Believing is Seeing

Welcome to the blog home of romantic fiction author Sandra Sookoo, where I write about love, food, Disney and the magical secrets that make the world go 'round!

There was a Bigfoot and then he did something magical…

Hello kids! I’ve got a new Christmas novel out this year called Nurturing That Spark. Here’s a little snippet:

Her laughter held a soft, throaty edge. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think the Abe Martin people spiked that punch they handed out before caroling began.”

“Funny, but it’s not the punch affecting me.” He looked into her face. The reddened cheeks, the lips curved upward into a grin, her dark, sparling eyes that held a hint of gold flecks all enticed him, encouraged him to take the next step.

Should he?

Could he?

Dare he kiss her?

He drifted closer. “Morgan, it might seem fast and sudden, but all I can think about right now is ki–” A crash nearby, behind the tree line, interrupted his thought.

She startled and turned in that direction, her eyes big and wide. “What was that?”

“I don’t know. Maybe a deer is moving around in the brush.” He took a deep breath and let it ease out. That was a close call. Maybe it was better this way.

“How do you know it’s a deer?” Morgan took a few steps backward and out of his arms. “It could be a bear or a wolf or a giraffe. You don’t know.”

NuturingThatSparkCoverArt72dpiHow he adored her sense of humor. He laughed and the sound echoed in the silence, followed by more crashing in the trees. “Yeah, giraffes are a big problem in southern Indiana in the winter.”

A frown pulled at her delicious mouth. “You know what I mean. About the bears or wolves though. Possibly giraffes was a bad example.”

“Don’t worry. Both aren’t anxious to make Indiana their home. Though there might be coyotes around.” He snickered and couldn’t resist baiting her. “I wouldn’t put it past a bigfoot or two to take a stroll through the woods at this time of night. They’re supposedly real attracted to singing. Last summer, the team from BFRO was out here.”

“What’s that?”

“Bigfoot Research Organization. Cool, quirky people. Never did sight one of the bi-peds, but they claim to have heard howls and wood knocks.” A smile pulled at his mouth.

“Seriously?” The outcry rang on the shivery air. Her whole body tensed as if preparing to flee. She glanced back and forth with big eyes. “Let’s go back. Right now.”

“It’s all right. I was kidding about the bigfoots, but some folks adamantly believe they exist. Me, I’ll reserve judgment until I actually see one.”

“And then what, share the forest with them?”

He shrugged. “Why not? The world’s big enough for everyone.” Carter closed the distance between them. He slid his arms around her waist, and when she didn’t pull away, he held her more comfortably in his embrace. “I’m sorry. It was a dirty trick. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“I’m not scared.” Her insistence didn’t hold water since she shook with nerves.

This time he did dare. “Is that right,” he murmured seconds before he gently pressed his lips to hers. The warmth and velvety softness of her mouth welcomed him home and he happily applied himself to the kiss. When she stirred and made a soft little sound at the back of her throat, he broke contact though he held her gaze. “How about now?” His voice sounded as breathless as hers had been earlier.

“Terrified.” She looped her arms around his shoulders and tugged him closer. “However, it’s probably nice to do something that scares us every day to become stronger, right?”

Carter grinned as his pulse soared and his body warmed. She hadn’t rejected him. “Absolutely.” For the first time since Jace was born, he gave himself over to the art of kissing a woman. Morgan fit in his arms as if she were made just for him. She neither pushed for greater intimacy nor did she deny him the access if he tried for it. He kept the embrace simple, uncomplicated, cozy. They didn’t need to find out all of each other’s secrets right this second.

Here’s the blurb: Bad stuff happens. Love makes it bearable.

All Morgan Davidson wants is a chance to reconnect with her fifteen-year-old niece – sans digital dependency. She books a cabin for Christmas week in rural southern Indiana, but contracting a case of the warm fuzzies for a handsome ranger isn’t part of the plan.

Carter Poole, single dad and park ranger, has simple tastes. He’s not on Facebook, doesn’t let his five-year-old son play video games and spends a lot of time outdoors. When he’s sent out to investigate mysterious tracks, he meets Morgan and a spark ignites between them. He invites her to share the holiday with him and his son.

Between teenage angst, emotional drama and second-guessing, Morgan and Carter manage to steal a few moments alone. When his son goes missing on Christmas Eve, the world narrows and they realize what matters most — family. The more mismatched the better.

You can purchase Nurturing That Spark at the following retailers:
Desert Breeze Publishing
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
All Romance Ebooks

I hope you’ll check out this book. Merry Christmas!

