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and Fearless Friday as told by my guests and me.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Leaky #RV Life and the Who


TRIPPIN' THURSDAY
THE RV LIFE
Over the last two weeks, life has been rainy, sunny, exciting, fun, and ill.

My latest book reviews are posting, and I’m very pleased and excited over that. The Power of Love and Murder is suspenseful and a fun read. If you haven't read it yet, you can go to Netgalley.com and get a free copy for a review.

Sadi selfie
Sadi Belle, our precious granddaughter, spent a couple of nights with us at the RV park and luckily it was sunny and of course fun. She is such a clever three-and-a-half-year-old. She knows how to operate my camera. The self-portrait was another way to do a selfie. She set the camera on a table, pushed the button, and then backed up and posed. With the digital delay it worked! 

One day, we headed over the Mogollon Rim to the touristy town of Show Low to deliver my books to a store that wants to sell them. Nice, huh? But we had to turn around part way there. Forest Lake was a blizzard and the truck does not handle well in snow. Bummer. 

Breakfast and good friends in Laughlin
Right now, I’m sitting in a hotel room in Laughlin, Nevada looking out on a gray, rainy sky. FDW, the madman, is fishing on Lake Mohave. This has been a great trip in spite of the rain and unusually cold weather for this Colorado River city. Besides having three free nights at the Colorado Belle, we were able to meet up with some friends we haven’t seen in years. They’re attending a trade show in Las Vegas and spent one night here. Such great people. It feels so good to connect with old friends. And the female half of this couple is a new friend. So, met a new friend too. I say met because although we’d not seen each other face to face, through email I felt like her friend already.

The Ranch has an owl who hangs out in the tree above our RV. He loves waking up FDW. Birds and trains do not bother my sleep. Ticking clocks and high pitched mechanical noises do. He started his call early one night. Luckily FDW took a camera and not a gun
in flight
to capture our resident owl.


I don’t usually make New Years’ Resolutions, but this year is the exception. After my back going out three times, two bouts with a virus, and a long bout with a chest-cough-thing over the last two months, it’s time to get back in shape. I blame this ill health on my inactivity. I know for sure my back problems are. I’ve had a painful back for over twenty years and learned long ago how to control it with daily exercise. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve done my squat routine. There’s always some reason to skip it. No more! I awoke with my second virus this morning. As soon as I’m well, I’m starting a vigorous routine to get back in shape.

It seems to me that restaurants are serving larger portions than ever before. It used to embarrass me to tell the waitress two of us would be sharing a meal. I would take my leftovers home and 90% of the time end up throwing them away. This is my money saving tip of the week. Forget the embarrassment and share a meal. 

P.S. Our heater in the RV is broken, the bedroom slide out is leaking, the island sink in the kitchen leaked and split the trim wood, and we had a hot water heater leak. We did get the TV replaced and the refrigerator fixed. Yes, it’s all warranty, but still a pain. If you’re thinking about buying an RV, I will be more than happy to give advice on what to look for. Drop me an email!

Monday, January 9, 2017

THE HEROINE'S STORY by Patricia Preston


MUSE MONDAY
Please enjoy my guest blogger, Patrician Preston. Welcome, Patricia!

When I started working on Everything His Heart Desires, I thought the story would belong to the hero, Dr. Brett Harris, aka Hot Rod Harris. Hot Rod had come from the wrong side of town, raised by his uncle, no parents, no money but he was gifted and ambitious to a fault. So I thought the story would evolve around his coming to terms with love over ambition. To an extent, that did play out but the muse took over when the heroine, Natalie, came into being. 

