Unity through Diversity

There’s been a whole lot of commentary this week (if you don’t know that, then I salute you for finding the best hiding place in the world). One of the oft repeated words in this communal diatribe has been variations of the word “unity”: we need to unite, to unify, to come together. This word means different things to different people, a truth made clear by the discussion, but still, unity isn’t a bad idea.

I participated in the inaccurately titled “Women’s March” (there were men, children and dogs at mine) in my home city this past weekend where I saw perhaps the best ever idea of how to understand the unity we need (not to mention the best use of Barbies ever). I’m going to put it here and let all of you take from it what you will. My kudos to the person who put this together:

dollsinflagedit

 

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The Week That Was

“I have six locks on my door, all in a row. When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three.”  – Elayne Boosler

And it was certainly a week. Normally I’m not a person to panic when home alone at night. I figure I have three yippy little dogs, so I’ll know if someone’s breaking in long before they get to me. What I didn’t plan on was their yipping being the source of my panic.

The other night, after finally getting to bed at an unreasonable hour, I’d hardly drifted off before all three dogs started barking. Since I thought I’d heard a noise to, I didn’t shush them. Instead, I got up, checked things out, found nothing, so attempted to go back to sleep. I’d barely drifted off again when they started back up. This time I hadn’t heard anything. It was getting closer to time to wake up than to go to sleep so I needed at least a couple of hours. I got them calmed down but before I even calmed myself down, a strange video started somewhere in the house. A video that was some girl talking about a stalker with a knife. My granddaugher, who likes to fall asleep to the TV, had left it playing. Needless to say, I wasn’t at my best the next day. Panic and no sleep will do that to me.

From the “Wow, somebody paid attention in science class” category:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/massoudhassani/mine-kafon

I do my best to donate to Kickstarter campaigns that blow me away. This one really did.

I’m Gonna Keep Laughing

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About ten years ago, my daughter and I sat down to watch a Billy Connelly movie. It was about a man who sued God for a natural disaster (I think that might have been the name of it too). The movie was passably good, nothing to get too excited about. But there was one scene we kept replaying over and over again because it made us laugh till we cried. It was a silly, pratfall scene with Billy in a restaurant, but each time we watched it, we thought it more hilarious than the last.

My daughter was going through a difficult pregnancy and a hard time all around. We really didn’t have much to laugh about. I realized then how much we need laughter during the hardest times of our lives. There are so many things in this crazy world to be stressed about. We worry not only about the future, but the present as well. Many of us are angry, and rightfully so. Many of us are scared, and rightfully so. A good laugh could help all of us.

The other movie I keep thinking of these days is the scene in one of the Harry Potter films, where Lupin teaches the students to look at their greatest fears and use the “Ridikulous” spell. What they fear is reduced to something silly and not so frightening. I look around me and see a whole lot of Ridikulous things today. Maybe I need to brush up on that spell.

If you’re interested in how some folks who found themselves under a really oppressive regime turned to humor for their fight, check out my post on the Gnomes of Wroclaw:

http://hubpages.com/travel/The-Gnomes-of-Wroclaw

It’s a New Year!!!

I’m back!!! Time and life had me going there for a while, but the new year, and my vision for it, brought me back. There’s enough ego in me to feel I have some things to say to the state of the world. Hopefully, most of them will make you laugh. Or feel a bit proud of us.

I’ve thought a lot about what to wish for this year. There’s no lack of things to make me worry, or get angry. The problem is those don’t feed my soul. Give me something to laugh about. Or a reason to think “thank God, somebody was paying attention in science class.” Once we were innovators, problem solvers, people who found the humor, and the joy in life. Let’s see if we can get back to that in 2017, okay?

P.S. The tree in the background fits my new path. It’s like a giant eyeball, sort of like 2017 is watching you!

 

Welcome Pamela S. Thibodeaux!

Today I’m hosting fellow author Pamela S. Thibodeaux,              Picture

who’s here to talk about about herself and her release Keri’s Christmas Wish.

 Take it away, Pamela!

I am 100% panster so when I sat at the computer with one scene in mind, Keri scrolling through her newsfeed and grumbling “bah humbug” over the ‘Christmas in July’ propaganda, I had absolutely NO idea where the story was going or what would happen. I was introduced to Energy Medicine a couple of years ago and find the whole concept of healing the body – or actually the body healing itself by correcting energy imbalance–fascinating. Along with EM, I’ve discovered the power of positive thoughts and prayers (see: You can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay). Add to that, my belief in the afterlife and the books & movies affirming those beliefs, and well, this story practically wrote itself. What is so amazing and encouraging for me is that Keri’s Christmas Wish is the first romantic story I’ve written in its entirety since my husband passed away in 2009. Oh, I’ve had things published that were already in the works, but other than a couple NF pieces, it is the only thing written from start to finish. Hopefully this means I’m in a much better place emotionally and other books/novellas/stories are sure to follow.

