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Michal Scott: Thwarting the Danger of A Single Story — Maggie Lena Walker (Contest & Excerpt)
Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Note: I posted this early because I’ll be away from my desk first thing in the morning! ~DD

Happy New Year everyone,

In One Breath Away, my heroine, Mary Hamilton, is an excellent cook who dreams of one day owning her own restaurant. She does not let her life as a former slave determine her destiny. I do my best to depict heroines who have believable flaws yet are resilient. African-American history provides me with many women upon whom I can base them. One such woman is Maggie Lena Walker, the first African-American woman bank president.

The years following the demise of Reconstruction were ones of enormous setbacks to the civil rights of the newly freed as well as those who had never been enslaved. Yet despite laws rolling back their rights and violence from groups like the Ku Klux Klan, African-Americans progressed because of people like Maggie Lena Walker.

She was born Maggie Lena Mitchell in 1864 in Richmond, Virginia. She was able to attend public schools established for African-Americans in the 1870s and trained as a teacher. She taught for three years but had to resign because she got married.

In 1881, she joined an African-American fraternal society, the Independent Order of Saint Luke, which like other fraternal orders worked for the social and financial advancement of their African-American communities. For sixteen years, she held various positions in the Order, and after becoming its General Secretary, took the organization from bankruptcy to solvency in the twenty-five years she held the position.

In 1901, she shared her vision to charter a bank, start a newspaper, and open a department store. All three came to pass. In 1903 the Saint Luke Penny Savings Bank opened its doors thus making her the first African-American female bank president. She is quoted as saying, “Let us have a bank that will take the nickels and turn them into dollars.” Her bank merged with two other banks to become the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company in 1930. It weathered the storm of the Great Depression when many other banks closed and remained the oldest Black-owned bank in continuous operation until 2005.

Despite personal tragedies and failing health, Maggie continued to model and encourage self-sufficiency in her African-American community until her death in 1934. You can learn more about this remarkable woman in Muriel Miller Branch’s article at https://encyclopediavirginia.org.

When I learn about women like Maggie Lena Walker, I am mindful of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk, “The Danger of a Single Story.” Adichie warns that “if we only hear a single story about a person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.” Writing characters like Mary Hamilton who mirror the resilience and resolve of women like Maggie Lena Walker is my way of thwarting the danger inherent in a single story.

For a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card, share in the comments fictional characters you’ve encountered who have help you thwart the danger of a single story.

One Breath Away

Sentenced to hang for a crime she didn’t commit, former slave Mary Hamilton was exonerated at literally the last gasp. She returns to Safe Haven, broken and resigned to live alone. Never having been courted, cuddled or spooned, Mary now fears any kind of physical intimacy when arousal forces her to relive the asphyxiation of her hanging. But then the handsome stranger who saved her shows up, stealing her breath from across the room and promising so much more.

Wealthy freeborn-Black Eban Thurman followed Mary to Safe Haven, believing a relationship with Mary was foretold by the stars. He must marry her to reclaim his family farm. But first he must help her heal, and to do that means revealing his own predilection for edgier sex.

Then just as Eban begins to win Mary’s trust, an enemy from the past threatens to keep them one breath away from love…

Excerpt from One Breath Away

Home at last, she’d see if meeting Eban meant this night would be good.

Since her ordeal, her sex rivaled the Chihuahuan Desert in dryness. Yet Eban’s gaze had summoned the fragrant flow that even now moistened her core. Could it be her body had finally healed? She swayed, dizzy with expectation.

The squeak of the indoor pump provided no distraction from the lingering tingle where Eban’s fingers had rested against her spine, where his lips had kissed her hand. She focused on her task to temper her excitement.

Fill the bucket. Lift the bucket. Carry the bucket. Empty the bucket. Fill the bucket. Lift the bucket. Carry the bucket. Empty the bucket.

The pans she filled slowly simmered then steamed on her small, pot-bellied stove.

Her heart seized as she fingered the simple gingham curtains covering Harvest Home’s windows. Harvest Home’s humble kitchen contrasted sharply with the trappings that had graced Mary’s Manor, her Weston restaurant expansion.

She’d looked up the word manor and decided her place would imitate that kind of luxury as much as possible. Brocaded drapes and white, linen tablecloths had dressed up the Manor’s supper room. Slipcovers made from the same linen covered the cushioned chairs. White, bone china and delicate silverware completed the picture of elegant dining she hoped to draw.

