A New Find



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View From My Window


My friends and family know how much I love searching for unique finds to decorate my house. There’s something exciting about hunting for the perfect piece to fit in that spot on the wall, on a shelf or in the corner of the living room. I might not even know I need it until it “speaks” to me.

I’ve been doing this forever. Long before anyone ever heard of “shabby chic” or “flea market finds”. You can see me at Garage Sales, Rummage Sales and Estate Sales. Even the city dump. It fulfills my need for retail therapy without breaking the bank, and gives me an interesting story to tell about how it came to be mine.

Today I have a great new piece to showcase. A Royal Quiet Deluxe Portable Typewriter. Only makes sense. A typewriter for a writer. And it had to be a Royal, of course. It looks great on the shelf above my computer and I’ve already incorporated a picture of it into my blog.

What about you? I’m sure there’s something you love to do that is just as rewarding. It could be anything. That’s the beauty. Please share!




50 Useful Tips to Boost Your Organisation and Productivity

Good advice to stay on track

Suzie Speaks

50 useful tips to boost organisation and productivity This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included

A routine is incredibly important to productivity, motivation and organisation and a morning routine (even if you aren’t a morning person) followed by further preparation in the evening is more likely to encourage a successful day. 

Avoid focusing on the idea of perfection. There’s no such thing. Avoid getting caught up in fussing over the insignificant.

Plan your month in advance. Using a calendar, phone, diary or Bullet Journal, map out your month. I like to see an overview of everything on one page, so I create a linear list in my Bullet Journal for the entire month of dates when I have an appointment, event and a birthday to remember. I duplicate this list onto a single piece of paper…

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Turning an Idea into a Plot

good advice

Uninspired Writers

Good morning writers, I hope you’ve had a great week.

I took a little time out this week, and took myself to Edinburgh for a few days. It’s an amazing city, and my aim was to spend some time alone, plotting novel 2 ahead of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Whether you’re planning to take part in NaNo or not, you may sometimes find yourself struggling to turn an idea into a full plot. I know do. So I’m going to share with you my method for turning a fledgling idea into a full story outline. (Please note, this is not a guaranteed guide, it works for me but may not work for everybody.)

Take a look at the following eight steps, to turn your novel idea into a plot:

1. Spend some quiet time thinking
The first thing I do when I have the stirrings of a new…

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Dinner And A Movie Monday-The Light Between Oceans


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The-Light-Between-OceansThe Light Between Oceans is a 2016 period drama based on the novel of the same name.  An international co-production between the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, the film stars Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz, Bryan Brown, and Jack Thompson. The film tells the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who rescue and adopt an infant girl adrift at sea. Years later, the couple discovers the child’s true parentage and are faced with the moral dilemma of their actions.

Tom Sherbourne has been traumatized by WWI. He feels a terrible guilt because he survived the war when so many others didn’t. He takes a solitary job as a lighthouse keeper and falls in love with Isabel…something he never expected. He is willing to do anything for Isabel’s happiness. Even sacrifice his principles. But when he realizes he can’t continue, he’s willing to go to prison for her.

It’s a poignant, touching movie with brilliant scenery and beautiful music. Get your hankies ready. FYI: Michael Fassbinder and Alicia Vikander fell in love during the filming of this movie.

hokey pokey

Hokey Pokey

The recipe I chose is a candy made in New Zealand. Hence the Chelsea white sugar and Golden Syrup. I’m assuming you can substitute. I’m going to try this one soon!

Grease the base and sides of a 9X9 tin with butter.
Place Chelsea White Sugar and Chelsea Golden Syrup into a heavy-based saucepan. Heat gently, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.

Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes. Stir occasionally, if necessary, to prevent burning. Remove from heat. Add the baking soda and stir very quickly – the mixture will froth up rapidly.

Pour into prepared tin immediately. Leave until cold and set then break into pieces.

Coat hokey pokey pieces in melted chocolate for an extra special treat!


It’s Finally Here!

DSCF1308Here in Texas, the first day of fall sometimes slips by virtually unnoticed, but this year was an exception. It began with a downpour. Heavy dark clouds, a little fog, and chilly weather set the tone for the day.

Made me want to pull out my recipes. After months of salads and quick meals, nothing sounds (or smells) better than a pot of homemade soup and hot bread. I’ve already changed my comforter and added another thin cotton quilt for cooler nights to come. My tub of fall decorations is sitting in the living room, waiting.

Soon it’ll be time to get out and look at all the fall decorations, search for the red mums and colorful pumpkins I use on my front porch. October is a busy month. Our town hosts Autumn Trails every year so there’s something going on every weekend. My daughter and I usually go to the Arts and Crafts show for her birthday. My sister and I plan to go to Canton to celebrate our birthday at the end of the month. And every year my son and daughter-in-law host a Halloween party.

