There's Christmas Magic Year-Round Here!

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Happy Thanksgiving Week!


How I love this week of Thanksgiving! There are so many reasons it is wonderful. Here are some of my favorites:

  • It official kicks off the most wonderful time of the year!
  • There is extra attention to gratitude this week which rocks!
  • I get a four-day weekend!
  • Thursday is this really wonderful day of family and fun. In my family you just never know who will be around and how the day will go. This year there are five of us but we’ve had as many as 30 and as few as just me one year. All of them have been absolutely perfect.
  • The wonderful food of course! It can vary a little bit from year-to-year but the main dishes you can count on having and I am looking forward to all of it. Especially the green bean casserole. Yum!
  • And maybe my very very favorite thing about Thanksgiving, which I know is totally crazy, but I LOVE watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade! Love it! (Anyone have connections and can get me on a float? :) How about as a balloon walker holding down one of the ropes? I’m not picky. :) )


Meanwhile, even though dinner isn’t at our place this year, I’ve got the house dolled up for the occasion. Here’s some of the latest (even found a great turkey on my mom’s table!) And before you go away, what you doing this year for the big day? Cooking? Eating? Going to the parade? Whatever it is, enjoy every minute of the magic that is Thanksgiving! gobble gobble




Oh Oh Oh! – jingle



Signs of the Season!

It's the holiday season!

I know for some, it may seem too early but for fun-lovers when we hit November it’s the holiday season! There is loads of proof to back it up:

  • The tree has arrived at Rockefeller Center
  • Stores have their Christmas merchandise out and their Christmas décor going up
  • Pandora has their Christmas music station now available
  • Magazine covers show Thanksgiving turkeys
  • The Hallmark Channel is now all Christmas all the time
  • Tickets are now on sale for The Nutcracker ballet and A Christmas Carol in our area
  • Christmas movies are coming! Hooray! I’m so happy we will have a couple to choose from this year
  • My next-door neighbor has her Christmas lights on already! She prides herself on being the first. I love them.
  • And maybe my favorite sign of all, my books are selling! :) Happy Day!

 Here’s a few of my shortcuts for easing into the season without going too all-in yet:

  • Does your family and or friends do a gift exchange? For my family we just drew names so now I know who I’m shopping for and can begin thinking on finding that perfect item.
  • I love to decorate for every season and am as crazy about Thanksgiving as I am about Christmas. I’m not one though that thinks the seasons can’t overlap. Though Thanksgiving comes first and Christmas can overlay its glory, nothing says Thanksgiving can’t linger into December. The last couple of years, I’ve had my Christmas décor theme be autumn love and incorporated them both together.
  • Use an artificial tree? Get it out with lights only and use it first to hang paper leaves on with your guest’s thankful items and good wishes on through the turkey season. Then give it a quick change out to full on Christmas décor.
  • Lastly, I love fall pumpkins. They put such pretty color on my back deck in the fall. As the season changes, I dress them up with gold spray paint. All decked out for a party. Soooo pretty!

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle


You’re the best!


Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you for downloading The Search for South Pole Santa!
Thank you for buying the others!
Thank you for signing up for the newsletter!
Thank you for your reviews!
Thank you for telling and sharing with your friends and family!
Thank you most of all, above all of it, for your kindness and support.

You all make me feel spoiled

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle


Two Things to Tell!

psssssssst! something to tell

Thing one to tell:

The Search for South Pole Santa is FREE Thursday, October 29 through Saturday, October 31! No trick! Just a treat from me to you and everyone you know. :) I love these opportunities that Amazon has to offer the ebook version for free. If you haven’t yet read the South Pole Santa series this is the perfect time to start – with the book that started it all. The holiday season is on its way, the book is full of fun and its FREE! I would love for you to jump on this deal and help me tell everyone you know. Thank you! Thank you!


Thing two to tell:

Unwrapped is now available on Amazon in its ebook version! Hooray! You can add this fourth book in the South Pole Santa series to your collection now easily either as a quality paperback or easy to store and read ebook. Either way, thank you for your love and support.

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

The Land of Gunny Holiday


I have been busy with my day job of late and just back home from the land of Gunny Holiday! Texas is a big, flat, ranch-filled state but I was in the green, hill-filled spot of the state. I got to hit Austin for a work conference and enjoy the great music and great barbecue of that area. (And the heat! It was ninety degrees down there. In October! For this Pacific Northwest writer that is hot!)

Still, I had a great time. Everyone we met from there was wonderful. I have a friend who lives in Austin who treated me to a delicious lunch (thanks again Marla!) and we loved the music that seems to be everywhere. One thing that was notably less present then we are used to was coffee. In Seattle you can find coffee on every street corner downtown but in Austin you can find it, but you’re gonna go walking. It gave us a good reason to see more of the city.

If you get to Austin any time soon, here’s a few things I recommend:

Enjoy the gospel brunch at Stubbs Barbecue. Totally Texas, totally delicious and all served up with some great music. One suggestion to consider though is to sit upstairs. You pay extra to sit by the band but it was so loud we were grateful for a table up and away.

