Top Ten Favorites of Country Living

In honor of our newest release, Cowboy Desire, I thought I might share my top ten favorite parts of farm/country living. When I was little, I had the pleasure of living on a small farm out in the country. We were about 20 minutes from the city of Port Alberni. So in no particular order, I give you my top ten favorites:

  • DARK

Currently I live in a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia. My street is lit up almost as bright as daylight at night. We can see stars, but no milky way, even meteors are hard to see. One of my favorite things to do was put down a blanket and just watch the sky, but it loses its magic in the city.

  • QUIET

Cities are busy places, full of people, cars and activity. You don’t really get a moment’s peace unless you’re hidden out at home. Back when I was little, there was no internet, and we only had three television stations that I can remember…unless you had a satellite dish, then you could get more. More often than not, I was stuck with my own thoughts, which meant I had a lot of writing time.

  • ANIMALS

My parents never had a big farm. We only had rabbits and chickens, but I loved my rabbits. We had Angora, Orange and Dutch rabbits. Did you know rabbits are trainable? Mine would go up the stairs if I patted the step and would come to me if I patted the ground. I still miss him. I tried buying rabbits so my own kids could have the experience, but, sadly, our rental suite doesn’t allow animals. We never had horses, but my neighbor did, and I enjoyed riding them. Almost broke my ribs, but that’s a story for another day.

There’s also never-ending wildlife. We even encountered a cougar once when we tried sleeping outside in a tent in our yard. They really do sound like people say they do, babies. We didn’t stay in the tent for long.

  • THE VIEW

The air is so much clearer when you are surrounded by trees, and water and nature. The unbridled views of the mountains and waterfalls. No smog. No tall buildings to get in the way. You can sit on your porch and watch a beautiful sunset falling over the mountain. There is a purity there that’s untouched.

  • HOMEGROWN FRESH FOOD

You can’t forget fresh garden vegetables. Tomatoes, carrots, potatoes. I’d say cucumbers, but I hate them. *lol* And then, you have fresh eggs and fresh meat. I never liked the killing part personally, but you really are self-sufficient when out on a farm. No one wants to make non-stop runs into the city.

  • PURE WATER

Have you ever travelled between different places and noticed how the water tastes disgusting? Where we lived, we had fresh mountain water, some of the freshest around. There are some benefits to having a well and being away from factories that can pollute it.

  • LESS SOLICITORS

People are less likely to come calling when you are hidden and out of the way. Some might be desperate, but most stick closer to home. Granted, soliciting happens more online now. You add someone to your friend’s list on social media and it comes with a request to buy whatever they are selling…unless it’s a book, I probably won’t be interested.

  • RIDE-EM LAWN MOWERS

When you have an acreage, the last thing you wanna do is use a regular lawn mower. Before you learn to drive a car, you learn to drive the machinery that comes with a farm. I was never able to cut the lawn, but I was allowed to ride it around—oh, the power…*lol*

  • TREE HOUSES

One of the best benefits of country living is that you’re surrounded by great big trees, branches so thick that they can hold the weight of a miniature house. We had a rope with knots tied in it which we would climb to the top. I don’t think I’d ever make it up the rope these days, but I really loved climbing trees back in the day when my body worked properly.

  • COWBOYS

Men in those tight jeans, with their long sleeve shirts rolled up to the elbow. Their faces holding that 5 o’clock shadow because they are busy keeping the farm running. Men who could grace the cover of a magazine, but are hidden away in the country. Are you ready to meet a few, or a cowgirl perhaps? If you don’t live on a farm, I hope you’ll dream with us between the covers of Cowboy Desire.


Cowboy Desire is an eclectic assortment of short stories.

It includes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and even outer space romance, Cowboy Desire offers fourteen stunning short stories. These fourteen authors provide a range of sweet to sexy stories all with a Western cowboy theme. They feature strong men and women battling the weather and dangerous terrain, here on earth and in outer space.

The collection is as diverse as the authors who wrote them. Here’s a chance to discover new talented authors and the characters they create. Within these pages, there are blends of tender, often moving, thought-provoking and downright sexy stories.


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Achieving Your Dream – Part Two

We’ve all seen them—the productivity memes. You know, the ones that say something like:

“You pick up a cup and attempt to go to the kitchen to do the dishes, but get distracted by a dirty table. You put the cup down to clean the table, then you find a bill that needs to be paid. On your way to the computer to pay the bill, you get distracted by dirty laundry on the floor. On your way to do the laundry, you get distracted by something else…and by the end of the day, you haven’t really accomplish anything at all.”

*Phew* Even reading that made me exhausted, but you get the general idea. There is a lot of stuff we want to do and have to do, but there is always something else that distracts us, and for some people, even more so. It’s not always easy to stay on task when so much is going on around us. Our dreams often take a backseat to life because them seem so impossible to accomplish.

Over a decade ago, I started playing an online game called Runescape. It’s this immense online multiplayer game and very addicting. You could interact with other players, chat with them, and train skills with them. Each skill could go up to Level 99, and as you raised your skills, you could do more and more things in the game. Some skills could take months or even a year or more to hit 99, depending on how much you play and how focused you are.

