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Popcorn

One of my favorite treats for as long as I can remember has always been popcorn. When I really think about it, popcorn and I have quite the history.

I can still envision the silver popcorn popper Dad used to use. It made the best popcorn! Of course, my grandpa had something to do with that. He farmed popcorn in Illinois. To this day, I don’t know enough about farming to understand how corn can be specially grown for popping. But Grandpa had it down to a science. His corn kernels would pop up huge and rarely left behind un-popped kernels.

On cold Idaho winter nights, Dad would pop up some corn and dump it into a large rectangular baking pan that we’d all scoop bowlfuls from. I can close my eyes and see the flickering fire in the fireplace. But it was the popcorn that made the night special.

I even remember the first time I saw one of the newfangled see-through poppers. Their plastic dome was tinted an orange-yellow color. Probably for effect. And when I grew up and got married, I owned one. I’d learned the skill of putting three kernels into the heating oil. When those three popped, it was time to add the rest. I also mastered the recipe from my mom for caramel corn. After popping several batches of corn and filling up a large bowl, I’d pour on the caramel made from butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Sticky and yummy!

Popcorn isn’t nearly as fun anymore. Microwaved popcorn eventually replaced my popper. But now that I’m getting old and sentimental, guess what I asked for for Christmas? You got it. An old-fashioned popper. One that I can watch and wait for my tasty treat. I think I’ll try mixing up a batch of caramel again, too. And if Santa doesn’t bring me one, I’ll buy one. My grandson needs to experience the same joy I had. Wonderful memories in a simple snack.

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We Need Each Other

I’ve had many jobs over the years. The one thing that stands out in every one of them is the people I’ve worked with. I can honestly say that I’ve adored 99% of them. We won’t talk about that 1%. Some of the jobs weren’t exactly what I wanted to do at the time, but I made the best of them. The people around me certainly helped!

Now that I’m a stay-at-home writer, I have little interaction with other people. I relate to the characters I’m writing and talk to them. It’s enjoyable, but it’s not the same. So I make a point of getting out and having real conversations with genuine people. If I spend more than two days at home locked away with my laptop, I get cranky. Unfortunately, my poor husband pays the price of my grumpiness when he comes home from work in the evening.

What I’ve determined from all this is that we need each other. That should be a given, but trust me on this…it slaps you in the face when you’re alone for hours on end. I love my career, but I’m a people person and need to have that interaction. Besides, if I stayed locked away forever, how would I get inspired for my stories?

I often have people joke with me and ask if I’m going to write about them. If I do, they’ll never know. I pick up traits and add them to my characters. What’s really fun is that if I have something that happens to me that really upsets me, I can write about it. Plot it into a story. It’s self-therapy!

I hope you enjoy what you do for a living. I read a statistic once that indicated a very small percentage of people actually like what they do. They only do it because they have to. They need the income. (Of course, we all need that!) It’s sad that people spend the majority of their day doing what they don’t want to do. It reminds me of something I was told as a child, “Sometimes you have to do things you don’t like.”

I’ve been in that position. But even when I was, I put a smile on my face and made the best of it. AND I kept striving to reach my ultimate goal and follow my dream. Achieving what I set out to do wouldn’t be so fulfilling if I didn’t have someone to share it with. On a typical day my dear husband gets bombarded with chatter when he comes home. Most of the time ‘un’ cranky chatter. I LOVE to write, but I’ve learned to break up my days with time out in the real world and time at home with my laptop. It’s made a tremendous difference!

WRITE ON!!

We need each other!

We need each other!

Growing Older

Growing up I often heard ‘older’ people make comments like:

“Every day is a blessing.”

“Every day above ground is a great, great day.”

“Enjoy being young, because it doesn’t last forever.”

And one of my favorites, “Just you wait…one day you won’t be so skinny.”

I think none of those truly sink in until a person reaches at least 50. Of course, ‘they’ say that 50 is the new 30. I kind of like that! As I get older, my body doesn’t like to work the way it used to. I get tired easier, and this last move proved to me I had muscles that hadn’t seen the light of day in some time.