In contrast to Brett, Natalie came from a powerful, wealthy family, but she is not the golden girl that Brett thinks. Once her character started developing, I knew she was going to be dealing with a tragic past. A photographer, she had almost died in a hotel bombing in Kabul two years ago and her story is a story of her reconnecting with her family and the hometown she had left behind fifteen years ago after her mother’s death. She had gone to England to fulfill her mother’s dream of touring castles in search of Camelot. Natalie had found Camelot when she met her husband at a castle and they were married there. A few years later, he was murdered during a robbery and late one night in London, Natalie took her camera out to photograph the dark side of life. She ended up as a photojournalist working in the Middle East where she photographed horrors that Brett and her family could not even imagine. After the bombing, she has a new face and no clue what to do with her life. The muse said this is Natalie’s quest and how she comes to terms with finding a future that she can own. 

Although Natalie is a dark, complex character, the story is not grim. There are a lot of fun moments in it. Natalie is pretty and witty. She’s not a depressed or miserable character. She and her fellow BFF from high school, Amber, who is a beautician, were so much fun to write. Of course, Natalie takes pleasure in seeing her old enemy from high school, Brett Harris, struggle to win over her haughty grandmother. 

Everything His Heart Desires will be released on January 10th and is available for pre-order. If you love single title romance/women’s fiction with picturesque settings, some humor, colorful characters and warm romance, you might enjoy the Love Heals All series. The first book in the series, One Week in Your Arms, is available now and the third book, Not Through Loving You will be out in June. I’m currently working on the fourth book. 

Author bio 

Patricia Preston loves writing mainstream romantic fiction with picturesque settings and a host of unforgettable characters whose lives entwine in feel-good stories about life, love and finding happiness.  She also writes short stories and historicals. She won William Faulkner Award for Short Fiction, the Lone Star Writing Competition for Historical Romance, and Harlequin’s World’s Best Romances Short Story Competition. She is repped by the Seymour Agency.

Besides writing, she’s also worked as a librarian, medical office manager, and in a cosmetic department where she played with makeup all day. Her favorite place to hang out is her writing cave where must-haves are iced tea and epic music. She also enjoys photography, movies, and research trips to New Orleans. Plus she’s a fangirl of Supernatural and Walking Dead. 

For info on new releases and contests, sign up for her newsletter

Check out her Blog  Follow her on Twitter  Facebook  Amazon Author Page 

Everything His Heart Desires 

The man most likely to drive her crazy…

Growing up in Lafayette Falls, senator’s daughter Natalie Layton hid her sorrows behind a bright smile that charmed everyone in high school—except Brett Harris. Hardworking and highly motivated, Brett dismissed Natalie as a slacker. Instead, she’s become an acclaimed photographer. And when Brett, now a successful cardiologist, needs her family’s help to secure a coveted position, Natalie’s more than happy to prescribe a little payback…

Hailing from the wrong side of the tracks, Brett believed he could never win the school’s popular princess. Now he’s intrigued by the complex and compassionate woman Natalie’s become. Gaining her grandmother’s goodwill is the key to becoming chief cardiologist—and Natalie has no intention of making it easy. But as mutual mistrust gives way to pure chemistry, there’s more at stake than either ever expected—and much more to learn about matters of the heart… 

An excerpt from Chapter 1 

Talk about the opportunity of a lifetime. If he could become Anna Layton’s physician, he would literally have it made. He would have Harry and Sheldon’s support and gratitude, which meant he could create a superior cardiology program at LFMC. Perhaps, someday, there would be a heart center named after him and he would be remembered for all posterity. Yes, he was definitely Type A.

“Do you want to speak with your mother and then give me call?” he asked Harry.

“Well, we have a little something different in mind.” Both Harry and Sheldon looked at Natalie as if it were her turn to speak up.

She tapped her fingers on the table. “I’m home for a few weeks, and I’m staying with my grandmother.” She managed to choke out the rest, “You can come over as my dinner guest tomorrow night.”

It took him a moment to process that. “Okay. So I’m not coming over as a doctor. I’m coming over as your date?”

A date is kinda stretching it,” she said as if to say that was never gonna happen. “An old friend from high school.”

“Friend,” he repeated, meeting her gaze. “Seriously?”

“It was Uncle Harry and Aunt Lorraine’s idea.” She was quick to clarify, and she frowned at her uncle, who had a mouthful of cheese Danish. “And it’s not a good idea. It’s not going to work. Not with Nana.”

