The true prompt for today is or should have been: “Interview a Fictional Character.” I wasn’t feeling it, so I backtracked to January 1st. It was the first quote for Bloganuary 2022 before I signed up.
What advice would you give to your teenage self?
My mom and I had a rocky relationship during my teen years. As I grew older, I realized our dysfunctional family wasn’t like other families. Mom did what she could to keep me and my brothers safe. What I mean is, my mom was an abused woman and did anything to avoid a confrontation. To this day, I’m sorry that I gave her a difficult time during my teen years, especially when I was fourteen. Eighth grade was one of the worst school years of my life, and I contributed to making my mom’s life miserable that year, too.
I’d tell myself as a teen to be kinder to my mother. Her life wasn’t her own, and she did the best she could with what she had.
Regardless, whenever abuse came into the picture, and my older brother wasn’t there to step in, I took his place and did what my young self could do to protect her. As I got older, we became close and our relationship strengthened even more when I became a mom. My mom became a wonderful grandmother to her grandkids.
Whew, I didn’t expect to write all this personal stuff, but it’s here now. Maybe someone else will pop in one day to read it and give advice to their teenage self.
Is there any advice you’d like to give to your teenage self?
Thanks for reading today, folks. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. ~MJ
Featured Image Image by Rebecca Scholz from Pixabay
Prompt of the day for Bloganuary: What is your favorite quote and why?
Day 22. Today’s quote is one of my favorites by Robert Brault. Why did I use this quote? Sometimes we have to appear strong even when we aren’t. What about the times we’re vulnerable? Don’t we all need a safe place to fall when we need others to be strong for us, even if it’s with nothing more than a hug? I love hugs. I think Robert explains it perfectly in his quote.
Robert Brault hasn’t written a quote I haven’t liked. Not that I’ve seen every quote he’s written. A visit to his blog today left me with bittersweet feelings. He’s calling it quits. See below the quote.
After 13 years of blogging and tweeting (and as I push into my mid-80’s), I’ve decided it’s time (and probably past time) to call it a day.
If you could, what year would you time travel to and why?
Have you thought about time traveling? I’m not ashamed to admit I’d travel to the Victorian Era.
If I knew the precise year I needed, I’d tell you. You see, I have a chalk drawing of my grandmother at eighteen. I believe it’s a chalk drawing. Before I was old enough to know any better, I destroyed a small area of the background by rubbing at it.
The photograph is in horrid condition now, but I can’t part with it. The drawing is in full color with a slate colored muted background. The size of the drawing is around 16×20. I don’t know what the material is, but it crumbles and breaks after all these years. Let me tell you the story my grandmother told me about how the painting came to be, and why I’d like to travel back to ride the train with her.
She traveled a lot as a young girl. One day while getting off the train at a station, an artist thought she was so beautiful that he asked if he could draw her. She grew up in Brookfield, Missouri, so the portrait could have been done in St. Louis. We’ll never know. I’d love to go back in time to ride the train with her and witness this event. Her hair is auburn in the drawing and styled similar to Jane Seymour’s hair on the cover of my Somewhere in Time CD.
In the drawing, she wore a pink dress with a high neck. If I remember correctly, she wore a cameo broach. Could the cameo broach she had in her jewelry box when I was a child be the same one? A hat sat more toward the back of her head. She’s posed facing forward, but she wasn’t gazing at the artist.
What do you think, readers and friends? Is there a year, an era, or event you’d like to experience? Let us know in the comments. Until the next time, stay well and be safe.
Train track credit: Image by Peter Mayer from Pixabay
Most of the time, I don’t know what is next on my reading list until I scroll through my Kindle TBR pile. I’m reading “The Lakeside Inn” by Leeanna Morgan, Book 1 in the Sapphire Bay series. I need a break and have soooo many books waiting on my Kindle. “The Lakeside Inn” is new, like many others I purchased in December and January. This book sounded like the perfect relaxing read to sink into after the stress of publishing two books in December.
