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This week’s challenge comes from the incredibly gifted Brenda Margriet:

Are you interested in genealogy? Have you traced your family generations back? If so, how far have you gone? And what fascinating stories have you discovered?

Genealogy is not a straight road and with every twist and turn, I suppose I expected some miraculous discovery. I have gone back several generations, but I ended up a little disappointed when I realized I was probably not descended from kings and queens or even people who changed the world in a big way.  Although I do think we all change the world in one way or another.

The most historical decision that I know of in my family was made by my mother’s father. My grandfather, it seems, was approached by Henry Ford to invest in his new invention. You know, the car. But, my relative didn’t think it was a sound idea and passed. Would I have made a better choice than he did? Who knows?

Tracing one’s relatives is like dipping into a murky pond and pulling out bits and pieces that somehow account for parts of who I am today. Yes, there was a writer in my family tree. But, more, there were just everyday people falling in love, facing hardships of one kind or another, getting married, having babies.

My red hair comes from my father’s side and my height from my mother’s. But other than that, all I know for certain is the rest is just me. And I am okay with that.

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Let’s hop over to the fabulous Brenda Margriet and see what she has discovered…

http://www.brendamargriet.com/blog

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This week’s challenge comes from the incredible A.S. Fenichel:

Do you keep a journal? Why? Why not? What kind of things to you write: personal, writerly, vague or stream of consciousness? If you want to share a journal entry, we’d love to know your innermost thoughts. If you don’t keep one and you want to make one up, that’s cool too. 😉

I do keep a journal of sorts, but it is in my head. Sometimes it entails all of the above: personal, writerly, vague or stream of consciousness. Sometimes memories.

Mostly, though, if I’m not thinking about my work-in-progress, I am watching the people around me and creating characters and scenarios. For example, when I go to the grocery store, I will analyze what the person in front of me has in their cart. And from that decide what their life is like. Single? Married? Love cooking, hate it? Clean freaks? Pets? Cats or dogs? Are they dieting? Or indulging? So much information from the items stacked in their basket. Now, does it matter if my assessment is right? No, of course not. Because the fun of the game is the guessing.

Now, that is not exactly the same as a journal, except that writing things down in a diary is still based on subjective interpretations, right? Impressions, thoughts.

I think that’s why I never kept a journal. If I’m going to write it down, I would rather it be in story form. Because I have always loved stories best.

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Now, let’s hop over to the fabulous Jenna Da Sie and found out about her journal…

http://jennadasie.com/

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Welcome to the weekly hop. This week, I asked the questions:

 Is there any particular food that sparks your creativity? Why do you think? Is it associated with something like a memory?

Popcorn. Popcorn is just one of those foods associated with pure pleasure for me. It reminds me of the movies, of sitting in a theatre and being taken away to another place and time. Which I still love. And so, sometimes, when I’m sitting at my computer, a little (or a lot) of popcorn helps me go ‘there’. Wherever ‘there’ is at the moment.

I have loved the movies (and popcorn) for as long as I can remember. And when I started to write, it was the most natural thing in the world to have that wonderful food with me as I went to other places. Just the smell of it popping makes me smile.

And it is healthy. Well, without all the butter. But, I think that the occasional indulgence is justifiable, especially if it helps you get where you’re going.

 

 

Let’s see what food the incredible Brenda Margriet chooses.

Brenda Margriet newest

http://www.brendamargriet.com/blog

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This week’s challenge comes from the incredible A.S. Fenichel:

Flash Fiction – My favorite color is Yellow. Here’s the first line, you write the rest… Extra points if you use more words for yellow in the story. “Nothing more than a yellow house on the edge of town, but her emotions jumbled whenever she drove by.” The word count is up to you.

So, here’s mine:

Nothing more than a yellow house on the edge of town, but her emotions jumbled whenever she drove by. So many lessons learned. Like: ‘pretty can cover a multitude of sins’ and ‘you never really know what goes on behind closed doors unless you’re the one behind them’.

A pretty little house the color of sunshine, as innocent as a child playing on a warm summer day. A neat yard, well-kept, except the flower boxes boasted withered stalks instead of honey-colored flowers to match the house. The first clue.

It was a cold winter day when the neighbors called the police. An odd smell permeated the frigid air and they had not seen any movement in — well, a while. But then, people liked to think they minded their own business, even though everyone knew that was just another in a layer of pretend. They knew what went on in that cozy little residence. They heard the crying and the screams. But, it was not theirs to interfere. So, they whispered among themselves and went about their days. Until they could no longer ignore it.

The times that she had to pass the place, she couldn’t stifle the shivers. Her friend, Mary, had lived there, but never even hinted at the horror. And then, one day, Mary didn’t come to school. She never came back. And before anyone thought to intervene, it was just a nasty butter-colored shell, soon after surrounded by bright yellow police tape. Yellow, to match the house.

