Monday, December 31, 2012

The Inciting Incident - by Rita Karnopp


     The first time I was exposed to ‘the inciting incident’ was a movie by that title.  I’ve been fascinated by it ever since.  So what exactly is this ‘inciting incident’ and how does it affect a story?
     Inciting comes from the Latin word incitare which means “to put into rapid motion, urge, encourage, and stimulate.” And that’s exactly what your inciting incident is; it’s an event that triggers your hero to “go into motion” and take action.
     Here are other ways to conceptualize the inciting incident:
  • it jolts your hero out of his everyday routine
  • it is the event which sparks the fuse of your plot
  • it’s something that MUST happen in order for your hook–your book’s special premise–to kick in
     So if the inciting incident is the crucial event—the trouble—that sets the whole story in motion - when should it happen? Usually, your inciting incident occurs within the first ten pages of your book, after you’ve introduced the reader to your hero, shared what his everyday life is like, and a few important things in his life that need fixing.
     Then the inciting incident occurs and it starts to change the dynamics of your hero’s life. He (or she) will react to the inciting incident, maybe even resist it. Your hook kicks in and your hero commits to taking the journey (either physical, emotional, psychological or a combination of these) sparked by the inciting incident.
     With some genres, the inciting incident is almost always the same. For example, in a romantic comedy, the inciting incident is the “cute meet” where the two romantic leads meet each other for the first time. In a mystery, the inciting incident is when the first dead body is found.
     Also keep in mind that each of the protagonist’s attempts to resolve the initial and subsequent inciting incidents must end in failure. There can be partial victories, but once an action ends in success, the story is effectively over. Success, in this case, means that all the problems are resolved. That cannot happen until the final scene of the story.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday Hiatus

I'm taking a little break and resting up for the New Year.  I just wanted to alert you to the fact that my first post in January will be a return of Ask Miz Ging!  So...get your questions ready and remember, the only dumb or bad questions are ones that are never asked.

See you in January!  Be on the lookout for this woman:


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Are you afraid of being read by those who know you? by Rita Karnopp


    Most people are drawn to writing because they want to create the story they want to read.  Recognition, as in, “I recognize me” can be frightening.  You might use someone you know as a character in your book and now you fear he/she will recognize themselves.  Will they be angry, offended, or even upset?  This character in your book isn’t really them – just based on their characteristics, yet will they be okay with that?
     Often times we use the personalities of people we know as characters in our books ––without being consciously aware of it.  We are writing about feelings and it’s our experiences that drive our characters actions and reactions in our book.  This might come across disloyal to the people we love.  Our characters are often developed on our own upbringing, and we start to fear that we will be “recognized” in a personal or even frightening way.
     But where else should we draw the personalities of the characters we are writing? We draw from experience and those around us. I would never make a character one-hundred percent a person I know, but I do draw on personality quirks and traits.  I do draw on strong (good and bad) personality habits or language. I remember way back when I started writing I was told my heroine always had to have a ‘tag’ like Scarlet O’Hara did the ‘fiddle de de’ expression.  I’m so glad we are past that particular ‘must’ … but do find twitches, or mannerisms, or even language habits to help the reader recognize or have expectations for your characters.
     One thing I am cognizant of these days . . . our readers might want strong heroes and heroines, but they do not want them to be perfect.  They no longer want the ‘petite little woman’ or the ‘fainting damsel’ – although I do concur there is a time when collapsing from exhaustion or stopping to catch one’s breath because of excessive running is not a weakness, but a physical necessity.
     My rule is to put myself into the character’s situation or position. Imagine myself in the role and decide is it plausible, realistic, and necessary. Never have a character do anything for sensation sake, for extra drama or gore . . . I truly believe todays reader is sophisticated and education . . . he/she will see right through this and you’ll lose the credibility of the story.
     When creating the characters of your book, be true to whom you want her/him to be. Draw on the people you know and ‘borrow’ those traits. If your reader recognizes herself/himself . . . you don’t have to admit it’s them, and if they don’t like what is written – I always think – hmmm, maybe they should evaluate themselves and change – if they don’t like what they read.
     The first time I knew my mother-in-law was reading my love scenes, it was a bit uncomfortable. But, she said she loved the book – and never brought up those ‘special scenes.’  I figured if she could read them – heck so could my family and friends.  J  It took a bit to accept people were reading my love scenes; but as a dear friend jokingly said, when I told her the next book was a bit ‘steamy’ she said, “Oh, I live for those scenes – where else do I get them?”  We had a good chuckle over that!
     The bottom line - don’t take it all so seriously. Write the character that fit your story, draw from the people around you and make them your own.  Don’t worry if someone is going to recognize it’s them, and if they do … maybe they should be flattered.  Hopefully they’re your ‘heroine’ and not the ‘villain!’

