Saturday, December 14, 2013

MY CHRISTMAS PAST--1949




I was born at the end of the baby bust, so when I was little, for a time, before all those glad-to-be-alive Dad’s arrived home from the war, just to be a kid was special. My cousin and I lived in a pleasant rural Ohio town, which had been home to both our families since before the Depression. Mike’s parents lived just four blocks from me. His parents had a Cadillac, a hand-me-down from his grandparents, who were sufficiently well-to-do to buy a new car every two years. These better fixed in-laws liked to “do things up right.”  At Christmas, this meant hiring a Santa Claus.

Now, I’ve heard more about this Santa since I’ve grown up, but when I was a kid, I actually suspected he just might be the real deal. For one thing, I was quite small the first time I saw him, no more than four.

The night before Christmas I was getting the whole “you better watch out, you better not cry,” bit from my parents. There were canned peas for dinner, and I remember forcing those rubbery pills down, and hoping not to gag.

In those days, children went to bed before their parents—long before. Right after dinner, there was a story, a wash-up, and then straight to bed. Tonight, however, right in the middle of the story, I heard sleigh bells.

My parents wondered aloud "Who can that be?" I wanted to go look out the window, but was told to sit still. Daddy would open the door.

When he did, in came the most perfect Miracle on 34th Street kind of Santa.  He was chubby and had a long white beard—a real one--a round face, a bright red suit, black patent leather belt and tall boots. He was even carrying a sack. My father was grinning in a way which clearly meant I was being snookered, so after I croaked out a “Hello, Santa,” I gamely asked about his reindeer.

“Well, Darlin', they’re up on the roof—and you don’t have a proper chimney, Judy Lee, so just I knocked on the door.” Well, this seemed reasonable, because I knew our chimney ended up inside the scary big coal furnace in the cellar--obviously not a good place for anyone to land. From somewhere outside, I could hear sleigh bells, just every once in a while, as if the reindeer were tossing their heads.

 Suspicion somewhat allayed, I watched him take the seat my mother offered.  Dad picked me up and put me down on Santa’s knee. Santa was authentically cold all over, his clothes, his face, his beard, and he had a good vibe, smelling pleasantly, as men often did in those days, of whiskey. He was a polite, low-key Santa. His “ho-ho-ho” sounded as if he was actually chuckling about some private joke.

He asked me what I wanted most for Christmas, so I told him about the “drink-wet” baby doll I wanted. Outside the door, sleigh bells softly jingled. It was pretty amazing, to be sitting on Santa's knee there beside our lighted Christmas tree, with shiny packages piled beneath.

 Then he said “Merry Christmas, Judy Lee,” and said he’d be back later with my presents. As he left, there was a blast of cold and the sound of bells again. I still wanted to peep out the window, but my Dad caught my hand and said, “Hey, JL! What did you think of that?”

 “Was that really Santa?”

He and my mother looked at each other and tried not to smile.  So, even though “Seeing is believing,” I was left with a strong feeling that they had been trying to fool me. In a good way, of course, the way grown-ups did, pretending because they thought we children expected it.
 Although my Santa had been nice, jolly and convincingly bearded, I hadn’t seen him fly away.  I'd very much wanted to see the reindeer perform this feat, but it was pretty clear that I wasn’t supposed to watch him go. My cousin was even younger than I, so about all I learned from him the next day was that he too had had a visit from “Santa.” I decided this visitor might have been The Real Santa--but probably not. In retrospect, I believe the whole performance pleased my elders as much as it pleased me.  


"God Bless us, Every One..." 



