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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Happy Sounds by Suzanne Rossi

Hi everyone.

It's August and the summer is slowly winding down. Soon there will be a nip in the air and the leaves will turn from green to yellow and red only to drop to the ground where they'll be raked up later. I blogged last month about how special summer has always been for me. I think that's because I associate the seasons with what I call happy sounds. Sounds that soothe me, make me smile, or are just plain enjoyable.

Summer leads the list. I can sit outside under the shade trees and listen to the insects on evenings when a light breeze brings the temperatures down to almost comfortable and gently rustles the leaves in the trees overhead. However, I have to admit that this year the cicadas have been especially vocal, drowning out the crickets. In fact, at times they've been so noisy as to stifle all else.

I'm also a big fan of wind chimes. I know that to some people they're annoying, but I love the music they play on the wind. When we lived in Ft. Lauderdale, I had dozens hanging from the lanai roof. During the winter when we slept with the windows open, the various tones would drift in. Believe it or not, the soothing sounds relaxed me. I moved those chimes here to Memphis where they remained lost in some box for months. I finally found them only to realize I didn't have as much space to hang them as I did in Florida. As of now many are suspended from curtain rods in the sun room. Sooner or later, I'll figure out where to put them.

Autumn brings other sounds. The dead and dying leaves swish across the grass and pavement with a music all their own. And since we live near one of the local high schools, every Friday night we can hear the marching band and the crowd cheering on the Red Devils to victory.

Winter has never been my favorite season. Oh, the first snow of the year was fun. As a kid, I'd put on layers of heavy garments and go outside to build a snowman or play "Fox and Geese." An hour later, I was ready to come in. As an adult, I lived for four very long years in Rockford, Illinois. Now, that was winter! Occasionally, my husband and I would walk the dog late in the evening. Our neighborhood was quiet and if it was snowing (which it did frequently in Rockford) we'd stop and listen to the sounds of silence. At times it was so still we would close our eyes, and enjoy the sound of the snowflakes hitting the ground.

I love Spring. The old adage of "April showers bring May flowers" rings true. There's something soothing about the sound of rain on the roof, especially when I'm in bed. And when the clouds blow away, the birds return to serenade me in the early morning and late afternoon. The cheerful songs lift my spirits. I always pause to the foot of the driveway when I go out to get the paper in the morning listening to the happy chirping and tweeting coming from the budding trees and nearby bushes.

Everyone has happy sounds. Some emanate from nature. Others are man made. And there's nothing like the sound of children's laughter as they play outside regardless of the time of year.

I hope you've enjoyed this month's blog. I enjoyed sharing it with you. Have a good Labor Day and I'll be back with you again in September. In the meantime, stop, take a deep breath at the end of the day, and listen to something that makes you smile.

Suzanne Rossi

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Kittens and World Peace

On Friday, I was given a tiny kitten to care for--for the weekend--but his stay is now indefinite. Sometimes, you just need a kitten, and you didn't even know it. Hubby would appreciate my finding a home for the baby when he's older. Meanwhile...

My recently turned eleven-year-old granddaughter, Emma, has a way of finding kittens in our barn. I didn't realize we had any unneutered cats. We haven't for several years. But it seems a mama kitty and her recently born kittens were dropped off on our farm, and mama misplaced a baby as she moved her brood about. Emma found it. At first, the idea was that Emma would keep the kitten at her house. As the baby is quite young, her busy nurse mother, Charity, was frequently syringing formula into its mouth, plus plus. But the care got to be too much with her long shifts at the hospital, and she never signed up for a kitten, so now I have it. Baby needs a name. He--I think it's male--is a sweet purry little lad, unless he's a bonny lass. Everyone who meets the furbaby instantly falls in love (except DH, who is tolerant but not sentimental) and I got to thinking how much gentler the world would be if more people had kittens. They generally bring out the best in folk, unless someone is just plain mean. If you can't be kind to a kitten, you should seriously reexamine your life. A kitten is a wondrous, ephemeral little being, and I have always marveled at them. Simply holding a furry baby is soothing. Kitten therapy could lead to world peace. 

