Frosted Cowboy – Fun Novel by Debut Author From Agoura Hills


Signed copy of Frosted Cowboy available for giveaway this week! Comment below to enter.3d-cover-frosted-cowboy-large

Charlene Ross was the original Agoura Hills Mom for the once-awesome Agoura Hills Patch. She graciously did not get mad OR punch me in the face when I asked her if she wouldn’t mind if I contributed some of my work here to the same site under that same name after she had moved on to better things. Are you still with me?

In fact, Charlene was so awesome that we became friends, and now I am very proud to share with you that her first novel has been released by Velvet Morning Press and is for sale on paperback and e-book at Amazon now.

Frosted Cowboy “a delightful debut novel that follows aspiring fashion designer Laney – 32 years old, recently single, recently unemployed – through a year in her life when she struggles to find herself. But this is no slog through despair.” I reviewed the book on my other site, but if you don’t want to click over and read that, just trust me: it’s a fun, entertaining, and easy book to read when you want to escape life for a little while. At the beach, poolside, or in the car while you’re waiting to pick up your kids from their 3rd activity of the week. Just me?

Frosted Cowboy by Charlene A. Ross
$11.99 on paperback at Amazon
$3.99 for e-book

I got an extra copy of the book to give away to an Agoura Hills Mom reader, and Charlene even signed it! It seems only fitting, right? Just leave a comment here to enter between now and Thursday, March 31st at 11:59PM. I’ll choose a winner at random from qualifying entries and notify the winner on Friday, April 1. Once I receive your mailing address I will send the book at my own cost.


ONCEKids – Books and DVD’s That Encourage Curiosity and Friendship

Kids are funny. (Okay, more accurately, kids are weird, but “funny” is much kinder.) Just this afternoon my older son opted to rest among the trees and read his book rather than watch his little brother’s baseball game. Ten-year-old me would have seen the logic in this move. Adult me was just bewildered, and lured him out of his hiding place with the promise of lemonade.

My point is that you never know what will interest them. We all love reading in my family so I assumed they would love it too. Obviously it has stuck with the older kid, but the younger one is unpredictable. So I didn’t know quite what to expect when I put these books from ONCEKids in front of them.


With titles like “Red Penguin and the Missing Sushi,” and Silent Samurai and the Magnificent Rescue,” the books and DVD’s from ONCEKids are meant to expose children to Asian cultures. But the general idea is sharing, meeting new people, adventure, and more idealistic positive things that kids should learn. The stories are told with engaging, colorful images in quality printed books.

ONCEKids “seeks to expose and excite young readers around the diverse elements from several Asian cultures. Through the stories and supplemental activities and materials ONCEKids stimulates discussions at home, in the classrooms, and among educators and librarians.”


My younger son enjoyed them – he is in 2nd grade, and a developing reader, so they are perfectly at his level. The DVDs are better for even younger children.

I have a set of ONCEKids books and DVD’s to give away to a local winner who would like to pick them up. Please leave a comment here and if you are chosen at random from all entries received before 11:59 PM on Saturday, May 9, I will arrange to get the set to you.

Last Minute Gift Guide: Books

For the LEGO enthusiast(s) in your house

Now that you are a parent, your love of LEGO has been rekindled.  You watch your kids play with the little plastic bricks, you marvel at their creations, you curse them each time you step on one with bare feet.  When you were a kid, you probably wondered where they came from and had questions, but did anyone answer you?  Did they even know?  LEGO’s just…were.  Now that you are a grownup, The Cult of LEGO by John Baichtal and Joe Meno (hardcover, $39.95) will delight you and your kids alike with trivia and information about the toy.  It’s a coffee-table book that explains how they were invented and some of the outrageous things people do with them.  But if you want to keep it as a nice coffee-table book, you might want to keep it out of the reach of children.  They are bound to read it a little bit too enthusiastically, if you know what I mean.

A sobering read

Ben Behind His Voices (hardcover, $26.95) is a stirring memoir by Randye Kaye, who was a radio personality in Connecticut when her oldest child started showing symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia as he entered his teens.  Her story is one of maternal sacrifice and heartbreak, and a redefinition of her own family.  I was afraid of this book.  As a mother, I knew it would tear my heart out.  But I am a glutton for punishment, so of course I read it cover to cover.    The book is well-written and Kaye communicates her pain and frustration very effectively.  When you read something like this you think maybe it will help you recognize warning signs and therefore avoid the same problems with your own children.  But with something as complex as schizophrenia and the various challenges the family encountered as Ben grew up, Kaye provides something I suspect is even more valuable to other people dealing with the same thing:  hope.

New Year’s clutter clean-up

I have been a big fan of Peter Walsh since I saw him on Oprah helping the hoarder from Long Island whose house was so full of stuff that her grown children and her grandchildren never visited anymore.  I watched him coach her through a complete turnaround of her home environment and hopefully her whole life.  His latest book Lighten Up:  Love What You Have, Have What You Need, Be Happier With Less (hardcover, trade paperback, digital) is less of a practical guide to removing clutter from your life and more of an emphasis on the psychological reasons that one accumulates too much stuff.  Walsh urges you to examine all aspects of your life:  emotional, financial, relationships, work life – and basically clean out the clutter from all of those areas.  I found the worksheets included a little bit too simplistic – they did not inspire me to get a pencil and do the actual work.  But then again, my life is perfect, so why bother?  This would be a great gift for that friend or relative who always has so much drama about money and housework going on.

For kids

Sarah Sue Smith (paperback, $22.49):  In this first of a planned series of Crooked Wharf Adventures, an orange-haired octopus named Sarah Sue Smith makes meals for her undersea friends.  I give this book the award for Most Comprehensive Use of Fonts Found in Microsoft Word, because every page uses a different one.  Your kids won’t care, however.  The story is engaging and the artwork is bright and cheerful.  Plus, they learn stuff about math without even realizing it.  The book was written by Tara Rebal and designed by Frank Sercia, two former co-workers of my Aunt Kathy.  Kudos to them for doing what they really wanted to do when they grew up.

I received all of the above books as review copies or gifts.  All opinions are my own.  Obviously.