~~Juliet Waldron

Mozart's Wife
Roan Rose
Nightingale
Genesee
Angel's Flight
Hand-me-Down Bride
Red Magic

 

Friday, December 13, 2013

A little bit of me in every book I write


by Killarney Sheffield

There is a little bit of me in every book I write. You’ve heard authors say that many times I’m sure and it is true. For me that is especially true because well, my road to becoming an author was probably pretty different than most. Why? I was a foster child for starters. Back in the 90’s there wasn’t a lot of resources for a foster kid and there was no money for furthering education outside of high school. I wanted to be a horse vet but struggled in school. I was told over and over I needed to apply myself more, the trouble was math, science and spelling were like learning a foreign language. It’s pretty hard to be a vet without good science and math skills, never mind the spelling. To make matters worse I hated school not only because I found the studies difficult but because I was bullied. I spent most of my time hiding in the library or bolting for the exit when the bell rang before the bullies could spot me. After school was my haven, what I waited for every moment of the day, the stables. Horses understood me and I understood them. They were my family, my friends and my comfort. They became even more meaningful to me when I found out I was Dyslexic only a few shorts months before graduation. I suppose years of reading with a flashlight under the covers helped me and disguised many of the symptoms. My dream of being a horse vet was dashed, but I still pursed a career teaching riding lessons, training, showing and shoeing horses. During all that time I wrote little stories and novels for my own enjoyment. One day many years later after my kids were all born and off to school I saw an article in a newspaper. The article on horse slaughter spoke to me and I wrote the editor a rebuttal. The editor phoned me, said he loved the article, he was going to publish it and could I write him a few more? He thought it was well written and we chatted for a bit and he said I should consider writing a book someday. I laughed and told him I had more than a few novels written on my computer, with the aid of spell checker, but didn’t dare send them anywhere. His comment got me thinking though and I got up the courage to send off those novels to a publisher. Well, long story short they started me on the road to being a published author and I have since had 15 titles published. In fact years after they were first released BooksWeLove has offered to re-released them again. The Cracksman’s Kiss, Stand & Deliver Your Heart, To Love A Horseguard and The Courtesan are and will be available right here! And yes there is a little bit of me in each one. In the Cracksman’s Kiss there is a scene where the heroine has a little… shall we say mammary problem. Yes, as embarrassing as it is to admit, I had the same problem with my first child. In Stand & Deliver Your Heart the heroine has a special bond with her horse named Shadow, and I have had the special bond many times over with my equine friends. To Love A Horseguard is really about my love affair with Russia, a place I very much would like to see one day and finally The Courtesan, is about a young Hutterite girl struggling to find her place in the world and her faith. Trust me I’ve been there as I’m sure many of you have. So the next time you hear there is a little bit of every author in each book they write you’ll know by my examples that it is true. Happy Reading and Merry Christmas!
Killarney Sheffield.

You can find me at: http://www.killarneysheffieldromanceauthor.com
My blogs: http://killarneysheffield.blogspot.ca
                 http://meldermanstables.blogspot.ca
Twitter: @authorkillarney
FB: Killarney Sheffield

Thursday, December 12, 2013

ROSES IN WRITING


A TRIBUTE TO ROSES FROM MARGARET TANNER

Housekeeping and tidying up. Not my favourite topic or occupation, unless we are taking about tidying up my garden. In particular my rose garden, which I tend with loving care, because roses truly deserve special treatment. No chore to tidy up here. I banish any weed the moment it rears its ugly head near my “lovelies.”

Roses are my favourite flower. My husband thinks I am obsessed with them.  I always wear rose perfume, Bush Rose, Musk Rose. The Yardley (English company) Rose has a lovely perfume, as sweet and fragrant as its namesake. How many wonderful people have you met who are called Rose, Rosy, Rosemarie, Rosemary?

I have to confess that my garden is full of roses. Hubby hates them with a passion because he thinks they deliberately jump out and stick their prickles into him.

I love the old fashioned roses the best. They may not be quite as colourful as the modern day varieties, but they always have a gorgeous perfume.  Just Joey, a beautiful large bloomed orange rose with a delightful perfume is one of my favourites.  Another favourite is a blood red rose named Oklahoma, the perfume is as heady as wine. My garden has recently acquired a rose called. The Chocolate Rose. I have to say that although the bloom is pretty, it isn’t stunning, but it certainly has a chocolate perfume, and you can take that observation from a chocoholic. If there is one thing I know, it is the smell of chocolate.