I make a point to take good care of myself, eat right, and exercise, but no matter what I do, the clock keeps ticking. None of us can stop it, so why fight it? I wake up each morning thanking God for the new day, groan for a few seconds as I place my feet on the floor, then put a smile on my face and head for the coffee pot.

Yes, each day is a blessing and I’m using all my years of experience to write the best books I possibly can. I certainly relate better to ALL generations. It’s easier to understand every phase of life once you’ve reached it. In my mind, I’m only half-way through it. I figure I have lots more things to experience, and I’ll do my best to stay healthy so I can enjoy them.  And though I’m not as skinny as I once was, that’s okay. I guess I’ll just use another one of those old sayings and quote, “There’s more of me to love.”

I once was a skinny teen!

I once was a skinny teen!

Older and wiser!

Older and wiser!

Cynthia Gail – Summer’s Family Affair

Today I’m happy to welcome my friend, Cynthia Gail, to my blog! Cynthia is an author of contemporary romance and has just released the third book in the “Music City Hearts” series set in Nashville, TN.

All of her stories have their share of ‘steam,’ but what I love the most about this new book is that it deals with the complexities of adding children into the mix of a new relationship. Her hero is a widower with a young son. Not only does the heroine have to build a relationship with her new love interest, but also his son. Add in the former in-laws who are protective and feel no one can replace their daughter, and you have a truly interesting and realistic situation.

Here’s a little more info! If you love contemporary romance, you should read her books!

Summer's Family Affair

Jenny Cohen defines successful independence: she put herself through college, couldn’t ask for better friends, owns a consulting firm, wears designer clothes, and just moved into her dream home . . . But she’s alone, except for her ailing mother whom she supports in a nursing home. As the marketing consultant for Chester, Dorsey & Tanner, she’s surrounded by male attention. Too bad it’s the overly-protective big-brother type.

Architect, Craig Stone, hasn’t looked at another woman since his wife passed away four years ago. His time is taken—building a career while trying to be both mother and father to his eight-year-old son. But when his appointment with the largest development firm in Nashville is double-booked with a black-haired beauty, he finds himself reaching for new possibilities.

The attraction sets off more fireworks than the Fourth of July. Yet, their relationship is riddled with issues neither one of them expected. Somewhere in the middle they must find a way to compromise or let go of a chance for love they may never find again.

Websitehttp://cynthiagail.com/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/CynthiaGailRomance

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/CynthiaGailBook

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6564818.Cynthia_Gail

Amazon Author Centralhttp://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Gail/e/B009WQTTQE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1426743860&sr=8-1

Amazon buy linkhttp://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Gail/e/B009WQTTQE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1426743860&sr=8-1

 

Here’s a little more about Cynthia:

Bio:

My husband and I live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with our three dogs. When I’m not working or writing, I can be found with family and friends. I love to bake in the winter, grill in the summer, and on occasion, I sneak away from everyone and curl up with a good book.

Books #1 and #2 in the series:

Winter’s Magic   http://amzn.to/1Gsi6OM

Spring’s Surprise   http://amzn.to/1Np002k

 

 

 

Amazing Creativity!

I’m constantly amazed at the ability of the human mind to create new and exciting works of art. Art in all forms. Whether it’s an artist with a paint brush, pencil, or their bare hands, or a writer of music and/or stories.

Everything starts with a vision. An idea that floats around in the brain until the person holding that thought has to let it out.

Throughout my life I’ve been surrounded by artists. People who are driven to set their creativity free. It’s incredible to watch!

My mom is an artist. For as long as I can remember she’s ‘created.’ While I was growing up she painted with oils, then a number of years later she took some classes doing water color and now does both. In addition, some of her creativity came out baking and decorating cakes. Watching her do those was really fun. Plus, there was always leftover frosting in the refrigerator. A great treat for any sugar-craving kid!

