Monday, October 26, 2009
After a while he saw the stewardess walking his way with a younger man following her. They stopped when they came to my hubby and the stewardess explained that the man wanted to give up his first class seat to him, and thanked him for serving our country. You see, hubby was wearing this hat.
There aren't too many folks left in the world that can say they served in WWII. Hubby politely refused, and thanked the younger man. However, the younger man insisted and the stewardess helped hubby re-locate to a first class seat.
Nice story, isn't it?
Friday, October 23, 2009
I don't know about you, but fall is definitely here when the scent of baking apple something-or-other fills the air.
This afternoon I'm going to whip together a batch of apple puffs. No, they're not low-cal but they are truly yummy. And hey, we all need a little yummy now and then, don't we?
Hope you enjoy your weekend!
1 1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 t. baking powder
1 cup finely-chopped apples
2/3 cup milk
vegetable oil for frying
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, egg, apples and milk. Stir until batter is fairly smooth.
In a deep pot, heat a few inches of vegetable oil until a drop of batter fries upon contact with the oil. Then drop batter by spoonfuls into the hot oil. Fry until the puffs are lightly browned. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and roll in confectioner’s sugar to coat. Serve warm.
Monday, October 19, 2009
First, we played. And then, we played. And then...we played some more! LOL Two days of watching Sponge Bob Square Pants, Little Einstein, Disney movies, looking at pictures, reading books, putting band aids on imaginary boo boos, and wrestling. A new stain on the carpet but all the hugs and kisses and laughter were worth it.
When the kids came up to get her we had a nice dinner together. And now, peace and quiet. Too quiet. The cats, who've spent most of the last two days hiding under beds and in closets have finally all come back out. Jezebel was the only one who would have anything to do with Alivia. The other two kept their distance.
Hubby will be back home tomorrow. He's been gone the past week visiting relatives in OK. Then on Wed I go back to work. The good thing is I only have to work two days this week before I'm on my weekend again.
I hope the cool weather lasts. I actually got to open my windows today and air out the house. I love fall!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I am in a state of flux thinking about my forthcoming trip to Florida. I should leave on Tuesday but I haven't packed. Just can't bring myself to do that until nearer the time. You never know what is going to happen to ruin it. If you think I am looking on the dark side, then I confess I am. I think it comes from my Celtic soul - I say this because I come from a family of Scottish, Irish and Welsh heritage, I guess you can't get more celt than that. But also having had to cancel once I am afraid I will have to do it again. Can I ask you all for finger's crossed please?
Looking on the bright side (does this ability come from my German/Polish Grandfather...I think not!!). Whiskey Creek Press have taken three of my books. Next year is going to be busy with promotion but the downside is because I have three books coming out I think I can rest on my laurels. I confess to have been downright lazy. Well things will have to change but as Scarlet once said. "But I'll think about that tomorrow..." Today I am thinking about my son, my daughter in law and those three super kids who just happen to be my grandkids. You can't blame me for that...and aren't Celts romantic too?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
It's a thrill to have my friend, Sharon Donovan, here as a guest logger to discuss her inspiring memoir, Echo of a Raven. She will be donating a portion of the proceeds from book sales to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
With America in the lead at 20.8 million, there are more than 230 million diabetics
in the world and the number is rapidly increasing. More than half of these diabetics
will develop some stage of retinopathy during his or her lifetime. This condition
causes fragile blood vessels to grow and rupture in the back of the eye and can lead
to progressive blindness.
I began hearing the frightening phrase diabetic retinopathy at the age of six when
I was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic. During a routine visit to Children’s Hospital
when I was twelve, a doctor predicted I would be blind by time I was twenty-five.
His harsh words echoed in my head to the point of obsession, affecting every major
decision I made for years to come. But even though these words haunted my subconscious,I never spoke them aloud. Then they might come true.
The closer I got to twenty-five, the tighter the noose around my neck, sucking the
life out of me like a garrotte.
I worked as a legal secretary at the Court of Common
Pleas where I prepared cases for judges in Family Court. But painting was my passion.
