Thursday, July 31, 2014

I'm Back!

So, what was I doing while I was away? I attended the Little House on the Prairie 40th Anniversary Cast Reunion in Walnut Grove, MN. Yes, I am a bonnet head. I landed in Wisconsin last Tuesday to meet up with my chums: Beth, Dorothy, and Lorrie (USA), Marilyn (Canada), and Martha (Austria). We drove to De Smet, SD where we stayed at this beautiful bed and breakfast that has housed TV actors Melissa Gilbert and Dean Butler. Then we spent three days in Walnut Grove, MN before driving to Spring Valley, MN and finally to Burr Oak, IA--all places that Laura Ingalls Wilder lived--before driving back to Wisconsin and saying our goodbyes.

It was a blast! I have never done anything like this before in my life. I had known most of these women for more than a decade, but this was the first time we met in person. Great thing we all got along, because the quarters were tight. I'll share more from my trip as time allows.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mailbox Monday - July 28

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

I'm still in the Midwest today, so I won't be posting about any books received. I hope you'll still share yours. I look forward to checking them out when I return on Wednesday.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

This Day in History - Saving Private Ryan Opens

On this day in 1998, the movie Saving Private Ryan starring Tom Hanks and Matt Damon opened. This World War II film centered on the fictional story of Captain John Miller (Hanks), and his band of seven rangers, who are sent on a mission to rescue Private James Francis Ryan (Damon), a paratrooper missing somewhere behind enemy lines. Because Ryan's three older brothers have been killed in action, military officials order Miller to find Ryan to avoid a public relations disaster.

Saving Private Ryan was partially inspired by the real-life story of the Niland brothers. During World War II, Sergeant Frederick “Fritz” Niland, a member of the 101st Airborne, was accidentally dropped behind enemy lines. He eventually made it back to his unit, where he was informed that two of his brothers had died at Normandy and the third had gone missing in Burma. Niland was sent home to Tonawanda, New York.

For more information, visit

Please note, I'm on vacation this week, so I won't respond to comments right away. If you want to see where I am, check out

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In the News: Weather and Housing

Now that I am in the real estate business, I tend to look at news about the housing market. In the Friday, July 18 edition of The Wall Street Journal, an article by Alan Zibel and Kris Hudson discussed how a stretch of wet weather in the south led home construction to temporarily decline in June.

I honestly never considered these things before I was involved in this industry. I'm starting to read magazines like Forbes and Kiplinger now too. Gosh, I sound like a grown up.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mailbox Monday - July 21

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Though I am waiting on two or three books to arrive, they haven't made it here yet. Here's what came in from my latest library trip.

MTV’s original VJs offer a behind-the-scenes oral history of the early years of MTV, 1981 to 1987, when it was exploding, reshaping the culture, and creating “the MTV generation.”

Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn (along with the late J. J. Jackson) had front-row seats to a cultural revolution—and the hijinks of music stars like Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Duran Duran. Their worlds collided, of course: John Cougar invited Nina to a late-night “party” that proved to be a seduction attempt. Mark partied with David Lee Roth, who offered him cocaine and groupies. Aretha Franklin made chili for Alan. Bob Dylan whisked Martha off to Ireland in his private jet.

But while VJ has plenty of dish—secret romances, nude photographs, incoherent celebrities—it also reveals how four VJs grew up alongside MTV’s devoted viewers and became that generation’s trusted narrators. They tell the story of the ’80s, from the neon-colored drawstring pants to the Reagan administration, and offer a deeper understanding of how MTV changed our culture. Or as the VJs put it: “We’re the reason you have no attention span.”

I loved MTV growing up and the original VJs were on when I was growing up. It used to be a great channel.

Please note, I'm on vacation this week, so I won't respond to comments right away. If you want to see where I am, check out

Friday, July 18, 2014

Interview with Jo Linsdell, Author of How to be Twittertastic

Jo Linsdell is  a best selling author and illustrator and internationally recognized marketing expert. She is also the founder and organizer of the annual online event "Promo Day" ( and the Writers and Authors blog ( To find out more about Jo and her projects visit her website

What is your book about?

How to be Twittertastic is a writers and authors guide to the social media site Twitter. It covers a bit of everything from how to set up your account and personalise your profile to third party apps and getting the most leverage out of your tweets. It's also packed full of useful resources to help you make the most out of time and marketing efforts.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the book?

