Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Books We Love Insider Blog: The Dreaded Black (Socks) Friday

Books We Love Insider Blog: The Dreaded Black (Socks) Friday: More Fun Than Shopping on "Black Friday!" One Thanksgiving, not too long ago but far, far away from home, I realized I forgot...

The Dreaded Black (Socks) Friday

More Fun Than Shopping on "Black Friday!"
One Thanksgiving, not too long ago but far, far away from home, I realized I forgot to pack socks. A family member suggested I could borrow socks. Well, no. Thanks, anyway, but, um, no.

Socks are important. They're a crucial component of life. I mean, really, without socks, society would break down into violence. We'd be nothing more than savages without socks.

So, I ventured out, looking for socks on Thanksgiving night, the worst possible time to go sock shopping. Because "Black Friday" has now turned into "Deep, Dark, Blacker Then Black Full-On Week Friday," a week long orgy of no holds barred, sometimes violent, shopping free-for-alls.

At Walmart, folks scrabbled, pushed, screamed and raced toward what they perceived as good deals. The sock aisle was relatively barren, yet the over-all ambience of the store was one of menace. Agonized howls rang out through the aisles--not children, but older folks who should know better. Lines were longer than the wait at the driver's license bureau. Menacing glares were exchanged over the last video game available. Eyes were void of hope, yet full of greed. Sam Walton won this round.
It got me thinking about the true meaning of Thanksgiving. It's an American holiday based on how the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Native-Americans for basically saving their lives. And, of course, we know how well that turned out for the Native-Americans. Greeting card companies and big business want us to forget that little tid-bit. From the depths of a wiped out culture rose a Hallmark moment. Thanksgiving now means familial togetherness and love. We get together with our families for one day, get it all over in one fell swoop and move on with our lives.

Yet...it's come around again. Thanks to Corporate America, Thanksgiving's returned to its roots. Once again, it's about violence and survival of the fittest. Weak shoppers will be trammeled over and forgotten. Those with the strongest stamina, pocketbooks and pepper-spray will persevere, no matter who has squatter rights.

I did come away from my Black Friday experience with socks. It took a helluva' long time. While my feet stink less, I feel like a pawn in the Big Plan Of Things. Next Thanksgiving to protest, I'm going to defiantly wear dirty socks. Join me if you will.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Speaking of disorganized chaos, Boundless Book Reviews calls Murder by Massage: "Chaotic, fun and hilarious." It's book #2 in the ongoing Zach and Zora comical mystery series. Collect 'em all!
Avoid those holiday shopping lines, by clicking!

Monday, November 18, 2019

When it's Time by Nancy M Bell

To learn more about Nancy's work click on the cover above.

One of the hardest things of having animals in your life is when it's time to say goodbye. In a perfect world our friends would lay down one day and move over the Rainbow Bridge of their own accord. In reality, this seldom happens. Old age, sickness, accidents often force us to make decisions we'd really rather not. November 8th was just such a day. Max, the horse pictured above, has been with me for the last 8 years. He came to me lame with navicular, which we have managed with shoeing and anti inflammatories. We kept him blanketed far more often than the rest of the horses as the cold and wet tightened his muscles up. The horses were in the barn overnight often solely because it was better for Max, who would lie down in the deep bedding when he wouldn't if left outside.
It became painfully obvious last July that our maintenance measures just weren't enough anymore. I called Moore and Company Veterinary and had x rays done of his left forefoot. They showed what I feared, his navicular bone, which is small crescent moon shaped bone located beneath the bulbs of the heel and just a bit above coffin where the deep flexor tendon runs over it, was mostly disintegrated and tendon was frayed. In some less severe cases a vet can perform a nervectomy which basically removes all feeling in the foot. However, Max was a poor candidate for this due to his advanced age of 25 years and the degree of damage in his foot.
After much discussion with two Board Licensed Equine Veterinary surgeons the decision was made to give Max the summer and manage his pain with medicine. It is only a short term solution at this point as the amount of medicine needed to mitigate the condition is also detrimental to his system.

