Monthly Archives: June 2015

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4th of July EBOOK sale

The Fourth of July fun is starting early around here with BOTH of my books on sale in EBOOK format for only $2.99 each now thru July 5th.
Go to my BOOKS page to learn what each book is about and choose your eBook format of choice.

One of my favorite scenes in Goodbye, Magnolia takes place on the 4th, where Maggie has joined her family and friends to watch the fireworks at the lake house owned by Simon’s uncle. It’s the perfect summer evening – lawn chairs and blankets, fireworks, bonfires, hanging your feet over the edge of a dock down into the cool water, watching boats out on the lake, a bazillion stars in the sky. And, of course, an accidental tumble into the lake with the guy you claim you can’t stand. ;)

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy precious time with family and friends. Stay safe.


summer schedule

photo of my Get To Work Book planner. going to keep myself more organized with everyday stuff as well as my book progress and goals this year.

Being a work-at-home mom, one of my biggest struggles in summer is keeping the weekends from running over into the work week. The days start to blur into each other and we get lazy around here – sleeping late, putting off dishes and laundry, skipping my writing time. Summer is supposed to be a relaxing time, of course, but if I hope to get anything done in the next three months, I’ve got to keep some kind of normal schedule. Or at least try.

Here’s how our summer “schedule” has been going so far:

My mornings consist of coffee and half a bagel or a slice of toast, checking and answering email, and blogging if I’m feeling led. I’m not putting too much pressure on myself to blog as much this summer. If I feel like sharing something, I will. Like today. No set calendar for that for the next few months. Feels good to take a break sometimes.

I try to get the kids up by noon. Seriously, they sleep forever, these growing kids of mine. I’ve decided not to force them up by 9 with all the grumbling and fighting that goes along with that. It’s summer, right? Late bedtimes. Late wake-ups. It’s all good.

Chloe has gymnastics practices, so we know we have certain days when we have to be somewhere. This has kept a sort of routine going for us so far since we’re used to that during the school year as well.

Evenings are pretty quiet. We’ll have dinner in front of the TV, usually watching reruns of The Office or a movie. Or we’ll fend for ourselves if Chloe has an evening practice and we’re not all home at dinnertime. Jake will work on his mini terrain stuff. Chloe will Facetime with her friends, if she’s not at one of their houses. Zach will play games on his computer with friends. And I write.

I’m an evening writer. I’ve been that way since high school. I would stay up late writing in my journal or letters to my friends. Ah, the days of no computers. ;) My family is pretty good about giving me the quiet time I need to write at night. I’ll turn on instrumental movie scores – the score from The Theory of Everything is on a continuous loop these days – and I’ll write and write.

I like our schedule, but I know it will change as the summer days go on and we have more plans. For now, it’s working.

How about you? Do you have a “normal” schedule in summer or do you let it all go until school starts again? ;)

summer so far

It doesn’t feel much like summer. The days have been overcast and rainy. We don’t have a pool this year. We decided to retire “Big Blue” last year (our easy set pool – above). Not that it’s been nice enough to swim, but I know I will miss floating around in the pool, watching the sun reflect up into the trees above. Those were always such peaceful moments for me. I would go out and clean the pool and float for a while before the kids came out. The whole pool to myself. I know I’ll miss that this year. The above right photo is the best I was ever able to capture that beautiful reflection in the trees. :)

It’s only been two weeks and, other than the usual schedule of gymnastics team practices, youth group, and work, we haven’t done much “fun stuff”. We’ve moved rooms around in our house. We’ve cleaned and tossed junk and made progress there, which feels good. Chloe has moved her bedroom furniture around a dozen times at least trying to get it just right. Zach has taken over the task of mowing the lawn this summer. And he got a haircut … finally. Jake has been working on crafting mini terrain and enjoying that his desk is now on our three season porch. We’ve been watching old episodes of The Office, which seems to be sort of a summer tradition for us.

I’ve been writing, of course, and piecing together this new story. And reading. I’m reading like a maniac this year. I’ve read a dozen books in the past few months. And I’m usually someone who reads a few books a year. Is that horrible to say as an author? I never thought I had time to read, but I’m making time now and it’s making me happy. And it’s making me sad and angry and all other sorts of emotions. I just finished Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. If you’ve read that one, you’ll understand my crazy mix of emotions. Don’t know how I will be able to sit through the movie version of that next year.

This weekend begins a little of that much needed summer fun for us. We’re celebrating my brother’s birthday/Fathers Day with a little movie night at the farm. Yay!

And I must say CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of my book giveaway this week.

The winner of the PAPERBACK copy is:
Val B.

The winner of the EBOOK copy is:
Diane U.

Bookmark winners are:
Karen L.
Mary Ann M.
Jan H.
Deanne P.
Shanna H.
Janet S.

Only a couple more days to pick up the EBOOK of Goodbye, Magnolia at the introductory price of $4.99. On Monday, it will be regular retail price of $6.99. Get your copy HERE in your chosen eReader format.

give me coffee

I’m tired today. Very tired. I woke at 3:45 am and could not stop thinking about my new book. I just laid there staring at the ceiling, listening to the hum of the fan in our room, thinking about each part of this character’s story and how I was going to transition from one major event in her life to the next in a way that makes readers understand her and not want to smack her. She really does some stupid things sometimes. The basics of her story are there now. And I think readers of Goodbye, Magnolia will really like certain scenes. I think you could read this one without reading Magnolia first, but there will be an added clarity to this story if you know Maggie’s story first. So I think I’m going to consider it a series and call this Book #2.

