A 1000 Mile Midlife Journey Starts with One Courageous Step

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have coach and speaker Saskia Jennings sharing an extraordinary journey that spanned two continents.

Here’s Saskia!

saskiapictureMy life was that common routine of getting up to go to work, come home to cook, watch TV or visit a friend. My marriage had lost the fire and we divorced.

They say: “Life starts at 40″… And I was excited, I couldn’t wait to get there.

But it wasn’t much of a party. I lost my coveted job (burnout “they” called it), and I faced major physical, emotional, mental and spiritual challenges. My life had turned upside down, total midlife crisis, although I didn’t realize it at the time.

I would say that my First Act ended confused, disappointed and feeling lost…

Longing for something new and exciting I took on a new job, for that needed “security” and I went back to school. I entered a four year part-time program in alternative medicine. I loved it, four evenings in the week in school, lots of interesting learning and I healed myself in the meantime.

I also started exploring Canada and from the moment I set foot on Canadian ground, I hopped in a car and left the big City behind. I felt home in the forest, at the lakes and stargazing in the wide open skies. “I belong here” I said to myself, I knew it!

My mind’s eye saw future images, a vision and my almost ‘out of body’ experiences gave me a real good feeling, although it was scary sometimes!

So I decided to start my Second Act. In 2005 at the age of 45, I made the decision to move from Rotterdam in The Netherlands to Northern Ontario in Canada, leaving my small family behind in Holland. On my travels, I had met the man of my dreams and he lived deep in the forest.

Now, that was different! No neighbours, no public transportation. I had no car, no bank account, no high speed internet. What we did have was a warm home, my very first vegetable garden that was shown to me in my vision, wildlife, forest and lakes and each other. I took one step at a time: getting my own car so I could make new friends in town, take courses and get a job. I also retrained as a Reflexologist and Intuitive Healer and started my own business Creating Being Well on the side.

Oh and in case you are wondering… I LOVE SNOW!

My Second Act threw another challenge at me. I ended the marriage after five years due to a lack of trust, questionable money management, and some abusive issues. No, I didn’t get physically harmed. All other areas in my life however were in turmoil. I felt small, unworthy, neglected (mostly by myself) and my self-esteem had reached an all-time low. I felt terrified for two years. I kept pleasing my “marriage” and it wasn’t until I got sick again that I tapped into my trust and courage, reconnecting with my own values.

No more procrastination! I left the marriage, found a safe place in the forest and started all over again. Time to transform my midlife crisis into Midlife BLISS!™

I invested my remaining savings in hiring a coach and taking new directions and training.

I started moving forward, in growing trust and faith. The biggest AHA’s and celebrations were about acknowledging myself, who I truly am. Valuing my gifts and skills. It sparked renewed confidence. My energetic, dynamic, courageous and caring nature started to come to full bloom, one colorful bud at a time. I became an inspiring messenger, coach and speaker, a Catalyst for Midlife BLISS!™


When I took the training to become a Sacred Money Archetypes© certified coach I discovered my own money challenges and the way to turn that around and become wholly independent.

If I’m a true Connector, how could that help me take the next step?

The answer was simple and so clear: “MOVE!”

In mid 2013, I packed up again, left the forest behind and moved to Toronto. I’m still a bit in culture shock, and the best part is that I’m coming into alignment with who I am. The vision board I made three years ago is coming alive: growing into the joy and abundance of Midlife BLISS!™

I am allowing myself to thrive and be successful and happy, I don’t need any more approval from anyone. And I love teaching this deep transformational work to other women who are stuck on midlife crossroads.

When I talk in front of an audience of women and usually wearing my favorite orange jacket, I’m on fire! And my contagious energy brings smiles, warms hearts and helps women become more empowered. That’s what makes my heart jump and I’m busy spreading Midlife BLISS!TM over the world. My mentor holds me accountable, my clients, my ‘peeps’, my new connections all support me wholeheartedly. I have my retreats in nature mapped out: Women in the Woods: Ignite your Midlife BLISS!™

I am grateful. What’s next?

