It’s Fall–let’s rock the red

Blog Post:

Whoo hoo! It’s Fall–let’s rock the red and and enjoy the season to its max! I have always loved the Fall, or as we call it in the England, Autumn. But Autumn in the UK is very different to Fall in North Carolina, where I live now.

Fall in the UK

The temperature in England plummets in September, the fog descends around October, and the mizzle–misty drizzle–arrives in November. We don’t really celebrate Halloween, but have Guy Fawkes day–Bonfire Night–with its colorful firework displays. I love the roaring bonfires, treacle toffee, pulling on mittens, scarves, and wellies. I even love the return of short days, and playing conkers. Conkers is a traditional British played with the seeds of a horse chestnut tree (you call them buckeyes in America). Lastly, I even adore switching on the radiators–so cozy, it speaks to me in a nostalgic way.

Here in my adopted home in NC, the Fall is as different as the terms used to name the season. We have only just had a temperature drop here, but the sun is still shining, the sky is still blue, and even though the mornings are chilly enough for heat, I’ve still yet to deploy a coat.

Fall in America

Yesterday, I drove back from Virginia, my home until earlier this year. We had made a quick trip to visit my son, and revisit our life there. On the journey back, we had to drive along the outskirts of the Shenandoah valley, past Lurray, and up over the blue ridge mountains. The I-81 is such a pretty route, the fall color is just about coming to an end, but the scenery is still breathtaking. Shockingly, in one part there was a light dusting of snow which reminded me that ‘Winter is coming’.

It really was a lovely drive and it got me thinking about why, since moving to America, Fall/Autumn has become my most favorite season. Yes, the Fall color is AMAZING, and now I love Halloween in lieu of Bonfire Night. Of course, the pot mums blooming in great gaudy shows on people’s porches, are a wonderful cheery sight that I look forward to. I love that it is finally soup season again–I love making homemade soups, but that is for another blog post!

But, despite all that Fall has to offer on this side of the pond, there is one particular thing that I have looked forward to Every. Single. Year. For fifteen straight years…

The hockey season begins!

Author Angela Stevens, and her children Rocking the Red in Washington Capitals fan gear

Angela Stevens at the Winter Cassic with her kids

How I found hockey

When I moved stateside, I had barely even heard of ice hockey, and had never watched a match. I am unashamedly a sport hater. If sport came on the TV, that was my cue to do the laundry, dishes–anything–to avoid it. Cricket, soccer, rugby, athletics–you name it, my hubby had tried to force me to get into it. So, it came as a big shock when I moved to America and he suggested we went to watch a hockey game. Honestly, I would have rather had my teeth pulled, but what the heck, I was assured this was a key American experience, and at least I would be able to say, I had done it.

I walked into the Verizon Center (now the Capital One Arena) a hockey Virgin, and walked out of there a hockey slut! Oh. My. God! What had I been missing out on all these years! I was instantly hooked. One live game led me to begin following the Washington Capitals on TV, watching ever-growing numbers of matches, until I was tuning in for every game. Before I knew it, we had purchased season tickets and were making the trip into Washington two or three times a week. At the height of my hockey sluttiness, I even flew to Nashville, to watch an away game, and spent the whole weekend stalking the players. It was ridiculous, I was a complete fan girl. My usually reserved British politeness was out the window in 1.3 seconds, and the next minute, I had my arms around Michael Latta and Braydon Holtby. SWOON!

Angela Stevens with Braydon Holtby and Michael Latta

Now I’m hooked

My hockey obsession is so bad that Autumn is now synonymous with hockey! So come on everyone, it’s Fall–let’s rock the red… or blue or green or orange. As long as it’s hockey, I don’t care what color you wanna rock!

How hockey affected my writing

But of course, my love of hockey didn’t just stop at being a rabid fan of the game, it actually led to me writing my first book.

The Hockey Punk Series was written while I sat on the bleachers watching my son play the game. My hockeyitus even made me a hockey mom. Set in my local town, in VA, around that local ice rink where I wrote it, the Hockey Punk series is still the way most of my readers discover me. Apart from the hockey element, they love its gritty, heartbreaking storylines, and the fact that the books tackle social issues without pulling punches. There are five, full-length novels to wring every tear out of you, but I promise a HEA every, single time. All but the last two books in the series are standalone–these are a two-part story that ties up the series in a very dramatic way.

