Rule of Three: Guest Post by Kadee Carder

Hey guys! Let’s welcome Kadee Carder to the blog today. Her book, Earthshine, was released this week. I met Kadee through our publisher, Clean Reads, and I just love seeing her inspirational posts on Facebook! Today, she’s going to share one of those posts with us. So, here is her post, Rule of Three and an introduction to Earthshine.

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Rule of Three

All people own a cup of wrath, a yoke, and a cross to bear. Let’s start with the cross to bear. You’ve got some great, burning desire that you cannot turn away or quell. It’s some kind of creation, some kind of sturdy resonating within your chest. That’s your thing that you’re here to do. Maybe you understand the end goal for that cross, but I think most of us continually pursue that cross. The cross alludes to Jesus dying on the cross—he came to earth to seek and to save what was lost. He came to free us. He came to give us life. By fulfilling his purpose on the cross, he set the prisoners free. He faced the ultimate fear and loosed the bliss of humanity. Will your cross be painful? Yes. Will it be absolutely 100% worth it? Absolutely. Don’t think about the pain of it—focus on the bliss it fulfills. Focus on the good that cross does. All good things cost. The best work comes after high costs from the creator. That’s the hero plotline.

The yoke is the actual job and task of doing the work. The yoke includes the people you must deal with in order to accomplish your tasks. Your yoke consists of your family, your neighbors, your peers, every life you touch. The yoke consists of the means to doing and accomplishing your work.

The cup of wrath simply means that because you are alive, you will face trials. BUT! “In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus said. “But take heart! I have overcome the world!” Where you can see trouble, challenge, or frustration as a chance to whine, face it with gratitude. Instead of asking “Why isn’t this easier?” ask, “How can this make me better?” Here you have every opportunity to become the hero.

These three things every human possesses, the cross, the yoke, the cup, are the beautiful trinity of why we’re here. Why are you here? What’s your rule of three? “Life happens for you, not to you” (Byron Katie). Can you see how it’s a fulfillment of your best life?

Believe in yourself, your Alliance, and seeing failure as an opportunity for growth. In my books, the Alliance Military Guard serves as a rally point, deploying soldiers across the globe to serve and protect. They’re a privatized group whose board of directors got a little off track and divided up—half operated on the goal of achieving power, while the other half sought service, research, and the advancement of human capability. Saylor had to decide if she trusted her Commander to guide and guard her. She had to decide to follow orders and what directive she needed to take. So do you. Can you trust your Commander? Who is your Commander? You have one. Can you trust your Alliance? Your alliance aligns with your yoke. While you’re doing your work, do you believe in all that of which you are capable? You are powerful. You are loving. You have an intellectual mind. You can walk among giants.

And when we fall down? When we sigh in frustration? When my arms fall to my sides under the weight? When my knees slam against the dirt? I listen to it. I study the stumble. I analyze the instigator of the darkness.  I listen to the shadows and seek the truth. Then I go back to the important “rule of three” and decide how I can do better next time. Did I focus on my business? Did I focus on my cross? Did I stay humble? Did I do my best? How can I do better next time?

“Life happens for you, not to you” (Byron Katie). Life serves you, for your hero journey. We know this, because God’s got his business, and his business put you here in your time and space. He’s given you your yoke, your cup, and your cross. He’s your Alliance, your Commander, who gave you marching orders. He wants you to be the hero. Remember he said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). He’s right there beside you, the iron in your bones, helping you do that good work. It’s quite beautiful and exciting, isn’t it? Now, get back to the mission. Adventure awaits.

 

An excerpt from Earthshine:

I accepted the document, two sweaty palms reaching, tentative, unprepared. I scanned the words, reading them aloud. “I’ve got this deep wrestling within my dark soul. A hunger for the oppressed. An almighty beckoning for the broken and bent, a writhing which cannot be tamed by silence. No; the silence, the hush, the hustle, cannot squelch the fire to share light for those trembling in the depths. I cannot stop giving of myself for my mission, for to stop is to suffocate. To quit, impossible. To surrender, unattainable. My wrestling therefore occurs not in the loss, but the gain. Loss no longer exists. All movement, all attempts, fulfill the mission. My mission.

“For I have been redeemed, and I defeat the darkness within me by each lent hand and rescued soul whom I reach. I am Alliance. I defend freedom, defy injustice, and deepen creative productivity to enhance mankind’s survival. In living victory, I bear my burden, a warrior for my objective: Be powerful. Be consistent. Never quit. Finish the mission.”

