Saturday, November 26, 2016

An Earworm Infestation - 10 Holiday Tunes You Won't Want To Stop Singing

Really, this should have been no surprise at all, what with the weather getting colder and the seasons changing over as winter comes on. The Christmas season always leaves my family and I ripe for them - earworms.

We have a shed in our backyard, and it's full of random stuff - clothes that are too small for Joey but still big enough for Eden, furniture we should really get rid of, toys the kids don't play with anymore. Old things we probably don't need. Recently, I've been searching through the shed, getting rid of things, donating whatever's still useful. And with Christmas coming, it just feels good to do it, you know? To clear away the clutter, and to do it in a way that's helpful to others.

But I get bored out there by myself, avoiding spiders that have come in to hide from the cold, cobwebs that may or may not fall on me and send me screaming into the yard like an idiot, and bad memories that accidentally got stored among the boxes. So ... I take a pocketful of earworms with me when I go out there - in the form of my favorite Christmas album. Haha, I had you going there for a second, didn't I?

But what the heck are earworms anyway, right?

Earworms are "sticky" songs, songs that get into your head and just won't go away, songs that play themselves over and over in your memory, sometimes for hours, usually without your consent. These songs are why we joke about being "Rick rolled," why we have memes all over the internet about how common it is to hear a simple turn of phrase and have our minds instantly connect to music we may even have thought we'd forgotten. Some of us (like me) will even burst into song out loud, mid conversation, which I suppose switches back and forth from being hilarious to being annoying for those subjected to these unexpected musical interludes.

I've always had this, this tendency to have songs just get randomly stuck in my head - often, it happens in such a way that they become nearly impossible to remove ... unless I do it by replacing one "sticky" song with another.

And in the winter time, that's when it gets really bad - because I no longer have any power at all over what earworms I'm going to encounter. Every store is playing holiday music, every radio station switches over to the merriment of the Christmas season. TV shows are focused on the holidays, movie channels are focused on the holidays, and half of YouTube is getting ready for Vlogmas, the practice of vlogging from December 1 until Christmas. Often, their vlogs are about their Christmas prep, their shopping, their cooking, their travel plans.

Their holiday tunes. "Just hear those sleigh bells jinglin', ting-ting-tinglin' toooo ... come on it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with youuuuuu ..."

So I thought, what better time for a list of my Top Ten Favorite Holiday Tunes - I mean, besides the Snowed In album that I still listen to about a million times every holiday season? The following playlist is ten of my all-time favorite Christmas songs - the ones I still like no matter how many times I hear them, the ones I know by heart ... the ones I can't help singing along to, regardless of the season. Enjoy, and I hope these tunes help make your Christmas as merry as mine.

*Note: This post contains an affiliate link. This means that if you click the link and purchase the product, I will receive a (probably very small) compensation. I am, however, committed to only sharing products I genuinely love and trust to be of great quality and value. Any opinions expressed are my own, are 100% honest, and are not affected by my participation in the affiliate program.*

Saturday, November 19, 2016

My 10 All-Time Favorite Movies

In the last few months, I've been steering my blog/newsletter more and more into the territory of what's commonly known as a lifestyle blog. I want to be sure that I'm talking to you guys about my books in a way that you can relate to, but I also really want to create a community where you feel like you know me in some ways - and through your comments and emails, I'll get to know you in some ways, too. In addition to that, I'd like to be able to talk about more than just books, because my life in itself is much more than the stories I write. And to that end, I know that your life is much more than just the books you love to read.

So far, I like the way that's been going - I like that I get to exercise my non-fiction writing muscles when I pull articles together about positivity and mental health, I like that I can talk to you guys about my books and my journey as a publisher, and I like that this new direction means I can write more casual things more often - like my Top Ten lists, my favorite things that month, my wishlist items, my ... everything.

But my favorite thing about all of those possibilities is that I can do it in a way that's fun for everyone here, I still get to use and explore my own voice, and, judging from the page views on this site, you guys seem to enjoy the new format too.

So today, I thought it would be fun to share my top ten all-time favorite movies with you, along with what I love best about these movies in particular. Make sure you leave me a comment below to share which of these movies is your favorite - or if my enthusiasm helped you find a new movie to love. Maybe even a new movie for someone else to love? Christmas is on its way too, so any of these movies might make a great gift!