Blurb:  

For as long as she can remember, Keri Jackson has despised the hype and commercialism around Christmas so much she seldom enjoys the holiday. Will she get her wish and be free of the angst to truly enjoy Christmas this year?

A devout Christian at heart, Jeremy Hinton, a Psychotherapist, Life Coach, Spiritual Mentor and Energy Medicine Practitioner has studied all of the world’s religions and homeopathic healing modalities. But when a rare bacterial infection threatens the life of the woman he loves, will all of his faith and training be for naught?

Find out in Keri’s Christmas Wish

Snippet: She awoke in another dimension. Keri had no idea if she was in Heaven, but neither did she fear Hell. Her surroundings were reminiscent of a dense forest at dusk. Shadows danced against a sunset where brilliant colors bled from the sky. A light shone in the distance but as she moved toward it, Keri felt as though she plowed through molasses. Unease pricked her skin. The sound of water drew her deeper into the woods until she stood at the base of a vast waterfall and rapids so swift she dared not attempt to cross the river.

The light grew stronger, brighter. Beckoning.

I need to get to the light.

Links:

Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com     

Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com  

Face Book: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux

Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pamelasthibodea/  

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1jUVcdU  

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/pamela-s-thibodeaux

 

Author Bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Welcome Andrea Downing!

perf5.000x8.000.indd Today I’m welcoming fellow Wild Rose Press author Andrea Downing. She’s going to share a bit about her latest release, Dances of the Heart and a few things about the writing side of herself. Welcome, Andrea!

Thanks so much for having me here today, Debra.  It’s always a pleasure to chat with another Rose

Our pleasure too. First off, a bit about you. Tell us when you knew you wanted to be a writer? 

When I was growing up, it was very much a toss-up as to whether to become an actress or a writer—I really did both until I went to England to do my MA, and got involved with a load of poets and other writers.  That sort of sealed the idea once and for all.

What things inspire your writing?  Many things!  I’ve had inspiration from a song, from an historic site, from scenery, and from my daughter, from biographies I’ve read and from people I’ve met.  It’s difficult to discuss how a story evolves, but somehow, something plants the seed of an idea and it spreads branches into a novel.

Who is your favorite character that you’ve written? Why?  Debra, that’s like asking who’s your favorite child!  I think a female romance author has to be at least a little bit in love with her heroes, and Jesse from Loveland, as my ‘first born’, will always have a place in my heart.   He comes to understand Alex, the heroine, in a way we’d all like to be understood, and chooses his battles with her very carefully.  I think they would definitely have a long and happy marriage.

We all have our perfect setting for where we write, if not in reality, then at least in our heads. What would be your dream writing getaway? Jackson, Wyoming, is and probably will always be my dream getaway to clear the head and get down to business.  I’m lucky enough to get out there twice a year for several weeks, take in the clear air and the magnificent scenery, submerge myself in the west and CREATE!

Writers are generally great readers. Who are some of your favorite authors or what are some of your favorite books?  On the romance front, I’m a huge fan of Maggie Osborne but sadly she no longer writes.  I loved her Foxfire Bride, Silver Lining and The Promise of Jenny Jones.  I also loved Julie Garwood’s Rose Hill books.  I read a lot of literary fiction as well, and my favorites would be too numerous to mention really.  Just finished Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks and I really enjoyed that.

Tell us a bit about this latest book. It’s a double romance but it’s really about learning to live with loss, and move on.  There are four main characters, each of them carrying a burden of regrets and a certain amount of guilt, whether it’s guilt from something they’ve done or guilt for just being the one to survive.  There are military themes in it as well as, of course, a western setting.  It was a struggle to write but so far the reviews have been good.  I hope your readers will give it a try.

Well, let’s give them a sample to whet their appetites:

 

Blurb:  Successful, workaholic author Carrie Bennett lives through her writing, but can’t succeed at writing a man into her life. Furthermore, her equally successful but cynical daughter, Paige, proves inconsolable after the death of her fiancé. Hard-drinking rancher Ray Ryder can find humor in just about anything—except the loss of his oldest son. His younger son, Jake, recently returned from Iraq, now keeps a secret that could shatter his deceased brother’s good name. On one sultry night in Texas, relationships blossom when the four meet, starting a series of events that move from the dancehalls of Hill Country to the beach parties of East Hampton, and from the penthouses of New York to the backstreets of a Mexican border town. But the hurts of the past are hard to leave behind, especially when old adversaries threaten the fragile ties that bind family to family…and lover to lover.