My eyes glanced up from the words to my father, then back down, reading, re-reading. Recoiling. Rerouting. “I guess with this kind of mission statement, there’s no room for fear.”

“There’s no need for fear. It’s not part of the mission.”

“I am Alliance. I like it.”

“I am Alliance.”

“Hoo-rah.”

***

About Earthshine:

 

Earthshine_1400Fear may be a liar, but hope can be a monster.

 

Saylor single-handedly saved the world from a devastating solar flare…and it nearly killed her. Now her father’s Alliance Military Guard must track down pirated tech, missing ships, and a rogue billionaire, and they’ve requested a reluctant Saylor’s help.

Tucker spent a year training the rookie Guardsmen. They call themselves Dragons. He calls them defiant. Dispatched across the ocean on a mission to retrieve AMG’s bootlegged tech, he rallies Saylor to overcome her fears and return to the field by his side.

 

Working together wielding unprecedented tech and determined to defy their destinies, the two wrangle missing ghosts, brunt force betrayal, and the swagger of power. What lies beneath the earth just might save it.

 

EARTHSHINE is the final book following the McConnell clan and Alliance Military Guard, a standalone for the seeker of YA Sci Fi Action Adventures.

 

Purchase EARTHSHINE on amazon in paperback or ebook.

 

Kadee Carder Bio:

 

Fierce yet sparkly, I rally seekers to thrive in their stories. The goal is magic, the medium

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is ink, and the fuel is coffee. And sometimes pizza. I teach English on the university level when I’m not dancing around the living room with my family, lifting heavy at the gym, traveling the planet, or binging superhero shows.

 

INSURRECTION, INCOMPLETE, INDELIBLE, HERE BE DRAGONS, EARTHSHINE and non-fiction inspirational KINGDOM COME roll out perilous motives, twisty plots, and daring protagonists. Grab some real estate and your copy of my latest adventure, and follow along on KadeeCarder.com.

 

Visit http://www.kadeecarder.com for inspiration, encouragement, freebie codes, and more!

Let’s connect on social media!

Website: kadeecarder.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kadeecarderink/

Instagram: kadeecarderink

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAkYQcShpWHBua-7VVi9Swg

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kadeecarder/

Twitter: @kadeecarderink

And please feel free to subscribe for encouraging blogs! Kadeecarder.com

I’m giving away a free, empowering e-book to those who subscribe to my email list at kadeecarder.com/subscribe. Titled IGNITE, the 60-page book offers a serving of inspiration, a dash of hope, and a cup of grace to help you get kickin’ on those challenging tasks you’ve got to do!

**Grab Book Three, INDELIBLE, for only $.99 this week!**

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Meet My Mississippi by Patricia Neely-Dorsey

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Dorsey at a fundraiser for the Nettleton Public Library, a local library here in the greatest state in the U.S.A., Mississippi.

Herticine Goree, PND, and me 8.25.18
Me and Mrs. Patricia Dorsey, August 25, 2018 in Nettleton, MS

I had the pleasure of hearing her read her newest children’s book, Meet My Mississippi, (along with other poems from her other work) and honestly, I think that Meet My Mississippi is great for everyone to understand just how great our state really is.

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About the Book:

Adapted from the poem Meet My Mississippi by Patricia Neely-Dorsey, the Meet My Mississippi children’s book is an EXCELLENT EDUCATIONAL TOOL AND FUN LITERARY TOUR GUIDE FILLED WITH INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT MISSISSIPPI.
 

It is a wonderful way to share love and knowledge of Mississippi across generations.

The book showcases some of the best that Mississippi has to offer in a kid-friendly format. It’s perfect for kids from 8 to 80!
 

The reader can  explore Mississippi landmarks and legends through poetic verse while enjoying over 40 AMAZING ILLUSTRATIONS by a Mississippi artist.

The book invites EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE to KNOW More About Mississippi, LEARN More About Mississippi and LOVE More About Mississippi!

From the Author:

Bills were submitted in  the 2016, 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions for consideration of Meet My Mississippi as state poem.

But the bills did not make it out of committee.We are hoping that things will be different in 2019.

We are trying to get the book/poem into every Mississippi home, school , library and museum as possible !

We hope  that  exposure and use of the poem  will increase the chances of getting the poem passed as state poem  in the next legislative session.

I am very passionate about Promoting a Positive Mississippi, especially to the youth of our state.

I want to EDUCATE the world that there is more to Mississippi than all of the negatives usually portrayed.

