Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Please welcome our guest today, DeeDee Lane. Comment and/or share your thoughts with DeeDee for your chance to win a 10 dollar Starbucks Gift Card!  Must have a USA mailing Address – Drawing will be held on RELEASE DAY – February 22nd, 2017.
At one point in writing MY TRAVELING MAN I had to ask myself what Alice (the novella’s heroine) misses when she goes back in time. What does she most yearn for from her modern life?  Instead of focusing on the HUGE things like family, electricity, and women’s voting rights I decided to focus on small everyday things. I brainstormed a large list for Alice and narrowed it down to: three star Chicken Pad Thai, a blow dryer, and Advil…everyday things she didn’t miss until she didn’t have them anymore.
Now that I have some distance from the story I’m asking myself what I would miss if I was traveling on the Oregon Trail for seven months. I would imagine some of the pioneers moving WESTWARD HO, missed things like planting a summer garden, making a meal on the stove, water from a well that was clear, cold, and safe to drink.  But what would I miss if I both traveled back in time and made the long trek to Oregon Territory in a covered wagon?  To make it more challenging I took family/friends, electricity and voting rights OFF the table.  I also acknowledged this whole question is based on a lot of privileged assumptions I am able to imagine because I live in the United States of America.
I’d miss my magazine subscriptions – I love getting magazines in the mail! I never remember when they are coming so they’re always a surprise: Cook’s Illustrated, Smithsonian, and Romance Writer’s Report.  Hmmm…come to think of it, I’d miss the mail!  Wait wait…the little things. Okay, I’d miss Jiffy Peanut Butter…yes, I’m an adult…and yes I still love peanut butter toast for breakfast. I’d miss shoes with cushioning and support built into the foot pad.  I really don’t want to think of life without my Duomax, Floride, IGS Asics!
What about you?  What would you miss? As writers I think we can all agree our laptops, computers, netbooks but what else?
As I get ready to release MY TRAVELING MAN that finishes the four part Slip in Time series I am well into my next writing project.  I’m left with one final thought—something Alice discovered as she did “without.” I can do without an awful lot of stuff, big or small, if I have love. This love can include; love with an individual, a family member, or an overall approach to life that includes being loving and kind to my fellow human beings as we make our life’s journey together. 

Book Blurb:

My Traveling Man

By DeeDee Lane

20,000 Novella – Romance – Subgenre: Western, Fantasy

My Traveling Man is the fourth installment in the Slip in Time Series 

Alice Hanstrom prefers books to people, facts over feelings, and in her world, “adventure” is just a word in the dictionary. That is until the night she braves shadowed hallways of the Cowboy and Western Museum in pursuit of a long-lost diary. Her search of an antique covered wagon halts abruptly when the museum slips Alice back in time.
Thomas Bristol is an experienced wagon master. On a daily basis he deals with cholera, exhausted oxen, and river rapids on the treacherous journey to Oregon Territory. But he’s completely flummoxed when a mysterious woman appears in Big Blue River.
On the trail, Alice and Thomas strive to balance his love of roaming adventure and her desire for predictable orderliness. As the wagon train reaches Independence Rock, the sparks between them catch fire. But can such different people become equal partners in love…and can their love survive the slip in time?
Alice bent her lanky frame forward to squint at the notation scratched in the corner of the diary—scribbled in a different hand, less confident, childish.

I’m hiding Mama’s last diary in our covered wagon’s secret hidey hole ‘til she’s in her right mind.

The wagon mentioned was in the museum’s storage basement, two floors down. Alice’s stomach fluttered and hopped. Every part of her yearned to find the “hidey hole,” be the one to find the diary not just write about it afterwards. Before she could talk herself out it, Alice exited the research library to set off down the darkened corridors of the Cowboy and Western Museum. Her footsteps made soft thwacks on the marble floor. She, Alice Hanstrom, intrepid scaredy-cat, was on an adventure. How thrilling, how positively mind–blowing, how…. Alice flinched away from a creaking noise to her right. 

