Want a free gift?
Follow Linda Visit Linda's Goodreads Page
Follow Linda Visit Linda on FacebookVisit Linda's Goodreads Page

Linda Barrett

Linda Barrett

Linda Barrett

Starting Over ~ Life in the Day Camp~WE’RE GRANDMAS NOW

GRANDMAS ARE MOMS WITH LOTS OF FROSTING. 009

I wish I’d thought of that. It’s one of those sayings attributed to “author unknown.” But I’ll confirm that the idea resonates in the day camp.  Many, if not most, of my friends here are grandmothers. Do we show off the latest pictures of the kids?  You bet.  Do we brag occasionally?  Oh, yeah. Are our grandbabies the cutest, brightest, funniest, sweetest inventions since chocolate? Absolutely.

But we’re also glad when the visits are over and all the kids–children and grandchildren–go home.

MY GRANDKIDS BELIEVE I’M THE OLDEST THING IN THE WORLD. AND AFTER TWO OR THREE HOURS WITH THEM, I BELIEVE IT TOO.  — Gene Perret

A funny thing, though.  As soon as we say goodbye at the airport, we yearn to see them again.

It’s become an all-or-nothing proposition in America over the last decade or two. Extended families no longer live near one another, so BIG VISITS compensate and leave us all exhausted. First, the scheduling. Then the waiting and crossing off the days.  Then right before, a frenzy of shopping, cooking and freezing. Most important, the planning of “what to do” with everyone after arrival. We must have fun activities!  And then, finally, the tykes arrive with their parents. And with every hug and kiss, we melt. And are reborn.

IF I HAD KNOWN HOW WONDERFUL IT WOULD BE TO HAVE GRANDCHILDREN, I’D HAVE HAD THEM FIRST. — Lois Wyse

My own grandmother lived a hundred miles away from me in upstate New York. Every so often I’d arrive home from school and there she’d be!  My parents didn’t do the countdown thing. I guess they believed in surprises. A wonderful surprise. This lady was the only grandparent I had, and she was everything a little girl could want in a grandmother. Some years ago, her memory inspired me to write a story about her, and about grandmothers then…and now.  My own boys were half-grown at the time. I’m sharing my memory with you today–a story of family–so this blog post will be longer than most.

~~~~~Real Grandmas–A Family Story~~~

A real grandma has big jiggly arms. My grandma did, and when I cuddled up to her on the couch, my head fit perfectly against her unique pillow. She’d read to me in her Yiddish accent, “Vee, Villie, Vinkie vent through the town…”  It sounded just fine.

A real grandma knows how to knit. My grandma did and when she started a sweater, she actually finished it. Long after I’d go to bed, she’d continue to knit and leave her work-in-progress where I could see it first thing in the morning. I was always amazed at how red or navy blue string could turn into a bulky garment, a thing of substance, just by moving two long needles against each other. It seemed like magic, but Grandma could do it.

file0001089343368

A real grandma also fills the house with scrumptious aromas, and needs the special assistance of a ten year old granddaughter. Those apple pies, those rugelahs–rolled out dough cut into triangles and re-rolled into crescents with sugar, cinnamon, raisins, nuts, jelly, anything delicious would do. And the strudel made from dough so thin, you could almost see through it. They are all in my mind’s eye as clearly today as when Gram and I shared my mother’s kitchen on one of Gram’s visits so long ago.

“Lindala, you’ll scrape the orange and lemon like this,” she said as she gave me the “rebvison,” the four-sided metal scraper used for such work. I took it proudly. This was not a baby job! She crushed walnuts, set aside raisins and kneaded the dough. The finished products looked like miracles to me, but Grandma just nodded at her efforts and brushed the flour from her hands.file2391298506940

Those delicious fragrances filled my childhood home, but no recipe was written down. How could she write: a pinch of this, a little of that with enough of the other until it was right?  Grandma’s kitchen methods did not end with baking. She made chicken soup in exactly the same way. This artstic style continued until I was about twelve years old.

Whether I had a flash of insight or whether I slowly forced myself to acknowledge that Grandma was old, I don’t honestly recall. But I do remember thinking and worrying about her dying some day. After my initial grief at this realization, I took action.

“Grandma,” I said, while holding pen and paper in my hand, “exactly how do you make rugelahs?” And she told me. Slowly, we worked the amounts out together. A written recipe was finally born in our family, and it was perfect. Anyway, that’s what my boys tell me.

My boys have two grandmas. One does aerobics and one plays catch wtih them using a hard ball and a baseball glove. Their grandmas are in their seventies, in the same decade of life as my grandma was when I grew up.

My sons think that real grandmas are athletes, that real grandmas work full-time until forced to retire at 75, and that the only food grandmas know how to cook is chicken, the quintessential low cholesterol choice. They have never seen either grandma bake as much as a cookie or knit the ubiquitous scarf.  But if you’d ask them about their grandmothers, as I did, they’d tell you that those ladies were absolutely perfect and that they were very real grandmas. Just like mine was.