Mom is also a singer. She has a beautiful soprano voice. I have great memories of sitting beside her in church singing alto to her soprano. She’s always encouraged me to follow my dreams and use my abilities in any way I could. And since she’s still following my career, (and this blog!), I want to take this opportunity to say, “Thank you, Mom!”

Her example not only nourished my creativity, but taught me to encourage my son. His talent is drawing, and he’s been able to use his ability doing artwork for an on-line video game.

Parents should encourage the individual creativity in their children. It’s important to teach them how to be independent and make a living, but giving them an outlet to use their talents is just as important.

I belong to a writers group, Music City Romance Writers, and am surrounded by many talented writers. Talk about amazing! These authors are creating new stories and bringing to life a multitude of characters that will stay with you forever. I know that each of us hopes to one day write that particular book that will become the new ‘thing.’  And even if that doesn’t happen, we’re all thrilled that we have the opportunity to share our stories and have readers that embrace our characters.

I just heard on the news that we’ll soon be seeing clips from the new “Star Wars” movie. I’ll never forget sitting in a theater in Idaho watching the first movie. The ‘original’ “Star Wars.” (not episode 1) Darth Vader scared me to death just by breathing. And then years later there was the revelation that Vader was Luke’s father. How many of you remember gasping when that secret was revealed?

I can’t wait for the new movie! I’m ready.

These films started as visions by a writer who had a story in their heart that had to be told. Just like “Twilight” or “Harry Potter” or “The Hunger Games.” All of these dreams became books and later, movies. But they all started by an inspired thought.

I hope that if you’re inspired, you’ll follow your heart and mind and do something with that inspiration. Put it on paper, or canvas, or bake a cake that will amaze someone’s eyes and taste buds. And yes, if you’re a baker, it can’t just look good, it has to taste good, too!

Or … dance! Another favorite of mine. An art form unlike any other I’ve mentioned. I’m a big fan of “Dancing with the Stars.” I also used to watch “So You Think You can Dance.” I love to dance but my body doesn’t move like it used to! Still, I can watch and admire those who have the ability.

Thank you for following my blog! And now I need to go and see where my mind will take me today. Time to go down another road not yet traveled. Hope to see you there!

One of Mom's cakes!

One of Mom’s cakes!

Who Am I?

Since my grandpa lived to be 101, I keep telling myself that I’m only a tad bit over the middle of my life. I hope to be blessed with his longevity, and pray that I’ll have the good health he maintained up until the end of his life.

Thinking back on what I’ve done over the years, and the things that have shaped me into the person I am today, I’ve been reminiscing about the many different jobs I’ve held. I thought it would be fun to make a list, so bear with me. This list is in chronological order. You’ll probably laugh at a few of them…

1. Concession stand worker at the Valley Center Flick drive-in theater – Smelterville, Idaho
2. Camp Counselor – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
3. Outdoor Education camp instructor – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
4. Singer/Entertainer at Gladys’ Pizza Parlor – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
5. Burger King employee – drive-thru was my forte – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
6. Bakery worker (can’t remember the name of it) – Oceanside, CA
7. Concessions/Ticket sales/Asst. Mgr at Mann Theater – Oceanside, CA
8. Fill-in church secretary – Pinehurst, Idaho
9. Tupperware Lady/Mgr. – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
10. Maid at the Blackwell House Bed & Breakfast – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
11. Office manager for the Lake City Playhouse – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
12. Singer/Entertainer with Chris Driesbach – Coeur d’Alene & Post Falls, Idaho
13. Broadway & Beyond convention entertainer – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
14. Voice over talent & on-camera commercials – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho & Spokane, WA
15. Singer/Entertainer with the band, Jambeau – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
16. Singer/Entertainer with Chuck Borris – Post Falls, Idaho
17. Runway model – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
18. Voice over talent & on-camera commercials – Nashville, TN
19. Asst. Mgr. Everything’s a Dollar – Nashville, TN
20. Asst. Mgr/Mgr. – Stuart’s Clothing Store – Nashville, TN
21. Singing telegram delivery talent – Top Kats – Nashville, TN
22. Store Mgr. – Lechter’s Housewares – Nashville, TN
23. Accounts Receivable – Athena Computer Learning Center – Nashville, TN
24. Demo singer – Heartake Productions – Goodlettsville, TN
25. Self-employed doing eBay – Goodlettsville, TN
26. Server/Trainer – O’Charley’s – Springfield, TN
27. Accounts Receivable/Payable/Finance Mgr – Nashville Tractor – Nashville, TN
28. Actress – Murder Mystery Players – Nashville, TN
29. Full time home caregiver – Greenbrier, TN
30. Full time AUTHOR

