Sundays Make Me Smile

Another what makes me smile post.


Sundays are truly wonderful days in our house. First of all, I typically get to sleep in! Yeah!
Then, lately at least, we've been having breakfast at home. Bacon, eggs, sausage, toast and coffee. But it's not the breakfast that makes me smile. It's the conversations at the table that warm my heart.

Today was no exception.

My hubs and I recalled memories from when our kids were younger and some of the funny things they said or did. They LOVE hearing these stories just as much as we love telling them. There were lots of laughs and giggles, and no one was in a hurry to leave. Breakfast was devoured without an issue (we have an anti-egg eater, but today, he ate up with a smile.) It was an awesome way to start our day.

Then we all pitch in and clean the house, because to me, a clean house is happiness. Laundry is done, ironing finished (usually while watching NASCAR), and everyone is calm, cool and collected.

Tonight we'll have another meal around the table, where no doubt, someone will tell a joke, someone will drop part of their meal onto their clean shirt (usually me) and we'll be sharing more stories, or concerns or discussing what lies ahead for us in the week.

Sundays are a day for families, for us anyways. A chance to re-connect and enjoy each other. And for that, I'm very grateful.

What do you do on Sundays?

All About ... Cole

Cole MacIntrye is Aurora's father.
After the death of his wife - Angelica, and oldest daughter, Carmen, he too became as lost as Aurora, only they don't know how to find each other. He checks in on her constantly, but keeps an emotional distance, unsure of how to handle the outspoken woman his daughter's become.

  • Cole calls Fort McMurray home
  • Born in December, he'll be fifty-one on his next birthday
  • In his high school days, he was a #1 swimmer with dream to go to the Olympics. 
  • His dream was crushed when he separated his shoulder in an unfortunate farming accident, and lost full range of motion
  • Works in the oil patch
  • He's taken enough First-Aid courses to be certified at a HCP level - and assists around the job site
  • Kaitlyn has a crush on him, which she blames on the whole widow thing Cole has going on (Cole does not reciprocate the crush)
  • Is just as good at keeping secrets as Aurora. Nate's sister is the one who uncovers the secret towards the end of Duly Noted
  • Pays rent and living expenses for Aurora, so she can focus on her studies

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The following is a copyrighted excerpt from Duly Noted. Please do not copy in any format without prior consent from the author. You may RT or link to this blog. 

Turning to face her father she said, “I should’ve paid more attention, but we were laughing and having a good time. And then it was gone.” She snapped her fingers. “Just like that. Not looking cost them their lives, and I have to live with that daily. So forgive me, if today I didn’t want to feel that pain and hurt.” Huge tears fell down her cheeks.
“That’s not how to deal with it.” He shook his head, his hair falling into his eyes.
“How then, Daddy?”
“You talk about it. Talk through it.”
She scrunched her face, staring at him. “With who? The therapist? The one who only knows me only since the accident? Why can’t I talk about it with you?”
“Because, you can’t talk to me about it.”
“Don’t I know it?” Turning back to the window, she hunched her shoulders and braced herself against the glass door. “You always shut me out. Every fucking time.” She limped and paced around the room.
“Don’t use that language with me.”
Aurora faced him and pointed a stern finger in his direction. “Your wife and your daughter died that day.” Her hands flew into the air. “How can you not talk about that? How can you pretend like it didn’t happen, and they never existed. How do you make it through the day like that?” Her sleeve scratched across her nose.
Cole looked her hard in the eyes. “Work.”
“Bullshit, Daddy. I work all goddamn day, and it doesn’t do fuck all to help me.” More tears fell. “Even months later, when I was studying all day for the diploma exams, I thought about them. Then all through first year. How can you not think about them?”
“Because I CAN’T, Aurora. It’s what works for me.”
“Well it doesn’t work for me.” She poked the air in front of him, almost connecting with his chest. “I miss them so much, and I think about everything Momma’s going to miss in my life. My university grad, my wedding, my babies. Everything. You don’t think that doesn’t weigh on me?” Her voice fell to a volume barely above a whisper.
“Drugs aren’t the answer.” 

All About ... Matthew James

  Matthew James is a literary Rock Star, at least to most people. He's famous in the written world, having authored over thirty novels, from middle grade, young adult, new adult and adult fiction. His organization - The MJ Association - donates specific titles to under-privileged children in the inner cities, as well as millions of dollars to various literary organizations throughout Canada. Some would claim he is pretentious, while others are completely enchanted.

