Woe! It’s Wednesday … Catching Up on What a Year!

It’s been quite a while since I posted anything other than a book review. But I recently looked back at some of my posts from when we were traveling with the drug education trailer and I really enjoyed reading about our adventures and the people we met and the food we ate and the sights we saw and the sites we visited.

At Chihuly in Seattle

The Chihuly Gallery remains a favorite. I’d love to return there someday.

Anyway, I thought I should give an update about what we’ve been up to since we’ve been sidelined.

David took care of some long planned house projects. We put in new flooring, painted our wood-burning stove and hearth, as well as the living room, dining room, kitchen and hallway. We also bought some new furniture pieces and painted some others. The house feels bigger and cleaner!

Before
During
During
Almost, but not quite done!

I kept busy with my day job working in agriculture media and pesticide safety. And I received a long-awaited and very exciting offer to sign a publishing contract with Sunrise Publishing! I’m co-writing a romance novel with Rachel Hauck, a New York Times best-selling author. It will be set in her beloved fictional town of Hearts Bend, Tennessee. We’re hard at work on it now and having a blast. I love being a part of the Sunrise family. Everyone there is a joy to work with. The book will debut in February. I’ll be releasing the name and cover on social media in the next few months.

Signing my first publishing contract!

We were able to take some trips to Yosemite and one to Hawaii. It’s been a blessing to be able to keep in contact with friends and family via Zoom, FaceTime, and WhatsApp. We mostly attended church online, but are starting to go in person again. Social media is both a blessing and a curse and I have a love/hate relationship with it.

We’re not sure when we’ll be back on the road with the drug education trailer. But I’ll keep the blog updated when we know something.

Thank you for reading this far! Talk to you soon!

Book Talk Tuesday: The Wedding Dress

I’ve had The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck on my Kindle for several months. I finally got around to it this weekend when we did some driving and I wanted something to keep me occupied on the road. The current book I’m reading is pretty intense and I knew I wanted something lighter for the road. And I wanted to just take my Kindle, not a heavy book. So I chose The Wedding Dress.

I loved it.

This is my favorite of all the Rachel Hauck books I’ve read.

It begins in present day, Birmingham, Alabama.

On an impulse, Charlotte Malone purchased a locked antique trunk.

She is engaged to Tim Rose but they can’t seem to get around to the actual nuts and bolts mints of planning a wedding. She owns a bridal shop but, with two months till the big day, hasn’t picked a dress. Ditto with Tim and his tux.

Charlotte is secretly relieved when Tim asks to delay their wedding. She calls it off.

In the midst of her grieving, Charlotte finally gets the trunk open and finds the most exquisite wedding gown. It doesn’t seem to be vintage. But it’s not new either. It’s never been altered.

One hundred years ago in Birmingham, Emily Canton is about to become engaged to Phillip. No matter that she gave her heart to Daniel. He left her to play baseball and never bothered to write. Or did he write her after all? He’s back in town and insists he did and he’s back for good, with a real job and ready to talk to Emily’s father.

The book moves from Charlotte’s story to Emily’s and interweaves two other couples’. The wedding dress is the gold thread that stitches them all together, even though it has a history of its own, dating to the Jim Crow laws in the last century.

The story is skillfully written and keeps you turning the pages. Hauck does a great job building tension without going over the top.

Highly recommended!

Book Talk Tuesday: Once Upon a Prince

I’m finally on the Rachel Hauck bandwagon.

Other writers and readers and friends have been raving about her for years. I was more in the “The books are good, not great, camp.”

But the caliber of writers who recommended Hauck’s newest book, Once Upon a Prince convinced me to give her another try. Once Upon a Prince - Rachel Hauck - Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Finally, a book I can enthusiastically and whole-heartedly recommend.

It’s delightful.

Susanna’s longtime boyfriend breaks up with her when she’s expecting a proposal. This sends her into a tailspin and she disrupts the rest of her life when she quits her job. Then her landlord asks her to move out.

The one bright spot is when she meets a nice guy, Nate Kenneth, who’s visiting her Georgia island.

What she doesn’t know is that Nate is actually Crown Prince Nathaniel from Brighton, a small European monarchy. He has familial and national responsibilities that he can’t ignore. And he’s legally forbidden to marry a foreigner.

Both Susanna and Nate have to learn some lessons and solve some problems to get to their “happily ever after.”

The story is charming and fun. Susanna and Nate struggle with real issues. There’s little of the glib dialogue that I objected to in previous Hauck novels. This one’s a winner!