Cover Reveal: Tales from The End by Lissa Bryan

 

From the author of The End of All Things comes a collection of short stories about the Infection that swept around the globe, decimating the population, and leaving behind a small number of survivors, unprepared to deal with the brutal new world which had replaced the one they’d known.



The End of All Things told the story of Carly Daniels, a young woman in Juneau, Alaska, left in a state of shock after the virus ravaged her home town. She ekes out a meager existence by scavenging for herself and Sam, the wolf puppy she found starving in the streets. Sam gives her a reason to keep going when giving up seems like the more attractive option.



Carly is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier who is intent on making his way to a warmer climate before the winter sets in. Justin coaxes her out of her hiding place and convinces her to join him on his journey. They travel across a shattered nation in search of a safe place to settle, but it’s also a journey into love. There is still hope, a light among the shadows. If the old world is gone, it is up to the survivors to build a new one.

Carly finds strength in her faith that things can be even better than they were before, that compassion and charity are not luxuries; they are what make us human. Life endures, and so does love. The End of All Things is only a beginning.

 
And now, Lissa Bryan gives us three new stories in Tales from the End
Three of them introduce us to new characters you will meet in the upcoming sequel to The End of All Things, and the fourth, “Birthday” is a visit with old friends.
 
The Horsemen
L.A.’s mayor has declared quarantine to try to halt the spread of the Infection. Pearl sets off across the city to buy supplies, but already the world is changing. Something strange is in the air. The Horsemen are coming …
 
Veronica
When Veronica’s mother doesn’t come home from work and no one answers the phone when she calls for help, a nine-year-old girl is thrown into the chaos of a world coming to an end. The television shows her nothing but confusing images she doesn’t understand. Veronica decides it’s up to her to find her family. “Veronica” is the story of a little girl’s courage in the face of the end of all things.
 
“I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud”
They called her Shadowfax– the mare Carly and Justin found on their travels. But before she was found by Carly, the retired dressage horse was known as Cloud. An unusual tale of the end, told through the eyes of a confused and lonely horse, left in her pasture.
 
Birthday
A previously-published bonus story. Carly knows Justin has never celebrated his birthday, and after society crumbled, no one knows what date it is, anyway. But she wants to do something special for him. Celebrating the little things helps them keep hope alive, and as a blizzard rages outside, a small gesture of love warms their home.
Tales of courage, tales of survival… Tales from the End.
 

 

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Author LinksWebsite Facebook ♥ Twitter ♥ TWCS (Publisher) ♥ Amazon♥ Barnes & Noble ♥ iTunes ♥ Youtube book trailers

Author Bio

 

Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot … though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.

Her first novel, Ghostwriter, is available through The Writer’s Coffee Shop (which is the least expensive option), AmazoniTunes, and Kobo. Her second novel, The End of All Things, was released on January 24, 2013, and is available through TWCS, Amazon, and iTunes. She also has a short story in the Romantic Interludes anthology, available from TWCS, Amazon and iTunes. Her third novel, Under These Restless Skies, is scheduled for release in spring of 2014.


Character Interview with Justin Thatcher from The End of All Things by Lissa Bryan

 

My Rating:


 

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The End of All Things

by Lissa Bryan

After a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly Daniels, one of the few survivors, hides in her apartment in Juneau trying to survive the best she can with only occasional forays to gather food. With her is Sam, a wolf puppy she found starving on the streets. He becomes her companion and a reason to continue when giving up sometimes seems like the more attractive option. Still dazed with shock and grief, she hopes for the world to go back to normal soon.

She is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier who is intent on making his way to Florida before the winter sets in. Justin coaxes her out of her hiding place and convinces her to join him on his journey, because a warmer climate will be their best chance against the extremes of Mother Nature.

Together, they begin a perilous journey through a nation laid to waste by the disaster. Challenges abound along the way. The weather, injury, and shortage of supplies all help to slow them down. In time, they discover that they aren’t the only survivors. Some are friendly but some have had their minds destroyed by the high fever. Then there are those who simply take what they want, leaving Carly and Justin with no choice but to defend what is theirs.

But their journey is not without joy and love. Together, they face every struggle, including an unplanned pregnancy. Despite the perils of bringing a child into a world of chaos, their baby is a new beginning for themselves and a symbol of hope for the other survivors they find along the way.

This is the story of their journey to find a place to begin a new life, and a home in each other.

 

Come what may, they will face it together with courage and love.

 

o~o~0~o~o

Jess: Hello, Justin. Thanks for joining us today. I must admit to having a bit of a crush on you.

Justin: Do I know you?

 

Jess (laughs): Not really, but I’ve read Lissa’s book about you. When the pandemic hit, wiping out the majority of humans and domesticated animals, you were in Alaska. Please tell us how you came to be there.

Justin: I came up for the Deadhorse Motorcycle Rally, but I arrived earlier than I’d planned, so I decided to camp in the woods near Juneau. It’s very quiet once you get out about a mile or so. Almost pristine, without all of the noise and bustle of city life. It helps to clear my head.

 

Jess: You have a very specialized set of survival skills. How did you attain them?

Justin: Picked ‘em up here and there.

 

Jess: As a member of a specialized military unit, you have acquired special skills. How are they useful in these terrible times?

Justin: I don’t want to talk about The Unit. I’ll just say I acquired some skills along the way. I learned how to look at a situation rationally, logically, and not let emotion get in the way of what has to be done. If I could teach Carly one skill, that’s what I’d pick. She can’t seem to protect her heart and she’s still hanging on to the ethical codes of a dead world.

I learned wilderness survival; Carly’s picking that up fast. I also learned self-defence, tactics, weapons … practical stuff that will help us survive out here. Carly doesn’t seem to like guns much, and she’s going to have to get over that one, quick. She needs to be able to protect herself.

 

Jess: In your travels south, you have encountered other survivors. What makes certain of them fit to survive, and others not? How do you make a judgment call on whether to assist someone? What must you see in them?

Justin: It’s like the warden says in Cool Hand Luke: “Some men, you just can’t reach.” Some people just aren’t cut out for life without modern society and all its technology. You can see it in them. They don’t want to adapt. Maybe they can’t. Who knows? Either way, it amounts to the same thing. They’re not going to strike out on their own and figure out what they need to do to make it now. They’ll need someone to take care of them. They’re dead weight.

 

Jess: Tell us about Carly Daniels.

Justin: She’s a survivor, even if she doesn’t know it yet. I’ve seen her type before. When the shit hits the fan, they’re left unprepared, but you can see it in their eyes. There’s a stubborn spark in there that says, I refuse to lie down and die. She’s a smart girl, Carly. I don’t think anyone ever told her that. She may not yet know the skills she needs to survive now that the old world is dead and gone, but she’s a fast learner and adaptable, and a lot tougher than she realizes. If she wasn’t so soft-hearted, I’d say she was perfect for The Unit.

 

Jess: Survivors of this plague have lost almost everything that society holds dear. How do you cope with that?

Justin: I never needed that stuff. I mean, it was nice to have and all, but I spent a lot of time without it.

And maybe I was more prepared, mentally, for this because I’ve seen it before on a smaller scale. I’ve been in countries where the centralized government collapsed and it devolved into the law of the jungle, the strong preying on the weak. Things fall apart; the center does not hold. And now there are a lot of people out there who don’t know what to do without the police to protect them, without the laws of polite society to keep everyone playing nice.

When I found her, Carly was still in shock, expecting the government to start up again any day now. I think that was one of the hardest thing for her to accept: that the laws of the land, the Constitution, elections, all of that’s gone. I’ll admit, I wasn’t much of a fan of the government, probably because I worked too closely with it, but I don’t think we’re going to see anything like it for a long time. Carly, though, thinks we’re going to rebuild and create something even better. I’m not going to argue with her about it. Her hope is one of the things that keeps her going.

 

Jess: What are your values?

Justin: We had a code in The Unit. Honor, loyalty, trust… Maybe I’ve got a little bit of Carly’s idealism because I still honor it. I may be the last man standing, but I’m not going to let that code die, too.

It’s one of the reasons I’m glad I found Carly. I know I can trust her to watch my back. That’s invaluable out here in the wasteland. And that wolf of hers… I’m not entirely sold on Sam, but he’s growing on me. She trusts him. Maybe he’ll watch my back while I’m watching hers. Wait—That came out wrong. I didn’t mean I was watching her. I meant … Well, okay, maybe I am watching her a little. She’s cute. What can I say?

 

Jess: Perhaps I ought to add, ‘What do you value’?

