Monthly Archives: November 2013

Starting Over ~ A True Thanksgiving Story

file0002043695191Where’s the drumstick??? 

When I was a child, Thanksgiving was considered sacrosanct. It was the only time of the year when my mom’s family got together. To me, it was a big party with lots of cousins, aunts and uncles. The visiting relatives contributed specialties for a buffet table of hefty hors d’ouvres. Aunt Madeline’s stuffed cabbage and Aunt Ethel’s mushroom & barley, not to mention a hot dog casserole Aunt Gladys made because she wanted to try a new recipe–these favorites can still make me salivate. After digging into those dishes, no one really needed turkey and sweet potato pie and cole slaw and a million other sides to the main meal which the hostess provided.

After many childhood years enjoying wonderful Thanksgivings, I got married and immediately was assigned the role of hostess. (I’m sure my mom and aunts loved having a year off!)  That first Thanksgiving dinner I prepared stands out clearly in my mind today… and not because I was a great cook!

There I was, not yet twenty-one years old, making my first turkey. I stuffed it, basted it, wrapped it in foil and set the oven for 350 degrees (I made everything at 350). When I took it out of the oven several hours later, the bird looked wonderful–nicely browned–and smelled delicious. I set it on top of the stove to cool and rejoined my relatives in the living room.

When I returned to the kitchen fifteen minutes later, the turkey was on the floor, the drumstick gone, while my Shepherd dog sat there with a shit-eating grin on his face.  My heart raced, my jaw dropped. I could feel myself panic, but kept silent. I didn’t want anyone else to know what happened. But what to do…what to do…? I had a beautifully set table in the dining room with twenty people gathering around it, a loving crowd expecting to see a lovely browned turkey. And entire, whole lovely browned turkey. Oy.

I changed the rules. When I called everyone to dinner, I served the bird already sliced up nice and neat. I didn’t say a word about the little mishap. And if we were one drumstick short…well, no one really noticed. Some secrets are meant to be kept 🙂

So whether your turkey has one drumstick or two, whether you’re roasting your hundredth bird or your first, whether you’re celebrating with a special someone or a crowd, I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings.

And a special happy Hanukkah for my friends who celebrate that awesome holiday! It will take another 70,000 years (no kidding) for Thanksgiving and Hanukkah to collide like they do this year in 2013. Hanukkah is based on a lunar calendar, and since there are only 28 days in a lunar month, every so often the calendar is recalculated. That’s why Jewish holidays have floating dates. But never before and never again in our lifetime will Hanukkah and Thanksgiving be celebrated on the same date. So Happy Thanksgivukkah!

 

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

LINDA

P.S.  Don’t forget to celebrate with Celebrate Romance!   Only 99 cents at Amazon, BN, Kobo and Smashwords.

Celebrate_BoxedSet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting Over ~ Fingers on the Keyboard

ONE WRITER’S BLOG… a day late and a  dollar short!  hands on keyboard

Change is in the air and in my fingers. I love writing this blog. I love connecting with readers and writing friends. I haven’t even run out of ideas yet. However, with a brand new book in the works, I’m running out of writing time. I’ve had to rethink my writing priorities which also affect the quality of my personal life. So, change is coming.

I began the Starting Over blog last April and have posted twice a week since then, every Tuesday and Thursday. The posts have usually run between 400-700 words or more with pictures! Everyone loves pictures 🙂  I’ve discovered, however, that writing and organizing so many essays conflicts with the time needed to work on new books. So, I’m starting over again, trying to figure out what makes sense for me. The first change I’m making will be to post less often now. Perhaps once a week. Maybe only when I think I have something important to say!

Br Ca Blog icon 1So let’s consider what we talk about here.  Starting Over was and is about a journey of many new beginnings. I’ve shared my health issues and information about breast cancer. We’ve discussed books and writing. We’ve laughed about my life in the day camp and making new friends after my golfer guy Golf Clubs 2and I moved a thousand miles away from our old home. I talked about these topics because I suspected I wasn’t alone in my experiences and hoped I’d connect with others. I’ve heard from so many of you here, on Facebook and by email that we do have a lot in common. These subjects are still relevant. So, what changes am I making with content?