~~~~

THE BEST BABY-SITTERS, OF COURSE, ARE THE BABY’S GRANDPARENTS. YOU FEEL COMPLETELY COMFORTABLE ENTRUSTING YOUR BABY TO THEM FOR LONG PERIODS. WHICH IS WHY MOST GRANDPARENTS FLEE TO FLORIDA. — Dave Barry

Leave a comment to say whether you enjoyed this type of memory and if you’d like to try writing some family stories of your own. I’ve taught others how to do it, and I can get you started right here on my blog. It’s a lovely way to pass down memories without saying, “When I was your age…”  which no child likes to hear!

June contest ends today. If you leave a comment, you have a chance of winning a choice of two books shown below plus a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or BN.

As always, thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you for the next edition of Starting Over.

sig

 

 

 

 

LOVE, TEXAS cover61g61GQfe9L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51YO35nvckL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51X0n7QeODL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51VJ6qyXifL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-70,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51UL1N2FFVL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-57,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Starting Over~Fingers on the Keyboard

file0002113684817HELP ME,  I’M DROWNING. SEND IN THE LIFEBOATS!!

There are many times I feel like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. Remember how he checked his pocket watch over and over again and sang, “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date…No time to say hello, goodbye, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late…”   (Man, I pulled that out of my old memory cells).

I often feel the same way White Rabbit did. In the world of indie publishing, literally every single minute of every single day can be taken up by work. Not just the writing, but the marketing and sales effort that needs to be addressed. The noise on the Internet is overwhelming and can drown out the most brilliant of new books if your voice can’t be heard. We want to give our readers the best reads and the best prices we can. And that takes a lot of figuring out.

I have referred from time to time to a very special group of authors, very special to me, that is–called On Fire Fiction.  I am one of twelve writers in this Lifeboat.  I’m using a capital L on purpose because this group is of MAJOR importance in my life and in the life of the other authors.

77176_513659958675780_1566414408_a

You’ve heard from me before about this group. So now, I’m happy to introduce you to multi-published, award winning author, Karen Sandler, one of my buddies in the Lifeboat. I’ve known Karen for a long time, but we’ve been together for only about six months as official Lifeboat members.  I asked her how or if On Fire Fiction has benefited her. This is what she said–In her own words:

“I’ve known for a long time that having a support group, even of one, is a great benefit for an author. After all, our profession is a solitary one. So it’s wonderful to have as a sounding board someone who thoroughly understands what  writer faces each day.

“If you multiply that sounding board by eleven authors, you have an unstoppable powerhouse. Within this one group, I have a huge store of knowledge I can tap, not only about the writing profession but about life experience.  Every one of the women involved will hold my hand (virtually) when I’m feeling down, will support my promotional endeavors, will join with me in mutually beneficial projects, and will often put a smile on my face. They’ve all been around the block, know the writing business inside and out, and aren’t shy about cheering every success.

“It’s astounding what we’ve accomplished since January: two box sets of books published, a Facebook page up and running, a holiday anthology (CELEBRATE!) scheduled for October 1st and a third boxed set of books planned. We’ve educated ourselves about effective promotion and the ins and outs of social media. Along the way, we’ve also had a lot of fun. I’m lucky, indeed, to be part of On Fire Fiction.”

