0

Grocery Store Trivia Game

Posted by Maryann on August 24, 2016 |

Slim Randles is here again as today’s Wednesday’s Guest with a story that many of us can relate to. At least those of us who are familiar with small town grocery stores where checking out can take a little longer than at a big city move-em-down-the-line kind of mega store.

Since it is still so hot here in Texas and in New Mexico where the Mule Barn Truck Stop is, I thought we could have some pink lemonade. Perhaps the guys at the restaurant would prefer some sweet tea in their canning jar glasses, but I’m in the mood for something pretty and fru-fru. Feel free to pour the pink stuff out and fill the jar with a drink of your choice. Enjoy….

pink lemonade

It happened in the checkout lane down at the Soup ‘R’ Market last week. We discussed it thoroughly, of course, and no one knows yet what to make of it.

As sometimes happens, when we are glancing at the tabloids to see who fathered Bigfoot’s new baby, we get into discussions of trivia. Annette was sliding broccoli and corn flakes over the glass-window dinger machine, and we were just chatting about … I think it was bears this time. You know…

“I read,” said Annette, “that a bear can run 45 miles an hour, faster than a race horse.”

To which I added, “Did you know a polar bear’s skin is black, and a black bear’s skin is white?”

“Really?” Annette said, weighing the plastic bag of apples. “And did you know,” she said, “that horses can’t vomit?”

Horses just hadn’t heard me sing yet, that’s all.

So it was then that the next guy in line, a young fellow dressed in camouflage, smiled and joined in.

“You know the song, ‘The Duke of Earl’?” he asked.

Well, of course we did. We used to slide around the dance floor to that when Elvis was still a pup. Wasn’t as good for snuggling as a Johnny Mathis tune, but what is? Half the marriages in this town began while dancing to “The Twelfth of Never.”

“Well, here’s something to think about,” our young friend said. “If you are driving down the highway, and you tap your foot on the accelerator each time the car goes by one of those broken yellow lines, and if you do it in time to ‘The Duke of Earl,’ you’re doing exactly 55 miles an hour.”

“You’re kidding!”

“Nope. I’m a trucker, and I can tell you it’s a fact. Heard it on the radio and gave it a try. Fifty-five miles an hour.”

Let’s see … Duke, duke, duke, duke of earl, duke, duke, duke of earl, duke…

Might come in handy if the speedometer goes on the fritz.
—————
Brought to you by Ol’ Jimmy Dollar (a kids book) about a man and his hounds. See it at LPDPress.com

The Home Country radio show will be coming soon to a radio station near you! New, from Syndication Networks.

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” and is the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. If you enjoy his columns here, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It has some of the best of his offerings through the years.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Do you like to chat with the clerk at the check-out line in the grocery store? Do you live in a place where that can happen without someone sighing behind you with impatience?

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

0

Win Amazon Gift Cards

Posted by Maryann on August 21, 2016 |

How would you like to win one of four $100 Amazon Gift Cards just in time for the new school year? You could use the gift card to buy school supplies for your kiddos, or maybe splurge on something just for you.

No matter how I decided to spend a gift card, I’d be thrilled to win $100 bucks. My wish list at Amazon is quite long.

giveaway
The contest is sponsored by a number of authors, myself included, and it’s being handled over at the Kindle Book Review website. If you are not familiar with Kindle Book Review, it is a great place to find bargain, and even free books for your Kindle.

To enter the contest just click on the link below and follow the instructions on the website. It’s easy & fun. The giveaway ends September 1st, so don’t delay and miss your chance to win.

Sometimes I don’t enter a contest, thinking that I don’t have a chance, but if we don’t enter, we definitely won’t win. Somebody has to, and it might as well be you.

Click HERE to visit the site and enter.

I am happy to be a sponsor of the contest with Boxes For Beds as one of the featured books. With over 100 reviews, this is one of my most popular mysteries. And check out all the other sponsored books while you’re at the site. There are lots of genres from which to choose: mystery, romance, fantasy, humor and more.

