Friday, December 30, 2016

End of the Year Wrap Up

I'm going to take stock of what I did this year, just so I know I'm doing something.  Some days, it feels like I not only don't get ahead, but actually take a few steps backward.  It's going to be like that for the next few months, too, I suspect, as my youngest tries to get a job.

So for 2016, I did the following:
*  published three new books (Gangs, In-laws, and Outlaws;
*  Remember the Yellow Rose; and You'll Call it Home)
*  Reworked and republished 'A Time for Secrets' (Used to be called 'Saved by the Glass Slipper')
*  Fixed up 16 old books, making the product better. (that includes reading them at LEAST three more times, and making them better)

I didn't publish as many books as I wanted to, but there's always next year!  LOL!

Did you meet your resolutions for the year?

Have a good day!
SweetTale Books

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What Have You Got To Lose?

I have a few friends who aren't writers, but they have a ton of ideas for books.  I keep telling them to write the book, but they're afraid.  I'm not sure why.

Here's what I'd like to tell all you fearful authors out there, who are afraid of success or failure in writing a book.  What have you got to lose?  If you're a failure, don't worry about it.  You put your heart and soul into that book and stand by it, regardless of what others think.  If you're a success, just hide behind a pen name and the press will leave you alone (hopefully).

If you don't share your book, you're going to deprive someone of reading your work.  You never know...that one little book may change someone's life.

So get out and write it.  You know you can.  And the cost?  Just your imagination, pretty much.

Good luck!  😉

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Is Your Story Funny at All?

I'm a doubter.  I doubt everything I do.  I have no doubt about it.  I envy people who have the courage to just go with what they have, tout it as X and it becomes X.

For me, writing humor is tough.  I always worry it's not funny to others, so I downplay the humor when I promote it.  Thus, I envy the people who say their books are laugh out loud, so funny, you'll spit coffee out your nose.  When I've read their things, though, it's rarely true.  I know of one or two authors who can make me laugh so hard, I can't catch my breath--and they're both NY traditionally published authors.

So how do you tell if your story is funny?  Here's how I judge my own work.  If I've written and published the thing and then come back YEARS later and still laugh (where appropriate, not that I'm laughing because it's bad), then it's funny.  I've done that, and wondered when I thought up such things, because I didn't remember writing it (I have too many books to remember every detail).  That's how I tell if a book is funny.

Do you have another way to determine it?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

What to Do When a Character Turns on You

So I have this character that really hates being beaten up.  He finally turned on me, and all the people in the story, saying mean things to them.  Yes, I was writing it (I'm not schizophrenic) but for each word I wrote, it made sense to let him have his say.  Thus, he took over the story.

What do you do when a character seems to go off the path of your plot?  To tell you the truth, go with it.  Usually, that's going to turn out better than your outlined and detailed plot.  It's fresher and more real than what you have planned.  That character will make a fantastic antagonist (or even protagonist) because they're showing who they really are.

So yes.  Let your character turn on you.  Any conflict is good in a plot, because it shows real life problems.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Monday, December 26, 2016

Tired Characters

The Friday before last Friday, I was downright tired.  I'd cleaned the house for two hours (getting ready for our kids to come home from college and for Christmas), shoveled and did the snow blowing (it was snowing all day long), and made dinner.  It doesn't sound like a lot, but it was just downright tiring.

Do you ever let your characters get tired or take a break?  When I wrote my first book, the hero did so much to keep the heroine happy, he got no down time.  I look back over that thing and just laugh.  He had to be so tired, that by the end of the book, he was probably looking at me and saying some mean things.

Let your characters live a normal life.  Let them eat.  Let them sleep.  Let them even get a shower and do personal things.  It's all part of life and your characters will thank you.  😀

Have a good one!
SweetTale Books

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas Eve!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas Eve!  Don't forget to put out the cookies and milk for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer (we always used to do that with our kids).




Have a wonderful day!
SweetTale Books

Friday, December 23, 2016

Good Things Will Come Tomorrow--a short story, part 3

Jacob woke up early the next morning, hearing laughter from downstairs.  He ran to Dean’s bed and shook his brother awake.  “Santa’s here,” he whispered.

