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Able to be Unique

Supporting your small, neighborhood business is a year-round task. Yes, it’s very nice to give them recognition and business on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. However, they need regular customers to stay viable and able to serve you from January thru December.

One St. Louis business with a unique twist is Spine Bookstore and Cafe. Located on Arsenal, near an Interstate, the shop occupies space near a neighborhood park.

Stop in for a coffee (or tea or chocolate), plain or fancy. Then step into the adjoining room and browse books by local authors. You may be surprised at the number and variety of authors who call the St. Louis region “home”.

Check out their calendar of special events. Friday evenings often give you the opportunity to meet a local author or artist. Poetry? Mystery? Romance? Non-fiction? You never know what is going to pop-up on the non-cafe menu.

Not in the St. Louis area? Check out your city or town for local business supporting the arts.

For more information on my latest release, Morning Tryst, click here: https://amzn.to/35gH37S

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Check the Sky

Have you looked outside today? Did you check the sky? Does it change within hours? Minutes?

At the moment I write this, the sky outside my window is a beautiful, summer-blue with a rare high, white cloud.

This morning, as I drove to a meeting, the clouds were gray and even had the audacity to sprinkle a few raindrops on my windshield.

According to the forecast, clouds will return in a few hours — it was nice that the clear sky coincided with daylight — and spill rain in a scattered pattern across the St. Louis region.

On this day in May, when I was visiting Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites, the sky displayed reversed proportions of cloud and clear than this afternoon. It did not rain that day — only stayed cool and pleasant. Sunglasses optional.

When was the last time you looked at clouds and imaged animals, cartoon characters, or other shapes? Do you tend to find dogs? Or perhaps faces?

The open spaces of parks are a great vantage point for sky-gazing. Find a bench. Dream a little. Read the book you brought along.

Kindle edition: https://amzn.to/35gH37S
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Fish Friday

St. Louis is located in a portion of the country where late winter and early spring brings weekly fish fries. In a slightly different region, a few hundred miles north, the fish fry on Friday night is a year-round tradition.

However, there is always one in every crowd who demands the food each and every day. Each and every meal. Welcomes it as a snack also. Fried? Yuck — I’ll take it straight. Fresh preferred. Frozen accepted.

Another fish, please. Yes, I practiced the trick for the nice people. Now — may I have my fish. No more tricks until I get a reward for the last one. I know you have another in the bucket. Haven’t I got you trained yet?

Always interesting things to see and do at the zoo. Great place to take the family. Or a date. The characters in Comfort Zone visit the fine facility early in their relationship. (PS: They have a great time.)

Kindle readers click here for more information: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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A Payoff for Patience

Wait. Hold your horses. Sit still.

My parents said these phrases over and over to their youngest child, a girl who wiggled much and didn’t learn patience early.

But there is hope — even for the restless. Perhaps I just needed to experience demonstrations of the reward of this virtue.

In 2019, during a visit to the zoo, I walked into the bird building. (It probably has a more elegant name.) And I encountered this fine fellow – a Bathleur Eagle.

He appears rather interested in the world as he looks over his shoulder at the people. You can almost hear him thinking. “What do they expect? I’d rather be flying free in the sunshine and hunting.”

Fortunately, we lingered at his large cage (the size of some of the rooms in my home).

Here you go, humans! Take this memory with you when you walk away. Bet you don’t look this good from the back.

Patience. Stopping to watch the bird — or sniff the flower — brings a reward.

So slow the pace. Take a second look. Visit that park, or museum, or zoo that’s either nearby or on your bucket list. Impossible to get out of the house? Travel in a book. Comfort Zone, set in present-day St. Louis includes a visit to the world class zoo. Kindle readers click here: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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Sleek Swimmers

One of the many things I appreciate when walking at the Missouri Botanical Garden, is the pleasant little surprises when you take one of the less often traveled paths.

Bonus if a bench is in a strategic spot.

Playful otters, even the sculptured ones, look sleek and cool in their pool on a hot summer day.

Have you had a rough week? Plop yourself down on a bench. Close your eyes and listen to the fountain gurgle and splash. Then blink back to reality and enjoy the representation of some of nature’s playful creatures.

There — did you feel it? Tension just slipped off my shoulders. Ohh — a bird came to visit and carried away a worry. Take a nice, deep breath of garden-scented air. Nice earth undertones. Light, sweet blossoms.

I think I’m ready now. Time to pull the book from my tote bag and transport myself to another time and place while my body sheds heavy, daily burdens and selects some sweet, light hopes.

Suggestion for your tote bag — romance. A sweet read is “Morning Tryst”

Kindle: https://amzn.to/35gH37S

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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: http://amzn.to/1LXiTwP

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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?

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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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.

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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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: https://amzn.to/35gH37S

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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.