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What's Kwanzaa? Inquiring Minds Want to Know.

I remember when I was still working in the late 60s and early 70s and heard the term, Kwanzaa.  Of course, in some homes and places, the second 'a' has been dropped.  I had no idea at the time about the significance, and I must admit, since it didn't affect me, I didn't take the time to find out the meaning until much later.  

Kwanzaa is an African-American or Pan-African holiday celebrated from December 26 through January 1, and the name originated from the Swahili tongue, "matunda ya kwanza" meaning "first fruits." Many may believe Kwanza is a substitute for Christmas, but that isn't the fact now.  The majority of celebrants, recognize Kwanzaa and Christ's birth.  

Although the holiday period dates back in history to Ancient Egypt, the actual celebration known in the United States was conceived in 1966 by Dr. Laulana Ron Karenga, an author and activist who saw the festivities as a way to promote African American culture.

Just as with the lighting of the Menorah by the Jewish during Hanukkah, the above-pictured candelabra holds candles in the colors significant to the Kwanzaa celebration. 

 "The colors are red, black and green -- the colors of the Pan-African flag, which symbolizes unity among African people all over the world. Black represents the people, red their blood and green the earth and the future."

Process: The black candle in the center is lit by itself on the first night of Kwanzaa and together with a red or green candle each night thereafter.

I borrowed the quote from this very informative site.
 
If you'd like to learn more about the celebration, I urge you to click and read the seven principles on which Kwanzaa is based.

Here's another helpful site with more information:  http://www.novareinna.com/festive/kwanzaa.html

So, Happy Kwanzaa to all who celebrate.  


Monday, December 24, 2012

No - Bah’ Humbug by Rita Karnopp



     It’s that joyous time of year again – the one we (young and old) all can’t wait Christmas carols, trimmings, lights, shopping, baked goods, laughter, holiday movies, etc.  . . .  well, almost all.
     Hmmmm . . . what or how do you handle the bah’ humbugs?  I have one in my office. He says twenty times a day – I hate Christmas.  What’s so strange about that is … he professes to be a very religious man. Those two things never balance in my mind.  He goes around making a point that Christmas is so commercialized (yes- it is) and Christmas is so materialized (yes- it can be) and Christmas is annoying because people are hipped and charged (yes- they are)  and people are just out-and-out rude (yes-some I’m sure are) and Christmas just isn’t what it used to be (yes- maybe it isn’t).
     I’ve given this bah’ humbug thing a lot of thought since this person in my office is GETTING ON MY NERVES! (And the season has just started!)
     I believe the holidays are spectacular! Thanksgiving (I always like to mention this) is the start of all the holidays.  It’s our time to contemplate what we are grateful for. It puts us in the mood and mind-frame of family and giving and just a thump on the head of our many blessings.  As with Thanksgiving, Christmas pulls families and friends together.  We are reminded of the wonderment of the most important birth took place and the humility and meaning of it all. I believe that should be our focus.
     We celebrate with all the pomp and circumstance in celebration.  We fold our family and friends in close to feel that birth. We are reminded to be grateful for the births in our families, too. To celebrate with joy and happiness. We give gifts because it’s a way of celebration . . . a gift of love.
     The bah’ humbugs – I believe – are afraid of that celebration because they are alone or insecure. . . even if they aren’t alone.  They are afraid of being hurt. Maybe it reminds them they don’t have many friends – and there’s a fear of not being invited to any parties. They are intimidated by the great happiness and joy it brings and it undermines their quiet world.  They find gift giving uncomfortable – what if it’s not the right thing and the receiver won’t like it? I don’t think the bah’ humbugs dislike the birth of Jesus – they fear they aren’t worthy.
     The next time you hear ‘bah’ humbug’ . . . don’t argue . . . give attitude . . .or  get in a big discussion of ‘why they are trying to diminish Christmas.’ Feel somewhat sorry for them, because they don’t understand the true meaning of Christmas. They haven’t been touched by the wonder and joy of Christ’s birth. 


Sunday, December 23, 2012

You say Chanukah, Chanukkah or Chanuka, I say Hanukkah!

As you probably know if you've been reading my posts, I was raised by a Jewish father and a Gentile mother.  Although Christmas was the holiday celebrated in our home, we always had a Menorah on the mantle (when we had a mantle) to commemorate my Dad's heritage.  I can't say we went through the appropriate steps with the candles and all, but even though Dad is gone, the menorah still stands proudly wherever my mother lives.

