Archive for February 2013

Soul String Saga

February 24, 2013

Today I’m doing some shameless self-promotion. At least I’m being up front about it. Because I’m proud of this series. Right now Books 1, 2–and this past week–3 are available  in digital format only. Once I have the last one edited and finished, they will come out in print for those who still love their print copies.

And so do I for book signings.

All my books are special to me at the time I write them and later when they go through revision. This series is special because it reflects one woman’s growth and maturation during a time when women were breaking out of traditional roles. This sometimes created great personal conflicts for them from external sources like family, friends, co-workers to internal stress when momentary doubts might barrage them with guilt or indecision regarding their choices.

So here they are, folks, with covers, descriptions, and buy links. Book 4, Soul String: Passport will be out in March. You’ll probably see all this again. After all, writers have to also brag about their babies, just like parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles.

See you next week. 🙂

Soul String

B.J. Kelly grew up with a small town background and a family rooted in tradition, but her goals to become successful and wealthy will never happen living the life her family wants for her. Against the turmoil on her 1970’s college campus, she achieves a major step in earning a graduate degree at a major university. Her determination and drive earn her recognition, a job, and a life-long enemy.

Soul String

Soul String

Known for his difficult exams, Professor Caleb Forrester is dumbfounded when one B.J. Kelly not only aces his test—she one-ups him in her answers. Their meeting after class leaves him even more intrigued and sparks a relationship that will connect them for years to come.

Through danger, in love and in hate, for the rest of their lives, they are connected by a Soul String…

A novella Soul String begins a series which follows Brenna, called B.J. by some for the next twenty years. In each novella to follow we see her mature and grow professionally. With each book she faces challenges in her personal and professional lives which alter and sometimes enhance her path to success. Along the way we see her gather friendships and enemies as her power and prestige increases. She finds love when she least expects it, and loses it in the same way. But the soul string love nurtured remains intact.

No matter how many years pass, nothing alters the hatred of one man whose encounter with her in the graduate school library stacks changed his life and forged his hatred.

Kindle: 

Nook:

Apple:

KOBO:  

Soul String: The Key

Soul String: The Key

Soul String: The Key

Brenna Kelly’s new boss sends her to Japan to try mending fences and gain an important business contract –one her immediate supervisor has lost. Her success fuels her supervisor’s anger, gains her the admiration of two important men in the business world, and sets her on a business track that changes her expectations.

Caleb Forrester finds himself traveling the globe and rarely settling in one place for very long and he works to set his individual stamp on his family’s business.

The two of them find themselves separated not by design but by circumstances and time zones. Can their love survive?

With Brenna’s blossoming career, she watches as her friends and family members make big changes. All the while she gathers new friends, supporters, and another enemy.

Then a long weekend at a hideway cabin in the Colorado Rockies shakes the foundation of her Soul String…

Kindle:

Nook:

Apple:

KOBO:  

Soul String: Broken

Marry me…

No, not yet…”

Soul String: Broken

Soul String: Broken

A proposal goes astray…

Brenna is in her late-twenties when Caleb proposes. Her hesitation followed by her promise to do so—someday—sets in motion changes which could rip them apart.

Caleb’s in his late-thirties. His parents want a grandchild. His father’s health isn’t good. He’s ready to settle down though his career is busier than ever. His parents and his profession keep him on the west coast or globe-trotting. But he wants Brenna close and as his wife.

Brenna’s business has taken off. She’s busier than ever but her consulting projects keep her in Milwaukee or else traveling across continents and oceans. Her parents want her to marry. But that’s not a role she’s ready to take on. They’d like more grandchildren, but her biological clock isn’t ticking. In fact it’s not even nearby. She’s living the career she worked so hard for and enjoying every minute. Whenever she and Caleb can be together, she looks forward to living in the moment and enjoying their time to the fullest.

Characters unravel or bloom…

How can he want a different life when they both started out with such unified goals? Why would he think she might want to?

