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Make A Difference

Words help us describe our emotions, say our goodbyes, and express our love for someone. Sometimes they come easily, and other times the only way they flow is through our tears. It takes strength and vulnerability to care about others. Being authentic, compassionate, and kind takes work. Sometimes it is simply being able to weep with those who weep or. being happy for others‘ successes.

t’s easy to be tempted to believe that what we say and do only touches us. The truth is we impact and are impacted by others more than we understand. We hold each other’s dreams and hopes in our hands and with a few words can dash them or build them. We have the power to touch or break each other’s hearts. Be careful out there someone may be counting on you.

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I was thinking today of something I read awhile back “A long life is not good enough, but a good life is long enough.” What constitutes a good life? I have come to believe it is the way a person lives. How they treat people, and their actions toward others. I have met people who have little faith with great love and people who declare great faith with little love. Love is the greatest of all and everything hinges on it Our actions do speak louder than words. I started out wanting to change the world but I found what changed was me, which in turn impacts the world. It’s just the long way around.

#makeadifference #bekind #showcompassion

My Happy Place

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.” Elder Uchtdorf

I’m always amazed at the talent of people. I’m also impressed by my friends who are trying new endeavors and creating new things. Paintings, quilts, and amazing sculptures to name a few. None of us come to our tasks with instant perfection. There is always room to grow and the biggest competition is often with the person looking back at you from the mirror. Recently I finished writing a Christmas Novella with a magical twist. The story presented a new place to take my writing and stretch to my thinking. There are many different kinds of mysteries in this world and not all have to do with murder. I’m never sure when inspiration will hit me or what will stir my imagination. These two photos inspired my two Manuscripts that are under contract now.

I find solace in my happy place. A place where my imagination is free to take flight. It doesn’t make my problems go away it simply gives me a break. A chance to think of new ways of making sense of the world around me. Writing is a good way to express my emotions and to learn about what I’m thinking. I may lose myself in the pages I write but I can discover many things about myself there too.

My happy place gives me a imaginary world to retreat to if only for a few hours each day. Thankfully, new ideas continue to sprout up along the way. And there are times that I simply have to let the ides keep coming and do my best to write them down. It makes for a magical day and word count. Sure reality returns soon enough, but for a moment I’ve traveled to a new place and found a small reprieve.

I’m thankful for my dreams that were always one size bigger than I thought was possible. And for the songs in my heart that kept those dreams alive when life said they were impossible. I’m grateful for the little voice inside me that has asked me many times over what do you have to lose? And for the knowledge that failure isn’t the end, but only an invitation to keep trying. How sweet is the moment when I can finally write the words, The End!

Author Interview with Allan J. Lewis

Allan and his wife Eirlys will be celebrating 60 years of marriage on March 11.

Allan J Lewis was born in South Wales UK, a son of a coal miner, in August 1939, just before the outbreak of World War 2.

He started work underground for the National Coal Board on his fifteenth birthday. He married in March 1961 and has two children, a daughter and a son, and two grandchildren.

Deep down he always wanted to be a writer but he felt thwarted by his lack of education. He would write a few pages and give up, frustrated by spelling and grammar. (This was before the days of personal computers.) As a young man, he didn’t have much time to read or write. He was working two shifts on the coalface, and when his daughter came along he got himself another job as a part-time fireman.

By the time he was in his late forties and his two children had married, he found time to start reading again. He enjoyed the adventure novels of Wilbur Smith and the works of James Patterson and Lee Child. He loves a good crime thriller.

The pleasure he found in reading rekindled his desire to write.

He would create stories in his head but did not put pen to paper in earnest until he retired. Allan has written five books a Mystery/Thriller and five Erotic Adventures.

Get out of My Dreams is Allan’s first Psychological Thriller novel and the first in the series of Joe the Magic Man. Where the two main characters are, Joe, who the FBI believes to be a rogue hypnotist, and his friend Alice Timberlake a freelance journalist, and the two of them with Joe’s gift of getting into your mind ends up helping the FBI solve difficult crimes.

Allan’s Erotic novels are a spin-off from ‘Get Out Of My Dreams” where Joe’s addiction to getting into someone’s dreams leads him to find his dream lover Jean Thornton, who looks forward to Joe’s visits as he takes her on sexual adventures, that in her dreams where she could end up as a barmaid back in France in the time of the Three Musketeers, or back in King Henry VIII time and have two young soldiers wanting to marry her. And a few present day time dreams, but whatever dream Joe visited Jean knew it would be an erotic adventure that she would love.  

