Happy New Year  (First Blog Post of 2019)

Happy New Year  (First Blog Post of 2019)

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had great festive holidays and a beautiful start to 2019. I had a lovely Christmas with my family, it was nice having the tree up and watching my four-year-old nieces open their gifts. They were very excited little girls. Also, it was nice spending time with mum and just feeling the festive beauty. I  find that over the festive week, I reflect on those who have passed away, and all the joyful Christmases of the past spent with them. I think remembering those times keeps everyone alive in my heart.

Christmas time is also romantic for me as it’s the 4th year of when my boyfriend first asked me out, brings back so many magical memories and it’s always nice on the 27th to celebrate that moment with him… he’s a lovely person and I feel very blessed to have him in my life and look forward to more lovely memories in 2019 together.

The new years bring new resolutions and goals. My main ones are to keep writing, reading and exercise more and see more beauty in every day. Also stay in contact with all those I care about and try to worry less. What are your goals or resolutions for this year?

Smokey and Holly also have goals—I think Holly’s is to eat all of Smokey’s dreamies from his treat snowman before he gets the chance. I think over the last few days he’s looked at her like, ‘you just ate yours, they are mine.’ And Smokey’s is to attack all his toys and take cat naps much more than last year… he looks so sweet sleeping.

I hope everyone has good health, joy and love this year. I can’t wait to read all kinds of wonderful books this year and of course host many wonderful authors on my blog. So, whatever your plan is this year I hope you all have a wonderful one with all your dreams and goals coming true.

 

Katrina x

 

 

 

 

 

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Merry Christmas Round Up Post by Katrina Hart

Merry Christmas Round Up Post.

We’re just a few naps away from Christmas and therefore it’s the time for my last blog post of 2018. It has been quite a year for me. My year started off nice planning my boyfriend’s visit and Smokey had recovered from his ear troubles which was a huge relief because he’s a sweet cat. Also, at the start of the year, I started reading a poem a day which was a beautiful way to start a morning and of course read and reviewed many wonderful novels and stories, there are so many wonderful adventures to read about.

In the middle of the year my boyfriend and I planned a trip which was fun, we visited Hillside animal sanctuary and took my mum too which was nice. We had lots of laughs and cooked together, watched movies and really enjoyed being in each other’s life— he is a true blessing in my life and this time of year always remind me of the first time he asked me out. He also in the summer started teaching me Hindi which is a work in progress for me and something I plan to keep learning in 2019. I also had the pleasure of meeting his brother for the first time who was very nice, as well as his lovely parents when we Skyped for the first time which was a real joy—he has lovely parents.

Smokey and Holly also enjoyed meeting him and playing and getting treats, they always look so adorable when they try and get his attention. Shortly after this visit, there was the co-op robbery at gunpoint which honestly was one of the scariest moments I have ever faced in my life and for months after really set my nerves on overdrive. I did feel blessed my boyfriend returned to spend time with me, he has a kind heart.

I also took an editing course which was a lot of fun and taught me a lot and did some writing and work on the second novel I have written to get it closer to publication, discovered the joy of needle felting, diamond art and of course writing my yearly diary.

I’ve also really enjoyed being a part of a few Facebook groups and participated in the yearly Facebook party and how supportive people are in the groups and lovely talented authors too. I also want to thank everyone who took part in my mini blog series leading up to Christmas and those who have been on my blog throughout the year, it’s always a great joy to get to know you all and your books.

This year has also been a nice year with my family, spent some lovely moments creating memories with mum, like carving pumpkins, we lit candles for Diwali and spent time together caring for my two nieces on their visits.

For me this year has also been coming face to face with my extreme needle phobia. If you have one, you’ll know how extreme this can feel. For me, it sure is a phobia I battled since childhood, but I can say that this week I had my blood taken and the Elam numbing cream worked. I did not feel a thing and my nurse was so lovely and understanding which helped me and I really feel that it went some way to facing my fear. (never easy).