1975 is the Year of the Woman. Brenna is following her dream career and loving Caleb. Her way.

Can these two soul mates agree to walk the same path hand in hand? Will the miles between them, their diverging careers, needy families, and shifting goals shatter a love neither believed would ever fail?

Kindle:

Nook:

Apple: In process

KOBO:  In process

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A Cautionary Tale

February 17, 2013

Then the icicles draped the houses

Then the icicles draped the houses

My hubby and I made a decision (okay I strongly suggested this) to purchase a new dishwasher. Before the old one gave out and likely would flood the kitchen and hallway.

After all, the old one was going on 19 years old. It really had never given us a headache or a problem in all that time. However, the past few months I noticed dishes were not getting as clean and glassware often had spots and a film despite the use of preventive aids which had kept this from happening over all these 19 years.

So hubby measured and carefully wrote down the measurements. It certainly wouldn’t do to find the perfect dishwasher only to have it arrive and be too big or too small for the available space. He hit Consumer Reports and did his research. He brought home the results and consulted me.

Of course, he showed me only those which met his specifications: high rankings in areas he deemed necessary and size.

Then I took those model numbers and looked them up on line. After all, I was the determiner of whether it would really “fit” in the kitchen, meaning did it complement what we already have. Or was it totally unacceptable despite its high ratings.

They make such noise when they fall

They make such noise when they fall

Wonder of wonders—my top choice was the same as his. (Now this is a rare occurrence. I’m for sleek, modern and stainless, black or titanium and black. He has a fondness for roosters and harvest gold and olive green. I’ll say no more.)

So off we went to the appliance store. And even a great wonder? It was on a very good sale. We bought it, arranged for delivery, installation and most importantly, HAUL AWAY.

We were told the only responsibility we had before the new appliance arrived was to turn off the water to the dishwasher.

Now the day before the delivery we get the confirmation call and my husband asks about the installation since that wasn’t mentioned. Well, that gets him the opportunity to speak to a real human.

You know where this is going, don’t you?

Yep. No notice of any installation we should call the store and reset a delivery date.

Well, we did, but delivery, installation and haul away couldn’t be done until the following week. We agreed. I mean, what else were we going to do? I certainly wasn’t going to try to install it and fortunately my dear hubby decided he’d not step up a show his macho.

Thank God for small favors.

So we’re back to just turning off the water.

The new delivery date was scheduled for this past Friday. About Tuesday hubby says to me, “There’s no water turn off under the sink.”

“Of course there is,” I answered but I was busy desperately trying to finish the final edits for this next book and didn’t immediately get up and show him where it was the last time I cleaned under the kitchen sink.

A dozen roses for Valentine's Day

A dozen roses for Valentine’s Day

My mistake. Hubby’s also.

When I asked about it later, he said the problem was solved. So you know what I thought, right?

Well, Friday arrived. I’m in a very celebratory mood—the dishwasher is arriving and being installed and while that’s happening I will be out to lunch with two writer friends I don’t get to see often. Best of all, when I get home, the whole dishwasher process should be finished.

Lunch was fantastic.

When I got home, I saw the old dishwasher outside the garage and the installer’s van. I walked in the house to see my new dishwasher in place, the installer on the floor finishing up. But I sensed something was wrong.

Then hubby came into the hallway. I smiled at him and noticed his color, his breathing. “Things look like they are going well?”

“No. I had a terrible day…” and I heard about the flood in the lower level where our disabled son has his rooms and all his supplies and equipment is stored. In turning off the water, my hubby had tried to turn it off at the main valve instead of under the kitchen sink. The valve broke off and there was no way to turn off all the water rushing in.

At that same moment the doorbell rings, the dishwasher delivery men and installer had arrived. Fortunately, Steven’s nurse on duty was able to quickly reach the water department who had a crew finishing up another project just a few houses away. They were here in minutes and quickly found the main turn off outside which only they could turn off. They did and then hubby reattached the valve.

