart rattles around as though this is the first boy I’ve ever been close to.
“Now smile,” he whispers into my ear. Even if I should be creeped out, forget it. My cheeks burn despite myself and I feel the corners of my lips tugging upward. A flash of light signals the third picture and I am totally seduced.

About the Author


Laura Johnston lives in Utah with her husband and three children. Growing up with five siblings, a few horses, peach trees, beehives and gardens, she developed an active imagination and always loved a good story. She fell in love with the young adult genre both through her experience in high school as well as her job later as a high school teacher. Laura enjoys running, playing tennis, sewing, traveling, writing, and above all, spending time with her husband and kids.


About Writing BETWEEN NOW & NEVER

My husband was a special agent for five years, and while I’m sure he would have loved it if I’d written an intense thriller about Special Agent Johnston thanks to all of his crazy stories (sorry, babe…maybe someday!), I wrote a romance instead.
The convict’s daughter and the FBI agent’s son—I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Couldn’t resist.
Soon, characters began taking shape. And then a certain photo booth scene that had been on my mind for years came back to me. For so long, I couldn’t shake the image of two strangers meeting in the mall at a photo booth. I frequently wondered why I couldn’t stop thinking about these two mysterious people.
The two characters now had a face, a name.
Julianna, the convict's daughter; Cody, the FBI agent's son.
Julianna doesn't realize who Cody is at first. Yet he does—Cody knows who she is, knows his dad put her mom behind bars. And he's into her. And Julianna is into him. However, Cody knows it won't last...as soon as she figures out who he is.
Add to all of this the fact that Cody knows Julianna is in danger and we have their first meeting, near a photo booth, right after Julianna gets off work at the mall.
Review Disclaimer: Sometimes a book I review has been sent to me for free by a publisher or an author. This in no way effects my review, which is my own opinion about whether the book was a good read for me, fit my tastes, and if I would recommend it to others. Other than possibly a free book, I am not compensated in any way for posting a review.