Friday, November 17, 2017

People Are Like Leaves by Betsy Ashton

People and leaves share much in common. Some hang around your entire life, some only for a season, others for a few days before they blow away on the wind.

I love the evergreens, the pines, the cedars, the firs. While not officially leaves but needles, the greenery stays year after year, decade after decade. The evergreens are with you through good times and bad. They wipe your nose, hold your head, and kiss you no matter what. They are the ones you can call in the middle of the night because ghouls and goblins are warring in your brain. They may be family members. More likely, they are people you've met in your travels and stuck to you like burrs.

Others are seasonal, erupting in new green leaves in the spring, glowing with health in the summer, changing colors and falling in autumn. Some of these are your absolute best friend when you need one and may stay with you until your need passes. Some drift in and out through the seasons, never staying long but always being on the end of a branch if you need them.

Some rare leaves come in only for a few days. They make a huge impact while they are around, but they don't last. You need them, but you don't count on them to appear. You most certainly don't expect them to stay.

We are entering the holiday season, as if we didn't know it. We have enough Christmas ads on TV to kill any interest in shopping. But if we step back and really look at the holiday season, we can see how we fit into our leaf metaphor.

I pick brightly colored leaves in October, add maple seed pods, and gather acorns to fill vases for Thanksgiving decorating. I use evergreens at Christmas, a fir or two every year, decorated to within an inch of their needles. I hang a bay leaf wreath in the dining room, because it smells so terrific, even though it is made of those rare leaves that don't last.

I need all of these leaves. I hope I'm an evergreen person, but I know I've been seasonal and even passing at times. I have been rethinking how I want to use all leaves in my life.

What kind of leaves surround you? And what kind of leaves are you? How many are evergreen, seasonal, or fleeting?

Happy Thanksgiving to all Roses and your families. I'll catch you one more time before the end of the year for a little Ho! Ho! Ho!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I Finally Found a Use for Twitter by Alison Henderson

I've never been a fan of Twitter. I joined when I became a published author because I had to and only used it to promote other authors' books as part of a promo group. I've just never gotten it. The brief format didn't appeal to me--I could never understand how people claimed to have developed useful relationships with strangers in 140 characters--and doubling it doesn't make much difference. Too many posts in my feed are brief, cryptic messages with some unidentifiable link attached. I'm not about to open something like that from someone I don't know! And then there's the fact that some of the worst behavior in modern times seems to occur on or because of Twitter. It hasn't been a place I've really wanted to be.

However, I think I've finally found a use for it.

I'm normally a Facebook person. I like the format, the longer posts, and the ability to  converse with friends. And because I try to keep my presence upbeat and positive, I avoid  posting anything political on my page. I have strong feelings, but arguments--especially with strangers--give me hives, and these days I'm working hard to keep myself as calm as possible. At any rate, a few weeks ago, I felt an urgent need to say something political. I didn't need or want to have a conversation with anyone--I just needed to put my thoughts out in the universe. The words appeared in my brain and screamed to be set free. All writers will understand. If I didn't write them down and send them somewhere, they would continue to pester me.

The question was, where?

As I've said, I didn't want to put them on Facebook, although many would have. I considered my blog. I rarely post there and could safely assume no one would read anything I wrote there if I didn't draw attention to it. Then I remembered Twitter. It would be perfect. I may have 1,500 followers, but they don't actually follow me because there's nothing to follow. Most have no idea who I am and would skim past anything I posted. If they did happen to read the tweet and liked or retweeted it, great! I would never know. If they hated my statement and made ugly comments, the same would apply. I could get the idea out of my head and move on. What did I have to lose?

