Monday, June 29, 2015

What a Wonderful Love Story!

This will make you laugh and smile and might even bring a tear to your eye. What an amazing couple! I love stories, I love to watch people draw, and you can't beat a satisfying and happy love story. Enjoy!

More Books on My List

I just got hold of a copy of My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman, so I can't tell you how much I like it yet, because I have yet to open it.

But it sounds good. Here's the description from the Simon & Schuster website:

From the author of the internationally bestselling A Man Called Ove, a charming, warmhearted novel about a young girl whose grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters, sending her on a journey that brings to life the world of her grandmother’s fairy tales.

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is told with the same comic accuracy and beating heart as Fredrik Backman’s internationally bestselling debut novel, A Man Called Ove. It is a story about life and death and an ode to one of the most important human rights: the right to be different. 

I'm also happy to say that Maggie Osborne's Silver Lining is now available in ebook form. This is a reread for me, so it's like an old friend. I was sad when Ms. Osborne retired from writing. I especially liked her historical romances.

Enjoy your day! I hope you find a good book to settle down with (in a comfy chair).


Thursday, June 25, 2015

What's On Your Reading List?

I've mentioned before (probably many times) that I have rather...varied reading tastes. Although I still read lots of romance novels (and write them, of course), my bookshelves and eReader and library checkouts are a mishmash of lots of different things. This week my choices have been all over the map:

The Short Bus: a Journey Beyond Normal by Jonathan Mooney is about Mooney (labeled learning disabled and dyslexic as a child, struggling in school and eventually graduating with honors from Brown University) as he takes a cross-country trip in a short bus (the short yellow school buses known for their transport of special education students). Along the way, he meets other people in similar circumstances in a quest to see how others deal with or have dealt with the labels (one being "not normal") that made his life miserable growing up.

40 Acres and No Mule by Janice Holt Giles is the true story (told in first person) of Janice's life just after World War II when she, a city girl, met a soldier raised in a Appalachia and moved with him to a part of the country where she had no running water (and for some time no electricity) and had to learn the hill country way of life. Told with great warmth, honesty and detail, I was fascinated by this book and couldn't put it down.

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase is a book I've read several times, but she's one of my favorite authors and this is hands down my favorite of her books. I believe that it won a RITA award (the most prestigious award given by Romance Writers of America).

The Lost Heir (Book 1 in The Gryphon Chronicles) by E.G.Foley is a historical fantasy aimed at children, but I'm enjoying it, too (as have many other adults). I just started it last night, but it's a page turner.

That's what I've been reading this week, but I'm always looking for the next book if anyone has other good (or simply interesting) books to recommend.

I hope you're enjoying your summer reading. Have a great day!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Importance of Being an Organ Donor

My family has been lucky so far in that no one has needed a transplant, but many, many people in the world are on waiting lists and I am constantly aware of it. My state (maybe all states) makes it easy to declare oneself a donor when renewing a driver's license, but I'm sure that many people feel uncomfortable doing that. I do understand that feeling. No one likes to think about this subject, but this video by the Argentine Institute of Liver Transplantation sends a touching and beautiful message that will bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

To Fathers Everywhere

Happy Father's Day

Soul Pancake asked viewers to send in videos of amazing fathers. This touching video is the result. Smiles are guaranteed.

And another video, this time from Toyota. I know that Father's Day (and Mother's Day) have both at times been called artificial holidays created by the card companies (although that's not true), and I know they're not celebrated on the same day everywhere in the world. Still, the very concept of having a day to stop and think about those relationships is nice no matter what day it is. And yes, this video below is also advertising, but it's easy enough to look beyond that and simply enjoy the sentiment.

For the record, my own father died when I was in my mid-twenties, a year before I got married, so my brother walked me down the aisle and my father never got to meet my children. Many years have passed since the last time I saw him. Still, despite the time that's gone by since we lost him, I think of him often. 

Here's to you, Dad. I still remember the laughter, the dinner-time debates and the yellow bicycle.

Happy Father's Day to fathers everywhere (even if your own Father's Day is celebrated in September or some other month). 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Gray or Silver Hair Now a Thing?

Update: Wow, I got caught posting a half-finished blog (must have hit Publish rather than Save). So, here's the rest of the story for those of you wondering why I posted two photos and nothing else. 

Recently, I've read several stories about how gray is the new trendy hair color, along with images of younger women who are going through the hassle to color their hair gray. The hashtag that's being used is (apparently) #grannyhair, so it really is a thing. There are lots of articles about it, such as this one and this one, and a number of Pinterest boards. 