IMG_1620Grab the Duck ride! You know the ones – those crazy tours where you get to tour land and water while quacking on a blower. They are loud and a little obnoxious but also fun and best of all, you get a good sense of the city so you know what else you want to do.

Hit Sixth Street! We did each evening after my conference sessions got out. The bunch of us there were definitely on the older side for Sixth Street but that didn’t slow us down! It is full of fun, great food and great music. It’s definitely a young scene but we managed to feel we fit right in. One caution with Sixth Street though is Austin has a strong homeless population and walking back to the hotel late in the dark was definitely unsettling. We switched to walking the long way around after the first night.

Or we Ubered! Uber made it easy to go anywhere. Skip the rental car and Uber yourself around.

My favorite meal served up was from the Iron Cactus on Sixth Street. Killer paella! Killer. I’d go back and order the same thing again although our table of ten all said the same about what they ordered too. Big thumbs up from everyone.

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

It’s here!


Guess what my merry band of elves and mischief makers? The new book is up on Amazon and now available in its paperback version!


It’s always so exciting to see each book get out there to share their joys and perils with the world. I am holding my breath to see what you think.

If you are someone who prefers ebooks than the wait for Unwrapped will be just a little bit longer. The ebook version will be out around October 23.

Meanwhile, for all of you today, I thought I’d share the fabulous recipe that my friend Betsy Chan put together for this book. This adventure has a big role for Mango, Jason’s beloved companion, and so we are putting some attention on our four-legged friends this round. Line up the ingredients and bake up a batch of these sure to be loved treats for your favorite canine companion.

Thanks for all the book love! If you enjoy it, I’d love a review on Amazon, Goodreads or Barnes & Noble.

Mango’s Dog Bones Recipe

created by Betsy Chan

2 large egg whites, beaten

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup cold water

1/4 cup finely chopped carrots

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground flaxseed,

optional 2 teaspoons finely chopped dried parsley flakes (or fresh parsley, if available)

2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

3/4 – 1 cup whole-wheat flour, plus extra for dusting surface (may substitute all-purpose flour)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the flour, until well mixed. Slowly add flour in 4 or 5 parts, mixing until a soft dough forms. Knead dough on a “dusted-with-flour” surface. Sprinkle more flour to the dough if it’s too sticky, until dough is smooth and easy to handle. Return dough back into bowl. Lightly flour the surface again, and plop a handful of dough onto it. Lightly flour a rolling-pin and roll (or press) dough down to about 1/8” thickness, then use a dog bone-shaped cookie cutter (or any shape) to cut into the dough. Another variation is to use a butter knife to cut dough into strips, squares or any creative shape you like! Repeat with the remaining dough until all is used. Transfer the shapes onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake in pre-heated oven for 20-22 minutes for small shapes or 22-25 minutes for medium shapes, or until golden brown. Remove sheets from oven and let dog bones cool completely before giving them to your favorite pup to eat. Store dog bones in an air-tight container. Bone-Appetit! :)


Oh Oh October!


It’s October everyone! What all is on your list for this glorious, fabulous, wonderful month of fall fun? Mine is packed with good stuff coming up!

First up, we already went and bought pumpkins this week. I couldn’t wait any longer and this giant pile of pumpkins called my name. Three of these beauties practically loaded themselves in my grocery cart.

Our days here are still in the 70s but our mornings are full of fog. Love it! Such a fall treat.


I’ve got my fall décor out, pumpkins on the deck and now I’m looking to bring in some touches of Halloween too. Heading to Target this weekend. (Do you see my lazy boy sunbathing there? so cute!)

Next weekend we join with great friends for a fall weekend away on a nearby island adventuring. It happens to be with my cover artist, Tina Fischer Mitchell, and her husband and with any luck we will be toasting to the completion of another book!

That’s right! Amazon emailed this week that the book is close to completion. I should be seeing a final this next week! Always so exciting. Then its two weeks to the Kindle version.

Later in the month, I’m heading to Austin, Texas for a work conference. Everyone I know that’s been there raves about it being such a great city for music lovers and I am definitely one of those. Looking forward to spending time in the land of Gunny Holiday and the Holiday Ranch. :)

We’ve been spending time around our house watching football, gathering with friends and family and decluttering and cleaning out our storage. It’s been really marvelous.

So many good things always come in the month of October (every month really but this one always seems extra special to me.) Magic is in the air!

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

Countdown has started!

12036945_949636208411468_4590676278130784519_nThree months to Christmas Day! Three months! In these super busy modern times, that’s like “almost here.” I know, I’m sorry. I can feel you cringing just reading the words but, people, we are talking October is here in less than a week! Who took my September?

As a Christmas-themed author it would be natural to guess that December is my favorite month of the year but that actually is my third favorite month of the year! I do love it – right after how much I love the absolutely magical and marvelous month of October and the month of November with its beautiful holiday focused on thanks and giving. So much good stuff right in a row every single year!

