A Glorious June In The Garden


The Shenandoah Valley has been blessed with a lovely June this year, not too hot, and we’ve received enough rain to water the crops and the garden(s). I relish the good earth while I can. Summer inevitably gets hit with heat, drought, and bugs, but before all that, this is the Garden of Eden, or as near as I’m likely to come. The battle to survive without succumbing to nature’s harsher summer side lies ahead. But I have prepared the gardens as best I can. The plants we grow are hardy wildflowers, heirlooms, and herbs, with some vegetables mixed in. Nothing fussy.  Many of the flowers choose their own sites. And every single day in the garden is different. A perpetually changing world, magical in its way.

Below is an image of my mini wildflower meadow. I’ve ordered more seeds from Eden Brothers, my favorite site, and am expanding. I shall need a longer hose for those dry days. I absolutely love seeds, brimming with possibility. What wonders may come…all from a packet of tiny life-bearing seeds. If they grow. I can’t stop planting them to see. Then watching,  gleeful when they sprout. And waiting for the blooms, like an Easter egg surprise, because only I know what will be when the majesty unfolds. A wonderful secret to hold and to tend.

In every gardener there is a child who believes in The Seed Fairy. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

This would be me.

Furbaby Friday with Author Caroline Clemmons


Today I am welcoming my friend and fellow author, Caroline Clemmons, who is sharing her life writing with a furbaby.

Caroline: As a child, I wasn’t allowed to have pets. My husband, who I call Hero, and I and our two daughters have had several family pets over the years. We loved each one as a family member. Our little Shih Tzu, Webster, died earlier this year and we still miss him terribly. We have three cats that have helped us in our grief over losing Webster.

Writing is usually a solitary profession. A few authors take their laptop to a café or write amidst the family’s comings and goings. Most of us tuck ourselves in a corner or an office where we can work uninterrupted. I have a small pink office that I love. Always welcome is a furbaby who wants to snuggle or simply keep me company. I have to admit my favorite is our black and white tuxedo cat, Sebastian.

Sebastian

My soft-hearted Hero met Sebastian while fishing at a local lake. Sebastian was the runt half the size of his siblings. Hero mentioned to the lake’s store clerk that he’d like to have that kitten. One day she called and said “his” kitten was in a box and he’d better hurry to pick him up because the store owner had already called animal control about the others.

When Hero brought Sebastian home, the kitten was too thin and fit in my husband’s hand. Poor little baby was not yet weaned. We bottle fed him until he was old enough for kitten pablum—which, by the way, looked just like human baby pablum.

That was over nine years ago. He’s no longer a runt, but is very long and tall and weighs 20 pounds. Sebastian’s my almost-constant companion. When he’s not with me, he usually sleeps on the corner of my side of our bed or—if we’re watching TV—on the back of the couch.

He senses when we’re upset and stays near to offer his company. About the only time he deserts me or our bed is when someone in our house is ill. Then, he stays by their side to guard them. Our eldest daughter is staying with us because of a shattered femur that (we hope) is finally healing after 21 months and six operations and bone grafts. Sebastian has stayed by her side at those low times when she’s been discouraged about her lack of progress.

Sebastian likes a schedule and lets me know when he thinks it’s my bedtime—he wants everyone where they’re supposed to be. He usually sleeps beside me or at my feet. Even though he’s a cat, he’s very vocal and can say “no”, “more”, “now”, “okay”, “here”, and a few other words. He calls me “Care-woe” but only uses my name when he wants something. I know—only a cat owner would believe that.

I love having Sebastian share my life—even when he sits on my arm and makes using the keyboard difficult or tries to “help” me make the bed or fold laundry. I agree with so-called experts who say pets calm us, lower high blood pressure, and extend our lives. I still miss Webster and the other pets we’ve lost, but I find comfort in having Sebastian as my companion.~

Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling and award winning author of historical and contemporary western romances. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.

*** I very much enjoyed hearing about Sebastian. What a wonderful cat. Now, for a bit about Caroline’s latest release.

Amazing view from Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park, California.

Blurb for Lorraine

How to escape marriage to an odious man .

Leave the state.

