Archive for September, 2009


it’s all about choices

As human beings we make choices every day. Some are small and insignificant, like whether to have cereal for breakfast or a bagel. Some choices are bigger and more important, like which college to attend, and what career to pursue. Some choices, like choosing a life partner or whether or not to have children are life changing. I made a life changing choice at the tender age of twelve.

In order to impress a boy named Stuart Ritsenthaller, I chose to start smoking cigarettes. It is a choice I’ve had to live with for the past thirty-four years. Looking back, I don’t remember whether Stuart was even all that impressed. But I do know, after a bout of pneumonia sent me to the hospital for a chest x-ray early this summer, my doctor was not impressed at all. In fact she was downright alarmed.


I knew I had to end my love affair with nicotine, and the prospect scared the hell out of me. I’d heard about the cravings, the headaches, the irritability. Who needed it? So I started slow, using the taper down method. It worked pretty well. Within two weeks I’d cut my pack a day habit in half. The next few weeks were like trying to walk up a water slide backward. Some days I’d do really well, lighting up only five or six times in a day. Other days I’d backslide and smoke ten or twelve. The experience really brought out my inner brat. I became prone to emotional temper tantrums, unable to handle being told “No.” But at the same time another voice screams that I have books to write. Football games to go to. Gardens to plant. Like that Aerosmith song says, “I don’t want to miss a thing.”

It’s not easy to quit smoking. It’s not fun. But then, neither are the alternatives. With that thought in mind, a month ago I set a quit date of September third. That’s tomorrow. With the ‘big day’ now literally around the corner, I have to admit I’m scared to death. Scared of the cravings, the withdrawal, the irritability. Scared of failure.

 But failure would be a choice, too, and one I can’t afford to make. With a lot of prayer, and a little help from my friends, I’ll get by. One day, one craving, one choice at a time.


New Review From The Romance Studio

Shadow Lake M. Jean Pike

 Contemporary romance

Available from Black Lyon Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-934912-14-0 April 2009

Emma Beckman, a thirty-year-old widow, was almost destitute. She desperately needed a job but her life was such a shambles she had trouble finding anything she could do. She decided to answer an ad for a 5-month-a-year job at Shadow Lake Campground. She didn’t expect to be hired, but she was desperate and had to try. Her last job was a disaster. When she refused to submit to a fellow employee, he jeopardized her job. Her dilapidated vehicle was not up to making the trip to and from the campground.

Shane Lucy married at eighteen, seventeen years earlier, and was the father of a sixteen year old trouble boy, Mick. It started when his mother, Shane’s wife Blair, left them the year before and never contacted them again. When Emma walked into the camp store, Shane’s temper scared her to death. She was so fragile, she was sure she couldn’t work for him. He watched her walk and leave out after he was so rude.

This book has an author who is new to me—M. Jean Pike. I loved her writing style and the ability she has to keep this reader mesmerized. The fact that Emma was fragile and emotionally struggled did not make her a weak character. Likewise, the rough and gruff Shane was vulnerable in his own right. The supporting cast members were dynamic, vibrant people who greatly added to the enjoyment of the storyline. Even the unpopular ex-wife had a pivotal role.

This great work has such an interesting story that I believe everyone would enjoy it. I highly recommend it to anyone. It is a beautiful love story without blatant sexual activity. I highly offer this to you as one book even younger people would enjoy. It is a great book which who’s storyline will remain even after the great ending.

Overall rating: 5 Hearts

Sensuality rating: Mildly sensual

Reviewer: Brenda Talley August 31, 2009