Sandi

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Front Porch Saturday: Gratitude, by Jennifer Wilck

I rarely write “What Am I Thankful For” blogs. It’s not that I’m not thankful for things, I am. But trotting them out on turkey day seems forced. I am very aware of how lucky I am and give thanks frequently. Usually in private, often in synagogue, sometimes even to the people who need to hear (yeah, I need to get better at that part).

My mother-in-law loves going around the table on Thanksgiving and saying what we’re thankful for that year. Again, it’s not my favorite part of the holiday, but I’ve gotten around my own discomfort by having my kids and I make a paper turkey, cutting out a paper feather for each person attending the dinner and asking each person to anonymously write their blessings on the feather. Then we shuffle them up and read them out loud, trying to identify who wrote what. It’s fun and makes it sound a little less forced, at least to my ears (and thanks to my friend, Donna, who started this tradition with her family and shared it with mine.).

But this time, my blog is scheduled for right after Thanksgiving, and it seems weird, even to me, to not write about what I’m thankful for. So, with a writing twist, here goes:

  1. I’m thankful for my readers, who enjoy my books and blogs and who are so supportive of my efforts.
  2. I’m thankful for my family, who are my biggest fans and remind me how important following my dream is, even when I forget.
  3. I’m thankful for my blog partners, for giving me things to think about and for becoming great friends.
  4. I’m thankful for my fellow Rebel and NJRW writers, who provide a wonderful, supportive community.
  5. I’m thankful for my critique partners, who make me a better writer, and never fail to be kind.

Wishing you much gratitude, now and every day. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Fun Friday: Eight Easy Editing Tips by Karen Michelle Nutt @KMNbooks #writing tips

You’ve written the next best seller and it’s time to submit it to a publisher. You want your story error free, but let’s face it, no matter how perfect your story reads, the editor still finds ways to improve your work. However, you do want the manuscript as clean of errors as possible. Every writer needs to be an editor and with these easy steps, you’re on your way.

  1. Editing is easier if you use a hard copy. If at all possible, print out your story. Mistakes and overused words will jump off the page.
  2. Remove your favorite repetitive words or phrases. If you’re anything like I am, I tend to take one word or phrase and overuse it. In one story, I had my hero running his hand through his hair so many times, he should have been bald by the end of the story. Be ruthless and delete those overused phrases!
  3. Use a pen or pencil to cut out long sections that go nowhere and add nothing to forward the momentum of the story. Remember you can always add back anything you cross out if you truly believe you must.
  4. Remove adverbs and adjectives. Make those lazy nouns and verbs do most of the work. I hate to tell you this, but there’s no elementary school teacher to give you a gold star for the more adverbs and adjectives you use.
  5. Try editing your work from a different location. If you write at your desk, then edit while sitting on your patio sipping a cold iced drink. A different location will stimulate your mind.
  6. Check first words of consecutive paragraphs. Try to avoid having every sentence start with he or she. Repetitive use of names is annoying, too. Check for overuse of first names, especially in dialogue. Repetition of names will cause the story to drag.
  7. Read your story aloud. This will help you hear mistakes your eyes have missed. I tend to drop words like ‘a’ and ‘the’. I use speech to text on my computer to read the story to me. Make sure your sentences are structurally sound and make sure you use the same verb tense and voice throughout your story.
  8. Rest your eyes. Take a break after a section so your eyes can rest. You can’t spot mistakes if your eyes are tired.

I hope these simple steps help you edit your next story. If you have any useful pointers, I’d love to hear them.

Filigree

author pic Karen and Jack_2014_2 IMG_2596About the Author:
Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chorkie, is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.

When she’s not time traveling, fighting outlaws, or otherworldly creatures, she creates pre-made book covers to order at Gillian’s Book Covers, “Judge Your Book By Its Cover”. You can also check out her published cover art designs at Western Trail Blazer and Rebecca J. Vickery Publishing.

Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.

Visit the author at her Website Blog / Gillian’s Book Covers, “Judge Your Book By Its Cover” Facebook / TwitterPinterest / Amazon Author Page

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Winner from my Snarkology Halloween Hop post…

is Phaedra Seabolt!

I’ll email you for your address today.

Thank you to everyone who came out and participated. No doubt there will be other giveaways up for grabs through the remainder of the holidays :-)

Sandra

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Front Porch Saturday: Enough, by Jennifer Wilck

Previously posted in Fried Oreos

I’m worn out. Physically, mentally and emotionally.