Buy Links:

Monday, January 30, 2017

Emma Lazarus & Immigration Ban by Diane Burton

Last week’s news about the ban on Muslims hit Facebook like a firestorm. But this is nothing new. Too many times in our nation’s past, there have been shameful incidents, for example interring Japanese Americans during World War II. 

Unless your family is Native American, we are all the sons and daughters of immigrants, or maybe immigrants ourselves. Our ancestors were not all welcomed with open arms. “Irish need not apply” once graced Help Wanted signs. Foreigners were given derogatory epithets. Still are.

I do believe in strongly, thoroughly checking out those who want to come to America. We have laws in place to do that. Those charged with that responsibility should do their duty. But a ban on people because of their religion or ethnic origin isn’t morally right. Isn’t it against our Constitution?

Just because reviling of newcomers is part of our past doesn’t mean it should be our present and future. Aren’t we better than this? Is Emma Lazarus’ poem on the Statue of Liberty a lie?

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

I am so grateful that my father-in-law, my sister-in-law, my great-grandparents, and the rest of my ancestors came to the U.S. and were allowed in.

Because I blog on the 30th of the month, I'll see you again in March.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

If I Knew Then What I Know Now...by Mackenzie Crowne

As a new year begins, I find myself looking back and, with book 4 in my Players sports romance series releasing this past week, those early days as a published author are heavy on my mind. Releasing a book onto the world market is always exhilarating, but it's hard to explain the range of emotions slamming through you as you wait for that first book to hit the shelves. For me, excitement topped the list, but along with the holy cow thrill came a healthy dose of fear.
Seriously, in the days leading up to my first release, I kept waiting for the email to arrive from my publisher explaining they had made a horrible mistake and would I please tear up that contract I’d signed. Gah! I'd poured my heart into that story and, there I was on release day, shaking in my boots that readers would find the story and those characters I'd come to love lacking or worse – bad!

But, the die had been cast. There was nothing I could do but pull on my big girl panties and take what came. Thankfully, what came was much better than my last minute panic attack had predicted but, even still, I soon discovered I had a lot to learn. About publishing, and writing, and the dreaded P word…promotion. Since then, I have met some awesome authors, like the ladies here at the Roses of Prose, who have been very gracious in sharing their knowledge. Honestly, since joining the ranks as a published author, I have met some of the most kind and generous people imaginable.

With the release of To Win Her Back this week, I saw my twelfth title hit the shelves. You’d think I would know what I’m doing, especially with all the help my author friends have given me, but you’d be wrong. I still have much to learn and, with that in mind, I have a couple questions for all of you, both our readers and my fellow authors.

For our readers:

Question 1 – What is the top element in a romance that makes it a winner in your book?
Question 2 – What is the number one element in a book that makes you throw it at the wall in disgust?

For you authors:

Question 3 – If I knew then what I know now, I would have...
Question 4 – If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have...

And since I’m both a reader and an author, here is how I would answer my own questions.

1: Logic and humor. Yeah, I know that’s two elements but they go hand in hand in my book. I love a romance that pulls at my heartstrings and tickles my funny bone, but if the storyline isn’t logical, I’m throwing the book.

2: See answer 1. LOL

3: I would have jumped into the world of social media a lot sooner. There is so much to learn and gaining an education on a supersonic schedule gives me a headache.

4: I wouldn't have been so timid in my first experience with the professional editing of my work. I know the characters inside and out and had to learn to trust my inner voice when it balks.

When Mac isn’t trying to figure out the newest trend in book promotion, she spends her time weaving HEAs for her characters, like those in TO WIN HER BACK, her latest Players series release from KensingtonBooks 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

DO I WRITE ROMANCE? by Terry Shames

Roses and Readers, welcome our guest today, Terry Shames.
I don’t write romance. Ha! Everybody writes romance. If they don’t, their writing is flat and uninteresting. Without romance, life wouldn’t be much fun. I don’t necessarily mean “sex,” although that’s a nice part of some romance. I mean the interplay between two people that gives them a little thrill, that makes them think of life’s possibilities, that puts a little spring in their step. 

