I miss smiles…

Last night, my small family sat around the table after dinner to toast in the New Year. We all gave our goals for 2021. They laughed when I said mine was to see people’s faces again. I couldn’t explain then, so I thought about it, and it came to me why this mattered.

I was walking with my puppy the other day, and we approached an older couple who always stop to make a fuss over the dog. They’re the sweetest pair who I’d say are in their 80’s. I can see it’s hard for the old fellow, who’s slightly plump, to bend over to pet my frisky little toy American Eskimo, yet he doesn’t hesitate.

His wife baby-talks to her, and they are clearly happy to be with a mischievous fluffball who’s so obviously filled with joy at their attention. This breed actually smile, and their little eyes light up. One can feel their love.

I notice myself in a similar way, grinning like a fool and filled with affection for these two. Maintaining a safe distance, they look up at me and wish me a good day, Glee oozes off them as they beam… and I return their smile, letting them see how happy they make me. Their smiles fill me, and my step is lighter.

Unfortunately, it’s not the same in every situation. Walking through the aisles in the store where one would automatically grin at a stranger who spoke for any reason is not the same. The smile is there but it’s covered. Same thing when the clerk gives one a little extra attention, just a joking comment or even have a good day is enough. I look at them, and all I see are their eyes that don’t meet mine for any longer than a few seconds. It used to be the smile that would be shared to let you know how the other person felt. Staring always seemed rather rude and most shied away from connecting like that.

My goodness, I can’t even begin to imagine how many times in a busy day one would use a smile with strangers because it seemed to be the right thing to do… especially if one caught your eye.

I find myself still smiling, but the mask covers the expression, and I know I’m not making the same connection. It’s sad. I miss those sweet glances more than I thought possible.

I can’t wait until we’re safe again, and we can finally let a stranger, or a friend know by the look on our face that they matter.  



Finding the Key to Your Heart

Happy Almost 2021. Between you and me, there won’t be a dry eye in the house as we kiss 2020’s not so sweet patootie goodbye, excepting some sweet sets we published this year that kept our minds occupied, and hopefully yours as well. Here’s one of my favorites which was so fun to be a part of:SIX BRAND NEW Side-splitting Romantic Comedies plus two read-tested surprise titles by Eight New York Times and USA Today Bestselling and Award-Winning Authors, CUTE BUT CRAZY 2 – DITZY DUDES is the follow-up boxset to the Bestselling Cute But Crazy – Wacky, Wonderful Women.


Being shared and said, I hope you were able to celebrate the holiday your favor the best you could during this pandemic. My gathering was small compared to other years, but I did find ‘a sign’ from Heaven on Christmas night.

         A forgotten key to my heart.

         My daughter and young grandson had left for the evening and as I was cleaning up, found Joe’s house key laying on the floor near my Christmas tree. Realistically speaking, I don’t quite know how it got there, but the sentimental, believer-in-signs me knows it was my dearly departed husband’s way of wishing me a Merry Christmas.  

         I miss Joe so much the inspiration for another story about his alter ego Jay has been in order – so I’m nearly finished penning it, and proud to announce its inclusion in an exciting new set this coming March INVINCIBLE DESTINY. My tale is called Don’t Bruise the Bananas and is probably the final installment of the Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems saga.

         Here’s a taste of my female character’s opening dialogue: “A Note From Cindy DeMatteo: Intense emotion, leading to prose or poetry cannot be described in any other fashion. I embrace Jay’s existence with the honor he deserves, because he always got me, even when I didn’t get myself.”

         We at the Authors’ Billboard already put our creative minds together earlier this year and have scheduled many new collections for you in 2021. Our newest set is already out and available for your reading pleasure.

New Year’s Eve Shorts (The Shorts Series Book 3)NEW YEAR’S EVE SHORTS includes nine NEW romances guaranteed to lift your spirits with tales of second-chances, adventure, overcoming obstacles, celebrating the holidays, and finding love in unimaginable places. Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08PJNP9KK or Read for FREE with your Kindle Unlimited subscription. ALL of our collections are sold exclusively on Amazon and are available on #KU.

