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What a Life

You might think that since I do the same thing every three months, it would become old-hat. That would be wrong. I love my mostly-organized schedule. From writing to proofreading, editing and publishing, the schedule is the same over and over and it makes me happy. It means I get things done.

I've always worked well within deadlines and schedules. There's something thrilling about making it all happen on time. The most fun is when I am able to add other projects in the middle of it all and still get everything finished.

While the book is out with my team of editors these next couple of weeks, I am free to work on other things. My list of goals gets overwhelming sometimes, but I'd be bored without it. Now I just need a few more hours in the day.

The picture is TB watching the manuscript for Book 22 print. The printer freaks him out, but every quarter we go through this and I just laugh at the boy. I love my life.

Book 22
Lessons in Hope

Book 22 will soon be delivered into the very capable and talented hands of my editing & proofreading team. 

Polly has a very busy two weeks in front of her. A graduation, a wedding, end of school, and that's only what she's planned. But this is Bellingwood and it's time for more chaos.

June 25th is the release day for Lessons in Hope. Thanks to Maxim M. Muir for an awesome cover image!
Friday, June 15, 2018
6 - 11 pm Central Time

Join us on the Bellingwood Facebook page for an evening of trivia, silliness and conversation. 
Prizes include: signed paperbacks or ebooks of the newest release, beanbag frogs, mugs, audio book codes, and other fun gifts. International readers are welcome and winners will receive a $10 (USD) Amazon gift certificate.

I have such fun during these evenings. It's great fun spending time with you.
Privacy Notice Update

Has your email inbox been inundated with new privacy notifications? Mine has.

On May 25, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) goes into force in the European Union. It is intended to protect users from those who prey on their personal data. Because we live in a global village, anyone who communicates with those in Europe prefers to work in accordance with that law.

My eighteen-year-old self would never have imagined I'd be responsible for a website (who knew what a website was in 1977?) that reached around the globe. Pretty exciting.

My Privacy Notice has also been updated. You can read it here if you like. The law ensures you gain more power over the information companies collect. To change your subscription preferences, click here. The link is always at the bottom of every email I send out.

Thank you for being part of the Bellingwood family. 
Don't Be Ridiculous
A Bellingwood Short Story


"Yes, mother, I'm coming." June Livengood rose from the kitchen table where she'd been sorting the week's medications into pill holders. She headed out to the living room.

"Can you do something about this?" Her mother, May, held up the corner of a lap blanket that had gotten twisted up in the legs of the recliner. Not her mother's recliner, but the one June's Aunt April claimed.

"Of course I can." June took the blanket out of her mother's hand and unwound it from the foot rest of the other recliner, then stood in front of the two women. "Were you two wrestling or what?"

While her question elicited a laugh from her aunt, June's mother glared. "I told her not to sit down before I got it off the chair, but she couldn't wait."

"My knees hurt," April said. "You know that if I'm not careful they'll give out on me. It's not like you could help me up off the floor." She reached over and patted June's hand. "But you would, dear, wouldn't you?"

"Not if I'm at work," June replied. "You two be nice to each other. I need to finish what I'm doing or you'll be eating Mother's high blood pressure pills while she takes your thyroid medication."

"Don't forget my calcium," her mother called after June.

"Yes, Mother," June said. She hadn't forgotten that woman's calcium pills in fifteen years. Once. It had  happened once and that was just after June moved back into her mother's home, but May never forgot. Her sister, April, had taken a spill the next winter and after much conversation, agreed to move into May's home as well so June could care for both ladies. 

They really didn't require much physical care and both women were as clear-headed as they came, but June felt better knowing that she was there to keep an eye on them. Even though the two sisters sniped at each other, they loved each other. That was obvious. There was nothing sweeter than seeing April slip an extra butterscotch candy into her pocket so she could surprise May with it later in the evening.

April was a night owl. She hated getting up in the morning, but because June needed to get out of the house to go to work, her aunt loudly complained and dragged herself into the living room each morning. She wasn't much good until about ten thirty, when May was ready to take her first nap of the day. 

They argued over television channels and stole each other's magazines when they weren't looking. April pulled silly pranks on her older sister, such as laying a damp cloth on the recliner when she knew her sister wouldn't turn to see it. It was never wet enough to soak her sister's pants right away, but in about fifteen minutes, May would rise up in a fury. April thought it was incredibly funny and claimed that she did it because May needed more exercise. The funny thing was that it happened more often than you'd expect. May would watch the seat for days and days and then she'd relax and all of a sudden, the damp cloth would show up out of the blue.

June went back out into the cozy living room. The two women had knitted and crocheted their entire lives and the room was covered in afghans and crocheted knick knacks. Baskets of yarn and unfinished projects filled spaces around the room, as well as in every other room in the house. She put their pill boxes, a yellow marked box for April and a pink marked box for May, on the tables beside each chair.