For those of you not horsey, see the image below to give you an idea of the structure of a horse's lower leg and hoof. Photo credit Mid-South Horse Review

As fall rolled around I was faced with the fact I needed to make a decision that was in Max's best interest. Even though my head knew the facts and that this was the best possible outcome, my heart didn't want to listen.
I planned the day to be as stressfree as possible. The vet came to the farm, I called Just Passing which is a company that deals entirely with the respectful removal of dead horses. The only other option to me was to call Alberta Processors which is a company the will come and pick up dead livestock where the body is scooped up and dumped into the back of a high sided truck bed along with dead cows, pigs and heaven only knows what else. Just Passing moves the body as carefully as possible and it goes into a clean stock trailer bedded with clean shavings. I held Max while they sedated him slightly, and then the vet infused the Euthanol. I stroked Max's face and he gave two deep breaths and gracefully and slowly laid down. He was gone before his head lay on the grass. The vet confirmed he was on his way to the Rainbow Bridge and we waited a full fifteen minutes. Emily, his pasture mate of 8 years stood at the fence the whole time whinnying to him, she watched while he went down and then was put in the trailer. Once the trailer left she whinnied twice more and then wandered off. She was depressed for a few days and wanted more attention than usual. Horses grieve in their own way, this has been documented in wild horse herds. When a herd member dies the herd will form a circle around the fallen member and stand that way for long time. Then at some hidden signal they will move off together after touching the dead horse with their noses, each in turn.

I hate having to make the decision to steal the light from any animals eyes, but often it is the kindest thing we can do for them. I would never let any of my animals transition without me being there unless it was physically impossible. It is never a nice thing, but it is the final gift we can give them, to be there for them because they trust us and aren't afraid of strange surroundings or humans. I fight with the feeling that I'm betraying that trust each time. My head over rules my heart with the knowledge that Max was getting more and more unable to move around and I didn't want to come out one day and find him down and unable to get up, or with a broken leg or a catastrophically blown tendon. All things I discussed with the bet.

It sucks when it's time. There is another star in the sky now, shining from the Rainbow Bridge where Max will be waiting for me along with all my other loved creatures when it's my time.

Sorry to be so depressing, writing about things that touch us deeply is cathartic and it is a tribute to those we have lost.

Be well, be happy.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Wanderings - Janet Lane Walters #BWLAuthor , #MFRWAuthor #Writing #Reviews

Forgotten Dreams (Moonchild Book 5)

Learning new things can be a real hard and interesting challenge. Lately I’ve been trying to master Book Bub. I’m not sure I have but lately I’ve received a number of new followers. I invested a little bit of money and have new followers every day. I’m going ot do the same for December, I think. I keep trying to recommend books but haven’t done well at that. The problem is time. I have several posts saved to do different things there. I’m not sure what will come of this.

I would rather be writing. I even have a tee shirt that says that and I wear it frequently, especially when something takes me away from my chair and clipboard. As it’s almost Thanksgiving, I will say I’m thankful for having a great publisher and a lot of co-writers whose books I enjoy. There’s also the aide who comes in five morings a week to get my invalid husband ready for be. There’smy granddaughter who helps around the house, my six other grandchildren who I don’t see as often as I would like. My children are part of this.

I’ve also been doing some reviews. They are not wonderful but I never give lower than a four. I think I’ve done what I’ve read for October  and September. I’m working on November as I’ve been reading them.

Now if I could just master all the promotional things out there, I would be pleased.

I’m also thankful for Katherine Miller who starred in my first ebook. Hard to believe that was about 20 years ago.

