Empty Nesters for the second, or is it third time? #Familyfirst #Chasingthedream #mgtab

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This post is bittersweet. One week from today, DH and I will say goodbye to our daughter and grandson as she leaves to begin her graduate studies in marine biology– across the country!

But, this isn’t the first time.

When she graduated from high school she said goodbye to our hometown, the town five generations of family on the maternal side called home, and moved eight hours and one province away. There, she worked, made friends, and raised her son for five years before deciding to go after her dream of becoming a marine biologist. She applied to university and was accepted!

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We were so proud of her! But now, she was even further away, twelve hours and a ferry ride. We made the decision to move closer so that we could support her and see our grandson grow up.

Then, two years later the unthinkable happened– he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

Those who know me, know how difficult and life-changing this has been for all of his family. There has to be constant care for T1D kids, and yet my daughter managed to not only learn everything from the dangers of the disease but how to manage it and allow him to enjoy a normal life.

From the JDRF website

Needs Constant Attention

Living with T1D is a constant challenge. People with the disease must carefully balance insulin doses (either by injections multiple times a day or continuous infusion through a pump) with eating and daily activities throughout the day and night. They must also test their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day. Despite this constant attention, people with T1D still run the risk of dangerous high or low blood sugar levels, both of which can be life-threatening. People with T1D overcome these challenges on a daily basis.

And through all of that, she worked hard at school and came out with a Bachelor of Science Degree with Honors this summer!

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But, her dream beckoned and she applied to universities to continue her graduate program working toward a PHD.

And once again, she was accepted! This time on the opposite coast in Newfoundland!

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I’m excited and worried. Will the healthcare system be as good there as it is here? Will they find a nice place to live? How cold are the winters? We’re from Alberta, so we’re used to -30, but I’ve heard some crazy stuff about northeasters that makes me pray she has a reliable vehicle. Will he like the school there? Will they know how to help him if he needs it?

They’re driving across Canada to get there, so I’m going to be sick the entire time. Yet, imagine the things they’ll see, the memories they’ll make.

It’s going to be a long two or three years, but God, I love them and wish them the very best.

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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Finding Your Voice @amwriting #mgtab

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When I first began my writing career I took a LOT of online classes on craft, editing, revision, grammar, technique, and the one thing that kept coming up was the need to discover your voice. The unique something that distinguishes your work and keeps your readers coming back for more.

But how?

What do the experts mean by voice anyway?

Do you have a favorite author? One whose pages you could read without seeing the cover and you’d STILL be able to say without a doubt, yes, that is definitely their book?

I thought so 🙂

That’s voice!

It’s a distinctive style that sets the writer’s work apart from anyone else. Some use setting, such as bestselling and award-winning author Louise Penny. Her books are set in and around the scenic mountain town of Three Pines, Quebec. If a fan were to read a brief passage from any of her books they would know who wrote the novel.

Other writers have a certain way with characterization that’s a dead giveaway, such as Jill Shalvis. Her writing style is part sass, part angst, and a whole lot of heat!

One of the best styles of voice comes with deep POV (point of view).

Military romantic suspense author Suzanne Brockmann does this better than most. Deep point of view is when the character acts, thinks, or talks and there is no need to add a name tag because we know this character. He/she is as real as if we were watching them on our favorite television series. Suzanne does this by creating distinct mannerisms that we immediately associate with that person. She does this so well, she can write entire passages without a name/ and frequently does, and yet it’s easy to know who is talking at any given moment.

Voice is something a writer gains with time. It can’t be forced, but for readers it’s that magic thing that will make them your fans. If you have a backlist take another look, you might be pleasantly surprised 🙂

I’m currently working on a summer romance set on an island in the Pacific Northwest. A theme that runs through my stories is the value of family, and this one is no different.

Here’s the blurb for Sweetheart Cove:

Josie Sparks is looking for escape after a disastrous relationship. A summer job on a small Pacific Northwest island seems perfect. That is, until she meets her irascible new boss. She thinks she can help his sweet little girl–he’s another story.

Jacob Samuels needs someone reliable to care for his special needs daughter, but is sorry he trusted his sister with the task when help arrives in the shape of a too-young, too-tempting therapist with pain-filled eyes he can’t ignore.

Sand, surf, and soft island breezes bring two lonely hearts together in this heartwarming tale of second chance romance and a love that lasts forever.

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Exclusive excerpt

Josie wasn’t sure how she got through the next few days. She must have acted reasonably normal because no one questioned her absentmindedness, even when she set the puppy’s food in the refrigerator instead of the pantry where it belonged. Jacob’s kiss lived front and center in her thoughts, and his hard, masculine body encompassed her dreams. A moody, short-tempered grump who made her pulse skyrocket.

