Lock down and the distracted imagination

It’s hard times, isn’t it? Here in New Zealand, we went into lock down early, as soon as the first few cases of Covid-19 popped up in people who had not themselves been overseas.

Even earlier than that, people with preconditions or over the age of 70 were advised to enter a protective bubble in their own homes, and physically distance themselves from anyone outside those in the bubble with them. That meant me and my dearly beloved in our bubble, and our children and their families each in theirs.

We heard from the support agency who looks after our son, who has multiple preconditions and who flats with three other people with disabilities. The service put each of their houses into a protective bubble that included the households of the care workers that supported the residents. Bless them! They set our hearts somewhat at ease.

With two weeks of lock down over and two of the original commitment to go, the Prime Minister has been making noises about potential extension, and about reducing the restrictions in some places but not others. We’re resigned to whatever happens. Unlike most places in the world, we moved strong and early, so have a real chance of eliminating the virus within our borders (as long as we keep them shut for the duration). That’s worth staying home for.

Meanwhile, I’ve been finding it hard to write. My mind keeps circling in a endless round of anxiety, and I tend to hover over the latest statistics as if knowing them is going to make a difference to the outcome.

Mind you, we’ve been busy. We’ve spent days trying to sort out an extension on the settlement date on our house, since moving is not an allowable activity under the current restrictions. We’ve talked on the phone for hours to our son and a support worker trying to get movie channels set up on the house television — we paid the subscriptions to help out with keeping the guys contented and at home. We’ve helping neighbours out with sprouting seeds and other supplies that we had and they didn’t. We’ve been keeping up with our other family and friends.

In fact, one 96-year-old friend grumbles that she can’t get anything done because people keep ringing her to see how she is!

I’ve also read a lot of books, watched several movies, broken my high score in Sudoko, and played hundreds of games of WordScapes. At least some of those activities feed the imagination.

Still, deadlines don’t wait. I’ve managed (at the eleventh hour) to get To Wed a Proper Lady up for release next week, I’m in the process of getting Amazon to put the prequel novella Paradise Regained up for free, and already have it free on my own bookshop and at other distributors, and today I hope to finish the companion piece, Paradise Lost, which I plan to give away free with my newsletter.

Bit by bit, I’m getting my writing mojo back, and I keep reminding myself that these are difficult times, and my Prime Minister’s frequent admonition to ‘Be Kind’ applies to me, too.

How about you? What are you doing to weather this storm?

Brighten Your Day

Look. I know. It’s been extremely rough within the past few weeks, especially for those of us who are quarantined and or sheltered-in-place.

Wait!

That should be everyone by now, or at the very least, most of us. Also, if you must leave your home, social distancing matters and is working to help keep us from being so vulnerable to the virus.

Turmoil, in the span of many days, turned our lives upside down. Better days are ahead of us. I believe that.

I hope all of you are doing well, and making the best of conditions living this different way for a short time. It isn’t something any of us wanted or ever dreamed would happen.

Remaining healthy must be our priority, and when…when…we get back to normal, that will be a blessing.

The stakes are high, so keeping your hands clean, and social distancing makes sense.

Still looking for something to fill your days? Pull out one of those dusty cookbooks, maybe it’s your mom’s or Grandma’s handwritten recipes.

Bake cookies. Bake several loaves of bread. Try a new recipe. Bring your children, and or, your husband into the kitchen with you. Have fun.

Interact with your children. So many of you are homeschooling and I applaud you for that! Now is an important time to spend quality time with your loved ones…in your home, that is.

Reading is a proven way to relieve stress. If you love to read, online bookstores are a lifesaver! Without leaving home you can fill your reader with ebooks or order print books, whichever you prefer.

As my gift to you, Christmas Blessing (Book 4) is NOW FREE until March 28, 2020 at 11:59 PM Pacific time.

Please download FREE from Amazon and enjoy. https://tinyurl.com/vwd2hfg

Christmas Blessings (small)

My heart and thoughts are with you and I certainly share your concerns. I pray this reading finds you and yours well.

Tell someone you love them.

By working together, and with God’s grace, we will rise above this tragedy.

Wash your hands. Stay safe and stay healthy.

May God keep you all.