Lorraine Stuart joins a group of women traveling to Tarnation, Texas, a town with numerous bachelors but no unmarried women. She longs to meet a man who will admire her and the writing ability that has her published in several publications, by a pseudonym, of course. Just her luck, out of all those in Tarnation, she falls for the most stubborn man she’s ever met. But the handsome newspaper owner is the only one who makes her heart flutter.

Grant Pettigrew has worked hard to establish the Tarnation Gazette. He is intrigued by Lorraine but he won’t let a woman write for his newspaper. Besides, he can’t afford to hire anyone yet. The redhead is gorgeous and ignites dreams of family, but he’s never met a more obstinate woman.

Will two immovable forces join to form a forever love?~

Author Bio: Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys family, reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, and getting together with friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, WattPad, Shelfari, and Pinterest.

Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books and follow her there.

Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here to receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?

She loves to hear from her readers at caroline@carolineclemmons.com

Kicking Off Furbaby Friday


Attention pet loving authors and readers, I’m kicking off a new weekly blog feature in honor of dear little Sadie who was my faithful writing companion, as was my curmudgeonly cuddler, Kitty Percy.

Both Sadie and Percy left me in late winter within a week of each other, and it’s been very hard without them. This is the last image I took of the two by my side. But precious memories go on, and I’m grateful for other writing buddies. Puppy Cooper needs to settle down a bit, but he’s beginning to sit with me when not in scamper mode. Peaches and Cream, who also act as my publicists, are purry pals. Jilly has a seat at my right side while I research and type away on my keyboard. She also has every other seat in the living room if she wants. All surfaces are covered with sheets that can be changed due to her shedding, and I’ve added towels for the occasional puppy puddle. But Cooper is getting better about that, I say cautiously. (Cooper sitting by my knee.)

My furbabies help me to write. I know many authors greatly appreciate their furry companions, and cherish memories of past friends. Peaches and Cream are ready assistants (when not snoozing in a sunbeam), as is Jilly, below, giving me the ‘I didn’t do it look.’ *She did. Kitty Pavel is a funny bird, but does his best.

I rescued these animals, but they are the ones who rescue me. Every day.

My thinking is to have authors share about furbabies who are or have been part of their writing life, and then share the highlights of a recent release. No erotica. Pet pics are essential. If you’re an animal loving author, please message me about a spot at bctrissel@gmail.com or leave me a comment. Or both.

New Release–Paranormal-Historical Romance–Magic In Her Eyes (The Gifted Book 1)


Fellow Wild Rose Press Author Donna Dalton is sharing her exciting new release, Magic In Her Eyes, and an interesting  bit about Victorian fashion.

Donna: I noticed my grandson’s trousers didn’t seem to hold up well under a little boy’s rough and tumble activities, especially the right knee. There was always a worn spot that eventually turned into a hole. I wondered about little boy’s clothes of the past. I discovered that up until 1870, boys wore long pants with shirts and suspenders, while the adult men wore knee breeches. Then, after the 1870’s, that style switched and boys started wearing knee breeches and grown men donned long pants.

Two little Victorian boys on a pony

Fabrics for boys were often cottons, wools, and some silk. From 1860 to 1880, boys from age four to seven wore skirted outfits that were simpler than the girls’ styles with more subdued colors and trimmings. From age seven to fourteen, boys wore the knee-length knickerbockers pants. Over the next thirty years, boys donned the popular knickers at younger and younger ages. The knickers were paired with short jackets over lace-collared blouses, belted tunics, or sailor tops for the younger boys. Older boys had tailored wool jackets, stiff-collared shirts, and four-in-hand ties. I imagine even with the breeches at knee-length, they still required mending.

Magic In Her Eyes

Blurb:

Meredith Talbot has a secret. In fact, she has nine secrets – her own and those of the eight orphans at Seaton House, a home for children. Each of them has a special talent that if exposed would get them labeled as witches. It is her responsibility to protect the children and their secrets and keep them safe from persecution. Marauding Indians force them into a nearby fort where their safety is threatened by fanatical townspeople and a captivating army officer who try to unmask the children’s extraordinary abilities.

