{friday mixing bowl} current favs

table-talk

Happy Friday, friends! I know it sounds like a broken record when I say that I’m in the editing cave (at least, it does to me), so I’m just going to show you some things that have been my favorite lately.

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Mardel’s bargain shelves. I went into Mardel for kid Christmas party favors and came out with all of this. Oops. But you can get amazing books for $5!

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Loaded almond milk cocoa + brain breaks. I can make it to my specifics without having to endure the after-drop-off soccer mom brigade at Starbucks 🙂 Let this toasty mug also symbolize the brain break I’m currently taking. It’s the best thing ever. My podcasts and blog queue are lining up, books unread (this week), and nothing but work and the very occasional Netflix rerun of The Wonder Years is going in my brain. Someone once said there are seasons of input and output in life, and the cycle for output is definitely upon me <3

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Fuzzy slippers. And wearing them everywhere — even to the grocery store. They are like a fluffy cloud for your feet, and I’m pretty sure they’re borderline socially acceptable in public because they’re moccasins, right? My husband told me I was going to have to stop wearing them out or else they wouldn’t be allowed on the carpet, so I have a tough decision ahead of me. What would you choose?

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Little girls in their first soccer uniforms. Enough said. I’ve been enjoying time with my kids during this holiday season, including a quick trip to Branson. That’s what it’s all about!

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Luxurious working conditions. In my older age, I have become like a cat, curling up to work in patches of sunshine, except with a giant caffeinated beverage in hand. And…without the naps so much. There are pluses and minuses to being my own boss, so I’ll take what I get. You know the novella I wrote in October/November? Well, I’m rewriting that. Completely. I’ve never felt so compelled to rewrite a project from scratch before, so fortunately it’s about 1/3 of the usual size of my work.

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My 2017 TBR Pile. Okay, y’all. Clearly you saw my paperback stack above, but this is what my Kindle looks like. Pretty sure my 2017 TBR pile is set. I’m going to do a new post about books soon because there have been some lovely and wonderful ones involved lately. Have you read any of these?

New fall TV. It’s been a few years since a new TV show captured my interest. With everything on hiatus right now, it’s the perfect time to go back and give some new ones a try while you’re recovering from Christmas ham coma. My first favorite is Pitch. The storyline is incredible, the issues explored important, and the characterization brilliant. Plus, it has Lumberjack Zack Morris in a baseball uniform, so you can’t go wrong.

My next recommendation is Lethal Weapon. I was a little skeptical but had to try because 1) I love the Wayans brothers, and Damon is my favorite. And 2) Clayne Crawford (Martin Riggs) is one of my favorites from Leverage, and I knew he could do wonderful things with his former Navy SEAL turned wounded-crazy-cop role. I love the dynamic between Riggs and Murtaugh, but the biggest surprise is how much I love Murtaugh’s smart and fierce DA wife. Roger and Trish are MAJOR couple goals.

Last but not least, the winner of Lindsay Harrel’s new book is Kelly Blackwell. Congrats, Kelly! 

That about wraps it up. What are you reading and watching in between last-minute Christmas present buying and making? 

{giveaway} One More Song to Sing by Lindsay Harrel

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We are celebrating my award-winning author friend Lindsay Harrel and her debut novel this month! My copy of One More Song to Sing is on its way, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

About the book:  More than two decades ago, Olivia Lovett left her old life behind in the red dirt of Oklahoma and forged a career in Nashville as a country music star. Now her voice is failing, forcing her to find a new dream just as the secrets of her past come knocking at the door. Long-time friend Andrew Grant agrees to partner in a new business venture–but would he stick around if he knew her whole story?

After the tragic loss of her father, twenty-one-year-old Ellie Evans headed to Nashville seeking more than just fame. For two years, she’s waitressed, strummed, and sung her way to what may finally be her big break when Olivia offers to sign her to the budding record label. More than anything, Ellie just wants to be seen: by her future fans, by Nick Perry–a fellow musician with a killer smile and kind eyes–and above all else, by the mother who abandoned her. If the spotlight never shines on her, will Ellie ever feel whole?

One More Song to Sing is a romantic drama about the power of forgiveness, second chances, and a God who never fails to see us.

Giveaway: To win an electronic copy of One More Song to Sing via Amazon, leave a comment below telling us your favorite song — or some of them if it’s too hard to pick!

Winning comment will be chosen via random.org next Friday, December 9.

glimpses + gilmore girls

I know it’s technically Christmastime now, but I’m still holding on to every ounce of autumn and enjoying each glimpse that captures its coziness.

