Sunday, December 7, 2014

Well Red!

Dear Helen Hartman 
Someone just told me that as people get fed up with Twitter and Facebook being filled with self promotion and sales pitches that people are reading blogs again. I see you are blogging with a little more regularity and would love to know if you've noticed this too?

Dear Loves to Ask About Helen's Regularity One,

Obviously that's why she locked them outside!

Helen has noticed she has blogged more lately but does that mean Helen is read more?

Great straight? You mean straight from the bottle, right? 
That's not what you meant? Hey, read more or more red, Helen is all for both.

I'm wearing red this season, inside and out!
I honestly don't know if people are reading blogs more these days but have noticed too many social media platforms have gotten to be way more about media and completely forgotten the social! 

But it's called social MEdia,because it's all about ME, right?

And you can just imagine how Helen feels about people who neglect the social graces! 

(Um, the way she feels about most people?)

Sometimes if it wasn't for answering the voices in my head I wouldn't have an intelligent conversation all day

Seems like everywhere I go lately people are looking for a shortcut into my wallet and it certainly has made me avoid those places and people.

But enough about my rotten kids

I can't say if advertising overload had lead people back to blogs but it certainly makes me long for other avenues of social interaction. They say that everything old is new again. So who knows, the next big thing may just be the coffee klatch!

If everything old is new again, then Helen must be the newest thing around!
See what I mean about the conversations in my head?

What do you think, are people reading blogs more lately?
Have a great week!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Caroling with Helen

Jangled Belles!
A day or two a go, my Honda took a slide and soon my family ride was looking quite a fright,
Ins. check was in the bank, I went to the car lot,
I thought about that drifting wreck 
And this is what I got.

Oh, Jingle Bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way...

I don't think of it as a mini van, I think of it as a junk gypsy woodie wagon in disguise! 

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas... Exploded at Helen's House

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere I have an open space

There's a tree in the not so grand window

One in the great room too

A flocking mess the cat can sleep below....

Drinking Behind the Christmas Tree.
That's the only thing that can explain some of Helen's decorating choices this year.

You don't have to be a dummy to love a great Christmas sweater, do you?

Making a list, checkin' it twice... oh who am I kidding, we all know Helen is both naughty AND nice! 

Hope your holidays are merry and bright, y'all! 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

10 Things You Can Do NOW to Have a Merrier Christmas
by Helen Hartman

It's the most wonder-why-we-do-this-to-ourselves time of the year. An experience way too many of you tend to look at it like Santa peering down the narrow, bird's nest infested long, dark plunge that is the modern unkempt chimney. How are you going to get through it with your “jolly” disposition (yeah, I put that in quotes, I may not know you but I know you and jolly is not the first word that spring to mind when describing you), not to mention your derriere (I promise I will try not to mention your derriere again if you try to realize my promises don't mean much) in tact?
With the holiday still weeks away there are a few things you can resolve to do right now that, while they can't guarantee to make the season bright, may just keep you from being driven up on the rooftop.

Clean It Up, Clear It Out.

Twas weeks before Christmas and all through the house everybody was cleaning, even your spouse (at least if he knows what's good for him)
Let's face it, gingerbread houses are not the only homes around that other people think are tasteless, covered in crumbs, and have mysterious sticky patches from the doors to dormers. Dwelling on the all the things that can and have gone wrong or need to be done only detracts from your ability to enjoy the season. So get your behind up out of that comfy chair right now and dust, vacuum (or are you supposed to vacuum then dust?) polish, pack away, de-cobweb and so on. A deep cleaning now will make it easier to stay on top of things later as you put up a tree, bring in gifts and things and company arrives. Clearing out closets will give you a place to hang guests's tacky coats where you don't have to look at them or throw them on the bed where they will be returned covered in dog hair (even if you don't have a dog, this will happen, no one knows why). Making space in cupboards and shelves will provide ample room to hide presents – and more importantly allow you to FIND those presents again!
Plus, donating old clothes and household goods may make someone else's holiday happier.

Do Not Open Until After Christmas

Fake books, they can hold more than contraband! Who knew?

If you can't get rid of it, hide it. It worked for those collectible NASCAR plates your mother in law gave you as a wedding gift. It worked (as far as you know) when you tied that sweatshirt around your waist when you realized your yoga pants were see through.
The point is the list of things you've tucked out of sight, disguised and outright ignored in to keep up appearances or literally cover that part of you I said I wouldn't mention, could go on and on. So go with your strong suit, especially in times of undue pressure. Clutter plus Christmas equals stress for most of us.
Baskets, bins and even bags can conceal a multitude of sins, not to mention all that crap that ends up out in the open around the house. When I take things off a shelf or table to make room for a Christmas do dad, I place it in a basket or bin tucked under a bench or on a lower bookshelf. Cute boxes and fake books sit on counters and tables can hold phone chargers, mail, all sort of things that usually clutter up the surfaces of your home.