Fun Facts:

  • He's a dead ringer for Bradley Cooper - from a distance
  • As a child, Matthew had dyslexia, something he fought hard to overcome with the guidance of an amazing learning coach; her name is mentioned in every book he writes as a sympathetic character of some form
  • Wrote his first novel at fifteen - Whatever Happened to Mrs. Codwell? a middle grade novel that won the prestigious Golden Apple Award
  • By time he was thirty, he'd published twenty-one best sellers, and was named one of Canada's Most Influential People
  • Was once married, no children
  • Resides primarily in Calgary, but does have a house on the rocky shores of Vancouver Island, and one in the light house district on the east coast. Remains true to his Canadian roots
  • No matter what Nate says, he does live an unpretentious life

Pre-order price of $1.99 US SMASHWORDS - KOBO - iTunes - Amazon

The following is a copyrighted excerpt from Duly Noted. Please do not copy in any format without prior consent from the author. You may RT or link to this blog. 

“Boys and girls,” the manager said a few minutes later. “May I present… Matthew James!”
The crowd applauded wildly when Matthew’s name was called, and Aurora found herself momentarily caught up in the excitement as well. Turning in his direction, she saw him. Clearly comfortable in his own skin and exuding the confidence of a dozen men, he sauntered onto the stage, waving to his fans below. With a crisp white dress shirt and black jeans, he looked, well, like a rock star. Exceedingly handsome, with his long wavy hair blown off his tan and sculpted face. A hint of stubble gave him an older, sexy refined appeal.
She clapped and cheered with the fans. Her attention on him as he walked across the stage and shook hands with the manager, his megawatt smile unavoidable. She forgot about her job, and her reason for working. People were getting pushy and trying to see, and a violent shove against her aching back, made her stumble and lose her footing. Tumbling to the ground, she closed her eyes as pain blanketed her.
A loud voice boomed over the PA system. “Hey,” the voice said, “is that how we treat people? Pushing others out of the way?” Although the volume on the PA remained the same, the voice who held it became louder. “Are you okay?”
She opened her eyes and there he stood. Right in front of her. His gorgeous hand outstretched. Following the line of his arm, upwards until she focused on his green eyes edged with the longest lashes she’d ever seen. He was even more gorgeous up-close, breathtaking really. Being so close to a real celebrity, she trembled as she accepted his hand. His perfectly soft and manicured hand. “Yes, I’m okay.” With his help, she stood back on her feet.
He turned to the crowd while holding her hand. “This,” he pointed to her, “is not how I want you treating your fellow brothers and sisters. We are all on this Earth together, and need to watch out and protect each other. Help, not hurt.” He scanned the crowds. “Is everyone else okay?”
The crowd cheered, and Aurora wanted to join in, forgetting for a moment she was part of the reason the people applauded. She went to clap and stopped – he still held her hand. A stab of pain, and she pulled free of his hand. She rubbed her back, which had long sailed past aching. It throbbed.
“Now, my lovely lady,” he bowed to her, “please come with me on stage.”
“I can’t,” she whispered, heat flooding her cheeks. “I’m working.” She bent down to retrieve her fallen hat.
“She’s working,” he announced into his headset with a laugh that sung through the walls. “Well, my lady, that is correct. Today you will be helping me directly. I insist.” When he smiled at her, his teeth actually seemed to reflect the overhead lights. “I’m sure your bosses won’t mind either.” He flashed her a knee-buckling wink. 

What Makes Me Smile

As I'm doing laundry, I take a good long look at the shirts I'm ironing for my boys. 
Seven days worth of shirts and each shirt I'm taking the wrinkles out of, is one we made together. There are no brand names tops, there are no shirts with snazzy sayings. However, there are a lot of shirts we made together. In fact, this week, every top was homemade. 

This makes me smile. 

A $4 shirt from Michael's ($3, if you catch a sale), some fabric paint and a few hours together making memories. 
When I look at the shirts, I can see the day clearly. The laughter and excitement on the boys faces as I bring out new shirts, and paints. We debate what they want (as I have to trace it out and my skills are not fantastic) and get to it. 

 Each shirt has a memory - whatever was important to them at that time in their life. Perhaps one day, instead of throwing away the shirts when they're outgrown, I can make them into a quilt or something. 

