Monday, August 31, 2015

Romance With a Motorboat

There's a very old, well-known writer's adage which says, "Write what you know." Some writing authorities don't consider it a valid piece of advice. Some do. I believe real life winds up in every novel in some shape or form--because that's what makes the writing feel real.

In my book, Irons in the Fire, the hero owns a motorboat. Not surprisingly, my first date with hubby involved a ride in his motorboat. That's him in the photo standing in the boat while unhooking his lines. The boat was sixteen feet long and had a sixty-five horsepower Johnson outboard motor on the back. We went up the river and down the river and then we went out for pizza.

I had a good time. We went on more dates. We went up and down the river, sometimes we ventured into the Shrewsbury River, and occasionally we would drop anchor in Horseshoe Cove along Sandy Hook. We never went far into the bay because the boat was rather small and the waves in the bay can get rather large at times.

I packed picnic lunches, which we ate in the boat. We also dined at restaurants if they had docks along the river where we could tie up the boat.

We hopped into the boat to watch the Fourth of July fireworks. We got stuck on sandbars. We towed sailboats under the bridge. We helped to right sailboats when they toppled over.

We used up a lot of gasoline, but it was far less expensive in those days.

Love blossomed between us and by the following summer we were married.

Eventually, after baby #1 came along, we moved to a larger home five miles inland and sold the boat. It had been fun but we had other things to do.

When I wrote Irons in the Fire, all those rides up and down the river came back to haunt me--and I put them into the book. The plot is an invention, but the boat rides are not.

So if you'd like to spend a few evenings going for a virtual cruise up and down the river, I recommend Irons in the Fire.

But it now at AMAZON!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hidden In The Reeds

There's a small lake in Thompson Park named Marlu Lake. Sometimes hubby and I take his mother and my father to the lake just to sit for a while and watch the scenery. Sometimes there are Canadian geese floating around on the lake. Last week, we saw a whole family of swans. Often, there are kayakers paddling along on the water. 

There were some very tall reeds growing at the edge on one side, but recently the reeds were cut down and I saw the white flowers pictured above. I didn't know what they were, but I am always curious to learn the names of things I don't know. After all, I might be able to use it in a story.

From what I gather, the plant is called Arrowhead. You can find more information about it at

Another site ( stated, "The corms were harvested by Native Americans (usually the women) in the fall.  They would feel around with their toes to locate and dislodge the tubers, which would float to the surface where they could be gathered.  Bitter when raw, they become quite tasty after cooking. For long periods of time when they were following the lower Columbia River in present-day Oregon, the Lewis and Clark expedition lived mainly on elk meat (which they killed themselves) and wapato purchased from the local tribes."

So if I was going to send a character off into the wilderness, I might have them eat the tubers of the arrowhead. :-)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Mental Health and Hearing Aids

Each of us have five senses. Why would anyone dismiss one of those as being negligible? Yet, many people do when it comes to hearing. They don't want to wear a hearing aid because they are vain--or they don't want to pay for one because it's expensive. Of course, Medicare doesn't cover the expense. Obviously, the government thinks the loss of hearing isn't tragic. 

But it is. A Johns Hopkins News Release stated, "The findings add to a growing list of health consequences associated with hearing loss, including increased risk of dementia, falls, hospitalizations, and diminished physical and mental health overall."

Read more about it here: Hearing Loss Linked to Accelerated Brain Tissue Loss

I have lived with hearing impaired people all my life. My father can't hear a thing without his hearing aid. His father, my grandfather also needed a hearing aid. My husband wears two hearing aids--but he is far better at figuring out songs by ear than I am. :-) 

As some of our friends are aging, their hearing has diminished. Yet, they refuse to get hearing aids. Hubby was talking to one of his friends the other day. He asked his friend a question, but his friend didn't answer him. That's because he didn't hear the question, but he doesn't believe he has a problem and he doesn't want to get a hearing aid. :-(

And that is sad. He will miss more than one question as the years go by. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sometimes Even Editors Should Use a Dictionary

At the writers' meeting last Saturday, I chatted with some authors whose editors ask them to change words in their stories because those editors didn't know the word. I've had that happen to me. I have spent most of my life near water. Once an editor judging a contest complained about my use of the word bulkhead. 