Well, I’ve gone on enough, but before I end, I want to thank all my lovely friends, who are a bunch of talented beautiful people and their support throughout the year has meant a lot to me. I wish you all a very special and beautiful Christmas and may 2019 be a lovely year for you all.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE AND A VERY HAPPY 2019.

 

The Journey of a Jacket by Kshitij

The Journey of a Jacket by Kshitij

This is my favorite jacket. I remember buying it a few years back from an online store in India. I loved it for its color, style, and warmth- guess the usual attributes one would expect from a winter apparel. When I was on my big trip from India to the US to start my Ph.D. journey, I was wearing that jacket. My girlfriend so loved that jacket on me and she was always saying that it is my lucky jacket. Next year when I visited her, I brought that jacket with me. We both shared it on our trip. I must say the jacket looked much more beautiful on her or it was her who made the jacket glow with her beauty. We joked that she should keep that jacket, but she wanted me to take it back as it was my travelling jacket.

On the last day of our trip, the day I was set to return, something funny happened. I was getting ready early morning for my taxi to the airport and my girlfriend was making sure I have packed everything. She even made scrumptious sandwiches for me to have while I wait at the airport. I love her sandwiches; for her, too much cheese means too much love. Anyways, we figured that I couldn’t find my pair of socks- the one she gifted me on my birthday. Taxi was waiting as we were chaotically searching for my socks- cupboard, under the bed, living room, bathroom, well we did find it eventually and kissed goodbye with tears in our eyes and when I was at the airport my girlfriend texted me her picture in my jacket. Yes, I forgot to pick it up last moment thanks to our crazy sock searching and emotional goodbye moments.

Although she wanted to send the jacket to me, we decided that I’ll take it back once I visit her next time. So now the jacket lay next to her so like her cushion and every time she goes out, she wears the jacket, rain or sunshine. While she said it provided her the boyfriend warmth and feeling that I’m there with her. I felt comforted that I have left a piece of me with her.

                        

As a writer and marketing researcher, I study how people develop relationships with material objects. The jacket, although a mere fabric, symbolizes a very special time in our lives and brings back all the sweet memories around it. It is a witness of our special love and a metaphor indicating that love knows no boundary as the jacket has travelled miles and spread it love all the way.

This jacket is my favorite because it is with my favorite person and our love has been able to give it a special meaning. In the material world, where each object draws psychic energy from us, the more we spread our love, the more beautiful and radiating the things around us appear.

 

Links

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Until-You-Came-Along-KSHITIJ-ebook/dp/B019TQNFQG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1545188287&sr=8-1&keywords=until+you+came+along+kshitij

Goodreads Links: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28495089-until-you-came-along

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8063064.Kshitij

 

Christmas at Pensychnant by Jan Ruth.

Christmas at Pensychnant

This beautiful arts and crafts property became the house where Caroline and Ian lived in my latest novel, GIFT HORSE. Of course, my story is a contemporary one, but the setting of this house and its history crept under my skin, especially seeing it dressed for Christmas, embracing those old connections and traditions of the Welsh countryside.

For me, the elegant shabbiness of the house adds a richness not quite quantifiable in words. I guess it has atmosphere – something a writer is always looking to capture.

Pensychnant isn’t a National Trust or Cadw property attracting an entrance fee (although contributions are always encouraged), nor does it house a lot of cordoned-off untouchable valuables. What it does offer is a real, modern experience of a Victorian house. This is partly down to the fact that the house is still very much lived in. The log fires are burned for a great many reasons. Today, Pensychnant works primarily as a conservation centre; holding exhibitions by local wildlife artists, organising guided walks, and of course, the annual Christmas fair when the Welsh dresser is laden with vast quantities of home-baked cakes.