When I first started playing, I jumped from skill to skill, much like a person jumping from chore to chore or dream to dream. But I noticed after a while it felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. That’s when I decided I needed to focus on one skill if I ever wanted to reach 99 in anything in a reasonable amount of time. So I chose to focus on their Woodcutting skill. I made a plan. I figured out how many logs I needed to cut and how many I could reasonably cut in a day and then counted out the number of days it would take to get to 99.

I started a daily journal on their forums to hold myself accountable to my goal. Each day I refused to do anything else in the game until that goal was done. People in the community were so used to people failing that they would tell me that my goal wasn’t possible; however, slowly but surely, I watched myself succeed, as did the community. Other people became inspired and started to believe that they, too, could hit the infamous 99’s. We even created a group to help inspire each other. We called it, “Achievers United.”

It was during this time that I learned the importance of focusing, making a plan, and giving myself a deadline—making sure that I didn’t let myself get distracted. Without a plan, a big goal can seem daunting because you can’t see the end in front of you. And without a daily log, you also can’t see what you’ve accomplished so far.

At some point, the novelty of working on something wears off and you find yourself in a dark tunnel, where you start losing motivation. You begin to wonder whether you can actually do it or not. Having a daily log lets you go see how far you’ve come from where you used to be, and that helps you start to believe that you can keep moving forward. If you’ve come this far, you can find the strength to keep going.

This is also where a daily goal comes in handy. If all you had to look at was the end goal and how you needed to, for example, cut 150,000 logs, you may get discouraged by the sheer size of the number. And likewise when you write a book, if all you focused on was that you needed 80,000-100,000 words, it might feel like too much. But if you break it down into a daily goal, and just focus on what’s in front of you for that day, it makes it so much easier.

How do you find out how much you should do on any given day? Well, work on your goal for one week. Do as much as you can each day so that you can see what you’re working with. At the end of the week, examine those numbers and pick something that you know you can do reasonably on a daily basis. In terms of writing, I know I can write 1500 words a day, so that’s my daily goal. If I do that, it’s possible to complete a book in 53 days, not counting your days of rest. Your daily goal may be different, it may be higher or it may be lower. Some I know can crank out over 7,000 words a day. For me, I think that would make my head explode.  *haha*

But when you break it down into manageable chunks, your dream becomes a lot easier to envision. My favourite part of having played Runescape was that I learned valuable transferable skills that I put to good use in my life. It’s how I’ve managed to write “THE END” on so many stories. And I’m telling you that you can do it too. You just have to set your mind to it and follow through.

The road may not always be easy and you may fall short at times, but don’t think of it as failure, just think of it as a step towards your goal. You never truly fail unless you give up.


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Check out “Her Lover’s Face”:

“Laryssa Mitchell is one of the lucky ones. The death of her abusive husband finally allows her to live again on her own terms, making her own choices. Her first official decision is to take back what was lost – her independence and her old job. But she soon finds herself in a living nightmare when she meets her new boss. If her husband is rotting in hell, then who is the man standing in front of her with a dead man’s face?

Alexander Richards doesn’t expect to catch an unconscious woman in his arms on his first day at work, nor does he envision himself willingly setting foot in a hospital again, reliving his painful loss. But that’s exactly what he chooses to do when Laryssa needs his help. Why?

She has a story to tell. He has a mystery to solve. In the midst of danger, passion sizzles between them, taking them by surprise. What will happen when all is brought to light? Will they be able to overcome their traumatic pasts and find love in each other, or will their ghosts have the final say?”

Believe in Yourself

By this time last year, I only had three stories published:

“Her Lover’s Face” (Novel)
“Wanted: Courage” (Flashpoint: The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Flash Fiction Anthology 2018)
“Never Far Away” (Rapture: The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Flash Fiction Anthology 2018)

It’s amazing what can happen in a year. I’ve had a number of ups and downs since June of last year, non-writing experiences that could have made me give up again, overwhelmed by my challenges; but, if there is one legacy I want to leave my kids, it is that no matter what happens in your life, you never give up and you never quit. Follow after your dreams and never let anything stop you. Did you get knocked down? Well, get back up and try again. No one else can forge your path for you. You have to find the strength inside yourself.

In the last year, I had the following stories/poetry published:

“The Stranger” (poem published on Spillwords)
“Love Knows No Apocalypse” (Mystic Desire: a Supernatural Anthology)
“Love from the Mist” (Mystic Desire, a Supernatural Anthology)
“Not You Again!” (Novel)
“The Dinner Call” (OCEANS: A Dark Microfiction Anthology (Dark Drabbles Book 9)
“The Ocean’s Thief” ( OCEANS: A Dark Microfiction Anthology (Dark Drabbles Book 9)
“Poseidon’s Revenge” (Forgotten Ones: Drabbles of Myth and Legend)
“Into the Fire” (Slow Burn: The Fires That Bind Us Charity Anthology)

“Patricia Elliott” (Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020)

Upcoming publications:

“The Handcuff Proposal” (a novelette being published in a Black Velvet Seductions anthology)

I also have four, just about five, completed novels and two novellas that need editing, and another series I’m working on that revolves around a zombie apocalypse, in which two stories are already done. And I have two other series in mind. I guess the point of my blog post is that we can live our lives dreaming, wishing we were doing something, or we can get out and do it.