Fall should be renamed the Hockey Season

So, yeah, Autumn is unashamedly my favorite season because–say it with me! It’s Fall–let’s rock the red.

Coincidently, I like Winter too, because… more hockey games, and the Winter Classic. Spring is also a-maze-ing, because it is the Stanley Cup play offs.

Sadly, summer is rather lacking in hockey, but at least that gives me time for my other passions, reading and traveling. But that is, also, for another blog post.

The Hockey Punk Series can be downloaded for FREE on KINDLE UNLIMITED

US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078MKH9XJ
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B078MKH9XJ

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WHDMLNH
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07WHDMLNH

 

How audiobooks changed my life #mgtab @melinda_de_ross

Now a very popular format, ten years ago audiobooks were still making a shy debut – just when I needed them most. Reading has always been my biggest passion, but as I worked in an office all day with my eyes fixed on a computer screen, traditional reading became an increasingly difficult hobby. My eyes got tired easier, my neck became stiff from bending over a book. Not to mention that one can’t multi-task while reading a printed book. That was when my husband suggested I tried audiobooks.

At first I was reluctant. It seemed completely weird listening to someone read a book out loud. It didn’t sound the same when I read it in my head. However, my love of books was stronger than my stubbornness, so one day I took a chance and bought an audiobook. I remember it was Sandra Brown’s “Smoke Screen”, which was lucky because the narrator, Victor Slezak, is simply magic. From the first moments I was drawn in by his voice, fascinated by the way he interpreted each character, thrilled to hear the story brought to life. A love affair had begun!

Fast forward thousands of audiobooks listened and a career change later, and here I am today – a writer myself, who’s just producing her second audiobook. It’s funny how in the short run we never truly realize how much we’ve achieved, but sometimes in the rare moments when we take a good look back, we can be stunned by how far we’ve come from a certain period of our lives. Sandra Brown’s thrillers are still among my favorites, and although I like to think I’ve developed my own storytelling technique, her style will always be an influence on me. I know it shows in THE PLOT, my first suspense romance that was released as an audiobook. I had the privilege of working with an incredibly talented narrator, Austin Walp, who brought my characters to life in a way that still makes me grin in wonder whenever I listen to it.

An unconventional romance…

At 18, Yoko Hirano falls prey to a human trafficking organization and is forced into a lifestyle nightmares are made of. When the young Japanese girl escapes, her only focus is exacting revenge and saving other girls from the same fate by bringing down Michael Chen, the powerful mobster who destroyed her innocence.

Between two misfits…

Four years later she meets antiques dealer Mark Chandler, the only man who ever treated her with respect. Though she is torn by her unfamiliar feelings for him, Yoko’s grand scheme doesn’t involve falling in love, and a man like Mark would never want her if he discovered her past. What she doesn’t know is that he has his own dark secrets…

Brought together by love and revenge.

Mark never thought he could lose his head over a woman, but the haunted eyes of his beautiful new employee fill his soul with desire and tenderness. When he learns about what had happened to her, his vengeance knows no limits. Nor does his resolve to help her heal and discover love.

You can listen to a sample of THE PLOT on YouTube, watch the book trailer, and if you want to hear more, you can find THE PLOT on Amazon as well as on all major audiobook distribution channels. Enjoy!

Fondly,

Melinda

In honor of Veterans

I know that Veterans Day was a couple of days ago, but that doesn’t mean they can’t, and shouldn’t be honored every day of the year. You might not agree with the politics of war, and this isn’t about politics. In fact, I’m the last person to ever speak about that. This post is about the special men and women who sacrifice their lives, their families and their own futures for us.

In my family, we have had many military service members. From grandfathers to fathers, to cousins, to my former spouse, and to my son. Yep, my former spouse retired not too long ago from the Navy, and I remember well my years as a military spouse. It’s a hard job keeping your family going while your spouse is away. Now, my son is almost to his halfway mark in his military career, and like his father, he is a United States Sailor.

I have the most utmost respect for our service members. I always have, and it breaks my heart to hear the suicide statistics or see a veteran homeless on the street. It truly does.

That’s why I started writing a new series called RISE AGAIN WARRIOR. It’s not your normal macho military series when the special forces trained guy saves the day. No, this is about how our fierce service members are fairing after fighting in a war. It is a romance series, but it is so much more.

This series will be an intense and emotional journey through the lives of many service members, their families, and their friends. Focusing on the trials that they face after wartime is over, and they have returned home to a nation that sometimes seems to have forgotten what they were fighting for, and what all of these people sacrificed in the name of Honor & Duty.

