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Thursday, December 29, 2011

How Many Did You Read?


Shelfari has informed me that I read 20 books this year while last year I read 22. Clearly, I am a slacker. I do have valid excuses. The first half of the year was a real trial. Plus I also write books, which includes revising, all that grammatical editing stuff, and tons of promotion. Nevertheless, I wish I had made a bigger dent in the stack of books I fully intend to read. I have ebooks waiting for me to read as well, but fortunately, they don't take up much room. :^)

The sad fact is there are so many books and so little time.

How many books did you read this year?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In Perfect Harmony


Dear Santa,

I haven't written lately because I thought I had all I need. However, this year taught me a few lessons because it was particularly difficult. I have discovered that there is one thing I would dearly love but it is beyond my capabilities to obtain.

I would like PEACE. I know that's a tall order, which is why I am writing to you. I know people have been fighting each other since the dawn of time. Unfortunately, I've found raging hatred isn't only a problem between different countries, there's a disturbing amount of hostility and bitterness in our own United States.

There are people in my community who have beautiful homes, plenty of food on their tables, and who drive much nicer cars than the one I drive and yet they hate their fellow Americans. What's worse is their total lack of compassion for those less fortunate.

They are scary. The land of the free and the home of the brave is beginning to resemble the land of the mean and the arrogant.

Can you soften their hard hearts? Can you somehow make them realize how blessed they are? Can you heal their souls and take away the hatred that is not only eating them up inside but poisoning our own beautiful land?

I know this won't be easy, but since you're magical maybe all it would take would be a sprinkling of enchanted glitter. Or maybe a song would do it. You know, the kind that gets stuck in your mind.

I sure hope you can help me out. I'll leave some oat shortbread by the fireplace. Give my best to Mrs. Claus.

Thanks.

Love,
Penelope

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Matter of Trust


The girls in the photo are my daughters when they were very young. The guy in the Santa suit is my brother-in-law. He dressed in costume one Christmas and stopped at our house to surprise the kids. Daughter #1 and Daughter #3 enjoyed the special visit. However, Daughter #2 was more than a bit wary about the situation. She did not like the strange man in the red suit with the white beard.

Santa can be a scary guy. While some kids are perfectly content to sit on Santa's lap with a fistful of candy canes, there are youngsters who think the guy is not to be trusted. There really isn't much anyone can do to change the situation. I am glad I am not a photographer who takes pictures of children with Santa Claus. Hubby and I were at the mall this week and watched a photographer try to elicit a smile from one very unhappy youngster. She did not have any success despite her use of a number of strategies designed to distract the child.

I found some good advice online about the situation. You should check it out if you intend to take a photo of a young child with Santa. Just click here.

I don't blame Daughter #2 for being suspicious of Santa. I think clowns are terrifying.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

My Favorite Books

I read a lot and I read in a wide variety of genres. However, there are some specific books that I truly cherish. I know not everyone will agree with me on my selection, but these are books held my interest so thoroughly that I could not put them down. If you have a favorite book or two or three, add a comment to this post.

These are rather old books, which means some are now available for free. Some readers don't like antiquated language, but I am a patient reader and there are very few books that I have not finished, but I loved these books--despite the fossilized English. The characters are terrific!

These are not listed in order of preference. They were all great books for me.

Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

Ravenscroft, by Dorothy Eden

Ammie Come Home, by Barbara Michaels

The Crystal Cat, by Velda Johnston

Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe

In addition, almost any book by Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Grace Livingston Hill, and Charles Dickens.

There are newer, more modern books that I have enjoyed as well and I'll have to put those into another post. However, the books above are what I read when I was young and they had a great influence on me as a writer.