I’ll be inviting more guest bloggers to share their news and views with us. Mostly other authors who’d like to connect with folks who read. That would be YOU. My author friends write across all genres from sweet romance to thrillers. You’ll be getting a taste of the reading and writing world. You’ll also be getting info on book pricing deals. In fact, my own book, Family Interrupted will be on sale for .99 in December. I’ll let you know more as the time draws closer.

book cover

Celebrate copyIn the meantime, Celebrate! is available at all ebook stores except Apple.  Only 99 cents and it’s already garnered a reader review of 5 STARS. I’m psyched!  (But we need more reviews! If you’ve read it and would consider writing a line or two at Amazon and BN, it would be wonderful and appreciated). By the way, when you look up Celebrate at the ebook store, please type in the title and one of the author’s names. It’s much easier to find with an author name.

Change is in the air – it’s always in the air – because the only thing in the world that’s constant is change.  You’ve heard those words before. It’s a truth we may not like at times, but we adapt as needed. Thank you for understanding. I need to adopt a new schedule, and we’ll adapt to it together. (Okay, I’m stretching word play here, but can’t resist!)

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

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Starting Over ~ Fingers on the Keyboard

Celebrate?  Why, yes. I think I will!  Celebrate_BoxedSet

In earlier blogs I’ve written about my excitement as part of the Celebrate! anthology with four other authors. One of my goals is introducing myself to new readers in the hope they will become new Linda Barrett readers. Of course, each author has the same goal. We all agree that a little story buffet might be a wonderful method of introduction. So, here’s the news that will go viral next week:

The price for Celebrate! is now 99 cents!!  And it will remain so. Here’s a peek at the stories themselves:

CELEBRATE! Five heartwarming stories celebrating the sweet gift of romance on Mother’s and Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas.
Man of the House by Linda Barrett  
Bobby’s been the man of the house since his father died, but now his mom is spending time with Steve. Steve makes his mom happy, but no one can take Bobby’s dad’s place. Can Bobby have a change of heart and accept a new man of the house?
Man of the House_300dpi(1600x2560)
One Star Spangled Night by Rogenna Brewer
Navy Chaplain Lieutenant Lindsey Alexander is not as naive as world-weary Aircraft Carrier Captain Doug Reese believes. When the Top Gun is ordered into counseling, the junior officer is the only thing standing between him and his losing command of his ship.
Love With All the Trimmings by Barbara McMahon
An unexpected reunion at Thanksgiving changes a growing relationship when an old flame shows up just when Juliana has hopes for a future with Matt.
The Eighth Gift by Karen Sandler
When widow Sarah Meyer’s house is broken into and her son’s Hanukkah gifts stolen, her late husband’s best friend comes to her rescue. But as the friendship between Sarah and Jake Goldman blossoms into something more, it takes a Hanukkah miracle to lead to a new and lasting love.
My Christmas Angel by Debra Salonen
“Little Dickie Daniels is a Christmas angel.” So, 8-year old Abigail believes…until she meets the scruffy child her mother brings home on Christmas Eve. But looks can be deceiving Abigail learns, and some encounters leave an indelible mark. Thirty years later, Abby–author of the children’s book “My Christmas Angel”–receives a call that proves holiday miracles really do happen.
I do hope you’ll pick up a copy and enjoy these multi-holiday stories. Celebrate! is available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo and at iTunes. I also hope that if you do enjoy them, you would post an honest review at any of the these sites. Reviews help spread the word. So, thank you.
Amazon direct link:
BN direct link:
As always, thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope you’ll join me for the next edition of Starting Over.
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CONTEST this month is for books written by the authors of Celebrate!   Winner will choose two!
BluebellsBlowout
ARe DEBRA SALONEN 7-1
Available October 3rd

Available October 3rd

 

51VJ6qyXifL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-70,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

bn Love Be a Lady






Starting Over ~ Fingers on the Keyboard

RESEARCH?  WHO, ME?                   hands on keyboard    

If you’re a fan of historical fiction, you depend on the author to provide an accurate setting for her story. Whether it’s England in 1215 at the signing of the Magna Carta or American soldiers landing on the beaches of Normandy over seven hundred years later, an enthusiastic reader will slam the book shut if mistakes in geography, dress, cultural mannerisms, scientific inventions are found. Readers expect to be drawn into the story completely. They want to be a part of that distant time, and they can be — within the pages of a well written book.  Historical fiction devotees often have favorite time periods they enjoy reading about. Regency England comes to mind. Or the Viking period. Or Colonial America. Or the settling of the American West. Authors are expected to have expertise in showcasing the attitudes and conventions of the times as well as the physical setting.

