Have you ever rode the rails?

0Barb 028

Have you ever rode a long journey on a train? It’s a blast.


My love for the train goes way back to my grandpa who had been an engineer for the Milwaukee Road and drove the Hiawatha from Minneapolis to Chicago and points beyond. My dad loved the train. He brought me twice to Chicago over the Thanksgiving long weekend when I was fifteen and sixteen years old.

Dad with my boys. 1978

Looking out across the plains and watching the world go by will always be in my memory. I remember riding in the dome car and eating in the dining car as well as having a soda in the lounge.  Both trips, we spent two nights in Chicago. Dad knew his way around Chicago. We traveled all over the city via the L-train. It was so much fun to be alone with my dad.


The old depot in Duluth, MN, also has train rides. One year for our anniversary, we rode the pizza train! It brought us to and from Two Harbors, traveling along the coast of Lake Superior. It came so close to the water, that I swear I saw fish swim.

When my husband and I went to Norway and Sweden, we took the train to northern Norway, transferred to a ferry and then enjoyed the fjords. The trip was marvelous.

Currently, my husband and I are planning a train trip across the Canadian Rockies in 2018 onboard a train. I’m excited.


My next book is an historical mystery which is set on a Zephyr train during the fall of 1943.  A body is found in the Chicago rail yard. Come and ride along with the passengers and enjoy the dining car and lounge while my two characters, Brita and Ron, search for the killer.  It is titled, BODY ON THE TRACKS. It’s scheduled for publication by the end of the year. Please sign up for my newsletter on my website.



Barb’s Books 







I’m saying ‘thank you’ to all who post images online.




Dumbest Thing I’ve Done by Cher’ley


This Blog  by Cher’ley Grogg

Fashion woman portrait

Over on the SDL Facebook wall, Dan Pearce asked: what was the most hilariously stupid thing you’ve ever done?

He got 24 favorite answers. Here are 3:

  1. I stopped at Hollister and inspected one of the sweaters on their mannequins. Only it wasn’t a mannequin. It was a guy waiting for his girlfriend to finish trying on clothes.
  2. When I was pregnant with our oldest I once waited for more than an hour for my husband to pick me up from work. I called him, madder than blazes that he hadn’t come to get me. After listening to my upset he very calmly informed me that I had the car.
  3. My mother, not wanting to lose my dad in the crowd at Disneyland, stuck her fingers down the back of my dad’s pants. She gave him several affectionate bare skin pats. Of course, my dad saw what she was doing, and walked behind her laughing. She was tagging behind the wrong man all the time. I remember this polite fellow did not mind in the least!

Dumbest Thing I’ve Done

I was displaying my art in a local festival when someone told me this fairly famous artist was also displaying his art at the festival. I went to school with the person and I wondered if he remembered me. I found his display and his father was filling in for him. I started a conversation.  “I went to school with your son.” He answered, “I don’t think so.” “Yes, it was from the 8th grade on.” He looked at me and without blinking an eye or cracking a smile he said, “My son is 16.” I looked a little harder at this old man and realized I was talking to the artist instead of his father. “Sorry, I thought you were someone else,” I whispered as I slunk off.

I blurt out things sometimes like, “Congratulations on your pregnancy!” Answer: “I’m not pregnant.” That’s a hard one to get out of.

Or when I fall down I don’t first check to see if I’m hurt, I first check to see if anyone saw me.

There are stories from several authors about the escapades of boys. Some of them are so funny you will nearly bust a gut laughing. Del wrote about being a 5-year-old who ran away from home with his best friend. You can only imagine the trouble he got in. Our own Mike Staton has a few stories in it, as well as 11 other authors.

Boys Will Be Boys   


What’s the funniest thing you’ve done? 


Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. Her newest book is an Advanced Coloring Book and she has one that is freshly published with 11 other authors.

Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

Four Moons and Fair Ladies Four Moons and Fair Maidens

Memories from Maple Street U.S.A: Pawprints on My Heartlink coming soon

Wonders of Water      Advanced Coloring Book

And please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

New airts and pairts!


This post is by Nancy Jardine. 

“You’re going to where?” Silence ensues…. Some people like holidaying in familiar places with no intentions of trying out anything new. Others prefer to seek out new destinations and try out new foods and experience unfamiliar customs.

