Fashionable Fountain

Hot weather. Splashing water. Relief is standing near the fountain. Or on the splash pad.

One summer, not so many years ago, a glass and metal fashion show took over this space at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Sparkling in the sunshine, the models appear to be standing on the tips of the fountain.

Oooo — cool feet.

If you could dance on the tips of a fountain, what would you sing? Would you join hands and dance? What instruments do you want in the band?

In “Stare Down” a romance with a touch of suspense, the hero takes his mother to the botanical garden. Always something beautiful to see and a shady place to read a book.

Stare Down on Kindle:

Jewel in the Park

Diamonds glitter. Pearls glow. Rubies shine. Emeralds, sapphires, and topaz reflect rich light.

Jewels. Gems. Precious stones. For centuries they have been valued by humans and used to adorn the garments and objects of the rich and powerful.

But the world contains other jewels — some of immeasurable value.

Within the confines of Forest Park, the grounds and structure of The Jewel Box please the eye and soul.

Walk. Relax. Enjoy the fresh air and beauty. Or step inside and admire the greenhouse portion.

Want to read a book that fits with the setting? I suggest the sweet romance, Comfort Zone. Two St. Louis area residents are faced with a second chance. Will they live with gusto and risk their hearts?


August Advice

A little advice is a good thing. When it comes from an expert, it’s even better.

So here are the professor’s tips for staying comfortable on hot, August days.

Seek the shade.

Drink plenty of water.

Eat your fruits and vegetables.

Professor? Well, for the month of August, I decided to explore close to home. Yes, for many people this is prime vacation time. But for a multitude of reasons, some people are unable to travel. So take a look around and see what you can find within a drive of two hours or less.

Professor Chimp dispenses his advice and demonstrate a carefree attitude at the St. Louis Zoo.

Do you live near a zoo? Have you considered a stroll among the animals as a place for a “date”? Light and casual courting in Comfort Zone, a sweet romance, includes a zoo date with emphasis on elephants.


River Taming

Humans have been tinkering with rivers since the dawn of civilization. Have we mastered the art?

Well — not exactly.

Rivers appear to cut their own way through geography and history. Flood? Yeah, we can do that. Cut a new channel? Sure, just give us a little time. Shrink? Give us a few drought years and light snowfall at our source and we can make your barges and boats scrape bottom.

Of course, size matters. Just like you talk about a stream, a creek, or a rivelet feeding into a river, the rivers come in all sizes and lengths. And don’t expect a straight line from point A to point B. We like to wander, find the low spots and the softer earth to yield to our power.

But humans continue to attempt to control these forces of nature.

Along the mighty Mississippi River, from Minneapolis to St. Louis, you will find a series of dams to control navigation. This one, Melvin Price Locks and Dams, replaced the previous structure of Dam #26 near Alton, Illinois. Built and maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers, each of the 27 locks and dams do their part to ensure barge and other water traffic moves steady on this liquid highway.

Morning Tryst, a sweet, contemporary romance, includes scenes along the Mississippi River where it forms Missouri’s eastern border.

Kindle readers:

Fly-in Dining

Do you have six legs? Four wings?

Welcome to the Fly-In Buffet. The special this week is fresh black-eyed Susan. Always on the menu is the popular butterfly bush and salvia.

This small space is busy on sunny days. Bees, butterflies, and other flying creatures stop for a sip. No problem with drinking and flying for these diners. Energy and perhaps a little bit of a “sugar high” are the results.

Want to practice photography skills. This is a perfect place. Bring your patience. Sunscreen and a hat might be good accessories.

Do you or your neighbors have flowers to attract our flying friends?

No two days are the same in the garden.

In the Beginning…

“Three…two…one. Happy New Year!”

Janet Zwingel sent a glance and a sigh toward her chirping phone.

Lifting her glass, Serena Carter focused her attention on her best friends.

From the opening line of three different books — do you know where you are? When you are?

In the first — the date and time are clear. The second — definitely a contemporary story. The third — we know our heroine is not alone — and beverages are involved (probably not coffee.)

Think about one of your favorite books. How soon did the author sweep you into the world of the characters? One page? One paragraph? Did the tone — comedy, thriller, mystery — leap from page to reader by the time you turned the page?

Writing groups, and authors when gathered together, frequently talk about beginnings. How do I “hook” the reader into my world? Do I need more than a “time stamp” to ground them in time and place? Is present day easier to deal with than historical or futuristic?

The general consensus — sooner is better. Specific is better — St. Louis instead of Midwest. Season is good — August heat wave or January’s freezer temperatures.

Not caught in the first paragraph? Please, bear with the author a little longer — at least several pages.

Intrigued by the examples? Here are the Kindle links to second and third.

Comfort Zone: Morning Tryst:

Farewell, My Friend

All good things must come to an end. Sometimes we mark them with a celebration such as a graduation ceremony, or a wedding reception (both an ending and a beginning) or an after-funeral lunch.

Other events slip past with less notice.

Three years ago (oh, my, time passes fast these days) I bid farewell to the large oak tree which had stood on the property likely longer than the buildings. I enjoyed the summer shade and year-round antics of the squirrels and birds which it hosted for twenty of those years.

But — all good things must come to an end. So…three or four years into the arborist’s diagnosis of a fatal disease (he gave it five years at most), when the crown browned almost as soon as the leaves were full size, the crew came.

I can imagine my father now — How many nice corner fence posts can we get from one tree?

Do you have a shade tree? Do you take advantage? Have you planted one for the next generation?

Summer Meeting Place

Forget the details of the song. Once upon it a time, the fair may have been the place to meet people in St. Louis. But the fair is gone, kept alive in the memory of St. Louis with artifacts in homes and museums. And traces in Forest Park.

Want to set a meeting place in St. Louis this summer?

Baseball’s the name of the game. Select a Hall of Fame player and gather your group pre-game. Swing. Throw. Leap. Slide. Take your pick of these heroic action figures to get your hometown spirit flowing.

Arrive early? No problem. Favorite activities while waiting include people watching, note taking (some things you don’t want to forget), or reading. Didn’t bring a book? Shame on you — what do you plan to do during a rain delay? Suggested topics — well, baseball player biographies come to mind. Or perhaps enter a fantasy world and read a baseball themed romance. Don’t have one at hand? How about a St. Louis themed book — a sweet romance with a dash of suspense.

Oh, look, I see one now.

Kindle edition available here:

Ready and Waiting

Summer is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere. In St. Louis, the season brings hot days, some rather warm nights, and thunderstorms.

A very popular way to deal with some of those hot days involves water. More than water to drink – although I encourage you to stay hydrated. Your flowerbeds and potted plants appreciate a drink in the coolest part of the day also.

Splashing and swimming. Relax on a lounge for a sun tan (or burn). Another dip to cool off.

When you don’t have access to ocean or lake — a pool is the place.

Be sure to bring a book — I recommend a romance — to fill the time when you are not actually in the water. Call it a “pool read” instead of a “beach read”

Two titles if you like your romance sweet:

Comfort Zone:

Morning Tryst:

Meet a Heroine

Serena Carter may look ordinary at first glance. But she’s a heroine–an independent businesswoman who knows her own mind. As a free-lance photographer, daughter, sister, and aunt, she has a full life.

Who would have suspected a six-foot-two-inch hole?

Clink on over to: to read the entire interview.

Find her story – and meet the six-foot-two-inch man who comes into her life — inside the covers of Morning Tryst.

Kindle readers order here:

Nook reader? Click here: