The end of the “terrible twos”

Today my Babybee turns 3! So with that in mind, I shall share one of my favorite video series on YouTube. If you haven’t watched, prepare for some chuckles…

Guest Mom Kimberly Kincaid: Food Is Love

As a foodie romance author, I write by the mantra that food is love. Many of my characters view food not just as physical sustenance, but as something evocative and nurturing, something more than simply what’s on the plate.

I’m here to tell you, friends. Life imitates art.

As a self-described “great big foodie”, I am a huge fan of food that comes right from the earth. So it’s no great shock, really, that every season, my kids and I pick strawberries (spring), blueberries (summer) and apples and pumpkins (fall). But this year, we decided to go for something new. We packed a lunch and our bushel baskets, put on our sturdy sneakers, and we headed out to go peach picking. While we’re big fans of the convenience of those fruit cups you get in the grocery store (what parent isn’t, at some point or another?), there is something really affirming about seeing sun-warmed peaches right on the trees. My kids were so excited to belly up to the trunks and branches of peach trees and twist the fruit right off the limbs. And, as a food lover and also a mom, I was excited for them to see firsthand where real fresh food comes from. It wasn’t just “let’s pick peaches for something to do” or “let’s pick peaches to have snack for the next week”. My kids got to have the evocative experience of feeling the fuzzy fruit, of smelling the sweet-tart air in the orchard (if we could bottle it, we’d be rich!) They got to realize that food doesn’t just fill the belly. It can be an experience, from farm to pot to plate. It becomes “more”.

   photo credit Kimberly Kincaid
photo credit: Kimberly Kincaid

Portrait of young attractive happy amorous couple in bedroomThis is an idea that I weave into each of my books. In my new novella, Outside The Lines (available July 30th), my heroine comes from a rough-edged background. Because she knows all too well what it’s like to be hungry, she makes it her life’s goal to feed people, and works as the manager at a restaurant to do just that. Of course, her job gets tougher when she has to team up with her ex-fiance in order to get that job done at a charity fundraiser! But her drive to feed people, to nurture them with simple, honest food, motivates her to see beyond her past. The food becomes “more” in the story as it brings them together.

So whether you’re going for a right-from-the earth experience with your kids or cooking with someone you love (your spouse or parents or friends), let the food be what brings you together! And if you live in the Washington DC metro area, consider taking a lovely drive out to Stribling Farm in Markham, VA, for peaches. It’s worth every delicious bite!

Kimberly Kincaid’s Peach Cobbler:

Filling:

1 ½ to 2 pound peaches, washed, pitted and sliced

4 Tablespoons granulated sugar

4 Tablespoons light brown sugar

1 Tablespoon AP flour

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon almond extract (vanilla will do in a pinch!)

Biscuits:

¾ cup AP flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

3 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

½ cup milk (NOT skim!)

Toss all filling ingredients in a bowl and let sit for about 30 minutes. Juices will start to run. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl, through sugar, with whisk until well combined. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter (or two forks) until mixture resembled coarse meal. Stir in milk until just combined. Place filling mixture in a 9-inch glass pie plate. Drop heaping Tablespoons of dough over filling mixture, leaving space between scoops. Bake 25 minutes until golden. Cool slightly. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


kimberlykincaidKimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she’s not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as “The Pleather Bomber”, she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a 2011 RWA Golden Heart® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. She has written two digital novellas, Love On The Line and Drawing The Line, about hot cops and sexy chefs, with a third novella, Outside The Lines, due this summer. She is also thrilled to have collaborated on a Christmas anthology with Donna Kauffman and Kate Angell, titled The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, to kick off her Pine Mountain foodie series with Kensington this October. Kimberly’s first full-length novel, Turn Up the Heat, will follow in February 2014. She resides in northern Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters. Visit her any time at www.kimberlykincaid.com or come check her out on Facebook and Twitter.

It’s AMAZING!

A funny thing happens when you write books for a living: you get all OCD about words. You stop and think about them. You obsess over choosing just (or would that be exactly?) the right one.  You get hung up on nuance. You’re so…literal. Is the sky the color of sapphires or cornflowers? Denim?

You get the picture.

Recently a friend told me about a book she’d read, saying how Amazing! it was. Intrigued and excited, I rushed out to get a copy…kinda like that Amazing! movie another friend saw, and that Amazing! new restaurant where another friend had the most Amazing! guacamole she’s ever had.