I have edits to do on my latest time travel/historical/mystery romance, and a WIP to work on... and a tiny furbaby to assist me. Not to mention the gang, our rescue dog, Jilly, puppy Cooper (who loves the kitten) and three cats, Kitty Pavel, and brothers Peaches and Cream. Peaches is sulking about the newcomer. The others don't mind it. All my furbabies are rescues, except Cooper, and he might as well have been. Yes, they are a handful, but I cannot imagine my life without them. Nor do I wish to. They are my dear friends, furbabies, and an essential part of my life.

I know few authors who do not have and love their furbabies.

"if only kittens stayed as kittens for 2-3 years, the world would be a much happier place." ~ my cat loving Facebook friend, Hilda Rodriguez Coronado.

"It is impossible to keep a straight face in the presence of one or more kittens." ~Cynthia E. Varnad

Kittens are angels with whiskers. ~Terri Guillemets, "Trouble on the side," 1987

Kittens can happen to anyone. ~Paul Gallico

A kitten is the most irresistible comedian in the world. Its wide-open eyes gleam with wonder and mirth. It darts madly at nothing at all, and then, as though suddenly checked in the pursuit, prances sideways on its hind legs with ridiculous agility and zeal. ~Agnes Repplier

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Saturday, August 25, 2018

No Matter Where You Go, There You Are by Vonnie Davis

A year or more ago, my Calvin told me during a serious conversation that he wanted some of his ashes spread on the Left Bank of Paris. He specified a small green area in front of the apartment building where he lived during his year of sabbatical. Paris was the place of his heart.

His son and I talked about it. Kelly said, "If that's what Dad wanted, that's what we'll do." I made plans to fly there. Kelly would meet me after his business trip to Tai Pei. I'd never traveled alone before but, really, how difficult could it be?

My youngest son, the out-spoken one, said, "Mom, a woman seventy years old has no business travelling to places where terrorism is active." When I told him I was flying on to Scotland after my week in Paris, I thought he'd bust a gasket. Then...then he had the nerve to tell me to be in my hotel room by dark and not to ride the Metro.

He said WHAT???

"Watch me!" I shot back. "Just remember you're not the boss of me!" My older son, the reasonable one, told bossy son to step out of my business. That I was smart enough not to roam the streets at night or ride the Metro alone. Then they both burst out laughting. Heathens, the both of them.

My hotel was across the busy street from the Seine, so I had a great view. Pardon the lousy picture taken through the window glass. Those are artists' stands jam-packed along the walk facing the river.

I went to a few cafés Calvin and I always ate at when we went over. But each meal was bittersweet. Memories didn't compare to having him with me, holding my hand as we walked and talked. I confess to spending a day in bed in tears. It doesn't matter where you go, you can't escape grief. It follows you like a piece of gum stuck to the sole of your shoe.

Kelly and I spread the ashes in front of 21 rue Galande. I had to make two trips to work up nerve to do it. And Kelly, just like his dad, indulged me.

I took a day trip to Giverny where Monet painted. The gardens were spectaculat; so was the French countryside. His home was fabulous.

My trip to Edinburgh was a blur of layovers and customs and finding my luggage. My hotel was a block below the Royal Mile--the distance from the palace to the Scottish Parliament. A great walk I made daily. The bars were open until 5am and bands played out on the streets until then. The Scots love to party.

I took a day trip to a whisky distillery and sampled four types. Or was it five? I doona recall... We rode through the Highlands and stopped at the William Wallace monument. Another day trip took us to the Kelpies, huge iron statues of mythical creatures and more hikes through the Highlands.

View out of my hotel window. The Royal Mile and castle is at top of the hill.

Me in front of the Kelpies. See how small they make me look? 

After two weeks away, I was ready to fly home. I did take a lot of pictures and take notes for future stories, especially my Scottish bear shifters.

How about you? Do you ever travel alone abroad? Or here in the States? Where's the best place you've ever traveled to?

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Friday, August 24, 2018

AUGUST 18, 1920 - Let's not forget!

by Judy Ann Davis
As writers, we often create heroines who are strong, vibrant, sincere women with the ability to think and reason on their own and who are single or married, working women or stay-a-home mothers and wives.

