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Winter Doldrums

Have the short days and long nights of winter gotten you down?

Has it been a long time since the first, exciting, magical snowfall? And now you just wish the cold, snow, and ice would stop?

Cheer Up! I’ve been told that yesterday – Groundhog Day — marks the mid-point between the first day of winter and the first day of spring. We’re on the down slope! Sunset comes later — granted, only by a minute or two.

In the interim — I’ve good news to share. The Kindle edition of the sweet romance Comfort Zone, is on sale for .99 — less than a dollar! This is a limited time sale.

So download today. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, and settle in a comfy chair. Meet Janet and Rich — mature people faced with a decision — or two or three.

Learn more here: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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January Promise

The new year, started fresh and clean — a blank tablet to record the next twelve months.

How are you doing at the end of Month #1? Did you write down any goals or resolutions? Making progress?

In 2022 I photographed a local butterfly garden on the first (sometimes later) day of the month. From the looks of it — 2022 should have been a vigorous year.

Shall we try those goals and resolutions again in February? A new beginning is not limited to the first of the year. How about the first of a month? Or a week? Or a day?

I’ve found goals go better in small bites. My big goal may be to write the next book — but I see better progress when I list it as steps — create characters, sketch out a plot, write first ugly draft (you get the idea).

Now to try it with my body weight. Stop gaining before I set a goal of losing.

May I suggest you set a reading goal? Pick your favorite genre and dive in. Don’t have a favorite genre? I’ll suggest a sweet romance to start. If you favor small towns and second chances — check out STARR TREE FARM. You’ll even find a touch of suspense. More information here: https://amzn.to/2zqIQEw

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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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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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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

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Let Every Voice…

Winter holidays and music go together like potatoes and gravy or snow and boots.

Do you favor the happy, upbeat rhythm of popular music? Or the ballads from decades ago? Perhaps you prefer familiar, sacred melodies.

Each has a certain charm. Like many people, I can enjoy a variety of holiday tunes with soaring melodies, religious lyrics, and comedy tunes of reindeer.

This puzzles features many voices with many songs. I like to think the tunes are happy. However, I know some spread a word of warning to their loved ones. As we sing our winter holiday songs, let’s look forward to the spring chorus of our feathered friends.

Small town residents need to be flexible. Beth Cosgrove, known in the community as the breeder of German shepherds and accountant, is also called upon to sing a solo for a church service. Nervous – yes. (She prefers to sing in a group.) Astonished when an audience comes to rehearsal — double yes. Check out the sweet romance SEED OF DESIRE for the entire story. Kindle: https://amzn.to/2RDFgxH

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Retreat to the Lake

Has the pre-Holiday rush got you in a tangle?

Take a hint from this puzzle and retreat to the lake. (Literally or via other means.)

Close your eyes and draw a deep breath. Is that a hint of pine? Campfire? Do I hear water lapping against the dock?

I like to imagine a cozy evening by this lake cabin’s fireplace. Popcorn, hot beverage, and quiet conversation. Think of the adventures we could plot. Or reminisce about the escapades of previous years.?

Looking for a cabin retreat? Selected Missouri State Parks have cabins to rent short term. For a sweet romance set in the parks — pick up MORNING TRYST. A great gift to yourself or others. Kindle: https://amzn.to/35gH37S