I know, I’m no different from anyone else and we are all exhausted. We strive to do a million things and we convince ourselves we need to do a million things well. I think our culture prides itself on how exhausted we can be. It’s a competition, enabled by social media, judged by all the other people around you and awarded nothing.

“You can’t possibly understand how I feel. I was up at six this morning doing X.”

“Well, I was up at five doing Y. Oh, and my kids are forcing me to do Z.”

“You poor thing. My husband didn’t do Q, so now I have to do it.”

“I hear ya. Mine didn’t do R, and complained when I reminded him about it.”

And so on and so on and so on.

I’m guilty of it and somehow, no matter how many times I tell myself I’m not going to overbook, overschedule, or overcommit, I do. And I’m not even talking about my kids.

In fact, I wonder what I’m teaching them. When they tell me they studied and I wonder, well, did you study enough? When they tell me they cleaned and I wonder, is it clean enough? When they tell me they tried and I wonder, did you try hard enough?

Maybe their version of enough is actually enough. Maybe the effort doesn’t have to be the most, the best, the hardest, and it quite probably doesn’t have to equal mine. Maybe they just need to be able to look themselves in the eye and know that they are good enough.

We complain that people don’t know how to be still. We urge people to appreciate their surroundings. But does anyone actually do that? When is the last time you sat and read a book because you wanted to, or looked out the window because it was pretty? And if you did do that, was there a nagging in the back of your brain reminding you about everything you should be doing instead?

Who decided that was the goal?

Because there has to be a goal. We’ve trained ourselves to reach for the goal. But somewhere along the way, the goal has been moved so far away as to almost be unattainable. And the goal has grown, like the monster under the bed, until it’s no longer some desirable thing. It’s scary and stressful and quite possibly more effort than it’s worth.

I think it’s time to redefine that goal. I think our “best” needs to be “enough.” I think the one-upping in the “how tired are you?” has to end. I think we need to redirect our pride so that we are proud of actual accomplishments, no matter how small.

And perhaps, if we need public accolades, we’re doing it wrong.

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Snarkology Halloween Blog Hop–Love in the Moonlight by Sandra Sookoo

Snarlolgy Halloween Blog Hop Yellow 2

Welcome to Believing is Seeing! My name is Sandra Sookoo and I’m a romance author. You’re here as part of the Snarkology Halloween blog hop, so look around and have fun! There are tons of bloggers and authors participating in this event, and besides the chance of winning the grand prize, every blog is offering their own giveaways.

Fall is my favorite time of the year. There’s just something about the vibrant colors currently happening all over the Great Lakes region. I like nothing else than getting outside and enjoying it. The riotous world makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger, like all my petty problems could melt away if only I could tarry among the fire bushes and glorious golden trees. My husband and I happened to go out to one of the local parks this weekend, and this is but one of the wonderful scenes we encountered:

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Of course, arriving at Fall means Halloween, and that means candy! Er… it doesn’t? LOL Ah, then it must mean baking, because that’s what I’m doing right now (pumpkin gingersnaps to be precise) Hmm, not really? Right, then it must mean dressing up and pretending. :-) I haven’t gone to a Halloween party since I was a kid, but I always thought it might be fun to do it again sometime. Just for laughs, here’s a pic of me in elementary school. I think I was in fifth grade:

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Anyway, thanks for popping into my Believing is Seeing blog. I appreciate your time. What’s your favorite part of Fall?

Answer the question and you might be the randomly drawn winner on November 1st. Winner will be decided by using random.org. Be sure to leave your contact information. All entries without an email address will not be considered.

The prize for this post only is: a paperback of Love in the Moonlight, which is a Halloween-themed antho of Halloween stories I’ve written, plus book swag.

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Make sure you hit all the blogs participating! For the full list, click here.

Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter drawing for the grand prize. Enter here.

If you like what you see here, please visit my website to check out my books!

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Fun Friday: Bram Stoker and Halloween by Karen Michelle Nutt

Bram_Stoker_1906Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published in 1897. This popular vampire tale has been an inspiration for numerous movies starring his main character Dracula, while others have starred his character Abraham Van Helsing.

Stoker’s character Count Dracula is loosely based on Vlad Dracula III, the notorious 15tVlad_Tepes_002h century Romanian warlord. Though his character’s castle was located in Transylvania.

There are many who believe Stoker inspiration for the tale actually came from his knowledge of the Irish myths about blood-sucking faeries.

