Big Giant Book Sale!


My incredible publisher, Entangled, is doing their part to help folks through quarantine. They are offering an escape by making it a little easier to afford books!

They’ve put a TON of their first-in-series books up for FREE and a ton more up for only $0.99 each.

Here are the lists on Barnes & Noble
Note that the discounted pricing is at every ebook retailer including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, & Google!

FREE FIRST IN SERIES
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/b/entangled-romance-sale/free-ebooks/_/N-1gmdZry0

$0.99 BOOKS
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/b/entangled-romance-sale/_/N-1gmd

100 Things to Do at Home!

With quarantines quickly becoming a new normal for the moment, I think we can all agree most people aren’t used to being stuck at home for long periods of time. Suddenly being contained in one place can be tough to weather.

As a writer who works from home, a well as a natural introvert who doesn’t mind being at home for weeks at a time, I feel uniquely qualified for this situation. And I’d like to share some suggestions to help others power through.

Here are tips to help keep mentally healthy (as well as entertained) during a prolonged period at home.

Stay safe and well out there! xoxo

StayingHome

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AT HOME

1. Shower and dress the same as you would usually do.

2. Stick to a routine of some sort (regular wake up time/bed time, regular meals, etc.).

3. Get outside if you can. Go take a walk in your neighborhood or hang out in your back yard. Something.

4. If you are working from home, actually work. For the same hours you’d be in the office.

5. Make your bed – less tempting to get back in it.

6. Skype/video chat with close family/friends to get some face time.

7. Do NOT have the news on all day. Yes, stay up to date, but try to limit yourself. Stick to the 5:30 broadcasts, state or national press conferences, and/or your local/state website.

8. Exercise. The endorphins help!

9. Check out this list of 100 fun activities you can do in the privacy (and safety) of your own home…


100 ACTIVITIES FOR HOME

RELAX & SELF-CARE
  1. Read a book you love.
  2. Give yourself a manicure or pedicure.
  3. Take a bubble bath.
  4. Try out a new face mask or beauty product.
  5. Doodle, color, or draw on some paper.
  6. Do yoga (check out YouTube for tutorials).
  7. Write a poem.
  8. Write in a journal.
  9. Take a nap.
  10. Listen to music.
  11. Stretch.
  12. Look through old photos and videos.
  13. Watch a sunset or sunrise.
  14. Meditate.
  15. Sit or lay outside in good weather.
  16. Find a new favorite quote or saying.
  17. Write a letter to your future self.
  18. Take a long shower.
  19. Drink tea.
  20. Cuddle with a pet or S.O.
  21. Create a self-love list.
  22. Find a new podcast to listen to.
  23. Play an instrument.
  24. Knit or crochet.
  25. Create a cozy reading nook in your house.
  26. Bonus: Catch up on all those shows you’ve been meaning to binge watch.
GET PRODUCTIVE
  1. Read a “How to” book.
  2. Do your taxes. (April 15th is just around the corner)
  3. Go for a walk, a run, sit-ups, anything you can for a little bit of exercise.
  4. Organize a space that needs it. (Or organize a space a day!)
  5. Update your resume.
  6. Clean something in your place that you haven’t in a while (baseboards, under the bed, kitchen cupboards, etc.).
  7. Meal prep for the upcoming week.
  8. Clean your makeup brushes.
  9. Research dream careers.
  10. Look for ways to reach out and help others from home.
  11. Make a future finances plan.
  12. Sign up for an online class. (like udemy.com or masterclass.com)
  13. Clean up your emails.
  14. Make a list of personal or professional goals.
  15. Start a DIY project.
  16. Clean out your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  17. Start a garden (or kitchen garden).
  18. Clean your phone or phone case (it’s probably very dirty).
  19. Watch a how-to YouTube video.
  20. Spring clean your yard.
  21. Get ahead on schoolwork or future projects.
  22. Fine-tune your LinkedIn profile.
  23. Do your laundry.
  24. Wash your car(s).
  25. Learn OneNote and start using it. (Get started here.)
BE ENTERTAINED
  1. Read something from your TBR list. (Maybe an Abigail Owen or Kadie Scott or Kristen McKanagh book! My only shameless plug, I promise.)
  2. Scroll through Pinterest.
  3. Online shop (just watch that budget you made in the productive list).
  4. Watch a favorite movie or a movie you haven’t seen in a while.
  5. Skype some friends and do a virtual game.
  6. Start an Instagram page for your pet.
  7. Watch a documentary.
  8. Write love notes for your S.O.
  9. Get lost on Tumblr.
  10. Make a collage.
  11. Make a bucket list.
  12. Take some selfies.
  13. Catch up on celebrity gossip.
  14. Sing & dance to your favorite songs.
  15. Have a costume night.
  16. Throw an indoor picnic.
  17. Have an indoor scavenger hunt.
  18. Have a themed movie night.
  19. Start family game night.
  20. Do a puzzle.
  21. Have a water balloon fight.
  22. Have a family tea party.
  23. Try some stargazing and discover constellations.
  24. Put on a play.
  25. Build a Lego city.
CREATE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
  1. Read a book about — a different culture, a place you’ve never been, from a new to you genre, from a new to you author.
  2. Start a blog or vlog.
  3. Go for a walk in your neighborhood.
  4. Try out a new hairstyle or experiment with your hair.
  5. Plan a future trip. (might have to be far future).
  6. Experiment with new recipes.
  7. Make a cocktail or a mocktail.
  8. Reach out to a friend or relative you haven’t talked to in a while. (virtually)
  9. Rearrange your furniture or redecorate your living space.
  10. Create your own website.
  11. Look for your first (or next) tattoo design.
  12. Make an effort to learn something new.
  13. Make a vision board.
  14. Try learning a new language.
  15. Write a book or story.
  16. Make a movie.
  17. Stage a photo shoot.
  18. Create a list of places you want to travel to.
  19. Set up a tent indoors and do indoor camping.
  20. Play a different game with your family each night.
  21. Train your dog/cat to do a new trick.
  22. Create a picture book / scrap book.
  23. Learn a new hobby (like take up knitting/crocheting).
  24. Make a time capsule.
  25. Plan a post-apocalypse party.