Dean wiped his eyes.  “Impossible.”  He got out of bed and headed for the door, stopping when he heard a man laughing.  “Who’s downstairs?” he whispered.

Jacob shook his head.  He was going to get to the bottom of this.  They both headed for the stairs, met by Gwen who was wandering out of her room, holding a teddy bear.  The bear was her favorite, but the eyes were missing, the stuffing was falling out, and it had seen better days.

They all ran down the stairs, seeing their mother hugging the well-dressed man from the mall.   She turned, wiping her eyes.

Jacob didn’t care.  On the floor sat hundreds of presents under a brand newly decorated tree.  “Santa came?” he all but whispered.  He wanted to think his wishes had been answered, but wasn’t sure, because his list didn’t have presents, but something for his family, instead.

His mother motioned for them all to join the man and her.  “Kids, we’re moving.”  She looked up at the man.  “Our house sold and we’re moving to his guest house.”

Dean crossed his arms.  “Who are you?”

The man glanced at their mom with a grin.  “Your mother and I knew each other in high school.  I moved away for college, but didn’t come back until last month.  I couldn’t find your mom but had heard your dad died.”

Their mom lowered her head and took a deep breath as if she was sad.  The man put his arm around her and kissed her temple.  “It’s okay,” he whispered.  “I’ll take care of you.  That’s a promise.”

She wiped her eyes, but tried to smile up at the man.  “His name’s Tony,” she said.  “He owns the mall and lives in a huge home with a big guest house.  He’s going to help us get back on our feet and make sure we have food and I have a job.  He knew your dad, too.

“But I always wanted to date your mom.”  Tony kissed her forehead.  “I want to make all your lives better, no strings attached.”

Santa had answered part of the list.

“And,” Tony continued.  “I want to put Gwen in a school that’s right for her.  You boys can choose if you want to stay where you are or move to a school closer to my house.  My butler can take you to whatever school you want to attend.”

The rest of the list was answered?  Jacob couldn’t believe it.  He locked eyes with Tony as if in question.

“Yes,” Tony said.  “Santa agrees, too.  He, and my staff, wanted to bring you all real gifts for Christmas, too.”

Jacob and Dean high-fived each other and cheered.

Tony got down on his knees and brought out a huge gift, handing it to Gwen.  “Time for presents, but you’re first.”

She took the present, studying it.  Jacob showed her how to open it.  When she finally got a chance to look inside, she laughed.  “Teddy?  Two teddies?”

Santa had brought her two more big teddy bears, a lot like the one she already had.

Santa had come through with his promise, even better than Jacob could wish for.  They all dove in and opened present after present, having the best time of their lives.

Good things did come tomorrow—on Christmas day, after all, because Santa had listened.



MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!



Thursday, December 22, 2016

Wrapping, Ribbons, and Bows Tossed in the Air

Stress.  Holidays.  They seem to go hand-in-hand.  My dad used to say that Christmas was the season of push and shove.


This past weekend, I had wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows everywhere.  The dogs thought it was hilarious, trying to pull everything from the table where I worked.  They almost succeeded.


I'm about ready to throw it all in the air and book my husband and myself a holiday in the south, soaking up the sunshine.  Anyone else with me?  😉

I'm feeling a book plot coming on.  LOL!

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Time for Family

Today is a red-letter day for our family.  Our youngest is done with college. I'm officially old.

So she's now a college graduate at 21.  I have to mention her, because she's hilarious and impressive.  She graduated from high school with a 4.0 GPA when she was a junior.  The reason she wanted to graduate early was because she'd started school a year late, just because she was born on Sept. 1.  It ticked her off that she was always the oldest in school.  The state wouldn't budge and let her start Kindergarten early, so she made up for that year's loss by graduating from high school a year early.

When she went to college, her goal was to show up her older sister (our middle kid is 13 months older) and get a perfect GPA.  She received a few A- grades, but overall, her grades were all A's.  She's worried about this semester, thinking she might get a B.  I can't believe it.  I had a ton of B's in college and high school and was proud of them.  But for her, a B is failure.  Crazy, right?  She's also the type to argue for every point, even if she's already gotten an A on the test.  She turns in every project and paper early. That's just the way she is.