I spent my weekends painting picturesque scenery, the ruins of ancient Rome and reflections on the water. Through my artwork, I escaped to a place of peace and tranquility.
No more heartache. No more pain. But one day while painting a Tuscan landscape, I
had the first bout of blindness. And for the next two decades, my vision came and
went. Now you see it—now you don’t. And after a rocky road, nine years ago, I lost
the battle, losing all hope and my will to live.
But through an organization for the blind and visually impaired, I found the courage
to face a sighted world I was once part of. Some of the curriculum I endured for
eight grueling hours every day for sixteen weeks was mobility training with a white
cane, group therapy to deal with anger issues and the use of a computer with adaptive
software. It was a heart-wrenching journey filled with endless challenge. Part of
the reason I was reluctant to enroll in a program for the blind and visually impaired
was because I thought clients would be uneducated. I was a professional, after all.
What could I possibly have in common with “Those people?”
I was wrong. I met doctors and nurses, teachers and engineers, all with one common
thread. We were all facing vision loss due to circumstances beyond our control. Some
had the extra burden of facing a marital problem because a spouse could not or would
not accept the blindness. We laughed and we cried. We connected in a way words could
never express. I was one of the lucky ones. What didn’t kill me made me stronger.
And after a long and winding road, a new dream resurrected. Today, instead of painting my pictures on canvas, I paint my pictures with words.
Echo of a Raven is a must read for diabetics, those facing a vision loss and for intelligent people who want to put an end to this world-wide epidemic.
In my memoir,I give a prolific account of my stay at Pittsburgh Vision told from an insider’s
point of view when institutionalized for sixteen weeks. Echo of a Raven is not for
the weak at heart. But through my darkest hour, I found light at the end of a tunnel.
Only when I reached out and asked for help did doors open. And doors have continued
to open for me.
There is a plethora of opportunity for the blind and visually impaired. In my memoir,
I give the names and addresses and websites for several organizations that have been
invaluable to me. Please help me in my mission to find a cure for diabetes and its
number one complication—blindness. If I can prevent one child from living in fear
of losing his or her vision, Echo of a Raven will be a smashing success.
A portion of all proceeds of Echo of a Raven will be donated to JDRF Juvenile Diabetes
Research Foundation fight for a cure. I thank you for supporting my charity.
Echo of a Raven
CTR Recommended Read Award for outstanding writing
YGR You Gotta Read rating
Available in paperback and eBook
Visit my website:
or contact me at:
As the blind man sweeps the streets with his white cane, I look away. As the blind man jingles his cup of coins on corner sidewalks, I look away. As the blind man sells his mops and brooms, I look away.
“You’ll be blind by time you’re twenty-five,” a doctor at Children’s Hospital predicted. “Your blood sugars are way too high.”
I began hearing the frightening phrase diabetic retinopathy at the age of six when I was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic. This condition causes fragile blood vessels to grow and rupture in the back of the eye and can lead to progressive blindness. And at the age of twelve, when a doctor at a routine visit made this prediction, his cruel words changed the entire course of my life, affecting every major decision I made for years to come.
His words haunted me. They consumed me. They devoured me. Wherever I went or whatever I did, these words echoed in my head. The only time I found refuge was through my artwork. Painting became my sanctuary, a place where I could escape to another place and time. Peace and tranquility. No more pain. But one day when painting a picturesque Tuscan landscape, the initial bout of blindness struck with no warning.
Several buses pulled up, hissing and spewing as slush and mud splashed in all directions. People jumped back to avoid the mud-stained snow. It was a 71 and it was going downtown.
As I stood shivering, waiting for people to file out, a blind woman approached the bus stop, sweeping the snow covered pavement with her white cane. Her flat, monotone voice cut through my thoughts. “Does this bus go downtown?”
“Yes,” I answered her. I wanted to turn my head as I’d done so many times in the past, but my heart went out to her. It was so slippery out and she was so vulnerable. What if she got on the wrong bus—or got stranded somewhere? That could be me some day. Fear welled up in my throat as I watched her maneuver her way on to the bus. She cleared each step with her cane and stepped aboard.