I got the idea for the Writers and Authors Guide to Social Media series a while ago but as I was working on illustrating some children's picture books for clients and was also busy publishing a children's picture story book of my own (The Box) and so I didn't have time to develop the idea right away. 

A couple of months ago I decided that Twitter would be the topic of the first book in the series as it's the site I use that gains the best results. As soon as I had some free time I started brainstorming and plotting out a rough table of contents. It didn't take me long to know what I wanted to write.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

I'm a real social media junky and often get asked by other authors for tips on how to market their books online and build their author brand. When you have a passion that also happens to be in high demand it makes it easy to get inspired. 

This whole series is designed around the idea of making social media easy for authors to understand and to supply them with information and tips to help them get the most out of their time and efforts.

Social media is used by billions of people worldwide on a daily basis. Our audience is online and can be reached free of charge without us even having to leave our homes. Authors need to be taking advantage of this opportunity to connect with their readers and build their fan base. A lot of authors aren't using it because they don't know where to start. Others are using it but not making the most of it. I hope this series will help them build their online presence and give them some ideas for what and how to post.

How long did it take you to write your book?

A couple of weeks. The book is a quick read. I didn't want to keep repeating the same things over and over (I've seen others do that to bulk out a book and found it very annoying) and to be honest, there is only so much you can write about Twitter. The site is designed around the idea of clutter free, to the point, content. I wanted the book to be the same. 

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

I researched online using Twitter search to find examples to use in the book, and Google to find statistics, etc... As social media is one of my hobbies as well as a tool I use daily for marketing, I was already quite up to date on most of the details. I've also done several webinars on the topic and so already had a lot of notes to work from.

Who designed the cover?

I designed and made it myself using Adobe Illustrator. 

Where is the book available to purchase?

How to be Twittertastic is currently available in kindle format on all Amazon sites and will be out in print later this month.

Release date: 1st July 2014

Product Details: Kindle
File Size: 2191 KB
Print Length: 94 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

Purchasing links:

Facebook event page:

Social Media Links:

The Word CAN’T Does Not Exist by Amber Neben, Author of When Shmack Happens

Have you ever been through a hard time in life? Ever wondered why bad things happen? Amber Neben has you covered. The 2x Olympic cyclist for Team USA knows a thing or two about shmack- her word for describing adversity that comes our way in life. Follow Amber’s journey as she overcomes major obstacles both on and off the bike-and encourages you to join her in developing the perseverance, patience, perspective, and power than only Christ can give us. Very few people may know or understand what road cycling is, but everyone knows what it means to be an Olympian. The champion road cyclist chronicles her disappointments and failures, as well as amazing comebacks and victories-while thrilling audiences along the way with gripping stories of faith and hope. After reading When Shmack Happens, you’ll feel equipped and encouraged to face life’s tough moments, and find yourself cheering for Amber to get back on the bike…one more time. Learn what it means to be a spiritual champion in God’s eyes.

Purchase at:
Amazon UK and Amazon EU

The Word CAN’T Does Not Exist
by Amber Neben

When I was in fifth grade, I played on an AYSO soccer league team, a competitive soccer league team, and whatever sport I could at school.  My younger sister played recreational soccer, too.  Think about the number of practices during the week and the number of games on the weekend.  Somebody had to pick my sister and I up from school, take us to and from soccer practice every evening, and then to every game on the weekend.  My mom, who was also working a full time job, always made it happen.

One Saturday as we were scrambling from one game to the next, I was trying to change uniforms in the car.  Out of my mouth came a sentence that started with, “I can’t…”  My mom was quick to point out that the word can’t did not exist.  My fifth grade brain proceeded to argue that it did exist, and it was a contraction for cannot.  I had seen the word in books.  It existed!  But my mom wouldn’t buy my argument.  Instead, she continued to tell me that there was no such thing as can’t or I can’t.  At the time, I thought she had lost it.  Now, I am thankful for the can do attitude she instilled into me.