Amazing. It’s a strong, stop-everything-and-oh-my-GOD! kinda word. It grabs your attention. It makes a splash, an impact.

But you know, I plowed through that book, and watched that movie, and tried that guacamole. And they were, gripping, intense, and yummy, in that order.  All good,  but none what I would consider…Amazing!

So in addition to being kinda let down, it  got me thinking…what was the last Amazing! book I read? Amazing movie I saw? Amazing food I ate?

My all-time favorite TV show is/was Lost. Love, love, love that show. Miss it like crazy. But…I never really thought of it as Amazing! Intriguing, suspenseful, frustrating….weird, yes. Absolutely. But Amazing?  Nah.

So how about movies? Surely there was a movie that Amazed! Me. Let’s see. I adored Raiders of the Last Arc. That was exciting and fun and oddly romantic. And LAST OF THE MOHICANS….gripping and tragic and breathtaking and ohhhh, so romantic. But Amazing?  So what about The Sixth Sense or The Shining, other faves of mine? Suspenseful, intense, terrifying…

Okay, so scratch the movie idea.

A song? Nah. So what about a food, something I adore like Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream? Sinfully delicious. Tableside guacamole?  Wonderful and irresistible. Gooey cheesy sausage pizza?  Ah…yummy!  A margarita? Yes, a homemade margarita on the rocks with a salted rim.  Surely that….well, no. Not amazing (although close). Just…well, perfect.

So…what’s wrong with me, I got to thinking? Why don’t I find anything Amazing!?  Are my senses blunted somehow? Do I not recognize quality when I see/hear/taste it?

This led me to my dictionary:

a·maze [uhmeyz] Show IPA verb, a·mazed, a·maz·ing, noun

verb (used with object)

1. to overwhelm with surprise or sudden wonder; astonish greatly.

2. Obsolete . to bewilder; perplex.

adj

causing wonder or astonishment: amazing feats

Synonyms

1. astound, dumfound, stun, flabbergast. See surprise.

And suddenly I got it: it wasn’t that I didn’t find anything Amazing!. Because I did. I found plenty of things amazing…

  • Childbirth
  • Heart and brain surgery
  • Organ transplants
  • Sunrises and sunsets
  • Space Travel
  • Heck, maybe even running a marathon
  • Oh, and definitely winning a major industry award….ahem…SOMEONE wanna speak up???

No, the problem wasn’t that I hadn’t had any Amazing! experiences.  Rather, t was an occupation hazard, like a chef selecting the right utensil or a surgeon the right instrument, I’m simply (merely?) getting all OCD about words again, obsessing over the literal meaning rather than realizing that Amazing! has become one of those catch-all blanket words, an enthusiastic GOOD!, a synonym for just about any other word with a positive connotation.

Whew!

What about you? Had any Amazing! experiences lately? Or…any words that are used so often they’ve basically been stripped of their original meaning?

Royal Baby

Have you been on royal baby watch the last few weeks? I’ve been watching religiously for news, and then it happens my first day back from the Romance Writer’s of America conference—the morning I am so tired I have to sleep in. The Duchess of Cambridge was kind enough to have a rather long labor, which meant I was able to keep up most of the day. And, of course, as you know, she delivered a healthy baby boy, a future Kind of England.

149237508_Town-Crier-Tony-Appleton-467

I’m jealous of a few benefits that come with being royalty. First of all, a town crier announced the birth. I think every mom deserves a town crier. The whole world should be as elated as England was about the birth of this royal babe. I wish I had a town crier announce all sorts of things—Shana’s book came out, Shana folded all the laundry, Shana made dinner!

Another benefit of royalty is the hospital staff is basically on call for you. When my doctor said I had to be induced, I called in to the hospital the morning of my appointment and ended up being bumped to the next day. I wasn’t given final approval to eat until about 2 p.m. A hungry woman who’s 9 months pregnant is not a pretty sight.

media

Of course, not everything about being a royal mom is wonderful. Have you seen the photos of the reporters camped outside the hospital? I don’t know about you, but I didn’t really want anyone to see me as I slunk home, still wearing my maternity clothes and looking somehow worse than when I went in. I also find it upsetting that some people aren’t happy the baby is a boy. The baby can’t help what sex it is. Just as baby girls born to kings in the past could not help being girls, this baby can’t help being a boy. I’m sure the parents are thrilled the baby is healthy. And I’m sure Prince William is missing his mother quite a lot right now. It’s too bad she cannot be there.