Has someone told you that your dream isn’t realistic? Show them that all you need is motivation to prove them wrong. Want to be a doctor? A writer? An astronaut? Then it’s up to you to set that in motion and never give up, even when the road gets tough. Life will always try to throw you curve-balls, and some of them will be doozies, trust me I know, but you can’t let the negative experiences determine your path.

Rise above them! Life is what you make it. I believe in you.


“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” – Neil Gaiman


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Crazy World

As we wrestle our way through Covid-19, it’s easy to forget about other circumstances that preceded it, and I want to make sure that Australia hasn’t been forgotten about. Just before things went down with this new virus, these pictures were all over the internet and social media sites:

Our hearts broke for Australia. Many lives were lost and properties were destroyed. Men and women worked tirelessly to save what they could. I couldn’t imagine being on the front lines of something like that. It’s hard when you are trained to do a job, but, yet, feel powerless to do it against such a brutal force of nature. Still, the first responders didn’t give up. They worked hard—endlessly—but the job doesn’t end with them. Rebuilding and bringing life back to a devastated land takes support from everyone.

And to help do that, thirteen authors and Little Quail Press have banded together to bring you

Slow Burn

a charity anthology called Slow Burn. All proceeds from the sales of this book will go to the NSW Rural Fire Service to help support the First Responders in their efforts to rebuild and protect their amazing country. We would like to ask you to join with us and get twelve Australia-based stories in the process for your reading enjoyment. It’s a win-win in my eyes. 😀

“Australia is burning, and the heroes between these pages are going to save it. Amazing authors have banded together to bring you smoking hot firefighter romances to support bush fire relief. From rural Australian settings to the world of mages and shifters, these stories will have you heating up — for more than one reason.

Proceeds from this anthology go towards the NSW Rural Fire Services to help rebuild after the devastation of our summer bushfire season here in Australia.”

Official release date: May 31, 2020 (currently up for pre-order)

Click here to purchase Slow Burn

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The One That Got Away

As we near the end of another year, I can’t help but notice that time feels like it’s moving faster. Mind you, that might just be because I’m older now, and I’m so busy that I don’t have much time to stop and smell the roses. I like it when my work days go by fast, but not so much my downtime.

Some moments I’d love to just freeze in time, like when my kids were born or their high school graduations. Two of mine have graduated now and the other two are in high school. That’s hard to believe. It’s even harder to believe that my graduation was back in 1996. Heck, I’m getting old. *haha*

If you’re like me and a little on the older side, can you still remember your high school years? Can you remember your first love? Some people were lucky enough to marry their high school sweethearts and are still together today. The rest of us are left wondering about the one that got away, while others may be trying to forget all about them. I can expressly remember mine. Even though we didn’t end up together, I still have fond memories of our time together.

My new release, which you can read about below, is all about second chances. What would you do if you ran into the one that got away? Would you be excited or would you go into hiding? Would you want to hit him or hug him? This is the dilemma that Emma Praught finds herself in when her first love contacts her out of the blue.

Not You Again! blurb:

“Emma Praught has everything a woman could wish for: a house, a husband, and a teen daughter who she wouldn’t trade for the world. But when she receives that fateful call, everything falls apart.

Her husband is dead. The life she knew is over. And before she has a chance to make sense of it all, death threats roll in and so does a man from her past. One she never expected to see again.

Devon Matthews, in the stupidity of his youth, broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Something he has never gotten over. Now he has a chance to make it up to her by protecting them. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll find it in her heart to forgive him. If he can keep her alive, that is.

Will they make it through this unscathed, or will Emma’s stubborn nature make it difficult for them both?

One way or another, he’s not giving her up this time.”

Book excerpt:

“Mom, who keeps texting you?” Skye asked.

“No one,” Emma muttered, turning back to the sink full of dishes.

“That no one wants to talk to you like super bad.”

She had tried to discourage him from messaging her by not responding to his text messages over the last week, but he was still going strong. Okay, so she’d sent the odd text back, but only to tell him to stop contacting her, and that had made him respond all the more.

Skye picked up Emma’s phone off the counter and turned on the screen. Drying her hands quickly, she snatched the phone back.“Get those prying eyes off to school,” she said, snapping the dish towel at her daughter.

Hopping down off the stool, Skye picked up her backpack off the kitchen island. “You’re so bossy.”

When the front door slammed, she thought about yelling “don’t slam the door” but it wouldn’t do any good. Skye was already long gone. Her phone dinged again, and she looked at the screen. Devon again.

>I’m serious. If you keep ignoring me, I’m going to come down there.

>Then come :p

>Okay

“Oh damn,” she said, resting her forehead in her hand as she shook her head.


FrontCoverNYA

 

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