The protagonist of my Samuel Craddock novels is a man in his sixties who used to be chief of police and in the initial book, A Killing at Cotton Hill, takes on an investigation because the current chief is a drunk. In a later book he becomes the chief of again. He’s not ready for a romance because his beloved wife has just died. He’s a great guy who takes his responsibilities seriously, who has integrity and compassion, and a strong sense of justice. All of which makes him catnip to the women in his life. I don’t know about you, but his loyalty makes him even more appealing. That’s why I frequently get the question from readers: Is Samuel Craddock ever going to “get any?” I’ve even had readers tell me they’d like to marry Samuel Craddock. 

In the early books, the romances are limited to his next door neighbor and an older woman down the street, his good friend Loretta. But in the third book a new woman comes to town, Ellen Forester. She has a mean ex-husband stalking her, and Samuel’s protective side kicks in. Tentative interest ensues, but no “action.” 

I actually like the tease more than the idea of putting sex into the novels. As is true in life, sometimes the lead-up (okay, foreplay) is more exciting than the action. I have found myself unwilling to commit my protagonist to hopping into bed with one of the possible partners. But when I decided to write a prequel in which Samuel is about thirty years old, I knew I couldn’t be coy about sex He and his wife have been married for six year and they want to have a baby. The only question I had was when and how the sex would get onto the page. 

I’m not timid. When my husband started reading the prequel, he laughed out loud and said, “Wow, first page?” Yep. I decided there was no reason to pussy-foot around. 

I’m now back to current times and Craddock’s relationship with Ellen has heated up. But, as in real life, the course of love is not necessarily going to run smoothly. Ellen has a secret that she’s reluctant to share with Samuel. And furthermore her grown children have bamboozled her into having Thanksgiving with them and her ex-husband. Should Samuel be worried? I hate to tell you, but I haven’t quite that out yet. Stay tuned for more romance!

Terry Shames writes the best-selling Samuel Craddock series, set in small-town Texas. A Killing at Cotton Hill won the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery. Mystery People named Shames one of the top five Texas mystery writers of 2015. Her sixth novel, An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock, January 2017, received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and has been nominated for a Lefty for Best Mystery. For more, see www.terryshames.com.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Letter To My Younger Self, Part II by Betsy Ashton

Dear Betsy,

Time to return to my letter to you and close out with some final thoughts on what you will experience.

You will endure trials you can't imagine. You will be physically attacked when you are a teacher. You will not let that stop you. You will fight back, not slink into darkness. You will report the attacker. When you are not satisfied with what the campus police are willing to do, you will go the the city police and to a city emergency room for tests. You will go to the coach of the man who attacked you and report his actions. You will show proof to back up your accusation. You will feel compensated when the man is thrown out of school (after a big game, which the team lost). You will realize that there is a god with a sense of justice when, years later, you Google his name and find he's been in prison for decades for the same crime you initially reported.

You will travel all over the United States, particularly in the West where you will visit nearly every National Park west of the Mississippi. You will travel and live in Japan, where you will learn what it is like to be a minority in a majority country, where people think nothing of following you on the street and comment on how tall you are and how long your hair is. You will not let them know you understand every word they say. You want to, but you know that it would be considered rude. And you don't want to be rude.

You will travel with your husband to Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, where you will continue to fall in love with him and with the beauty of the different countries. You will learn that traveling on the back of a motorcycle is immediate and sensory-overwhelming. You will visit every state east of the Mississippi on the motorcycle, and most of Eastern Canada as well.

You will achieve successes. You will find careers that let you live the way you want. You will enjoy your work, earn a fairly decent amount of money, and will retire to follow your heart's desire. You will become a full-time writer and produce the books you love to write.

You will find ways to share your thoughts and words with strangers through blogs like this, through social media, through your own blog. You may never be a best-selling author but you will not let that stop you from putting the next words on paper.

You will learn to live in the moment, will study yoga and Buddhism, will find walking meditation one of the best ways to relax. You will learn to let go of the negative, but it will be a daily battle for your entire life. Still, you will not give up the battle.

