IMG_4077I do think it’s important every once in awhile to take stock of one’s life. To really look at what’s going on. Sometimes it’s to re-evaluate and make adjustments to the course of my life. But this week I just want to share some of the things I’m truly grateful for.

1. The hubster – He drives me insane. He makes me laugh. He leaves his laundry laying around. He understands my needs like no one else on earth. He’s me best friend and I love him with all my heart.

2. Beautiful Girl – She’s trying to figure out exactly where her life is going. But 09_30 SeptI have no doubt she’ll find her way in this world because she’s got a good head on her shoulders, she’s married an amazing man and now has the most adorable baby that we love to shower with grandparent hugs and kisses!

3. Baby Girl – I am SO proud of her! She fought her way out of the depths of addiction Baby Girland has set her sights on some new goals including going back to school to finish her RN degree. I know she’s strong enough to keep working to achieve them. She’s beautiful and smart and I have no doubt she’s going to work through it all. She’s also blessed us with a sweet grandson who is full of love and has a great imagination and pulls us into his silly worlds to play. Baby Girl has also found a wonderful man who is holding her heart and her son with a gentle hand.

4. Little Boy Blue – I’m not sure where this incredibly sensitive young man figured matt4out how to be such a gentle-man. He’s got a great job and now a fiance! How lucky are we that we’re adding another daughter to our growing family. *sigh* Yep, truly blessed.

5. My extended family – They’re wild and crazy. I don’t get to see them very often, but when we’re together it’s amazing. They’ve been amazingly supportive through the rough road of our lives over the past several years. There’s no way Mr. Nina and I could have made it through without them. I love them one and all.

6. Writing – With all the changes in the publishing world, more and more writers are putting out books one after another. I found that statistic very depressing that I couldn’t keep up … but you know what? Not everyone can say they’re a published author and I am very grateful I can add that to my resume! Writing has become a part of who I am. I know I’ll find my way back to it very soon.

7. My editor – Mwah! I love her! She’s so supportive. Faith from Demon for Details has come to terms with my “pepper shaker” method of comma usage and dangling modifiers (whatever the heck they are). Without her my books would be lacking. Thank you for your amazing patience Faith!

8. MRW – The Maine chapter of Romance Writers. They’re there to double my triumphs and share my disappointments. I don’t think they realize how much they do for me.

9. Writing Friends – I have so many friends I’ve never met in person, but who have become important to me. There are days when I’m not sure I can type another word, but they’re there to cheer me on.

casper_van_dien_0210. Walking – This is not to be overlooked. I’m moving slower these days, but I’m still moving and I’m grateful every day that I’m still on my feet.

11. Flash Drives – This little device has saved my butt more times than I can count. Not the least of which was having all my precious books held safely the day my computer crashed. Repeat after me … backing up is a writer’s best friend.

12. Military Families – I don’t care what your stand is on the wars we’re involved in, you can’t sit down at your Thanksgiving table without thinking of the brave men and women and their families who are sacrificing this holiday season. Thank you one and all.

13. Good Looking Men – Oh, come on … you knew I needed to include this one! *g* I love them on my covers. I love them decorating my blog.

Wow, it seems romance chat is hitting the airwaves hard and I’m loving it! Unfortunately not always with a positive twist … which I’ve never understood. Here’s my view. If a book has characters working on a relationship (and who isn’t?) then it can fall into the romance genre. They’re likely trying to save the world, bring down the bad guy or save a man/woman from themselves, but still … it’s romance. Not every romance is a Harlequin category. But I think that’s what readers are thinking when they say they don’t like romance.

Just the other day I was chatting with a guy who was surprised to realize romance was so much more than English Lords seducing the naive virgin Countess in hopes of stealing her land. He went so far as to say that perhaps romance writers actually seem to love men and may actually be advocating for wonderfully naughty things to be done to them.
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You can never have too many sexy men posted on a blog … especially when they’re wearing kilts. Enjoy ladies. 😉

1. The origin of the kilt is hotly debated … somewhere around the 16 or 1700’s depending on who you believe. But there’s no doubt woman are celebrating its introduction to the world!

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frustrationI know. I know. In the nine years since starting this blog I’ve never been this inconsistent posting. But really, every time I think I’m getting my feet on the ground, life knocks them right out from under me and straight on my @$$ !

