Archive for May, 2014

While I’m running hither and yon today, Victorian author Sandra Schwab will entertain you!! Please give her a warm welcome to the blog!!

Four years ago I fell in love with nineteenth-century periodicals. It all started quite harmlessly when in 2010 I was invited to speak at the annual conference of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals. I had already done some research on the satirical magazine Punch, in particular on the artist Richard Doyle, who worked for the magazine in the 1840s. But it was at that conference that I really fell in love with Victorian periodicals. After my return home I got lucky and found a reasonably priced collection of all Punch volumes from 1841 to 1891 online. I bought it—155 pounds of Mr. Punch! When the packages finally arrived, I was so happy that I burst into tears (which might have disconcerted the postman a little…).


Since Mr. Punch moved into my sitting room, much of my academic research has focused on the 1840s. It was only recently that I realized I could use this research for my creative work as well. Thus, the idea for my new series about the writers and artists working for the fictional magazine and my series,  Allan’s Miscellany was born.

The upheavals that shook the publishing world in the early nineteenth century were just as momentous as the changes that are happening in our time. Thanks to the rise of the middle classes, technological improvements, and higher literacy rates, the market for periodicals grew exponentially: It is estimated that about 4000 periodicals were launched between 1790 and 1832. In other words, there was suddenly a mass market for newspapers and magazines.

The latter covered every topic under the sun: there were sporting magazines and art magazines and music magazines and magazines about botany and horticulture. The Lady’s Magazine, or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex (1770-1847) was the first to explicitly target a female readership. In terms of content, the magazine set the example for other women’s magazines that followed: it contained articles on various subjects as well as fiction, poetry, music (on fold-outs), exemplary biographies (often illustrated), sometimes short descriptions of the latest dresses and fashions (with plates), and a pattern for decorative needlework.

What was missing, though, was a recipe section and a column with domestic advice. The reason for this was that the magazine was targeted at upper-class women who had servants to do all the household work for them. In this, too, the magazine set the model for other women’s magazines of the early nineteenth century: they were all expensive and they were all meant for an upper-class readership. This changed only in the 1850s and 60s when the older ladies’ magazines disappeared and were replaced by new periodicals targeted at middle class women. The most famous and most popular of these was Samuel Beeton’s The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine (1852-79).


There were often more general magazines, often referred to as “miscellanies” because they covered a variety of different topics and contained book reviews, theatre reviews, articles on literature and science, opinion articles, and poetry. I imagined Allan’s Miscellany as one of these periodicals.

In The Bride Prize, the first story of the series, Allan’s Miscellany is only a few months old, and the staff consists of a grand total of two people: William MacNeil, editor and writer, and Robert Beaton, writer and chief — well, only — artist. Robbie knows that they need a big break if the magazine is to survive, and so he drags Mac to what must have been one of the strangest (and quirkiest!!!) events of the period: the Eglinton Tournament of 1839, where a group of noblemen donned medieval armor to joust like knights of old.





It’s 1839, and Lord Eglinton’s tournament in Scotland is the most anticipated event of the year: he and some of his noble friends will don medieval armor and joust like knights of old.

Does this mean a revival of true chivalry? Miss Florence Marsh thinks it might.

Or is the tournament mere tomfoolery and the greatest folly of the century? Mr. Robert Beaton thinks it is.

But when Flo and Robbie meet at Eglinton Park, they’ll soon learn that a dash of romance can make the greatest differences look rather small and that true love might find you in the most unlikely place.

An excerpt can be found here.

Buy links:

Regular edition:

Amazon US ~   Amazon UK ~ Kobo

B&N will follow soon

Enhanced edition:

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

Kobo and B&N will follow soon


About Sandra

Schwab2Sandra Schwab started writing her first novel when she was seven years old. Thirty-odd years later, telling stories is still her greatest passion, even though by now she has exchanged her pink fountain pen of old for a black computer keyboard. Since the release of her debut novel in 2005, she has enchanted readers worldwide with her unusual historical romances.

She lives in Frankfurt am Main / Germany with a sketchbook, a sewing machine, and an ever-expanding library.