You will define success through your family and friends. You will realize that little matters as much as those who are close to you, who support you, who love you. You will love and lose some close to you, find that family members long lost have passed without you noticing. You will grieve for those who pass who remained close and understand that those who left you behind did so for their own selfish reasons, not because of you.

You will survive. You will survive well, by staying positive, by reaching out a hand to a stranger, by blowing kisses and leaving smiles in your wake.

Know that I will be with you every step on this journey. Enjoy it. It's the only journey you have in this life. You may have others, but you can only enjoy the present journey.

Love always,

An older, wiser you

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Take that turmoil and use it

All of the angst flying around lately has been stressful, to say the least, but it's also been useful for me. You see, I'm working on a big series where America essentially falls apart due to inept and corrupt government practices, a massive pandemic, and terrorism.

Needless to say, I'm gathering information like crazy during these crazy times. How fragile is our republic? How many laws can an elected official break before he's called to account? But more importantly, I'm seeing how people are reacting. Who will step up in a crisis? What kinds of organizations are formed? What kinds of actions do people take?

I've already gone back to the previous 6 books in the series and layered in corruption, impeachment, and assassination. Now I'm looking at what remains of the government, which isn't much. And I'm thinking about how to reshape it given the new world America finds itself in--where we're no longer a super-power, where there are vast, burned-out cities, and where communication is iffy at best.

I've re-read the Constitution and Bill of Rights and a few other "old" documents, trying to glean what the founders had in mind. Then I'm taking those ideas and trying to craft a new world government. It's going to take me 3 books to get to the start of it, but I have plans for more books set in the future where I can see the results of my experiment.

Like I said: take that turmoil and use it, somehow. All the emotions and the distrust and the anger can be great fuel if we use it somehow positively.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Join me in welcoming Mary Eastham to The Roses of Prose.

Whenever I want to write faster, my go-to challenge is NaNoWriMo, a free contest held every November challenging you to write a book in a month. I wrote the first drafts for my books The Shadow of A Dog I Can’t Forget and Squinting Over Water during a NaNo challenge. I finished a first draft of my third book Little Earthquakes– Fast Lit To Go in the November 2016 Nano contest.  Here’s the plan I followed. Hopefully it makes you a faster writer too: 

1. Each night, an hour or two before I fell asleep, I wrote down what I wanted to accomplish in a story the next day. I brainstormed the perfect conflict for my character, the highlights of scenes I wanted to write. I tried to determine how he or she loves ‘cuz come on, isn’t that at the core of most good stories?

2. If I got stuck in my writing, I followed the good advice of an L.A. screenwriter who suggested writing down the words AND THEN and keep going. If I’m still stuck, I ask myself: What are my story’s interesting events? Do my character’s meet randomly or is there an interconnectedness nobody saw coming? Does the story have any dark secrets, any crash and burn moments? If I was really stumped, I got some exercise, either a fast run or some jumping jacks and push ups! I try to remind myself often of why I write –for me it’s to find out what every story is about. 

3. During this manic fast writing month, I kept a fragment file. Good ideas are everywhere, sometimes you just don’t know where to put them. I found the name for my narrator in Little Earthquakes, Holliday Crisp, on a discarded  apple crate in a Whole Foods parking lot! As writers, we’re all little spies. Nothing is ever lost on us.

A good resource book I found is Master Lists for Writers by Bryn Donovan.  If I found myself using too many he said/she saids, I’d open up Bryn’s book where she’s got lists of everything we need to create a great story broken down into sections:

Descriptions (Gestures, body language, emotional descriptions, evocative images);

Settings – (Sounds, scents, 100 interesting settings for scenes); Plotting; Action – (Words for action scenes, sex scenes, that show attraction, etc.); Dialogue; Character Names; and Character Traits. I never used an exact idea Bryn suggested but just reading through some of her lists got me back on track with my story. 

Here’s my quick take on what fast writing is to me: 

F= Feel your character’s mood & emotions. What does your character want?          What obstacles are in the way? Get that all out on the page.

A= Accountability. Nothing keeps me writing faster than deadlines like NaNo.