SNOWBALL’S CHRISTMAS | Cover Reveal + Preorder + Giveaway

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The perfect day to share this absolutely adorable cover for Snowball’s Christmas!!

Coming September 29th with Kensington Publishing, it is up for preorder now (both ebook and paperback). I am so tickled about the cover and the story and this kitten! September can’t come soon enough!

A huge thank you to ModernCat Magazine for featuring the cover reveal today! I hope your readers and all the cat lovers will adore Snowball’s story!

To celebrate, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! See more details below. Make sure to reserve your copy of Snowball’s Christmas today!

Snowball—an aptly named bundle of feline fluff—is thankful to be spending her first Christmas in the comfort of Weber Haus, the Victorian B&B run by Miss Tilly. Emily Diemer, who cooks for the guests, dotes on Snowball, but she’s not thrilled about another new arrival at the B&B: Miss Tilly’s nephew, Lukas. Which is odd, because Snowball’s animal instincts tell her that Lukas and Emily should definitely be friends.

Everything Emily needs is in this quaint community—including, she hopes, the chance to open her own bakery one day. She doesn’t think much of Lukas for leaving his aging aunt to struggle while he jets around the world taking photographs. But now that he’s here, helping to spruce up the property and getting mixed up in Snowball’s antics, she begins to soften a little. Until she learns what he has planned…

Lukas is going to sell Weber Haus so that Miss Tilly can retire. But Snowball is certain that this B&B, and these people, are supposed to be her forever home. Somehow she has to get these stubborn humans to see things through the wisdom of a cat’s eye and a kitten’s loyal, loving heart…

PRE-ORDER NOW – SEPTEMBER 29th

AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | GOOGLE | INDIEBOUND


COVER REVEAL GIVEAWAY

✨💳A $25 AMAZON GC IS UP FOR GRABS!💳✨

👉 To enter…

In the comments, share your FAVORITE THING ABOUT KITTENS (OR PUPPIES)!

In addition, if you want to earn extra entries, I’m running this giveaway across several social media platforms. You can go to any (or even all) of the below and follow the instructions on my COVER REVEAL post to enter. Newsletter subscribers are automatically entered an extra time. Totally up to you! 

Earn extra entries on:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Subscribe to Newsletter 

Best of luck! xoxo, Abigail 

*Must be 18+ to enter. US Only. Last chance to enter is 11:59pm PT 2/20/2020. Winner and runners up will be randomly drawn from all entrants across social media and announced Friday, February 21st on each original post. Winners will be contacted via DM or email and will have 1 week to claim their prize, otherwise prizes are forfeit.