"What is that?" she wrote on the manuscript. (This was back in the old days of paper manuscripts.) This upset me because the word is in the dictionary and it's a very important word to know if you're living by an ocean or a river--where you will see a lot of bulkheads. 

In the discussion on Saturday, one author noted that using the proper terminology is important to the book and especially pertinent to the setting of the book. The main characters would be aware of the names of things and places proper to that place--the vocabulary of the area.

When I wrote Daddy Wanted, my editor questioned me about my use of the word DUMBO. The book is set in New York City and everyone in New York City knows where DUMBO is. I've been to DUMBO. Wikipedia says, "Dumbo, also known as DUMBO, is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. 'Dumbo' is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass."

My editor lives in Canada, but she's a very good and reasonable editor. When I explained that DUMBO is the well-known name of a specific area in NYC, she allowed me to keep the word in the book. 

Any editor has a tough job, which I don't envy. If there are 80,000 words in a book, the editor has to pore over each and every one of those words.

But sometimes, just like the rest of us, if an editor sees a word she doesn't know, she should look it up in the dictionary or on the internet. If the word is part of the jargon of a particular place, the word should stay in the book. At least, that's my opinion. :-)

What do you think?

Friday, August 14, 2015

I Signed a New Contract!

Prism Book Group is planning a new series based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Each author is going to be responsible for illustrating one part of the verse. I proposed an idea for Love Always Hopes--and yesterday I received the contract. :-)

My story will be titled Hoping for Joy. The series will begin in February. I am so excited to be part of this new venture and I can't wait to read the other authors' stories, too.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sweet and Short and Just Right

Need a dose of sweetness? You'll find it in this collection of short stories. I've gathered seven of my compact romances into a small ebook. Right now, this anthology is exclusive to Kindle and free for those who subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. For everyone else the price is $0.99, which should buy you a lighter heart and a smile. 

You can find the book at

Friday, August 07, 2015

Thirty-Nine Years!

Thirty-nine years ago we were toasting our wedding at Diamond Jim's in Matawan. That reception hall is now gone, but we still make a good team. I hardly ate any of the prime rib we had chosen for our wedding feast. Actually, hubby was the one who favored the prime rib. Or was it Diamond Jim? He had a way of convincing us to get the most expensive things on the menu--like the cherry filling in the wedding cake. I would have been happy with lemon filling, but Diamond Jim assured me the guests would be horrified. I should put him in a novel somewhere. :-)

Actually, we hardly had any time to enjoy the party. The photographer was always ordering us around to pose here and there. The time flew.

But I remember our first dance. We swayed to Colour My World.

Then it was all over and we were off on our honeymoon. After that, it was thirty-nine very busy years of working, raising children, and now caring for elderly parents. Oh yes, and writing books and making music, too. It's been a blast!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

On The Radio!

On Sunday night, I was invited to join Authors in the Round, a live radio show hosted by Karen Smith, president of Three Worlds Press. The show was broadcast from in Lanoka Harbor at the Murray Grove Retreat Center. It was a wonderful experience. Scott Wieczorek is on the right. He read excerpts from his latest book, Witness Through Time. Coming in via Skype was Sheri Velardewho read excerpts from her book, Quest for Redemption. I read excerpts from both Patriot's Heart and Patriot's Pride. 

We also discussed our backgrounds, writing habits, and the initial spark that started us on the path to authorship. 

Hubby took the photo above so it's his fault that it's fuzzy. However, he also made a nice digital recording of my responses at the event which I put on a CD so my father can listen to it. 

There were plenty of munchies to nibble on before the show and during the break. We had a live audience, too. And someone from Arizona called in to ask a question. How cool is that? 

I was thrilled to be there.