Back to Olden Times?

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Does anyone remember toting water from a well or from a spring or creek?  Maybe you aren’t old enough to remember life in the country, but I know folks who have gone back to that kind of life, even in the past ten years. Camping can give one a taste of that.

When I was young (in the ’40’s and ’50’s) my grandma in Mississippi had no running water. She had to carry buckets of water for every drop we drank or that she used cooking on a wood stove. Mama and Daddy took over that job when we visited. She didn’t tote water inside for laundry, but she did build a fire and heat water to do wash outside. She did laundry in wash tubs outside and used a washboard for heavy dirt.  She heated water for bathing and washing dishes in built in sections of her stove, on the sides, as I recall. Bathing for kids happened in large washtubs and for bigger kids and adults with a bucket and a washcloth. Grandma didn’t have a hip tub or a tub large enough for an adult to sit in. Filling one with water would have pushed her physical limits. She used rain water collected in barrels outside for washing hair and even bathing on the back porch.

In Augusta, Georgia we had all the conveniences of running water and bathrooms inside. We had tubs but no showers. I didn’t know anyone had them. We even had a wringer washing machine. Mama hooked the machine to the sink faucets, using a hose to fill and to empty the machine.  That beat going outside for water and heating it over a fire or in containers. She had a cool wringer, so she could squeeze out excess water without killing her hands. Mama was a tiny woman with small hands, so that was extra good. Turning a handle took work, but it still beat wringing water out by hand.

So, why am I discussing this? I’ve written about outhouses and other primitive aspects of visiting grandmas. The faucet on my kitchen sink stopped working. The handle will go up, but no water comes out. (It looks like a pump handle, but doesn’t pump! This breakdown did not make me a happy person. Oh, what fun it is to tote containers of water from the bathroom sink to use on the kitchen. I am back to one dishpan per sink, one to wash in and one to rinse. No more running water to rinse dishes and pots! Getting someone out to see if repairs will work or if I need something new won’t happen. Until I can clear the cabinet under the sink and the counters near it, I’ll go back to the olden times in some ways. At least I am clearing my dishes before I fill both sides with dirty dishes!  I take more steps and I don’t go outside to get my water! 

I have other lazy habits in my kitchen I won’t mention!

If I can find free images I will add them!

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Can You Tell A Fairy Tale Today?

Today is Tell A Fairy Tale Day. Although it’s an unofficial holiday, people are encouraged to read, tell, and listen to fairy tales from all over the world.

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Usually, fairy tales begin with “Once upon a time…” The tales are short, and may include elves, fairies, and trolls–a magical world.

Although fairy tales were once considered children’s literature, the term is also used when referencing happy events.

So, what should you do to celebrate?
Host a fairy tale party! Tell your guests to come dressed as their favorite fairy tale characters, and be sure to serve fairy tale food such as porridge (Goldilocks and the Three Bears) or peas (The Princess and the Pea.)
And then, collaborate and pen a fairy tale!

What is your favorite fairy tale? Please share your comment below.

Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and live in an old house forever needing renovations.

Subscribe to her Youtube channel and enjoy videos of her sweet romances.

 

 

 

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Robot Wars!

This isn’t sci-fi but a tale of two bots–robotic vacuum cleaners!  In June, I hurt my back and it has gotten steadily worse.  I can’t use the heavy Dyson I have, so I purchased a bObsweep Pet Hair vacuum early last fall.  As one who tends to anthropomorphize, I liked receiving his birth certificate and calling him ‘Bob’.  Bob worked great for the first 6 weeks. 20140613_233333 He learned the house and picked up the cat hair and kitty litter all over the house.  I have a long-haired cat with tufts on his paws, and he tracks litter everywhere.

