Hello and welcome to our weekly hop. We are so glad you took the time to stop by. And we hope you are staying well and safe.
I came up with this week’s challenge:
Tell us what you are most grateful for.
Thanksgiving is only two days away and it will be very different for all of us this year. 2020 has been a challenge, to say the least. But there are still so many things to be grateful for. Here are some of mine:
I am healthy and strong.
I have a loving husband who is also healthy and strong.
The world’s cutest dog lives with us. (I know, I know, but she made me say that).
I have good friends that I love and who love me.
I live in a nice house that is warm in winter (ok, it’s Florida, but it does get kind of cold here-sometimes) and cool in the summer.
I have enough to eat. I do not forget there were times in my life when the dog and I shared cheese and crackers because that’s all there was.
I can spend my days writing instead of having to squeeze it in before and after a day job.
I can go to sleep at night feeling secure.
I have clothes and shoes and books (although there are never enough books).
In other words, my life is blessed and the greatest blessing of all is the ability to reach out and offer a hand to those who are not as lucky this year.
So, Happy Thanksgiving and remember all you have to be thankful for.
Now, let’s pop over to Clair Brett and see what she is most grateful for…
Hello and welcome to our hop. Do you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? Does that mean 2020 will be over soon? In the meantime, thanks so much for joining us and stay healthy! And know we are grateful for all of you!
I came up with this week’s challenge:
Name your favorite Thanksgiving food. Recipes please.
I love sweet potatoes, especially in a casserole. I made this for the first time last year and it is my new favorite:
Sweet Potato and Pecan Casserole
3 Tbsp. Canola oil + more to grease the baking dish
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. white sugar
½ cup half-and-half
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
½ cup flour
1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
½ cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush 8-inch square baking dish with canola oil. In mixing bowl, combine sweet potatoes, eggs, white sugar, half-and-half, vanilla, salt and 1 tablespoon oil. Mix well and spoon into the prepared baking dish.
For topping, add flour, brown sugar, pecans and 2 tablespoons of oil into a bowl. Mix until well-combined. Sprinkle evenly over the sweet potato mixture.
Bake until hot and topping begins to brown, 30-40 minutes. Serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Now, let’s hurry over to the fabulous Jenna Da Sie and see what she likes to eat on Thanksgiving.
Hello and welcome to this week’s hop. It’s been a week (actually it’s been a year!) and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a nap! Hope you all are staying safe and healthy. Thanks for taking the time to join us!
I came up with this week’s challenge:
We’re fast approaching the holidays. What do you most look forward to this time of year? (It’s okay to say Hallmark movies).
What a difference a year makes. Last year this time I was making lists and making plans. Not so much now. With the pandemic chewing through this country, it doesn’t make sense to travel anywhere or have large (or even small) family gatherings.
What am I looking forward to? Getting creative. And keeping an attitude of gratitude.
We can still be grateful for what we have and for each other! We can send presents and facetime or zoom and I’m looking forward to that. We can cook and eat. I do love turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and pie. A virtual dinner with loved ones isn’t the same, but at least we know we won’t get sick and possibly lose someone we care about.
And don’t forget Christmas Carols!
We can still read! How about an historical escape? And it’s only $.99!!!!
Hello and welcome. Thanks for taking the time to join us today, but don’t forget it’s Election Day. Stay safe and vote!
I came up with this week’s challenge:
Tell us about your favorite voting experience. And vote! Oh yeah – and vote!
It’s been a lot of years since the first time a cast a ballot for President. But I’ll never forget the thrill of actually being able to have a voice in my government. It made me realize how lucky we are to have a say in elections. I have voted in every presidential election since then and it’s always exciting for me.
Now, I might not always agree with the winner, but at least I always know I’ve done my part. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about who comes out victorious. And if you don’t like the candidates for President in any given year, there will be other choices in four years.
The point is…I have the right to express my opinion and that means so much to me.
This year is very different than prior ones. I don’t have to elaborate. 2020 has been really rough on all of us and this election is more important than ever. The good news is more people are voting this year. It tells me people care and that is the first step in making change. Hopefully, that change will be for the better.
So use your voice and your power and vote.
And how about reading a good book while you’re waiting in line…
Hello and welcome to our weekly hop. So happy you joined us! And we hope you are healthy and safe! This week’s challenge comes from Clair Brett:
What is your favorite Halloween movie/show and what about it makes it your favorite?
Halloween is definitely one of the best holidays. It’s just so much fun. You don’t have to cook a huge meal or worry about all that other holiday stuff, except maybe decorating and stocking up on candy. Then you can savor the leftovers!
This time of year, the TV is filled with all kind of horror, from the tame to the brutal. I’ve never been a fan of the ‘chop-em-up with a chain saw’ or the torture movies. I have a super-strong stomach, but those are just a little too unnecessarily graphic for me.
I think if I have to choose, my favorite is “Salem’s Lot”. It may not have been the first vampire movie, but it is still one of the most frightening because it is so believable. People move into that old house that’s been scary forever and it turns out – it was scary for good reason. The characters come to life and their terror as they discover the truth becomes my terror. So cool!