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{ Reading under the covers is much more convenient than in my day, when we read until our flashlights fell on our faces. Although covert iPhone photos are not as convenient these days, judging by the stone-like quality of my hand. Rest assured that my skincare routine hasn’t fallen by the wayside. }

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I so enjoyed spending time with my little family over the long holiday weekend. Hope you all are still full in every possible way after a delicious and wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by Amy Sherman-Palladino. I came, I saw, and I conquered the Gilmore Girls revival. Let’s just say that Mrs. Kim’s perma-scowl encapsulates my sentiments perfectly.

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Now that Thanksgiving is over, phase 30930 of editing cave action has begun. I turned in final edits on my May release last week and am reworking my novella now. Looking forward to starting a new project in 2017, celebrating my first book release, and more exciting things I can’t share quite yet!

Speaking of May, book title, backmatter, and cover sneak peeks are coming to newsletter subscribers soon. Head over here to be the first to find out! 

How was your Thanksgiving?

{friday mixing bowl} spa caves + a little bit of fancy

table-talk

Happy mid-November, friends! The high is in the 50s here after topping off at 85 yesterday, so I am wishing hot cocoa and campfire coziness on all the land! I’m back in the editing cave, finishing final edits on my May release…

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But not before escaping to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, for a glorious few days with my husband! It was our first beach vacation with no kids since 2009 — nothing but reading a few feet from the ocean all day, exploring the city with ice cream cones at night, and finishing my novella at this amazing #beddesk on our balcony with the ocean waves as a soundtrack.

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This spa cave may or may not have been involved too. I seriously stayed in there for a few hours because I didn’t want it to end and knew moving there forever wasn’t a viable option. But you know what? This is how I’m going to envision my proverbial editing cave. So if you need me, this is where I’ll be!

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It’s a good thing we had a few days to get that ocean chill in our bones, because real life hit hard with deadlines and stomach bugs and Daylight Savings sleep regressions when we came home. Things are finally back to normal … we hope. At least the natives are cute.

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And some of our neighborhood trees are changing colors. Better late than never!

<< link love >>

source: Taste and Tell Blog

source: Taste and Tell Blog

<< in case you missed it >>

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Back to the editing cave I go with 7 days until deadline! What are you working on, and more importantly, how are you relaxing this week?

{book review} The Promise of Rayne by Nicole Deese

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Today I want to tell you about a gorgeous book I just finished that comes out TODAY! There I was, trying to finish writing my novella, when this story came and knocked my socks off. “Unputdownable” is the proper adjective I would use.

About the book:

Rayne Shelby has spent her entire life trying to earn the approval of her high-powered family, with the hope of one day managing her late grandfather’s prestigious Idaho lodge. But when she makes a mistake that puts her future in jeopardy, she faces an impossible choice: defy her family or deny her dream. The only way to fix the mess she’s created is to enlist the help of her neighbor, Levi, the apprentice of her family’s greatest enemy. And if Rayne gets caught crossing the divided property lines, the consequences will be irreparable.

Levi Harding has never forgotten the August night he shared with Rayne when they were teens—or the way she later rejected him. Despite his warring instincts, he can’t ignore her plea for help or the spark that’s ignited between them. But now, as wildfires bear down on their town and family secrets are revealed, their newfound alliance might just go up in smoke.

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My review:

Jiminy. Nicole Deese has truly become one of my must-read authors, and just when I think her stories can’t be any more artfully written, the layers of story and complexity (and chemistry!!) of her characters so masterfully executed, the next story releases.

I loved The Promise of Rayne, couldn’t put it down (like I said), and credit the author for her ability to make readers empathize with these characters in such a rare way. More books, please!

Buy it here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | IndieBound

{friday mixing bowl} trucks, glue muffins, and other updates

table-talk

It’s Friday, friends!! I hope you aren’t like me and thought yesterday was Friday too. Did you have one of those weeks? There’s a cure for that, and it’s called Real Friday! Here’s what’s been going on in this neck of the woods:

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You’re hearing this first here, but I am working on a huge rebrand of 1624 Communications with a fresh focus and possibly even some dream collaborations. I can’t wait to unveil it, hopefully around the beginning of the year. But in the meantime….

