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Sunday, June 4, 2023

Gardening, Pizza, and #MakeNFVisible by @JacquieRogers



Gardening, 

This is going to be a short one because I've been busy as the proverbial one-armed wallpaper hanger since the weather warmed up.  I should say "we" because I'm not doing even 25% of the work this year but I've been doing a lot of cooking (more on that later) and supervising.  I'm banned from shoveling these days, which is not a good thing because shoveling is one of the best therapies there is.


I have 16 4'x4' raised beds, so 8 Big Boy and 8 Early Girl tomatoes (I bought starts late so didn't have a lot of choice), some sweet red peppers, poblano peppers, potatoes (this is Idaho, after all), asparagus, Walla Walla Sweet onions, another kind of onions that I'm too tired to remember right now, and more...

Spaghetti squash, with a basil plant lurking in the back.

Pole beans.  Someone needs to weed these.

What's left of an 18" pizza after my crew (two 16-year-old boys) got done with it.


May was Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month so my daughter Mercedes Christesen, Mr R, and I went to the watch party for the national fundraiser.  Mercedes was featured at the beginning of the show--she's considered an "influencer" because she has over 75,000 followers on TikTok, which makes me nearly faint every time I think about it.  

But that's not all, she was also featured on a Snapchat show called Unwritten Beauty.  Be sure to watch it!  ☺ It was a fantastic interview and Mercedes gave a beautiful and heartfelt presentation.  I'm a very proud mama.

Also, it was her birthday.

Tresa Hiatt, me, & birthday girl Mercedes Christesen
Not a flattering photo--wine may have been involved.

What's happening the rest of the month?  More planting, lots of weeding, and then we get our grandson for the first two weeks of July.  We're so excited!  He's 17 and quite a cook, and he told me that I could sit back and relax while he cooks.  I'm not sure the relaxing will last through washing the dishes, though. Hahaha!

Stay safe, and until next month, Happy Reading. πŸ“šπŸ˜


If you're on TikTok, friend me!  My handle is @jacquierogersbooks.  
You can get videos of Honey Beaulieu and Sassy's latest updates there.  And goofy videos of her scribe.  Heck, we even do a few cooking videos.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

JUNE IS BUSTIN' OUT ALL OVER!

 By Caroline Clemmons

We re-watched the musical "Oklahoma" last night. Now I keep singing (to myself because I'm a terrible singer) "June is bustin' out all over..." I love that song. Actually, I love all the songs in that movie. The voices of Gordon McRae and Shirley Jones blended beautifully. (You have to love Ado Annie's two songs, "I Cain't Say No" and "All or Nothin'.")

I have a few questions for the producers, though. Why did they cast Eddie Albert as the Arab peddler, Ali Hakim? Were there no dark-haired men available who could act? I loved Eddie Albert as an actor, especially in his television series "Green Acres," but he was too old and too white to play the part of the Persian peddler. He must have had a terrific agent.

Peace Rose

I digressed. June IS busting out all over. I don't care for hot weather, but I do love flowers. We have beautiful roses this year. Roses are my favorite flower. We don't really have a good place for them, but Hero found space for three: Peace, Pink Fragrance, and Mr. Lincoln. It's true that little things mean a lot. I appreciate him managing to dig the flower bed, edge it with bricks, plant the roses, and keep them lovely. When you consider he has advanced Parkinson's, you can understand how hard this was for him. See why I call him Hero?

Mr. Lincoln Rose


Pink Fragrance Rose


The bad part of June is the insects. In spite of the fact that we have barley rings in the bird baths, I have mosquito bites. I'm serious when I say if there's one anywhere within a block of me, the little creature will pass by others to find me. Perhaps A- blood type is a favorite dessert for mosquitoes. Grumble, grumble. We are trying to attract bees and butterflies. Hero planted a dozen butterfly bushes.



I enjoy our neighborhood. The other houses on our block have neat lawns--at least the ones I can see easily. I enjoy looking at all the trees, shrubbery, grass, and flowers. Nothing here is as spectacular as Beth Trissel's gardens, but she is unique. I'll wager some of you also have lovely flowers in bloom. Put a photo in the comments if you can. If not, tell me your favorite flower. As I said above, mine is a rose.

Geranium in a hanging basket


Stay safe and keep reading!

Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day by Bea Tifton

Filling in for Beth Trissel, and I apologize for the late posting. Totally my fault, not hers. 

 

I have a friend who gets upset when people chirp, “Happy Memorial Day!”.  She’s a veteran, and she feels that the day should be regarded more seriously. It is a day for mourning those who gave their lives for our country, after all. I do think we should celebrate their lives, and that sometimes the original purpose of Memorial Day can get lost in picnics and cookouts. But aren’t we celebrating that we can still celebrate? That we are a free country, ravaged as it is by politically-driven cultural divides.

Memorial Day began in 1868 as a day to recognize the Civil War soldiers who died in combat. The day was called Decoration Day because people would observe the day by going to gravesites and cleaning up the area and leaving wreaths and flowers at graves. New York was the first state to declare Decoration Day a national holiday in 1873, and due to public requests, most states followed. As a result of World War I, the day was firmly established in the country as a day to recognize those veterans who died in wars.



In 1971, Congress passed a law that Memorial Day would be a national holiday occurring each year on the last Monday of May. Today, people leave a wreath on each grave at the Arlington National Cemetery and the president or vice president will leave a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.



But, while I firmly believe that we should recognize and remember those who have died in wars, I still think its okay to celebrate. Celebrate by coming together.  Putting aside political differences and sharing a meal, a day, some fellowship.  This is still America, after all.







                                                   How do you celebrate Memorial Day? 


Pexel Photo Credits: 
Askar Abayev "Two Men Grilling Meat Together"
Mizuno K "Two Teenage Girls Having Picnic in Park"
Public Domain Pictures "Purple Red White and Orange Fireworks Display"
Nadi Lindsay "Selective Focus Close-Up Photo of Red Poppy Flower"

Friday, May 26, 2023

Writing From The Heart: Poetry Edition By Laura Hunsaker

I’m going to apologize for the formatting up front-I have had no wifi for 2 days and my phone is iffy. This is being written on my phone.


This week was our last week of school. For those who don’t know, my day job is at an elementary school. A really big thing happened this week; my daughter’s teacher retired. This teacher is no ordinary teacher. She has had all of my children for fourth grade! She’s an amazing and kind person who cares so much about her students. One thing she has always done when a teacher retires, is she writes them a poem. 


This time, I wrote one for her. 


And wow, as much as my high school self might disagree, I am not a poet.

(My high school self fancied herself as a deeply profound and emotional poet. My adult self cringes a bit at the poems).


Writing this poem was so difficult, because even though I’m a writer, and even though I have quite a lot of emotion both put into my work, and in the words of my work, poetry is a different beast.

I had to not only write this for someone I know well, and about that someone, but I then had to present it in front of the faculty. wanted this poem to  say what I felt, of course, but I also wanted to impress. These are people I work with, people who know I write, but may not have read my books…and I had to bare my heart in front of them. 


I shook the whole time I read it.


I’m an excellent public speaker, I don’t usually have nerves, but boy oh boy, reading a heartfelt poem to someone and doing it in front of your work? Whew. It was not easy!

But one thing it did do was highlight the difference between poetry and prose, non-fiction and fiction. Around 450 words, and it was harder than any other 450 words I’ve written. Not because one is better than the other, don’t get me wrong. But writing a story is more comfortable for me, than writing a poem. Oh and it rhymed. Think of all the things that you can rhyme with heart…of course fart was the only thing I could think of! Luckily my brain kicked into high gear and I’m proud to say I used a different word ;) I’m proud of that poem. 


I’m also very grateful to say that all of that emotion I wrote into a poem that I had to read to a real person, can now be directed into fictional characters, and I won’t have to read it to anyone. I think that’s the beauty of romance novels. They contain that same heartfelt and sometimes heart- wrenching emotion, just as poetry does! But the stories are not actually about any one person. And every reader can make it their own. The emotion I pour into my books allows the reader to have that connection with the characters (and not with the author! Lol). 


So what do you think?

Do you write poetry? Read it? Only love the naughty limericks;) let me know! But also let me know if a poem has ever touched your heart.


In my new book Dangerous Past, Lark uses a bullet journal. And in her journal are lists, comments, and even...short poems.

www.laurahunsaker.com






She’s running from her past…

Lark Seawell is the daughter of a serial killer. His reputation has long been a shadow looming over her since his arrest when she was a child. Especially since she’s the one who called the police. She has spent her entire life trying to live as anonymously and quietly as possible. She is not her father’s legacy.

