Friday Night Lights

My husband, George James of the blog Thinking Things Over, wrote a touching story of football, dreams, and the journey to follow those dreams.

Thinkin' Things Over

I grew up in a small town along the Ohio River where high school football was a big event on Friday nights.  My house was four short blocks down the hill from the high school stadium.

I remember, as a young boy around five or six years old, standing on the sidewalk in front of my house on a crisp Friday night and looking up the street at the lights of the stadium. I could hear the band playing, the crowd screaming, and the comments being made on the public address system. I really did not understand what was going on, but I knew that I wanted to be there.

One night my grandfather took me up the street to the stadium. I remember my excitement as the lights got brighter and the sounds louder. We worked our way along the side of the stadium until we got to the…

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Summer Reading for Kids of All Ages!

Summer has always meant more time for reading. As a child (and teen), I’d grab a book and climb my favorite tree and read for hours. Janice Spina has written wonderful books for young people of all ages.

Jemsbooks

This is a post I previously wrote back in 2017 and wanted to share again in time for the summer.

Jemsbooks for all ages for fun summer reading for the whole family!

Pre-School – Grade 3  – Written in rhyme with life lessons – stories encourage children to behave, to respect others differences, to listen to your mother, show kindness to others, it’s okay to be different, love one another, be kind to animals, family and friends are important.

Purchase links:

Amazon Author Page for all Jemsbooks

Barnes & Noble Page for all Jemsbooks

School will be out in less than a month! Can you believe it? Have you picked out which books you want your children to read yet? Let me make some suggestions for you.

Middle-Grade/Young Adult/Preteen – Stories encourage good behavior, kindness to others, respect of elders and family values, bullying should never be accepted or tolerated, 

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Gratitude to the WordPress Book Bloggers

Author, blogger, and one I am honored to call friend, Claire Fullerton, talks about the book industry and where book bloggers fit in. I am touched to be mentioned along with such wonderful bloggers.

Claire Fullerton Author

I’d like to adequately express how much the WordPress book blogging community means to me, so suffer me while I warm up to it. I readily admit I’m the long-winded sort, even when I have an important point.

In this day and age of social media at the center of an author’s career, there is much to reconcile, and there are times I wrestle with keeping a proper perspective. On the one hand–and you’d think this to meet me in person–I  am ridiculously extroverted; I have what author, Pat Conroy, labeled the “Southern sickness” of assuming everyone I meet is my best friend, yet on the other, I am intensely private. I don’t like showcasing myself because it feels like grandstanding, and quite frankly I’m not impressed with myself to the point that I think I have anything of significance going over any other writer. We are all of us…

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POETRY in the TIME of CORONAVIRUS

Book Spotlight

POETRY in the TIME of CORONAVIRUS is an anthology of original submissions from the Poets of the World. Proceeds will benefit Doctors Without Borders and Partners In Health – two outstanding organizations supporting the fight against COVID-19 and countless other global health issues. Please follow @p_i_t_t_o_c on Instagram to meet many of the poets who generously committed themselves to this charitable effort with their profound creative voices. We dedicate this project to all of the healthcare professionals tasked with treating the victims of Coronavirus. As well, our community of poets extends its compassion and love to all who have been affected by this terrible pandemic. Thank you for supporting our small effort to make a positive difference during this tenuous time. Edited by G.A. Cuddy with valued assistance from Liz Kobak. Cover art by Charlotte Knauth.

Purchase on Amazon

Little Tea

By Claire Fullerton

Endorsements for Little Tea

Claire Fullerton skillfully draws us into a lost world of Southern traditions and norms where past tragedies cast long, dark shadows on present-day lives, and no one ever truly escapes.

Cassandra King, author of The Same Sweet Girls* 

“Claire Fullerton once again delivers an emotional, lyrical tale and proves she’s a writer to watch.”

–Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Perennials

Claire Fullerton’s unique, lovely story brings the reader a triple bonus — the sense of home, history, and compassion delivered in abundance. Her characters sizzle with personality.  This is the Old South butting heads with Today. Fullerton’s book Little Tea shows us there is hope for the future.

Val MacEwan: Editor of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.

pre-release, here are Little Tea’s Awards

The Pulpwood Queens (780 book club chapters) August book selection

Finalist in the Faulkner Society’s William Wisdom International book competition

Finalist in the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset Awards

 

Book Blurb

One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship. For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia revisits the life she’d tried to outrun. As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.

 

My Review

Little Tea is a story of many layers.  The author deftly alternates this story of the South in the 1980s with the present day. While racism was outlawed, the South still bristled with hatred from a few of the privileged.

Ava, Celia, and Renny had been friends since they were thirteen years old. When Ava decides she needs to change her life and contemplates leaving her husband of 23 years, the three friends meet at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, not far from Memphis. Unbeknownst to Celia and Renny, Ava arranges to meet her high school boyfriend, Mark, at the lake house. Celia’s ex-boyfriend, Tate, is in Memphis at the same time and wants to see Celia. This stirs up a lot of memories of Tate, her brother Hayward, and her best friend Little Tea, Celia has worked hard to bury. Renny is the voice of calm and reason and having divorced her husband, has no need for another man in her life.  Will all three be able to come to terms with the issues they’ve tried to bury?

This is a story of family, friendships, love, hate, and race relations still evident in the 1980s.  It is about children growing to adulthood but never really leaving all the entanglements of their youth behind. The author keeps you guessing about some of the characters, revealing only what you need to know until she decides you need to know more.

