Countdown to a prophecy

My first step to starting the year right was to send my book to my editor. After a nail-biting week I received the file back and to my relief she liked it. There weren’t major changes and the story was pretty solid. I accepted the grammar changes and fleshed out scenes she thought needed a little bit more. The file is back with her and my wait started again.

In the meantime I created a Facebook cover photo featuring the book. Also updated Twitter with a cover photo. Once it goes live I’ll post everywhere I can think of. I will be so happy once it’s out in the world, finally. It’s been a long time coming.

I first conceived the story in July 2015. Yes, almost three years ago. Why did it take so long to actually write it and get to a point where I can release the story? Fear. I’m releasing it under my name. If the story is horrible, if people hate it, they’ll know I wrote it. For my other stories it didn’t matter because they’re under pen names. No one will know it’s me if they don’t like them. I have twenty of those out there. But I vowed to stop hiding behind those names and release stories under my name. Start advertising them, tell family and friends, and hopefully at some point be able to do this writing thing full time.

The cover I posted before is now the old cover. I’ll keep it for something else perhaps. Maybe something that is more romance than science fiction. Or maybe I’ll add a spaceship to the cover and use it for a different scifi romance. I have a new cover! It’s below with the blurb again!

The Princess Prophecy

An ancient throne. An unknown prophecy. A reluctant princess controls the fate of the world…

Sophie thinks she’s a typical college freshman. She spends her days making friends and coping with classes, until her whole world changes forever. A group of strange men try to kidnap her, and the only thing that saves her is a long-lost friend who’s sworn to protect his princess…

Nathan tells Sophie that she’s not only half-alien, but she’s royalty on another planet. To make things more complicated, she’s forced to go to that planet to take the throne… or her entire kingdom will suffer.

As Nathan helps her train for her second life, she can’t help but fall for him. But when their ship comes under attack, she wonders if any of them will survive the journey.

Check out my website: http://www.cindycarroll.com
Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CindyPCarroll
Like me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCindyCarroll
Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cindypcarroll

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Mission accomplished – Sort of

The key to having a successful year in 2018 meant I had to start the year off right. I hung out with my husband and our cat. It was low key. Partiers we are not. We watched TV, had a drink, and totally missed that it was the New Year until six minutes after the hour. For me it was perfect.

In the morning I got down to business. My first goal of the New Year was to get my science fiction romance, The Princess Prophecy, to my editor. Releasing it on target (January 18) hinges on me getting it to her on time. I still had revisions to key before sending it to her. I found some errors I missed during the first two passes. But, I finally got it sent! Now I wait nervously to get her edits back and hope she didn’t hate the story or find huge problems that will take me more than a week to fix.

I thought that would be the last thing I needed to do. After all, I had the cover done ages ago. Or did I? I love the cover I have for it but I think it screams romance and only whispers science fiction. I’ve been thinking about redoing the cover. Given the short description below and the current cover, what do you think? Go with this cover or get a new one? Keeping in mind future books in the series will still feature the same couple.

The Princess Prophecy

An ancient throne. An unknown prophecy. A reluctant princess controls the fate of the world…

Sophie thinks she’s a typical college freshman. She spends her days making friends and coping with classes, until her whole world changes forever. A group of strange men try to kidnap her, and the only thing that saves her is a long-lost friend who’s sworn to protect his princess…

Nathan tells Sophie that she’s not only half-alien, but she’s royalty on another planet. To make things more complicated, she’s forced to go to that planet to take the throne… or her entire kingdom will suffer.

As Nathan helps her train for her second life, she can’t help but fall for him. But when their ship comes under attack, she wonders if any of them will survive the journey.

Check out my website: http://www.cindycarroll.com
Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CindyPCarroll
Like me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCindyCarroll
Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cindypcarroll

 

The Force of Nostalgia

Sarah M. Chenby Sarah M. Chen

New Year’s is always the time when we look back on the previous year and reflect, but I’m going to do things a little differently here. I’m going all the way back to my childhood. Why? Because I went to see the new Star Wars.