Justin: Right now I’ve got to think about practicalities. Food and the means to obtain it. Weapons. Transport. Medication. I’ve got to find a way to get whatever Carly needs. Right now, that just means scavenging and trying to think of places others might have missed. But later it may mean something different. Carly won’t like it, but I promised I’d protect her. Carly is the daughter of one of the men who used to be in The Unit. It’s part of the code: if a man should fall, the rest of us will take care of his family. And I’ll do whatever it takes.

 

Jess: What does ‘family’ mean to you?

Justin: Carly said the other day that a home is where people love you. I guess a family is like that, too. I wouldn’t know.

The closest I ever had was the guys in The Unit, but that wasn’t a bond based on emotion. It was loyalty and honor that tied us together. I like to think some of them are still alive out there, somewhere. If anyone had a shot at survival, it’s those guys.

 

Jess: What does ‘humanity’ mean to you?

Justin: Carly seems to think it’s all the old values of altruism, generosity and mercy. But from what I’ve seen of humanity when civilization is stripped away, those things are in short supply.

 

Jess: What do you see as the future of the human race?

Justin: I’m not all that convinced it has a future, but Carly does. And as stubborn as that woman is, she may rebuild the whole damn civilization herself.

 

Jess: Thanks for spending this time with us today. Best of luck in the future!

Justin: Thanks.

 NOTE TO READERS: This is one of my favourite novels. I’m guest-blogging today at http://www.firstpagetothelast.com/ . Please visit to read my review.

Lissa Bryan’s website: http://www.lissabryan.com/

 


 

 

 

 

Narcissism 101: My Writing Evolution

 

Writer poster

Talking about how I came to be a writer feels awfully self-centered. But, what the heck?

When I was a rug rat, I got sick and my mother got super-anxious because the doctor didn’t take it seriously. Not even when I attempted to die. Ends up, I was diabetic and my blood sugar was over 800 (Old scale. I think that’s like having an A1C of 80 today. Normal is 5). My mother was told I wouldn’t live. I did. Then, she was told I wouldn’t walk again. I did. At the age of four, she put me in ballet. I danced until I was 16, when weak ankles prevented me from going en pointe.

Doctors don’t know everything.

My point? I think when I temporarily lost the ability to walk, my imagination took over. Like in Polyanna.

Boredom is a foreign concept. I think the only time I’ve ever been bored is when trapped in my Grade 9 (a.k.a. Freshman Year of high school) math class, with a teacher who said “Um… err,” every other word. It’s the only time I’ve ever considered doing violence. Seriously, abusing the English language like that? Grounds for mayhem. We spent four months learning how to do basic fractions. Sigh.

Why be bored if you can construct worlds in your head? Use your imagination, already!

9-19-2008_010 - Copy croppedI’ve always had an affinity for words. When I was two, I told my doctor that after someone took a bath, there was condensation on the toilet, which vibrated when flushed.

(Did I mention I was weird eccentric? Might as well put that out there right now.)

By the time I was three, I was reading and writing. Somewhere, my mother has a recording of me reading The Fwee Littoh Peegs. I think she played it for every friend I ever had. Most of them did not run away screaming. Yeah, I had good friends.

When I was five, I had a (very) short story published in an educational tome. I’m still fond of that story. That was likely the first time I said, “I want to be a writer.” I have a binder of stories I wrote as a child. Who knows? Someday, I might update and publish them. Not exactly my normal area of concentration. *coughs –spicy romance- coughs* But hey, Judy Blume gets away with writing two disparate genres. Of course, she’s Judy Blume. She’s on Twitter, by the way. I tweeted with her once… *fangirl moment*

At eight, I read at an adult level. I was annoying like that.

As a hobby, in Grade 7 and 8, I wrote three reference book manuscripts about animals, birds and fish, complete with drawings. I showed them to my school librarian. I think he was gobsmacked that a kid my age would spend scads of spare time compiling reference material. Alien. He wanted me to publish, but I hadn’t credited my sources, so I couldn’t do anything with the manuscripts. Now, we have the Internet and kids don’t need books like that anyhow.

In Grade 9, I met my first mentor, a genius who had abandoned teaching in a prestigious university in favour of shaping young minds. His name was Merv Sharpe and I don’t think I’d be a writer today were it not for him. He’d scrawl pages and pages of English notes on five blackboards and when class was over, not a few kids were groaning and clutching cramped hands.

