Monday, December 24, 2018

CHANDLER'S TUMBLEWEED CHRISTMAS TREE





Every time I see this it fascinates me. Tumbleweeds make a beautiful Christmas tree.Just don't touch. How did it get started? Read below.

History of the Tumbleweed Christmas Tree

In 1957, Chandler resident Earl Barnum raised the idea of a tumbleweed tree after he saw a similar one in Indiana built out of cone-shaped chicken wire with pine boughs stuck in the holes. Members of the community helped create the first tree in Chandler using tumbleweeds that they gathered from around town.
Since then, this annual tradition has blossomed into a must-see attraction for Christmastime visitors to Arizona, featuring some of the best talent and most dazzling displays of lights in the region, and the parade started just a few years after the first tumbleweed tree was constructed and has since grown into a city-wide event.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL 

AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT

Monday, December 17, 2018

Quote for the Week:  Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” 
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas a lovely time of the year. If you don't celebrate Christmas, do you have another special day to celebrate? At Christmas time we usually see lovely trees decorating stores, homes, and just about every place we go. Some of you have seen this before, so just bare with me. Thanks. Have you ever had a tumbleweed tree at Christmas? Next week I'll show you a place that puts one up every year. (Again, some of you have seen this, but I love to see it over and over.) I was so fascinated by the idea that I wrote a story about a Tumbleweed Tree a  few years ago. Just have to share the cover with you again.



Christmas is the time for miracles, but sometimes, a child must make her own miracle, and one for her siblings.


Have a great week.



Wednesday, December 5, 2018

INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP DECEMBER

It's the first Wednesday in December, which means - 


Awesome Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh is the founder of the IWSG. 

His awesome co-hosts for the December 5 posting of the IWSG are J.H. Moncrieff, Tonja Drecker , Patsy Collins, and Chrys Fey!

Every month we have a question. Optional. For December 5th the question is: 
What are five objects we'd find in your writing space? 

My laptop. My desk. Pictures on the wall. My printer. One or more cats. 

(A lot of other stuff because I'm not well organized, but that's the five main things.)

If you're not a member of the IWSG, why not take a look? You'll meet a lot of nice people.  Check here. Visit their sites. Say "Hi."

Happy Writing!

Monday, December 3, 2018

THE LAND OF YESTERDAY REVIEW

Awhile back I shared the cover of THE LAND OF YESTERDAY. I finally read the book and would like to share my thoughts with you. Enjoy.








THE LAND OF YESTERDAY

By K. A. Reynolds



From the lovely cover of THE LAND OF YESTERDAY to the final pages, K. A. Reynolds has written a magical story of a family and a house, a house like you’ve never before seen. The Land of Yesterday is where all souls go when they die. It, too, is a land like you’ve never before seen. This is a story about the death of a young boy and the effect it has on the mother, father, and sister, as well as on their most unusual house.


It took me a while to get into what was happening to the characters, but when I finally did, I understood Cecelia Dahl and what she had to do. This is a sad story about life and death, love and forgiveness. And for those that have lost family members, especially young ones, they most likely will understand Cecelia’s emotions and reasons for attempting to bring her brother home again.


I think middle grade, tween, and teen readers, as well as adults will enjoy reading K. A. Reynolds stories. It would be a nice addition for school libraries, public libraries, and your personal library. Happy Reading!



Have a great week!

Monday, November 26, 2018

EDITS AND READING DOGS AND CATS

Quote for the week:  “I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!” 
― Dr. Seuss

Today I have a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Still working on edits. Yes, there are more than I thought. Should finish this week. Fingers crossed. The editor is great with wonderful suggestions and comments.

Will have some reviews soon. These are the books I've read lately but no time to review them.

THE LAND OF YESTERDAY and DANCE OF THIEVES






Update on the dog: He's still with me. Sleeps in his house, which is the weirdest doghouse I've ever seen. It was free, though, and he likes it, so I'm glad. Tears everything he can get his teeth on into pieces. Loves to eat and to be petted. He's learning not to jump on me and to sit when I tell him to. He and Tiger have made friends, I think. One day, Tiger climbed over the fence to the yard where I keep the dog. The dog looked at him. Tiger walked over to the dog who is a lot bigger than Tiger. They touched noses. They stood still for a moment. Then the dog turned and walked away.  