Boxes_Kindle_final_-optimized

Good luck with the contest, and do let me know if you are a winner. I will announce that in my next newsletter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And now a bit of British humour to start our week off on a pleasant note. (Notice how I spelled humour properly if I happened to live on the other side of the pond? Can someone give me a “good chap” or is that only for men?)

Alerts to Terrorist Activity From John Cleese, of Monty Python fame.

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be right, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

2

Book Excerpt

Posted by Maryann on August 19, 2016 |

I decided to try something different this week on the blog. I am so tired of the news and the political scene, I thought I’d stay away from it, so today there will be no news bits and no rants about you-know-who. Instead,  I’m sharing an excerpt from my WIP, One Perfect Love, a sequel to One Small Victory.

Meme for One Small Victory

Because so many readers asked what would happen between Jenny and Steve, the two main characters in the first book, I decided to finally tell the rest of their story. They met when Jenny worked as a confidential informant on a drug task force, reporting to Steve, so even though there was obvious chemistry between them, professional boundaries could not be crossed. Added to that was the emotional roller-coaster Jenny was on following the death of her oldest son. 

Jenny and Steve needed more time before they could act on that chemistry, and I needed more time for the rest of their story to come to me. Other writers will know. We don’t choose the stories. The stories choose us. 

This excerpt comes from about a third of the way into the story when the first obstacle to their being together rears up. Jenny’s shop was burglarized, and the Chief has reminded Steve that policy dictates that officers cannot be socially involved with victims. Well, crap. Just when things were getting good. 

Now Steve has just told Jenny the awful news, promising that he will be back as soon as he catches the person who is breaking into businesses in downtown Little Oak. 

Steve shook his head, mangling his hat even more. Jenny reached out and took the hat away. “Don’t kill your poor Stetson.”

“You’re worried about my hat?”

“Yes. No. Maybe I’ll just stomp on it for you while you tell me the rest.”

So he did. About the mayor. The phone call. The edict from Gonzales. The failed attempt to try to find a way around the policy. Jenny tried to let the words settle. Let them make sense. But they didn’t. They rattled around in the space between them like kernels of dried corn, and every now and then a few of them popped, especially the final ones, “So we can’t go out or be seen together.”

Jenny thought for a moment, then asked. “Until when?”

“We catch the person breaking into the businesses downtown.”

“Okay. I’ll help.”

Steve shook his head.

“Why not?”

“You can’t, Jenny. Helping us before was a one-time thing. There’s no way Gonzales will let you get involved in this.”

Tears burned in Jenny’s eyes, and she blinked to hold them back. She didn’t want to cry. Okay. Maybe she did. But she also wanted to scream. And she really did want to stomp on the hat. Anything to vent the frustration and anger that was building inside her like the core of a volcano.

Steve stood and pulled her to her feet. “Before I go. And while we are hidden back here where nobody can see us…” His lips stopped forming words and touched hers in a gentle, comforting kiss. Then for a moment he tuned the kiss from gentle to passionate.

Jenny’s body responded in kind, and she seriously thought about going to lock the front door and…

Steve pulled back, taking both her shoulders in his hands and holding her gaze with his. “That was a promise, Jenny. The kiss. I will catch that burglar, and I will be back.”

Despite the seriousness of the moment, an urge to laugh almost overtook her. The line from “The Terminator” flashed through her mind. She knew the wild mix of emotions was making her think of that. Her mind always did crazy things to compensate for pain.

“What?” Steve asked.

At first, she wasn’t sure what he meant, then she realized. Of course. He’d picked up on the subtle change in her mood. “I thought about calling you Arnold.”

“Arnold?”

She quoted the famous line, complete with accent, and Steve chuckled. “When I come back, maybe I’ll be naked, too.”

“That would be fine by me.”

Then she didn’t want to smile anymore. She leaned into him, resting her head on his chest where she heard the thump, thump, thump of his heart. He combed his fingers through her hair. “I’ll do my best to get this guy quickly.”

“Will you be able to let me know how the investigation is progressing?”

