Saturday, May 28, 2022

Romance in Bloom--The Art of Perfuming By Connie Vines #The Art Of Perfuming, #BWL Insider Blog, #Gumbo Ya, Ya, #Cajun Romance

 Romance in Bloom

Fragrance can transform your entire mood. 

And when the mood you want to conjure up is romance, a whiff of the right scent gets you there faster than a binge session with your favorite romance movies. 🎥

From spicy, sensual accords to rose-based floral diaries, I’ve updated rounded 5 of the best fragrances to wear to Announce Spring—or whenever you won't feel like you're living in a fairy-tale! 🏰

Perfumes, like wines, are categorized by notes. As many of my readers know, I was a fragrance consultant at a Perfumery. I love to share my acquired ‘secrets’ in blog posts and novels.

 *Remember, perfumes are a personal preference, and all fragrances lingering scent (bottom note) vary by a person’s PH Level.

Now let the fun begin!

1. Ralph Lauren's ROMANCE

Designed to hit all the feelings associated with falling in deep L-O-V-E, a spritz of this classic and light romantic fragrance treats you to notes like white violet, patchouli, musk, rose, and marigold.

2. Tom Ford’s infamous BLACK ORCHID Fragrance has become a cult icon in the beauty industry.

It is recognizable from just one spritz, but it's also one of the most compliment-inducing smells I've ever come across. Smells like: Warm incense spices, creamy vanilla, and heady patchouli.

3. Lancôme's TRESOR

The diamond-shaped bottle is one of the most popular fragrances out there. The brand evoked the radiance and warmth of love using floral and fruity notes like rose, lilac, peach, and apricot.

4. YSL’s BLACK OPIUM (one of my personal favorites) The fragrance is: Initially sweet with punchy notes of vanilla and coffee but dries down to a musky white floral base.

The creamy notes of coffee and vanilla give a non-sickly sweetness that develops into a dry white floral scent, after which you get the base notes of musk and patchouli. It's unique and oh-so moreish; this one will 100% become the most reached-for in your perfume collection.

5. Jo Malone London's LIME BASIL & MANDARIN COLOGNE. Smells like: Long summer days.

This fresh and zesty scent will have you dreaming of warm summer days with every spritz. Juicy notes of lime and mandarin are balanced with earthy basil and white thyme.

Like so many BWL authors and our readers, I love their gardens!

While my garden is no longer producing the lush harvest of fruits and vegetables of my two son’s elementary school years. I still maintain a PERFUMED GARDEN.

My Perfumed Garden is small because the scent can be overwhelming—robust scents. I try to intersperse my fragrant garden plants with scentless plants that complement their appearance over time.  

Lilacs have a strong scent, but only in late Spring. Therefore, Jasmine is a vine and a plant I utilize where ever possible. And, of course, roses🌹 and herbs.

The garden brings peace to my life, nourishes my soul, and inspires my creative spirit.

This clip has New Orleans Music: 🎤🎹🎵

How do I keep the Romance in Bloom in my stories?

Gumbo Ya Ya—an Anthology for Women who like Cajun Romance, features Persia, a New Orleans perfumer, and Cooper T., a breeder of the Catahoula Leopard Dog and Westminster Dog Show favorite handler in “The Love Potion.”

You will discover that the art of perfuming creates complications for this no-longer-together-couple. But love is, and a happily-ever-after is definitely in the air!

Enjoy the fragrances of Spring and Summer....and the latest releases from BWL Publishing, too!

Happy Reading, everyone,


*copyrights of photos and videos have been granted to the author by Canva.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Imagination, science fact, science fiction, ancient history, and fantasy – part 2 - by Vijaya Schartz


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“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clarke

Last month, we covered the mythology of Asia as a source of inspiration, and Indian mythology that could be interpreted as advanced technology. But this is not unique to that part of the world.

In the Norse legends, Odin possessed two magical raven who flew over the world and showed him everything that happened in real time. These black birds often represented inside a clear globe would now be called “camera drones.” There is mention of a rainbow bridge, which, according to Albert Einstein, could have been a wormhole (or Rosen bridge). Also, Thor, God of Thunder, did have the power to harness lightning and thunder and used them as a weapon.