Patches hisses at him every time they get close, so I don't see a friendship there. I still ask everyone I meet if they want a dog. He still does not like my son's dog, who is old and wouldn't hurt a flea. I don't know why. And I haven't named him. Suggestions are welcome.
But I keep thinking God must have had a reason for sending the dog to me. Wish I knew what it was. 

Now, back to edits.

Have a great week.

Monday, November 19, 2018

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Welcome, dear friends. Yes, I know Thanksgiving is not until Thursday,but I'm taking this week off and posting early. I have edits back, which means I have more editing to do. So, I'm busy, busy. Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to you all.


Enjoy the holiday.
See you next week.

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 12, 2018

VETERANS DAY AND ARMISTICE DAY- WW 1

Veterans Day is a U.S. federal holiday, a time to honor and thank those who are serving or have served in the military and are still with us.
Veterans Day is different than Memorial Day, which is a day to reflect and remember those who lost their lives in service to their country.
It was originally called Armistice Day, commemorating the signing of the agreement that ended World War I at 11:00 A.M., November 11, 1918, this federal holiday was changed to Veterans Day in 1954. It became a day to honor all the men and women who have served in the armed forces of the United States. Each year, special ceremonies are held at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
 Even though they've long been gone from this life, I'd like to introduce you to some of my kin that served their country. 


Brother Arwood        Cousin Billy            





Cousin Allen              His dad Elvin (WW1)


Those Stowe boys liked to be where the action was.

God bless our men and women in the military.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

NOVEMBER IWSG

November is here. Which means it's INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP.




We post the first Wednesday of every month. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter is @TheIWSG and hashtag #IWSG.

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. Remember, the question is optional!!!

November 7 question is:  How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh is the founder of IWSG.


His awesome co-hosts for the November 7 posting of the IWSG are Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman!

Now for my creativity. I'm not sure whether it's creativity or not, but sometimes I'll see a person, an animal, or a place. Or I'll read an article or hear someone talking, and my brain clicks on. Oh, that would make a great story. The longer I write, the more alert I am to creating a story or article from what I see and observe.

For instance, my idea for TUMBLEWEED CHRISTMAS happened when I saw a tumbleweed rolling across the pasture and remembered one time we brought one in the house and decorated it for Christmas. Perhaps now that I am writing, I'm always looking for a new idea which makes me look at life closer than before I became a writer. I think it started when I was still teaching, years ago. The art we did in class and science experiments sometimes ended up as an article I sent to children's magazines. Yeah, I must have been creative and didn't even know it. We learn something every day.

How about your creativity?

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy Reading. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

TRAVEL BACK IN TIME

November! One of my favorite months. The tree leaves are changing into beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges. (Except the mesquite trees, which is what we have a lot of.)  Anyhow, bare with me as I travel back in time. I do this a lot and remember the "good old days." You can stop reading right now, if you'd like. I understand. But I've been cleaning my writing room, and it really needed it. I keep everything, even scraps of paper with notes that I have no memory of writing. But I did find some things that I'm happy to see again.

When I first started writing, I was still teaching, and a lot of my ideas came from school. I taught fifth-grade science, and we did a lot of fun experiments. Children's magazines love stuff like that. So, I want to share some of my magazine articles with you, at least the covers of the magazines. I won't torture you with the stories and activities. Thank you for your time and patience. Enjoy.





The Happiness Magazine is a TV Guide like magazine and was my first published article, based on fire drills we did at school. Remember those?

One more exciting thing I'd like to say. At my Writer's Group meeting last week, we had a couple of new authors there. After the meeting was over one of the young men came over to me and knew exactly who I was: his fifth-grade science teacher. I didn't recognize him because he looked a lot different than the 10-year-old I knew. He showed me his business card, and I am quite impressed. Those of you that are teachers understand what I'm saying. Anyhow, thanks for traveling to the past with me. Now to the present and this new week.


Happy Reading!

Friday, November 2, 2018

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!



