February 18, 2018

Gems of Sunny Florida

First up: Discovering St. Augustine with Marilyn Baron
Although I live in Atlanta, I was born in Miami, went to college in Gainesville, FL, and have a home in Palm Coast, so I’m a Floridian at heart.  I first visited St. Augustine on a field trip with my Florida History Class at University of Florida. Now that my sister Sharon lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, about half an hour from St. Augustine, I’ve learned a lot more about what the city has to offer. 

My favorite time of year to visit is during the Nights of Lights. From November 18 through January 31, this spectacular holiday lighting display features more than two million tiny white lights adorning the palm trees and buildings of the city’s historic district. National Geographic named Night of Lights one of the best Christmas lights displays in the world.  

I highly recommend taking the Old Town Trolley of St. Augustine sightseeing tour (the “Green Trolley” http://www.trolleytours.com/st-augustine/) as a way to introduce yourself to the city. The Hop-On Hop-Off tour, which leaves every 15 minutes, from St. Augustine’s Old Jail, highlights the best St. Augustine attractions with 22 stops and more than 100 points of interest, such as St. George Street, Whetstone Chocolates, the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, Flagler College, Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth (where the 1513 discovery of Florida begins), the Bridge of Lions, Castillo de San Marcos (the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S.), the Oldest Wooden School House in the USA, and Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum.  

The city is literally an original. Of course there are 42 miles of excellent beaches and golf courses, but there are many other things to do and see in St. Augustine.  There are some nice Victorian Bed and Breakfasts, hotels, neat shops and art galleries, and great restaurants.  

One of my favorite restaurants is The Columbia http://www.columbiarestaurant.com/fl_oldestrest.asp, founded in 1905, Florida’s oldest restaurant and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. I love their black beans and rice, their Cuban bread and their 1905 salad, which can be topped with turkey or shrimp. My sister likes Preserved Restaurant, Old City House, Catch 27, The Floridian, Mojo Old City BBQ, Caps, and Meehan’s Irish Pub. 

For a change, visit The Lightner Museum, take a horse-drawn carriage tour through the city streets, a tasting tour, a gold tour, a ghost tour, a walking tour or a kayak eco-tour.

Another neat experience is going out on a Sundancer Cruises yacht. They have a Wednesday cocktail cruise, a Sunday brunch cruise, a Sunday dinner cruise and they do private cruise charters and weddings. Sundance Reservations (877-446-6465). St. Augustine Scenic Cruises depart daily from the St. Augustine Municipal Marina for 1-hour-and-15-minute narrated tours (1-800-542-8316).

America’s Castles: The Nation’s Oldest Port
Founded in 1876, The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, is dedicated to discovering, preserving, presenting and keeping alive the story of the nation’s oldest port. For more information about the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, visit their Web site at http://www.staugustinelighthouse.org/.
And, of course, there’s shopping at the St. Augustine Outlets and St. Augustine Premium Outlets. For more information about St. Augustine attractions, events, hotels, etc., visit http://www.floridashistoriccoast.com/.

And if that’s not enough of a recommendation, Time Magazine has named St. Augustine as one of its “33 Amazing Cities You Should Visit in 2018.” U.S. News & World Report includes it on its list of “Top 50 Romantic Destinations Around the World.”

 

I write in a variety of genres, from humorous coming-of-middle age women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal/fantasy. THE SIEGE: A NOVEL, released in January 2018, is my 14th novel published with The Wild Rose Press, Inc., and my 23rd work of fiction. AmazonEncore republished my book Sixth Sense in September 2015. I’ve received writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance, Novel With Strong Romantic Elements and Paranormal//Fantasy Romance and a chapter service award from Georgia Romance Writers. A public relations consultant in Atlanta, I graduated with a BS in Journalism and a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. I worked in Public Relations for AT&T in Atlanta for 13 years before starting my own PR firm. I serve on the Roswell Reads Steering Committee and was a featured author in the 2016 Atlanta Author Series. I was the Finalist in the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Awards in the Romance category for my novel, Stumble Stones. A native of Miami, Florida, I live in Roswell, Georgia.

 

The Siege: A Novel
Artist Theia Constas receives a tour of Italy from her grandmother as a college graduation present.
Wade Bingham follows the rules and finds himself alone on his honeymoon trip..
In the wrong place at the wrong time in Florence, Italy, the two strangers find themselves thrust together.