“Of course. As one of the victims, you are entitled to updates.”

“Victim.” Jenny shuddered. “How I hate that word. Makes me feel so weak.”

Steve pulled back and smiled at her. “You, darlin’ are anything but weak.”

The darlin’, unraveled her again and the tears started in earnest. Steve brushed them off her cheeks with his thumbs, then kissed her again before heading to the door.

Jenny let him go out alone. It was an abrupt departure, but the kind they both needed. She knew this was as hard for Steve as it was for her. To have finally gotten together only to be pulled apart again. Knowing how long it took for some cases to be resolved, Jenny did not hold out much hope that he would be back next week to pick up where they left off today.

“Damn! Damn! Double damn!”

I’d like to know what you think of the title, One Perfect Love. Does it work for you? And what do you think should be on the cover? This is a pure romance story, and will be a novella. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!

I also have a post up at The Blood-Red Pencil blog, talking about the things that irritate me while listening to audio books. Hop on over if you’d like. 

Tags: , , , , , ,

2

Going For the Gold

Posted by Maryann on August 17, 2016 |

Instead of having a guest post from Slim Randles or another author, I thought I would feature some of the Olympians as today’s Wednesday’s Guest.

Have you been watching the Olympics? I have caught some of the events and was so thrilled to see Simone Biles win 4 gold medals in gymnastics. Her floor event was spectacular. And another exciting Olympian to watch was Simone Manuel, who won two gold and two silver in swim events. To see the thrill and excitement on their faces brought a smile to mine.

And what about the excitement and joy when Usain Bolt won the 100 meters to hang on to his title of the fastest man in the world, claiming his third gold medal in the event. Watching him smile and acknowledge the accolades on his spectacular win brought another smile.

That is what the Olympics are all about, and that is why I dedicate this post to the athletes from around the world who have gathered to compete and bring honor to their countries.

rio logo
The Olympics have always thrilled me. I love everything about the opening and closing ceremonies, the games, the individual events, and I even watch things I normally would not, like basketball. The only events I don’t watch are the boxing matches. Never could get my mind around two people punching each other and calling it sport.

A long time ago I wrote a column about how the Olympics brings the world together in a special way that the idealist in me wishes could happen all the time. Why are so many countries “friends” every four years, then enemies the rest of the time?

No matter your thoughts about that, or your take on boxing, I know that many other people share my excitement about the summer games starting and have watched as much as possible. If you would like to follow the games online, here is a LINK

I like the fact that I can go online and follow the equestrian events. They do not get much prime time coverage as more people are interested in the gymnastics, swimming, track and field, and diving. But I am a real horse-lover, and even though I have never done show jumping or dressage, I love to watch it.

What are your favorite sports in the Olympics? Did you ever dream of going for the gold?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

2

Honoring A Strong Woman

Posted by Maryann on August 15, 2016 |

Last week my oldest sister died, and I was in Houston for her memorial. My other siblings – five of us left now – asked me to speak at the memorial on behalf of the brothers and sisters. It was an honor to be asked to do that, and I decided to share some of the talk on my blog. I like to celebrate strong women here, and Rosanne was a very strong woman, so it is appropriate to introduce you to her.

roseRosanne loved roses, and this rose was always part of her signature in e-mail and snail mail. Maybe because of her name?

She also loved lighthouses, and in addition to visiting them in many places and collecting figurines, she painted this watercolor.

lighthouse by rosanne

Rosanne was the oldest of us six siblings next is Juanita from Michigan, then me from Texas, Michael from Michigan, Loreen from Georgia, and Paul from Memphis.

It’s hard to remember that there were only eight years between Rosanne and me. She always seemed to be the one adult among us kids, and then there was the space that separated us. When Daddy and Aunty married, there were her kids, his kids, and eventually their kids. It took a while to stir that mix and end up with a family, but we managed to do that.

Rosanne married young and moved out of the home, so my earliest memories of her are when she would come by with Kathryn as a baby on the weekends that Juanita and I spent at the house. It was always busy and chaotic at the house on those weekends, but I do remember being so impressed with how grown up Rosanne was compared to the rest of us kids, and I was always a bit in awe of this adult sister.