“Natalie, you promised us you’d help out.” Harry took a swig of coffee. “We’re counting on you.”

She shook her head, and Brett realized she was totally against the idea, which might cost him the chief of cardiology position.

He sat up straight. “Natalie, you do understand what’s at stake here?”

“Besides your ego?” She didn’t blink as she looked him straight in the eye. It appeared that, since high school, she had developed a Terminator stare.

Buy Links:  Amazon   Nook   Kobo  Google Play  iTunes

Thursday, January 5, 2017

OFF THE RANCH, LLAMAS AND BURGERS

TRIPPIN' THURSDAY
THE RV LIFE
After being stuck inside for five days with a cold/virus, I really needed to get off the RV Ranch yesterday. I wanted to go fishing with FDW, but the morning temp was 42 degrees and only getting to the mid-fifties before we’d head off the lake. To some of you, that might seem warm enough, but on the water and zooming in the boat, not so warm. I didn’t think chilly wind would do me any good. 

Taking a drive is a cheap thing to do (won’t see the gas bill until next month) and in this part of Arizona, a trip in the mountains can be eventful. Honestly, taking a drive most anywhere can be good cheap entertainment, if you take the time to live in the moment. See what you haven’t seen before even if you’ve been over the road a dozen times. 

We headed to rim country. The Mogollon Rim extends about two hundred miles starting in Northern
Arizona and running eastward, ending near the border of New Mexico. The part I’m most familiar with is covered in pine trees and gets a bit of snow. Our route took us to the rim and then crossing over it to the Mogollon Plateau. The Plateau offers a different variety of evergreens and more open space. I had hoped we’d see more snow than we did. Only one short area, near the crossover still had snow, but on the return trip even that was mostly gone. It was a sun shiny day. 

I’d also hoped to see elk—they are advertised every few miles with watch out signs—but we didn’t catch even a glimpse. The only wild thing we saw was on a Minnesota vehicle. We did see a herd of llama. I’m betting they weren’t wild.

Even so, it was a beautiful day and did the psyche good.

We drove as far as Show Low for lunch in one of those unique cafés that can be found only in small town America. The Sweetheart Café had gigantic, delicious burgers that left no room for what sounded like scrumptious pie. Next to the café was a quaint bookstore whose owner I met and chatted up. She’d like to handle my books. That’s a good excuse for another drive to Show Low. Next time, I’ll have desert first at The Sweetheart Café.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


TRIPPIN' THURSDAY
RV LIFE PART SIX
Although our friends at the RV ranch have been coming and going, now mostly gone, FDW and I have still been busy-busy. We celebrate both Solstice and Christmas which means double the fun (and double the hectic activity). I’m guessing many of you split your holiday in a similar manner in an effort to celebrate with family and friends in more than one setting. I’d love to hear about your activities, so leave a comment.



We have had some feathered and furry friends hanging out with us. The javelina (wild pigs) have made a couple of trips through the park. I
never seem to get ahold of a camera quick enough to capture them.



I did find the time to get out with FDW fishing one day on my favorite lake around here, Apache. The pictures tell the tale. I was
Chilly but beautiful
bundled in four layers for the first couple of hours, but since we’re in the desert, it warmed up enough that I could peel out of at least two of the layers.
First fish of the day

Singing with my sister
We had a great time at Acker's Night in Prescott, Arizona. This is a celebration of music and Christmas. All the stores around main street stay open and host
In the town square
live music of all kinds. There's hot chocolate, wine, food, and fun.


