#LongandShortReviews #weeklybloggingchallenge 4.1.2020

I think any one who knows me could write my response to today’s topic for me: Favorite book series and why.

Most of the books I purchase now are on my kindle. Since I read sosososo much it makes sense from a storage capacity and cost issue. One series I still buy – not in kindle format – but in HARDBACK is J.D.Robb’s IN DEATH series.

Nora Robert’s doppelganger is 50 books in to the In Death series, the latest one, GOLDEN IN DEATH.

This series, a futuristic police procedural that is in reality a master class on writing a series romance, spoke to me from the very first book, NAKED IN DEATH, released in 1995 – that’s 25 years ago, peeps – and she’s 50 books in. That tells you she writes 2 of these massive tomes per year ( 300-400 pages each) and every one of them is a gem.

The heroine, EVE DALLAS, is an NYSPD cop who specializes in murder investigations. She has a terrible, dark past that includes rape, starvation, and torture, but she grew to a woman determined to a give a voice to the dead. In the first book she is a loner with nothing in her life but her job.

And then she meets gazillionaire Roarke.

Many writers can write heroes well. Robb, though, springs Roarke from the page.

He, too, has a terrible past so he recognizes a kindred spirit in Eve, and even though he is a murder suspect in a case she is working on, she is drawn to him. These two are opposites in every single way, and it is their differences that are so entertaining to read as they make their life together.

The first 20 books introduced new people in Eve and Roarke’s world, until now there is a fabulous cast of secondary characters that have become friends to me. I look forward to reading about the growing relationship of McNab and Peabody. I chuckle when I read about Feeney’s responses to the way Eve’s mind works. Summerset, the butler, is a man after my own OCD heart. And if they ever make a movie of this series, I’m going to petition to be cast as Dr. Charlotte Mira, the NYSPD psychiatrist and the women who is a mother figure for Eve.

Every couple of years I re-read the series from the the first book to the current one just so I can remember all the wonderful things that happens to this cast. I’m not kidding when I say reading this series is like taking a masterclass in how to write continuing books series. I highly recommend this series to everyone I know, too.

The 51st book SHADOWS IN DEATH releases in September 2020. I already have it preordered!
Let’s see what other series are favorites from the authors in this challenge: L&SR

And if you’re looking for me, I’m usually here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// Book Me

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The lonely goodbye…. #covid19 #quarantinelife

I didn’t have a blog piece planned today.

I was going to take a break for a day because the rest of the week and into the weekend is already plotted for me. But as I was trolling Facebook this morning, one of my friends posted this picture and I knew i had to write something to express how it made me feel when I spotted it.

If you know me you know how important my Catholic faith is to me. You also know that I have a medical background and sometimes the two theologies war with one another when I’m faced with decisions I need to make that have consequences. This may be the first time in my life that both teachings have collided so forcefully for me.

All that aside, when I saw this photo I started crying.

Inconsolably.

I don’t know what I would do, how I would be able to survive, if someone I loved died alone because they were in isolation. To not be able to be there when their last breath on this earth is expelled; to not be able to hold their hand while their soul leaves for Heaven; to be unable to kiss their forehead or cheek, or hug them one last time before you never see them again. I know in my heart, despite my faith, I wouldn’t be able to go on.

This is something I never talk about, but today I’m willing to share it because I need to face that the current pandemic may effect me in just this way. I am not afraid of many things. Truly, I’m not. But the one fear I do have and which is my biggest fear in life, is dying alone or having someone I love die without me there with them.

To be cut off from the people you love most in the world, to be isolated in a room surrounded by machines, shut off from human contact because hands are double gloved, faces are masked, and clothing is covered by protective gear, to not be able to hold the hand of your spouse or parent or child as they leave this planet and this life. All those things terrify me.

My darling daughter is quarantined 300 miles away from me. I have not seen her since Christmas. If she were to be stricken with the virus I would go mad with worry. Stark raving mad. Not to be able to care for her, touch her, be with her, would send me over the edge mentally and emotionally. I’m sobbing right now writing this at just the thought.

My parents are 30 minutes away from me and quarantined in their mobile home. Both are high risk due to age and chronic conditions and they have seen no one other than me when I deliver food to them for almost a month. I jumped on the bandwagon of self isolation early because I could see what was coming and I knew they were at risk. If either of them were stricken and, God forbid died, my heart would break because I couldn’t be with them.

Every night I pray for my family, my friends, the people of this country and then the world. To die is part of living, I know that and I get it. But to die alone, without the people who love you and who you love with you, is by far the worse thing I can think of. Human touch, the human one-on-one connection, is so ingrained in us as a species, that to be robbed of the ability to reach out and touch another person, or to sit with them or offer comfort, is anathema and counterintuitive to who and what we are.