So now that you have the setting for this kid, realize her older sister (the middle kid) doesn't have perfect grades.  She's on the 5+ year college plan (double major) and is now behind her sister who was 2 years behind her in school.

This Christmas, when they're all home, is going to be stressful, to say the least.  Our son also had very very good grades in college (a 4.0 GPA in high school) with about a 3.92 GPA.  I can just see the arguments happening already.



What do you do when your family is bound to fight for the holidays?  How do you handle it?  What

would my characters in my books do?  I'm thinking of sending them all to their rooms, get my hot chocolate and book, and ignore everything else around me.  Either that, or put them all to work.

Time for family can be all warm and happy...or it can be like my upcoming holiday season.  Does anyone have warm and happy anymore or is that just in the Christmas romances?  😀

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Fireplace, a Good Book, and a Cup of Hot Chocolate

Do you remember the old Christmas carols that made you smile?  Frosty, Jingle Bells, White Christmas...all fun and memorable.

What else can give you warmth like that this time of year?

When I want to just relax, I go someplace quiet, like in front of a crackling fireplace, with a cup of hot chocolate, and read a good book.  Have you ever done that?  It's amazing!  You can completely lose yourself in a situation like that.

I binge-read a series of books just like that when we were moving from Kansas to Wisconsin.  I didn't want to go, because I had friends in Kansas.  But my husband was worried he'd lose his job, since his company was laying off, big time.  So I bought books.  I hid and read.  It was a fond memory for me, because I could shrug off the work to move and just relax.

The next time you need a pick-me-up, try the book thing, and turn on some great Christmas carols for background music.  Your brain will thank you later.

And, of course, if you need some fun books that'll give you that escape, check out the books at www.sweettalebooks.com.  I know you'll love 'em.



Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Monday, December 19, 2016

This is What Winter Romance is Made Of

Someone's stuck in a cabin in winter and someone else rescues them, only to get stuck as well. Sound familiar?  Some romances are built on this premise, but why?

Think about it...two people braving against the elements, where death is a possibility.   They have to work together, and like all romances, fall in love against the odds.  It's what some romances are made of--two people who don't get along who fall in love because of some outside force.

Do you like that type of story?  What makes that type of story better?  Is it because it's dramatic, or do you like the humor that could be involved, which would be a stark contrast to the problems they face?

If you're living in a warm place this week, think of the people stuck in the snow (like up here in Green Bay).  Here's a picture of our yard on Saturday, when it was still snowing.  I just need the cabin and a reason to be holed up with my husband.  A romance in the making. 😁







Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Friday, December 16, 2016

Good Things Will Come Tomorrow--a short story, part 2

An older man ran to his side and helped him right the tree.  “Why did you pull it down?” the man asked.  He sounded as mean as Dean.

Jacob lowered his eyes.  “I didn’t, sir.  I was trying to save my sister.”  He grabbed her hand and moved her away from the offending lights.  “She’s special needs and loves lights.”

The man moved both Jacob and Gwen away from the tree.  “Is that right?”  He was dressed in a dark suit and dark shoes.  Jacob was worried he was a policeman and he was in trouble.

Jacob knew Santa was watching, so he had to be truthful.  “Yes, sir.  I was trying my best to save her.”

“Where are your parents?”

Jacob looked the man in the eyes, not wanting to seem disrespectful.  He’d learned about that in school.  Always look someone in the eyes when speaking, his teacher had told them.  He was just worried this man would be upset that his mother and Dean weren’t nearby.

“Sir,” Jacob started.  “My mom left us in the line for Santa.”  He pointed.  “She’ll be right back.  I think she needed to go to the bathroom or something.”

“And your dad?”

Jacob’s eyes filled with tears, worried this man would be upset.  “He died, sir.  He was in the Army and was shot.”  He had to lower his eyes or he might cry.  Santa didn’t need to see him crying.  “My older brother is around, though.  So we’re not alone.”

The man was quiet and Jacob was worried he was hunting for handcuffs or an officer with handcuffs.  Touching that tree had to be wrong.