Vienna 2 own photo Dscf0034

My family tend to fall into the latter category. For four decades my husband travelled the world for business reasons and my daughters and I joined him at some of the locations during our school vacations (them being pupils; me a teacher). Other family holidays were to locations just because none of us had ever been there.

As my daughters became adults a friendly family rivalry evolved by the time they were choosing their own holiday destinations. The high point was when both daughters decided to experience more of what the world had to offer during a ‘gap’ year after they finished their university degrees.

D 1: “Dad, have you ever been to Ushuaia?” Knowing quite well he hadn’t D 1 awaited some cheeky quip.

Dad: “Ha! Nope, but I’ll see if I can wangle a trip to Tierra Del Fuego before you get there. At least I know where it is!”

South America DSC00191
South America- 

So off went D1 on her world trip. Her first landing point out of the UK was Rio De Janeiro after which she spent a few months investigating pretty well the whole of South America. Then it was off to New Zealand and navigating the globe in a westerly direction for the rest of that ‘year out’ before the world of work beckoned. During it she went to a good number of places Dad had never been to. Many drool moments from Dad.

That same year D2 decided to spend time on the northern North American continent. Dad had been to many US states, and some places in Canada but…

Yukon territory

D2: “Dad, I’ve got it all planned! Have you ever been to Alaska?”  Again, knowing full well he had not been to that part of the US. There were some lovely grunts in the background and some evil leers behind her back.

Dad: “No, I haven’t but I have been to Newfoundland.”

D2: “Well, I’ll be spending 5 months working in Vancouver, Canada, then I’m moving north to the Yukon for a while and I’ll be sure to pop across into Alaska. You’ve not been there?” Massive teasing going on now. “After that I’m going to head east in a VW Camper Van to Hudson Bay, Nova Scotia, and fly home from Toronto.”  Dad had been to only a few of the  places on her trip. D2’s road trip right across Canada had plenty of diversions to include all provinces/territories. Excessive drool moments from Dad even though he was journeying to new locations like India and Indonesia that year.

Me? I was teaching 11-12 year olds by day and living vicariously via scary emails at night as I plotted everyone else’s locations on a world map and prayed that they survived sky diving, and walks across glaciers, and visits to volcanoes and mudflats and …swamps full of alligators and crocodiles and big grizzly bear encounters. I did, however, get some lovely photos of partially labelled locations to whet my appetite. 

The years went by, the destinations varied and the friendly family ‘one-up-manship’ continued. But change is inevitable…or is it?

A few months ago my husband celebrated his 70th birthday but the strangest thing is that he now doesn’t want to fly anywhere. When the subject of a special birthday vacation came up he totally surprised me by declaring he wanted to experience a cruise ship holiday. This type of event would have been anathema to him decades ago but hey! we’re both a lot older. Warming up to the idea of a cruise I thought of the lovely possibilities. A cruise on the River Nile was something I yearned for years ago, or one on the Rhine, or maybe to Barbados, or the far east… Warm places, exotic food, blue skies and red gold sunsets – Exciting!

Hubby: “I’ve found the perfect cruise.”

Me: “Fabulous! Where does it go?”

Hubby: “I’ve chosen one which leaves from Rosyth.” (near Edinburgh, Scotland)

Well, that took flights right out of the itinerary. To embark the ship all we need to do is take a coach trip of about three hours to Edinburgh to reach the cruise liner.

Me: “Okay! So where are we cruising to?”

Hubby: (huge smile on his face) “Greenland!”

Tasilaq Greenland summer sunset
Tasiilaq Greenland – Wikimedia Commons

Nobody in the family has ever been to Greenland.

The above photo is from Wikimedia because I don’t yet have any photos. It is labelled as “Night shot of Tasiilaq, eastern Greenland in the summer.” Note that it’s still a wee bitty icy. I confess to being somewhat surprised by his declaration but once over the initial ‘cold’ shock I warmed to the idea. A flight we’d taken this time last year from London to Las Vegas flew over Greenland and northern Canada and the sights below my cabin window were breathtaking. (I blogged about that trip last year, one of the super highlights being a short meet-up with fellow Wranglers blogger Mike Staton! I can hardly believe it was almost a year since that happened.)