Until next time…I wish you Music, Butterflies 087d7f0069385dd543178c4c2fca3430--blue-butterfly-butterfly-wings and most of all…I wish you Love

 

Collection of drabbles

I decided to take a step back and share a few poems and a little short to help us get our minds off things.

The Stars

We hold the Stars within our hand
deep inside, like a lover’s command
No one knows the battles they fight
to keep us on a path that’s true and right
Shining brightly within our hand
each as tiny as a grain of sand
Cup your hands, cup them tight
and hold within the true darkness of Night
For within each Star there comes a passing
of all our wishes ever lasting

Balance

We balance upon a blade , never knowing what choice should be made
Be wary and follow your heart, together we are strong and weak when apart
Balance is the key, two “sisters” locked eternally
Without one there can’t be no other, as close as a brother
One is dark the other light, even close they always fight
So close your eyes and comprehend, no one may loose so no one can win.

Paper World

In this book I hold inside wonders from different worlds and time.
Just a peak, just a glimpse, and you will see dancing nymphs.
Hobgoblins, ghosts and ghouls, moons that are being howled at by wolves.
With each page I turn and flip I take the most wondrous trip.
So open your mind, shut out the noise and enter this world with me girls and boys.

Forbidden

It’s always there, a sweet taste upon my tongue. This yearning for more even though I know the cloying taste will curse me. Still I reach out for you, touching my fingertips across your skin.
All I can manage is the ghost of a caress as we circle each other, this never ending spiral having no other outcome but destruction if we get any closer.
In my dreams we touch, we kiss. Your skin against mine is more than I can take and I wake in a fevered pitch as my body cries in silent agony.
Why you, I have wondered. I have asked. Still the answer is unknown to me, yet I seek out this folly of a love. This growing obsession to have you. Twice I have forced my hand back to my side. And thrice I have almost swayed.
Do you not notice my stares? My bitter acceptance?
If I were to kiss you would it be the truth of Legends and the meaning of life intertwined? Or would the world shatter to reveal a darkness I have never known as I plunged into the madness below?

From a Whisper to a Scream

As I sat there pondering the world, I realized I wanted to make a change. I wanted to make everything better. And yet, no matter how loud I was, all that came out was the smallest whisper. So I whispered and whispered until I was hoarse and then, as if by a miracle, another whisper joined in. then another and another, until our whispers became a voice, and even louder we became as our voice turned into a shout. And the shout rose into a scream that covered the world. A scream of whispers started by one.

Thank you for reading and have as good of a day as possible.

How Are You Doing?

As I write this, there are five confirmed cases of COIVD-19 in Ottawa, where I live. The city has pretty much shut down. March Break begins today for school kids, but museums, libraries, pools, camps, etc., are closed. Schools will be closed for an additional two weeks (at least). The worst part of all this, at the moment, is that people are hoarding food and household essentials like it’s the apocalypse. Some grocery store shelves are bare. Toilet paper is scarce. Lineups are insane. I’m sure it’s a similar story wherever you live.

It’s disheartening to realize how selfish people can be in a crisis. Instead of looking out for those who are most vulnerable, we grab what we can for ourselves. There’s a special place in hell for those who bought up mass quantities of hand sanitizer to resell them to desperate people at four times the price, and people who are stealing face masks from hospitals, where they are most needed.

We will get through this. We have to stick together (but not too close), follow the recommendations of health authorities, and ride this out as best we can. Check in on your elderly neighbours to make sure they are okay. With any luck, in a few weeks, things will start to go back to normal.

Escapism

es·cap·ism

noun

the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Bet we could all use some of that escapism right about now. Did you know it exists? On your bookshelves! Authors from many times and many lands have created the greatest escapism the world has ever known—books!!

 

 

Fall in love with a dragon. Learn you have magical powers and how to use them. Be a simple peasant boy falling for the princess. Find a happily ever after. All between the pages of a book.

At a time when the news is screaming at us hourly, relax, escape–find a book to take you away from it all. Let the Authors of Main Street take you away!!

Happy Reading, Jill James
author of contemporary, paranormal, and zompoc romance

 

#JudegoestoBali and other thoughts about family

Me (on the far left) and my brothers and sisters during our sibling trip to Bali

This might have been my last trip for 2020, but what a trip it was! Our Mum’s kids and their spouses had their third get-together — first one at her funeral, in Auckland, New Zealand; second one five years ago in Oamaru, a small country town with significance in Mum’s life, and now this one.

