I was going to post this yesterday, but we had a surprise/last minute softball makeup game. Softball with tween girls is EXHAUSTING! (And standing in the dugout for 2 hours keeping them from clunking each other in the head with bats left me feeling sore!)
Kiddo is having a great time. She’s not so great at catching yet, and she’s one of the youngest in her division. Because we’re in a small town, she plays with 10-13 year olds. There is a lot of physical differences between a just turned 10 year old and a 13 year old athletically.
Kiddo was on shortstop, and caught the only infield fly, then flipped it to third for the division’s only double play so far this season. Very, very, very proud of herself.
But I didn’t remember that softball would consume so much of my time of the evening! (Nor did I realize I’d end up in the dugout this season…)
Ah! Things are getting crazy here (mainly because of “suddenly” helping out with kiddo’s softball team and running her around trying to squeeze tae kwan do in around softball. She’s a busy little monster, that’s for sure.
I’m hard at work on the next romantic suspenses. I’ve started Nat’s book (SAVING) for a 2022 release date. I’ve also started a few other titles that are coming down the list. I am in the early phase of Zoey’s book and am actually right on schedule—for the first time in a long time. I’m getting ready to slow down on the physical therapy a bit; just in time to replace it with lap swimming again! (Which is great, as it’s my favorite form of exercise but still makes me nervous, as a fall in the locker room was how I injured myself the first time!)
I’m also working on the paranormals. I’m getting ready to relaunch Kindara’s book in two weeks. Kindara’s story was the first full-length book I ever wrote. It’s always going to be dear to my heart for that reason.
It’s hard to believe that book was written eleven years ago, shortly followed by Georgia and Hell in Watching.
Things certainly have changed in ten years.
I’m also working hard on the blog stories. Jude is moving along nicely. Jume—the vampire secretary who is currently stuck as a hostage in the hotel—has her own blog. I’m having a lot of fun with her. She’s far snarkier and more adventurous than I originally intended. Jume will get her own book someday, by the way. But…there’s a lot of storyline that still needs to happen first.
I have a release date for Jac and Max’ book!
I am actually going to try another preorder with this book (even though Amazon has messed up the previous FOUR preorders I did back in 2014/15!). If it goes well, hopefully I’ll be able to do more on preorder.
I’ll be posting a new Jude chapter on Monday, May 10th.
One of my two closest friends, my bestie Cassidy Carter’s new book from Hallmark Publishing released today!
Once, they were in love with music—and each other. Life took them in very different directions… But a wedding in the pines brings them together.
Slater’s job has never been busier at Cabins in the Pines, the recently expanded resort. On top of everything else, he’s the best man for his boss’s upcoming wedding, and he’s trying to make sure everything goes perfectly. But there was one detail he didn’t plan on: the arrival of his ex-girlfriend, Hope.
Years ago, when Hope dated Slater, she dreamed of a musical career. Now, she’s working at her father’s financial firm, and he expects her to take over someday. Hope’s determined to make their conference at Cabins in the Pines a success…while ignoring her misgivings about her own future.
When Slater and Hope meet again, all their memories come rushing back—including the pain of their breakup. Could this unexpected interlude lead to a new beginning?
After a nasty few months that included family members with Covid; me battling pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, asthma, and physical therapy; visits to the specialist for kiddo, and just a bunch of crazy, crazy things that happened all at once, I’ve finally been able to work on cleaning up the free reads. (Strangely enough, I am getting a lot of work done on the free reads while sitting in the car at kiddo’s softball practices! She’s a veritable demon on the diamond! I coached her 2019 season and her 2020 season was canceled; to be honest–I’m glad I’m getting a break this year!)
Free reads have had to take a backseat to finishing actual books, unfortunately, as that just makes the most business sense, but things are finally back on track.(For more on WHY things have been chaotic for a few years, visit the FAQ page on my website).
I have been able to do extensive work on Jude this past week. I’ve started at the beginning and have revised and edited what I already posted. I also have added a few more chapters, with more coming over the next six weeks. These upcoming chapters have already been written, they just need polished and edited. 🙂 Jude is less than 3000 words or so from being finished. Once she is finished, I’ll be turning her into an actual ebook format for download through Bookfunnel.com. (I plan to release all of my freebies through Bookfunnel eventually, so that they can be downloaded and added to readers’ libraries on their preferred devices.)
