Fall has arrived, and the Roses are falling all over themselves with ideas! Our October Fall topics are: Fall into Danger, Fall through the Cracks, Fall Head over Heals, and Fall on Deaf Ears.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Make Time for the People Who Matter by Jannine Gallant

Grandma August 2012
We're all so busy with our everyday lives, it's easy to let significant relationships fall through the cracks. Whether it's old friends or relatives--I want to speak to the importance of making time for the people who've played a huge role in our lives while we have the opportunity. Heaven knows I'm guilty of putting things and people off. But this summer, I took time from my job and asked my daughters to do the same to spend a few days with my mom and grandma. This trip is our annual summer pilgrimage back to the small town where I grew up. It used to be for a week and was easy to arrange. Lately, with summer jobs and other commitments, the stay has been harder to coordinate and shorter in duration. But we pulled it together, and I'll be forever grateful for those four days.

Me and Grandma August 2013
My grandma's health has been shaky for a couple of years. At 98, her short term memory was shot as early dementia set in. She broke her leg when she was 96. Doctors didn't expect her to make it through surgery, but she stubbornly refused to give up. Rehab was a challenge of gigantic proportions, but grandma persevered. As she'd done her whole life, she faced hardship with strength and good humor for those around her. All her caregivers loved her. Despite physical limitations that made the simplest tasks a challenge, she maintained a sweet disposition and didn't turn into one of those cranky old ladies.

Tara and Kristen with their great-grandma August 2014
So, we brought my grandma out from her assisted living home to spend four days with her at my mom's house. She so enjoyed being surrounded by family, sitting out on the deck where she could see all my mom's flowers, smiling at the girls as they came and went and stopped to talk to her. I was happy to help care for her and came away with an enduring respect for the people who aid the elderly on a daily basis. We took her home the night before we were to leave, and she spent a long time telling each of us goodbye. I assured her we'd see her at Thanksgiving, and she nodded but looked so very tired. In the middle of the night we got a call that she'd passed in her sleep. I truly think she'd decided it was time to go. And in her usual style, Grandma did what she'd made up her mind to do. She simply let go.

Having those days is something I'll always treasure. So don't put off visiting loved ones--don't let people fall through the cracks of your busy life. Take the time to enjoy them while you can.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014


On Roses of Prose, our themes for October are: Fall into Danger, Fall through the Cracks, Fall Head over Heels, Fall on Deaf Ears

         I’m reminded of the line from the song: “You are so nice to come home to.”  That’s how I feel about returning from a four-month cruise on our boat…to our newly renovated California house.  You see, the paint had barely dried on our walls (in May) when we had to shut down the place and head to our trawler in Anacortes, Washington.  Weary from the hub-bub of renovation (to include tearing down a wall between the kitchen and great room!), we barely registered what we’d accomplished.  Instead, we had to put our minds to prepping our boat for our farewell tour to Alaska.
         Truly, it’s been a year of renovation.  I got new knees (the recovery was exhausting); we spiffed up our boat for sale and she had new owners within two months, AND we renovated most of the rooms of our house.
         Now, in October, boatless and with new knees, I can appreciate our hard work: planning our house redo, hiring the right people, collaborating with skilled and creative folks to manage unique touches…this was tough, stressful and demanding work!  But the results are magnificent.
         Yesterday, we hung artwork we brought from the boat.  We also installed a new chandelier, to match pendulum lights over our brand new entertainment island.  Besides little tweaks here and there and a thorough cleaning, we’re done.  We now get to enjoy the fruits of our labors after an amazing year of renovation.  And yes.  I’ve fallen head over heels for our New Home.
         How about you?  Have you chosen to renovate instead of buy another house?  Are you happy with your decision?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Beginnings by Diane Burton

Everything seems to change in September. I guess we’re so conditional by school calendars we think of September as the start of a new year. Last September was a new beginning for Hubs and me. We moved into a new house. After years of living in houses designed for others, we had one built just for us.

I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories connected to building a house—from Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream Home to The Money Pit. Ours wasn’t like either of those movies. Our financial planner, who had just had an addition built onto his house, told us to factor in an additional thirty percent. The banker who approved our construction loan disagreed, that this builder didn’t do things like that. Well, we went over budget. Not because of the builder, but because of what we wanted. Like a real laundry room instead of the washer and dryer in a closet, lever door handles instead of knobs, no thresholds, wider doors to the bathroom, and a handicap accessible shower. We want to stay in this house as long as possible so we thought ahead to a time when one of us might have limited mobility. Our rationale? As long as we were doing this, we needed to do it right. For us. Of course, all those changes added up quickly. Not anywhere close to thirty percent worth, though.

