Food has a memory, for good and for bad. We can remember certain foods that
were important to us as children or food that made us sick. One time when I was
ten years old, my father thought I should try some shrimp. He didn’t believe me
when I said that I didn’t like it, but forced me to try it and watched me run to
the bathroom like a mouse with a cat on my tail, to get sick. That memory stays
with me today and shrimp will never cross my lips.
There are foods that are a part of tradition. My family makes a sauerkraut soup for our Christmas Eve celebration. It takes two to three days to make this recipe with the smell
of sauerkraut wafting through the house. We are also known for our dilly bean
recipe which is nothing more than pickled green beans. This too was a production
of momentous proportion each summer after the green beans came in!
Today for some odd reason, I decided to make German Kuchen. This was a recipe which
came from my mom’s side of the family. I remember vividly her, my aunt and
grandmother making dozens of these delicious coffee cakes in my grandmother’s
small kitchen. It was given to my mom from her grandmother who came over from
Switzerlandto live among the shores of Lake Erie. Pulling out the recipe, I noticed my scribbles on the old recipe card that my mom gave me. I was trying to decipher the magic code for a recipe that my mom knew by heart.
After a quick trip to the grocery store for ingredients, with recipe in hand, I was ready to begin. Like any good recipe, there are tweaks that have been done to it over the years. My mom used to use cake yeast, but I use bread yeast dissolve in warm milk. The recipe calls for one or two eggs. How do I know which is the correct amount? Do I split it and put in one and half? Mixing the sugar, butter and eggs into a nice blend was easy. But then I
got to the next stage, where it became truly challenging for me. I wasn’t sure what my mom meant by a stiff batter. Was that like pizza dough or more like cake batter? All I wanted to do was pick up the phone and call my mom or grandmother to ask them! They would know the secret to the scribbles on the recipe card so that I could become a part of the generations of Jones women who made this delicious dessert.
At this point, I feel the weight of generations on my shoulders. Will I be good
enough? Can I carry on the traditions of my family for the next generation? Will my children have the fond memories of cooking with me to look back on when they have children of their
own? I took a chance with the batter and went for something in between pizza dough and cake batter. Then I had to let it rise, and rise again. All the while, I am trying to channel my family members who can help me with this problem. I can’t call my mom and just ask her because she died over 15 years ago.
Parents are not supposed to die. They are the superheroes of every child. The “person”who can do no wrong and make all hurts go away with just one kiss. No one ever imagines a day when they will be without a parent- your father who will help you with your car, or a mother who knows just what to add to her secret recipe, yet we do have to go on without them here beside us. I thought I had accepted this fact until I tried to make her family recipe. Then I was back to being a kid wanting her mother to help her make things all better.
Food can make you closer to your family as you enjoy a treat
and think back to yesteryear, remembering the laughter and deliciousness of the
meal prepared with your family. Today I wanted that closeness, that bond with
my mom. Making the Kuchen was hard for me because I wanted to make her proud
and do it just like she always did. As I pulled the pans out of the oven, my
son asked about them and after the explanation of what they were, he remarked
that they smelled good. Tears formed in my eyes. Yes, maybe they will remember
these days when they are older with children of their own. Maybe the memory of
the Kuchen and my mom and grandmother will live on!
Fairy Tales are a childhood staple along with first haircuts and Sesame Street-Prince Charming and Happily Every After. We grow up hearing the stories and even worse- begin believing them.
If you read some of the fairy tales in their original tellings, you find that happily ever after isn't always the case. In Hans Christian Anderson's The Littlest Mermaid, the littlest mermaid doesn't marry the prince in the end. She becomes a wave after the prince falls in love and marries someone else. And while the Grim Brothers are known for their fairy tales, it is in fact truth in advertising. Their tales are well... GRIM.
So when did fairy tales become happily ever after? The filmmakers at Disney have skewed our beliefs with their movies. After all, movies where the main character dies alone, broken and sad just doesn't sell!! Recently on a family shopping trip at Disney World, I noticed outfits to make any child a princess. There were crowns, gowns and bedding. Parents can spend a
fortune so that their child can become Cinderella. However, there wasn’t anything to make a guy Prince Charming! (hmmm??)
Women today have grown up believing in fairy tales and expect to find Prince Charming and live happily ever after. What an impossible task! Frankly, even those real princes like Charles of England are flawed and fail to live happily ever after. And princesses don't fare much better! Princess Caroline of Monaco has had numerous failed marriages. Women can't expect that a man is going to be perfect. But ask any woman on her wedding day and she will reply that she has found 'her prince'.
We leave Cinderella on her wedding day. She is happy and ready to face the rest of her life.
But we fail to see how the next year or two will impact her relationship with the Prince. Who knows, they probably have to deal with meddling in laws, clothes left on the floor and money
problems just like the rest of us! I know some guys really do believe that their mother-in-law is wicked but can you imagine the family squabbles with a wicked stepmother and two wicked
stepsisters as family? Prince not withstanding, happily ever after takes work. Ask any couple married more than 15 years and they will tell you the truth.
We are hurting our daughters by allowing the myths of Prince Charming and happily ever after to set the tone for their lives. Parents today need to make an effort to teach our children the truth about relationships. It takes hard work and compromise rather than a fairy godmother to make a relationship last. It isn't necessary to never allow your child to watch a Disney movie but we need to present the whole picture to our children. Some authors and singers have tried to present a more realistic picture.