Rosanne-2

One special time I remember from those early years, was a day when I was visiting her at her house. I think it was not long after Charlie was born. I was older then, and she treated me almost like a girlfriend her own age. We had lunch and she talked about her kids and the new home, and I recall how content she looked, so obviously happy to have a home of her own and a family. It seemed like life was going to be so good. And I remember thinking I would like that someday. I would like a home and a family and to be as happy as Rosanne seemed to be that day.

Even though her life wasn’t always so happy, but there is no doubt she continued to love family, especially her kids, and would do anything to keep them together and give them the best life possible.

Another memory that comes to mind is the time she drove me Juanita and Loreen down to West Virginia for Grandma Van Gilder’s funeral. I don’t remember for sure where we stayed down there, but it was a room with bunk beds. One night all four of us went out to a club with our cousin Kenny and got a little tipsy… okay a lot tipsy. Kenny loved to take us out for an evening of drink and frivolity, and we were always ready for a little frivolity. When we got back to the house, Nita and Loreen and I were all silly and giggly, and we kept Rosanne awake most of the night. She loved to tell that story on us, laughing as she recounted how Nita and I would lean from the top bunk to talk to her and she would tell us to “shut up and go to sleep.”

I loved to hear her tell that story, as the telling was always tinged with so much love underneath the layer of mock frustration.

In recent years I have started to recognize and deeply appreciate the great gifts that certain strong women have been in my life, and Rosanne was certainly one of those strong women. When I think of all the challenges she overcame throughout her life, I stand in awe again. She endured losses that no parent should have to suffer and had so many physical challenges throughout the years, and yet she just kept on keeping on. Right until the end she was willing to fight one more battle before she finally said, “Okay it’s time.”

That iron will that gave her the strength to endure, to battle cancer, to endure even more physical and emotional pain was the same iron will that sometimes put us at odds. Often her kind heart was masked in a brusque manner that had her come across as harsh. But that was just her way. She didn’t suffer fools easily and she never held back an opinion. There were times she scared me off with her manner and her harsh words but her intent was never to wound. Something with just bubble up inside her and had to come out. But isn’t that the way all families operate? We don’t always agree. We have harsh words. We hurt each other, but we get over it.

I had a lot of getting over it through the years with Rosanne, and the rocky patches were as much my fault as hers. I am so glad that I was finally able to admit that to her and reconcile a long time ago.  Now, looking back over our life and our relationship, I realize that in many ways she was a better sister then I ever was. She was the first one to say why can’t we just be sisters and not step-sisters. She was willing to forgive me for the hurts I had caused her and say let’s move on.

And so we did.

From that point on we were able to be closer as sisters, and her enthusiasm for my writing was very special to me. She always asked about what I was working on, read my books and came to celebrate with me when I won awards. A year ago this past April, she came to Austin for one of those events, and I was so honored that she made that effort. Knowing how much pain she was in with her back problems, I didn’t expect her to come, and I know the trip was not easy for her or for Wally. Still they came to support me, and I will always be grateful for that.

So as I say goodbye to my sister, not my step-sister, I will always treasure those good moments and let the not-so-good moments fade from my memory.

Tags: , , , , , ,

2

Friday’s Odds and Ends

Posted by Maryann on August 12, 2016 |

First off, I just want to say that it has been a rough couple of weeks for me. First my sister in Houston died and I went there for a funeral. Developed an absessed tooth and came home to get that taken care of. This past week has been one of pain and meds and not much energy for anything. UGH

Please to come back on Monday when I share a bit about my sister.

And now, a few odds and ends.

chocolate-cobbler-400x300

In the mood for something chocolate. Help yourself….

IN THE NEWS

Okay, I was just going to post a few funnies to get us into the weekend with a chuckle, but I read this at Daily Kos and couldn’t help but post it. This is actually just part of a run-on sentence from a Trump speech last year – not even half of it, it you can believe that. You can read the whole thing HERE , groan a bit, and then come back for a bit of frivolity.

“Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist  and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart —you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you’re a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago…”

cluless girl

What the hell?

FRIDAY FUNNIES

I received this from a friend:

A friend recently noted that:

If Hillary gets elected, it will be the first time in American history that two Presidents have slept together.

However, If Donald Trump gets elected, it will be the first time in American history that a billionaire has moved into public housing that had just been vacated by a black family.

Ah, we’re living in history-making times.

(Gotta laugh so I don’t cry.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
THE YEAR WAS 1955

Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging 7 cents just to mail a letter?

If they think I’ll pay 30 cents for a haircut, forget it.

When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 25 cents a gallon? Guess we’d be better off leaving the car in the garage.

No one can afford to be sick anymore. At $15.00 a day in the hospital, it’s too expensive.

The fast food restaurant is convenient for a quick meal, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on.

Thank goodness I won’t live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes. I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to government.

Okay, I admit those weren’t really that funny, except for the one about fast food. That one did make me smile. Now, if these next ones don’t make you chuckle, you need to have your laugh meter checked.

I have been in many places, but I’ve never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can’t go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.I’ve also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.

I have, however, been in Sane. They don’t have an airport. You have to be driven there. I have made several trips there thanks to my children, friends, family and work.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I’m not too much on physical activity anymore.

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.
.
I’ve been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

Sometimes I’m in Capable. I go there more often as I’m getting older.

One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!

I may have been in Continent, but I don’t remember what country I was in. It’s an age thing. They tell me it is very wet and damp there.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What was your favorite joke? Have any to share?

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2

Author Interview – Kate Frost

Posted by Maryann on August 10, 2016 |

KateFrostHeadShotIt is always great fun to have a character from a book interview the author, and today Kate Frost, who wrote Beneath the Apple Blossom,  is chatting with Sienna, one of the characters in the story. I was delighted to read the book and post a review last Sunday. 

Kate lives in the UK, so the spelling and formatting is the British style. (Just so you know I didn’t forget to edit the post. 🙂 )  

Since Sienna was hoping for a latte and cake, I found some that she can share with Kate and with us all. Enjoy…

latte and cake

We meet on a windswept beach on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales, UK. It’s not the obvious choice – Kate could have chosen my favourite café in Bath where we could have had a civilised conversation over latte and cake, but I do like the desolate wildness of this beach and know it well, having chosen it as a location for a film I worked on – but I guess Kate knows that already. I’m sitting in the sand dunes, sheltered from the wind by long grasses when I see her walking towards me – her long dark hair being whipped by the wind, wearing brown boots and jeans, wrapped in a waterproof with a blue and white patterned bag slung across her body. She reaches me, smiles, pushes her black-rimmed glasses up where they’ve slipped down her nose, and sits next to me.

‘Sorry I’m late. Leo was having a tantrum.’

‘See, that’s exactly why I don’t want to have kids – they’re loud, drive you mad and make you late for everything.’

‘Well, you would think that, wouldn’t you?’ Kate says, laughing. ‘So go for it, what do you want to ask me?’

I tuck my hair behind my ears and then rest back on my hands. ‘Is your son the inspiration for Beneath the Apple Blossom?’

‘Sort of. At least the fertility treatment I underwent to have Leo in the first place was where the idea for the book came from. The fact that so many women struggle to have a baby and it can be such a heart breaking and lonely experience.’

‘How did I get in the book then, seeing as though the last thing I want is to settle down and have a baby.’

‘I thought it was an interesting idea to explore the two sides: those women who long for a baby and can’t have one, alongside those women who are desperate to not get pregnant but seemingly do so with ease.’

I gaze out at the churning blue-grey sea and sigh. ‘I guess having a family – or not – ends up being at the forefront of most women’s thoughts once they reach their thirties. But career can be a major concern too.’

Kate nods. ‘I totally agree, particularly when having a family can impact your career, like it does with you.’

‘How come you gave me a job as a film location manager?’

