I’m still here. I’m just busy and…

I’m still here. I’m just busy and…

… and maybe disenchanted. With many things :-)

Over the last year, the thought of blogging hasn’t appealed. I feel I have nothing to say to the world in general, and I vastly prefer talking to my friends and readers through other outlets now like Facebook.

This poor blog. It’s been neglected, both by me and mostly all the other bloggers that used to be assigned to it. Thankfully, there are an intrepid couple of ladies who continue one with their assigned posting days. I couldn’t be more appreciative of them. But, are readers actually here?

Question to the blogging universe: do you still visit blogs and leave comments anymore or do you prefer to stay informed or shoot the breeze on other outlets?

Anyway, I’m still here. I’m still working as a freelance editor. And I’m writing. The best stuff of my career, actually. I parted ways with my agent earlier in the year because that person wasn’t on the same page as me. I’ve left some of my publishers because their vision no longer lined up with mine. Some of my publishers have closed. Life and the industry is constantly changing. I’ve decided that I’m quite content working for myself and having the bulk of my work be self-published. I enjoy working with the editors I hire and cover artists I book (if my husband doesn’t do those) I love being able to write what I want, when I want to write it and how I write it. Books of the heart are always better than writing what everyone else is just to get sales.

Speaking of sales. I can’t talk about that without being depressed or even wistful or jealous. Such isn’t the attitude of awesome, so I try to avoid this issue. Sometimes successfully LOL Suffice it to say, I’m incredibly thankful for the readers I do have. You guys rock. You’re who I’m writing my books for. Thank you. I hope you’re looking forward to everything I’ve got in the pike.

Plus, the hubs and I are busy getting ready for our second move in a year. In case you were wondering, I detest moving, packing, messing with putting my life on hold for it. While this move was forced for us, it’ll be a good thing. And though it’ll set our “ten year life plan” back for a little while, everything is still good. He’s healthy. I’m healthy. We’re strong.

Like I said, life is constantly changing and evolving. I just have to remind myself that sometimes the plans I’ve made for myself need to become something else. :-)

So, what say you? Do you enjoy reading blog content? What types of stuff do you want to see from me here? I suppose I could just do rambling posts every once in a while LOL Kinda like talking to a cat, which I don’t have.

Soon, though, I’ll be a fur mom. Another good thing about moving.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Sandra

Front Porch Saturday: Shower Cleaning Tip

Front Porch Saturday: Shower Cleaning Tip

Shower Cleaning Tip

Okay, you’re thinking why waste my time reading a short article about cleaning a shower?

Share the knowledge. I’m not promoting a specific product. I’m simply sharing what I’ve learned.

In one of the guest bathrooms of our new home there is an acrylic and gelcoat two-seat shower. I found typical cleaners left the surface dull.

I have a cart filled with a variety of cleaning solutions and a dull shower stall.

I read the directions on the tag. I imagine reading a tag about a shower and how-to is something a person wouldn’t do. Cleaning a bathroom is simple, wear gloves, use a cleaning solution and scrub. According to the tag i.e. directions, a person should use car wash detergent. That’s right disbelievers. CAR WASH DETERGENT.

I purchased a solution, put some in a spray bottle and went to work. Now, the shower sparkles!

Try it…see what you think.

Front Porch Saturday: When Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction, by Jennifer Wilck

Front Porch Saturday: When Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction, by Jennifer Wilck

I write to escape reality. When I sit and write my romances, I have a place to disappear to, another world of my own making, where anything can happen. Should my characters be perfect? Of course not. Perfect is boring. But they can be my version of perfect. That’s why knowing a romance will end with “happily ever after” is so reassuring. Life doesn’t work that way, but I’m not writing about life.

I don’t want to write about the less than stellar person I’ve dealt with today.

I love my children, but I don’t want to write about all their foibles (aside from which, they’d be terribly embarrassed).

My husband is perfect in my eyes, but that doesn’t mean I want to portray him in my books.

I want a made up fantasy set of characters who respond exactly as I wish them to respond.

I want my heroines to always have the perfect retort, even though it often takes me time to come up with it in real life.

I want my hero who initiates an apology and easily sees the error of his ways.

I don’t always want the heroine to have the last word, but I want her to be strong and spunky. And I want a hero who appreciates that.

In A Heart of Little Faith, Gideon can be a jerk, but Lily tames him. They rescue each other and although it might not seem so at first, she stands up for herself and doesn’t put up with his garbage for long. And in the end, the reader sees that they are perfect for each other.

In Skin Deep, no matter how bad things were, good wins in the end. Both John and Valerie gain strength from their trials, and both of them learn to appreciate the healing power of love.

In The Seduction of Esther, imperfection is not only okay, it’s appreciated. And preserved.

In Miriam’s Surrender, loss of control is not the end of the world. In fact, it’s the beginning of love.

So no matter how frustrating my real life might be, no matter how many circuses I get pulled into and no matter how buggy people can be, my writing will take those experiences and turn them around. I don’t write about real life; I write about something better.