But for now, I'm happy they don't want expensive brand name shirts. That they're happy (and proud) wearing something we've made together. 

This makes me smile. 

All about ... Kaitlyn

In DULY NOTED, Kaitlyn Kariyev is Aurora's best friend. A neat freak by nature, she loves to dance, and have a lot of fun. Plus she has a kick-ass personality. Deeply loyal, preferring quality over quantity, she's willing to put herself out on the line for her best friend.

  • Met Aurora at the UofA when they became dorm mates
  • Is a year older than Aurora, but Kaitlyn just finished her third year in education. Wants to teach high school PE 
  • Not impressed to sharing her birthdate with Putin
  • Although her parents are both of Russian descent, has always been an Albertan and lacks the accent her parents have
  • Wanted siblings, but never had any
  • Her brutal honesty is a turn off to most people, except those who know her well enough to appreciate the honesty
  • She's looking for that special someone, but struggles with her sexuality. Has a harmless crush on Aurora's father, but dates females. She's still trying to figure that out
  • Adrenaline junkie, who loves a good roller-coaster and has bungee-jumped a few times
  • Is a classically trained pianist
  • Has a major scene with Aurora, that through the editing process got chopped. However, I may release it as a bonus chapter when I reach a certain amount of reviews. :) 

Pre-order price of $1.99 US SMASHWORDS - KOBO - iTunes - Amazon

 The following is a copyrighted excerpt from Duly Noted. Please do not copy in any format without prior consent from the author. You may RT or link to this blog. 

“Aurora!” The female voice yelled after she said hello. “What the hell? You just leave without saying goodbye?”
“Kaitlyn, I’m–” What? Sorry, because I’m not. Well? “I’m sorry for leaving without saying goodbye. I hurt my lower back and needed to hightail it out of there.”
“I looked all over for you.”
She buried her face into her hands, cradling the phone against her ear. “I’m sorry for that, but I hurt so bad, I couldn’t look for you. I knew eventually you’d get your phone.”
“Are you okay now?”
“Better, yes. But not a hundred percent.”
Kaitlyn huffed. “Good. I’m sorry you got hurt. I was having a really good time with you.”
Aurora smiled, recalling the closeness. “I was too. It was almost–” Erotic? Is it weird to think that?
“Yeah.” Sometimes your bestie understood what you wanted to say, even if you never said it.
“Cool. So you want to hang tonight?”
Slumping against the back of the kitchen chair, she said, “Yeah, it beats researching a major jerk.” Aurora launched into discussion about her day with Matthew James.
“I should swing by the restaurant and see if he’s there waiting.”
Aurora glanced at the clock above her TV. “You wouldn’t make it in time to check.”
“Actually, I’m not far away. I should. Text me a pic of the rat-faced bastard.”
Aurora laughed and finding a quick pic, sent it. “There you go.”
“Great, thanks. Oh, here it is. Wow, he’s handsome,” Kaitlyn said. “A jerk still, but a handsome one.”
“Yes, he is.”
“Okay, I’m going to have some fun. I’ll come over when I’m done.”

Duly Noted - a PTSD love story

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PTSD sucks.
Just ask nineteen year-old Aurora.
She’s dealt with it for the past two years. Effing car crash.

Resigned to live a mediocre life with her friends Percocet and Xanax, she's coped on her own. Terrified of stepping beyond her backyard, and broken and damaged, she doesn’t need anyone, anyways. Until she meets him.

Shy but smoking hot, Nate Johnson has a mouth as smart as hers, and can handle every ounce of sass she dishes out. Immediately, he’s hooked by Aurora’s sarcastic wit. A man on a mission, he wants to help her over her fear of cars. He needs to, if he’s ever going to have her as part of his world – a passion he’s kept hidden from her. As he succeeds with the impossible goal, he finds he’s curing more than just her PTSD, he’s healing her heart.

But when her fears collide with his passion, it drives Aurora away.
From him.
From them.
From the best thing to ever happen to her.
Because sometimes love just isn’t enough.

However, Nate wants her back and he’s willing to give up everything he loves for her. Aurora refuses to have him sacrifice his passion because of her, and dreams up a risky plan to stop him. It’s dangerous. It’s foolish. And if it doesn’t kill her first, it could just save them both.

Meet the Cast of Characters




Matthew James

** NATE **

** AURORA **