Lieutenant Preston Booth has one goal – to serve and protect his country. The military is the only life he has ever known. It’s the only life he wants. When a child is abducted and Preston goes after the culprit, Meredith has a vision of what will happen to him.

Does she risk everything by exposing her gift? Or keep her secret and risk losing him forever?

Excerpts:

“Do you also have an aversion to being touched?”

Meredith looked up and met his taunting gaze. It was a challenge she couldn’t ignore. She hefted her chin. “Not if I have given permission to be touched.”

One corner of his mouth twitched. Surely that wasn’t a smile. From what she’d seen, the most his lips could manage were frowns.

He held out his hand. “May I help you into the wagon, Miss Talbot? In the name of expediency?”

Straw rustled behind her. One child hummed. Another thrummed on the wagon boards. The children were getting restless. She could contain herself long enough to be lifted onto the wagon.

“Very well. I give my permission.”

His hands curled around her waist. Heat seeped through her blouse and branded her skin. Her stomach started doing odd little summersaults like the ones she’d seen Chinese acrobats perform at a local fair. So much for containing herself.

His grip tightened, and he lifted her up and onto the wagon bed as if she weighed no more than a rag doll. His hands lingered a moment before he released her. Gray-brown eyes fused with hers. A strange connection churned between them like the rush crowding the air before a storm.~

What a fabulous cover, Donna, and the story sounds great!

***Magic in her Eyes is available from all online booksellers. In Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Magic-Her-Eyes-Gifted-Book-ebook/dp/B072KZ2PGC/

BIO:

Donna lives in central Virginia with her husband, two sons, and a grandson. An avid reader of historical romances, Donna uses the rich history of the “Old Dominion” state for many of her story settings. She enjoys reading stories where characters overcome life’s challenges, where family is everything, and the power of love helps them succeed. You can visit her at:

http://www.donndalton.net

Facebook at DonnaDaltonbooks.

Twitter – https://twitter.com/DonnaDaltonBks

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1089939.Donna_Dalton

Colleen’s #Book #Reviews – “Somewhere My Lady,” by Author, Beth Trissel


Fabulous review for Somewhere My Lady (Ladies in Time Book 1)

Colleen Chesebro ~ Fairy Whisperer

  • Title: Somewhere My Lady, Book 1 in the Lady of Time Series
  • Amazon Author: Beth Trissel
  • File Size:  2109 KB
  • Print Length:  162 Pages
  • Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
  • Publication Date: July 12, 2017
  • Sold By: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B071VTNC7V
  • Formats: Paperback and Pre-release Price:
  • Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Time Travel, Romance, Ghosts, Literature & Fiction, Paranormal Romance

    *I was given an advanced reader’s copy of this book by the author for review purposes*

060617_2021_ColleensBoo2.jpg

IN THE AUTHOR’S WORDS:

“Lorna Randolph is hired for the summer at Harrison Hall in Virginia, where Revolutionary-War reenactors provide guided tours of the elegant old home. She doesn’t expect to receive a note and a kiss from a handsome young man who then vanishes into the mist.

Harrison Hall itself has plans for Lorna – and for Hart Harrison, her momentary suitor and its 18th-century heir. Past and…

View original post 775 more words

Herbal Recipes for Fragrant Potpourri and Toilet Water


Pot-pourri

‘Tis the season to gather blooms. Here are some potpourri making tips from my experience and recipes from a charming book, Potpourri, Incense and other Fragrant Concoctions by Ann Tucker Fettner.  Amazon has some used copies. The toilet water recipes follow below.

For making fragrant potpourri: Begin in the spring by drying rose petals, an essential ingredient. Other flowers such as bachelor buttons, asters, straw flowers and statice add color. Any blossoms that dry well can be used. Mints, lavender, and lemongrass are excellent herbs for fragrance. Save the peelings from citrus fruit. Additional scent comes from sellers of potpourri supplies.

Order ground orris root, lavender, and essential oils. Sachet bags can be made from circular scraps of breathable fabric all tied up with ribbons. Decorative jars also make attractive holders. Baskets filled with fragrant sachets are an appealing presentation if fund-raising is your goal.