Similarly, in Greece, Zeus wielded weapons of lightning and thunder capable of great destruction… not unlike our war missiles.

The god Apollo flew north each year in a golden chariot… in other words a shiny metal craft.

The Anunnaki (meaning: they who from the heavens came) claimed to have come to Earth to harvest gold, a commodity they needed to save their own planet. In the process, they genetically improved, educated, and enslaved humans to provide a labor force to work and mine the gold for them. In doing so, they may have started the Sumerian civilization.

The Egyptian pharaohs claimed to be descended from the gods who came from Orion in barges. They were embalmed to make the trip back. The pyramids are aligned on Orion’s belt.

Ezekiel - St. Augustine Church - Paris France
The Old Testament says Ezekiel saw a chariot coming down to Earth with wheels turning inside wheels… not unlike the modern representations of UFOs.

Jacob witnessed angels climbing a ladder into a luminous craft.

And the Book of Enoch, one of the oldest manuscripts banned from the bible, describes in simple words his trip into space with angels, aboard a spacecraft, where he saw the Earth from space, then went to another planet and studied in their company. The elaborate details of his trip make a lot of sense to a modern mind familiar with space travel, but couldn’t have been fabricated by someone who didn’t understand advanced technology. Yet, this witness account was penned millennia ago.

This happened all over the world. In the Americas, many Native American tribes relate that sky people came as teachers (Kachinas) to educate their ancestors. The Thunderbird can also be interpreted as a vehicle transporting sky people.

The Incas, the Mayas, the Aztec, all had similar stories, about beings coming down in crafts from the Pleiades, sometimes demanding blood sacrifices, and strongly influencing their culture.

Several African tribes also spoke for centuries about being visited by space travelers from the Sirius II system. No one knew Sirius II existed until quite recently, as it is hidden by Sirius I.

So, you see, one doesn’t have to go far to find inspiration about science fiction stories. Space travel and alien visitation are old recurring themes even on our little planet.

This month, Congress reviewed undeniable footage of UAP (Unexplained Aerial Phenomena) taken by the US military, to discuss the implications for National Security.

Soon we will explore space on our own, search for new planets and encounter new civilizations, some more advanced, and others in infancy, and we, too, will become the powerful beings who encourage the pursuit of knowledge and accidentally start new myths and new religions… like in the Star Trek movie, where Captain Kirk inadvertently starts a new cult when the natives witness the Enterprise rising from the depths of the ocean and taking flight.

In the meantime, you can dream and imagine other worlds by reading science fiction, my favorite genre.

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 Happy Reading!

Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Ancient Celts--Tricia McGill

Find all my books here on my BWL Author page

While searching around during research for an entirely different subject I stumbled upon some notes I took long ago on the Celts whose tribal societies lived throughout Europe centuries before the birth of Christ. Often described by Ancient Greek and Roman writers as ferocious warriors there was certainly more to these people than warfare. Farmers, miners, seafarers and traders, they produced amazing works of art and jewellery. Their bards would recite many tales of their gods and heroes at their resplendent feasts. 

By the 1st century BC, the Romans controlled most of Gaul but under pressure from tribes to their north the Celtic Helvetii tribe attempted to migrate out of Switzerland. Confronted by Ceasar’s forces some Celts rebelled under the leadership of Vercingetorix. Julius Caesar, now the governor or Gaul, and known for his speed and decisiveness in battle had six Roman legions under his control and saw a perfect chance to gain great glory.

The ancient Greek writer Strabo said the Celts had little on their side in a fight except strength and courage, but were easily outwitted. The Celts were no match for the disciplined Roman army and especially strategic generals such as Caesar.

It seems that Celtic warriors liked to make a tremendous noise on the battlefields, beating their wooden shields while yelling to intimidate their enemies. They also favoured a trumpet called a carnyx which consisted of a 12-foot-long thin bronze tube, bent at right angles at both ends. The lower end terminated in a mouthpiece, and the upper end flared out into a bell which was most often decorated to look like the head of a wild boar. Historians believe it likely had a tongue which would flap up and down thus increasing the noise produced by it. 