It wasn’t something I had to go see right away nor was I even sure I would see it in the theater. I was willing to wait until it came out on DVD. But then some friends were going to see it and I figured, why not? Plus they were seeing it at a theater I used to go to a lot while I was a UCLA student. I figured it’d be fun to check out the theater, hang out in my old stomping grounds, and see a film that reminded me of my childhood.

Now when I was a kid, I loved all the Star Wars films. I didn’t buy the action figures or anything. But I was in love with Luke Skywalker and wanted to be Princess Leia. I saw all three films and loved every single one of them.

Then I saw Phantom Menace several years ago and wasn’t blown away. The critics weren’t either and many Star Wars fans weren’t happy. I didn’t even bother seeing the second and third ones. I wasn’t sure if I lost interest in the films because I was no longer a kid or was it because of the mediocre acting and boring storyline?

So when I went to see The Force Awakens, I was somewhat cautiously optimistic. Unfortunately, I had both a good and bad experience. The bad was that we were seeing it in 3D. I have never seen a film in 3D. But when I saw we were two rows from the front, I grew concerned. I can’t stand watching movies this close when it’s 2D so I wasn’t sure how I was going to do with 3D.

3d glassesI didn’t do very well. I was so distracted by the 3D that I kept taking the glasses off. I eventually had to leave the theater for a bit to give my eyes and my head a break. I didn’t really see the benefits of 3D either. Nothing seemed to be shooting out at me and I didn’t feel immersed in the world. It was more like things were out of focus in some parts of the screen and too close in others.

But I enjoyed the storyline, and aside from the headache, I felt transported back to my youth. I decided I just need to see it again with no interruptions, sit several rows back, and without the wonky 3D images.

Then the other day I had another trip down memory lane and this time, there were no headaches. There’s this fantastic children’s bookstore in Tustin, CA called Once Upon a Storybook. I love buying books for friends’ kids as well as for all my cousins back in Canada so I’m there quite a bit.Once Upon a Storybook

During this recent store visit, I came across a shelf I’d never seen before. It was labeled “Children’s Classics.” As I poked around, memories of reading these books came flooding back and I couldn’t help grinning. There were all the Narnia books, the Velveteen Rabbit, and a lovely copy of LITTLE WOMEN.

Then I came upon my absolute favorite books as a kid. Ones I read over and over so much that the spine of the book turned white from so many creases. They were A LITTLE PRINCESS and THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I knew I must buy these for my cousin Eva even though she was a little too young to enjoy them but I would save them for her.

Frances Hodgson Burnett booksThen I spotted the LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE series. I had all the LITTLE HOUSE books as a kid and used to pretend I was Laura Ingalls Wilder running through the tall wild grass. I would beg my mom to buy me the cool lace-up boots and sew me a gingham skirt and bonnet. She thought I was nuts.Little House on the Prairie

Now all three books are sitting on my bookshelf and I stare at them proudly and wonder if I’m going to be able to part with them in a couple years when Eva is old enough to appreciate them. I have a feeling I’m going to buy duplicates.

So is it our cherished memories that make us nostalgic for those movies and books we loved in our youth? Or is it the timeless storyline and characters that draw us in again and again? I wondered if I re-read A LITTLE PRINCESS and THE SECRET GARDEN now, would I enjoy them as much? I think so, but just to be sure, I’m going to re-read them as soon as I’m done writing this post.

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Sarah M. Chen juggles several jobs including indie bookseller, transcriber, and insurance adjuster. Her crime fiction short stories have been accepted for publication online and in various anthologies, including All Due Respect, Akashic, Plan B, Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter, Betty Fedora, Issue Two, Spelk, and the Sisters in Crime/LA anthology, Ladies Night. Her noir novella, Cleaning Up Finn, is coming out May 2016 with All Due Respect Books. www.sarahmchen.com

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New Year Brings New Goals and an Uncertain But Hopeful Future

Gayle_BozemanFamilyChristian_smallThis post by Gayle M. Irwin

 

Looking back on my goals for 2014 recently I realized I didn’t attain as much as I’d hoped. Yet, despite what I thought and planned to attain, new opportunities and possibilities did emerge, and I walked those pathways. Another new year is upon us, and though we never know the future, we can continue striving toward goals, old and new, revived and updated.

