Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tuesday Treats: Fall Recipes!

FrozenLimeDessertCome check out the Tuesday Treat recipes on Smart Girls Read Romance blog! TurkeyPerfect timing for Thanksgiving and fall weather!


Click here for deliciousness that will make you drool!

Favorite Fall Treat – Buckeyes!

I used to live in Ohio in elementary school, and my mother would always make Buckeyes around Halloween (chocolate covered peanut butter rolls). I’d help roll the dough/batter into little balls and dunk them in the chocolate. My favorite October/November treat! Almost better than Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, but with extra love.

Here’s the recipe (enjoy!):Buckeyes

Ingredients (makes 30 buckeyes):

1 1/2 cups peanut butter (I use Jiff), 1 cup softened butter, 6 cups confectioner’s sugar, 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I like milk chocolate), 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, wax paper roll, 30 toothpicks (minimum)

Prep: 15 minutes, Bake: 5min, Ready in 50min

In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and sugar. The dough will look dry. Roll into 1in balls and place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Press a toothpick into the middle of each ball (to be used later for dipping), and chill in the freezer until firm (about 30min). Melt chocolate chips in double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir chocolate frequently until smooth (do not leave unattended). Dip cold peanut butter balls in chocolate holding onto the toothpick. Leave a small portion of the peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like buckeyes. Put back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until serving.

September 11th Memorial- 14 Years Later, I Still Remember

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 6.32.37 PM“Though the road has bends and turns, and my spirit suffers,

Humans fail, systems fail, shadows fall.

But the ruts run deep, cut by the blood of faces above,

And voices now silent…

But the message loud is heard: “Homeland, homeland.

Renew your youth, restore your soul!”

Homeland, the country that I love, hold out your arms to me.

I strive for you, and give to you the best I hope to be.Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 6.29.32 PM

May your wisdom be your armour, your compassion be your sword;

May your strength be forged with mercy, your courage lives restore.

Homeland, the country that I love, forever reign supreme;

And when time stands still, my homeland, may heaven hold your dream.”

– Z. Randall Stroope, Homeland

On 9/11, I was in my first semester of college. I was a member of the Women’s Choir at ASU. Right before Thanksgiving break, our concert included this song, in memory of the terrorist attack that day, and all the lives lost. Someone presented a slideshow over our heads as we sang these words. A slideshow of the memories of that day. The audience was crying through the whole song. I didn’t make it through the second chorus without plenty of tears. Every time I hear this song, even today, I tear up.

I will always remember. After everything, I still give to you everything I hope to be.

God Bless America

Happy Birthday, to my Hubby

Today, my hubby has reached a major milestone: the top of a hill most archeologists would date back to 25 years ago. But to me, it’s not a hill: it’s a pedestal.BryanSusieFormal

Happy birthday, B. The “butter to my bread, the breath to my life.” My partner in crime. Thank you for you: for saving me from vicious spiders, for eating my terrible cooking with a smile, for lending me your patience when I’ve none left, for being the most awesome father to our two boys, and keeping laughter alive in our house.Pinata

April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day – Light It Up Blue

Wear Blue today, to support those living with Autism. Now 1 in 68 kids. Mine included.

Light It Up BlueAutismLIUB

CadenCollageMy name is Caden.
I am 6 and I have Autism.
I love to play trains, build tracks, and go swimming.
My favorite super hero is Mr. Incredible. I like to draw the robot with 3 arms.
I like to play video games like Mario Kart and Mario Galaxy. I am a whiz on the iPad.
Thunder and other loud noises scare me. Large crowds used to scare me, too, but I went to the circus this year and loved it.
My best subjects are math and science, and I just learned to write my name this year.
I have a stuffed animal Bowser that goes everywhere with me. And every Christmas, my family takes me to ride the Polar Express.
Sometimes there’s too much going on in a room, and I can’t concentrate. Many times I can’t hear what someone is saying, even if they’re right in front of me. Eye contact is hard for me, too, but I’m working on it every day.
Sometimes I stutter, because the words go through my brain faster than my mouth. I have a very good memory, and can repeat entire Thomas the Train episodes or movie lines having only seen it once.
When friends don’t let me play with them, I get very sad. It hurts my feelings. Sometimes I can’t control my emotions and the only way to let it out is to hit myself. I get embarrassed. It helps when my friends ignore when I do that, and continue to play with me anyway.
I love my litter brother, and I’m very good at making him laugh.
I am silly, I am smart, and I am loving.
My name is Caden, and I have Autism.
Light It Up Blue ‪#‎LIUB‬ ‪#‎AutismAwareness‬

Upcoming Book Signings, Galore!