The religion of the Celts remains somewhat a mystery. They did worship both gods and goddesses and we know that their religion was based on nature. They rarely built stone temples, instead visited shrines set in remote places, such as clearings in woods, rivers and springs, or near lakes to worship their gods and to make offerings. Celts saw water as a transition between this world and the next. In the 1st century BC Celts in parts of Wales threw weapons, chariot and horse harness as well as certain tools into water as offerings to their gods. Perhaps they saw this as a way to seek protection against the Roman armies or were giving the gods their spoils of war.

Celts lived on farms in small villages. In the 5th and 6th centuries BC leaders in different parts of Europe built vast hill forts. Later they often lived in a fortified town while in Scotland they built defensive stone towers. From the most humble to the wealthiest their burials took very careful preparation and is testimony to the belief in life after death. Bronze funerary carts found in some Celtic graves show a goddess directing the procession to lead a soul of the deceased person into the next life. Some classical writers and Irish poets also recorded their ideas of an afterlife, which included the concept of a soul passing from one body to another or of the soul continuing to control a person’s body after death. They might enjoy a land of peace and harmony after death, or warriors could carry on enjoying the combat they loved through life on earth.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Romance Novel 'Snobbery'?


Romance Novel 'Snobbery'? 

In the past, I’ve had comments from two different acquaintances that have made me think. Here is the gist of the conversations.

First conversation:-

Her (with a smirk on her face): Please tell me you don’t write for Mills and Boon.

Me: No, not now, but I wouldn’t mind being published by them again.

Her (with mouth dropping open): Why? Their novels are rubbish.

Me: How long is it since you read one?

Her: I haven’t read any. I wouldn’t be seen dead reading one of that bodice-ripper kind of book.

Second conversation (on the phone with someone I hadn’t seen for several years):-

Her: So what have you been doing with yourself?

Me: Actually I’ve been writing novels.

Her: Really? Have you had anything published?”

Me: Yes, over a dozen in the past ten years.

Her: Oh, well done. What are they about?”

Me: They’re romances.

Silence, then Her: Oh, sorry, I never read romances. They’re so predictable, happy ever after and all that.

I’ve paraphrased these conversations, but you get the idea.

The first conversation made me realise the stereotypical image of romance novels has persisted, at least for my generation, for 30+ years. The “bodice-rippers” were the hallmark of Mills and Boon/Harlequin in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and, in my opinion, gave romance novels a bad rap. They had archetypal characters and contrived plots, usually involving a virginal heroine who was ‘rescued’ by a alpha hero, and often contained a barely disguised rape scene. On the whole, this kind of novel has gone ‘out of fashion’ (with a few notable exceptions which have dominated the best-seller lists!). However, a kind of stigma still remains.

The second conversation made me wonder about the word ‘predictable’. Yes, romances have, if not a ‘Happy Ever After’ ending, then at least a ‘Happy’ ending where the hero and heroine overcome the obstacles in the path to reunite. Aren’t thrillers, detective stories, and mysteries equally predictable? The goodies will triumph, the baddies will receive their deserved punishment, and the crime or mystery will be solved. What’s the difference? Why are romance novels considered predictable, while other genres aren’t?

And why are romance novels considered by some to be the ‘lowest form of literature’? Why do people want to disassociate themselves from reading romance novels? I’ve had a few reviews which start, “I don’t usually read romances but …” as if that is somehow praiseworthy. It seems to be okay to say you read thrillers or mysteries, but not the ‘done thing’ to admit to reading romances, even though thousands (millions?) of women obviously do!

Have you come across this kind of ‘literary snobbishness’ and, if so, what’s your response?