Link up with Sandra on any of her social medial sites!

website: http://www.sandraschwab.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScribblingSandy

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SandraSchwab.Author


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This is the advice I wish I would have gotten when I was finishing my first book!!

Writers In The Storm Blog

proofreading, Writers In The Stormby Jenny Hansen, @JennyHansenCA

Editing and Proofreading: Two separate processes that equal one great story.

Like most writers, I hang out with a boatload of other writers. Still, I never saw much of other peoples’ works in progress until I coordinated a contest several years ago. Coordinating contests changed the way I see writing. Period. It was a window into both sides of the submission process.

Plus, I saw firsthand one of the important talents that separates the amateurs from the professionals: the ability to both edit and proofread.

In novel-writing, editing is King and proofreading is Queen.

Professional writers, whether published or pre-published know: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.They work hard to make a great first impression.

As a contest coordinator, I had to read every piece of paper sent between the judges and the contestants to ensure everyone played nice with each other. (It should…

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This is a wonderful post to keep you headed towards your goals!!

Writers In The Storm Blog

Turning Whine into Gold
By Kathryn Craft,@KCraftWriter

Last year, Janice Gable Bashman and I co-wrote an article for Writer’s Digest Magazine, The 7 Deadly Sins of Self-Editing, that turned out to be quite popular. Apparently sinning resonated with writers (go figure!) who recognized that greed, lust, gluttony, pride, sloth, envy, and wrath might be waiting to trip up their creative souls.

But recognizing pitfalls is only half the battle when seeking a fruitful career and a meaningful life. We know what to avoid—but what should we be reaching for?

The Four Agreements, Kathryn CraftMany years ago I found great answers within the Toltec wisdom that inspired Don Miguel Ruiz’s 1997 book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom.

It’s a little book with a big message. Embracing its wisdom improved all aspects of my life. Today, however, I want to look at what the first tenet has…

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Happy Sunday! I’ve finally recovered from the Romantic Times Readers Convention! It was so great to meet some of you there!

Let’s start with winners! Congratulations to Carol Cork who won a copy of Collette Cameron’s book and Ki Pha who won Ally Broadfield’s book!!

The street team is becoming a reality. Congratulations to Ki Pha who picked the winning name, The Quinsters! I’ve set up the Facebook page. Please let me know if you’d like to join.

Because I didn’t get to post on my blog at all and only posted a little on Facebook and Twitter. I’ll leave you with some pictures of RT and New Orleans.

Here I am at the Kensington float for the RT Mardi Gras Parade.

Me at the RT Madi Gras


Finally I have real books to sign. Hmm, that eight more pounds to loose should probably be fifteen.

me at the book signing


These snow globes were lovely.Snow globe 001


One cannot have RT without male models who obviously like romance books.

Models with my book

For those of you who know, beignets are a huge deal in New Orleans. I’m not a powdered sugar fan so I asked for mine naked. The server knew what she was doing and gave me a separate bag of powdered sugar. They really are better with it.

Naked Beignet

My only day to walk around the French Quarter. It reminds me a lot of the Caribbean.

Cafe B.

Cat in antique shopGuard cat in an antique store







French Quarter

New Orleans







Poison Rings









On Sunday we had the SOS Military Tribute. I sang with the Army, of course, but here are Lindsey McKenna and the Navy group. Navy siging







Eileen Dreyer has a number of family members that have served, so she sang with more than one group. Eileen Dryer at SOS


Kim from SOS Aloha Blog puts the tribute together every year. Here is a video she did of pictures sent by readers as well as seven of us Rom-vets. Please take time to look at it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75zN5FwdGqY&feature=youtu.be

Now I’m home. View of Bay


How was your week. Did you get to RT? Will you attend the one next year in Dallas?


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Collette has a new book coming out, so I had to have her back on the blog! Naturally, she’ll give a copy of the book to one of you who tells her you want it.

Without further to do, I give you the cover.

TheEarlsEnticement3_850 3rd


And the blurb:

She won’t be tamed.

A fiery, unconventional Scot, Adaira Ferguson wears breeches, swears, and has no more desire to marry than she does to follow society’s dictates of appropriate behavior. She trusts no man with the secret she desperately protects.