My tweet turned out to have fewer than 140 characters so off it went. Guess what happened. As predicted, almost nothing. One like and two retweets. Except now the thought is no longer munching around in my brain. Now I know what to do with those unimportant little bits of brilliance that pop into my head from time to time. I can post them on Twitter and send them off into the ether like a note inside a balloon. If they reach someone, fine, but that's not important. I'm free of them, and that's what matters.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ten Things I'm Thankful For by Christine DePetrillo

In no particular order...
  1. A reclining couch. I just think better leaning back at a 120-degree angle. I do all my writing on my reclining couch and the words come a lot faster than when at a 90-degree angle. And 180 degrees would just make me sleepy.
  2. Saturdays. My favorite day of the week. Anything is possible on a Saturday. It’s got its own brand of magic.
  3. The woods. The happiest of places for me. I love the music nature makes. Trees offer a serenity I can’t find anywhere else.
  4. The Werewolf. He reminds me to play… and growl at neighbors.
  5. The Husband. I wouldn’t know how to vinyl side a house if he and I never met. There’s actually many things I wouldn’t know without him.
  6. Family and friends. It’s always good knowing there are people in my corner, cheering me on or ready to laugh with me.
  7. My readers. I love those loyal fans who are the first to buy my books and are willing to tell (or in some cases bully) people to read my stories. I write for you, peeps.
  8. Book Boyfriends. Where else can you collect men and have it be acceptable to society? Only in the pages of those happily-ever-afters. I can’t get enough of them.
  9. Opportunities. They are all around us if we keep our eyes and hearts open. I’ve been doing that more lately and am amazed at how doors open when you pay attention. 
  10. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Because I had to have one sweet treat on this list. Peanut butter cups are my go-to candy. Just don’t leave me alone with a bag of them. I don’t really understand the concept of “serving size” when left unattended with these.

What are you thankful for this year?


Monday, November 13, 2017

Elbow deep in NaNo

As I think I mentioned earlier, I'm using NaNoWriMo as my chance to get caught up on publishing business stuff. I don't really need motivation to sit down and write -- I write a 65,000 word novel in 3 months, usually, and bigger ones in 6 months (my 110,000 word ones). Nope, writing is covered.

Business, though -- that's another story. I'm using this month to look at what I have self-published and seeing how to market it in a different way. I'll be asking for rights back to a few books to self-publish those, so I want to learn the whole formatting business for that. I'm also working on setting up a literary estate (an LLC) to handle writing-related business things.

NaNo came around at just the right time -- I finished one manuscript and will be doing reviews in December prior to starting another book in January. So the timing is perfect. And I'm enthused after attending a conference for indy-published authors, where I picked up some intriguing ideas.

I'll report back in at the end of the month on how things went. I don't participate in the holiday story, so that'll be my last post for the year. I'm sure by then I'll be itching to get back to writing. So wish me luck -- I need to plow through a bunch of Stuff before I get to do what I love!


Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Veterans Day Tribute by Margo Hoornstra

It's Veterans Day. Please join me in paying tribute to those among us with the courage to lay their lives on the line if need be to protect the freedoms all of us cherish and enjoy.

Though my colleagues have posted similar columns on these pages of late, in my opinion, you can never, ever thank them too much.

As my grandson, soon to be 18, wrote a few years ago...

Every year on November 11th the United States honors those who have served in our armed forces. The holiday originally marked the anniversary of the Armistice between the Allies and Germany. The signing effectively ended all fighting in World War I. However, in 1954 Congress approved a name change from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. This was done as a tribute to honor and thank all veterans of all wars. On Veterans Day it is encouraged to fly flags at full staff in observance of the holiday. In addition, if you see a veteran be sure to thank them for their service.

At this time, we would like to have a moment of silence to honor all the service men and women who have died.

Thanks, Brett. I couldn't have said it better myself.

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd.

If you're so inclined, please visit my WEBSITE

Friday, November 10, 2017

Veterans: Our Peacekeepers

A shout out this Veterans Day for all the men and women who served our country.  To Veterans still with us, we thank you for your sacrifice; to the families whose warriors have left us, please accept our gratitude and condolences. 