“You can’t do it alone, and you have to do the work” my favorite quote, by Werner Erhard.


Saskia Jennings is a true Catalyst for Midlife BLISS!TM, intuitive Midlife Coach and Sacred Money Archetypes Cert. Coach, Trainer, Author and Speaker. With her signature system: Transform your Midlife Crisis into Midlife BLISS!™ she specializes in helping women like you to turn your fears into real midlife fulfilment, honoring your self-worth, overcome midlife money challenges and finding your true essence. She runs her programs locally and worldwide, online and on-site.

Upcoming events – 2015

January 29-31st: “Unite Your Health & Wealth” Workshop Facilitator and Speaker at the virtual LIVE summit: Women and Money: http://womenandmoneysummit.com

Unite your Health & Wealth is a collaboration of 2 caring, passionate women: Sharon Carne (http://soundwellness.com) and Saskia Jennings

Spring & Summer: “Unite Your Health & Wealth” 3-day women only Retreat: Calgary/Toronto http://unitemyhealthandwealth.com

February 27-Mar. 1: Women in the Woods, Ignite Your Midlife BLISS!™ Location: “The Birches” at beautiful Lake Joseph in Muskoka (Parry Sound, Ontario).

October: Midlife BLISS!™ Conference – Toronto

Where to find Saskia…

Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | YouTube | Google+

Joanne here!

Wow! Saskia, thanks for sharing your inspiring journey and wonderful advice. I looking forward to hearing more about Midlife BLISS!™

Pursue Your Dreams

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Wild Rose Press author Anne Ashby sharing the highlights of her childhood, an impressive career in the Navy, and the unexpected third act that followed.

Here’s Anne!

anneashbyI’m not sure if I’m in a second or third act. Looking back over my life I could divide it into more acts but I figure many of those are of minor significance.

Act One

Where to begin? My childhood seemed uneventful at the time, pretty boring by today’s standards or so my little grandchildren think. I mean, growing up in a tiny coastal town of less than 50 people, without television, computers, mobile phones, how did we survive? Although widowed when I was two, my mother provided my sister, brother and myself with a great life. We never had much money but she set us on our pathway to adulthood with many important guidelines. She gave us morals to live by, showed us hard work never hurt anyone and confirmed every day by her actions that excessive money and possessions aren’t necessary to enjoy life. She shared her great sense of humour, her love of books and her determination to explore all she could of our beautiful country. And so many more things I am grateful for. Looking back now, I regret my own children had to grow up in a world so different from my ‘deprived’ one.

I was a very shy, quiet kid and was very content at home, especially as my brother and sister had both moved into Invercargill (our equivalent of the big city back then) for work by the time I was twelve. Looking back I cannot believe where I found the courage to take the huge step which lead me away from home and everything I knew. Probably my mother’s confidence in my ability to be and do whatever I decided I wanted to.

Act Two

At eighteen, my Act Two began. I joined the Royal New Zealand Navy. This involved my travelling to almost the other end of the country. For years I had dreamed of joining the police force but needed to be twenty. Three years (minimum engagement at that time) in the Armed Forces was one of the suggested options to gain necessary life experience prior to joining the police. Looking at the three services, Navy was the only option for me. I’m a Pisces, I grew up in and around the sea and feel it is part of who I am. (I still live within walking distance of the coast). My determination to leave the Navy and join the police soon waned. By the time my initial engagement time would have been up, I was serving a two year posting in Singapore, I was engaged to a sailor and I loved the Navy way of life. Unless a person has served in the Armed Services, I doubt they can understand the impact this service time has on your life. The Navy is particularly bonding. There is a new language to learn, new ways to tackle tasks, and a dependence on each other that builds a comradeship that is in place for life.

I’m currently the National President of the Naval Women’s Association. We had a reunion last month. Seeing World War Two service women, who are now in their nineties mixing with other service women, many strangers, from all the decades since, clearly shows the bonding we all still feel toward each other. I spent 21 years in the Navy. I served in every ship available to me – this was prior to women serving at sea as they do now – and retired as a Warrant Officer, the top of my trade. I had two children while serving, and only left because I wanted to experience the joys of motherhood completely.

