Oh My!

Last month was terrible. I can’t believe it’s already March. But I’m happy February is behind me. A friend (Daisy) said the difference between 2020 and 2021 is 2021 has bangs. When she said that, I thought I’d die laughing. But February was a downhill month because of my own doing. I decided to have some dental surgery. I’ve dealt with Trigeminal Neuralgia for over 30 years. I’ve had four surgeries for it. The last one really was probably the one that has given me the best relief. Not perfect but much better. But 30 years of having that sort of pain meant sticking a toothbrush in my mouth was a sadistic endeavor. It created havoc on my teeth. I had several teeth that shifted and two became loose. It’s amazing that I managed to keep a front tooth that I could move with my tongue. So since I’ve put most of my trigeminal pain behind me, I talked to my dentist and decided to fix my smile. Surgery!

It didn’t go as planned. I had to have more surgery! Now this normally isn’t a big problem except I’m allergic to Novocaine. I’m not one to complain, in fact, I’m pretty good with pain. But this was unreal. They had to fix/change the structure of the bone in my mouth. Omigosh! That was horrible!

So… I go to my dentist and get my temperature taken, gargle with peroxide, get my hands squirted with hand sanitizer, etc. But after some bruising, swelling, etc. I’ve gotten my teeth fixed and that front tooth is solid. I can actually bite into a sandwich. I intend to try an ear of corn. I think my dental surgery is over. Everything seems to be fine. I might get braces on my lower teeth. I can handle that.

Also I managed to get both Maderma vaccines for covid 19. My general doctor set me up for that. My daughter who is an RN and has had covid patients got her vax. My SIL got his because he lives in NC. He’s also a volunteer first responder in his private life in certain situations. So I waited my turn, I’m in VA.

I breathed a sigh of relief when my daughter got her vax. (Yes, we have have children and we worry about them no matter how old they are. They are our children!) I haven’t hugged my girls in a year. I’ve seen them. I’ve social distanced. I’ve done all the right things. I’m sick of it! One daughter still can’t get her vax, yet her job puts her in the public all the time. But she’s not considered essential. HUH???

People ask me what I felt from the vax. Virtually nothing. The first one was quite simple. Yes, it was a needle being stuck in my upper arm, it didn’t hurt, just a prick, but 24 hours later, my arm was sore. Not bad. It ached. The flu vaccine is worse. Vax two…yeah…I didn’t even feel a prick! But that evening I realized my arm hurt. The next day… I could barely shut the car door. I ached but it was just the arm at the location of the vax. No fever or any other problems. Just that achy muscle. Yet, I was warned it could be much worse.

I’m turning my stories into audio but I can’t do it myself. Fortunately, a friend, Mary, is going to do it for me. I’m really excited about it. I’m also worried about some of my books. Amazon has cancelled quite a few books by conservatives and they announced that they are ramping up their standards and if a book is promoting conservative values, they are going to consider pulling it. If that happens to my books, I’ll probably go to locals.com or someplace like that. But in the meantime, let me know what you think of Mary’s voice. She has her own YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rql9VXulhzE

Where Are We Headed?

This isn’t meant to be derogatory toward anyone, because I think it’s horribly sad for our children. I almost didn’t post this, but couldn’t get it off my mind.

Technology is wonderful. I love everything about it.

But…some kids these days cannot count, cannot make change, cannot multiply, etc., without some sort of Technology device. That’s the way Technology is, and has been, going. Many are suffering because of it. Of course there are other reasons, too.

I know this firsthand, and I’m sure some of you do also.

I’ve purchased an item and paid cash. Too much of a hassle. Lord help if we should get change back. It’s either too much, or too little. Some simply cannot figure out the correct amount of change to return to a customer. I suppose it’s a blessing there are cash registers to display the return amount.

This one floors me. Several times a year, a certain fast food establishment has two country ham biscuits for $4.00. I purchase them and freeze for later. Never has the order-taker gotten the amount correct without a long drawn-out discussion. If I request 6 orders, that’s a total of 12 biscuits. Right? 6×2=12. I can hear the discussion through the drive through speaker of them figuring out how many the order will consist of, so they can ring up the proper amount on the register. Takes a few minutes.