So, without further ado:

01.) Grease - big surprise, right? I still remember how I felt when I first saw this movie, how much I loved the characters, the actors, the songs. The story. The costumes. Over the years, I learned new little factoids and interesting tidbits about the story, and I've only grown more obsessed -- but Grease 2? No. It's just not Grease.

Did you know that when they filmed the scene at the end of the movie where Sandy is all dolled up for Danny, they had to sew her into those pants? Also, the "hickey from Kenickie?" Those were real -- Jeff Conoway insisted that they must be, and insisted on applying them himself.

Little things like that make the film richer for me -- it's like I have little inside jokes with the movie itself somehow. Strange, I know, but those little things are actually why this movie is my number one top favorite of all time. I can't not watch it ... if it's on tv and I know, I'm watching. If the movie is handy to me, I'm putting it in. If you invite me to see it, I'm probably going to be there. I even watched Grease Live ... and despite the crowd of people around me who hated it because it was different from the original, I loved it for nostalgia's sake. And, I learned a few little facts about it too, so I guess that's the ticket for me. Besides which, learning what I learned about Grease Live left me with some serious respect now Vanessa Hudgens that can never be shaken. The girl has work ethic, for real.

02.) Next up, Dirty Dancing - I can't remember a time when I wasn't in love with this movie, and it's probably the entire reason that I love dance so much, even though I can't actually dance. I want to learn ballroom dancing, but not the boring kind. I want to learn the sexy kind, the kind that makes your skin heat up and your heartbeat trip over itself -- and I'd be willing to bet that if I could go back through the formation of that particular part of my personality, I'd see a mental image of something from this movie.

It's just so iconic ... the forbidden first love, the passion and excitement. The watermelon scene where I felt just like Baby because I always felt like an awkward girl. The ... everything. I don't even have words for it, you guys. And the part at the end where Johnny has to stand up to her dad because he's being misjudged?? That he had the courage to do that, for her? Seriously? I swoon for real, and don't even get me started on that last dance. The scene was beautifully executed, the chemistry felt exactly right between Johnny and Baby, the dancing was sexy and beautiful ... and when it ended with Baby being a total badass and her family having to finally accept her as a young woman in spite of the name she couldn't escape?! Love. That's all. I just love it. In fact, I love it so much that I'm actually pissed off about the remake and will probably refuse to ever watch it.

03.) Annie - I can hardly find the words to express how much I love this classic - or why. The old sweet story of a lost orphan girl finding the most perfect home through nothing more than sheer luck and irresistible charm has always been one close to my heart. The music, the story, the actors, everything. The moment when Oliver Warbucks realized he was in love with Grace, the secretary who guilted him into keeping Annie in the first place ... the acting, the ... everything. I still love everything about that movie.

When I was little, I sang the music along with the movie, and often had the songs "stuck" in my mind long after the movie was over ("Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow, you're only a day away ..."). Now, as a mother of two daughters, I still get the music from the movie stuck in my head, though now and then it's a bit different ("Little girls, little girls ..."). I still remember being a little scandalized as a little girl, watching Miss Hannigan pouring booze into her bathwater, and I remember being sad for all the other orphans who didn't get to go with Annie. It still brings me to the edge of my seat to watch Annie struggling to get away from Rooster. What a jackass that guy was, huh?

I haven't seen the remake though because the abundance of movie remakes these days is so annoying (why remake something that was already timeless, amirite?) so if you have, leave me a comment and tell me how it compares with the original. Is it good? Am I missing out?

04.) Titanic - I love this movie. Like seriously, there's never going to be a time when I'm not in the mood to watch it; every time it's on tv and I can watch it, I'm there. This is one of the first movies I remember actually seeing in the movie theater, and I actually loved it so much that I went to the theater several times to see it. Once it left the theater and moved to the dollar theater, I went and saw it there twice, too.

Seriously, I love this movie. The Titanic has always been one of my strange fascinations, so I love anything to do with it - the stories about the survivors, the stories about the ship and what happened to it, the stories of undersea exhibitions to recover items from the ship. Books, documentaries, this movie, the museum we have in Pigeon Forge, everything - I love it all.

But even if I wasn't obsessed with the Titanic's historical significance ... Leo and Kate as Jack and Rose? Oh, you guys, there's no going back at that point. Those two had such a beautiful chemistry, and they're both so incredibly talented. You could see sometimes, the little jokes that passed between them during the filming, and I love that they've had a lasting friendship ever since. The movie itself though - suspense, drama, romance, comedy. What more could a girl ask?

