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!




The Little Things

cropped-img_0805Winter has finally arrived in my neck of the woods. The sun is almost gone by 5:30 and one of my favorite things to do on a cold Friday night is to snuggle up on the couch in my pajamas with popcorn, hot chocolate and a good movie.

When my husband was still alive, it’s one of the things we enjoyed doing together. He preferred romantic comedies and I liked action flicks, but we both liked Sci-fi. And there was nothing better than finding a ‘sleeper’ neither of us knew anything about.

I still love a good movie. These days I watch alone or with my sister. But there’s another movie buff in the family. My 11 year old grandson, Caleb. Last night he came over to watch Skull Island with me, and we had so much fun.

At first, he wasn’t sure about the ‘scary’ parts. We had a lengthy discussion where he informed me getting scared really bad could lead to a heart attack. Finally we compromised. I told him if that happened we’d either fast forward the movie or he could go into the other room until the scene was over.

Halfway through he realized King Kong was a good guy and started rooting for him. When it was over and we were both full of various snacks, he said “Granny, this was fun. We’re going to have to do it again.” I don’t have to tell you that made my day.

I need to remember. Especially this time of year.

It’s the little things that count!



Love this idea!

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

dan your humble host

One of the things we have been thinking about doing for quite a while is offering online classes or workshops.

As part of that, we created the Internet show, “Writers Off Task With Friends,” a fun internet show, and we also signed up to be presenters at this year’s Florida Writers Association conference (October 19 – 22, 2017). 


it seems a little silly to wait a whole year to get information you need.

So I was thinking I might have them here.

Well, not here, really. But on the regular Internet. You know, YouTube.

How it would work is, I would announce the date here, and share the link; anybody who signed up would be admitted to view the online presentation.

  • It’ll be a live video chat
  • you can ask questions
  • you can be on camera (or not)

I would present a…

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Infographic: 28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead

Going to keep this list handy while writing!

Nicholas C. Rossis

Jack Milgram of Custom Writing | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksJack Milgram is a writer and blogger at Custom Writing. He recently published an Infographic with 28 Boring Words and suggestions of what to use instead. The idea is that, if you practice using these suggested words instead of the plain-vanilla ones, it will become a habit and enrich your writing. You can contact Jack on Facebook and Twitter, plus on Custom Writing’s blog.

Infographic: 28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead

Infographic: 28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead by Jack Milgram of Custom Writing | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

[tweetthis]Infographic: 28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead[/tweetthis]

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Summer’s Almost Over


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IMG_0813It’s almost time for school to start. The days are getting shorter. There’s a slight change in the weather–a hint of fall perhaps. I’m so ready.

September has always been my time to get back into a routine and setting goals again. Rest up from the hectic summer when there’s picnics and swimming and the days seem to stretch on forever.

Sit on the porch in the evening with a glass of tea. Get out my recipes for soup, bread or mac n cheese. Start thinking about fall decorations. Halloween.

I can’t wait!

What about you? What is your favorite time of the year and why?



Dinner And A Movie Monday – Awakenings


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AwakeningsAwakenings is a 1990 film based on British neurologist Oliver Sack’s 1973 memoir, directed by Penny Marshall. In 1969 the doctor discovered the beneficial effects of the drug L-Dopa when administered to catatonic patients who survived the 1916-28 encephalitis lethargica epidemic. Leonard Lowe and the rest of the patients were awakened after decades of catatonia and have to deal with a new life in a new time.

Robert DeNiro plays Leonard Lowe, one of the patients. After a trial run with L-Dopa produces astounding results with Leonard, it is administered to the rest of the catatonic patients.

Robert DeNiro was nominated for Best Actor for this role. In my opinion, he should have won. He did a remarkable job of bringing Leonard Lowe to life. Through his portrayal, we see the despair and isolation of his condition, and the attitude of wonder he adopts when awakened. We watch his struggle to relearn, his fight to find a place in the world, and the heartbreaking realization that the miracle is only temporary. It will probably move you to tears, but it is a poignant movie that has a lesson for everyone. Enjoy the wonder of living. Learn to appreciate every moment.

Awakenings Quote

Cailin Briste Book Boyfriend Takeover FB Party


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You’re invited to join Cailin Briste as she takes over the Book Boyfriend Bed Hop for four hours of games, giveaways, and teasers for romance readers. 12 authors have donated books so far. Plus Cailin will giving away Amazon gift cards and more. I’ll be there talking about my Scifi Fantasy Romance, In My Own Shadow. cailinbbftakeover


If you’re into contemporary romance, sci-fi romance, romantic suspense, and anthologies, this takeover is for you. Come early. Come late. Come right on time. The games and giveaways will be open from the moment they are posted on August 17 through noon CDT on August 18. #CailinBBTakeover


The first giveaway starts now. Post a comment and tag your friends on the event page linked below to enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card.