I think I finally drifted back to sleep around 5:45, but my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. because I had to follow my mom to the auto repair shop, where she had to leave her car to get fixed after a deer ran full speed into the side of it. So, I’m pretty much a zombie and will be drinking several cups of coffee to get me through this day.

Only one more day to enter the GIVEAWAY! Ends tomorrow at midnight.

And only five more days to get the eBook for the introductory price of $4.99 before it goes up to regular price.

three giveaways

I’m celebrating reaching 200+ likes on my Facebook Author page with a little giveaway. Three giveaways, in fact.

ONE winner will receive a signed paperback copy of Goodbye, Magnolia.
ONE winner will receive an eBook copy of the book.
SEVERAL winners will receive Goodbye, Magnolia bookmarks.
Enter by June 18th! Winners will be announced and contacted on June 19, one month to the day of the book’s release. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks! And good luck!

ING Journal | June

Mom, Chloe and I took a long walk this morning. It seems like I always end up sitting down after one of our walks to write in my ING Journal. It’s been a couple months since my last entry, so I took about ten to fifteen minutes to jot down what I’ve been seeing, making, watching, feeling, etc. Just a quick little snapshot of life at the moment.

Still using the blank pages throughout for quotes I come across that I really like. This month, I’ve been reading “On Writing” by Stephen King so I had to include a favorite I came across the other day. I have to say I was unsure if I would like this book or not, even though several people recommended it, including my husband. I have never read a Stephen King novel. I just don’t care for those kinds of stories. I had read some articles he wrote in Entertainment Weekly years ago and liked those. I am happy to say that I love “On Writing”. So much of what he says about the way he writes is the way I already do it, which makes me feel like I’m doing something right, I guess. Like my writing instincts are similar to someone like him, who has had such great success in his writing career.

I glanced back through the last few entries in the journal and loved seeing other things I was reading this year, stuff I was thinking about, planning for, dreaming of. It’s fun!

Here’s my entry for this month.

Get your own copy of the ING Journal.

Available in these colors:
Click color to place order.

hello, monday

I’ve been a bit of a writing machine this past week and throughout the weekend. On Sunday, I hit the 25,000 word mark on the first draft of this novel. Just trying to get the basics of the story onto the page before I figure out how to fill it in and really get in there and make all the parts work together. This one has romance, of course, but it’s also about finding God and our purpose in this life.

I’m sure I sound a little crazy gushing about this story so much lately, and maybe only my fellow writers will understand this, but I am giddy about this one. And this is the reason I know that I have found my purpose for this particular time in my life. Because I can’t stop smiling when I think about it or talk about it. Because I’m so excited to sit down at my computer every evening and figure out who this girl is and why she does the things she does. I’m excited to tell stories and share them with all of you. I’m excited that I have a husband who believes in me and what I’m doing.

OK … that’s all my gushing for today. ;)

School’s out for summer. Zach went and worked at my parents’ farm on Friday evening. Great way to start break off, by putting him to work. He and my brother stacked hay bales.

Saturday, Chloe had gymnastics practice. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the video I shared of her getting her forward giant on the strap bar. If not, follow me and check it out. My Instagram username is kristajean.

In the afternoon, we got to see my dear friend, Kelle. We met at my parents’ farm and visited for a couple hours. It’s always so good to see her and catch up.

Jake and the kids went out to see Tomorrowland with our brother-in-law, Jeff. I was not in the mood for a movie, so I stayed home. I think I just heard a collective gasp from all of my friends reading this. In the mid-90’s, especially when Jake was deployed to Bosnia in the Army (twice!), I spent many nights at the movie theater with friends. Many nights.

Sunday afternoon was our niece Kaylea’s graduation open house. It was a fun time with family and all the little girl cousins running around like cute crazies.

Now we begin the first full week of summer break. Yikes! I feel completely unorganized about it this year. I usually have some kind of idea of things for us to do. This year, I got nothin’!

What kinds of things are you doing with your kids this summer?

first and last

Another school year done, another summer begins.

I love taking these pictures every year and comparing them side by side. Both of the kids have grown taller this year. Zach, obviously, has much more hair than at the beginning of the year and refused to get a haircut this week because he said it wouldn’t be true to how he wore his hair lately if he hacked it off just for a photo. He’s getting a haircut next week! ;)

quiet blog = new book progress

It’s been a little quiet here on the blog lately. After a full week of blasting social media with the book release, I was a little burned out. But I’m still here. Working away on the next book. And I’m so excited by all the sweet messages I’ve been getting from those of you who have finished Goodbye, Magnolia. So much love for my characters and their story. I’m so happy that it’s been so well received.

But now is the hard part. Getting my book into lots of people’s hands. For me, this is the downside of choosing to self publish because I’m a complete introvert, through and through. I was not born to sell things. It’s not in me.

So, if you enjoyed the book, please tell your friends. Word of mouth is the best way to get it onto lots of people’s summer reading lists. :)

As far as the next book, I hit the 12,000 word mark last night as I ended the fourth chapter, which turned out to be so emotional, I was crying all over my keyboard. I had a very loose idea of where I wanted this book to go, but it has already taken me in different directions than I originally planned. I prayed over this book before I even started typing. I’m used to writing characters that are very like me. But I asked God to help me tell this character’s story because she comes from a completely different place in life. I think it will be a bit of a challenge to put myself in her shoes for a while, but I know we’ll grow together.

AJAXed with AWP