Murder and Mint Tea (Mrs. Miller Mysteries Book 1)

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Old money, by J.C. Kavanagh

 Short-listed for Best Young Adult Book 2018, The Word Guild
Short-listed for Best Young Adult Book 2018, The Word Guild
Money. Who doesn't love it... want it.... need it? How about old money? I don't mean 'old' as in family wealth passed from generation to generation. I mean old money. 100-years-old money.

My Irish dad (RIP), encouraged me to save coins that were minted for specific events, ie the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Or Canada's 100-year celebration of Confederation in 1967. He kindly gave me some old coins before he passed and I have many of them to this day.

One of them is a Canadian 50-cent silver coin, minted in 1872. One side has laurel-type wreaths and the other is the bust of Queen Victoria. The words "VICTORIA DEI  GRATIA REGINA" are captioned above the Queen's bust, and "NEWFOUNDLAND" is stamped at the bottom. This coin was minted after Canada's Confederation in 1867 but well before Newfoundland embraced the concept of Canada as a unified country. (It wasn't until 1949 that Newfoundland officially became a province of Canada.)

And what is the value of this old money? According to the website CoinsandCanada.com, it's worth a measly $10. Canadian. That's about $3 American. Well, not really, but it's not much. If the coin were in 'mint' condition, it would be worth approximately $1,000. My coin is in very poor condition, thus the $10 value.

My dad also gave me a British five-shilling (one Crown) cupro-nickel coin, minted in 1965. (According to Wikipedia, cupro-nickel (CuNi) is an alloy of copper that contains nickel. It may also contain other elements such as iron and manganese.) The five-shilling coin commemorates the death of Sir Winston Churchill. Dad told me to hold on to the coin, as it would surely increase in value.

There were nearly 19 million of these coins minted. Which is why the coin is valued at.... five shillings. 25 pence. Yah, that's about 43 cents Canadian.

So I continued checking out the CoinsandCanada.com website for more values. I have a ziploc-bag encasing a 1967 Centennial Confederation $1 bill. Surely, I'm thinking, that must be worth something.

Maybe not. My lovely dollar bill is worth perhaps $4 Canadian. That money tree is not within grasp at all.

One last check on the site. I have a 1976 Canadian Olympic $100 commemorative coin. The city of Montreal, Quebec played host that year to more than 6,000 athletes representing 92 countries. The coin is 14-karat gold and the Bank of Canada minted 650,000.

It's in excellent condition, in the original commemorative holder, never opened, and since 1976, encased in a trusty ziploc bag. The value? $430. NOW we're talking.

I'm not sure what I'll do with these coins. Sell them, or bestow them to my children or grandchildren? But really, who wants old money these days?

J.C. Kavanagh
The Twisted Climb - Darkness Descends (Book 2)
voted BEST Young Adult Book 2018, Critters Readers Poll and Best YA Book FINALIST at The Word Guild, Canada
The Twisted Climb,
voted BEST Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers Poll
Novels for teens, young adults and adults young at heart
Email: author.j.c.kavanagh@gmail.com
Twitter @JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)

Friday, November 15, 2019

What is Solastalgia and How is it Affecting our Children?

We see headlines like these every day:

"One million species threatened with extinction because of humans"
"250,000 deaths a year from climate change is a 'conservative estimate,' research says"
"CO2 levels at highest for 3 million years"

Unsurprisingly, such reports cause anxiety, sometimes called “eco-anxiety” or “climate-anxiety.” Technically called Solastalgia, it is defined as “chronic fear of environmental doom.” While not yet listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual,) the Bible of mental disorders used by psychologists, it is never the less a real thing.

In a 2017 report by the American Psychological Association, the source of the stress is defined as “watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change…and worrying about the future for oneself, children, and later generations.” It adds that some people “are deeply affected by feelings of loss, helplessness and frustration.”

According to a Yale survey conducted in December 2018, 70% of Americans are "worried" about climate change, 29% are "very worried" and 51% feel "helpless."