However, a while ago, I began reading a series by D. Wallace Peach called Unraveling the Veil, a three book fantasy series and outside of the genre I usually read, too, but I love this series. Book two, “Allies and Spies” in this series is my next book TO FINISH on my reading list since I left it unfinished months ago.
I’ll have to backtrack a bit to get reacquainted with the characters. After reading excerpts and posts about this series on Diana’s website, I became interested in these books and discovered I like the fantasy genre, too. I’m ashamed to let the author know I let this second book sit so long before getting back to it. Sorry, Diana.
Now you and I both know what is next on my reading list.
After a bit of thought, I came up with a few other options for today’s prompt about superpowers. Then an old post I wrote came to me. I’d love a superpower that gave me the ability to communicate with animals. When my dog was still with me, I imagined what she thought when she’d look at me with different expressions or the way she cocked her head. This would be extremely helpful if cats explained why they do what they do. Of course, they wouldn’t.
Don’t let the title fool you. It’s Day One of Bloganuary for me since I signed up yesterday. I’m beginning with today’s prompt. I’ll never catch up, but maybe I’ll use two prompts in some of my posts.
For my outside-of-the-home career, I worked with children at the elementary and middle-school levels. Many of my students had learning disabilities in reading and math. I watched them struggle day in and day out in all of their subjects.
So, yes, I’m passionate about not only children learning how to read, but to enjoy reading at whatever level fits them. In my job, it tore at my heart when they’d get frustrated and refuse to give reading a chance.
A few years before I retired, our middle school began a reading pilot program for our struggling readers. The curriculum taught the early skills needed to read, beginning with phonetics. Middle school kids hated having to pronounce words phonetically. They screamed that they weren’t first graders. Yet, some of them read at lower grade levels.
We did periodic testing, and it didn’t take long before we saw improvements in their reading and test scores. Since it was a pilot program, we had a lot of eyes watching our progress, so we were pleased to see test scores improve throughout the year. Once the kids saw their improvements, they didn’t complain as much.
One student in the pilot program still stands out today. She whole-heartedly hated reading and grumbled a lot in the program. One day in her grade level classroom, during free-reading time, she had her book propped on her desk as if reading. Instead, she doodled. I asked what she liked to read, but she didn’t like to read anything.
After glancing around the room to see what others were reading, I took her a graphic novel and asked if it looked interesting to her. She nodded and reached for it.
In this context, the word “graphic” does not mean “adult” or “explicit.”
Graphic novels are books written and illustrated in the style of a comic
book. To be considered a graphic novel, rather than a picture book or
illustrated novel, the story is told using a combination of words and
From that day on, she brought a graphic novel to class for free reading and read it! She bought one at the school book fair, and I saw her reading in other classes too. Sometimes when she should have been paying attention. I smiled to myself and felt proud that she finally discovered the joy of reading.
Thanks for reading! Enjoy the upcoming week.
If you’re in a cold climate like I am, stay warm. ~MJ
Well, here I am trying Bloganuary to help me get back to blogging. Since I’ve been away from actual blogging, outside of book info, I’m not sure I like it anymore, so at the end of January, I’ll see what happens. Why the end of January?
BLOGANUARY is a way to get in the habit of blogging by WordPress posting writing prompts each day of January. It began on January 1st. Obviously, I missed the date and signed up today after reading a Bloganuary post in my Reader, which led me to another, and another. When WordPress announced this earlier, I had intended to sign up. Busy me forgot.
Are any of you participating? Want to? Click here for info.
Let me tell you one of the difficult parts of participating as this introvert. Well, being an introvert is number one. I’m not complaining. It’s who I am. It seems I’m not 100% introvert, but the percentage is high. You see, there’s a Bloganuary community where we can share our posts. Uh… I freak out thinking about sharing in a community I don’t know. We do post on our own blogs and add the link on the community webpage. Sharing on my blog isn’t a problem, but the community is the “world” and I… Well, you get what I’m saying.