Make a List, Check it Twice.

If wadding up my To Do List and spit balling it at a know it all elf is naughty, I don't want to be nice.

Make TWO lists right now, one of the things you must get done (buy gifts, put up the tree, office obligations) and a second one of what you want to do (bake cookies, send cards). Assign dates to each. If the date passes on a 'want to do', reassign it. If it passes twice, put those lyrics from Frozen you've been trying to get out of your head for the last six month to use finally and Let it go, let it go....

Don't Just Believe in Santa, Get On His Team
Yes, Virginia and the rest of you, (even the ones who thought, hey, I'm not Virginia, I'm skipping this) there is a Santa Claus and he's inside YOU. I don't know if THAT's the reason you crave cookies and have a belly like a bowl full of jelly but I do know that nothing lifts your holiday spirit more than giving. Small (or big) gestures done throughout the season make someone's day merry and bright. So keep change in your pocket to give to bell ringers. Give toys to programs like Toys for Tots. Volunteer. Smile at others. Santa is real and YOU are on his team.

There's No Place Like Home for the Holiday... Shopping
If you haven't started your shopping (I haven't even started complaining about having to shop yet, so I'm way behind my usual schedule!) order something online today. Some people say if you don't get off your behind and go out there and shop that's taking the easy way out and to that Helen says – what's your point? Regardless of what your gym teacher told you in that lecture on being a lady, being easy isn't always naughty.
Go ahead. Click to check out. Knowing you've made the first step lightens your load.

Rock Around Whatever is Handy
Get moving now. Sure, you're going to start eating right and exercising after New Years. I'm right there with you (probably in the same buffet line, piling sticky buns and sausage balls on my plate). Eating more? Then move more. Eat a healthy breakfast to counteract empty calorie treats. Walk those extra steps, dance like no one is watching (please, Helen really needs some new things to laugh at on YouTube and Elf in see-through yoga pants rocks to 'All About the Base' has your name all over it). You know this, don't over think it, just do it.

Like Christmas stars and Christmas Lights, the seasons isn't meant to be sustained, it's meant to shine.

Twinkle, baby, twinkle. Christmas comes in glimpses and gasps. It comes in wearing a red hat with a vintage pin that makes other people smile when they see you. It comes in a sweet string of sights, sounds and moments, in a shared secret, in being taken by surprise by laughter, or kindness or even sadness. Accept now that the time leading up to and surrounding the holidays will have ups and downs and probably sideways and even a few arse over teakettle moments.
Stop, look and listen and be open so you don't miss the flashes of insight and inspiration that are the heart of the holiday.

Expand Your Vocabulary
It's okay to pick and chose the things that will make your holiday lighter, happier, less stressful.
Helen finds creative cursing effective but if that's not fitting with your holiday customs, try: “Not this year” or “We're overbooked as it is.” In a pinch, if asked, say to participate in a gift exchange, proclaim a bit too brightly: “Great. We're making all our presents this year, do you have any allergies to dog or cat hair yarn?” That should shut them up.
But if they seem enthusiastic, don't panic, buy a cheap scarf and lay it on your bed, as noted above, it will collect pet hair even in homes with nothing but goldfish.
Start now before the pressure gets it's grip on you, by telling people you're cutting back this year. You might find out that turning some things down actually comes as a relief to others, or that it helps you to understand what really matters to you. (for me it's not having to do other people's stuff and be nice about it)

Have Yourself Some Merry Little ME Time
Sometimes when I say I need a little me time, I really mean I need a lot less YOU time.
It's not just the glass of wine, eggnog, hot chocolate, latte or soda, it's the time out you take for yourself that recharges you during hectic times. Why is it in the time set aside for giving we most need a kick in the rear to remind us to be kind to ourselves?
Plan now for those little breaks, buy yourself some good chocolate, brandy, a gift card to a coffee shop to treat yourself during the harried holiday and a stack of books that will heighten your holiday mood and/or take you away to a warm and happy place, make you laugh or think or touch your heart. Its time well spent.
Yes, my books WOULD make some nice holiday reading, but so would my son's and the anthology Ten Christmas Brides!

Practice Grace
A way of moving with purpose and elegance. Behaving pleasantly in social situations. Charm, forgiveness, compassion, gratitude. A prayer of humility and thanks.
Practice grace however it applies best to you and your life and grace will become like muscle memory. Exercise it daily, starting now and it will be your fall back and your foundation. Decide right now that you will seek what is good, what is kind, what is lovely, what gives you peace and fills you with gratitude. 
A season of grace. It's possible and within your power.

