Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I am thankful....

December, 2016

The end of this year is coming to a close. Thank Heavens! That was my first thought.  It’s been quite a year of shock, grief and loss, and a few nice surprises thrown in to soften the rest. But as I sat to write my blog for this final month of 2016, some other thoughts came to mind. Thankful thoughts I will call them. So bear with me as I meander through them.

Thanksgiving comes once a year and we often save all of our thanks giving to that one day… often around the turkey in the center of our dinner table. But giving of thanks comes more often than that… or it should. Most of us are guilty of not giving enough thanks when we should.  As I look back over what I am thankful for in 2016, I came across a few things… and people.

I am thankful that I have a family who loves me, warts and all. I have a daughter who stands up for those who cannot. She fights the good fight every day of her life. My son also has a deep heart and a soul to match for others in this world. He may not be as vocal as his sister and mother, but he is steadfast in loyalty to those he protects with fierceness.  He is a good man… no mother could ask for more. I have a husband who might not be as wealthy as others, but who has never shirked from hard work since he was a child. That hard work day in and day out earned him a failing heart. But along came some miracle workers disguised as doctors and nurses this year and we have him with us for some time still to come. And yes, he is still working long, hard hours but that is who he is and his way of protecting this family.  If there was ever someone who comes close to being George Bailey from “It’s A Wonderful Life”, then that would be my husband… a huge and giving heart and wealthy, not in money, but because of the people whose lives he has touched and the unbounded love and optimism he gives to all.

I am thankful for a handful of dear, life-long friends who have seen and heard it all and still manage to bring laughter and love to my life. It is true that you may not see someone for quite a while between visits and over long distances, yet your hearts stay as connected as if they were in the next room. That is so true of my dearest compadres.  And for those friends who have entered my life only recently, you know who you are, too. You have shown caring in thoughtful ways both big and small. I cherish our lunches, our day trips to search out new adventures and back roads, and sharing hopes and sad times, too. You help to smooth the sharp curves that life’s road throws in our pathway.

I am thankful that I have a job that is both maddening and wonderful… often all at the same time. I get to stay young at heart because of the wonderful young people who cross my path…first as timid freshmen far from home and then I get the privilege of watching them walk out the door in four years as adults with their eyes trained on the stars ahead. The best times are those when they come back for a hug and shared laughter, often with their own spouses and new babies in arms. I am reminded that the cycle of life and hope for us all is still in our grasp and will continue.

I am thankful I was born to a family that wanted me. I knew great love and still feel it around me when times are darkest. The strength I was given as a child has served me as an adult and a parent of my own now-grown children. I was also given the ability to stand on my own feet, reach for my own dreams, accept defeat and learn from it, know the greatest joy and wealth comes not from dollars but from finding like souls to share the earth with and still be able to expect the best is yet to come.

And I am most thankful I was born a Texan and an American. I love Texas with a fierceness that often surprises folks who meet me (such as New York editors!) and that love is only second to that of being an American. This country had too much blood shed for her over centuries to protect us and give us a way of life and freedom that few others have…. but all envy. And when it is under attack from forces outside and now, inside, its boundaries, then I will stand up and use my voice to fight for her.  When she is threatened, we all are.  And when those who are weaker than I are threatened also, then it is my duty as an American to stand beside them.  I don’t shirk from that duty whether the opposition is friend, family, or stranger. 

This year saw my writing and publishing of books continue to grow and that is something I will never take for granted. To be able to write a book that brings a smile to someone’s heart that I have never met is an awesome thrill and an inspiring responsibility. I hope the stories I have still to put on the page will continue to make others’ journeys just a bit easier if only for an hour or so… that is my greatest thanks.