“I see,” the man said.  “Do you have a list for Santa?”

Jacob was surprised.  The man didn’t seem angry at all.  “Yes, sir.”  He reached into his pocket and pulled out his list while he still held Gwen’s hand.  “It’s for Santa.  He’s the only one who can help us.”

“May I see it?”

Jacob’s eyebrows lowered.  “I’m worried Santa won’t believe I have a list if I lose it.  Who are you, anyway?”

The man chuckled.  “I’m a good guy.  I just want to read it and then I’ll give it back to you.  You can tell Santa as soon as I see it.”

Jacob sighed, thinking it through.  He finally handed the man the paper.  The man read it over, nodding as he went.  “You’re Jacob, right?”

“Yes, sir.”  Jacob pointed to the list.  “I signed my name there.”

The man nodded again, reading the list one more time.  “Is that all you want?”

“Yes, sir.”

He handed the list back to Jacob.  “Nothing for you?”

Jacob shook his head.  “No.  Just for the rest of my family.  Santa can do this, I’m sure.”

“I hope so.  That’s a tall order.”  He ushered the two children to the front of the line.  “Janet, these two are next.  I think Jacob might want to stay with his sister.”

The woman elf watched the man’s face, following his gaze to the two kids.  “I understand.”  She took Jacob and Gwen to see Santa.  Gwen took one look at Santa and burst into tears.

“Are you scared?” Jacob asked her.
.
She leaned closer to her brother and buried her head in his chest. 

Janet put her hands on Gwen’s shoulders and turned her toward her.  She knelt in front of her and gave her a hug.  “Go on.  Talk to Santa,” she said to Jacob.  “I’ll watch her for you.”

Jacob turned toward the man in the red suit.  He held out his hands and Jacob moved closer.  One of the other elves lifted Jacob onto Santa’s lap.
“Ho, ho, ho,” Santa bellowed, with a smile.  “What would you like for Christmas this year.”

Jacob still held onto his list and handed it to Santa.  The man smiled until he read the list.  “I see.  Nothing for you?”

Jacob shook his head.  “No, sir.  This is more important.”  Jacob knew this might be tough, but the man was Santa, after all.  “Can you help us?”

“I don’t know…”

The other man in the dark suit moved behind Santa and leaned down to his ear.  After whispering something, Santa smiled.  “Ho, ho, ho.  Jacob, I’ll do my best.”

Jacob smiled and shook the man’s hand.  “Thank you.”

Someone took his picture and he got off Santa’s lap.  Gwen had calmed down and was eating a candy cane and laughing at the guy making the balloon animals.

Jacob headed for Gwen and took her hand.  Just as he was ready to take her to wait for their mother, Dean ran up to them.  “I’m back.”

“It’s about time,” Jacob said.  “Gwen almost pulled that big tree down.”  He pointed.

Dean looked over at the gigantic tree.  “Uh oh.”

They started to walk away, but the man in the suit ran up to them.  “Would you wait here for a moment?”

“Are we in trouble?” Jacob asked.

The man chuckled.  “No.  I want to talk to your mom.”

Dean looked over toward the tree.  “She’s right there.”  Jacob turned and saw their mom carrying one bag, running toward them.

“Stay here.”  The man ran to her side and directed her to a bench.  She listened for a moment, and then looked over at the three children.  She looked so sad, and finally wiped her eyes.  They talked for a while and finally both stood up.  She shook his hand and wiped her eyes, but he pulled her in for a hug while she cried.  He held her for a long time, before she backed away and wiped her eyes again. 