We’re also visiting three locations in  Iceland – new to hubby and me but not to D1.

And then we’ll be stopping at two places in Norway.  We’ve all been to Stavanger and Bergen,  but Olden and Alesund will be new to me and I know I’ll love them. (D2’s visited them during her time on the Tall Ships sailing competitions and even went further north to Trondheim but Hubby and I have decided to conveniently forget about that! 😉 )

I won’t be taking copious amounts of sun dresses for the trip but I will be packing my thick ski jacket.

If you’ve read any of my contemporary mysteries you’ll already know that I’ve written in lots of destinations that I’ve visited with hubby – locations in the US, European cities like Amsterdam, Paris, Heidelberg, Barcelona and then there’s the Caribbean and the Middle East.

Where do you think I might be writing about later this autumn? That’s if my trip proves to be inspirational! (Look forward to me sharing lots of photos on another blog post, even though I’m a lousy photographer.)

We leave in three days so I’d best start packing the evening wear for the fine dining and my winter woollies for exploring the destinations! I’m not sure about hubby yet, but I’m now very excited about this new type of holiday to virgin ‘airts and pairts’.

3 mysteries new TENancy Jardine writes contemporary mysteries in fabulous worldwide locations. Get a taster of new horizons as you solve the mysteries.


She also writes Romano/ British historical fiction and time travel adventures, set in the 1st and 3rd centuries A.D.

CFS words


She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Scottish Association of Writers and the Federation of Writers Scotland. She’s published by Crooked Cat Books and has delved into self publishing.

You can find her at these places:

Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk  Website: www.nancyjardineauthor.com/   Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG & http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G

email: nan_jar@btinternet.com  Twitter https://twitter.com/nansjar

Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5139590.Nancy_Jardine


Fathers-the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by Cher’ley


This Blog by Cher’ley Grogg



I’ll start with the Ugly first. Some Father’s are Ugly, you can search for those photos yourself because I’m sure yours is not Ugly, but there are some ugly thingsImage result for Ugly lounge chair contest

Dads’ want to keep like this chair. Ties and T-shirts from the good ole days are probably still hanging in his closet. He may even still have the first cell phone he ever owned or a corn cob pipe. This leads me to a great article I read about Father’s Day gifts.


The 5 Worst Kinds of Father’s Day Gifts, and What to Buy Instead By Brad Tuttle

ugly ties in a pileI wrote a poem one time about a man knew how much he was loved by the number of ties in his closet. It was a funny poem, but I can’t find it. I guess it went down with Edit Red, that’s where I had it posted.

The Bad is in the middle anyway you look at it.

I think this Song portrays it perfectly:


My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say, I’m gonna be like you, dad
You know I’m gonna be like you

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you coming home, dad?
I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, thanks for the ball, dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw, I said, not today
I got a lot to do, he said, that’s okay
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed
Said, I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you coming home, dad?
I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
Son, I’m proud of you
Can you sit for a while?
He shook his head, and he said with a smile
What I’d really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later
Can I have them please?

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you coming home, dad?
I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

I’ve long since retired and my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, I’d like to see you if you don’t mind
He said, I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kid’s got the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you coming home, dad?
I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

And that leaves the Good

Image result for Good dadsI loved my Dad very much, he was a good dad. My husband was a Good Dad, my son is a good Dad and my grandsons are good dads. I know about good men.


Good Baby Daddy Quotes Quotesgram

In writing,  what is your man character like? What are the qualities you give the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly? In life, I hope the good men are in your life, but it’s not that way for everyone, so be considerate. My Dad was a good dad, but he was gone a lot for work, and he wasn’t always good to my Mom, so he wasn’t a great man.

Happy Father’s Day

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. Her newest book is an Advanced Coloring Book and she has one that is freshly published with 11 other authors.

Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

Four Moons and Fair Ladies Four Moons and Fair Maidens

Memories from Maple Street U.S.A: Pawprints on My Heartlink coming soon

Wonders of Water      Advanced Coloring Book

And please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

Seize the Moment by Cher’ley


This blog by Cher’ley Grogg

A young soldier and his commanding officer got on a train together. The only available seats were across from an attractive young women who was traveling with her grandmother. As they engaged in pleasant conversation, the soldier and the young woman kept eyeing one another; the attraction was obviously mutual. Suddenly the train went into a tunnel and the car became pitch black.