Luncheon on HMNZS Endeavour - November 2014  (I'm in the back row, far right)

Luncheon on HMNZS Endeavour – November 2014
(I’m in the back row, second from the right)

Act Three

What I consider to be my Act Three began some years and two more children later. My eldest, then at university, regularly informed me I was allowing my brain to stagnate and knowing of my interest, kept suggesting I attend creative writing classes. I baulked at these, believing, rightly or wrongly, they were geared toward literary works not the writing of popular fiction. I knew where my interest lay, not only with popular fiction, but even more clearly defined, contemporary romance.

My husband was attached to the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC for two years and it was during this period I spied an evening course at the local college. “How to Write a Romance” sounded perfect and was exactly what I wanted to do. Then began the rigmarole of trying to get enrolled – living in the US without benefit of a social security number caused us so many hassles during our two years, and I feared this would be something else which would prove to be just too difficult. Thankfully this wasn’t one of those times and I began my writing journey with very small, faltering steps.

The instructor, Harlequin writer Loree Lough, was marvellous and became more than a mentor to me. We are still in touch, although not so often now as during my stumbling years toward publication. During the ten (I think) week course, Loree continued to share her expertise and offered to read work any of the students had completed. My idea of a New Zealand woman visiting Maryland quickly developed into a story which I wrote diligently throughout the period of the course, but the nerve to ask Loree to read it kept deserting me. Finally, on the last night I realised if I didn’t ask her then, I would likely never see her again, never have such an opportunity to have a professional give an opinion of my writing, and so yep, I hung around until everyone else had left and quaking in my boots, approached this multi-published writer to ask her to read my completed manuscript.

I grasped at her willingness to read the 85,000 word story, agreeing she could do anything, suggest anything, say anything in response and I would be so grateful. About a week later I got a phone call and went around to her house so she could return my “baby” to me. My heart sank. The pages were splashed everywhere by red scrawled symbols and crossed out portions. She had not just read it and been willing to give an opinion, she had edited the whole story. So we sat in her dining room and Loree went through the whole book with me. She queried passages, pointed out the things I’d done wrong, made suggestions to tighten some scenes. She spent ages encouraging me, then assured me this story would find a publisher. Those words stayed with me all the years it took to get numerous proposals, partials and full manuscripts snail mailed around the world once I returned home to New Zealand. I figured Loree knew so much about writing romance, and if she thought “Worlds Apart” was good enough to be published, I was going to continue believing her. Worlds Apart did finally get published by The Wild Rose Press in 2009 and was dedicated to Loree Lough.

Since then I’ve been writing “full time”. I’ve been fortunate to have a very supportive husband who accepted if he got home and found dinner not ready or the house less than tidy, then I had had a good writing day. My confidence and expertise continues to grow as I attend conference/workshops, along with the ready advice from an excellent editor who has become more of a friend. I keep writing because I cannot imagine not sharing the stories clamouring around inside my head. I’ve been fortunate to have had five books published by The Wild Rose Press and look forward to continuing my association with this amazing company. When I’m not writing or reading, or travelling the world with my recently retired husband, I enjoy spending time with my family, my friends from the Navalwomen’s Association or sorting through my years of genealogy notes. One day, if writing romance ever palls maybe I’ll collate all my family history notes into something readable for those who follow me.

Meeting with longtime editor TWRP's Maggie Johnson in San Diego - May 2014 (I'm on the right)

Meeting with longtime editor TWRP’s Maggie Johnson in San Diego – May 2014
(I’m on the right)

Anne’s Advice

Being at a turning point in your life, be it by your own choice or by circumstances beyond your control, can be a scary and daunting . But fear of change shouldn’t hold you back. Other fears may seem to be insurmountable or even prove to be so, but don’t hold back changing your life because of your own lack of confidence or fear of the unknown.