So, I was delighted with Bob.  Then…he started having mental problems.  He’d get in a loop and go in circles. Obviously, Bob was sick.  I talked with his creator, and was told he needed to see a doctor.  Sadly, I packed Bob up and sent him to hospital.  In a few days, he was back!  I set him to work but he wasn’t the cleaning machine he had been. I tried for several days and realized Bob was not the same.  I secured a refund and bought….

an iRobot Roomba which was much more expensive but was supposed to be the be all and end all of robot vacuums.  After a couple of weeks, he hadn’t learned the house nor did he clean up the pet hair and kitty litter the way Bob did.  Granted, he was much better at getting over obstacles. However, I was dissatisfied with Asimov as I called him. I’d purchased him from Overstock and they issued a return label and almost a full refund.

bobsweepThe end of this story is…I ordered another Bob, this time in red.  So, this may or may not actually be the end of the tale.  I’ll let you know in time.

All that said, I do think robot vacuums are worth it. I hope I stay of that opinion.  Happy Friday!  Linda

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Seven Useful Tips To Organize Your Way To Success

Did you now that living an organized life can save you time and energy, plus make you more productive? And I guarantee you’ll be happier. Try these tips to get you started:

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1. Set up a paper throwaway system. Dispose of your unwanted mail immediately after you read it.
2. Automate your bill payments for everything! Go paperless when you can.
3. Keeping a daily journal will ease your mind. Write down those appointments and thoughts that nag at you and stay organized.
4. Name all your computer documents the same way every time. Try topic/title/date.
5. Empty our purse when you get home. Leave your must-have items, such as wallet, lip balm in one place so it’s easy to change purses.
6. Trim down your financial budget to three categories: what you want, what you need, and what is best for your financial future. You’ll get out of debt sooner and you’ll watch your money continue to grow.
7. Leave your mindless work for when you’re tired, and optimize your tasks for when you perform best.

Do you have any organizational tips? Please leave your comments below.

Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and live in an old house forever needing renovations.

Follow her on Instagram.

 

 

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Spring Is When the Meadowlark Sings and It’s Singing

Signs of spring are everywhere on the farm. February is like an erratic March. So was January. We’ve had little real winter. Almost no snow. Our weather blows mild then cold then warm again, even balmy before the wind cuts through us once more. The geese are in hyper fussy mating/nesting mode. Don’t even try to talk to them now. Fuzzy pussy willows will soon burst into full-blown catkins. Possibly today. I’m calling it. Spring is here. I’ve got pea seed and early greens ready to plant.

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
― Margaret Atwood

Early spring in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Meadowlark, Eastern MeadowlarkBack to the meadowlark, my goal is to ever actually see one of these elusive birds again. Theoretically, this shouldn’t be such a challenge, with our meadows and all. Once or twice, I’ve glimpsed a yellow flash and spotted the bird perched on a fence post before it flew. Mostly, they hide in the grass and skim away to another spot before I get a good look, calling all the while from various positions in the meadow.

Several years ago, daughter Elise and I were determined to track down the evasive songster and take its picture, like photographing fairies. We tenaciously followed its calls, even climbed over the fence into the neighbor’s pasture and picked our way along the little creek that flows from our pond, but never caught up with that bird, or birds. There may have been more than one taunting us. Unless I catch another rare glimpse, I must content myself with their beautiful trills. Birds like this need tall grasses and untidy hedge rows for nesting. Bear that in mind in your own yard and garden. Keeping everything trim and cultivated robs our feathered friends of habitat. It’s also a good excuse for a less than perfectly kept landscape. A little wilderness here and there is a good thing.

The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in spring“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

***Images of spring in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia by my mom, Pat Churchman.

I bought the image of the meadowlark. Sigh.

For more on me visit my blog: https://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/

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Beauty and the Beast—Space Opera Style

“… if you’re looking for a romance that’s not another of the cookie-cutter offerings out there, this is a great place to start.”   –Nights and Weekends reviewsold-manuscript

“Ms. Sweeney always creates stories that are thrown miles outside the box, and Sinbad’s Wife is no exception.” –Margaret Marr reviews