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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Putting a Puzzle Together VS Mystery Writing by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

My daughter and son-in-law gave me a one-thousand piece puzzle. It has been years since I’ve put a puzzle together and I thought it would be fun. However, as soon as I dumped out the pieces on the table I realized that putting the puzzle together would be much like me writing a mystery novel.
     First, the big pile of pieces is like the big mishmash of ideas, clues, scenes, characters, and settings that make up the notes I have for my mystery. Before I can start the puzzle I have to turn all the pieces upright so I can see their colour, just as I have to sort through my notes when I start my novel. I have to decide where in the story my book begins much like I have to decide how to start my puzzle. I can outline my novel as some writers do or I can jump in and start writing. With the puzzle, I can find all the outer edge pieces and put them together or pick scenes of the picture and find the colours to match.
     I decide to start with outer edge and I sift through the pile to find them. I return the rest to the box. As I work on the edge I have to go back through the box to find edge pieces I missed, just like I have to go through my manuscript and find where I have missed adding some important information or missed putting in a misdirection.
     Because of the way they are cut, it is hard to decide if a piece is part of the outside edge or if it is a regular piece. Just like writing, is that a clue or a red herring?
     With the puzzle I know at the beginning what the end result will be because of the picture on the box. Sometimes when I start my mystery, I know the ending, however sometimes the characters say or do something that I hadn’t planned on and I am left trying to figure out how to get them out of a situation or how to diffuse something they have said.
     I learned that there are various names for the parts of a puzzle piece: loops and sockets; knobs and holes; tabs and slots; keys and locks; even outies or innies. Sometimes it is frustrating to try and get knobs to fit into the holes. The colour looks the same only the tab doesn’t fit correctly into the slot. Or the pieces lock perfectly but there is a slight difference in colour. If one doesn’t seem to fit in a spot, I have to match it somewhere else. That is the same with my writing. Sometimes I come up with a good line or a scene only to find that it doesn’t suit where I want it and I have to find a better match somewhere else.
     When I get stuck with trying to figure out where my story goes next, I can work on a different section in my novel. In the puzzle if I can’t seem to make a scene come together I can go to a different part and work there. Every puzzle piece is tailored to go with the rest to make the picture just like every clue, every scene, every red herring has to fit into the story properly.
     What is frustrating to a puzzle solver is finding that one or two pieces are missing at the end. This is true for the reader of a mystery. All the clues have to be pulled together, the red herrings explained, the mystery solved, and the murderer caught. I can’t leave any pieces out.
     And the last thing I realized about how putting puzzles together and writing mysteries are similar is that both of them are an excruciatingly slow process for me.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Oh, to be in Victoria Chatham



 Sunlight filters between the newly unfurled tender green leaves of beech, oak, and ash. The air is heavy with the scent of Hyacinthoides non-scripta, the English bluebell, which covers the woodland floor like a blanket from late April into May.


There are approximately nine varieties of bluebell, but the United Kingdom is home to roughly half of the world’s bluebell population. This iconic springtime flower can take five to seven years to develop from seed into a bulb, then bloom into the flower most people know. They are a protected species, and there is a heavy fine for anyone found digging them up. It is also a surprisingly delicate plant. If careless footsteps crush the leaves, they can no longer photosynthesize and will die back from lack of nutrition. Some bluebells can be white or pink. Often a white bluebell is lacking its blue pigment, or it may be a version of the Spanish bluebell.

In Scotland, bluebells are known as harebells because folklore has it that witches turned into hares and hid amongst the flowers. That could be why it is sometimes known as Witches Thimble or Lady’s Nightcap. You may also have heard the folksong, The Bluebells of Scotland. If not, check out this YouTube clip bluebell is reputed to ring at daybreak to call fairies to the woods. If you pick a bluebell, those fairies could lead you astray, and you would be lost forever, so best not to pick them just to be on the safe side.

Symbolically, bluebells represent grace, everlasting love, good fortune, and truth. They epitomize Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, and the Virgin Mary who represents calm and peace. They were also once dedicated to the patron saint of England, St. George. Bluebells stand for constancy, humility, and gratitude in the centuries-old language of flowers used throughout Europe and Asia. Might Shakespeare have been referring to the bluebell when he wrote of 'the azured hare-bell?'

Bluebells also have their practical uses. The Elizabethans used starch from the bulbs to stiffen their ruffs. Gum from the roots was used as glue for feathers and in bookbinding. Snake bites supposedly could be cured by their juice, although the plant’s chemical makeup is potent and can be toxic in large doses. Today bluebells inspire the perfume for hand creams and soap and are used as dyes or pigments.


Whichever way you look at it, whether you believe in witches and fairies or not, there is nothing more magical than sitting in an English bluebell wood in springtime.