“Come to the edge, he said.
They said. We are afraid.
Come to the edge, he said.
They came.
He pushed them, and they flew…” Guillaume Apollinaire, French Poet



After years of financial struggle Leath Robson and her brother are ecstatic when they’re willed a property in northern New Zealand. It gives them some much needed/highly sought after security. But who was this old lady who’d left them so much? Leath struggles with guilt when discovering their benefactor had spent her last years in a nursing home.

Kirk Buchanan had left the family farm years ago to make his fortune. Summoned home he’s devastated to find his father suffering from Alzheimers. Hearing his dad likes to visit his childhood home, Kirk resolves to buy the place to ensure his safety. It’s not much but he has to do something.

Unfortunately the property has new owners who keep refusing his generous offers. He must have his father’s birthplace. Obviously a more personal approach is called for.

Buy Links

The Wild Rose Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Where to find Anne…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

Comment for an opportunity to win a PDF copy of Leath’s Legacy.

Joanne here!

Anne, thank you for sharing so many wonderful moments from your jam-packed life. Best of luck with Leath’s Legacy. If you have a few minutes here and there (highly unlikely, I know!), start that family history. It would be an amazing read!

Adventure to Clarity

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Stephanie Mount sharing her fascinating journey from a career in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to her life’s calling as a Conscious Leadership Coach.

Here’s Stephanie!

stephaniemountMy thirst for learning and adventure began as a child when I would wonder around, be curious and play. As I progressed through life, I became increasingly aware of my deep desire to live a life of exploration and discovery; I set off after university and enjoyed a 14 year career in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; immersing myself in incredibly beautiful close knitted Canadian communities, flying over glaciers in helicopters and watching grizzly bears and humpback whales in their natural habitat. My role as a Police Officer satisfied my desire to connect with people through support, development and showing up authentically. Life presents us with many challenging learning opportunities and mine is no exception, on the 31st July 1995 my world changed forever and I truly believe this was the start of my awakening – I was 28 years old. My core values of passion, empathy, freedom and connection is what led me into community development and adult learning – my world expanded and I have my career and former colleagues in the R.C.M.P. to thank for this unique opportunity. I enjoyed a satisfying career and this continued whilst acquiring a post graduate diploma in adult learning. Into my 30’s, I knew there was something missing, in my work and life. I decided to listen to the calling and my journey of clarity officially began. In summary, I longed for the Canadian Atlantic coast and made the move from west to east, enjoyed a career break, establishing a home and meeting my life partner before setting off on an adventure to the United Kingdom.

Island A

During the early days of my adventure to England, I felt like I was starting from the beginning in relation to my working life; having said that, I was deeply aware that my present life was ‘the something that I longed for’. Throughout this realization process, I began to embrace each moment, accept it, learn from it and let go of life itself. This provided me with a platform to explore and uncover all of my assets (core values, strengths, passions/drivers, skills, knowledge and experience) with a supporter and challenger in chief, my coach. My career as a Learning & Development Manager in the corporate world was exciting and equally enjoyable along this exhilarating journey of discovery, although I noticed my thoughts, feelings, actions and intuition were asking me to awake even more; I felt like I was swimming against the current and it was becoming tiring. I started to listen to myself and pay attention to the signposts and learn from every experience. As I stood on Island A, I could feel the grains of sand under my feet and noticed little green shoots called freedom and purpose on the dunes way off in the distance, a moment of realization appeared that asked me to let go of life and truly explore my most authentic self. I accepted this gift, looking back at Island A with a warm heart and big smile and boarding a gorgeous sailing vessel called Serene Energy on my way to Island B.