He can’t forget.

Haunted by his past, Roark, the Earl of Clarendon, rigidly adheres to propriety, holding himself and those around him to the highest standards, no matter the cost. Betrayed once, he’s guarded and leery of all women.

Mistaking Roark for a known spy, Adaira imprisons him. Infuriated, he vows vengeance. Realizing her error, she’s appalled and releases him, but he’s not satisfied with his freedom. Roark is determined to transform Adaira from an ill-mannered hoyden to a lady of refinement.

He succeeds only to discover, he preferred the free-spirited Scottish lass who first captured his heart.

If you need more convincing, here is an excerpt:

Casting one last look over her shoulder, she opened the heavy door. She deftly nudged the bulky bundle onto the landing with her foot. With the buckets looped over one arm, she made quick work of lighting the lantern. Then, she shoved her way through the partially open doorway. Seldom used hinges squeaked and groaned in protest. She swallowed.

Had no one opened it since . . .?

Grimacing, she laid a shaky hand across her knotted middle. Possibly not.

She edged the thick wooden slab shut. It closed with a portentous thunk. One hand on the cold, stone wall for balance, she turned and peered into the blackness. The heavy air settled around her, its cool dampness thick and suffocating. For a moment, she couldn’t breathe. Adaira closed her eyes, fighting to draw air into her lungs.

The lamp sputtered and hissed. Her eyes flew open. Her heart thudded loudly in her ears.

Please, don’t go out.

The flickering stopped. The weak flame leaped to life. The orangey-red fought against its glass constraints before yielding to the inevitable. Adaira’s nose twitched at the acrid smell of burning oil.

She’d not be surprised if bats weren’t hanging by their horrid little curled toes on the beams far above her head. She cast a hurried glance upward. Nothing. Thank God. Rats and mice she tolerated. But bats? No. Not since she’d hidden in a cave when she was eight and disturbed a colony of the little flying devils.

Her gaze raked the stairwell once more. Blast, but it was black as the Earl of Hell’s waistcoat.

There was a time when the darkness hadn’t bothered her. Back then, she used to visit the lower chambers regularly. Well, truth to tell, she’d sneaked into them to avoid her lessons from the time she was twelve until four years ago.


Collette CameronAbout Collette:

Award winning, Amazon best-selling, and multi-published historical romance author, Collette Cameron, has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in Teaching. A Pacific Northwest Native, Collette’s been married for thirty years, has three amazing adult children, and five dachshunds. Collette loves a good joke, inspirational quotes, flowers, the beach, trivia, birds, shabby chic, and Cadbury Chocolate. You’ll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels. Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, or too many flowers. She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list.

Connect with Collette:

Website     Blue Rose Romance Blog   Twitter   Facebook

You can connect with Collette on Goodreads, LinkedIn, and Google+ too. Go to her website for the links, her email address, and mailing address.

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Please welcome debut author Ally Broadfield to the blog! Ally is going to tell you about her Regency romance, Just a Kiss. She’ll be giving away some swag as well!!

As always we’ll start with the lovely cover.



Now the blurb:

Charlotte Lightwood has one season to find a husband or she’ll be forced to marry her guardian’s loathsome cousin. With no title or dowry, she doesn’t have much hope of making a good match. Sebastian Wilkinson, the Earl of Marley, has been the most eligible bachelor on the marriage mart for more years than he cares to count and is very aware of his duty to marry a woman who will add to the wealth and stature of his title. Sebastian makes Charlotte an offer she can’t refuse: he will pretend to court her to help her attract more suitors in exchange for her advice about which ladies he should pursue. As they work together, their mutual attraction grows. When they realize they just might be perfect for one another, they must decide whether to bow to the dictates of society or follow their hearts.


And the excerpt:

Charlotte studied the man standing next to Elizabeth. Something about him instantly drew her to him, something in his confident bearing and the way a mischievous smile played across his lips. Laughter danced in his eyes.

Elizabeth smiled brightly. “Lord Marley, may I present Miss Charlotte Lightwood.” She gestured to Charlotte. “Charlotte, this is Lord Marley.”