Victoria Chatham




NB: Images from author's collection.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Baking and revenge

 Readers often ask, "Which book is your personal favorite?" I Usually beat around the bush, explaining that choosing a favorite book from my library is akin to picking my favorite variety of apple. I like the tartness of the Granny Smith apple as much as I enjoy the brooding darkness of the Pine County mysteries. And I enjoy the zesty crispness of a Honeycrisp apple as much as I enjoy the banter between the lead characters in Fletcher mystery series. But let's face it, authors do have favorites. Writing a Whistling Pines mystery is like eating fresh apple pie; warm, sweet, with a bit of spice. And Whistling Bake Off is all that. 

My sister-in-law is a fan of the Whistling Pines cozy series. In an email she suggested the premise of a Whistling Pines cookbook fundraiser. A note to my consultant crew yielded a pile of cookbook recipe suggestions along with some interesting plot twists. But assembling a cookbook itself isn't a mystery. Brian Johnson, my tuba-playing, Whistling Pines consultant threw out the thought that some recipes are closely guarded secrets. His wife has a beet pickle recipe she won't even share with their children, and most chefs have a recipe they keep a closely guarded secret. If they're willing to prepare it on television, they premeasure the ingredients so the audience can see what goes into the mixer, even if the spice mixture and exact measurements aren't shared.

With those tidbits in mind, I started typing. 

Two Harbors is buzzing when a former resident, now a world-famous culinary expert, announces his return home to broadcast a live cooking show, featuring ethnic recipes prepared by local cooks. Everyone knows that the secret pie recipe from the now defunct Oscar's Restaurant will be a feature, but will the recipe's owner share it on national television? That question is left unanswered when the recipe's owner is found dead, with hundreds of recipes strewn on her kitchen floor. 

Other recipes are chosen for the television show, but as the broadcast nears, the celebrity host's checkered past becomes the new topic of the Whistling Pines rumor mill. One resident advises Peter, my recreation director/protagonist, that the host will likely be poisoned, shot, or blown up by people he wronged before his Hollywood departure. Knowing that the senior citizens of Whistling Pines tend to twist and exaggerate things, Peter isn't particularly concerned. He advises the police chief of the possible threat, and they're closely watching the crowd gathered for the television broadcast.

Not wanting to throw out a spoiler, let me say that the broadcast doesn't go entirely as planned. But what about the murdered baker? Hmm, does her death have anything to do with the cooking show, or is the motive for her murder related to something else entirely? Read Whistling Bake Off to find out. It might be the sweetest Whistling Pines mystery yet.

Check out my books, including Whistling Bake Off, at the BWL Publishing website

Saturday, May 21, 2022

My Travels in France by Diane Scott Lewis


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Currently writing a novel that takes place in Brittany, France, I yearn to travel there to research. But with Covid still creeping about, that is impossible. My husband is leery to fly, and I don't blame him

In 2003 we threw caution, and money, to the wind and traveled to France for an important (old) birthday of mine. We stayed in Paris on a quaint cobbled lane. 
The novel I was writing at the time involved a young woman in the eighteenth century returning to Paris after the French Revolution. I wanted to walk where she would have walked.
15th century street, the Latin Quarter

Paris was amazing, our room tiny but perfect. We ate in cafes, strolled along the River Seine. Browsed booksellers, visited museums. We chatted with an older Frenchman over cognac. He once lived in California. The entire French experience.
But I didn't ask for ice in my too-warm drink until he did!

We took a tour out to the palace of Fontainebleau on my birthday. It took the sting out of growing older. Now it seems so young!
That evening a French café owner sang "Happy Birthday, Madame," to me over a slice of tiramisu.

Author in front of the palace

My heroine had to go to the Luxembourg palace to ask Napoleon to release her lover. We got to take a tour, sneaking into the back of one that just happened to be going in. It was conducted in French, but we managed.

Luxembourg Palace

Before the journey, I learned just enough French to embarrass my self. But it's true, if you try to speak their language first, they'll chime in with English to help you out-or speed you along.
Napoleon's Senate chair, Luxembourg Palace

A wonderful trip, worth every Euro. We planned to return, but now I want to visit Brittany and Normandy to research the German occupation of WWII. One of these days...
Author and husband near Fontainebleau 

Diane lives in Western Pennsylvania with her husband and one naughty dachshund.