Someone has a birthday today. I'm not telling who.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 29, 2018

MEET BUBBA AND SQUIRT and THE ROWDY SISTERS

Did you know reading is so much fun? Of course you do. I've recently finished a couple of great stories for young readers and would like to tell you about them. Let's take a look at BUBBA AND SQUIRT'S BIG DIG TO CHINA by Sherry Ellis. Also, I'd like for you to meet some adorable girls in THE ROWDY SISTERS by Carole "Lisa Lynn" Gilbert. Sit back, relax, and enjoy my thoughts. Thank you.



BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA

By Sherry Ellis

Review


Have you ever wanted to dig a hole to China? If so, what did you expect to find? Gold? Jewels? A treasure chest? Bones? Did you follow your dream and discover what you expected or something even better? In BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA, an adventure story by Author Sherry Ellis, Squirt tells her brother Bubba that he can’t dig a hole to China. He says he can, so they take the magic shovel that Grandpa bought at a garage sale and decide to see if he’s right.


The digging doesn’t go quite the way they had expected and they soon find themselves in a new world. Where are they? Could it be China? Maybe. But they haven’t a clue how to get home.


Sherry Ellis has written a story that will have you turning pages to see what happens next. Bubba and Squirt have a mystery to solve and on the way they meet some very interesting characters.  The big question is will they find their way home or will they never see their parents again?


BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA is a fascinating story of bravery, discovery, and fun that should appeal to middle-grade and even older readers that enjoy an adventure while learning some history along the way. The author has added a Glossary with Chinese words which is very helpful in reading the story. She also shows the correct way to pronounce the words and character names. A recipe for Chinese Dumplings sounds delicious.


I recommend this story for school libraries and classrooms, public libraries and your own library. And if you plan to dig a hole to China, be very careful. You never know who might be waiting for you. 

Happy reading.

###

And other places.





THE ROWDY SISTERS


By

Carole “Lisa Lynn” Gilbert

Review


Do you have sisters or brothers? If so, do you like to do the same things they do, or do you prefer to do something different? In THE ROWDY SISTERS by Author Carole “Lisa Lynn” Gilbert four sisters like to do different things. May likes to read. Her sisters prefer to play. So what’s a girl to do to find a quiet place away from her noisy sisters?

With delightful illustrations, the author shows us how May tries to get away from her sisters and have some peace and quiet. It’s impossible. They just will not let her read. Then one day she finds the solution to her problem, or so she hopes. What happens next is clever and fun and a great solution.

What does May do? You’ll find out when you read THE ROWDY SISTERS.

The expressions on the girls’ faces are perfect as they make an exciting discovery from their sister May. I recommend THE ROWDY SISTERS for school libraries and classrooms, and public libraries as well as your own private library. Happy Reading.
###

And other places


Monday, October 22, 2018

RAINDROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD

We had a rainy end to Summer, and we really needed it. Yes, it means a lot of grass mowing, but who cares? My son just gets on the tractor and the pasture now is lovely with green grass. We're above our normal rainfall for this time of year. The lakes are almost full. Our pond is full and water has even backed up into the low areas. It probably means mosquitoes, but long sleeves and pants take care of that.

So Tiger and I decided to take a walk today and see the pond. He had a great time exploring.  Here are some pictures I took. There are fish in the pond, but I didn't see any. Anyhow, enjoy.









Have a Great Week!

Monday, October 15, 2018

TICK-TOCK and MUSIC BOXES REVIEWS


Quote for the week: I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!” 
― Dr. Seuss




I just finished reading the latest anthology from the IWSG. A new one will be coming out next year. Have you entered? 

Below are my thoughts about TICK TOCK

Enjoy!

TICK TOCK
A STITCH IN CRIME
 An Insecure Writer’s Support Group
Anthology

Are you in the mood for some good mysteries? Do ghosts hang around you? Have you ever been accused of committing a crime? Do you sometimes wish you could go back in time and change the past? I could go on and on, but if you can answer any of these questions with a “yes” then you’ll likely want to learn more. So, get a copy of TICK TOCK  A STITCH IN CRIME, an Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology, and meet some very interesting characters. If you dare.

In this anthology, you’ll find stories by Jemi Fraser, C. Lee McKenzie, Mary Aalgaard, and Christine Clemetson. Also, S. R. Betler, Tara Tyler, Yolanda Renee, and J. R. Ferguson have contributed their work. Rebecca M. Douglass, C. D. Gallant-King, and Gwen Gardner’s stories are included, as well.