I’m looking forward to it.

Welcome back, Anne and Ken


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Come in and sit down. A little cooler in Texas these days so you might want a cup of hot tea. I’m thrilled to have authors Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken HIcks back for a visit. You’ll love them.

thumbnail_Anne and Ken Egypt 2Now, let’s get to know them a little better.

When Anne Rothman was a student at Bryn Mawr College and Kenneth Hicks was a student at Haverford College, they began writing together in an independent-study course with one of Ken’s professors. A brief interlude ensued while Anne wrote wonderful poetry and Ken wrote a book about hitchhiking (The Complete Hitchhiker Tobey Publishing, Dell Distribution), but they soon got back together as writers when Ken was in law school at Columbia University and Anne was paying the rent by working in publishing. They have continued to write together for about forty years and, in that time, have published four adult novels, eleven non-fiction books for children, two fiction books for tweens, three fiction books for middle readers, and two photography books. They also produced three children whom they love even more than writing.

Their most recent book is Remembering Thomas, a sequel to Things Are Not What They Seem, both published by MuseItYoung, and available in all formats. Their three middle reader novels are Stone Faces, Brownstone Faces, and Splotch also published by MuseItYoung. Their previous adult novels are Kate and the Kid, a mainstream novel, and Weave A Murderous Web, Praise Her, Praise Diana, and Mind me, Milady, all mystery thrillers featuring Jane Larson.

Jennifer and James and their two friends, Kaytlyn and Sleepy, step through a time portal in the vicinity of modern-day Kips Bay, New York City, and find themselves in the middle of a Revolutionary War battle. Their purpose is to stop the evil Malman, who wants to change the course of history by altering an event that occurred at the Battle of Harlem Heights. Their task is complicated by a bumbling man, Arthur Whitehair, who was turned into a pigeon by the misreading of a spell many years before.thumbnail_Remembering Thomas 333x500

During the course of twenty-four hours, the foursome meets the genteel Mary Murray and her daughter, Susannah, credited with delaying the British and allowing the rebels to escape. They share the camp of Margaret Corbin, who fought with the rebels and was injured. Their lives are saved by swashbuckling Major Aaron Burr. They encounter Thomas Knowlton the hero of Bunker Hill who died at the battle of Harlem Heights. And, finally, Jennifer discovers the joys and pain of first love with Frederick Knowlton, the sixteen-year-old son of Thomas.

Remembering Thomas is a sequel to Things Are Not What They Seem. As in that novel, the four friends learn lessons about love, friendship, and self-sacrifice.

Links to Remembering Thomas and Things Are Not What They Seem

Remembering Thomas Amazon page: https://tinyurl.com/yavkyhyr

Things Are Not What They Seem Amazon page: https://tinyurl.com/ybhhepmy

Anne’s Amazon Page: https://tinyurl.com/y88wcdnb

Ken’s Amazon Page: https://tinyurl.com/ybkd3lw7

Our Blog: http://randh71productions.com/blog/

MuseItUp Publishing Bu Link: https://tinyurl.com/y73u3n63

The experts say that a person should write about what he or she know best, and we do that in our books for children and young adults.

We have lived in New York City for almost 45 years, and we certainly have seen our fair share of pigeons. So maybe it was inevitable that one day Anne and I should be sitting in a playground with pigeons all around searching for food, and fantasize that one of those pigeons was actually a 135-year-old man named Arthur Whitehair, who had been turned into a pigeon because he read a magic spell wrong. And if we accept that convention, Arthur might now be threatened by a man who had been turned into a hawk by Arthur’s mistake as well. For all these reasons, Arthur might have asked for the help of Jennifer, a young girl babysitting for her younger brother in that very playground. In this way, bits and pieces of the story evolved into Things Are Not What They Seem. Throughout, the point is made that appearances cannot always be trusted. Arthur was a lovable type, but somewhat selfish on occasion, who created enormous problems for Jennifer and her brother, James, and their two friends, and put them all in grave danger. Kirkus Reviews called our novel: “A learned, laugh-out-loud New York City fantasy for all ages.”

So, how about a sequel? Over the years, we had done a lot of reading for another novel we were writing that included aspects of the Revolutionary War in New York City, and the series of battles that took place in Manhattan. We decided to have Jennifer and James and their friends slip back through a time warp to find themselves in a Manhattan of centuries before, full of green fields, farms and forests. In this book, there are also scenes from the Battle of Manhattan with cannonballs flying through the air from ships anchored in the East River and British soldiers coming ashore to fight. Once again, Arthur was the cause of the problems these child heroes faced, and the fast-moving plot includes characters who actually played a part in that chapter of American history. The name of this novel is Remembering Thomas, and its major theme is the importance of remembering and honoring the people who have gone before us and who have made sacrifices on our behalf.