As this pandemic kills even more people and destroys the lives of those left behind to survive without their loved ones, I am taking my cue today from Pope Francis and praying for all those who have died alone, and for those families who have never had a chance to kiss them goodbye.

And I am keeping all the front line doctors, nurses, police, fire fighters and EMTS who have become surrogates for so many loved ones,  in my prayers as well.  Their sacrifices can not have been made in vain.

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An #interview with #WildRosePress #author D.V.Stone

It’s no secret I love to interview my fellow writers. And for some reason, my Wild Rose Press Authors have been some of the BEST interviews I’ve done. Today is no exception. Today I introduce to you ( if you don’t already know her!) D.V.Stone. She was a real trouper and answered all my weird questions!! She’s got a new book coming out on April 6 – check out this great cover:

And now, meet My friend, D.V. Stone:

D.V., the author….

  1. What drives you to write?

There’s always been this creative muse inside me. I’ve tried my hand at painting, sketching, jewelry making, music etc. But for some reason it wasn’t until I was older that duh writing was the thing, I’d spent my life looking for.

  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?

My first manuscripts were fantasy. I now consider myself a multi-genre author. I read all types of books. Why should I limit what I write?

  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?

See above. I started out in the long-ago past with the bodice busters. I love so many different types. My kindle is like my music quiet eclectic. I will admit though, at this time I tend to lean toward paranormal romance. Ask me tomorrow and you might get a different answer.

  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday?

I try to write every day. I do have a full-time job so sometimes I can’t. But, that said, I don’t go a day without being in a manuscript to pull out something for a writing prompt on Twitter or Instagram. I work in the afternoons, so after the first cup of coffee I start and go until I have to leave.

  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

Depending on my mood and the weather, I can be found in my library, on my deck, in the kitchen or if I’m feeling the need for a change of pace my camper. I travel with my laptop which we call The Football, so when I have appointments like getting my car serviced I pull it out and tinker with something. Sometimes the change of location helps, and I love the outdoors.

  1. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel-vision?

I’m hearing impaired. The loss of hearing makes me the best at tuning noise out. Silver lining.

  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?

I often listen to music and it depends on my book. Rock House Grill is based on mostly classic rock. Jazz House the next book will encompass many different types of Jazz. I’m a big fan of jazz, swing, blues. If fantasy is on the monitor my go to is Celtic.

  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

I’m super competitive even with myself. I heard there was a challenge called NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. How do you accomplish that? I wrote what I knew. As a former EMT and restaurant owner, I have a lot of stories.

  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?

They sort of develop together. Something will strike me. Often a picture or a lyric. Then I ask, “what if.” It kind of runs from there. Throughout the writing things often change, straying from the original idea. Even though, something sparks. I recently signed another contract with Wild Rose Press for a short story for their summer anthology One Scoop or Two. I had a name rolling around my head, Gloriana. I started the story based on her name.

10. What 3 words describe you, the writer? Stubborn, committed, enthusiastic.

D.V., the gal….

~ Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I got engaged in prison.

~ Who was your first love and what age were you? Shaun Cassidy. And a lady never reveals her age. (Peggy here: Girl. I knew I liked you. His pretty face was plastered all over my wall ***** years ago. Hee hee)

~ If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…. I don’t think I’d want to. Each day is a revelation of itself. I think life would lose much if we got a do over

~ What’s one thing you love about your significant other? LOL! My husband is sitting in my library on the loveseat with my dog as I’m writing this. I turned to look at him and read him the question. Then I looked at the dog and said, “she’s really cute.” He laughed. He gets me.

~ If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it item, what would it be? My house. I would live in my RV. No, regrets.

~ What three words describe you, the person? Competitive, Impulsive, Empathetic.

~ If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? It’s a Beautiful World. (Sometimes it’s hard to see and remember that.)

~ If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? Hermione Granger. I think JK Rowling should bring her back as headmistress of Hogwarts. We would pull all kinds of things out of her bottomless bag and make magical spells.

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

Favorite sound:  A baby’s hysterical laugh

Least favorite sound :Alarm clock

Best song every written : Simple Man

Worst song ever written : Baby Shark song. I have grands who torture me with it

Favorite actor and actress :Hard one. Today it’s Sean Connery/ Lucille Ball

Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? (It can be anyone living or dead) ;JRR Tolkien. I want to see how his mind worked

What turns you on? ;Kindness

What turns you off? :Rudeness

Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date (here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”): This is absolutely true. I was on a double date—first and last. The couple in the back seat were making out, I’ll stop right there, there was a lot going on. This guy reaches over for me and said, “Man does not live by bread alone.” Okay, its 7 words, but really? (Peggy here: you can have those 2 extra words because this, right here? It’s perfect!)