"I'm thinking about getting a dog," she said and turned to walk out of the room. Three. Two. One.

"What do you mean?" her mother demanded. "Who's going to take care of the thing?"

She smiled to herself as she turned back. She was as bad as her Aunt April. Stirring her mother up before she left the house in the morning was well worth it, though, just for the laugh. "I will when I'm home, but the two of you would let it out during the day. We have that nice back yard. Maybe I should get two dogs. That way you'd each have someone to take care of."

"What a foolish idea. We certainly don't need any dogs in this house. Why, they'd knock things over with those wagging tails."

"If you yell at it often enough," April said, scolding her sister, "the dog's tail will never wag. Problem solved." Then she turned to June. "Are you really thinking about a dog? Maybe we should have a family meeting. We could vote on it."

"Maybe we should," June replied. She grinned. "If you don't want a dog, maybe a cat would be a better idea."

"They knock things off shelves and get underfoot. There would be cat hair on everything," May said. "What a mess."

"Fish, then?" April asked with a glare.

"Why do we need ridiculous pets? I have quite enough trouble keeping you out of the pokey." May's face broke into a grin. She wasn't quite as severe as she wanted people to believe.

June shook her head. They'd gone back and forth about pets for years. It wouldn't happen this year either. "Do you remember that Sherry is picking you up this afternoon?"

April's eyes glinted. "May's going to get to see her boyfriend." 

May glared again at her sister, but didn't say anything.

While Bellingwood didn't have a senior center, once a month, a group of older adults met at the Catholic Church's hall. There was bingo and refreshments, some played card games and others were grateful for an opportunity to leave their homes for the afternoon. Sherry West, whose little boy was in a wheelchair, volunteered her accessible van to pick up those who needed a ride.

April could get around the house with a walker, but if she went much farther, she needed the safety of a chair, so Sherry picked the two women up once a month for these outings. She was as gentle with June's family as June was and greatly appreciated.

June had become a master of folding the chair into the trunk of her car. Whenever they went anywhere as a family, she planned for a ridiculous amount of time. It took forever to get those women in and out of her car and then in and out of wherever they were going, but it was worth it to see their faces light up when they saw their friends. She tried to take them to the coffee shop or the diner at least once a week and she always made sure to take them to church on Sundays unless the weather was bad. 

"You should stay home from work today," April said. "Go play with us and meet your mother's boyfriend."

June lifted her eyebrows at her mother. "How serious is this?"

"Phil isn't my boyfriend," May said.

"So it's Phil, is it?" June asked. "Is that who you're texting with all the time?"

May looked at her in surprise, then glanced at the phone sitting on the table beside her. "Have you been snooping in my phone?"

"No, Mother," June said, with a laugh. "I was just teasing you. But if you'd ever like to invite him to come for dinner ..."

"We could never," May said, interrupting her daughter. "This place would need to be cleaned up."

June creased her forehead in surprise. "Would you like to invite him over? The house is just a little cluttered. I could ask Misty if she'd come over to clean. You enjoy having her in the house."

May glanced at her sister and then back to June. "No," she said. "That's ridiculous."

"It is not. Just think," April said. "You could have a date in the safety of your own home. If you get tired of him, June drives him back to his apartment. Boom. Easy as that." She took up her own phone. "I'll call Misty and schedule her for later this week. I'll even pay for it. Anything to get that grumpy look off your face. What shall we make for dinner? I found a new recipe for Chicken Kiev on Pinterest the other day. It looked interesting."

"He's lactose intolerant," May replied. "And his teeth aren't very good so he can't eat steak."

"Mush food," April said. "Fabulous."

June laughed. "Okay, ladies, I need to go to work. Call Misty. Put your grocery list together. You know how to order groceries online. Schedule it so I can drive to Boone after work some night to pick it up."

"This isn't happening," May Livengood said.

"Whether it's a date or a night of fun for the three of us, something is happening," April said. "We'll talk to Phil this afternoon. Maybe he has a friend who can be my date. You'll ask him for me, won't you?"

"I've always had to find dates for you," May said. "Nothing ever changes."

"I love you two," June said. She waved as she walked back into the kitchen. "Be good today. I'll see you tonight." She laughed as she went out to her car. Some people might see her as an old maid. She'd never been married, but the truth was, her life was full and happy. Those two women might not get out of the house or do the things they'd done when they were younger, but their hearts and minds were still the same. As long as she could, she would make sure they had fun ... even if her mother thought it was all ridiculous.
Don't forget to dig through the menus and tabs on my website. There is so much more information there about Bellingwood.

For a full list of Bellingwood books in order, please go to this page on my website,

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