Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Happy Birthday, America!

Independence Day, better known as the Fourth of July, is the birthday of the United States of America. It is celebrated on July 4th each year in states and territories of the United States and is the anniversary of the day on which the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress—July 4, 1776.

The founders of our new nation and thirteen colonies considered Independence Day an important occasion for rejoicing. The first Independence Day was observed in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. The Declaration was read, bells were rung, bands played, and the population rejoiced. In early day, Independence Days were occasions for shows, games, sports, military music, and fireworks.

The exuberant use of fireworks and the firing of funs and cannons caused deaths and injuries in the early days. By the 1900s, people began a movement toward a “safe and sane” Fourth. Cities across our nation passed laws forbidding the sale of fireworks unless trained people were hired to explode them.

In 1941, Congress declared July 4th a federal legal holiday. Today, many communities stress the patriotic importance of the holiday and celebrate with programs, pageants, games and plays, athletic contests and picnics.  

Happy Birthday America!

Monday, June 23, 2014

THE ART OF LOVE AND MURDER - by Brenda Whiteside

 I'm pleased to present an excerpt of Brenda Whiteside's new book, The Art of Love and Murder, published in April 2014 by The Wild Rose Press. It is "Book One" in the Love and Murder Series. 
 Although she didn’t start out to write romance, Brenda found all good stories involve complicated human relationships. She has also found no matter a person’s age, a new discovery is right around every corner. Whether humorous or serious, straight contemporary or suspense, all her books revolve around those two facts.

In celebration of the release of The Art of Love and Murder, Brenda is offering a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Please take time to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom of the blog post.

Momentarily struck dumb by his eye color, she stared back. Why hadn’t she noticed until now? Although not as light as hers or her father’s, the professor’s eyes were a startling green shade.
His hand nudged her arm. “Lacy?”
She jumped. “Oh, yes.” She slipped the tissue from the half-carved wolf. Another glance at his eyes and goose bumps riddled her arms.
He lifted the wood close to his face, using both hands as if handling a delicate hummingbird. His thumb traced the neck of the creature to the juncture of where it emerged from the wood. When he brought the piece to his nose, closing his eyes and breathing deeply, Lacy wanted to turn away from the oddly erotic gesture.
He swallowed, opened his eyes and set the wolf back on the tissue. His attention shifted to the photograph of the chest. He touched the photo, a smile on his lips. “Where is the chest?”
The chest. Like he knew it, had seen it before. “I’m having it sent. You’ve seen it before?”
He didn’t move, stared out the window as if deep in thought. “I’d like to show you something, Lacy.”
“All right.” She waited, watching his profile.
He turned and stared into her face a moment. “You’re so very lovely. A creation full of life and passion, surpassing any art form.”
His hypnotic voice floated on the classical strains drifting from the living room. She couldn’t speak. Didn’t know what to say. She’d been lifted upon a pedestal of admiration. With any other man, she might consider his words a means to a sexual end. The professor’s intentions, however, were crystal. He admired her like a work of art. 

When it comes to the setting in a story, do you prefer an imaginary place or the real thing? To date, all my stories have taken place in real cities. I’ve had to change the names of hotels and restaurants, but I still pattern them after the real places. I have a friend who writes paranormal. What I like about her books, well one of the things I like, is her fantasies take place in real places. Kind of fun to imagine vampires walking next to me on the streets where I live! So how about you, real or imaginary places?

The Wild Rose Press




Visit Brenda at
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at
She blogs about writing and prairie life at

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Rare Month of June

This year, the month of June crept up on us slowly and silently, easing it's way into the summer season, instread of "busting out all over" like the song so aptly implies. It was a chilly spring with lots of rain, and the foliage and flowers huddled until the last moment to greet the summer sun.

June is one of my favorite months. The world is new and green. It’s the time of year when the smell of roses, lily-of-the-valley, and wisteria linger on the mist as dusk arrives. It’s the month when you can smell sun-baked hay in the fields and fresh-wet earth in the gentle rains.   

If you close your eyes, you can hear a repertoire of songs from the birds—the trill of the song sparrows, the cry of the killdeers and blue jays, the chatter of the chick-a-dees, and the soft lilt of the whippoorwills. It’s a time when the wind whispers in the pines and leafy maples, and bobs and bends the tall meadow grasses into rippling waves.

June is a time of motion and excitement as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds juggle for space and a taste of the blooming flowers. But June is serene and calm when nightfall arrives and a sliver of a golden moon hangs in the star-filled sky…and the only interruption in the silence is the tranquil sounds of night insects and tree frogs serenading each other in the grass.

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days. . . 
     --From: The Vision of Sir Launfal 
 by James Russell Lowell

Monday, June 2, 2014


Out in the Fields
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The little cares that fretted me,
     I lost them yesterday,
Among the fields, above the sea,
            Among the winds at play;
Among the lowing of the herds,
           The rustling of the trees;
Among the singing of the birds,
            The humming of the bees.

The foolish fears of what may happen,
I cast them all away,
Among the clover-scented grass
            Among the new-mown hay;
Among the rustling of the corn
            Where drowsy poppies nod,
Where ill thoughts die and good are born—
        Out in the fields with God.