A Franklin stove, indoor pump, double sink, polished counter tops and spacious storage cupboards made the Manor’s kitchen a dream made true. Nothing lacked for the grand opening. Picturing couples enjoying themselves in her simple but elegant setting had become her favorite pastime.

Then Judah Little and his lies thwarted her plans. Thwarted. A good word. A true word.

“But not for long,” she whispered. “That dream will come true just as this dream might come true tonight.”

*~*~*

Buylink: https://amzn.to/2u5XQYY

Krysten Lindsay Hager: A Little Boost of Happiness (Excerpt)
Friday, January 21st, 2022

Lately, a lot of us could use a calm little oasis amidst the chaos in the world. Since things have been chaotic for a while now, I decided to find a hobby that helps me to relax and decompress at the end of the day. I got inspired seeing people filling their planners and journals with cute art and I decided to take the trend of “junk journaling,” to a comforting and cozy level. I use a regular 6 ring binder planner to fill with things that spark cozy feelings for me.

First, I went through photos I’ve taken that bring up warm memories and enlarged them. I printed out a picture of a ballet class puzzle that I loved as a kid because I had made up backstories for all the little girls in it. I also made a divider for the planner out of the wallpaper I had when I was a teen.

I included photos of places I love to visit (shown are pics from my trip to New York City which inspired a scene in my In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety book and a photo I took of Lake Michigan which is the setting in my YA novel, Competing with the Star). I also included pictures of my comfort TVs shows like The Great North, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, American Dad, Being Erica, and anything that brings me a little boost on the hard days. Then there’s the section I called the “Mood Booster.” In it, I keep playlists of songs with headers like uplifting, fun songs, inspirational, and comfort songs to cry along with on the days I just want something to get my emotions out without going into a full fledge sob fest.

Since I loved making collages when I was a teen, I went on Pinterest to look up things from that time period like magazine covers of my celebrity crushes back then. Being a YA author, going down memory lane also sparks new story ideas for me. I even purchased an old teen magazine from an online site and cut out some of the ads and article pictures and stuck them in the planner using double side tape. That all goes in my nostalgia section.

Flipping through this planner never fails to make me smile as it takes me out of a harsh reality and into a happier place. It’s the perfect little boost on the hard days and an inexpensive way to use your creative side.

Have you tried journaling? Is it something you’d like to give a try?

Competing with the Star

Excerpt from my YA contemporary romance (with a happily ever after ending), Competing with the Star

In this scene, Hadley is on a perfect date with her boyfriend, Nick. However, then she overhears some girls talking about how Nick has always had a crush on her friend, Simone, who just happens to be a gorgeous teen TV star. Hadley doesn’t know what to think–is her perfect relationship real or not?

“You know, this is the first time we haven’t had people watching our every move,” Nick said and then he wrapped his arms around my waist and smiled at me. I felt like I was melting and my cheeks flushed. He leaned over and kissed me.

It was the first time we had a long kiss, and it was exactly like all my YA novels described the perfect kiss—like the rest of the world had drifted away and there was just the two of us and we were so happy.

Then he kissed my forehead and just held me for a minute, and I never wanted to go back to where our parents were sitting. I just wanted to stay like this forever—in a place where everything was perfect and we were happy.

“Okay, one more kiss and I’ll let you go to the bathroom,” he said, leaning over.

I went inside the bathroom to the first stall where I overheard some girls talking.

“How awkward is it that Simone Hendrickson is with Nick Jenkins and some other chick?” said a voice a stall or two over.

“Oh, I know! I wonder if that’s to make her jealous or what? You can tell he still likes Simone so much. I mean, his arm around her when she was anxious? So sweet.”

“It’s obvious he never got over his crush on her,” the first girl said. “And they’re together all the time.”

“Yeah, I think before she saw him as a brother, but now it’s clear there’s something there.”

“He got hot. He was cute before, but now he’s hot.”

“The way he ran to her side when she was freaking out over the fun house—oh my gosh, so sweet. I legit died when he held her hand.”

“They’re adorable together, don’t you think?” “Yeah, but I feel bad for the girl he’s with. She seems clueless about what’s going on right in front of her face.”

“Mmhmm, but she looks young and dumb, so she’s probably just happy to be with him and not expecting it to last.”