What’s your version of a perfect day? : Camping with my family. The Firepit is lit. There’s something good bubbling away in the Dutch oven. A glass of wine and some great music playing

 And now, here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ from ROCK HOUSE GRILL

 

 

One man’s choices—One woman’s impact

Aden House, successful but driven chef and TV personality, refuses to slow down. His life implodes one night, damaging him both physically and emotionally. He’s rescued by a woman he thinks of as his angel.

Shay McDowell has rebuilt her life after her divorce. She juggles volunteer EMT duties and her job, while dreaming of becoming a chef. She finds her way to Rock House Grill and back into the life of the man she helped save.

Can love be the ingredient needed to survive the many obstacles they face?

Excerpt

“Easy, you’re going to be okay.” A soft voice eased through the chaos around him. The owner of the voice grabbed his arms and held them in a firm but gentle grip. “I’m right here with you. You are not alone.” “Can hardly m-move.” His voice slurred. “C-can’t see anything.” “You’ve been in an accident. I’m an EMT with the ambulance squad,” the velvety voice calmly explained. “You can’t see well because we’re under a tarp. Hold still, okay?” “‘K.” A small light flickered at the edge of his vision. It shone into a bag next to him. Penlight. “You’re restrained to a board. It’s to keep your head from moving and causing more injury.” She continued to talk to him. The voice reached down somewhere inside him, calming and peaceful, so he focused on it. A glow from spotlights on the outside lit whatever covered them. The shadow gave the woman the appearance of a halo—like an angel.

Get your copy here:

Amazon          Barnes & Noble

 

A little more about D.V….

“Hi, my name is D. V. Stone. Rock House Grill, a contemporary romance, is scheduled for release by Wild Rose Press. I host Welcome to the Campfire, a weekly blog. I am also a multi-genre author of two independently published books. Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar is a fantasy romance. Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake is a mid-grade paranormal. Here’s a little more about me.

Born in Brooklyn, D.V. Stone has moved around a bit and even lived for a time on a dairy farm in Minnesota before moving back east. Throughout her wandering, she always considered herself a Jersey Girl. She met and married the love of her life, Pete—a lifelong Jersey Man, and moved this time to Sussex County.  They adopted Hali, a mixed breed from the local shelter, who is still working things out with their cat Baby.

D.V.’s career path varied from working with the disabled to become a volunteer EMT, which in turn led to working in hospital emergency rooms and then in a women’s state prison. After a few years, she took a break from medicine and became the owner of Heavenly Brew, a specialty coffee shop in Sparta NJ, and a small restaurant in Lafayette. Life handed some setbacks, and she ended up back in the medical field, but this time in a veterinary emergency hospital.

During the poor economy, she was laid–off from a long-time position she cared about. Devastated, D.V. wondered what to do with her life. Finding comfort in her love of reading, she realized it was now time to follow her dream of writing. It’s been a long road but worth every minute of it. Now a published author, she also works in a people medical office again.

“Thank you for taking the time to read about me. Each time you open the pages to one of my books, I hope you’ll be swept away by the story and find encouragement in your own life, never to give up on hope.”

D.V. Stone

Find out more about D. V.

Website         Facebook       Twitter       Instagram

Pinterest        Bookbub       Goodreads    Newsletter

Welcome to the Campfire Blog     Amazon Author Page

 

 

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#feedyourReader from #GoddessFish #99centbooks for your #quarantinelife

Staying home to stay healthy? Let us help you keep busy.

Fill up your eReader today with 99c or Free books in all genres. Click on the link(s) below for a list of books in your favorite genre(s) (plus, check out the rafflecopter at the end of this post to enter to win a $25 Amazon or BN GC!).

My book, It’s A Trust Thing is entered in the Contemporary romance category!

Contemporary Romance (erotic and non-erotic)Historical Romance (erotic and non-erotic)

Science Fiction or Fantasy Romance (erotic and non-erotic)

Romantic Suspense (erotic and non-erotic)

LGBTQ Romance (erotic and non-erotic)

Women’s Fiction / Chick Lit

Non-Romance Mystery/Suspense/Thriller/Horror

Non-Romance Historical Fiction

Non-Romance Science Fiction or Fantasy

Literary Fiction / Contemporary Mainstream Fiction

Non-Fiction

Find the rafflecopter here: FEEDYOURREADER

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#blogging up a storm!

