Strong Women!

I’m the brunette in red, my mom (white hair) is next to me, her mother on the end. The others are three of my five daughters.

I know, it was just Fathers Day, but I was reared by a single mother.,,in the 60s!
My mother divorced in 1962, tried a stepfather for us, then when that ended horribly, decided she’d do it by herself. Now, that might not sound like such a big thing, but fifty years ago, it was.
First off, just being a divorced woman was a horrible stigma as was being in a family without a father. I swear, there were many kids whose mothers wouldn’t let me play with them because my mother wasn’t married. Divorced woman automatically meant ‘loose’ or ‘slutty’ woman to some folks.
And what a challenge! Even if there had been welfare (and there might have been), we weren’t on it. My mother groomed dogs, cleaned hotel rooms, did whatever she could to scrape together enough so we had food and a safe place to live. Eventually, she got a job as an accounting clerk. She and a young man had identical job titles and responsibilities, but he made twice as much money. When she asked her boss about it, he said a man was the head of the family and needed it. She reminded him that the co-worker wasn’t even married and that she had four kids! “Well, he could have them one day…”
I can’t remember what she did at that point. She couldn’t leave until she had another job, so she probably sucked it down. I know she did wind up changing employers down the road. Still, she always made less than men.
All four of us turned out fine, too. Even though my youngest brother was physically and mentally handicapped, he graduated from high school. Other brother served in the Army and Reserves and went to college on the GI Bill, graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Older sister married well and, after ten years of working and going to school part time while rearing two high-achieving children, also earned a bachelor’s degree. No trouble with the law for any of us or our kids, either!
Well, I didn’t graduate from college, but I did manage to get USA Today Bestselling Author status a couple times and establish a successful business, starting out with nothing but chutzpah and tenacity…and a great role model.
Not bad for kids of a divorced woman. Correction. A strong woman!
Do strong woman stories inspire you? Check out Invincible – Strong and Fearless box set. Inspiring stories for women (and men) of all ages.

 

A Fierce Series #Mgtab @Natalieann121

When I started the Fierce Five over 2 years ago I just figured it’d be a five book series and I’d move onto something else. But then I decided to do a prequel with Gavin and Jolene Fierce to put them into our Love, Christmas boxed set collection (which hit the USA Today Bestseller list!). But the more I wrote about the Fierce Five the more I loved this family and didn’t want to stop.

Come to find out, I wasn’t alone. My readers loved them too!! I was getting emails and FB comments asking when the next one would be out. And how sad they’d be when the series ended.

So what did I do? I used my creative license and introduced seven of their cousins. Now I find myself falling in love with these seven and their parents as much as I did Jolene and Gavin along with their five kids.

The first of the Fierce Family was released just this week. Fierce-Sam. Check him out! I think he’s just as hot as the Fierce-Five. And already, I’m getting rave reviews with readers stating they can’t wait for the rest of the family.

If you haven’t read any of the Fierce Five, you can start with How Gavin Stole Christmas for just 99 cents. Or read all the books for free on Kindle Unlimited.

Birthday’s!!

Yep, you guessed it. Today is my birthday, and it’s a big one. The Big 5-0!! Honestly, I never thought I would make it this long in life. I can think of harrowing moments from my earlier years. Not to mention being in law enforcement for sixteen years, but now that I have, I hope I have another forty years to live!

For today’s post, I’m going to share a few things about me that you probably didn’t know.

I was born in Middletown, N.Y. on June 13th, 1969, and went to 13 schools before I graduated high school. I have had 23 addresses in my life, but I’ve lived at the last one for 16 years. So 23 addresses in 34 years of life. Do you know something I’m really good at? You guessed it – Packing!

My favorite place to live was in Sarasota Florida, and it’s where I’ll be spending a few days with my family this next week to celebrate my birthday. I even lived in Hawaii for a short time. By the time I’d gotten back to the mainland, I had overdosed on fresh pineapple!

I love classic cars (Mustangs and Challengers especially), Disney, photography, walking on the beach, watching a sunrise – and a sunset. I love music and movies, and I adore my family.