Solastalgia is especially prominent in young adults. Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager, is a well-known example. Mary Jane Rust, a British eco-psychologist states “that (as some of my younger clients have said), ‘We’re completely screwed’. I suspect it might be part of the reason for binge-drinking epidemics, and other addictions, for example. There is a general feeling that the future is so uncertain and it’s extremely hard to live with.”

Symptoms of Solastalgia include panic attacks, deep depression, lack of sleep, palpitations and the triggering of underlying mental illnesses.  One survey in the U.K. showed that half of children between the ages of seven and 11 worry about climate change. Other reports suggest kids are more worried about climate change than their own homework.

In other words, children nowadays are feeling deep hopelessness and frustration. This is exhibited in beliefs like “we are all going to die,” “what’s the point of living,” and the rise of anti-natalism—the refusal to have children. Some children even question their parents: “Why did you have me?”

It is hard for adults to understand the stress that this unremitting stream of apocalyptic narratives have on children’s health. Before climate change, most children dealt with fears which had solutions. The fear of total extinction was never on the horizon. Today, this anxiety pervades their lives.


Mohan Ashtakala is the author of "The Yoga Zapper," a fantasy, and "Karma Nation," a literary

romance, published by Books We Love.. Check him out at www.mohanashtakala.com and at 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

It's a dog's life...by Sheila Claydon

In my When Paths Meet series two of my characters are dogs. In book 1 it is Blue, an old Labrador and in books 2 and 3 it is Cora who grows from a boisterous puppy to a well trained dog. They are both integral to the stories although the books are not about animals, and now my love of dogs has come home to roost!

I never thought I would end up as a dog whisperer, but that's what I am. After a long career in health and a busy retirement where I have juggled writing 11 books with helping care for my grandchildren, it's now all about dogs!

None of this is intentional. We have always had dogs and now our furry family member is Elfie, a 4 year old poodle/cavalier cross. She is super bright and friendly and is the reason we keep walking and making like-minded friends, and that is how things have escalated.  Looking after our daughter's very deaf cavalier, Peppa, was a given when she was away, but then we made an agreement with a dog-walking friend that we would care for her wire-haired fox terrier, Ginny, whenever she needed us to. This meant that we frequently had 3 dogs at the same time. Then a fourth dog, a black Labrador  joined us. This was Archie. He was old and creaky but because one of his owners was very ill we had him on and off for weeks at a time. So now we were up to 4 dogs on a very regular basis. It's a good job we live right opposite open country that leads straight down to miles of sandy beach where dogs can run off lead because the thought of managing 4 dogs on leads is not my idea of fun,. Fortunately all our canine guests are very obedient if only because they are all very keen on biscuit rewards!

For a while all was well but then, while we were still looking after him, Archie became very ill and after an operation and a spell in the veterinary hospital, he died. It was devastating to us and to his owner who, having only just lost her husband, was visiting her daughter in Australia, so all the decisions about his care had to be made by phone and text. Dogs are so brave. I spent 2 nights sleeping on the couch beside him when he could no longer walk and he still wagged his tail when I spoke to him, or licked my hand.

With any pet you have to be prepared to love them and lose them, however,  and now, although we miss Archie,  a new recruit has joined our ever growing canine collection. This is Paisley, another cavalier/poodle cross, 13 weeks old and being trained as a school dog to work with children with Autism. She belongs to our daughter who is a specialist in autism practice but as we will often be caring for her we are having the training too. It will take a year to cover everything but, as you can see from the picture, the training is working. At 13 weeks old Paisley already knows to sit for a treat and wait her turn. And although he died so soon after she joined the family, Archie did meet Paisley, so the circle is complete.

Also, as a complete coincidence, or was in foresight, in one of the books a dog is important to an autistic child. Life can be stranger than fiction but just occasionally fiction gets there first!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Photo Shoot

Recently I had the delightful experience of visiting my local photographer Ana for a photo shoot at her studio for some new author photos.  