The majority of my friends were quirky. They’d have been the fringe kids today, probably. Most of the guys had mullets (except my pal Brian J., who was an army cadet). Most of the girls were a bit punk, with earrings in unusual places and dyed, spiky hair. I had a ducktail like David Bowie. I put this highlight-stuff on it that washed out. It was like gold paint and it came in a mascara-like tube. My guy friends were hooked on Metallica and Skinny Puppy, and the girls were into Billy Idol and Eurythmics. As for me, I was absorbing Bowie 24-7, with a dash of Sting and Peter Gabriel thrown in for kicks.

The kids a year older than me let me hang out with them in Art. The ones my age jammed in the music room during lunch hour. Great times.

Yeah, I’m nostalgic about the Eighties. Sue me. The clothes and hair were epic. I still wear my Esprit jean jacket, which cost me a whopping $50 back in 1986. Quality lasts.

I can still sing you any Bowie song up to 1989. Try me.

He’s still got it. Just sayin’. I really want to see his multimedia art exhibition, but it probably won’t happen for me.

I got Mr. Sharpe again in Grade 13 (a.k.a. Senior Year #2). I’d get my work done and my pal Brian J. and I would start exchanging notes and sketches. Mr. Sharpe noticed, and in the hope that he could prevent us from plotting world domination, he started passing us sheets of foolscap with one word (or phrase) at the top, written in red. B.J. and I would spend the rest of the class responding to the teacher’s note. We’d swap papers and read them, then, hand them in. I still remember some of those pages:

Why?

Would you rather be a legend or a myth?

Hero vs. heroine.

Astrology and astronomy.

Merv Sharpe taught me how to express opinions and emotion on paper. If I could see him today, I’d hug him. I missed seeing him at my 20th high school reunion. Boo.

In my teens, I dabbled in poetry. Somehow, I got a couple of poems published in a compilation. My family spent more buying half a dozen copies than I ever made off it, with good reason. I’d prefer that it never see the light of day.

University? I didn’t think a Lit degree would snare me a job, so I majored in music, specializing in Music Education. I’m a Dramatic Soprano. Betcha don’t know what that is! Technically, I can conduct a band or choir (You wouldn’t want me to). Plus, I tried out a bunch of instruments. Although I played a lot of flute, I cherish a secret hope to play the oboe professionally, but I don’t have the time to indulge every dream. I also loved bassoon, but I suck at clarinet. I minored in French, English Lit, and Psychology. My intent was to go to Teacher’s College, but my grandmother had Parkinson’s and I didn’t want to leave home. My mother worked and Grammie would have had to go into a nursing home. Not an option.

Then, I met Hubbs. I was his boss in the Opera Workshop program, where I was in charge of props and dressings. I took one look and thought, “I could marry him.” That was 22 years ago.

Later, I was a stage manager. We finished up school, then found out music degrees weren’t very handy. He decided to trade being an opera singer for accounting, and I took a six month course in Secretarial Sciences. That’s where I got my typing up to 90wpm. Need a job? If you’ve got a computer, take advantage of a free Learn to Type program and practice, practice, practice. Here’s one for you: http://www.typingweb.com/ All it costs you is time, and you can get all kinds of work out of it.

Motherhood. The only things I wrote for 12 years were letters to my children. And grocery lists.  Suddenly, Microsoft rocked our world. You might have known me in the Potterverse as Sculdermully. I may have written an online essay or three. I daydreamed Harry Potter and X-Files. I’m not sure I got a fair night’s sleep in ten years, but I read like a fiend.  Effectively, I was making up fanfic in my head, but never wrote anything down. And that’s because I don’t think you can improve upon JK Rowling. Chris Carter’s a fanfic writer’s dream, though.

People told me to read Twilight for months. I did, and was underwhelmed. But I took my kids to see it, and Boom! Robert Pattinson entered Stage Left. The whole Twiverse burst into colour and not long after, I discovered the world of fan fiction. I read everything I could find for about a year. Free stories!!! Then, I decided to take the risk of writing one of my own.

Amazingly, there was an audience for it.

Fan fiction is a wonderful way to train as a writer. Basically, you’re writing an old-fashioned serial novel and readers are glad to give you feedback on each chapter. If you’re fortunate, experienced editors are willing to train you, free of charge. As another plus, you meet other writers and you might even meet some professionals.

Why write someone else’s canon? Well, because we love the stories and characters and we have ideas of where we’d like to take them. Places the original author didn’t.

