Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Monday, November 24, 2014
Friday, November 21, 2014
by Sandy Cody
It's that time of year again - a little less than a week until Thanksgiving - perhaps our noblest holiday. Why the noblest? Because, for one day at least, we take time to be thankful for the things we have instead of longing for the things we lack.
There's no reason for this holiday except to be thankful. We don't expect anyone to give us a gift. We don't have to shop for a special dress and the perfect shoes to compliment it. All we have to do to honor the day is count our blessings ... oh ... and cook. But even that is pretty easy compared to most special days. There's no agonizing over what to serve. The menu is dictated by tradition. In our house that means turkey with the usual accompaniments, including both pumpkin and pecan pies. It may be something different for your family, but whatever appears on your table is probably consistent from one Thanksgiving to the next. If your family is anything like mine, the mere suggestion of something different is enough to prompt lifted eyebrows and silent, disbelieving stares - certainly not gratitude for trying to add a little originality to the holiday. At best, the response would be: "Thanks, but no thanks."
I guess this wouldn't be a Thanksgiving post if I didn't list at least some of the things for which I am most thankful: my family; my health and the health of the people I love; plenty of food; a warm, comfortable home; freedom to worship, think and speak according to my conscience. I started to write that I know these are the same things for which we are all thankful, but it occurs to me that would not be true. Far too many people lack some or even all of these blessings. If I'm honest, I have to admit that I have these things, at least in part, because of an accident of birth, not because of any special merit on my part. And for that accident, I am most thankful.
This has turned out to be more serious than I intended. Sometimes that just happens. The words take over and spill out serious thoughts.
I hope all of you have a seriously Happy Thanksgiving. May you spend the day surrounded by people you love and may the day be the perfect mixture of serious gratitude and silly laughter.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The other day, as I stepped into the shower for my morning ablutions, I looked at the shelf where all my personal products sat lined up, waiting for their very important role. Something I never noticed before struck me this particular morning.
My shampoo and conditioner are made with green tea extracts. Body wash is "Chai Latte Scent." Face scrub? Orange and grapefruit with honey. Shave cream, vanilla almond.
I'm a walking cornucopia of smells that can be found in your local coffee shop! Even the cream I use to reduce the dark circles under my eyes contains...wait for it...caffeine.
How did this happen? Is it just me? Or are we all walking around in an aromatic cloud of "Essence of Barista"?
I think back to when my mother was my age and try to recall the items on her bathroom shelf. Now, admittedly, I'm a lot more vain than my mother ever was. I insist that when I die, regardless of my age at the time, my hair will *still* be this color. I generally don't go to the end of my driveway to get the mail unless my hair is styled and my makeup is done. (The hair and makeup mandate does get lifted for writing deadlines, but the mail gets stopped then, too!) Still, I picture that shelf in my mind and I see:
Cream deodorant (Secret, I think. I remember the jar because when I was about ten, I was goofing around with her stuff and dropped it. The glass shattered and I wound up with a nice-sized shard in my foot.)
Hair spray (Aqua Net--the lacquer of hair sprays. The stuff that single-handedly shredded the ozone layer.)
Shampoo (Breck. Or sometimes, Prell. No scent.)
Conditioner? No one used conditioner in those days. Detangler, maybe. And that had no discernible scent. Except maybe...chemical. Like science lab in junior high school.
In fact, when I think about how my mother smelled, you know what comes to mind? Bleach. Seriously. To this day, many decades after my childhood ended, I still remember my mother whenever I smell bleach, particularly on skin. It's a unique scent.
Of course, to trigger that memory, these days, I have to visit a laundromat. Not exactly the ideal spot to honor those we loved and lost.
Does this mean that one day, many years hence I hope, whenever my kids want to remember me, they'll have to head to Starbucks? I guess I can live with that.
"Hoist those cups up high and slug one back for your old ma. And while you're at it, order me a cinnamon dolce latte, will ya?"
Gina Ardito is the award-winning international author of more
than twenty romances, a legendary singer in confined spaces (her car, the
shower, her office cubicle), and a killer of houseplants. She
hosts fun, informative workshops for writers around the country. In 2012, Gina
was named a Woman of Outstanding Leadership by the International Women’s
Leadership Association, but to her friends, she’s still just a shenanigator. A
native of Long Island, New York, she lives with her husband, two children, a
bionic dog, and their two cat overlords. For more info on Gina and her books,
you can visit her website at ginaardito.com, follow Gina on Facebook
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
On an evening when my husband was out of town several years ago I decided to pull out my photo albums. I was alone (except for my cat) in a quiet house and enjoying a trip down memory lane when Kenny Chesney's song "Don't Blink" came on the radio. It was a rather new song at the time, and I'm a Chesney fan so I paid attention to the words. While viewing pictures of my parents in their younger days and my nieces and nephews as babies, "Don't Blink" set off a stream of tears.
I had a similar feeling this morning when looking at pictures from my niece's wedding this past weekend. The song "Don't Blink" has been running an endless loop in my head all day. I compared the wedding day picture of my two nieces to their pictures as small children. I must have blinked because they are now beautiful young women, one new bride and one soon to become a new mom.
Today the children in my life are grandchildren, and I know they will grow up just as rapidly. I try to take advantage of time with them and to soak up their joy, especially as the holiday season approaches. I often have opportunities to babysit and almost always say "yes" even if it means that I won't get any chapters written that weekend. Because, in the end, what's most important? If you run into me, you may wonder about my wide-eyed stare. No, I didn't have Botox. I'm just trying not to blink.