For example, last year I had hopes of securing new children’s magazines for which to write. I received several rejections on various articles and by the time I thought I’d re-write, re-submit, and re-think topics and queries, I received three new assignments in addition to the four already given to me by WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric News). I also continued my article writing for the Casper Journal newspaper, and, starting in July, my pet column ran EVERY WEEK in another newspaper (I’m used to writing one a month for two other publications). Plus, I gleaned two additional feature articles for Crossroads magazine, published by the Cheyenne (Wyoming) Chamber of Commerce (I wrote two articles for them in 2013). So, whereas I envisioned writing for children’s magazines, I received instead various other opportunities with an array of publications.

WREN  Mag

Now that 2015 has risen like a new day’s sun, I anticipate new opportunities and new pathways once again. I’m cutting back on submitting to the Casper Journal; WREN has assigned me only three articles for the entire year (though that may change); my weekly pet column is dormant for at least a few months while the newspaper undergoes layout and management changes; and I won’t know about Crossroads until mid-year. But, what I looked upon at first as negative I’ve now re-focused to the positive. I’ve been contacted and contracted by a state senator to write new releases and ghostwrite a few guest editorials for him. I’ve also been asked to contribute at least two stories on veterans for a special Wyoming Veteran’s project. So, not all my freelance opportunities have disappeared; new ones have emerged.

Baby New YearEven though there aren’t as many freelance gigs this new year as last, there is advantage to this more “quiet time”: ability to re-focus on my books as well as help my husband with some writing projects for his business. I now have five manuscripts in progress (including that pet rescue romance started a few months ago), and I am determined to finish them. Two manuscripts that I started more than three years ago simply need to be reviewed and edited as I completed the drafts in 2013 and just left them on the shelf because I wasn’t sure which publishing direction I wanted to go and 2014 became very busy. I am two-thirds of the way done with two others (both children’s books), and the pet romance is still in its infancy since I didn’t write as much during November’s NaNoWriMo as I had hoped. So, I have new writing goals for 2015, and I am excited to see where these stories, projects, and new pathways (including developing an emailed newsletter for my husband’s Alzheimer’s video business) take me.

How about you? What do you hope the new year has in store for you, personally and professionally? What are some of the goals and hopes you have for 2015 and into the future?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! And, HAPPY WRITING!

Happy New Year

Gayle & Mary outsideGayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspiring dog books for children and adults, including Sage’s Big Adventure, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, and two dog devotion boos: Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God and Devotions for Dog Lovers 2: Sage Advice. She is also a contributing writer to five editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul, including the August 2014 dog book The Dog Did What?. She also writes for WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric Network), Crossroads, Creation Illustrated, and Our Town Casper magazines, as well as for the Casper Journal, River Press, and Douglas Budget newspapers. She’s also authored a guidebook for owners of blind dogs, available on Kindle. She has a passion for pets and volunteers for and donates a percentage of her writing revenues to several animal welfare organizations. Her speaking engagements include presentations for children and adults about the lessons people can learn from pets. Visit her website at www.gaylemirwin.com.

 

Dog Devotion Book_Cover_Final   Dog Devotions 2 Book Cover Sage Advice Cover   Blind Dog Ebook Cover_updatedMay2014   Walking_FrontCover_small   SageBigAdventureFront-small   SageLearnsShareFront-small

Balance

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By Stephanie Stamm

 

In preparation for the new year and in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I’ve been thinking a lot about balance.

Webster’s defines “balance” as

  • the state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall;
  • the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling;
  • a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance.

All of those definitions fit together, don’t they? When we are out of balance, we feel like we might fall; when our lives are out of balance, they (or we) feel like we might fall apart.

As I’ve thought about this post, I’ve pictured images of a seesaw…

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or a scale.

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We have so many things to balance in our lives. Work and play, sleeping and waking, family and friends, and for many of us writers, day job and writing. In fact, the seesaw and balance seem a little too limited with only two ends. We might better think about juggling multiple items…

person juggling

or apportioning the pieces of a pie chart.

Balance Pie Chart

It’s very easy for certain aspects of our lives to get out of balance. Maybe we work too much. Maybe we don’t spend enough time with our family. Maybe we don’t work on our writing enough. Maybe we neglect to exercise. We can convince ourselves that we’ll find that balance later, when things settle down, when we have more time, or fewer balls to juggle.

But I’ve been thinking about how we get this one gift of a life—and I’m finding that waiting until later to find balance doesn’t seem like such a good idea. Life isn’t happening later. Life is happening now. Now seems like a good time to get those pieces in order.

So, that’s one of my goals for the new year. To find a sense of balance in all the pieces-parts of life that I want to fit together. I’m tired of tipping from one end of the seesaw to the other. I don’t want to weigh my life in the balance and find important pieces wanting.

Are there particular things you want to balance in the new year? What, if any, resolutions have you made?

 

Seesaw 1902:  By Chicago Daily News [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Apothecary’s Balance:  http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/d0/34/bc8d768fcbdc7f534addba91f0b5.jpg [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Connect with me:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

I am the author of the New Adult/Young Adult urban fantasy series, The Light-Bringer:

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I have also contributed stories (one fictional and one true) to the following volumes:

Undead of Winter Front Only Into the Storm Cover

 

2015 Writing Resolution Resource by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_12014 has been a year of ups and downs but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Still, there is much to be grateful for. My family and I are healthy, the house is almost back together and it’s better than before. My freelance writing career is going strong, despite a few bumps along the way. I have a book contract for the next two Cabel Evans mysteries. And I have great friends. There are the ones I see on a regular basis, others I haven’t seen in years but love keeping in touch with on Facebook, and ones I’ve “met” through this blog and other on-line activities. So, overall, 2014 was not a bad year.

As January 1st approaches, there is the excitement of the New Year along with the requisite resolutions. I have several NewYearperennial ones such as lose weight (have had some success this year) and keep the house clean (ha). As an author, I always have many writing goals. Last year’s got side tracked with the house disaster and kick-off of the freelance writing career but that’s the past. This year I have several goals including finishing my work in progress and finding a home for a short story I wrote.

Since many of you who read this blog are also authors, I thought I would share with you a tool that I have used with great success and which you might find useful in fulfilling your own writing goals in 2015. Jamie Raintree is an author whom I met on-line, I think through the Sisters in Crime mystery writers group. In addition to being a wonderful author of both books and blogs, Jamie has created an amazing spread sheet sinclogomediumredsystem to keep track of your goals and progress with your various writing projects.

Broken down by month, you can track your word count for up to eight projects. There are goals, graphs, progress reports, year-to-date totals, and more. You can learn more about her spread sheet and down load a copy to use at: http://jamieraintree.com/writing-progress-spreadsheet. You might also consider following her blog, which I enjoy.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that each of you finds health and fulfillment in 2015.

You can learn more about me at:

http://www.erinfarwell.com
https://www.facebook.com/erin.farwell.5
https://www.amazon.com/author/erinfarwell
http://www.goodreads.com/Erin50

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Richard Sherman vs. William Faulkner – What Matters More the Product or the Personality? by Travis

Travis RichardsonThis blog by Travis Richardson

File:Seattle Seahawks 2000.jpgSo one of the most lopsided Superbowls in NFL history is over, and, while this post might seem stale since any cultural event is only fresh enough to comment on for the first couple of hours before becoming passé, I want to go waaaaay back in time to the NFC championship in January of this year. Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman set the internet on fire (at least in the US) for trash talking San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree after the ‘hawks won the game. The majority of the public opinion thrashed Sherman mercilessly, some of which he deserved and some of which was out of hand and just straight-up racist. Without a question, he displayed unsportsmanlike conduct (you won, dude – no need to keep intimidating your defeated opponent). But, as many of his defenders have said, calling him a thug was out of line. A braggart displaying inappropriate WWE behavior, yes. Thug, no. Sherman’s response to the entire situation is here

Anyhow, a few days after the NFC championship, I read an interview with William Faulkner from 1956 that the Paris Review put online. (Read it here.) 