Serene Energy journey

Change was in the air; the moment of resolution came to me on Island A when I was feeling anxious, confused and walking around in a fog. I experienced nights when I found it hard to sleep and I knew I wanted to leave what was becoming an inhospitable island in the context of work. On the voyage, there were times the seas were calm and incredibly choppy on occasion which strengthened my resilience muscles and challenged me to lean in and trim my sails to the best of my ability. This quote encouraged me along my journey: “If you choose to be happy and at peace, remember you have control over the sail, not the wind.” I choose to be the Captain of Serene Energy and it was up to me to trim those sails and get the best effect possible from the wind. I accepted the challenge and imagined a future vision: it was to live a life on fire, by honouring my core values, dialling up on my strengths and passions and living an abundant working life through showing up as my most authentic self. This journey of self discovery and leadership unveiled a deeper purpose and gave me the time to explore. This exploration gave birth to my current working life on Island B to which I am deeply indebted; grateful to myself, peers and my dearest husband for giving me the support and space.

Island B

Serene Energy has docked on a beautiful island full of inner riches, lush landscapes and interesting experiences. In keeping with the context of the world of work and leadership, you know when people walk around in a fog, plodding along, doing what they should do instead of what they truly want to do, trapped in a golden cage, putting one foot in front of the other without passion & purpose, feeling there are no choices, not living presently and thriving; there is a solution! I am their Clarity Ally or Conscious Leadership Coach. I champion a client’s greatness and support them in getting clear about who they are, what they want and we design a plan of action, so they live a fulfilling life, full of serene energy, in which a client swims with the flow of the river instead of against it. I work with individuals and leaders in SME’s from the inside out and coaching is the technique to get clients clear and present.


In addition to my work as a Coach, I partner with heart centred solopreneurs who choose to bring an authentic, visible presence to their social profiles and manage online communities for well known brands.

It is my mission on this glorious Island B to work with as many people as possible that want to live a life on fire, by honouring their core values and thriving as their most authentic self, feeling alive, courageous, resilient and curious. My vision on Island B has come true as I continue to develop, explore and live it for myself and as a mirror for people – a blessing! (Added benefit is experiencing life from the best of both worlds, Canada and England)

Success is….. liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. – MAYA ANGELOU (Amen)

Do you have any advice for anyone pursuing a 2nd act?

Listen to yourself. If you so choose, become curious and present with what you’re noticing and engage with the support that is best suited to you.

Any affirmations you wish to share?

My life is all happening perfectly; live alive in each & every moment. (Part of my daily connection practise)

4 words that describe Steph: Authentic, Empathetic, Intuitive, Playfully action oriented.

Where to find Stephanie….

Position Ignition Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn | Pinterest

Joanne here!

What an inspiring post! Stephanie, thanks for sharing your journey and insights along the way. And Happy Belated Birthday! (It was Stephanie’s birthday yesterday)

Don’t Wait for Permission to Do What You Love

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Lorna Faith sharing lessons and insights from a jam-packed life.

Here’s Lorna!

lornaAct 1

My first act was filled with the adventure of learning new things. Being the youngest child in a family of 11 children, I knew the value of hard work and the freedom of living on a farm. I have many unique memories of growing up in that large Northern B.C. farm. Running to the outhouse in -30 Celsius weather, learning to milk cows and drive tractor as a young child, and riding the calves in the pasture with my neighbourhood friend, Skippy.

A love of singing and playing the piano grew right along with a love of storytelling from the age of 5 years old. I continued exploring that love of creativity, concentrating most of my efforts in singing and piano, through High School and Bible college, where I met my husband. When I graduated, we moved back to his neck of the woods and I soon found myself at the University of Lethbridge where four years later I graduated with a Bachelor of Music.

Our first son was born 5 months before Graduation.The next three children quickly followed. As our children got older I started to give piano and voice lessons again. I still sang at different churches and events for their special music, which was a lot of fun. However after teaching piano and voice lessons for so many years, I really longed for a change.

This longing for change, is what triggered the second act in my life.

Hiking in the Kananaskis Area

Hiking in the Kananaskis Area

Act 2

This stage of my life didn’t really begin until our youngest daughter was in her last year of being homeschooled. We moved to a different community to start a church plant, that was a big change for all six of us.

With so many new things happening in our lives, I felt like it was time for me to shift, so I started blogging and began to write my first Historical Romance novel. This was a story I was passionate about. It was set in 1913 Russia and inspired by my dad’s background as the fourth child of fifteen children, of parents who had escaped the famine in Russia to come to Canada.