Best start putting first things first. Cause when your hourglass runs out of sand you can't flip it over and start again. Take every breath God gives you for what it's worth. Don't blink...
Mystery author Kay Finch is currently writing her new Bad Luck Cat Mystery series set in the Texas Hill Country to be published by Berkley beginning in 2015. Her Klutter Killer mystery, Relative Chaos, features a professional organizer who finds a dead body in a hoarder's garage. Kay lives in a Houston, Texas suburb with her husband, two rescue dogs and a cat. Visit her web site at www.kayfinch.com.
Friday, November 14, 2014
Interviewed by Jayne Ormerod
1. Okay, inquiring minds want to know…why a writer? Certainly not for the fame and fortune…or maybe it is?
2. When did you first put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to create your classic and cozy characters?
3. Do you have a set writing schedule?
4. Is there a certain routine, food/drink, or location that summons forth the muses for you?
5. What do you do when not writing?
6. I imagine you’ve been reading all of your life (all great writers have.) What was your favorite book as a child?
7. Do you re-read books? If so, which one have you re-read the most?
8. But there is more to life than reading, writing (and arithmetic)…what is your most memorable adventure in your life?
9. If you were on American Idol, what song would you sing to WOW! the judges?
10. Last question…movie rights…who will play your two main characters when Hollywood comes knocking on your door?
You can read more about Sierra on her website: http://www.sierradonovan.com/about-us.php
And be sure and look for this the next time you visit Barnes and Noble:
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Astrology and Your CharactersAstrology is a way to discover more about your characters. Are they direct or do they avoid love and romance? A horoscope for your characters can help you determine their strengths and weaknesses, it can give you an idea of how their day will go, or who might cross their path.
A Water Sign and a Fire Sign
Endless ResourcesFinding the answers to your characters personality dilemmas is easy. Most of my info comes from an assortment of little books I buy at the supermarket checkout counter. Sometimes I'll create a complex personality who crosses over between signs. The possibilities are endless.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
I doing something a little different this month ─ a reader survey. While the other Classic and Cozy authors and I love to share our stories with readers, we also like to sell our books.☺ And that means we have to promote them. So, I'd like you to tell us what might entice you to buy a book.
What's in it for you? Anyone who answers in the comments and includes an email address will receive a Smashword coupon for a free Kindle, Nook, or Kobo copy of the first book I wrote, Bachelor Father.
Let's get started. Have you ever bought a book because of:
1. A bookmark promoting the book?
2. Bling from the author ─ a pen, sticky notes, candy, refrigerator magnet, coffee cup, trip to the Bahamas?
3. A book signing?
4. A launch party on Facebook.
5. A Goodreads giveaway?
6. Another online author giveaway?
7. A book excerpt at the back of another book?
8. An excerpt online?
10. An author newsletter or postcard?
11. A Tweet?
12. A Facebook post?
13. An author interview?
14. A character interview?
15. A mention in a blog?
Speaking of which, my sweet romance Candy Kisses is a $1.99 Kindle deal through Friday, November 14.
In the appealing, adorable Candy Kisses by Jean C. Gordon,
Candy Price is burdened with a community of brothers who all think they know what's best for her--and she'd love to prove them wrong, but first she needs to figure out what the right choice is. Stuck in Albany for the summer with only her landlord, the very handsome and cheerful Mike Wheeler, she decides to take on a challenge: She's going to find Mike a new girlfriend and, in the meantime, they can share pointers on the dating scene. Candy is about to find out what love is all about, but first she has to learn how to stand up to the boss who takes advantage of her all the time and learn to let other people help her. Candy Kisses is an upbeat romance about two good people who need to make that love connection. ─ BookPage
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Monday, November 10, 2014
|Ohio Thanksgiving circa 1970|
Saturday, November 8, 2014
|Part of the cliff walk|
|Rear view of The Breakers|
|A rougher part of the cliff walk|
|Other Newport mansions|
And then there was an unexpected and interesting discovery: Love Locks. Maybe you’ve heard of them, but neither my sister nor I had. So we were completely mystified when we came to a section of fence decorated with at least a hundred padlocks in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Most had initials painted on them.
I had to look it up when I got him to find out about Love Locks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_lock), which has apparently been a European phenomenon for some time. According to the Wikipedia article, “Typically the sweethearts' names or initials are inscribed on the padlock, and its key is thrown away to symbolise unbreakable love.” In some places the locks have become a nuisance, but Newport doesn’t seem to be discouraging it.
I admit that I find the symbolism of the gesture pretty captivating!
Note: I have to add that I’ve just had my first new novel release in a couple of years this past week. The Detective’s Dilemma is a short romantic suspense novel published in paperback and ebook by Kensington’s Lyrical Press imprint.
If you’re willing to do an honest review of the book in exchange for a free copy, email me at email@example.com.
The Detective’s Dilemma is a short romantic suspense novel published in paperback and ebook by Kensington’s Lyrical Press imprint.
Blurb: Although Sarah Anne Martin admits to pulling the trigger, she swears someone forced her to kill her lover. Homicide detective Jay Christianson is skeptical, but enough ambiguous evidence exists to make her story plausible. If he gives her enough freedom, she’ll either incriminate herself or draw out the real killers. But, having been burned before, Jay doesn’t trust his own protective instincts…and his growing attraction to Sarah only complicates matters. With desire burning between them, their relationship could ultimately be doomed since Sarah will be arrested for murder if they can’t find the real killer.
Friday, November 7, 2014
Voila! A book ball is born. I thought, (back when I was young and naive - a googolplex hours ago), that these would make great ornaments for the Christmas tree this year. Then on second thought, my time might be better spent writing another book. :)