Excerpt: “You still frettin’ over your body?” His words met her closing the bathroom door.

For a moment, she stayed silent while she washed and got ready for sleep. Then she stepped out. “I shall always fret over my body. You’ll be disgusted by it soon. You’ll see. Who wants to make love to a withered old hag?”

Ray inhaled, obviously frustrated with having to deal with this again. “You know,” he drawled out, “there’s two of us aging here. You don’t hear me worrying ’bout my old broken down body appearing in front of you with all its flabby bits. I’m not in love with your body, Carrie. I’m in love with you, you dang fool.” He reached out a hand and drew her over. “Find something else to worry about, will you?”

He was right; she knew she didn’t give a damn what the hell he looked like. To her, he was the best looking damn man on earth. Worry about something else? “I have,” she finally answered him. “I should have phoned Paige again today. She sounded too crisp and business-like to me on the phone yesterday.” It was going to be a long night. Her mind was turning over too much.

Ray stole a glance at the bedside clock. “She’ll be fine,” he assured her. “First thing tomorrow, you can call, but I’m sure she’ll be fine.” He lay back on the pillow. “Anyway, I didn’t know Paige had anything but ‘crisp and business-like’ when speaking. Seems that’s the way a lawyer should be…even with her mother,” he added quickly. He patted the bed beside him.

Carrie curled herself in again as Ray switched off the low bedside light.

“You think again about how long you can stay? Not that I want you to go—I want to make that clear.”

“Oh.” She gave a quiet giggle. “I guess maybe as long as Mabel lets me.” Lying against him, the quake of his laughter quivered against her skin. “Seriously, I don’t know. It sort of depends on

“You miss New York? Your friends?”

“Yes. But then, if I were there, I’d be missing you, so which is worse?” She craned her neck to meet his gaze. A sudden feeling of contentment washed over her, and she curled up again, resting her head against him.

For a while, she listened to the broken record song of the cicadas and frogs until that was joined by the soft whistle of Ray’s even breathing. But such satisfaction did not send her to sleep; it was a night when her mind would not rest and the restlessness won.

Carrie slipped one leg down and then the other to stand and quietly make her way out the door, drawing it shut behind her. The hallway was pitch black, a night in which clouds blanketed the moon, and, like a criminal, she stole her way to the sunroom. Feeling for the switch, she inundated the room in the white light of the ceiling fan bulb and flipped the computer open, jabbing in her password and sitting, waiting for the home page to appear.

And then the dogs started barking.

Slipping back from the table, she rose to see if she could spot a deer that might have set them off as Jake had mentioned. The void of blackness was menacing, a complete emptiness of life as if she were the last person left on the planet. The glare of the light bulb and her own reflection forced her to lean right up to the cold glass, but nothing greeted her, a vacancy was all there was.

She decided it was nothing more making them bark than a passing animal she couldn’t see, and she started to sit down when she became aware of something. Dogs were still barking, but it sounded like there were only two of them barking now, which puzzled her. They were barking more frantically, too, with a sort of whining cry emitted, a terrible yowling of desperation.

And then came the screech of the kennel door.

Hurriedly rising from her chair again, her heart pounding as if it wanted to escape her chest, Carrie rushed to the glass of the sunroom windows, desperately searching the emptiness for a sign of movement. The room’s reflections in the glass sketched specters outside, unnerving doppelgangers in an alternate world. Her hand instinctively went to her chest as she searched the void franticly.

And then, two staring, disembodied eyes came floating through this ghostly setting and, catching the light from the room for a second, a knife held out, red stains of blood just dulling its sheen.

Wow, sounds like I need to check this one out. Here are some places you can pick up your own copy of Dances of the Heart:

http://www.amazon.com/Dances-Heart-Andrea-Downing-ebook/dp/B00S46BGY6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1421510959&sr=8-2&keywords=Dances+of+the+Heart

http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=242_175_141&products_id=6060

If you’d like to find out more about Andrea and her work, you can visit her at:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/writerAndreaDowning

Twitter:  @andidowning  https://twitter.com/AndiDowning

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6446229.Andrea_Downing

Thanks for visiting, Andrea!