Sunday, February 19, 2017

I Am Woman Hear Me ... Eep?

Once upon a time there was a woman brave and strong. She thought she'd been through it all, surviving everything from health issues (I am a warrior), relationship failures (Oh the Internet dating disaster stories I could tell), financial stuff (That costs how much?), teen drama (Does this ever go away?), wasp infestation (I'm a pro at killing those suckers), and the list goes on. She (did I say I? Oh, okay, fine) was infallible … until one night, last night in fact, an itty bitty, teensy, weensy, furry little mouse ran across her bedroom floor at 11:00pm. I know!! 

Here's what happened. 

I was peacefully lying in bed, almost asleep, when I heard growling and hissing coming from my two cats. Expecting to see them fighting over a toy, I turned on the light to shush them, but instead screamed bloody murder at the sight of a little mouse scurrying across my floor. Somehow my 10 year old in the next room slept through this! 

"Get it!" I yelled to my cats. I had no doubt "Frick and Frack", protectors of the freshly folded clean laundry, would be on the case.  Look at them, they're fierce!

I know what you're thinking. I should have tried to catch the poor little guy (or gal), so I could set it free. I love animals and all, but, are you kidding? I was thinking more along the lines of burning my house down. Okay so maybe not  -- that's a little extreme crazy and illegal - plus I need a place to live and there's the hassle of replacing all my stuff. Instead I decided to quickly and quietly sprint down the stairs to my living room in order to allow my cats the privacy to do what they're supposed to do.  Yeah, sure, that's why I left.

I sat on my couch - reduced to a trembling ball of nerves wrapped in a blanket - and watched the 11:00 news (which stressed me out even more) as I listened to a ton of pitter-pattering overhead. And then ... silence. Did they get it? Was it gone? Could I reclaim my bedroom?

Be brave woman! I crept back upstairs, wrapping my blanket around my shoulders like a super-hero's cape and peeked through my doorway. One cat was under the bed while the other paced in a stalking-like manner. Ugh! Then, I did the unthinkable. I got into bed! It was midnight, and I had given myself a "Are you really going to let this tiny thing that's probably more afraid of you, rule your roost?" pep talk. "Besides," I continued, "it's quiet in here. It's probably dead by now anyway." 

It sounded good until I heard the cats start growling again. I pulled the sheets up over my head and tried to think of happy things like my kids, and daisies, and a fresh canister of Pringles. At some point it got quiet and I nodded off, but then the chasing resumed. This was my night: a constant stream of growls, quiet, sleep, and commotion, that was light on the sleep and heavy on the commotion. But I was too tired and annoyed to get up and move to the couch. 

Then, at around 5:00am a cat jumped on the bed. WHAT? Please don't let there be a mouse in my bed, I prayed. I cautiously looked around while he made himself comfortable. No mouse. A moment later cat number two jumped on the bed, also mouseless. They both curled up and went to sleep. 

"Wait - that's it? You're giving up?" I demanded. "Or does this mean you caught it? And if so where is it? Why are you two just lying there sleeping? Why can't you tell me what's going on? "

And so, I did what any sane(?) person would do in this situation at 5:00 on a Sunday morning. I got up and made coffee. And my Frick and Frack, worn out from a night of hunting haven't moved since. As for the mouse, it's still a big mystery.


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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Beary Baby Crazy #TBT

I know I often blog about conversations with my youngest, but my older children are equally as entertaining. Before I begin, let me say ... I am not, I repeat, NOT pregnant. But I did take my sixteen year old to the pediatrician earlier this week for her annual well-visit. NO, SHE IS NOT PREGNANT EITHER! The thing is though, there were babies there - a bunch - and they were all super cute. One in particular caught my daughter's attention. It was an infant dressed in a pink bear sleeper similar in style to the ones my daughter used to wear in these pictures.

Yes, that's MY baby sixteen years ago!

Anyway - after we got over the oohs and aahs, the baby left and my conversation with my daughter went something like this:

S: When I have a baby—

Me: You mean in like 10 years.

S: Or 20.

Me: Okay, good - continue.

S: When I have a baby, I'm going to dress her in a bear onesie all of the time.

Me: What about in the summer when it's hot?

S: I can cut the legs off.

(I'm assuming she meant off of the outfit and not off of the child.)

S: Or I'll live somewhere cold. It'll be so cute!