Diana

There are also a few perplexing things about the birth. For one, we don’t know the baby’s name. I knew my daughter’s name long before she was born. Apparently, we may have to wait a few days to learn the name. Secondly, not only do we not know the baby’s first name, we don’t know his last name. William and Harry went by Wales as did their cousins, Beatrice and Eugenie York, the daughters of Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York. But Prince Edward’s children, Louise and James, go by the last name of Windsor. So will the royal baby be a Cambridge or a Windsor or a Mountbatten-Windsor?

Have you been keeping up with the royal baby’s birth?

 

Shana Galen, Multitasker Mama
I’m Shana Galen, AKA Multitasker Mama (and aren’t we all?). I’m a wife, mom to a three-year-old daughter I call Baby Galen. My parenting motto is, “Keep moving. Don’t pass out. Don’t throw up.” Or maybe that’s my fitness motto? www.shanagalen.com

Sometimes I Want to Apologize

After a crazy, intense, drama-laden couple of days, heck, maybe weeks, I found myself awake in those still, wee hours when the night is at its darkest, watching my kids sleep. It’s something I love to do, something I’ve loved to do since the first night my daughter was born. Those moments are so quiet and sweet, unadorned and still and deep. It’s when the chaos and stress that fuels the day subsides, leaving me alone with my thoughts and my dreams, and sometimes…an apology.

That’s what I started doing last night, watching their innocence, still so pure in so many ways, and, with a hard squeeze of my heart, apologizing for what I know is waiting just around the corner, the world they’re stepping deeper and deeper into every day…

  • For the culture we’ve somehow created, one punctuated by anger and animosity, by rudeness and sarcasm and hard, sharp, ugly edges, edges that slice clear to the bone.
  • For idolizing those without morals, and ridiculing those with.
  • For making everything so wonderful and perfect that kids don’t know how to deal with adversity.
  • For telling them that they were a rock star or princess so many times you started to believe it.
  • For trophies for participation.
  • For letting the Internet into their lives, and for letting said Internet dissolve into everything it has dissolved into.
  • For freedoms and privileges which require decisions they’re not ready to handle, that they can’t possibly be ready to handle.
  • For enabling kids to share their lives with thousands of strangers, and wrapping their self worth up into something as meaningless as Clicks or Likes.
  • For Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, for Snapchat and Vine and, holy crap, Lulu.
  • For photoshop and airbrushing and everything else that promotes an idea of perfection based on the surface, rather than what lies beneath.
  • For a new wave of fun and games that should be neither fun, nor games.
  • For a society that thrives on pitting right versus left, white versus black, Christian versus non-Christian….
  • For reality TV that glamorizes drama, not friendship and compassion.
  • For songs on the radio, the ones with the catchy rhythms that make you dance, but whose lyrics are saturated with words we don’t say in our home…words we’ve taught you not to say.
  • For celebrating the fight, not the peace and the glory.
  • For removing anticipation and wonder and surprise, innocence, and replacing them with ugliness and hurt, with not realizing the tragedy of growing up  too fast.
  • For promoting hate.
  • …and marginalizing love.

I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry for the maelstrom closing in on them. I know there is still so much that is good, so much beauty and joy that surely awaits them, as well. I do. I know that. But so much of motherhood, it seems, is about fear, and the good is not what I fear. So as I sat there watching them, feeling the inevitable winds of time blow closer, I found myself reaching out and stroking my five-year-old’s soft blond curl, wishing that one moment could last forever. That I could take them away from this world we’ve created, to some magical island, some magical place, where they didn’t have to experience any of this. That I could keep them there with me, safe, insulated from bumps and bruises and hurts of all kind, from disillusionment. That the gooey smiles and gleeful giggles would go on and on. The hand-holding, the hugs. That I could freeze time, and hold him and his sister close. Forever. But I can’t do that. They have a life to live. Mountains to climb. Worlds to explore. So instead, after my apology, I found myself making a silent vow, that I would do whatever it took to teach them right from wrong and about true beauty and grace and compassion, that I’ll do my best to equip them for their journey and protect them from dangers both seen and unseen, even if doing so results in them resenting the hell out of me. Or worse. Because that’s what love is, and that’s what I’m going to give them, the soft love, the tough love, and the forever love. No matter what.

In the end, it’s the best lesson, the best gift, I can ever give.

We’re All Out of Wisdom and Transcendence Today – in which I get my rantypants on

We’re getting AC in our house this week. This is awesome because…well, I’m hot and I’d love to not be. But it just occurred to me, a new perk of this amazing system: Ceiling vents. Our floor vents will be plugged and we will have ceiling vents!!