So, turn on the lights. You don’t want to read this Anthology in the dark.Get in a comfy chair and enjoy visiting each story and meeting interesting people. Oh, be sure to lock your doors and windows, too.

Happy Reading!
Can be found at:


and other places.


Wait! We're not finished yet. Here's a peek at a book that will be out March 5, 2019, from Dancing Lemur Press. You don't want to miss this one. Here are my thoughts. Another gorgeous cover.





MUSIC BOXES

By Tonja Drecker



Music boxes are lovely. One can picture a ballerina twirling and spinning on her toes to a beautiful tune. It’s enchanting. Many girls aspire to being ballerinas, even though it’s a lot of work and no guarantee they’ll succeed. In Author Tonja Drecker’s new novel MUSIC BOXES, Lindsey McKay’s dream is to be a star like the ballerina in her music box. Things look promising for a while. Lindsey and her family move from Nebraska to Manhattan to give her the opportunity. Madame Destinee says she is talented and will be a star. But weird things start happening, and her dreams are threatened.


Tonja Drecker has woven a fascinating tale of mystery and suspense. I cheered throughout the story for Lindsey to succeed in her quest to be the best. She’s a likable character, willing to work to reach her goal. Then, when things start falling apart, she learns what the important things in her life are.


This is a story that will touch the hearts of young and old. Young readers who are striving to reach their own dreams. Older readers who remember their dreams. MUSIC BOXES would make a great addition to school libraries and public libraries, as well as your own library. Recommended.  Release date March 5, 2019.

###


Available for pre-order at:


and other places.


Have a great week!

Monday, October 8, 2018

BUBBA AND SQUIRT'S BIG DIG TO CHINA

What a great way to start a new week. I'm excited to host Sherry Ellis on her book tour for her latest novel, BUBBA AND SQUIRT'S BIG DIG TO CHINA. Welcome, Sherry.




Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China (+ Giveaway)


It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Sherry Ellis’ BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today.

The author is offering a tour-wide international giveaway featuring five
autographed copies of her book. More information on the giveaway is listed
below.

BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA
by Sherry Ellis

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

◊ Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press

◊ Print & eBooks

◊ Paperback: 94 pages

Grades 3-5

Squirt doesn't believe Bubba can dig a hole to China. But when the hole swallows them, the kids find themselves in Xi'an, China, surrounded by Terracotta Warriors.
          It gets worse when the ghost of the first emperor of China appears. He tells them they can't go home until they find his missing pi. The kids don't know where to begin until they meet a girl and her grandmother who promise to help find the pendant.
          Soon they realize they are being followed. And they are no closer to finding the missing pi. Will Bubba and Squirt ever make it back home?

BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA available at:


Sherry Ellis is an award-winning author and professional musician who plays and teaches the
violin, viola, and piano.

When she is not writing or engaged in musical activities, she can be found doing household
chores, hiking, or exploring the world. Sherry, her husband, and their two children live in Atlanta, Georgia. 

For more on Sherry and her writing, you can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, her blog, her website and her Amazon Author Page.


This tour-wide giveaway is for five (5) autographed copies of BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA. The giveaway is open internationally.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient.
If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Sherry on her month-long tour HERE.
You never know what you might find out.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now for an excerpt from this exciting story.


CHAPTER 1 BUBBA: I HAD AN ACCIDENT…IN A HOLE

We were going to die.
The ground rushed by as we fell to the center of the Earth. And it was all because of a shovel. The stupid magic shovel.
Do you want to know how it started? You do? Okay. Let me back up. It was like this...
“Wait! You said I could go first!”
Sorry for the interruption. This is my little brother, Bubba. And yes, I did say he could go first. “Okay, big guy. You’re up. But don’t take all day!”