Snowball’s 1st Taste of Matchmaking – Part 2

Enjoy this short story featuring Snowball the kitten in her new home, Weber Haus, a beautiful Victorian inn filled with love. Wrapping up from the part 1:

PICKING UP WHERE WE LEFT OFF…

“It’s too late for that,” Morgan managed to choke the words out. Shaking Nick off, she started up the stairs.

Except Snowball ran past her and then turned, hopping into her path so that Morgan had no place to step.

“Move,” she whispered at the cat. Desperation to save face and get the heck out of here prodded her to go faster.

She tried to take another step, and Snowball hopped in the way again. “Darn it, cat. Emily was right about you.”

“I love you.”

She jerked to a halt at Nick’s words low-voiced words. Then shook her head, because she couldn’t have heard him right. This was the same man who’d broken things off with her. Who’d said he wasn’t sure if he loved her and it wasn’t fair to keep her waiting.

Who’d taken her heart and stomped on it until she was bruised and bleeding on the inside.

Morgan leaned over, scooped Snowball up in her hands so the kitten couldn’t get in her way again…and walked away.

***

Shock held Nick immobile at the bottom of the steps.

Morgan walked away. Hadn’t even acknowledged his declaration, as blurted out as it had been. She’d done the one thing he was trying to stop.

He ran a hand through his hair, no doubt standing the thick, sandy strands up on end, and glanced at the woman who’d greeted him at the door.

Emma? No, Emily. She stood with her eyes wide, and eyebrows practically in her hair. “Not what I was hoping for,” he said with a self-deprecating smile.

“Clearly,” she said back.

That was no help. “What do I do?”

Emily huffed a laugh. “You must be desperate, asking a total stranger something like that. How should I know?”

“I’m head over heels in love with the woman.” He shook his head. “I can’t give up on us. Not yet.”

How could he have been so stupid as to take his dad’s advice in the first place? His father, on wife number four, who seemed to view love as some elusive thing that he could catch if he tried enough women on for size, instead of as a life-long commitment that took work and guts.

“I was an idiot.” He had no idea why he was telling Emily this.

“That’s an understatement,” a soft voice said from the top of the stairs.

Nick whipped around to find Morgan standing at the top of the stairs, the white kitten squiggling around in her hand, clearly wanting release. He sucked in sharply, for a moment wondering if this beautiful but old, Victorian-style inn was haunted and now he was seeing a ghost of exactly what he wanted.

She’d come back. He had no idea why, and he didn’t deserve it, but she’d come back.

Morgan put the kitten down then set her feet and crossed her arms. Definitely still angry and untrusting. He’d done that to her. But she was here.

“Why?” she demanded.

“Why what?” There were a hundred and three questions she could be asking. Better to clarify.

“Why did you break up with me and then ask me to marry you?”

Only the truth would work. She wasn’t going to like it. “My dad.”

She frowned. “John? What about him?”

He grimaced. This was seriously not going to go over well. “He said that when I found the woman I loved, I should break up with her. If she goes back to her life easily, then she doesn’t really love me, and it wasn’t meant to be. If she runs, she loves me.” He shrugged. “You ran.”

Morgan stared at him with a zero reaction, not even a bat of her eyelashes.

The kitten now sitting at her feet put out a paw, as if to ask if Morgan was all right. At the small touch, Morgan shook her head. “Let me get this straight. Your father—as sweet as he is—who is messed up when it comes to women, is who you decided to take advice from when it comes to our relationship?”

Nick didn’t look away or blink or fidget, which perhaps she expected him to do. “I was an idiot.”

“Yes, you were.”

Though her expression didn’t change, Nick took a small amount of hope from her quip. Hidden in the pain was the woman he’d come to adore—sharp, spunky, and loved a good laugh. “I knew it the moment you walked out the door,” he said.

Morgan crossed her arms. “Uh-huh.” She wasn’t buying it.

Desperation had him clenching his hands at his side. How did he make her see? “I ran after you, but you disappeared.”

A small frown twitched at her brows. “A taxi happened to be waiting outside your building.”

He nodded. “So I went to your apartment, but you weren’t there.”