Book Link. Get Out Of My Dreams (Joe The Magic Man Series Book 1) – Kindle edition by Lewis, Allan J., Cushnie-Mansour, Mary M.. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Allan J Lewis – Allan J Lewis: Author

The Countdown Begins

‘Searching For Closure’, is the ninth book in the Blue Cove Mystery Series. In this book I am introducing a new hero and heroine along with some of my old favorites. I’m getting to know Peyton Reynolds (Jessie Reynold’s cousin), and Jaxon Kincaid along with you. Of course, they’ve been with me in my mind for over a year, and I’m getting used to them taking up space there. I like hearing their voices in my head. They both sound different to me than Jessie and Matt. It’s weird how that happens. Katie has her own way of talking and so does Reba. I love their quirks, personality traits, and flaws.

The truth is, this author leaves a bit of her own character flaws in each book along with maybe a good trait or two. Up to this point, I can distinguish between them all, but I wonder at what point it will get too crowded in my head. I have started a book of descriptions for each of them. I wouldn’t want to make some one who is blonde with blue eyes suddenly become a brunette with green eyes. It wouldn’t be good, unless they dyed their hair and wore colored contacts, of course.

‘Searching for Closure’, is dedicated to Blanche Morrison my sister in law. Born with Down Syndrome, she didn’t live nearly long enough as far as I’m concerned. Blanche was a hoot, and those who knew her loved her. She made her way into this story like she made her way into my heart.

Detective Jaxon Kincaid knows that Peyton is hiding something. But can he protect her from someone who seems to want them both dead?

An Arizona heatwave, a murder, and a ghost searching for closure give Peyton Reynolds all she can handle on her long-awaited vacation. When a body is found at the bottom of the pool of the resort she’s staying at, Peyton leaps into action, starting CPR. She stops when she sees the young man’s ghost watching her actions. And he’s not alone.

Detective Jaxon Kincaid knows that Peyton is hiding something. How did she know the caliber of the weapon which killed the victim? And why is she so nervous and combative when she talks to him? He’s fascinated but wary of this beautiful redhead. As their attraction grows, and as Peyton inserts herself into his case, can he protect her from someone who seems to want them both dead?

I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I did writing it! Searching for closure joins the other Blue Cove Mysteries on February 3, 2021.

Keep The Light On

~

As we light a path for others,
we naturally light our own way.
~*~ Mary Anne Radmacher ~*

This has been without a doubt one of the strangest years that I have lived through. The optimum word is lived, and I’m grateful. Everything is different, the line of normal has changed, and the world seems somehow a smaller place. More painful, and yet it has made me conscious of the fact that what we do, doesn’t only impact us but others as well. What our world needs right now is a conspiracy of love, a glimpse of the possible, and a gentle reminder that every human has value and is loved.

Recently I received a Christmas card from a friend. Her message was a simple one and it touched my heart. “It may seem like a hard year,” she said, “but I am blessed. I’m alive. Today I no longer need physical therapy, so I’m getting stronger. I will still have an RN for a while. God is giving me the blessing of life.” This friend spent fifteen days in the ICU fighting Covid-19. She’s grateful to be alive and I couldn’t agree more with her. Life is precious.

At this point, most of us know someone or have lost someone who has had the virus. We’ve all been impacted by not being able to attend funerals, weddings, or all the special moments that give life meaning. Birthdays and holidays have come and gone without personal celebrations and large gatherings. Now those seem like small sacrifices when it comes to keeping people safe. We stay a part today hoping we can be together tomorrow.

In memory of those who can’t, we can embrace each new day we are given. Each of us has our own special kind of light to shine in life. A way of being kind, a sort of magic, if you will. So keep the light on, it might help someone who is struggling to find their way, and it’s quite possible someone’s light will shine on you when you need it too. Keep the light on. No matter how small the light appears it still is a welcoming sight on a dark night. #Keepthelighton #embracethenewday

Guest Author Diana Rubino

I am happy to have as my guest today Author Diana Rubino. She writes Historical Fiction. Be sure to check out her books. Remember books make great gifts. Sit back and enjoy reading about one of the Christmas traditional treats she learned from her grandmother.

Can an Italian sweatshop worker and an Irish cop fall in love on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1894? The answer is a big YES, and once they’re enjoying wedded bliss in their Greenwich Village brownstone, they spend their first Christmas together feasting on her Strufoli! (Italian for honey balls).

In FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET it’s 1894 on New York’s Lower East Side. Irish cop Tom McGlory and Italian immigrant Vita Caputo fall in love despite their different upbringings. They know their love can survive poverty, hatred, and corruption. 

getBook.at/NewYorkSagaBookOne

Here’s Vita’s Honey Balls recipe:

When my grandparents came from Naples and landed at Ellis Island in the early 1900s they brought many recipes with them, but only in their heads. No one brought cookbooks or recipes along with their possessions. A favorite Christmas treat is Struffoli, better known as Honey Balls. One Christmas when I was a kid, I watched my grandmother make them and scribbled down the ingredients as she sifted and mixed and baked and drizzled. Here’s an accurate recipe in English!

Image preview

Ingredients
Dough:
•2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
•1 large lemon, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
•1/2 large orange, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
•3 tablespoons sugar
•1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
•1/4 teaspoon baking powder
•1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
•3 large eggs
•1 tablespoon white wine, such as pinot grigio
•1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•Canola oil, for frying
•1 cup honey
•1/2 cup sugar
•1 tablespoon lemon juice
•1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted (see Cook’s Note)
•Vegetable oil cooking spray
•Sugar sprinkles, for decoration
•Powdered sugar for dusting, optional

Directions


For dough: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together 2 cups of flour, lemon zest, orange zest, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the eggs, wine, and vanilla. Pulse until the mixture forms into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough until 1/4-inch thick. Cut each piece into 1/2-inch wide strips. Cut each strip of pastry into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a small ball the size of a hazelnut. Lightly dredge the dough balls in flour, shaking off any excess. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F. (If you don’t have a thermometer a cube of bread will brown in about 3 minutes.). In batches, fry the dough until lightly golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. (The rested and quartered dough can also be rolled on a floured work surface into 1/2-inch thick logs and cut into equal-sized 1/2-inch pieces. The dough pieces can then be rolled into small balls and fried as above).


In a large saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, and lemon juice over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the fried dough and hazelnuts and stir until coated in the honey mixture. Allow the mixture to cool in the pan for 2 minutes.
Spray the outside of a small, straight-sided water glass with vegetable oil cooking spray and place in the center of a round platter. Using a spoon or damp hands, arrange struffoli and hazelnuts around the glass to form a wreath shape. Drizzle remaining honey mixture over the struffoli. Allow to set for 2 hours (can be made 1 day in advance). Decorate with sprinkles and dust with powdered sugar.

Remove the glass from the center of the platter and serve.


Note: To toast the hazelnuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven 8 to 10 minutes. Cool before using.


Total Time: 4 hr 12 min
Prep: 1 hr 30 min
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Contact Diana:

My Website

www.dianarubino.com

My Blog

www.dianarubinoauthor.blogspot.com

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Twitter

Goodreads Diana Rubino (Author of Oney) | Goodreads

My Facebook page “Chat and Promote … Fans of Historical Fiction and Nonfiction” (1) Chat and Promote…Diana Rubino’s Fans of Historical Fiction and Nonfiction | Facebook

Thankful

We are approaching one of my favorite holidays. Although this year will be celebrated quite differently for us. No large gatherings of family and friends, but a scaled back version is on tap for us, and for many I know.

To say that 2020 has been one of the strangest years I’ve ever experienced, is an understatement. It started with the loss of several family members, moved on to the pandemic, and added a few wildfires that burned many acres and structures in our state. One fire alone burned more than 195,000 acres. That was only one of eight fires all burning at the same time. The firefighters were heroic trying to save homes while many had their own homes burn to the ground. They definitely belong on my thankful list. They had endless weeks of intense heat and windy conditions that fueled the fires out of control.

All in all, I still have much to be thankful for. I’m alive to utter the words is a great place to start. I have a few friends who have survived the virus and it was no easy road for them. I can stay in touch with family and friends, via the internet, texts, and Zoom. I’ve celebrated birthdays that way too. My own included. (I’ve decided not to add this year to my age since I didn’t get to use much of it.) Thanksgiving will be a Zoom holiday too. Because being careful today, means the possibility of sharing special occasions next year together. That’s where hope comes in. Hope keeps me stable when the circumstances around me say something different.

