What If Fantasy Adventure Beckoned?

Hello! It’s Thursday Morning again!

coffee, cup, laptop, memeGood morning, friends, I hope you’ll join me with a cup of hot coffee or other warm beverage (if your part of the world is cold like mine). Speaking of cold, I’m going to take a short trip into one of my very first writings.

The plan is, during the month of December, this little tome will be a free download. It’s in need of a little maintenance at some of its other venues anyway. I know December is super busy, but you can download it while free, then read it later when winter tends to slow us down.

The Lady of the Haven is the book I’m talking about. It’s a little different from the books I’ve written lately. Think of a romantically-styled “King Arthur-esque” inspired by my ventures into the fantastical world of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Here’s where the “what if” comes in: As a student of the Bible and spiritual aspects of life, I asked myself what if the magical wasn’t really magic, but spiritual in a Godly way? What if, inspired by their Hebrew roots, these dwellers in the Mediterranean basin discovered a power that linked to nature? I created a location inspired by the Bermuda Triangle and the Biblical ability to disappear and reappear elsewhere. (Jesus did this at times, and so did Philip, the evangelist). Intrigued? I hope so.

I gave my heroine a powerful name from the book of Judges–Jael–and her grandmother’s name is Deborah. Grandmere Deborah is the one who gave the child her name. Their ancestry is steeped in ancient teachings from the original Hebrew family who came there to escape a famine and the wars in their homeland. They sing tunes adapted from the ancient Psalms.

The book opens when my young heroine returns to the haven of her birth, a place she longs for, but it is now unsafe for her. She only returns when led there by the Spirit. She’s a healer who works at the sail-making trade to earn a living, and she’s alone in the world. Family–kinship–is one of the deepest longings of her heart.

Enter, our “Arthur-esque” hero (or maybe he’s more a Lancelot, or even an Aragorn): William, Prince of Coldthwaite (pronounced cold-thrate). Jael doesn’t immediately know he’s a prince, only that he’s an important man, and possibly hunted by a dangerous enemy. She must protect him, as she works to heal his injuries. Her “special” powers, and the natural tendencies of the haven will help her.

You can read the entire first chapter and part of the second by clicking “Look Inside” HERE (Amazon Kindle). You can even send the sample to your Kindle (or phone app) to read at your leisure.

Here’s the link to a free download: The Lady of the Haven

Click to Tweet: What if #fantasy-adventure beckoned? Find out at Hello #Thursday Morning!

What to Do About Fall Back Blues

Hello, Thursday Morning friends!

coffee, cup, laptop, memeI heard lots of complaining this year when the clocks rolled back an hour. Most complaints came from those who work forty hours a week (or more). They go to work in the dark and return home in the dark. The few precious hours of sunlight we get is lost to their internment in offices and cubicles.

SAD. Yes, it is sad, but not how you may be thinking. SAD is the technical term. Seasonal Anxiety Disorder (SAD). And it does often make people feel sad. It’s a proven fact, we need sunshine.

My mother-in-law has feared the sun for years. When she goes outside, she’s completely covered up. What she actually fears is the silent killer–melanoma. Not that she’s ever had it, but she did have breast cancer at one time. After that, she became  very fearful.

These days, she spends most of her time indoors. So, in the winter, she often suffers from depression. I’ve tried to urge her to get out in the sunshine, for just fifteen minutes a day. Soak it up. Leave your hat indoors. She can’t. The fear is too strong. So she suffers depression on her own.

Apparently, we have no say in the time-change debacle. It springs forward in the spring, and falls back in the fall. We murmur and complain. But what can you do about SAD?  Here are a few good steps to take.

