Summer Time Reading

It’s the middle of the summer and I’ve got lots of books I plan to get through before it’s all over.

Oh, wait! I haven’t even introduced myself. I’m a newbie here on the blog. Landra’s the name, and words are my game. In reality I’m a writer, who thanks to lovely ladies on this blog has a new critique home and a bunch of new friends, which I’m thankful for. This is my first time blogging (I missed last month – oops) and I thought I’d talk about the books.

My childhood summers were spent devouring books.  The Babysitters Club, Goosebumps, The Boxcar Children, Anne of Green Gables, Fear Street, and so many more. I read like a crazy person, consuming every book I could get my hands on. As I entered my teenage years reading fell away to music videos, boyfriends, and friends but, my love for reading never died. I may not have packed away as many books during the summer, but I still checked something out from the library each week. Still devoured books like candy.

This summer, thanks to a lawsuit, I’ve been gifted with a nice little nest egg. Most people would say spend the money on other things, but I think this is a great opportunity to re-invest in those authors I love reading and new ones too. It’s a summer to reminisce in what made the days and nights amazing. To seek out the words, the plots, the far off places, and a good delicious romance sprinkled in between the pages.

I’ve come a long way from the little girl who couldn’t wait for the 10 mile trip from her grandmother’s summer lake home to the small town library. Regardless, I’ll never give up my love of reading nor forget how a good book can cheer me up, fill in for the absence of friends, take me to far off worlds, and stimulate my imagination in ways I never could on my own.

What were your favorite summer books as a child? Do you have a reading goal for the summer?

 

Author Bio: Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Where can you find Landra outside of this site: Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Amazon ~Goodreads

About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Getting New Things

Today is one of those interesting days where I can look back at the month and be really grateful for all that life has given me. I know I’ve mentioned looking for a new home and trying to get more writing done before. Well…this month…I made both a reality.

We have been blessed enough to have the ability to have two homes and it’s lucky too since my dear husband will be working in both these places. Both homes are rather modest in size and what they have but the fact that one is in Nevada where it’s hotter than hades right now versus the more temperate climate of New Mexico at 7300 feet, makes me jump for joy. Trust me, mountains are the way to go.

It couldn’t come at a better time as I’ve recently discovered, if I get too hot, I just might pass out. Frankly, I think that comes with the territory of getting older…which is another thing that I did this month…and on summer solstice too. It was 115 degrees here that day and boy, I just couldn’t wait to be gone from this summer heat. It’s really sad to realize your childhood home isn’t good for you anymore. But we just might want this place to escape a cold winter in New Mexico, so we’re holding on to it.

The new house will be more of a project as we’re turning a duplex, that had been a single family home at one time, back into that single family home. I have some great plans for it and once my DH heard about them, he was amazed what I felt we could do with the place. Think master bedroom retreat and you’ll get the picture.

Front of HouseWith 2000 new workers coming into the New Mexico area we’re moving to and only 144 homes on the market when we were looking, our choices were limited. We lost our first choice in a bidding war to find the one we learned we were approved for just last week. What is awesome, it’s the same floor plan as the other home but we have to add a driveway and a garage.

Not a small feat but something that we know is doable. And the home ended up cheaper, with more updated items and a seller that was willing to realize his baby needed work. Unlike the home where the owner tried to convince those bidding for it that none of the inspection fixes really needed to be completed. Here’s the house in it’s present state. We’re making a front porch by connecting the two small ones and will be stuccoing the home with the flat type normally found in northern New Mexico for a more farm-style look.

LetterboxLoveStories400x600And as if a house wasn’t enough, I have a new story that just hit the pre-order stage on Friday. I am really excited about the story, Sealed With A Kiss, as it represents a few things for me. First, there’s the fact that this is the first new story I’ve had out there in 3 years. Second, it’s in a genre I totally love and that’s time travel. To find out more about this wonderful anthology that I’m a part of, just click the picture to be taken to the Amazon page. What’s even more exciting…it’s on pre-order sale of just $0.99…but that’s not going to last long with the price going up to $2.99 on July 11.