To find out more about her and her books:  DianeScottLewis

Friday, May 20, 2022

2022 Update to My Story by J.Q. Rose #memoir #motherhood #floralshop #lifestory


Arranging a Dream: a Memoir by J. Q. Rose
Click here to find JQ's books at BWL Publishing

Hello and welcome to the BWL Publishing Author Insiders Blog. 

in January 2021BWL Publishing released my memoir, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir. In 2022, there is more to the story.

What is the story? 

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir
by J.Q. Rose

From the back of the book:

In 1975, budding entrepreneurs Ted and Janet purchase a floral shop and greenhouses where they plan to grow their dream. Leaving friends and family behind in Illinois and losing the security of two paychecks, they transplant themselves, their one-year-old daughter, and all their belongings to Fremont, Michigan, where they know no one. 

Will the retiring business owners nurture Ted and Janet as they struggle to develop a blooming business, or will they desert the inexperienced young couple to wither and die in their new environment?

 Most of all, can Ted and Janet grow together as they cultivate a loving marriage, juggle parenting with work and root a thriving business?

Follow Ted and Janet's inspiring story, filled with the joy, triumphs, and obstacles and failures experienced by these blossoming entrepreneurs as they travel the turbulent path of turning dreams into reality.

A snapshot of the flower shop on the first day we saw it in July 1975

We purchased the shop and greenhouse operation and lived out our dream to be entrepreneurs. It was a risky chance, but we were young and innocent enough not to know what we faced in the world of business. 

I remember how thrilled I was when we decided to become shop owners. I remember how frightened I was to move away from Central Illinois where we had a team of supporters in our family and friends and the security of two paychecks. 

The small town in West Michigan was filled with strangers. We knew nothing about the retiring owners. We had to trust and pray they were good people.

Sara, Easter 1976 
16 months old
The most difficult time for me was, after nursing my baby girl for nearly a year, I had to give her up to a daycare worker whom I did not know in order for me to work full time at the shop.

But, come to find out, Jackie, the sweet woman who took care of Sara, was the perfect person to care for her. 


We sold the business on March 1, 1995. You can imagine a lot transpired during those 19-plus years of working as business owners. 

In 1982, we purchased property about two blocks from the original chalet-style flower shop and greenhouses and erected three greenhouses, each 50' x 150', for growing plants to keep up with the demand from our customers and to house a garden center. In 1986, we opened our new flower shop and garden center facility which was attached to the greenhouses. 

The floral shop, garden center and greenhouses in one location

Imagining the building that was going to be our new flower shop and garden center was one thing, but planning and building it were another. Dreaming of it was thrilling. Building it was frustrating when we couldn't get the builders to show up and get it done as quickly as we wanted to! Decorating the interior and ordering inventory, moving in...all those things and more were exciting and scary all at once. Figuring out how the design room should be set up, managing the shelving for the shop and garden center, decisions on how to create welcoming, but efficient spaces, were just a few of the responsibilities. 

We celebrated our new facilities with the community with a grand opening in November 1986. That day and the excitement of our customers and visitors still swirls in my memory as one of the best days at the flower shop.

The plans for the new facility were birthed during a lunch date. Here's the excerpt from Chapter 29, Another Move, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir.

Within one year of occupying the new location, we were fed up with running back and forth between the shop and greenhouses in two locations and frustrated with the insufficient space in the design room, coolers, storage areas in the chalet building. We decided in 1985 to build an expansive flower shop with a garden center at the new greenhouse location.

We brainstormed on the place to locate the building on the property, but nothing clicked until we met with our beloved salesman, “Ugly Fred.” He called himself that memorable name to distinguish him from other salesmen. When Fred started calling on us, we liked the tall, white-haired Dutchman. He had experience owning a hardware store, and he shared helpful tips on selecting and displaying products our customers needed. Interacting with him through the planning and setting up of the products, he grew to become our trusted friend and mentor.

At one of those lunch meetings at Samuel’s Restaurant, which seemed to be our home away from home, we discussed the idea of moving the shop to the greenhouse property.