My blog is the world, too, but somehow it’s different to me–cozy and comfortable–since I’ve been posting here since around 2007. I don’t want to use the word OH-NO! However, this is where my true introvert kicks into gear. Only I can choose whether I do or don’t give in to my reclusive muse–the one who tries to stop me from doing things. Is it really a muse, though?
Ahh, yes, the solution. There is an app with the prompts. Then it becomes a private thing between me, the prompts, my blog, my followers, and whoever visits. I am more comfortable with this solution. But… I can’t find the app, and I don’t know where I saw the link posted. ARGH! Whine, whine. So, my reclusive muse contacted support. Oh, darn.
Then I think… I am not giving in to “OH-NO!” We’ll see.
UPDATE: WordPress got back to me with an answer about the app I mentioned. The name of the app is Day One Journal and is not connected with Bloganuary, but it’s more like a journaling app. You can find information about Bloganuary and the Day One Journal app HERE.
Today’s prompt is a bust because I’d like more time to think it over. Of course, it’d be in its own post IF I answered: “What is a life lesson everyone can benefit from learning?” I’d say:
I don’t know how early the prompt comes out tomorrow, or if I’ll do anything with it then or for the rest of the month.
Can you believe it? I published these books in the nick of time to get a 2021 release date. I’ve never in my years of publishing on KDP had a book uploaded and then published as fast as these two. I took it as a good sign. I uploaded them both on December 30th one after the other. Odd, that one book has a publication date of December 29th and the other the 30th. Either way, they’re out in the world now! For the first time ever, I’ve put one of my books in Kindle Unlimited–the holiday romance. Both books are released only on Amazon.
Both book covers were designed by Dawné Dominique at DusktilDawn Designs. She’s my hero!
So, now I present to you my two new releases. Big breath in and big breath out.
Blue snow in the Moonlight: A Holiday Romance
California woman with Midwest roots. Hot cowboy in cold North Dakota. If anyone needs Christmas magic, it’s Cullen and Elle.
Without kids, a cattle ranch, and a renter in his cottage, Cullen Hollister would hibernate during Christmas. Instead, he’s holding a detonator to brighten Sugarton in a festive display of lights. Then a stranger’s forever smile speeds up the beat of his wounded heart. An acquaintance introduces his niece with a heart seemingly as cold as Cullen’s. They’re thrown together in a cottage he loathes, but he’s drawn to her, admiring her assertiveness, down-to-earth nature, and sexy blue-snow eyes. He discovers a yearning more powerful than stubbornness. But it’s hard to trust after being burned once. If Christmas magic is real, maybe making memories with Elle will lead to a forever love after all. First, he needs to know he can trust her with his and his kid’s hearts.
Elle Palmer-Shaw uses her cousin’s wedding in North Dakota as an escape from sorrowful memories. Her aunt and uncle beg her to move back to her roots. With her work, she can live anywhere. When she meets the handsome green-eyed owner of the cottage, a simmering attraction grows, and Christmas takes on a new meaning. His memories of the cottage are painful, yet he makes her an offer she can’t refuse. It’s a simple solution until she’s called back home. She tries to convince Cullen to keep the rental cottage available—to give them a chance when she returns, even after dropping a bombshell on him about her past. But will he destroy his walls and let her in, or will he continue to exist instead of live and love?
Read free with Kindle Unlimited. Available on Amazon.
My Second New Release:
NOTE: If you read “Imprisoned in a Cowboy’s Heart” book one in this series, you heard rumors and lies about Cade’s ex-fiancée, Faith. She never made an appearance in the book. I had no intention of making Faith the heroine, but as characters are known to do, she kept nudging me until I gave in. Then I realized I had started their story in the first book. They deserved to have their story told.
Two-Five Ranch Outlaws, #2
South of True North
Townsfolk cheered when they fell in love. Then they destroyed them with rumors and lies.