So many awesome book signings coming up, in case you didn’t know.

The biggest one is at the RT Book Convention at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, rtdallasTX on Saturday, May 16th, 2015. I’ll be signing both Audrey’s Promise Prince of Solana in the largest reader convention showcase ever! I’d love to see you! Click here for details!

If you can’t wait that long, I have 2 others at local libraries. The first is:

Haltom City Library’s ‘A Night of Romance’ on Friday, Feb 13th 6:30-Chocolate_Candies_Cupcakes8:30pm

A whole bunch of local romance authors will be selling and signing books, while mingling with readers, and even possibly reading a few excerpts. I’ll be signing Audrey’s Promise. Click here for details!


Keller Library Author Showcase on Saturday, March 21st 12noon – 2:30pm

More details coming soon, but a whole bunch of local authors from various genres will be selling & signing books, myself included! Specifically both Audrey’s Promise Prince of Solana. The Keller library is off Johnson Rd in Keller, TX. Would love to see you if you’re in the area!

Channeling My Inner Olaf

First, a thousand apologies for my silence over the last month. Crazy busy, throw in a holiday or two, the flu ravaging through my household, and prepping for a move, I haven’t even had spare time to respond to texts or waste on Facebook much either. Let alone invest in my writing.

Sadly, I did not meet my goal of finishing Jewel of Solana by the end of 2014. I’m 10,000 words short. :(

Yep, I’m in the creative doghouse. But strangely enough, that’s not what I’m here to discuss.

I’m here to talk about Winter. She’s cold. Bitter. Relentless. Whipping. At least, from a southerner’s perspective. I know we Texans haven’t received anywhere close to the brunt of the recent cold snaps smothering the country, but it’s way colder than what we’re used to. And for a person who was born in the tropics, it’s doubly brutal.

It doesn’t help that we’re in the middle of prepping our house to put it on the market in just a few short weeks. We have to fix the ‘curb appeal,’ and sub-freezing temperatures makes the outdoor task quite unappealing. Yes, I’m whining about the cold. Full disclosure, I’m a baby when it comes to winter. I love snow, the pretty wonderlands described in carols, the hot chocolate and warm fires. The images you see in Christmas cards and the December/January months of calendars you hang on the wall. All for it. But when it comes with nasty wind chills and ice/sleet/freezing rain, I’d rather curl up in a ball and cry.

When will it be spring? I’m channeling my inner Olaf from Frozen. Imagine how much cooler I’ll be in summer.OlafSummerBottom line, I’m doing all this because it’s a huge dream for my family. One we’ve been waiting to fulfill for several years. And no matter what time of year it is or the weather, it’s worth it.

Another of my favorite Olaf quotes:



Death to Spike :)

Good news: the Lithotripsy procedure today was a success. The better news,

Happy Pills

Happy Pills

Hydrocodone is still my best friend.

Spike Demon Stone has been obliterated (we think).

The procedure wasn’t even 45 minutes, and they blasted little Spike Demon Stone to smithereens. I woke up very sore on the left side, obviously. Since they basically used my kidney as a punching bag for this nifty sound wave contraption. I’m grateful I decided to have this procedure, because according to the surgeon, Spike hadn’t moved very far at all. In an entire month, he was still in same spot.

Stubborn little sucker.

After I was released, we came home, I had some food, and indulged in my new best friend.

More importantly, the meds kicked in about 10 minutes ago and I feel fabulous. Hopefully I’ll pass the remnants of Spike over the next 24 hours and all will be back to normal.

Just thought all of you wanted an update on my saga. Happy Dance time!

Kidney Stone Saga: Death to Spike

I promised an update regarding my saga with this kidney stone. Yes, only 1 kidney stone, and it’s still considered a saga.

