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Play? Or Work?

When my sons were small (and not so small) they spent hours and hours building with their interlocking plastic blocks. They explained all sorts of specifications of the robot or spaceship of the day to me.

When they “flew the nest” and set out on their own after graduation, I encouraged them to take “things” with them. However, I laid claim to the plastic blocks. “I may want to use them myself.” I’m not sure what I had in mind when I said that — but I doubt it was this:

Through the years, I discovered I’m a visual, rather than auditory learner. One of the things I’ve done when beginning to write a book, is to draw a map of the fictional town or a floorplan of a key building in the story. Often, the homes and apartments are based on one either I have lived in or visited often.

In early 2021, when planning a historical romance — I decided to try a different approach before I sketched on graph paper. Many adjustments were made. But by the time I got to paper and pencil, the eraser got occasional, not constant, use.

When setting up the living areas in MORNING TRYST, I went to the internet to find an up-to-date floor plan for the motorhome. Check out this sweet romance with an introduction to several Missouri State Parks here:

https://amzn.to/35gH37S

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The Year of the Tree

Okay, this will never make it as a year or designation for sun, moon, Jupiter, or Mars calendar.

Do you remember 2021? The vaccine for Covid-19 was new and finally getting distributed. Therefore, just like the previous months in 2020 — most of us stayed home a lot. A trip to the grocery store would be the highlight for this retirement age author that would last more than a week. The phone and computer became our lifelines for at least limited interaction with other humans.

So at least in my little portion of the world — 2021 started with a large helping of hope — and a little ice.

This tree, an ash for those you want to know, is a few dozen steps from my front door. On New Years 2021, it started the morning with a thin coating of ice. Every branch, limb, and twig was painted by Mother Nature’s brush. Never fear — the sun came out and melted the ice-tinged world back to normal January.

Another year — in the sweet romance Starr Tree Farm — begins on a different note. Consider what might happen if you encounter a person from your childhood at a New Year’s Eve party. He’s all grown up — and so are you. Add an unsolved crime and unpredictable Wisconsin weather and you have a story fit for a warm drink in a cozy place. Check it out here: https://amzn.to/2zqIQEw

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Two Sides

You’ve heard the saying “two sides to every story.”

I think the same is true for buildings — especially public buildings which have been around for a while.

Consider this — a nice, traditional entrance to the Missouri History Museum.

However, if you walk – or drive – around to the other side — you see this:

It’s possible to get confused. I know I did one day when I walked in, picked up a brochure, and was pointed the wrong direction.

Direction aside — the displays on the inside give a nice overview of Missouri and St. Louis area history. It’s just the sort of place I could see the hero and heroine from Comfort Zone spending a winter, weekend afternoon.

So you suppose that’s one of the places they went after the book — a sweet romance — reaches “The End”?

Are you curious how a mature couple getting to know each other spends their time? Check out Comfort Zone here: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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Dressed by the Weather

Look! The trees are wearing skirts!

Well, this particular tree on this particular morning.

The night of snow came with the exact about of wind to sweep the white into skirts.

People in the American Midwest, pay attention to the weather winter. The farther north you move, the closer they pay attention.

How much to they predict? Roads were slick on the way into town. Cold enough all the cats were in a heap when I opened the barn door. They’re going to have virtual school days — better than extending into June. Are you going ice fishing tomorrow?

Any or all of the above can be overheard in small town taverns and gathering places in January.

January is also the month when the action in STARR TREE FARM takes place. Starting with a new year, our heroine, Laura, does the chores at a relative’s Christmas tree farm. It should be peaceful and give her time to sort through some life events and changes. Well — it is — at first. Check it our here: https://amzn.to/2zqIQEw

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A Good Dog

Today’s photo gives a peek into a happy day for an author. The arrival of a new book!

A little bit of magic happens when an author holds a copy of THEIR book in their hands. A sense of accomplishment. A dash of pride. I did it! I beat the odds — yes, the world of self-publishing has increased the number of published authors. However, the number decreases in each step of the process.

A large number of people think about writing a book. A percentage of them start writing a book. Fewer finish the book. A an even smaller number navigate the steps of editing, formatting, and publishing.

So cut your friend, neighbor, or relative a little slack. Let them brag for a little. Congratulate them on the accomplishment.

Does the topic appeal to you? Buy and read a copy. Did you like it? Write and post a review.