This highly esteemed writer, winner of the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes, dispensed sage advice for up and coming writers. He encouraged constant writing to improve skills: “There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error.” He believed a writer didn’t need grant money to write: “The writer doesn’t need economic freedom. All he needs is a pencil and some paper.” He proposed a writer needed only three things to write: “experience, observation, and imagination—any two of which, at times any one of which—can supply the lack of the others.” All of this is solid advice from an undisputed master of prose.

Oh yeah, and he said this about writers getting distracted by success and wealth: “Success is feminine and like a woman; if you cringe before her, she will override you. So the way to treat her is to show her the back of your hand. Then maybe she will do the crawling.”

	Horror author Stephen King scared up a social media controversy after tweeting about Dylan Farrow’s open letter accusing her father, Woody Allen, of sexual abuse.Whoa, that’s some 1950s whiskey-fueled misogyny disguised as wisdom. Definitely nobody could say this today without enduring the raging wrath of the internet. (Stephen King made a long apology for a tweet a couple of days ago.) Yet the article’s interviewer continued with questions about Hollywood, seemingly unfazed by Faulkner’s previous comment. When I read the quote, I was shocked. Did he really say that?

The question then arises: after reading the interview, what do I now think of one of the 20th century’s greatest writers? What do you think of him? Should we condemn the memory of Faulkner, shouting our outrage from the rooftops much like the attacks Sherman received, or does he get a free pass because he was a product of his environment and the southern gentleman just didn’t know any better?

While Faulkner wrote great prose with groundbreaking innovation, he was apparently a first class a-hole too.

So this leads me to the following point about artists and athletes, should we separate the art from the artist? Athletic performance from the athlete’s personality? Is that even possible in the age of the internet and instant opinion?

I like Woody Allen movies, but I don’t think I could spend time with the man (even ignoring the child predator allegations, the Allen documentary Wild Man Blues felt like nails screeching across a blackboard). Beethoven was an egocentric genius who reportedly abused his nephew and others, yet he composed amazing music. Sometimes it feels like ignorance is the best strategy, just like sausage making and politics at work: it’s less complicated if we only see the end product. In the cases of Sherman and Faulkner, if we only focus on the game or the books themselves and nothing more, oh what a wonderful world. We wouldn’t have to deal with our own ethical inconsistencies and prejudices.

The funny thing is that if Richard Sherman had not said what he did, I would have just remembered some defensive back made a great, game-ending play in the 49ers end zone. Now I know his name and his entire biography.

What are your thoughts about art and the artist? Performance and personality? Are they inseparable? Let me know.

My novella Keeping The Record just came out yesterday. Only $2.99 for the story of a disgraced, steroid era home run traveling across the country to stop a second baseman from breaking his record. Keeping_The_Record-final_1024x1024

Also my first novella Lost in Clover. 

 Here is my website and Facebook page.

I am also reviewing Chekhov short stories with a friend at Chekhov Shorts.

Seahawks photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seattlemunicipalarchives/2649837565/in/set-72157606051708780/ This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The Times They Are A’Changin’!

Gayle_BozemanFamilyChristian_smallThis Post by Gayle M. Irwin

We’re six days into the New Year: 2014 already – WOW! Last year marked 15 years since I moved from Montana, leaving a landscape that truly doesn’t leave my heart and putting behind me the everyday grind of being a small town journalist – reporter, photographer, editor, copywriter, page and ad designer, as well as receptionist, bookkeeper and other things I’m sure I’ve forgotten (or want to!). For a brief time, I picked up the career again like highway litter cleaner, but I only had to serve in two of the aforementioned capacities. Still, it was a grind, especially when towing the police scanner around on my designated “work weekends.”

As “all around journalist” at the West Yellowstone News during the mid-1990s, I conducted ad and page layout the old fashioned way: Pagemaker software, yes, email no. The layout was done by hand and I drove the 16 to 20 rubber-cemented pages compacted in a box and sitting in backseat of my car for 250 miles one way so those pages could be printed on newsprint. What a difference less than two decades make – so many other incredible changes such as email means no driving half-days and no enormous graphics paper or stinky rubber cement! Although those days of being up 36+ hours and driving two-lane roads, even in winter, are behind me, I am sure the experiences helped polish me, shape me, for the journey I’m on today.