Immediately two sounds were heard: the “smack” of a kiss, and the “whack” of a slap across the face. The grandmother thought “I can’t believe he kissed my granddaughter, but I’m glad she gave him the slap he deserved.”

The commanding officer thought, “I don’t blame the boy for kissing girl, but it’s a shame that she missed his face and hit me instead.”

The young girl thought, “I’m glad he kissed me, but I wish my grandmother hadn’t slapped him for doing it.”

And as the train broke into the sunlight, the soldier could not wipe the smile off his face. He had just seized the opportunity to kiss a pretty girl and slap his commanding officer and had gotten away with both!

Now, that young soldier knew how seize the opportunity! In the same way, we must take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way to fulfill our purpose in life.

Unfortunately, many times we get so caught up in the details of every day to day living that we just don’t have the time to seize the moment!

My work days have filled my time. I drive 11 hours a day, get a bite to eat, and drop into bed. When I’m not driving, eating, and sleeping—I’m cleaning the truck, doing the laundry, and shopping for supplies. I am determined to find some time to write. Optimistically, I bought my clogging shoes, and my watercolor supplies on the road with me this time. I haven’t had the time to do much of anything. That being said, this weekend I get to see my Grandson, his wife, and my two youngest great grandchildren.

Image result for Carpe Diem

Seize the moment. Sometimes we have to grab a moment here or therImage result for Carpe Dieme. I know each person reading this is probably doing the same thing. No matter your interest, life gets in the way.


Do the characters in a book seize the moment? I think they do. I am working on the sequel to “Stamp Out Murder”, “Cancel Out Murder” and the main character is seizing the moment. After all the calamity, and uproar over the murder, he tries to concentrate on a pre-planned fishing trip. I’m hoping to finish this book by the end of the year. In the meantime, James is busy learning to make friends and secure his love interest, and his interest in antiques, and stamps. He’s a major collector, and a crime solver.

Seize the moment. What catches your moments in between the adventure called life?

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. And she has a new one that is freshly published with 11 other authors.

Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

Four Moons and Fair Ladies Four Moons and Fair Maidens

Memories from Maple Street U.S.A: Pawprints on My Heartlink coming soon
And please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

Expect the unexpected!

ccnancyjardineThis post is by Nancy Jardine.

Something Unexpected.

With regard to my Christmas gifts, that has been my mantra for pretty well all of my married life since 1974. My lovely OH buys me bunches of flowers randomly and regularly throughout the year – so I don’t expect them at the traditional Christmas, Valentine’s Day etc. What I can never anticipate, or guess at, is what my Christmas gift might entail!20170109_121708

Personally, I’m rubbish at thinking up exciting gifts for him so I’m totally surprised that he still thinks ahead and gets extremely unexpected things for me. In 2016, I hinted (strongly), probably from October onwards, that I needed a new phone…and I got one! But I also got a very long, fairly narrow brown box. It wasn’t too heavy so what on earth was it, I wondered as I ripped off the wrapping paper. Could it be something for my neglected garden?

Christmas of 2015, I got this dinky but excellent little projector to use when doing my PowerPoint presentations on Roman Scotland, and/or my novels to various types of local groups.

20170109_1200101Having my own little projector connected to my laptop means that I can present my information anywhere, so long as there’s a blank wall that I can use to project onto.

Having my own projector is infinitely preferable to borrowing equipment at the venues since it always takes time to work out the connections etc to my laptop from different paraphernalia.  The Miroir projector is small but it works really, really well.


There was one of my engagements when the best ‘wall’ to project onto wasn’t actually very blank. It was a textured papered surface that wasn’t a single uniform colour- even though the organiser had claimed it was a ‘white’ wall – so my images weren’t as sharp as I’d have liked them to be. Generally, I go to these appointments on my own but it just so happens that my OH went along with me since our car was a ‘bit sick’, with coil problems or some such issue, and was on a go-slow. (It was booked into the repair garage but not till the next day and OH just wanted to be sure I’d not break down in the depths of rural Aberdeenshire) When we arrived, eventually,  I got set up and he went off for a wander and a coffee.

I didn’t notice him sneaking in at the back of 40 plus audience near the end of my presentation- but he had made a mental note!