There are several issues that contribute to this sad problem. Hopefully things will improve.

Change a mind, change the world.

Thank goodness we’re headed into warmer weather. More than half the US needs a break from the devastating snow and ice.

If you haven’t read our latest Anthology, you may find it at Amazon. https://tinyurl.com/yyrlk9vb

“Long before the current difficult times surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected so many, the Authors of Main Street established their 2020 Christmas collection theme: Heroes on Main Street: an anthology dedicated to the small town heroes who bless the lives of their community in large and small ways every day. Little did they know that the term “frontline hero” would become a part of our daily vernacular.

While these stories do not deal with these particular heroes as the stories were outlined and written before current events, the authors would like to express their awe, wonder, and profound appreciate for the real heroes – nurses, doctors, respiratory techs, store clerks, truck drivers, EMTs and firefighters, and so many others behind the scenes – who keep our country’s head above the waterline of adversity in small towns, large cities, and everywhere in between every single day.” ~Marjorie Ann Jones Cooke

Christmas Heroes on Main Street
Christmas Heroes on Main Street

Please enjoy these wonderful, warm stories. If you wish, let us know what you think of the 2020 Christmas book. Thanks so much. We appreciate each and every one of our readers.

Until next time, I wish you Music, Butterflies and most of all, I wish you Love.

Blog 101

Hello readers and writers! Happy 2021

This is my one hundred and first blog post, of which I’ve written one hundred. The one I didn’t write is my favorite. You can link to it here. It was written by my husband when I wasn’t feeling well. Try as I might, I can’t get him to take up the mantle of a writer; he is content being my first reader.

100 + 1 Blog posts. WOW! It’s been a joy being part of the AUTHORS OF MAIN STREET family. I’ve enjoyed this journey and have created, I hope, lasting connections with my fellow Main Street authors.

I loved being a founding member of AUTHORS OF MAIN STREET. When we started, we all had small-town romance in common while writing different heat levels. Some of us wrote sweet, some hot, some comedic, and some all over the spectrum. Our strength, in large part, was in our diversity.

I am writing more suspense now, which I am loving.

When I write more lighthearted, small-town romance, like my DOOR COUNTY NOVELS and NOVELLAS, I prefer to write on the more sensual side of the genre. My latest DOOR COUNTY NOVEL is HOME AGAIN and is available at Amazon.

This is my last blog for AUTHORS, however, I will continue to follow AUTHORS OF MAIN STREET and support their work.

Thank you, everyone. It’s been a wonderful experience.

You can find me now at:

www.mlmacdonaldauthor.com

Happy reading & blessings to you all,

Leigh / Morganne

Poetry

Has anyone else been inspired to write or listen to poetry recently?

Amanda Gorman’s poem, “The Hill We Climb,” has done everything from wake people up to the power of words to ignite the desire to attempt to write poems. If you haven’t heard it yet, just get online. It’s hard to miss. As a poet, hearing her did something to my heart. Every poet I interact with had the same reaction. We snapped, applauded, admired, and showed respect for the words she penned and her delivery.

I was also reminded that people aren’t used to different styles of poetry, much less, something more advanced and with more depth than “Roses are red.” Poetry is often solely associated with love. Maybe it’s because we watch TV or movies focused on Valentine’s Day themes that show someone receiving dinner, roses, and a poem. I, too, was introduced to poetry like that.

But poetry can say so much in various ways. It is, after all, art. A fine art.

Earlier this month, the Poetry Society of Virginia had a virtual reading featuring the winners of the 2020 contests. All of those who placed or received honorable mention were included in the annual anthology, which was released in December. I received 2nd place in the Casablanca category (performance poetry) – page 109. (You can purchase a copy here.) The video isn’t available yet. I enjoyed myself. I laughed, teared up, and I reflected on what was said. It made me miss open mics and also made me proud to be part of my poetry community.

So…I’d like to share some pieces. Each is different from the next, but all offer a message.

Looking Forward to a New Year

As we all know, 2020 wasn’t normal. My heart goes out to everyone, and may this coming year bring you peace and comfort.