Fairy tales are make believe, fiction and a dream. Your husband may be Prince Charming but sometimes he is also frustrating and demanding. In loving him, you embrace all those facets of his personality because you realize that you are no princess either! Sometimes you are quite wicked;-). Happily ever after may be a goal in your relationship. But it should come at the end of your life as you look back and see that there were more good times than bad or
more happy times than sad. Let's give our children a fighting chance at a lasting relationship! Debunk the myths of fairy tales and open their world to real love.
Hello and Welcome Britni! Thank you for stopping by today to talk with me. I'm really excited about your book after seeing the cover. It looks like a tale of young love and forever dreams.
Tell us a little about yourself. I’m almost 30. I
live in Indiana with my amazing boyfriend. I’m impatiently waiting for a house and a puppy. I’ve been writing pretty much since I can remember. I am a hair stylist and work in a salon. I’ve been licensed for about 7 years. I love it and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Well, except writing.
My mom was a hair stylist. It was amazing to see what you had to do to get that license. What television sitcom is most like your family?Why? Hmmm….I don’t know if this counts as a sitcom but the show Whitney reminds me a lot of my relationship.
I love that show! Whitney is so spunky! What’s your favorite thing to do to relax? I usually read to relax. There’s nothing like getting lost in someone else’s world for a while. Oh and I drink wine, of course.
If you had to be one of your characters, which would you be and why? I’d probably be Chloe. She’s someone that no one has met yet, but don’t worry, you will. She’s strong and independent but has never had to worry about much.
Let's learn a little more about yourself personally. Do you prefer…Beer or wine? Wine all the way. I love wine. I, however, only drink one beer. My boyfriend is a bit of a beer snob, and he loves to try new beer. He’s always trying to get me to try them too but I just don’t like
beer. I try.
I understand. I'm not a wine fan but I love the fruity drinks that cost a ton of money. I do like some of the summer ales as far as beer. They have a fruity drink too. Do you prefer...exercise or watching tv? Sadly, watching tv. I used to exercise. I took dance lessons from 4 or 5 until I was 12, I think. I ran track in high school. I randomly get the urge to work out but I’m not very consistent. I love educational tv though. Like the discovery channel or the history channel. I get sucked into it.
Do you prefer...Coke or Pepsi? I don’t really drink either but it I had to choose I would pick Coke. I’m a water drinker. Water and lemonade.
I love water myself, especially with a wedge of lemon in it. Do you prefer...living without car or living without your computer? I’m going to say my car. Mostly because I hate driving and I can’t imagine writing by hand anymore. How sad is that?
I would have said without my car too. I can't live without my computer and even took it with me on my honeymoon. To be fair, I was in a Master's program and couldn't skip even for a wedding but my computer is much more important to me than my car! Now let's learn a little about you as an author. Did you always want to be an author? I guess you could say that. I never really thought I would get published. It was always a dream even if it was distant. I’ve mostly written for myself though. I always have characters talking to me and ideas so I put them on paper.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? Edgar Allen Poe, Truman Capote, and Shakespeare. I devoured our assigned reading in school, and after school I
continued on reading the classics.
Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer? My best friend has been very supportive and writing is something we have in common so she’s always encouraging me. My boyfriend is very encouraging and he was the one that told me I could put my stories out there for everyone to read.
What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite? Developing my characters and watching them grow. Telling their stories in general has to be my favorite. I am horrible at titles though. It’s like pulling teeth.
What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on? It seems that in my years since high school and college I have forgotten most grammatical rules. I love to over punctuate but in the wrong place. So when it comes to editing it makes it much harder for me. I definitely need some improvement on that.
I think that all authors would say that same thing about grammatical errors. I'm a huge
exclamation point person. I learned that fix on my first manuscript. But learning is an important part of writing and I love to see the edits so that I can learn a new skill. Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing? Not really. It depends on my mood.
Sometimes I listen to music, but most of the time I just turn something mindless on tv. I need background noise I guess.
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books? Nope, my writing is all over the place. Most of my stories are very different from one another.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business? I haven’t been in it for very long. Tears in the Rubble is my first published work. So far though I’ve learned a lot about marketing. Which is something I’ve never been very good at doing.
Marketing is something that is always changing. I don't believe what we did a few years ago will work anymore. We must always come up with new and exciting things to capture our audience. Tell us about your latest release: Tears in the Rubble. Tears in the Rubble came out April 17th and it’s my first published work. I wanted it to be a realistic love story. A journey between two characters. The struggle to grow together and not apart. And the journey to realizing that sometimes life is unexpected but you make the best of things even if it’s not part of the plan.
Layla Swanson grew up in the lazy, small town of Hollow Oaks and can’t wait to get out. She has big dreams and big plans in the big city. Layla has worked hard and her senior year is nearly at its end. She can’t wait to go away to college. And she’s one step closer to getting what she wants. Layla isn’t letting anyone get in her way.
Taylor Scott may not be your typical country boy, but he doesn’t mind Hollow Oaks. His
dreams may not be marked on paper and set in stone, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have
A chance meeting between the two childhood friends may have Layla second guessing her longtime plan. Their rekindled friendship is leading them down a path neither one could have foreseen. But with Layla leaving for college, many challenges face them, especially when she
so stubbornly sticks to her solo plan.
Is Taylor’s love enough to convince Layla to let him in? Or when everything falls apart, will
Layla run away?