She blinked now. Please let her believe him. “I got in my car and drove.”

“Yeah. It took me a while to figure out where and follow you.” Understatement. “Did didn’t warn me to put a tracking device on the woman I loved so that, when she ran, I’d be able to keep up.”

Morgan snorted. More derisive than amused, but still, the bands clenched around his lungs eased a tiny bit with hope.

“How did you?” she asked. “Find me I mean?”

“You finally turned your cell phone on, and we shared accounts, so you popped up on my map.”

She raised her eyes to the ceiling as if she’d find serenity up there. She wouldn’t. If she was hurting half as badly as he was, the only peace they would find was with each other. God, he’d messed this up so badly.

“So you love me,” she said. Only her arms were still crossed, and the words dripped in skepticism.

No turning back now. Pulling the box he’d been carrying around for weeks out of his pocket, he dropped to his knee as he opened the lid.

“I loved you the day you got that horrible cold and tried to keep me out of your apartment so I wouldn’t see you all red and puffy.”

She opened her mouth, but only a squeak came out.

He took heart and kept going. “I loved you more the day you told me I would never be like my father. But I knew I wanted to marry you the day we had our first fight.”

Her gaze, glued to the ring in his hands, lifted slowly to his. “Our first fight?”

“You fight fair.” His lips tipped in a smile. “Marry me?”

“Why should I?” The wobble to her voice just about shredded his heart. He’d done that to her. If she let him, he’d spend the rest of his life making it up to her.

“Because you love me, too.”

Morgan closed her eyes and swallowed hard. Swallowing back tears? Nick waited, praying silently. Please let her forgive me.

She snapped her eyes open. “Only if I get to pick what we watch on TV—”

He was up the stairs to her, wrapping her in his arms, breathing in the familiar, air-fresh scent of her. He buried his face in her hair, arms shaking as relief flooded his muscles. “Thank God,” he murmured.

“I’m not done,” she whispered. But she was teasing now. He could hear it in her voice.

He pulled back to find her smiling. “Oh?”

“Along with the remote, I’m in charge of the thermostat.”

He released her, but only enough to slip the ring out of its box and onto her finger where it belonged. His mother’s ring. “Anything, just so long as you’re my wife.”

“Then I guess we have a deal.”

With a laugh he kissed her, staked a claim on those lips that no man would ever touch again. Soft lips that had shared a thousand kisses. Lips that tasted of salt. Tears. He sucked in a breath pulling back and ran the pad of his thumbs over her cheeks. “Now you cry?”

“Only happy tears.” Her smile lit him up from the inside.

He pulled her close again, heart aching that he been the cause of any other kind. “That’s a promise.”

“Mrrrow.” Breaking apart, they both looked down to find the small white kitten hopping around their feet and what appeared to be a happy little dance.

Morgan laughed, the sound lifting his heart. “Oh, Snowball,” she said.

THE END

Love a matchmaking kitten? Look for Snowball’s Christmas, a full length novel coming October 2020 with Kensington.

Finding Snowball

Enjoy this short story featuring Snowball the kitten in her new home, Weber Haus, a beautiful Victorian inn filled with love.

“Oh, my word. Is that what I think it is?” Miss Tilly exclaimed.

“What?” Emily glanced in direction Tilly pointed but was distracted momentarily by the large bruise on the back of her hand, marring the paper thin skin.

She took the gnarled old hand in hers, inspecting it closer. “What happened?”

“Oh, who knows.” Miss Tilly waved her off, like shooing a fly. “I’m an old woman. It’s not important.”

“Not import—”

Emily did a double take as Tilly hurried away; her attention still focused on whatever she’d seen. Emily had been living and working at Tilly’s B&B for a while now. Long enough for Tilly to become more than her boss and landlady. Though Emily had a large family nearby, Tilly had become like a beloved great aunt. Every nonsensical, sweet natured, forgetful part of her.

They were supposed to be looking around one of the various unused buildings on the large property known as Weber Haus. Emily had an idea about turning it into a bakery and shop, maybe, eventually, a coffee house. That was, if Tilly was amenable.

“Emily!”

Pulling her jacket closer around her to ward off the chill of oncoming winter, she hurried her steps at the concerned tone in Tilly’s voice. She found her staring at the old, grey stump of a tree.  Peering over the old woman’s shoulder, she gasped.