Bram Stoker was born in 1847 in Dublin, Ireland. Before he penned his tale, he worked as a civil servant and was a theater critic for a local newspaper.

Christ_Church_Cathedral,_Oxford_Photograph by Mike PeelUsually a week before Halloween, Dublin, Ireland celebrates the man of goth with street performances, a musical ‘Bram Session’ in Temple Bar quarter, and a candlelight dinner in the crypt of Christ Church Cathedral. They have ghost tours that take the guests to St. Patrick’s Cathedral graveyard where the Lady in White is said to haunt. They also go to Trinity College where Bram Stoker attended. In the late 1500s, Dr. Samuel Clossey was a medical professor there and supposedly robbed graves so he could created morbid anatomical experiments. Supposedly he haunts the corridors with a bucket of human entrails.

Do you have a favorite vampire tale? Have you been on a ghost tour?

Filigree

author pic Karen and Jack_2014_2 IMG_2596About the Author:
Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chorkie, is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.

When she’s not time traveling, fighting outlaws, or otherworldly creatures, she creates pre-made book covers to order at Gillian’s Book Covers, “Judge Your Book By Its Cover”. You can also check out her published cover art designs at Western Trail Blazer and Rebecca J. Vickery Publishing.

Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.

Visit the author at her Website Blog / Gillian’s Book Covers, “Judge Your Book By Its Cover” Facebook / TwitterPinterest / Amazon Author Page

Photos Public Domain

Christ Church Cathedral by Mike Peel

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Front Porch Saturday: Crafting Cookie Cutter Ornaments

I needed to create something physical…something Christmas related…something different, so I searched the house for items to make a craft project. Cookie cutter oranments was the final product. If you’d like to get a jump on the holiday season and create homemade Christmas decorations, here are the directions.
First I dug out some old cookie cutters from the cupboard and painted them.
(You could punch a hole in the top to make it hang, but I had drill issues, so I glued ties onto the top.)
photo 1

I gathered embellishments, buttons, paper-crafting items, gears and keys.
photo 2

After inserting sheets of music into the shapes and gluing trinkets here is the finished product.
photo 3

 

Easy enough…paint, cut sheet of music into the cookie cutter shape, glue it and embellishments to the ornament. You can create your own, special, ornaments to make your Christmas homemade.

Ready to hang on the tree. Have fun!

www.jj-keller.com

jj inherited her name and creativity from her grandmother. A love of reading and adventure took her to many wondrous places. Studying literature provided a solid foundation in which to express her ideas and storytelling became a part of her world. She wants to share with you all of the magic, so please enjoy pieces of her life through her tales.

 

Jewel Heist is a suspense story set during the holidays…

Diamonds used to be this girl’s best friend.

Jewelry designer Mary Keefe has been robbed–of a million dollars in diamonds belonging to her grandfather–by her own boyfriend, Conrad. Besides recovering the jewels, she’s got to conceive a baby within 5 days, to save her family’s legacy. Her friends have a plan, a singles cruise so Mary can find a sperm donor with the best qualities. The first mate could be the right choice–he rates a five on the Donor List. Then there’s John Wang, her neighbor in the adjoining room. Attraction sizzles between them and they’ve become friends, but he doesn’t act interested. Could be, she’s not his type.

 

For John Kajiyama, posing as Wang, Mary Keefe is just his type. She’s beautiful, funny and sweet…but is she innocent? Diamonds are missing and he must recover them for the insurance company. How far will he go to maintain his cover in this investigation?

 

Soon to be POD…get a hard copy this fall…. (Jewel Heist)

Twitter  Facebook   Romance with jj Keller  jj Keller Blogspot

Amazon  Goodreads The Romance Reviews

 MEMORY OF LOVE 

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Front Porch Saturday: My Village by Jennifer Wilck

This post first appeared on Fried Oreos on Monday, September 29, 2014.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and after this past week, I’d definitely agree.

My village usually consists of my parents, who live nearby and are able to pitch in whenever and wherever I need them. When my kids were little, I had built-in babysitters twelve minutes away. They were available to meet the bus if I was running late, to carpool if I had to be in different places with different kids, and for the occasional date night.

Although my kids are older now, they still can’t drive themselves anywhere and it’s not uncommon for the two girls to need to be in two different places at the same time. For a while, my mom and I had a “Sunday calendar check,” where we coordinated schedules for the week.

But it’s not just my parents who are my village. It’s my friends, too, something I often forget. I was reminded of it, however, this past week.