It sounds like an exciting tale of two people who have different dreams. I can't wait to read it. How did you decide on your story plot? Oh, I didn’t decide on anything. My characters did. I had plans and well they had other plans.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story? I made up a small town. It’s in the Midwest but the town and city from my story are made up. I guess I chose the Midwest because I know it, its home to me. I don’t really have a process for choosing character names. In this instance I had characters in my head for quite some time and their names just felt right. They just popped in my head.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why? I do. There’s a scene after their high school prom in their barn hideaway. It’s actually the first scene I wrote from this story.
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why? Not really. I love Taylor. He’s great, although he’s a bit too nice sometimes. I’m not too fond of Layla and her
decisions but we’ve made amends.
Thank you Britni for stopping by and chatting with us today. I wish you much success
on your first release and many future releases to come! Please let my readers know how they can get a hold of you…Find me on Facebook at
Or check out my blog http://britnihillwriter.blogspot.com/
I'm so glad to have Nancy LaPonzina stop by today. First of all, she hails from one of my favorite places to visit and she has some amazing writing talent.
NLP: Hi Melissa! Thanks so much for inviting me today to talk about my newly released women’s fiction, Nardi Point! It’s from Rebel Ink Press so we’re Rebel sisters!
Nancy, please tell the readers about yourself.
NLP: I write minutes away from Raleigh, the North Carolina state capital, in the beautiful countryside of Franklin County, with dear husband Thom, and our rescue Maine Coon cat, Copy. Growing up I spent a lot of time thinking about organizing a newspaper with
neighborhood friends. We didn’t know much about how it worked. We thought we paid neighbors to take our newspaper. That’s sad! My first story,The Missing Desk Mystery was written in second grade and greatly influenced by Nancy Drew. But then I read a little golden book, Nancy Nurse, and that shaped my career choice. So, while I spent most of my career as a clinical professional, my true joy came from technical writing, and providing website content. I discovered all things writing were my touchstones.
My women's fiction explores thoughtful characters involved in challenging situations, and braids in touches of archaeology, the metaphysical, and alternative healing modalities. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Triangle Area
Freelancers, Friends of the Youngsville Library, General Federation of Women's Clubs of North Carolina, Youngsville Woman's Club, Holistic Nurses Association of America, and the Coe Foundation for Archaeologic Research.
What television sitcom is most like your family?
NLP: Though not a sitcom, any TV interview format programming would be my choice: Regis & Kelly Live (no longer) and Ellen …shows like that. Why? Haha … because my husband and
I have host chat every morning over breakfast! And lots of laughs.
That sounds like a fun morning. Too bad we can't come into your kitchen every morning. What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
NLP: Reading and puttering in the garden.
Don't tell me that you are a gardener. I can't seem to keep plants alive, so I leave that to my hubby. If you had to be one of your characters, which would you be and why?
NLP: Hands down, Leyla Jo Piper. She’s Laurinda’s best friend and interested in alternative healing modalities and natural heritage folkways of North Carolina. Aware of synchronistic events, Leyla Jo taps her heart for
decision and direction.
Now on to some silly questions. Do you prefer…
Beer or wine?
Exercise or watching tv?
NLP: Reading and writing over both. DEFINITELY not exercise!
Coke or Pepsi?
NLP: Pepsi was invented here in North Carolina!
Living without a car or living without your computer?
NLP: Computer. I can spend the entire day in “flow” busy on my PC. The hours shoot by!
Now let's find out a little about you as an author...Did you always want to be an author?
NLP: I wanted to see my name on a book, to write it, add an illustration, and tie it all together with pink satin ribbon. I even taught myself to touch type at about ten years old so my “book” would look like the real thing!
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
NLP: A lot of the classics …Jane Austen, George Elliot, Allesandro Manzoni, then Sarah Allen Addison, Marilyn Brandt.
Did anyone in your life influence you or encourage you to be a writer? (teacher, family member, friend)
NLP: My sophomore high school English teacher, Mr. Henry Blair. He always seemed interested in my writing. He suggested I try poetry. When I did, my poem was selected for publication in a national teen magazine … twice! I was so excited!
Congrats on the poem! I love writing poetry. I think it is the way pictures are created with so few words. What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite?
NLP: Starting a new story, getting together an outline … yes I’m a plotter … and even revision. I’ve found that’s where the magic happens! My least favorite is the waiting to hear from publishers and agents!
What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on?
NLP: My characters are thoughtful, so it’s sometimes difficult to have all their thoughts accurately portrayed from the point of view character.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
NLP: I like quiet. I don’t snack. I have all my notes and resource material stacked on the floor beside my desk.
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books?
NLP: Alternative healing therapies. Also, I’d like readers to come away saying, “I didn’t know that before,” and be glad to have the occasion to learn something new.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
NLP: How different the business of marketing is from writing. It’s a 180 degree shift!
Tell us about your latest release: (blurb, excerpt, cover)
Should the past make way for the present
Stylish, brunette Laurinda Elliot is the type of accomplished business woman glossy magazines feature on their covers. Effectively managing a software product development team in Raleigh, North Carolina, Laurinda's drive and savvy delivers all the perks: an upscale
townhouse, Porsche Boxer convertible and designer clothing. Yet she now yearns for a different success—one that brings surprising first time experience with vulnerability. Her uber software code developer partner Dan Riser, can't buy into the new direction she leads them, but goes along to keep the peace, and more importantly, beautiful Laurinda.
Or the present make way for the past—and love ...