The Turbulent History of Pensychnant. Today’s resident warden, Julian Thompson, has much to share about the history of the estate. The original house is a simple farmhouse dating from about 1690. Because of the existence of a second storey – probably originally accessed by an exterior stone staircase – it suggests that this would have been the property of a family of some means. Interesting that the draught generated between the front and back doors was utilised to winnow corn, and later, Stott affectionately christened the boot room in this part of the house as the Wellington Room. But it’s the Victorian extension built in the Arts and Crafts style (started in 1877 by Stott) which makes Pensychnant so unique.

Stott & Sons built about a fifth of the cotton mills around Lancashire. Surprisingly, the house had a central heating system from new, and in 1923 it received an electricity supply. Built initially as a holiday home for the Stott family, Abraham’s wife was less impressed with the house, particularly its rural location. Fearing he’d never encourage his family to move there, Stott fell into something of a depression about his investment. He reputedly left candles alight in vats of paraffin in the farmhouse, and took his absence. His desperate plan failed, since residents of nearby Crows Nest Hall spotted lights in the windows and went to investigate. Amazingly, Stott managed to escape being charged with arson despite harbouring not one, but three insurance policies about his person! In 1882 the wealth and standing of this hugely influential family clearly held the greater power.

When the mill industry collapsed, Pensychnant was sold to the Collins family before it passed to Doctor Tattersall of Conwy. Then, like the stuff of fiction, something wonderful happened when the great grandson of Stott bought back the entire family estate in 1967.

I’m sure there’s another story in there…

Words and photo by Jan Ruth

Links:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42090387-gift-horse

mybook.to/GiftHorseJANRUTH

 

Discover Your Family Legacy by Linda Weaver Clarke

Discover Your Family Legacy by Linda Weaver Clarke

This photo is the wedding picture of my parents. I absolutely love it because it represents my heritage. My mother was involved with genealogy and it was something she enjoyed. She wanted to leave a spark in me, the same desire as she had, so she told me about my heritage.

My mother told me that my great-grandmother was from Lancashire, England and that she was deaf from childhood. She told me how spirited Sarah was when she discovered a man hiding under her bed. With a broom in her hand, Sarah pummeled him good, until he realized she was not worth his lustful desires and ran out of the house. But Sarah was not about to let him go so easily. She chased him down the street as she pummeled him over and over again. The man never returned. After telling me more stories about her, Mama said I looked like her grandmother and gave me one of her thimbles.

Then my mother told me about my father’s heritage and how my great-grandmother, who was from Pembrokeshire, Wales, had just as much spunk. After settling down in Utah (United States), Frances discovered warriors stealing her grapes. It was her very first crop and they were stripping the limbs bare. Dawning her husband’s cavalry uniform, Frances tucked her hair under his hat. Then she grabbed his sword out of its sheath and marched outside onto the porch. Brandishing her weapon in the air, Frances yelled, “Leave or perish!” That was all it took. They dropped the gunnysacks full of grapes and took off running.

My mother’s love for her ancestors and genealogy soon got my interest, so I sat down and wrote the biographies of my grandparents and great-grandparents. They were stories that had been handed down to me from my father’s side and mother’s side. But that was not all. I finally wrote my parents’ story and had it published. I wanted my children and grandchildren to learn about their heritage.

I thought about my mother’s love for genealogy and decided it was time for me to do something about it. Since my husband has been interested in his ancestors, and he retired last year, we put in our application to serve at the Family Search Center in our hometown. We were accepted and now help people to find their ancestors and learn about their heritage. To join Family Search is free. Just go to https://www.familysearch.org and sign up.

Bio:

Linda Weaver Clarke is the author of 24 books. She has written in several different genres, which include: historical romances, romantic cozy mysteries, a mystery suspense series, children’s book, and non-fiction. All her books are family friendly. To learn more, visit www.lindaweaverclarke.com.

 

A Family Friendly Blog:

http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com/

Sweet Romance & Mystery:

https://lindaweaverclarke.wordpress.com/

Family Friendly Audiobooks:

https://family-friendly-audiobooks.blogspot.com/

My love My life, Charlotte Blackwell.