I want to EMPOWER our children with knowledge that will help to instill a sense of pride in our state

I want to EQUIP our children with knowledge that will help to combat all of the negative images that they are constantly bombarded with

I want to ENLIGHTEN all to a new way of thinking about Mississippi

I want to use my poem “Meet My Mississippi” to help to teach the children of our state (and people of all ages ) some important things about Mississippi in a way that can be easily understood , remembered and recalled.

No Mississippi child should be without this book!

Purchase your copy on Amazon.

Please e-mail or write letters to Rules Committee chair and Tourism Committee chair in support of Meet My Mississippi for state poem.
Terry C. Burton, Rules Committee Chairman: tburton@senate.ms.gov
Gray Tollison, Vice-Chairman: gtollison@senate.ms.gov
House Tourism Chair, Representative Becky Currie: bcurrie@house.ms.gov

Christmas with Kandi J. Wyatt’s Dragon Courage Series

Dragon's Eye background Dragon Courage Series

I am really excited about today’s Christmas post! Kandi J. Wyatt is introducing us to her Christmas book in the Dragon Courage series, and guess what, this is a preview! It’s not even out yet. This is exciting!

Here are the first two chapters of Dragon’s Winter (which takes place after book three). And that gives you plenty of time to read the first three books in the series before this is released!

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Chapter 1

Ruskya gazed up at the stars, which glowed crisp and bright in the winter sky. “I look like a dragon, Wyeth.”

His dragon chuckled. “A little small, I’d say.”

“Look who’s calling who small. I wasn’t referring to my body, though, but to the way my breath is freezing around my nose.”

“I know, little one. What is bothering you?”

Ruskya sighed and watched his breath turn to ice crystals. “I miss Duskya. It’s almost the anniversary of our choosing, and Ardyn’s birth day is coming up as well. I miss her the most at this time of the year.”

Ruskya shivered and knelt down to gather the firewood he’d come outside for. The door opened to reveal a tussled red head.

“Are you coming, Da?”

“Here you go, Ardyn. Thanks for getting the door for me.”

Ruskya dropped the wood in the wood box while avoiding stepping on Tyler’s fingers. The boy, who’d just seen his second winter, had a tendency to play on the floor in the least convenient spot. Ruskya bent down, picked up his youngest, and gave him a hug.

“Da, can you tell us a bed-time story?” Sylvern asked.

“Please, Da?” Kathryn gazed up at him with pleading, blue eyes.

Sylvern and Kathryn had seen six and four winters. The girls rarely did anything separately.

“If you hop into bed, I can tell you a story.”

With a scurry, Ardyn and the girls rushed to the bedroom. Ruskya realized he’d need to expand the house and give Ardyn his own bedroom. Watching the girls interact made the longing for his twin grow. He pushed his feelings down and focused on telling the story of the dragon who became a farmer.

Carryl tucked the kids in and then sat down next to Ruskya in front of the fire. The crackle of the blaze filled the room. Ruskya smelled Carryl’s lavender soap that she used to wash her hair. He sighed deeply and ran his fingers through her hair.

“I wish I could help you, Ruskya.”

“I know. It’s the curse of Calamadyn twins. Our bond is too strong. Look what happened to Kyn, and he never even knew his twin.”

“True, but I feel responsible for helping you.”

A bed squeaked as one of the kids turned over.

“Do you want a cup of tea?” Carryl stirred.

Ruskya drew her closer to him. “Stay put. You and Ma both think tea’s the answer to everything.”

“Well, it definitely helps.”

Ruskya smiled. “Honestly, the best thing would be to see Duskya, but since that’s not going to happen—”

“Why not?” Carryl looked up at him with sincere green eyes. “Why can’t we invite her and the family to come for a visit?”

Ruskya stared at his wife, hope warring with reality within him. “Look around, Carryl. Kyn moved out so there’d be room for the kids. Where would we put another four people in here?”

“Duskya’s old abode is still empty. I could fix it up for them.”

“Carryl, that place has been empty for the last seven winters.”

“Leave that to me and the kids. We’ll get it cleaned up. You just get a message to your sister.”

Ruskya watched the fire as he mulled over the idea. How could he get a message to Duskya? He couldn’t leave Carryl with the kids, and he’d already left the kids with his ma and Glendyn too much, between helping find Peri and going to Braidyn’s wedding. With a sigh he leaned forward and rested his chin on his fist.

“What about Kyn?” Carryl laid a hand on his back.

“Maybe.” Ruskya contemplated the suggestion. “He just returned from a trip a moon ago. He seemed pretty eager to be home.”

“But, he is your youngling and will do just about anything you ask him to.”

