Monday, June 30, 2014

Mmmm. Fresh!

Just so no one gets the idea that I'm this artistic, the picture above is courtesy of Microsoft clipart. Cute, huh?

I just wanted to take a minute to celebrate garden produce. I love our local farmers' market, and am so thankful it exists. Those of us who live in apartments, or who for other reasons are not gardeners, are able to have actual fresh (not grocery store "fresh") fruits and vegetables, eggs from chickens that have a life, and many other yummy treats.

I eat more veggies and fruits than I used to, and less meat. The other day at the grocery (yes, I still go there) I bought some meatless burgers, and was delighted with the taste. I do splurge and fix a salmon fillet once or twice a week, but I think my days of buying bologna and hot dogs and sausage are in the past.

And I've started drinking my lunch. You know--smoothies! I'm taking it slow on smoothie recipe adoption, sticking with yogurt and milk and fruit. I haven't made a vegetable smoothie yet, but it might be great.

Any suggestions?


Monday, June 23, 2014

Garden tour

This past weekend, my friend Maddie James and I attended a garden tour in a particularly exquisite section of Louisville, Kentucky. The homes in that area of Old Louisville are imposing--large and stately--and beautifully kept. The gardens were amazing, well planned and beautifully maintained. I'm sure I oohed and aaahed as much as anybody, and I appreciate the willingness of the owners to allow us into their gardens. At one place, the owners had cookies and lemonade on the porch, and invited anyone to join them! I'm so very glad we attended the event, and I'd love to spend more time in that area. I'd also love to use it as a setting for a story. (The image above is Microsoft clipart. I didn't take any photos on the tour.)

I live a simple life in a small apartment with a window on the world. I don't anticipate wanting a large house and garden again. But it was a delightful break from reality to experience an afternoon of opulence. I got a look at a different kind of life, and imagined what it might be like to be a part of it.

That's something we get from our favorite novels, isn't it? A chance to peek at life from a different angle, an opportunity to experience the world as someone else. And then, when we reach the end of the book, we may feel refreshed and ready to deal with whatever comes at us in real life.

Happy reading--and happy gardening!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Ladies of Legend video

We're way over thirty titles and counting in the Ladies of Legend series written by Janet Eaves, Jan Scarbrough, Maddie James and me. Take a couple of minutes to watch the video. Maybe there's a trip to Legend in your future!


Monday, June 9, 2014

Friends' Blog Tour

My friend Jan Scarbrough invited me to participate in a little blog tour. This is a neat way to introduce people to new authors.

First, here's a little info about Jan: 
A technical writer by day, Jan Scarbrough is a romance writer by night. She is the author of the popular Bluegrass Reunion series, writing heartwarming contemporary romances about home and family, single moms and children, and if the plot allows, about another passion—horses. Living in the horse country of Kentucky makes it easy for Jan to add small town, Southern charm to her books and the excitement of a horse race or a big-time, competitive horse show. Visit her blog by clicking here.
Now I get to share with you three blogs that might be of interest.

Miss Minimalist, by Francine Jay. Minimalism isn't just big white rooms with hardwood floors and no furniture. It isn't always an attempt to pare one's belongings down to whatever fits in a small backpack. Minimalism varies with each person. I suggest that you scroll down in the right margin and click on topics of your choice. I especially enjoy re-reading the items filed under Philosophy.

Sweet Romance Reads is a group blog in which I participate. (Lucky me!) Here's part of what it says on the About page:
We are a group of authors—some Indie, others traditionally, several hybrid published—who write sweet romances in a variety of subgenres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Historical, Inspirational, Mystery, Paranormal, Science Fiction and Suspense. 
We've joined together to promote our books and build a community for readers who enjoy a sweeter read.  
Wondering what defines a "sweet" romance? Sweet romances emphasize emotional intimacy and may contain sexual tension (G to PG heat levels), but there are no explicit sexual details. 

Rodney Willett's Blog. The author of this blog is the husband of British women's fiction author Marcia Willett. Each blog post is a lovely slice of life in England, along with Mr Willett's photos, and snippets of info about what Ms Willett is currently working on. Or, as he states on his blog header: "Ramblings from the politically minded nature nutter who happens to be the husband of the novelist, Marcia Willett."