Lavender

After you’ve collected and dried an ample quantity of blossoms and herbal leaves, mix in your other ingredients. Use a large bowl, not plastic, but ceramic or pottery. To hold the scent, you will need a fixative, often calamus or orris root. Generally, you use a tablespoon of a fixative for every quart of dried material. Add any spices you’ve chosen, cinnamon bark broken fine, rubbed mace, ground cardamom seeds, by sprinkling them over the petals and fixatives. If you like, add the crushed citrus peel, maybe some crumbled vanilla bean, and mix well with your hands.

lavender-sachet

The ingredients must be absolutely dry or the blend will molder. To all of this, add your favorite essential oils, rose, lavender, geranium, or tincture of musk or amber. Experiment with different blends. Don’t combine all the oils in the same batch. The possibilities are endless.

When you’re satisfied that the mixture is well blended, let it age in a crock for several weeks. Don’t have a crock? Brown paper grocery bags will do. Store the mixture out of sunlight in an airy corner or attic. Stir occasionally, then package prettily and enjoy.

For making Herbal toilet water:

lavender oil 2

Basic Toilet Water: To three pints of pure alcohol add one and one-quarter ounces of lavender oil, three-quarters ounce of oil of bergamot, three-quarters ounce of tincture of ambergris. Mix together and bottle.

Rose Water: Boil two quarts of distilled water and remove from the stove. Add one-eighth ounce of rose oil, four drops of clove oil, and one pint of alcohol. Let this stand for several days before bottling.Geranium Water: To two pints of pure alcohol add four ounces of rose water, five drops tincture of musk, one ounce tincture of orris root and one ounce of geranium oil. Allow to age.

Geranium Water: To two pints of pure alcohol add four ounces of rose water, five drops tincture of musk, one ounce tincture of orris root and one ounce of geranium oil. Allow to age.

Enjoy the heavenly scents.

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves. ~Mahatma Gandhi


May is the wackiest, loveliest month, swinging from soaring heat to frigid cold. Now that the month is almost over, seasonable temps have arrived, and we’ve gotten some nice rain. Despite this roller coaster weather, most of the plants survived.

We grow hardy perennials, reseeding heirlooms, wildflowers (some might be called weeds), herbs…greens, especially Swiss chard, and a forest of dill. It’s possible I accidentally planted two seed packets. We’re reluctant to thin the excess as swallowtail butterfly caterpillars feed on the ferny foliage. Much of the dill is left to bury whatever else we had in that vicinity. Carrots, maybe…beets…  Some of the adult butterflies are soaring about the garden(s).

(Image of Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar and ladybug below taken today)

(Black Swallowtail on Bee Balm from a past summer)

Our garden is not carefully planned, and exists as much for the bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects as for us. We have a lot of ladybugs, lacewings, baby praying mantis, hover flies that resemble honey bees but are beneficials…and I’m not sure what, but a lot of good bugs to battle the bad. The plants often determine what grows. Those that do well tend to be takeover varieties, requiring some management.  By August it’s a jungle. Every single year. But this spring we’ve  mulched with a lot of hay, made valiant attempts at order. We even mulched many of the flower beds with bark like other people do, leaving spots for the reseeding flowers to do their thing, and make frequent rounds to pull out weeds, thistles, etc. But the ‘etc.’ has a way of overcoming all. Perhaps it’s best to do what we can and glory in the untamed beauty. We rarely achieve tamed.

(Swiss Chard with Peas behind below)

Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans. ~Marcelene Cox

My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view. ~H. Fred Dale (Thanks, Anne)

Gardening requires lots of water — most of it in the form of perspiration. ~Lou Erickson

God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. ~Author Unknown
I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation. It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from and Old Manse

Gardens are a form of autobiography. ~Sydney Eddison, Horticulture magazine, August/September 1993

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. ~Lindley Karstens, noproblemgarden.com


You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt. ~Author Unknown

How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence. ~Benjamin Disraeli

The garden is the poor man’s apothecary. ~German Proverb

(Heirloom peony)

Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination. ~Mrs. C.W. Earle, Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden, 1897 (Thanks, Jessica)

No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden. ~Hugh Johnson

(Happy Coreopsis)