So, owing to my ignorance, I had to resort to finding a website which explained this at a child's level.  The following is taken from that website, almost verbatim, with no intention to plagiarize but rather educate those who like me, have no clue of the true meaning.  It only took my 60 years, but hey...!  By the way, the holiday is also called the Festival of Lights.

History of the Holiday:  In 165 B.C.E., the Jewish Maccabees managed to drive the Syrian army out of Jerusalem and reclaim their temple. The temple then had to be rededicated, since the Greek-influenced Syrians had taken it over as a temple to Zeus.


The Menorah: When the Jews prepared to rededicate their temple by relighting the "eternal flame," after driving out their oppressors, they had just enough consecrated oil to burn for one day, but the oil miraculously lasted for eight days until new oil arrived to fuel the flame. This is why Jewish families light candles or burn oil in a menorah for the eight days of Hanukkah, adding one candle each day.

Timing of the Holiday:  Hanukkah is celebrated on the 25th day of the Jewish calendar month of Kislev ' this usually, but not always, falls in December. Show your children a Jewish calendar, and explain to them why Hanukkah falls on a different day every year. 

The Dreidel: The dreidel is a spinning toy with four Hebrew letters, one on each side. The letters - shin, hey, gimel and nun - are the first four letters of the Hebrew words "A Great Miracle Happened Here." There are many variations of the dreidel game, but it is basically a game of chance. 

Hanukkah Foods:  Traditionally, Jewish families eat foods that are fried in oil at Hanukkah, since oil is such an important part of the holiday's history. In most families, this means potato latkes ' crispy potato pancakes ' and other fried foods.

Gifts: Make a Hanukkah box for younger children. A Hanukkah box contains one small gift for each of the eight days of the holiday, and is one way that many families choose to commemorate the eight-day miracle of the oil in a way that children can appreciate and understand.

Trust me...there is much more to the ritual...when to light the candles, who should have the honor, how long they should burn, where the menorah should be placed.  If you want to know more, I suggest you visit Wikipedia for more answers.  I'm proud that I finally learned a little more about my ancestry.  I have a lot of Jewish relatives, and I wish each of them a happy, happy Hanukkah, and to anyone who celebrates the holiday.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hereeeeee's Margaret


MY HEROINE,  HOLLY KIRWAN – MARGARET TANNER

War is a terrible thing, not only for those fighting in it, but for those who wait at home for news of their loved ones. Barely a day goes by without the papers referring to casualties in Afghanistan or a couple of years go it was Iraq. Young men struck down in their prime, but what of the women they leave behind? The ones who “keep the home fires burning” as they would have said in earlier wars.

In Australia, war widows and their children receive a pension and benefits from the government, but what of their other needs?  Here in Australia there is an organization known as Legacy, dedicated to the welfare of widows and children of deceased servicemen. The men do not need to have been killed in action, but must have seen active service in a war zone. 

My mother was a Legacy war widow, even though my father died decades after he returned home from fighting overseas.

Legacy was started by veterans returning from the 1st World War who wanted to keep a promise to their dying comrades “look after my wife and children for me.” It is a completely voluntary organization and receives no funding from the government. Their funding comes from public donations, bequests etc.  The sole aim of Legacy is the welfare of children and widows of service personnel who have died.

They do offer some monetary assistance if required, but their priority is to help the widow with tasks that her husband would have performed – home maintenance, educating and supporting the children, organizing holiday camps for children and giving practical advice on pension and other matters that the widow cannot handle on her own.  Every widow and child is appointed a Legatee to look after them. A Legatee is almost always an ex-member of the defence forces who gives their time freely to help the family of their deceased comrades  

Holly Kirwan is a fictional character in my novel, but she could quite easily be anyone’s daughter, sister or friend. Here is a young woman who fought against terrible tragedy and was eventually able to have a second chance at happiness.

I have to say I love all my books, (sorry about the self adulation), but my favourite would be Holly And The Millionaire, my one and only published contemporary romance. It has been published before, but after revision and updating, and a wonderful new cover, Books We Love have re-published it. It might seem strange because I call myself a historical writer, but somehow Holly got under my skin and stayed there. She was a gutsy little fighter whose soldier husband was killed in Afghanistan and left her with a toddler to bring up on her own. She didn’t let being dealt a bum hand in the game of life defeat her.

I didn’t need to do much research for Holly’s story. My youngest son has been in the army, so I obtained information from him, and the newspapers were full of the war in Afghanistan.