Ruskya stood and reached out mentally toward his youngling. Carryl encircled his waist from behind.

“I would wait until morning to contact him. Let him sleep.”

Ruskya chuckled. “Why should I let him sleep if I can’t?”

“Because he’ll get there faster if he is rested.”

“Fine.” Ruskya chuckled. “I will wait, but it will be difficult.”

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Kandi J Wyatt AuthorAbout Kandi:

Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt, had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that’s her own five or the hundreds of students she’s been lucky to teach. When Kandi’s not spinning words to create stories, she’s using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.

 

Where to find her:

Website: http://kandijwyatt.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/kandijwyatt/

Google: http://plus.google.com/u/0/+KandiWyatt/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/kandijwyatt

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kandijwyatt

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13817774.Kandi_J_Wyatt

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kandi-J-Wyatt/e/B00ZTC4T10/

Fellowship of Fantasy: http://www.fellowshipoffantasy.com/directory.html?filterP=Kandi%20J.%20Wyatt

Clean Indie Reads: http://cleanindiereads.com/dragon-courage/

Langlois, Oregon website: http://worldfamouslanglois.com/content/dragons-langlois-local-author-kandi-wyatt

 

Buy links:

Dragon’s Future: https://www.books2read.com/u/bzpDq9

 

Dragon’s Heir: https://www.books2read.com/u/47YQE3  

 

Dragon’s Revenge: https://www.books2read.com/u/b5qvGb

 

Dragon’s Cure: https://www.books2read.com/u/47kxJa

 

Dragon’s Posterity: https://www.books2read.com/u/4DA8og

 

Dragon’s Heritage: https://www.books2read.com/u/3neVN6

 

The One Who Sees Me:  https://www.books2read.com/u/mdrRlb

 

Journey from Skioria: https://www.books2read.com/u/4AwJee

 

To Save a Race: https://www.books2read.com/u/49PG5k

 

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Today is the last day of the Christmas Books in July event, so don’t forget to stop by http://www.emeraldbarnes.us/christmas-books-in-july.html for 99¢ and free ebooks, and our event on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1037924896356333.

Christmas with Tabitha Caplinger’s TCO3 characters!

Christmas Books in July banner

Today, one of my favorite author’s is joining us! Let’s welcome Tabitha Caplinger, author of The Chronicle of the Three books series. And we get a sneak peek into her series as she develops it into a Hallmark-ish movie! This one was a fun post!

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TCO3 Christmas in July

(Originally posted on tabithacaplinger.com, but that was in June. So it was TCO3 Christmas in June. Just so you aren’t confused if you go looking for it over there. LOL)

It’s been a whole month since the release of Eden Sword, the final installment in The Chronicle of the Three Trilogy. I already miss these characters. I know that right now you are screaming at me to write that Claire-centric prequel then, but I have two books in the works so my brain just can’t handle it. Not yet.

But my brain is also weird and likes to go to weird places. Places like, if TCO3 were a Hallmark Christmas movie what would that look like?

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I would love for my books to get turned into movies, or even a tv show. That would be the coolest thing. A Hallmark Christmas movie doesn’t seem like the right fit though, and if you’re thinking that you would be correct. It isn’t the right fit. But it could be…sort of.

I was recently watching one of those Christmas movies. You know the ones I’m talking about. There are some new characters and a new location plopped into a pretty standard movie-romance formula. They are a little cheesy and a lot predictable. I’m not knocking them. Come December I am completely on board for every single one of them. Do I know what’s going to happen? Sure, but it doesn’t matter because they are feel good and at Christmas we want a movie that makes us feel good and believe in the magic of love and happily ever afters.

Anyway, I was watching one and started to wonder what it would look like if Michael and Claire met in one of those ABC Family, Hallmark Christmas romances?

Let’s walk through the main plot points I’ve put together. (Hallmark, if you get this and are interested, call me.)

 

  1. It takes place at Christmas. I know I have made that clear but since it’s June you might be confused. I just couldn’t wait all the way until Christmas to write this post and share it with you so here we are in June. But Christmas is perfect. The second and third books in the TCO3 Trilogy even happen around Christmas time. Plus life-changing romances are more believable at Christmas time. I don’t know why but they are.

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  1. Claire lives in the big city and goes to a small town in Virginia  because she needs a break after a particularly difficult season of demon slaying. Emotionally she is drained. She’s beginning to lose herself in her work and is probably heart broken by something. A little time away is just what the doctor ordered. Or in this case her boss or best friend. The point is she leaves her normal big time life to head to a quaint little spot where everyone knows everyone else.