Then after a brief moment of silence where she was no doubt planning out her future baby's entire bear-themed wardrobe …

My youngest, 10 years ago, in his bear hat

S: I think I want to start babysitting more babies.

Me: They're a lot more work then the kids you babysit for now. They cry a lot.

My youngest - I thought the instructions on the shirt were clear.

S: I'll just hold them and cuddle them and then they won't cry. Can you find some babies for me to babysit?

Me: Where am I going to find babies? My friends have older kids.

S: Just start knocking on some doors and ask if they have any cute babies.

Yeah, because that won't be weird or anything...

(P.S. to my local friends: My daughter really is an awesome babysitter! If you're looking for someone for your child of any age, let me know.)

Me: I need to blog about this.

S: I think it should be an entire book.

I told her I needed a little more material, but maybe ... in the meantime, as long as I'm showing off babies ... here is my oldest - 19 years ago.

Yup - he wore the bear outfit, too.


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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine Wishes - How it all Began

photo credit: Anne Worner Heartland via photopin (license)

Happy Valentine's Day!

I know I'm a little late - - Welcome to my crazy and unorganized life. It's not that I forgot it was Valentine's Day, it's just that I forgot I wanted to write this post. Sorry blog, you always seem to be last on the list. But then yesterday, I went to the grocery store. Stay with me, I promise this will make sense. At least I hope it will.

You see, we were out of cat litter and my son's allergy medicine and bananas and I really wanted some California rolls for lunch, and … where was I? Oh yeah, Valentine's Day. It was everywhere. From the bunches of roses when I first walked in, to the heart-shaped everything in the bakery. Even the checkout lane was re-named "Lover's Lane."

As I waited behind someone who had two separate orders and wanted a price check on a dozen organic eggs that couldn't possibly cost $5.99 (they did and she bought them anyway), I started thinking about Valentine's Day. That got me thinking about romance, which got me thinking about The Whispered Wishes romance series I wrote a few years ago. That got me thinking about a scene in book two, Holly's Wishes, where Holly's sister, Tessa discusses her theory on the first Valentine's Day and why. That reminded me that I wanted to share the scene on my poor neglected blog and … Ta Da! Of course, since I stink at multi-tasking, all of this blog-wheel turning took place while I stood in line NOT unloading the contents of my cart onto the empty checkout counter. (Sorry nice people behind me!)

So ... since I mucked up the grocery store line with my zone-out idea-generating ... it's only fair that I now share the true origins of Valentine's Day — As per Tessa Haines of Holly's Wishes —even if it is a little late:

“Valentine’s Day was surely a holiday created by some sadistic person hoping to torture all of the single people in the world,” Holly said, filling her glass with wine.
They sat in Tessa’s tiny apartment, wallowing over the fact it was February fourteenth and neither one of them had a significant other.
“Actually,” Tessa stated, pouring a glass for herself, “I have visions of this big roundtable, with a bunch of guys sitting around it somewhere in the 1800s or something, and having a conversation like this …”

“Aye, Arthur, we need to make more money this year. Our garden productions were fine, but the demand was just not what it should have been.”
“Indeed, Theodore, my printing business has been on the decline as well. How has your confectionary business been, Herbert?”
“I declare, they’ve been frightfully low. If only we could think of a way to increase the demand for chocolate.”
“And flowers,” added Theodore.
“And cards,” Arthur stated. “Even if it were for just one day a year, it would help.
Perhaps Edward could even benefit with jewelry sales as well.”

Holly smirked and finished her glass.

Okay, so it probably didn't go anything like that, but whether you were alone or with someone special, I hope your Valentine's Day was a reminder to spread love and kindness every day of the year. And if V-day is one of those days you dread, just remember … you can find lots of chocolate on sale today!


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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Just In Time For Black Friday!


Picture it: Thanksgiving morning you wake up and get a lovely email from Jennifer Bardsley, aka "The YA Gal," telling you that you won $220 to spend on a book buying shopping spree on Amazon. Wouldn't that be fun? That lucky person could be you!!!

I've teamed up with twelve YA and KidLit authors to cosponsor a raffle. The grand prize is a $220 USD e-gift card to Amazon. There are multiply ways to enter the giveaway. You can sign up to follow author newsletters, follow them on Twitter, or add a new release to your Goodreads TBR pile.

Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter.

Would you like to know more about the authors involved? Check out their websites to find your next favorite book.