I actually got the idea for this novel when I was flying back to Australia from London, after visiting my oldest son who lives over there. A good deal of the story is set in Melbourne where I live.  I tried to imagine how a young woman would feel, all alone with her baby, and on the run from her husband’s ruthless parents.  They want the baby but not her, and they will stoop to anything to get their son’s child. How devastating and frightening that would be for Holly, especially as her husband was barely cold in his grave.

I wanted to make the hero, Justin, the opposite. Wealthy, confident, ruthless to a point, but underneath that hard exterior, a man with a heart, who falls in love with Holly and her baby, but doesn’t realize how much he cares until he almost loses them.

                                                ******

HOLLY AND THE MILLIONAIRE
Fleeing from her ruthless English in-laws who are intent on stealing her child, Holly Kirwan boards a flight home to Australia and meets Justin Devereux. They are instantly attracted to each other.
Justin doesn’t want a permanent woman in his life, particularly one with a baby in tow. Holly, still grieving for her soldier husband who was killed in Afghanistan, doesn’t want to be disloyal to his memory.

BLURB:  MAKE LOVE NOT WAR
Make love, not war was the catch cry of the 1960’s. Against a background of anti-war demonstrations, hippies and free love, Caroline’s life is in turmoil. Her soldier brother is on his way to the jungles of Vietnam. She discovers she is pregnant with her wealthy boss’ baby, and her draft dodger friend is on the run and needs her help. 


https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240190


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Jokes - just to make you smile


I think we all need a break from the holiday stresses... Rita

blonde was Weed-a-whacking  her yard and accidentally cut off the  tail of  her cat, who was hiding in the  grass.

She  rushed her cat, along with the tail, over to WAL-MART! 

Why WAL-MART?
  HELLOOOOOOOOO!  WALMART  is the largest Re-tailer  in the world!

Meeting St. Peter
Three blonde friends died together in a car wreck. They found themselves standing in front of the pearly gates with St. Peter. He told them that before they could enter heaven, they had to tell him what Easter was about.
The first blonde said, "Easter is a big holiday where we give thanks, have a big feast and eat turkey."
"Nooooo," said St. Peter. "You don't get in."
The second blonde said, "Easter is the holiday that we celebrate Jesus' being born of the virgin and give gifts to each other."
"Nooooo," said St. Peter. "You don't get in, either."
The third blonde said, "Well, I know what Easter is all about. Easter is a Christian holiday which coincides with the Jewish Passover. After Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples, He was betrayed by Judas and turned over to the Romans. They crucified Him on a cross. After He died, they buried him in a tomb and put a huge boulder in front of it."
"Very good!" said St. Peter.
The blonde continued. "Now, every year, the Jews roll the stone away and Jesus comes out. If He sees his shadow, we have 6 more weeks of basketball."
St. Peter fainted!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Margaret Tanner, December's Guest


Note from Ginger:  Margaret Tanner, an award-winning author from Australia, and a very good friend, even though we've only met via the Internet, has come to my rescue during health issues and a busy time, and agreed to guest post for me.  I'm so proud to have her at Dishin' It Out, any time because she, indeed, is among the best.  So, rolling out the red carpet for Margaret Tanner, once again:

VIETNAM WAR – MAKE LOVE NOT WAR

At the risk of revealing my age, I have to say the 1960’s was my time. Mini skirts, stilettos (I’ve bunions to prove it), beehive hair dos, I couldn’t quite manage that, although I did tease the life out of my hair and regularly put in coloured rinses, French Plum or Rich Burgundy, were the colours I favoured. I can remember when the Beatles made their first visit out to Australia. A couple of girls I worked with were lucky enough to get tickets to their concerts, (we hated them, of course), they came to work the next days minus their voices, and stayed that way for about a week, because they had screamed so much.

We used manual typewriters in those days. One original and four copies of everything we typed. I don’t know how many blouses I ruined because I got ink on the sleeves from changing the typewriter ribbon or the black stuff off the carbon paper.

During this time the Vietnam War loomed in the background. The Australian government introduced conscription. It was in the form of a ballot, or the death lottery as many called it. All twenty year old males had to register, their birth dates were put into a barrel and a certain number were drawn out, and those young men had to report to the army and subsequently many of them were sent to Vietnam. This of course caused severe bitterness and division in the community, and even though the government denied it, was subject to abuse and unfairness. Rich men kept their sons at university so they didn’t have to go.  Conscientious objectors were thrown into prison. Only sons were called up, yet families with two or three eligible males didn’t have any of their boys called up.