A little over five years ago, Mr. Nina lost his job at a hospital in northern Maine where he’d worked for 22 years. No problem. I had really been wanting to move for a very long time. I was tired of living in the willy-wags in the middle of nowhere, where the most excitement came from my weekly trip to Wally-world for grocery shopping and social time (because everyone was shopping)!
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vietnam-memorialI’ve never been to war. I watch it from the comfort of my kitchen usually while I’m cooking dinner from a well-stocked refrigerator.

I’ve never carried a gun. But my heart aches for those who carry one every day, knowing it could be the only thing that saves their life or that of a fellow soldier.

I’ve never said goodbye to someone I love, fearing I may never see them again. But I’ve watched flag-draped caskets arrive back on US soil, where mothers and fathers grieve the loss of a child.

I’ve never had to be separated from someone who is my whole world while they fight for a freedom I get to appreciate every day. But I’ve known brave families who get down on their knees every night and pray for the day they can hold their husband/daddy/wife/mommy in their arms again.
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I’ve just passed my 10th anniversary. Oh, not of my marriage. 10 years ago this past June I broke my chalk and picked up a keyboard. Yep — I became a fulltime writer. And it’s amazing to me how things have changed in my life.

The first year it was me and the computer. Simple. I got up I figured out where my story was going and I wrote. Family members were my beta readers. They read. They critiqued. I adjusted. What a simple life of writing. And one that made me very happy.
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Yes I’m an author. I love writing books. It’s what I do. But as I’ve said over and over and over again, being a writer also means I am the publisher and the marketing department for my books.

It still eludes me exactly what makes a best seller in this market. It’s not only a great cover and catchy blurb. Not just wonderfully well-written story and great reviews. It’s not social media and guest blogs. You know how I know that? Because none of that is working for me. Been there. Done that. Have the bruises to prove it.

So I’m trying something again. I’m giving away one of books for FREE. That’s right, “BLIND HER WITH BLISS” is now free on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, KoboAll Romance Ebooks, and iTunes  How long will I keep it free? I’m not sure.
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Okay, I know I’m a romance writer and I write about kissing all the time. But really, if you read any of my descriptions (like many romance authors) there are a lot of generalities in the description of kissing. But the one that I’ve been reading a lot is the … “wow, he was a wonderful kisser.”

Seriously? What the heck does that mean?

Nina’s confession #573 I’ve kissed like 4 guys in my life. The first one was in 6th grade when I was caught behind the trees on the playground and got sent to the principal’s office. My first French kiss was with a summer fling with a young man from Canada. Yeah, that always kind of cracked me up. Then there’s Mr. Nina. We kissed when I was 14 and well … we were both too young and inexperienced to know what we were doing. Thirty-some-odd years later our kissing is really nice. Sweet and gentle or flirty and quite naughty. But we’ve grown used to each other. It’s comfortable.

I know there’s an art to kissing. You can find research all over the Internet with advice–mostly for teens. But I’m sure this is something single adults must discuss … don’t they?

I mean there has got to be all kinds of kissing techniques … isn’t there?

Mr. Nina is usually pretty understanding about my forays into research for my books. But even he wouldn’t be that understanding if I decided to do some personal research into different techniques men use for kissing. So that means I need to turn to you all! What makes a really good kisser (and I mean of either sex)? Soft lips? A gentle tongue? Oh, I really want to ask some graphic questions, but I already sense those snickers from all of you.

Just consider this like scientific research for me. I’d really like to know what you consider a really nice kiss. It could be sweet or hot or just comforting. Tell me about it. I’m dying of curiousity.

circuitsI’ve been at this crazy business of writing for awhile now. As you know by now, it didn’t start out as a hobby for me… I jumped in with both feet. Put all my pens in one container and started.

Easy… nope.

Worth it… oh yeah!

Often the first question asked of a writer… “Where do the stories come from?”

For a long time I couldn’t answer that question. Mostly because I felt silly telling people that I simply wrote romances I’d like to read. It wasn’t the book of my dreams or a story that had been nagging me to be told. It just was…
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IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE! When the concept of this firefighter box set stole into my brain back in May, this day seemed a loooong way off. But it’s finally the release day for UNCONTROLLED BURN, my firefighter novel found exclusively in the INTO THE FLAMES anthology.

I’ve picked 13 of my favorite passages from the novel. Please enjoy:

1.  The smile was reptilian, as if Satan himself had taken possession of this wayward soul.
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