My love My life

To so many of us, family is everything, and a lot of the time we take our family for granted. One year ago, my eldest daughter Jorden, moved from our small city in Alberta Canada to Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. We always knew she’d leave because our city was not big enough for her star to shine. So, one month after her eightieth birthday she was gone.

That first year my husband and our two younger kids, Shawnee and Lucas visited Jorden five times, and she came home once. We knew we wouldn’t be able to continue with so many trips, so Christmas of 2017, we decided to surprise all three kids with a trip to Disney Land (our family photo outside the gates).

Now although kids grow up, move out, move away and start their own lives (after all that’s what we raise them to do), it sucks not having them around all the time, or talking to them daily. I defiantly appreciate my mom on a whole new level now.

So, these three kids, and this amazing husband of mine (James) not only are they my true loves, but they are my life. I would do anything for them. This trip was and is such a happy memory for me. My girls bonded (they have almost 5 years between them), my son, husband and I had some amazing laughs and we enjoyed three stress free days in the land where dreams come true. Okay stress free may be a lie because my son absolutely loved space mountain and I am 100% terrified of it, I actually had nightmares. Aside from that though, it was great. Cherish every moment you have with your loved ones, appreciate each and every one of them and be grateful for the memories you can create. Thank you for letting me share my memory and family with you all.

XOXO

Charlotte

Author Bio

Charlotte Blackwell, author of The Embrace Series, is delighted to have the opportunity to follow her dreams of writing. She would love to share a little bit about herself with you now.

 Charlotte was born in October of 1976. On the day of her birth, Charlotte’s father was racing stock cars, while her two older sisters watched from the stands as their father crashed through the wall of the racetrack. Within moments, the stock car he was driving came back through the wall, and he won the race. He took his two daughters and hurried to the hospital for the birth of his third daughter, Charlotte.

Raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Charlotte enjoyed swimming, singing (although not so great at it) and writing her thoughts down.  She never shared her passion for writing with anyone, and it got put on the back burner. As Charlotte grew, she found a new passion in medicine. She became the athletic trainer for her high school men’s basketball team. Helping the team through their injuries are some of her best memories as a teen.

After the birth of her first daughter, Jorden, Charlotte moved to Calgary, Alberta where she returned to college for her practical nursing certificate. During her schooling, Charlotte became pregnant with her second daughter, Shawnee. Due to complications, Charlotte was put on bed rest and had to step away from school. Shawnee was born, but was not breathing. The staff worked to resuscitate the small baby, and succeeded. Charlotte returned to school only six weeks later and completed her course. She began working with children, and eventually in the special care nursery for ill and pre-term babies.

Charlotte and James finally decided to get married in 2005 and completed their family with a son, Lucas, in 2006. Lucas was born six weeks early and had three surgeries by one month old. Today, all three of their children are happy, healthy and very active.

Charlotte and James live with their children and their many animals, just outside of Calgary, Alberta. They cherish every moment they have together as a family, and hope to soon travel the world. James and the children have been great supporters of Charlotte from day one, and continue to cheer her on along the way.

Charlotte has a strong passion for young adult novels, especially those in the paranormal or dark fantasy genres. As she continues to work on The Embrace Series, Charlotte is also working on a mainstream romance.  She will continue to update this site with her work and what is next, and she thanks you all for your support and encouragement.

If you would like to contact Charlotte for an interview, speaking engagement, to ask her a question, leave a personal comment, or anything to do with her novels, you can e-mail her at embraceseries@gmail.com. She does her best to reply to everyone.

