Tuesday, November 28 2017
Meet a brand new author with a great new series:
Born and bred in the south, Betty Carpenter knows Southern. She also knows property management having owned and operated her own property management company for 27 years plus 14 more in community management. She believes life is best handled with a great big dose of humor. Between her Red Hat Society chapter, her job, her church, her family and her new career as an author, Betty leads a fast-paced and fulfilling life as a Southern whirlwind that keeps all her guardian angels on their toes and the Lord shaking His head.
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Christmas is a Timeshare
Jessie Bailey loves her job, her best friend and her church work. She has no time for a romantic relationship, especially when anonymous gifts start appearing - an ominous message that her childhood tormentor is out of prison and bent on revenge.
Then David Alan arrives, unannounced, from corporate headquarters and is instantly taken with the powerful beauty he’s been sent to investigate.
In just a few hours, Jessie’s life has been turned upside down. Now she just has to clear her good name without falling for the charming man digging through her books, all the while staying alive until her nemesis is back behind bars.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT - Book #1 in my Camerons of Tide's Way series is on sale now to Nov 30th for just 99¢
Barnes & Noble
Saturday, November 18 2017
Our November Round Robin: What stories have you written or read where a holiday takes place. To what purpose was the inclusion of the holiday? How do you celebrate holidays or events? Does this ever make it into one of your stories?
As an annual watcher of all the holiday movies on the Hallmark channel, I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a romantic, holiday, feel-good story. But not all stories are feel-good. If your character was going through depression, or had just lost their spouse, or job, Christmas wouldn’t be all about twinkling lights, gift-giving and merry-making. Your character might feel alone, lost, depressed or even suicidal. Think how worried a man might be – how will he support his family after he’s lost his job, and his wife is out burning up the credit card to provide a “normal” Christmas for the kids? Or even if your character’s personal life is going well, what if she’s an emergency room doctor and she’s working on Christmas Eve when victims of a shooting, or a horrific car crash come wheeling into the ER? It’s always tragic when lives are hanging in the balance and you’re doing everything you can to save those lives, but somehow the specter of the holidays makes it even more tragic. I remember watching an episode of M.A.S.H. where BJ and Hawkeye were struggling to save a soldier’s life but failed. The camera moved to the clock on the wall that read 10:48 (or something like that) and the doctor went over, opened the face of the clock and pushed the hands until it read 12:01. His reason was that the soldier’s children should never have to remember Christmas as the day their father died. So, a holiday, any holiday, can add either cosy, feel-good vibes to a story, or it can make it painfully poignant depending on the story.
So far, in my own writing, I have not used a holiday as a piece of the story to change or up the ante on emotion, but I have used it as a setting. Especially in my contemporary romance Tide’s Way series. The Camerons are a big, loving, family and it’s natural for them to gather together for various holidays. So far my readers have seen them at the annual bonfire on the beach they have every Memorial Day weekend, gathered around the parent’s living room with grandkids tearing open gifts while the siblings watch at Christmas, and celebrating the patriarch’s birthday. Much of the imagery in my head as I was writing these scenes was personal experience. I didn’t have to imagine what it might have been like, because I’ve been there. And most of my readers have too, so using the holiday to showcase the family relationships made it easy for my readers to envision and relate.
In another story (as yet unpublished) everyone else is oohing and aahing over a glorious display of fireworks on July 4th, but my hero is cringing, forcing himself to watch while his gut instinct is to dive for cover. Until my heroine wraps her arms around him and discovers he is shaking like a leaf in high wind and the reader realizes what he is experiencing. Using the holiday and especially the fireworks display allowed me to show the reader the toll war had taken on this young man, doing his best to fit back into civilian life. Then consider George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life. All around George are the trimmings of the holiday and joy, yet he’s feeling like a failure, which leads him to jumping off a bridge. Maybe he would have felt like jumping off that bridge on a calm summer day had the events leading up to it still unfolded as they had. But somehow the poignancy of it being Christmas pushes him over the edge.
So, holidays can be used as a backdrop to add color and texture to your scene, but they can also be used to heighten the stakes emotionally, both positive and negative. Check out what some of these other authors have done with holidays in their books.