I stood there feeling all the blood drain away from my face. I wanted to scream and cry, but all I could do was feel my stomach twist up. I prayed I wouldn’t throw up. Simone and Nick? No, this couldn’t be happening. She was supposed to be my friend—my guide to get me through high school. I trusted her and counted on her to be there for me. And Nick wasn’t just my boyfriend—he was my best guy friend. And even though I hadn’t gotten the courage to say it to him, I was in love with him. He was the last thing I thought about before I went to sleep, and just knowing he was out there and on my side, supporting me in everything I did, made life seem a little easier. I thought it was us against the world, and now, according to these girls in the bathroom, the “us” I believed in might not even be real.

Want to read more? Find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08W7M7FGW

About the Author

Author Bio: Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of the Cecily Taylor Series, The Star Series, Landry’s True Colors Series, and Dating the It Guy. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on Living Dayton, as well as Michigan Avenue Media Podcast.

Website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/krystenlindsay/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/krystenlindsay/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/e/B00L2JC9P2
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/krysten-lindsay-hager

Rhonda Lee Carver: Marvel Mania and an Excerpt from ALL COWBOY & HEART!
Thursday, January 20th, 2022

Are you a fan of the Marvel Heroes?

To be honest, I wasn’t…not until two years ago when my kids asked if I would have a “movie marathon” with them. Having teens, I learned to never turn down an opportunity to hang out because they’re always busy. We started with the first and worked our way through, I think, 25 more. It didn’t happen in one day or week. But over a month or so, we would all come together, with snacks and blankets, and watch the next Marvel. I can’t say that I remember all the timelines, galaxies, characters, etc, but what I will always remember is how much fun it was making memories with my family.

I do have a favorite. Guardians of the Galaxy 1&2. Do you have a favorite movie? Character?

I’m sharing pictures of a road trip my youngest and I took over the weekend and ended up at Cosi for the Marvel exhibit.

All Cowboy & Heart

Excerpt from my latest release, All Cowboy & Heart

He leaned against the edge of the dresser, savoring her with those alluring eyes, looking mighty fine. “Dusty’s an interesting name for a girl. Is that a nickname?”

“I guess my dad wanted a boy, but instead he got me.” She set the bottle down, cleared a spot on the desk then lifted herself up to sit.

“I have a feeling you gave your dad a run for his money.” One thick brow popped up over those twinkling eyes.

“I certainly surprised him a time or two. He was your traditional male role model. You know the type. A penis makes you a man and a vagina makes you good with your hands in the kitchen.” She lifted the bottle, taking another nip, starting to feel very relaxed.

“Do you cook?”

“Does boiling water count?” She wiped the back of her hand across her lips. “I’m not much for cooking or baking, but then, I never tried. I was a bit rebellious.”

“Oh, you had something to prove, huh? Always doing the complete opposite of what was expected of you.”

“A woman can do anything a man can do, sometimes better.” She crossed her legs and leaned back on her hands. “I haven’t ever needed a man, except for one thing.” Did she hear a low growl from him when she pointedly dropped her gaze to his zipper?

“Ah, come on. We’re good at loosening tight lids on jars and saving beautiful women from bastards.”

“I have one of those handy dandy rubber gadgets. Works like a charm. And eventually I would have saved myself from Griff. You were definitely a bonus though.”

“How about plunging toilets? I haven’t met a woman yet who likes that task.”

“I have the plumber’s number on speed dial. You’ll have to try harder than that, Cowboy.”

“Is that a challenge?” he asked.

“If you see fit. I’ve always liked a challenge myself.” Against her better judgement she took another drink.

His grin widened. “I’m not surprised. So, Dusty…” he said her name with an even drawl that made her toes curl. “What’s your last name?”

“Why don’t we keep some things a mystery.” She found it quite satisfying teasing him. The verbal foreplay was an absolute turn on.

“Now how’s that fair? You know my full name, my brother, and a few of my secrets.”

With a casual shrug, she handed over the bottle for him to drink. In the golden candlelight his eyes were a shade darker, like the sky before a rainfall. “We both know we didn’t come back here to talk, Cowboy.” He passed the bottle again. She licked a droplet of whiskey off her top lip as she pulled it away from her mouth.

Buy here

About the Author

Rhonda Lee Carver is a bestselling author of contemporary western and romantic suspense, but she loves to write other genres too. She’s known for writing stories that keep readers laughing, crying, gripping the edge of their seats, and screaming all in one book…like riding a virtual roller coaster. Whether she’s creating sexy cowboys or tough guys, or sassy, independent heroines, readers are sure to find strong, powerful, memorable characters that are relatable.