05.) Forrest Gump - I'm not sure there's anyone in my world who hasn't seen this movie, and if there is, they'd better not tell me. It's not just the undeniable popularity of this movie, and it's not just my loyalty to all things Tom Hanks. It's the message behind the movie, the lesson behind the lines the actors were paid to memorize. It's the coming to life of a man-child, always innocent in spite of the different things that happened to him, always loving, honest, and open despite the people who hurt him and the traumatic circumstances he lived through. And don't even get me going on how beautifully he loved Jenny.

06.) G.I. Jane - This movie inspired me in so many ways. A lot of you know about my childhood and my mother's second marriage, so I won't go in depth about the way the abuse I saw as a child impacted me as a young woman. But this movie ... watching a woman stand up and compete in a man's environment? Watching her prove her worth and her viability, her strength and her determination to succeed? Watching her work hard and get pissed and finally have to really take a stand? That movie set the stage for me to be able to do those things in my own life.

It set the stage for that something inside me, that spark of defiance in me that allows me to talk about my past, to write about it, to use it now as a way to build my life instead of as a crutch to lean on. Because of this movie, I have to courage to write books like Fighting For Freedom. I've had the courage to stand up to people who would discount my contribution or use me as their personal doormat. Jordan O'Neil was the first to make me believe in the inherent strength of a woman - even in the face of the very worst betrayal.

07.) The Notebook - Another Nicholas Sparks story, because I LOVE his work. For me, the Notebook is one of those timeless love stories, something that sticks in the corners of your heart and gives you hope for the kind of romance we just don't hear about anymore in real life. Summer love turns into something that lasts forever, despite all the obstacles - and there are so many. I loved Noah and his romanticism, Allie and her fiery personality. The fun, old-world feel of the movie itself, the costumes, everything.

I loved the actors together in this too, and felt like they worked together beautifully despite the many stories I have heard about how much Ryan Gosling and Rachel MacAdams hated each other while working on the movie. I confess I did love seeing them together in the press though, and was sad when they ended up breaking things off. I still love watching them work, both together and apart.

08.) Mary Poppins - Oh my gosh, another movie that doesn't need a remake but is getting one anyway. What's with that anyway? Why can't Hollywood ever just leave well enough alone? I mean, it's not like there aren't lots of great stories out there begging to be made into movies, right? And what was wrong with the original Mary Poppins?

Julie Andrews was amazing as Mary Poppins, but perfectly stern and incredibly beautiful in a gentle way that still appeals to children around the world. She and Dick Van Dyke were spectacular together, and the casting for Jane and Michael Banks was spot on. Not to mention the story itself - the wonder of a magical nanny who found exactly the right way to reach a family who needed her touch. Mary Poppins was (and is) a beautiful story, truly kind and witty, very sweet, and fairly pretty.

Because of the chaos in both my parents' homes, I first saw this movie when I was the youngest girl in my house at a group home in Debary, Florida. Due to lack of space, I had been placed in a house with a number of older girls, all in various stages of personal need and distress. In our house, each set of two bedrooms shared a bathroom (they're called "Jack and Jill bathrooms," how cute is that?), and I still vividly remember the girl I shared with. She was a kleptomaniac - but she was the "big sister" who taught me to shave my legs.

09.) Enough - Like G.I. Jane, this movie taught me a lot about my own power as a woman, especially in the way of my right and ability to stand up and defend myself when something pushes beyond the boundaries that I set for myself. Enough touches on domestic violence, but in the most empowering way, and I love the way it portrays Slim's journey back to self-sufficiency. I admired the way she rebuilt her sense of safety, and as a woman experienced in the ways and patterns of domestic abuse, I could easily relate to little things in the movie that other people might have found to be overboard - such as the baby monitors and the physical training.

This is a powerful story, which not only touched on the place inside me that has seen and experienced violent abuse, but also lit a spark of inspiration in me when it comes to my own belief in my ability to persevere.