We hope you will read either or both of these books!

Thanks for stopping by, you guys! Enjoyed the visit.


Advice On Submitting to Agents

Good advice!

Uninspired Writers

Morning world builders, I hope you’ve all had a great week.

Last Sunday I sent of my first ever submissions. I sent my carefully crafted work out into the world, and now I am up against the long wait for inevitable rejections and potential feedback.

It’s taken a long time to reach this point and I’ve needed to do a lot of research, and seek a lot of help, to get here. So I want to share with you some of the advice that has helped me, and some of the things I’ve learned. Please share your advice in the comments, as there’s still plenty I don’t know.

1. Make sure your novel is finished
This is the first advice you’ll see anywhere. It’s really tempting, when you’ve had an amazing idea, to pitch it before it’s ready. But the truth us, most agents want to hear from writers who…

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Author #SummerRead Exchange with Viviana MacKade


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Today I’m thrilled to welcome Viviana MacKade to stop by for a visit and get to know her better. First, let me say I LOVE her cover. Don’t you? And I’m sorry to say she’s the last author in my SummerRead Author Exchange. I loved meeting y’all and hearing about your books. I hope we can do this again soon. My TBR list is full again. I’d better get busy reading!

Viviana has selected some of my quirky questions to answer. Let’s see what she has to say, shall we?

Describe your rituals for preparing to write.

I see my boys out for work and school, make an herbal tea, sit down at my desk, Pino, and I start: emails first, blog entries, re-reading yesterday’s writing to get into the mood, and off I go.

Are you a plotter, a pantser or some combination of both?

A bit of both. I like to know where the external elements of a story go (where the character have to go, if something like a hurricane happens, at which point the character will do something important like changing job or stuff like that), then I let the characters lead me through that. Let’s say I know A – B – and C will happen. I don’t know how my people will react to it, which sometimes (I’m looking at you, Aidan) changes the axes of the story and makes me g nuts.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Nowhere. I do my things, and stay very open to that sudden sparkle that makes me go, “oh, now that’s something to look into a bit more”. It can happen anywhere and at any moment, but I trained myself to listen to it and don’t let it go.

finale aidan (1).jpg

Tormented, fierce, and broken, sculptor Aidan Murphy has judged himself guilty. He yearns for love but pushes everyone away. He longs for acceptance but has lost the key to open his heart. Until he meets Summer Williams. Beautiful and smart, Dr. Williams promises haven for a man who believes he deserves none. All he has to do is let her in and risk his heart and soul.

Summer’s managed to keep her inner light alive, even through tragedy. She’s created a new life for herself and her daughter in Crescent Creek with loving, caring and fun friends–well, except brooding, breathtaking Aidan. She’s used to keeping away from his type, though. All she has to do is ignore the pull of a man who’s turning up to be much more than snarls and storms. Will her compassion and medical instincts let her?

Love can heal a broken soul and shake up a timid heart. Or it can unleash devastation and revenge.

Will Aidan and Summer survive the hurricane?

Release September 15, available for pre-sale

$ 0.99 FREE with KU

Buy Link Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GDP26VB?




Beach bum and country music addicted, Viviana lives in a small Floridian town with her husband and her son, her die-hard fans and personal cheer squad. She spends her days between typing on her beloved keyboard, playing in the pool with her boy, and eating whatever her husband puts on her plate (the guy is that good, and she really loves eating). Besides beaching, she enjoys long walks, horse-riding, hiking, and pretty much whatever she can do outside with her family.

Find me: On my website http://www.viviana-mackade.blog/ On FB On Twitter Amazon Author page


Dinner And A Movie Monday-The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


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It’s been a long time since I’ve done Dinner and A Movie Monday. My sister and I still watch movies together, and we still find some unexpected gems. So I decided to start sharing them again. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a 2018 film based on the novel of the same name. Set in 1946, the plot follows a London-based writer who has a perfect life. She’s successful and has a rich and handsome American fiance.  She begins exchanging letters with Dawsey Addams, a resident of Guernsey Island.

She finds herself fascinated by Dawsey’s stories about how the people on the island survived German occupation during the war and decides to travel there, where she falls in love with the island, its inhabitants, and its story.

I loved it. It’s an old-fashioned tearjerker, nostalgic and romantic. The scenery will take your breath away and the music is lovely. If that’s what you’re in the mood for, it should fit the bill.


ROAST PORK (This was a favorite with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix together black pepper, garlic powder and salt. …
  3. Put the roast on a rack in a roasting pan. …
  4. Roast until internal temperature is between 145-160°F, 20-25 minutes per pound. …
  5. Cover roasting pan with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.