We had a town tragedy this past week, and as is often the case, everyone pulled together to support each other. It was a lovely burst of light in an otherwise very dark week. What was so nice for me to see was the number of people who called to check on my child, who said they’d look out for my child and provided support for my child. Teachers and guidance counselors and clergy and friends all pulled together to let all of us know that we were not alone.

This weekend, my daughter and I had the chance to help out a friend and her mom with something fairly trivial, but it was nice to be part of someone else’s village for a change. We were able to help turn a chore into an adventure, to provide gentle guidance without forcing ourselves on anyone and to have a bit of fun in the process. It was a spur-of-the-moment opportunity, more like a social activity, but one with a purpose.

This week, my parents are away. There are no daily phone calls, no “Sunday calendar checks” and no one to pitch in spur-of-the-moment when I realize I double booked something (like that dental appointment I had to reschedule because of a physical booked too close together). Except I have my village. I may not call on them for the trivial stuff, but I know that they’re there if I need them.

And that’s awesome.

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Fun Friday: Are Aliens Real? by Karen Michelle Nutt @KMNbooks

aliens are nearAre there Aliens? Through the centuries there have been numerous sightings.

There are Petroglyphs dating back thousands of years ago by ancient American Southwest Indians. According to Indian folklore, two objects collided in the sky and one crash-landed in the region below (Death Valley.) Local Indians stood by as men arrived from another ship to repair the damaged craft.

Colonial Massachusetts Governor Spots an UFO
In 1639, over the Charles River in Boston, John Winthrop made an entry in his journal about a UFO sighting, stating lights sped back and forth across the Charles River from Back Bay Fens to Charlestown.

The first highly publicized UFO sighting occurred on April 17, 1897, in a tiny Texan community called Auroa. This unique sighting occurred before the invention of the first airplane. The story: A slow moving spaceship crashed into a a windmill. When the authorities searched through the debris, they discovered an alien. They dubbed the pilot the “Martian pilot”, and buried the body in the cemetery.

1940s World War II:  Small metallic spheres and colorful balls of light were spotted and photographed by bomber crews. They called these sightings ‘foo fighters’.

One of the most popular sightings recorded was in 1947, about 30 miles north of Roswell, New Mexico. The US Army allegedly captured aliens and a flying saucer.  Later, it was explained away as a weather balloon. In 1978, S.T, Friedman reopened the investigation, making some believe the sighting to be real and the government tried to cover it up. Alien

Dec. 16. 195, Clarence Johnson, who was the designer of the F-104, U-2, and the SR-71, and his wife spotted a large Flying Wing over the Pacific from where they stood in Agoura. Around the same time, the crews aboard the WV-2 spotted the craft from Long Beach, CA USAF. It was later explained away as they saw a lenticular cloud even though Johnson didn’t believe the ruling to be correct.

1966,In Point Pleasant, West Virginia, people reported seeing winged humanoid creatures and other mysterious events that included UFO sighting. This is referred to the Mothman Prophcies.  (Did anyone happen to see Mothman, starring Richard Gere?)

1973 Skylab 3 UFO Encounter. Astronauts, Alan Bean, Owen Garriott and Jack Lousma spotted a UFO. Their evidence was blurry photographs of this said UFO.

1983 Copely Woods Encounter (a suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana) Hundreds of Basket-sized balls of light were spotted around a neighborhood. They left obvious marks, proving they were real.

1998 Graaff-Reinet sighting in South Africa: The Laubscher family videotaped a group of triangular craft, passing over Graff-Reinet. The crafts changed colors and circled one another before a larger gold-colored craft overtook the smaller crafts before disappearing into the clouds.

2001 on the New Jersey Turnpike, around 15 people stopped their cars to view light formations in the night sky. Two of the witnesses were police officers.

2014 Houston, Texas, people witnessed seeing a ring of lights during a thunderstorm. The event was captured on video.

So do you believe Aliens have visited our planet?  Have you seen a UFO? Please do share. :)

About the Author:

Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chihuahua/Yorkshire terrier is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.http://www.kmnbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/shapeimage_6.jpeg

Her new passion is creating book covers for Western Trail Blazers and Rebecca J. Vickery Publishing. In her spare time, she reviews books for PNR-Paranormal Romance Reviews.

Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.

Visit the author at: http://www.kmnbooks.com

Stop by her blog for Monday interviews, chats and contests at:
http://kmnbooks.blogspot.com

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