Leah’s blog about being sure to vote for measures that improve the quality of our country and add value to our place in the world, was spot on.  War is surely the last and worst option for solving conflict; in the end, we yearn for a day when there are no veterans of war to celebrate except those long gone.  My brother, Brian, who retired as a Major from the Army, assures me that a robust Army, Navy, Air Force deter other countries from making war with America; soldiers want peace, not war, just as police and firefighters wish for law-abiding, safe communities. 

So I honor the peacekeeping efforts of my father, Lt. Col. Alford C. Shellum, who fought in the 164th Infantry at Guadacanal (the landing took place 13 October, 1942).  My father was wounded in Guadacanal and left the war early, but continued to serve in the Army for another twenty years.  He died at the age of 89 in 2006.  Paintings of him and my mother, here, the way he looked when he fought in the war.  They were so young!

I also honor my brother, Brian, who served in the Gulf War, 2nd Brigade, First Armored (Tank) Division.  (His picture, with me, below) My two other brothers enlisted and served short terms in the Army.  Though they did not see battle, they were peacekeepers, too.  

Brother Colin is pictured below (searching for a pic of Steve!):

It should be said that the families of our servicemen and women are extremely important to any peacekeeping effort.  We accompanied my father on every domestic and overseas assignment (Germany, Japan, Korea), in each posting, tasked to support him and my mother through tough transitions. 

So on this Veteran’s day, we honor all those connected with our servicemen and women and our cumulative effort to keep the peace, at home and abroad.

Feel free to do your own Veteran Shout-Out here.

It was Brian, by the way, who helped me with my Army soldier character in FEAR LAND.  More about that experience, in another entry.  So here's FEAR LAND

A psychiatrist’s attempt to help a soldier and his son struggling with shades of anxiety, puts them all on a collision course with corrupt, revengeful foes.

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Love and Murder Sale by Brenda Whiteside

My books don't go on sale often, so an announcement is in order. Book two, Southwest of Love and Murder and book four, The Power of Love and Murder in the popular Love and Murder Series have been reduced from $4.99 to $1.99 each on most all sites where eBooks can be found. Click on either of these to take advantage:

The Wild Rose Press - Brenda Whiteside
Amazon - Brenda Whiteside

This sale will end November 16th. Happy reading!


Mystery writer, Phoebe Anderson, owes her success to killing her first husband on paper seventeen years earlier. Now, someone has actually done it. When she decides to take a few days away on the ranch of her best friend’s brother-in-law, she doesn’t expect romance to find her...or murder to follow her.

Mason Meadowlark is happy with his wild cowboy ways, avoiding love since the death of his baby and the end of his marriage twenty years ago. When Phoebe shows up, he fights to control his emotions, but soon wonders if she just might be worth the risk of opening his heart again. 

With an obsessed fan close on her heels, Phoebe is thrown into her own murder mystery…and the next target on his list is Mason.

Undercover Book Reviews
WOW!!!...a ride you sure as heck don’t see coming!

Long and Short Reviews
Southwest of Love and Murder is a very enjoyable book. Although it is book two in a series, it can definitely stand on its own. I recommend it to anyone looking for a romantic suspense with a sexy hero and a sassy heroine.

For thirteen years, Penny Sparks has managed to hide from the political powers who murdered her family. When she unwittingly exposes her true identity, not only is she marked for death, but the people closest to her risk meeting the same fate. 
Jake Winters is out of rehab and coming to grips with his demons. When he meets his sister’s roommate, Jake believes Penny might be that someone who can help him find life after rock star status…until her secrets blow up his world. 
With a government agent turned hit man closing in on her, Penny and Jake race to expose the presidential contender behind the murders of her family. Even if they win the race with death, the murder that stands between them could end their hope for a new life.

If you’re a fan of romantic suspense, this is a must read. If you’re a fan of suspense and/or political thrillers, you’ll love it!

Like the other "Love and Murder" books in the series, Brenda crafted a story full of mystery, corruption, bit of romance, and ended it all with a happily ever after.

I blog right here on the 9th and 24th of every month. You can also find me:
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