UPDATE on NEW RELEASES:
I am days away from being finished with Maggie and Clint’s book now (currently untitled).
I’ll be sending it to the editor on May 1st! My wonderful editor has Jac’s book (SEARCHING) now, as well. SEARCHING will release in early May, so watch the BLOG for details.
I am also in the process of booking a narrator for book three of the Mastersons in audio! I hope to have the first four Mastersons available in audio by August/September. If they do well, I’ll be starting on the Finley Creek series next. 🙂
I’m getting ready to work on Shelby’s book (Finley Creek) and Zoey’s (Small-Town Sheriffs) starting May 1st. I am super-excited to (finally) be able to do another Small-Town Sheriff. I started that series in 2017/2018 and had to drop it when I first fell and ended up in physical therapy. I have also started Nat’s book (PAVAD), for release in 2022! After that, I have some fun things planned for Miranda and Knight, still to go. 😀
SOCIAL MEDIA CHANGES:
I am actually stepping away from social media, especially Facebook, for the rest of 2021. This isn’t a simple decision, as I love having connections with readers and other writers. But… there is a lot of negativity and distractions online, and it’s easy to fall down rabbit holes, or lose my creative focus, cutting into my total writing time each day.
I’ve spent the last few months trying to figure out ways to make this writing thing work more efficiently, even around the need for ongoing PT (I’ll probably be in PT for a long time—especially if I continue to write!), so that I can get all the stories I have in my head out in a reasonable time frame. I have found a few things that have increased my ability to write more words in a shorter amount of time. But it has meant I am making a few changes.
My #1 change is going to be cutting out social media. As much as I can.
Wading through the messages on FB and through email and through private forums I belong to has been too time consuming and distracting for me to be as productive as I want. The one or two hours a day it takes for me to answer emails, messages, and post in a few writing-related groups and forums I belong to, could be spent getting extra words! Which is what I ultimately want, anyway. New words equal lots of new books!!!
Because of this, I’m only going to be available through this blog for the rest of 2021 to see how it goes. I’ll be posting any updates here, and will send newsletter emails only when I have a new release available.
Starting immediately, my husband will take over as my social media manager. He’ll be handling posting links on Facebook when new releases go live, and any other messages I receive. He’s very much like Rafe, Mick, and Nate—gruff, overprotective, and grumbly, and says I can’t play on the internet any longer or he’ll take away all my electronic toys, lol.
His initials are “C.B.” so if an email or message or something else is signed with C.B. instead of C.J.—it’s him, not me!
Saving myself 1-2 hours each day can gain me at least 1500 extra words. That’s half a Masterson a month! Hopefully, this decision will pay off in total productivity!
A FEW OTHER THINGS TO MENTION:
I do plan to revive “Mel’s Musings” as I love Mel, she’s one of my favorite characters. I don’t know how often I’ll post; it just depends on how things go. I do plan to finish Cold Case with Jarrod and Haldyn before they get their own novel. Jude is almost finished (only a few more chapters to write). And she ended up way longer than I ever expected, being as long as a few of the Masterson novellas!
I am also hoping to get some character sheets for each series up online in the next few months and definitely getting an updated reading list on the website. My goal for the summer is to have all the websites and links working and pretty again!
I am also hard at work rewriting my paranormals. This is a heart project for me I intend to see through to the finish line—all 40 or so novels/novellas—over the next several years! I started publishing those books long before I published Watching, the first romantic suspense I ever wrote, and I will not abandon them. I love them too much for that.
If you haven’t checked them out, I have freebies on my sister site (www.callejayebrookes.com). And there is an ongoing blog for that series as well at www.Iamjustavampire.com. These aren’t exactly your typical PNRs, and the heat level is only slightly higher than my romantic suspense. Later books in the series will be just as twisty and complicated as the romantic suspenses.
Anyway, here are the links to the updated Jude & the Barratt Man. I hope you enjoy!
Things are going to be a bit chaotic and messy around here. I’m doing some spring clinging/migrating, etc. Just to make things a bit easier to find before I start getting back into the free reads. Updates will come soon!
On a side note, Searching, (Jac/Max from PAVAD) is coming along nicely. A little later than planned, but it’s also 100 pages longer than anticipated! Stay tuned for details!