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  1. She decides to spend her holiday at the lovely Haven Bed & Breakfast run by an older couple played by Abigail and Charlie. Abigail is warm, kind and a little nosey. Charlie is kind of grouchy but a teddy bear at heart who becomes some wise counsel right when she needs it most.

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  1. Going into the B&B she runs smack into a tall, handsome man. I mean she literally runs into him making her lose her grip on her suitcase and spill it’s contents. He helps her pick them up. She is a little sassy about the whole thing. He thinks she’s a little bit of a diva. Of course this is Michael.

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  1. Michael owns the local bakery, It’s called Angel Food Bakes. (Isn’t that the cutest bakery name ever?) He stops by the B&B daily to drop off homemade muffins and scones and helps Charlie with some of the maintenance.

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  1. Claire is constantly running into Michael wherever she goes in town. He’s there when she grabs her morning coffee. He’s there when she stops into a local shop. He’s there when her bike tire goes flat. (I don’t know why she’s riding a bike around town in the middle of winter but she is and she gets a flat tire and he puts her bike in the back of his vintage truck and drives her back to the B&B. On the way they talk about their childhoods or something.)

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  1. The more Claire sees Michael around town the more endearing he becomes and she can’t help but start to like him. Especially after finding out he is directing the local small-church children’s nativity play with the cutest little-kid versions of Daniel, Lucas, Maggie and Zoe you have ever seen. They adorably ask if she wants to be his girlfriend. She says something about he has to take her to dinner first, that that’s a rule or something. She smiles. He blushes. The kids give him a look that says “go ahead and ask her” and he does.

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  1. They have dinner together and then he walks her through the town’s little courtyard and snow begins to fall softly. He’s about to kiss her but is stopped by a shadow slinking near the gazebo. Together they take it down. (Okay, that isn’t something that would happen in a Hallmark movie but this is still TCO3 so a little demon slaying only seems right.)

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  1. She goes to bed that night all swoony. ( I know that’s probably not a real word but you know what I mean.) She’s also a little flustered because she has a demon-slaying city life she was planning on getting back to after Christmas and she isn’t sure she can just pack up and transfer here for a guy she just met. (Side note: she goes to bed with her makeup still on and in festive, button up, flannel pajamas. While these are lie pajamas because people buy them but don’t actually ever really wear them to bed but just for family photos, we will ignore it though we all know outside of this film she’d be wearing an oversized t shirt and baggy sweats to bed like the rest of us.)

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  1. There’s a snow ball fight…or sledding…or the making of snow angels. This occurs because she finds Michael outside the church giving those cute kids a break from nativity practice to play in the snow. She joins in. It’s super romantic. We can’t explain why but it is.

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  1. Michael comes to the B&B to decorate Christmas cookies he baked with the guests, including Claire. They are elbow deep in the cutest frosting fight ever when who shows up? Claire’s ex-fiance, Alex. *Gasp* He has seen the error of his ways and wants to win her back. He pulls her outside to talk and tells her he deserves another chance and that they’ve been together for years and she just met this other guy. She tells him he hurt her and she won’t settle for things like they were. He says he can change. She tells him to go home but he promises to prove himself to her.

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  1. Christmas is getting closer. Alex is hanging around Claire like they are still together. She’s trying to be nice. Michael is bummed out and thinks she still has feelings for her ex. (She doesn’t and this could all have been solved by a simple conversation but instead we get a couple comedic scenes of Alex trying to win her back but only making a fool of himself. He face plants in the snow, spills hot cocoa all over himself, tiny Maggie kicks him in the shin.) At one point something happens (I haven’t figured out this little detail just yet) that makes Claire feel a little bad for him and she goes with him back to the B&B. Perhaps he then tells her the city needs her. Maybe he gets a call from a mutual friend talking about a demon attack in the park and tells her that thats her life and this was just all a fantasy, that the city needs her, that he needs her. Blah Blah Blah.  (In all the hub bub and blah blah blahs with Alex she misses the nativity play which makes Michael think she made her decision and is leaving.)

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  1. Claire has a lot of thinking to do. She calls her bestie but they can’t talk because they are at a loud Christmas Eve party. So she walks around the quiet house that everyone else has left  and ends up talking to Charlie who just happens to still be there and shares some wisdom that makes her realize what she really needs. She runs to the church but the play is over and Michael is gone. She tells the kids she’s sorry and they tell her Michael probably went to the bakery to get the cookies for the tree lighting. She runs to the bakery but he isn’t there either. She hears caroling from the town square and realizes he must be there since the tree lighting festivities are beginning.