S = Scenes, surprises, side trips & set backs, your story needs all of this.                                                                                  

T = Try to thread what matters most to your narrator throughout the story. Like the hem on a dress, you can’t see it, but it does an important job.

Thanks for having me! READ…READ…READ… & WRITE…WRITE…WRITE.

For inspiration anytime, please contact me -marylovesdogs@sbcglobal.net

Twitter: @WordActress  Instagram: wordactress/Mary Kennedy Eastham

Website: www.rp-author.com/MKE

Thought I’d share with you a story from my third book Little Earthquakes:

                                                TRUCK STOP

            A human life lasts an average of 30,000 days. The man on the phone said it was Exit 89. I asked him to repeat it twice. We’d know it, he said, when we crossed the line from California into Nevada and saw the giant drive-in theatre screen they forgot to tear down. It’s just a truck stop now, he said, an easy in and out for guys like him, too long on the road. His voice softened. I can still remember wiping the extra butter, melting down the sides of those big tubs of popcorn from my baby girl’s pretty lips. She’s a teenager now, making bad choices. He blamed himself.  A lawyer already told him all about us. There wasn’t much else to say. We arranged to meet on Wednesday, early evening.

            The summer wind was easy that night. I hung my head out the car window

ready to puke, thinking we should turn back. The exchange was quick. He handed us each a twin baby and that was that. Kentucky Fried Chicken Wings and a warm Coke split between us and we were a family. The babies whimpered in my arms, a first cry for us, that sound like fireworks in the crescent mooned sky. My husband found an easy-listening station, something he thought the babies might like. Driving away that night, SUV tires crushing tiny pebbles under us, the lights on the freeway were firefly eyes open to young strangers making babies they couldn’t afford at a truck stop, and me with a dream in each arm, the Ziploc bag I’d crammed half our savings into blown flat against the windshield as the radio announcer said we were now 280 days into the year and they’d just felt their first little earthquake on the California/Nevada border.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A HAIRY SITUATION by Brenda Whiteside

"Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen"

Me in my hairier days
These words from the famous song from the play, HAIR, are not referring to a woman's tresses. And in my family, long hair was strictly a female thing. The 60s were tough on my parents.

Recently, I got my hair cut shorter than normal. A change was due. But in my family, a woman’s decision to cut off her hair comes after much anguish. I come from a family of long haired women. A family that put a lot of stock in the womanliness of hair. We all go to hair salons and do cut our hair, but our hair normally is at least shoulder length. I’ve been more of a trailblazer in hair length…but it always covered my neck. My mother is eighty-six and last week got her hair cut so that it no longer touched her shoulders—first time ever! She must’ve liked my new look. 

Recently clipped
As much as we were raised to love our hair, there were hair rules in our house. You NEVER brushed your hair anywhere near the kitchen. Finding a hair in food was akin to roaches in the rice. If you were at the dinner table and felt the need to run your hands through your hair, you’d be promptly reminded to “stop that. You’ll get hair in your food”. 

I remember a plane trip I took with Mom once. I had the aisle seat, and she sat in the middle. Part way through the flight, the girl by the window took out her hairbrush and spent the last part of her trip grooming. I thought my mom would have a coronary. She had to tell our relatives on the ground how the woman next to her just wouldn’t quit playing with her hair. 

Yesterday, while brushing my teeth with an electric toothbrush, I felt something lodge itself between two of my front teeth. No matter out I brushed, it seemed to become more compacted. When the brush finally finished its cycle and I could rinse, I felt it…a hair tickled my lip protruding from between my teeth. Oh ewwww! 

It occurred to me, all my heroines have long hair. It’s about time I wrote a cute, short hairstyle into one of my books. And, hmmmm, wonder if I could write a murder by hair. Strangled? Choked? It’s enough to make me gag, thinking about it.

Brenda and her husband are gypsies at heart having lived in six states and two countries. Currently, they split their time between the pines of Northern Arizona, the desert of Southern Arizona, and the RV life. Wherever she roams, she spends most of her time writing stories of discovery, suspense, and the tangled relationships of life.