It has done nothing but rain here for days. Weeks. The counties around us have been kept busy preventing people from doing something stupid in the floods.
The road that leads to Lacy and Travis’s place has completely washed out. They’re using the old service road that connected her ranch to his for most of the traffic in and out of his ranch now. People have only been leaving when they have to.
She’s been staying with Jillian and Rafe so she can be certain she’ll make it to the hospital for her shifts. I don’t think she and Travis are too thrilled with that idea. Usually, Finley Creek isn’t this wet, but ever so often Mother Nature weeps above us.
Things will have to dry out, that’s for sure.
Barratt County is just as bad, and to top it off, I heard they found a body. Bailey’s been back to W4HAV but she refuses to give me too many of the details. Totally understand, since it’s an active investigation, and all.
I’ve been keeping myself busy going through the sheer amount of journals that are hidden throughout the Barratt Ranch. One of Houghton’s cousins is moving in permanently to take over the place, and Houghton’s been collecting what he and his father owned before that happens.
We’ve been separating Handley’s journals from the rest of his family’s. We’ll be reading them soon.
I’ve been reading one that belongs to Houghton’s great-great-great-great-grandfather Hughes, and another that belongs to Hughes’ second wife. She was actually a Finley.
Fin Coulter and Houghton are very distant cousins, I think.
But this particular journal is full of four brothers who decided to ride to the next ranch over and take four daughters as brides.
Apparently, Barratts really do just find a woman and keep her. No wonder Houghton…well…
Well. It’s official. Rafe, Travis, and Marc are all aliens. And Houghton and Luc are in bed together.
The SnottyGarlic struck again.
This time it was relatively tame, though the articles mentioned aliens. Aliens–the little green kind–are always a favorite of the Garlic. I think that’s why Brynna and Gabby enjoy it so much.
We were mentioned again, but not too badly. Nothing wild or crazy, unlike the week when it was speculated that baby Sara Anne was…you guessed it…an alien.
I thought Brynna was going to never stop laughing. Chance…wasn’t quite as amused. Especially by the fact that they’d gotten a photo of the baby somewhere. But…the photo looked strangely familiar. As if I’d seen that exact photo somewhere before.
I’m more and more convinced that someone on the Garlic is someone that we know.
Anyway, I’ve linked to the issue we’re in. Take a look for yourself. They also mention some of the latest that’s been going on with Value. Apparently the sheriff–Houghton’s second-cousin Clay Addy–and one of his deputies, Bailey, found two bodies somewhere in the county.
I can’t wait until Bailey comes to W4HAV for her next therapy appointment. I have so many questions…
Sometimes I miss solving the puzzles. CSI video games just are not the same…
Well, not much to say. It’s been months since I even thought about blogging. But I’ve been kept very busy. W4HAV has been the primary focus, but Blessed Reunions is getting a lot of my attention too.
As is Houghton. That man, he’s always up to something. The project he was so worried about during the early days of our marriage is complete. His investors—of which Luc is one—are all very pleased with what he came up with. I knew they would be. My husband is nothing if not brilliant.
But Luc and Houghton are working to bring a branch of Lucas Tech down here to Value specifically. And we’re facing more opposition than I would have thought. Marc, too, as governor, is struggling to get backing for his initiatives.
Me, personally—I’m fully behind what Marc is trying to do. Barratt County is one of the smallest in the state. And it’s never been a factory-town kind of place. It’s mostly agricultural. But jobs are scarce. Marc, Houghton, and Luc are trying to change that. But the opposition’s stating that the area doesn’t need another factory to pollute the area.
Which is ridiculous—Luc has dedicated years to developing cleaner industrial technologies. Tech that’s designed to actually clean up the industrial process, as well.
It’s not a miracle cure, of course, and I understand the desire to protect the environment, but people around Barratt County need decent-paying jobs, too.
It is a delicate balance, I suppose. But Luc is throwing himself into it. Marc, and even Houghton, too.
When the three of them get into cahoots like this, I honestly think there’s nothing they can’t accomplish.
It’s all Payton, Ari, and I can do to keep them contained at times.
It’s Ari that worries me. Adjustment to the fishbowl has been tough for her since she married Marc. Payton had her baby, a boy who looks just like Ari and Paige and not like his father at all, four months ago. Patrick is a beautiful little man. They’re supposed to be coming down here tomorrow; it’ll be the first time they’ve traveled with the baby. I can’t wait to get my hands on him again.
