This man doesn’t look like he wants to get married. Neither does his bride. In fact, she’s fainted dead away at the alter. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON???? And why oh why is this a Valentine’s Day blog post? Doesn’t seem very romantic, if you ask me.

Take a closer look. The bride is wearing a beautiful gown. Her hair is all done-up. She’s gone to the trouble to wear white gloves and a gorgeous long veil. She wants to look pretty for her man. So why did she pass out? And why does her groom look so grim?

Because he’s not her groom. He’s the best man. He’s been waiting for the ceremony to begin, his tongue as dry as an old dishtowel and his heart splatting against his ribs like a too-ripe tomato, until the church secretary rushes into the sanctuary to deliver shocking news: the groom has peeled out of the parking lot and isn’t coming back.

When the bride wilts, the best man lunges to catch her. He’s not letting go, either, because he’s fallen in love with her. Now that he finally has her in his arms, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her. From now on, she’ll be his Valentine. No one else’s.

How’s that for romance?

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This painting is on display at the Delaware Museum of Art.

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I cringe whenever I have to self-promote, so please forgive me for taking a moment to say that my new release, TURN TO HER, is available now.

Ivan Antonov is a bona fide genius, with more patents than any graduate student on campus. Everyone thinks he’s just a brain with no heart, and maybe they’re right. Whenever he opens up, anger spews out. He’s tired of being used for his intellect, tired of fixing everyone else’s problems, and tired of the women’s groups that spew man-hate all over campus. Before he graduates, he’s going to dismantle The Women’s Grid and anything else like it.

His quest inadvertently targets Tia Garcia, the gorgeous psychology intern who lives next door to Ivan. She’s all about helping women become self-sufficient, and she’s agreed to participate in her colleague’s ground-breaking experiment. The experiment pairs her with Ivan, the brawny neighbor who is difficult to read. He’s sexy as heck, but he insists that her women-only seminars need to include men. If she can’t preserve her program’s integrity, she might lose the post-doctoral job she wants.

There’s a reason Ivan is determined to defund programs like hers, but he can’t tell her why. If he does, he’ll have to admit that one night, he wasn’t so smart after all. So he buries the truth and works like hell to redeem himself. While he’s at it, he’ll stop the ruthless group of people who want to tear him down, but what could be more heartless than targeting the only woman who wants to read him right? And what could be more stupid than falling in love with a woman who’s smart enough to figure out his darkest secret?

Available for $3.99 at Amazon, Nook, Smashwords, and iBooks. Priced at $8.50 in print.

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What’s next? Well, I’m finishing up a novella called WORTH THE RISK. I plan to give away this novella to the people on my newsletter, and I’d like you to have a free copy, too! Click here to sign up for my quarterly newsletter on my official author website. Your email won’t to shared with anyone, and you’ll receive up-to-date news about upcoming releases and giveaways.

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Phew, the self-promotion is over. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Think of two people who are crazy in love with each other. They might look something like this:


Wait, this couple doesn’t lovey-dovey at all. There’s no flirting between them, no nervous giggles, and no longing looks. Ugh, not romantic at all!

Look a little closer. The line of the woman’s shoulder points to the gentleman. His hand is positioned a lot like hers. They are sitting in similar chairs, perhaps ones from the same dining room set. Back in the year 1824, portraits like these were the closest folks could get to a “selfie.” The poses may look stiff, but this couple’s backstory is compelling: Priscilla Cobb (left) was the daughter of a wealthy family in Mississippi. She fell in love with Calvin Smith (right), who was clearing land that would eventually become his farm. Priscilla’s rich parents weren’t happy about her affection for an aspiring farmer, so Priscilla and Calvin ran away and got married.

Now THAT’S romantic. Being together was so important to Priscilla and Calvin, nothing would stop them. They defied the wishes of her powerful family. They eloped in the hope that their love was worth the gamble.

I’m happy to report that eventually, Priscilla’s parents accepted the marriage. In other good news, Priscilla and Calvin’s humble farm became a prosperous plantation. The two portraits pictured above were done thirty-three years after they eloped, when the happy couple visited their daughter in Philadelphia. By that time, Priscilla and Calvin could afford to hire a distinguished artist to paint their portraits. This artist was a man named Bass Otis, who painted a portrait of someone else you might know: U.S. President William Henry Harrison.

You might say that for Priscilla and Calvin, love was definitely worth the risk. Their portraits are currently on display at the Delaware Museum of Art.