“That makes sense to me,” he said. He grabbed a pen from his shirt pocket and began sketching a drawing on a clean, white paper napkin.

“You can place the shop here.” He pointed to his drawing with the building out front and to the side of the greenhouses.

“That would make room for a large area for the entrance and parking.” Ted’s eyes shone with excitement.

“See, place a door into the greenhouses on this side, a door on the east side into the garden center.” Fred sketched in the doors.

“And the entire front of the building would be the gift shop,” I announced.

Fast and furious came more ideas for storage areas, work areas, delivery space. God bless Ugly Fred and his napkin drawing. I wish I had saved it.

At the ground-breaking ceremony in front of the greenhouses, we invited Fred to be in the photo taken by the Fremont Times Indicator for an article on the beginning construction of the flower shop. Our daughters, Ted and I, Ken Frens, Fred and his boss at Mollema Wholesalers, and building contractor Harold Smith smile brightly in the photo captured by the photographer. What an exciting time to see the shop take form and become a reality.

Now, the rest of the story in 2022:

The owners who originally purchased the shop in 1995 are still in business, however, they sold the shop and property to Aldis grocery store last month. Aldis will bring in the wrecking ball soon to knock down that building whose blueprint was first hand-drawn on a white paper napkin. Soon, our beloved facility will be a pile of rubble, then disappear into a landfill. All the evidence that the shop ever existed will be gone. I'm a bit melancholy about that, even if I haven't been working in the shop for 27 years.

I am glad I have wonderful memories of the times and photos of that era of my life because there is no longer any physical proof of those times. The original chalet building was knocked down several years ago. Only a grassy lot with a  For Sale sign remains where the old shop was located. 

Thank goodness, I have the memoir that leaves our legacy stories for our family and friends and future generations to read and learn about how we made our dream come true. It is a testimony to others to know that dreams can come true.


My message to you is to consider jotting down memories for your family. Or record them using your phone. Your story could be an important piece to encourage others.

Tell your life story!


Janet and Gardener Ted

Click here to connect online with J.Q. Rose


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Reading and Writing Buddies by Helen Henderson


Fire and Amulet by Helen Henderson
Click the cover for purchase information

What is the first thing you think of when you see writing buddy? You might picture a critique partner, face tense in concentration as they hunch over a manuscript. The image could even be detailed enough to include scribbled comments in red. Or maybe your idea is three people chatting online, brainstorming ideas for a collaborative work.

My first image for reading buddies was a group of women in comfortable, upholstered chairs in someone's living room. Side tables hold glasses of wine and plates of chocolate candies or other treats. Next was a book club. Their vibrant discussion takes place in a small cluster of chairs in the corner of a library or local book store. However, this post follows a recent meme trend. The reading and writing buddies varied by gender and age, but all have one thing in common -- four feet. The reading and writing buddies are cats and dogs. 

Meet Pepper, my childhood reading buddy. We sat on the ground in the shade of an ancient willow tree. The books being read were my parents' collections and the piles of books checked out of the county library. The westerns of Zane Gray and Lois L'amour competed with the tales of Cherry Ames. No, it never made me want to be a nurse. That was my mother's dream, at least until she graduated high school too early to be accepted.

Many years later, another four-footed companion kept me company. Tighe curled up next to me on the couch and tolerated being petted as I read. Gentle nudges reminded me he was still there whenever the caresses slowed or stopped. He had more challenging behavior as a writing buddy. Lying on my feet or my lap as I typed didn't interfere with productivity. Until he decided it was time for a snack or to go prowl the yard. Then if I didn't respond quick enough to taps on my hand, a leap and strut across the keyboard challenged me to move him. I refuse to answer who won the stand-off. 


I hope you enjoyed meeting my reading and writing buddies.


To purchase Fire and AmuletBWL

~Until next month, stay safe and read.  

Find out more about me and my novels at Journey to Worlds of Imagination.
Follow me online at FacebookGoodreads or Twitter.

Helen Henderson lives in western Tennessee with her husband. While she doesn’t have any pets in residence at the moment, she often visits a husky who has adopted her as one the pack. 

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