On a lighter note – I no longer make New Year’s resolutions, and haven’t for a number of years. What’s the point if I never keep most of them? Instead, I set goals and try my best to reach each one.

When I wrote A Smoky Mountain Christmas, I never dreamed it would become my best selling book.

The story idea came when a friend sent me a few lines as a challenge. The challenge was that we each write a paragraph or two, based on what she’d sent, just to see what we could come up with. But…neither of us used the actual idea. What those few lines did, though was to spark an idea of our own.

We both went on to publish our books from that challenge. So glad I did, because I love A Smoky Mountain Christmas. The characters of Tina and Hank, and their story, was a delight to write.

Now that same person has sent another challenge. A bit different, but basically the same. I will write several of my own ideas for numerous days and come up with a new story. Such fun!

My two new books for last year were, A Cowboy’s Hero and Loving Lexi. Both are available as an ebook and paperback, at Amazon.

A Smoky Mountain Christmas Amazon http://tinyurl.com/6p3f2n6

A Cowboy’s Hero Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y5cgvg62

Loving Lexi Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y8b55ybr

I wish you Butterflies, Music and most of all…Love.

New Year Wishes

I have a friend who doesn’t do New Year’s Resolutions. Many years ago, she gave me this Wish Pot. You place your wishes for the year inside. On New Year’s Eve, you take them out and see how you did. Most years it has worked amazingly well–I put one wish for health, one wish for my writing life, and one wish for personal. Usually, I’m happy with how I did. This year? Not so much. I didn’t accomplish anything I wanted to. The year of Covid has done in my writing, exercise, and personal goals.

So, this New Year’s Eve when I sat there disappointed in myself, I decided to be broader with my wishes. Instead of X amount of words or books, I wished for no imcomplete projects by the time 2022 rolls around. For health, instead of exercise a specific amount, I put eat better and exercise more. For my personal wishes, I think I will keep those for myself–they are romance-related between my husband and myself. 😉

I hope you had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and have wishes and dreams and plans for the New Year!


Jill James, author of My Mistletoe Hero in the Christmas Heroes on Main Street collection

WELCOME 2021

Thank goodness, it’s a new year! But that means this last year is still shadowing us. We still have a pandemic and a presidential race that isn’t settled. The election might be settled before this week is through, but as I write this, I still don’t know what will happen.

My daughter got vaccinated against Covid-19 last Wednesday, and I breathed a sigh of relief. She’s an RN and deals with Covid-19 patients. I know she is very careful and has dealt with infectious diseases during her entire medical career that began as a first responder many years ago. But in my own defense, I’m a mother. I hate whenever she is in danger. I want to place her in a big bubble and wrap her in cotton that will protect her from all the negative things in the world. Except I know I can’t.

She looks at Covid in a totally different light. She’s very comfortable with what she does. She doesn’t worry about catching the cooties because she is cautious, and she does all the right things. She says if she gets it, she’ll face it. As a mother, I can’t accept that, but on the flip side, I’m proud of her for what she does and the comfort she provides to the families of these patients.

I will take my vaccine when it becomes available to me. I’m considered high risk, even though I consider myself healthy for my age. But I want our first responders and medical people to have had theirs first. I want those who are at higher risk to get theirs, even if that means I’m still caught in this semi lockdown for another ten boring weeks.

Staying home and limiting my exposure to those around me sucks, because I’m a rather social person. I need to be out with other people so I don’t climb into my make-believe world and get lost. I’m not an introvert or an extrovert, I’m some place in the middle. I need a certain amount of time alone. In fact, if I don’t have it, and I’m facing the public nonstop, I go crazy. And please don’t make me speak to a huge crowd! My gut tangles into knots. As a child, I was overtly timid, but eventually I learned to face most of my fears.

As for the presidential race, so much has been happened and been ignored by the media. I think every American wants to think our elections are accurate and in this computer age, they should be! It doesn’t matter which side you take, we all need to know it was an honest election and all future elections are secure.

With all negative going on around us and being stuck at home, I think we’ve all had to look inside ourselves and think about what we want, where we are, and even where we want to make changes.