First stop: my favorite hair dresser Joanna's Glamorama for a styling.  Then, cross the street to Ana. (I love small town life in Vermont!) 

Ana also runs Anastasia's Closet a wonderfully curated vintage clothing store, so our session became a great dress up afternoon as well.  What fun!

First, Ana helped me get comfortable by channeling my inner Mary Poppins...

Then we got started on head shots. Only afterward did I realize that the dominant colors of both clothing and backgrounds were red, white and blue...fitting for an author of American historical novels, isn't it?

Then came the job of choosing among many expressions. For that I enlisted my readers on Facebook.  I was delighted with the result...everyone had an opinion, it seemed! Can you guess which of these was the favorite for my new official photo?

The reds....

 The Whites...

 The Blues...

Feel free to cast your own vote!

The winner.............

This one!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Challenges of Updating My Novel for a Second Edition

                                Click this link for author, book and purchase information

This month BWL published a new edition of my first novel, Deadly Fall. BWL chose to title the book, A Deadly Fall, in part to distinguish the new release from the original. I have long wanted to update Deadly Fall, to bring the time frame in line with the sequel, Ten Days in Summer. Deadly Fall was set in 2004. Due to the years it took me to find BWL, Ten Days in Summer wasn’t published until 2017. I asked BWL publisher Jude Pittman if I should make the sequel’s story contemporary and Paula, my protagonist, thirteen years older? Or set the sequel in 2005, making it almost historical? Jude advised me to set Ten Days in Summer in 2017, but pretend it was taking place ten months after the original Deadly Fall.

“No one will notice,” she said.

Jude was right. Nobody who has read both books has questioned me about Paula and the world’s peculiar aging. I wish I could be lucky enough to age like Paula. 

For the original Deadly Fall, I was specific about the story year and referred to events of the day, such as the Iraqi hostage crisis and the jail sentencing of household guru, Martha Stewart. I even kept my local newspapers to make sure the story weather matched that of my real-life story setting, Calgary, Alberta. This was a mistake, I realized later, since Calgary enjoyed an unusual period of mild weather those September weeks in 2004. Calgary’s typical fall swings between warm and freezing, sunshine and snow, would have added interest to the story.

Since I didn’t want to radically change the second edition, I kept the mild weather from the original and found that it fit a story theme. A Deadly Fall ends with a forecast of a radical weather change, which symbolizes the changes to Paula’s life ahead as a result of the murder. I had to update the news references for the 2016 story, but tried to keep them more general. Syrian refuges arrived in Canada that summer, which they did in other years. 

As I worked through my revision of 2004 Deadly Fall, I realized how much the world changed in those twelve years. Paula, like me, was a little old-fashioned regarding modern technology. But in 2016, her answering machine with a tape-recorded message had to go or she’d be totally out of date. She did keep her land line phone and daily newspaper delivery, although the Calgary newspaper she receives dropped its Sunday edition sometime between 2004 and 2016. This newspaper also abandoned its ‘Community' section, but its re branded ‘You’ section works for Felix, a secondary character who writes a weekly column.

In 2016, the television program Cheers didn't appear in afternoon reruns. I changed this to Modern Family. The Canadian penny disappeared from monetary circulation. Paula no longer has a flip-open cell phone. She watches Blu-rays and Isabelle, a secondary character, works in a music store, not a video store.

I had to change numerous cultural and personal references for Paula, who is now born twelve years later than she was in the original book. Paula used to be a baby boomer, with typical attitudes of a child of the sixties. Now she’s born in 1964, past the boomer wave, with different memories of music and world events that shaped her life. 

The new release also allowed me to correct small mistakes that slipped past my first publisher’s proof-reader. Missing words like ‘a’ or ‘the’ and absent punctuation marks; the word pate that should have been plate and reign vs rein.