When prehistoric Native American pottery artifacts are discovered on the couple's North Raleigh building site in the Nardi Point subdivision, the ancient past collides with the present and Laurinda and Dan's relationship hangs in the balance. Laurinda must trump construction economics and greed to preserve commitment to her dream, uphold her friendship with holistic healing practitioner, Leyla Jo Piper, and answer to a new romance, all while attempting to conserve North Carolina history. Will digging up the past, bury her future?
Nardi Pointexplores the thread of life that blends past, current, and future to recognize the importance of knowing who we are in the story of life.
How did you decide on your story plot?
NLP: This idea about Native American artifacts and my work volunteering at the State Archaeologist Department came together in this wonderful story. I wanted to let readers know the importance of a responsible attitude toward archaeological resources. They are limited and irreplaceable. Nardi Point explores the importance of archaeological conservation.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
NLP: I had to think about the names for Laurinda and Dan. But Leyla Jo just popped in one day. One of my editors thought Leyla Jo was a horrible name!
Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
NLP: I love the scene where Leyla Jo considers the land that’s been cleared for building. It’s very organic.
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why?
NLP: Again, Leyla Jo. My holistic nursing background coincides nicely with her philosophy and intent.
Thank you for stopping by! I enjoyed hearing about your characters and your story. Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you…
NLP: Thank you so much Melissa! I’ve enjoyed it!
Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/Nardi-Point-ebook/dp/B007US8S0O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335143858&sr=8-1
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4IvixrsfiE
A Twisted Fairy Tale
Little Red Riding Hood?
Boy, they got that all wrong.
She was hot, you know, what a looker-
Not at all little, nicely rounded.
And she had hair to match that temper
like the sun, all fiery and golden.
After looking at her,
I never even noticed
a basket of goodies.
She walked in the woods everyday
with that wiggle and bounce in her step,
Trying to get my attention.
But I was too busy
with my work, and couldn’t
stop for her.
One day last week, maybe Tuesday?
She gave me that smile, you know the one.
And asked for my help picking
flowers for her sick Grandma.
Just the thought of her sick Grandma,
I had to help.
Then it happened-
As we were picking flowers,
She laid her cape on the grass-
She was all over me
like a treat to a starving man.
She was like an animal.
But when her boyfriend,
the Big Bad Hunter saw us,
She freaked- And blamed me.
She called me a Wolf
and said that I was after her basket of goodies.
So that’s the story, officer.
I’m innocent, not an animal
It’s girls like her who give
Fairy Tales a bad name.
A Child’s Room
Pink nail polish,
A child’s room-
the child now gone-
holds many memories
A treasured doll,
growth measured on the wall,
a prom dress.
so much love.
Now that the child is gone-
other memories echo
A mother weeping,
A father mute,
the sister hurting,
the neighbors stunned.
A child’s room-
(the future now gone)
sits silently like a tomb.
Thank you Michel for coming over to share your lastest release. Chrysalis sounds like a wonderful story for young adults and adults alike!
Tell us about yourself: Since it’s already typed up here’s my attempt at third person
Michel Prince is an author who graduated with a bachelor degree in History and Political Science. Her novel Chrysalis is the first in a “cross-over” series following the demon plagued Ellie Chisholm. Michel writes young adult and adult paranormal romance as well as contemporary romance.
With characters yelling "It's my turn damn it!!!" She tries to explain to them that alas, she can only type a hundred and twenty words a minute and they will have wait their turn. She knows eventually they find their way out of her head and to her fingertips and she looks forward to sharing them with you.
When Michel can suppress the voices in her head she can be found at a scouting event or cheering for her son in a variety of sports. She would like to thank her family for always being in her corner and especially her husband for supporting her every dream and never letting her give up.
Michel is a member of RWA Pro and lives in the Midwest with her husband, son, and cat.
What television sitcom is most like your family? Why? Family Guy. My kid’s trying to kill me and my husband’s hero is Peter Griffin. We quote movies and TV shows all the time.
And I’m sure my cat would get drunk like the dog Brian if I let her.
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax? Watch a movie while cross stitching
If you had to be one of your characters, which would you be and why? Probably Ellie,
because I’m in love with Oscar. But I do have a new man in my life Case Thomas
that’s pretty damn amazing and I might want to be Gabbie Vaulst. Both woman are
strong, but Ellie has to learn it where Gabbie already has a sense of self.
Do you prefer…
Beer or wine? Wine
exercise or watching tv? Watching TV
Coke or Pepsi? Dr. Pepper the rest are battery acid.
living without car or living without your computer? Car. Then my kid couldn’t call me to bring his forgotten assignments.
Now about you as an author...
Did you always want to be an author? No, but I always wanted to do something creative. It’s not that I didn’t like to write, but I never believed in myself enough until I finally bit the bullet and shared the people in my head.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? Ann M. Martin, Judy Blume, Sidney Sheldon, J. R. Ward, Sherrylin Kennyon
Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer? (teacher, family member, friend) My sister Anita. My friends Angela Mullin, Kari Heimer, and April Close. Actually all my friends have sat through me rambling on about my crazy characters and I have a lot of Beta readers that helped me along the way.
What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite? Favorite is when my characters do something that actually makes me laugh. Least-Editing
What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on? Tenses. Even after my editors
point out that I’m bouncing between past and present I can’t consistently tell what they mean. I read the books on it and still don’t fully understand. THANK GOD FOR EDITORS WITH PATIENCE
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing? Nope. Since computer doesn’t count. Even then I’ll handwrite if I have to and transpose.