If all else fails -
Don't Be Afraid to Wing It

If we've learned anything at all from Christmas movies and holiday-themed TV episodes it's that sometimes the messiest mix ups bring the most memorable moments.
For us it's the year we got stranded in Memphis by a freak ice storm and we had Christmas dinner out of the vending machine. Or the time we were in the hot tub drinking wine and someone suggested we go to midnight church and we did, wet hair and all and had an amazing time (no, it was NOT the wine, it was the message and the moment). Or last year when we got tickets to what was a spectacularly awful Christmas concert that we sat through because we all thought everyone else was enjoying it until I finally just stood up and announced I was leaving and we fled like criminals into the night. Or... actually every Christmas I can think of is like this, y'all, and I am ever so glad they were. Embrace the grace, cut the clutter, get through to what matters and have the merriest Christmas ever!

(Only 8 mentions of your derrier – that calls for some rump cake! I mean rumcake)  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Get your Christmas Reading done early!

Ten Christmas Brides, ten Christmas stories with ten happy brides. Kindle US:
Kindle UK:
Anyone else love Christmas romances? I have a book in the collection so I thought I'd toot my own horn.

SO much better than what you usually go around tootin'! 

My contribution to the big bundle: A COWBOY FOR CHRISTMAS

The very first actual major road I traveled in life was Route 66, California to Oklahoma. So it has always held a special place in my heart. When looking for a setting for a Romance series, where better than this place I had always loved?
And being an Oklahoma girl, and an OSU Cowboy to the core, a cowboy as a hero? No brainer. (The decision, not the hero!) Always a soft touch for a kid, and a kid with a pony was even better. Finally we needed a little Christmas and everything was set.
These were the seeds for A Cowboy for Christmas. The most romantic setting, the most romance time of year, how could romance not blossom?
I loved bringing these characters to life and watching them find each other and fall in love despite the odds against them.
This is just one of a fabulous collection of Christmas romances in Ten Christmas Brides. Wonderful Christmas romances from ten amazing authors that will put you in the perfect holiday mood. Don't miss out on this great way to celebrate the season.

Preorder now!

I Mean it. Get those fingers walking to your fav online bookstore!

Joining Blog Shop at How Sweet The Sound!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Note to Self

Dear Helen Hartman,

You saved my life when everything was falling apart. This blog gave me a place to write and have fun without the input of a dozen dysfunctional to toxic relationships telling me that no matter how hard I had worked, it wasn't ever going to be good enough. Being good  much less good enough or other people's opinions were never that important to you, dear Helen.  And when I stepped into your shoes, I was ready to kick up my heels or kick some ass and look fab doing it. 
Thank you, Helen Hartman, for giving me that.  I am sorry I've neglected you for so long now but not sorry enough to make promises I doubt I will keep ... like that I will be blogging with more regularity again any time soon. 
                                         Loved it while I was doing it but maybe it's done

Dear Loved It Until You Were Done One (IOW, a note to myself)

I get it. I really do. Helen finds herself wracked with guilt over... well, too many things to mention.

Oh, go on, mention them all, we promise we won't tell ANYONE.

But one of the things I feel the guiltiest about it that I still never seem to have time to read the blogs I once made part of my daily routine! Where does the time go?

Time sure flies when you're having rum.

I guess if I ever figure out why people make time for the things they dislike or are unhealthy or non productive over things that make them happy and healthy, I'd write a book telling people how to stop doing that and be rich.

Some ideas just seem so obvious you can't believe you didn't think of them first. Home decor, guns and ammo, lawn and garden all in one big store? Of course!
But then so far in my life writing books haven't made me rich, so maybe my thinking is flawed to start with! I hope my son had better things in store as his first book is out now 

For Kindle, in paperback the first week of Sept, other ebook formats in December! 

Pardon the proud Mama brag, just trying to get the word out because look at that face, how could you not?

PS, feel free to step into Helen's shoes whenever the need arises, but be sure you don't scuff or stretch them out because just because you can't always find HER, doesn't mean she can't always find YOU! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Busy busy busy still! Had a head bump in a car accident but that's no excuse as the Dr only prescribed "adult supervision" for one day. As soon as I gave that adult the slip I was onto more fun - sharing one of my favorite books and then getting requests for a follow up! My slightly jangled brain is hard at work on that idea!

And the biggest news is I'm celebrating Christmas in July! It's not just from the blow to the head, I promise.
Am having a sale on my Kindle Christmas Book: The Christmas Sisters 
99 cents for Monday July 21 Only!

If you don't have a KINDLE, it will be available in print from Amazon soon!


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