Visit Brenda at www.brendawhiteside.com
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com
She blogs about life’s latest adventure on her personal blog http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 23, 2017

Some Good in the Bad and Ugly by Margo Hoornstra

Last Wednesday morning I received a diagnosis of colon cancer.

I won’t lie to you I’m still processing the news and desperately looking for an up-side. Caught Early, that’s good, mine’s highly curable they say. Ninety-two percent from what I’ve read.
This whole saga started ten years ago with my first colonoscopy. (Those of you who are more – ahem – mature, know what I’m talking about.) After the twenty minute procedure, I had a ‘come back in ten years’ result. Yay! I’ll take it! Especially since my husband is one of those, he calls himself a polyp farm, who gets to do this every couple of years or so.
I was luckier than that.
Fast forward a decade. During my annual physical the end of June last year, the doctor ordered a certain test for me to do at home. Those results were negative all across the board as it were. I’m home free!
She ordered a colonoscopy anyway. Whatever.
Silly me, I put off scheduling the thing.  I had reasons. I was busy. There was a month long work commitment I’d previously agreed to. In and around that, I had a book to write. After that, summer was winding down and my husband and I wanted to get some use out of our new fifth wheel. Then fellow Rose Diane Burton invited me to join her at a week end writer’s conference. Another long term, if temporary, employment opportunity came my way I couldn’t turn down. As I said busy.
In October, I finally did call the physician group I’d been referred to four months before only to learn they were closing one office and would open another one in January. (Was the universe trying to tell me something?) Should I wait until the first of the year or see about referral to another group? When I posed that question to the receptionist at my doctor’s office, I got a very polite – well duh – it’s not a good idea to wait response and a new referral.
Soon, I had an appointment for the dreaded screening procedure. Would you believe the very next day they called to push the appointment out another couple of weeks to the middle of November. Something about double booking.
At long last the day of my appointment arrived and I had the thing completed, where they discovered a rather large polyp, but could only take out part of it. For some reason, immediately after this doctor strongly suggested surgery. “Then you’re done with it and it’s gone.” That was the route I took, even after the subsequent lab results on the nasty specimen came back non-cancerous with the recommendation to simply have a repeat colonoscopy in another year.
Though I really didn’t want to, I stayed with the surgery option, at this point scheduling out another month until the holidays were over. After all, who wants to be in the hospital at Christmas? With the upcoming surgery on my mind the whole time, we got through November and December.
All along, both doctors stressed they believed this was nothing more than a benign growth with the potential to become a problem. On the off chance there was something there, I was told, the surgical technique was the same as if it were a known cancer. All of the growth would be removed along with some of my digestive tract and a number of connecting lymph nodes. This was done and all 22 of mine came back negative, that’s good! Mine was a surgical cure. No further treatment needed. Here’s hoping. Doesn’t make it any less scary. Though I regret my cavalier attitude in putting the test off initially, I am so glad, for whatever reason, I was steered to the surgery.
A writer friend had the same thing seven years ago and she’s just fine. Even though a blood test and CT scan and visit with an oncologist are in my near future, I have to believe I will be equally fine as well.
Which is good, because as I said before, I’m busy.
On the Surface, Book One in my Brothers in Blue series with The Wild Rose Press is in production and I have edits to return. On the Force, Book Two is in rewrites and due in October.
Plus, a former editor of mine asked me to be part of an upcoming box set of stories that take place in and around a casino. It just turns out I have a half finished project the will fit that bill just fine. I think I’ll call it Give Us A Chance.
Then there are two more Brothers in Blue books, yet to be written, On the Make and On the Move due in 2018 and 2019.

Again. Busy. Even so, positive thoughts and prayers are welcome and encouraged.

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and my stories, please visit my WEBSITE

Sunday, January 22, 2017

And you think you have problems? ~ by Leah St. James

I live about three hours southeast of D.C., in an area that is home to a number of our nation’s historically significant sites, including Jamestowne and the site where the first African slaves stepped on “American” soil, not to mention the U.S. Army base that took in fleeing slaves during the Civil War (by cleverly declaring them to be “contraband,” but hey, it worked). 