            Sisters! So, like Squirt said, I’m Bubba. And guess what? I dug a big hole to China. For real! And Squirt didn’t think I could.
“You can’t dig a hole to China,” she said.
“Can too.”
“Cannot.”
“Can too.”
“Bubba,” she said, all brainy-like, “this is Mariemont, Ohio. China is on the other side of the world.”
“So?” Squirt was getting on my last nerve.
“So, you’d have to dig through more than seven thousand miles of dirt and super-hot molten rock to get there.”
“You think you know everything,” I said to Miss Smarty Pants.
“I’m in sixth grade, and you’re only in fourth.”
Whoopty doo. Two stinking years older. Who did she think she was? A rocket scientist? It didn’t matter if we lived a bazillion miles away in a little town in the Midwest United States. I knew I could do it. And I was going to prove it. I stuck my tongue out and gave her the biggest, slobberyist raspberry I could. Then I grabbed my shovel and left her in the dust.
I ran across our back yard all the way to the woods. I didn’t stop until I got to the big tree. Mama called it the sick more tree, but it didn’t look sick to me. It was big and tall, and it had lots of leaves. Except its bark was all splotchy. So maybe that was why it was sick. But I thought it looked cool.

Miss Smarty Pants chased me to the sick more tree. When I turned around, there she was, all huffy puffy. Sweat beads dripped down her face. She wiped them off and pushed back a few strands of stringy, brown hair.

###

Oh, wow! I have to read what happens. And that poor sick more tree. Love it. My book is on its way. 

Thank you for visiting with us today, Sherry. 

Happy Reading!


###

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP OCTOBER

Welcome to the first Wednesday in October which means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group.


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Awesome Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh is the founder of The Insecure Writer's Support Group.

His awesome co-hosts for the October 3 posting of the IWSG are Dolorah @ Book Lover,Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken!

Visit them and say Thank You for co-hosting.

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. Remember, the question is optional!!!

Question for October 3 is How do major life events affect your writing?  Has writing ever helped you through something?

My answer: 

Events in my life do affect my writing. What is happening determines whether I can write or not. When something serious, like an illness or death or bad news from family or friends occurs, I sometimes cannot write. My mind is too much on the situation, especially when it is life changing for my family and /or me. However, when my baby son and my baby granddaughter went to heaven, many years apart, I wrote a poem for each one, sharing my love for each of them. Not for publication, but to help me face their loss.

When good things happen in my life or my family, I'm inspired to write because I'm happy and want to share my happiness with a story that will be happy too.

I love it when a story comes from major events in my life. For instance, I was inspired to write my MG novel STAR OF THE TEAM when I attended basketball games that my granddaughter played in. The girls were so competitive and serious about their games that I had to write their story. Family can be inspiring, just watch them.

And if I'm feeling sad, sitting down to write can help perk me up. Escaping into another world, another time and place is better than a dose of medicine, at least for me.

How about you?

Happy Writing.

Monday, September 24, 2018

A NEW MEMBER OF THE FAMILY-MAYBE

Quote for the week: 

Welcome Monday.  We haven't had an animal story for awhile, so I know you're just waiting for one. If not, you may stop reading here. You've met my cats many times. 

But now, quite by surprise, I'm fostering a dog. 


His is a sad story. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed this stray dog down by my gate. I was pretty sure I knew how he got there, but tried to ignore him, hoping he'd go away. No such luck. For three days he stayed by the gate, waiting for his family to come back for him. Finally, I had to feed him. Couldn't let him starve. He loved cat food. That was all I had. And, he followed me back to the house. So, I put him in the yard and have been debating ever since what to do with him. Oh, after a couple of days I did buy some dog food. He really didn't care.

Anyhow, he has never bothered the cats, but I kept them in the house, just in case.  And I decided to call the humane society and have them pick him up. They don't pick up and I had no way to take him to the shelter. He's a young dog but weighs almost as much as me, I imagine. So I thought I'd call our city shelter, but then, he looked at me with  those sad, sad eyes. His tail wagged back and forth faster than windshield wipers. So, yes, he's still with me. I'm trying to teach him to sit because he jumps on me when I go outside. I still may call someone to come get him. Undecided.

Patches is traumatized. Tiger is cool. But the dog doesn't like my son's dog, which could be a problem.

I'm asking for God's guidance, because I know what happens to a majority of animals taken to the shelters. The lucky ones are adopted. The others...

Anyhow, he's eating like a horse, my grocery budget is overdrawn, and he keeps looking at me with those sad, sad eyes.

Have a happy week!