However, even though I was inspired to write this story, it was a real fight to finish it. Fear attacked me on so many levels: maybe I wasn’t good enough to be a writer; what if I failed at this; was I too old to start something new? With encouragement from family and friends, I continued to write and finally published my first novel, Answering Annaveta on Mother’s Day in May 2013.

I have continued to write, but the next book in this series has taken a little longer to finish because I’ve done many other things in between.

I completed my Life Coach Certification as well as Social Media Masters training this past year. So now I help other people share their compelling stories with the world, on social media. As well I continue to share the stories I love as I write them. It’s the best of both worlds.

Lorna’s Advice

The best advice and the biggest Aha moment I had was when I read Jeff Goins’ book You Are a Writer. His words Don’t wait for someone to pick you.

Pick yourself, was a light bulb moment for me.

I realized all these years of struggling with fear and insecurity, I had actually been waiting for permission. I had been waiting for that unknown someone, to pick me and confirm that I was a writer.

If you’ve been waiting for permission, let me encourage you to go ahead and pick yourself. Embrace the freedom of who you are.

The following quote inspires me to keep trying new things, takes the pressure off and helps remove the fear of not being good enough. I hope it will do the same for you.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
Walt Disney

So give yourself permission to learn, grow and become all of the amazing you, you were meant be.



Annaveta Travotsky, a young girl in 1913 Russia, is poised at the dawn of womanhood.

In the span of a few short weeks, Annaveta finds her world turned upside down. Prevailing over trauma, tragedy and loss she moves on, but the guilt and rejection she carries from past abusive relationships, cause her to struggle with feelings of unworthiness.

Her heart holds her back from receiving the love of the man who longs to protect her.

As her past catches up to her, Annaveta flees to St.Petersburg, a place where she seeks safety. However, unrest in Russia makes the country ripe for an uprising, where terrorist groups like the Black Hand are flourishing. In the middle of this city filled with turmoil and rebellion, Annaveta and Alex discover a murderous plot devised by members of the Black Hand.

When terrorists threaten their lives, she faces a choice: Hold onto the lies of her past or believe in the power of love.

Comment for an opportunity to win 1 of 2 FREE ebooks of Answering Annaveta

Other Publications

“Mom’s Gift to Me” in Christian Fiction Online Magazine

“You’re a Writer. Pick Yourself” in Southern Writer’s Magazine


Lorna Faith loves all things romantic, historical and filled with adventure. A graduate of the University of Lethbridge with a degree in Music, she teaches students by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. She also helps other people tell the stories they love on Social Media. She and her husband have 2 College age children and 2 teenagers and live in Southern Alberta near the Rocky Mountains. Answering Annaveta is her 1st novel… with Book #2 coming in May 2015.

Where to find Lorna…

Lorna Faith Blog | Raw Story Life Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

Joanne here!

What a lovely tapestry you’ve woven! Thank you for sharing your journey and best of luck with all your literary endeavours.

Spotlight on Kerri Carpenter

I am happy to spotlight Soul Mate author Kerri Carpenter and her new release, The Best Kind of Love. Sit back and enjoy Kerri’s entertaining take on her writing journey.

Here’s Kerri!

kerricIt feels like I’ve been writing my entire life. Even before I put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, I was creating worlds. My Barbies didn’t just prance around the Barbie townhouse. They had jobs and friends and, of course, romance. Oh that Ken!

Besides writing I was also an avid reader. I loved getting lost in books and all the possibilities they represented. Writing, reading, they were both outlets for me, but I hadn’t quite found my way yet.

Then everything came together one summer when my mom handed me a book called Sea Swept, written by Nora Roberts. One chapter in and I was hooked. By the end I knew I had to read more – as in, Nora Roberts’ entire collection. Somewhere in the middle of the Calhoun sisters, the MacGregors, or maybe even the Gallaghers in Ireland, it dawned on me. I was meant to write romance novels.

So I started doing some research. The only rule about writing romance was that it had to have a happy ending.

