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She-Shed Update: Let There Be Light

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 Readers, January went by so very fast! In that time, we worked quite a bit on the she-shed, when weather was on our side. So this will be mostly pictures, but here's our progress so far. New, 3x4 foot windows have been installed on each side of the shed.  Window on North side along with replaced siding. Even the little ones got to help. So much light! We've roped visiting family into helping out too. Thanks, James! Along with the addition of windows, there has been repair work to the north siding. This is where we had the most damage. We also have installed the new door to the front. This was a bigger project than first anticipated, and definitely a learning experience! One of the things we learned was that the old plywood we hoped to use as sheathing wasn't going to work. So off it came. Gary enjoyed helping measure the openings as new sheathing was put in. Before installing the door, we had to check that it would fit properly in the opening we'd made. It was late eve

Project Reveal: The She Shed

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Many of us learned lessons during the pandemic, especially in the early stages when various states and countries were under some form of lockdown. We may have learned a new hobby or skill. Perhaps we learned we weren't as introverted as we thought (or maybe the opposite). Most parents learned a whole new level of parenting challenge as they tried to pick up homeschooling skills. One of the lessons I learned: if I am in the house, it does not matter how many other adults are available, my children will ask me for whatever it is they need or want. Prince Charming is a great support in every way. He cheerfully takes care of the children so I can write. But they will still come ask me. After one day of frustration, my husband jokingly suggested I use the garden shed as an office. I brushed it off at first. The garden shed is an old one-car garage. There is siding that needs replaced, cracks in the cement floor, and it is dark in there. Front view of the garden shed Interior view of the

Word of 2021: Grow

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  I think we can all agree that 2020 was a tough year! Now as we enter 2021, I'm sure many of us are setting goals for ourselves. And I am no different. Each year I like to pick a word to focus my goals around. This year my word is: Grow I want to grow healthier, grow spiritually, grow closer to my family, and grow professionally.  I chose the word grow because it's more than just literal growth. In fact, I'm pretty sure my literal growth stopped quite a while ago. Grow can mean learning from experiences, gaining new knowledge or talents, challenging ourselves in various ways. There are a lot of possibilities to grow. Especially after a year that was difficult and at times felt stagnant. As we got into December of 2020, I started thinking of what I wanted my word for 2021 to be. Honestly, I can't even remember what I chose for 2020 (sad author confession, I know). The word grow came almost immediately. Honestly, I think a lot of that is because growth is so essential to

Ashen Blog Tour - Book Spotlight

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This spring when I was terribly sick from pregnancy, I had one bright spot. A bright spot I couldn't even share with anyone! For those of you who know me well, you know I hate waiting to share good news or good books. So I'm super excited to be able to share with you about Ashen, the upcoming release from fantasy author H. L. Burke. I've been following H. L. Burke for a long time, and when she asked for some extra eyes on her Cinderella retelling, Ashen, I was immediately interested. Vaguely Icelandic setting, steampunk and fantasy elements, plus fairy tale I love? Sign me up!  And this story definitely didn't disappoint. Here's the official blurb: Stealer of warmth, bringer of death. What if Cinderella had a secret that kept her locked away? Unable to make her own body heat, foundling Lizbete survives in the tavern kitchen, drawing warmth from the fires, the sun—and sometimes, other living beings. Her days are spent cookin g alongside the tavern owner and avoiding

Where the Heart Is Book Birthday!

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Readers, I was seriously beginning to wonder if this day would ever come! It's been a long time since I went this long without having a new release for you. But now that release day is finally here, I'm so very excited to share   Where the Heart Is   with you! These characters have been on my mind for a long time, and I bet they're super excited to be going out into the world too.   One of the things I loved most about working on this project was all the research that went into it. I'm always learning new things for my book projects, and this particular project sent me looking for information more than once. I learned a lot about ranch life, the animals, conservation in ranching, and so much more. I could (and probably should) write a whole series of blog posts just on all the research I did!  But one of the most exciting things for me is that I managed to release a book this year. With 2020 being a year of upheavals, it was not looking good for me. Betwe

Welcome to Twining Hearts Ranch: What's In a Name?

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Readers, I've been away for a terribly long time and I apologize for that. The last several months, as I'm sure you've experienced for yourself, have been crazy. While I've been gone, I've gotten some slow writing done and I'm now in the process of wrapping up a project I've been wanting to do all year.  Where the Heart Is is on preorder now through Labor Day.  Coming very soon, the first book in the Twining Hearts Ranch series, Where the Heart Is ! Over the next month as we prepare for the book to come out, I'll share some insights into the locations, characters, and animal friends you'll meet in Where the Heart Is.  For today, I thought I'd answer a question sent by one of my beta readers. When Lottie inherits the ranch from her grandfather, it is called the Rocking Bar H. She changes the name to Twining Hearts Ranch, though she preserves the brand and title Rocking Bar H for the cattle aspect of her business.  But, why Rocking Bar H? What'

Happy Birthday, Kansas!

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If you've been my reader for more than a few days, you know by now that I'm a Kansan girl through and through. I've lived in Kansas the majority of my life, and have traveled around much of the state. I look for excuses to take pictures of sunflowers and honey bees, and get a special sort of thrill when I see a herd of bison. Yep, Kansas has seeped into my very being, and quite often seeps into my writing. How to Marry a Genie When I wrote the Charming Academy series, the stories were meant to take place in a fantasy version of our world, way, way back when. So while Kansas couldn't be a location, it certainly inspired the rolling plains of Lictthane, where Moira and Adrian grew up, and the dangerous tornado which prolongs Lucian's stop in the province. But as for my contemporary works, Kansas has quite often appeared as part of the setting. Almost a Fairy Tale never specifically states it, but I've always imagined that the story took place on the easter