Houghton and I visited St. Louis a month ago. Houghton was fascinated with the baby—like he is with all the kids in our life—and I could see the wishes he wasn’t going to voice. Not to me.
The doctors don’t think I’ll be able to have a child. And Houghton doesn’t want to try; at least not yet. Not until I get stronger. I’m not certain how I feel about it yet. Adoption is a strong possibility, but that’s a discussion for when we’ve been married longer.
In the meantime, there are plenty babies and kids around that I can cuddle when the urge hits.
Sara Anne looks so much like Brynna’s baby photos. She’s absolutely beautiful. And we’d unofficially become aunt and uncle to Marc and Ari’s two. Ari is a beautiful mother, and thankfully is healing after what happened to her.
But the best part is that Jillian and Rafe have decided not to wait. And those two overachievers have already managed to make me another niece or nephew.
Dad is over the moon.
Jillian, too. Rafe is terrified, but I think he’ll do just fine. Once his morning sickness subsides, anyway… Jillian says he deserves it. Something about him not wanting Jillian to play on the W4HAV softball team I organized. We played against the local chapter of a popular charity organization in a fundraising event.
We won, too.
But Rafe didn’t think Jillian needed to be pitching that day.
I’m inclined to agree. But my sister has a stubborn streak a mile wide. And she’d worn padding over the baby. I suppose I have to trust Jillian at this point, right? I mean, she’s darned good at taking care of herself–and whoever else is in her sphere.
In the meantime, I’ve been kept busy. I’m still going through the journals I found at the Barratt Ranch. I’m reading a bunch from the late 1800s. It’s where Jude’s story came from. I hope to have another chapter or two rewritten by the end of next week.
I also found a trio of journals from three women in the 1920s. I’m really looking forward to reading through them, as it looked like something ominous was going on at the Barratt Hotel in 1926…
I have to go. Gretchen Reynolds, from St. Louis, is supposed to call me in fifteen minutes.
So…apparently I was wrong. Marc and Ari were together the last time I wrote. Or they were getting together, anyway. What happened to them, especially Ari and Katie, sickens me. That the man responsible was just so casual about causing such terror.
I don’t think I will ever understand it.
Marc and Ari are getting married in the morning. It’s going to be a beautiful wedding. Her sister and brother from St. Louis are flying down, and I think the ones from nearby Garrity are driving up. Ari and Pen have been getting a lot closer since what happened to them.
Syd seems to like Pen a lot, but something is so going on with my youngest sister. I just can’t figure it out. I’ve cornered Syd twice. But only her friend Gracie from St. Louis seems to know the whole story.
I don’t like her not talking to me. I was a big part of her life for so long. I feel like I abandoned her for Houghton sometimes. He understands, and we’ve been trying to bridge the gap, but it’s not been happening. I honestly don’t know what to do.
I think something happened to Syd. Besides the crap that’s happened to all of us recently. But she won’t tell me what.
I may have to do some asking around–but maybe that would be considering interfering? Syd is technically an adult. Capable of living her life on her own. I should probably mind my own business until she’s ready to talk…
I just don’t know how long that will be.
I do have some wonderful news, though.
I’m going to be an aunt again. Ari is also going to be an aunt. And so is Lacy. 😉 Give you one guess which couple got busy! (Hint: Ari gets to be a double aunt, through Marc…and…)
Yep. Jillian. Apparently one of his brothers put the idea in Rafe’s head, and the big guy went with it.
Jillian is thrilled with the baby, not so thrilled with the morning sickness.
I’m pretty certain Rafe has her carried into the ER each day on a throne, he’s so gone over her.
Lacy is fully healed, as are both Jillian and Rafe. Ari is doing better after what happened to her. As are Katie, Isaac, and Marc. They are such a beautiful family to see.
I think the entire state of Texas thinks so, too.
We’re having the wedding here, so Chance can keep a handle on security. Everyone from the papers out of Austin to that damned Snotty Garlic have practically been hounding Ari.
It’s taking her some time to adjust to being in the fishbowl with Marc, but he’s made it absolutely clear to everyone to give her space–or they’ll deal with him.