She headed for the kids, still wiping her eyes, and took them to the car without saying a word.  Dean glanced at Jacob, but he shrugged.

~~~~~

For the next two days, Jacob, Dean, and Gwen stayed at the house while their mom worked.  Jacob wasn’t sure Santa could help them.  His wish was too hard, he was certain, because the heat was still off in the house, and the for-sale sign was still in the front yard.  They still had peanut butter and jelly for their lunches, but there was no bread left.  Instead, they used old crackers, since the pantry was empty.

The night before Christmas, Jacob’s mom came home and fell into the broken chair in the living room.  “Well, kids.  Tomorrow’s Christmas.”

“Did they pay you at the second job?” Dean asked.

She shook her head.  “Nope.  But they did fire me.  I only have that little day job left.  I don’t know if we can make it.”

Jacob climbed up to sit on her lap and gave her a hug.  “Santa will handle things, Mom.”

She chuckled and wiped her eyes.  “I’m sure you’re right.  Better get to bed.  Santa will be here at midnight.”  She seemed so sad.  “Just know he can’t bring much this year, but he’s doing his best.”  She cried some more. 

Jacob hugged her. “Mom, it’s okay.  I’m going to put out some peanut butter and jelly crackers for him.”

She wiped her eyes.  “I didn’t even get to the store.  I’m sorry.”

“I’ll find something for Santa.”  Dean stood up.

“No.”  Jacob’s mom put Jacob on the floor.  “You all go to bed.  Make sure Gwen gets there.  I’ll put the things out for Santa.”

Dean rolled his eyes and helped the other two upstairs to bed.  Jacob took one last look at the tiny Christmas tree in the living room, with the paper ornaments he and Dean had made out of paper bags.

Jacob got ready for bed and climbed into his old bed.  He stared out the window at all the stars, wishing he could see Santa.  If only he could stay awake, he might even see the reindeer.

Dean walked into the shared room and got into bed.  “This isn’t good, Jacob.”

Jacob sat up.  “What’s the matter?”

“Mom told me the bank’s going to take our house.  We’re going to be out on the street next week.”

Jacob swallowed hard.  “The street?  We’ll be cold.”

Dean sighed.  “We’re cold already.  Just don’t let Gwen know anything and don’t say anything to Mom.  She said we could go to Grandma’s house, but I know she argued with Mom.  Grandma doesn’t want us.”  He got into bed and pulled the covers up.  “Good night.  I’m just glad we can stay here for Christmas.”

Jacob worried.  Santa hadn’t come through with his wish, he was certain.  But there was always tomorrow.  Good things would come tomorrow.

~~~~~

The last part will be next Friday!  Stay tuned!


Thursday, December 15, 2016

My 'Some Day' list for Wooden Crafts

There are so many talented people, posting their things on the Internet.  Here are a few really cool things I saw online that don't fit into other categories.  Some day, I hope to buy a few things like these things.

NOTE:  This is not an endorsement of the products, nor is it the entire list of crafts I'd love to buy some day.  This is a quick summary of items I found online and had time and space to list. Also, these are in no particular order.

The items below are all wooden objects, but so cool, I had to mention them.

Enjoy!
SweetTale Books


Items by Tom Roche on Etsy:  All woodworking and well worth checking it out.  I love the cutting board and the clock.  VERY cool!!!  He's also on Twitter.

Items by John Evans.  Also on Twitter.  This guy's from the UK and makes wooden boxes.  They're so cool!  I could find a lot of things to put in boxes like these.

Items by RusticRootsFarm on Etsy:  I love natural and reclaimed wooden items.

Items by Northern Oaks Decor Co on Etsy.  Amazing wooden art.  I wish I were talented like these people!

Items by Happy Chairs and More on Etsy.  Wow.  Cool stuff, especially for kids or people who act like kids (ME!).  Very cool!

That's just a few.


Check out the indie stuff online, from books, to art, to crafts.  These small business people have a ton of talent, and need to all be recognized.




Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My 'Some Day' list for Art

I love seeing art online.  Do you?  There are some really outstanding artists and I'd love to feature them here.  These are the things I'd love to have on my walls of my house, to look at all day long.

NOTE:  This is not an endorsement of the products, nor is it the entire list of art I love.  This is a quick summary of items I found online and had time and space to list. Also, these are in no particular order.  Just saying.

I'm not going to show the art, because I don't want to 'steal' from these people.  So if you're inclined to look, I'm including a place where you can see what they do.  Amazing artists!!!


Charles Evans Art This guy is absolutely amazing, showing how he paints as he goes--he also teaches how to do it).  He's on Twitter, too.  His art reminds me a lot of the Thomas Kinkade stuff.


Laurie Shanholtzer--I love her art--kids being kids.  It brings back fond memories!  She's on Twitter, too.