 

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  1. She makes her way to the center of town and runs into Alex. She tells him she can’t go back with him. He is disappointed but understands because ultimately he wants her to be happy. (Alternatively he is a jerk about the whole thing.) She hugs him goodbye right as Michael walks by. She can tell he thinks the wrong thing and runs after him.

 

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  1. There is a dramatic conversation that basically ends in her telling him she wants to be with him and he makes her better yada yada and I love you and blah blah I love you too and the town is singing a sweet carol in the back ground and just as they kiss the tree is lit along with all the lights they have put around the whole town square and it’s super magical. (I know this GIF doesn’t really fit but it makes me laugh.)

 

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  1. We assume they live happily ever after otherwise what was the point of all this.

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So, there you have it, my take on TCO3 as a feel-good, sweet Christmas romance. You might be thinking, “if you could put all this together why couldn’t you give us that Claire prequel?” I get it, I do, and I will work on that prequel, but honestly, all this took me about ten minutes to piece together. I am also toying with the idea of a PureFlix- God’s Not Dead type Lucas redemption story Kendrick Brothers’ style. (If the Kendrick brothers see this and are interested, call me.)

 

“[TCO3Trilogy] is like Gilmore Girls meets Buffy meets Supernatural.”

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To find out more about this YA urban fantasy trilogy by Tabitha Caplinger go to tabithacaplinger.com/mybooks

You can follow Tabitha on social media at…

facebook.com/TabCaplinger

twitter.com/Tab_Caplinger

instagram.com/Tab_Caplinger

 

Don’t forget to stop by http://www.emeraldbarnes.us/christmas-books-in-july.html for 99¢ ebooks and our event on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1037924896356333.

Christmas Wishes

It’s day two of the Christmas Books in July event! And today, I’m sharing a short story that I published in a magazine a few years ago, probably close to ten, I think. Anyway, this was the first Christmas story I’ve written.

Christmas Wishes cover

The pictures on the mantel mocked Misty as she sat drinking a cup of hot cocoa.  They were once such a happy family, and as she remembered those cherished moments, Misty wished for a stronger drink.

The holidays were always torture for Misty.  She was supposed to enjoy this time of year, but she couldn’t.  All of her family was gone.  Her son was a CEO, so he moved far away from home.  Kevin never called her or involved her in his life.  It had been five years since she spoke to or saw him.  Her daughter, Keri, married and moved away ten years ago.  Keri kept in touch with her but could never find time to visit.  Misty didn’t know if she would get to see her kids or grandkids this Christmas.

The pain would be easier to deal with if Cameron hadn’t left.  Misty had no one anymore.  She took a drink, debating on adding a little alcohol to the cocoa.  She knew, though, that it wasn’t the answer.  The tears began to fall again.

Misty didn’t think that she could bear another holiday alone.  Thanksgiving had been awful.  Now, Christmas was worse.  All she wanted was to see her family, and here she was, sitting at home alone on Christmas Eve.

Misty found it pointless to decorate.  There was no tree, lights, or a jolly fat man staring back at her.  She had no desire to spend her time looking at the decorations, wishing for her family to be together again.  The decorations would only remind her of the happy times which in turn would sadden her.  Yet, those thoughts came rushing in.

Misty remembered how Cameron and Kevin would spend most of Christmas Eve morning finding the perfect tree.  Keri and Misty would busy themselves in the kitchen, baking cookies for the men and Santa.  They would also begin to prepare the Christmas Eve dinner.  Their home smelt of cookies and cedar, a smell that she missed.

At night, the family would sit by the fire, and Cameron would read the Christmas story and The Night Before Christmas.  The kids had a cookie in one hand and a hot cup of peppermint cocoa sitting beside them.  After the Christmas stories, the kids would set out a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa Claus.  Then, they would all hang their stockings over the fireplace.  The family had kept that tradition until the kids moved out.  Misty remembered this all too well, and she wanted her grandkids to experience the same Christmas traditions.

But most of all, he wished Cameron was still her husband. He had divorced her one and a half years ago, and the wound was still deep.  They say time heals all wounds, but Misty couldn’t disagree more.  It still hurt that he just up and left her one morning.  Cameron had only told her that he was leaving.  No explanation why, he just left.  He now had a new family, and all Misty could think was that his new family was experiencing the same traditions that hers did at one time.

It wasn’t fair.  Why was she being punished?  Hadn’t she lived her life as close to perfect as possible?  Why was God doing this?  But she knew it wasn’t God’s fault.

