Sunday, January 24, 2021

It's Cookie Time!

 This is my favorite time of year. The Girl Scouts have begun selling their cookies. This year, I decided to forego the in-person interaction and order my cookies from a friend's daughter back in Ohio. I've been tracking my order ever since and, with any luck, they should arrive in a day or two. 

Not only do I look forward to eating my treats, but I always reflect on all the Girl Scouts did for me when I was growing up. Wilderness Camp on the back forty of Mrs. Serfass's farm taught me an appreciation of the outdoors. I still remember that horrendous lighting storm that was so dangerous we had to shelter in the barn for the night. It made me wonder how the folks on the wagon trains heading west took shelter during such storms. I'm sure they didn't have a dry, safe barn to hunker down in. 

Obtaining as many badges as possible was always a competition with the others in my troop, but, in addition to honing my competitive spirit, I learned a lot of things along the way without realizing it at the time. The knowledge from the cooking and sewing badges have come in quite handy in an adult world, as have many of the others I collected. The design of the badges had come a long way over the years, but the intent is still the same. As nice as it was to complete a challenge and get a badge, it was always the Cookie sales that I looked forward to. Talk about a competition! 

In my adult life, I made my living selling things. I went through a lot of variations on this theme–selling ads, subscriptions, handmade quilts, exhibit booths, and finally, my own books. To think, it all started by selling Girl Scout cookies. 

Happy munching. And in the words of the cookie monster–COOKIES!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Back To Normal?

As anyone who follows this blog knows, I've spent the last few years involved in the Revolutionary War. I feel like I've been part of the band of rebels, the Sons of Liberty, as I've written these books. I developed a great admiration for these brave souls, who led a revolution against a giant force and had the foresight to craft a body politic that has lasted for hundreds of years, with minor tweaks. 

Recent events have brought our Constitution into sharp focus once again. Perhaps it's time to tweak the document again, because, clearly, something's not working. We have half of America's population disenfranchised and thinking another revolution is what's needed to get our country back on course. 

Having lived in DC for a number of years, it breaks my heart to see the fortress it has become since January 6. This is not the country I grew up in, nor is it the country I want to live in now. Not only am I feeling unmoored because my series is at an end, I have a sense of dread that the country I love is at a crossroads. 

Will we ever get back to normal? What is normal anymore? Will enough of us get vaccinated so we can once again hug each other? Will I ever feel safe in the grocery again? 

I want that. I want to hug my friends. I want to visit the Mall in DC again and go to the new museums that have been erected in the last ten years. I want to see my family. I want to select my own bananas. 

I want normal. 

To see what 'normal' was like during the Revolution, read one of my Revolutionary Women books.


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Time For a Change

 Even though I've been embroiled in the Revolutionary War the past couple of years with my writing and my Revolutionary Women series, I try to avoid writing about America's current political situation here on this blog. However, I just read something which compared the events of the past week with the Revolutionary War, and I must comment. 

The most basic difference is probably the easiest to understand. The Americans in the 1770s were waging war against a despot who was demanding money and resources be taken from America while imposing a tax on goods and merchandise needed for the colonists' survival. The followers of Mr. Trump are waging war for a despot who is demanding their loyalty until they are no longer needed, and who is lining his pockets with money from the government and from his loyal followers on his way out the door. 

I have a great deal of admiration for our founding fathers. I have no admiration for the loyalists who attacked our Capitol building and killed people. Our founding fathers had a vision for this new country while the mob last week had nothing other than vengeance on their agenda. 

I lived in DC for years after college. I sat on the Capitol steps each year to watch the fireworks on July 4th. To see them filled with a mob of misfits who have no love for our country turned my stomach, as it did many others. The woman who lost her life in the battle told reporters she'd willingly give her life for the cause. I have no pity for her, only for her family. As for the Capitol Hill policeman who was killed, I'm sure death was not on his mind Wednesday morning. His killers need to be held to account. They were not involved in a Revolution, they were involved in a riot. 

I agree with them on one thing, though. It's time for a change. I want normalcy in my life again. Not people with painted faces, Confederate flags, and crazed looks on their faces. I want to take off my face mask, hug my friends again, and be able to see my family. I want to be able to depend on my retirement income lasting for my retirement years. I want to sleep through the night. Am I asking too much? I hope not, for our country's sake. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

The Blank Page

A few years ago, Brad Paisley penned a tweet about the start of a new year, which I think is appropriate for anyone who puts pen to paper, regardless of whether it's for a journal entry, a manuscript, or a song. Here's what he had to say: 

"Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one." 