“…the dramatic sh’en Singh family dynamics…in this book makes for a truly wonderful read” –Two Lips reviews

~~~~~~~~

Many years ago, I was so intrigued by a TV show called Beauty and the Beast, that I wrote my own homage. My own spin on that story became The Adventures of Sinbad,.which eventually evolved into a seven-book series.

My Beast isn’t simply a man who by some quirk of birth looks like a lion.  He is a lion, or rather a native of Felida where the inhabitants evolved from a feline species instead of simians.  Sinbad’s Last Voyage was published in 2016, with Sinbad’s Wife, the story of his courtship and winning of his Beauty, published in January of this year.

Sinbad sh’en Singh, a half-feline smuggler, a man wanted on seven worlds of the United Terran Federation, with more than a million credits bounty on his head.  That was all right with Sin, because he intended to thumb his nose at the UTF for as long as he could—and then he met a little Terran named Andrea Talltrees and got shot right out of orbit…

…in flames.

His Beauty is Andrea Talltrees, a feisty little woman, raised by the Navajos after her father is killed in the Terro-Felidan War and her mother dies of a broken heart.  When her husband is accused of being a spy in yet another war and is arrested, she doesn’t just sit around.  She goes to the one person her godfather suggests might help…a certain Felidan smuggler who hates Terran women almost as much as he hates the Federation…

…And that’s the way they meet.  It’s a culture clash of epic proportions with a disturbing explosion of instant attraction as Andi and Sin try desperately not to fall in love with each other.

The current story is Sinbad’s Pride, Novel #4 in the series.


When Andrea Talltrees married Sinbad sh’en Singh, she knew they’d have problems, all newly-weds do, but married life with a part-Felidan ex-smuggler seems to be nothing but 4sinbadspride3cover-002one crisis after another.

Being law-abiding simply isn’t part of Sin’s lifestyle and he’s already found a way to legally restore Felida’s pre-war glory by making it a prime smuggling planet—and the Federation can’t do a thing about it!  In order to do that, however, he needs the cooperation of the second and third most powerful prides on Felida, and they in turn want to cement the deal through a family relationship…by offering Sinbad their nubile daughters a concubines.

Felida is a male-oriented planet, chauvinistic to the nth degree and the fact that Sinbad sometimes consults his wife and concedes to her wishes doesn’t sit well with his grandfather or any of the older males in the Pride.  That Andi is a hated Terran doesn’t help, either, and the feisty little Navajo finds herself forcefully striving to act more like a Felidan female and less like her usual independent self.

In other words, the newly-reinstated heir and his spouse have a lot going against them and only their determination to be accepted going for them.

That’s why Sin finds himself with a very angry Prime Wife, as he tries to explain to Andi why he’s taking not one but two concubines though he swears he loves her and wouldn’t be unfaithful in a million years.  If he doesn’t handle this right, Sin is facing a future which may involve sleeping on a sofa until he’s an ocotogenerian.

Sinbad’s Pride is a play on words.  A Pride on Felida is made up of various clans loyal to one chief.  Sinbad is the heir to the largest pride.  He also has plenty of pride in the usual sense of the word, and whether he’s confronting the lawyers of the Federation, an incensed wife, or an adulterous child, he has to decide when to let that pride go and when to balance revenge with mercy. No matter what happens, however, one thing is certain:  Sinbad loves Andi and he’ll do anything to keep that love.

It’s also a story about family, and how a man who has lost everything must now try to keep together the one he’s suddenly blessed with in the face of crises which could blast that family apart.  How Sin works it out makes up the majority of that story.  It’s erotic, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic adventure, and one I think readers will enjoy it.


AUTHOR’S BIO:

 This past December, Toni V. Sweeney celebrated her 74th birthday. This month, she’s celebrating the release of her 74rd novel.toni

Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone.   In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books (US) . She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and the paranormal Romance Guild.

Find out more about Toni:

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

Twitter:  @ToniVSweeney

BLURB:

Being a family man can’t keep a smuggler on the straight and narrow.

Sinbad sh’en Singh returns to his former occupation, with help from a loophole in Felida’s treaty…which means the Federation can’t do a thing about it.