Misty couldn’t see the reason, and she didn’t look for it.  All she knew was that her family had fallen apart, and Misty wanted it back.  That, however, was impossible.  Her family would never be the same again.  That was something she had to learn to deal with.

Only God had the capability to help her through this, so Misty began to pray.

“Lord, I need Your help through this.  Christmas was always a joyous time, and now I’m having a difficult time coping.  I know Christmas isn’t about Santa Claus and all the other things we associate with it.  I know it’s about us celebrating the birth of Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I thank You for that, too, but Lord, please help me deal with the pain of not having my family with me.  I need You, Lord.  I need them.”

Her prayer trailed off with that final plea on her lips.

Misty raised her head high, and she felt a peace envelope her.  She set her cup on the coffee table and relaxed.  For once, Misty’s mind was at rest.

Ten minutes later, her doorbell rang.  Misty made her way to the door, thinking it was only Christmas carolers at the door.  No one else would be coming to her house that night, not even Santa.  To her surprise, there stood Keri, Keri’s husband Mike, and their two kids surrounded by luggage.  Kevin was walking up the sidewalk carrying his suitcase.

Tears came into Misty’s eyes as she said a silent thank you to God.  Her grandkids hugged her.  A smile spread across her whole face, and she was gleaming.

“Hi, Mom,” Keri said hugging her.

“Hey,” was all she could mutter as she gave her daughter a hug.

She stepped aside and let her family enter.  Kevin stopped her, and she took him in her arms, memories of him as a child and wanting his mommy, wrapping his arms around her legs popped into her memory.

She let go and followed him inside.  Keri and her family had taken a seat by then.  Misty asked, “To what do I owe this pleasure?”

“We wanted to see you, Mom,” Keri said, “We missed you and thought that this was the best time to come down.”

“You couldn’t have visited at a better time,” Misty said.

***

Don’t forget to stop by and check out the amazing books we have on sale this week during our Christmas Books in July event. Also, we’re partying on Facebook this week and celebrating all things Christmas. Don’t forget to join us there as well.

 

 

Christmas Books in July Event

Christmas Books in July banner

Welcome to the Christmas Books in July event!

The weather is hot, and we’re all hoping and wishing for some cooler weather soon. But while we’re waiting for that cooler weather,  six of us authors have come together to celebrate Christmas in July with books, stories, games, and more!

Click on this link to see the 99¢ Christmas e-books on sale!

And while you’re at it, we have a fun event on Facebook. Get to know the authors of our books and blog posts better. Pop in with Christmas questions, book questions, and more!
Join us today!

Today, we’re starting off Christmas Books in July with a short story from Author Kathleen Gemmell.

(This was originally published by ParentCo.)

***

A Porcupine for Christmas

He walked three steps on that festive Christmas.

Having just turned one, I was quite convinced that my son was talented beyond compare in his age bracket. Jay was a tow head, trim, and sported a contagious grin. On that day, he wore red corduroy overalls and a green turtleneck. I was over the moon in love with my little guy.

We were visiting one set of grandparents on Christmas Eve and the other on the big day itself. In keeping with the theme that Jay was without compare, both sets of grand-folks had overdone the gift giving. Large trees in both homes were piled with gifts beneath.

Of course, our Jack Russell Terrier, Devon, was part of our family and she too, seemed to sense the frivolity in the air. “Devon” had been Jay’s first word and we chalked that up to his brilliant persona. After greeting their grand-dog, my parents overwhelmed little Jay with kisses and cuddles and treats galore. Jay’s reactions were a bit off putting to these proud elders. After all, what child isn’t enamored over the Christmas bounty?

A one-year-old child is clueless to the merriment of Christmas. As gift after gift was set before him, my parents were puzzled as to his lack of enthusiasm.

“Mom, Dad, he is only just past infancy. He doesn’t yet ‘get’ this holiday fare. Please don’t be upset. Once home, I’m sure he’ll enjoy all the bobbles and bangles. I will say, however, that a bicycle is rather premature.”

Jay seemed to focus on the sparkling tinsel on the 10-foot tree and would crawl over and pluck handfuls off. Devon was soon covered in silver and ran about trying to rid her couture.

“This is not going like I anticipated,” whined my mother. “Jay isn’t enjoying his gifts and Devon never misbehaves. I told your father that this Christmas would not be a Norman Rockwell painting. Would he listen? No. A bicycle, honestly!”

Mom poured herself a cocktail…one of the few she drank each year. I knew that after two Vodka Sours, my mom would be loopy. yet care free. Her disappointment would likely pass.

My father was an outgoing, loving soul. I never heard that one person disliked him.