 

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There’s something odd about Liberty. She rarely smiles and she’s always carrying something – a heavy book, a lighted torch, an unwieldy bunch of branches. Can’t she lighten up? She’s free, after all. Why not change out of those heavy robes, throw away that gosh-awful hat, and have a picnic?

No can do. Liberty doesn’t have time for a day off. She’s got tons of responsibilities. Her to-do list is miles long. She must protect what’s important to her, kind of like a mom who has millions of kids. Unfortunately, many of those kids don’t think about her unless it’s July fourth. Jeez, no wonder Liberty isn’t smiling. The poor woman needs more love…and a spa day.

If you happen to spot Lady Liberty on the American half dollar coin, take a second look. She was designed by A. A. Weinman, a sculptor who etched Liberty as she walks toward the dawn of a new day. Liberty is draped in our nation’s flag and carries branches that symbolize civil and military glory. Why? Maybe Weinman understood the precious cost of liberty. When he was ten years old, he fled Germany to become an American. Years later, when he designed this coin, the land he chose to call home was about to declare war on the nation of his birth.

Did Weinman feel conflicted about America’s fight against Germany in World War I? I don’t know, but I do know he etched the majestic eagle that appears on the other side of this coin. Right below the eagle, Mr. Weinman put his initials (AW) for all to see. I think it would be fair to say that he put his stamp of approval on the good ol’ USA.

I have a feeling that whenever someone stands up for freedom like Mr. Weinman did, stern Lady Liberty bursts into a wide smile.

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To read more about the “Walking Liberty” coin, click here to visit the Wikipedia page.

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The lens we use to view the world makes all the difference. I tend to be a “big picture” kind of gal. The overall composition of an idea or a photo matters to me more than tiny details…until I tried a “macro” lens on my camera. I pointed that new lens at a glop of snow perched on our weather-worn fence and saw something I’d never seen before: individual snowflakes. AMAZING! Can you see those tiny beauties? They’re stunning, all of them. Even the ones with crystals bent at odd angles.

For me, there’s a profound lesson within this picture: if you look close enough, you’ll see beauty in imperfection.

I’m rarely so accepting of my own flaws. Too often, I allow my weaknesses stop me. I avoid risk because I’m afraid I’ll fail. I’ll avoid people, too. Do you do the same thing? Do you listen to that scared voice in your head, the one that says your bent angles aren’t good enough?

Let’s stop doing that to ourselves. In 2018, let’s look through a different lens, one that allows us to see the beauty in our bent angles. Truth is, those unusual angles catch the light and make us shine.

 

 

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It started small. I slapped an Eagles magnet on my neighbor’s mailbox when I learned he was a Steelers fan. A few weeks later, he slapped a Steelers magnet on our mailbox, complete with black and yellow streamers. Oh yes, people. I’d finally found someone who understood the pranking game.

Here are the rules of engagement: keep things funny and easily removable. ALSO, allow enough time to elapse so your neighbor doesn’t expect the prank. That’s key. So, I let months pass. At the start of the next football season, I waited until the dead of night and placed a small snowman on my neighbor’s front porch. This snowman happened to be two feet high and wore an Eagles sweatshirt. Perfect for the task. Much to my delight, my neighbor didn’t notice the snowman for days. My Eagles snowman became a proud sentry in front of the house of a die-hard Steelers fan. I laughed every time I drove by. I still snicker whenever I think about that prank.

I waited for his response. Months passed. A year passed. The 2017 football season started. This time around, my Eagles were on fire – undefeated for much of the autumn! My glee knew no bounds! Finally, we were bound for the playoffs! Fly Eagles, fly!!! The world finally made sense, except for one thing. A landscaping company kept tossing advertisements onto my driveway. Day after day. For weeks. As soon as I picked one up, another one would appear. I was the only one who got bombarded by these pamphlets. I was beginning to think my yard really needed landscaping…until my neighbor confessed that he’d collected ALL of the items so he could toss them into my driveway whenever he walked his dog.

Well played, my friend.

I let some time pass, but I was anxious to pay him back. The Christmas season arrived and temperatures dipped into the single digits. No one in their right mind would pull a prank in this horrific weather. I scurried into my basement, dusted off a HUGE inflatable snowman, and snuck to my neighbor’s house in the dark. I tried to be quiet, which wasn’t easy. Dead leaves make a huge crunch every time you step on them. Dogs pick up on those noises. Those noises get quite loud when you trip on the extension cord you’re carrying. Those noises sound like cannon-fire when you’re wrestling a gigantic inflatable snowman who refuses to stand up straight. Those noises threaten to reveal every prankster when she stubs her toe on a heavy piece of firewood. Those noises are totally worth it when you get this photograph of your efforts:

Behold, the gigantic snowman inflatable standing at the end of my neighbor’s driveway. We live in very dark woods, so Frosty lights up the place like a bright lighthouse in the middle of a dark storm. SOOOOOOOOO fantastic! Fortunately, my neighbor thought the sudden appearance of an enormous snowman on his property was a riot. We’ve been laughing about my masterful prank for the past week.

