2021 — The Year That Was…

Farewell, 2021! Here’s hoping the New Year brings improvement for each and every one of my readers!

(No reason to waste a good imitation of a grave in my front yard. Sort of a summary of the year. [Actual reason for mound of dirt was repair of a water main break.] Yes, I expect some of you can imagine items other than large diameter PVC pipe below the turned earth.)

So I say to fellow- writers: Turn the imagination loose and write the story that goes with the photo.

Readers: Try something new in 2022 — a new genre, a new author, a new format.


More than One Day!

Happy Holidays!!!

Yes, more than one. Christmas Day 2021 is in the rear-view mirror as this post goes “live”. But the celebration does not need to end. New Years is only a few days away. Friends and relatives still have birthdays — birthday cake among the cookies & candy?

Long ago, when I was a child, the days between Christmas and New Years were busy. All the normal chores. New toys, games, and gadgets to try. People to visit while they still had their tree up — everyone I knew used a real tree and they had a limited life span.

So draw a deep breath. Pull courage up from your toes. And keep the holiday spirit in your heart for days — and weeks — to come.

Frosty peeks around the tree to greet you and wish you Happy Holidays. He’s smiling because: a) he has a cardinal on his hat? b) the presents are for him? c) 2021 is drawing to a close?


Light, Please!

Today, in the Northern Hemisphere, is the shortest day of the year.

Well, the actual day still has 24 hours, or 1440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds — however, the hours of daylight (between official sunrise and sunset) are the least they will be until the next winter solstice.

So I say “Hurrah” for the people who: captured fire and started to use the light, candle and lamp inventors, electric light inventors, and all the clever people who distribute and supply artificial light.

When I was a child, I lived far enough north, that it was common to go to work in the dark and return home in the dark for several weeks. One of my relatives spent a few years even farther north — where daylight lasted two or three hours at this time of year.

On the flip side — this might be a great day to visit any of the great stone circles in England or other solar calendars left for us by prior civilizations.

As for me? I’ll flip on the electric light, ignore the outside world after sunset, and snuggle deep under the covers tonight.


Why Romance?

“My name is Ellen Parker and I write romance.” This is how I started a short presentation at a library event a few years ago.

Romance? People wave it off as insignificant. Or they titter behind their hands.

I ask you to wait a minute. Have you thought about the definition — yes, popular fiction genres do have definitions and readers have expectations when they see the labels.

Romance (in my definition) is a piece of fiction with a central love story and an emotionally satisfying ending of “Happily Ever After” or “Happy For Now”.

A radio announcer once described the genre as “optimistic”. I considered his words a compliment.

Perhaps the world needs a little optimism. Within a romance, the path to the happy ending is not smooth. A well-written story presents characters with problems, (sometimes of their own making) living in the real world (or a historical world, or a future world, or a paranormal world) and presents one way the challenge is met and conquered.

Skeptical? Try one before you knock it.

This trio is set in small-town Wisconsin and keeps the bedroom door closed.

Check out the back cover copy by clicking on the title tab at the top of the page.

Happy reading in 2022!



What makes you happy? Is there one thing sure to bring a smile? Make you laugh?

A special food? Music? Favorite person stops to visit? Or video chat? Or call?

I’m not sure what happened a moment ago — but these three gingerbread figures are having a JOYful time on a sunny December day.

Wishing you to find joy in the season. Smile. Laugh. Pause to enjoy the antics of children or pets. Listen to the story Grandma has told eight-five times and counting. Eat a candy cane. Light a candle. Give some holiday cheer to the next person you meet.

For those who light an Advent wreath — the pink candle represents — JOY!


Always in Season

Thanks. Danke. Gracias. Merci.

Parents around the world and through the centuries teach children to thank others for favors, kindness, and gifts.

Good manners never go out of style. (I like that phrase.)

One of my characters (in an unpublished to date romance) reminds the reader of the importance of kindness and manners — traits she learned working with customers in a shop and needs to practice when an annoying childhood acquaintance reappears in her life.

Do you have things to be thankful for? Food? Clothing? Shelter? Friends? Family?

When counting blessings (or giving thanks) remember the books. I’d run out of numbers listing all the things I’ve learned between their covers.


Color Confusion

Did you have strict teachers in the primary grades? Did they insist you color your pictures to look like the view out the window?

You know: trees are green with a little brown, sky is blue, flowers are red, pink, and yellow.

But…some days it’s fun to just reach into the crayon box and color the bird, or cat, or tree with the first hue your fingers grasp.

Christmas trees in pink and purple and blue. Flamingos in basic white. I think the decoration specialist at the zoo tossed convention to the wind — or fed it to the alligator.


Family Tradition

The year end holidays are filled with religious, cultural, and family tradition.

Foods considerate too rich, or too time-consuming to make find their way to a holiday table.

Perhaps you listen to certain music, or attend an annual concert, play, or performance.

One of the traditions in our family is gifts — and books in particular. Like most traditions it can be traced for several generations.

The volume on the left, Ben-Hur, is inscribed to one of my great uncles, from his sister, for Christmas 1913 and New Year 1914. Heidi, in the center, was under the Christmas tree for me in 1956 (from my parents). Completing the trio, the book on the right was a more recent Christmas gift from a son.

So, whether from one sibling to another, parents to child or child to parent — consider an easy to wrap, no batteries required, quiet gift at your celebration. Also works well from one friend to another.