When we get tested in life, it is normal and often easier to think about what we cannot do.  I don’t make enough money, I’m not smart enough, I’m not good enough, there is no way I can handle this challenge, or there is no way I could ever lose the weight or give up the addictive substance.  The doubts and the excuses come quickly, and the easier road to travel is the one that requires less work.  However, in those same challenging times, there are always things we CAN do.  And if we choose to focus on what we can do instead of what we cannot do, we will be one step closer to overcoming the obstacle in front of us.  It can be a tedious process, and it often takes some guts.  However, huge goals are achieved and huge obstacles are overcome one step at a time. 

Let me give you an example using my rehab from this crash: .  Afterwards, as I recovered in the trauma center, I was hurt and broken.  My iliac crest was shattered, my nose was busted, and I had two cracked ribs.  Miraculously, that was all.  Obviously, there were a lot of things, including riding a bike, I could not do.   However, instead of thinking about all of those things, I chose to focus on what I could do.  I could trust God had me in His mighty hands, and He would give me the strength I needed in the moment.  Then, I could even smile.  Ten hours later, I could stand up on crutches.  (It was hard, and it took me three attempts spread over six hours, but I eventually did it.)  Over the next few months, I still could not move normally nor do the things I wanted to do, but I didn’t allow my brain to get caught on the “can’ts.”  Instead, I always made an intentional effort to shift my focus to what I could do.  With each new day, I could take one step more than the day before.   Instead of being discouraged by my limitations or how far I still had to go, I was encouraged by the progress I was making from my ‘pavement zero’ moment after hitting the wall. 

Your attitude and your effort are always something you can control.  Regardless of the storm that is pounding you or the obstacle in front of you, try to always see those things you CAN do.  And if you have had a pavement zero moment, keep it in perspective.  Allow it to be your new reference point, and from this new start point, take responsibility for what you can.  Set the goal that seems impossible, but don’t get buried by all the can’ts that stand in between the goal and its achievement.  Then, as you do what you can, one step and day at a time, you will inch your way toward accomplishing what you thought you could not do! 

It takes patience and perseverance in addition to the perspective.  It’s hard.  It’s very hard.  I know.  Crashes, cancer and many other SHMACKs have happened to me.  But every time I was challenged, when I trusted in Christ’s strength and used it instead of my own, I could always step.  He always gave me something I could do.  I just had to be willing to look for it.

Oh… and even though you may not always think so, your kids are actually listening to you.  They may not understand it in the moment, but you ARE making a lasting impact in their lives. 

Amber Neben is a decorated international road cyclist with victories in 11 countries and multiple UCI Category 1 stage race wins. She is a 2x Olympian, 2x World Champion, 2x Pan American Champion and 2x National Champion. She holds a B.S. from The University of Nebraska and an M.S. from UC Irvine. Amber and her husband, Jason, reside in Lake Forest, CA. For information on speaking engagements or coaching visit

When Shmack Happens Virtual Book Tour Schedule

July 7
Interview at The Book Connection
July 8
Book spotlight at As the Pages Turn
July 9
Book spotlight at Putting Words Down on Paper
July 10
Guest post at Beyond the Books
July 11
Book spotlight at Cheryl’s Book Nook
July 14
Book review at My Devotional Thoughts
July 15
Guest post at Literarily Speaking
July 16
First chapter reveal at Rebecca’s Writing Services
July 17
First chapter review at Cheryl’s Christian Book Connection
July 18
Interview at Blogcritics
July 21
July 22
Book spotlight at The Writer’s Life
July 23
Book review at I Hope You Dance
July 24
Book spotlight at Between the Covers
July 25
July 29
July 30
July 31
Book review at The Book Connection

Thursday, July 17, 2014

This Day in History: Disneyland Opens

On this day in 1955, Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California.

Walt Disney was a commercial artist before setting a small studio in Los Angeles to produce animated cartoons. Steamboat Willy, starring Mickey Mouse, became a national sensation. His first feature-length cartoon was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, followed by Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Bambi.

Walt Disney began designing the amusement park in the 1950s with the plan that it would be educational as well as entertaining for both adults and children. Work on Walt Disney World in Florida began in 1965, but Walt Disney died before it opened in 1971. Epcot Center, Disney-MGM Studios, and Animal Kingdom were added later to Walt Disney World.

For more information, you can visit

Do you have a special theme park you visit on vacation? What is your favorite Disney Park? Magic Kingdom is mine, but Epcot is a close second.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Diary of a Busy Mom: How the Heck Did I Used to Do It?