Front Porch Saturday: A Child’s Laughter

Front Porch Saturday: A Child’s Laughter

A Child’s Laughter

Today it rained, switching between a drizzle and a heavy thunder-booming stream. Early evening the angry gray clouds lightened and white cumulus bundles sparkled on a sky-blue ocean, so we went outside.

My dogs don’t like to go out in the rain—not even the drizzle, so when the rain dissipated and the sky whitened the girls shot out of the door.

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I joined them on the deck, enjoying the sparkle of raindrops on the blades of grass. Spring flowers had yet to peek above the earth. Ducks quacking and geese attempting to oust the waterfowl from the habitat didn’t override children’s laughter.

I closed my eyes, inhaled the aromatic scents of pine trees, freshwater and blocked out all the sounds except for the joyous tribute to spring.

Children’s laughter sprinkled the air. Just across the lake two youngsters celebrated the warm, moist air. As they danced and ran about, a car pulled into their driveway. The children lifted their arms in the air and pranced toward the arrival.

In today’s society, with technology being the center of adolescents’ world, it was refreshing to see and hear youth enjoying nature and rejoicing in the return of their parent.

What are you doing to celebrate this wondrous season?

Fun Friday: Spring Celebrations, Traditions, and Fun Facts by Karen Michelle Nutt

Fun Friday: Spring Celebrations, Traditions, and Fun Facts by Karen Michelle Nutt

CELEBRATION

There are pagan and religious holidays associated with spring. The earliest reference to a spring celebration dates back to Babylon, 2400 BCE. The city of Ur’s celebration was dedicated to the moon and the spring equinox. On the spring equinox Zoroastrians celebrated, No Ruz, the new day or New Year.

necropolis, Knowth, IrelandTo the Celts, the equinoxes and the solstices were the holy times of transition, where nature and life cycles renew. Alban Eiler means ‘Light of the Earth.’ It was the first day of spring where day and night were equal. The spring equinox was celebrated before the Celtic tribes arrived in Ireland. There are ancient Irish equinox temples in Knowth. This is near Newgrange or ‘Brú na Boinne.’ Knowth has a 100-foot long passage that accepts the Sun on the morning of the Spring and the Autumn Equinox. In Longhcrew, ‘Cairn’ is an older stone cairn equinox temple.

TRADITIONS

Easter is derived from Eostre, the name of the Anglo-Saxon lunar goddess. Eostre’s feast day was held on the first full moon following the vernal equinox. On this day, the goddess was believed to mate with the solar god and a child would be born nine months later on Yule, the winter solstice on December 21st.

Eostre’s important symbols were the hare and the egg. The hare represented the full moon and fertility.

Bunny1

The egg represented growth and possible new life. Even today these two symbols are popular with the modern Easter celebrations.

Rabbits have long been associated with fertility and birth. There is a German legend where a poor woman had decorated colorful eggs for her children to find. As soon as the children found the hidden eggs, a large bunny was spotted hopping away. Some believe this is how the legend of the Easter Bunny was started.

Interesting Facts About Spring and Easter Eggs

If you were standing on the equator during either the vernal equinox or autumnal equinox, you would see the sun pass directly overhead, the only two times in the year when this happens. These two equinoxes is the only time the sun rises due east and sets due west.

In Spring, the Earth’s axis is tilted toward the sun, increasing the number of daylight hours.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records the largest Easter egg ever made was over 25 feet high and made of chocolate and marshmallow. The egg weighed 8,968 lbs.

The custom of giving eggs at Easter time has been traced back to Egyptians, Persians, Gauls, Greeks and Romans, to whom the egg was a symbol of life.

Filigree

About the Author: Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chihuahua/Yorkshire terrier is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.https://i0.wp.com/www.kmnbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/shapeimage_6.jpeg

Her new passion is creating book covers for Western Trail Blazers and Rebecca J. Vickery Publishing. In her spare time, she reviews books for PNR-Paranormal Romance Reviews.

Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.

Visit the author at: http://www.kmnbooks.com

Stop by her blog for Monday interviews, chats and contests at:

http://kmnbooks.blogspot.com

*All photos are Bigstock Photos and purchased by the author.

Front Porch Saturday: jj’s Sundry

Front Porch Saturday: jj’s Sundry

jj’s Sundry

 

My writing career began when I received my first box of markers and found a wonderful, large, piece of paper, aka my bedroom wall. That first piece of writing won me a time-out. My first contracted book — I was inspired to write as the result of my young son becoming a victim of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (cancer that strikes children, teens, young adults). During the long chemotherapy sessions, choosing not to talk, he slept or watched TV and I wrote. A four book series came from those six months: The Watcher (soul mates find each other), Believe (children being experimented with and transformed by using chemotherapy drugs…this story is so close to what could happen it’s frightening) and Melody’s Song (a woman deals with the death of her son to cancer and rises like the phoenix to find love again) and the final book, Shadow of the Hawk.