Kate sits forward and crosses her legs. She snags a frond from one of the tall grasses surrounding us and begins to pick at it. ‘I wanted you to have a seemingly glamourous job, one that could potentially take you away from home for weeks or even months at a time. I’ve worked as a Supporting Artist in TV and on the films Vanity Fair, King Arthur and The Duchess, so I’ve spent time on film sets and have an idea about how things work. It felt like a good choice. Working in film impresses people, particularly those who have no idea of the long and often boring days that is the reality of a shoot. It’s a job that involves travel and unsocial hours, so it was perfect for you really. Plus, admit it. You love it.’

I smile. ‘That’s true.’

Kate reaches into her pocket and pulls out her buzzing cell phone. She listens a moment, then closes the phone. ‘My Mum. I’m sorry, I’d better get back and take Leo off her hands.’

‘No problem,’ I say with a wave as Kate paces back across the sand. I tilt my head up to where the sun strains through thick white clouds, relieved that I’ve no responsibilities to drag me away. Kate really is welcome to toddler tantrums and lack of sleep.

~~~~~~~~~~

 BTAB_eB_cov_FINAL Beneath the Apple Blossom – BLURB – Four women, linked by blood ties, friendship, betrayal, loss and hope, struggle with the choices they’ve made and the hand that life’s dealt them.

All Pippa’s ever wanted is marriage and kids, but at thirty-four and about to embark on IVF, her dream of having a family is far from certain. Her younger sister Georgie has the opposite problem, juggling her career, her lover, a young daughter and a husband who wants baby number two.

Pippa’s best friend Sienna has a successful career in the film world, and despite her boyfriend pressurising her to settle down, a baby is the last thing she wants. Happily married Connie shares the trauma of fertility treatment with Pippa, but underestimates the impact being unable to conceive will have on her and her marriage.

As their lives collide in a way they could never have predicted, will any of them get to see their hopes realised?

Author Bio

Kate Frost lives in Bristol with her husband, an energetic toddler who loves waking up before 5am, and their cute and chilled out Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. When she’s not yelling ‘slow down’ to said toddler, or being used as a climbing frame, Kate writes women’s and children’s fiction. Her debut novel, The Butterfly Storm, was published in 2013, her second contemporary women’s fiction novel, Beneath the Apple Blossom, has just been released, and her first children’s book, Time Shifters: Into the Past, an exciting time travel adventure, the first of a trilogy, will be published in October 2016.

Connect with Kate on her Website ** Twitter and Facebook

The rest of Kate’s blog tour:

Blog Tour August 2016

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2

Book Review: Under the Apple Blossom by Kate Frost

Posted by Maryann on August 7, 2016 |

BTAB_eB_cov_FINALBeneath the Apple Blossom

Series: Hopeful Years (Book 1)
Kate Frost
Paperback: 318 pages
Publisher: Lemon Tree Press (August 4, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0995478007
ISBN-13: 978-0995478008

BOOK BLURB

Four women, linked by blood ties, friendship, betrayal, loss and hope, struggle with the choices they’ve made and the hand that life’s dealt them.

All Pippa’s ever wanted is marriage and kids, but at thirty-four and about to embark on IVF, her dream of having a family is far from certain. Her younger sister Georgie has the opposite problem, juggling her career, her lover, a young daughter and a husband who wants baby number two.

Pippa’s best friend Sienna has a successful career in the film world, and despite her boyfriend pressuring her to settle down, a baby is the last thing she wants. Happily married Connie shares the trauma of fertility treatment with Pippa, but underestimates the impact being unable to conceive will have on her and her marriage.

As their lives collide in a way they could never have predicted, will any of them get to see their hopes realised?

REVIEW

It was quite interesting to read about these four women, each strong in her own way, and each life intersecting with the others. The alternating chapters, from different points of view, was a good way to let the reader see the innermost workings of the individual situations and how they became intertwined with the others.

Pippa’s journey through fertility treatments was a major part of the story, and her hopes and fears and disappointments were those that any women trying desperately to have a family can relate to. The blog posts she shared with an online support group really brought those feelings to light and were parts of the story I enjoyed a great deal.