This is a big deal because my son with autism poops in the vent in his room sometimes.

Ew. Right? Yep. EW.

Why am I telling you this? And why am I intro-ing with it? Because. I’ll explain.

This is kind of a ranty post. In the end, I’m not sure there’s a solution to my rant. I’m not sure anyone can win. Helpful, right? Well, I’m ranting it anyway.

When I tell people my son has autism, there are a few responses. Some make me want to hurl heavy objects at people (Have you tried gluten free? That CURES autism! Was it vaccines? WHAT DID YOU DO!?) And then there’s the responses that fall onto the positive end of the spectrum that still sometimes…well, they make me want to scream and run through a wall at this point. Because I’ve just heard it all so often.

I sort of just want to open with: My son has autism. Yes, I know Einstein didn’t talk till he was five. I KNOW some kids can play anything on the piano. And yes, I have heard of Temple Grandin. Many times. Many, many times.

People are well-meaning, and I know that. But sometimes when I’ve gotten my fifth uplifting book on all of autism’s specialness in a week’s time…I don’t care how well-meaning people are. That’s a TERRIBLE thing to say. Maisey, why would you say that?

Because I just cleaned POOP out of a heater vent. Because I don’t want to read a collection of essays about autism and the transcendent wisdom it gives to the people with it and those who parent those with it. Because today, I don’t have transcendence. Today, I have poop.

Very often, I have poop.

Or no social life, because I can’t just GO to a barbecue and talk to friends. Because I can’t GO have a play date. Because I can’t even GO to church. Because my son is at risk for wandering away, like so many kids with his condition do. Because even if he doesn’t wander away, well-meaning (see why sometimes well-meaning means nothing to me!?) people get on my case about him needing to be potty trained before he can be in a class at church because…well, they don’t have a class in church for a kid like him.

I love my son. And I love him just like he is. But I think sometimes people expect me to…to want to…I don’t know, celebrate the autism? There is, sometimes, a tendency for those around me to romanticize it in a way. And y’know, I’m on board with that sometimes. (I told you, this is a no-win rant, sorry) Because yeah, I love my kid and he’s special. He really is.

But that romantic outlook is SO SIMPLE. “BLAH BLAH TEMPLE GRANDIN BLAH BLAH EINSTEIN SPECIAL THINKING PIANO!”

Yes, great. But that’s simplified. It’s the beautiful, glossed over story of autism. But let me tell you right now, it’s HARD, you guys, it’s HARD. And sometimes people around me (mainly people who don’t know me that well) act like THEY have it all figured out. What diet my son should be on, how I should feel about his particular challenges…some people even try to tell me THEY AREN’T REAL! (This is where ‘Einstein didn’t talk till he was 5’ comes in)

But these people aren’t here cleaning poop out of my vents at one in the morning. That would be me.

I don’t know what advice to give, at the end of this rant, to those of you who have good intentions and only want to help. Maybe this post is only for the moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas and various other assorted loved ones of those with special needs. So they know that someone else thinks these things. So they know someone else is sitting here feeling like their HANDS will never be clean again, and that someone else is frustrated too. So they know that everyone’s life with autism, except for theirs, isn’t condensed to uplifting news stories about amazing achievements.

But that in reality, there are other people in the trenches with you.

Or maybe not. Maybe it’s for other people too. And if so…

I guess the best advice I can give is to be cautious in what you say. To think about it. To try and let the person dealing with the delicate situation, be it an illness, a special need, a divorce or any other difficult situation, lead the conversation.

And to know that, even if I do post a ranty post about something later…I probably did appreciate your intent. Because even if something frustrates or offends for a moment, love covers a lot of things.

So that was my rant. Sorry about all the poop.

Total Mom Freak Out: Psychological Stress & Mothering

Do you ever have them? Total mom freak outs? Sometimes the stress of worrying about my kids’ health, happiness, and security gets me to the point that I lose it. For me, losing it means I get illogical fears. I feel sort of trembly inside. I think, “I’ll never be able to protect them,” and suddenly, everything feels overwhelming.

When this sort of cloud passes over me–through me–sometimes I think I should drink wine to deal with it. But I’m not a big drinker. I decided long ago that I don’t handle alcohol well. I become the woman you wish hadn’t come to your party because I’m dancing on your antique dining room table in my heels. It’s too bad–so many people have said to me, “Have a glass of wine!” But no. That fix doesn’t do it for me.