He wants to be her future...

FBI agent Jay Sutherland is visiting a friend in a small mountain town when free spirit Lark asks for help with her injured dog. He is instantly enamored with her, and their one night stand stays with him far into the next morning, though Lark is long gone. When his partner realizes that she is the daughter of The Highwayman, Jay refuses to believe Lark is anything like her father.

What happens when she stops running…

When a trail of dead bodies follows Lark on her cross-country drive, the FBI believes she’s the killer. How can the sweet woman who rescues injured animals and makes him feel things he hasn’t felt in years be a murderer? The bodies don’t lie. Jay knows there’s more at play. If he’s wrong, and Lark is as much a monster as her father, he may be the next target…

Sunshiney heroine, gruff hero, one night stand leads to more…

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

FACING OUR WRITING FEARS

by Judy Ann Davis

Writers like all people have fears and doubts. Maybe it's because of the creative process involved with writing, but maybe it’s because writers tend to be a little more passionate, a little more emotional, and a little more sensitive than most people.

Most of our anxieties and worries begin with the “What if. . .?” What if I can’t write the next chapter? What if I can’t finish this novel? What if I get writer’s block? What if I’m not able to edit the manuscript correctly? What if I’m not creative? What if my critique partner or group hates it? What if the readers don’t like it? What if I can’t get it published?

Amid all these distracting worries, depression takes hold, often preventing us from doing our best—and our biggest fear actually becomes self-fulfilling, and we do nothing.

How do we break the cycle?

ANALYZE -- First, ask yourself: Are my fears rational? How many of my past fears have come true? What was my biggest fear this time last week, last month, last year? What is the worst thing that can happen? The answers will help you put your fears in perspective.

PRIORITIZE -- If you decide your fears are grounded, the worst thing you can do is worry. Worry is negative believing and leads to paralysis. Instead, devise a plan. Make it active and positive. Decide what steps need to be taken and the order in which you need to take them. Remember, the one sure cure for writer’s block is sitting down in front of the computer and starting to type. Write anything. Just start. Put some sentences or thoughts swirling around in your head on paper. Or start typing: "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" over and over again. I guarantee you’ll start writing something different and better after a few short rounds of that boring maneuver.

VISUALIZE -- To turn your plan into reality spend a few minutes each day visualizing success. See yourself completing that project or manuscript. Imagine everyone’s pleased reaction. Imagine your pleased reaction. And think about the pride you’ll feel and rewards you’ll reap.

Remember, fear will never go away as long as we continue to grow. The only way to get rid of fear and to feel better about ourselves is to go out and do whatever we fear. After all, pushing through our fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.  

 This month I'm featuring:  WILLIE, MY LOVE 

A historical romantic mystery 
and finalistin the American Fiction Awards
and the National Excellence in Storytelling (NEST Awards).
 

Monday, May 22, 2023

Good things happening in my life right now

πŸ’• Good things happening in my life right nowπŸ’• 

Where to start?

πŸ’«First, the first book in my 

Misleading Mail Orders series 

came out in Audio!

πŸ’«Second, it received this awesome Review from AudioBookReviewer Magazine



TO: CURRENT OCCUPANT
Misleading Mail Orders

by Zerry Greenwood

Narrated by: Margie Valine

Production by: Zerry Greenwood

A Delightful Yet Intense Listen!

After making the decision to become a mail-order bride, Lavina arrives at the man’s front door only to discover he has sold his home and moved on. Cue in the ruggedly handsome Cliff and his two adorable yet mischievous daughters looking for a new mom and the fun and romance begins.

The author, Zerry Greenwood, weaves a romantic story around the often-used mail-order bride system that many men and women took advantage of back in the 1800s. Historically accurate, Greenwood builds strong characters with unique situations thus creating not only a romantic connection but a much stronger one out of respect and kindness for one another. The conversations between each character were authentic and rich, moving the story forward. The mix of conniving young girls wanting a mother was moving. A new wife for their dad made this story fun and reflective as we listen to the dad struggle with his wants, his girls, and the appropriate action. While some may find his decisions devious, I found them romantic.

The narrator, Margie Valine was impressive with her rich titillating voice. Her skill injected the right amount of doubt, fear, longing, haughtiness, and desire into each of the characters’ dialogue and personalities. She spoke clearly and with a solid cadence. She enriches the listener’s experience.

I highly recommend this book if you enjoy light romance, adventure, and a simple, yet detailed story. A definite light-hearted and delightful listen!

There were no issues with the quality or production of this audiobook.

πŸ’«And last but not least, my 3rd in the 

Reasons Two Love trilogy 

is edited and waiting for a good proofreading.

Reasons Two Stay


Now back to writing the 4th book  in my 
πŸ’–Native Nirvana Series.πŸ’–



Saturday, May 20, 2023

The End...Sort Of @Liz Flaherty

I've had a most excellent writing week. I got the black moment out of the way--have I mentioned I hate writing black moments? Because, yes, I also hate conflict. But, anyway, I got it written. My normal writing days are about 500 words anymore, but this week they ran between 1000 and 1200 words, which made me happy. Very happy--I will finish the book in the next few days. 

And then comes the hard part.

I'll have to write a synopsis, because I've written this without a contract and I didn't plot so much as the first page, so I had virtually no clue what was going to happen. I have been surprised at every turn. The thing is, I hate synopses. I'd write a whole book for someone if they'd just write my synopsis, blurb, and tagline.

Yeah, whether I find a publisher or do it myself, I'll have to do the blurb and tagline, too.

And reread and revise and revise and take out 475 justs, 550 looks, and at least 272 weak verbs. That's after I find at least 50 percent of the typos. 

I'll have to figure out, again, where I'm going to submit the manuscript. I'll have to thicken my skin for the sure-to-come rejections. I'll have to decide whether to go ahead and start on Ellie's story...I had a great idea yesterday morning...or should I wait? Maybe I should just take the summer off. 

Like that's going to happen. 

I remember writing about the day you write "The End" being the best day of a writer's life, except for the one when where the page starts with "Chapter One." I was wrong.

They're all good days. 


Still reeling from her divorce, Joss Murphy flees to Banjo Bend, Kentucky, where she'd been safe and happy as a child. The family farm is now a campground. Weary and discouraged, she talks owner Ezra McIntire into renting her a not-quite-ready cabin.
With PTSD keeping him company, Ez thrives on the seclusion of the campground. The redhead in Cabin Three adds suggestions to his improvement plans, urging color and vibrancy where there was none.

Neither is looking for love, yet the attraction they share is undeniable. Can the comfort of campfires, hayrides, and sweet kisses bring these two lost souls together?


Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/2s3rcznk





Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Research Addiction by Joan Reeves #SmartGirlsReadRomance

Hi! My name is Joan, and I'm a research-aholic.

Yes, I have a problem with getting lost in research.

I just can't seem to close the book, shut down the computer, etc. I just can't say no.

Unfortunately, there's no 12 Step program for those of us who pull a reference book from the shelf and get lost in its pages.

Or click on a website and 6 hours later your eyes burn and your back aches from leaning toward your monitor to glean every detail. Sure, there are worse addictions. Like most authors, I want to ground my story to make it "real" to the reader.

FAVORITE WAY TO FEED MY OBSESSION

I love to research with a "real" book, meaning a print one. I find print books are perfect for armchair research. There's something satisfying about flipping through the pages and pausing when something catches the eye.

I also read research books on my Kindle too, but to me, bookmarking a page on an ereader just isn't the same. I love to curl up in my comfy recliner and page through a book until an interesting passage leaps out at me. Unfortunately, those interesting passages abound, and I can't stop reading because I find everything interesting when I'm fascinated with a subject.

HOW MUCH TO USE

Despite all the background research I do, not much of it actually ends up in the book, but information learned is never wasted. 

For instance, I researched the science of sex appeal because I'd seen a fascinating documentary on television. 

That quest led me to the science of smell, the most primitive of our senses. What an eye-opening project that turned into! I used what I'd learned as background information in my romantic comedy, SCENTS AND SENSUALITY.

I created a heroine who was a perfumer. Her specialty is blending an original perfume for clients. Amanda learned all about the science of smell, but she's a little lost when it comes to the science of sex appeal. 

Seriously, if you want to learn how to attract a man, it's all about pheromones. Amanda knows this, but she still can't seem to find a guy.