My husband and I bought a Kindle Fire for Christmas – we also have an older Kindle I purchased used from a friend a few years ago. Such an amazing invention! And all the others: Ebooks, Smartphones, laptops, tablets, Facebook, Twitter – not even in a writer’s vernacular 15 years ago!

woman readingPublishing, too, has changed. I recently watched a newscast about a couple on the verge of foreclosure who began writing and publishing ebooks — they even made bestsellers lists… and they are self-published! Gives me hope (of course I don’t write steamy romance — but maybe I should!). Self-publishing, both print and ebook format, opens the floodgates wide for book publishing opportunities, and blogs, websites, online magazines and ezines significantly increase ways for writers to make a living. Freelance work may still be competitive, especially for printed magazines, brochures, and newsletters, but if that’s what a writer wants to do, that’s the direction s/he should pursue – and that’s just the pathway I plan to travel in addition to creating more Kindle books and trying more online writing ventures.

During the Christmas holiday, I explored children’s magazine options, and in the coming weeks I plan to query and/or submit to a few. I’ve also registered on a few websites for freelancers, including Elance and Flexjobs. The competition looks tough, but if one doesn’t try, the projects certainly won’t happen. Writer’s Market Guide still has its place on my bookshelf and I’ll be exploring the 2014 edition this month, but the Internet is now also a major pathway for writers to explore for work, both as a freelancer and as a book author. I am excited for what 2014 may bring – I only hope I don’t wrap myself up like a pretzel along the way!

What are the dreams, hopes, and goals you have for this New Year with regard to your writing career? The times they are a’changin’, but in many ways writing-wise, for the better!

As this New Year sprouts before us, may our writing endeavors bloom with luster!

seedling

Gayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspiring dog books for children and adults, including Sage’s Big Adventure, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, and Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God. She is also a contributing writer to editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul, to articles in Creation Illustrated and Our Town Casper magazine, and in the Casper Journal and River Press newspapers. Her future plans include creating newsletter and brochure content for businesses and writing more magazine articles. Learn more at www.gaylemirwin.com.

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A bit of a challenge

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This post is by Nancy Jardine

“A guid new year to ane an’ a’
An’ mony may ye see,
An’ during a’ the years to come,
O happy may ye be.
An’ may ye ne’er hae cause to mourn,
To sigh or shed a tear;
To ane an’a baith great an’ sma’
A hearty guid New year.
Chorus;
A Guid New Year to ane an’ a’
An’ mony may ye see,
An’ during a’ the years to come,
O happy may ye be.

(The beginning song of this video is the above one, the words coming in a few bars after the introduction. The rest of the video is from old footage of New Year celebrations.)

Happy New Year to everyone… even if my greeting is coming a few days late!

This song is a traditional one which was often sung when the New Year had just turned in Scotland. In the earliest Scottish Television programmes to greet the New Year (during the 1950s) the above one was popular. It was also popular at my own house when the New Year party was in full swing. Like Auld lang Syne, people sang bits of the song that they knew, though few ever knew all the words. My mother and father may have been the exception because they did know the whole song and kept the sentiment going from beginning to end as they nodded to neighbours at strategic points, extending the greeting to everyone over the course of the song.
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I’ll tag on a couple of Scottish sayings I remembered at New Year, phrases that were sometimes traded between my mother and her sisters on Ne’erday – New Year’s Day.

Look afront tae where ye’ll live means Look only to the future because that’s where you’re going to spend the coming days of ….2014. Reflecting on the past year is a good thing to do, but since you can’t ever totally re-create those days look to new ones.

Another lovely, if slightly fatalistic, saying is Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye! – meaning…What’s meant for you in life you’ll receive. You also have to add a little more to this one which is that the more you put into life the more you’ll get back, whether it be for your own efforts and rewards, or in how you deal with people, familiar ones or strangers.

Sometimes, putting more into your life may mean a bit of a challenge and who doesn’t love a challenge? I think most people can react a little better when they have something challenging to focus on, but the trick is to manage it without getting too bogged down, or too hysterically nervous about meeting the challenges.

