UPDATE: 2018 April
When I wrote this post two years ago, my world was on the verge of change. Today, I'm on the other side of it.
Both my parents passed away, and I'm adjusting to life as a baby-boomer orphan. . I'm now sorting through my own treasures as JM and I rightsize, build a first-floor living home, and sell our beloved home of two decades. Getting used to being the 'senior' member in the family orbit, including four more sweet little ones as our Millennials move into adulthood, is a huge mental adjustment for me.
The beach is still my happy place. (In fact, we recently spent a week at the North Carolina shore.)
Social media continues to challenge in this age of privacy concerns and virtual tricksters.
Life has its bumps, but it's all good. Can't complain. Beyond grateful to YOU for sticking with me and following my journey -:D.
Hub and I are just back from 1,000-mile road trip for a family wedding. Walks along the Connecticut coast, where I played in the waters as a child, brought back memories and lifted my spirits. Join me in my happy place for a relaxing beach stroll and video.
Then please pop over to my guest post on Anne R. Allen's blog about 11 tips to gently build your online social community. Anne's is one of "Writers' Digest" top 101 websites for writers, so I'm doing the happy dance to guest for her.
My Happy Place: Beach Walking
Have you ever had a stretch in life that's both hectic an joyous?
I'm just back from a wedding in Connecticut, followed by a stop in Pennsylvania for more family visits, that was exactly that. Slept in 4 different places in 12 days, often waking up and forgetting where I was.
The wedding ceremony and reception were perfection. Bride and groom glowed. My sister, now 6 months cancer-free after 16 weeks of chemo, was radiant and such an incredible blessing to us. My Niecelette Flower Girls were sweetest of all, imho.
However, helping our nonagenarian dad decide what to do with Mama's belongings was draining.
Mama was a true collector, and tons of her treasures had been stacked in the basement for decades. My sibs and I were determined to tame the the chaos and toss, donate or salvage.
I plucked a piggy bank Mama let me play with as a child from from a pile destined for the dump. I remember being tempted to drop coins into Mr. Piggy, but I never wanted to smash him open to retrieve my money. Now Mr. Piggy basks in his new home in North Carolina. I pass him every day and smile at the memories he brings.
Notice the seashell next to Mr. Piggy? The ocean has always been my happy place. It settles me somehow. Puts life in perspective and helps me see the possibilities. That's why I took time to wander the Connecticut shore, where I played as a child. As with Mr. Piggy, it brings so many wonderful memories.
Best, immersion in that coastal setting brought ideas for my next Sweet T Tale ( though it's set on North Carolina's shore). Ocean strolls, no matter where, steer me into my writerly groove.
Please join me for a stroll along the Connecticut side of Long Island Sound that's guaranteed to bring a breath of fresh air and a smile HERE:
btw….April is still chilly in New England, so bring a warm jacket for those shore breezes.
Yippy - Doing a Happy Dance and Guest Post
I'm over the moon to be guesting on Anne R. Allen's blog this week. In addition to penning her RomCom novels, Anne offers awesome tips for writers on her award-winning blog.
You'll learn how to be R*A*R*E with unwritten ‘rules’ of building a virtual community. Whether you’re an author, blogger, or just curious about social media, being R*A*R*E helps you safely establish or strengthen online connections.
There's also a juicy resource list from wise social media gurus (of course, Anne is one of them!) who offer more insights.
Have a look around. Like what you see?
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I'm pleased to be partnering with Beach Bound Books on a Blog Tour for a YA historical fiction, A Buss from Lafayette, and offering a chance to win a $25 Gift Card.
To enter, just click on the giveaway widget entry below by 2 May. Then read on for details about the book, meet author Dorothea Jensen, and find my review. Good luck with the giveaway and happy tales!
About the Book
Fourteen-year-old Clara Hargraves lives on a farm in a small New Hampshire town during the early 19th century. She has a couple of big problems.
First of all, she has a stepmother, Priscilla, who used to be her spinster schoolteacher aunt. Clara resents that her late mother’s older sister has not only married her father but is about to have a baby. To make matters worse, “Prissy Priscilla” keeps trying to make the rambunctious, clever, and witty Clara act like a proper young lady.
Secondly, Clara has red hair, making her a target for teasing by a handsome older boy, Dickon Weeks, and by her pretty seventeen-year-old Dread Cousin Hetty. Clara, however, has a secret plan she hopes will change this.
During the last week of June, 1825, Clara’s town is abuzz because the famous General Lafayette is about to visit their state during his farewell tour of America. In those eventful seven days, Clara comes to understand the huge and vital role the young French aristocrat played in America’s Revolutionary War and to see that her problems might not be quite so terrible after all
Clara is a likeable teen and a 19th-century tomboy of sorts, who strides a horse and swims in the pond. On the cusp of adulthood, she experiences conflicting feelings toward Dickon, a childhood playmate who suddenly asks her to a dance. The book-ended connections about Clara’s auburn hair tie the plot together in a charming way.
The narrative moves forward, in part, through Clara’s diaries and letters which offer unique insights into the red-haired protagonist. This epistolary style keeps the story interesting and engaging.
Jensen sprinkles large doses of early-American history throughout the narrative, which are often recounted in stories told by old-timers or discussed at the family dinner table. In some instances, the historical references go on a bit too long and could be condensed for YA readers.
What tweens and teens will like
Buss hits most criteria for teen angst, even though it’s not a contemporary setting. Girls will identify with Clara’s struggles to find herself and fit in with society. She is in turmoil with her parents, especially with her new mother, and can’t understand why her childhood playmate, Dickon, suddenly asks her to the dance.
What family members, educators will like
Ah, the challenge of teen years, even across the centuries! While Jensen shows Clara’s rebellious side and search for identity, Clara ultimately makes peace with the people in her life and and comes to terms with the changes they face. Best, she accepts her unique talents and physical appearance as gifts to be treasured, not scorned.
This is a great read for those who love early-American history. Librarians and history teachers will want to recommend Buss for Layfayette to girls in their classes.
Tween and teen girls will enjoy stepping back in time with Jensen’s historical fiction/coming-of age tale. Along with snippets of history, it offers just enough teen struggle and budding romance to keep YA readers and history buffs turning the page to find out what happens to Clara.
I received a free digital edition of this book in exchange for an honest review.
For more information about Dorothea and her books, please visit http://www.dorotheajensen.com/.
Blog Tour GiveawayPrize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice Giveaway ends: May 2, 11:59 pm, 2016 Open to: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Dorothea Jensen and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to stacie@BeachBoundBooks.com.
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