Monday, December 26, 2022
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Monday, December 19, 2022
From Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist
The one-room, Cedar Fork schoolhouse across the holler from the little log cabin on the near side of Peach Mountain was a tolerable two-mile walk-in good weather. It was an enjoyable walk actually, if one had time to swing from a grapevine on top of a high cliff and drop into Cedar Fork Creek for a lazy dip or stop by the Workman’s place for a quick smoke of their cornsilk tobacco. But in snowdrifts as tall as thirteen-year-old, Lee Greene, in threadbare clothes, thin hand-me-down coat, and barely covered feet in holey socks flopping in an old pair of secondhand shoes that were several sizes too big for him, the walk that frigid morning was worse than pure misery.
Lee’s chronically aching stomach was hollow and rumbling. His meager breakfast of cornmeal mush and sugar water was quickly wearing thin, but he had more important things than his stomach to worry about that morning. He was stewing about the paucity of milk he had drawn from his family’s cow tethered in the yard just beyond the lean-to kitchen at the back of their tiny log cabin. The two-story structure, built by Lee, his older brother, Bill and their father only five months before, comprised a common, or front room, on the main level, a primitive lean-to kitchen at the back, and a bedroom where his parents slept. The room housed the only closet in the place. A rough-hewn timber ladder gained access to the upper deck, where, in an open-to-the-front loft, all the many children slept on crude cots, or thin pads on the floor. A large ceiling-to-floor fireplace of indigenous stones in the common room on the first floor was the only source of heat in the place. Felled tree trunks supporting its roof, a porch spanned the width of the front of the log cabin.
The soil on Cedar Fork, thin, hard, and dry, a crusty layer of sediment topping a bedrock of limestone, dolomite and shale, made for poor farming and gardening, posing a formidable challenge for growing adequate crops. Squirrels, rabbits, opossums and birds, hunted and brought in by Lee and Bill, the insufficient supply of milk from the cow, and scant eggs supplied by their paltry flock of scrawny chickens in the yard, were the only sources of protein for the family. In season, a large vegetable garden and a stand of corn were coddled into fruition in the poor soil, but only if they were favored with enough rain.
His nose and eyes crusty from yet another head cold, gloveless hands thrust into the pockets of his thin coat, and his feet turning to blocks of ice, Lee trudged on to school, his white-blond head under his hat hunkered into his shoulders. Despite the fact that he might not make it through the perpetual hardships of his life, much less that cold, windy, and snowbound morning, his soul was full of dreams, his mind of intention, his body of vigor and endurance, and on the strength of pure power of will alone, and maybe some help from the man upstairs, Lee was determined that if he got out of his childhood alive, nothing would ever encumber him again.
The schoolhouse was dark and frigid, and Lee, by design, was the first student to arrive. The door was unlocked as it always was, and Lee, halting for a few minutes to give his blood a chance to circulate again in his frozen limbs and digits, sat down on one of the benches. He would have wept if he had allowed himself to seriously consider his unfortunate circumstances—but not Lee! No, not Lee! Not the boy/man who five years in the future would be my father. He had a chance to earn fifty cents that week, and every week for weeks to come, fifty cents for building a fire in the “Warm Morning” coal-burning, heating-stove each morning before school, and that was exactly what he was going to do.”
“Life is difficult,” renowned psychotherapist, M. Scott Peck states in his groundbreaking book, The Road Less Traveled. The above excerpt from Guardians and Other Angles, my novel that is based on the true story of my grandparents and parents and their immediate families illustrates that my father’s early life was a testament to Peck’s pronouncement. Born in the midst of the Great Depression, my dad was the third of twelve children. Few were the hours, or even minutes, of every day that were not devoted to details of survival: scouring for food, maintaining shelter, searching for work of any kind. Like millions of others among the “Greatest Generation,” the extreme difficulties of the times forced my father to grow up on his own, primarily. Through the perils and pitfalls of life as he encountered it, he survived and thrived, and in the process evolved into perhaps the most disciplined person I have ever known. Don’t get me wrong—my dad was a fun guy. Sharing a beer or fishing with a buddy or two was high on his agenda; he was a shark at Euchre; he knew a million jokes and delivered them like a pro; he played the guitar and sang with the best of them. But getting the job done always came before pleasure. Peck calls it “delaying gratification,” which is one of the essential tools in the development and maintenance of discipline. Growth absent a consistent basis of discipline sputters and then stalls sooner or later.
My father gave me many priceless gifts during his lifetime, legacies that have endured these many years since his passing. One of the greatest of them was his talent for discipline. I am not as good at it as he was, but I will die trying.
Guardians and Other Angels, multi-award-winning author Linda Lee Greene's novel, chronicles the story of two heroic families played out against the bad and the good of the early to mid-twentieth century, years of worldwide economic depression and war, as well as the spawning of the “Greatest Generation.” Firsthand accounts of the times in authentic letters written by members of the families are peppered throughout the book.
Available in paperback and in eBook on Amazon
Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.
She found her way to
her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions
and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is
also a member of artist and writer associations.
Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook. Linda loves to hear from readers so feel free to email her.
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
After we entertain Christmas Eve, we tear through the house cleaning up before the kids and grands come for brunch Christmas Day. This meal is wonderful because so much can be prepared well in advance and stored in the fridge until it’s time to cook.
Monday, December 12, 2022
I will see dolphins.
from Anne Montgomery
The expression “I saw my life pass before my
eyes,” is generally used by someone who has had a near-death experience. While
I have no idea what may occur when the end nears, I have always liked
that thought, as long as one only has to recall the pleasant events.