I used to love trying new physical adventures, still do, but now have some limitations having got to that ‘certain age’ where the brain’s conception of possibilities doesn’t quite match up with the speed of the body’s reactions. I’m definitely NOT planning to go and jump out of an aeroplane for tandem skydiving and depend only on a parachute – even if I have a big hunky instructor gripping my waist as my daughter had some years ago at Lake Taupo in New Zealand. However, I am quite happy to try some new things with my very adventurous granddaughter who gets her love of thrills from her mum and dad. The little one happily tackles the flumes at the leisure pool and loves slides and swings of any kind so I’m just wondering if at 2 and ½ years old she might be ready to go ice-skating. What do you think? I’m open to suggestions.
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It’s a New Year, so one of my resolutions will be to find something suitable for us to try out together and 2014 is going to be quite a challenge in other ways, too, for all of us. My granddaughter is watching the baby bump grow pretty large in her mum’s tummy. She doesn’t have the excitement and anticipation that we adults have as we wait for early March, when a little sister or brother for her is due to appear, but I’m sure she’ll be excited when the baby does arrive!

Do I have any other resolutions not covered by the song at the beginning of this post? Not too many, not really, but most would be to do with my writing.

Spring, perhaps around March, is the projected launch of Book 3 in my Celtic Fervour series of historical romantic adventures set in AD 71-84 Britannia. Additionally by then I also plan to have my time-travel novel for early teens published which also involves the Roman Empire in Aberdeenshire, though at a later time era of AD 210. Yes, I know it does sound as if I’m obsessed with history and the ancient Roman invasion close to home and that would be TRUE!

Before then I have to focus on collecting enough votes during January and February for my ancestral mystery thriller, TOPAZ EYES, to go forward to the next section of THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE Fiction category 2014. This is quite a prestigious competition where nominations can only be made by a publisher and not an individual author, but it is the PUBLIC who do the voting and not a panel of judges.

Anyone can vote, so if you feel inclined I’d be so delighted if you could click the link and vote for Crooked Cat Publishing and Topaz Eyes.

http://www.peoplesbookprize.com/book.php?id=1060

Again, my best wishes to you for 2014!

More verses of the above song are on my blog today at http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com

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Find Nancy Jardine’s novels at her Amazon author page
Also available at B &N, Smashwords, amazon UK http://amzn.to/UtLexa

New Year’s Eve—New Start by Cher’ley

This blog by Cher’ley Grogg

Got some family here and we’re getting ready to pray the New Year in. We’ll have a devotional, pray, light candles and express how thankful we are for the previous year and write time capsules containing our prayers for the New Year and three people we will be praying for them to get closer to God. It’s a very spiritual celebration.

NYC Many people have made their way to New York City for the big ball drop, but there are lots of other cities that celebrate dropping things and here are the top 5. Check them out on the accuweather page.

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  1. The Conch Shell Drop in Key West, Florida at Sloppy Joey’s Bar
  2. The Giant Peach Drop in Atlanta
  3. “The Puck Drops Here” in Ann Arbor, Michigan
  4. The Big Cheese Drop in Plymouth, WI
  5. The Kiss Drop in Hersey, PA

And here’s another WI tradition: Carp drop in Wisconsin

The carp drop in Prairie du Chien, Wis., attracts people from afar, creating business for motels and shops. The carp is a real – but dead – fish weighing between 25 and 30 pounds and caught locally. It’s frozen, then partially thawed and prepared for the big day. Nicknamed “Lucky,” the carp is lowered onto a throne as the New Year arrives. Fireworks follow, courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce.

My friends Steve and Linda Scott are waiting on the annual Moon Pie Drop in Mobile, AL. 

The main thing is that the New Year is a clean slate, a clean calendar and a clean start. Out with the old and in with the new.

I also wrote my winter blog for Stamp Out Murder this month. James and Carolyn, even though they are not teenagers, they have a chance for a fresh start to life together or will too much outside interference ruin their chances? Check out what they’re up to in Wanton, WV. http://stampoutmurder.blogspot.com/

What are your New Year Celebrations? What did you do last night?

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores.

Stamp Out Murder”.

The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren.

The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time   and the B&W Edition of The Journey BackThe JourneyBack 3

Fans of Cher'ley Grogg,AuthorAnd 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