Things I’m Thankful For

fall leaves

Family

Can’t have thank-vember without appreciating your family! I have two awesome kids and an incredible husband. Both of my kids are under two! What were we thinking, right? But amid the long nights, the temper tantrums, and never being able to sit down again, I love them. Cuddles, cute baby smiles, showing them something new in the world around them. The hardships are totally worth it.

Books

I love books! Reading books. Writing books. Discovering books. The smell of books. Anything that has to do with books. All my life, I had wanted to become an author. When I was younger, I idolized Christopher Paolini and Brandon Mull. Nowadays, I admire Brandon Sanderson, Sarah J Mass, and Sarah Eden, with plenty other authors I enjoy reading as well.

Autumn

What’s not to love about this incredible season? Pumpkins, pumpkin spice, warm clothing, cute boots, changing colors, HALLOWEEN, and more! It’s not too hot, not too cold, and it’s beautiful outside.

Music

I love that I can slap on a pair of headphones and listen to any song I want whenever I want. In the mood for a sad song? Spotify has a playlist for that. Want to get a head start on the holiday music? I can listen to it year-round! The easy access to music is something I’ll always be grateful for.

With Thanksgiving coming up, make sure to stop and think about the things you’re grateful for! Give that loved one a hug. Take a moment to appreciate nature. Happy almost Thanksgiving everyone!

Free Book!

Princess and the Shepherd

princess and the shepherd novella

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A shepherd who can’t remember his past, a princess who is devastated by the idea of an arranged marriage. In Maisie’s attempt to flee from the arrangement only weeks before the wedding, she encounters Benjamin, a shepherd under the impression that she’s a thief trying to steal his sheep. When a relationship blossoms under the pretense of her being a kitchen maid, what will Benjamin think when he finds out the truth?

Excerpt

His footsteps slowed, but he didn’t slacken his grip on his dagger as he approached cautiously. Even female thieves could be dangerous.

“Don’t hurt me, I beg you!” she gasped, struggling further.

He rounded to the front of her, caution in every movement. Her snagged hair covered her face, and it wasn’t until then that he realized how awful the snag was. How had she managed to tangle herself so soundly?

“You tried to steal my sheep.”

“I didn’t! I swear!” She struggled again, but it did nothing but worsen her predicament.
“He looked frightened and lost. I thought to return him to the flock. I promise I didn’t mean to bother you. Please don’t hurt me.”

He furrowed his brows as he surveyed her up and down. She was dressed in peasant clothing belonging to a kitchen maid, the threads fine and without any holes despite her station. That meant she must work for a wealthy noble who could afford to make their servants look presentable. Even though her snagged hair covered her face, he recognized the honesty in her voice. She truly hadn’t been trying to steal his sheep, but rather, she had been trying to do a good deed. 

Bless her heart.

Benjamin sheathed his dagger, and the woman relaxed considerably.

“Stop moving,” he ordered softly, eyeing the tangled mess of branches and hair. “You’re only making it worse. Allow me to help.”

The woman stopped struggling and allowed him to move closer. He touched her hair, startled at how soft it felt. A servant’s hair shouldn’t feel this soft. But then again, she must work for a noble family, and perhaps her position gave her certain advantages such as washing her hair with good soap. 

His fingers gently untangled her hair, careful not to hurt her. He ‘tsked’ when he had trouble untangling a particularly tough knot. “How did you manage to do this? I’ve seen sheep get caught in brambles that tangle less than this.”

“Well, if you must know, it started when a shepherd startled me out of my wits, and I ran for my life.”

He couldn’t help himself. He released a deep, throaty laugh, which received him a smile from the part of the woman’s face that he could see. “I don’t know who was startled more—the shepherd enjoying a mischief-free morning or the kitchen maid trying to do a good deed.”

She stiffened at the mention of kitchen maid, which only managed to pique his curiosity. Was she a runaway? Was she a thief after all and got caught stealing from her master? Or perhaps she was mistreated as a servant and ran for her life. It was even possible she was out for a morning stroll. All alone. Possibly miles away from her master’s home.