A man in the front of the bus stood up. “Here, miss. Take my seat.” He tapped her arm. “Behind you.”
She wordlessly took his seat without uttering so much as a thank you. I sat in the seat directly across from her, not wanting to watch her--but unable to take my eyes off her. She wore dark glasses and a blank expression, so isolated in a world of utter chaos. She pulled a book out of her bag and began feeling it. Braille, I sucked in my breath. A foreboding premonition hurled through me and I thought I might be sick. I couldn’t take this. Visions of my future flashed in front of me, filling me with an uneasiness that had me completely undone.
How could she have the patience to read Braille, feeling all those bumps. After reading small print on legal documents all day, I would never have the tolerance to learn Braille. No way. How could a sighted person adapt to an unsighted world? Would that be me some day? Or was I just hitting the panic button. Then to my horror, the words screeched in my head. “You’ll be blind by time you’re twenty-five.”
Precisely one week later, I was down in my garage, putting the finishing touches on my painting. The rich fertile vineyards of the Tuscan landscape shrouded an inland harbor of mirror still waters. Age-old olive trees framed the hillside. Sitting back to admire my work, I smiled in eager anticipation. Just a few more strokes of the brush for fine detailing, and my masterpiece would be complete.
But suddenly, a huge splattering of black paint covered my beautiful painting. Confused, I wondered how paint had managed to get all over my masterpiece. I blinked several times, but it was still there.
Slowly but surely, my brain received the message. It wasn’t black paint covering my canvas at all; it was blood covering my retina. My worst nightmare had just come true. I’d had a massive retinal hemorrhage.
Dumbfounded, my paintbrush slipped from my fingers and rolled across the floor. I felt like I was drowning, losing consciousness. I sunk into a chair, clasping my hand over my mouth. Heart-wrenching pain stabbed at my gut. Nausea threatened. Then the tears spilled. “Nooo! Not yet. It’s too soon.”
Monday, October 12, 2009
Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin. God lifts you up, takes you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all the yucky stuff-- including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside you to shine for all the world to see.
Friday, October 9, 2009
This past week I've taken every opportunity to head outdoors. It's been raining quite a bit but I haven't let that deter me. I've gone on long strolls, through the meadow and into the forest. I've seen a fox, startled a partridge and been startled by a skunk. Fortunately none of these encounters left either participant worse for the wear!
I don't know about you, but I do some of my best thinking while I'm walking. I'm mulling over the final chapters of a new book, considering (then mostly discarding!) ways to tie up all the story's loose ends. This walking therapy revives me, and makes my time at the computer much more productive.
Too, all the walking is doing great things for my legs. That's important, because soon these gorgeous leaves will give way to snow and you know what that means, don't you? That's right--I'll be doing my mental book writing bundled up and walking behind a snowblower! I wonder what story I'll be working on come winter? Hmm...
I hope you've had a wonderful week. And I hope your weekend is a good one, filled with peaceful moments and beautiful colors. Happy Friday!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
She had left him and made him look like a fool in his own society now back in his life, Helena was mature and sophisticated. For Helena this was the man she had once loved and then divorced…still he held an irresistible attraction for her, yet could she do anything about it when there was Diane?
Maddy has lost her memory, the more she finds out about herself the more she loathes herself. Her husband Nevis, handsome and wealthy, lets her know in no uncertain terms that he hates her…she cannot blame him, yet she cannot stem the feelings she has for him. How could she have been so despicable to this man when all she longs for is to be in his arms?
Confused by who and what she is, sometimes she thinks it would be better if she never remembered the past.
“I have something to ask you, will you marry me?” His first thought was. “You’ve got to be joking,” and he thought she was. Only Flora was serious. She was practically being forced by her father to marry a man she detested. Thus begins a daring deception…the only trouble is Flora is a woman in love and Marsden Collingwood can have his pick of women who are more beautiful than her!”
Ginny has a terrible secret buried inside her; it has the potential to ruin her life. She loves her son, and is still attracted to the man who broke her heart, if she goes to Spain she knows she will be putting all she holds dear n harms way…yet she feels she has to take the chance.