         I could go on for pages about our fascinating plans to entertain you in 2021, so please stay on track with us and keep your eye on the Authors’ Billboard’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/theauthorsbillboard And please do sign up for our weekly/monthly newsletters. We feature contests each month with outstanding giveaways, and I’m sure you’ll be as pleased with our new offerings this coming year as you have been in the past. Here’s the link to our monthly newsletter: http://authorsbillboard.com/

Happy New Year’s Blessings to you and yours. Here’s hoping the key to YOUR heart is right around the next corner. Let it be a safe and joyous one filled with new memories in the making.

A Different Kind of Christmas

For many of us, this year celebrating Christmas was a challenge. We were unable to get together with our friends and families the way we’ve done in the past, but that’s forced us to become more creative in the way we do things.

With COVID 19 still playing a huge role in our lives, we are at the mercy of the virus, and none more so that our seniors, especially those in long-term care homes who’ve been cut off from face to face contact with others. The last time I hugged and kissed my mother goodbye was March 15, 2020. Mom was in the hospital waiting to be moved to a long-term care facility. The next day she was moved and the national lockdown began. When the first wave of the pandemic hit, we were able to go and visit with her at the front doors of the home and speak to her over the phone. We could see her, and that assured us she was as well as could be expected. By the end of the summer, things improved enough that we could take her out for coffee or home for a meal.

But that all fell apart again when the second wave hit, and the pandemic worsened. We’d hoped to be able to take her home for Christmas dinner. Sadly, it didn’t work out that way. COVID made its way into the home and the facility was shutdown, forcing her to not only remain inside but stay in her room. She has tested negative all along, and we hope the outbreak will be officially ended on Tuesday, but that didn’t help with Christmas. So what’s a caring family supposed to do?

On Christmas Eve, the grandchildren went to church, a much smaller congregation than normal, while Grandpa and I watched them via You Tube. They read and were the puppeteers for the Christmas story.

They did a wonderful job, and while it wasn’t the same as being there, singing the hymns, and absorbing the wonderful atmosphere that has always been part of my Christmas, we made do.

Afterwards, they came to the house for a socially distanced Christmas Eve feast and the first round of opening presents, but this year, Nana wasn’t able to share in that.

Mom sitting in her bedroom window, blowing kisses to the rest of us outside.
My side of the family, minus those living in Norway. I’m in the blue and white jacket.
My sister’s family looking up at Nana. My sister is the one waving.

So it was a very different family visit, but it made Mom’s day. At 93, with the Coronavirus still killing people every day, her life has changed as has ours, but she’s as safe as she can be, and that’s all we can hope for.

Mom wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Christmas is all about family. There are several ABB box sets that you can choose from to keep the feeling alive a little longer.

And, if you’re looking for something quick to read,check out New Year’s Eve Shorts.

So, no matter the challenge, we can get creative this year, do things a little differently, and look forward to 2021 when hopefully things will get better.

Will it be a… Merry Christmas?

It’s hard not to question whether we should be focusing on this holiday when we see such doom and gloom on TV. Or hear it on the radio. Even from friends who know people… or are people who’ve been sick themselves, or who’ve lost loved ones.

But… we must remember why the day itself is special. For instance, it’s a precious day in the church, the day that Jesus was born. Do you remember singing carols like Away in the Manger as a child and experiencing the glory of the birth of Christ? I do.

Of course, as a child, the most important symbol for Christmas was Santa Claus. I knew there was a bearded spirit who loved every child enough to bring them a gift. Today, I know that he’s just the symbol for us adults who do his deeds. Thank goodness we keep his existence alive for our children to experience the joy of the day that meant so much to us… engraving a memory in their hearts so they can look back as adults.

It’s the joy we need to remember and try to rekindle. Even if we spend the 25th quietly, we must remember to celebrate the day itself. Lord, I can’t bear to think of those who will be isolated… so if every one of us takes a few moments out of the day to send blessings from our hearts to someone we love, pick up the phone and make a call to that person you know will be alone, maybe by thinking of others who have an empty home, we’ll feel better about where we are ourselves.

From my home to yours,

I wish you all a Merry Christmas & a New Year that gets better every day.


Christmas photos that make me smile!!