Today is a busy day for me. I not only have my own blog post up ( here) but it’s also my turn on both the ROMANCE GEMS and ROMANCING THE GENRES blogs.

Good thing we are all in self quarantine, no? Hee hee

More time to read … and write.

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A #Preorder #Sale for Vanilla with a Twist ( One Scoop or Two) #99cents

 

I am super excited because I just found out that my May 20,2020 release of  VANILLA WITH A TWIST is ON SALE NOW – for #99cents –  as PreOrder on Amazon.

Click here to preorder your Kindle Copy now because the price goes up on release day!!!

Tandy Blakemore spends her days running her New England ice cream parlor, single-parenting her teenage son, and trying to keep her head above financial water. No easy feat when the shop’s machinery is aging and her son is thinking about college. Tandy hasn’t had a day off in a decade and wonders if she’ll ever be able to live a worry-free life.

Engineer Deacon Withers is on an enforced vacation in the tiny seaside town of Beacher’s Cove. Overworked, stressed, and lonely, he walks into Tandy’s shop for a midday ice cream cone and gets embroiled in helping her fix a broken piece of equipment.

Can the budding friendship that follows lead to something everlasting?

Intrigued? Find out the answer to that question on MAY 20, 2020!

*****The ebook will be across all digital venues, but only available for preorder at 99cents on Amazon.

Amazon // Nook // more to come soon.

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New in #Audiobooks Will Rise from Ashes by Jean Grant; @audible

I love audiobooks, don’t you?? My fellow Wild Rose Press writer and friend, Jean Grant, has just released one of her books in audio and she’s sharing a little sumthin’ sumthin’ about it here to day with me! So exciting.

Will Rise from Ashes

Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Living is more than mere survival.

Blurb:

Living is more than mere survival.

Young widow AJ Sinclair has persevered through much heartache. Has she met her match when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, leaving her separated from her youngest son and her brother? Tens of thousands are dead or missing in a swath of massive destruction. She and her nine-year-old autistic son, Will, embark on a risky road trip from Maine to the epicenter to find her family. She can’t lose another loved one.

Along the way, they meet Reid Gregory, who travels his own road to perdition looking for his sister. Drawn together by AJ’s fear of driving and Reid’s military and local expertise, their journey to Colorado is fraught with the chaotic aftermath of the eruption. AJ’s anxiety and faith in humanity are put to the test as she heals her past, accepts her family’s present, and embraces uncertainty as Will and Reid show her a world she had almost forgotten.

How did I do my research for Will Rise from Ashes?

Simply put, heaps of reading, exploring, and travel. My background is in science (microbiology, immunology, biology, and marine science—I spent a lot of time fine-tuning my interests in college and graduate school), and I love traveling and hiking. The idea of Will Rise from Ashes came from a bit of my own life (as a parent with an autistic child) and my love of nature…I asked myself what would happen if the Yellowstone supervolcano erupted? Volcanoes are a constant topic in our household. Bam! My story came.

 

Then, road trip time! I’d already visited the lovely national park in the corner of Wyoming as a child and took another trip this time with my family, 4 years ago. This highlight of our national park system did not let me down. I was walking on ground zero—research moments were everywhere! We also toured other geothermal wonders throughout the Pacific Northwest on that trip. The bright sapphire-blue Crater Lake was one of my favorites and meandering through the observation areas of Mount St. Helens gave me shivers. I returned home with piles of books and dug into the story. Along the way, I’d stop to dig deeper with research. And up front, I take careful character development into consideration. My stories tend to have journeys of the body and heart, and this one takes my characters from Maine to Colorado. Talk about a road trip. The experts say “write what you know” and for me that was science, journeys, and parenting. I hope my readers enjoy AJ and Will’s journey in Will Rise from Ashes as much as I do.

Get your copy here:

Audible ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Google books

A little about Jean:

Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines and websites. When she’s not writing or chasing children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.

You can find Jean here:

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Bookbub ~ Amazon Author Page ~ The Wild Rose Press ~ Instagram

 

 

 

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#coping during #covid19 The #NewNormal , part 2

So the other day I had so many responses to my question about how my writer friends are coping with the new normal in the pandemic world, that I had to write 2 blogs to post them all! hee hee. I have really great friends.
Writer Lucy Kubash sent me this: 
 My husband and I retired two years ago and we’ve gotten use to being home a lot more in that time, but knowing we can’t just jump in the car and go somewhere is a bit unnerving. Since we live where it’s still quite cold (Michigan), we also have learned to deal with staying home more in the winter weather. But, here are a few things I do to try to keep from going too stir crazy when stuck at home, and so I’m not just at the computer all day.
Get outside at least once a day. Fill the bird feeders and feed the squirrels. Take the dogs out in the back yard (My husband tries to walk one dog every day. I say try because Ace doesn’t always want to go, lol!)
Choose one household project per day to finish, something I’ve been putting off for a while. Then I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I have a long list!
Have a treat in the afternoon; hot chocolate, coffee cake, something that makes me feel good.
Post soothing/fun photos on Facebook/Instagram and try to avoid the scary stuff.

