Saturday, December 30, 2023

2023 - What a Year!

Wow! What a year! (Come back - my next post will be aboue what's planned for 2024!)

In 2023, I became a published author! Thanks so much to all of you who have read and reviewed and shared and supported. There's no way I could have done all of this without you.

- Heather

Heroes of Grant's Crossing Book 1

What do you do when the one friend you've always turned to is no longer there?
⭐️ Small town 
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Friendship
⭐️ Military - Homefront 
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Loss & Grief
⭐️ First loves
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Family
⭐️ MM love story 
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Honor

Three friends leave home to serve their country. Only two make it back.

After the Twin Towers fall, Derek Mitchell enlists in the U.S. Army with two of his best friends. He dreams of helping people, whether in the field of combat or back home in Grant's Crossing, Ohio.

Juan dreams of marrying his high school sweetheart and starting a family.

Joey dreams of being happy and living his own truth.

Together, they serve in multiple deployments until Juan and Joey are each grievously injured in separate combat missions. Thirteen years after initially enlisting, one doesn’t make it back.

Four months after the funeral, friends and family gather to celebrate Derek’s return to civilian life. With each story shared, he relives their final missions together, carrying the guilt of having saved one friend but not the other.

What do you do when the one friend you've always turned to is no longer there?

Wow! I still can't believe I wrote a book. I WROTE A BOOK!

And to further my 2023 writing adventure, I delved into the wonderful world of Kindle Vella - serialized fiction that is published one chapter at a time. I plan on releasing a new Vella in January, too! I hope you'll jump in and try them out. The first three episodes are always free! Happy reading! 


A Grant’s Crossing Romance.

How far would you go to protect your brother when no one else will?

Sometimes, throwing a wrench in the works is all that's needed to find a happily ever after.


Thoughts on the local classical music scene.

Thanks, and happy reading! 

 - Heather 

WAYWARD GUILT is the first book in my HEROES OF GRANT'S CROSSING series. Click the cover below to purchase a copy via your favorite online booksellers. Available in digital and paperback. 

My companion novel to Wayward Guilt, Safe Now - Heroes of Grant's Crossing Book 2, is available for pre-order on Amazon.   

Find me online! 

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Letter to the Columbus Blue Jackets - You've got this!

UPDATE, JUNE 2024: I'm going through my website and blog posts and reread this post. I renewed my season tickets as soon as I was able and ended up upgrading to a full season since I ended up going to 25 home games last year. Yeah - I'm addicted to the Blue Jackets and hockey is awesome. 

Main thing to note here is that my original post was written on December 17. On Tuesday, December 19, Marchenko scored a natural hat trick against the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo. It was the night of the Nationwide Arena open skate for season ticket holders. So while I was desperately trying not to fall on my butt while "skating" (it HAS to be in quotes, I was barely in control), Marchy scored a natural hat trick as part of the CBJ 9-4 victory over Buffalo. Yeah. It was awesome. :-) 

Original post: 

When I'm not writing or working my day job, or even my second job, I'm watching hockey. This was written for Instagram, hence the tags, so bear with me. I started typing and got a tad wordy. :-) It's not my fault. 

So I posted this earlier today on Twitter: 
Dear Columbus Blue Jackets 

I’m so very new to hockey, and I’ve read a ton of hockey romances (don’t laugh!), so this year, I bought a quarter-season pass so I could actually learn the game. (My ticket rep, Casey, is awesome!) And well - I love live sports, and hockey is awesome, so here I am. I’m getting particularly invested in my hometown team of the @bluejacketsnhl and am even saving up for a Marchenko jersey, which I’ll probably be able to get in time for next season. ($300 for a jersey. Who knew?)

Dear CBJ Front Office: please extend Marchy’s contract for many many years. Thank you. While you’re at it, do the same for Voronkov and Chinakhov. ะกะฟะฐัะตะฑะพ! 

PS - If you need me to learn Russian to help out with that, I’ll do it. I already speak Bulgarian, so how hard could it be? HMB

Anyway - here are a few thoughts on my Columbus Blue Jackets. ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ’๐Ÿฅ…

Safe to say, last night’s game against the Devils wasn’t our best game. 

We pretty much played all three periods about the same way we played the 3rd period against the Maple Leafs last week as if they were just 5 men and a goalie all wearing the same jerseys and playing at the same time but not playing as if they were part of a cohesive team. I don’t know. Maybe they all need a hug? 

But even though our Russian line didn’t really gel last night, @marchenkokirill86 and @chinakhov_59 still scored goals, which means we’ve got hope. They’ve only been playing together in the same line for what? A few weeks or something? Seriously - they’ll be awesome for us for a long, long time. So - Kirill, Dmitri, Yegor - please don’t give up on Columbus! We want you to stick with us! 

Texier got a PP goal as well (trรจs bien fait!), which means we’re improving on our Power Plays. 

Kuraly’s line is always fun to watch. @sean.kuraly may end up in the sin bin a little more than we’d like, but he’s not afraid to go after the puck. And like @mattolivier24, he has no problem getting physical, which leads me to @guddy44 - who did what the officials could not after they changed the boarding call to a minor. ๐Ÿคฌ๐Ÿคฌ๐ŸคฌNot that we’re bitter or anything. Glad the team had your back on that 7-minute PP. 

Ahem. ๐Ÿ˜œ

That said, the top 25 points leaders far outmatch all our guys so far. #25 - Robert Thomas with the @stlouisblues has 32 points. Our best guy, @zachwerenski, has 23. Behind him are our captain @boonejenner and my favorite player Kirill Marchenko with 18 each. Jenner is out until the latter half of January with a broken jaw after taking a puck to the face. And more leadership is out with @patriklaine, thanks to a broken collarbone suffered last week in Toronto.