There on the top of the tree stump, tucked into a hollow, was a tiny white kitten. Newborn, its eyes and ears still remained closed. The tiny thing was asleep, wrapped up in a navy wool scarf.

“What on Earth?” Emily muttered. Who could have left it here? No way did a mama cat arrange her baby in the item of clothing that neatly. “It must be freezing.”

Even wrapped in the scarf, the temperatures had been steadily dropping for weeks. It even smelled like winder, crisp and clean, though snow had yet to cover the leaves that crunched underfoot.

Without a thought, other than saving it, she scooped the tiny thing up in her hands cradling it against her chest. The kitten wriggled and gave a little mewl. Of fear or maybe protest at being disturbed.

“What a sweet, little mite.” Tilly reached out to run a finger over its head, and the kitten leaned into her touch, its face all scrunched up in the cutest way. “What should we name it?”

Nope. No way were they keeping a kitten.

She’d been hired as a cook for the B&B but had swiftly seen that Miss Tilly couldn’t keep running it on her own. So Emily had taken on more. And more. The grand house and estate had a ton of upkeep, and the money wasn’t holding out, though they were full up most days. But she couldn’t add one more thing. Not even a soft, adorable thing that made her want to rub her cheek over its long fur.

“We should take her to the local shelter,” Emily said firmly. “I’m sure they’ll know better how to nurse her. Eventually they’ll find her a home.”

“Of course. You know best, dear.” Miss Tilly smiled.

That had been way too easy. Rescuing a kitten would be catnip to Tilly’s soft heart. She’d given in way too easily.

But she didn’t argue, simply got Tilly settled in the car, cuddling the kitten who’d fallen asleep like a little angel. Except the shelter was closed on Sundays.

Dangit.

Emily turned the car and headed to the other end of town to the vet, who, as luck would have it, was open on a Sunday. The vet, a middle-aged man who talked to Tilly like an old friend, checked the kitten out and proclaimed it healthy. And a girl.

He then explained the rigorous process of helping a newborn kitten who didn’t have her mother. Keeping her warm, but not too warm meant holding the kitten against one’s body at all times. The tiny thing would have to be fed by bottle, a tiny bit every few hours, including through the night. Not to mention the rubbing her private bits with a wet cloth to stimulate it to release its bladder and bowls.

“We’ll take good care of her, doctor,” Miss Tilly assured.

The woman was practically glowing. Emily hated to take that happiness from her. With no family of her own, except a nephew she’ raised after he lost his parents—a nephew who traveled the world as a photographer and was never home—Tilly had no one.

“We’ll take her tonight and do everything. But tomorrow, she goes to the shelter,” Emily amended firmly.

“That’s what I meant.” Again, Tilly’s smile left Emily wondering, but it wasn’t like she could air those suspicions. She’d hurt Tilly’s feelings if she was wrong.

The rest of the day, after getting home, was spent trading off taking care of the kitten. Granted, Tilly probably did the most caring because Emily had things to do. Making dinner for their guests. Preparing ahead for breakfast. She’d decided on a French toast casserole that she could make ahead of time. That would free up her morning a bit. Then, of course, the toilet in the “King’s Random” bedroom backed up. She managed not to have to call the plumber. This time. But that was coming, she could tell.

Unfortunately, the night shift with the kitten fell on her shoulders. Tilly getting up and down in the dark to prepare formula and feed the kitten every few hours was disaster waiting to happen. Not to mention a broken hip. Which was how Emily ended up caring for the tiny thing all night long.

About three in the morning, bleary eyed and sleepy in the quiet, soft darkness illuminated by the light from the bathroom, she sat on the edge of the bed cradling the kitten and watching its tiny belly grow round with the formula. Only a thimble full, really, fed not through a bottle but a syringe.

She put the syringe aside and tickled its little belly. She did have the softest fur, already long and luxurious. With a weary sigh, Emily lay back on the bed, the kitten on her chest, against her skin, like the vet had instructed. No heating pads, because, apparently, she could burn.

Emily was just drifting back to sleep when a tiny wriggling body pulled her from oblivion. The kitten squiggled and squirmed, squeaking the entire way, up to the crook of her neck where it promptly curled up in a nest made of Emily’s hair. After a second, its little body set to vibrating.

“How can something so tiny make that much noise,” Emily grumbled.