We celebrated Solstice with our son’s family at their home this year. So glad they’re back in Arizona so we could make the visit. Our custom on the farm was to have a dinner on Solstice Eve with food from our fields. We’ve now changed that custom to make dishes that represent our combined heritage. This year, we had foods that were Irish, Welsh, English, American Indian, and French. We had our dinner, then headed outside for the Solstice Fire. Our ceremony involves honoring Mother Earth and the Four Directions. We relate
these to our past year and what we’ll look forward to in the year ahead. I was the leader this year. And my three-year-old granddaughter had her own Direction for the first time which was North. She listened intently to the first two Directions and amazed
us all by actually speaking to her Direction and what it meant to her. Of course, there was a fair amount of marshmallow roasting, too. On Solstice Morning, we exchanged gifts. All things potty are a big deal to a three-year-old, so Nana’s and Papa’s gift of a doll that wets was a huge hit.



FDW and I are back at the ranch to unpack and repack for the trip to Prescott tomorrow. We’ll spend Christmas with my mom. Christmas Eve will be food and fun for any family members than can make it. We’ll wake up with Mom on Christmas morning. 

Since this will be the last post before Christmas, let me wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas. I’d love to hear how you celebrate the holidays.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Double Whammy #NewRelease and #Solstice


WICKED WEDNESDAY
Today is one of those great double whammy days. It should be called Whammy Wednesday instead of Wicked Wednesday. 

Luckily, the first part of my double whammy involves the official release of my fourth book in the Love and Murder Series, The Power of Love and Murder. There is definitely some wicked going on in this book. The time frame is December, and the wicked involves a blood thirsty politician and his wicked FBI counterpart. Suspense a plenty! 

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. 

From a Solstice past.
The second part of my Whammy Wednesday is Solstice. Today is the day we celebrate with my son’s family. Last night we had our Solstice Eve dinner, sat around a fire, and shared our view of the prior year and what lies ahead for us. Of course, there were marshmallows involved and laughing. This morning, on Solstice we exchanged gifts around the Christmas tree.

It’s been an all round great day.

I hope you’ll be enticed to get my newest book uploaded on your reader, or onto someone’s reader for Christmas. Or, if you’re a print book sort of person, it’s also available that way. 

AMAZON:


TWRP


Barnes and Noble


KOBO


Are


HAPPY SOLSTICE!!
P.S. This was written in advance of the busy day so no pictures. Check out Trippin' Thursday tomorrow.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The French and the English: Their Troubled Relationship in Regency Romance By Eleanor Webster


MUSE MONDAY
I wish I'd paid more attention to history in school. Eleanor makes it fun today!
I have always loved history. I spent much of my childhood imaging myself in gorgeous gowns while stomping about in the clothes my mother ‘made me wear’. I know real life wasn’t very glamorous – but in my imagination… The Regency Period has always been of particular interest, likely due to a youthful over- indulgence in Georgette Heyer.

However, in addition to Heyer, this period fascinates because it is a society in the throes of change. During my first novel, No Conventional Miss, I focused on the emergence of innovation connected with the Industrial Revolution. My protagonist creates several inventions, including a butter churn. By the way, current historians now recognize the scientific contributions of some amazing women! Three cheers for Sarah Guppy inventor of the tea or coffee urn, which also cooked eggs and warmed toast. Oh yes, and she also figured out a way to keep barnacles off ships.

My new book, Married for His Convenience, is set slightly earlier during the French Revolution.  This era has also always fascinated me; those wonderful ideals which so soon dissolved into blood thirsty chaos. Married for His Convenience touches on that time period and explores its impact on a family touched by its violence.

The French Revolution greatly impacted English society. More than 40,000 French refugees came, many arriving with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Never reluctant to turn tragedy into a high society event, Victims’ Balls were thrown. When a gentleman entered the party, he would bow his head as if presenting it to the guillotine while women wore red ribbons about their necks to symbolize spilled blood.

Not surprisingly, the French and American Revolutions frightened the British upper classes that were somewhat attached to their heads. This made the British even more hesitant to improve the life of the working poor or change the electoral system.

The society of the time is also a fascinating study in French/English relations, which is another intriguing topic. My mother, staunchly middle-class from Sheffield, England, was never a tremendous fan of the French language or culture. As an adolescent, I found this surprising. Had France and England not been allied during two world wars? Moreover, thanks to Georgette Heyer, I knew that every educated person had to speak French with fluency. Therefore, I was surprised when my own attempts at French conjugations were met by a muffled grunt by my maternal unit.