This is not a novel but a reference book about everything Regency – clothing, clubs, royalty titles, entertainment, food…etc.

What about authors of contemporary stories? The general perception is that they–myself included–get away easy.  We don’t have to bother with research because we live during the time period we write about, and therefore, we know it through osmosis and observation. The things we take for granted — television, computers, airplanes, rocket ships, supermarkets–are obvious. Who needs to research? Well, let’s see…

Try writing a police procedural and getting the crime scene wrong. Readers will condemn you forever, as well they should.

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Try writing about a health condition without getting your facts straight, and you’ll hear about it. Try writing about a career…let’s say air traffic controller, hospital administrator, or bakery owner…and not understanding what goes on behind the scenes…fugeddaboutit! You’ll have lost your readers forever. They simply won’t trust you to tell a story they can believe in. So, authors of contemporary fiction do a lot of research before writing the first paragraph of a new work.

A few years ago, I wrote a four book series set in the fictional town of Pilgrim Cove, MA. The town was modeled on a real town south of Boston along the Atlantic coast. I spent hours figuring out the tides and weather patterns in all seasons. I discovered the existence of a commuter ferry service to Boston. I researched the businesses a town that size could support. And then began the particular research regarding each main character’s background including their careers.

Moffitt Walk for the cure & Pilgrim Cove 007

In the first book, The House on the Beach, the heroine was a voice-over announcer doing radio commercials. What does a recording studio look like? Who would be with her? Does she have an agent to help get assignments? Her background in speech and linguistics helps her connect with the hero’s young son, a boy who stutters. My research included the causes and types of stuttering and how those around the child should react to him. The hero of the third book, Reluctant Housemates, was a marine biologist. I have a fat folder on that topic! And when trouble on the ocean came calling, I discovered how a Fresnel lens works, the kind used in lighthouses.

Recently, I had the idea to return to Pilgrim Cove and catch up on what’s happening. There’s a veterinarian, a single dad, who wants nothing to do with romance. If I proceed, I see tons of research ahead regarding veterinary clinics, common illnesses of dogs and cats. How about birds and bunnies? This vet happens to be part of the local greyhound rescue association. So, now we’re getting specific, from dogs in general to greyhounds and the characteristics of that breed as well as the effects of living the life of a top notch canine athlete. I started browsing this material and was blown away at the tough adjustment these wonderful dogs have when adopted by a forever family.  Of course, a romance is also brewing despite what our hero thinks. So more research awaits on the background of the heroine.

Almost all authors find the research part fun! It challenges us to learn about stuff we never knew before. And it’s interesting. But here’s the bonus:  good research might provide plot points for the story, plot points that the author wouldn’t have thought about on her own. You know how you want to look up something on Google? And how that one search can lead to ten more searches?  Well, that’s what it’s like for a writer to throw herself into her job. I love it!

So now, as part of my research, I need a favor:  can you comment on whether you’d be interested in visiting Pilgrim Cove with me? I’m thinking about setting several new romances in that town. Each romance would stand alone, but the townspeople and the town remain constant. You could jump right in, and it wouldn’t matter if you hadn’t read the first four books. Would readers believe that?

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

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NEW CONTEST FOR NOVEMBER:  I’m celebrating my co-authors of our Celebrate! anthology which was released last month. The winner of the November contest gets to choose two books from the list below. All are other works written by Rogenna Brewer, Barbara McMahon, Deb Salonen, Karen Sandler and moi.

Available October 3rd

ARe DEBRA SALONEN 7-1

BluebellsBlowout

51VJ6qyXifL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-70,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

bn Love Be a Lady