Dr. Bob Rich
Anne de Gruchy
Rhobin L Courtright
Tuesday, November 14 2017
Last Monday I was in surgery and no, I’m not the doctor. I was the unconscious one. It was elective and the surgery went well, so I was discharged on Tuesday and sent home to recuperate. And all was going about as expected until Thursday. I had a call in to my doctor with a question and was awaiting a call back. But mid-morning some hinky stuff started happening with my power. Lights winking mostly. I wondered what was up, but didn’t think about it until I discovered the fridge wasn’t running. With all my post surgical food inside! But the outlets and lights were working in my bedroom so if only I could get someone to pull the fridge out, maybe I could run an extension cord until things got fixed. A neighbor helped me get the fridge out of its super tight space, but when plugged in, it wouldn’t run. Still had lights in the bedroom. So, then my neighbor, thinking on his feet, headed up to his place and returned with a little dorm fridge, which we plugged into the bedroom outlet. Yay! It was on. He had to leave for an appointment so I was going to move my essentials into the little fridge, then put the rest in the wagon and drag them down to his garage where he has an extra fridge. Shortly after he was gone, the power went out completely. No wonder the doctor hadn't returned my call!
I get on the phone with the power company to discuss my problem. In the meantime, another neighbor threw a long extension over the fence to plug in the fridge, and to my astonishment, it worked. Apparently the outlets were not getting full power and the fridge won’t operate on just some power. One headache solved – I don’t need a new refrigerator. But I still have no power. The first rep I spoke with from the power company told me I needed an inspection before they could restore power. I pointed out that I’ve had power since the storm and this problem is new and is in their equipment. This argument was repeated a number of times. I’m beginning to thing, “WHY ME?” Like I need this right now! Finally I pulled the surgery card, explained that I’d just had major surgery so if I sounded a little desperate, it was because I was having trouble coping. The man put me through to his supervisor. She logged into my meter and realized I should be getting power and dispatched a linesman.
The repair man finally showed up at 5:30. Isn’t that always the case? We’ll be there between 9 and 5 and they show up a half hour after the window. Anyway, he quickly found that yes, the problem was with power company equipment. It was a short between the pole and my house and it was fixed in minutes. THANK GOD! And the repair man! My power is on again.
I’d like to say the saga ended there, but it was quickly discovered that the microwave apparently did not fare well with the power surge before the power died completely. My first neighbor showed up shortly thereafter having noticed that I had not brought my excess food up to put in his freezer. He and his wife were concerned and came to check on me. On discovering that the little dorm fridge was no longer needed but that the microwave was dead, he came and carried the fridge away and returned with a little microwave. One of these days, when I’m feeling stronger, I’ll go shopping for a new one. In the meantime I have to say,
Tuesday, November 07 2017
This coming Saturday is Veterans Day. Some of us will attend parades in honor of our vets. Some will head to the stores for the sales so tantalizingly offered, supposedly in honor of the day. Some of us will attend ceremonies or go to church. But all of us, where ever we might be, or whatever we might be doing, should stop for a moment and really honor those who have offered their service and their lives for all that America stands for. Perhaps you will choose to stop at 11:00 am for a moment of prayer. Perhaps you will have a busy day and not think about it until you notice flags flying everywhere, but it’s never too late, whenever you remember. In a few weeks most of us will be sitting down to lavish Thanksgiving dinners with all our favorite trimmings, but without the men and women who have served in our country’s military for over 230 years, we might not have that luxury. So, both on the day of the feast and on this coming Saturday we should take a moment to be thankful for our men and women in uniform past and present.
I wonder how many of you know why we celebrate our veterans on this day? Well, here’s an abbreviated history lesson: On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect. On November 11, 1919, Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time.
An Act was approved on May 13, 1938, which made November 11 in each year a legal holiday, known as Armistice Day. This day was originally intended to honor veterans of World War I, but a few years later World War II required the largest mobilization of service men in the history of the United States. In 1954, the veterans service organizations urged Congress to change the word "Armistice" to "Veterans". Congress approved this change and on June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor all American veterans, where ever and whenever they had served.
So, it’s not about parades or sales. It’s about thanking those who protect this country at home and abroad. On a personal level, I am thankful for all the veterans in my family: My dad and uncles who served in WWII, my brother who served in Vietnam, my step-son and nephews who served in peace time and friends, some of whom gave their lives in service and one who served faithfully for 30 years. On a far wider scale, I honor all those who fought for the freedoms I enjoy every day, from the sailors who fought the British Navy in the War of 1812 to those still serving in hot spots all over the globe.
I’m also going to take a moment to pray for the Gold Star families who didn’t put on uniforms themselves, but stood at a graveside bidding goodbye to loved ones they can never hug again, and all the rest of the families of our soldiers, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, Sailors and National Guard. They have to hold down the fort while their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers and fathers serve often half the world away for months or years at a time. They too have and are sacrificing to protect the freedoms we all hold dear. And most of all, keep those in prayer who are still suffering for having served. Men and women whose lives are haunted by what they saw and did and those who came home with life changing injuries. They are heroes one and all.
So, to all who serve – Thank you for your service and God Bless you.