We’re very happy with our new beginning in a new town. We moved because we wanted to be close to our grandchildren. And we’ve certainly enjoyed their company. We know it won’t be long before they’ll have their own extra-curricular activities, their own friends, and won’t have time for their grandparents. Until then, we’ll enjoy their company (and our daughter and son-in-law’s) as much as we can without having to drive nearly two hours there and back.

When we moved in a year ago, this house felt like home immediately. Even though we moved often, I never had that feeling before. With boxes all around me, I sat down that first day and thought “this is home.” It still feels that way.

Monday, September 29, 2014

How Leaving Home Made me Fall in Love With Writing again.

I’ve been having a bit of a jaded time recently; you know the sort of thing when you just can’t work
up any enthusiasm for anything…several books almost done but I guess my Muse had taken off on vacation, because she certainly wasn’t doing much to help me get inspired.
So, what to do? A couple of days away from home, work, keyboard, from my life, usually shakes me out of it. Not that we actually live a gadabout life, but a couple of days here and there are within budget and refreshing. Any longer than a couple of days and we return to three felines who turn their backs on us and refuse to be tempted to cuddles without some major grovelling by their humans.
This time it was off to Toronto, an overnight hotel stay curtesy of a special TravelZoo offer. Toronto
is such a modern, clean, friendly city that it’s hard to get bored there, although I wouldn’t trade my country lifestyle for a return to city dwelling.
We visited China Town, which is an outing in itself. The area is so colorful, with stores full of fascinating herbs, veggies that aren’t in our local market,  jewelry, clothing, drinks…and streets full of colorful, interesting, friendly people of all ethnic varieties.
A visit there is a tonic in itself. Totally revitalising.

Our target was the Art Gallery of Ontario. There was a special exhibit of the work of Alex Colville,
the Maritimes artist whose wonderful work has received great acclaim. I’d never seen original Colville works before, and it was mind blowing. Many of his paintings are ‘everyday’ scenes but there is a disturbing element in them…you get the feeling from some of them that everything is not quite as it seems…
I have to admit that I’m fascinated by artistic people; Indeed, from time to time I've dabbled myself. And no, there won't be any of my attempts at acrylics on display ion this blog! However, the heroine of my very first novel, Judgement By Fire, is a wildlife artist who is prepared to take on a huge corporation to save the woodland artists’ colony where she lives. She finds herself falling in love with the CEO of the international corporation, putting her life in danger, and having to unravel a mystery involving a tangled web of hatred decades in the making..

How’s that for writing a teaser without giving the plot away? You can read the first chapter at my website,
Seriously, though, if you get a chance to visit a Colville exhibition, do go. Everyone needs refresh their creative soul now and again. And leaving home is a great way to do it. :-) And now I'm signing off, because I'm totally wired and can't wait to get back to writing!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Falling, Crushing Disappointment by Nancy Jardine

Please join me in welcoming Nancy Jardine to The Roses of Prose today!

Last week, a devastating disillusionment affected my writing. Prior to the recent Scottish Referendum on Independence, I couldn’t settle to tasks. Like a butterfly momentarily hovering and pecking, then taking off to find a juicier meal, the ping of yet another Face Book entry was incredibly distracting but unlike normal, I couldn’t bear to close down the programme in case I missed something important. The anticipation of change was all-consuming, though disturbing.

The crushing disappointment came for me when the referendum results were announced. The ‘YES to an Independent Scotland’ camp was close at 45% of the vote, but not close enough. Having voted YES, I despaired of missed opportunities for the future – especially for my toddler granddaughter and grandson. I was truly heartbroken when the breakdown of voting indicated that the over 65s age group were the largest group who chose to keep the Union together – unjustifiably fearful of future changes to their state retirement pensions and fearful of upsetting the status quo they have lived under for decades. Disenchantment and crushing frustration is rife across Scotland which is equally upsetting. Promises made by the Unionist parties in the current Westminster UK government are now awaited with baited breath- since promises and agreements are too often broken very easily, and sadly often have been broken throughout history.

In my Celtic Fervour Series of historical romantic adventures, my warriors are devastated when their way of life is crushed by Ancient Roman infiltration of their lands - violent bloodshed a result. In Book 1, my Celtic tribes make alliances to stand together against the forces of Rome -‘Unity is strength’ a strong theme. Unfortunately, my Celtic Garrigill warrior brothers have known of too many pacts with the Roman Empire which have faltered and failed, the agreements made not honoured which eventually prompts physical, bloody battles. Newly formed romantic attachments are difficult to nurture and sustain in warlike situations, so my main characters have to overcome many conflicting factors which hamper the development of their love during such trying times.