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books? Sports. Most of my characters, so far, are athletes. It helps define them as a person. Although most of my books have interracial romance the second book of The Frozen does not and I have a new series that also does not. I think when I started it was with what I know, but now as I feel stronger as a writer I’m expanding.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business? Genres are ever changing. Even though it says YA adults relate to it. Even though it’s Sci-Fi it could be a
hot romance. Genres are a generalization that should be taken with a grain of salt.
Tell us about your latest release: (blurb, excerpt, cover)
In the annals of dysfunctional families, the Chisholm’s are working their way to the top. Drug abuse, an unwed mother with multiple fathers, and the questionable cash flow for the 'pretty one'. All this from a seemingly normal, two parent middle class family. But were the choices truly made of their free will?
Bad choices are a Chisholm family trait, one that confounds the youngest child, Ellie, who's trying to separate herself by making smart decisions. And falling for Oscar Jeffreys, the hottest guy at school, would be number one on the list of Chisholm family disasters. Yet the crazy part is it’s not a one sided attraction. Somehow Ellie has caught Oscar Jeffreys’ eye.
Sure she could see the barriers between them. Race, age, popularity. They were at opposite ends of the spectrum. But a demon set to destroy her family? She can't see that.
Oscar provides security and acceptance Ellie never imagined she deserved. As the passion of first love grows, Ellie honestly believes she has a chance to beat the odds and live a happy, normal life. Then her world collapses around her. With the help of a guardian angel, Ellie learns of a world that has unknowingly surrounded her for years. And she'll have to find strength buried deep inside to save not only her future, but flush out and stop the demon in her midst.
And Ellie will have to learn that sometimes the hardest lesson about growing up is accepting that you're worth more.
How did you decide on your story plot? I wrote a prolog about a girl on the edge. That prolog is now in the third book because I wanted to look back at how the characters met and fell in love. The story took off and that’s how I got Chrysalis. The first in the series sets up the love and torment that continues through out the whole series.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story? Again the names come to me. It wasn’t until I was done with the story that I realized Oscar’s initials were O.J. I’ve gotten comments about having Ellie and Kelly as best friend. Since I never said their names together I never noticed. Ellie’s last name was from a street that my husband and I had put a bid on a house. As far as Oscar’s name the most postitive relationships I’ve had with African-American men the guys all had old man names. Oscar just seemed to fit and I love that he never had a problem with having an "old man” name.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why? First kiss. I love a good first kiss and Ellie’s been scared up to this point. She exerts herself and Oscar’s silly side comes out as he makes her head spin with fast talk.
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why? Ellie, she’s a music and movie freak. Plays volleyball and gets lost in all the family drama.
Thank you for stopping by! I enjoyed hearing about your characters and your story. Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you…
Is there anything else that you want to share… feel free!! To see the full trailer for Chrysalis
Today I welcome Peter A. Brandt to my blog to talk about his latest book- Maple Express. Peter has some original prizes he's giving away at the end of his tour. Two winners will win a pint jug of Butternut Mountain Farm Vermont Pure Maple Syrup, Grade A Dark Amber, in honor of the main character of The Maple Express, Sara Maple, from the small town of Mapleton Vermont. One grand prize winner will win an awesome Bachmann Trains Pegasus Ready-to-Run HO Scale Train Set. Also, the blog host with the most comments will win a 2012 Canadian (1 oz) Silver Maple Leaf Coin in an "Air-Tite" Capsule.
I've asked Peter to share a story about his favorite school memory. Being a teacher myself, it always makes me happy to know that teachers can impact the world around us.
Peter A Brandt's Favorite School Memory
My favorite school memory didn't appear to be that great at the time but in light of my crazy sense of humor, I look back now and I can only laugh.
I was in a band in school. My grades weren't the best, my attention span fairly dismal, and my overall lack of direction extremely high. The one thing I had going for me was my love of singing and I was one of only eight people in our school that was in a rock band. (Two bands, 4 people each.) This was in a school of over 1000 kids. I had a great voice back then and had
won the local singing contest every year I entered.
Being young and not allowed in bars, we used to play at our high school assemblies held once a month for a couple of hours in the morning in lieu of class. The stage was set up, our equipment plugged in and our band began to play. I was the lead singer, fronting an excellent group of musicians made up of kids like me. Our guitarist was so good he actually taught at the Conservatory of Music at the age of 15.
I was wearing the oddest colored green paisley bell-bottom pants with an orange shirt and platform shoes. Think a psychedelic version of the band Kiss without the makeup. I was the height of fashion back then.
I stood in front of 1000 high school kids singing my heart out when a friend in the front row happened to catch my attention and pointed to his zipper, indicating that my zipper was down. I scanned the crowd. I didn't think anyone else had noticed but I couldn't take the chance of anyone seeing the white undies my mom bought or even worse, anything else that may decide to appear.
My decision came with little thought preceding it - I spun around, dropped the hand holding the microphone to my groin to hold my pants, while I used my other hand to zip up my zipper. The sound of my zipper echoed through the auditorium and when I was done, I spun back around without missing a beat or dropping a verse.
The whole auditorium erupted into laughter. I was told my face turned beat red but I actually wasn't too embarrassed. I smiled and waved my appreciation for their concern. In my mind, I had averted an even bigger disaster.
I took a lot of ribbing in halls for a few days after but overall it cemented my name into the minds of everyone in the school.