I only had one brother, and I can clearly remember my father (a World War 2 veteran) vowing, that if his son got called up, he would protest on the steps of the parliament with a placard on his back.

There were protests marches, anti-war demonstrations, and things often turned violent. Not that I went to any of the protest marches, but a cousin of mine did and got trampled by a police horse. A very turbulent time in our history and I was right in the middle of it.

BLURB:  MAKE LOVE NOT WAR
Make love, not war was the catch cry of the 1960’s. Against a background of anti-war demonstrations, hippies and free love, Caroline’s life is in turmoil. Her soldier brother is on his way to the jungles of Vietnam. She discovers she is pregnant with her wealthy boss’ baby, and her draft dodger friend is on the run and needs her help. 



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jokes for stress relief - laugh is good for you!


Painting the Porch
A blonde, wanting to earn some money, decided to hire herself out as a handyman-type and started canvassing a wealthy neighborhood. She went to the front door of the first house and asked the owner if he had any jobs for her to do.
"Well, you can paint my porch. How much will you charge?"
The blonde said, "How about 50 dollars?"
The man agreed and told her that the paint and ladders she would need were in the garage.
The man's wife, inside the house, heard the conversation and said to her husband, "Does she realize that the porch goes all the way around the house?"
The man replied, "She should. She was standing on the porch."
A short time later, the blonde came to the door to collect her money.
"You're finished already?" he asked.
"Yes," the blonde answered, "and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats."
Impressed, the man reached in his pocket for the $50. "And by the way," the blonde added, "that's not a Porch, it's a Ferrari."
Hilarious Blonde Joke
A blonde was driving home after work and got caught in a really bad hailstorm. Her car was covered with dents, so the next day she took it to the repair shop. The shop owner saw that she was a blonde, so he decided to have some fun. He told her just to go home and blow into the tail pipe really hard, and all the dents would pop out.
So, the blonde went home, got down on her hands and knees and started blowing into her car's tailpipe. Nothing happened. She blew a little harder, and still nothing happened.
Her roommate, another blonde, came home and said, "What are you doing?" The first blonde told her how the repairman had instructed her to blow into the tailpipe in order to get all the dents to pop out.
Her roommate rolled her eyes and said... "HEL-LOOOOOOOO ...You gotta roll up the windows!!!

Hiding From the Cops
A blonde, a brunette and a redhead are running from the cops. They hide on a potato farm. They crawl into some potato bags. The first cop pokes the bag with the brunette in it. She says, "Meow." The cop confirms that it is just a cat. The second cop pokes the bag with the redhead in it. She says, "Woof." The cop says that it is just a dog. The third cop pokes the bag with the blonde in it. She say in her sweetest voice, "Potato."

Monday, December 17, 2012

Friends are gifts we give ourselves by Rita Karnopp


There comes a time when we just need a friend. Oh, I know nothing takes the place of family, but have you noticed that it’s your friends you really rely on?  Have you noticed it’s your friends that you can literally explode at?  Have you noticed it’s to your friends that you can share how you truly and deeply feel?
‘Friends are gifts we give ourselves.’ I received these words of wisdom in a fortune cookie when I was about thirteen. I thought it was cute, but little did I realize those words would follow me the rest of my life.
One thing I have learned over the years is ‘you have to be a friend – to have a friend.’  Friendship is a two-way street. For years I would cling to friends, making those lunch calls, giving those cards and gifts, and making sure our friendship stayed strong. Then I asked myself –were the efforts all mine?  So I decided to test that friendship with – “I have made the effort the last twenty times we’ve gotten together – next time it’s your turn to call and set up lunch.”  Guess what . . . a month went by, then two, then six . . . and before I knew it … three years.  Yep, that was shocking.  Ever since that test - I use that as my ‘friendship guide’.  You should not be doing all the work to keep a friendship going. Period.
You will quickly recognize your true friends. They are still your friends even if you move to a different town. They will still call you for lunch when they are visiting your town. They will remember your birthday with a card … maybe even a gift. They email you - sometimes at home and sometimes at work. They share their life with you . . . and always ask what is happening in your life. Even if they get busy, you hear from them.
So what is my point for all this friendship information?   I’m just feeling nostalgic today about my friends. I’m grateful for their love, their support, the joy they bring into my life.  I love my family  -  but I equally love my friends.
I just want to remind everyone – be grateful for your friends.  Make time for them . . . they make time for you.  Be supportive of them . . . because they support you.  Do your best to be there for them when they need you . . . because you know they are always there for you.  Remember to be happy for the good things that happen in your friend’s life . . . you know they are happy for the good things that happen to you.  Don’t forget to thank God for the gift of friendships . . . without them we’d be very lonely and . . . let’s face it . . . we’d probably be a basket case!  J

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Do You Hear What I Hear?