The title above – SEED OF DESIRE – is a sweet romance set in the small fictional town of Crystal Springs, WI. Meet Beth and Jackson as they overcome obstacles and receive a little help from canine friends. The book is available at all major on-line book retailers. Here’s the Kindle link: https://amzn.to/2RDFgxH

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Grab a Banana

No — not from this bunch. You don’t want to get into trouble with the patient people at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Collect your banana at the grocery store. A good, healthy snack. Goes well with a variety of beverages. Compatible with books. Bites can fit into a conversation.

My suggestion for today: Eat the treat while enjoying the cover image of my next romance.

The steamboat’s coming up the mighty Mississippi River to the fictional town of Elm Ridge, Illinois.

Step back in time to 1851 — a time when Deutsch immigrants travelled and worked to make dreams come true in a new land.

This story will be available at all major on-line retailers March 22, 2023!

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Final Call

The Twelfth Day of Christmas is here! This is your final chance to wish family and friends MERRY CHRISTMAS — or Blessed Epiphany — until the calendar spins all the way to December again.

Okay, so some of you are not calendar people. However, I cling to the old ways. Two rooms of my home host a paper calendar on a hook (or pin in corkboard). A datebook resides in my purse. A planner is within reach at my desk. And yes — for those of you of a younger generation — many important meetings and appointments are tapped into an electronic version.

Unmarred, these calendars five years ago were ready to be placed into prominent locations.

Calendars do not go to waste in this writer’s household. Each new story — even the ones suspended due to lack of real substance — gets events plotted out. How long between the meet-cute and the next encounter? When does the villain set foot on stage? Can I center an event around a holiday? (The year has more holidays than those in December.) Oh — we’ve had a season change — how does that figure into the weather or time of sunset.

In the clean and wholesome romance, MORNING TRYST, our heroine photographer tours Missouri State Parks capturing images used in tourist brochures and other publicity materials. I like to imagine one of these items is a calendar — with several spectacular sunrises and sunsets featuring forested hills or rolling grassland.

For more information on the book, click here: https://amzn.to/35gH37S

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Clean and Ready

Like a piece of paper with three hundred sixty-five invisible lines, the year 2023 has only two little squiggles in the corner. The possibilities for the year stretch out beyond our imagination.

Do you have anything grand planned? Graduation? Wedding? Vacation?

Smaller goals and plans? A change in diet or exercise? New clothing? Garden or flowers?

Clean and delicate, these metal and glass flowers are really sturdy. Strong enough to withstand the breezes, precipitation, and temperature changes of a typical year.

Have you prepared yourself for change? While keeping supplies of food, water, and clothing on hand is a wise thing — you also need to prepare your mind. Are you open to new ideas? Will you accept something unexpected?

In the sweet romance, COMFORT ZONE, the heroine lives out a year with several unexpected events and opportunities. Is she ready?

More information here: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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Ready to Celebrate!

Are you ready for the holiday? Do you have a new calendar at hand? House cleaned to host a party? Or items either assembled or planned to take to your host/hostess? What about clothing? New dress? Sweater? Boots?

These “Painted Ladies” are dressed in their finest colors and ready to host your party.

Let your imagination wander. Which porch are you stepping on? What sort of smells and sounds greet you when your host opens the door? Are you the first to arrive? Or the last? Did you need an umbrella to keep off snow or rain?

A New Years Eve party in a church basement opens STARR TREE FARM. A person never knows what the new year — or even the next week — will bring to their lives. Check out the sweet romance here: https://amzn.to/2zqIQEw

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Fun in Snow

Puzzle artists pick perfect weather. They celebrate the hours after the storm has passed and the sun offers bright light.

They ignore the tense moments in car or school bus as tires hunt for traction on slick roads. Or shoveling the driveway. Or breaking a path to the barn to care for the animals. Everything takes longer and a different set of questions cross your mind. Are the water pipes frozen? How did the youngest calf fare? How late will the milk truck be running today?

How was your weather these last few days? Did it storm? Liquid or solid from your clouds? Did you go searching for your heavy coat, gloves, and boots? Or did you have a mild, seasonal weekend?

The residents of this fictional village are having winter fun. I think I’d enjoy a snowman building contest. Doubt if I’d win any prizes. The few snow figures in my past have been basic, not artistic. Perhaps you’d prefer to find a hill and go down on a sled or toboggan?

I find some happy memories including snow and winter storms. True — some of them only rated laughter long after the event — but they serve as lovely punctuation marks in the narrative of my life.

STARR TREE FARM, set during a Wisconsin January, includes remarks on the weather. Check it out (with a nice warm beverage at hand) here: https://amzn.to/2zqIQEw