You Are My Sunshine #LazyDaysOfSummer #amwriting #mgtab @jacqbiggar

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I don’t know about you, but when the warm winds and indigo blue skies of summer appear on the horizon, the last thing I want to do is sit in a chair forcing myself to fight past the sticky middle of my current WIP (work-in-progress).

It’s literally like pulling teeth.

I’d much sooner have my hands buried up to the elbow in fine black planting soil, or daydream on the end of a water hose watching the hummingbirds and butterflies play in the breeze.

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But, I also realize if I want to take this writing career seriously, and I do, I need to sometimes make sacrifices.

One thing I’ve learned is better time management. I’m a late riser, mornings are not my thing :), so I usually sit at the computer with my coffee and go through the social media platforms sharing and promoting.

Then I spend an hour or two visiting my mom next door before FINALLY waking up enough to begin my day!

I take the computer outside to our gazebo where I can work on my story while watering the flowers, and occasionally catching a glimpse of a friendly hummingbird or two.

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Sometimes, I don’t get much writing done, but that’s okay. It’s a WIP, just like me 🙂

If you’d like to see what I’ve been up to lately, you can check out the new anthology written by members of my critique group to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary!

 

My Baby Wrote Me A LetterA family's brush with the past will threaten the fabric of their lives.

Dreams and Promises

Dreams and Promises includes six short stories and novellas written by authors who live in beautiful British Columbia.

It’s our way of honoring Canada’s Sesquicentennial.

Some of Canada’s major cities were founded in the seventeenth century, but July 1st 2017 marks 150 years since our country became a Confederation.

Our stories range from the era of the fur trade, to a commercial enterprise that opened up the Canadian and American West, to present day James Bay, a thriving neighborhood in the garden city of Victoria, British Columbia.

Universal link: http://books2read.com/DreamsandPromises

http://a.co/fl5TEBI

Add to your TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35387646-dreams-and-promises

Jacquie Biggar
Lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her her husband, daughter, and grandson. Loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. Spoils her German shepherd, Annie and calico cat, Harley.
And can’t function without coffee.
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Spring is for flowers

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Don’t overdo it in the garden this weekend. Or next weekend, the traditional start of summer.
Those words or warning come from every garden blog I’ve ever read. That and make sure you stretch first.

Okay, so stretch, figure out what needs done, then ask friends and neighbors if they know of any kids who want to make a few extra bucks. Churches usually have youth eager to raise funds for a summer camp or special project. Contribute to the community, the next generation’s emotional/work ethic growth, and save yourself at least a bottle of pain relievers and maybe even a trip or four to the chiropractor. Delegate.

If you don’t have a garden or a yard, or even a window box, enjoy these flowers. I’ve always been passionate about them. I spent many of my early years in apartments without a patch of dirt to plant in. I’m very much enjoying my big yard, raised beds, hanging baskets, and yes, calling on church groups and teenagers to keep them maintained.
When the day is done, kick back with your Kindle and read a great romance novel or five. Here’s my suggestion: Rebels, Rogues, and Romantics. Historical romance tales about those rascals, the ‘wrong’ kind of man a woman have been finding irresistible for centuries. Scots, cowboys, musketeers, and an Indian brave or two. They’re all so hot!

(Only #99cents for five or #free to read on Kindle Unlimited)

Whether you actually get in the garden this weekend or not, enjoy your time. No one can please you without your permission. Give it to yourself.

Dani Haviland
Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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Springtime is for roses

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Rainbow Sorbet grown exclusively in water with goldfish

Springtime! Time for fresh roses!
But also for late frosts or snow… What a bummer, having to wait to plant bare root roses because of fickle weather patterns.
But wait! I found a solution!

I plant my bare root roses in water. This may not work in all areas of the world, but it’s a real winner in Alaska where summers (at least around Anchorage) seldom get over 80 degrees. Your best bet for success is using a higher grade rose, at least grade one and a half, so it has a good root system.

There is a problem with ‘planting’ in 5 gallon buckets (or similar sized containers), though. Mosquitoes. Those little bloodsuckers love standing water, the perfect incubating area for their eggs and larvae.
Goldfish to the rescue! You can buy feeder goldfish at pet stores or larger Wal-marts for about ten cents each. I put a couple in each bucket of water and let them eat any mosquito larva that appear.