17604325_sWriting a story that ended happily and made people feel good? Sign me up.

Almost immediately, I had a story form in my mind and I started writing. At the same time, I was still learning what I could about the publishing industry because I was ready to be the next bestselling author.

Then one day I read an article that stated it was very rare for someone to get their first manuscript published. Usually it took years, if not decades.

I scoffed at this. Clearly, I would be the exception to the rule because I had read every single Nora Roberts book. And I was twenty-two. Obviously I knew everything.

Only, I kinda didn’t.

I did finish that first manuscript and I even submitted it. And then I received the first of what became many, many, many rejection letters. WHAT?!?!

After I swallowed my pride and got my considerable ego in check, I began studying the industry in earnest. I joined writing groups, I went to meetings and conferences, I read articles, and most importantly, I kept writing. About seven unpublished manuscripts of more writing. And of course, I kept reading. Especially Nora Roberts.


Skip ahead over a decade, and I finally got “the call,” that magical day you find out that someone wants to pluck your creative baby out of the slush pile. For me, that story is The Best Kind of Love and it came out today.

I won’t lie and say all those years weren’t hard. But looking back at it, I wouldn’t have done it differently. Because all those rejections and all those hours of research led me to today. I may not be Nora Roberts…yet. But I’m pretty happy with where I am.

the best kind of love


After twelve years away, organized consultant, Penelope Walker, doesn’t expect to return to Blue Lake, Virginia. But when her parents unexpectedly die, she returns to her hometown and finds out that general contractor and former love of her life, Ethan Callahan, is back too. Their relationship transcended the typical high school romance and his mere presence is enough to have all those feelings of passion return full force. Only she can’t forget that Ethan didn’t show up for their secret elopement and left her brokenhearted.

It doesn’t take long for Ethan to realize he wants Penelope back, but he knows she won’t let go of the past that easily. When she finds out what her parents asked him to do all those years ago, she’ll never let him back into her life. Even though he did all of it for her.

Penelope’s determined to unravel the mystery of their shared pasts, while Ethan wants nothing more than to move on to their future. If these two former lovers can learn to forgive and forget, will they be able to remember that they had the best kind of love?



Kerri Carpenter began writing in her grandmother’s kitchen at the age of seven in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, PA. A life-long fan of reading, she got lost in the worlds of The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley High. She also assumed that everyone had characters and plots forming in their heads at all times.

Once she turned to romance novels, she couldn’t get enough of books with happy endings, so she started writing her own. Now, Kerri writes contemporary romances, usually set in small towns. She enjoys reading, cooking, watching movies, taking Zumba classes, rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams, and anything sparkly. Kerri lives in Northern Virginia with her adorable (and mischievous) poodle mix, Harry.

Where to find Kerri…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon


Clean Jokes for Toastmasters


Use one of these jokes at your next meeting.


Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Officer asks a newly graduated engineer the following question: “And what starting salary are you looking for?”

The engineer replies, “In the region of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package.”

The HR Officer asks, “Well, what would you say to a package of five weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a company car leased every two years, say, a red Corvette?”

The engineer sits up straight and says, “Wow! Are you kidding?”

The HR Officer replies, “Yeah, but you started it.”


A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious, and laced with profanity.

John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music, and doing anything else he could think of to clean up the bird’s vocabulary.

Finally John had had enough. In exasperation one day, he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. He shook his fist at the parrot, but the parrot just got angrier and even ruder.

In desperation, John threw up his hands, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the freezer door. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arm and said: “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I am sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behaviour.”

John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behaviour, the bird continued: “May I ask what the chicken did?”

Source: http://www.auroratoastmasters.com/jokes.html

Free…And One By Me!

wildrosecookbookIf you would like to spend less time in the kitchen, download a free copy of the 2014 Quick & Easy Holiday Gourmet.

Treat yourself to no-fuss entrees, appetizers and desserts, all from the kitchens of The Wild Rose Press authors.

I’m happy to share one of my recipes–Stracciatella Soup–on p. 149.

Buon Appetito!