Leonid Afremov -- Beautiful, almost impressionistic (I think?) works.  Impressive!  He's on Twitter, too.

Lucia Heffernan -- Very cool stuff--contemporary realism.  She's on Facebook, too.

Shane Turner Art -- this is very interesting stuff, and a little on the 'different' side.  But if you're into modernism, check it out.  He's on Facebook, too.

Artist and Artlovers (twitter account) -- LOTS of stuff here.  Includes things by Michele Ng, Alexander Bolotov'art, and Ildiko Neer Photo & Art, for example.


Have a great day!
SweetTale Books




Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My 'Some Day' List--Children's Books

Here's more of my 'some day' list.  Today--children's books.  If only I had a few grandkids so I could buy these and read them before the kids do...for myself.  LOL!

NOTE:  This is not an endorsement of the products, nor is it the entire list of books I want to read.  This is a quick summary of books I found online and had time and space to list. Also, these are in no particular order.

Enjoy!
SweetTale Books


Children's books 


Snugs the Snow Bear  (this is in hard cover/paperback)
Here's the picture of the cover, from Amazon:




This looked adorable:





(This looked really cute):


(If you know a young cowgirl type, here's your book!)

(Very cute!  I want to have a tea party now.  LOL!)



(Great book to read before Christmas!)


(This looks like a good one to read before bedtime,
to kids of any age.  It also might make kids develop
a love of reading.)




Have a great day!
Markee

Monday, December 12, 2016

My 'Some Day' List--Books

Have you ever gone through the Internet (especially on places like Facebook and Twitter) and wished you could buy a lot of the things advertised there?  I have quite a few things and want to share them with you, in case you need some ideas for presents.

I'm going to use mostly Amazon links, since most of them are there.  Plus, there's this cool 'embed' feature for some of the products (ebooks), so you can see the book and even see a preview.  Very cool!

NOTE:  This is not an endorsement of the products, nor is it the entire list of books I want to read.  This is a quick summary of books I found online and had time and space to list. Also, these are in no particular order.  Just saying.

Anyway, this is just a start of what I'd love to buy, myself, in books.  Some day...yes, some day.  I've read the previews of these and they're good.

Enjoy!
SweetTale Books



Adult books:


If you like your books with great intrigue, try this one:




 (Great ideas on losing weight.gotta try this some day!)



(This guy is quite a storyteller...amazing writer:)




(If you love westerns, this lady is fantastic!)


If you like Amish Romances, here's a great one:


 (Love police/detective stories, and this guy has a background in detective work.
This is the first of the series:)




(I really like the way this lady writes.  It's fun, rather sweet, and exciting!)


(Here's another western, just in time for Christmas.  This is a good one!)


(This interested me because of my YA books...great insight!)




(I'd love to travel some day:)







Friday, December 9, 2016

Good Things Will Come Tomorrow--a short story, part 1


Jacob knew what he wanted for Christmas. He'd tried all year to be the best he could be, even though he didn't always succeed.  His family’s well-being depended on it.

Second grade was tough enough, and Santa should know how hard it was. Yes, he'd pulled Brittany's hair, but her desk was in front of his and her long ponytail always got in his way. And yes, he'd hit Dean, his older 10-year-old brother, but Dean had hit him first. Their mom didn't see that part, but just saw Jacob hitting back. He'd paid the price while Dean just laughed. Jacob guessed the dishes needed to be dried, so it all worked out, even if that was his punishment.

This year, though, Jacob wasn't about to fold. His Christmas list was made up two weeks before they saw Santa at the mall. His mom was worried they weren't dressed well enough to meet with Jolly Old St. Nick, but this was a tough year for them all. His dad had died overseas, and everything was a mess at home. Since their mom worked two jobs to make ends meet, Dean was in charge. Lucky Jacob. He hated mean old Dean.

So, Santa had to listen to the list.  This was Jacob’s only chance to make a difference in all their lives.  He’d dreamed big, too.  Nothing was out of bounds, because Santa could do anything.

They were now on their way to see the man in the red suit, all bundled up in their old car, making their way through traffic in the snow.  Jacob’s mom was stressed, screaming every time the car slid.  But Jacob knew they could make it.  They had to.  Santa needed to hear his list.