But my most critical editing task was fixing formatting errors caused by converting the PDF file of the published Deadly Fall to a workable WORD document. The conversion resulted in some odd fonts. Acronyms like TV, DVD, ID, BC and SUV appeared in lower case. Hyphenated words at the end of a line left out the hyphen. The WORD document omitted scene breaks and italics and often broke lines mid-sentence, or didn’t start a line of dialogue on a new line. 

I poured through the document with eagle eyes and had my husband do a final proof-read. After he caught my archaic penny reference, I had my character flip a quarter instead. Between us, I hope we caught everything and helped BWL produce a better book for new readers to my Paula Savard mystery series.   


Monday, November 11, 2019

Once Again, Authors Should Thank the British by Karla Stover

Wynters Way            Murder, When One Isn't Enough    

I'm not sure that "Spotters" are as popular in my neck of the woods as they seem to be elsewhere. Our weather is innocuous enough to pretty much eliminate storm spotting, and we don't have the types of tornadoes that are so beloved on YouTube. Tacoma came into existence thanks to the Northern Pacific Railroad, but I've never seem anyone trainspotting. I used to see people watching planes come and go at Joint Base Lewis McChord, the nearby military base, but the threat of terrorism seems to have put paid to that activity, and besides, my husband says its illegal. Also, back in the day, people would sit at the border of SeaTac Airport to watch planes, but I haven't been there, lately and can't give an update. Wikipedia calls a person who enjoys watching activity on canals in the United Kingdom a gongoozler. Apparently, they "harbor an interest in canals and canal life, but do not actively participate." There are 18,241 canals in the United States but I've never heard of anyone watching them. But road geeks, aka Roads Scholars, 😁 like roads less travel and regularly take road trips. All this watching/spotting is by way of introducing the Cloud Appreciation Society, cloud spotters, as it were.

A British author named Gavinj Pretor-Pinney founded the society in 2005, and it has approximately forty-six thousand members in one hundred and twenty different countries. Their aim is to "foster understanding and appreciation of clouds." The society's homepage, cloudappreciationsociety.org has a gallery of photographs submitted from all over the world. Also, in 2005, Yahoo named the society the most weird and wonderful find on the internet." (I couldn't find Yahoo's list).
For authors and readers, how many books can there be that don't mention clouds? Whatever the weather--sunny, stormy, windy, etc. they are almost always part of the written text. TheAtlantic.com calls clouds "the most useful metaphor of all time." because they can shape-shift to meet any situation.

Joni Mitchell must have agreed when she sang about clouds getting in her way and going on to say:

"I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's cloud's illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all."

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Describe it!

Find my books at Books We Love

As a writer, it’s my job to use description well so my readers can see the world I’m creating and feel as if they actually know the characters as people next door, from work, or co-riders on the subway. There are millions of words for describing the taste, smell, feel, look and sound of everything and it really shouldn’t be a problem. Right?

Last week, I asked my niece for her mom’s chicken tetrazzini recipe. I love it and wanted to make it for my family. One of the ingredients is cooking sherry and it’s not something I keep on hand. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever used it in a recipe. So off to the store I go. After wandering the aisles looking in what I thought were the obvious places, I stopped a clerk.

“Can you tell me where the cooking sherry is?”

He frowned, then said, “Describe it.”

Huh? “It’s sherry…that you cook with.”

He had no idea but suggested I go to the front of the store to customer service.

Again I asked, “Can you tell me where the cooking sherry is?” Now mind you, this is a major grocery store chain; not a small back woods convenience store.

The man behind the counter checked his computer then said… “Describe it.”

You would think the name was description enough, but doing better this time, I said, “It’s liquid and comes in a bottle.” Thinking that could be probably 30% of the store contents, I added, “It’s sherry you use for cooking. You could probably drink it but it doesn’t have alcohol in it.” (Misconception on my part, as it’s 17% alcohol by content yet it’s not in the liquor department.)