I have just one question to ask. How the heck did I used to do it? Work outside of the house, I mean. Gosh, I'm only three weeks into it and it seems like I'll never be able to juggle it all. 

Is it because I'm older now? Is it because I'm trying to hold onto book promotion work while starting up my real estate career? Is it because it's summer and the girls are home more? 

It's probably a combination of all those things. In the end, I know it will all come together. I'm highly organized, so I just need to stop and think about how to accomplish what I need to do each day. Say a prayer or two for me. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Biblical Definition of Wisdom by Richard Capriola, Author of A Nation Under Judgment

What does it mean to be One Nation Under God? Our Founding Fathers believed it was more than a political slogan. Have we strayed from their vision? A Nation Under Judgment focuses on issues currently facing our nation including hunger, poverty, the environment and marriage. These and other issues are reviewed from both a Scriptural point of view and a social policy point of view. Readers are empowered to consider whether our nation is moving away from being One Nation Under God.

Purchase The Book:

A Biblical Definition of Wisdom

            As a Christian parent I must admit I didn’t give much thought to wisdom while raising my son. However, seven years ago I began writing what was intended to be a little book about wisdom. The first task was to define wisdom and that eventually led to the creation of A Nation Under Judgment.

            How do you define wisdom? For some it’s measured by a person’s level of knowledge and learning or by one’s level of education. Dictionaries define wisdom as philosophic and scientific learning. Other definitions of wisdom include sound judgment, good insight, or common sense. Native Americans believe wisdom is earned only after living a long life that brings learning and experience.

            These definitions have merit, but they fall short of a biblical definition of wisdom. Biblical wisdom can be defined as the ability to see things from God’s point of view. As Christians, our wisdom grows when we understand and accept God’s point of view. The same is true of nations; they show wisdom when they align their policies with God’s view.

            Without wisdom people can find themselves in trouble and countries risk disaster. The further a nation strays from God’s point of view, the closer it comes to being a nation under judgment.

            We live in a nation that prides itself on being “one nation under God.” We ask for God’s blessing in songs like “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin. Our Supreme Court opens every session with “God save the United States and this Honorable Court.” The president and other politicians pandering for our votes give speeches that end with “God bless America.”

            But what does it mean to be “one nation under God?” Have the words become merely a patriotic slogan? Do they have value only in times of national crises, when we feel threatened? Are we a nation asking for God’s protection and blessings while turning away from His point of view?

            As a nation “under God” do we see things from God’s point of view when shaping national policies? Or have we lost our wisdom as a nation?  When we create polices on hunger, homelessness, poverty, protecting the environment and marriage, are we following God’s point of view - or a political agenda? What does it say about our values when one of every fifty children lacks sufficient food, in a nation that wastes 40 percent of its food? These are important questions that must be asked if we value being a nation “under God” because the answers may point to a nation moving away from God’s point of view and losing its wisdom.
            Our Founding Fathers knew that we could not indefinitely exist apart from God’s point of view. George Mason warned that providence would punish national sins with national calamities. Thomas Jefferson said “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just and that his justice cannot sleep forever.” These great men understood that our nation’s future rests on its commitment to live by the words “one nation under God” and that we must create national polices that reflect His point of view rather than policies that conform to a political agenda.

            Have we lost our wisdom as a nation – our ability to see things from God’s point of view? Ultimately the answer to that question will determine if we are headed toward being a nation under judgment.

Richard Capriola spent many years serving as a hospital chaplain. He completed four years of
Clinical Pastoral Education in preparation for his chaplaincy work. In addition to his pastoral care experience, he has served as a mental health counselor at both a regional crisis center and a psychiatric hospital.

Connect with Richard Capriola:

Mailbox Monday - July 14

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

It was a slow week around here. We got back from the Outer Banks on Saturday morning. Not as much mail this time as when we usually go away, which means I didn't have a ton of paper to plow through.

The newly released Four shipped to our place on July 8th and was waiting for our daughter when we got home.

Brace yourself for some numbers: Four is a collection of a quarter of short stories from the Divergent trilogy, each told from the point of Tobias Eaton, Divergent's “Four.” Collectively these stories, all of which were issued before as eBooks, serve as a revealing prequel to Veronica Roth's stirring series. By rendering the back-story of one of Divergent's prime movers, Four opens a portal to the mysterious time before Tris chose Dauntless. (P.S. This hardcover edition contains scenes that did not appear in the eBook versions.)