I’ve decided to name it Spike. Because on the CT scan, there’s one giant spike sticking out of it that’s causing the majority of the pain.


Spike Demon Stone

Spike Demon Stone.

No relation to Sharon Stone.

The urologist gave me 3 options, none of which I liked.

The first option was to let it continue on its course and pass naturally. Which could take 4-6 weeks. (I nearly threw up at that statement).

The second option was Lithotripsy. (I stare at him with a dumbfounded expression). The shockwave technology procedure uses a laser through water to obliterate Spike into much smaller pieces, making it easier to pass. The procedure requires anesthesia, hence hubby would have to stay home from work to drive me home and take care of the kids.

The third option was to use a scope to “go in and get it.” This procedure also uses anesthesia, but more importantly requires a stent for another 5-7 days to prevent the tube from swelling shut. The medication to help control this would dry up my breastmilk supply for good.

That automatically excluded option 3. I refuse to choose that option if there’s anything else on the table.

Then the urologist was quick to point out that if option #2 wasn’t successful, he’d advance to #3 anyway. (He was so direct and quick in this statement, and said it without any kind of empathy or blip of understanding of my concerns, I wanted to sock him in the jaw).

I ignored his statement and went back to the first option. There would be no way I could make it through another 4 weeks without strong pain medication. But the meds I was currently taking made me so loopy, I couldn’t drive. (I was on my way to ask for a different kind of med that was just as strong, but wouldn’t make me drowsy.)

The doctor immediately cut me off and discussed the Lithotripsy procedure. (Again, wanted to sock him in the jaw.) He made it sound like it was no big deal. It would be very successful given Spike’s size and location. Then immediately stands up and brings his nurse in (without letting me finish my questions). The nurse walks in and is very nice. She discusses post op care, restrictions, all that fun jazz. But then drops another bomb.

The doctor only does these procedures on Mondays and Tuesdays. The worst possible days for my family’s schedule.

Long story shorter: after numerous phone calls begging for different options, I’m scheduled for lithotripsy in 2 weeks on a Thursday (they are squeezing me in between his other kinds of surgeries). I also asked the nurse for a different pain med so I could drive during this timeframe.

money_down_toilet 2Here’s to hoping I pass Spike before the shockwave stuff in 2 weeks. I’d rather avoid more medical bills on top of all the other stuff I’ve gone through this year. Giving birth to a baby, 3 ER visits, gall bladder removal, and the corresponding meds: I really could use a break.

I’m sick of bills. I’m sick of being stuck on hold with our incompetent insurance provider, thereby making us go over on our minutes for our cell plan. I’m sick of missing writers meetings and putting my family out. I’m sick of using the little strainer they gave me to “catch” Spike. I’m sick of having to throw out all of this breast milk because of the meds.

Spike: You are evil. Your time on this Earth is severely limited.

Now it’s time for more coffee. Perhaps a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Kidney Stones and Hydrocodone

It’s been over a week and this selfish kidney stone has decided to make a pillspermanent residence in my system. Supposedly, there’s only 1, and supposedly, it’s small enough to pass on its own. But by the number of pain pills I’ve taken since last Wednesday, I’m doubting that information.

Obviously, I can’t drive while I’m on this medication. I can’t even write. Good Lord, what kind of crazy things would come out of a Hydrocodone-induced mind? Kinda scary to think about.

The only way I’ve made it through this past week, aside from Hydrocodone and Zofran, is through the help of my family. Chauffeuring my son around for school and his bajillion appointments every week, cooking dinner, and babysitting my youngest— it’s a lot to ask for. Especially from someone who doesn’t like to ask for help.

I’m so lucky. To have the help there when I need it. There are plenty of folks that have to go through this kind of stuff completely alone. So I give a huge hug and major thank you to my family: you know who you are.

But this damn stone has taken up enough of my life, and enough of my family’s demonstonelife. So we’ll see what this urologist has to say today, and I hope it can evict this tiny demon stuck somewhere between my kidney and bladder.

And hopefully sometime before the end of the month, I can get back to writing.

I’ll post an update when I can. Any of you gone through this ridiculousness before?