He was a man of fierce passion and she was a woman who has a terrible secret!
Excerpts and reviews available at www.margaretblake.co.ukBooks available from www.whiskeycreekpress.com and Amazon.com
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Here at the Lark Journals we are thrilled to have Cate Masters as our guest blogger.
Cate Masters’ novels, novellas and short fiction appear at The Wild Rose Press, Eternal Press, Wild Child Publishing/ Freya’s Bower and Shadowfire Press. Her flash and short stories are published with The Battered Suitcase , A Long Story Short, Dark Sky Magazine, Cezanne’s Carrot, The Harrow, Flesh from Ashes, Quality Women’s Fiction, Phase, and The Writer’s online edition. In 2005, Pennwriters awarded her second place in its annual Short Story contest for her literary story, All is Calm, All is Bright. Her freelance articles have appeared in The Sentinel, Carlisle. The proud mom of three adult children, she currently lives in central Pennsylvania with her husband, Benji the dog, their dictator-like cat, Chairman Maiow, and dozens of characters inhabiting her imagination. Visit her online at www.catemasters.com and http://catemasters.blogspot.com, or follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Masters/89969413736?ref=ts or Twitter: www.twitter.com/catemasters.
Her contemporary romance, Going with Gravity, is now available from The Wild Rose Press: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/going-with-gravity-p-3539.html?zenid=9a21831541a26a30f60bab5323b0f23e
She’d love for you to check out the trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9C0LCXFZww
Reviews have described Going with Gravity as: “so compelling I did not want to put it down. The sexual encounters were sizzling and the ending was unexpected. There were moments of poignant emotional conflict.”
And “What happens is what storybook romances are made of and what everyone hopes for in their lives. But, you will have to read this romantic and heartwarming novel to learn just when and why Allison realizes she might have met the right man, and why Wes made sure to meet her on that fateful flight. “
And praised the hero: “Wes, the hero, is so darned sexy, I wanted to take him home. I’m not talking about his finesse with the spicy part of loving; it’s his class, style and solidness of character. Wes struck a chord with me that makes him a keeper. There’s the part where Allison meets him again under somber circumstances. The way Ms. Masters describes the whole scene allowed me to visualize it. It’s hard to find the exact words to describe how it made me feel but it is no surprise to me that Allison could connect with a guy like Wes so readily. He’s written in such an approachable way, I fully believe that love at first sight can happen.”
Here’s the story blurb:
Publicist Allison Morris plans her own life – what’s left of it – around the life of her boss Michelle McCarter, the ex-wife of a famous rock star. When Michelle needs emergency public relations patchwork in Hawaii pronto, Allison arranges a flight to the dream destination. At the airport, she meets Wes Hamilton, a six-foot-three sun-bleached blond whose blue eyes and dazzling smile rekindle her fizzled-out sizzle. A world-renowned surfer, Wes captivates her with his charm and wit, though his easy fame and on-the-edge lifestyle are the polar opposite of her own. When their jet loses its fuselage in mid-air, she takes advantage of what she thinks are her last minutes alive with Wes. The plane lands safely. Wes takes care of her when her carefully constructed life begins to unravel. When Michelle accuses Allison of using Wes to gain fame for herself, Allison’s world falls apart in an explosive confrontation. Wes is waiting with open arms when she has nowhere else to go, but can Allison learn to stop planning and go with gravity?
And here’s the excerpt:
Allison pulled her portfolio from her laptop case and set it on her lap, afraid to open it. As soon as the articles had arrived on her fax machine, she’d shoved them into her bag, then hopped in the shower. Delay tactics only worked for so long. The moment of truth had arrived. She opened it and thumbed through. Eleven pages. Eleven. And these were only the newspaper articles from the past two days. TV and online news sites surely covered more. And then there’d be the inevitable blogger. Uncontrollable, overly opinionated and accountable to no one, they were the worst.