Yes, that lovely long cardboard box contains a small portable table-top screen so that my presentations don’t depend on a dodgy wall. Brilliant! What a thoughtful present and I love how light the screen is to carry and so easy to erect.

My main problem, now, is a technical one. I’ll need to work out how to ensure the image size from my PowerPoint slides fits the screen when the projector is on a nearby table along with my laptop (There’s a very short connection between laptop and projector) At the moment the image is way too large and overlaps well up the wall behind the screen and all around it. To make the image fit the screen, the projector would need to be at the back of the room and that’s not very practical! I’d either have to have a huge long cable to join projector and laptop or I’d have to go back to a ‘class’ situation where I’d be giving information from the back of a large room. That doesn’t work well for the kind of talks I give where I need to make direct eye contact with my audience.

My next presentation is to an approximately 50 strong audience on the 2nd February. Do you think I’ll be able to work out how to make the adjustments before then? If you know how to do it—PLEASE SHARE!

Have a lovely week! 

Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour Series of historical romantic adventures is set in first century northern Roman Britain whereas her contemporary romantic mysteries are set in fabulous world-wide cities, Topaz Eyes being a finalist in The People’s Book Prize 2014. The Taexali Game, her Teen time-travel adventure, is set in third century Roman Scotland.

Her week vanishes in a blur of regular grandchild-minding, gardening, reading, writing, social media marketing and blogging—not necessarily in that order.  She keeps up with Roman Scotland archaeological developments which are invaluable for the local presentations she gives on her novels, and on Roman Scotland. Regular book signing & selling sessions at local Craft Fairs are great fun. Watching TV Drama and the news is a luxury – as are social events with friends and family but she does a creative job to squeeze them in. An ex-primary teacher, she continues to learn something new every day and recently completed a fantastic course on Hadrian’s Wall! She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Scottish Association of Writers.


Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere

Blog http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk  Website http://nancyjardineauthor.com/   Facebook http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG & http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G  email nan_jar@btinternet.com  Twitter @nansjar




DUMFOONERT…just a bit!

Nancy Jardine

This post is by Nancy Jardine.

Some readers may already know that I take my stock of novels and do signing/ selling sessions at local Craft Fair Venues. I really enjoy these events but have to say I never quite know what questions might be asked of me.

Last Saturday was a really good one. The event was one of the large pre-Christmas Fairs in the city of Aberdeen, Scotland, with over a hundred quality crafters displaying their wares. I say quality because anyone trying to sell goods that are outsourced ready-made, and not home crafted, are not given table space.

So there I was answering all sorts of easy things before making sales of my books. What made me become an author? What inspired a particular story? Which was my first novel? …. I had some return customers who stopped to buy another book which, I can wholeheartedly say, really boosts this particular author’s spirits. But I also had some humdingers of questions!

Photo-Nancy Jardine

One very well-turned-out lady lingered over a read of my ‘information’ boards describing the settings of my novels. She briefly responded to my initial greetings but said “it was fine” when I offered to explain the books- meaning no thank you. Then she proceeded to lift and lay the inspection copies I have available at the front of the table, slowly absorbing the blurbs, flicking through the first pages.

(n.b. photo is from the previous venue. I used a less crushed tablecloth last week!)

Other customers came and went and she was still there. Silently reading and quite absorbed. A spy of some sort came to mind but that was the fanciful author in me rearing its ugly head! Mmm… It was a new experience for me. I can’t quite bring myself to be an aggressive salesperson, so I waited. Then came the DUMFOONERT bit.

Eventually, she said, “Why don’t you just write in one genre? It has to be much easier to sell books that way.”

Ah! As a salesperson I never want to offend a potential customer, especially one who seems a little unreceptive to my wares. However, I’m always as honest as I can be, so I told her that any kind of marketing of novels is difficult and that it definitely would be an easier task to be ‘branded’ as a particular genre author—but I said that I don’t always take the easy way out. I told her that as a reader I enjoy books written across many different genres and that as a writer, I like the variety of creating stories across different genres. I went on to say that although I feel I’m primarily an author of historical adventures, I’ve loved the freedom of writing contemporary mysteries because I don’t have to think so much about the conventions of the historical era.