It is through that support group that Pippa meets Connie, and the way the two women help each other through the struggles of the treatment protocols and how that challenges their family relationships was very well done. I had no trouble seeing them as real people and related to them more than I did with the other two women. That doesn’t mean that Sienna and Georgie were less real. They were just women with whom I personally could not totally connect. I’m sure other readers will have no trouble in that regard.

While the story started a little slow for me as the first three characters were introduced, the momentum picked up nicely after the first couple of chapters, and I became more absorbed in what was happening, eager to find out if Pippa’s hopes would be fulfilled. Would Connie hold her family together? What was going to happen with Sienna and her boyfriend, as well as with Georgie and her tumultuous relationship?

I always enjoy reading a book by a British author, appreciating the different style and use of language, and that is true for Kate Frost’s books. I can imagine myself at some little pub somewhere in England, listening to the chatter in that very British accent.

Back in 2013, I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Kate’s first novel The Butterfly Storm  when it was first released and liked it very much. You might want to check that one out, too.

APPLE BLOSSOM BUY LINK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

KateFrostHeadShotKate Frost lives in Bristol with her husband, an energetic toddler who loves waking up before 5 in the morning, and their cute and chilled out Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. When she’s not yelling ‘slow down’ to said toddler, or being used as a climbing frame, Kate writes women’s and children’s fiction. Her debut novel, The Butterfly Storm, was published in 2013, her second contemporary women’s fiction novel, Beneath the Apple Blossom, has just been released, and her first children’s book, Time Shifters: Into the Past, an exciting time travel adventure, the first of a trilogy, will be published in October 2016.

Connect with Kate on her Website ** Twitter and Facebook

Kate will be my Wednesday’s Guest this week, so do try to come back. She will be interviewed by one of the characters in the book. Not telling who that is, as I thought it would be fun to keep the name a surprise for Wednesday.

Tags: , , , , , ,

1

Good Friends and a Summer’s Evening

Posted by Maryann on August 3, 2016 |

This essay by Slim Randles, today’s Wednesday’s Guest, put me in mind of the summer evenings of my childhood when us kids would be playing baseball on the street while the grownups sat on porch swings, enjoying a cool evening after a sweltering day. There is something special about sharing moments like these with friends while connecting to the natural bounty we have all around us. 

Often our drink of choice would be lemonade, so here is some we can share. Enjoy…

lemonade

The evening was one of those that come back to you time after time, year after long year. It comes back and whispers of how good life can be when you’re well fed, enjoying life, and a good friend shares the front porch with you on a summer’s evening.

It was that way with Doc and Steve the other night. Doc thought he might have to do a scientific paper on the soporific effects of ice tea, fried chicken, and corn on the cob. As long as it didn’t take any effort.

So when this huge meal had been bull-snaked down, the two grinning friends came out to the porch to watch the sun go down behind the trees along Lewis Creek. The air had that orange and russet glow, and the breeze, that little one that caresses the neck, came slowly down from the hills and made their shirt collars wiggle ever so slightly.

It was like taking a dry bath in paradise.

Doc sidled up to one of the porch posts and gently tested it to see if it could hold the extra weight he was carrying with that meal. It stood fine, so he leaned against it seriously and looked out on the evening’s warmth.

Steve, who was enjoying having a fine meal that someone else cooked for a change, leaned against the post on the other side of the steps.

And then they just stood quietly, watching the day make beautiful skies as it ended.

The shadow on the ground foretold the presence of the circling bird. Doc and Steve paid no attention at first. Then a few minutes later, it was joined by two more circling birds over Doc’s house.

“Buzzards,” Steve mumbled.

“Yep,” said Doc.

They circled some more.

“I think one of us should move a little …” said Doc.

“Move?”

“Well … to let them know … you know.”

Steve sighed, then glanced over at Doc. “Flip you for it.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Brought to you by The Complete Cowboy Bucket List. See it at LPDPress.com

~~~~~~~~~~

The Home Country radio show will be coming soon to a radio station near you! New, from Syndication Networks.

