Thankful and Thoughtful

Today I’m Thankful. For friends. For family. For freedom. For success.

And for heartbreaks. And losses.

Because they gave me a chance to experience the love and friendship that came before.

This last week I lost a close personal friend. It was unexpected. Came out of nowhere. I stood up in her wedding. She was only 30. She was one of those people who asked me for sex advice. Who laughed and flirted with me. Who I Dommed, just a little bit…all for fun. She’d come to my pleasure parties. In fact, I threw her a pleasure party before she got married because she had a dear, adventurous heart and wanted a sex swing. But at the core of it all, we were friends of the heart.

I was a mentor for her professionally. She was a supportive friend. We shared a passion for dogs. Talked about arranging a play date for our girls. Sadly, it never happened, and now it never will. Life happening, and us not spending as much time together as I’d have liked are my big regrets. But she lived big and loved bigger, so I’m thankful for the time I had with her.

I’ll never forget her. And I know she’s smiling down at me as I remember our shared laughter and the irreplaceable moments. We had a friendship that lasted a lifetime.

I’m also thrilled and thankful to announce that I’m sharing a part of myself in one of the coolest projects with one of the most amazing people I have the pleasure of knowing.

Yep! I’m finally announcing my super secret surprise.

August McLaughlin, the host of Girl Boner radio and author of suspense thriller, In Her Shadow, invited me  along with several other authors and experts to contribute to  a project of love.

This book, all about empowerment and strength, will be coming out soon. Isn’t the cover charming? To read more about the book and the various contributors, CLICK HERE! If you’d like to help spread the word and join in the blog tour for the book, click there, too. The way to sign up is there, too.

Finally, I’m also thankful for my newest nephew who, after a scary introduction into the world, is thriving. My sister was due to have her first child this May. He actually arrived much earlier… Like. February. He was in the NICU for a long time as he was a micro premie, born at 1.5 lbs. It was a scary time for our family, and was the beginning of my radio silence. These days, though, he’s a ray of sunshine and a ball of energy…and enjoying his first snowfall. I’m sure my brother is looking down from heaven, enjoying his nephew’s laughter and grins.

So, despite all the craziness and challenges…. I’m both thankful and blessed. God is good, and I have faith that he has a plan. I just don’t know what it is. ;-)

What are you grateful for?

Left Behind

Let me go.
I’m not here…
Chase your life;
Face your fear.
Find your passion
Feed your soul,
Reach for things
That make you whole.

Our memory,
Of laughter, tears;
A legacy.
Embrace the joy.
Never forget;
Keep moving forward,
Let go of regret.

Honor my gift,
Cherish and share,
The joy in remembrance;
You’ll find me there.
So open your arms,
Set yourself free,
And smile when you think back
On memories of me.

It’s been a while since I’ve been on here because life kind of got away with me. But today I was inspired to write something special. Something specific.

I was at a celebration of life service today. The mother of a friend passed away, so I went to help their family honor her. It also reminded me of some of my losses, but instead of focusing on what I hoped they knew, I found myself focusing on the message I’m pretty sure they wanted those of us left behind to hear.

A lot has been going on in my universe this last year. I started a new day job; one that I love, but limits the amount of time I have for writing, but it allows me to help change people’s lives. My sister gave birth to our first nephew on my side of the family….waaaay early. There were fears that we could lose them both, but they’re both thriving these days. And then there’s the step-dad. As most of you know, he’s more a father to me than my bio dad. Keep him in your thoughts. He’s battling cancer. I effing HATE that word.

What I’m trying to say is…. Please be patient with me. I still love you guys. I’m still here. I’ve just had a lot going on…. Including a project that I can’t say anything about yet. But I will. I miss you guys.

No Ass, No Choke-That’s What He Said!

Nut Juice

“I don’t eat anything that starts with ‘ass’ or ends in ‘choke.'”


“I won’t try asparagus or artichoke.”

The moment that cracked me up most, though, happened during a holiday at my mom’s house. She’d made the mistake of asking my hubby something about preferences for veggies.

As most of my regular readers have deduced, my hubby is a bit of a smartass. Let’s be real. You kind of have to be when you’re married to me. For me, his sense of fun and his sharp sarcasm are all part of his charm.

He also likes to cook and bake. He’s actually got some pretty impressive kitchen skills, and he’s creative with his culinary attempts. In fact, he’s often lamented about how he’d love to try his hand at something like the show “Chopped.” The random boxes of ingredients that need to be used to create some sort of masterpiece intrigues him.


My man is picky. In fact, one of the few nods to “non-traditional” ingredients my hubby enjoys is almond milk. Hence the meme. Thus, I keep telling him that were he ever on the show, he’d have to pray for the perfect storm of ingredients or he’d lose.

He doesn’t believe me when I say these things to him, but he is…. And I partially blame it on his dad and the fact that he comes by his smartassery naturally.

Example? I’m half Asian. I love ethnic food. Until I’d met hubby, and he was 21 at the time, I’d never met a guy who hadn’t at least tried Chinese food. I mean, it’s practically a holiday staple with certain people. Yet I learned that my guy not only said “I don’t like Chinese,” he’d never given it a chance.

Why? Two reasons. First, was a combo of his dad and a scene from The Lost Boys. His pops called fried rice “flied lice.” And then he saw this scene….

And it didn’t help that his dad called soy sauce “bug juice.”

Thankfully, back then he was still working to impress me and tried the food. He got over his dislike really quickly once he tried it.