Like any good prankster, I reclaimed the snowman and plunked him in my yard on New Year’s Eve. Here he is in daylight:

If I begin 2018 by pranking myself, do you think that’ll stop my neighbor from pranking me? To be continued…

Happy new year, friends!

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In 2015, I spent a long afternoon on the computer, pasting my brother’s picture into a mock-up of Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” cover as a gag gift to him for Christmas. Imagine my shock when I opened my Christmas gift from him: he’d spent a long afternoon pasting my picture into the “Person of the Year” cover.

In 2016, I decided to order a huge blow-up picture of my brother for his Christmas gift. Unfortunately, I’d waited too long to place the order. Imagine my shock when he mentioned that he wanted to order a huge blow-up picture of myself for my Christmas gift, but he’d waited too long to place the order.

This year, I searched high and low to find a unique Christmas gift. I settled upon a T-shirt with a picture of the Periodic Table that read “I wore this T-shirt periodically.” Imagine my shock when I opened my Christmas gift: he purchased the same exact T-shirt for me.

No, we aren’t twins. I’m two years older than my brother. We live in different states. We see each other two or three times a year. We call each other on occasion, particularly when we’ve got a story to share about our kids (who are roughly the same age). Ours isn’t the type of relationship where we’re in constant contact, but if something goes wrong in my life, he’s the first person I want to call. I know he’ll listen, I know he’ll understand me on a level that no one else can, and I know he’ll say what I need to hear. What an incredible gift!

Even though I know he’s going to buy me the same Christmas gift that I’ll get for him, that’s a small price to pay for this strong connection we share.

In case you’re wondering: next year, I’m giving my brother a million dollars for Christmas.

 

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It’s December, which means SANTA.

Check out this guy.
He looks jolly, but he’s got weird taste in toys.


This poor soul caught stomach flu last night
and came to work to infect everyone else:


Next, take a look at the Santa
who knows all the words to Jimmy Buffet’s song, Margaritaville:


This next guy looks nice, but I think
he’d better check the expiration dates on his food:


This fellow made me feel naughtier than usual.
Don’t know if that’s good or bad:


This guy insisted he’s the REAL Santa.
I decided not to point out all of the other guys behind him:


I gotta say that this guy caught my fancy.
He brings gifts and fixes the leaky dishwasher.
This man is GOLD, people:

Finally, I present to you the Santa with good manners.
He covers his mouth when he sneezes:


My favorite Santa is #7. He can rock red plaid, shop for gifts,
and fix my leaky sink. Heck, he can probably even braid my hair!

HO HO HO
Which Santa is your favorite?

 

 

 

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This year, I’m grateful for all the things that terrify me.
I’m particularly grateful for friends who invite me to the library
to read an excerpt of my upcoming release to total strangers.


I’m grateful for a terrifying ride on a massive dune buggy
that rattle my teeth and make photography a huge challenge.
But we did get this shot, so all’s good…and my teeth haven’t fallen out.


I’m grateful for the terrifying prospect of releasing a new book.
It’ll be available, soon, and the cover is gorgeous.


Most of all, though, I’m terrified of being a world without readers…
But that will never happen because of people like you!


 

 

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I went to a restaurant, saw this guy, and wondered if I should talk to him.Have you seen the movie, BIG?
Do you remember what happened when the boy talked to this guy?
I remembered, yet I handed this guy a dollar bill for my so-called fortune.
The chat didn’t go well. Zoltar said I’d see some very weird things. He was right.

Zoltar also warned me to be careful.
He said I’d meet a man that I wouldn’t be able to resist.
Essentially, Zoltar said I’d step out on my husband, which is outrageous.
I mean, I’d never, EVER, touch another man or be with another man or kiss him.

Er, I can explain.
You see, ah, I’ve been cooped up in my office for months.
I happened to write a letter to Santa, and we hit it off.
We’re just pen-pals, that’s all. I swear!
And, um, here’s a flower.

This post brought to you by Lynn Kellan.
She’s weird.

 

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