10.) Save the Last Dance - This movie had a major impact on me as a young woman, and again, gave me something to relate to. I wasn't a dancer and I hadn't experienced the death of a parent, but I had been in interracial relationships, and I had experienced the strangeness that emanates from people on the outside of those relationships. To this day (and especially with the reheating of the old interracial tensions in America) I still proudly align myself with the idea that All Lives Matter, regardless of color, size, or origin, and that NO life matters more than another because of those factors. But perhaps this is because I have seen the deep mocha of a black man's skin against my own, just as I have seen the creamy white of my own skin close beside the olive tan of the Puerto Rican boy named Benny who asked me to run away with him when we were in high school.

Save The Last Dance gave me a great story that touched my heart, a soundtrack that got my blood pumping, a girl I could relate to, and a boy every girl could love. The dancing was both beautiful and inspiring, and the cast was completely on point, and this movie remains a timeless classic.

Let me know in the comments if you've seen any of these movies (and if you're reading this by email newsletter, you can comment here) and which ones you recommend, If you haven't seen them, I hope you'll choose one and give it a try, then come back and tell me what you thought. Runners-up for my list of favorites include: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the Harry Potter Series, A Few Good Men, Something's Gotta Give, Beastly, 10 Things I Hate About You, and many, many more.

Until next week,
Happy Reading (and movie watching),

*Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click that link and purchase the product, I will receive a (probably very small) compensation. I am, however, committed to only sharing products I genuinely love and trust to be of great quality and value. Any opinions expressed are my own, are 100% honest, and are not affected by my participation in the affiliate program.*

Saturday, November 12, 2016

National Chicken Soup For The Soul Day?

It's weird isn't it, how there seems to be a "holiday" of some kind for just about every day of the year? Sometimes I like to look at them just for fun, to see what weird thing we're meant to be "celebrating." Sometimes they mean nothing to me, like "Make Up Your Own Holiday Day," or "Take Your Plants For A Walk Day."

But other times, I can apply them to my own life and my own story, give them meaning and significance. This is one of those days.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is one of my favorite feel-good book series to read, and I always have at least one book from this series handy. There are tons of options, from thinking positive to inner strength, and the power of gratitude. And to make them even more compelling, these books are created for souls of just about all ages, including children, preteens, teenagers, and adults - with appeal to people from all walks of life. The books touch on faith, romance, stress, success, and so many other topics that it's nearly impossible to be left out of the Chicken Soup loop.

I've even thought about sending my writing to them before, but as I've made it a personal policy to keep all of my writing my own, I thought maybe I'd eventually add some memoir pieces to my Patreon acount instead. Currently, I'm posting flash fiction there once a month, with two stories already posted, and once I reach my first goal for that page ($10 in monthly patron support), I plan to add another tier to the rewards patrons can choose from. In the meantime, and in honor of a series that has always thoughtful and uplifting for me, I thought it would be fun to share with you a little "Chicken Soup" from my own soul - a memoir based on a song.

"In My Daughter's Eyes" - Martina McBride

Nothing in my life has changed my life quite like the experience of becoming a mother.

Pregnancy was a miserable state of being for me - with both of my daughters. I was terribly sick both times, horribly uncomfortable, and desperately excited. Pregnant with my first daughter, I knew no respite from constant waves of vomit, which in the later months also came with waves of involuntary urination. No kidding, when I threw up and broke my own water a week before my first daughter's scheduled c-section (she was breech), I just thought I'd peed myself (again) until for some reason the vomit stopped coming - and the "pee" didn't. With my second daughter, I developed gestational diabetes, which made me gain quite a bit more weight than I'd have liked - and my daughter, too. She was taken by c-section almost three weeks before her due date, and still managed to come into the world at a very plump 9 pounds, 6 ounces.

And a c-section birth is hard, regardless of the circumstances. With my oldest daughter, I went into it positive that I was going to die and leave my precious first child without a mother to raise her. I remember crying on the phone with my father, certain of my impending death - and I remember him crying too, he was laughing so hard. I'll never forget the feeling of shock that flooded through me as I lay on the operating table and heard my doctor say, "Alright, I'm gonna put your uterus back in now. You're gonna feel some pressure."

Afterward, I healed quickly, my fat but healthy twenty-year-old body bouncing back in what seemed like days. And never mind that my once thick and glossy hair was now much thinner and far less glossy, because HELLO BOOBS. So I was sure my second c-section would be a piece of cake, a blessing. It had only been five short years since the first one, and I was getting a complimentary mini-tuck to boot! And no painful contractions or messy labor either. It's a win-win, right?