What exciting things have happened in your life this month? Read any new books? Write any new ones? I’d love to hear all about your adventures…see you next time!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

I’m in Georgia NOW…

I’ve been offline for about two weeks and–if all things have gone as I expected them to–my family is in Georgia for the next two years. [This is what happens when you write a blog post 15 days early!] And let me tell you, it is HOT in Georgia. The heat is on… [seriously, folks–Arsenio Hall?]

We’ve got boxes to unpack and a house to get settled… but, in general things are good [they better be!!]. Instead of writing in the past couple weeks, I’ve been attending Libby Murphy’s workshop–Fanning the Flames. Not only to do love the content, the set up is amazing. Not forum, not yahoo group, it’s an efficient webinar-type classroom. The content is working for me because I have a book due to my editor in a month, and this workshop is about plotting. It’s the first time I’ve had a chance to “talk” things out before I started writing. Plotting is my thing, but from now on, I’m going to be talking and brainstorming before I start.

If you’re looking for a good place to spend the summer, try Libby’s workshop. I’m really enjoying it, and she is keeping it open through the summer… Plus, it’s all indoors–AC and fans! Whoot.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

The Long Ride Home

Surprise, surprise…look who’s back on the blog! I’d love to be here today to share tales of adventures across the sea, of long lazy trips around the world or trekking through the jungles looking for long lost treasures to add the little authentic touches to my romances, but alas, I cannot. My absence has more to do with a divorce, a physical move, an emotional exploration and finding love…ahhh, now there is something I can spin a tale about *wink*

A year ago I took a chance and met a man for a drink after work, and if you’ve ever heard the expression, “you could be my long ride home,” it was a feeling that hit me as he sat down next to me that night. Something simply clicked and that “quick” drink after work turned into a 6 hour date that went from bar stools, to a sunset walk along the shore, and ended at a coffee shop over caramel lattes and a fudge brownie.

On the way home, this song came on my favorite country station and matched the beat of my heart as it warmed to the idea that I just might have met someone special…my long ride home. I hadn’t planned or expected to meet anyone that soon into my separation, but sometimes the fates have other plans and put people in your path at times you don’t expect, at times that may even seem like the wrong time.

For the first time in a very long time, I didn’t think, I didn’t try to reason or rationalize…I simply let the moment happen and absorbed it.

I hope he knows what he means to me…Enjoy the song and I’d love to know if you have  a song that reminds you of the moment you knew you found that someone special.

 

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

Celebrating the Victorian Father

Happy Father’s Day, everyone! I know it can be bittersweet for many of us, but I wish for you a relaxing day to celebrate the men who hold a prominent place in our lives, whether they are fathers or not.

Father’s Day is a post-Victorian creation–although the first Father’s Day in the US was celebrated in West Virginia in 1908, it was not recognized nationally until 1972. Father’s Day took far longer than Mother’s Day to be recognized, because “As one historian writes, [men] ‘scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products–often paid for by the father himself.’” (History.com.)

I tend to think Victorian fathers were a bit conflicted. On the one hand, they had been taught, and treated, that as a husband and father, their word was law.  Their wives were told, by their own mothers and in a myriad of household guides, that the father “was to be first in all things” and that children should not “interfere unduly with the comfort of the heads of the establishment.” (Flanders, Inside the Victorian Home (Norton, 2003), 73.)  But many men took an active role in the lives of their children, and gradually over the 64 years of Victoria’s reign, this became more prevalent.