However, the British and their relationship with French language and culture has historically been influenced by class.  During regency times and beyond, the aristocracy adored the French language, art, fashion, food, wine, furniture. Indeed, the fact that the two countries were at war between 1793 and 1815 (except for a brief truce in 1802), did nothing to lessen this fascination.

In contrast, the British populace, the poor and growing middle class, were strongly anti-French. This attitude was fueled less by the enemy and more perhaps by the French fascination of their own aristocracy. Therefore, my personal theory is that this sentiment continues, perhaps even to this day, and certainly influenced my own mother, grounded as she was in Yorkshire commonsense and middle-class practicality.

As for me, the unraveling of societal mores and influences throughout the ages make the study of history even more fascinating.

About Eleanor Webster 

Eleanor Webster loves high-heels and sun, which is ironic as she lives in northern Canada, the land of snowhills and unflattering footwear. Various crafting experiences, including a nasty glue-gun episode, have proven that her creative soul is best expressed through the written word.

Eleanor is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in psychology and holds an undergraduate degree in history and creative writing. She loves to use her writing to explore her fascination with the past.

Connect with Eleanor






Married for His Convenience

Tainted by illegitimacy, plain Sarah Martin has no illusions of a grand marriage. So when the Earl of Langford makes her a proposal that will take her one step closer to finding her half sister, she can't refuse!

Sebastian's dreams of romance died with his late wife's affair, so now he needs a convenient wife to act as governess for his silent daughter. Yet Sarah continues to surprise and challenge him, and soon Sebastian can't deny the joy his new bride could bring to his life—and into his bed!

Available November 22, 2016




Google Play: http://bit.ly/2cNcokR

Thursday, December 8, 2016

YAY FOR DECEMBER #thrifty #holiday #gifts


35 year-old Christmas angel preserved
TRIPPIN' THURSDAY
RV LIFE PART FIVE

All the packages are wrapped, tagged, and ready for Solstice and Christmas. We do both. We started the Solstice celebration the first year on the farm, b.s. (before Sadi). We love our tradition and have continued, in spite of leaving the farm life behind. It’s great fun, and it helps solve trying to fit in a visit to everyone on Christmas. We take a little bit from a couple of cultures for our own brand of Solstice. More about that after Solstice. 

I found some great deals for gift giving. Everyone says this time of year is not about the gifts…but it sure makes it fun if I can give. Honestly, wouldn’t care if I got but I do love to give. Thanks, Mom, for instilling this in me. Part of the fun is shopping for just the right gift on limited
Another Christmas relic
funds. I’m not kidding. Here are a few of my ideas.
 

*For the child in your life, Kohl’s has the stuffed animal or character with a book to match, each for $5.00. They are excellent quality, and how can you beat that price?? 

Sadi makes it fun
*Another idea for the little ones is a lunch box filled with trinkets. I found cloth lunch pails with children’s movie themes. For a little girl, I filled it with hair ties, hair clips, lip gloss, little girl nail polish, and chocolates. The whole thing came to under $10. 

*If you have a classy Humane Society Thrift Store (or another one), don’t rule it out for gifts. There are new items, or, like I found, a gently used item for a cook in my family. A set of three high end tiny melting pots that looked new were only $20. 

*Photos are another great gift idea. I have copies of photos in all sizes made at Costco for next to nothing. My favorite frame store is Hobby Lobby. Their prices are the best I’ve found. Kohl’s can be good too if they’re on sale. 

Happy shopping! 

Or…you can be like my mom and come back from Laughlin with $800 in your pocket from winning at video poker. Her gift budget went up! Her three children took her to Laughlin for her 86th birthday. Mom loves the poker slots. All of her grandchildren gave her money to gamble on, and she scored. She brought home all the money she went with plus $800. Her three children did not fare so well.