Queen Elizabeth grandflora rose grown in water with goldfish

There is an added bonus to the goldfish. Not only does their swimming keep the water from becoming stagnant, the by-product of their feasting (fish poop) is an ideal fertilizer. My Queen Elizabeth roses were nearly seven inches across one year!

Also, it’s fairly simple to move the containers inside if the forecast is for freezing temperatures. This works on both ends of the growing season. You can also ‘chase the sun’ if their once sunny spot becomes too shady later in the season. Note: all roses need at least six hours of sunlight.
Be aware, though. This method only works for one season. You are essentially forcing the roses to grow and there isn’t enough nutrition in the water to replenish the plant for a second season. If you’d like, you can plant the roses in the garden anytime, but at least six weeks before the first hard freezes. It takes at least that long for soil-feeding roots to become established. If your winters are mild, you will probably have success. However, if you have six months or more of sub-freezing temperatures, I recommend just tossing the plant in the dumpster. The stems and thorns are too tough to compost.
The blooms you get from growing your own roses may not be as fancy as the ones from the florist, but if you’ve chosen well, they’ll most certainly smell better.
More pictures and detailed ‘planting’ information at www.growalaska.net and www.chilloutroses.com. Note: emails and phone numbers are not correct. These are old sites for reference purposes only. I no longer sell roses, either.

Here’s a pretty bunch of roses for you! Yours for only #99cents!

Kiss Me, Thrill Me: As Only You Can. Seven great stories by USA Today and NY Times best selling authors. Available exclusively on Amazon (and for a limited time).

Dani Haviland
Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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Flowers for Bees, Butterflies and Hummingbirds by Denise Devine

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Some of the flowers in my garden

As you probably know, bee and butterfly populations are in serious decline. This is not good news! Did you know that in 1997 there were more than 1 billion Monarch butterflies, but now there are only about 57 million? The rapid decline is due to pesticides, loss of habitat and milkweed, which is the main diet of caterpillars.

Bees are dying in record numbers—putting our food supply seriously at risk—and it’s mostly due to toxic pesticides called “neonicotinoids.” These nasty chemicals are used in nursery plants and they’re systemic, which means that the poison goes up through the plant into the pollen and nectar and kills the bees. PLEASE, only buy plants that aren’t chemically treated!

Make your yard an area where bees and butterflies can survive. Plant wildflowers native to your state, plant milkweed and don’t use chemicals!

A Monarch resting on pink Swamp Milkweed

A Monarch resting on pink Swamp Milkweed

Some bee-friendly flowers…

Spring Blooms – Crocus, hyacinth, borage, calendula and wild lilac

Summer – bee balm, cosmos, echinacea, snapdragons foxglove, and hosta

Fall – zinnias, sedum, asters, witch hazel and goldenrod

Some butterfly-friendly flowers…

Aster, bee balm, cornflower, daylily, hollyhock, lavender, lilac, milkweed, phlox, purple coneflower, snapdragon, zinnia

Ten top flowers for hummingbirds…

Bee balm, cardinal flower, zinnia, salvia, bleeding hearts, butterfly bush, trumpet flower, lupine, columbine, petunia

8.31.15bThe picture to the left is a cardinal flower. The hummingbirds in my yard are all over this flower and it grows really tall. It’s very beautiful, too!

All of the pictures in this post are from my own backyard. If you’d like more information on how you can do your part to help save the bees and butterflies by creating a friendly habitat for them, here are a few very good resources:

American Meadows for wildflower seeds

The Xerxes Society for information on bees, butterflies and dragonflies

The Honeybee Conservancy for information on planting a bee-friendly garden

 

Denise Devine
Denise Devine is a USA TODAY bestselling author who writes sweet romantic comedy and inspirational romance. She is currently writing two series, Forever Yours (Inspirational) and Counting Your Blessings (Christmas romantic comedy). You can visit her at www.deniseannettedevine.com.
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No Birthday please, by Mona Risk

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Schoolchildren anticipate their coming birthday with excitement and impatience. For a day, they are pampered, spoiled, and cherished to their little hearts’ content. I have often observed my grandchildren’s joy when preparing their special party, greeting their friends, grinning ear-to-ear while listening to their Happy Birthday song, and opening their presents. They can’t wait to start again next year. I probably acted the same way at their age.

Kids in their teens want to grow up fast, fly with their own wings and tackle the word, even if they carefully hide their inner fears and their hearts beat a little faster.

During our twenties, we still like to celebrate birthdays, but we prefer intimate celebrations with the man of our dreams. Even better, we fantasize about a very special birthday gift, a sparkling diamond on our finger. I know I did.