Claire Fullerton crafts a beautiful story that is both pleasurable and heartrending at times.  Her characters are so well fleshed out, you feel you know each one personally.  She seamlessly moves from one period to the other and back throughout the book allowing us to know the South through Ava, Renny and Celia’s eyes.  For those of us who are Northerners, it gives us insight into how far-reaching the fingers of hate can go.

I loved Little Tea. It is one of those books you can’t put down and then never seems to leave you. If you enjoy

I was given an ARC copy of Little Tea by the author in exchange for my honest review.

 

About the Author

Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Mourning Dove is a five-time award winner, including the Literary Classics Words on Wings for Book of the Year, and the Ippy Award silver medal in regional fiction (Southeast). Claire is also the author of Dancing to an Irish Reel, A Portal in Time, and a contributor to A Southern Season with her Novella, Through an Autumn Window. Little Tea is Claire’s 4th novel. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary Agency. She is a featured author with Novel Network and a two-time featured author of The Pulpwood Queens.

Claire Fullerton is the author of four novels and one novella. Her southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis, Mourning Dove (Firefly Southern Fiction) was a five-time book award winner and a semi-finalist in the Faulkner Society’s 2017 William Wisdom international competition.

Author Links

Author Website

Author Page – Goodreads

Little Tea will be available for purchase on May 1, 2020

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Pandemic Anxiety Busters~

Once again Cindy Knoke shares her knowledge on how to deal with the pressures of this pandemic. This is part three. (You can scroll through my latest posts for links to parts 1 and 2). Besides her advice on staying sane through the Covid-19 pandemic, Cindy’s blog contains a plethora of entertaining posts with her own photos. Please stop by her blog often.

In the last two posts we started filling our anxiety busting toolbox and we are now down to our final three tools.*

Thank you to all the bloggers who added their own personal tools that work. They are most helpful and are incorporated into our toolbox. Choose any tool(s) that might work for you, and discard any/all that are not a good fit. Add more of your own resources that work. Adapt your toolbox to suit yourself. The most important thing, regardless of the specific tools, is to have tools in your awareness, to improve your mood, and ease your anxiety, when bad things happen.

Here is our toolbox:

ANXIETY TOOLBOX:

Self Talk Reframing (Cognitive Therapy)

Guided Imagination/Visualization

Exposure Management

Progressive Relaxation

Distraction in Action

Self Soothing

Second Voice

Spiritual Meditation/Prayer

Exercise, Diet & Good Health Practices

SECOND VOICE

Carl Jung emphasized the importance of paying attention to our inward…

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Making waves

A beautifully penned message from Sue Vincent.

The Silent Eye

weymouth 032

I’ll do it.” I found myself with empty hands as my son took over, concern for my dodgy back making him move the heavy sack of soil. There will be many things he cannot help with as we begin to edge the pond with flowers, but this he could manage and, knowing that I would struggle, took matters into his own hands. It was a small thing, but it shows an awareness of the problems faced by others and a willingness to do something about it.

Just as the pebble that is tossed into a pool will create a wide circle of ripples, so do tiny acts of kindness and consideration add up, producing a cumulative effect far greater than the sum of its parts.

It is the small gestures that make a difference, just as it is from seemingly insignificant events or simplest of phrases from which understanding…

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2020 Book Promo – DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens – ONLY 99c / 99p for a Limited Time

If you haven’t read Bette Stevens Dog Bone Soup, now is the time. The Kindle copy is on sale through April 4th on Amazon. It is an amazing story and I loved every word.

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

True-to-life Americana

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens– ONLY 99c / 99p from March 29th through April 4th

“…adventures and misadventures to the likes of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry

“As with all great literature, it is underscored with life lessons particularly memorable to this [Baby Boomer] generation…”

“DOG BONE SOUP is a fascinating literary study of poverty and family dysfunction in the 1950s  & 1960s. It is written in a fast-flowing, entertaining style that kept me turning pages, one after another.

“Despite the odds stacked against them, two brothers—Shawn Daniels and Willie—manage to survive, escaping the rants of a drunken abusive father and the hardships of rural life, cutting out on daily adventures and misadventures to the likes of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry. DOG BONE SOUP is about making the best of what you have. It’s a story about survival, struggle, and the human spirit—rising…

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Hope on the Horizon: Pandemic Anxiety Management II~

This is the second post by Cindy Knoke on stress and anxiety management. Please visit her blog to read her tips. (I shared the 1st post on March 15).

I think this koala is sending a message to you and I about anxiety!

In the midst of darkness,

there is light.

Check out: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8115879/COVID-19-Australian-researchers-CURE-coronavirus.html

Good people are working,

to help.

Countering,

pandemic anxiety,

with realistic hope,

is powerful medicine.

Hope floats,

and flies.

Let’s move on with building our toolbox to manage pandemic anxiety.

ANXIETY TOOLBOX:

Self Talk Reframing (Cognitive Therapy)

Guided Imagination/Visualization

Exposure Management

Progressive Relaxation

Distraction in Action

Self Soothing

Spiritual Meditation/Prayer

Second Voice

Exercise, Diet & Good Health Practices

We covered the first three in the last post. Here are the next three.

I would love for you to add tools of your own that are, or have, worked for you. With your help we could build a truly awesome anxiety busting toolbox so people can pick and choose what is comfortable for them. If you have some tools that work let me know. It will…

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