“Alice,” he cooed.” This will be a fine day. We must all relax, enjoy each other’s company and remember the meaning of Christmas.”

The tinsel covered living room was quite the mess for a mother who was chided to be OCD-ish. Devon, free from her burden, had curled up on the tree skirt and we all tried our best to follow her calm demeanor. Jay, now covered in the silver folly, began to be irritable and I put him in his port-a-crib and soothed him to sleep.

Liqueurs were served and I had a moment of jealously as breast feeding kept me from joining the others. A fine meal was served while Jay and Devon slept on and the familial mood brightened. We told stories of Christmas pasts and we absolutely had to get mom’s goat with the retelling of the mouse and cat episode…

That year, my parent’s home had a mouse “Issue.” Their beautiful home “could not” be infested according to mom. One exterminator after another assured her that the “Issue” was resolved.  Phoebe, their beloved cat knew better and chased a loner up the heavily ornament laden tree.

The tree tipped and before anyone could right it, that tree was through the glass of the picture window. I’m embarrassed to say that my uncontrollable laughter further crazed mom, but honestly, is was perfectly perfect.

Jay awoke as Devon hoped into his crib to check on him. After a changed diaper and a feeding, the Christmas Eve hour was growing late. We all settled in, having donned new sweaters and slippers. The snow fell and the conversation was peaceful. Sweet Jay began to scoot about the myriad of toys and came upon three overlooked gifts.

“Goodness,” stated dad. “We forgot Devon’s gifts.”

Jay was well into tearing the wrapping off and Devon sidled up to him as she could smell her goodies. Dog treats, a large rawhide bone and a rubber porcupine that squeaked when squeezed were Santa’s bounty.

Jay was enamored with the squeaky porcupine. Amidst a mountain of gifts, Jay had found the present he loved. Of course, the irritating noise was tolerated and Devon seemed not to care as she gnawed her bone.

Using the couch, he pulled himself upright with one hand, clutching his treasure in the other. Jay turned to me, a huge smile on his rosy-cheeked face and he walked those first steps.

“Well,” concluded my father, “If this isn’t the best Christmas yet…”

Jay slept with his beloved keepsake and focused on it the next day as we journeyed on to another mound of gifts from Ol’ Saint Nick.

“Mr. Porcupine” is now in Jay’s keepsake box of treasures.

After all, only a wonderfully precocious child would choose the perfect gift.

***

Thank you for joining us! Don’t forget to keep coming by the blog, Facebook, and site for more Christmas fun! Just click the links above.

To the one who hasn’t been his or herself lately…

I came across this tweet (by @alisonpool_)—oddly enough—on Facebook the other day.

to the girl...

To be frank, this has been my life for the past few weeks. I haven’t felt like myself. I have felt like a shell of myself. I see the person I am versus the person I usually am, and it scares me a bit. But, that’s the OCD, and the devil is using my mind as his personal playground. I don’t want to go into any detail regarding it, but the OCD has me worrying about things that haven’t even happened. It’s actually ridiculous, and though I realize that I’m being ridiculous, that what I’m obsessing over isn’t actually real, it feels real.

I know. I sound insane. Trust me, I feel it. Though, it doesn’t make it any less real to me. Which had me thinking about those who suffer quietly, who, like me, put on a smile and pretend to be fine when inside demons are ripping your mind to shreds, torturing you with thoughts of suicide, depression, obsessions, worry, fear, you name it. You aren’t alone. I promise you that. You. Are. Not. Alone.

I know that it feels like you’re drowning now, that nothing will ever be all right again, but that’s not true. There’s always a light that shines through the darkness. If you’re religious, that’s God. If you’re not (and even if you are), that’s your friend who checks on you or the stranger that smiles at you.

I had a thought the other night as I laid my head down and settled in to bed. It was the first time in a long time that I went to bed without a care, without some worry or fear or tormenting thought, and I thought, “I’m so glad to be normal again.”

That lasted exactly one night and half of a day.

What I’m saying is that some days you feel normal; others are struggle. I wish—and pray—that it isn’t like this. I want to be normal. I want to be myself again. And I will be. I will battle these demons. I will win.

It’s time to remind myself who I am. That I’m loved by a King, that I have help when I need it.

I’m not pushing my book, but it reminds me a lot of Lexi from Delivered by Angels. She felt hopeless, but God sent an angel to remind her that she was loved and could be saved. You can be saved. I can be saved. We’re not alone, and I think we should take comfort in that. And one day, we’ll be ourselves again. Our spark will return. I look forward to that day.