WRP sistah and friend Julie Howard has these recommendations for sanity:

I thought I’d chime in on my own sanity tip for your blog.
Spending too much time indoors is a guarantee for craziness, no matter if there’s a pandemic or not. I have to get outside and walk. Fortunately, it’s spring and there are blossoms and buds to admire on nearly every tree. Daffodils are in full bloom which means tulips aren’t far behind. This is a wonderful time to clear the cobwebs in my brain, process all that’s happening, and even conjure a plot or two in one of my books. I always return home refreshed. Who knows what tomorrow brings, and so I focus on the moment. Small pleasures, like a simple walk.
Another wonderful WRP sistah, N. Christine Samuelson sent me this:
I, too, pretty much prefer the isolation of the writing life; but it’s curious, now that I’m told I have to stay home, I want to go out visiting & shopping, esp. the bookstores, lol! Human nature, I guess. So, like yo, my routine isn’t changed drastically except no more last minute running to store or restaurant for take out dinners; and no more escape to a movie theater once a week. Instead, I’ve changed my routine like this:
Cooking meals instead of eating out-  I’m finding it soothing and something to look forward to — finding a new recipe and making a great meal for family. Never thought I’d have fun finding new dishes & actually taking the time to cook them!
Sharing information:  I know many elderly people/family who either don’t use a computer or are limited in its use. So I’m researching local stores & restaurants to find hours, & places that have pickup service and/or deliver groceries & meals, & even medications. I also offered to bring food & place at their front door if they run out or can’t cook.  Helping others takes me out of my own head & problems.
Getting out for fresh air & sunlight to walk even just for 20 min where others are not congregated, ie: around a pretty-much deserted neighborhood or beach. Or if I start getting really claustrophobic, we just drive around in the car and look at nature or a sunset. Find something each day to do for yourself that takes you away from all the bad news and your own fears. (Thank goodness for Netflix, Prime & wonderful BOOKS!)
Faith & prayer. When fear of the future grabs me, praying and reaching out to family & friends via internet/phone/skype always helps. We’re all in this together.

         Click to learn   :  How to wash your hands correctly

My dear friend and fellow New York sistah Charlotte O’Shay has been self isolating for the past few weeks and gives these tips for coping:

“Covid-19 is war. With a large immediate and extended family in the New York metro area and with some including me with underlying respiratory vulnerabilities, we have to win it.

Living as we do, cheek by jowl in NYC, is a challenge even in the best of times and these days are not the best of times. Here are some of my coping methods.

#1-Stay connected

FaceTime conference calls with family and friends, photo-sharing, recipe sharing, story sharing, joke sharing. We’re sitting around a big virtual dinner table cheering each other up and on. This is not easy as many of us have been furloughed, let go or business has plain stopped during the pandemic.

#2- Structure

My husband and I have been self-isolated for 10 days. We structure our days as work days, take a break to walk at day’s end while keeping social distance. Saturday spent cleaning.

#3- Daily

Constant hand washing, reading, writing, meditation, prayer, listening to music. Last night we had a mini James Taylor concert via Spotify. After actual though virtual work, husband reads Hemingway and binge watches the Last Kingdom. I’ve written 75% of a new indie romance.

#4-Food

My mom raised us to respect a dollar and water down eggs and tomato sauce to stretch the meal and I’ve been doing the same. It’s a challenge to see what I can come up with out of my pantry and it’s distressing and depressing to see some hoard. My sister and I scoured NYC to grocery shop for my disabled brother and elderly mom. We continue to give to charities like Food Bank. Their work providing food to those with food insecurity is more important than ever and my kids have given as well. When I couldn’t buy corned beef anywhere, we picked up corned beef takeout for St. Patrick’s Day and I’ve ordered takeout from two local restaurants which we are allowed to do with precautions of surface cleaning and hand washing.

I’m not really baking aside from sodabread for St. Patrick’s Day. With all of the enforced inactivity and pasta, I don’t need the calories though I confess I’ve eaten much more than my fair share of cheese lately.