Rancher Cade Outlaw and his ex-fiancée share custody of their daughter, and they’re growing close again. Her ex-boyfriend’s vengeful attack on her seven years ago destroyed Cade and Faith’s happily ever after. When he asks for a do-over, he vows to protect the relationship from the pain that separated them—to keep her and their child safe from their past. But how can he take a step back if he gets the chance to settle the score? Is his love for Faith and Nadia strong enough to hold on to the second chance they deserve?
Heartbroken, pregnant, fired from her job, and Cade’s focus on avenging the assault took a toll on Faith Ribeiro. To heal, she’d left him. Years later, a Fundraising Executive and single mom, she lives with emotional and physical scars. Cade is the only man she’ll love, and she can’t deny the powerful chemistry between them. However, rekindling a relationship may invite wickedness back into their lives. What will she do this time if Cade still wants to pay back her abuser? How much will her heart break if Nadia gets swept up in their chaos after striving to keep her from it?
They’re stronger together, though they need to overcome the challenges standing in their way of a peaceful life—hate, heartache, vengeance, and family betrayal. But how will they hang on to the profound love they once shared if they don’t come out of this unscathed?
DISCLAIMER: This story contains references to domestic abuse that happened outside of the book. Our hero, Cade, is NOT the abuser. Brief scenes and memories play out in Faith and Cade’s thoughts and narration, and may be troubling for some readers.
Wishing you all the very happiest of holidays in whichever way you celebrate.
See, I’m still around. I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, but I’ve neglected so many important things this year. My blog is one of them, but I couldn’t let this day go by without popping in to say hello and wish you a wonderful holiday and Merry Christmas. I won’t keep you on this Christmas morning. Enjoy.
Cheers, my friends!
See you back here soon with two new book announcements.
Now that title sounds like I’m describing myself. Haha. Hi! Just kiddin’.
I should have posted this yesterday, but who has time when unpacking? I did manage to post it on Facebook yesterday morning. So, to update those following my “previous” apartment debacle, share my joy with me:
I’m on the second floor so my knees and the rest of my bones, and muscles, have had quite a workout. No, I did not want a 2nd floor, but I couldn’t turn it down because I had to get out of that smelly joint. This place is smaller by 100 square feet without a linen closet. No linen closet! The one at my other apartment was huge, and I filled every inch. So, I have two units to put together to use for storage. The layout is an open floorplan, which I love. There are only four apartments in this building and again I’m on an end, meaning no side neighbor here, either. My last apartment had eight apartments. Leaving the friends I made there made me sad. Sigh. Live goes on, eh. I’m only 2.5 miles away.
I didn’t plan on writing an entire post about moving, but since I’m here, I might as well. It’s the only writing I’m doing lately. I’m in a remodeled apartment with light gray walls and a dark gray accent wall. It also has gray woodgrain floors throughout. A few months ago, I bought a gray loveseat and recliner. Who knew! My loveseat is likely sitting in a container in the ocean or a port somewhere, but I am enjoying my recliner. I definitely need some color in here to offset all this gray. My favorite color of TEAL goes well with gray, but I will experiment with color when I purchase area rugs.
I must give a shoutout to the moving company Men on the Move and the two guys who moved me–Gene and Phil. They were amazing, friendly, and knew their job well. Now, if I can only find my light bulbs. They wrapped them. I apologized in advance for the stairs. Phil joked and said, “I love stairs.” I widened my eyes and said, “You do?” He said, “No.” Haha. They were funny too.
In addition, when I visited my website this morning to post this, WordPress told me Happy Anniversary. Yesterday marked FOURTEEN years of posting on WordPress. When I think back to those first blog posts that rarely, or never, got a like or comment, I knew I had to keep on keeping on. So today, I’d like to raise my coffee cup to all of my followers. Many of you have stuck with me from the beginning or close to the beginning (even when I’ve been MIA for months now). I’m still here. Cheers, my friends!
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