Now, for anyone visiting here in Magdalenaville for the first time, I have some blog tour questions to answer:

1) What am I working on?
A Small Town Christmas. This is the first book in a new series. I'm trying a new writing process with this story, which is kind of exciting (to me, that is. I don't expect you to be excited about it, so don't worry). Second Chances is in the second step of editing at Turquoise Morning Press. The Blank Book is with a free-lance editor so I can self-publish it later this year. 

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I've been told that my "voice" makes my stories. I take that as a compliment. Also, I write about small towns with decades of small town life in my repertoire.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write the kinds of things I like to read. I also think it's possible to make the world a better place one happy ending at a time.
4) How does my writing process work?
I require at least three hours at a stretch to achieve any writing. I know some people can snatch a few minutes here or there, but I really have to settle in. With Second Chances, I wrote the last scene when I was about 3/4 done with the book. That was a new twist on the process, but I found it helpful. As mentioned in number 1 above, I'm trying a new process with the current project. Will tell more about that if/when it is successful.

Thank you for visiting!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Prayer of Quiet by Donna Fasano

My sweet romance-writing friend Donna Fasano has published something new and different, and I offered to do a little cover reveal for Prayer of Quiet here in Magdalenaville. 

Do you wish you could escape the chaos of the world? The Prayer of Quiet is a spiritual practice that can be used every single day to help you do just that. Communing with God in utter stillness is a method of devotion that is deeply rooted in the Christian tradition and has life-changing potential.  
Prayer of Quiet is a short, simple instruction book offered as a means to open our eyes and our hearts so we might become more aware of God. It might be time to stop talking and start listening. 

Donna Fasano is a USA Today Bestselling author whose fiction novels have sold nearly 4 million copies worldwide. This is her first work of non-fiction.

Amazon - Kindle
Amazon - Paperback
Amazon - Paperback Large Print

Donna's bio: Donna Fasano is a USA Today Bestselling Author whose fiction novels have sold nearly 4 million copies worldwide. This is her first work of non-fiction.


I wish her all the best in this new enterprise. As we all know, it can be both scary and exhilarating to step out of the ol' comfort zone. 


Monday, June 2, 2014

Music narrates my life

I promise, there is a happy ending to this blog. Just hang in...

I am fortunate to have always had music in my life. Many members of my family are extremely talented musically, though only a couple of them chose it as a profession. Music is so evocative, and even now there are many songs I can't listen to without crying--and you can forget me trying to sing them. How Great Thou Art will always bring memories of the many times my husband sang it for funerals. It's also the last song we sang at the memorial event for him. Amazing Grace is another I'll never sing. My husband and his cousin harmonized on it together, her beautiful soprano and his deep bass, as he lay in his bed just a couple of days before his death.

When I started dating, I was concerned that my brokenness would make a new relationship impossible. I asked a counselor about it, and she told me that dating while grieving is sometimes a very positive thing. I must say it takes a strong man to date a widow, and I occasionally feel sorry for This Guy.

(Yes--unless I think of a better name for him, I'm going to refer to him as This Guy.)

Fortunately for me, This Guy sang in with us in the church choir, sang in a quartet with my husband and my son and another friend for several years, including the time my husband was afflicted with his brain tumor. This Guy often anticipates which songs will bring me to tears.

At The Progeny and Progenette's recent wedding, my son and I danced together. I am no dancer and was nervous about trying, but my son promised the song was short and we would get through it just fine. He chose In My Life, performed by The Beatles.

This past weekend, This Guy and I walked the Big Four Bridge, a reclaimed railroad bridge that is now a walking and biking connection over the Ohio River. In one section of the bridge, music plays from speakers overhead. I don't know what song was playing as we walked from Indiana to Kentucky, but on the return trip, it was In My Life. We both recognized it from the kids' wedding, and spontaneously started to dance together. Right there, on the Big Four Bridge, and just for a minute... I noticed people smiling at us when we stopped.

Music can be sad and happy at the same time, can't it? Just like life. I'm so grateful to have This Guy who understands me and helps me hear the happy lyrics again.