Once, off St. Kitts, I
witnessed four tiny juvenile drum fish dancing in a row before a reef
Sometimes, I consider scenes that might appear
in my head when my time comes, and I find it is a rather
Forrest Gump-esque list: The night at Girl Scout camp on an island in
Upstate New York, snuggled in my sleeping bag, a cool breeze wafting
through the pines, lake water brushing up against the rocks. An elk in
Colorado, maybe ten yards between us, his majestic antlered head and dark brown
eyes freezing me in place, before he turned and disappeared silently into
the forest. A dive in St. Kitts where I witnessed four tiny spotted drum fish,
each no bigger than a thumbnail, long black-and-white fins waving as they
danced in a row before a reef.
And now, I have a new vision to carry with
me. A few days ago, in the sea off the north shore of St. Croix, we
spotted three bottlenose dolphins from our dive boat. We quickly donned our
scuba gear and descended to a shallow area white with sand. We knelt on the
bottom and waited.
Thirty minutes later, chilled from inactivity,
we gave up, and swam away, perusing a group of coral heads down over the edge
of the sand. Cold and tired we headed back toward the boat. The dive master,
E.T., and I were the last in the water. We waited below the boat as other
While diving in St.
Croix we spotted three bottlenose dolphins from our boat, so we donned our
scuba gear and dropped in to join them.
Then, E.T. grunted to get my attention. She
pointed at three dolphins that swam directly toward us, their snouts dipping
with each gentle push of their tails. The largest, a female perhaps eight-feet
long, silvery-gray with a white belly, was escorted by two smaller males. The
female eyed me and guided the others over my head. I could have reached up and
touched her as they glided past. Then, she dove to the bottom and stuck her
nose in the sand. She stirred up a white cloud, rolled onto her back and lay on
the bottom, while the males playfully nudged her. Soon, she twisted, launched
herself off the sand, and they disappeared.
We waited. And they returned, over and over playing
before us. Then, the female stopped, touched her tail to the sand and
straightened. I had always thought of dolphins as curved creatures, but she now
stood perfectly straight, snout pointed toward the sky, fins out, a signal
perhaps to the males who approached and straightened as well, clinging to her
They appeared as a marble statue, majestic,
magical, holding the pose above the sand, her bearing that of an empress. Then
she twirled and the males followed. What came next can only be described in one
way: dolphin sex. I felt like a voyeur but could not turn away. I will let
you fill in the rest.
At one point, overwhelmed by the beauty, this
gift I’d been given by the sea, I touched my hand to my heart. When I gazed at
E.T., she had done the same. We stared at one another, knowing we had shared
When we finally ascended, I was speechless. Those who know me would be astounded at the idea. And I am still unsure my words here do the experience justice.
I hugged the dive master, a woman I had met just a few hours earlier.
“E.T., when I’m dying, I will remember this,”
It was only then that I noticed the elegant tattoo she bore on her right hip: a dolphin.
Allow me to give you a brief intro to my latest women's fiction novel for your reading pleasure.
The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.
In 1939, archeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.
Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.
Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.
When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.
Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.
Wednesday, December 07, 2022
from Emma Lane
This year seems to have zipped by much too fast. Our family is already hinting for me to cook their favorite dishes for Christmas dinner. One wants a ham with gravy from drippings. Another is pleading for green bean casserole, while another wants fresh asparagus spears and dinner rolls. Me, I have a sweet tooth and am looking forward to a home baked apple pie, of course ala mode, for dessert. 😊 One thing the entire family is looking forward to is my special dressing. Here’s the recipe for you.
Preheat oven 350° F.
Soak craisins, or raisins,
in warm water to soften for fifteen minutes.
Melt butter in a frying pan. Sauté celery and onion until opaque, about 7 minutes.
Drain craisins. Combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Pour chicken stock to moisten ingredients and mix lightly.
Grease an oven safe pan them scoop in mixture.
Bake 25 – 30 minutes.
Winter storms swirling snow and unexpected guests on the eve of Christmas, the pungent fragrance of fresh pine boughs, springs of mistletoe hung with red ribbons, and a stolen kiss underneath the kissing ball comprise scenes of Christmas in the country. Ice skating anyone? Have a cup of wassail and toast your toes in front of a warm fire while you enjoy four short stories of sweet Regency Christmas romances.
Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.
Look for information about writing and plants on Emma's new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face.
Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.
Monday, December 05, 2022
The eagerly awaited Book Three in Stella May's highly acclaimed time travel romance series Upon a Time is here! This series makes a great Christmas gift for all readers on your list. It is available in e-book and paperback. Here is a peek of Stella's New Release.
The only way to save their future is risk a journey back to her past.
Time is running out. The message rings in Abby Coleman’s head as clear as the chime of the grandfather clock, her time portal on Amelia Island. Her instincts scream that she must move. Act. But where? And why?
Through she leaped forward a century in time to live an independent life, she reluctantly admits she needs Alex, the insufferable thorn in her side who had the audacity to make her hope. Dream. Yearn.
Alex is through waiting for Abby to come to her senses. And to his complete surprise, the maddening, beautiful woman admits she loves him. Yet to his everlasting frustration, she refuses to marry until she solves her mystery.
In a blinding flash of light, the portal spits out a desperate, heavily pregnant Nika, and the reason becomes all too clear. With Abby missing from her own time, Eli stands accused of her murder. The only way to clear his name is for Abby to go where Alex can’t follow—back through the portal. And one passionate night together may be all they’ll ever have.