September has been packed to the top with busy – and sickness. Jumping jack-o-lanterns. A totally hideous cold that is sweeping the nation came knocking at our door and we, being the accommodating types that we are :), invited it in! The very worst kind of house guest. I turned the whole visit into a giant sized pity party and served cough drops, cold meds and washed it all down with cough syrup. Finally today, a week later, it seems our prognosis is for a full recovery. :)



Past that the month has included some work travel down at the beautiful Lake Tahoe and getting to spend some time with my husband’s family and the adorable littles pictured here. Such fun and love.

Despite the cold, I’ve felt peaceful and happy this month. Maybe it’s the fall season. It brings out all the warm, fuzzy feelings along with my warm, fuzzy sweaters. Here’s some of the things that have made my thankful list recently:




  • Fall colors! How I love them all. Do you like my fall home décor? I’ve put a dash of autumn all around the house to bring the good stuff inside.
  • Cleaning out and decluttering! One of our giant projects this month is giving a long overdue clearing to our garage and workshop. Empty shelves! Tah-dah!
  • New followers on Facebook, Twitter and this page. Thank you to you all! Kindness rocks!
  • Getting the book sent off! I know I have mentioned this before but I feel good about it every single weekend when I don’t have needing to write or edit on my to-do list!
  • We bought a new fridge! Our old one gave out and our new one doesn’t get delivered till next week so we’re living out of a cooler right now. Cooler living helped getting a new fridge move to my thankful list. :)

    Every day is a gift. Hope yours is wrapped up in wonderful this beautiful fall day.

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

Presenting . . . Unwrapped!


So much to tell!

Unwrapped is in to the publisher and the fabulous cover is above! I welcome your raving comments! :)  I mean, c’mon, I am gifted with having one of the most talented artist best friends ever. :) Thank you Tina Fischer Mitchell!

Series readers will recognize all the wonderful regular characters (At least, I think they are wonderful. :) I’m not sure you can write a book if you don’t love your characters – even the bad ones!) with a dash of new ones, including some elves and some rather evil drags. As usual, we have twists and turns and some major hurdles to overcome in this adventure. Much to everyone’s amazement at both poles, the children of the world have become quite attached now to Sandra and Santa is finding himself on the outs with most kids – even the nice ones! It’s a very awkward situation for the two Santas. Meanwhile, there are some dark times in Middle Earth for much of the gang as one thing after another goes terribly wrong. You can always count on the elves though to bring bright moments to all of it. Plus, I’m super jazzed about how Sandra is working at moving kindness forward in a big way.

Jason’s wonderful, trusty dog, Mango, has a big role in this book so this time around, the book includes a dog-loving recipe for Mango’s Dog Bones from my talented baker friend, Betsy Chan. If you have a big or little bow-wow at home, this is one to try for sure! woof!

Now, on a whole other topic: have you all seen the Kmart Christmas ads?!? What in the falling leaves! :) I saw the first one out over Labor Day weekend. Granted they are promoting Christmas layaway but they boldly forged forward faster than the rest of the retail pack this year by at least a month, I’m guessing. In fairness, however, the Hallmark Channel sort of promotes their Christmas line-up all year so holiday haters really need to point the arrows their direction first! Not surprisingly, I like a touch of Christmas in the air so there’ll be no hating coming from this girl. :) 

Joy to you and yours on this last of the summer weekend!

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

Getting to the Finish Line


Woooo doggies, I have been busy! For me, this time of year brings a huge push to get my books done and turned into Amazon for publishing and this year is no different. In fact, it’s been a little harder than the past couple. The book is bigger (past 76,000 words this book – the last was 74,000) so the editing process is more cumbersome. Each round means completely reading through it and improving the story line as you go. This last round – the fifth round – was likely the most gruesome because at this point it is so important for me to have it all right and I also find myself second guessing myself. Argh! Plus, this time I actually added in a whole chapter and completely changed the ending in the fourth round of editing (egads!) so I had to be absolutely certain those changes also were accurately reflected through the book. It was some real slow going these past three weeks getting it done let me just say and some hard self-talk to keep the faith and stay on the path.

But I’m doing the happy dance, like any good elf would, now! Joy, joy, joy the worst of the work is done and I am happy with it! That is such a wonderful feeling. I can hardly wait to have you all read it and see what you think. It’s quite a bit different than the others in some ways and I am hoping you all like it as much as I do. I love seeing where the adventures of Sandra and her friends go and this time we have gone far afield of anywhere before!

At the same time, it is totally true to the story and the core theme of the book being around kindness. You can expect the crazy bunch of fun and magic that have been in the others with some heroics thrown in and a really joyous event! Such fun.

So, off it will go to the publisher on Monday and my wonderful artist bestee, Tina Fisher Mitchell, is mixing her skills and magical abilities together now to come up with another perfect cover. It will all be “Unwrapped” for you – and! Can’t wait!

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle