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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Do You Like Bumper Cars?

That's hubby back in 1976 in a bumper car at the Keansburg Amusement Park. I am not fond of wild amusement rides, but I always enjoyed bumper cars. Our daughters rode the bumper cars, too. We used to laugh and say that's where they got their driver's licenses.

The bumper cars in Keansburg were ancient even in 1976, but they worked. The smell of ozone always lingered in the air from the sparking metal ceiling. Hurricane Sandy destroyed the Keansburg Amusement Park, but it was renovated and there are new bumper cars in operation now. The updated bumper cars are sleek and modern.

They are still great fun.

What are your favorite summertime amusement rides?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Not-So-Ancient Migrations

Uncle Henry and his father sitting on the hay in Poland.
When Ancestry had a special price offer for a DNA test, Daughter #2 and I decided to give it a try. My uncle had taken the test several years ago. His results were just about what everyone expected—except for a touch of Viking--though even that should have been expected. After all, my uncle is half Irish and the Vikings undoubtedly visited Ireland on a regular basis.

When Daughter #2 and I received our results, it was also much as we expected—except I didn't have even a tinge of Viking, which was disappointing. However, there was a long smear reaching out into Asia. Interesting! I always wondered if there was a bit of Genghis Klan in our family line or maybe a little Attila the Hun. My mother’s family had some mighty high cheekbones--and hubby's father had those same high cheekbones as well.

Daughter #2 became engrossed with ancient migrations. I had books to write, edit, and reissue.

Meanwhile, hubby continued to go through his family’s photo albums with his mother and when it comes to not-so-ancient migrations, the Polish side of the family has done quite a bit of traveling around. 

On the farm in Poland
Hubby's Polish paternal grandparents lived in Detroit where their sons were born. When the Polish Republic was established after World War I, they decided to return to Poland. When World War II became imminent the two oldest sons, hubby's father and his uncle returned to the United States. 

Their younger brother, who stayed in Poland, joined the Polish resistance and was shot by the Germans in front of his parents. However, the parents remained in Poland. 

Making butter the old-fashioned way in Poland.
Hubby never visited his grandparents, but in the 1960s, his parents and his uncle went to Poland to visit with hubby's grandparents, now elderly but still working on the farm. The photos on this page are from that time. When I first saw them, I thought they looked like they were from the late 1800s. 

Daughter #2 and I still know very little about the Polish line of the family. The country was overrun by other countries on a regular basis and during World War II it is estimated that six million Polish citizens perished--three million ethnic Poles and three million Jews.

Yet hubby's grandparents made it through the war and were able to see their older sons before they died. Those people were amazingly resilient. 

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Cover Reveal for HEAVEN'S BLUE!

It's perfect! My book, HEAVEN'S BLUE, has a new cover designed by the awesome Taria Reed. The book was originally published by Awe-Struck Publishing in 2004. It won the EPIC Award for Best Inspirational Fiction in 2005. It will soon be available once again in digital versions and in a new print version. 

This Christian romance is the story of Samantha Lyons, a research scientist, who has finally come home to Clam Creek, a sleepy little town on the marsh in New Jersey, but she needs an assistant to complete her mosquito research if she wants to continue living at Field Station Number 37, the first real home she has ever had. When David Halpern drives into town he is out of options. Robbed and on the run, he and his son find sustenance in the basement of Holy Redeemer church and a job offer from Samantha. David assumes he’ll be safe from discovery in the backwater town and accepts the position. Then Samantha discovers David has kidnapped his son. She knows she isn’t likely to get any other help so she aids David in his deception, never suspecting she might lose her heart. 


Thursday, June 13, 2019

What’s Your Favorite Book Size?

When Pelican Book Group updated Daddy Wanted, the book was released in a different sized paper edition. The original was six inches by nine inches. The updated version is eight inches by five inches. I like the smaller size. It’s not as small as a typical mass market paperback, but it can still fit quite nicely in my handbag. Most important to me, the print size isn’t as small as that in a mass market paperback.