The Fed may not be a threat, but wife Andi is. She doesn’t want a smuggler for a husband.

Things get even rockier when two of the pride chiefs offer their daughters as concubines to the pride chief’s heir. It’ll take a great deal of sweet talk to make Andi agree to that!

Then there’s that smuggler who received Sin’s territories, and won’t give them up without a fight…

Overconfident as always, Sin’s sure he can handle it all…except for Andi. Bringing her around will be his biggest challenge.

Domestic bliss may soon be a thing of the past.

EXCERPT:

“I’ve received a message from Salu-Khan,” Murad announced, glancing at the scroll he held.  “He’s eager to become a part of your operation, Andrew—so eager in fact that he’s 4sinbadspride3cover-002requesting permission to join!”

“Grandsire, that’s great!  With Salu-Khan’s participation, we’ll have two-thirds of the Prides behind us.”

“Salu-Khan wants more than a business association, I’m afraid,” Murad went on.  He tossed the scroll onto the desk and looked down at his grandson.

“What do you mean, Grandsire?”

“He has a daughter of breeding age.  He’s requesting a union with our Den through marriage.”

“Doesn’t he know Amir-Kasdan’s bonded?”

“He wants you for his daughter, Andrew.”

It wasn’t respectful to laugh at his grandfather but Sin couldn’t help it.  “Guess he’s out of luck then since I’m already married—“

“—and I’ve sent him my reply, agreeing to the affiliation,” Murad went on, as if he hadn’t spoken.

“B-but I can’t—  Grandsire, I already have a mate!”

“Salu-Khan’s aware of that and accepts the fact that his daughter will be merely a concubine,” Murad went on imperturbably.

“I don’t want a concubine!” Sin exclaimed.  “Besides, Andi wou—“

He broke off quickly.  He’d almost said Andi would never allow it, and that was definitely the wrong thing to say to the Head of the Clan.

“Andrea went through a Felidan marriage ceremony with you, Andrew,” his grandfather reminded him.  “She agreed to follow our customs and laws and Felidan law allows a kh’ta concubines.  Your mate has no say-so in the matter.”

Murad’s tone made it final, the matter settled, but Sin wasn’t about to accept his grandfather’s command so easily.

“What about my say-so?  I say I don’t want another female, either as a wife or a concubine!  I—“

“As you just pointed out, Andrew, we need Salu-Khan’s backing.  In something this important, there can’t be any dissention among the participants.”  Murad was forcing himself to remain calm, since he understood how his grandson felt about his wife, having himself been so in love with his own mate that he’d never thought to take another after she died.  “As Pride Heir, you must obey.  You have to do this.  For the Pride.”

“Forget it!” Sin retorted, turning away and stalking to the window.  From Grandsire’s side of the house, he could see the high cliffs rising above them and the trees trembling in the winter wind.  He looked back at Murad.  “No.”

Just that one word.  No arguments.

Murad sighed again.  “I’m afraid you have to, Andrew.  We can’t afford to insult Salu-Khan’s Clan a second time.”

“Second time?” Sin frowned.  “Other than his obvious important, Grandsire, why does Salu-Khan’s name sound so familiar?”

“His brother was the Pride Chief your mother was bonded to, the one your father killed in order to make her his mate and save the unborn whelp that became you, my beloved grandson!”

“Oh.”  Sin was suitably silenced for a moment.  He stood there without speaking, for once not really knowing what to say, and Murad seized his moment of uncertainty to plunge on.

“The female will arrive here in four days.  On that afternoon, the Ceremony will take place.  You will receive her and make her your concubine.”

Silently, Sin glared at his grandfather, wanting to argue but knowing there was nothing he could say.  Murad sh’en Singh had spoken.  The Pride Heir had to obey.

Ducking his head in a quick bow, he answered, “I’ll obey, Grandfather, but I wish to go on record as protesting this union, and state that I’m definitely entering into it unwillingly!”

Before Murad could reply, he whirled and stalked out.

Oh God!  How am I going to tell Andi?

 BUY LINKS:

Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/cat-romance/sinbad-s-pride-detail

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/704125

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06VWQVV8W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487274934&sr=8-1&keywords=Sinbad’s+Pride+by+Toni+V.+Sweeney

 

 

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Diving into the Deep End of the Webinar Pool!