Linda again – Our group is not the only lifeboat out there. Industry changes and the growth of independent publishing brought about a collective idea, almost like author cooperatives to  help each other get noticed by readers. Our buyers.  Although On Fire Fiction doesn’t have a group blog, we do have a Facebook page. Please check in with us to see what twelve multi-published, award winning authors are up to.

Here’s the latest from Karen Sandler who writes in several genres:

KarenSandler_TillTheStarsFade_200px

Till The Stars Fade is a futuristic romance set in 2123 when humanity has pushed beyond earth into the solar system and unlocked the secrets of life with genetic engineering. Some consider this an abomination. Others laud the progress in lifesaving medical cures. Krys and Ian are on opposite sides, until she discovers the truth about ian. And nothing will ever be the same for either of them again.

Question for my readers:  Have you noted the existence of writers groups? Lifeboats? Have you bought boxed sets of books from these groups?

MAKE A COMMENT and you might win two books and a $25 gift certificate to the etailer of your choice. See below for the book choices.  I’m including this one by Karen as well.

As always, thanks so much for stopping by. I hope to see you for the next edition of Starting Over.

Best,

sig

 

 

 

 

 

LOVE, TEXAS cover61g61GQfe9L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51YO35nvckL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51X0n7QeODL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51VJ6qyXifL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-70,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51UL1N2FFVL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-57,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Starting Over ~ Life in the Day Camp–The Book Club

READING AND WRITING AND BOOK CLUBS, OH MY!           

About a dozen women usually show up at the monthly book club meeting in my community. These women, who are becoming friends, are totally engaged in story. They are NOT shy about expressing their opinions on what they’ve read.Or on what the author was doing. Or on figuring out the answer to: What could the author have possibly been thinking? I so enjoy these discussions. After writing professionally for fifteen years, I’m finally eavesdropping on enthusiastic readers. What a treat for me! I hope, too, that I contribute something a little bit extra to the discussions.

Maggie and her Kindle

This month, we read The Ninth Wife by Amy Stolls. I’d call it a complex romance, search for love and roots. The group enjoyed the story and discussion was brisk. In our new world of publishing, I’m always curious about how people read their books–electronic vs. paper. So, for fun, I took a user-friendly survey of reading  preferences.  Of the ten women who showed up this week, four brought their eReaders with them. Two brought library copies of the book. One came with a trade paperback copy she bought on  Amazon for $6.00–new, not used. Not sure about the others. But I glommed onto the 40% statistic of eReader users.

Here’s what happened next:  We noted the book for next month (Wild Swans) and right there, my friend, Maggie and I downloaded it to our Kindle and Nook. I looked at the others and said, “You just watched me spend $12.38.”  To which Maggie replied, “And why not? It’s just like spending on a concert ticket. It’s entertainment, whether a singer or an author. And I enjoy books.”

As an author, I adore her attitude. I adore her. She spoke spontaneously and with conviction as though saying, how could you think otherwise?

I also discovered that the county library has changed its inventory. There were only two paper copies of Wild Swans – next month’s choice –  in the entire system. More and more books are to be accessed electronically. Many of the women are not happy. They want to hold a book in their hands. Frankly, there are times I want to do the same, particularly at a book club discussion. However, I love reading on my Nook and wouldn’t give it up.

I glanced down the list of forthcoming books for the club:

July – Wild Swans by Jung Chang

August – The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

September – Family Interrupted by Linda Barrett

October – The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Whoa…whoa….back up there. Did you notice that September selection?  That will be a new experience for me. I insisted that someone else is leading the discussion while I hang around quietly, like the proverbial fly on the wall. I’ll keep my mouth shut no matter what they say…unless of course, they turn to me and ask, “Linda, whatever were you thinking?”.

WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?  Let us know if you think it’s a good choice for a club discussion.

Leave a comment and your name will be entered into a great drawing for the month of June. Prizes are your choice of two books out of the six shown below, all written by members of On Fire Fiction. Plus a $25 gift certificate to your favorite eTailer.

As always, thanks so much for stopping by. I hope to see you for the next edition of Starting Over!

LInda

LOVE, TEXAS cover61g61GQfe9L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51YO35nvckL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51X0n7QeODL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51VJ6qyXifL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-70,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51UL1N2FFVL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-57,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_