Sunday, November 24, 2019

Taking Time to Give Thanks

In a combination of Thanksgiving blessings and Christmas gift giving, I decided to part with a piece of property I had in Virginia. I'd held it for over ten years and finally decided I wasn't going to ever build a house on it, so it was time to get rid of it. I contacted a realtor and she agreed to represent me, but told me it might take as much as eighteen months to sell. Much to the surprise of both of us, it was under contract within two weeks.

So, what did I do with the profit? I bought myself a Christmas gift. If I could find one of those big red bows you see in commercials, I'd have it tied to the top of this car. My new to me Jeep!

My old Jeep had been purchased as a used vehicle, and I drove it for thirteen years. I owned my car longer than I held onto any of my assorted houses. The Ohio winters had been very hard on the old boy, and the parts underneath had begun to rust together. It was past time to upgrade. On the final day of having the car in my possession, I took it through the car wash, had a final meal in the car, and got misty when I thanked it for a final time. We'd been through a lot together.

So now, I'll learn what all the buttons are for in the new vehicle, and become as familiar with it as I was with the old one. As long as it's a Jeep, I'm comfortable. My brother was the one to remind me that, when I was contemplating my first car way back when, I told my mother I wanted a Jeep and she persuaded me to buy something else, saying that Jeeps were for boys. So now I have purchased two of those "boy" cars. My brother is proud of me for finally realizing my dream. My mother would probably shake her head at my folly and tell me that's one of the reasons I never could find anyone to marry. I do miss my mother but maybe it was because of her I learned how to be a strong, independent woman, much like my heroines. 

What about you? Are you planning to buy something nice for yourself this Christmas season?

If you need a gift idea, here's one. My novella, An Unconventional Courtship is free right now. Grab a copy for you and your loved ones.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Getting Ready for the Holidays

If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I attribute this phenomenon to the fact I come from a large family and there never seemed to be enough food to go around–except at Thanksgiving, when everyone got to eat until their bellies were full. The turkey, all juicy and golden brown, and all the trimmings, was eagerly anticipated each November.

Over the years, my many siblings have spread out, as my mother used to say, from sea to shining sea. So each year, we have carried on the Thanksgiving tradition any time of year when three or more of us have been together. Sometimes, it caused funny looks in the grocery store, such as when we tried to buy fresh cranberries and turkeys in July. But, for the most part, we had our celebrations whenever we could get together. 

Alas, this year will be different. At no time during this year were there three of us together, except for one weekend when we had more important plans. So, I'll be alone this year for the holiday. I certainly don't want to prepare a big bird for myself. I'm still eating turkey soup from the last time. I'm thinking of ordering a pre-cooked meal for two from the local grocery and buy a little pumpkin pie or pumpkin roll. It will be more than enough to fill my belly and put me in the mood for all those Hallmark Christmas movies to come next month. 

And, in celebration of the season, I'm giving away my novella, An Unconventional Courtship, to one and all. Be sure to visit Lauren Royal's facebook page on November 24 for freebies galore, and snap up a copy of my book now. I know it's a few weeks early, but Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. That's how we Lowers roll.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Pausing to Admire

I recently had the opportunity to visit my niece, her husband, and their two delightful children. I watched as the parents tag-teamed the care of the kids and wondered how in the world you could do this if you were a single parent. But I know it's done every day, across the country and the world. In my own family, my sister and brother have both had to be single parents and raise their offspring. My admiration of their achievements keeps growing, especially after spending a day with my niece's enthusiastic kids.

Likewise, I admire the thousands of romance authors who not only have burgeoning artistic careers, but raise children, care for their significant others, keep the house going, have full-time jobs, and hold an office with their local RWA chapter. How do they do it? Was I ever so motivated?

The past few years have been at a slower pace for me. After having deadlines for years, and putting out two or three books a year, I've had time to take a step back, figure out what makes me happy, and write what I want to. I'm pleased that my next book will be coming out next year, that my second book in the series is close to the finale, and that my publisher has faith in my work. With all the recent emphasis from the national organization on diversity and making certain not to offend anyone, the playing field has tilted dramatically. It will shift back to a more normal stance in a couple years as we all embrace each other's uniqueness, but right now, publishers are being very careful. Thankfully, there are still publishers who can recognize a good read when they see one. I admire that, too.

And, in honor of Veteran's Day, I admire anyone who has served in our country's military and salute you. Thank you for your service.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time came into existence in the United States during the first World War in 1918 as a way to conserve energy and for the farmers to use as much daylight as possible to keep the crops growing. The idea was discontinued after seven months. During the second World War, however, the current model of Daylight Savings Time was signed into law by Roosevelt, and the format is still in use today. Today, 70 different countries have some form of daylight savings time, so it's not unique to the US.

The idea was not new when it was first executed in the US. In fact, Ben Franklin, back in 1784, wrote a letter to the editor of a Parisian newspaper, suggesting candle usage could be conserved if people would go to bed earlier and get up earlier. But Franklin meant it as a joke. It's a pity people didn't take it as such.

Turning back the clocks plays havoc with one's internal clock, much like jet lag. It usually takes about a week for my body to get used to it. Even though I don't have a job where I have to clock in anymore, my internal clock wakes me at 7 each morning when it needs coffee, and I'm ready to hit the sack by 11pm. We'll see how long it takes me this fall to get used to it.

What will I do with the extra hour today? Will I work on my manuscript, which I've been neglecting in favor of spending quality time with my sisters? Will I start planning a launch for my first new book in two years? Or will I roll over and get an extra hour of sleep? Inquiring minds want to know. Especially mine. In the meanwhile, here's a bit of an introduction to Libby, from my WIP:

 The proprietor gave her a sideways look when she appeared in the lobby.
“I’d like a room, please.” Libby gave him one of her solemn smiles.
“You’re alone?” 
Libby nodded. “Yes. I’d like to arrange for long-term accommodations.” 
The glint in the man’s eyes when she mentioned a long-term arrangement made her almost certain she would clear this hurdle. 
“Your name, please.” He held out a quill pen for her to sign the guest book. 
She took special care to put a Mrs before her new name. The man spun the book around and peered at her signature. 
“Mrs. Wexford, eh? Will Mr. Wexford be joining you anytime soon?” 
Libby manufactured a tear, which she made a show of brushing away. “I’m afraid Mr. Wexford just passed.” 
He mumbled an apology, handed her a key and took her money for the first week’s rent. Libby placed her fingers on her fluttering stomach. She’d told the truth, sort of. Mr. Wexford had recently passed. 

She thought she’d have a bigger battle on her hands, but evidently, widows were aplenty in Boston. The scuffle with Britain had been simmering for some years and was about to turn into a full-blown war. Just the kind of distraction she needed. If all the men in Boston were consumed by the Revolution against Britain, she could live here peacefully.