We’re also home to Langley Air Force Base and Naval Station Norfolk (largest naval base in the world)...oh, and the CIA’s top-secret training facility at Camp Peary known as “The Farm”....or so legend says. (Even typing that probably bumped me up someone’s watch list!)

The major private industry in town builds nuclear aircraft carriers, and down the road a bit are a bunch of rocket scientists who work at NASA Langley (“descendant” of NACA, the organization featured in “Hidden Figures”). We’re also home to The College of William and Mary, one of the country’s oldest and most respected institutions of higher learning.

So...yeah...there is no shortage of really, really smart people where I live, or of those who are committed to protecting our country and to making it better for all of us. I come in contact with many on a daily basis, both in my neighborhood and at work.

In my “day job,” I work for a news organization that covers our local community with daily and weekly publications in print and online (a/k/a “the newspaper”). I have the privilege of answering the newsroom “tip” line, our publisher’s direct line and the “feedback “ line. Our readers are not shy in sharing their opinions about what’s going on in our community, the nation or the world. (My brain is still bleeding from listening to reader commentary, from both sides, during the presidential debates.)

So earlier this week as the nation prepared to swear in a new president, and our journalists prepared to cover both the local inauguration story and the women’s march in D.C., I was prepared for an earful. And I got it.

The calls started before I got in on Thursday—lighting up my voicemail’s message light. I dropped my purse under my desk, booted up my laptop and got to work. And the news was worse than I had thought. 

Our residents were mad as H-E-double-hockey-sticks! Catastrophe had happened. The end of the world was near. American was doomed; the last nail had just been hammered into the coffin of the most traditional of news media--the newspaper.

It seems our production team had inadvertently published the wrong day’s puzzle/comics page. 

Yep, it’s true. We printed Friday’s puzzle page on Thursday. So if you were looking for the answers to Wednesday’s crossword puzzle...sorry, Charlie. If you were hoping to read the next panel of your favorite serial comic...too bad. We had screwed up...bigly.

One 80-something-year-old retired general told me, “My wife goes bat-**** crazy when she doesn’t get those crossword answers!”  

And that was mild...I took one snarky/PO’d/threatening call after another.

All day I told myself:  This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass.

And it did. On Friday we published both the missing Thursday pages and the (now correct) Friday pages, and once our readers figured out where to get their answers, things calmed down.

So what’s the moral of this story?

If something is making you anxious or upset today, maybe, just maybe, it will help to tell yourself: This too shall pass.

As a completely unrelated bonus, hoping to elicit a few smiles, I've added a funny video of my son’s 9-month-old cat Hercules. (Please click on the link to see the video; I am NOT a rocket scientist and don't appear to have the technological smarts to embed it.) :-)


Leah writes stories of mystery and romance, good and evil and the power of love. She routinely escapes the reality of our world by immersing herself in romance novels, where she can always find an HEA.

Visit me at leahstjames.com or on my Facebook page.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A snowbird's tale by Barbara Edwards

Apalachicola Bay

As a snow bird, I get to visit the beach anytime I want. 
Yesterday was special. There was a big piece of trash on the furthest point of the St. George's Island State Park and we volunteers took the mule to pick it up. 
Instead of sunshine we had thick fog, but it was fun. We picked us trash. so much we filled the rear of the mule and had to rebag it so we could stack it higher. 

The best part was finding shells. All of us had been here before and had certain pieces to look for. Pat wanted a sea biscuit and found a fragile section. I was looking for scallop shells to make Christmas ornaments. Jane and Betsey looked for Welks. We found two, one unbroken but encrusted with barnacles, the other with a large hole perfect for making a decoration.
On the east point of the island

Then we found the trash: a refrigerator off a boat had floated to shore.
Luckily we were close to the parking lot and road. 

We called the camp for the large truck and they came out to take the refrigerator and trash to the recycling area.
We rode back on the mule. A rough drive on a sandy, pitted trail. Worth the sore behind when I counted up the nice shells.

Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.
Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003F6ZK1A