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” and is the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. If you enjoy his columns here, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It has some of the best of his offerings through the years.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

4

Friday’s Odds And Ends

Posted by Maryann on July 29, 2016 |

Now that Drama Camp is over, I hope to get back to a regular schedule of blogging soon, but first I have to take time out for a toothache, a quick trip to Houston to see my sister who is ill, and the continuing battle with that nasty Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. So next week Slim Randles will entertain you on Wednesday, and I hope to be back the following Monday.

This picture is from the Drama Camp, where the kids wrote songs for the show with George Gagliardi, a Dallas-based singer songwriter who has done the camp now for four years. They brainstormed ideas for the song and wrote them on butcher paper, refining it all until they had lyrics. And here we thought the brown paper was just for wrapping meat.

george writing song

In The News

Wasn’t the Democratic Party Convention a blessed relief after the sound and fury of the GOP? I did not watch it all, as TV watching is something Ramsay does not like me to do, but I caught parts of the speeches online and was so impressed with Michelle Obama. What a classy lady. I have not always agreed with what Barack has done as President, but I always believe that he holds the welfare of the American people in his heart, as does Michelle. Here is a LINK to a video of her speech thanks to Daily Kos.

Bernie Sanders speech at the convention was also a good example of how to give one that is reasoned and thoughtful. I supported Bernie since the beginning of this election cycle and was disappointed that he did not get the nomination. I am not a huge Hillary fan and refused to jump on the “support her because she’s a woman” bandwagon. However, I will vote for her over the Trumpster.

Egad! Hate to think about him actually winning in November.

I thought Bernie did a wise thing for the American people by standing with Hillary now and not going to a third party and splitting votes.

Writing Wisdom

A recent blog by Kristen Lamb really hit home for me. She wrote about how stress can weigh you down, like a 500 pound gorilla sitting on your head, and how that affects our writing. I know what she means. The past 7 months with my friend Ramsay have almost crushed me, but I have learned how to find a balance between pushing on and giving myself permission to step back and de-stress.

In her blog Kristen pointed out that when we are under a lot of stress we are unable to:

1) Be productive.

That book proposal will take 15 times longer to prepare because you keep forgetting the point you were trying to make in the first place.

We will wear out the thesaurus function on our computer looking for another way to say “good.” Face it. Stress makes us stupid.

2) Make clear decisions.

We won’t be making decisions from the logical part of our brain, so eating everything in the house will actually seem like a good idea.

3) Interact in a healthy way with our fellow humans.

The new trees for your back yard might never get planted because your husband will be too busy plotting a way to bury you under them.

There are many ways to deal with stress and most of them require that we take a step away from our computers. Exercise. Read. Do Yoga. Take a walk. Treat yourself to a day out with friends.

So what do you do to de-stress? My favorite daily thing is to go outside for a little while. For some reason just spending 10 minutes or so throwing the ball for my dog makes me feel a whole lot better. Walking is always good for me, too. And the dog.

Friday Funnies

The following questions about dating and marriage were answered by young people. I loved the answers. Hope you do, too.

HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?
-You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids. — Derrick, age 8

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?
-Both don’t want any more kids. — Lori, age 8

WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?
-Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough. — Lynnette, age 8

-On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date. — Martin, age 10

WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?
-When they’re rich.  — Pam, age 7

-The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.

– – Curt, age 7

-The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do. – – Howard, age 8

IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?
-It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them. — Anita, age 9

HOW WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN’T GET MARRIED?
-There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there? — Kelvin, age 8

And the #1 Favourite is …….

HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?
-Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck.
— Ricky, age 10

That’s it for me folks. Have a great weekend!

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Copyright © 2006-2016 It's Not All Gravy All rights reserved.
This site is using the Desk Mess Mirrored Child Child-Theme, v1.0, on top of
the Parent-Theme Desk Mess Mirrored, v2.5, from BuyNowShop.com