“I think I hear sleigh bells,” my dad would say every Christmas.  We’d scurry to our bedrooms and pretend to be fast asleep.  Being the oldest of four, I knew Dad was the one who went outside and attempted to make reindeer tracks in the dirt.  We didn’t have a fireplace, so Santa had to come in through the door.  The important thing was that he came.

 How my mom and dad managed to give us such joy and the very thing we wanted when the raft shop where my dad worked at the local air force base paid ninety cents an hour.  We thought we were in hog heaven when he brought home the canned rations every now and then.  Each one had a candy inside, and the crackers weren’t bad either.  I can’t recall a Christmas that didn’t put a permanent smile on my face and joy in my heart.

 Although Dad was Jewish and didn’t believe in the reason for the season, he was always the first to shake the presents beneath the tree.  We always vowed to wait until Christmas morning to open gifts, but he was the culprit behind the “let’s open just one.”

Sure, one turned into two, and before we knew it, we sat amongst opened boxes and a landslide of wrapping paper, happy with what we’d received, but disappointed that once again we’d failed to wait until morning.  So the tradition continues.  Christmas eve is our time to celebrate, and I’m always urged on by my father’s voice in my head, telling me now from heaven, “just open one.  What harm can it do?”  Oh, we still have our Christmas dinner on the day of, and as a Christian, I celebrate the birth of Jesus, and I will be forever thankful for the parents he gave me.

We weren’t rich in the financial sense, but in love we were millionaires.  I’d give anything to have one of those Christmas Eves over again, and hear my Dad’s voice for real.  He’s been gone for over twenty years now, but if you’re listening Daddy, your little girl loves you with all that she is, and I miss you still.  You’ll always be in my heart, and in your honor, I’ll always open just one on Christmas Eve…or maybe all.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each of you.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Margaret Tanner is Back at Dishin' It Out


ROSES 

Roses are my favourite flower. My husband thinks I am obsessed with them.  I always wear rose perfume, Bush Rose, Musk Rose. The Yardley (English company) Rose is a lovely perfume, as sweet and fragrant as its name sake.

I have to confess that my garden is full of roses. Hubby hates them with a passion because he thinks they deliberately jump out and stick their prickles into him.

I love the old fashioned roses the best. They may not be quite as colourful as the modern day varieties, but they always have a gorgeous perfume.  Just Joey, a beautiful large bloomed orange rose with a delightful perfume is one of my favourites.  Another favourite is a blood red rose named Oklahoma, the perfume is as heady as wine.

It amazes me how often I seem to put a flower in the title of my romance novels, or describe garden scenes. It must have been an instinctive thing because I don’t recall actively trying to do this.

One of my published novels was titled The English Rose. It was revised and published by The Wild Rose Press (TWRP) as Frontier Wife. Holly And The Millionaire is another of my novels published by Books We Love. The heroine, Holly has a daughter called Lilly. Daphne is the name of my heroine in A Mortal Sin, published by Books We Love. I have also written a short story Call Of The Apple Blossom.  

My latest release from Books We Love is Savage Possession, and there is of course, a rose mentioned in this story. The Bonnie Prince Charlie rose, which was a symbol worn during the Jacobite rebellion. In English history, there was also The War of the Roses.
Can you see a pattern here? I love flowers, particularly roses.

SAVAGE POSSESSION
In colonial Australia it took hard men like Martin Mulvaney to tame a harsh land.
A sweeping tale of love's triumph over tragedy and treachery in frontier Australia.
A mistaken identity opens the door for Martin Mulvaney to take his revenge on the granddaughter of his mortal enemy.
An old Scottish feud, a love that should never have happened, and a series of extraordinary coincidences traps two lovers in a family vendetta that threatens to destroy their love, if not their lives.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jokes - to relieve the holiday stress

I must admit ... I love humor during the holidays... I see so many people stressing . . . hopefully these will give you a chuckle ... and make you stress-free!  Rita


Painting the Porch
A blonde, wanting to earn some money, decided to hire herself out as a handyman-type and started canvassing a wealthy neighborhood. She went to the front door of the first house and asked the owner if he had any jobs for her to do.
"Well, you can paint my porch. How much will you charge?"
The blonde said, "How about 50 dollars?"
The man agreed and told her that the paint and ladders she would need were in the garage.
The man's wife, inside the house, heard the conversation and said to her husband, "Does she realize that the porch goes all the way around the house?"
The man replied, "She should. She was standing on the porch."
A short time later, the blonde came to the door to collect her money.
"You're finished already?" he asked.
"Yes," the blonde answered, "and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats."
Impressed, the man reached in his pocket for the $50. "And by the way," the blonde added, "that's not a Porch, it's a Ferrari."