Michelle had arrived on Oahu with a bang, and then had the audacity to blame Allison for not doing her job to quell the media. She held up one photo of a topless Michelle prancing in the surf, laughing. Rumors and innuendo could be stopped with logic and tact, but to downplay this photo, she’d need a good explanation. When Michelle’s logic and tact failed her so obviously, Allison had to wonder about her mental state.
A hulking figure filled the aisle, stowing his bag in the overhead compartment.
Those shorts. That shirt.
It was him.
He checked his ticket, looked at her and smiled. His blond hair fell across his forehead as he sat next to her, his shoulder bumping hers. “Hello again.”
For two years, she’d rubbed elbows with stars of all magnitudes without so much as a blink, and fended off paparazzi following the wife of megastar James McCarter.
With two words, she’d been reduced to the rank of dreamy-eyed teeny bopper.
He smiled, raised an eyebrow.
She realized, then, she hadn’t responded. And her mouth hung open.
Make that drooling dreamy-eyed teeny bopper.
She flashed a smile. Think. Damage control is your business. Put it to good use for once.
“Hi.” Oh, yes. Very witty. What a deft deflection of his charm.
She turned back to her articles, but sensed the weight of his stare.
He frowned at her reading material. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to read over your shoulder. I take it you’re a closet fan of the poor little rich girl?”
“In the same way I’m a closet fan of train wrecks, I suppose. I guess you’re not a fan.”
“Of hers?” He chuckled. “God, no. She’s awful. Her publicist should be shot.”
Shot. Of course. Working fifty-five to sixty-five hours a week wasn’t enough to keep the spin spinning fast enough for the rest of the world. The one guy who’d interested her in the past two and a half years thought she made a good candidate for execution. Her life was in such a rut, she’d need mountain climbing gear to get out.
“If you’re a fan, I didn’t mean to offend.” Sincerity had wiped the smile from his face.
“Actually, I’m..” She turned and smiled, “…her publicist.”
Monday, October 5, 2009
It's a crying shame that even when you stay at home these days to do your shopping and banking that you're not safe. We're told that when we go to the bank's ATM machine to make sure you're not alone, or not to go after dark. And if you have to, make sure it's well lit and on a heavily traveled street. Most of us are aware of the dangers and take the appropriate measures.
Nowadays a lot of us, especially the younger folks, do everything on line. And I mean everything. Within the last couple of years I've joined the club. It's fast, convenient, and you can monitor your accounts daily. I do most of my Christmas shopping online because I hate shopping. It's called going green. I've even opted to stop receiving paper bills. My daughter began doing it years ago, saying I needed to join the 2oth century. So I joined. Don't let it be said that I can't be taught something by a young in.
Two weeks ago my daughter and son-in-law's bank account was wiped out. The money wired to Mexico. While the bank investigates, they're left scrambling around to cover checks they've written out. Notifying billers what's going on. Closing old and opening new accounts. And they're told, they'll get their money back but it will take up to three months.
Everything was done online. I know things like this happen but it's the first time it's happened to someone in the family. What a mess for them but they're getting through it. I haven't dared mention it to my hubby, who's as old as dirt and convinced doing anything, especially banking online, isn't safe. I couldn't stand hearing him say, I told you so.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Always ready with my camera, I went outdoors and snapped a photo of the sky for you to see. Nothing elaborate or even rainbow-y (is that a word? No? Well, shouldn't it be one?) but I figure any day that's got even a small patch of blue sky in it is a good one!
I hope your weekend is filled with blue-sky days and starry nights. If it stops raining here, I've got plans to begin raking leaves. Again, nothing fancy but leaf raking is a calming sort of chore, with lots of time to ponder, so I enjoy it. What have you got planned for the weekend?
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Hi Margaret, great of you to stop by. Please can you tell us about your two recent novels “Devil’s Ridge” and “Stolen Birthright” both of which have been very well received?
M.T: Thank you for having me, I am honoured to be here.
Devils Ridge is set during the 1st World War and tells the story of Harry (Harriet) Martin who masquerades as a boy so she can help her shell-shocked brother obtain employment. They are hired by Ross Calvert to work on his cattle station, Devil’s Ridge. Of course, falling in love with Ross was never part of the plan.