I read and review. A lot. About three years ago, I started paying the community back by editing for other new writers. Eighteen months ago, I was approached by a publisher to write an original novel. I wrote the manuscript, but they decided (after much debate) that a group of Italian-Canadian moms (age 45 to 60) wouldn’t use Facebook to match make their kids.

Um, that’s my age group. All my friends use Facebook. And I hate to tell you, but matchmaking’s not dead, even in Canada. Scary boo.

So, I’m going to start querying other publishers in about a week, once my kids’ birthdays have passed. I have to rewrite my synopsis and a new query letter before that.

This is an exciting life. I love mentoring, pre-reading and editing. It’s taken me nearly five years, but so would any education. And you can learn from any writer, even one who’s penning her first short story. You just have to be open to input. We all have lessons to learn.

I’m starting a new challenge in November: NaNoWriMo. The challenge is to write 50K in one month. I’ve never done NaNo before and it seems like a good way to chunk away at my next manuscript. I’m actually writing my original series out of order because the characters in Book Three just won’t stop yelling at me. I have 22K words of it, and I want to be at 75K by the end of November. Of course, real life happens and if I don’t get there, I know it will still happen.

crazy lemur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, who’s with me? Care to pick up your virtual pen for NaNo? Sign in, then look me up. I’m going to need your encouragement.

 

Two weeks old today

 

kitten bouquet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just want to thank you all for visiting my site. Have a kitty.

You know, I was pretty worried about starting up a website and blog. I’m not exactly the brightest bulb on the tree when it comes to learning new technology. But guess what? I love it here. It kinda reminds me of all those pen pals I had when I was a teenager. I write letters, you write back, yadda yadda yadda…

cat laptopThe only difference is that now, I do all that stuff on my laptop.

 

 

So, it’s been two weeks and today we hit a milestone: 2500 unique visitors. I’m pretty happy about that.

 

 

Thank you for brightening my days. Thank you very much!

Hugs,

Jess

catdog4

Cover Reveal: Sandi Layne, Eire’s Viking

 

At the end of Éire’s Captive Moon, many of my readers were still on

TA7

Well, in the second book in the Éire’s Viking trilogy, Agnarr is the hero.

EV6

Cover art by Megan Dooley, to be published by The Writer’s Coffee Shop

Summary:

It’s been years since Agnarr met his wyrd on the Green Island. Years since he left Charis, his former trell and medicine woman, with her new husband in her new village. Even though he lost her, he cannot help but feel his destiny lies with her people of Éire, so he returns with his final raiding party. Once there, a chance encounter strikes him speechless and without his memory, alone in a foreign land.

He is taken to Aislinn, a physician who is serving in Bangor Monastery. Born in Ragor, the village Agnarr destroyed when she was a child, she is now the adopted daughter of Charis and Cowan, and has herself trained in healing. Drawn to her tall, blond patient in a way that she never has been to a man before, she is horrified and angry to find that he is the one responsible for the loss of her home.

These are turbulent times in Éire, and there are volatile tempers all around. Still, Agnarr Halvardson would stay on the island, wed, and sire sons to live in strength and plenty in his adopted home. He wants Aislinn to be his wife and the mother of his children, but she won’t marry without love. He worships Thor and Odin; she worships Jesu the Christ. Can two from such opposing backgrounds find happiness with one another? Might they even find a love that will change both their worlds?

This title will be available via NetGalley in October for reviewers, with a January, 2014 book release.

The first book of this trilogy, Éire’s Captive Moon, is available here:ECM small

Amazon Kindle, Paperback

Kobo

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iTunes

The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House

What’s your personality type?

 

 

infp kitty

http://www.enfpforum.com/ENFPWiki/INFPPhotos.aspx

I always knew I wasn’t your average child.

What do you know? I have a rare personality type: Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceptive, aka INFP. Apparently I’m an Idealist/Healer and I should be leading a church right now. Or a social movement.

Um. Excuse me while I discipline my children for rolling-all-over-the-floor laughing.

No, I won’t be starting up any weird cults soon. But it does totally explain my childhood addiction to masterminding games at recess with 10 or 20 kids where we were all superheroes. Yeah… there were no villains. Or they were invisible. Hey, nobody wants to be the bad guy!

Who knew that my daydreaming would pay off someday?

This post was supposed to be about risk-taking. But I figured that was part of personality typing, hence the Keirsey Temperament Sorter.