Meanwhile, the delivery men took out the old dishwasher, brought the new one in, and left. The installer began his work.

Hubby made a phone call to a water extraction service. Then he changed his clothes which were soaked right down to his shoes. (They are probably ruined.) That’s when I arrived home to hear this tale of woe. The water extraction people were right behind me. They arrived and used these enormous vacuums to get up the several inches of water.

The new appliance in our kitchen

The new appliance in our kitchen

But this weekend we are drying out. Industrial sized humidifiers and fans are doing their thing. Very loudly. Steven’s supplies are mostly because the water didn’t reach the shelves. The equipment has dried without issue.

And I write this while I do a shift with my son and listen to the fans and humidifier do their jobs. Sometimes noisy equipment is a very good thing.

Oh, and the moral of this story? Let your hubby clean under the kitchen sink regularly to become familiar with the water turn off thingamajig.

Any cautionary tales of your own to share?

If not, I’ll see you next week. 🙂

Let It Snow

February 10, 2013

Patio lite sno-cone

Patio lite sno-cone

Last winter we didn’t get much snow here in the southeastern corner of Wisconsin. So far this winter season has been pretty much one without much snow. Cold weather?

Yes.

Snow that needed a shovel instead of a broom?

Not so much. In fact not at all.

Until Thursday.

About mid morning I glanced out the window and what did I see?

Not rain, not sleet, not freezing snow. But really honest to goodness huge flakes of snow.

View from balcony

View from balcony

I turned away figuring this was a teaser and got back to my business of putting words on yet another page. About an hour later I looked out the window again to see snow, still those huge flakes, only this time I had a hunch they weren’t going to stop.

I was right. It snowed all day. It snowed all night. We lost power. Still not sure why but after a few hours the power came back on. In the time between we had the fireplace going and a glass of wine in hand.

So having a snow day had some advantages.

One was the white fairyland that looked so pristine. The trees had taken on a whole new look, cloaked in heavy layers of snow. Because of the rain and sleet that came before the snow started, the all day and night snow remained exactly where it fell. And as you know, trees, shrubs, and patio furnishings had taken on a new appearance too. All proved great for photo movements.

Frosted trees

Frosted trees

Also had some disadvantages since all that snow meant the shovel needed to get used. After all, my dear little dog, Oreo, needed a potty spot on that snow. One that wouldn’t swallow her.

I imagine I’ll have to shovel clear the storm sewer next because I just heard the weather forecast. We’re supposed to have much warmer temps today and if it rains all day and all this snow melts, well, I could have an ice rink outside my front door soon.

Hope you enjoy the photos, and if you’re in the Northeast and battling even more snow, be safe.

Snowy bench under birch

Snowy bench under birch

Snowy butterfly

Snowy butterfly

A Special Favor

February 5, 2013

My Oreo

My Oreo

Hello on a Tuesday!

I don’t usually post during the week, but I have a very special favor to ask of you. This favor might take you a few minutes. But it should be fun and interesting.

So, here’s the deal.

Two of my book covers have been entered in a contest. That’s right. Not the book. Just the cover. So actually, this is about the creative vision and work of cover artists.

If a book cover finals, it get some publicity. If the book cover wins, it gets more.

So the Super Bowl is over. March Madness hasn’t begun. So this is a good time to judge book covers.

This contest has a name, Judge A Book By Its Cover. Or JABBIC for short. 🙂

It has book covers in several different categories. You can judge 1, 2, or all. The choice is yours but whatever category you choose, you must look at all the choices. Then you rank them 1-5. Of course, 5 is the highest.

Single Title entry

Single Title entry

The process is to go to this link.

Click on a category. Mine are in the Single Title category.

Next you rank each cover it the category including mine. Do it like you might if you were looking for new books to read in a library, bookstore shelves or online. Most books get picked up and looked at by the cover. It’s their curb appeal. You do the same here. If the book cover appeals to you, you just hit 1through 5 based on their descriptions. A one means you basically didn’t like it at all and a five means you’d buy it.