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Some of the settings in the Believe Series are in England and Scotland. I love to travel and use my limited experiences in my books. I can’t say my travels are exotic…Canada was my first time out of the country and I’ve been there a few times. Mexico was an experience; I wish I could have visited some of the Mayan ruins. My husband and I traveled throughout Europe, and as far as I’m concerned, not spending near enough time at one place. We need to revisit. We took copious photos and I use them as references when I need scenes in England and Scotland. The gardens are beautiful and the countryside well manicured. If you’ve ever been to Colonial Williamsburg, VA, they have similar settings. The gardens appear to be designed from traditional English herbal and floral gardens. Including the hedgerow mazes… which I adore. Williamsburg is a step back in time and I try to visit every two years.

I’d hope to use the English gardens in my own home design, except my gardens are dismal at best. I have a kitchen herb plot directly out the back door. A vegetable garden is south east of the house, now waiting on the arrival of spring. Best of all, patches of flowerbeds are located throughout the acreage. Wondrous-layered color flows from blue periwinkle to purple lavender, from butterfly bushes and white foxglove to baby chick yellow and white chamomile, golden Shasta daisies and bright yellow sunflowers. I like to keep the sections organized so we have continual color from early spring to late fall. Time consuming? You bet, but oh what fantastic natural beauty.

Speaking of beauty, some of my other books have key best friend characters, due to Ramona Bauchert, who I’ve known since we took step aerobics together a lifetime ago. We have that unusual and much sought after friendship that despite how much time has passed when we get together, it’s like nothing has changed. We must have been together in past lives. Her wit and charm is always present in each book I write.

TradeAgreement_w278_120 copy

In Trade Agreement, a quick read, full of suspense, Gemma is best friend to Georgina who travels from Boston, to Virginia. I tried a different technique by separating the story and pulling it together at the end. So far, the reviews have been fantastic. I wanted the heroine to find her true strength and dominate over any adversaries she might encounter. She had quite a few. The story was nominated for the Best of the Best at LASR.

TheValkyrieandtheMarine_w6880_120 (80x120)  PippasRescue_w7614_300

MemoryofLove_w8758_750

The Valkyrie Series, The Valkyrie and the Marine, Pippa’s Rescue, and Memory of Love all have a secondary character, Skogul, who plays a key role next to the heroine. Skogul finally gets her own story in Memory of Love.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a peek into my personal life. Please feel free to share your comments and we’ll chat a little longer.

 

Sincerely,

jj

 

http://www.jj-keller.com

Fantasies with spice and humor.

TWITTER http://twitter.com/jjKellerauthor

 

FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/pages/JJ-Keller/263353331459?v=wall

 

WORDPRESS http://romancewithjjkeller.wordpress.com

 

BLOGSPOT http://jjkeller.blogspot.com

 

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=JJ%20Keller&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

 

GOODREADS:

https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomjj_Keller

The Valkyrie and the Marine, Pippa’s Rescue, Memory of Love

Shadow of the Hawk/Dark Sun. He’s almost an angel and she’s pure temptation.
http://cobblestone-press.com/catalog/author/jjkeller.htm
Trade Agreement, LASR Best Book, Prop in the movie RED.  www.thewildrosepress.com print and eprint.
All rights reserved.

 

Front Porch Saturday: The Loss of My Sanity by Jennifer Wilck

Front Porch Saturday: The Loss of My Sanity by Jennifer Wilck

I’ve had painters in my house all week and it’s driving me crazy.

My house was looking dingy and old and it was in desperate need of a paint job (as well as several other things, but I don’t want to give my husband a heart attack, so we’re taking things slowly). Now, while I am the first to point out when something needs to be done around the house, and I love the end product, I have no patience for actually having anything done.

My patience lasts three days. Three. Not four. Not even three days and one hour. Three days.

It took me six weeks to find a painter and pick colors. That’s significantly longer than three days, so I already went into this project at a distinct disadvantage. Or maybe I should say, my painter did.

Now, I want to say, first of all, how awesome my painter is. He’s a really nice guy, is meticulous and cleans up after himself every single day. So I’d hire him again in an instant and recommend him to everyone.

My problem is that he’s in my house. With me. When I’m used to being by myself. He’s a little hard of hearing, so he talks loudly. And he gets bored, so he listens to sports talk radio loudly. And when he’s tired of that, he listens to country music loudly.

I’m used to silence. My kids are loud. The TV is loud. There are so many things that go on in my house in the afternoons, evenings and weekends that when everyone is at school or work, I like silence. It keeps me sane and it helps me write.

If music is playing, I start singing. And if I’m writing, I start writing what I’m singing. And talk radio? I start writing what they’re saying.

I don’t want to write about sexy tractors–it’s been done and I don’t feel like getting sued for plagiarism. And hockey stats are not going to make my books page turners.

So needless to say, I have gotten zero writing done this week.

But my house looks pretty and they’ll be done tomorrow.

My sanity, however, may be gone for good.