Other times, I think, “Get your butt outside and walk.” That does help.

And on the rare occasion, I’ll think about going on an anti-anxiety drug. It’s mainly when I’m at my doctor’s for a regular check-up and he comes in, white coat tails flapping, and says, “How are you? I mean really?” And he’ll sit in front of me, hold my hand, and look deep into my eyes with such compassion, I start to cry. I know sooooo many moms on anti-anxiety drugs! Or anti-depressants. I did try Prozac once. I lasted about a month and had to quit. I just never got out of sleepy mode, even though I was on a baby dose because the doctor knew I was scared to take it. I have a really sensitive nervous system and do terribly with most drugs. So anyway, I quit Prozac the day the pre-K teacher pounded on my car window–I had fallen asleep in the car rider line, and she thought I’d fainted.

Over the years, I’ve grown to recognize when I’m in a weak psychological state. When the kids were little and we were first discovering that Nighthawk, our child with Asperger’s syndrome, had “issues,” I had panic attacks for a whole year. I tried the Prozac–you know what happened there. So instead of using meds, I wound up keeping a journal and telling myself to laugh every day, walk every day, meditate and pray every day, and keep writing about my feelings in that journal. I also decided to eliminate caffeine. The panic attacks did go away, and I went over ten years without another one.

My last one was two years ago when I went to Dunkin’ Donuts car line when I was stressed with more than kid worries. The concerns about my brood were still there–I could always list two or three child-related issues that hovered in my conscious brain–but I also had a short deadline. Money was tight. My parents were getting older and I was worried about my mom’s atrial fibrillations. I ordered decaffeinated coffee and two donuts, then an hour later, had a panic attack. The coffee, handed to me by an overworked or perhaps indifferent window attendant, was likely not decaf. That, combined with the ridiculous sugar rush (eating two donuts was an unusual event for me), destabilized me physically. Then I got a phone call from a really scary person who’s known for bullying people. Combine all that with my initial stress about the kids and my deadline, and suddenly, on the phone with this difficult person, I was lightheaded, my heart sped up, and I felt weak. Hell, I couldn’t even breathe….

So that was a wake-up call for me. I realized that I needed to be more diligent about taking care of myself. I let go of guilt (yes, it was that easy. I  just stopped kicking myself all the time!). I walked a lot more. I went to a counselor to get help with dealing with difficult people–those couple of sessions included learning how to let go of bad reviews online from people I don’t even know. The best part about the counseling was that she helped me remember I had the solution to my worries in me all along. I just had to think back to that year of journaling, walking, meditating/praying, and laughing.

When I stay aware of what’s happening in my life–not hiding my head in the sand about anything, including child, marital, physical, emotional, and work issues–I stay healthy. It takes courage to live in the now. But staying right here with the truth of my life is what keeps me strong and happy. So moms, if you find yourself getting emotionally frail–if your panic about your kids or anything else you’re worried about starts to affect you to the point that you aren’t living the way you want to live–consider paying attention to what your body and mind are telling you. Do this on your own or with your family doctor or a counselor. And remember, you’re not alone! So many of us moms deal with anxiety, depression, and stress. You deserve to feel better. So take action, or tell someone you trust so they can help you move toward where you want to be. We’re rooting for you here at Peanut Butter on the Keyboard! Hugs, Kieran 🙂


Hi, I’m Kieran. My family loves music and anything that makes us laugh out loud. Along with Chuck, my husband of 24 years, I try to teach our kids that we have to actively choose happiness–and if I accomplish nothing else as a mom but pass that one lesson along to them, then I think I’ve done my job. My oldest guy, Nighthawk, was diagnosed in kindergarten with Asperger’s syndrome, and now he’s a senior in college; his sister Indie Girl, who’s younger by 16 months, is a college junior; and my youngest, Dragon, is in tenth grade. For our family, it’s about managing your weaknesses and wringing everything you can get out of your strengths. And along the way, finding joy. www.kierankramerbooks.com

We *all* need an attitude adjustment

Most of the time I do a pretty good job keeping it cool. I try to keep myself in check, be patient and calm with my girls. But sometimes I just don’t get it right. Here lately we’ve just had some growing pains at the ol’ DeHart house. Case in point…

Babybee – she’s almost three, but milking the the terrible 2’s for all their worth. She’s going through something and I have my theories, but somedays I’m left scratching my head and wondering what the hell is going on. You know how sometimes you’re at a restaurant (or at a store) and you see *that* family where the kids whine and scream and make demands and the parents give in and they’re just royal brats? Well, that’s how she’s acting lately. Just very demanding, screaming, yelling, hitting and being super bratty, but here’s the thing, we don’t give in to her demands so I’m just at a loss sometimes for where it comes from because that kind of behavior doesn’t work at our house.