I’m offering a paperback copy of Love Around the Table, a short story anthology. Six Southern authors share six great short stories of friendship, family, and romance, and six special recipes of love. Signed by all six authors. 

Here’s where to find me:


And Another Great Florida Author, Barbara Edwards, Presents Controlled Burning in Florida

Fire isn’t always a tragedy like the huge burn in California. Fire can be a tool to prevent those blazes. Florida State Parks use control burning to rid the land of scrub and overgrowth that can feed a fire. This is a planned process.

Let me explain. Over time, plants drop dead leaves and bushes thicken with dried branches. Even areas like the Everglades, a huge waterway full of swamp grass can burn if the lightning strikes are right. In fact, Florida has experienced wild burns for so long the land depends on them to re-grow. Like the Redwoods and Sequoia in the far West, Slash Pine need to burn for the seeds in the pinecones to sprout.


We’ve seen control burning up close. The St George Island State Park has been burning sections of the park for several years.

The weather has to be right. Dry. Windless. And a time when there are fewer campers to relocate. 


Rangers are trained to be firefighters. 

The fire is started with hand-held flamethrowers.


Several of these photos were taken by Ethan, a ranger in the park.
 

My free gift is an ebook of Annie’s Heart. I included a prairie fire in the plot.  Comment here for your chance to win. 

Annie’s Heart was the result of a dream I had about living on the Kansas plains after the Civil War ended. I researched the area and found the hardships settlers faced to be overwhelming. I was surprised so many not only survived, but thrived. Annie is a strong woman with too many problems, but she is a survivor.
I hope you take this opportunity to read about her.

Annie's Heart 
Only two coins and a gold pendant heart separate widowed ANNIE MOSS from disaster. The fields need to be plowed, the barn repaired and food stored for the winter, but she is alone and afraid. Her dream of a home for her children hangs from the promise of a wandering man to keep moving on, a man she has no reason to trust.

TRACE RANDOLPH has lost everything except his honor, so when a desperate ANNIE saves his life he knows he must pay his debt, even if it means marrying her. The only promise he makes is to leave before the winter snows. A promise he finds impossible to keep.

Click http://a.co/7FQRoiK to read an excerpt and purchase this great read by Barbara Edwards of Florida



(Credits go to Ethan, for the awesome firefighting pictures and http://www.barbaraedwards.net.  Also www.marilynbaron.com. All info provided by authors)

February 11, 2018

Virtual Library State of Delaware:


These are exciting times.  Everything you need in a library at your fingertips.  Nearly every state has one and this is one of Delaware’s   


The purpose of the Delaware Library Catalog (DLC) is to provide enhanced access for the residents of Delaware to information through a single online library database. This catalog enables Delaware Library Card holders to use any of the participating libraries. In addition this provides a broader, more extensive collection of materials and resources and economy of scale savings for member libraries. The Delaware Division of Libraries (DDL) in cooperation with Delaware libraries will strive to offer Delaware’s residents access to a full range of information, materials and resources.
Read newspapers, journals, electronic books, and more without leaving your computer. Access the library catalog’s wealth of print and electronic resources using the links from the homepage at https://lib.de.us/
Note: You may need a library card and PIN to access the resources.
Delaware Heritage Collection
Documents, artwork, maps, newspapers, slides, photos, audio/video and other important items documenting Delaware’s rich history and culture can now be explored online!
Flipster
Read digital copies of magazines on your computer, smartphone, or tablet using your library card! Choose from many popular titles for adults, teens, and kids with no holds and no limits.
Genealogy
Resources to assist your search for family records. Includes census, ​birth, marriage, death, church, military, immigration and other records​.
Homework Help (via UDLib/SEARCH)
The UDLib/SEARCH program provides home access to online magazines, newspapers, and encyclopedias to Delaware’s K-12 students, parents, and teachers (including homeschooled students).  Please contact your local school or public librarian for more information.
Learning Express
Practice tests, exercises, skill-building courses, eBooks, and information you need to achieve the results you want—at school, at work, or in life.
MasterFile Premier
Full text for more than 2,000 magazines & general reference publications. Covering virtually every subject area of general interest, it also includes reference books and biographical articles, more than 100,000 primary source documents, and an Image Collection of 235,186 photos, maps and flag.
NoveList
Contains book reviews and book lists for all ages: children, teens and adults. Locate books to read by describing a plot or find similar titles and authors for books already enjoyed. Users can also search a series name to get a list of titles in the series.
ReferenceUSA
Includes 30 million business profiles & 220 million residents. Ideal for sales leads mailing lists, market research, employment opportunities, much more!