  1. Sunshine–even when it’s overcast outside, you can still soak up rays, but if the cold keeps you inside, find a sunny spot. Sit or stand near a sunny window.
  2. Exercise–nothing beats a little sweat to get your heart pumping, which also releases serotonin in the brain. You feel better, that is if you don’t overdo. Two birds with one stone: take a walk in the daylight hours.
  3. Spend time with others–friends, family, grocery store, coffee shop, church. Get out of the house. Go for that walk, smile and greet the neighbors. Important note: Social media is a poor substitute for actual human interaction, but as a last resort, you can use it. If you’re bedridden, or have to stay off your feet for a while, it’s a decent solution. Just be careful who you talk to!
  4. Music–obvious, but it works. I love to listen to praise and worship music–it lifts me up every time. But you can listen to your personal favorite, whether it’s R&B, country, or classical–even opera! Hey, whatever warms your heart and puts a smile on your face.
  5. Prayer and/or meditation–scientifically proven to bring peace to a troubled heart.
  6. Pet a pet–yes, this a great way to warm up a cold, anxious moment. A cat or dog curled up next to you, or on your lap is really good medicine.
  7. Watch a favorite show or movie. Ah, the cliche movie and pint of rocky road ice cream. But don’t knock it. Sometimes, it’s just the ticket to get you over the blues.
  8. Read a good book–yes, I went there. There are so many good books these days. Visit a bookstore or library. Download new books online. Check with your social media friends for recommendations.

Important Disclaimer: these are my suggestions only, based on reading and research. If you are suffering from depression, please see your doctor to rule out any physical ailments, which can also cause depression and anxiety. And if you are clinically depressed, I realize the above steps may do little to alleviate your pain and anxiety.

But for those who suffer from seasonal discomfort due to a lack of activity and/or sunshine and light, these suggestions really do help.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go clean my house. That’s another thing that really helps me feel better. I guess you could put it under point #2, Exercise. I put on some praise and worship music, turn it up loud, and go to work. It gets my happy going.

Click to tweet: It’s #SAD! What to do about fall-back #blues. Hello! Thursday Morning’s topic this week.

Frozen Notes – A Book Review

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello! It’s Thursday Morning!

Well, it’s actually Wednesday as I’m working on this. When I realized that tomorrow is Thursday, and I had not finished reviewing that book I told you about last week.

First of all, let me say that I am a fan of author, Fay Lamb. I love her books. So, I was excited to find a new one (even though I somehow skipped one in the series). So, here are my impressions, and a short review — no spoilers (I hope)!

The setting: Amazing Grace, a fictional town in North Carolina, is a place I’d love to visit, if it existed.

The book’s cover: You don’t often see a black-and-white cover. But when you get into the story, you understand why. The main character’s life has lost color, meaning, she’s even lost faith.

I actually started reading this book on Kindle until the paperback arrived in the mail. I couldn’t resist opening it. There’s something so special about a brand new book in your hands, especially a page-turner like this one.

Oh, the delicious characters that populate the little town of Amazing Grace in Frozen Notes. Some rather seedy, others ruthless and just plain mean. Some, who are scratching like mad to get out of the pit they’ve gotten themselves into.

What wonderful names they have–Lyric, and Balaam, Magda. As you’re still getting to know these characters, they show off like peacocks, but they’re not displaying beauty. Instead, we see their humanity in all of its broken glory. I was not repulsed, however. Instead, I was drawn into their imperfect stories, and led to hope their struggles would end well.

Questions wrestled my attention from the start. Would Lyric play her music again? Will this family find some semblance of balance, or will they always be at odds with one another? It seems almost as if Fay Lamb sets up most of them to fail. They all have rough backgrounds, and broken beginnings. The book starts with a double homicide. Rather overwhelming odds, I’d say.

But I never felt overwhelmed, because there was always that glimmer of hope shining through. And so many of these characters longed for real and lasting love, but hadn’t achieved it, and didn’t really know how to go about getting it. Most of all, I wanted a real, and lasting love for Lyric’s son, who wanted a father so badly. A real one, who would stay, be kind to him, and love him for who he was.