By day, she taps into her creative, fictional world but at some point she transitions back into reality where she’s a volleyball-stands cheerleader, homework virtuoso (at least she thinks so), amateur nurse to skinned knees, mediocre chef with some awesome microwave skills, pet-guru (all the strays show up at her house), and a Jackie of all trades for her kids who are the loves of her life. Yoga and chocolate keep her sane. Hallmark movies require cuddling up with tissues because she can be emotional. She adds a sprinkle of her own real-life adventures in each story she spins because a little truth never hurt anyone. She wouldn’t give up one thing in her crazy, chaotic, ever-amusing life, except, she might do magic tricks for the bungalow on the beach she’s had her eye on (GOALS).

Writing for Rhonda is like falling in love and finding a new best friend over and over again. Her characters will find a place inside your heart too.

She’d always like to connect with her readers: www.rhondaleecarver.com.

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K.S. Trenten: Once Upon a Symposium
Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

One of the most striking features of Plato’s classic The Symposium is Alcibaides’s entrance. It’s been edited out of televised versions due to its blatant and unapologetic homoeroticism. Alcibiades confesses his devotion to Socrates. This devotion developed after Socrates turned down his advances. In doing so, Socrates impressed Alcibiades with his desire for a deeper love, a deeper wisdom than what an attractive young man could provide with his body. Alcibiades decided to chase after Socrates from that point on, pursuing the love and wisdom embodied by the man in pursuit of them.

I’ve always been fascinated by the eternal chase, the various forms it can take. This struck me as a profoundly deep one.

Perhaps with the discomfort of a modern reader with deep matters, I made a joke out of it. I pictured Socrates with Phaedrus and Timeus in space a bit like the protagonist of Mystery Science Theater. Alcibiades would be chasing them across the universe, showing his devotion to Socrates in oddball ways, like attacking the places Socrates visited.

I mentioned this in a joking way on social media. It was A. Catherine Noon who said, “You should do it!”

Encouragement caused inspiration to flower, made me determined to give it the chance to flower. I sat down at the Peet’s Coffee in San Ramon between games at DunDraCon 2016. I’d brought my beloved Penguin classics copy from 1990 of The Symposium, the one I’d used for a core class at Cowell College, the University of California at Santa Cruz.

I started to read, remembering how much The Symposium enchanted and maddened me. Plato had such a low opinion of women, yet I was the one responding to his words, his mythology centuries later. Why couldn’t a group of women have an equally deep, intellectually arousing conversation about love?

Before long, my own symposium was in full swing. The guests were all women, only the word ‘women’ was no longer fashionable in the Intergalactic Democracy, a curious matriarchy that was an inverse of Ancient Athens. It was also a strangely magical place where food could appear on your plate, taking on the symbolic form of your words. At least it could in Agathea’s star cluster. Guests could get to the symposium just by thinking about why they wanted to go, why they wanted to accept Agathea’s invitation. Agathea, the host, could feed upon the passion within her guests’ words of love. They brought a blush to her otherwise pale cheeks.

Everything I found wondrous and frightening about technology, social media, and mythology came together in A Symposium in Space. This fear and wonder found a voice in Phaedra, my main character. In search of herself, she found love and rekindled love in surprising places.

Not that A Symposium in Space ever lost its core idea. Alcibiades became Alkibiadea, the dashing pirate queen. She’d be chasing Sokrat, my female version of Socrates across the universe in the company of Phaedra and Phaedra’s newfound spaceship, the Timea. Alkibiadea would crash my symposium as Alcibiades crashed the symposium centuries before.

My story became a science fiction tale, a fantasy, an homage to a literary classic, a crossover joke, and a Young Adult coming-of-age story all at once. No wonder it’s so hard to classify as a genre. No wonder it’s so hard to market. No wonder it holds a very special place in my heart.

Large parts of this story concern women having thought-provoking conversations. Whether they’re being pursued by space pirates or rediscovering each other as their host drinks deep of their passions at a dinner party, these women always have something important to say and to hear.

These conversations are both my homage and my comeback to Plato in all his eloquence and misogyny. They’re meant to entertain as well as inspire.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

A Symposium in Space

Phaedra and her lover, Pausania, are invited to a dinner party. Only this won’t be like any party Phaedra has ever been to. Nor does Pausania want her to go. But Phaedra is determined, even if she has to find her own way to this symposium in space.

A fateful encounter with the spaceship of her dreams and the wandering philosopher, Sokrat, lead Phaedra to a unique gathering of individuals where thoughts of love are offered up…and consumed.