“What’s your name?” he asked, attempting to keep her distracted as he pulled her hair free from the tougher tangles.

“Mais—” she started, but quickly clamped her mouth shut. She cleared her throat and tried again. “My name is Mae. And yours?”

“Benjamin. But if we’re going by nicknames, you may call me Ben.”

At last, her hair came free, and she released a sigh full to the brim with relief. “Thank goodness. I thought I would be stuck all day.”

Mae moved her hair away from her face, and he sucked in a sharp breath of surprise. She was breathtakingly beautiful. Her soft honey-brown hair accentuated her gentle heart-shaped face. Her eyes were a deep green, and her perfectly-shaped pink lips formed a smile when she caught him staring.

His gaze quickly flashed to her finger, noticing how bare it looked without a ring. As far as he was concerned, Mae was not married, and it was very possible that she was running away from a master. Obtaining a husband could be just the escape she needed, and as it was, he was without a wife. As a peasant, he was well off, having a sound livelihood with a large flock of sheep. He could take good care of her. It would not be difficult to convince her father to agree to give her away to him. 

And he needed to snatch her up before someone else did.

Helpful Hacks for Insomniacs

woman sleeping

Do you suffer from insomnia? Do you lie awake in bed, staring at the ceiling while tossing back and forth, back and forth? Do your thoughts race for hours upon hours? Try these methods for catching the sleeping bug!

Yoga

This one is my favorite because it helps me the most. If I’m having a hard time getting to sleep, I will do yoga for 5-10 minutes. It helps calm both my body and my mind, which helps me get to sleep faster.

Put Away That Phone!

If you’re like me, this is a hard one! The blue light from our phones is similar to daylight. When you are exposed to it, your brain thinks it needs to be awake! Try to give your brain at least 30 minutes without your phone (or laptop) to wind down and help you sleep.

Limit Caffeine Before Bed

I discovered I have a time limit for my caffeine intake. If I want to get to sleep by 9:00pm, I have to stop drinking caffeine by 5:00pm (This may be a grandma bedtime, but I’ve got kids! And one of them is a newborn).

Exercise

Exercising has a plethora of good effects on the body, and one of them is helping you sleep. It is a stimulant, so don’t do it right before bed! Instead, allow at least a few hours for your body to wind down afterward.

Still Can’t Sleep?

Don’t continue lying in bed torturing yourself by staring at the ceiling! You don’t want your subconscious associating your bed with not sleeping. Find a quiet activity in another room and hopefully, your body will start sending you sleepy signals, saying its ready for bed.

Hopefully these hacks for insomniacs are helpful to you! They are tried and true methods for me, and without them, I would probably never get enough sleep.

A Strange or Useless Talent I Have

wednesday blogging challenge

One of my best talents, and possibly my most useless talent, is occupying myself by staring at the same wall. For hours. And hours. Or the ceiling as I lie awake at night, plagued by story ideas and ideas for scenes in my novels.

Long car ride? No problem! Just turn up that radio and let my imagination take over! I love driving for this very reason. Getting trapped inside my own head is the best kind of vacation. I get to meet new, interesting people. I get to create and explore. I get to live dozens of different lives in a variety of different worlds. And one of the best parts? I can relive scenes over and over as if they had just happened in real life.

Useless talent? Many people might think so. But I am grateful for it nonetheless. Happy November, everyone!

Bloodborn Release Date

Release Date: December 6

The time has finally come! Bloodborn has a release date, and I’m over the moon excited! A box of author copies came in the mail, and it’s surreal to hold the finished product in my hands. Years of blood, sweat, tears, and more blood went into this book. I have learned a lot about myself while writing and editing. The publishing journey has not been easy, but it certainly has been worth it! The pre-order links are below.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bloodborn-Sydney-Winward/dp/1509228713/
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bloodborn-sydney-winward/1134112546

Also, check out the book trailer to learn more about the book!