Whew! Are you as tired as I am? I didn’t include all the community theater work I’ve done and I also realized I left out summer theater that I did for two consecutive summers with the Northwest Summer Playhouse in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I’m pretty sure I probably forgot some other little jobs here and there. I’m happy to say that I’ve never been without work, and that I’ve never been fired. I’ve always believed that no matter what job I’m doing I should always give it my best.

I feel extremely blessed that I can devote my time to writing now. I have a lot of life experiences to draw from. And I’ve worn many different hats! I actually still have a collection of name tags from some of my different jobs. Weird, huh?

I decided to write out this list because I’ve had people ask me, what haven’t you done? Well, that list would be a whole lot longer than this one. Still, I hope I’m done adding to my list.

But I have to say that above and beyond the things I got paid to do, the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done has been being a mom, a grandmother, and a wife. I wouldn’t trade those positions for anything!

In choosing a profession, writing fulfills me more than any other ‘job’ I’ve held! Honestly, it doesn’t feel like a job. That’s how I used to feel about singing. But the older I get, the less I think people will want to hear me sing. I’m sure glad I found something else I love just as much!

So, I’ll just WRITE ON!
Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Nope. Never been a race car driver...Or anything close to it.

Nope. Never been a race car driver…Or anything close to it.

Follow Your Heart

A common theme of many of my books is “follow your heart.”

I honestly think that the reason for this is that it’s something I’ve always tried to do. To really listen to what my heart tells me. Or maybe it’s that little angel sitting on my shoulder trying to guide me through my life. Though I confess, sometimes the little devil on the other shoulder wins and I get off track.

But that’s life, right? A constant battle of decisions that keep us moving forward. Lessons learned. Love gained and lost. Hardships. Happiness. Many, many ups and downs. A brilliant roller coaster ride. Sometimes we can see the track ahead and know where we’re going, but many times we enter a dark tunnel and have no idea if we’re about to be turned upside-down.

I happen to love roller coasters. But I always have that feeling of “why did I get on this thing” after the steep climb to the highest point of the ride. I know what’s coming. Within seconds I’ll be plummeted down a steep drop and my heart will beat wildly until I reach the bottom. It’s definitely a rush. Scary and exhilarating. And I like it so much I go on it again and again.

I recently decided to try my hand at writing a young adult novel. It put me on a new kind of roller coaster. I sometimes wonder why I put myself through writing things that are so incredibly emotional. But…I followed my heart. Something pushed me to write it. I shed many tears. But in the end I fell in love with my characters and like so many others, they became real to me. I hope that by following my heart, I’m able to touch the hearts of my readers.

I really believe that being a teen is harder now than ever. They’re faced with so much more than I ever was. Lots of peer pressure and with the vast amount of technology at their fingertips, the world has been opened up to them in ‘scary and exhilarating’ ways. Talk about a roller coaster ride!

I feel for them.

But one thing hasn’t changed. Love. We all need it. Search for it. Long for it. And I love to write about it. And no matter what comes our way, if we follow our hearts, things will be okay. And if for some reason we get off track, we can get right back on again. In this crazy, upside-down world, we all need a happily ever after. And even if I boo-hoo while writing a book, I make certain it ends happy. I promise.

I once was a teen!

I once was a teen!