If you're looking for a sexy, zany romantic comedy, SCENTS AND SENSUALITY, is on sale this month for 99¢.

In the back of that book, I included an article about The Science of Smell and Sex Appeal.

SOCIAL BENEFIT OF RESEARCH

There's another benefit from research. It can make anyone a pseudo expert on a lot of disparate subjects. I don't mean to brag, but I'm in great demand when it comes to question and answer board games.

Anyone for Trivial Pursuit?

DROP BY AND VISIT JOAN ONLINE

Blog ***** BookBub ***** Facebook ***** Twitter ***** YouTube 



Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Even the Sparrow by Bea Tifton

 

I just got a message that read, “Did you forget to post your Smart Girls blog?” Well, no. No, I didn’t. But sometimes life just interferes.

When I was a fourth grade teacher, one of the aides from another department asked me if she could observe me teaching for one of her education classes. I really liked this person and thought she would make a great teacher, so I said, “Sure. “ We agreed on a time and I planned to do my favorite social studies lesson.



The lesson was on slave spirituals. I’d given this lesson the year before. I placed the glowing self stick stars in the shape of the Big Dipper on our blackboard and turned out the lights. Then, in the dark, I played a recording of "Follow the Drinking Gourd." When the song was over, The lights came up and we proceeded to learn about spirituals and their significance. The lesson ended with the kids composing their own spiritual. 



Well, that’s what I planned.

But that day, we were outside and, just before time for the kids to go in, almost my whole class came running up, very upset, to tell me that they found a newly dead sparrow. They wanted me to bury it and conduct a bird funeral. Now this was a conservative district in a small town, and I was the bleeding heart teacher. The other teachers called me “Nature Girl” behind my back, and it wasn’t a compliment. I had spent all year teaching these kids about kindness to animals. This was walk the walk time.

I took a deep breath, and when the aid came up, we were conducting a funeral under the tree just outside my classroom door.



I explained that we were running a bit late, but that I was still doing the lesson. She had to get back to her assigned class and couldn’t stay for the whole thing, and later, when we debriefed, I explained what had happened. It turned out to be a much better lesson in teaching than I’d even hoped.  I explained how the biggest thing to remember in teaching is flexibility because sometimes, often, things just wouldn’t go as planned.

Sometimes, you just have to have a bird funeral.

 


 



Photo Credits:
Kat Smith "Woman Covering Her Face with Her Hands"
James Wheeler "Leafless Trees Under a Starry Sky"
Yan Krukau "Children Sitting in the Classroom"
Pixabay "Brown Tree and Green Leaf"
Pixabay "Brown and White Fur Bird at Brown Tree Branch"

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Avenger Field~Sherri Easley

Last year, my cousin and I took off on a road trip to visit the WASP museum at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. 

Since my current book in progress is about the life and times of these women, I thought I would share a bit about the museum. 

My first observation is that the museum is much smaller than I expected, but they have a lot packed in that small spot. The second observation is they get some high winds out there in that area of Texas. 

I apologize in advance- my photography skills are terrible- 



The Avenger Field Museum is a hidden gem located in Sweetwater, Texas, that honors the history and legacy of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II. The museum is situated on the site of Avenger Field, where over 1,000 women trained to become pilots during WWII.



The museum is a tribute to the brave women who served their country during a time of need. The exhibits showcase the contributions and sacrifices of the WASP, who flew every type of military aircraft, from small training planes to the largest bombers.


Visitors to the museum can view a variety of artifacts, including flight suits, flight manuals, and personal items belonging to the WASP. The museum also features interactive exhibits that allow visitors to experience what it was like to fly a military plane during World War II. Visitors can sit in a cockpit, use flight simulators, and even try on a flight suit.

One of the highlights of the museum is a replica of a barracks room that shows how the WASP lived while training at Avenger Field. Visitors can see the simple cots, lockers, and desks that the women used.


In addition to the exhibits, the museum offers a robust bookstore and a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year. These programs include lectures, film screenings, and hands-on activities that allow visitors to learn more about the history and legacy of the WASP.

The Avenger Field Museum is a must-see destination for anyone interested in aviation history or the role of women in the military. It offers a fascinating look at a little-known chapter in American history and honors the brave women who served their country during a critical time.