The best is still to come….happy holidays and a peaceful 2017 for all,

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Everything's Peachy in Texas

JUNE, 2016…
     I was going to say, “Summer’s coming soon,” but it’s already here!  Where did May go?  Suddenly, the calendar is moving far too fast.  I have to say I am not a real big fan of summer.  I love to go swimming, but you can keep the heat!  Although, there are ways to enjoy those hot days and one of them is by cranking up the ice cream freezer. How many of you have fond memories of sitting and cranking that handle (the old-fashioned, fun way of ice-cream making) before the advent of the all-electric freezers? Anticipation was half the fun!  Of course, you needed more than a couple of freezers to make it a real party, because so many people had their personal favorite flavors.  What was yours? I am split between vanilla and peach. Never could get into Big Red or Oreo or any of those other fancy ones.
     My giveaway for the launch of His Country Bride is Everything’s Peachy in Texas.  Of course, that ties in with the location of my book, and the attempt of my heroine to make her own peach jelly.  It also brings back fun memories I have of summers in the Hill Country of Texas. One particular memory involves a couple of our fun trips over the Fourth of July, to the area around Fredericksburg and Medina, Texas. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law and my husband and myself, would get a cabin in the hills and then plan day trips to do fun things like arts and craft shows, great food stops in out of the way cafes, etc.
     Well, one of us, who shall remain nameless (ok…it was me) decided it would be lots of fun to stop at an orchard and pick our own peaches for some homemade peach ice cream that evening back at the cabin. We stopped at this great place with acres of trees. They also had other items you could pick too….apples, figs, watermelons, and LOTS of peaches. So off we four go, armed with our empty baskets.  We felt so empowered “getting back to the earth”, rolling up our sleeves, gathering our food the old-fashioned way and not from the produce section of the local grocery.
     I picked with one eye open for anything slithery on the ground, as is my habit. Since spending long summers on a farm in west Texas, I learned that you can meet some not nice creatures in the rows of gardens…but that is a story for another blog. Anyway, we were all enjoying ourselves and gathering our treasures. The sun got to be a little warm and so about an hour or less later, we headed in with our baskets to be weighed. That’s when we noticed one small problem… the size of the vehicle’s trunk might be an issue. The next problem…overabundance. We ended up with several baskets and bags of food…for just four people and three days of meals. To say we got a tad bit carried away in our exuberance of our “farm experience” would be understating the problem.
We ate apples, peaches, figs, watermelons until we didn’t want to look at them again for another year.  We made a small dent in our quantity. That is the year; my sister-in-law Janet became a supreme “canner” of the highest order. Our treasures were turned into lovely glass jars and given to MANY deserving friends and family members!  And they are still coming….LOL
     Such are the memories of summer… more to be shared later!  Enjoy the peaches and homemade ice cream wherever you are,

Saturday, August 23, 2014

All Things Romantic

I write romances.  I love romance...who doesn't?  But it is almost a lost art it seems. Romance is different things to different people. I have asked readers to leave their ideas what romance is in the comment section of this blog.  I am going to compile a list. Check back to see the list grow! This should be interesting and fun....please join in!  I will begin the list with some of my ideas:
1) Walk along the Riverwalk in San Antonio on a lovely spring evening with your special someone.
2) A picnic for two among a field of bluebonnets on a spring afternoon in Texas.
3) Sunset walk on a beach
4) Sharing an umbrella in a soft rain
5) A small bouquet of flowers from the local market for no special reason
6) Watching the moon rise in a cloudless sky

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Nationals and what happens next....

What a whirlwind RWA is!  If you have never been, you need to experience it at least once.  This is especially true if you plan a career as an author.  I was surprised...nicely...at how friendly and welcoming fellow authors...both small ones like myself and bigger ones were toward newbies.  It was great to actually meet the ladies who write the books I have read for years and enjoy to this day!  There were far too many workshops for hours in my day.  The ones I missed, I shall purchase the audio tapes for and listen at home when I have time.
Perhaps the most important thing about RWA, is the fact you come home exhausted but rejuvenated at the same time!  So many great ideas on social media and publicizing your work, indie publishing if that is the road you choose, craft techniques, etc. There is something for everyone and it all helps you become the writer you want to be.
Now, I have my first book online and have become addicted to watching the grafts and bars on Amazon and trying to act like I know what they all mean.  I spend a good deal of time pitching my book on blogs and websites and trying to get those sales up.  If I get a magic number, then my book will go into print edition and that is what I need and want.
In the meantime, I am back on my laptop...writing.  More stories in my head that must escape!