Last week I dove into the deep end of the webinar pool.After watching webinars on selling, business building, and giving webinars, I  tried my own.  I created the event and sent emails to people I thought might want help with editing. I created slides. I posted on loops and on Facebook. I have been editing for years and figured I could make suggestions  almost anyone could use. My year of Skyping convinced me I really did not want people watching my thought processes and my expressions while I tried to show slides and explain about mistakes I see often and ways to fix those errors.

I showed several slides and offered my wisdom.When I paused to check the comments I found the attendees weren’t seeing the slides. They were seeing my face. Lord help me, I went on and tried to remedy the mistakes. I think I finally did, but I WILL LEARN TO DO IT RIGHT BEFORE THE NEXT WEBINAR!

NEVER ASSUME YOU KNOW HOW TO DO ANYTHING!

ALWAYS CHECK FOR MISTAKES AND CHECK AGAIN AND AGAIN!

https://www.facebook.com/MaryMarvella Edits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Supercharge your Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a wonderful celebration of love and lovers, a day to fall in love! It’s a special time to exchange cards and gits. Chocolate, romantic dinners and flowers are always a fun way to celebrate. Valentine’s Day goes can be traced back to ancient times, when people paid honor to the Roman God of Fertility, the Feast of Lupercalia, celebrated even then on February 14th.

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Here’s two interesting facts:
During the year, 75% of chocolate purchases are made by women. However, the days before Valentine’s Day, 75% of the chocolate purchases are made by men.

February 14th was known to be the first day of the bird mating for the season. This fact brought about the custom of sending valentines.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Leave a comment below.

Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and live in an old house forever needing renovations.

For a sweet Valentine romance, I Love You More “reads like a Hallmark Movie!”

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I’m not a Nightingale. Shush…I’m a Magpie!

These self-discoveries come to haunt us, right?

Bling, Bling!sterling-silver-rectangular-clear-cz-pendant-8-002

Isn’t it said Magpies are attracted to shiny objects.  Well, there I am.  I love sparkles!  My recent obsession has been large, gawdy CZ jewelry.  Thing is most of it is actually beautiful – not like its real counterpart – but sparkly!

I bought a large emerald cut ring, drop earrings to match and a bling watch (Marquise cut fantasia).  Now, I must STOP. My Discover card is screaming.  Contrary to my original opinion, CZs are no longer cheap. Maybe the design has altered. They are very clear and (sparkly) glitter and shine.  By the standards of the Olden Days, they are no longer inexpensive.  The emerald cut ring wasn’t ANYTHING like a diamond price-wise, but I did experience sticker shock expecting below $20. But it is a ROCK.

r382-2-002I’ll be in England visiting my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren in May. My daughter-in-law came clean and admitted to being a Magpie.  I bought a pair of glittering earrings for her. My granddaughter, a budding young Magpie, has a prom for graduation from what is elementary school here.  She’s shopping for her prom dress with grandma.  She’ll get some nice bling, too.

Do you like shiny things? You may be a closet Magpie. And genuine diamonds aren’t the only way to shine.  Bling! Bling!

There are several good on-line marketers:  Most expensive, Berricle—high quality; Mid-range: Bling Jewelry and Palm Beach Jewelry; and very good prices: Dreamland Jewelry.  I now tend to shy away from eBay because you find jewelry from the above on eBay at a markup.

Visit me at http://www.lindanightingale.com – Not for Bling, but for Books. Bling and books go together, don’t they.

Happy Friday before Valentine’s Day.  You may want your honey to buy some bling.

r238-01-2-002Linda

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Keep warm with a quick and easy Crab and Shrimp Bisque Recipe

It’s cold outside, but this delicious soup recipe will warm you and your family up in no time.

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You’ll need:

1 can celery soup
1 can tomato soup
1 can mushroom soup
1 can green pea soup
4 cups milk
1 cup cream (I use light)
1 7 ounce can crabmeat
1 can shrimp

Mix all 4 soups together with milk and simmer. Add crabmeat and shrimp and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add cream and sherry and stir.
Serve with fresh parsley and black pepper.

Do you have a favorite cold weather recipe? Please share in the comments below.

Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and live in an old house forever needing renovations.

Connect with her on Facebook.

 

 

 

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