Lord Marley took her hand, sending an unfamiliar sensation buzzing through her. They both froze for an instant before he bowed. “It is a pleasure to meet you. Lady Lightwood has assured me you are available for the next dance. Please soothe my nerves by confirming she is not mistaken.”

Elizabeth nudged her, and in a whisper that could surely be heard on the other side of the ballroom, said, “Lord Marley is one of the most eligible bachelors on the market this season. He requested the introduction, though I can’t imagine why.”

Heat rushed to her cheeks. “I am not engaged, my lord.” She surreptitiously glanced around them to see if anyone had heard Elizabeth.

Lord Marley clenched his jaw before leading her onto the dance floor. When the warmth of his touch penetrated the fabric of her gown, she inhaled the scent of sandalwood with a hint of citrus, and her pulse thrummed. She couldn’t prevent herself from flashing him a smile. The noise of the ballroom faded into a harmonious cacophony as they settled into the waltz.

Overly wealthy, overly charming, overly good-looking, he could have any woman he desired. As she lacked both title and dowry, she could think of no reason why Lord Marley would have any interest in her. She narrowed her eyes.

Lord Marley nodded to the couples surrounding them, but when he met her gaze, his serene countenance disappeared. “Why do you look at me with such abhorrence? I assure you I have no nefarious designs upon your person.”

“I’m certain you have no designs, nefarious or otherwise, upon my person.”

He smiled widely, but made no response.

She lifted her brows. “Which begs the question, my lord, why did you request to dance with me?”

He deftly swung her away from a collision with an encroaching couple. “Miss Lightwood, you are one of the most beautiful and sought-after ladies in attendance. I merely seek my turn to be the object of your attention. You must stop frowning at me or everyone shall think I’ve said something inappropriate.” His knee brushed against her leg through the thin silk of her gown, and the intimate touch sent a shiver through her.

Though she couldn’t discern what he might want from her, she knew she couldn’t afford to alienate one of the richest and most powerful men in London. She softened her expression and immediately became lost in his clear blue eyes.

His gaze captured and held hers for several heartbeats before he cleared his throat and spoke again. “I have a proposition for you.”

Her breath caught in her throat. She couldn’t fathom anything he might offer that would be proper for her to accept.

“I thought perhaps we could be of assistance to one another.” He studied her face as if waiting for a response.

Charlotte swallowed. “Please continue.”

“I have heard that you are coming out under less than ideal conditions.” He inclined his head, and she nodded in agreement. Less than ideal was certainly one way to put it. “I propose to show you my favor, which will attract the attention of other suitors.”

She stiffened. “They will think you are courting me.”

His smile widened. “Exactly, and they will view you as a potential match because of my regard.”

An image of Horace popped into her head. “I agree to your proposition.” She held her breath, hoping her quick response hadn’t made her appear desperate.

Lord Marley laughed, a sound as crisp and refreshing as the first autumn breeze. “Wait. I haven’t finished yet.”

Her stomach dropped, and she took a deep, steadying breath. “Of course there’s more. What do you expect from me in return?”

“You needn’t look at me with trepidation. I saw you speaking with Princess Tarasova earlier, and thought you might be willing to assist me with my plans to court her.”

His words left an indelible gash on her heart. Of course he couldn’t actually court her, and the princess was an obvious choice for him, but it still hurt to hear him say it so pragmatically. “What, precisely, do you expect me to do?”

He shrugged. “Give me some insight into her, what she likes and dislikes. Provide me with the type of information that will assist me in winning her hand. Information that other suitors won’t have.”

She studied him before responding. She would be foolish to refuse him, but she felt a pang of guilt over feeding him information about the princess, the only person who had made any attempt to show her friendship since she’d arrived in London. In fact, if it hadn’t been for her kindness, Charlotte would have run from the ball after those girls made such disparaging remarks about her. On the other hand, Lord Marley’s attention would attract the notice of other men and could be her only chance to avoid having to marry Horace. “I believe I shall need more time to consider your proposition.”

“Naturally,” he agreed.

The music had stopped, and they were the only ones still standing on the dance floor. Lord Marley took a step back from her, tucking her arm through his and escorting her to Elizabeth.