As they say, "the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."
THE MAPLE EXPRESS
By Peter Brandt
Sara Maple has a comfortable life—the only child of a wealthy family—a best friend who does everything she asks—and the admiration of most of her schoolmates.
Unfortunately, her temper and “indestructible” attitude quickly place her in a very precarious position.
“The Maple Express” is a powerful novel that captures the author’s take on the miracle of the human mind. “The Maple Express” delves into the actions and consequences of a young girl who has never had to
take responsibility for her actions before. The story brings the reader into a world where Sara’s determination to find her way off the train sends her on an emotional trip that bonds her to her new friends and changes her life forever.
Both young and old readers will love the emotional journey Sara Maple takes them on as she deciphers the obstacles that confront her. Sara’s story ends with a surprise twist and leaves the reader with a sense of discovery about his or her own humanity.
Maple Express Excerpt
The three girls giggled at Mr. Freezen as he walked around the cafeteria, stopping and talking to some of the boys that were being excessively loud.
“Oh, my God — he doesn’t even know it,” Jenny snorted and then burst out laughing, lowering her head and banging her fist, causing the dishes and milk containers to bounce up and down on the table.
Julie had her arm around Sara’s and the two of them were laughing just as hard. The cafeteria was abuzz with the sounds of kids talking, louder and louder to get the edge above the other voices until a crescendo of voices drowned out any semblance of understanding.
When the hair finally tickled his ear, Mr. Freezen pushed his hand through his hair and tossed his comb-over back into place on top of his head. As quick as lightning, he pulled out his comb and straightened it.
A couple of the boys fought to contain their giggles while he combed everything into place. The rest of the cafeteria continued with their own lives with no indication of what was transpiring within feet of them.
The group watched him point his comb at the boys and say something before he left.
“Someone should tell him that the comb-over look is dead,” Julie quipped.
“Not me,” Sara said, a shot of fear on her face as she fidgeted in her seat.
Once Mr. Freezen left the boys’ table, they erupted into laughter. They watched a young man wipe tears from his eyes.
"He’s so cute,” Sara mumbled, but Julie overheard it.
“Why don’t you ask him to the Sadie Hawkins dance?”
“Yea, yea I will. I just need to find the right time.”
www.peterabrandt.comis my personal site where you can read Peter's bio.
www.simplesimonpublishing.com is where my books are for
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/140570 is where Maple Express is for sale at Smashwords for
Thank you Peter for stopping by! Just a reminder to leave a comment for a chance to win those fabulous prizes that Peter is offering at the end of his tour!
PRIZE INFORMATION: Peter has some original prizes he's giving away at the end of his tour. Two winners will win a pint jug of Butternut Mountain Farm Vermont Pure Maple Syrup, Grade A Dark Amber, in honor of the main character of The Maple Express, Sara Maple, from the small town of Mapleton Vermont. One grand prize winner will win an awesome Bachmann Trains Pegasus Ready-to-Run HO Scale Train Set.
Welcome back! It's always a pleasure to have you visit. I understand that you have a rockin' new book that comes out today! Congrats!
What is the best advice and worst advice you ever received as a child?
KT: Follow your dreams
What do you think is the most important thing to teach our children these days?
KT: Hard work goes a long way.
What is the type of food you would prepare for a football party at your house?
KT: Spinach Dip and Barbecue chicken
Where do you go when you are frustrated, upset or just cranky?
KT: home in my bed
If there was a television show that someone would make you watch as torture, what would it be and why?
KT: Jersey Shore
If you could go back in time for a year, what time periodwould you visit and why?
KT: 1970's when everything was cheaper...
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about you?
KT: I make a ton of money writing books
What books have you read lately?
KT: A four book baseball series by Kate Angell, It had to be you!
What books are on your keeper shelf?
KT: It had to be you, Susan Elizabeth phillips, Total Access, Pamela Britton.
What is the silliest article you have ever written for the newspaper?
KT: a dart tournament
Why do you think sports and romance go hand in hand?
KT: Absolutely. Athletes and cheerleaders, rich athlete-regular woman both go hand in hand.
Do you prefer?
~Beach or Pool?
~Fishing or Golf?
KT: Neither, but I'd eat the fish
~To eat…Gator or Rattlesnake?
Here's a Blurb and Excerpt of Songs From the Heart, which comes out today at Rebel Ink Press:
Blurb: Singer Chris Ivory was ready to retire from the music business. He was half of the R&B duo "Ebony and Ivory" that produced six number one hits in the 1980's. Now reduced to playing in front of 300 at Casino Lounges, Chris decided to retire. He leaves the United
States and heads to Saint-Martin, falling in love with a French woman named Adele Charpentier. Will she returns those feelings or leave him singing to himself?
Chris placed his suitcase in the closet and stepped into the bathroom, where a glassed door shower and heart-shaped tub awaited him. He headed into the huge kitchen, which had a silver refrigerator, long white table and door to reach the patio. The terrace had a shaded seating sun-deck with a large barbeque gazebo, table and pool that cascaded into a spa that provided a picturesque view of the entire island. He sat down and enjoyed the mild breeze ruffle through his body. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the scenic view of Saint-Martin's French side. “I think I'm going to love it here.”
“I'm so tired.” The four long trip left Chris exhausted and with an empty stomach. With his body slumped in the lounge chair, he suppressed a heavy yawn. “I'm going to eat in
tonight.” He got up slowly and walked inside. In the living room, he hit zero on the phone.