How could she feel this way about him when she’d been hours from marrying another man a month ago? She added fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies to the picnic basket she’d prepared and glanced down at the pup sitting quietly at her feet. “If you’re looking for handouts, you’ll just have to wait. No offence, but I don’t trust your stomach in the car.”

“Is it time yet?” Jane wheeled into the kitchen, her face expectant. The dog, thinking it was playtime, crouched, nose on his front paws, butt in the air and tail wagging a mile a minute. He let out a couple of excited yips, then raced around the room and jumped against Jane’s short-clad legs. “Ow, Mischief, that hurts,” she cried, then stopped in shock and stared at the red marks already fading from her skin. “It hurt,” she whispered.

Josie pushed the dog out of the way and crouched at the little girl’s side. “Honey, this is great. I’m so happy for you. We better tell your father, so he can get you into the specialist for a checkup.”

Jane shook her head and gripped Josie’s wrist. “No. Can we keep it a secret? Please, Josie? Just for a while. I want to get better and surprise Daddy by walking. Please?”

Her pleading eyes undid Josie. How was she supposed to say no to that? She nodded. “Okay, but if you have any pains at all, you tell me, understand?” She patted Mischief’s silky head. “Guess your dad knew what he was doing, getting you a dog. Maybe we should name him Miracle instead of Mischief.”

Jane giggled. “It’s not Mischief, Josie. It’s you. You’re the miracle.”

I’d like to think I’m gaining a voice, but you the reader are the only ones who can tell me whether I’m right. What do you think? 🙂

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.
View website

Heroes Don’t Discriminate #FirstResponders #WorldEvents #mgtab

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The past few days I have been stunned and saddened by the catastrophic events that have taken place here in Canada and in the United States.

Instead of belabouring the senselessness of these acts of violence I want to focus on the first responders who stepped up to help when it would’ve be easier to look the other way.

Humboldt, Saskatchewan was the scene of a horrific vehicle accident three weeks ago. Sixteen people died and many more were injured. The hockey community, the country, the world mourned the senseless loss. But, the heroics of first responders on the scene and at the hospital filled my heart with gratitude. I can’t imagine the trauma they endured, and I hope and pray they can find peace in those they were able to help.

 

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A man, half-naked, opened fire on a Waffle House in the Nashville area and if not for the bravery of a customer who threw himself in danger by tackling the man to the ground, many more lives may have been lost.

And then there’s the individual who drove his van onto a busy Toronto sidewalk and mowed people over like bowling pins, all because he couldn’t get a date. Thanks to the extreme bravery and training of a Toronto police officer the suspect was apprehended without any shots being fired, though he pretended to have a weapon and clearly wished to become a martyr by getting shot.

 

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Heroes step up to the plate without thought to their own safety- or actually maybe it’s more to do with their deep love of life. Without people like the first responders, doctors, police, or the average guy just out for a breakfast and instead ends up risking his life, we would be a much sadder world.

It’s no wonder romance authors love to write larger-than-life heroes, they give us hope.

 

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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.
View website

What’s 420 all about?

Where did the term 420 come from (and what does it mean)?
Anyone who has ever been a teenager and attended public schools probably already knows that 420 refers to marijuana. It’s legal now, either medical or recreational or both, in over half the states in the nation, so I suppose it no longer needs a code name or to be spoken of in hushed whispers. In Oregon, there are green cross dispensaries all over the place, advertising daily specials on placards out front. Or you can grow it at home in limited quantities. I never saw that one coming in the 70s.
Today, April 20, is also a 420 and the unofficial holiday, the date to ‘light up’ for partakers all over the world – legally, or course.
It all started with a date. Not a guy and gal going to the movies sort of date, but a ‘meet me after school’ date. Five guys in high school in 1971 had discovered a map to a supposed abandoned crop of cannabis near where they lived in California. The group, called the Waldos, set up a time to meet after football practice to obtain and take care of the precious weed. ‘420’ actually meant 4:20, the time to meet at their designated hookup spot in the center of campus.
Pretty soon, whenever the term ‘420’ was used, it meant either ‘are you stoned,’ ‘do you want to get stoned,’ or ‘do you have any weed,’ depending on how it was said.
There’s more to the story which involves The Grateful Dead, David Crosby, backstage passes, and housesitting, but bottom line is, the term 420 started as a meet up time for five high school guys.
Oh, and by the way, the abandoned marijuana crop turned out to be a ruse, a ‘fooled ya!’ joke by one of the Waldo five’s brother. Now, the California residents don’t have to go on an adventure for their party products. Of course, since they’re in their 60s, they’re just as likely to be seeking it out for pain relief as stress relief.


No matter where you live, a great way to distract yourself and ‘get high’ is by sharing the life and adventure of someone else by reading a great book. Or Eight. Check out Unforgettable Suspense, a box set of eight thrillers with a romantic edge, some edgier than others. Only 99 cents, or free to read with your Kindle Unlimited account.

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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