“Until we meet again, Miss Lightwood.” He bowed and kissed her hand. Excitement fluttered in her stomach.

The moment he left her side, three other gentlemen approached Elizabeth for an introduction. After more than an hour of nonstop dancing, Charlotte had to acknowledge that Lord Marley’s plan could work.


Buy Links:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Entangled Publishing (for all options)


bio pic largeAbout Ally:

Ally lives in Texas and is convinced her house is shrinking, possibly because she shares it with three kids, five dogs, a cat, a rabbit, and several reptiles. Oh, and her husband.  She likes to curse in Russian and spends most of her spare time letting dogs in and out of the house and shuttling kids around. She writes historical romance set in Regency England and Imperial Russia


Social Media Links:

Website: http://allybroadfield.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/allybroadfield

Twitter: http://twitter.com/abroadfield



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Sorry I’m sooo late with this. It did not work out time wise yesterday.

Let’s see what you’re working on or just finished. Try to keep it short. Here is mine, completely unedited first draft, from my as yet unnamed 7th book for The Marriage Game.

Rupert, Earl of Stanstead, turned as his cousin Robert, Viscount Beaumont caught up with him. “I thought you were coming home with me?”

Before Robert had met his wife, Serena, he’d been the worst rake in England. Now his world seemed to revolve around his wife and baby daughter, Elizabeth. Rupert had never before seen such a sudden and permanent transformation. “Sorry. I was waylaid by Lord Banks.” Rupert ran his palm down his face. “I’ll go with you now.”

His cousin’s gaze sharpened. “What did he say to you to put you in such a mood?”

“Warned me away from his daughter.” Not that he had any clear idea who she was, but, apparently, she’d been part of a bevy of young ladies walking in the Park yesterday. “I am too young to have serious intentions, and he’d thank me not to raise her hopes. He has five other daughters and needs to marry her off.” Robert’s lips tightened, and Rupert went on, “He did say that the girl he has coming out in about six years might do. By then, I’d be of sufficient age and maturity.”


“My thoughts precisely. Even if I can’t remember her, I expect to hear similar warnings from other fathers. He suggested I find a mistress.”

“You have one already.” Robert linked his arm with Rupert’s as they strolled down the street toward St. James Park.

“I had one.” Rupert paused, selecting his words. “It’s not what I want. After seeing what my mother and father and you and Serena have, I desire nothing more than a family.”

His cousin was quiet for a few moments as they strode through Green Park, then said, “I don’t want to dissuade you. Quite frankly, I don’t think I could. You suffer what I now call the “Beaumont Syndrome.” When we want something we go after it and damn all else to hell. What I think you should consider is whether or not you’re not giving yourself the time to find the right lady. For the better part of a year, you pursued Miss Manning, even after she’d made it clear that she wanted a different sort of life than you offered. One cannot have a successful marriage when one’s goals aren’t the same.”

Rupert had to give the devil his due. He had been so focused on gaining Miss Manning’s hand in marriage; he’d failed to even notice her interest in Lord Peter and his interest in her. They both wanted nothing more than the life of a diplomat. She would have been miserable living in England all the time. But Rupert didn’t feel too young. He’d come into his title at an early age, and even when he’d been on his Grand Tour, missed his estate and his seat in the Lords. Now that he’d returned, and despite his age, he was becoming influential in political circles. “What do you suggest?”

“Stand back a bit.” Robert smiled. “At some point, there will be a lady whom you can’t ignore. She’ll dominate every waking thought and haunt your dreams. You’ll want to fight every man who asks her to dance or accompanies her during the Grand Strut.”

“You make it sound like an obsession.”

He nodded slowly. “In a way it is, but it’s more. You’d lay down your life for her.”

“Is that what you felt for Serena?”

“All that and more. Nothing could compare. Later, after I’d almost lost her, I realized that what I’d thought was love before was a weak imitation.” He glanced over at Rupert. “Did you feel that way about Miss Manning?”

Now let’s see yours!!

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Greetings from New Orleans and please welcome historical author, Amara Royce! Amara is here today with a wonderful post. She’ll also give away one copy of her latest book to one of you who tells her you want the book!