Can Lyric forgive those who have hurt her so deeply, including the pain she has inflicted on herself? As I read, I’m pulling for Balaam, whose stunning looks could almost make you forget how far from grace he’s fallen.

Like real life, this story travels through some tumultuous days, when hope takes a nose dive. But strengths are honed in the worst of times. Those characters who’ve set their hearts and minds on overcoming, will triumph in the end. And if you’re a fan of happy endings, this author has given you her best.

This is no sweet love story, though you may find sweetness and love threaded throughout. For those who like a meatier kind of romance, that doesn’t hide ugliness and pain, doesn’t filter reality through rosy glasses, Frozen Notes fills that bill well.

I’m giving this one five stars and keeping it around to re-read when I have time to savor every detail.

Now, if you were here last week, you may remember I told you there would be a giveaway attached to this review. If you’d like to win a free copy of Frozen Notes, either the Kindle version, or print version–winner’s choice–leave me a comment below and let me know you’d like a chance to win.

Just my way of saying thank you for stopping by my blog!

Click to Tweet: Hello! Thursday Morning, read a five-star review of Fay Lamb’s Frozen Notes. #Suspense #giveaway

More about Frozen Notes, Amazing Grace, Book 4

Lyric Carter’s dreams of fame and fortune in a rock band ended the day Balaam Carter left to pursue their dreams without her. When Balaam’s brother promised to love and protect Lyric and to love her son, Cade—his brother, Balaam’s child—as his own, she believed him. But Braedon turned her dreams into a nightmare by killing Balaam’s best friend, turning the gun on himself, and placing Lyric in the middle of a criminal investigation that could leave her and Cade dead.

Balaam Carter’s every dream has come true, but he’s living in a nightmare of addiction and regret. The famous rock star would give everything he has to return to the girl he once held in his arms—back when his only crime was running moonshine for his father. Now, he’s seeking redemption for all the destruction his dreams have brought to the people he loves.

No one said the road to recovery would be easy, but Balaam is also desperate to protect Lyric and the little boy he left behind from a state full of drug lords who believe Lyric has the evidence that will tumble their lucrative cartels. Balaam’s continued sobriety, his natural ability for finding his way out of trouble, and his prayers to God above for the strength to never let them down again are all that he has to protect Lyric and his son, and still, he doesn’t know if he’s up for the task.

Notes From My Journal

coffee, cup, laptop, memePen poised over November 1 in my journal, I’m sitting here wondering what happened to summer. It seemed entirely too short. One day it was hot, and the next–I’m wearing woolly socks and sweatshirts.

And I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

Speaking of quick turnarounds, my latest work-in-progress (conveniently set in the summertime), has surprised me twice. The first time, when my antagonist turned out to be not so antagonistic. Honestly, that one set off a chain of events I didn’t know how to tie up. Then today, an unexpected situation changed the entire ending I had planned. And quietly–just like that–everything in my story world fell into place. Don’t you love when that happens?

While we’re on the topic of love, my protagonist (the main character) is battling a huge crush. And no wonder. The guy I set in her way is not only great-looking, but smart, too. And he has a really great smile. 🙂

November is National Novel Writing month (NaNoWriMo)! Many of my writer buddies are using this time to work on their next novel. I’ve got ten more chapters to complete in mine, so maybe I better get clacking. That’s only about 25,000 words. I can do that. Sure.

November is also a month of thankfulness. I have a lot to be thankful for this year. How about you? What stands out for you? I hope you’ll drop me a note and let me know, so I can rejoice with you.

So, happy fall y’all. I’ll be back next week with another book review. I’m excited about this one, because it’s written by a very good friend of mine. A masterful suspense writer. She kept me on tenterhooks, nose to the page, far too long into the night hours. Ah! Another reason for an extra cup of java!

CLICK TO TWEET: Hello #Thursday Morning! What are you #thankful for? #amwriting

Next week – I will be reviewing Frozen Notes, by Fay Lamb, and there will be a giveaway! So stop back by, and join the conversation.