To make this ranking process even easier, the people who set up this contest assume the entries are a 3 and that’s already marked. If you don’t agree with that, click on the circle you think the cover deserves, then hit the continue button until you’ve finished reviewing all the covers in that category.

Of course, I hope you’ll give my books a 5 but I ranked as 5 several covers in competition with mine. Why? Because I loved their covers as much as I love mine. I also respect the creative vision and talent of the cover artist.

The two books I’ve entered in the Single Title category are Better Than Dessert and More Than A Trifle.

Single Title Entry

Single Title Entry

This ranking needs to be completed by next Sunday, February 10.

I’d also appreciate it very much if you’d forward the contest link to others you might think would enjoy doing this. https://jabbic.hbarwa.com/readers/

I and all the entrants really appreciate your support and help. Thank you. 🙂

A Blizzard, A Loss & Super Bowls

February 3, 2013

This morning.

This morning.

Two years ago today at this exact moment my son Jimbo died.

We’d had a terrible blizzard the day before when the hospital called me that he’d turned critical. In fact they’d done a code and brought him back to life but he was on life support. Since I was his emergency contact they asked if he had an advanced health care directive. I did. Then they asked since it wasn’t safe to drive could I fax it to them.

I could and did.

Maybe half an hour later the doctor called again and suggested I get there as soon as I could, especially if I hoped to see him conscious because he’d had another episode.

Of course, I couldn’t get there at that time. Everything even the malls were closed. I live in a rural area and the winds had created a drift of 5-6 feet in front of the garage. We couldn’t open any doors to the outside because of the drifts.

Yesterday morning

Yesterday morning

The nursing staff told me they’d call with updates until I could get there and I should feel free to call whenever I felt the need.

The rest of that day and all night, I watched the weather bulletins, checked road condition reports and closings, an prayed for the snow to stop and the winds to calm. I thought about Jimbo as a baby, all the happy times and difficult times of childhood, teen years, adulthood.

I waited to hear the sound of snow plows and shovelers. Finally the next morning about 10:00, the plows and shovels arrived and made the first swipe through. My SUV had 4 wheel drive. I bundled up, watched and waited. When I judged the remaining drift in front of the garage was about just below my rear bumper but 6-8 inches beyond was pretty much clear to the pavement, I kissed my hubby, said I’d call when I got to the hospital, gut in my car, started it, hit reverse and pure motherly determination plus good tires got me through what remained of that drift.

Friday morning

Friday morning

Driving to the hospital took a long time. Most side roads were still unpassable and the few main roads were one lane, sort of, both ways with huge drifts on either side. In open areas even though the winds had died, drifting was going on. I was so thankful for my plucky car.

When I arrived at the hospital, I had no trouble finding a parking spot though not much of the lot was plowed. I found where my son was located—the ICU (this was a hospital I wasn’t familiar with) and asked at the desk exactly where my son was.

I could tell in the woman’s eyes I wasn’t going to like what came. She told me to wait and his nurse, the one I’d been talking with the day before, would go with me. In a moment she approached me gave me the most recent update.

It wasn’t good. She asked if I had anyone with me. I shook my head.

She took my hand and led me to my son.

Yesterday monring

Yesterday morning

I walked to his bed and looked carefully at this shell of my beautiful boy, my handsome son. I knew immediately they kept him on life support until I had a chance to see him. His life force was gone. It was up to me to set him free.

But first, I held him in my arms.

Doctors came and talked in hushed tones. A chaplain came and asked if I needed help in making decisions.

Of course not. I signed papers.

So I held him in my arms again while they turned off machines. He never took one breath on his own.

He watched the Super Bowl from above to see him team win that year.

And I’ll be thinking of him while I watch the game today.

About two hours ago

About two hours ago