It was remade with different actors, but I think I really like the original better. But either one can have me sleeping with the light on.
So, fill your tummy with chocolate since, with COVID there won’t be a bunch of cute kids at your door and you’ll have all that candy to yourself. Then, cozy up on the couch and turn on the TV. Make sure all the lights are on and it’s better if you’re not alone. But then, the person sitting next to you could be a vampire…or a werewolf…
After the movie, how about curling up with a serial killer?
Hello and happy Tuesday. Thanks so much for joining us! We hope you are safe and healthy.
Well, we’re creeping up to Halloween and so I came up with this challenge:
It’s 2 in the morning. You wake up and you hear a scratching sound. What is it?
Waking up in a sweat, Lisa glanced at the clock. It was the middle of the night, which made the trepidation all the more unnerving. Then, she heard it. The scratching at the window. Pressing her eyes shut, she tried to block out every terrifying ghost story she had ever heard. So close now to Halloween, was her house actually haunted? Were vampires trying to get in? Wait, didn’t they have to ask for permission? What if that wasn’t true? What if they could just…no! she refused to think about it.
There it was again. Only this time it was skittering across the roof. Something was trying to find a way in. But what? Should she grab a weapon? But what kind?
Curling up into a tight ball, she hoped that if she was less visible, she might be safer.
The ringing of her phone cut through the black silence and nearly caused her to jump out of her skin. Scrambling to find it, she answered the call.
It was her boyfriend, thank god. She gulped before answering, her voice quavering.
“Are you all right?” Concern edged his tone.
“I don’t know. I heard noises.” She hesitated, wondering why he had called. “Is everything okay?”
“I was worried about you. I had a feeling something was wrong.” He inhaled. “Can I come over?”
“Yes, please. I’m okay, just a little upset.”
“Well, that does it. You’re moving in with me. Okay?”
It was the invitation she’d been hoping for. “Okay.”
“See you in a few.”
Cautiously, she get out of bed and peered out the window. A squirrel squawked at her from the eaves and scurried away. Laughing with relief, she realized it was not a ghost or vampire at all. But John had stepped up, her knight in shining armor. This was going to be the best Halloween ever.
And if you want to read something else scary and romantic….
Now let’s hop over the fabulous Jenna Da Sie and see what her scratching sound is…..
Hello and welcome to this week’s challenge. The incredibly talented A.S. Fenichel suggested it:
It’s been a while since we shared anything about our own books. How about we share an excerpt from our work in progress and the inspiration for the book?
“Stay With Me” is one of my latest works in progress. I have always believed that houses retain something of the individuals who have inhabited them. I am also intrigued by the people who lived during the Civil War and how that conflict affected them. And so, this book is the story of two women: one lived in the past, one lives in the present and both call a cottage in Florida home. Each of the women has suffered hardship and has had to survive against seemingly insurmountable odds. But the past has reached out and the two find comfort in each other. Here is an excerpt:
Schooling her features to neutral, a skill she had perfected over the years as a mean of lessening the abuse, she could not meet his eyes. “Thank you for all you’ve done, but you need to go.”
He acted as though he thought she was joking. “Oh, no you don’t. You don’t all this food for yourself.”
She raised her gaze. “I mean it. Please. Just go.” She raised her gaze, a sob burning a hole in her throat as she refused to give in to the misery. “I mean it. Please. Just go.”
He frowned, tilted his head, completely confused. “What are you saying?” His chest heaved.
She filled her lungs with air, gaining courage. “I like you, Donovan.”
He grinned. “I like you, too.”
Holding up her hand, palm out, she shook her head. “I have no desire to form any attachments. And I think we’re getting a little too used to each other.”
He took a step forward, she took a step back. “Evelyn, I don’t understand. I told you I would never hurt you and I meant it. I don’t want anything but your friendship.”
She was walking on the thin ice of her resolve now and prayed it wouldn’t shatter. “Please, just go,” she repeated, this time a little more forcefully.
The pain in his eyes nearly undid her. It took everything in her not to rush into his arms and tell him everything. But then what? He would think her a monster. He would call the police. No, she could not afford that. She knew she needed to cut ties with him now.
She brushed past him and he reached for her arm, but she pulled back and opened the front door. The tears were relentless, so she dropped her gaze to her feet. “Thank you for everything. Goodbye.”
He stumbled down the porch steps and hesitated, then obviously thinking better of it, got into his car and drove away.
Unable to stem the tide any longer, her chest tore apart with agony. This was her life now. Empty, alone, afraid of discovery. Sinking to the floor, she wrapped her arms around her middle and let the deluge flow. Barely aware of anything but her own misery, it seemed as if a hand stroked her hair and rubbed her back. Nearly bursting out in laughter at the incongruity of it, her sobbing eased. “And so we have each other,” she spoke to the unseen presence. “Both dead in our own way.”