Since we've all just come through one of the most trying years of our lives, I find Brad's words truly inspiring. With a new president, and the promise of vaccines for all, I'm hopeful we can get back to something close to normal in this coming year. One of my goals for the year is to travel back to my old stomping grounds and visit with my brother, who is spending a year in the eastern half of the country before heading west again. 

And, following Brad's advice, to write something every day. 

How about you? What are your goals for the year?

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Revolution Comes to an End

 In January, the final book in my Revolutionary Women series will be released and the series will come to an end. A British Governess in America has been proofed, a cover produced, and it's nearly ready for its debut. We had to change the gown my governess wears on the cover, but it was essential she look like a working governess and not Cinderella at the ball. Took some doing to get it right, and my thanks go out to Prairie Rose for their willingness to work with me on it. Here's the cover; 

With all the turmoil of the latest election in America, it's given me great pleasure to be visiting our founding fathers in the midst of this chaos, and to see that their vision had a solid foundation but may need some tweaking. Just as we changed the amount of time needed to install a new head of government when the advent of a speedier form of getting the word out to the country was developed (remember the telegraph?), so should we now be taking a hard look at our way of handling elections. I loved rubbing imaginary shoulders with the Sons of Liberty and experiencing life in our earliest times. They had no way of knowing the type of America we would have now, but they gave us a solid foundation. All we have to do now is keep it.

But the series, as will all good things, must come to an end, and it's time to carve out another era to live in for the next little while. What that will be is still up in the air, but it'll be fun, regardless. 

I heard someone say the other day that 2020 will be used as a measurement for a bad time for years to come. Someone can say they had a bad day or week, and the other will say Was it a 2020 kind of day or week, or just the usual? Regardless of how you spin it, we're all glad to kick the year to the curb and move into 2021. Happy New Year, and happy new beginnings.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Time To Reflect

Family traditions come into play big time, this time of year. In my family, Christmas was never a big production like it is for so many. We never cut down a tree and brought it indoors. We had one of those silver things with a light that spun around, tinting it red or blue.

We never had much money for presents, so our gifts were meager. I remember having a day after the holiday when we got to take our favorite gift to school, and I was always embarrassed by what I had to choose from. Not too much to be excited about. So, instead of celebrating Christmas, we make a big deal of Thanksgiving. A time to eat all you want, spend the day in the kitchen with each other, and telling stories about how hard it was to find a turkey at the grocers in July when we celebrated Thanksgiving in the past, etc. Since my siblings are spread from the east coast to the west coast, we tend to put on the whole lavish food frenzy whenever three or more of us are in the same place at the same time. Rarely does our Thanksgiving happen in November. But the sentiment is the same. 

My best friend's family is a polar opposite when it comes to celebrating Christmas. They pull out all the stops, and I have a lot of fun celebrating along with them. But this year is different, and it's not wise for them to get together. I tried to convince them that the day didn't matter as much as the people you were with, and they could hold off on celebrating until we have the vaccine. But such sacrilege did not go over so well with them. Family traditions are not something to fool around with. 

I usually take December to reflect on the past year. Like most of us, I won't be sorry to close the book on 2020. Hopefully, the next chapter will be filled with love, laughter, and the ability to hug my siblings again. 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

How Much Is Too Much?

 I've taken many courses over the years and had many mentors try to explain the fine points of writing romance. Every writer knows you must keep the reader interested and turning the pages by way of plot points and amping up the conflict. But how much is too much? 

I'm in the process of plotting out a new story. I've been told I write older heroines well, so I'm focusing on that. Not a geriatric heroine, but someone in their mid-to late 40s, maybe. And with age comes baggage. In this case, she's a wealthy Southern woman who is running from a public humiliation by her no-good hubby. Maybe there's a college-age child involved. Don't know yet. What else? Maybe give her a calling, one she put on hold to help her husband climb the political ladder? Hmmm. 

And then there's my hero. He's a former pro football player, but not your typical sports-romance kind of guy. He's a field goal kicker, the kind of guy no one remembers unless he misses the shot. Field goal kickers don't make as much as the marquee quarterbacks or receivers, don't get to revel in the glory of the wins, unless the game comes down to the wire and they kick the winning points. So, he's an obscure player who quits playing when he finds out his wife has turned to drugs for solace while he's on the road, and thereby endangers their darling little girl. Too much? How about if he returns home so his mother can help raise his child and begins a new career? And in his spare time, he serves as a mentor to his old high school football team? What if he gets a call from another pro team in desperate need of a kicker? So many threads...

Am I stacking the deck too high? Will I be able to get my h/h to the finish line without dropping a story line? Will I be able to get them to a happy ever after? Time will tell if I can do this.