Nancy Jardine-Celtic Fervour Series

She mostly listened to my spiel though asked the occasional easy question. Then, having picked up the 3 pack version of my Celtic Fervour Series she asked, “Why did you choose to write about a historical period so long ago?”

“That’s a great question!” I said grinning like a Cheshire Cat. I wasn’t dumbfounded at all. My list was quite long.

  • Because it’s a hard era to write about
  • Because it’s a pre-historic period that has very few written sources to research so I have to work all the harder to interpret the archaeological records
  • Because I didn’t want to write about an era that lots of other authors have covered already
  • Because I love to learn about Roman Scotland history and archaeology
  • “In fact,” I said, “I’m doing the FutureLearn  Hadrian’s Wall Course with Newcastle University right now because I want to know even more. (By the way I’m glad I’m squeezing the course into my already busy schedule because it’s proving useful already!)

I had a lot of positive becauses.

I was again DUMFOONERT when she smiled and said, handing over the money for the books, “You’ve convinced me! I want all three books. I wanted to be sure you know what you’re writing about and it’s not just crappy romantic drivel that’s half-hearted history.”

Did I have an answer for that? I’ll let you decide…

I do hope she’s a happy reader, except I’m not even sure if she was buying the gift pack for herself or for someone else.

Whatever you’re doing this November, have a lovely time!

Nancy Jardine writes in 3 different genres (smiley face here) – historical romantic adventure; contemporary romantic mystery; time travel historical adventure for early teens.


Nancy is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Scottish Association of Writers. You can find her at these places:

Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk  Website: http://nancyjardineauthor.com/   Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG & http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G

email: nan_jar@btinternet.com  Twitter @nansjar

Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere





Falling for Wildlife

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

Okay so maybe the title is a little deceptive. I am sure most of you are looking forward to stories about how clumsy I am when I am focused on a critter.  Sorry that isn’t today’s subject.

Instead I am focusing on the changing seasons. I’m sure most people think summer time is prime time for photographing wildlife, not this summer.  When it the temperature hits the upper 90’s most of us are hot, cranky and generally in a bad mood.  Critters feel the same way.  Approaching a cranky deer can get you charged, or stomped by those powerful hoofs.


Bears are large, strong, and have massive claws and some nasty teeth as well. They don’t like the heat either.  A large bird just trying to stay cool doesn’t want to pose for a picture.  They can show their irritation by swooping down and attacking with their razor sharp talons.


So I spent most of my summer approaching smaller critters less dangerous critters. I added shots of, some passive shore birds, butterflies, squirrels, ducks, and frogs.


Now that the hot oppressive heat of summer is gone and Fall has arrived I am ready to go. It’s time for me to head to the woods.  This time of year the vibrant fall leaves make a great backdrop for critter photos.


So I have pulled out my sweatshirts, purchased back up batteries and extra film for the camera and I am heading to the woods. I may stop along the river’s edge and visit a lake or two in the early morning hours.  When most of you are having that second cup of coffee I will be zooming in on my next subject.


As you munch on your lunch Jay and I will be discussing where we want to be just before sunset. As you settle in for the evening I will be heading home with a number of new images and some happy memories of the day.


Enjoy the cooler temperature of fall and take a few minutes to let the colorful array of colors Mother Nature give us this time of year engulf you.   No Fall isn’t my favorite season, but it does come in second.  What is your favorite season ?

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Wow! It’s National Bridge Day!

ccnancyjardineThis post is by Nancy Jardine.

I’m endlessly amused when I check in to Facebook, or Twitter, or Google+ and find that it’s a ‘National SOMETHING Day’. I just happened to pick up a reference to today, 15th October, while I was looking for some inspiration for a topic for this blog post and it led me to do a tiny bit of research. That was in between the larger amounts of historical research I do pretty well every day.

So what is the 15th October graced with? Should you prefer it you could celebrate it being National Grouch Day, National Cake Decorating Day, Global Handwashing Day, National Mushroom Day, National Chicken Cacciatore Day, I Love Lucy Day… and a whole lot more. (BTW – I love chicken cacciatore) Have a look at the following if you’d like to see what other crazy things are celebrated on the 15th October.  https://www.checkiday.com/10/15   Or look at these ones for the whole of October…   http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/october.htm

grumpy-grover-nancy-jardineAs we all know, there are 365 days in a year (and 366 in a leap year) but amazingly there are over 1200 ‘National SOMETHING days’. I’m sure that’s just perfect for those canny people who sell National Day Calendars! But before I go on to National Bridge Day, here’s a little bit about having a ‘Grouch’ day. It seems this celebration was started by grouches who wanted to share their exceptionally grumpy lives.