#5-Only listen to/read trusted news sources. This is very important. Gov. Cuomo’s news conferences, WHO, Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Info, NHI, CDC are the sources of my information.

#6-Social media distancing-while I try to find the humor in anything I post or read in this unnerving time, I confess I’ve never been a big fan of social media. I’m having trouble watching people via FB or Instagram or Twitter who aren’t seeing this pandemic for what it is when so many of their fellow American health care professionals, first responders and other essential workers are going all out and risking their health to serve and protect.

#7-I’m reading A LOT and I’m guessing others are too. I’ve put my books on sale.”

When this is over I want to give everyone in my life a big hug.!

Peggy here: me, too!!!

 

One of my newer WRP sistahs, Marilyn Barr sent me this heartfelt email about getting through these trying times:

Six years ago, my son was diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases and declared too sick for school by our local private school.  I quit my job as a public school teacher to manage his medical care and homeschool him.  He has grown stronger over the years and can now handle moderate groups of kids for short periods.  He will be exhausted but with his immunotherapy, he will not contract illnesses from the limited exposure.  We must carefully examine every acceptable risk which leads to some hard choices for my husband and me.  When we made these life changes, it was a difficult transition but it has been worth it.  These are my top 5 tips and tricks to being in isolation.

·         Replace the rhythm supplied by school and work.  Having work or school meant a schedule of activities leading to a natural rhythm.  Being devoid of this can be jarring to our systems and can cause anxiety.  You can recreate the rhythm by setting alarms on your phone at the same time each day for a special activity or having a theme each day of the week.  In my house, Laundry Day is Friday, In-house Date Night with my spouse is Thursday, Baking Day is Wednesday, Deep Cleaning is Tuesday, Trash Day is Monday, Sunday is Yardwork Day (year-round) and Saturday is Game Tournament day.  Some daily themes are more fun than others.  Every day my phone has alarms for 5:00 am writing time, 11:11 am meditation, 2:30 pm yoga, 4:00 pm silent reading, and 9:30 pm star-gazing and moon-spotting.

·         Balance screen time with screen-free activities.  Screens provide enjoyment but can eat up a large portion of our day.  Parents are grateful for the temporary peace screen-time provides until their children become dysregulated from too much exposure to artificial lights and stimulation.  By utilizing the alarms on my phone, I can break up blocks of screen time with low-tech activities to give my son’s eyes a rest.  My favorite screen reset activities are yoga and meditation because they calm his nervous system further.  However, a nature walk, time spent playing with the cats and practicing his piano are all healthy activities.  Silent reading, playing cards, and craft projects also help process some of the stimulus provided by screen time.

·         Maintain pride in your appearance and surroundings.  While pajama day once in a while is fun, ignoring hygiene makes for unpleasant-smelling roommates.  I always feel better when I look better and hypothesize it is the real reason why Donna Reed vacuumed in her pearls while her family was at work/school.  Maintaining shower schedules, housecleaning schedules, and hygiene routines all contribute to the daily rhythm which regulates our emotions.  I highly recommend taking this one step further and dressing up once a week for a candlelight dinner in your dining room complete with your favorite outfit, make-up (if you wear it), heels, special jewelry, and cologne.  You will be amazed at how special you feel being dressed up when you have nowhere to go.

·         Utilize technology to create worldwide social opportunities.  While my son has never been to school, he takes live classes on Outschool.com.  In his French book club, he met his best friend who lives in Belgium.  He sings in a choir whose director is in Calgary Canada.  He learned electronic dance music equipment and toured his teacher’s club booth in England in virtual music remixing class.  He met some of his French social club friends on our last vacation to Montreal.  Zoom, Facetime and some MMOs provide ways to connect with friends virtually.

·         Brainstorm curiosities you didn’t previously have time to pursue.  Instead of lamenting the extra time you have, you can turn it into a positive one.  What have you always wanted to study but never had the time?  I have always wanted to visit the megaliths of England and was excited to find free virtual tours of the world’s landmarks offered to bust quarantine boredom.  Also, if you are like me, your TBR tower reaches for the ceiling.  Reading new books and having the time to leave reviews has been a bonus for both myself and my son.  Nothing gives him more satisfaction than reading his opinions on his school materials to us.  (My last planned science lesson got “zero stars – does not recommend” with “change science to poetry” as the suggested recommendation for service improvement.)

I hope this can provide some inspiration for those thrust into a different lifestyle.  The hardest part of isolation is providing the natural rhythm and structure for yourself and maintaining your standards of living with no outside motivation.  By balancing the fun of reduced responsibilities with the needs of our sensory systems, we can recreate the inner harmony to stay happy and well-adjusted.