They finally parked as close as they could to the stores, but the door still seemed to be a mile away.  Cars were everywhere, so Dean, Jacob, and his six-year-old sister, Gwen, all linked hands and went with their mom toward the door.  That’s the way they did everything these days, because their mom was worried she’d lose a kid.

Once inside, the place was packed with angry-looking shoppers.  None of them wore a smile, but Jacob did.  He knew his goal would be met with success.

The group of four made their way to the center of the mall.  Santa sat on what looked like a throne while four big elves scurried about taking pictures, helping kids sit on Santa’s lap, and handing out candy canes. 

The line was long, so their mom pulled them all to the end of the line and leaned down close.  “Dean,” she said.  “Watch over them.  I’ll be right back.  No roughhousing and you all stay here.  Dean, promise me.”

“Yes, mom,” he said, but he didn’t care.  It was obvious to Jacob.  Once again, it was Jacob’s job to watch Gwen.  She had a tendency to wander off, because she had some sort of special needs.  Jacob forgot what it was called, but she was in her own little world.

They stood in line while one of the elves entertained the crowd.  He did magic tricks and made balloon animals, while Gwen watched.  Jacob didn’t care.  His goal was to see Santa.

They moved up in the line.  Dean held onto Gwen’s hand.  Suddenly, one of his friends from school walked by.  He dropped Gwen’s hand and walked away, toward his friend.  Before Jacob could take Gwen’s hand, she took off toward the Christmas tree in the center of the mall, grabbing at the lights.

Jacob had to make a quick decision.  Should he stay in line or rescue Gwen from pulling the tree down on herself?  He glanced over.  She pulled at a light and laughed.  He had to save her.

Jacob ran to the nearest elf.  “Save my spot.  My sister’s in trouble.”  Before the elf said a word, he took off for Gwen.  The tree tottered and she laughed as it began to tilt toward her.

Jacob grabbed it but Gwen just laughed, still pulling at the light.

“No, Gwen.”  He pulled the light from her and pushed on the giant tree.  But he couldn’t handle it.  It was too heavy. 

He held onto the tree and turned his head.  “Help?” he yelled as loudly as he could.