Social Media Links

Email: embraceseries@gmail.com

Blog/website: https://charlotteblackwell.blogspot.com/ (Newsletter sign up is Connected to blog )

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteBlackwellAuthor/

FB fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/charlottesembraced/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CharBlackwell

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/charblackwellbooks/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/charblackwell/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4836172.Charlotte_Blackwell

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40660459-immortal-embrace-embrace-series-book-1

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41027806-forbidden-embrace-embrace-series-book-2

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41218888-mystic-embrace-embrace-series-book-3

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41219003-everlasting-embrace-embrace-series-book-4

Books + Main: https://bookandmainbites.com/CharBlackwellBooks

 

Buy Links

All-Author: https://allauthor.com/profile/charblackwell/

Amazon: amazon.com/author/charblackwellbooks

Book Bub: https://partners.bookbub.com/authors/4599004/edit

BookSpout (ARC): https://booksprout.co/author/2971/charlotte-blackwell

Amazon Book Links: (Is available world-wide on Amazon)

Immortal Embrace – US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F2M94K8

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07F2M94K8

Forbidden Embrace – US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G3KYJ4T

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07G3KYJ4T

Mystic Embrace – US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GM4CVNB

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GM4CVNB

Everlasting Embrace – Releases September 25, 2018 (pre-order)

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GN3ZGVQ

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GN3ZGVQ

 

 

Memories… By Author Patricia Asedegbega

Memories…

Christmas has always been my favourite period of the year; I enjoy every single aspect of it. From the hope and joy I get from the celebration of the religious feast to the more mundane aspects like cooking, shopping for gifts, playing Secret Santa at work, buying the famous Christmas lottery ticket with friends and colleagues…

But no matter where I go or live, I will never forget the Christmases I spent as a child with my family in Nigeria. The characteristic smell that accompanied the dry harmattan wind at the end of November was always a sign of what was to come and by mid-December, we kids would be sent out to scout for an attractive looking branch of a pine tree that would serve as a natural Christmas tree. We would politely knock on the gate of the owner and ask if we could cut a branch which would then be unceremoniously dragged home through the dusty streets (small wonder that we never got an unpleasant surprise in the form of a resident snake). My mother being Spanish incorporated her own traditions into our household and we would decorate the tree and beneath it, place a wooden nativity scene. Each child would bake something for the festive days and on the 24th of December, there would be a very special dinner just like the Spanish tradition as opposed to just celebrating the 25th like in Nigeria. Lots of food was made to ensure that there would be no cooking or almost no cooking the next day and some years we would go for midnight Mass and others the next day. Either way, before going to bed, we would each put out our shoes and barely sleep that night. I was always one of the first to wake up and rush to see what had magically appeared on my shoes (until my brother kindly shared his findings that our parents provided the gifts, this discovery only dampened my enthusiasm shortly though as I am still the first to wake up and investigate till this day). We would then open them together and have breakfast afterwards. Then people would come to visit and there was always something edible to share with them. “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year” would often be heard on the street as people shouted out their well wishes at the top of their voices and the shops in the market would be decorated with motifs for the season as happy shoppers listened to Boney M´s Christmas Carols in the highest possible volume.

For the past “x” years (no need to be too precise here), I have celebrated Christmas in Spain, and except for the cold weather that I do not look forward to, there is still that general sense of hope and love in the air. Family comes around on the 24th and I plan an elaborate menu (with of course help), I put out the manger that is very special to me as it was painted with family and friends (I still have to get around to painting the three wise men so I can expand the nativity scene) but not the tree anymore as it is too much work to put up and take down (plus the cat does not need more distractions).

And though part of my family is far away, there are traditions we share that erase the existing physical distance; Russian salad and fried rice are a constant at our Christmas table, we go for midnight Mass when we can, carols are played and thought I have adopted the tradition of gifts being exchanged on the 6th instead of the 25th; I still leave out my shoes for the three wise men to leave me something on their way to visit the baby Jesus. I wish all the readers of this blog a Merry Christmas, may our memories always remain with us and make us smile (especially the good ones).

Links

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_8_10?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=patricia+asedegbega&sprefix=patricia+a%2Caps%2C154&crid=P0RVB2X0R6CS

WordPress Link:

https://pasedegbega.wordpress.com/