My family history is rooted in the panhandle of Florida and deeply tied to the Scots-Irish-German culture. Traditions were important to my family, and during holidays, those traditions were strictly adhered to. A recent conversation with my brother about our childhood left us wondering if the generations after us will even remember the old-time customs. With that in mind, I thought I'd close out 2020 with a few New Year traditions that my family celebrated during my growing up years. Even today, January 1, 2021, I have prepared a traditional southern meal of black-eyed peas and collard greens seasoned with ham hocks, my granny's cornbread recipe, and lemon drop cookies. In the tradition of my Irish roots, my doors are open to air out the bad and let in the fresh. So Dear Readers, I hope you enjoy reading about my family's New Year folklore. I'd love to hear about yours.
The Grinch is giving FREE books! Check on Pen Dames Blog for complete details: https://pendames.blogspot.com/
Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, and a lot of people may feel there is less to be thankful for this year. After all, daily life has changed dramatically and many of our usual activities have been curtailed.
Most businesses continue to struggle; especially the Mom and Pop businesses. Some jobs disappeared overnight. Gatherings with friends and family are mostly at a distance. Going to a restaurant, or to a movie, or to a ball game, or to a concert, or to an amusement park is no longer as simple or carefree, and additional safety/health precautions now accompany every activity.
People with health issues or who are older and more at risk may have been staying at home more, increasing feelings of isolation, loneliness and depression. Some of our friends and loved ones may have become ill and may have even died from this horrible virus that is ravaging the world.
So what is there to be thankful for this year?
The answer is simple: Be thankful for life – for each day's quiet dawning, for every brilliant sunset, for the happy sound of a bird warbling in the distance, for the sweet aroma of freshly cut grass, for the wind rustling through the branches of an old oak tree, for the smile and kindness of a stranger, and yes,for the wondrous world all around us.
Be thankful for hope, for the hope that today will be better than yesterday, and that the promise of tomorrow is always before us. Be thankful for love, the most powerful force in all the universe that overcomes time and distance.
Be thankful for faith, for the belief that we are all part of something far greater than ourselves, and that there is more good than evil existing in the world.
Yes, there is much we should be thankful for. Despite today’s challenges, we will survive and become stronger for having faced them. Storms eventually subside, and the sun ultimately shines brightly through the clouds once again. As my grandmother used to say, “This too shall pass.”
So my dear friends, be thankful, be safe, and remain resilient during this season of Thanksgiving
I'm excited for a special reason--Christmas at Hope Ranch--is my very first Christmas story. At the end of the story, I've included recipes that were handed down by two of my grandmothers. I can personally attest that I make these recipes every year and they are YUMMY!
Christmas at Hope Ranch is a heartwarming story about Addison James. Although she is a famous model, extremely wealthy, and engaged to a millionaire, there is a vacuum in her life. You see, when she wasn't even old enough to talk, her mother abandoned her in a bus station. Child Protective Services named her after two intersecting streets in front of the bus station: Addison Avenue and James Street (Addison James, nice name, but how sad is that?)
Christmas at Hope Ranch is the perfect stocking stuffer as an ebook or as a print book. It's available at Amazon US & UK, BN, KOBO, iTunes, Apple, and BookBub.
Oh, and don't forget those yummy recipes in the back of the book. So, dear friends, you can help add a happy dose of cheer to my Christmas by taking a few minutes of your time to post a review at the online bookstore of your choice.
HAPPY READING and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of Hallows' Even or Hallows' Evening), also known as All Halloween All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration observed in many countries on October 31st.
Halloween activities include trick-or-treating attending Halloween costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, as well as watching horror films.
Dressing up in costumes and going trick or treating wasn’t encouraged when I was a kid. My mother considered Halloween to be evil. The one and only time my brother and I were allowed to go trick or treating, her point was proven. The woman that lived across the street from us was considered…hmm…different. By different, I mean she would water her flowers when it was raining, and she danced around in the front yard barefoot and wearing her nightgown. But, on Halloween night, my brother and I knocked on her front door and yelled “Trick or Treat.” We were treated all right. NOT! She told us to hold out our hands, and we did. She scooped hot pennies into our palms. Needless to say, we dropped the pennies and raced home only to be lectured about the evils of Halloween by our mother. To prove her point, my brother and I were rewarded with painful blisters in our palms. I guess you could say we were ‘tricked’ rather than treated.