Busybee- most of the time she is the happiest kid you’ll ever meet. Seriously, people ask us all the time if she’s always that happy, she just loves life. But every now and then (usually when she’s overly tired) she can throw some fits that would rival her sister and frankly make your ears bleed. Again screaming at us, making demands, saying no, kicking, banging, you name it. It’s quite a sight to behold.

Now my kids are normally very well-behaved. People comment on them at restaurants all the time. I’m a stickler for behavior and they know the rules and usually happily obey them. But well, see above. So we’ve had a few days where they’ve both been at their worst (for lack of a better way to say that) and well, I try to keep it together, I try to be unflappable and calm and sometimes I manage it. But sometimes I yell back and I hate that. I’m a grown up, I can control myself, and I don’t like to yell at my kids (unless they’re in immediate physical danger). Instead I try to acknowledge their feelings, “yes, I understand that you don’t want to pick up your toys, but unfortunately you have to if you want to play with something else…”

So there you have it…I’m not really asking for advice, though if you have some, I’ll always take it. 🙂 Just mostly venting about my frustrations.

And here’s hoping that while I’m gone this week at RWA National that the two girls don’t have any major meltdowns for their visiting grandparents. I’m not sure my poor in-laws are prepared for that kind of drama. 🙂

Guest Mom Avery Flynn: Out of the Mouths of Babes

Welcome to the irrepressible, thoroughly charming paranormal romance author Avery Flynn! After you read this, you’ll wish she were your next-door neighbor. You can just tell that life around Avery and her kids would never be dull <g>. Take it away, Avery! 

My youngest kid is a few weeks away from five and may or may not be pure evil. OK, most days he is a cutie cuddle bunny, but when he decides he has been wronged, Katie bar the door because he is going to let you know it.

After a recent incident that ended with him in super-duper time out (AKA sent to his room), we had a little chat about what he needed to do from now on. That’s when he looked up at me with his red-rimmed, big brown eyes, his cheeks still dotted with tears, and gave the best definition of conflict ever.

“I don’t want to get in trouble, but I don’t want to do what I’m suppose to do.”

Yeah, that pretty much sums up conflict.

As a writer who deals in conflict every day (sure, in my imagination, but still), I’d never been able to come up with a better explanation for the heart of conflict. It really is when two wants go head to head.

Well, Flynn kid number three eventually earned release from super-duper time out and finished his dinner. You know, the meal he LOVED last week but hated this week? (Come on, I can’t be the only one with that kid.) Both of us ate dessert that night a little bit wiser.

Thanks so much for letting me come by today! I’d love to know what bits of wisdom you’ve gained from your little ones.

Don’t let the fun end now. Enter to win a Jax and the Beanstalk Zombies prize pack (including a Shaun of the Dead DVD, zombie hunting license and more) from Avery Flynn and a $25 Amazon gift card!

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9781616504717“I loved this story.” – -Darynda Jones, NY Times Bestselling Author

“4 stars. Snappy, smart, thoroughly romantic.” – RT Book Reviews

“This is Jack and the Beanstalk smexified, zombified and all grown up.” – Elisabeth Staab, Bestselling Author

The treasure hunter… Veronica Kwon is determined to be the only person in control of her destiny. After surviving a broken engagement and turning her back on her wealthy manipulative father, sheís started a treasure hunting company and is ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

The ex-fiance… Jax Taylor is a Southern charmer with enough sex appeal to melt the polar ice caps. He disappeared three months before their wedding and swore heíd never cross paths with Veronica again.

The magic beanstalk… Brought together again by their dying mentor, who has found three enchanted beans, Veronica and Jax agree to an uneasy partnership. Together theyíll climb a magic beanstalk to the cloud kingdom, but will their destiny be the riches they so desire, the passion they thought dead…or will the undead get them first?


AFlynnHeadshot2Avery Flynn has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip. Find out more about Avery on her  website, follow her on Twitter, like her on her Facebook page or friend her on her Facebook profile. Also, if you figure out how to send Oreos through the Internet, she’ll be your best friend for life.