And my friend Maria Imbalzano has this wonderful take on how to cope:

We all have predictable schedules during our normal lives and we usually can’t get it all done. Now that we are working from home and have more time for ourselves, you may want to consider some of the things I do every day when I take a break from working on my novel.

  • Read the New York Times and a Local Paper
  • Do a Crossword Puzzle, cryptoquip, scramble, and/or sudoku
  • Read a book
  • Pick up the phone and have a conversation with a friend or relative
  • Start a jigsaw puzzle (can you tell I like puzzles of all kinds)
  • Take a walk outside or some other exercise

The following I should add to my list, but the jury is out.

  • Clean out a closet or drawer
  • Cook something good

Great ideas I saw on the internet

  • Take a virtual tour of one of 12 museums around the world
  • Take a dance lesson
  • Borrow one of 500,000 books free from the New York Public Library
  • Take a virtual trip to an aquarium or zoo

Take a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace, the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef

Is it any wonder I love my writing sistahs sososos much??
Until next time, peeps: WASH YOUR HANDS!!!

 

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#LongandShortreviews #Weeklybloggingchallenge 3.25.2020


Favorite things to do in the Spring is today’s blogging topic.

Can I just say this: I love Spring!!!
I live in New England, where winter can be 6 months long.

Not kidding…not even a little.

One year we had snow on Halloween and then in May, which is my birthday month, we still had snow on the ground.

Do you know how depressing that can get? Even to hibernators and introverts and cold intolerants like me??

As soon as I see a crocus trying to sprout its way through the dead grass, I start to get happy because that means winter is ending. Yay.

So, when the weather finally does get good ( and before allergy season annihilates me), my favorite spring thing to do is take long walks with my husband.

Now for some people that may seem the height of boring with a capital B! But his life is sosos busy and the fact he works 13-14 hour days and weekends means we don’t get to spend a great deal of time together that doesn’t involve sleeping in the same bed or eating dinner together. On Sundays, we walk into and around town. We start at the down town center:

Walk along the business section:

And stop at a few places to visit with people we see who we know:

During those walks, hubby and I reconnect, talk about what’s going on in our lives, coming up for us, and plan.

And yes, we even sometimes hold hands while we are walking! Shocking, I know.

Ah, Spring.To quote Mark twain,

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

Let’s see what some of the other authors in this blog challenge like to do in Spring : L&SR

Until next time ~ Peg

And when I’m not out walking and enjoying my life, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// Book Me

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#coping during #covid19 The #NewNormal , part 1

As we get into the second week of our self-isolation and social distancing practices, I thought I’d ask a few of my author friends for tips on how they are coping. After all, most writers already are experts at self isolating. We spend the better part of our days alone, in our writing caves.
I sent out the call to my writing peeps, and, as always, they didn’t disappoint. In fact, I got so many responses, I decided to do a two-parter for this post, today, and this Thursday, so stay tuned and checked back on Thursday!
Here are a few ways we are all attempting to get through this trying time!
First, me. If you know me you know I love to cook and bake. Well, my husband has been having a  real eating feast for the past 13 days from my baking attempts. I’ve made a series of muffins that are almost gone on a daily basis! Click on the video link to see my latest endeavor:

Video- baking

I’ve also started posting my MORNING MOTIVATIONS again every day on my Instagram account as a way to stay positive and give encouragement. Here’s a recent one:

Fellow ROMANCE GEM Caroline Clemmons told me this is how she and her husband are coping:
~ More time to read—yay!
~ Keeping up with friends via Facebook and text and messenger so we don’t feel isolated
~ Our Sunday School class is having our lesson by conference call (since not everyone can Skype).
~ Our church has online services
~ Binge watching a TV series on Amazon Prime
~ Continuing to write my stories
~ My husband plays with his ham radio or watches documentaries and Ted talks
Fellow Wild Rose Press Rose, D.V. Stone does this:
I love to make soup. Cutting up vegetables is quite cathartic to me. Adding and building flavors leading to fragrant and hearty comfort food which is also healthy for us.
Bonus:
Take precautions and pack it up in individual containers to share it with friends or family. Call ahead and leave it on their porch.