Before all the meanness started and schools permanently cancelled Halloween festivals, my elementary school held their annual festival. Oh what fun it was with pony rides, candy apples, and fun houses (which were tents that parents had set up).
One spooky house was indelibly imprinted on my mind. Keep in mind that I was only nine years old. I was blindfolded and told that I was going to feel the insides of a dead person. My hands were thrust into something slimy and stringy. A creepy voice said I was feeling the guts; and then my hands were put in a bowl of round and very cold…eyeballs. I was truly traumatized. It wasn’t until years later that I learned the intestines were actually spaghetti and grapes for the eyeballs. You know, to this day, I’ve never been a fan of eating spaghetti.
When I married and had my own children, I was skeptical about allowing them to go trick or treating. Not for religious reasons. During the 70’s so much meanness happened during Halloween—people putting razor blades inside apples; incidents where poison was put inside candy filled straws.
I have nothing against Halloween. It’s just not at the top of my list of favorite holidays. I suppose the way I feel is a holdover from my childhood. On the positive side, I do love a good moonlight hayride, and if I had to choose between a candied apple and a caramel apple…that red, sweet, hard glazed candy will win out every time.
What about you, dear readers? Do you have a special Trick or Treat tale you’d like to share; and don’t forget to tell me about your favorite Halloween candy.
Until next time, be safe.
P.S. CLOUD WOMAN’S SPIRIT, a paranormal western romance, and a perfect Halloween spooky book, is $.99 until October 30th, at Amazon.
Mulligrubs is a word I grew up with. My granny would often say she had the mulligrubs. It’s an old southern word meaning having the blues or feeling despondent; being sad.
Periods of uncertainly can make a typically strong person’s worries even worse. 2020 has been an unusual year with social distancing, wearing masks, medical visits via telephone or some other technological medium, and the uncertainty of bringing COVID-19 under control.
As a writer, I’m used to spending long hours alone, my butt glued to the chair (well, not literally glued) and with my office door shut to drown out the excessively loud TV noise. I know, before you suggest it, I’ve bought three of those TV ear thingies and hubby has broken all of them. He has hearing aids but doesn’t like wearing them. He says they make him feel old. He’s eighty-four years old for gosh sakes .
Okay, I’m getting off topic. Being alone must be in my DNA because the isolation doesn’t bother me. I’m not really alone. I have the characters I’m creating for whichever book I’m working on to keep me company. But, shame on them for keeping me awake at night.
For many people solitude is like being in prison and can take a toll on the mind, the heart, the soul, and the body. Very recently, I received a post card from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), with a list of suggestion to help remain emotionally and physically fit until this horrible virus can be controlled. I thought I’d pass it along. Feel free to share.
Be Your Own Advocate: focus on your own wellness and the wellness of your household. Some ways to do this is to Manage stress:
So, dear friends, just in case…no one has told you today; YOU are amazing! Have a really great day. What are some ways you are coping with the new and not-so-happy norm?
I usually write Historical romance, however, I've decided to step out of my writing comfort zone and try my hand at writing a mystery series. Because my brain doesn't seem to know how to follow the rules, my new series isn't cozy nor is it hard-core. I guess you could say that I'm writing a hybrid mystery series because my stories are a little cozy, a little hard-core, and with a smattering of paranormal tossed it just to keep it interesting.
I'm calling it The Doc Holliday Mystery Series. Small town veterinarian, Dr. Tullah Holliday, never looks for trouble; rather trouble seems to find her. An empath and a natural born sleuth, she continuously puts herself in danger. Oh, and it just so happens that the infamous outlaw John Henry "Doc" Holliday is Tullah's famous ancestor. Tullah's grandmother, Tanti Crow, is Cherokee, and Tullah's father, John Henry Holliday is the sheriff of the (fictional) small, rural town of Enigma, Kentucky.
I sent the manuscript for Book #1: Fatal Passion and Book #2: The Bone Yard to my editor on September 9, 2020. I've already started writing book #3: Lights...Camera...Murder!
So, dear readers, keep your fingers crossed that the series will be contracted because I keep thinking of ways to keep Tullah knee-deep in trouble.
HAPPY READING! Until we meet again.