First Fridays with the Crew

What do you do in the Summertime?

Pictures speak louder than words . . .
It's the year of home improvements. We began with a 4' retaining wall, then foundation work (inside and out), the 10 yards of dirt for the raised flowerbeds, then new French doors. While Mr. Fixit has been traveling, I've torn out carpet, made numerous trips to the dump, mowed, watered, and been forced to trim 300' of bushes (inside and outside the yard) three separate times due to the blessing of rain. Still to come: drywall repair and a complete house re-paint. THEN additional new flooring. And all the while, we're purging and sending numerous items to Goodwill.

I've also had two book launches for the TEXAS RANGERS: ELITE TROOP series. 

I've been anticipating this summer for the last nine months because...I'M A NEW GLAM-MA!! (That's a new term that I thought was too funny not to use:) Our oldest daughter gave birth to our first grandchild on June 28th and I've been in hyper-granny mode ever since.  I thought other grandparents were exaggerting about how much fun it was to kiss all over their grandkids and avoid those middle-of-the-night feedings:)  They weren't. 
I'm also lucky enough to live five minutes away from my daughter. I can visit every day. The second picture was taken the night I returned from the RWA National Convention in San Diego because I'd gone SIX DAYS without holding Layken Joy!

This summer I've been up to our lake place--a lot. But haven't had much time to enjoy the lake. That's because the plumber who was supposed to winterize the place--FORGOT. Picture broken pipes, toilets, pumps, washer, dishwasher and all 3 bathrooms a mess. 
But I have had some fun and having Prosecco on the dock is always a highlight. So is 4th of July. I've fallen in love with the lanterns.

I'm also getting ready for my August release of Book 3 in the Fitzgerald House series.

Avril's writing nook - Do Not Disturb!
It’s actually winter in Australia – although you could be forgiven for thinking winter forgot to arrive in Sydney, which is the city I live in. With a very few exceptions, it’s mostly been like spring, edging into summer. Despite the mild weather, I haven’t been frolicking in the sun, unless you call going for a 4km sort-of-daily run a frolic (I call it torture, undertaken purely for eating purposes). Instead, I’ve been hunkered down indoors with three manuscripts on the go. When I start out juggling manuscripts like this, I usually find one story starts to drag me toward it until I neglect the others. Not this time! I want to write them all immediately, and it’s driving me nuts!

This year, me and my hubby celebrated our 30th anniversary with a river cruise on the Rhine. 

This was the vacation of a lifetime! 

The boat docked in Switzerland, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. Some of my favorite times were when we cruised the river and did "castle-watching." We toured a castle built in the 14th century that is pretty well intact and furnished with items that are true to the period. 

One of our stops was in Cologne (Germany), where our guide took us on a tour of some very interesting artifacts. Gothic artists were paid to do sculptures of important people that were displayed in and on public buildings like this one. They had "free rein" for what they put on the base or pedestal. Apparently this artist had a racy sense of humor (see "bottom" of statue to the left).

The traveling didn't stop when we returned. I made trips for birthdays, family gatherings, taking our daughter to camp and visiting with my mom. 

Amidst the whirlwind travel schedule, I did some writing. My latest book in The Bride Train series, Tempting Prudence, will be out Aug. 11, and the audiobook Victoria, Bride of Kansas will release that same week. 

Victoria, Bride of Kansas made the finals for the 2016 Booksellers' Best Award and is in the semifinals of the Kindle Best Book Awards. I really love how narrator Liisa Ivary has interpreted the characters and told the story. More on that soon!

Have a great rest of the summer!

Hi Friends! It's been a wonderful summer of camping and conferences for me so far. In June I spent a week in upper Michigan on the south shore of Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore with hubby and our big blue tent. Even tho' we're grandparents we still love to tent camp and we're big hikers--so this was a heavenly getaway.  The scenery anywhere along Superior is stunning (we live in Minnesota and the North Shore is one of my favorite places. Pictured Rocks, however, is exceptionally beautiful.  
I also got to meet a TON of wonderful new reader friends and authors, and hang with my favorite girls (like our Angi at the Japanese Garden in Balboa Park, San Diego) at the Romantic Times convention in April and RWA's annual meeting just last month. I learned a lot and planned a lot and I have some super fun projects to take me through the end of the year now! (Watch for the fourth Brides book and a super special novella to tie my two book series together!)
Finally, our biggest blessing of the summer will come to us in December when my daughter gives birth to her first babe, our second grandchild but first grandson!! We're having fun watching him grow as he already goes running and horseback riding with his athletic, veterinarian mama before he's even born!

 Have a safe, blessed rest of the summer, everyone!!


My daughter and our soon-to-be Granddaughter
Son 3 & 1 and the Hubs in a watermelon seed spitting contest
My summer has been busy with family. 22 year old son returned home after a two year absence. Second son graduated and we began all the fun things one has to do to get not one, but two boys into college at two different campuses. Meanwhile son number three has been getting ready for cross country, running in this Texas heat. Ugh. No, I have not been running with him. I finished a book, just got a new day job, and coordinated 6 sampler sets with about 50 authors contributing the first couple of chapters of their books. Can school start already? Just kidding. I'm enjoying the boys being around while I have them all together.

And just like Lizbeth, I'm also anticipating our first grandbaby, due to arrive in October! A sweet baby girl from my only daughter. About time we females start evening out the balance around here.

Stay cool for the rest of the summer!!!


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