But she wasn’t fooling anyone, least of all herself. The tiny animal had managed to burrow itself into her heart. Emily sighed and closed her eyes again. “I guess we should call you Snowball,” she whispered.

And promptly fell asleep with a contented smile.

THE END

Love a matchmaking kitten? Look for Snowball’s Christmas, a full length novel coming October 2020 with Kensington.

Snowball’s 1st Taste of Matchmaking – Part 1

Enjoy this short story featuring Snowball the kitten in her new home, Weber Haus, a beautiful Victorian inn filled with love. She’s about to get her first taste of matchmaking…

“Snowball? Snowball?”

“She’s in here,” Morgan called.

A few seconds later, a head popped round the corner to the sitting room where Morgan was curled up on a rather uncomfortable antique settee. Emily Diemer, one of the two ladies who ran the bed and breakfast, took one glance at the tiny white fluffball of a kitten snuggled in the crook of Morgan’s legs and smiled.

“That kitten is going to be the death of me,” Emily said, shaking her dark head as she came further into the room.

“This sweet little thing?” Morgan ran a hand over Snowball’s soft fur, and the baby stretched adorably, giving a little yawn.

Emily snorted. “Her halo is held on by little devil horns.”

Morgan chuckled, but couldn’t agree. This little cat, still so tiny and precious, had been her constant companion. Given that she’d come to Weber Haus to lick her wounds in relative private, Morgan had appreciated the snuggles and tiny just sitting together more than she could say.

Emily tipped her chin at the sunlight streaming through the one window in the small room. “I assumed you’d be out enjoying the beautiful weather while it lasts. Shopping maybe.”

Morgan glanced outside. Snow would cover the rolling hills and trees almost completely bare of leaves soon. “I’m a bit of a homebody. I hope that’s okay.”

“Of course. You might enjoy some of the books on the shelves in the formal living room.” Emily turned to leave.

“Actually…” Morgan called her back, suddenly needing more than Snowball. A human to talk to would be nice. “I just had my heart smashed to pieces and I’m hiding from the world for a bit.” Why she’d felt compelled to share, she wasn’t sure, except she’d been sitting here letting loneliness and heartbreak keep her in a state of inaction, the same way rust turned the Tin Man to a statue.

Emily’s eyes darkened with empathy and she dropped to sit beside Morgan on the settee. “I’m so sorry to hear that. You stay as long as you need—”

The bell over the front door jangled softly and Emily grimaced. “We’re expecting a new guest today. I’ll be right back.”

Morgan sighed as Emily hurried away. By the time the young woman, about her age Morgan guessed, returned, she’d probably have talked herself out of sharing.

Her hand on Snowball paused in a rhythmic petting as the low rumble of a voice coming from the foyer sounded way too familiar.

“No way,” Morgan muttered.

Snowball gave a squeak of protest as Morgan hurriedly got up. A quick peek around the corner, and Morgan jerked back into the sitting room, her heart doing a decent impersonation of a jail break. What on earth was Nick Jensen doing here?

“Oh my God,” she whispered, and looked frantically around the room. If she tried to escape via the hallway, he’d see her. The window seemed the only way out. A ridiculous idea, but sometimes desperation trumped common sense.

As soon as she opened the window, which thankfully slid up without a sound, Snowball gave a loud meow. Really loud given how tiny that kitten was.

“Shhhhh.” Morgan waived her off.

“Meow,” Snowball answered with even more gusto to Morgan’s sensitive years.

Which only made Morgan move faster. Or try to at least. Ignoring the animal, she managed to get one leg out the window only to realize that the drop was much further than her short legs could reach.

With a grunt, she glanced at Snowball. “I think I’m stuck,” she whispered.

With another meow, the kitten ran from the room.

“Great. Abandoned by a white puffball,” Morgan muttered.

She pushed further outside, twisting and reaching as far as she could, until she was hanging by the hook of her knee, and still couldn’t reach the ground with her swinging foot.

“Meow,” she vaguely heard from inside.

Snowball had returned?

“Need some help with that?”

Morgan froze where she dangled, then slowly looked up into a pair of laughing green eyes. Eyes she’d thought she wanted to see every morning for the rest of her life. Eyes framed by a strong, straight nose, a surprisingly generous mouth, and a jaw shadowed by dark stubble. Snowball had not helped her at all. The little cat may have run to get help, but the help she’d brought was the same man Morgan never wanted to see again.