Seriously, men - OUCH! 

As for actual goals, Jenner is also our current leader with 13. Marchy is second, after getting his 10th goal last night, our only two players in double digits. I've no doubt that Marchy will pass Jenner up by the time he returns to the lineup. Whatever we do, we need more players in double digits, and we need to stop letting the other teams score 5 or more goals per game! GAH! Yeah - easier said than done, especially from my vantage point in either a comfortable seat in the Club Level or from home. (Or that one time while waiting to board my plane.)

In addition, we’re now lacking leadership on the ice, which makes us look like we're just chasing the puck rather than controlling it. Not to mention, we have a tough time with winning faceoffs. Jenner is a leader in those. 

We'll get there. 

@adamfantilli is gaining his stride. He’s one of the players right on the heels of Jenner and Marchenko with 17 points with 8 of those as goals. He’s gonna be great! 

Again. We’ll get there. I just hope it's this year. I don't want to see the team give up on Columbus.๐Ÿ™‚ And we in the 5th line won't give up on you. Geez - we're not like the late 1970's Eagles fans!

As for overall leadership, I miss seeing Jenner on the ice at the end of the game - standing by to greet, fist bump, pat the players on the back, and congratulate them all at the end of the game before they head down the chute to the locker room. He’s always the last one to congratulate the goalie. (I love the helmet-tapping tradition!) 

It’s just a little something that we fans notice that he does to keep them together. 

I’m clearly not an insider, and I’ve only been in their locker room during an open house on a tour a few weeks ago before Babcock and the Blue Jackets organization parted ways, making way for Pascal Vincent to take over at the helm. Needless to say, I don’t know what goes on there. No idea if, while he’s healing, Jenner still makes appearances in the arena or not. If not, other players need to step up. 

Numbers 7 - 8 - 44 (Ironically, 7/8/44 is my dad's birthday) are the obvious choices, but I can see Marchenko easily stepping up and taking on a leadership role as well. He’s got the chops on the ice (though I can picture him a tad more aggressive, but he’s already a good player and will be absolutely great.). Plus, he’s definitely got the personality and drive to really encourage and lead his team. And, a fan favorite, who doesn’t love watching his interviews? ๐Ÿ˜‚ 

So, to the Blue Jackets, what can we do to help you out? I can’t skate to save my life, though I’ll be there on Tuesday night to make the attempt. (Don’t laugh - my goal is to get through one lap around the rink without falling on my butt too many times. Seriously - it’s all fun and games until someone breaks a hip.) 

That said, you’re totally stuck with me. In my attempt to learn the game, I’m finding it’s easily becoming an addiction, so I fully plan to buy season tickets again next year and attend as many games as I can. It’s not a ton - well - it’s almost double what I’ve attended since the Thrashers started, so it's not saying too much at this stage. Yes - I lived in Atlanta. And yes - I have a Thrashers jersey. 1999 was when I declared myself an NHL fan and chose a team. Prince said I should party that year, so don’t judge me. 

When I returned to the US, I returned to Columbus, and the Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg anyway, sigh, so … here I am.) Anyway… I already loved live sports, and as I learn the game, I’m finding I really love hockey, though I’m still concentrating on just learning all your names, numbers, and faces. 

Like you, I’m making progress, too. 

So, CBJ - will you stick it out? Will your front office start making better decisions? What can help bring you boys together on the ice? And yeah - I called you boys since you’re all young enough to be my nephews. Deal with it. 

So, what’ll it be? How can we help? Besides cheering and losing our voices during games? And having heart attacks when your 5-0 lead goes into OT? OK - not a heart attack, but heart palpitations, at least. 

Whatever you do, I’ll be there as often as I can to cheer you on, so keep working. I think Pazzy has some great ideas for the team based on the interviews I’ve heard, and you’re all picking up his lingo in your own interviews, so at least some of it is beginning to take hold.

Now, I know the fans at large are impatient and already want to get rid of people, but we’re here, and you’re playing now. Keep working together. Keep playing your best and keep playing as a team. You’re young. We know this. And despite my 2-5 record so far this year for games attended (I love those club seats, though I’ll be switching things up for this Saturday’s game), I’ll keep coming to games. I may be a lifelong Cubs fan, but please - don’t take as long as the Cubs did to win it all. I don’t want a rough season to become a tradition! 

Best of luck to you against the Capitals on Thursday. I don’t have tickets, but I’ll be cheering you on from home. 

Play well, and know we in the 5th line are all rooting for you!



P.S. Dmitri (because I’m obviously on a first-name basis with all of you) - I’m so glad you stayed! I was 20 when I first lived in another country where my native language wasn’t spoken. That was just a year, but my second time was at 30, which seems eons away, but that was for nearly 3 years - in Eastern Europe. I absolutely loved it, but yeah - It’s definitely tough being away from home. It's not easy, so I get it. ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ’ 

Thanks for sticking it out, no pun intended!  HMB 

P.S. Again - I've seen two hat tricks this year for other teams. May I please request a CBJ hat trick? 


WAYWARD GUILT is the first book in my HEROES OF GRANT'S CROSSING series. Click the cover below to purchase a copy via your favorite online booksellers. Available in digital and paperback.  

My companion novel to Wayward Guilt, Safe Now - Heroes of Grant's Crossing Book 2, is available for pre-order on Amazon.   

Find me online! 

Harold Addison Scribner - Radioman, Third Class, US Naval Reserve

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