Why not? Indeed….so if you’re a grouch, celebrating on the 15th October, then you could give seriously backhanded compliments and share them on Social Media. Hmmm…I personally think there’s a lot of that going on every day on Social Media. http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/national-grouch-day-october-15/

Official National Bridge Day? I wondered if it had something to do with getting together with friends and playing lots of card games of Bridge. I know of a few women in my neighbourhood who regularly meet to play Bridge. They love the companionship, the pitting of their wits, possibly even the addictive gambling aspects should they go down that form of play, as well as honing their considerable skills in what some devotees would say is the most skilful card game of all. I, personally, would be a poor Bridge player, methinks, since some days I can barely remember the names of people around a table never mind which were the last five cards they have just played!

http://www.123rf.com – Japan

So what is National Bridge Day? It isn’t to do with cards, but it is for the daredevils among us who prefer much more physical thrills. You’ll love the 15th October if you’re like my son-in-law who loves things like jumping from bridges while attached to a bungee cord or a dangling rope. The image here of a gorge in Japan is beautiful, and I’d truly love to swim there, but dangling from a rope first doesn’t really appeal.

Fayettville, West Virginia, certainly has been doing the day proud. Since 1980, jumpers have been allowed to jump from the New River Gorge Bridge on this special day when all of the traffic lanes are closed, except to pedestrians…and to the paraphernalia that the jumpers need. The videos below show that it can be a great day out with many fun activities to watch, or even experience, BUT personally I’m not into leaping off a bridge today or any other 15th October. Day.

However, I did write about someone called Nairn Malcolm, in my contemporary humorous romantihigh-resc mystery Take Me Now, who does love all sorts of dangerous sporting activities. Nairn is the owner of an ‘extreme sports’ business and I had a lot of ‘armchair’ fun researching what might be the kind of sports he’d be offering to customers via his Adrenalinn Adventure Sports company.
He offers B.A.S.E. jumping type activities, and many others that I probably would try so long as dropping from a great height isn’t involved. I’ll happily manage to peer over the edge but a long dangle?…Oh, No!

BTW- I also call Take Me Now my corporate sabotage mystery because someone is maliciously targeting both Nairn and his businesses …and they’re not at all sporting about it!

How about you? Are you like me and prefer your daredevil leaping to be a bit more ground based? Whatever you might be doing this weekend, daring or not- enjoy! 

Nancy Jardine writes:

Contemporary Romantic Mysteries3 mysteries new TE




Historical Romantic AdventuresCFS words





…and TTG x1000Time Travel Historical Adventure for early teens and those who can’t resist a great adventure.

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Time for fall! by Barbara Schlichting


Now that our children are grown and have children of their own, my memories come forward and lead me down memory lane.  The fun fall days come to mind of raking leaves and hearing them crunch underfoot and now our grandchildren enjoy the same activity.

When our two boys were young, we’d rake leaves and pile them high, then run and jump into them. Did you see the word, we? Yes, I’d run and jump into the high dried leaf piles with them, and do it all over again.


With our children, we’d gather fresh fallen leaves and press between wax paper and then tape on the windows.  They’d look just like stain glass windows and so pretty.  I would also place the leaves between sheets of paper and color.  The many varied shaded patterns made great placemats for Thanksgiving.


We also had neighbors who enjoyed getting together in the evening. We’d all gather at the Olson’s, and have hot chocolate and a bonfire. What a treat! Everyone loved it. We’d roast marshmallows and this is where I learned about smores.


Returning home last weekend after babysitting the young grandchildren, we took a side road. The beautiful oranges, reds, and gold fall colors always made me smile.


All those wonderful memories. This is my favorite time of the year. What is yours?


Author of A FIRST LADY MYSTERY SERIES. Visit me at http://www.barbaraschlichting.com

and at A FIRST LADY BLOGSPOT. https://barbaraschlichting.blogspot.com