Also in the pile was A Wedding in Provence by Ellen Sussman.

What could be more idyllic than a wedding in Provence? That's what Olivia and Brody think when they invite their closest friends and family to spend their wedding weekend with them. But when Olivia's older daughter from her first marriage invites a man she met on the plane to join her, the delicate balance of the entire weekend is upset. Soon Olivia's best friend, the owner of the inn who is hosting the wedding, discovers that her husband has cheated on her. Then Brody's mother shows up without his father, who has gone into hiding. How can one choose love in the midst of chaos? Told from the point of view of Olivia and her two daughters, A Wedding in Provence is a moving novel about love, trust, secrets and family.

What did you receive?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

This Day in History: U.S. Women Win World Cup

On this day in 1999, the U.S. women's soccer team defeated China to win their second Women's World Cup. Both teams were talented with tons of international experience. In 90 minutes of regulation, the Chinese managed only two shots on the U.S. goal. But when U.S. star Michelle Akers had to leave the game after collapsing, the momentum swung China's way. After a full 120 scoreless minutes, the teams entered a shootout, in which each would be given five penalty shots on goal.The score was tied 4 - 4 when American Brandi Chastain faced China's goalie Gao Hong. "She boomed a kick into the upper-right corner of the net, then ran and ripped off her jersey in celebration. The picture of Chastain celebrating on her knees clad in her sports bra became the enduring image of the match."

For more information, please visit

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Balancing Nutrition and Participation in School Lunches

On July 5, 2014, Fox News ran an article in its politics section titled, "Michelle Obama faces off with GOP on school lunch rules." As part of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, more fruit, vegetables and whole grains are required in school meals, along with less sodium, sugar and fat. As the article indicates, it was the first update to school lunch rules in decades.

The School Nutrition Association, which originally supported these standards, is now concerned because some school districts are losing money due to lower student participation rates. Diane Pratt-Heavner, a spokeswoman for the association states that according to federal data, "More than 1 million fewer students eat lunch at school each day since the first round of standards went into effect in 2012, following decades of steadily increasing participation." She goes on to say, "How can we call these standards a success when they are driving students away from the program?"

House Representative Robert Aderholt of Alabama authored a House bill to fund the Agriculture Department next year to give districts a chance to apply to skip the requirements for one year. He said lunch rules go too far and came too fast for school districts to handle. A vote by the full House is expected after its July Fourth break.

I don't know that skipping the requirements for a year is the answer, but sitting on the Food Advisory Council for our district has allowed me to learn more about what is going on in our local school cafeterias. The largest obstacles the cafeteria managers seem to be facing are waste--because kids who do participate are forced to take vegetables they don't want to eat that end up in the trash can--and lower participation rates. Salad bars where kids can choose what they want to eat seem to be very popular in our school district, but the requirements state cafeteria workers must place the vegetables on the students' trays. We are seeing kids toss those "required" vegetables in the garbage in lieu of those they can choose on their own from the salad bar. In a country where data shows 49 million citizens live in food insecure households (2012), and yet, approximately 40 million tons of food is wasted by US households, retailers and food services each year, this type of waste is almost a sin.

As a mom, I've seen both of my girls who used to participate in our school lunch program, insist upon home lunches since the new standards rolled out. It's not because I pack their lunches with all kinds of junk foods. I just make sure they have the foods they want to eat: carrots, grapes, salad, low sugar treats, and granola. I can also give them an extra treat if they have stayed away from junk food at home--something the cafeteria staff can't do. But let's face it, they don't want sugar free cookies made with whole wheat flour anyway.

Can we get to a better balance for nutrition standards that allows us to reduce waste and tackle our country's hunger problems? I hope so, because this shouldn't be a political issue. It is a moral issue. People shouldn't be going hungry when we are wasting so much food.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mailbox Monday - July 7

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

We're on vacation this week, but we've had the joy of visiting two used book stores on the Outer Banks. One of them has been around for years, the other of which just opened three weeks ago. Title Waves in the Jockey's Ridge Crossing plaza sells used books, gifts, and coffee. The owner, Cathy Williams, is a former school teacher. It was nice to see a new shop there. The Lil' Diva picked up a movie cover version of Divergent that included a movie poster and a 2005 version of Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.