Charles Dickens and his children, 1864

Charles Dickens, for example, fathered ten children by the age of 40 and took an active role in raising them, quite devoted to them (at least until they got older). When his youngest, Edward, was born in 1852, he wrote, “we have in this house the only baby worth mentioning; and there cannot possibly be another baby anywhere, to come into competition with him. I happen to know this, and would like it to be generally understood.” That does seem to be the pinnacle of his adoration of his children, unfortunately, although he did continue to take an active interest in their welfare. In 1857, he fell in love with an 18 year old actress and eventually left his wife–she who had been either pregnant or nursing for nearly twenty years–and took the children away from her, declaring in The New York Tribune that she “suffered from a mental disorder.” (Flanders, 250). I suspect she was just really tired of putting up with Charles. . .

Victoria, Albert, and their brood in 1857

One of the most famous fathers of the Victorian era was, of course, Prince Albert, who had nine children by Queen Victoria. Although one suspects he had little contact with them except to pose for pictures like the one above, he nevertheless took an active role in their health, education, and discipline.  (Wikipedia.)

Literary fathers of the time period reflected the changing times as well. Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (1855) is chock full of conflicted fathers. Mr. Hale, the father of the book’s heroine, Margaret, has given up his living in the Church of England over his religious convictions, dragging his wife and daughter from their bucolic home in the south to live in the relatively harsh environment of industrial Manchester. Although he is a kind man and devoted to them both, he barely considers their own well-being, and certainly not their wishes, when making his decision to leave behind the only life they had ever known.

Bessy Higgins (Anna Maxwell Martin) from North and South

Nicholas Higgins, the single father of Bessy, Margaret’s only friend in Manchester, is a laborer who has toiled with both his daughters in the cotton mills. Fibers filled the air in poorly ventilated factories, taking a fatal toll on Bessy’s lungs. Nicholas’ motivations in calling for formation of a union and ultimately a strike are largely a result of seeing the devastating effect of poor conditions on his darling Bess, although he’s also a hot head and a bit too fond of drink. The same strike that Higgins hopes will improve conditions and wages for all workers, however, is the downfall of another worker, Boucher. He breaks the strike, ultimately caring more for the immediate need to feed his eight children then any potential reward the strike might bring. When he takes his own life, followed immediately in death by his sickly wife, Higgins takes in his children.

We’ve come a long way from those days, but I think some of the issues fathers experienced 100 years ago still exist, to some degree, today.

About Marin McGinnis

About Marin McGinnis Clevelanders are tough, a bit cynical, and just a little crazy, and Marin McGinnis is no exception. When she’s not chasing after big dogs or watching tweens skate around hockey rinks, she is immersing herself in Victorian era romance. She lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, son, and two standard poodles named Larry and Sneaky Pete. You can find her here, at marinmcginnis.com, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

What Inspires You?

In April I had a birthday and for that birthday, The Man gave me a gift that I’d wanted for years, but didn’t really think would ever happen. He gave me a weekend at Inn Boonsboro. I’ve wanted to go there since I first heard about it in 2007. It’s been a long time coming.

It tends to book quickly so we weren’t able to go until last weekend. I just have to say, “Wow.” It was beautiful. And amazing. Everything from the service, to the rooms, to the food was impeccable. And I find myself incredibly inspired.

Every evening there is a wine and cheese gathering where the guests can snack and meet. We (well, okay, me. But The Man did trot out his good manners and make conversation.) had a great time talking about books. It’s what seemed to draw everyone there in the first place. Things that make a good story, along with people’s likes and dislikes of plots, settings, and authors.

A lovely bed.

A lovely bed.

Raspberry cheesecake for two.

Raspberry cheesecake for two.

I felt like I could just stay there, in the library forever. And write. Except that I can’t afford to go back there anytime soon. But it’s okay because I have the sensory memories to savor. It’s also renewed my hope that sometimes dreams do come true.

Romance novels are about the romantic journey, but for me they are also about finding that special someone who ‘gets’ you, in all of your crazy glory, in whatever direction you are going and discovering the things you want to share with that one person. Through stories I want to pass that along. Not only finding love, but finding hope.

If you do something that inspires you, we’d love to hear more about it in the comments!

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

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