No one seemed to hear him.  It was up to him to save everyone near the tree, but he wasn’t big enough.  What should he do now?

~~~~~

Stay tuned for part 2 of 3, next Friday!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Positive Look at the Season

As you can tell, I'm really into Christmas blogging this year?  Why?  I'm not sure.  But it's keeping
my spirits up as I watch the yucky snow out my back porch window.

Some people get really depressed this time of year.  A few contributing factors could be to blame--the weather and cloudiness, being alone, facing debt or crisis, or even having to be nice to mean relatives.  I can relate to all of these because I've been in all of these situations at different times in my life.

So how do people stay upbeat at Christmas?  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) nails me every year, so I have to have a different mindset in winter, especially at Christmas.

First, this is my 'vacation' time.  I turn on all the lights in the house (100 watts are the best) and imagine it's summertime.  I even wear shorts in the house on the coldest of days, just to feel free from the confines of heavy clothing.  I dance.  I let myself dream.  And this is the best time I get plotting done.

Winter, and especially Christmas, brings along new chores.  These include getting ready for the season (shopping, cooking, decorating), and also dealing with winter--shoveling, scraping ice, putting down ice melt, etc.  I take these with stride and let my mind wander when I have to do these chores.

So the next time you let the season get you down, consider this your 'downtime' to plan and have fun, time you wouldn't have in the summer.  Figure out what you want to do in the spring and summer and start your plan.  It'll help give you an upbeat and positive look at the season ahead.

And, if you just want to escape the dreariness, stop by SweetTale Books and get yourself something to read.  My books all have 'happily ever after' endings, with fun and interesting stories along the way.

Have a wonderful day!
SweetTale Books

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Favorite Stories to Warm Your Heart



Do you have a favorite story or movie at Christmas that just warms your heart?  Here are a few of mine:

Movies:

  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • The Christmas Card
  • The Santa Clause
  • Polar Express
  • A Christmas Story
  • Christmas with the Kranks
Books:
  • The Night Before Christmas (by Clement Clarke Moore)
  • A Christmas Carol (by Charles Dickens)
  • Visions of Sugarplums (by Janet Evanovich)

Yes, I know most of these aren't politically correct but if they make me laugh, they make my list.  I love to laugh, so either the books are very touching or just fun.

What do you like at Christmas?  If you can't think of any or need something new, try out this sweet Christmas shelf.  Or, there are some free short stories on this shelf.

Enjoy!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Delicious Recipe for the Season--Double Chocolate Mint Walnut Cookies

The magic of this season begins with great food.  And the best food for Christmas?  COOKIES!

Here's an excellent recipe to make everyone smile, even if they do have chocolate in their mouths.  :)





Double Chocolate Mint Walnut Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup salted butter, softened (1 stick=8 tbsp.)
3/8 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar


1 egg
1/2 tsp mint extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup Andes candies mint chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnut pieces


Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350.
  • In one small bowl, add flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.  Mix.
  • In a bigger bowl, beat butter and sugars (brown and white) together.
  • Add egg and mint extract.  Beat.
  • Mix in dry ingredients from smaller bowl.
  • Add in Andes candies and walnut pieces.  Mix well with wooden spoon.
  • Put spoonfuls on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until done.




Monday, December 5, 2016

Don't you just love Christmas?

Remember when you were a kid and the magic of Christmas filled your heart from about Thanksgiving until the New Year?

I remember those days fondly.  I had an old radio (a lot like this one, but green: Old Radio) that I would turn on from the first day of the school's Christmas vacation, and listen to Christmas songs.  It seemed to take an enternity for Christmas to arrive.

In the meantime, we'd string up lights, put up the tree, and even bake cookies.  My mom loved Christmas because it was also her birthday.  My dad used to tell people (including one Sunday in front of the entire church) that he married my mom so he'd only have to get her one present every year.  He was hardly like that...he loved Christmas and always went overboard for everyone, including my mom.  But it was his joke.

Anyway, we'd really get into Christmas.  Every year, my dad would drive us around to see all the pretty Christmas lights people would put around their house, including all the decorations in the front yard.  Mom would put the Christmas cards on all the interior door frames, and we'd always love reading those big letters some people put in their cards, bragging about their lives (I guess it was an early form of Facebook).

As we get older, we seem to lose that magical time, just waiting for Christmas to arrive.  It seems to be more hustle and bustle, or as my dad would say, 'it's the season of push and shove.'

I'd like to get back to that magic.  Wouldn't you?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Cards!

Every year, I tell myself that I'll never send Christmas cards after this year.  Who reads them anyway?  Who cares about getting Christmas cards?  My sister only sends things online unless the person doesn't have the Internet (like my mom).

So why do I send Christmas cards?  My handwriting is pretty awful, so I even print out the labels and put a sticker for our name on the inside, so people can actually read it. I don't send out those big letters with accomplishments, but just streamline it to make it fast and painless.

I finally decided this year that there's a reason I send those cards.  For some of my recipients, this is all the Christmas they will get.  It's something tangible for them to hold, to give them a memory they may not ever have.  It's more personal than just an ecard.

My mom used to take all the Christmas cards she'd get and tape them up to a doorway, so it'd be more festive than having no decoration at all.  We could also see who wanted to share Christmas with us, by inviting them into our home for the holiday.

So the next time you consider not sending Christmas cards, realize that one person may never have any other connection to Christmas.  Thus, I'm sending out my cards this year, to make someone happy.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Movies!

Ah, it's Christmas movie time.  Some channels have already been showing these movies, 24/7 (like the Hallmark channel).

I found a few channels that are showing Christmas movies.  I had no idea some of them were being shown on some of these channels.

Check out:

TBS
ion television
Lifetime
The Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Movies and Mysteries
UP
FreeForm (used to be ABC Family)

I'm sure there are more (probably channels we don't get here), but this is a start.  I had no idea ion and UP showed Christmas movies.  Then, of course, there are more on Netflix.  YAY, Christmas movies!  What are your favorites?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books