I don’t drink alcohol, it messes with my brain and after two concussions, I have enough issues with that. My favorite breakfast food is bagels and cream cheese with a slice of tomato, but I don’t eat bread anymore. In fact, I don’t eat any processed foods or things that contain sugar. I miss ice cream, but I’m healthier than I have been in years!

I have two children, a son who is almost twenty-nine and a daughter who is almost sixteen. My kids are almost exactly 13 years apart, and my grandson is 13 years younger than my daughter. My granddaughter threw off the 13-year rule when she was born 2 years after her brother. I guess we’ll keep her in the family, she is kind of cute!

One thing about birthdays, I’m not a fan of receiving gifts, but I sure do love to give them! So this month, this is my gift to you:

Below are three books of mine that are all FREE! Make sure to grab a copy and treat yourself! I hope you enjoy them!

Tangled in Tinsel (The Celebrations Series): www.books2read.com/Tangled-in-tinsel

Cured (The Heal Me Series): books2read.com/Cured-HealMeSeries

Love Torn (The Twisted Love Series): http://books2read.com/LoveTorn-TwistedLoveSeries

Also – Don’t miss out on our Authors’ Billboard monthly giveaway HERE

In the soup at River’s Sigh B & B

I’m a bit of a soup addict. Whenever I’m stressed or feeling blue about something, I make soup. Whenever I’m happy, expecting a crowd for dinner, or am feeling especially homemakery (That’s a newly invented word! Like it? 😁), I make soup. Chopping and grating, bringing to a boil, simmering . . . tasting. The steamy aromas of mingled garlic, onion, ginger . . . Mmmm!

There’s something Zen about cooking in general, and about making soup from scratch, especially. And like my aunt says, even if you can’t cook, it’s hard not to make great soup, so long as you use quality ingredients. It will sound corny, but I think she’s right only to a point. Something of yourself has to go into the pot too—your love, your affection, your hope, your well wishes . . .

My newest obsession is homemade wonton. (And yes, I make a whole ton of the little wrapped delights, freeze them on cookie trays, then dump them into freezer bags, so I can pull them out by the handful whenever I want that particular delight—ready in just ten minutes!) This is a wonderful site I’ve been using for inspiration: https://omnivorescookbook.com/recipes/wonton-soup (But I fold my wontons like Nagi describes on her fabulous website: https://www.recipetineats.com/wonton-soup/)

Another favorite is salmon chowder. Whenever I make it, I impress even myself, LOL. I use this recipe from Allrecipes.com, then modify it (as is my style) ‘til the concoction in my pot could never be recreated using the recipe card sitting on my counter.

As I cook (and taste!), my mind wanders all over the place, but generally settles on whatever novel I’m currently working on. Most of my main characters, in pretty much every one of my stories, at some point or another, make soup—yet my books aren’t the type that get marketed to foodies, with recipes in the back (though I do love those). In fact, the scenes are very brief. I don’t know if readers would even consciously remember them, but they are, I think, symbolic.

Soup is the epitome of comfort food, belonging and home. Every culture has its own variations of the dish, and while soup can be whimsical, there’s nothing trendy or passé about throwing things in a pot to simmer and blend all together into something, always a bit different, always good. Soup, regardless of its name, is as old as the human race.

And what do each of my main characters, despite how different from one another they initially appear, all have in common when you first meet them? In some way or another, they all yearn for and crave—but somehow lack: Family. A sense of belonging. A home.

Food of all kinds (not just soup!) has weighty (pun intended!) positive and negative connotations for us as individuals and within our relationships—and it does for my characters, too. What they eat or don’t eat, and the way they eat—standing over the kitchen sink, or with wine and candles even when alone—says a lot about their personality, their desires, their family background, their financial situation, and so much more.

Even if you’re not a fellow soup addict, LOL, I hope you’ll enjoy the sensory details in my stories, but even more so, I hope you’ll find my books food for your soul. A celebration of the simple good things in life and the power of finding, at last, that place you fit, with people who love you for you.  

Wishing you a lovely June, full of good eats and wonderful reads! 

😊 Ev