Fourteen years and a pandemic later…

It is my firm belief that all great love stories start with a spark of madness. I know mine did. My relationship with my husband was like a volcano – for years it burned so slowly and silently no one knew it was there, until one day when it erupted and the hot lava consumed everything in its path. Except there was nothing destructive about our love. All we had was a burning desire to be together. But since many people were opposed to that idea, we did the only thing we could so that everyone would leave us alone: we eloped and got married.

output_IT5Cf3Was it crazy? Definitely. Impulsive? Hell, yeah! Was it wrong? Not by a long shot. It was the best decision we ever made, and the proof is that on April 15th we celebrated our 14th marriage anniversary. We didn’t actually realize we were soulmates when we said our timid YES fourteen years ago, but now we know we were born to be together.

I see a lot of couples going nuts because they’re quarantined together, and I have a confession to make (please don’t hate me!): my hubby and I love it! We enjoy every moment spent together, we find ways to accommodate each other’s schedule, and when one wants to do something relaxing that the other doesn’t care for, we simply go our separate ways and give each other some space. Neither of us are very sociable creatures, and we always prefer each other’s company, so the pandemic didn’t change our lifestyle as much as it did for others.

The only thing that I regret is not being able to go ahead with our plans for this year’s anniversary. My husband is a great fan of André Rieu, and I wanted to surprise him earlier this year with tickets to a concert. But then the coronavirus happened, proving to us once more how much life can change in a month, or in a week, or even in a second.

I woke up a little sad the morning of our anniversary, but when I told my husband why I was sad, he said the only thing that matters is that we’re together and we’re healthy. That alone makes us blessed. I confess I felt ashamed of my shallowness. Here I was, pouting because we couldn’t go to a restaurant, or a concert, while people all over the world were taking their last breaths, defeated by a war with this invisible enemy.

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Husband and wife, fighting on the front line together.  

This was only one of the many precious lessons I learn every day from the wonderful man I share my life with – to treasure every moment, to be more patient, to appreciate the small things and find joy in everything.

What many people don’t understand is that marriage is hard work, but sharing your life with the right person is the most beautiful and rewarding thing. Not because of social status, not because of any obligations, but because finding true love as is rare and precious as an exotic flower. And in that spirit, you don’t need only to discover that flower, you need to take care of it every day, to help it grow and thrive.

I’m sad for all those who don’t get to experience the wonderful, ultimate fulfillment of growing old with the person you love. Loneliness is hard, whether it is by choice or by fate. Not many people are willing to give as much as they get in a relationship. Not many people realize how much – or how little – they have to offer, and have unrealistic expectations from their partners. They don’t know how to be tolerant, how to be altruistic, how to love and be loved. Some think they are entitled to a lot, others are willing to give much more than they receive and end up abandoning themselves completely to someone who doesn’t want or deserve it.

It’s crazy that such a simple but fragile balance leads to so many broken lives. All I can say from my own experience is that not everyone is cut out for marriage, and not everyone wants it. If I’ve learned a valuable lesson it’s that before you make your demands you have to make sure you’re ready to give as good as you get. But not like in a bargain. Like in a partnership. Like in a two-piece puzzle that you want to be part of for the rest of your life.

Be happy, and be loved! ❤

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A different kind of celebration. Happy 14th anniversary to us! 

Does Autumn smell like sports to you?

No matter where I go, someone has a team logo pasted somewhere. Whether it’s a tee shirt for the local high school, bumper sticker for the university, or major league team hat, fans are everywhere. That means I need to write a sports romance!
Several of my Authors’ Billboard friends felt the same way, so we got together and wrote stories (some already had one written) with athletic themes. Boxers, footballers, soccer players, hoopsters, you name it. We tried to grab a bit of everything for The Players: Overcoming the Odds.
My story, Too Fast for You, is about a woman baseball player. I created a new format for this story. I call it Now and Then, alternating chapters between eras in Loren and José’s involvement with each other. Chapter One: Then is about their early years and Little League. Chapter Two: Now brings the reader to present day and what’s going on in their Minor League Baseball careers. Of course, Loren has to deal with gender prejudice (I wrote from my own experience there!) and José tries to help her adjust without letting her know he was once her best friend. We have some bad guys in there, too.

Take a minute to add The Players to your Kindle Unlimited library or buy for less than a buck. Now you’re ready for the weekend! Oh, and don’t forget to leave a review. Authors are forever grateful for them.

Love, Christmas…How Gavin Stole Christmas #mgtab @NatalieAnn121

I’m thrilled to say I’ve got the honor of the first post for our Love, Christmas- Movies You Love boxed set coming out on October 16, 2018. It’s made up of 26 brand new Christmas stories of our choice. For the next several months there will be two posts a week by the fabulous authors of this set. Stay tuned for more personal tidbits.

Also, if you enter here, you can have a chance to get one of our stories dedicated to YOU! And the best part of all of this is the book is only 99 cents!!!

My story is How Gavin Stole Christmas. As you can probably guess, my Christmas movie was How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Why did I choose this as my Christmas movie? The Grinch was me for a long time. My mother Natalie (the real Natalie Ann) was born in December and unfortunately passed away in December, one week before her birthday at the tender age of 47.

When I was a kid, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She’d had five reoccurrences or new diagnoses of cancer over 17 years. Every time it was around the holidays. As you can imagine, it made celebrating difficult for us as a family.

Nineteen years ago I was lucky enough to welcome my son into this world, Nathan. Yes, we named him after my mother, who coincidentally was born on her father’s birthday, the first Nate. And though my mother would never get to meet her namesake, it was one of the best honors I could do for the woman who taught me to never give up and always go after my dream.

My world changed after Nate was born. I was so excited, and my husband and I wanted to celebrate those holidays with him. Little by little, the joy of being a parent myself helped me overcome my “Grinch” status.

If you’ve followed my Fierce Five Series, then you know all about Gavin and Jolene Fierce along with Jolene’s matchmaking ways with her five kids, Brody, Aiden, Mason, Cade, and Ella. Many people have asked about Gavin and Jolene’s story and I thought, why not?!

In How Gavin Stole Christmas, he too was affected with the loss of a parent at Christmas and it turned him sour on all things holiday. But then Jolene came into his life and she made him see that we can’t always be locked up in the past.

Check out How Gavin Stole Christmas, along with 26 other great holiday stories now!

You can buy Love, Christmas—Movies You Love at Amazon and other retailers.

Who’s your mama?

I’m the mama because I create people and decide where they live in the real world! And every mama wants her children to have friends. And readers are our babies’ best friends.
My first baby (Naked in the Winter Wind) came to me in 2008. I wondered what would it be like if I could interact with fictional characters, something like those in Outlander? The idea (okay, obsession) wouldn’t leave, so I started writing it out, thinking that by typing it out, I would quiet the thoughts. Nope. What it did was give my thoughts fertile ground for germination, runners now able to spread to new genre territories, a forest of tales from Alaska to Australia, involving everyone from cops to kids, heat levels from sweet to saucy. I was hooked on writing, now a fertile mama to dozens of babies.
The rest, as they say, is history and a rapidly expanding backlist.
One of my latest is a sweet stand-alone romance based in Oregon. BE MY ANGEL is part of UNFORGETTABLE WEDDINGS, a bundle of eight romances (all heat levels) available now for 99 cents or read for free with your Kindle Unlimited account.