Another WRP sistah and fabulous writer, Kristal Dawn Harris sent me this lovely, and thought provoking note to share, since she is in a high risk category, health-wise:

“Like so many of you, I’m stuck at home adhering to safety protocols for the Coronavirus pandemic. I am in the high-risk group because of a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome. I only go out for food, make sure I keep my distance, and wash my hands, as well as my clothes, and anything I buy, upon returning home. As an author, I am used to spending long periods alone, but that doesn’t mean I don’t succumb to boredom, miss people, or need a break from writing.
There are many projects I have been wanting to do around the house, such as painting the bedroom, and now I have the time. I also get outside, in my own yard, when the weather cooperates. I’ve ordered seeds to plant a garden, so I should be able to do that soon. I exercise, listen to music, watch movies, read, and I’m thinking of cleaning out the garage (my husband will be so happy…lol). I am always searching for interesting articles online about places I’ve never been and weird topics, and sometimes I post them to my social media accounts.
With Skype, I can talk to and see my children and other family members when all else fails. There are so many ways to fill your time, so don’t let the quarantine ruin your life or your mind!  Humans are curious creatures by nature and there are plenty of ways to satisfy that side of yourself!”
Writer, friend and talented author Jennifer Wilck shared this with me:
“This self-isolation is anxiety-producing and kills my concentration. I’m an introvert by nature (a friendly one, though) and while my own personal habits don’t need to change much, having the other three members of my family home in my space definitely requires some adjustment. Some of the ways I cope are:
1) Each morning I remind myself that “this too will pass” and I tell myself how lucky we are.
2) I make sure to get exercise—the elliptical machine in the basement and walking around the neighborhood. I ask the rest of my family to join me on my walks, or I walk with a friend (keeping our 6-foot distance, of course) so that the blood gets pumping, the endorphins flow, and I have someone to talk to. And we try to discuss things other than the state of the world.
3) I try to keep to a schedule, so I feel productive. I follow a to-do list and cross things off as I do them. I make plans for later in the week, and give myself down time as well.
4) I cook or bake or try to find new uses for leftovers.
5) I clean—both for preventing Covid and for spring cleaning.
6) I read or watch TV or both.
7) I check in with my family and friends to make sure everyone is okay. It makes me feel better to think of others.
Hope you’re coping as well. And remember, this will eventually end.”
Another Rose sistah, Jana Richards had this to say:
I’ve had trouble with my back and sciatica, and I’ve found that regular exercise, especially stretching, is vital. So when my gym and my Pilates studio closed ( because of the virus), I started to worry. Fortunately, my yoga teacher found a way to offer live virtual online classes at the same times as our in-house sessions were scheduled to happen. I was sent a link and tuned in at the appointed time. It was fantastic! I felt connected to my instructor and so enjoyed hearing her familiar voice. I not only was able to stretch and strengthen, but felt a bit of normalcy in times that are anything but.

A quick Internet search will show you lots of online classes and exercises, many of them free. I found this one from Orange Theory that I’m going to give a try. So the moral of my story is that we don’t have to give up completely on exercise during this difficult time. Your body and your mind will thank you.

One of my dearest writing friends, the ubertalented Donna Simonetta  had to postpone her planned vacation last week and is having a staycation instead. Here’s how she’s been coping:

As a writer, I work from home. So, with my husband working from home too, I’m having LESS alone time than normal during this time of self-isolation. Haha! .One happy thing happening in our world is that Spring has sprung here in Maryland, and we’re enjoying all the flowering plants and trees in our yard and neighborhood. We take a little stroll around our yard every day to look at our daffodils and camellias.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer Jean Grant’s take on self isolation mimics mine:

“It’s almost like ( as writers) we were made for this, right? I already deal with a lot of isolation and loneliness…now add in my husband and two kids, and home-school schedule — oof!

I’ve been listening to music and audiobooks, reading, and getting on walks. Staying physically active is important to mental health. I normally walk and exercise 4-5x a week. I love Denise Austin’s videos – she is a positive lady and still super fit at 62. She’s even offering live feeds and free videos during this time. I take walks in my neighborhood (with family or alone) and on local (quiet) trails, and I’ve started some spring garden work (though more snow is coming Monday). I’ve been baking, too. Cleaning/purging/sorting. Indulging in happy movies. Creating a schedule for my children has helped us, as they thrive on routine. Drinking my usual amount of coffee. ;-)”

One more for today: Writer Wendy Kendall, also a Wild Rose Press sistah, has this to offer to help you get through these trying days:

All kinds of music is helping me cope. Especially new kinds I never tried before, but also my favorites and familiars and tunes id forgotten. Music is a whole other way to tell a story, whether with lyrics or not. It lifts the spirit and touches the soul. Whether I’m listening while doing something else, or I’m focused only on the song, I am relieved and I am not alone.
Peggy here: All of these are thought provoking ideas, no?? I love them and can see how each is so helpful.
Don’t forget to check back on Thursday for more great tips from all my friends!! Remember: together, we can all get through this – even if we are isolating!! Hee hee
 And remember: 

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