1. Promotion Description: The '$220 Amazon Gift Card!' ("Sweepstakes") begins on 11/09/2016 at 06:00 PM (Pacific Time (US & Canada)) and ends on 11/24/2016 at 08:00 AM (Pacific Time (US & Canada)) (the "Promotion Period"). By participating in the Sweepstakes, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of ("Sponsor"), which shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Entries and the overall administration of the giveaway. Entrants should look solely to Sponsor with any questions, comments or problems related to the Sweepstakes.
2. Eligibility: Open to legal residents of USA, Australia, Canada, England who are Must be 13 years or older or older. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, distributors, retailers, sales representatives, advertising and promotion agencies and each of their respective officers, directors and employees (collectively, the "Promotion Entities"), and members of their immediate families and/or persons living in the same household as such persons, are ineligible to enter the Sweepstakes or win a prize.
3. Winner Selection: The winner of the Sweepstakes will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible Entries received throughout the Promotion Period. The random drawing will be conducted by 48 hours by Sponsor or its designated representatives, whose decisions are final. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible Entries received. Winner will be notified by email at the email address provided in the Entry Information on or about 48 hours after the random drawing. Potential winner must accept a prize by email as directed by Sponsor within 48 hours of notification. Any winner notification not responded to or returned as undeliverable may result in prize forfeiture. The potential prize winner may be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and release of liability, and a Publicity Release (collectively "the Prize Claim Documents"). No substitution or transfer of a prize is permitted except by Sponsor.


Friday, October 28, 2016

The Friday Five - Millicent Marie Edition

Happy Friday! It's been an exciting couple of weeks with lots of MILLIE news ... so much, that I needed a Friday Five to get it all out there...

1. MILLICENT MARIE: JUST MY OPINION (Millicent Marie - Book 2)

It's here!! You asked, and I wrote. I know it took me a long time and a lot of convincing, but in the end, you were right—Millie's story was not finished, and I had a lot of fun hanging out with her again.  Here's the scoop:

The Story Continues!
Twelve-year-old Millicent Marie Harris thought her advice giving days were over. After all, her blog had been an epic disaster. But when her former crush convinces her it's time to take her skills to the big league, aka the school newspaper, she decides it might be worth giving it another try. It seems life might finally be getting back to normal for this sixth-grader.
However, there are other big problems brewing at Springside Elementary. Mr. Stiles, the school's long-standing and beloved principal leaves abruptly—replaced by Dr. Feather Foster, a newcomer with a harsh rule list a mile long. To make matters worse, there is trouble with the school play and suspicions that Millie's brother is still sneaking around her diary. Enlisting the help of her friends, Millie sets out to find the truth, in hopes of restoring peace to Springside Elementary before the school year is over and any more disasters occur.


While writing Book 2, I decided Book 1 deserved some love. That's when I contacted Najla Qamber from (Najla is the amazing cover designer behind my Whispered Wishes Series). She put me in touch with artist Danielle Styles, who worked her magic creating the fabulous color illustrations. Then Najla turned them into covers with her special touch. They did a great job, right?


The other day the postman brought me a big fat box of bookmarks, and now I want to give them to you! To get one, head on over to my Facebook page (Karen Pokras Toz, Author) and drop me a private message with your address (U.S. and Canada only please). A signed Millie bookmark and maybe one or two from my other books will be headed your way. I know you love your swag - what other Millie swag would you like to see?


Want to see what Millie's up to in MILLICENT MARIE: JUST MY OPINION or catch up with Book One: MILLICENT MARIE IS NOT MY NAME?  They're both available! You can read them on their own or together. Perfect for your middle grade reader!

AND for a limited time, Book One is available in digital format for just 99 cents.

Available at AMAZON, B&N, & KOBO

PLUS For a chance to WIN a signed copy of MILLICENT MARIE: JUST MY OPINION, enter the Goodreads GIVEAWAY !

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Millicent Marie by Karen Pokras Toz

Millicent Marie

by Karen Pokras Toz

Giveaway ends November 03, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


Want to get a sneak peek at MILLICENT MARIE: JUST MY OPINION?  Sign up for my newsletter and get chapter one delivered to your inbox!

Email Address

So there you go! My Millie Friday Five. Thanks for being a Millie fan … I hope you enjoy reading her new story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Have a great weekend.


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