If only Kathy Bates hadn't been working her day job as a maternity nurse that day. Remember her in the movie Misery, where she played a psycho fan who took an author hostage in order to get his next book faster? She was amazing in that movie - and I don't mistake Kathy Bates herself for the character she portrayed so well - but that character came back to my memory every time my nurse came into my room. To this day, my visual memory of that nurse is still superimposed by Kathy Bates from Misery. She called me a crybaby because my staples were catching and tearing my skin so bad that I cried every time I had to get up and walk to the bathroom. It wasn't until the following morning that another nurse actually checked my surgical incision, discovered what was going on, and asked for clearance to remove the offending staple.

Still. For my efforts, each birth awarded me with a beautiful bundle of poop and post-partum hormones that grew my boobs and shrunk my quantity of hair (unless you're counting the chin hairs that turned me into the kind of woman who carries tweezers in her purse - and uses them in the car in the parent pickup line), and as those bundles grew, so did I. My children are, most days, the lights of my life and my greatest accomplishments. Mothering them has taught me selflessness, thankfulness, patience, and so many other things.

"In my daughters' eyes, I AM a hero. I AM strong and wise. And I know no fear."

I wish I could say the words from this song have always proven true in my life, and in some ways, I suppose they have. When my daughters were very small extensions of their mother, I WAS a hero. There was nothing I couldn't do, no question I couldn't answer, no boo-boo I couldn't kiss away. I WAS strong. And Lord, I WAS wise. I was full of valuable life lessons that were quickly absorbed without discrimination by my daughters - important things like, "No, baby, don't put that toy in your panties," and "Hey! How many times do you need to be told that nostrils are NOT finger-holsters?" I was the fearless heroine of the house - willing to risk life and limb to protect my babies from such horrors as spiders, ants, and even flies.

Now, things have changed. I am no longer a hero, as I have been replaced despite my best efforts by the latest Disney Channel TV stars and whoever is the "cool girl" in either of my daughters' classes. I am no longer strong, and the closer my oldest daughter gets to her teen years, the less wisdom she believes I have. We've come full circle now, and I am full of fear.

I am afraid my daughters will grow up to believe their reflections are more important than their characters. I am afraid my daughters will learn from the world that what they are willing do without their clothes on is more important than what they are able to do fully clothed. I am afraid they will have their hearts broken, that they will stumble into abusive relationships, that they will be violated by the world at large as they become the women they will someday be. More than all of those things, I am unspeakably afraid that I can never be enough to guide them through the inevitability of everything I just mentioned, and I can only hope with the quiet fervency of a resilient dandelion, that their separate gifts will always hold them together as friends.

"In my daughters' eyes, I can see the future - a reflection of who I am and what will be."

I often tell my daughters that while I am immensely proud of the individual things about them that make them who they are, occasionally their gifts make mothering them somewhat difficult. I say these things usually with a mixture of true pride and undeniable frustration, and my children, having been raised to be quite a lot like their mother, take the words precisely as they are meant to be taken.

With the oldest, I tell her I'm glad she's rough and tough, that she's got a crunchy outer layer that protects her inner fragility. I tell her I'm glad because it means no one will ever run her over - she'd never let them. But I also tell her that this makes it hard sometimes to be her mother, because … well, because I can't run her over, either! It's the same with her stubbornness, her dry sense of humor, and her quickly developing sense of sarcasm. She's just like her mother most days - and for me as her mother, that's both a blessing and a curse.

With the youngest, I tell her I'm glad she's got such a big soft heart, that's she's incredibly generous and naïve and talkative and always forgiving. I tell her I'm glad because she's too friendly to ever meet a stranger, because she's too chatty to ever pass up a friendship, and because she's too forgiving to ever hold a grudge. But it's hard for me to see those things in her too, because as her mother I know that it means I have to work harder to protect her - and to teach her to protect herself. She gets her feelings hurt, and then immediately forgives whoever hurt her - even if they've done it a thousand times. She's still so full of innocence and soft sweetness that we've dubbed her "the marshmallow," and I know that while it's perfect and sweet and enjoyable now, someday my little marshmallow girl is going to be toasted in the fire of life.

Lucky for her, she's got a hard sister AND a hard mama waiting right there in the wings to help her blow the fire out - and to remind her that marshmallows are best when they're a little burned, anyway.

Happy Chicken Soup For The Soul Day,
And until next week,
Happy Reading.

*Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click that link and purchase the product, I will receive a (probably very small) compensation. I am, however, committed to only sharing products I genuinely love and trust to be of great quality and value. Any opinions expressed are my own, are 100% honest, and are not affected by my participation in the affiliate program.*

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Spooks and Goblins (And Goddesses, Oh My?)

And thank goodness after all the recent clown craziness - there weren't any clowns.

Still, I did change up the usual Halloween celebration style this year, partly because of the aforementioned clown craze that's been sweeping through social media (and all over the news) in recent months, and partly because of personal issues that required the change. The personal part? Well, that's going to mostly stay personal, but in addressing the clown issue ... I'm just more of a "better safe than sorry" kind of mom - and I like it that way.

This year, our family had a small Halloween party at our house on Saturday night. We invited some friends over, ordered pizza, dressed up in our costumes, and played a bunch of fun Halloween games! After the pizza, we played "Krispy Screams," which was a total blast - we hung Krispy Kreme donuts from a skinny dowel with string, and had lots of fun watching all the kids try to eat their donut with no hands. The kids were a mess, but they all had a great time - even the ones that smacked repeatedly in the face with their wildly swinging desserts. After that was "Skull Ball," because we couldn't think of a better name for it. Essentially, we had a plastic skull and the kids took turns throwing it to each other around a circle, similar to Hot Potato. Only, we played our game with a little Musical Chairs twist - the kids threw the skull while Halloween music played, and whoever was holding the skull when the music turned off was out of the next round. This one was a really fun game with lots of laughing! The kids played Hide and Shriek once it got dark outside, and that was fun too, but by then the party was winding down and most of the kids were getting worn out, so after some people left, the rest of us settled in in the living room to play Apples To Apples, which I suspect is a more family-friendly version of something like Cards Against Humanity, which I have not yet had the opportunity to play.

On Monday, instead of going trick-or-treating (or to any event likely to be crowded or creepy), my girls and I stayed home to hand out candy to the kids in our neighborhood. The girls went to a couple of our neighbor's houses, but mostly their candy haul is leftover candy that I had purchased ahead of time - because I strategically bought more candy than we needed (and made sure it was good candy too, of course) - and as the mom, I'm perfectly happy to have half a pound of ROLO Chewy Caramels and Blue Raspberry Jolly Ranchers, as well as Chocolate Gold Coins (not to mention all those little sleeves of Sixlets, which we had in two shades of blue) left to "dispose of."

(I had every intention of putting a photo of said leftover candy here - but it's mostly gone. My children are sugar-lovers.)

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Eden (my youngest) is a voracious reader, and as part of her desperate campaign to read every children's book known to man, she's been working her way through the Goddess Girls series, so I wasn't that surprised when she started begging hardcore to be a goddess for Halloween. And since we were staying home, I thought it would be super cute if I could convince my girls to dress alike this year and be goddesses together - I thought they'd look adorable sitting together with a blue basket of blue and gold candy to hand out. As you can imagine (especially if you have kids of your own), this took some bargaining, which ended when I got Joey to agree by convincing Eden to dress like whatever Joey picks next year - I suspect this means that next October, I'll be hunting costumes of the Sanderson sisters from Hocus Pocus, but that's alright. In the meantime, I ordered the costumes from Amazon, which came just in time and looked great on my girls! They were solidly made too, which was nice since most Halloween costumes are sort of cheap these days - my girls are looking forward to being able to dress up in their costumes again another day, just for fun.

The other costumes we saw throughout the night varied from home-made (both well-done and horribly) to super fancy, and they included a wide variation of characters. We had Captain America, Aurora, Minnie Mouse, Ana (from Frozen), and even a fallen angel! There were a good number of others as well, but those were my personal favorites. My girls loved handing out candy to all the kids, and in general, it was a really great time.

Now we're moving on to the holiday season though, and my girls are busy creating their wish lists for Christmas, which include an unimaginable variety of strange and wonderful things. So tell me, what's on your list this year?

Until Next Week,
Happy Reading,

Other News: Selkie II is now live!! For more information, including updated buy links for your chosen e-bookstore, click here.

*Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click that link and purchase the product, I will receive a (probably very small) compensation. I am, however, committed to only sharing products I genuinely love and trust to be of great quality and value. Any opinions expressed are my own, are 100% honest, and are not affected by my participation in the affiliate program.*