Sunday, 26 June 2016

Lost Light

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved telling stories... wait, scratch that, she'd didn't love telling stories, she loved writing them down. To tell them would have meant to draw attention to herself and she preferred to blend into the background.

This girl had been making up stories since she was six and at age fifteen it was her favorite escape. You see, things weren't good at home and she liked to dream about the lives of girls who didn't hide in their rooms or pretend to be asleep to avoid being hurt. Of girls who were pretty and popular and didn't stay late at school or babysit every weekend just to stay away from home.

She read a lot, too. Of course, back then it was mostly Sweet Valley High or Cheerleaders books with a few Harlequins thrown in when she could sneak them. But most of all, she liked to write. She wanted to become a published author when she grew up, but she didn't know if she was good enough and she was afraid to let anyone read her work.

When she went into eleventh grade, she met the teacher-- an English teacher-- who would change her life. He was so encouraging to all of his students, every student loved him. He seemed to sense that the girl was hurting and she desperately wanted to reach out to him. She needed someone to believe in her and she thought he just might. And so she hatched a plan.

It was almost Halloween and he had decorated his classroom with pumpkins, ghosts, skeletons, and a stuffed bat. He didn't even notice that the bat was no longer hanging from the ceiling when he locked up that night. He only figured it out when he found a note stuffed under his door the next morning. It was a poem, set out like a ransom note using cut out letters from probably a hundred Seventeen magazines. And it demanded a treat for the class to ensure the bat's safe return. Weeks passed and he never figured out who the bat-napper was. Only after he had passed around a bag of trick or treat candies for the class to enjoy did she pull the bat from her book bag.

That day he told her that her poem was both creative and well written. Well written! She couldn't believe it! He asked if she like to write and she shyly confessed that she did. Months went on and he encouraged her to write more and more and to let him read what she wrote. In time he even convinced her to enter a contest where she won two first prizes.

Graduation was bitter sweet. She was excited to see what college would be like, but she was scared, too. Again, he encouraged her. He told her that he believed in her and that she would make a great writer, because she had a way with words. Through college, he continued to read her work and critique it until, slowly, she stopped writing. It wasn't that she didn't want to write, it was that college, her job, her family... it was all too much and she never seemed to find the time or energy to write. She also lost touch with her teacher. But she never forgot him.

Years later, after she had married, made a career for herself, and again taken to writing, she found him and made contact. Decades had passed, but he hadn't changed one bit. He was pleased to hear that she was still writing and he encouraged her to keep him updated about her progress. His last words to her were 'you always had such a special gift with words'.

Last Friday, the girl found out that he was gone. He had suddenly, unexpectedly passed away, leaving behind a legacy like no other. Not only did he touch the lives of all of his students and the many others who came to know him, he had turned a scared, hurting young girl with no confidence in her work into a strong, independent woman who continues to strive to be the writer he always believed she would be.

On June 22, 2016, the world lost a great light who will forever shine in my heart.
RIP Mr Clark

Monday, 16 May 2016

The Sun is Shining!

Last week the weather was good enough that I bought a kiddie pool and some water squirters for the kids. And it's still pretty sunny (a bit chilly, but I'll take what I can get). It's almost beach season! That is if we get a beach season here this year-- the UK isn't exactly known for its hot summers.

Meanwhile, I am trying to write a story set in the fall. Le sigh. Anyone else struggle to write about chilly Autumn air when the temperature outside starts to rise?

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Spring has sprung...

... or it will. Honestly. I'm sure Spring is almost here...

I know it isn't technically Spring yet, but I am just so tired of Winter. Earlier this month I changed all of my web decor to a Spring theme in defiance of the sub-zero temperatures that were still plaguing us. At the time I was also plagued with both a sinus infection and bronchitis (apparently, I multi-task EVERYTHING).

Antibiotics took care of the illness (although I have started with sinus again this week-- urgh!), but the dreary weather stayed. It's still cold. With any luck, it will start to look warmer soon-- yesterday the sun was shining. It's a start.

Taken in Liverpool during my class.

Earlier this month I took a photography class. I have a fabulously expensive camera for taking action shots for my part-time job, but I don't really know how to use it. Or I didn't, until that class. I understand so much more now. I bring this up because one of our favorite warm weather activities is taking long family walks, usually in local parks or woods (this year I want to go to the beach, too) and now I can't wait for it to warm up enough to get the kids out and take some pictures!

So, come on Spring! Hurry up!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

What is romance?

My hubby had planned to take me to lunch today, but in the end he just cooked me an awesome steak, baked potato, and salad dinner and let me spend the afternoon curled up reading. I think after 12 years of marriage, that is indeed romantic.

Of course, the fact that I was reading a romance helped. And the fact that he surprised me with a lovely necklace and a box of chocolates...

But these days, although I love to read (and write) romance, I am much more interested in a quiet night in with someone else cleaning the kitchen. Does that make me old? Or do you, too, have a non-traditional view on romance?

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Happy New Year!

Here we are, 2016. Six days into the year and as per the norm around the world, I am taking stock of my life. 

I am not big into making resolutions, but this time of year I do tend to pick out a couple areas of my life that I want to focus on this year. Last year, I didn't get as far as I wanted to, but I have my reasons. Not that I'm making excuses; just stating facts. 

One of the things that I have to say I feel down most on was taking care of myself. I got into a rut where instead of looking after my health and sanity, I bought things-- shiny things, fun things... But all of those things didn't fill the void. 

So, this year I am starting with a (still tender) repaired knee and the clarity to know that I need to focus on less for 2016. And focus more on me time. 

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, ya'll! I hope Santa has treated you well. He certainly pleased me this year. In addition to some truely awesome craft stuff (including a Silhouette Portrait), Santa also got me an iPad Mini 2! I am composing this post in it right now. (I am not used to the keyboard and have had a good helping of mulled wine, so please forgive any typos.)

I just stopped by to share my homemade eggnog recipe with you. I have lived in the UK for over 11 years now and I still can't get eggnog in the stores here. They just don't drink it. Every year I try another homemade eggnog recipe and every year it just isn't right.

Not this year. This year, I decided to take everything I had learned over the years and create my own recipe. The verdict is... Heaven! This eggnog is rich, smooth, and creamy. Give it a try and let me know what you think. 

Homemade Eggnog

4 Egg Yolks
1/3 cup Sugar
1 teaspoons Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 cups Heavy/Whipping Cream
1 cup Whole Milk

Beat the egg yolks well with a wire whisk, then beat in the sugar a little at a time until it is all combined and the mixture turns a light yellow. 

Add the nutmeg and vanilla and stir well. 

Add the cream and milk and whisk until the eggnog is frothy. If you would like to add alcohol, do so now.

Place in an air tight container and chill before serving. 

Because this makes a small amount (which is perfect since I am the only one in the house who drinks it), I store this in a protein shake shaker with a metal spring ball inside. Then when I am ready for a cup I can give it a good shake to blend the nutmeg  which has settled back in.

Enjoy! And again, Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

It’s The Most Wonderful Time…

… of the night! The kids are in bed and I have a glass of wine and some cherries. It is also the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas is just around the corner and you know what that means… holiday romances!

Who wants to sit in Santa’s lap?

That’s right, time for stories of finding love under the mistletoe, snowbound reunions, and Christmas kisses. Every year I look forward to holiday romance season. I love reading romance all year round (I am a sucker for a happily ever after), but there is just something magical about romances set during the holidays. Today I bought three new Christmas romances on my Kindle. I am going to use these as treats for getting my word count done for the day. 

Anyone else love Christmas romances as much as I do?