It amazes me how often I seem to put a flower in the title of my romance novels, give my characters a floral name or mention flowers, mostly roses, in my stories. It must have been an instinctive thing because I don’t recall actively trying to do this.

One of my published novels was titled The English Rose. It had rather a tragic publishing history, but I did a re-write, and it has now been released by Books We Love as Frontier Belle, but the hero thinks the heroine looks like a fragile English rose and he often calls her a delicate hothouse flower. In my novel, Haunted Hearts, the heroine’s daughter is called Rosie. Daphne is the name of my heroine in A Mortal Sin. I have also written a short story with the title Call Of The Apple Blossom.  

In my historical novel, Lauren’s Dilemma, there is a poignant scene set in a garden and the heroine’s husband, (not the man she loves, but the man who married her to save her from the disgrace of having a baby out of wedlock), hands her a cream coloured rose.

In Savage Possession, the white rose worn by the Highlanders in the Jacobite rebellion is mentioned. Daring Masquerade has scenes set in gardens with lavender and rose bushes mentioned. In Fiery Possession, the hero takes the heroine out into the beautiful rose garden created by his mother.

Can you see a pattern here?
                              
So, there you have it. I wonder if there is such a thing as a roseaholic?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ghost Writing



As someone who sits down daily and tries to plunk out a least a few paragraphs of a work-in-progress, I'm highly annoyed at the publicity and fame many have enjoyed because of the talents of their ghost writer. I'm not sure I understand how there can be any feeling of accomplishment on the part of the so-called author, when the closest they came to creating the novel was verbally relaying information to someone else. But let's face it, you can't live on pride alone.


From the monetary perspective, I think I chose the wrong profession. I should have tried my hand at ghost-writing. According to Wikipedia, although some ghost writers are hired to polish a completed manuscript, most are hired to write the entire novel. Information garnered as I read made me nauseous. It's reported that ghost writers for 'big name authors' contracted by NY publishers receive anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 from the 'author's' advance. At the time the information was compiled, Hilary Clinton's memoirs had not yet been completed, but it was estimated that her ghost writer would receive $500,000 from Hilary's eight million dollar advance. Cough, gasp, vomit! What about her life is memorable enough to warrant eight million dollars when people are starving to death in America???


Barak Obama used a ghost writer to pen his novel, too. It makes me wonder if he is able to sign necessary documents in the oval office, or dose someone do it for him. *lol*

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Christmas Pick Me-Up

After struggling to decide what to get my mother for Christmas year-after-year, I decided to ask her what she needed.  You know by the time someone is over the age of 80, they pretty much have it all.  I was so surprised when she asked me to write her a story..so I did, and Virginia's Miracle was born.  It's been published by a few years, and it's not a very long read, but it certainly made her happy.  Hope you'll find your Christmas Spirit between the covers as she did.


Virginia's Miracle by Ginger Simpson
Buy Link
Womens Fiction
$1.50

Summary:
Virginia Collins fears her life is almost over. The one thing that still brings her joy is spending time with her young grandson, Davey. It's Christmas, and despite trying to view the holiday through a child's anxious eyes, Virginia still feels empty, alone and can't find her spirit. So many loved ones have passed, the yuletide is forever changed...until she receives a special Christmas Eve message.


Excerpt:
Tiredness pulled Virginia's mouth into a huge yawn. Tomorrow would be hectic with everyone there, dinner to prepare-a time to give thanks. It would be a good time to let go of her anger at God, if only she could. She had to restore her faith. for Davey's sake. Somehow!

With her palms pressed together beneath her chin, Virginia repeated the same prayer she chanted nightly since her mother's death.

"Dear Lord, please help me to find forgiveness in my heart and help me understand why things happen the way they do. do. I know you have a plan for everything, and I ask you to watch over my little grandson especially. Keep him safe, and please, please help me to teach him right from wrong. Amen."

Titillating preview by J.C. Kavanagh

WINNER Best Young Adult Book 2016, The Twisted Climb I've been prepping for Autumn book signings and excited to meet new and...