I found this 1995 copy of a Murder, She Wrote book.

Cozy Cabot Cove, Maine, has a country luncheonette, but not much high culture. Mystery author Jessica Fletcher is the only writer in residence, but the renovation of the local Worrell mansion into an art colony may bring scores of artistic people to town. No one, however, expected a creative killer.

The posh retreat offers struggling artists a European spa, psychiatry, and even hypnotism. But soon the retreat begins to look like a health hazard. A suicide attempt and a brutal murder quickly arouse the sheriff's attention--and Jessica's. And when an old friend mysteriously disappears, Jessica fears a twisted genius is at work writing a scenario for murder--putting Jessica's own life on the line.

Murder, She Wrote remains one of my favorite television shows. I watch it on Netflix. There are over 35 books to this series and a new one is slated for October.

Before we left on vacation, I downloaded the following books for my Kindle:

What would you give for a chance at true love?

When Sherry's best friend, Lorena, promises her a virtual reality adventure for her sixty-third birthday, neither of them expect a trip back in time. But when Sherry bumps into the handsome stranger she'd once kissed on a London train in the summer of '69, she knows it couldn't be anything else. And this time she doesn't want to run.

Lorena's heart belongs to her husband who died four years ago. She returns to the present to find a letter from David which urging her to travel to a past she doesn't remember because it hasn't happened yet. Lorena will risk anything to have more time with Dave. Will travelling to this past change their shared future?

Ela Roeh of Parne doesn't understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She's undignified and bad-tempered, and at age seventeen she's much too young. In addition, no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as Parne's elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite's prophet, Ela knows she will die young.

Yet she can't imagine living without Him. Determined to hear the Infinite's voice, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent to bring the Infinite's word to a nation torn apart by war. There she meets a young ambassador determined to bring his own justice for his oppressed people. As they form an unlikely partnership, Ela battles how to balance the leading of her heart with the leading of the Infinite.

I recently won a drawing at Freda's Voice. I got the chance to choose one Kindle book up to $5.00 as my prize. I went with Strong Enough to Die by Jon Land because it was on my wish list.

Caitlin Strong is a fifth-generation Texas Ranger, proud to wear the badge of her father and grandfather—until a deadly shoot-out along the Mexican border causes her to question her calling.

Five years later, Caitlin is still trying to purge herself of guilt from the day that ended her Ranger career. But a shattering discovery will reopen old wounds, and Caitlin’s renewed investigation into the truth behind the bloody desert firefight uncovers a terrifying plot that reaches into every home and threatens the very core of the country.

Her only hope for success—and survival—is to team up with Cort Wesley Masters, a deadly outlaw who has every reason to want her dead. But he also holds the key to the truth she desperately seeks in the anguished brain of an amnesiac torture victim.

Caitlin’s tormented quest for redemption takes her to a dark world, ranging from Washington to Bahrain to the wastelands of Mexico, as she finds that the strength to live comes from learning how to die.

I'll probably have a new book or two once we get home, too. What was in your mailbox?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

We weathered Hurricane Arthur last night. Didn't even lose power; just the front porch screen. Actually, I hear the weather at home has been wicked too. Hope you're enjoying some sunshine and warmth.

Here's wishing our readers a happy, healthy, and safe Fourth of July!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

This Day in History - Back to the Future Released

On this date in 1985, the movie Back to the Future was released. Michael J. Fox starred as Marty McFly, a teenager who travels back in time thanks to a time traveling DeLorean invented by Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). While 30 years in the past, Marty must make sure his parents unite in order to save his own existence.

The popularity of the original movie led to two sequels starring Fox and Lloyd. For more about Back to the Future and DeLorean, visit

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

In the News: Eastern Europeans Brought in to Work Minimum Wage Jobs on Outer Banks

Over the past several years, we've noticed a definite change in the young people working in Outer Banks establishments. It used to be American teens filling these minimum wage jobs. As this response to Andrew Puzder's June 10 Wall Street Journal op-ed article, "Why Young People Can't Find Work," the reader indicates businesses on the Outer Banks bring in "young people from Eastern Europe to work in the summer because American kids don't want the jobs." This is actually an overall trend. American teens aren't looking to work in the local supermarket anymore. They are volunteering and dedicating their time to unpaid internships instead. The WSJ has an interesting conversation about it at