Nine Star Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/a-symposium-in-space/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Symposium-Space-Feast-Words-ebook/dp/B07PGB15FY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3BPACY58MCCMV&keywords=a+symposium+in+space&qid=1552937461&s=digital-text&sprefix=A+Sympo%2Caps%2C239&sr=1-1
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130883509?ean=2940161507872
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-symposium-in-space
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/928136

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Raisa Greywood: One writer’s journey…and her knight in shining coveralls…
Monday, January 17th, 2022

My name is Raisa Greywood. I write contemporary romance. I waver back and forth between dark and comedy, but hey, life is too short to pick just one! I also write paranormal romance under the pen name Minette Moreau.🐉

A question I’m often asked is, “How/why did you start writing?”

I don’t think I’m unique—every author has been asked this at some point in their careers, and probably more than once. The answers are as individual as the authors.

The how is easy—and incredibly difficult at the same time. One simply parks their backside in a chair and…

Wait! You mean there are grammar rules? What the heck is past perfect and why do I need it? Character development? Plot? Story structure?

Aaaah!

Here’s a Raisa fun fact. Until I was somewhere around fifty years old, I thought the past perfect verb tense was a joke created by my middle school English teacher to torment me.

The why is a bit more muddled. I was teaching high school math at the time, after a long career using numbers in another field. My last formal English class was sometime during the Regan administration. I’ve always been an avid reader though. Romance, fantasy, science fiction, horror… If it was printed between two pieces of card stock, I’d likely read it.

Yep, I was the kid who read cereal boxes.

I remember being delighted beyond words when my father brought home a whole set of very cheaply printed Nancy Drew mysteries from one of his business trips. Those books went from Maryland, to Germany, to Hawaii, and finally to Ohio. Unfortunately, after so much time and so many moves, I’ve lost track of them.

As I got older, my tastes changed, and it became harder to find books that truly resonated with me. When I first started writing, I was a year away from being an empty-nester, and I had my very own happy-ever-after with my amazing husband. More on him later.

Let’s face it. I wasn’t a twenty-something virgin. Heck, I wasn’t that woman when I got married. Even then, I was separated from that archetypal heroine by a decade of experience, relationships, and a career. This isn’t to say those heroines aren’t great, but they weren’t me.

Where was the mature bisexual woman who chose a geeky engineer for her knight in shining… coveralls?

I wanted realistic characters. People of color. LGBTQ+ people. People with scars, damage, histories, and rich backstory. I remember hearing someone say something along the lines of, “Only straight white people get a happy ending.”

Calling bullshit, honey.

I finally decided something along the lines of, “If nobody is writing the books I want to read, what’s stopping me from doing it myself?”

Cue the rabbit hole.

So… I wrote. My first attempts (note the plural there) were abysmal. One was a three-hundred-thousand-word behemoth that shall never see the light of day again. My second attempt is still one of my biggest regrets.

It was a Regency romance with an older heroine, and of course, a handsome duke. The heroine’s name was Miranda. She was wrongly convicted of theft, transported to Australia, and became quite a brilliant pirate before she found her true love. I adored her!

It was a wonderful story, but I lacked the skill to do it justice. I still think about dusting it off sometimes.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, yes. Attempts. Plural. Every author has a collection of early work. We all look back on them with a mixture of fondness and horror, yet that is how we learn. We practice.

One of my dearest friends from high school convinced me to keep writing, telling me I was good. I, of course, didn’t believe her a bit.

But I kept at it.

And I got better.

I embraced the learning curve. Any skill worth doing is worth doing well.

Then I got good.

Someone commented on one of my books that she’d never laughed so much while reading a dark romance.

THAT is what I want. I want all the dark humor and scorching chemistry. It was as if my skills had finally gotten good enough to communicate my vision.

I’m a USA Today bestseller now. Remember my husband? My knight in shining coveralls? Well, he’s supported me at every step. When his parents threw me shade, he backed me up.

When they said, “It’s a phase,” he said, “Buy a fucking USA Today. My wife is in it.”

I love that man so hard. He’s the reason I do enemies-to-lovers so well. We hated each other in college. I’d like to say I fell in love with him because he’s got romance novel equipment in tight boxer briefs, but it’s really because he’s truly amazing. He’s the man who shovels snow for an elderly neighbor and won’t take money for it and spends twenty years helping with a Cub Scout pack—even though we don’t have boys.

