It’s just a little bit of smoke-Yeah, right!!

If you have ever had a fire in your house, you might understand the title of my post today! On December 2nd, things got a little crazy in our house. Well, I guess I should say that got a little crazy for me!

I was sitting on my couch a little before nine in the morning, working on my laptop and enjoying my coffee. I’d just finished a book a couple of days before and I was thinking of taking the month off to enjoy the holidays. In fact, I’m pretty sure at the time, I had been digging through recipes that I wanted to try out.

Anyway, as I sat there, there was a huge ZAP that went through my house and my lights flickered. For a moment, I thought that a tree limb must have come down someplace and hit a power line. I didn’t think anything else about it, and a few minutes later went into my kitchen to cook breakfast.

Except when I turned my stove on, I suddenly realized that I could smell something funny, kind of sweet in a way and I checked my burners, then ran downstairs, that funny zapping noise now causing me a little bit of concern. My basement was fine, and I returned to the kitchen, where everything was normal, except the odor was stronger and I glanced toward the hallway. Imagine my surprise when I saw smoke drifting down my hallway!

I rushed down the hall, threw open my office door (Which leads to a big addition to our house — including our bedrooms) and found the room full of hazy smoke! SNAP–talk about a zap! my heart about jumped out of my throat!

Clothes, I needed clothes, shoes too! It’s cold out! I have never gotten dressed so fast, my robe, slippers, PJ’s went everywhere as I looked around and didn’t see any flames. Crap! Was it in the walls? Not good!

I raced back to the kitchen, my dogs were getting antsy, and luckily went right out the back door when I opened it. Phone, keys to the car and I finally called 911.

On my way out of the house, I opened the garage removed my car in case I needed to put my dogs somewhere safe, and then waited.

Four fire trucks showed up at my house. FOUR! I was the talk of the neighborhood for a couple of days, and I even got the chance to meet a few neighbors that I hadn’t really known well.

The good news is that it was a major electrical short in my addition’s heating unit in the attic, and the fire had been contained to that- we were lucky! The bad news… That little bit of smoke caused such a mess!

Over fifty loads of laundry were done the next week, and I slept on the couch for two weeks. My hubby was out of town for the first week, wasn’t he lucky, and when he returned, he snagged a cot from work so he could sleep next to me in the living room.

Everything had to be cleaned, new beds had to be purchased, the walls had to be wiped down, the carpets professional cleaned and the air ducts! Needless to say that I didn’t get much holiday baking done, but that side of the house has never been so clean!

I feel for anyone who has ever had a fire in their house. I could not imagine having lost all of our things, or even a portion. Dealing with insurance and contractors is never fun, but luckily about two weeks after the fire, things started to fall back into place.

Never one to let an opportunity go, of course, my experience will be put to good use as I add it to an upcoming book in the Loving A Young Series! Make sure to check it out! Wesley, Book 1 released in December, and Henley, Book 2 releases on January 25th! Huntley will be the book where I deal with this story. It seems only fitting since Hunt is a fireman!

Games and Kids by Mona Risk

Homework was done but Nine-year-old couldn’t watch her usual funny shows as Grandpa was monopolizing the TV with boring news. So what could a nine-year-old do when she had nothing to do and it was not bedtime yet?

Play, of course. Except that Grandma didn’t know many games. One wondered how Grandma graduated from school and college without learning simple games like Money-Money and Master Brain. So be it. Nine-year-old decided to take a few minutes and teach Grandma, not thoroughly mind you, so Nine-year-old could beat Grandma.

Later we played Monopoly. Now that was annoying because Grandma knew this game and started winning. Honestly, the game became boring. How could you enjoy a game when you were losing to your Grandma?

So Nine-year-old took a break to put her pj’s and to eat an ice cream, but Grandma kept winning. Very frustrating! That was when Nine-year-old decided she was tired and ended the game before Grandma could win again.

Now you know why I love writing about children and babies, and where I find my inspiration. Next week I hope to publish the following two books.

A Complete Family

This book is part of
Unforgettable Christmas Dreams

Nurse Melody is continuously late at work. Determined to find out the reason for her tardiness, Dr. Aidan visits her house, unintentionally scares her little daughter, and is attacked by her German shepherd. But attraction sizzles…

The Captain’s Christmas Leave

This book is part of

The wounded captain is resigned for the worst. But his soon-to-be ex-wife has some ideas to cheer him up.

Better Late Than Never? by @JoanReeves #mgtab

I think the phrase “better late than never” came from someone who was simply overwhelmed with life and had too much to do in too little time.

Take today for instance. I had my day planner marked to post to this blog on the 23rd. However, I was so busy playing catch-up in other areas and meeting appointments that I completely forgot to check my day planner yesterday.

I hate missing something I’d scheduled. So, this post is “better late than never” I guess. Saying that once again made me investigate the origin of this expression which I’ve been using far too often of late.

According to what I found, the origin of “better late than never” can be found in classic literature. Attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer—yes, that far back—the phrase was first seen in 1386 in The Yeoman’s Tale, found in The Canterbury Tales, to wit: “For better than never is late; never to succeed would be too long a period.”

Rather than preen about quoting something that is vaguely intellectual, I think I’d rather promise myself to be better at prioritizing and always check my day planner at the end of the day.

I think I need to take a day off and do something fun like this sign says. Keep calm and read a book.

I have just the thing in mind too. Well, it’s not actually a book but a collection of short stories by my friends and me.

I’m talking about CHRISTMAS SHORTS, only 99cents on Amazon. My story in the collection is STUCK ON THE NAUGHTY LIST. I’ve been wanting to read the other stories in the set. Today, the weather in Houston is sunny and mild. I think I’ll take my Kindle outside to the patio and read.

CHRISTMAS SHORTS is a #1 Best Seller. some stories are sweet; some are spicy and deliciously naughty. In other words, there’s  something for everyone.

Grab a copy and see why everyone loves this box set.

Personally, I love short stories because they allow me to read and finish something in the fragments of time that somehow describe my days. Like many, I’m so busy that I find myself gravitating to short stories that satisfy my desire to read.

Be sure and enter the Authors Billboard November Giveaway and check out all the featured books on the Home Page. We have published many Box Sets so visit our Books Page and browse the wonderful bestselling collections we’ve created.

Enjoy this Season of Giving Thanks and the calm before the storm of holiday shopping!

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