Now let’s hop over to Clair Brett and read some of her latest. But first, check this out!
Hello and happy Tuesday. Hope you are saying safe! Thanks so much for joining us!
This week’s challenge come from the amazing Christina Alexandra:
“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a good book and reading it only once.” ~ C.S. Lewis Do you reread books? Are there certain books you reread at certain times of the year?
Absolutely. But it’s not limited to any specific time of year.
Every time I re-read one of my favorites, I discover something new. As an author, I craft every word that goes into my books. As a reader, sometimes I skim parts or read when I’m tired and miss things. That is the pleasure of re-reading.
My favorite author to read over and over is Kathleen Woodiwiss. Her attention to detail is amazing and her characters are so well-drawn, I feel as if I know them. Her work never loses its freshness.
Others I love are Jude Deveraux (The Velvet Series) and Nora Roberts (The Key Series). I have also re-read the “Twilight” series and “Hunger Games”. In all of these, the attention to detail and the wonderful characters pull me in every time. And they inspire me to be a better writer.
There are so many great books available and incredible authors to discover. Reading is such a great gift. Every time I pick up a book or open my Kindle, I go to another place, with other people and adventures. Sometimes, I like to re-visit and sometimes I move on to discover new favorites. Reading is a never-ending joy!
Now, let’s hop over to the fabulous Brenda Margriet. But first, check out her just released new contemporary, “AFTER WORDS”:
Leeza Boychuk, a 48-year-old bookstore manager with a philandering ex-husband and a failing business, discovers a time-stained WW2 diary and becomes engrossed with returning it to the soldier’s family. She enlists the help of Gavin Fletcher, an enigmatic widower, which leads to an unexpected romance.
Hello and happy Tuesday. Thanks for joining us. It means a lot! This week’s challenges (yes, there are two this week) come from the amazing Brenda Margriet:
Today, let’s fill our blog with Fall Photos! Share what it looks like around your part of the world at this time of year.
It is also Banned Books Week in the US.
Fall in central Florida is just like spring here (minus some of the blooming flowers), which is just like winter (only warmer) or summer (a little cooler). So here are some views of where I live, a gorgeous place but not so seasonal.
More important to me is the second challenge. Banned books. Which, in the past, have included “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck, “Animal Farm” by George Orwell and “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger. Because some wanted to suppress those ideas.
Writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall summed up Voltaire’s teaching with this quote: ‘I MAY DISAPPROVE OF WHAT YOU SAY, BUT I WILL DEFEND TO THE DEATH YOUR RIGHT TO SAY IT’.
Censorship is dangerous! Period!
A different perspective, a new idea, is stimulating to the intellect. It makes people think. It might make me angry or it might be something I don’t like, but this is America and we have free speech. Which means we have the right to express our opinions.
To stop one book runs the risk of stopping all books. And reading is the gateway to thinking, to expanding our world, to seeing with new eyes.
You don’t have to agree with someone else’s thoughts and they don’t have to agree with yours. But it’s a scary concept to imagine if the day ever comes when we cannot write what we think or believe. One point of view can lead to stagnation, while many points of view open the universe.
Now, let’s hop over to the fabulous A.S. Fenichel. It’s her release day and I can’t wait to read her newest book.
Hello and welcome to our hop. So glad you decided to join us! It means a lot!
This week the challenge comes from Clair Brett:
What are your 10 best tips as a romance writer to keep your business organized?
First, it is very important to recognize that writing is a business, and not just a hobby. Years ago, I owned my own business (a catering service for NBC in California) and I learned so much – most of it the hard way. So here are my tips:
Get a file and keep track of your receipts. Organization here will save hours at the end of the year when you’re doing your taxes.
Treat writing like you would any other kind of job. Determine your work hours and stick to them.
Set a schedule and prioritize tasks. Writing should be at the top of the list every day.
When you’re writing, shut off your phone and don’t allow other distractions to keep you from your work. (Arterial bleeding, zombie apocalypse, fevers over 103 degrees, fire or other natural disasters excepted).
When you have a thought or idea, write it down. Your memory is never going to be as good as you think.
Get balance in your life. Eating, sleeping, exercise and some relaxation are just as important and will fuel your creativity.
If you’re struggling, give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to music, whatever helps clear your mind. Getting away from the work and then coming back to it gives a fresh perspective.
Stop sabotaging yourself. You have a story to tell and every right to tell it. And keep at it until the story is what you want it to be.
Never quit. Never give up. Do not ever compare yourself to anyone else. Your journey is your journey, theirs is theirs. Any creative pursuit is hard, but if you keep at it, you have a chance at great success. Quitting is the only way to fail.
If you’re feeling frustrated, remember to be grateful for all the good things in your life. Be happy you have a story (or stories) to tell. And tell it or them.
Those are my top ten and I hope they help others stay more focused. Now, let’s pop over to the wonderful A.S. Fenichel and get her top ten. And sign up for her newsletter! You don’t want to miss what’s coming up for her and her books!! http://asfenichel.com