I’m not a fan of risk. Were I in charge of the family investments, we’d never ever make any money because I would only invest in ventures that are zero risk. Seriously. I can’t even listen to Hubbs talk about investing his income without having palpitations.

You will never find me jumping from an airplane. If I had to do one of those TV shows where they’ll give you a million dollars if you bungee jump off a bridge, my family would remain poor forever (and probably hate me for it). You know those pint-sized roller coasters for toddlers? When I was two, I went on one and my mother had to get the carnie to stop the ride, I was so terrified. All the other kids started to cry because they thought the ride was over. Yeah. That was… not a great day. And it pretty much set me for life against amusement park rides. Except for the time Hubbs, Painterjoy and Sunshine Girl talked me into going on a waterslide.

“It’s tame, Jess. Look, babies go on this!”

“Yeah, Mom, it’s really slow.”

“It is, Mom, seriously. You just float down the pipe in the little dingy, like it’s a Lazy River. You’re gonna love it!”

“Look, you won’t be alone: four people per raft. Perfect!”

Uh huh. So, after about 20 minutes of listening to them plead, I gave in. My wise, skeptical sons eyed me like I was nuts and opted to wait safely below. Lucky ducks.

Jess on waterslide croppedThe look on my face in this commemorative photo is not joy (unless you count the ecstasy of not having perished as joy). What my adorable family failed to take into account when adding me to the dingy is that they increased the weight in the raft by 30%. We whipped down that tube like a bat out of hell, my little girls taking great delight in the fact that we veered up the side of the walls on every curve.

Positively terrifying.

When we reached the bottom, Hubbs had to carry me off, shaking like Bugs Bunny did after encountering aliens. Hubbs set me down in a chair and presented me with a double vodka on the rocks. I drank it. It took me about 20 minutes to stop shaking.

Well, I found out that waterslides wouldn’t kill me. Would I go on one again?

Not on your life!

Knowing your personality type can help you (or your boss, parent, or romantic partner) understand your strengths. What would be a good job fit for you? How about romantic chemistry? What approach might help you parent your kids? Which employees should you pair for a project or team? You can take the Keirsey Temperament Sorter Test at http://www.keirsey.com/4temps/overview_temperaments.asp#, for free.

Cat SupremeWhat were you like as a child? Would you have joined in my superhero game at recess? Please say yes.  🙂

 

Congratulations Sydney Logan on the First Anniversary of Lessons Learned

 

September 6 marks the one year anniversary of the release of Sydney Logan’s debut novel, Lessons Learned. To celebrate, Sydney is offering a fantastic giveaway! The Blurb:A young girl needs to spread her wings, but a young woman needs roots.

English teacher Sarah Bray never thought she’d return to Sycamore Falls, but a traumatic event at her inner-city school leaves her desperate for the sanctuary of home. By returning to her roots, an older and wiser Sarah hopes to deal with the demons of her present and confront the ghosts of her past.
She discovers a kindred spirit in Lucas Miller, a teacher from New York with demons of his own. As the newest faculty members at Sycamore High School, they quickly become friends – bonding through Lucas’s culture shock and their mutual desire to build new lives. When they open their wounded hearts to each other, their friendship effortlessly evolves into romance.

Their love is put to the test when Matt, the quarterback of the football team, shares his deepest secret with Sarah. When the conservative community finds out, Sarah and Lucas – along with the town of Sycamore Falls – are schooled in the lessons of acceptance, tolerance, and love.

Praise for Lessons Learned

“Lessons Learned is a book that isn’t easily forgotten. I urge you to give it a read. You won’t regret it. Also, did I mention it starts with a bang? Talk about the best prologue ever. -JM Darhower, author of Sempre
“I haven’t read a book in a long time that I can compare to my favorite author Nicholas Sparks. THIS book is that book.” – Becky, Book Blogger

 

To thank her readers for an amazing year, Sydney is celebrating with a giveaway! You can win a signed copy of Lessons Learned and a $25 Amazon or iTunes gift card! The Rafflecopter is below. 

Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, iTunes, or Blogger. We hereby release all names listed of any liability. Winner(s) will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. Let me know if you have any questions or issues by contacting me: @SydneyALogan. – Good Luck!

Timesavers

 
From Creative Commons

From Creative Commons

Reclaiming the House

I have a weird an unnaturally strong attachment to my laundry room.