Stolen Birthright, is the sequel to Savage Utopia and is set in Australia in the 1840’s. Marcus Lindquist is the son of an English Lord, banished to Australia for an indiscretion. He meets up with George (Georgina), a tomboy who lives with an elderly uncle and three boy cousins. They fall in love, but how can the daughter of convicts marry into the English aristocracy? And twelve thousand miles across the sea, an English Earl, who was prepared to send an innocent man (Georgina’s father) to the gallows, plots Georgina’s death, so that his shameful secret will never see the light of day.
These sound terrific reads, Margaret. Exciting plots, I am not surprised they did so well. Tell me now, when did you start writing and why?
M.T: I have virtually been writing stories since I could put pen to paper. As a child I used to make up stories and write them down in old exercise books. I was having a clean out of my cupboards a few months ago and found one of the exercise books which was really surprising, I thought it would have been thrown out years ago. I am going to keep it now and pass it on to my little granddaughter.
You are an Australian, does the wonderful country of Australia inspire your writing?
M.T: Yes it certainly does. We have beautiful scenery, unique wild life. My pioneering ancestors, fought against the tyranny of distance in an inhospitable and savage land, where only the tough and resilient would survive. They not only survived but prospered in ways that would not have been possible for them had they stayed in England and Scotland.
Yes, Margaret that is so true. There is a splendid classlessness in Australia which still doesn’t exist in England. Only in Australia could a convict’s daughter keep company with an earl! I know you recently had a trip to Europe, did you find anything that you will use in a future novel?
MT: Oh Yes. Plenty of ideas are swimming around in my head waiting to be told. We visited Cornwall, and I would love to set a story there against those beautiful rugged cliffs and wild seas. We spent a week in Penzance, but I didn’t see any handsome pirates in the flesh, but in my mind I did. And of course, Scotland, those castles and men in kilts, I only had to close my eyes and I could hear the swirl of the pipes floating across the moors. All I have to do is find the time to write the stories.
Both are inspiring places. What sparked your interest in both the World Wars?
M.T: As a child I used to listen to my elderly relatives talk about the 1st World War. It was hard to visualize these frail old men as dashing young soldiers. As I grew older my interest grew. I read the history books, had access to diaries and on one of our trips to England, I visited the World War 1 battlefields in France and Belgium, a truly poignant experience. From then on, I knew I had to write about these brave young men who sailed thousands of miles across the sea to fight for mother England, the birth country of their parents and grandparents. I also wanted to write about the mothers and sweethearts who often waited in vain for their loved ones to return.
From a population of about 4 million, Australia sent over 300,000 men to the front, more than 60,000 were killed, more than double that number wounded.
The 1st World War decimated the male population of some country towns, and they never recovered from it.
I have written three books set during World War 1. Devil’s Ridge from WCP press, Shattered Dreams from TWRP, and I have a 3rd novel, Wild Oats, coming out next year from TWRP.
As for the 2nd World War.
My interest is fired by the fact that my father served during the 2nd World War in Singapore and Malaya, and had a miraculous escape from Singapore just a couple of days before the capitulation to the Japanese. My novel, The Trouble With Playboys, published by TWRP, is set against that background, and I had access to letters by father wrote during the war to my mother (who was engaged to him at the time), plus the stories Dad told us as kids, and I felt compelled to write about it.
That sounds so fascinating, Margaret. I think you Aussie’s have great respect for those who fought in those wars. The war memorials are beautiful and held in great reverence. I was very impressed by how these ANZAC memorials are cared for. Please tell us what you have planned for the future.
M.T: I have three longer historical novels, around 100,000 words that I would like to try and have published with one of the larger publishers, and I am working towards that goal by doing revisions and re-writes.
In the last couple of months I have signed two contracts with The Wild Rose Press (TWRP). So, I aim to keep busy.
My website is: http://www.margarettanner.com
My publishers are: Whiskey Creek Press and The Wild Rose Press
Thank you, Margaret, this has been such fun and you have made it so very interesting. Good luck in the future.