He’s beautiful with her. I love watching all this happen to the ones I love–though I can certainly do without the danger and drama that seems to follow my family everywhere!
In the meantime, I have some other things brewing lately. I’ve been doing a lot of work for Blessed Reunions, and Gretchen Reynolds (Gracie’s aunt from St. Louis) has said that I can hire someone to help me part-time. My Dad has agreed to take the position!
After he tracks down Houghton’s missing father.
Apparently, my father is almost 100% certain he saw my father-in-law snooping around W4HAV the other day…
Well, I have neglected this blog, haven’t I? I’ve really intended to keep up with it, but Houghton constantly manages to distract me. I have gotten several new chapters written in my historicals, but with everything else that’s happened lately, I’ve not been able to get nearly as ahead as I wish.
For one thing, Jillian and Rafe—it was horrible! We could have lost them, and Ari, so easily. That we didn’t was a miracle in itself.
Jillian is healed now, and living with Rafe. It’s strange, going over to Dad’s now. Syd is hanging out in St. Louis more and more. She’s going through something; whatever it is truly scares me. And I can’t get her to open up at all.
Bryn is happily nested across the road, but she’s still in and out, I think. Same for Jillian next door. It’s like they’re there, but not.
It’s still a bit strange seeing Jillian and Rafe together, but they really fit each other well. Same as Lacy and Travis. Those two were married two days ago, in a little meadow between their two ranches.
It was ridiculously cute. I never would have pictured the two of them together, but when I see them now it’s obvious they are so right for each other.
It’s Ari and Marc that are worrying me tonight. (Why do I always write more when I’m worried about someone?)
Not that they’re together or anything like that. At least I don’t think they are. If they are, it is a surprise to me!
They are very pretty together, though.
Marc has been hard at work at a new jobs initiative and a quest to find the traffickers of that drug Solpalmtraln that nearly got both Lacy and Jillian (and Travis, Rafe, and Ari) all killed.
Marc’s gone all rabid over it. Not that I blame him. There are times I just itch to get back out there and do something again.
Managing Houghton can be a full-time job, of course, but it’s just not the same.
Even Gretchen has very little for me at times. It’s a real hit-or-miss in the lost loved ones business.
Houghton and Luc have been really busy lately. It involves Gab and Bryn, so I have had a front row seat for most of it. The two have designed something that Luc and my husband are squabbling over. They really are a couple of little boys at times.
Adorable, in their own special ways, but when it comes to technology, they are ruthless with their competitors—even when that means each other. I just managed to stop Houghton from paying one of his people to hack Luc’s system last week.
But this device is a bit different. It’s Gabby, Brynna, and Carrie’s idea. They’ll split the profits, once they decide who to sell it to. It’s funny, watching Luc and Houghton court the three of them. I think Houghton will win out, because of the family connection and all. But who knows?
It’s this nifty little tracking device that also monitors vital statistics. It’s extremely small, and fits in a small piece of jewelry. It recharges from the heat of the wearer’s skin. Very revolutionary.
It’s basically better than GPS. I don’t fully understand what makes it so special, but Gab and Bryn have been super excited about it.
They even have prototypes. I’m testing one out now. We’re currently at our home in Mexico. My device is installed in a waterproof ankle bracelet. I haven’t taken it off. Even when in the pool daily. They wanted to see how it would hold up submerged on a regular basis.
Gab and Bryn will analyze the data later.
I think Lacy’s wearing one right now, too. In Wyoming. She and Travis took off up there yesterday, even though they were supposed to be on their honeymoon. Something to do with Travis’ breeding program.
Ari and Jillian were tapped for this little experiment, too. Gabby and Brynna like to use the three of them when they can.
Jillian gets to be the control subject. She got a bit miffed when Brynna told her it was because she never got to go anywhere exciting or fun. Lacy gets to wear one because it monitors vital stats in high stakes situations. Like surgery and trauma.
Ari travels more than the other two—she still goes between Austin and Finley Creek, with a few side trips each month up to Luc’s. They are going to see how the device performs at a distance.
It’s going to be interesting, once it’s finished. And very useful. After all that has happened to my family—and me—over the last year or so, having a way to track each other could very well be worth it.
I hope Barratt wins with this. I may talk to Houghton and see just what it is he’s offering. Then talk to my sisters and Gab. Find out exactly where we stand…