Dinner And A Movie Monday – Passengers


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PassengersPassengers is a move starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. If you went to see it, expecting something like Firefly or Star Wars, you were probably disappointed. It isn’t an on the edge of your seat action movie that takes place on some starship in outer space. It’s about relationships and what loneliness will do to you.

The starship Avalon is transporting hibernating colonists and crew to another planet where they will begin new lives. Just 30 years into their 120 year journey, a malfunction awakens mechanical engineer Jim Preston.

He’s got the whole place to himself, so Jim enjoys living like a rich man. He takes advantage of all the amenities offered on the ship. But after realizing he’ll be alone for the rest of his life, he falls into a deep depression. He can have anything he wants except for human companionship. He even contemplates suicide, but can’t go through with it.

Eventually Jim goes against his conscience and wakes another traveler, Aurora. He tells her that her pod malfunctioned. She’s devastated that she will grow old and die before the ship reaches their new home and tries unsuccessfully to find a way to re-enter hibernation.

They fall in love and are happy until Aurora finds out the truth. She accuses Jim for stealing her life and cannot forgive him. They avoid each other until they discover the ships systems are failing and must find a way to repair it and save the other passengers. This is where the action begins.

It was a touching movie about loneliness and isolation and the lengths someone would go to in order to find companionship. This is another side of Chris Pratt I’ve never seen, and I really liked the way he handled the role.

lobster dinnerLobster

If I was stranded like Jim Preston and resigned to enjoying all the gourmet food available onboard, I’d eat lobster every single day.

I’ve never cooked it before, but apparently there’s not that much to it. Pour the water into a large pot and add the onions, garlic, lemons, oranges, celery, black pepper, seasoned salt and jalapeno peppers. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil for 20 minutes. Add the lobsters and place a lid over the pot. Boil for 15 minutes (depending on the size). Cook no more than two at a time.

Makes me hungry.

Welcome Back, Robbi Perna!!!


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I’m delighted to have good friend and fellow author, Robbi Perna, back for another visit. For those of you who don’t know, she writes these wonderful books filled with just the right mix of Romance and adventure, not to mention a sexy Italian!! Robbi at the Victoriana Ball1 - Copy

Multi-published, awarding winning professional author, Robbi Perna, born and raised in Denver, Colorado, is the oldest of four children in an Italian-American family. As the only girl, she gained a unique insight on the Italian male psyche over the years. Her stories often reflect her Italian heritage and the traits many Italian men and women exhibit. At a recent reunion, a classmate approached Robbi and remarked, “I remember two things about you. You always wanted horses and you were always writing stories.” Robbi happily confirmed she had owned Arabian horses for a number of years before moving away from Denver and she still wrote stories. She now makes her home in Northern Virginia where she spends her time embellishing her townhome to resemble an Italian palazzo and crafting her stories.

Robbi brings a diverse perspective to her writing. Her degrees in Art History and a professional background in business, strategic planning and communications, and more than twenty years as a Senior Military Analyst provide a wealth of inspiration. She is the author of thirty-one published credits that include novels, short stories, articles, essays, and editorials.

Robbi’s genre fiction encompasses romance, the paranormal, history, adventure, and women’s literature. Her goal is to live up to one reviewer’s comments: “When you find a writer who can tell a wonderful story that captures your heart and can tell it superbly, well you simply have a great find. Robbi Perna’s stories fit the bill to a T!”

Robbi graciously agreed to provide us some interesting and fun things you usually don’t find out in a blog interview.

* An interesting fact you might not know:

The unification of Italy in 1871 made a country, but it did not make Italians. The general standard of living demonstrated little or no improvement with unification. Liberalism became associated with the rich while the common people remained outside the mainstream of Italian life. A successful completion of the unification process required their integration into the system—a lesson that remained unlearned for most of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth.It was not until Mussolini’s fascist regime that the inhabitants of the peninsula began to think of themselves as a unified people.

* One of Robbi’s favorite characters, who she patterned him after, and why

The hero, a soldier of fortune known only as Navarre is my favorite character. He is the illegitimate son of a Spanish noble and a Basque woman. I patterned him after the strong, silent prototypical heroes of Hollywood’s golden era—mysterious, competent in whatever he does, kind, but at the same time—someone who could be very dangerous in a given situation.

Why—seriously? What red-blooded woman wouldn’t find him attractive and want him to protect her?

(Ummm, yeah. Navarre is my kind of man!”)

* Robbi’s least favorite character and what makes him less appealing.

Carolina’s father, Aurelio the Conte DeSimone, is my least favorite character. While historians of the period would describe him as a man of his times, he is cruel, self-serving, controlling, and believes women are chattel. Since I do not believe there is any excuse for cruelty or controlling personalities, for me, he is the least appealing sort of man in any age. However, from the standpoint of the storyline, I wanted the contrast between the hero, the illegitimate son of a Spanish noble, who is the true gentleman and Aurelio, born a gentleman, who is a bastard.

