Sunday, November 29, 2020

Turkey Coma

Like so many Americans, Thursday was a solitary holiday. It wasn't that unusual for me, since my family has for years not adhered strictly to the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving. Rather, we celebrated whenever three or more of us could manage to get together, since we live all over the map. But for some reason, I decided to make this Thanksgiving, on the same day as the rest of the country, traditional and special. I bought only a turkey breast instead of a whole bird. My mashed potatoes were from a pouch, and my stuffing was a side dish instead of being stuffed inside a bird carcass. But, in the end, my plate of food looked very familiar.
So, for the next several days, I'll be dining on turkey. Mary and I are attempting to not waste any of it, but we are spending our afternoons in a turkey coma. In between our naps, we've both found ways to keep busy. I've got a new idea for a story and Mary's got a whole new stash of toys to play with, so we're both content. What are you up to these days?

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Giving Thanks

This year, it's very hard to find things to be thankful for. Like most, I won't be able to gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving. I'll be alone, sharing my turkey breast with Mary, my dog. And then, after we each come out of our turkey coma, we'll take a walk along the golf course.
My family has always held Thanksgiving whenever three or more of us can gather together, so in the past, our Thanksgiving dinners have taken place in March, or July, or whenever. The day didn't matter so much as the people who were sitting at the table. It seems like most of the world now has to do the same. It will be fine, I assure you, having been there before. Count your blessings, hold your loved ones if you safely can do so, and have a great Thanksgiving. The turkeys will thank you that they can live a bit longer.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

There's Nothing Like a Cowboy

When I moved back to my home state of Ohio many years ago, I was surprised to repeatedly hear about the Western Reserve. Maybe it was because my interest in history had been piqued, but in all my Ohio history classes in high school, I couldn't remember hearing about it before. Maybe it was because I was living in the Cleveland area and when I grew up there, Cleveland was far away. Whatever the reason, it finally sank in that, at one time, Ohio was considered the western edge of the country. Cowboys didn't come until later. But when they did, the cowboy became the stuff of legend. I remember being riveted by those early television shows like The Lone Ranger and Bonanza. Later came the delightful tales of Brisco County, Jr. I loved them all. My first rejection letter came from the Bonanza show, where I submitted a screenplay at age 12. So, of course, when I began writing as an adult, I was drawn to the cowboy genre. Fast forward a couple of years, and one of my cowboy books, Gambling on Forever, is now part of a boxed set of six full-length cowboy books. And the most wonderful part of this collection of novels is they all have one thing in common--they feature a cowboy. Oh, and the price. Only 99 cents for all six.
Go ahead. Feed your fantasy of being swept away by a hard-loving cowboy. We all deserve a bit of indulgence, after going through an election, and dealing with Covid for eight months. Happy Trails to you! Here's the link:

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Taking A Breath

Every now and again, I am reminded that the world is watching we folks in the US. My freelance journey has recently taken me across the pond to the UK. I turned in a storyline to my employer there and told him if he gave me the go-ahead for the job, I could stop obsessing over the election. His response was to begin talking about how riveted the UK was to our election, and wanted my opinion on all of it. My work was shoved aside in favor of politics.
So, I decided, with the entire world watching, to take a breath this weekend. Free myself from my daily work schedule, take a walk, spend some time on my swing in the backyard with my little dog, Mary, at my side, read a book that is not my own. The work will still be there on Monday. Have a safe weekend, everyone.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Election Season

 Unless you've been living under a rock (which many of us here in the States wish we could do), you already know the significance of what's about to happen in America next Tuesday. We are all exercising our civic duty and voting for president and down-ballot races. As an author of American historical fiction, I am especially invested in this process that our forefathers fought so hard for. So, on the very first day of early in-person voting, I stood in line for over two hours. Here I am, at the back of the pack, waiting to get in the door of the building to the far left of the picture: 

I chose to vote in person, even in the face of a pandemic, because I live in a swing state, and mail-in ballots are going to be contested. And, even though I have faith in our electoral process, I didn't want my vote to be questioned in any way. I wanted my vote to be one of the first counted, as did a lot of other people, as you can readily see. And judging from the early turnout, both mail-in and in-person early voting in every state in this country, a lot of other people also want their voices heard. I can't help but think Sam Adams and the other Sons of Liberty, would be proud of us.  

Sam Adams

So, as we collectively hold our breaths and await the outcome, we can do so knowing we've made our voices heard. It may take weeks for the final outcome to be verified, and I hope that whichever way the outcome happens, we can be peaceful and civil about things and show the world our founding fathers had a great idea and it's been worth all the blood, sweat, and tears. If you haven't already done so, get out and vote on Tuesday. Pack your snacks and a bottle of water, take a book (may I recommend of my Revolutionary Women books to inspire you?) and wait your turn, regardless of how long it takes. Your country is counting on you. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Have You Ever Been Jealous of Your Book Heroines?

Jealousy is a human emotion that we've all experienced in some form or fashion during our lives. It can happen in love, in job promotions, in athletics. It's frequently used in novels to advance the plot, or to show the bad from the good. 

This question is for the readers and authors out there. Have you ever immersed yourself so completely in a story line that you became jealous of the life of the hero or heroine? Has their life been so ideal, so exciting, so filled with love, that you wish you could change places with your character? 

I'm having those feelings today. I recently finished the last book in my Revolutionary Women trilogy. The founding of America was an exciting time, and the Sons of Liberty were the original bad boys. A friend of mine said if they were around today, they'd be gun-toting tattooed men dressed in black leather and riding big motorcycles. I have to admit, the image made my heart flutter. All the women in my stories have become immersed in the Revolution and their men were each a member of the Sons of Liberty, and it's made me jealous. 

Maybe it's because of the times we're all living in. Or maybe it's because my year-long immersion in the Revolutionary War era has made me acutely aware of our nation's government and struggles. I have become more politically active this cycle than ever before. I've written letters to my local newspaper, to my congressmen and senators, I've attended rallies and participated in a political protest. I stood in line for two hours on the first day of early voting to assure that my voice would be heard. I am a member of the Lincoln Project. I encouraged people who have never voted that they needed to register this time around. But did I do enough? Would Sam Adams and Benjamin Edes look kindly on my deeds, or would they still paint a big "T" on my door to signify I am a member of the opposition?

Maybe I need to write another Revolutionary War book. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Going In Another Direction

 As most of you know, I had to go car shopping again, due to a disastrous encounter with a semi-truck. I've owned a Jeep for decades, so of course, I went to my comfort zone when looking for a replacement to my Renegade. 

What happened next surprised me. 

I checked out the used and new Jeeps on the lot and nothing spoke to me. I was extremely frustrated, but my salesman was not. He asked me to expand my horizons and to trust him, both of which I am usually loathe to do. So I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and told him to surprise me. Here's the result: 

Yes, it's an adorable Mini Cooper! 

After years of driving a silver car, the color of this one is called "Coffee." And it's the farthest thing from a Jeep. I've gone sporty instead of utilitarian. 

Maybe it's time to do the same with my writing. I turned in the last book in my Revolutionary Women trilogy, which will be released in January. When my publisher asked me what was next, I had no answer. Which translates to--it's a perfect time to stretch my creativity into something new. 

As Rachel Maddow says, "Watch this space."