Feeling very emotionally fragile and unable to write, I re-read parts of my series to see how successful I’d been at conveying the emotions of my characters at particular vulnerable moments in their stories, when situations they find themselves in seem insurmountable. In Book 2 - After Whorl: Bran Reborn - my main character Brennus of Garrigill finds his life is dramatically altered after a particularly bloody battle at Whorl between the Celts and the Legions of Rome. Seriously injured during the battle, he finds liberty is denied him when he eventually comes back to full consciousness … “An itch he’d not fully recognised irritated at his temple but, when he tried to lift his hand to scratch, he was unable to move his arm. Something restrained him. A second wave of fright overwhelmed.
The old woman had tied him to the cot!”
At this point in the story, Brennus has no idea if the old crone who has him restrained is a sympathetic Celt, or if she is in the pay of the Roman usurpers.

Here’s the blurb followed by an excerpt which comes just after Brennus believes he’s a prisoner, incapable of regaining his freedom.

Maybe you could tell me if I’ve hit the right balance of emotional conflict for my poor injured warrior?

Ravaged by war

…AD 71. After the battle at Whorl, Brennus of Garrigill is irrevocably changed. 

Returning to Marske, Ineda finds her grandmother dead, though Brennus is not. Snared by a Roman patrol, they are marched to Witton where he is forced to labour for the Roman IX Legion. 

Embracing his new identity as Bran, Brennus vows to avert Roman occupation of northernmost Brigantia. Ineda becomes his doughty spying accomplice, though sometimes she’s too impetuous. Trading with the Romans lends excellent opportunities for information gathering. Over time, Bran’s feelings for Ineda mar with his loyalty to Ineda’s father. 

When she disappears, and cannot be found, Bran enters direct service with Venutius, King of the Brigantes

“It will pain you very much, but I need to know if you see anything?”
Unable to sustain it – the intensity too searing – Brennus closed both his eyes to replenish his fortitude then attempted to open only the right eye. The brilliance stole his breath, the darting sting perhaps less intense, or mayhap he was adjusting to it. Yet, though it was bright – that was all it was. He could not see.
“Painful! Bright and blurred.” Though he tried to prevent the despair, he was sure it was evident in every cried word.
A shadow of the old woman loomed close to his face, her warmth and breath now familiar to him. A longer outline was a sudden threat he instinctively knew could harm him. He flinched his chin away, the old woman’s cackle of laughter startling in the quiet room as his left eye popped open to check what was amiss.
“Just tell me if you see the edge of the blade clearly with only your right eye, young warrior. I am not going to harm you with it.”
Agony shrieked through his right eye, the leaking moisture something he could not prevent. He closed his left once again, to do as she bid, the knife hovering at a reasonable distance. All was as in a deep misty day, no vision beyond a hazy dark shape in a light greyness. A dark desolation gripped him. How could he function as a tribal champion if he was blind? Along with the hopelessness, a wretched anger took hold of him. Why had Taranis so abandoned him? He had always paid due diligence to his god. What kind of reward for his skills in battle was blindness?
“Your answer.” The old woman kept her patient tone.
“You cannot see the blade? Or you will not tell me?”
He yanked his head away from her chin grip for he truly had only seen a vague shadow of the blade. The melancholy deepened. Blind? How could he train young warriors if sight was only in one eye? And what other dire injuries had he sustained if she had tied him down? What was there left to strap down?
Forcing himself to focus on the rest of his body, he willed himself to rise. In his head he moved, but when he looked down to his feet his body still lay prone under the blanket. By Taranis! What else was badly wrong with him? His fingers moved the blanket, the blood flowing there, but almost nothing came from his feet. Even tied down his feet should be able to stir the blanket.
His head felt full to bursting with…rage. His misery deepened further. What use was he if his lower body was dead?
No man at all!
He took his utter disenchantment out on the only person available, his tone merciless. “You should have left me to die, old woman.”
“Why would I have struggled to keep you alive for more than two moons if I did not deem you worthy of it?”

#2 Celtic Fervour Series - After Whorl: Bran Reborn - is available from author page

Scottish author, Nancy Jardine, writes Historical Adventures with varying degrees of Romantic elements. Her Celtic Fervour Series is about a warrior tribe from the hillfort of Garrigill during the late first century AD – in an era when the mighty forces of Ancient Rome advance on the Celtic tribes of northern Britain causing havoc to life and love. She also writes contemporary mystery romances.