In fact, my first published work was a joke, written for him. He loves space opera, so I wrote him one. He was impatient though and was forever bugging me for just one more chapter.

So, I gave him one.

Our house is two stories with a finished basement. When he got to the end of what I’d written, in which the heroine had faked her own death, I could hear him yell from the upper floor. He now mutters darkly about never reading another living author again.

In any case, my mother-in-law now introduces me to people. “This is my daughter-in-law, Raisa. She writes dirty books.”

I thought her caregiver was going to lose her shit.

Meanwhile, my dear friend—the one who has encouraged me all along—is still writing but is struggling. She received crushing critique from someone who isn’t her audience and doesn’t read her genre.

It’s my turn to encourage her now because I absolutely refuse to let her give up.

So many people have helped me, and the authors I once fangirled over are some of my dearest friends. In fact, Delilah Devlin—the host of this blog—is one of them.

Well, she’s one of the authors I fangirl over. Considering I just got up the nerve to send her a Facebook friend request, I’m not about to be cheeky enough to call her a friend. She’s definitely a colleague though, which is totally cool by itself.

Give me time. Delilah doesn’t know about my seriously epic bar or my selection of yummy snacks yet. I’ll have her in my clutches soon!

Yes, authors are easily bribed with food and booze.

Anyway, I digress. Quite a lot actually.

I digress so much, I had to create a second pen name because I’m constitutionally incapable of being just Raisa.

Raisa writes steamy contemporary BDSM. Minette Moreau writes steamy paranormal. But you know what? No matter who is writing the story, you can guarantee the characters are going to be snarky, sexy, and will love as deeply and as powerfully as they fight.

I’m busy with a literal crapton of projects, but if you want to catch up with me at all the usual places, find your favorite at this convenient Linktree: https://linktr.ee/RaisaGreywood.

Thanks to Delilah for inviting me to her blog, and especially special thanks to everyone who reads.

Opening Scenes… (Contest)
Sunday, January 16th, 2022

I’m a movie buff. I LOVE movies. Not artsy, serious movies, though. I love comedies, super-hero, action flicks, horror (not slasher!), bad romcoms, B-movie disaster and sci-fi (the goofy Sharknado/Eight-Legged Freaks kind of movies are among my favorites).

I can usually tell at the opening whether it’s going to be a movie that will hold my attention to the end. I love it when a movie tells you up front what the movie or the main character is all about.

The absolute best opening scene I’ve ever watched (IMHO) is the opening to What about Bob? You meet Bob and know everything about the conflicts he faces every day in those first minutes. Watch the video below to see what I mean. Get past the credits, though. The scene starts at 1:13 minutes. It’s hilarious, endearing, and you’re already just as anxious as Bob is about facing his world.

Contest

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me what opening scene of a movie you loved!

A. Catherine Noon: 2021–The Year That Was
Friday, January 14th, 2022

2021. Phew. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad it’s over. It was a difficult year in many, many ways.

It’s over, and we can start completely over, fresh, like new.

But here’s the thing: if we do that, we lose all the momentum of good things that we’ve built up to this point. If we start over, like nothing happened, then what? Not all that happened in the year was bad. Maybe it’s a hike we took, or a walk, or a meal. Something good, if we look for it.

Okay, so how do we know that? How do we focus on the good stuff, keep the momentum of the good going, without drowning in the bad?

Try this: Mia Rose, a psychologist and coordinator of the popular women’s group SoulWoman Circles, suggests we try looking in our phone. Call up our pictures that we’ve taken over the year. Look through them and see what you focused on. Is it family? Meals? Natural surroundings? Through that, you can find the positive threads that occurred last year for yourself.

I love rhododendrons. Locals call them “rhodis.” They grow wild here in Washington State and Oregon. They bloom every spring in an explosion of colors – whites, pinks, fuchsias, reds, yellows, oranges, even multi-colored ones. We bought a home in Duvall, WA, right at the end of 2020; it’s our first home. We have a rhodi out front by our mailbox, and she bloomed in Spring and it’s just gorgeous.

This is a shot of Rattlesnake Lake, a natural area outside of Seattle. It’s just down from a water reservoir. We took ourselves off there with the dog, wandering around the perimeter of the lake (no rattlesnakes, which disappointed my husband). It was interesting to go and wander, without expectations, and without demanding anything of the place.

What about you? What good things, even little tiny ones, did you do last year?

“My own experience has taught me this: if you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured it may never arrive.”
~ Maurice Chevalier