In history, August was a busy month for five mothers who bore sons who later became United States Presidents: Barack Obama, 44th U.S. President, on August 4, 1964; Herbert Hoover, 31st U.S. President, on August 10, 1874 (died 1964);  Bill Clinton, 42nd U.S. President, on August 19, 1946; Benjamin Harrison on August 20, 1833 (died 1901); and Lyndon Baines Johnson on August 22, 1908 (died 1973)

Lucy Stone
But while we salute these mothers from Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, Ohio, and Texas who raised extraordinary sons, let us not forget a most important date in August, 98 years ago, that touched the lives of all women across America.

Thanks to the early efforts of women’s rights pioneers like Lucy Stone and Susan B. Anthony and many decades of a long, sometimes frightening fight, we would never have arrived at the momentous date of August 18, 1920 when the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, granting women the right to vote and granting them the responsibilities of citizenship.

Susan b. Anthony
   And this is not a right to be taken 
   lightly. Despite our party affiliation, despite our personal political
   issues, despite our like or dislike of our present legislators or
   President, we need to salute these brave, candid women who,
   when speaking out publicly for the emancipation of women
   and women's voting rights, were often heckled, spit on, 
   peppered with rotten vegetables, sprayed with water or jailed
    These women and other female activists and reformers paved
    the way for us under very violent and disrespectful circumstances. 
   They resisted those who disagreed, persisted, and won us 
   our rights as equal citizens of the United States.

As women writers, homemakers, technicians, clerical assistants, teachers, bankers, businesswomen, doctors, lawyers and the list goes on and on, we now owe it to these honest, forthright souls to carry on the tradition and utilize the rights they fought for. Please vote this year.  

~****~    ~****~    ~****~    ~****~ 

Digital - ONLY $0.99 for two weeks!

I'm thrilled to announce that FOUR WHITE ROSES was a finalist in the Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Awards with winners to be announced this fall: It was also a finalist in the Book Excellence Awards earlier this year.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Six Ways To Do Nothing On Your Vacation (Reasons 4-6)

Last month I listed 3 ways to do nothing on your vacation.

These were:
Spend an afternoon enjoying the hotel’s pool.
Hang out at the local café and meet other people.
Turn off your social media. 

This month, I’m adding 3 more ways.

The Fourth Way: Do you have a list of 20 things you want to see and do? Narrow it down to the top 5. You’ll be much more apt to really take in your beautiful vacation surroundings.

The Fifth Way:  Do you really need to climb every mountain? Instead, grab a beach chair and enjoy the view-whether it be the beaches or the mountains, or somewhere in between.

The Sixth Way: Enjoy a quiet dinner on your hotel’s terrace, rather than waiting in line at the trendy new restaurant you read about online.

Final thoughts: You may think that "downtime: is wasting time. In fact, these will be the vacations experiences that you will remember the most. And, you can always revisit your favorite spot again in the future, so don't be the person who needs: "A vacation from your vacation."

Don’t forget to enjoy a quiet afternoon reading!
Pick up a copy of Maeve, my sweet romance novella, for one last beach read. 

He’s all business. She loves to laugh. When business conflicts with pleasure, what could possibly go wrong?
Maeve Doherty needed a hard-earned break from Ireland’s rainy weather, as well as caring for her younger brother. When the offer from Perfect Match to enjoy a week on an island of her choice arrived, she hesitated.
But not for long.

She’d always wanted to visit Corsica. Besides, who passed up free?
All right, so she'd spend the week with a match. On her dating profile, she’d added that she was a workaholic. Hopefully, so was he.

Edward Newell had one thing on his mind when he reached Corsica, and it didn't involve meeting a perfect match. Dating? Love? Romance? Not for him.
He was determined to find the picture-perfect location for his thriving hotel chain.
When unexpected attraction burns for the beautiful Maeve, and business conflicts with pleasure, what could possibly go wrong?

Maeve is available in ebook, paperback and audiobook. FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable shih tzu, who constantly needs grooming, and live in an old house forever needing renovations.
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