“Nope,” she said. “I’m doing just fine on my own.”

Nick’s grin widened. “I can see that.”

Ignoring her glare of protest, he reached out the window, grabbed her under the arms, and scooped her inside the house.

Once on her feet, and with as much dignity as she could muster, Morgan brushed herself off. Satisfied her skirt wasn’t stuck in the band of her panties or something equally mortifying, she refused to look at Nick. Instead, she picked Snowball up and left the room, passing by an open-mouthed Emily as she went.

“Wait,” Nick called after her.

She paused on the stairs, part of her—the part still in love with him—wanting to stay and hear him out. The part that ached with the hurt he’d inflicted wasn’t so sure.

He covered her hand with his, and Morgan had to close her eyes against the sensations such a simple touch stirred.

“Please, Morgan,” Nick said in a voice gone gruff. “I came to apologize.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

#MLKDAY – A Day of Service

Today, Jan. 20, 2020, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day – a federal holiday that celebrates the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The holiday was signed into federal law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later. MLK Day was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.

But did you know…this is meant to be a day of service? 

The holiday is meant to be “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

FOR THOSE STILL WORKING

While this is a federal/state holiday, it is not one mandated to be a day off work for all privately owned companies. Only 33% of non-state and federal employers give this time off. So if you have to be at work, we get it. 

However, you can still make it a day of service. Consider taking a moment to reach out to your HR or your department head. Make the request that even if it’s not a day off, that it be a day of service starting next year where employees can go out in groups, with company t-shirts even, to do a day of service together. (Trust me, most companies love to be represented by community minded employees this way.)

Also, there is still time after work that you can do something small. Check out the list below.

FOR THOSE WITH THE DAY OFF

For those with the day off, what are you going to do to make this a “day on.” Some great ideas are listed below.

*This list is a shortened version of the one found at https://blog.fundly.com/community-service-ideas/ to be things doable in the short term for 1 day of service. Check out the bigger list for more fantastic ideas!

GENERAL

  • Volunteer at a local nonprofit
  • Participate in a national giving or remembrance day
  • Clean up your local park or playground
  • Plant trees, flowers, or other plants
  • Repair broken household items or appliances for neighbors
  • Write and send letters to soldiers and veterans

HELP KIDS / SCHOOLS

  • Volunteer at a youth shelter
  • Donate used books to a children’s library
  • Donate your used electronics to a school
  • Donate baby clothes and supplies
  • Join a group like Big Brothers, Big Sisters
  • Donate stuffed animals to kids in hospitals

HELP SENIOR CITIZENS

  • Take flowers to nursing home residents
  • Cook a meal for a senior
  • Decorate doors at a nursing home for the holidays
  • Host agame night at a nursing home
  • Teach an elderly person a card game or trick
  • Teach an elderly neighbor computer skills
  • Adopt a grandparent
  • Write letters for a senior
  • Deliver cookies or snacks to elderly neighbors

HELP ANIMALS / ENVIRONMENT

  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Sponsor an animal in your city’s zoo
  • Build birdhouses for your neighborhood
  • Donate to a local animal shelter
  • Collect pet food and supplies for a shelter
  • Plant trees in a local park
  • Clean up a stretch of highway/local park/common areas in your neighborhood
  • Spruce up a park trail or hiking area
  • Bike to work or school

HELP HOMELESS / HUNGRY

  • Collect household items for a homeless family
  • Give grocery coupons to a local food bank
  • Create care packages with essential items
  • Donate toys and school supplies to a homeless shelter
  • Donate blankets to a homeless shelter
  • Volunteer at and donate to your local food bank
  • Create portable first aid kits for the homeless
  • Donate gently used clothing and shoes
  • Spend time at a soup kitchen

CRIME REDUCTION & SAFETY

  • Become part of your neighborhood watch group
  • Join an organization like DARE
  • Paint over graffiti in your neighborhood
  • Start a violence protection group in your community

SPECIAL NEEDS FOCUS

  • Hold a crayon and marker drive
  • Collect school supplies for special needs classrooms
  • Help make sure your neighborhood is handicap accessible
  • Donate to a care center in your community

NEIGHBORHOOD & COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT

  • Campaign for more bike lanes and sidewalks
  • Pick up trash around the neighborhood
  • Rake leaves for neighbors
  • Join your neighborhood watch group
  • Help people clean their gutters

2020 Goals

It’s coming up on the end of the old year and beginning of the new, and you know what that means… Goals.