The thing is, when we conned him into trying the cooking tables at a Japanese restaurant, he found a new favorite. When he was peer pressured by colleagues to try seared ahi tuna or my grouper when we were in the Bahamas, he found there’s actually fish he would eat.

Because we went to a restaurant that made guacamole tableside, he tried it…and flan for dessert…and found he liked them both.

But most of the time? He balks like a big baby at anything he deems to be strange. And yet I’m still entertained by him….

Now it’s your turn. What foods kind of squick you out? Or even more interesting…if you’re in a long term relationship, what quirk does your significant other have that you find both entertaining and frustrating?

@NBlackthorne is Wild, Wicked, and Wanton


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shop and seduces wealthy gentlemen. One encounter is all Beth allows.

She must leave them burning.

When she boldly seduces Grey

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But Grey Sexton demands more. His possessive

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Lace and Promises


New York Merchant Prince Grey Sexton

loves the audacious, spirited young temptress who seduced him in a

Philadelphia bookseller’s and made passionate love to him in his

carriage. Her fiery nature broke through his cold self-protection.

Beth McConnell loves her husband-to-be very much, yet she

wonders if she will ever be able to present herself as the

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What started out as a

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Can their love prevail?


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Alex’s Angel


In the wake of a devastating epidemic,

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Alexander Dalton

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suffocating manipulation, Emily bridles under Alex’s possessive,

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Book Four in the Wild, Wicked and Wanton Series

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Natasha holds a B.A. in History, loves reading, cats

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#RockinReads Giveaway and Tattooed Baristas

rockin reads

I have several major passions…. Most of you who’ve stopped by my page pretty regularly know that one of my big addictions is coffee. In fact, it’s a big part of what began a beautiful friendship with one of my favorite authors (who has since become a friend), Lissa Matthews.

We have a mutual passion for coffee, experimenting in the kitchen, hotties…and she’s a terrific writer. I was a total fan girl first. She made my day the first time she responded to one of my Tweets. Her Blue Jeans and Hard Hats series is one of my all time favorites. Her Simple Need series? A close second… And don’t even get me started on how much I love her gay romances. Yum!

Tattooed Barista

And then she comes out with this awesome new series that surrounds some of our favorite commonalities. How could I not share something with a cover this HAWT and a story this fun?

Don’t believe me? Check out this blurb:

Derek Forrester couldn’t lie his way out of a paper bag, but somehow he’s managed to convince his less than approving high society mother of his engagement to the teal haired, dangerously curved, tattoo covered, coffee cart owning girl named Peggy.

Peg, not ‘Peggy’, is far from amused by Derek’s fib, but the way he kissed, left her wondering what might have been if she hadn’t been paid to play along.

The stakes are higher than the original bargaining price, a new business is getting off the ground, and it’s going to take a whole lot more than caffeine to get through this wedded mess.

Sounds like terrific fun, right? The Tattooed Barista has one of the coolest, most unique covers I’ve seen in a long time and I’m in love with it.

Want a chance to win a copy? I want you to share your favorite coffee shop drink and the title to one of Lissa Matthews’ books that YOU think is most intriguing based on the cover or blurb…or if you’ve read her stuff. You have until the end of September 30th EST to qualify to win!

And if you haven’t met Lissa yet, Stop by her Facebook or Twitter and say hello. Not for points. Just because she’s cool as $hit….and tell her I’ve been bragging on her and how amazing I think she is.

And if you’re looking for more books to win? CLICK the button below. It will guide you to other participating blogs!

Celebrate Love


Today is hubby and my anniversary, so I wanted to take a moment to share how utterly amazing it feels to have someone who loves and supports you and your dreams through thick and thin, good and bad, and the failures as well as successes.


He waited patiently for me to be ready, and it took me years. He took the heat as the guy dragging his feet about getting to the altar when it was really me, not wanting to rush or make a mistake…because I will only marry once. Yes, I believe in happily ever after.


I’m blessed with a guy who loves God, me, and the Dallas Cowboys.


Someone with whom I can share my adventures.


Who isn’t afraid to get up and dance..


Who appreciates my brand of humor and my naughty mind…


Who loves coming back to Chicago as much as I do…


Yup! He’s my home, my soul mate, and my best friend….and he’ll be my life long adventure.

My wish for all of you today is that you all have or find someone who loves you unconditionally, flaws and all.

(BTW, in honor of our anniversary,  my book Three For All is only $.99. Click the link on the sidebar if you’re interested.)


For me, it’s the birthdays that are hardest… Not the anniversaries of their deaths, but the celebrations of their lives…taken way too soon. 

I could drive myself crazy wondering “what if,” but what’s the point? My precious brothers were still lost to us way too soon. So I try to smile. I remember the silly moments and the laughter… Terrorizing my younger sister because that’s what siblings do.

I remember how proud Jonathan (the one in the navy shorts) was because I was the “cool” babysitter for him and his friends. The one who would pile drive or body slam them into couches.

I remember little Paul with his big voice and bigger heart. How he could charm anyone with a couple of words and a friendly smile… A joyful addition to our family, lost to us so quickly, leaving only two years of memories behind.

Today is Jonathan’s birthday… 

I wonder if he knows he has a namesake? Another beautiful angel with a warrior’s heart and a smile to melt the hardest heart. The premie miracle who battled his way into this world as a 1.5 lb. fighter, determined to prove how strong and resilient babies truly are. I’m thrilled and blessed that he’s a little tough guy and 100% healthy. He’s the pride and joy of our family… (And now over 12 lbs.)

If I seem bittersweet, just know I’m paying my respects. Remembering my brothers with love in my heart, and wishing peace and hope on this great nation.