All Delaware databases are brought to you by the State of Delaware, Division of Libraries in partnership with your local library.
Image of the Delaware Division of Libraries logo
(Info downloaded from DLC site and https://libraries.delaware.gov/

February 4, 2018

Barbara Edwards Presents Connecticut’s Lighthouses



Connecticut was the hub for whaling ships for a hundred years, providing whale oil for lamps and soap, baline for corset stays and the basis for perfume. Every part of the whale was used. Ports sent out ships that might be away for two or three years, filling their holds. At the mouth of each harbor was a lighthouse.

I’ve wanted to tour those lighthouses for years and this summer I took the Long Island Ferry tour.  It left the New London waterfront for a two hour tour. Unlike Gilligan we had fine weather as the ferry cruised the rock Connecticut shoreline. 

It quickly became apparent why the lighthouses are needed. The shoreline is rough with tiny beaches tucked in here and there. 


In the days before electicity, the ships couldn’t find the entrance to a harbor without a signal. Each lighthouse showed the way.


A keeper kept the kerosene lights lit. He’d carry a two gallon can up the stairs every few hours to feed the light. Imagine climbing anywhere from a hundred to two hundred steps no matter what was happening outside.

The Coast Guard has taken over most of the lights in the United States and electrified them. 

I love lighthouses. The mystic of the lonely tender appeals to my romantic imagination. Can you picture yourself there? 


Barbara Edwards is a native New Englander. 

She writes poetry for herself and novels when she needs to tell a longer tale. Barbara is fascinated by the past so naturally that turned to writing historical romance. The dark stories evolve from nightmares. The romance comes from her belief in people’s basic goodness and longing for love. 

She is married to a retired Police Sergeant. They share an interest in target shooting and camping. An avid Civil War re-enactor, Barbara travels the eastern states to participate in events. She loves visiting museums, galleries and battle sites, gathering information for her stories.

She taught Romance Writing at Manchester Community college for three years.
She is fond of gardening and is growing antique roses with limited success. 

Most of her exercise is when her Belgian Shepherd demands a walk. 

Barbara offers an EBook of Ancient Awakenings to one lucky person who comments.

Here’s where to find Barbara Edwards:
Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003F6ZK1A
(all info provided by authors)

January 28, 2018

Highlighting the Talent of Colorado



First Up: Doris McCraw’s Inspiration:
As a writer, I take my inspiration from many sources. One source that constantly brings me joy and ideas is where I live. I walk out my door and look upon Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain. If the weather is cold, I can also see them from my window. There is something so comforting about their presence.  Helen (Hunt) Jackson adored Cheyenne Mountain.

Here is the beginning of her poem of the same name:
 By easy slope to west as if it had
No thought, when first its soaring was begun,
Except to look devoutly to the sun,
It rises, and has risen, until, glad,
With light as with a garment, it is clad,

The history of my adopted state is also high on the list. When they found gold in California, many headed that way, but went around what would become Colorado. Their reason, the mountains were impassable. As a result, Colorado was settled late compared to some places. Of course, there are always exceptions. The southeast section of the state had a portion of the Santa Fe Trail pass though. The Bent brothers had their trading post along the Arkansas River in the early 1820s.

In the 1830-40s, the eastern plains saw a number of trading post (forts) pop up to take advantage of the fur trading business. Those impassable mountains for wagons were the ‘gold mine’ for the trappers who plied their trade in those same high peaks.

When gold was found in the late 1850s, those same mountains saw an influx of adventurers that changed the face of the region. Railroad building became the second ‘gold mine’ for many. Again the Eastern Plains saw much of this activity as the railroad strove to access the gold and the western coast.

Many forget the early days and towns of those Eastern Plains, but they have stories to tell too. My first novel was sparked by the idea of a woman doctor moving to one of those early railroad/ranching towns. The second novel came into fruition by the story of a southeastern town that grew quickly, being near the border of Oklahoma and Texas, and died in a blast of flames.