The woman revealed part of her identity. “Front desk, Adele can I help
Chris' heart warmed over her voice. “Yes, Adele, you can help me. I need some food brought to me.”
“Most of our food's French,” Adele said. “Do you have a preference?”
“I'll eat anything, just as long as you bring it to me,” Chris said.
He heard mumbling on the other end. “Is there a rule you can't bring my plate to me?”
“That's not my job; I work the front desk,” Adele responded in a mean tone. “We have people who do that, you know.”
Her demeanor stunned him. “I'm not asking for too much; just bring me some food to my room.”
“Okay I'll do it,” Adele said. “I'll do it before I get off, in about thirty minutes.”
"Thank you,” Chris said. He rubbed his hands together and would get a full glimpse of Adele's body.
Where to find me:
A Not So Charming Prince-
You know, honey,
I just don’t understand Cindy-
always complaining about me being gone.
You would think that
the palace, and the six kids-
would keep her busy.
Besides being a prince is tough work.
I have to collect the taxes,
organize those hunts,
and take care of my subjects.
Some subjects like you,
need my special attention.
She just doesn’t understand me-
Not like you.
You never complain about
how much money I spend
or the mess my dogs make.
You are such a special person, Tammy.
That’s not your name? Sammy?
Cammy? What’s the difference?
Here’s a little present,
a pair of slippers, honey-
Because You mean everything to me.
Love Lasts Forever…..
Those were the last words from a movie I saw last night. It made me cry. They were saying that love outlasts everything even death. That thought isn’t anything new. Shakespeare, poets and many authors have told us that it’s true. It’s a heartwarming and inspirational thought… but is it really true?
I know it is true when I think about my mom who died seven years ago. My love for her hasn’t changed. I assume that her love for me hasn’t either-but I can’t ask her, so I will just go with assume. If someone figures out how to talk to the dead reliably, then I will know for sure.
Parents love their children. They may not always like what their kids do, the choices that they make or the people that they marry, but parents love their children. It doesn’t matter whether you actually carry and birth the child or become parents another way. The first time you watch them sleep, hold their hand in yours, or kiss their cheek…you love them.
The love of parents and children lasts forever. Ask any parent who has out lived their child or ask any child who has buried their parent and they will say it’s true (You will notice that I don’t encourage you to ask a teenager or an angry person- they will be contrary just to distance themselves from their parents.).
What about the love of families and siblings? Does it last forever?
Recently I was reading a letter that my sister wrote to my teenage
daughter. The letter was very profound and talked about life’s truths.
One part that hit home with me was about family. It said that you can fight with family but they will always be there for you.. No matter when the last time was you spoke or what happened in the past. We may pick on our brothers or sisters but let anyone else and we immediately go on the offensive and start a fight. Those are our family and we will defend them.
So families and siblings love each other. They may not always show it.
They may not even speak to you. But they love you and it lasts forever. Must have something to do with the time spent together growing up?? Maybe it is in your physical make-up, your genes, to love each other??
The love that this movie was talking about was between a couple. You know, that one person you said you would love forever. Does that love
last forever? Even after death??
Recently coming off a divorce, I want to argue that love doesn’t always
last forever. Imagine being in Heaven surrounded by your loved ones, family, friends, kids and….your ex-husband or ex-wife!!! Some people will tell you that isn’t Heaven but Hell!! And what about people who kill, maim and abuse others in the name of love? Can you imagine that love
lasting forever and seeing them again in Heaven? Was the movie wrong???
I don’t think so. What I believe happens is people change. We grow and age- so does love. Try fitting into your prom dress/suit or wedding gown/tux. For many of us, that’s a laugh! The style is outdated, may be discolored with age or it just doesn’t fit. For my prom, my grandmother
made my dress. I still have it today- can’t quite fit into it but it’s always a laugh when I try! I believe love is like that dress. What fit me when I was 15, won’t fit me today without some alterations or changes. Love has to be that way- changing, growing, evolving as we change, grow and
As I said before, my marriage ended recently in divorce. It was a twenty year marriage and began when I was 18. It was a marriage that had a lot of love. My two precious children were a gift from that love but the love in that marriage didn’t fit anymore. We tried everything to get it to fit. Just like people try everything to fit into those old clothes- diet, exercise. People who use love as a reason to hurt others are struggling to make that love fit even to the point that they might kill the person they love. In the end, we couldn’t get into the marriage. It was outdated and no amount of pushing and pulling would make it fit.
Amazingly though, after an ordeal of love lost, people are able to find
love again. A new love is developed and with it, all the knowledge and lessons from the past-maybe it is a better love. Hopefully, it’s a stronger love that grows and changes to keep fitting both people. In a perfect world- it would last
Lila Munro is having a huge contest this weekend. If you stop by you have a chance to win great prizes. :) My excerpt will appear Saturday at noon! I hope you will check it out and comment to win one of Lila's prizes!
"If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were…” Richard Bach (US writer) was the source of this quote. Usually the accompanying picture is of a butterfly, as if love were fragile and easily broken. Some people say that this is the most profound writing that they have eve heard. CRAP!
Love has nothing to do with being set free or owning someone…That is obsession, it isn’t love. Love doesn’t wear you down but builds you up, makes you more than you were.