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After some unexpected events at the beginning of the month, my novella truck is finally chugging along! I’m on track to finish just a week later than planned, by the grace of God. At my writing group last night, we talked about how the creators of Marvel and Pixar admitted that, at some point in the production process of all of their amazing blockbuster movies, they were convinced it was the worst movie ever written. And then they turned into those masterpieces. Well, I have faith that, with a lot of love, this novella project can’t get any worse and will get a whole lot better 🙂

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After my autoimmune symptoms returned this month after two years without them, I’m a few days into a clean-eating challenge — just me, myself, and I. Cutting back on the processed food and sugar and majorly upping my protein and water intake, complete with meal plan spreadsheet in typical Laurie fashion. It feels fantastic and tastes amazing for the most part, but I did make some yogurt muffins the other day that tasted a little like glue. Don’t make muffins that taste like glue, friends.

<< link love >>

  • This butterbeer fudge definitely isn’t clean, but it embodies everything I love about October. My friend Mary Weber recommends making them to help cope with this election season, and I think they’d be perfect to accompany your month-long Harry Potter viewing fest.
  • In the interest of Selah, my holy yoga teacher created a gorgeous and amazing Lectio Divina guide, with an emphasis on REST. I know yoga gets a bad rap with some, but I love her classes that draw their life and meditation and energy on the Word of God. Can’t wait to dig into this weekly plan!
  • Gilmore Girls fans who are personality nerds will love this assessment of the beloved characters’ enneagram numbers!
  • If you’re a pre-published fiction author looking for a great example on doing marketing well, look no further than my friend Teresa Tysinger. She is releasing her first short story via newsletter soon, so be sure to sign up! I’m super excited to read it! (She’s also our author spotlight on The Writer’s Alley today!)

<< in case you missed it >>

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May your weekend be filled with cocoa, cuddles, extra crunchy leaves, and muffins that don’t taste like glue! What are you looking forward to right now?

autumn #selah

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one magical autumn morning.

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one messy-haired man cub.

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one meandering trail.

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selah. 

{friday mixing bowl} what I would buy everyone if I won the lottery…

table-talk

Allllll the praise hands that it’s Friday. Seriously, y’all. I am looking forward to a relaxing typical fall weekend because it’s been so crazy here lately. Today, I thought I’d share some cute things I will buy everyone if I ever win the lottery. Don’t think I won’t seriously go all Oprah on you…

I need these tees from J. Lilly’s Boutique in my life. This heathered purple + everything it stands for = so dreamy! And pumpkin + gold + pretty lettering are pretty much the ways to my heart.

If I ever moved, I would light this homemade bread candle until it smelled like home. All of the comfort, none of the gluten! Freckled Hen Farmhouse has the cutest branding and is only located about two hours from me! Their shop has tons of awesome things!

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Someone named Swagrid posted this on Facebook, and I couldn’t agree more: rain, bed fort, Harry Potter movies, and pizza. This day is near the top of my fall wishlist — except maybe stew instead of pizza 🙂

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I just got a massive book box this week. (More on that next week.) But as soon as my book allowance replenishes — it’s magical like that — get thee to my bedside table, gorgeous YA covers and favorite food bloggers!

What’s on your fall wishlist? Is your perfect fall day in the forecast this weekend?

{workspace wednesday} if I light a candle…

Will it inject a little peace into a lot of busy? You bet!

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This is a pretty good representation of life right now.

Work-scattered  //
littered with lots of empty tea mugs //
entertainment awaiting //
shoes worn with many miles //
“tokens of my children’s affection” everywhere.

But warm.

If you light a candle — literally or figuratively — it will always be warm.

october update

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Welcome, October! This is our front door in progress. We still need to get the big pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, and if I’m super ambitious/have a craft night with my friend Cait, I want to make a wreath!

First order of business, the winner of the Can’t Help FALLing Giveaway is Meghan Gorecki! But if you didn’t win, the Kindle edition of Close to You just went on sale TODAY for $1.99. Get it while it’s hot. I promise you’ll gobble it up just in time for October 11 when you can get Can’t Help Falling! 

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When we last spoke, I was in the thick of the final revision read-through for my upcoming release! With the help of gracious family members and a friend who took the kids Friday night so I could press send, it. is. finished. Fly away, little rewrites! And please don’t return too banged up in the next iteration when the real editing begins 🙂

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This is the wild-haired, crazy-eyed look of someone who has finished her deadline…and begun another! For my next trick, I shall write a novella this month. I have a fun spread set up in my bullet journal to track my progress (yes, that says track, not truck!):

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This is my big goal for the month, to be accomplished with early mornings, a little caffeine, and lots of grace. During my normal work hours, I have some fun client projects to finish, and in the second half of the month, I am working on my next proposal for Heartwarming plus any edits they may send my way.

I have an official title and cover coming soon along with news about said novella project, so be sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter for all the juicy tidbits!