It’s not that I like it; on the contrary, it’s a never-ending battle zone. There are six of us and two dogs. Only one of us tidies well. It isn’t an adult, FYI.

Chores prep kids for adulthood. Each day, our kids do housework for about an hour. Part of the daily chore is supposed to be tidying the bedroom. Each of their initials is assigned (daily) a colour on the calendar that represents a chore:

Red = kitchen (unload/load the dishwasher, wash the counters, wipe out the microwave)

Blue = laundry

Green = take out the garbage and the recycle. Rinse out the cans when necessary.

Brown = dirt-elimination (The job might be washing a floor, vacuuming, picking up dog mines in the yard, or cleaning a bathroom.)

The kids don’t do perfect work, but none of them will hit college unprepared. Statistics show that 54% of American students who start college drop out because they can’t balance school, work, and maintain their own home. Here’s a great article about the problem that might help your kids succeed.

Additionally, I have jobs to do that only I can do, and my time’s limited. A task divided amongst six people is lightened. Plus, people who must maintain their possessions are a lot more invested in taking care of them.

It took forever to come up with an efficient system. Initially, I assigned each kid a household laundry day. Clothes, cleaning rags, mouldering towels and stale bedding co-mingled. Result? Each kid faced several loads of unpleasantness. Nobody cared how much laundry they created: they only had to do the family wash once a week. “Sunshine Girl needs her white blouse for her school concert? Who cares!” Nobody was happy, and I ended up doing most of the work anyway.

About a year ago, Hubbs bellowed, “Enough! We’re buying you all hampers! Instead of doing everyone’s wash, you’ll do your own clothes, your own bedding, and everyone’s towels!”

It’s not perfect, but it works.

Hubbs and I don’t accumulate much wash, so each of us launders our own when necessary. The chore cycle for the kids is four days long: they have to wait their turn to do laundry every fourth day. Whadda ya know? They don’t want to change outfits six times a day anymore. And if they don’t hang it up, they wear it wrinkled. Their choice. So, in a typical week, each kid does three loads of laundry, twice: clothes, personal bedding, and family towels.

From 50 triple loads a week, we’re down to 24 doubles. The cost of laundry has plummeted and so has our eco footprint. The bonus? Everyone’s frustration has also dropped.

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Photo from http://www.modernmom.com/blogs/stefanie-kushner/save-money-save-the-earth-6-eco-friendly-resolutions

Now, let’s return to my unnatural attachment to my laundry room.

I’ve spent a lot of time there in 17 years. When we moved in, it was the ugliest, most depressing place in the house: partially paneled by the previous owner; overpowered by the inaccessible, stinky, enormous, concrete laundry tub; and the washer and dryer were small, inadequate and filthy. There was no storage. All Hubbs’ tools littered the floor and I almost lost a foot once, tripping over the circular saw in the doorway.

About five years ago, when Hubbs bought new, high efficiency appliances, I begged for a makeover. As Hubbs is handy, it didn’t cost a lot. Although not magazine-worthy, there were places for tools, a triple-washer and dryer, a smaller laundry sink, and a peel-and-stick floor. Laundry heaven! I actually felt giddy about my spotless sink, appliances and floor. I didn’t mind spending time in there.

And then, they got sloppy. Hubbs stopped putting his tools away. People started storing things that didn’t belong in the room. Soap got spilled. Painterjoy smeared oil paint on my laundry tub. And grooming supplies for the dogs (who bathe in the sink) sprawled everywhere.

They’re all slobs too busy to care. So, I stopped caring and started getting resentful.

Hubbs picked up a shower caddy at a yard sale, and we already had one in each bathroom. Annoying, right? But I was reflecting on the state of the house yesterday and something came to me: that shower caddy would be perfect, mounted on the wall stud above the laundry tub, to hold dog grooming supplies.

I whammed in a nail, put up the caddy and installed the supplies. Then, I scrubbed the laundry sink. It’s not perfectly clean, but it’s decent. The whole job took 10 minutes. Want to know what happened?

Hubbs spied my work and his eyes lit up. “You made a dog grooming centre out of my shower caddy! I love it!”

Just that little bit of praise has motivated me to reclaim my house (starting with the laundry room).

Do you have an organizational tip to share? Have you re-purposed an item that’s proven really handy? Are you attached to an unusual room in your house? Leave me a comment. I’d love to know all about it.