Thursday, December 22, 2016

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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

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. 



Barnes and Noble



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

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:

Thursday, December 8, 2016

YAY FOR DECEMBER #thrifty #holiday #gifts

35 year-old Christmas angel preserved

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.