Look at how you did on the old ones and set some new ones to keep that forward momentum. I do this every year for personal and professional goals. As Kristen McKanagh is a new pen name for me, with my first book out in 2020, I’ve got a list of goals to hit. Let’s take a look at those author ones.

2020 GOALS

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My goals this year surround completing contracts already signed and releasing my first book under this name!

  • PUBLISH BOOKS
    • Snowball’s Christmas – Oct
  • WRITE BOOKS – Contracts to fulfill means a ton of words to write as well as go through the editing process on…
    • Finish editing process and/or rewrites on Snowball’s Christmas
    • Write and submit
      • A Gift of Hope (Unexpected Gifts #1)
      • Untitled Snowball’s Christmas #2
  • AOAD – Authors On A Dime
    • Continue as a Virtual Personal Assistant for author Alyssa Day.
    • Continue to design covers for The Wild Rose Press
  • FUN & FRIENDS – Great times with fellow authors
    • VP of Programs on Board of Directors for Austin RWA (local chapter)
    • Spending time with my awesome readers/authors/editors/agent/and friends. One of the best parts of what I do!
  • TRAVEL & EVENTS
    • Still working on my conference schedule for the year. Known events
    • A writing retreat with bestie Nicole.
    • RWA Nationals – July
    • Buns & Roses Romance Tea for Literacy – Oct
  • EDUCATION – Get Better
    • It’s a goal of mine every single year to continue to improve as an author by attending lots of workshops.

My Parents’ Happiest Place

This past Thanksgiving week, my family took a fantastical vacation to Disney World and Universal Studios to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary!

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Disney is definitely my happiest place on earth. Between Disney fairy tales and Star Wars, my childhood imagination was formed. If you look closely enough, you can probably see that in my books.

In addition, I’m a ride junkie. Especially roller coasters. And Orlando has plenty of those. Between the 2 multi-parks, my favorite rides include… Everest, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Kong. And, despite it not being one of my favorite movies, my all-time favorite ride is Peter Pan.

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I also LOVE the immersive worlds these theme parks have started creating. Getting lost in the worlds of Harry Potter, Avatar, and now Star Wars is incredible. I could spend days just looking at all the details.

But this trip, what I loved most above all was watching my parents!

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They hadn’t been to Disney since they took me when I was 8 (so a decade or 2…or 3). At that time, Epcot was still fairly new and Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios didn’t yet exist (at least as part of Disney). Seeing them enjoy the rides and, in particular, enjoy the time with family, was fantastic. Watching them light up when we all sang them “happy anniversary” to the tune of “happy birthday” was even better.

My parents met in high school in Venezuela. Their parents were ex-pats working in country. Mom & Dad were the prom king and queen. When they went off to college, their parents happened to move relatively close together in the US, near where Mom went to school, and Dad decided then and there, when visiting for Christmas, that she was meant to be his. He proposed in Central Park.

50 years together.

Amazing isn’t it? I only hope that my husband and I can be as lucky. It’s practically a miracle that we both grew up with parents who made it to 50 years. Both sets of my grandparents also celebrated 50 years together. What an example to follow!

Here’s to celebrating true love, soul mates. 

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New Contract with Berkley!!!

In Publisher’s Marketplace:

It’s official!

I am over the moon to have been offered a fabulous three-book deal with the amazing Kristine Swartz at @BerkleyRomance (an imprint of Penguin Random House) with my fantastic agent Evan Marshall for my brand new Amish romance series, UNEXPECTED GIFTS, starting with A GIFT OF HOPE!

If you haven’t read Amish romance yet, try them. I devour them! The faith, heart, beauty and sweetness in this subgenre of romance novels is something the world could use more of, in my opinion.

As these books will be set in the contemporary and actively growing world of the Amish. You’d better believe that I will put (and have already been putting) my heart in soul into researching extensively. I want to honor and respect this culture (which is not my own) with beautiful stories.

A huge thank you to Kristine Swartz for seeing the potential in this series, and to my agent Evan Marshall for everything! So excited to join the Berkley family!

Readers…look for more information on the first book later in 2020…