He said it might be in aisle 3 so we headed that way. As he was perusing the shelves, I pulled out my phone and texted my niece, asking her where the cooking sherry was located. (I’m in Kansas and she’s  across the country in New York, but I figured … well, I’m not sure but the odds were she knew as much as my store clerks as she had used it before.) Just as she answered the clerk came from the aisle next to where I was standing with a bottle of cooking sherry.

I’m not sure there’s a morale to this story unless it’s to have someone else do your grocery shopping because in the time I spent wandering the aisles, I picked up several food items that looked good but I didn’t really need. All this for 4 tablespoons of cooking sherry.


Describing characters in my novel “An Interlude” was easier because Peter and CJ were so real to me. Stuffy, uptight New York businessman Peter didn’t like his need for southern bred, New Orleans contractor CJ, but she was in charge of the restoration of his great-aunt’s house and he would put up with her. Except that meant being around her on a daily basis and he soon began to feel the pull of what could only be bayou magic.

Grab a copy of “An Interlude”, as ebook or in print at my favorite publisher, Books We Love. http://bookswelove.net/authors/baldwin-barbara-romance/

Visit my website for more great reading with contemporary, historical and time travel romantic stories. http://www.authorsden.com/barbarajbaldwin

Thanks for reading,

Friday, November 8, 2019

Romantic expressions - part 2 by J. S. Marlo

Like I said last month, I'm fascinated by expressions & idioms. In my October blog, I covered some criminal expressions, but since I write romantic suspense, not just suspense, there's also a romantic side to my stories.
So, here are some expressions about love and romance, their meanings, and their origins:

- To fall head over heels in love (late 1700s): to fall deeply and completely in love. "Heels over head" used to describe a bad fall, but then in the late 1700s,  it changed to "Head over heels" to describe falling in love.

- Sugar Daddy (early 1900s): a rich older man who lavishes gifts on a young woman in return for her company or sexual favors. In 1908, Adolph Spreckels, heir to the Spreckel's sugar fortune, married a woman who was 24 years younger than him. She called him "Sugar Daddy".

-  On the rocks (late 1800s): a relationship experiencing problems. It was originally used for ships which ran aground on rocks and broke apart. Since the late 1800s it has been used figuratively for other disasters or problems.
- The course of true love never did run smooth (1598): people in love often have to overcome difficulties in order to be with each other. It was first used by William Shakespeare in his play "A Midsummer Night's Dream".
people in love often have to overcome difficulties in order to be with each other (Theidioms.com)
- No love lost (1800s): there is a mutual dislike between two people. It originated in the 1500s where it meant extreme love or extreme hate. Then in 1800s, it began to signify hate exclusively.

- Labour of love: a task done for the pleasure of doing it, not for gains or reward. It originated in the Bible.

- Pop the question (1826): ask someone to marry you. It has been used since 1725, but with the meaning of asking something important. The specific sense of proposing marriage has been used since 1826.

- Kiss and make up (mid 1900s): become reconciled. In the mid 1900s, it replaced the expression "kiss and be friends", which had been used since the 1400s.

- Wear one's heart on one's sleeve (1604): make one's feelings apparent. It was first recorded in Shakespeare's play "Othello".

- Marry in haste, repent at leisure (1693):  those who rush impetuously into marriage may spend a long time regretting it. First originated in print in "The Old Batchelour" by William Congreve.
- Get hitched (1600s): get married. It was initially used in 1500s to describe tying horses to wagons. Then in 1600s, it started being used to describe two people getting married.

- Cupboard love (mid 1700s): affection given in order to gain a reward. It derives from the way a cat shows superficial love for a person who feeds it, or for the cupboard that holds its food.

- Hell has no fury like a woman scorned (1697): a betrayed woman is more furious than anything  hell can devise. The English playwright and poet William Congreve first wrote these words in his play "The Mourning Bride".

Time to go back to writing, and maybe use one or two expressions.

Happy reading!