(You are so right. The weakness of one character does help us see the strength of another.)

* One of Robbi’s characters  in a completely unacceptable situation. She describes what his reaction would be.

Navarre is an intelligence officer, a soldier of fortune, the illegitimate son of a Spanish noble—not a palace courtier. He has neither the polished manners nor the birth rank. When Prince Umberto tells him he wishes to have him serve as the fencing instructor to Princess Margherita and her lady-in-waiting, the Contessina Carolina DeSimone, Navarre is horrified. He respectfully objects, but the Prince is adamant…and Navarre, mysterious, competent, and dangerous becomes a fencing master serving at the command and pleasure of the princess royal and the lady he once watched from the distance of a cypress grove in Tivoli.

(An unacceptable situation, yet our hero rises to the occasion….sigh!!!)


Coming August 15, 2017  Available for Pre-order 



Now that Robbi has us all drooling over tall, dark and handsome Navarre, let’s sit back and enjoy an excerpt from her book.

“Cara mia, be sensible. You know we have no choice.” Carlo’s agonized voice broke the stillness of the cemetery. His tall, strong build, black hair, and dark eyes typified the Roman aristocrat. The red regimental dress uniform of the Pope’s Guardia Nobile intensified his good looks.

“Why does life have to be so hard? If my mother were still alive, she would never have allowed this to happen. She always liked you and we would have had her support. I would have had the hope of a better life, a life of my own choosing.” Her voice trembled with emotion and she clung to Carlo’s hand.

He looked down at her, his face full of the love she’d found there for all the years she’d known him. “Hope, what a laugh. There hasn’t been any hope for us since the day your father sided with the House of Savoy. No, Carolina, we have no hope and this is the last time I will risk meeting you. Go now, it is dangerous for us both, and you need to return home before the day gets much later.” He gave her hand a brief squeeze before he removed it from his arm and turned to escort her over to where the coach waited. Her companion, Maria, and Giuseppe, the coachman who had served her mother stood waiting by the door.

“Come, Ma’donna. We must return to Rome before the Count sends someone to look for you.” Giuseppe let down the steps and helped the two women into the coach. Carolina watched him give Carlo a long look before he climbed up to the box.

Carlo leaned his head into the carriage window. “Farewell amore mio. I’ll pray to our Heavenly Father for your safety. I leave tomorrow for my next assignment with the Guardia Nobile. I also have no choice. My family remains faithful to the Holy Father. Only those few misguided fools like your father fail to realize Victor Emmanuelle is an opportunist who

offers nothing except empty promises. The rest of us still believe the future security of Italy lies with Pio Nono. You’ll see—he will triumph in the end.” Carlo stepped back and spun away in the opposite direction to mount his horse.

“Ma’donna Carolina, don’t cry so. You will make yourself ill. Come, let Maria hold you.” The woman, a distant cousin of her late mother’s, had been her companion since childhood. She enfolded Carolina in her arms and held her against her amble, dark clothed bosom.

“Maria, I’ll never see him again. We’ve been planning to marry since we were children. How will I live without him?” She sat up straight and attempted to dry her tears. “What will I do so far away in Turin? Why must I serve a cause I don’t understand?”

“You must be patient. Perhaps your father will come to his senses.” The older woman stroked a hand down her back to comfort her, but Carolina saw Maria stare out the carriage window with a bleak, distant expression.


 Across the expanse of uneven ground, the man known only as Navarre standing in the shelter of the cypress trees lowered his binoculars. He tilted them so the sun would not reflect off the lenses and disclosure his presence. He retraced his steps to the horse he’d tethered in the shelter of the stone ruins at the edge of the cemetery.

“Come Compeador. The young lovers, whoever they are, will no doubt find their way through whatever troubles them, but their presence has delayed our journey long enough. I must deliver the King’s message to my contact in the Vatican before midnight.”

The Arabian stallion snorted and sidled when the man slid a black booted foot into the stirrup and mounted. Once settled deep in the saddle, he reined the horse’s head in the direction of the road toward Rome and set off at a canter taking care not to overtake the coach traveling along the Via Salaria. Once cleared of the town, the pair cut across the countryside and covered the distance at a pace designed to eat up the remaining kilometers. The need to break his journey to avoid detection had put him behind schedule.

Check out My Heart Still Surrenders as well as Robbi’s other books. You’ll be glad you did!

* Website: http://www.RobbiPerna.net

* Email: Robbis_stories@robbiperna.net

* Buy Links: https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Still-Surrenders-Robbi-Perna/dp/1773622579/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501439934&sr=8-1&keywords=My+Heart+Still+SurrendersAmazon  https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Still-Surrenders-Robbi-Perna-ebook/dp/B073PBKSY6/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1501439934&sr=8-1 Amazon Buy Link E-Book: My Heart Still Surrenders Amazon Buy Link Print Edition: My Heart Still Surrenders