The Art of the Floating World

One of the sometimes frustrating yet fascinating things about writing historical romance is that sometimes the most interesting research I do doesn’t actually end up in my books. I find myself delving into these rich and intriguing rabbit holes of history, but they don’t always fit into the story. That happened to me while writing ALWAYS A STRANGER, which features a half-Japanese heroine named Hanako, who is a performer at London’s Great Exhibition of 1851. Amid my research and exploration, I became enthralled by ukiyo-e.

Ukiyo-e refers to the art of Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo (Tokugawa) period (1615-1868). While the subjects of such prints ranged widely, 18th century ukiyo-e tended to focus on depicting the pleasure districts, including courtesans and kabuki performers. “Ukiyo” translates into “the floating world” and came to refer to that subculture of fleeting hedonistic pleasure.

I didn’t overtly refer to ukiyo-e artwork in ALWAYS A STRANGER, but some of the art definitely influenced how I imagined Hanako and her companions. The spare lines and aesthetics of this artwork contrast sharply with Western art of the time and serve as a stark visual reminder of how different these cultures were. Adrift in a such an unfamiliar world, Hanako strives to find a safe and welcoming place not just for herself but for those she loves and protects.

You can find more information about ukiyo, as well as some stunningly beautiful examples, at the Metropolitan Museum, New York (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/ukiy/hd_ukiy.htm) and the Library of Congress, DC (http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/ukiyo-e/image.html).

Always A Stranger (eBook)

Now the blurb:

When two worlds collide, anything is possible. . .

An international affair, London’s Great Exhibition has taken the city by storm. As its newest Royal Commissioner, Lord Skyler Ridgemont must ensure the performers are properly contracted. Among them is the delicate and graceful Hanako Sumaki. Draped in vivid silk robes, Hanako’s exotic Japanese fan dance captivates Skyler–and he longs to learn more about her. . .

But Hanako’s enigmatic employer keeps his exquisite charge very close. The consummate artist, she shows the handsome nobleman many faces, but never her true heart, which holds a desperate secret. When Skyler learns the real reason Hanako has been brought to London, he will risk his entire world to win her trust–and save her from losing both body and soul. It’s a feat that will require the type of courage only love can give. . .


1 About Amara:

Amara Royce writes historical romances that combine her passion for 19th-century literature and history with her addiction to Happily Ever Afters. She earned a PhD in English, specializing in 19th-century British literature, from Lehigh University and a Master’s degree in English from Villanova University, and she now teaches English literature and composition at a community college in Pennsylvania. When she isn’t writing, she’s either grading papers or reveling in her own happily ever after with her remarkably patient family.

Amara’s Kensington Books page  

Web site



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I’m headed to the Romantic Times Convention in New Orleans. If you’re still around, I invite you to post the first page of your latest release, Work in Progress, or a book you just finished. Feel free to post media or buy links.

Here is mine from Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret,book # 5 in The Marriage Game which releases in August.


Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret

Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret

July 1816, St. Thomas, Danish West Indies

Miss Eugénie Villaret de Joyeuse followed Gunna, an old black slave, down a narrow back street lined with long houses in Crown Prince’s Quarter. Her maid, Marisole, stood watch as Eugénie and the woman entered the building.

“He be here, miss.”

A baby, not older than one year, sat in the corner of the room playing with a rag doll. His only clothing was a clout, which, by the strong scent of urine, needed to be changed.

She and Gunna and the boy were the only occupants of the cramped, dark room. She crouched down next to the child. “What happened to his mother?”


Naturally; why did she even bother to ask? It was cruel to separate a mother and child, but there was no law against it here.


Buy links: Amazon US ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon DE ~ Amazon FR ~ Amazon UK

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!! I wish all you mothers, mothers-in-law, and prospective mother’s a very happy day!!

This got me thinking about my mother. She died a few years ago in her early 70’s. Way too soon from my perspective, and I miss her nearly every day. Especially when I need to talk to someone, and I know she would have completely understood.

Here is her picture. This was taken in 1968. I have photos of her in later years, but, and I don’t know why, this is always how I remember her.


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