Hilarious Blonde Joke
A blonde was driving home after work and got caught in a really bad hailstorm. Her car was covered with dents, so the next day she took it to the repair shop. The shop owner saw that she was a blonde, so he decided to have some fun. He told her just to go home and blow into the tail pipe really hard, and all the dents would pop out.
So, the blonde went home, got down on her hands and knees and started blowing into her car's tailpipe. Nothing happened. She blew a little harder, and still nothing happened.
Her roommate, another blonde, came home and said, "What are you doing?" The first blonde told her how the repairman had instructed her to blow into the tailpipe in order to get all the dents to pop out.
Her roommate rolled her eyes and said... "HEL-LOOOOOOOO ...You gotta roll up the windows!!!

Hiding From the Cops
A blonde, a brunette and a redhead are running from the cops. They hide on a potato farm. They crawl into some potato bags. The first cop pokes the bag with the brunette in it. She says, "Meow." The cop confirms that it is just a cat. The second cop pokes the bag with the redhead in it. She says, "Woof." The cop says that it is just a dog. The third cop pokes the bag with the blonde in it. She say in her sweetest voice, "Potato."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Welcome, Marie Higgins to Dishin' It Out


How many women dream of their perfect ‘hero’? As a girl, I would always daydream of what I wish would happen to me when it came to love. Funny, how none of my daydreams happened the way I’d wanted, but it was fun to dream nonetheless. Now that I’m an author, I still daydream, but about my stories. That’s how I came to write “Dreaming of You”.

Katelyn Palmer never believed any harm could come from using her college crush as the hero in her first romance novel—the novel that jumpstarted her writing career. However, when Shane Hunter storms into town, demanding to meet the writer who used his identity Katelyn is confronted with more than her long, silent emotions. If Shane takes her to court for invasion of privacy, her career would be over.

Shane doesn’t know how to act when his ex sister-in-law accuses him of having an affair while he was married—and then shows him the romance book as proof. Now he wants to know who this author really is and why she used his name, and most of the events in his life for her story. Desperate to know the truth Shane befriends Katelyn but he does not expect to be attracted to her, even more unexpected is the joy he finds watching his twins fall in love with the woman who is stealing his heart, too...

The daydreams aren’t the only part of my story that happens in my real life. Most of the characters you will read about are names of my family.  Since this story is about a close-knit family, I thought it only right to include those I love so much.  One other thing in my story that I used from my life is Christmas traditions. Seeing Christmas lights is a favorite of mine and my grandkids. I plan on carrying this tradition for MANY years to come!

My story is a Christmas Inspirational romance – so be prepared for that ‘feel-good’ feeling you’ll have after finishing my story! J
To buy on Kindle: http://amzn.com/B00A6G5JO0
To buy in paperback: http://amzn.com/1480234087

About the author:
Since Marie Higgins was a little girl playing Barbies with her sister, Stacey, she has loved the adventure of making up romantic stories. Marie was only eighteen years old when she wrote her first skit, which won an award for Funniest Skit. A little later in life, after she’d married and had children, Marie wrote Church roadshows that were judged as Funniest and Best Written. From there, she branched out to write full-length novels based on her dreams. (Yes, she says, her dreams really are that silly)

Marie has been married for twenty-six years to a wonderful man. Together, they have three loving daughters and several beautiful grandchildren. Marie works full time for the state of Utah, where she has lived her entire life. Marie plans to keep writing, because the characters in her head won’t shut up. But her husband smiles and pretends this is normal.

Visit her website / blog to discover more about her and her books. – http://mariehiggins84302.blogspot.com

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Some fun jokes for the day -


A couple jokes to help relieve the stress of the holidays!  :)  Rita

blonde was Weed-a-whacking  her yard and accidentally cut off the  tail of  her cat, who was hiding in the  grass.

She  rushed her cat, along with the tail, over to WAL-MART! 

Why WAL-MART?
  HELLOOOOOOOOO!  WALMART  is the largest Re-tailer  in the world!