The first book of the series, Mission: Believe, was released on November 10th, in honor of Veteran’s Day. The second book is slated to release in May 2020 for Memorial Day.

My hope with this series is to let those servicemen and women know that they are not forgotten but also to help those who don’t understand to do just that: To understand the sacrifices that were made for our Freedom.

It is an honor to write this series, and while I am always proud of the work that I accomplish as a writer, I am humbled by this story and the future of this series. I hope you will take the time to check it out.

Check out a few Review Quotes:

“Oh, 5 Stars is not near enough for this amazing story. Stacy Eaton made me forget I was reading a story and I felt like I knew each and every one of these characters personally!”

“This is an incredibly heart wrenching and passionate story. The writing, emotions, characters, events…..all of it was perfection! It deals with Military warriors, civilian warriors, love of family, devoted friends and a beautiful story of trust, and love. It shows us how we need to honor those who have served our country and respect those who are helping them when they return. Even the secondary characters were wonderful.”

“Ms. Eaton takes on a subject that most people overlook. The trials and turmoil that our wounded men and women face when they return home from war. “

“This is a different type of romance book – this book is not for the faint of heart – I love that the book focuses on a segment of the population not often highlighted – veterans wounded in action. The synopsis provided gives you the bare facts of the book – what it doesn’t give you is the raw emotions you will go through while reading the book – anger and sadness but you will cheer for these characters. It is the kind of book you cannot put down – you want to savor and slow down but you also want to know what happens. Then you will need to sit and process all you read or rush out to sign up as a volunteer and help change things.”

About Mission: Believe

Staff Sgt. Shane Logan is lucky to have come from a privileged family, and after losing both of his legs in the war, he now has the best prosthetics that money can buy. While he is trying to move forward with life, he struggles with the past and the way people react to him and his disability.

Dr. Lauren Falcone works tirelessly to help veterans deal with the trauma and pain of their deployments. Her unique virtual approach to therapy keeps her busy, and the assistance she provides to service members as they recover mentally helps her resolve her own anxieties.

When Shane meets Lauren at a fundraiser for his father’s organization, he wonders if there just might be a chance for him to get his dream off the ground and maybe find a normal life with someone who can look past his flaws and see the man he is inside.

Shane and Lauren are drawn to each other by their hope to make life easier for veterans, both physically and emotionally. Their goal is to build Shane’s dream organization, Rise Again Warrior, that will assist veterans to integrate more easily into society and have the opportunity to receive state-of-the-art technology and therapy.

Now, if they can only have faith in themselves, learn to deal with their own demons, and believe in each other, they might find a way to bring this dream to fruition.

Dental Tourism-Costa Rica

So, this is trip three to this beautiful country, and my second implant. I am such a fan of Goodness Dental that I figured I’d do my blog to share the word.

When we first came to Costa Rica a year ago to begin the process we’d gotten a very high estimate of what a dental implant could cost in the United States, and there was no guarantee that the price wouldn’t go up if there were complications.

The first thing people ask me is whether or not it was safe—and the answer for us has been, yes. They send an English-speaking driver to the airport to pick you up and deliver you to your hotel or Airbnb. They arrange Uber for transit to and from any dental appointments.

The second question asked is about the quality. The staff is friendly, punctual, and they really care. The quality of both the doctors and the equipment is top-notch and the work they do is guaranteed…

We discovered Goodness Dental when we’d expressed an interest in dental tourism and an acquaintance raved about this place. So, I want to rave too just in case one of you is need of dental work that is astronomical in the states. Our savings has been about 50 percent or more, and that includes airfare (very inexpensive from Fort Lauderdale to San Jose) and costs of an Airbnb. What can be expensive is food, but we have managed that cost by getting an Airbnb with a kitchen J

So, today I have just completed my titanium post. I will get a re-check on Friday, and we leave on Monday, in the event that there are complications over the weekend. Our driver will take us to the airport, at no extra cost, but we like to tip for the service.

Have a great day everyone, and shoot me an email at traciella@aol.com if you have any questions. And if you are looking for caring, quality dental, check out Goodness Dental!!

On an Authors’ Billboard note, we have so many amazing boxed sets out right now, at unbeatable prices–and, we run a monthly contest. Please enter for a chance to win, and make sure to stock up your kindle with a boxed set or two

xoxo

Traci