What size paperback do you like best?

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

The Best Beach Days

I've lived at or near the Jersey Shore most of my life. I love the beach. I enjoy walking along the edge of the water, picking up shells, and unusual pieces of driftwood. I like the beach in the fall, winter, and spring. In the summertime, it can be far too hot for me to feel comfortable sitting on a blanket on the sand.

The water is nice, but the temperature of the water is still rather chilly in June. It's better at the end of July--but then the jellyfish float in.

Once, I went to Maine where the water temperature was around fifty-five degrees, but it was a hot day in the lower nineties. I went into the water and came out numb, which wasn't bad since the air was close to unbearable.

On summer days, when it isn't too humid or too hot, I will sit on the beach for a while, though not for long. Sometimes, I bring my sketchbook along and try to capture the image of people at the beach. Invariably, whoever I am sketching will move. They rarely hold still, unless they're asleep, which is the best time to draw them. But I really enjoy the challenge of penciling in a rough outline of people in various poses. I reminds me of the contour drawings I used to do in Dr. Walker's class ages ago.

I often bring a book along to the beach--always a romance, of course.

The beach is a peaceful place to be, but it can be even more peaceful when the weather is cooler and only the locals folks are there.

How about you? What do you like about the beach? Do you like the beach when the weather is cooler?

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Guest Post: Gail Pallotta with STOPPED COLD

My guest today is award-winning author Gail Pallotta--a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s a former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, a 2013 Grace Awards finalist and a 2017 Reader’s Favorite Book Award winner. She’s published six books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. To learn more about Gail and her books visit her website at

Her latest book is STOPPED COLD. It's gotten terrific reviews. What's it about? Well, things aren't what they seem in peaceful Mistville, North Carolina.
Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school swimming and hanging out with friends—until the day her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking steroids. Now he's lying unconscious in a hospital.
Anger sets a fire for retribution inside her, and Margaret vows to make the criminals pay. Even the cop on the case can't stop her from investigating. Looking for justice, she convinces two friends, Jimmy and Emily to join her in a quest that takes them through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture they discover deep in the woods behind the school. Time and again they walk a treacherous path, and come face-to-face with danger.
All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.

Now for an excerpt. Enjoy!

 Something urged me to go inside (the hospital chapel.) Maybe it was because I had nowhere else to turn. Maybe it was because Reverend Hopewell’s visit made me believe God would do something about Sean’s condition if I kept asking him to.
A cinder of hope sparked inside me as I walked in the tiny, narrow sanctuary with mahogany paneling and one pew. If only God would make Sean well and lead me to the drug dealers. Did God do that sort of thing? Maybe I didn’t know enough about God to be in here. He wouldn’t approve of all the hate I had for the drug dealers. Jesus preached a Gospel of love. My heart beat so fast.
How could I explain my deep despair to God? Did He care about Sean and me? Through the blur of my tears I peered at the stained glass cross embedded in dark paneling behind the altar, the soft lighting washing over it. I didn’t need to tell God how sad I was. He already knew. Of course, He cared. He sent His only son to die for Sean’s sins and mine.
But did I know the right thing to say to God, especially in my angry state? Reverend Hopewell’s prayers sounded so eloquent when he said them for the youth group. If I ever wanted a prayer to be good enough for God to answer, it was now.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Condolences on the Beach

My father's brother was a Marine in World War II. He was killed by a sniper during the battle for the coral atoll of Palau.

A considerable amount of time later, my father, a sergeant in the Air Force, had just waded onto a Philippine beach 800 miles west of Palau when the officer commanding his advance party came up to him with an envelope. He opened it and handed my father an American Red Cross message reporting the death of his brother. Then, while troops and equipment kept coming ashore, the officer handed Dad a cup, opened a whiskey bottle and poured it into the cup.

After a few words of condolence, the officer moved away and Dad went on with his work but he never forgot that brief moment of empathy shown by his commanding officer. 

Pray for peace.