Meeting St. Peter
Three blonde friends died together in a car wreck. They found themselves standing in front of the pearly gates with St. Peter. He told them that before they could enter heaven, they had to tell him what Easter was about.
The first blonde said, "Easter is a big holiday where we give thanks, have a big feast and eat turkey."
"Nooooo," said St. Peter. "You don't get in."
The second blonde said, "Easter is the holiday that we celebrate Jesus' being born of the virgin and give gifts to each other."
"Nooooo," said St. Peter. "You don't get in, either."
The third blonde said, "Well, I know what Easter is all about. Easter is a Christian holiday which coincides with the Jewish Passover. After Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples, He was betrayed by Judas and turned over to the Romans. They crucified Him on a cross. After He died, they buried him in a tomb and put a huge boulder in front of it."
"Very good!" said St. Peter.
The blonde continued. "Now, every year, the Jews roll the stone away and Jesus comes out. If He sees his shadow, we have 6 more weeks of basketball."
St. Peter fainted!

Monday, December 10, 2012

:Seven Secrets to Stress-Free Joy


Another worthy ‘share’ from Jason’s -   The Motivation123 Newsletter .  I love the comment regarding a pencil assimilating smiling!  Enjoy the article.  J  Rita

::Seven Secrets to Stress-Free Joy::  Stress, tension, frustration...ever experience these? Silly question, I know.  We all feel stressed from time to time; it's part of being human. And we certainly feel frustrated.   But as common as these feelings are, there are simple things we can do to ease them, even erase them in some cases.

Seven such gems are below.

1.        Create a CD of Your Favorite Songs ~ Listening to your favorite music not only takes your mind off of your worries but also reduces blood pressure and a rapid heart beat.
      Because music is so closely tied to memory, listening to music brings to mind happy memories, which in turn affects the part of the brain that regulates these and other automatic physical responses.
      So make a list of your 15 favorite songs, visit an online music store to download each one, and create your very own stress-busting CD.
2.        Control Your Breathing ~ Stressful situations lead to short and shallow breathing, which in turn leads to an increased heart rate and creates feelings of tension and anxiety.
      To reverse these effects and reduce your stress, completely empty your lungs with a large sigh. Then, breathe in deeply from your belly on up, hold your breath, and exhale slowly.
You may want to follow the 4-7-8 rule. (4-second inhale, 7-second hold, 8-second exhale.)
      This simple exercise sends better oxygen content to your cells, improving your health and ridding yourself of the tension and stress.
      3.        Laugh ~ Studies by Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan have found that laughter 'lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexion, and boosts immune function.'
     It also triggers the release of endorphins, which act as the body's natural painkillers and produce a sense of well- being.
      The lesson? Laugh! Expose yourself to humor as often as possible through jokes, funny stories, comic strips taped up in your office, or anything else that makes you laugh.
     4.         Make Your List ~  Even though you may not realize it, there are most likely specific situations that cause stress time and again. By putting your finger on exactly what they are, you can begin to fix or avoid the things that constantly add stress and tension to your life.
     Get out a sheet of paper and a pencil. Begin by thinking back to stressful times and what specific things caused them. Then, keep the list handy for two weeks and record the cause of any stress you experience during that period.
      After two weeks, create a master list of stress causers and spend time thinking of specific remedies for each one. The solution may be as simple as taking a different route to work or getting up fifteen minutes earlier to handle tasks in the morning.
      5.        Focus on Now ~  Thinking about the next ten items on your list of things to do is enough to cause anyone stress. That's why it's vital that you focus on only one thing at a time.
      Allowing only one task into your thoughts at a time - the one thing you are involved with right now - will improve your productivity, decrease mental mistakes, and relieve your mind of feeling overwhelmed as well as your body of feeling physically stressed out and drained.
      6.        Hold a Pencil between Your Teeth ~  A recent study at the University of California found most people have a set of 'smile muscles' which, when activated, send signals to your brain that you are happy. In turn, your brain releases the chemical that register happiness.
      In fact, you don't even need to personally feel happy at the moment to create the internal response of happiness.
     Simply holding a pencil between your teeth can be enough to trick your brain into thinking you are happy and releasing the corresponding chemicals into your system.
      7.        Wake Up with the Sun ~  You're sound asleep and dreaming peacefully. And then, out of nowhere, you're shocked awake by the screeching of a buzzing alarm. It's easy to see why such a routine can get things started off on the wrong foot.
     Instead of being startled every morning, try using natural light to wake you up. Studies have shown that the light of dawn alerts your body to wrap up your dreams, raises your body temperature, and begins releasing the hormones you need to function throughout the day.
     So leave the blinds open tonight and wake up with the sun.
(Afraid of oversleeping? Keep an alarm nearby set to five minutes after your normal wake time. This way, if the sun doesn't do its job on day, the alarm will.)

Jason   The Motivation123 Newsletter       http://www.motivation123.com

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