Lessons learned, too painful to contemplate. But, they rose up like a viper ready to strike each and every time she went by that simple little place, painted such a pretty color, like lemons. Yes, exactly like lemons.

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Now, let’s hop back to the beginning and see what the fabulous Jenna Da Sie has written.

http://jennadasie.com/

 

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This week’s challenge comes from the incredible Brenda Margriet:

Brenda Margriet newest

Summer is almost here, and with it barbecuing season. Let’s share grilling recipes!

The thing I like best is that grilling is so easy and there is virtually no clean up. The other thing I like best is that my husband does the grilling so I don’t have to cook. Which leaves me more time to write.

Here’s one of my favorites: (Ingredients are in bold)

First take a flank steak and lay it in a flat pan. Cover with bottled Italian dressing (may take two bottles) and refrigerate at least one day and up to three days.

When it’s time to make dinner, cut up some peppers and onions. Put on a skewer with whole mushrooms and cherry tomatoes.  Brush the vegetables with olive oil.

Place vegetables at the edges of the fire so they will cook more slowly.

Drain the dressing and discard. Place the steak in the middle of the grill. Sear the meat on both sides for a few minutes until it’s dark on the outside and pink in the middle. The vegetables can cook a bit longer if necessary while you slice the meat. Slice the steak against the grain into inch pieces. Serve with the vegetables.

Another favorite…

Rub olive oil on a skinless, boneless piece of Salmon. Add some pepper to taste. Place lengthwise slices of zucchini (also brushed with a bit of olive oil and pepper) directly on the grill around one side. On the other side of the grill, put ears of corn (wrapped individually in foil). The corn can remain in the husk or you can strip the husks and brush with butter, salt and pepper before wrapping in the foil. Let vegetables cook for about ten minutes before adding the fish in the middle. Cook the salmon slowly and turn once. The fish should be pale pink in the center and flaky.

Dinner’s ready!

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Let’s hop over to the fabulous Kathryn Renard and see what she’s cooking…

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http://kathrynrenard.com/

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Welcome to this week’s challenge posed by the fabulous A.S. Fenichel:

Where is your favorite place in the world and why? Share some pictures if you can. Does this place wind up in your books? Feel free to share more than one.

My two favorite places are both tropical. Some people prefer the snow-covered mountains and cold weather. Not me. Give me white sand and the sound of the ocean and I’m in heaven.

Hawaii is incredible. When you step out of the plane, you are greeted with the scents of angels. The air is so incredibly sweet and fragrant. The lush foliage and the magnificent beaches are breathtaking. And the warmth of the people is so welcoming. I wanted to stay forever (and almost did).

Jamaica is my other choice. Although also tropical, it is very different from Hawaii. Everyone speaks English, but it’s their patois that is meant to take your troubles away. Everything is ‘no problem’ or ‘irie’ which means all right. It’s so nice to be in a beautiful place where everyone is, to borrow a phrase, ‘glad you came’.

I do love other places in the world, cities in England and Italy, and I am sure the more I travel, the more I will have other favorites. But now, especially when the chill of winter is still in my bones, I long to be in the warm.

As a matter of fact, I think the sequel to “Payback” should be set in Hawaii. Of course, I’ll have to go back to make sure I get all the descriptions just right.

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Let’s hop over to the incredible A.S. Fenichel and hear about her favorite places.

AS Fenichel newest

http://asfenichel.com/blog

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Welcome to this week’s blog hop. Thank you for taking the time to check us out! And here’s the question:

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned about writing? Who did you learn it from?

That’s easy. “Don’t quit”. And I learned it, really learned it, from my husband.

When I was first starting to submit my work, there were rejections. Most writers go through that – even writers like Stephen King and so many others. But, even knowing that this is to be expected, it still hurts.

And each time a rejection came, and I would get depressed and question whether I should keep going, it was my husband, Bob, who would say “don’t quit”.  And so I would go back to the keyboard and keep writing, even when I wondered if I ever would be published.

One afternoon, I got an e-mail from Black Opal Books. It began just like the others. Thank you for submitting “Captain’s Captive”… Only this time it ended, not with a rejection, but with an offer for a contract. I am surprised the neighbors didn’t call 911 since I was screaming so loud. And crying. Tears of joy.

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There have been other rejections since that one. But also other contracts. But that first one, the first time a publisher believed in me…

But it never would have happened and I never would have just published my ninth book and started work on number ten if my husband hadn’t regularly said those two words to me. “Don’t quit”.

Best. Advice. Ever.

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Let’s hop on over and hear what the fabulous A.S. Fenichel has learned.

AS Fenichel

http://asfenichel.com/blog