Karol W. Smith, Colorado’s first film commissioner, the first in the nation, once said, and I paraphrase ‘Colorado offers locations that can be doubled for almost anywhere in the world. If you wanted the plains of Texas, go to the area around La Junta and Lamar. If you wanted desert, there was The Great Sand Dunes. Colorado has buildings that could pass for buildings of the future, mountains that could pass for the Alps, and the Great Plains was the area between Pueblo and La Junta.’. As you can see, my adopted state offers inspiration, no matter where I am.

For those who comment on this post, I will be giving away the two e-books, “Josie’s Dream”, and the January 30, 2018 release of “Chasing a Chance”.  May all find inspiration where you live, for life and the world around us is beautiful.

Doris McCraw writes under the pen name Angela Raines. She is a novelist, poet and historian specializing in Colorado and Women’s History. She is a member of the National League of Pen Women, Women Writing the West and publishes with Prairie Rose Publications along with self-publishing.
 
Angela Raines – author: Where Love & History Meet


Angela Raines FaceBook: http://bit.ly/2b7okij


Pamela Nowak’s Favorite Getaways:
One of the great things about living in Colorado is the endless number of fun get-away spots. Rather than sharing on the larger “things to see” in this gorgeous state, I thought I’d talk about just a few of the great places to spend a couple days.

On the Western slope of the Rockies, just eleven miles east of Grand Junction, lies a small community called Palisade. It’s a small town with basic amenities and a whole lot of fruit orchards and wineries.  Our favorite place to stay is the Wine Country Inn with its two restaurants, front-porch style rooms, pool, and late afternoon wine tastings. There are also B&B's, other hotel choices, and camp grounds.

Wine lovers can visit any of the eighteen vineyards and tasting rooms—just don’t plan on any more than a fraction of them on a single day. Fruit stands and markets abound, nearly all of them offering the area’s renowned peaches.


Nature and animal lovers can enjoy area trails, a wild horse area, and alpaca farms.

Small shops and galleries beckon shoppers. Bikes and scooters are available for rental and river trips can be arranged. Carriage rides can add romance. Big city Grand Junction is a ten minute drive away. Pick up a map of wineries and orchards at your hotel and create your own itinerary or take one of the many tours offered and avoid driving yourself. For a special treat, schedule a trip during a festival weekend but be sure to book early.

A totally different get-away can be found at Glenwood Springs.  This mountain community is home to multiple hot-springs and pools. Pool passes can be purchased at most hotels and many of them offer special packages with pool entrance included. The largest and best-known pool is the

Glenwood Hot Springs Pool which features a gigantic main pool, always 90-93 degrees, and a smaller hot therapy pool, plus a wading pool and slides. Play is encouraged with many bringing float toys. If you want a lounge chair, plan to arrive early in the day—there are a lot of them but they fill fast—and bring sunscreen. The pool is open year-round. We’ve stayed in several places but love the boutique Denver Hotel across the interstate from the pool and don’t mind the walk across the pedestrian bridge to get there. There are a host of great restaurants in town to wrap up the day.

Another favorite spot is Estes Park. Located at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, the town has a delightful main street filled with good places to eat and tiny shops that merit exploration. In the fall, it is home to herds of elk. A visit into RMNP is a must, whether to hike or just to see the   We enjoy the atmosphere of the Appenzell Inn with its peaceful gardens but a stay at the Stanley Inn (The Shining ) should not be missed. For large family gatherings, try Solitude Cabins. On our list to try for a romantic trip is Della Terra Mountain Chateau.
views and wildlife. Motels abound as do condo rentals, cabins, and campgrounds. There are trail rides and an aerial tram; museums and tours, rafting and tubing and zip-lines. The Scottish-Irish Festival in September is fun-filled and a huge Christmas parade is held every Thanksgiving weekend. If you come for special events, or during elk season, reserve a room in advance.

If you have a favorite Colorado get-away, please chime in and comment. In celebration of Colorado, I will randomly gift a digital copy of Escaping Yesterday, set in 1905 in Denver’s original Elitch Gardens to one of you.  

Find me on my website/blog and Facebook at: www.pamelanowak.com or www.facebook.com/pamela.nowak.142.
You can find my books on Amazon.com Author Page- Pamela Nowak  or at your local bookstores. 
(Info provided by Authors and author sites and Helen Hunt Jackson )