I know a lot about obsession. It consumes you like a fire, taking over your personality and changing who you are. You say things that you don’t mean, you do things that you would never do, and you hurt not only the person that you supposedly love, but you hurt yourself and everyone around you. No matter how much we want to call this love, it isn’t. It is life on a rollercoaster where every little thing can send you plunging over the edge at 60 mile per hour speeds into a corkscrew, and putting your stomach in your throat. If you are an adrenaline junkie or a sadomasochist, this ride is exciting, frightening, and addicting; but it is NOT love no matter how hard you try to justify it. Been there, done that, and burned the crappy t-shirt!
Fairy tales tell us that Prince Charming will come on his white horse and turn our lives into “happily ever after”. Shakespeare leads us to believe that love overcomes the hate and anger of family rivalries; no obstacle is too great to overcome if you love each other. Of course, Disney shows us that there are always happy endings no matter what challenges two people overcome. These are shadows that haunt teenagers, making them reach out to grasp on to someone (that one special someone) who will make their life complete.
The hard part about defining love is that it is as tangible as smoke, different for each person (and like smoke, always causing your eyes to tear up). You can’t hold love in your hands. For love you need to let it fill your heart. Distance, time, even death can’t stop love. You love so many different people in your lifetime, parents, siblings, friends and even pets. Yet we are searching for the “one true love”of our lifetime.
I have been very fortunate to have known a great deal of love in my lifetime. My mom loved me no matter how much she was angry at me. My dad loved me even though I broke the rules of what a “good daughter” should be. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and sisters loved me. Not to say that loving me was easy; they didn’t always like me or the choices I made, but they loved me none the less. With all that love, I still kept searching for more.
Along the way, I got confused and thought that obsession was love. I was willing to settle for passion rather than love.
The hard part is trying to describe what love is and how to find it. You think you see it out of the corner of your eye, yet when you turn your head, it is gone. Or like the shell game, you search under each shell looking for the
marble but it isn’t the one you pick. However, love has a way of finding you and I was privileged to have it fall into my life.
Words are inadequate to explain love. If people like Shakespeare struggle with it, who would think that I could?
Trust me, I’ve tried and I am not often at a loss for words. The ones that I choose seem to lack the full experience. It is like looking at photograph of cheesecake when you are dieting and starving. It lacks the full
experience. I can tell you how he makes me feel. I feel like a whole person. I can be myself and know that even no matter how yucky, he will love and accept me. No matter how tight he holds me, I feel only safe not trapped. I feel beautiful at 3 am in the morning without my makeup on and my hair sticking up. Rather than dismiss my ideas, he listens, asks questions and is open to what I am saying. When I help him with something, I am a superhero! And yet, with these words, I only scratch the surface. Just by putting the words to paper, I find that it isn’t complete. It is still like trying to catch smoke in your hands…always slipping through your fingers.
Maybe water is a better way to describe love... No matter how much you have, you can always have more.
Everyone deserves and needs it. While it is everywhere, it is hard to hold on to, you have to be adaptable to even grasp a drop. It is powerful enough to light a city or move a mountain and gentle enough to cradle you as you float in it. It cleanses and fills you up. It never really dies but changes forms, passion to comfort. It soothes and comforts you. It nourishes your soul.
Inferno or sparkling lake… you decide…
Picture two sets of parents standing over a large calendar with little figures of their children, planning out family parties, school events, and other holiday functions, it quickly becomes the floor of the stock exchange, people shouting, bartering, begging, and trying to haggle for
those precious minutes of their child’s dazzling holidays. A blended family holiday is not unlike a military campaign. You have to plan and coordinate movements for many different
troops, trying to make everyone happy and trying to fit in the most family time for each moment that the children are with you. It becomes vital that everyone gets time with the children and that no one ends up wounded from the shrapnel of harsh words or pulled apart!
With my family we have two sets of children from four different parents and eight groups of grandparents and various aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended family members to consider. Things become even more difficult in a “his, mine and ours” family. Everyone would like to spend time with all the kids on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that requires a lot of forethought and compromise. Family traditions sometimes fall by the wayside in an effort to accommodate everyone’s schedules. It takes a conscious effort to make sure to
put the children’s needs first, rather than the feelings of the parents.
Sometimes parents are still too hostile with each other to consider the extended families. It becomes us against them and the children are the pawns who are hurt in such a battle. While
the children are not the only ones hurt in such a conflict, they are the ones that must be considered first. Can you imagine if the unthinkable happened and because of your anger, you denied your children another holiday with their grandparents? Life is an unknown and
so we have to choose to live each moment. It can be just as hard for older children. You have so much more to consider- their friends, jobs and careers. My children and I have been very fortunate that we have been able to accommodate everyone. We get to see each other, even if only for an hour so that they have the time to be with their grandparents and other families.
No matter how you celebrate a family event, remember that the children are what is important. There are many challenges that blended families face as they struggle to make everyone happy and divide their children’s time. Holidays just seem to add to the stress.
There is an added pressure to creating those perfect holiday memories, especially with the time limits of 24 hours in a day! But with the proper mind-set and planning- maybe even a little humor, blended families can have wonderful holiday events too!
Last night I was on Edin Road Radio reading an excerpt from my book "Second Time's the Charm". I had a wonderful time talking with Jesse and am going to be back on the show in June, reading from my upcoming release "Protecting His Wolfe".
Jesse has allowed me to guest blog on their site and I've got an interesting interview with Alex Hunter from Second Time's the Charm. Find out what attracted him about Lissa and how their rleati
Musings from Michigan