(Note: the images on this page are from Flickr and not necessarily of people who have dyed their hair).
Losing colour - photo woman with gray hair - back of head

I find this all intriguing, since I got my first gray in my early thirties and eventually began dying my hair. Last year, I fell, had to have a few staples in my head, and didn't feel comfortable putting chemicals on my scalp for a long time, dye. Then, I tried some milder semi-permanent dye with less than stunning results, so I stopped and have gone completely natural. As my hair has grown, I've been shocked to see that I don't have as much gray as I thought I would (someday I might get brave enough to post a photo, but not today. As I've gotten older, I've also gotten less photogenic, and I was never particularly photogenic in the first place). I have a very nice silver right around my face, but for the rest, there's still lots of dark brown mixed in, so it's not at all the shade these younger women are shooting for.

silver hair
Image by Sally

Frankly, I like the silver enough that I would love to have all my hair that shade, but apparently it's an all day and very expensive process. First the color has to be removed, then dye has to be applied, and then, of course, there are the regular visits for touch ups (in one recent article, the stylist said that she didn't schedule any other clients on the day she dyed one young woman's hair silver, and the process took seven and a half hours). 

For now, I'll just let nature take its course, but I am rather glad that this has become a trend. When I first started going gray, I had several stylists tut tutting about how I immediately needed to dye my hair to cover the gray, and frankly, it was off-putting. When I find a stylist I like, I am extremely loyal, but...start telling me that I need to cut or color my hair because I'm getting older and I'll move on to another stylist. I've heard too much criticism of what women do with their hair as they age, and my feeling is that I'm the one who has to look in the mirror every morning and who has to live with what's on my head. If I want long, gray hair, so be it. For now, I'll sit on the sidelines, cheer the young women who are chasing this trend, and wish that every strand of my own hair was that lovely, luminous silver. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Touching Father's Day Commercial

Dove put together this video of men finding out that they're going to be fathers (to be honest, since this is an ad and I don't know much about it, I had to wonder if these weren't actors, but in the end, it doesn't matter. It's how most of us want to see fathers reacting).

And here's another one of the ads in case you missed it. 

As a romance writer, I've spent a lot of time thinking about what makes characters appear strong, caring (insert adjective here), and these ads, while they are obviously meant to sell a product, do a pretty good job of pressing all my emotional buttons. Enjoy!

Friday, June 12, 2015

It's Jurassic Time Again

I'm not a total fan of the Jurassic Park franchise, mostly because I'm a total coward who has to watch scary movies through my fingers placed over my face. That said, I'm planning to see the new movie (I'll try not to shriek too much). Besides, I do like the music.

Here, The Piano Guys play a rendition of the theme song. It's lovely...and not scary at all!

Now, these are my kind of dinosaurs!
Dinosaur Birthday Cupcakes
Image by Sylvia Chan

And here's the blog about the cupcakes (with links to make the two little fondant guys in the image above).

Have a fantastic day!


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What I'm Reading Now...How About You?

I just began a reread of Amanda Quick's Surrender, but I also picked up a copy of Flower Confidential (about the flower industry) as well as Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's Good Omens.
book - Surrender - Amanda Quick

book - Flower Confidential

book - Good Omens

We'll see how that (reading three books at once) works out. What's on your reading list lately?

Also, my apologies if you're not on Facebook, but I thought I'd mention that I'm running a contest over there, and it ends this Sunday at midnight central time. Just in case anyone missed that. Here's the link for the page:

Friday, June 5, 2015

John and Hank Green Aren't Just for Young People

I suppose it's no surprise that I'm a fan of the Vlogbrothers YouTube channel. Brothers Hank and John Green each make a video directed to the other (and us) every week, and I've posted some of them here before. It's amazing that they have continued to be able to come up with interesting topics, but they have.

But that's not all they do. Besides John's extremely successful writing (and now movie) career, Hank (the science guy) also writes (The New York Times, Scientific American), makes videos for interesting groups (NASA, The Discovery Channel) and makes music, they both are heavily involved in promoting and raising money for charities). Here are links to Hank's website and John's website where you can read more about what they're involved in.

Here are some of John's books:



And some of their latest videos:

Here, Hank discusses some of his favorite feelings:

And John talks about what he likes about being outdoors:

I think what I like most about the Green brothers is that they seem to be genuinely nice and very intelligent people with good intentions, but also there's just something awesome about two brothers who live in totally different parts of the country continuing to communicate weekly. When I need a smile, the Vlogbrothers seldom fail to deliver.

Have a great day!