One of my brothers organised the airfares, another hired a villa for the week, and we had a marvelous time catching up and getting to know one another all over again. Family matters.

I posted on Facebook using the hashtag #JudegoestoBali, so if you want to follow my adventure and you’re on Facebook, go take a look.

I came home thinking about family. About the links that tie me to my brothers and sister, and their spouses and children. About my own beloved, who wasn’t able to join us. I couldn’t sleep properly until I was beside him again, and he says the same thing. About the traditional Balinese family compounds — their domestic architecture leans towards walled compounds enclosing pavilions, gardens, and little shrines. Younger members of the family, when they take a spouse and begin their own family, move into their own pavilion. They live together and work together. Family matters.

About the love of a mother for her children, which transcends time, separation and grief. Even species. We had the privilege, quite without intending it, of timing our visit to the Elephant Sanctuary for a fortnight after the birth of one of only five babies born there in the last ten years.

What a little cutie! And already full of mischief and personality.

We saw a number of monkey mothers, too, when we visited the Monkey Jungle. Like the elephants, the monkeys live in family groups, with the mothers forming the nucleus around which the rest of the family formed. We saw one little fellow of perhaps a year old being repeatedly chased a short distance away by his mother when he attempted to crawl into her lap to replace the new baby. But when baby went wandering and another monkey appeared to threaten it, big brother was right there with Mum and a large male, presumably Dad, chasing the interloper some distance for his offense. Family matters.

Anyway, I’m home now, staying away from my grandchildren for a couple of weeks just in case I picked up Covid-19 while in airports or planes. Mind you, as I understand the statistics, they’re at less risk from me than I am from them, since children appear to show no or few symptoms. Just before I left for Bali, we sold our house, so I’m flat out packing. We’re moving to be closer to said grandchildren. Family matters.

Somehow, in the next week, I need also to finalise the book To Wed a Proper Lady, which is on pre-order, and will be out on 15 April. It is also about family, and is the first novel in my new series, The Children of the Mountain King.

In 1812, high Society is rocked by the return of the Earl of Sutton, heir to the dying Duke of Winshire. James Winderfield, Earl of Sutton, Winshire’s third and only surviving son, has long been thought dead, but his reappearance is not nearly such a shock as those he brings with him, the children of his deceased Persian-born wife and fierce armed retainers.

This series begins with a prequel novella telling the love story of James senior and Mahzad (Paradise Regained), then leaps two decades to a series of six novels as the Winderfield offspring and their cousins search for acceptance and love.

Click on any of the links to find out more.

Travel Concerns and the Coronavirus

Anyone else considering postponing travel plans? We have flights booked to Spain and Greece in early May and we’re wondering if we’re safer staying home. In April, my daughter is graduating from Brigham Young University. Will they still hold commencement? In Washington State, where much of my family lives, gatherings of more than 50 people are discouraged, so this seems a reasonable question. My daughter is planning on a Study Abroad program in Israel April through August–will that be canceled?

I’m a planner. I don’t like having my plans rearranged once they’re on my calendar. But in this climate, it seems like the safest way to travel is arm-chair traveling. I love a good destination romance. Growing up, I loved Mary Stewart’s novels. They are a charming blend of mystery and romance and were often set in a far-away country. Today, I love books by Marc Levy and Jules Wake.

How about you? Are you an armchair traveler? Would you like a trip to Ireland?

Irish Wishes

Gillian thinks she’s happy – she has a safe, reliable job working at her local library, good friends, and a sweet gig as the choir accompanist for her church. But her orderly life is turned upside down on her 25th birthday when she inherits the contents of a safety deposit box that will send her on a trip to Ireland.
Workaholic Pete has always done his billionaire-father’s bidding, so when his dad sends him to Ireland to fetch his little stepsister, he can’t refuse.
But billionaire JW has a few tricks up his sleeve and the journey he’s planned takes Gillian and Pete on a trip they’ll never forget. Castles, boating on the River Liffey, the haunted ruins of the Hellfire Club, and the breathtaking beauty of the Irish countryside—this is one journey that has more twists and turns than either of them could ever have imagined…

Get your copy here