I’ve learned to wear a mask and be grateful for the small contraption that keeps me and you safe when I wear it. It’s amazing how much I notice peoples eyes now. Their eyes can tell you so much about who they are. They are the window to the soul as they say and they give character to a person’s face. I’ve learned I can see a person’s smile by their eyes even when I can’t see their mouth.

As I sit down this year to give thanks, I want to remember all the wonderful things that have made this time tolerable. Sons who stopped by wearing a mask and sitting six feet away from us. Their way of saying they love us. Add to them grandkids in masks, and friends every week on Zoom. And of course there is the usual reasons for gratitude like food on the table, a roof over my heard, and most importantly the love of my husband. I can say that the year has literally zoomed by. Pardon my pun.

Life is really quite precious. I may be doing it differently right now, but it really is wonderful after all. I’ve found many special moments to celebrate in this year and for that I am thankful. I love these words by L..R. Knost. They express my feelings completely.

Life Is Amazing…And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life…And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.~*~ L.R. Knost ~*~

Painting with Words

Every human story is filled with something worth seeing or hearing. Some of those experiences are painless while others are quite painful . But each is in some way priceless. I grow when I can dare to see life through someone else’s eyes. Their experience may be different than mine but worth listening to and understanding.

Writing fiction has been eye opening for me. It allows me to tell the human story in a way that I can envision it while making me more aware of my human connection and the world in which I live. A kind of therapy, if you will, it helps me come to terms with what I see happening around me. Through fictional characters I can deal with tough subjects in a way that is hopefully entertaining, and the story becomes a part of me in the process. When I finish writing a book I’m left with an empty feeling until my characters run off to another adventure and I once again paint a story using words.

Life has not been easy for the whole world lately. Besides the normal trials of life, we have been impacted by a pandemic, hurricanes, and wildfires along with wars, and enough division to last a lifetime.

I have found myself having to take a step back more often to gather my thoughts. I want to see people as more than mere numbers, and to feel empathy for what I see happening around me. When I read this poem it touched me and I hope it touches you too.

I’ll Paint You A Rainbow

I’ll paint you a rainbow to hang on the wall, to brighten your heart when the gray shadows fall, on the canvas of joy outlasting the years, with a soft brush of sweetness to dry all your tears.

I’ll paint you a rainbow with colors of smiles that glow with sincerity over the miles. On a palette of words, I will tenderly blend tones in treasures of sunlight and wind.

I’ll paint the rainbow that reaches so wide, your sighs and your sorrows will vanish inside. And deep in the center of each different hue, a memory fashioned especially for you.

So lift up your eyes, for suspended above, a rainbow designed by the fingers of love…

Poem, ‘I’ll Paint You A Rainbow’ by Grace E.

EasleyPhoto Credit: Rosie Hardy Photography

Behind the Door

We spend a lot of time in life hoping and waiting for the quintessential open door, and have no idea how many we have actually walked through to get to where we are.

I’m grateful for the many open doors that I’ve walked through in my life, and the people who I have met behind some of them. Their stories have inspired me more times than I can count. And a few of those chance encounters have changed me.

Life is filled with the stories of people, both true and fiction. Those stories have both challenged and motivated me to be a better person. Some have encouraged me to action while some have simply entertained. To me it was time well spent.

Personally, I believe that their is spark of the divine hidden, often in plan view, in every human and once found it becomes a treasure to inspire us. I find I get to know myself better by listening to the words of others. And when I meet that person who lives their life consistent with their words it provokes powerful emotions within me.

Yes, I’m aware that some doors are nothing more than entry ways or exits. I’ve walked in plenty, and out many with no change at all. Some I’ve merely passed through on my way to somewhere else. But every once in a while, a door is so outside the bounds of normal that it will inspire imagination. That’s how stories are born.

Even in the strangeness of this year the image of this door sent my imagination racing through ideas and possibilities. I’m convinced there’s a story waiting for me behind this door.

Review of Key to the Past

Book Review of Key to the Past

Key to the Past is a suspenseful, romantic fantasy about two detectives named Matt Parker and Jessie Reynolds. The eighth book in the Blue Cove Mystery Series, this book opens with Matt and Jessie finding themselves at the center of a murder mystery. The twist? To crack the case, Jessie must travel to a new dimension, while Matt stays in the present to put the rest of the pieces of the case together.

With a compelling story line, relatable characters and mind-bending twists and turns, author, Iona Morrison, has delivered a truly remarkable book. This book is a page turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!

– Review by the Book Excellence Awards