IMG_5196After that, things change. The day before my thirtieth birthday, I carefully examined my face for any suspicious line and my head for any silver thread. During the ten years that followed, I didn’t want any party for my birthday, but appreciated my husband’s vase of red roses, or box of chocolate, or tête-à- tête dinner in a fancy restaurant.

A week before my fortieth birthday, I noticed the crinkles and shadows under my eyes and avoided the mirrors. No birthday please. Not private because I would rather forget I have already reached that step of the ladder, and certainly not public. Instead, I gave myself a new type of presents: visit to a spa, beauty products, highlights at the beauty salon, and change of diet because my metabolism was suddenly too lazy.

A fiftieth birthday is a day any woman wants to ignore and erase from her calendar. She would rather hear her significant other tell her, “I love you. You sure look younger than your forty-one years,” rather than, “Happy Birthday, sweetheart. You sure look great for your age.” There is a subtle difference, but men are sometimes dense about some subjects.

Strange enough when you hit sixty, you suddenly turn wise, count your blessings, enjoy your achievements, spoil your grandchildren, and shower your kids with advice about what to avoid because you did it wrong. You take one day at a time and live it fully, ignore other people’s judgment and stop blaming yourself for everything.

Yesterday was my birthday, a happy one. I received a vase of red roses from my husband. My friends insisted on taking me out for dinner. My children called, and the grandchildren sang on the phone, “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear grandma,…

In spite of me claiming, No birthday, please, I was so happy to feel loved by the people I love so much.

N Y T LG-lightred-ValentineBabies (2)VALENTINE BABIES: heartwarming story. From KY, FL. & GA to Iraq and Germany. romance, humor and babies!

Mona Risk
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
http://www.amazon.com/Mona-Risk/e/B002E1GCIM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_5
my newsletter: http://mad.ly/signups/111038/join
www.monarisk.com
 Twitter: @MonaRiskS
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Mona Risk
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk, received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She’s a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll; and an EPIC Award finalist.
Mona Risk’s name has often been posted on the Amazon.com 100 Most Popular Authors in Romance list, and her books have garnered: Top Pick, Outstanding Read, Sweetheart of the Week, and Best Book of the Week from various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher’s Weekly.
Mona lives in South Florida and has traveled to more than eighty countries on business or vacation. She writes contemporary romances, medical romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal fantasy. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visited or more simply at home.
If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy her international romances. Meet the spirited heroines and special heroes who share irresistible chemistry in stories that simmer with emotion.
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Flowers are like people – some stand out and others just hang around!

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I just love my Camellia bush. Every year it blooms so beautifully but with one anomaly. I’m sure you’ve already noticed it, haven’t you?

Yes! It has one gorgeous rose bloom amongst all the other pale comparisons. At first, I just thought it a bit weird and shrugged it off. Then the next year when the same thing happened, it made me pay attention. Now every year, I look for that surprising little flower and it never disappoints.

Of course, being an author, I just can’t put it down to some prosaic explanation like strange things happen, or that’s just one of Mother Nature’s foibles. Not me! I search for deeper meanings in these kinds of occurrences until I find one that pleases me.

So – I look at that one beautiful little flower and my imagination takes over.

Let’s think of the flowers on that bush as a large group of people. Some are formed a bit better, some have more depth in their coloring and others are clumped together as if they need the support. Yet others have their leaves more tightly wrapped around them and are hiding from the direct sun, seeking the safety of the shade.

But not our little pink flower! Being unique, it stands out, right in front, showing off its specialness. The fact that it lasts longer than its neighbors is another plus for our small friend.

I’m feeling pretty happy with my analogy now. You see, we all know individuals who are like our little rosy bloom. They overshadow their neighbors and friends. People who make a difference in their world and leave us happier for having known them.

Mimi Barbour
Mimi is a New York Times, USA Today & Award-winning Best-selling author who’s sold over 500,000 copies of her books world-wide. Her five romance series include: The Vicarage Bench/ time travel at it’s best, Angels with Attitudes / angels love romance, Vegas / fast-paced plotting, Elvis / make a song a book and her newest – Undercover FBI / with sizzling conflicts and lots of humor.

Mimi’s an author who’s been heard to say: “I’m a story-teller who loves to write uplifting stories about romance and adventure. Add in some time travel, maybe an angel, or even a little romantic suspense and it makes the story more fascinating because of the incredible possibilities.”

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