One of my favorite podcasters is a criminal lawyer out of Arizona and very bright. This young man, Robert Gruler, is on the conservative end of politics. He’s very good at explaining the legal issues on today’s news topics. He did this wonderful podcast (minus all politics) about this New Year and for those you who have tried to journal or keep some sort of diary. He calls it Existence Systems. He has created his own sort of journal after reading books and attending dozens of self-help workshops. His podcast will take about an hour and twenty minutes to go over his journal/diary-like Existence Systems.

I’m not a journal or diary person. A calendar is probably closer to my speed. Yet I try very hard to stay on the positive end of things, but when I listened to him chatting about various authors in self-help and self- improvement, I was impressed. I’ve also read several of those authors he mentioned. It’s as if he’s taken the best of some of the best and fitted it into a simple template.

No matter where we are in life, we can always improve. We naturally grow and change as human beings. We want to be better. For various reasons, we get sidelined. Things happen and our lives change because something around us has changed. The pandemic is a prime example. Think of his Existence Systems as a little of everything – a quick checklist to motivate, ground, express, focus, de-stress, and plan as we go into 2021. I like the ease of it and the fact that it’s not a total preset.

I’m going try this because I’ve got a few goals this year and some of those have nothing to do with writing and some are very tied to my writing. If you decide to give it a shot, please let me know if it does or doesn’t work for you. I’m still unsure about a few of the blocks on the template and will probably wind up changing and tweaking it more this month.

His de-stress techniques are awesome. I’ve tried the 4-7-8 breathing method several times since first watching the video and it really seems to alleviate the anxious feelings. I think Existence Systems will help me to stay positive and accomplish my goals. I downloaded the template and began to make a few changes to things where I needed to track other things. In fact, I listened to his video again as I went through the template making changes to fit me and my life.

Video:

Template:

Merry Christmas!

Today is Christmas! I don’t take today lightly – not because I’m attached to the holiday. I’m thankful that I’m in the right frame of mind and am content in this moment to appreciate it. In March, many of us couldn’t see to imagine the next week. Yet, in the midst of it all, we were kept.

Instead of telling you about me and what we do today, I’d like to share a couple of Christmas songs. Feel free to sing along. Pick a voice part and join the virtual concert. Take care!

Merry Christmas or Whatever You Celebrate

In honor of all service men and women, who keep our country safe, all tireless healthcare workers, farmers who grew food for our tables, truck drivers who transported food and other necessities, business owners and their employees, who put themselves in harms way to remain open, volunteers and those who gave of themselves out of love for mankind. I extend a Heartfelt Thank You for your service. May God comfort and bless all of you.

To those of you who have lost a loved one during these trying times, my thoughts and prayers go out to you.

Christmas sneaked up on me this year. Everything I did toward the holiday was at least a week later. When my son was small, the tree was up and the house decorated, mostly, Thanksgiving day. Now I’m lucky if it’s a week or two before Christmas.

I’ve finished wrapping gifts, thank goodness. Still need to go grocery shopping for buttermilk and Diet Coke. Can’t believe I left those two items off the list. Cornbread doesn’t taste the same without buttermilk.

Over the years, traditional Christmas dinners were always my favorite. In years past, we’ve switched over to other delicious meals, though I still love traditional. This year we’re enjoying a huge pot of beef stew for Christmas Eve. Making regular cornbread and Jalapeno/creamed corn/onion corn muffins to go with. May add cheese, depends on how I feel after mixing the batter. Desserts will be slim. Coconut cake and pecan pie. Now, I’m sorry I didn’t bake cookies! They’ll be sorely missed.

What meals do you plan for Christmas Eve and Christmas? We’re planning to have leftovers Christmas Day. I’m happy with that decision.

I definitely hoped for snow this Christmas, but we’ll have a cold, windy rain.

May your holidays be filled with love, happiness and joy.

Stay safe and warm.

Never lose hope. A new day is coming! God bless.

Holiday Music

One of my favourite things about the holidays is Christmas music. The stores start playing it way too early (in my opinion), but once I’m surrounded by glittering decorations and holiday music, I’m in the mood to start celebrating the most wonderful time of the year.

When I was a kid, my parents had a few Christmas records that they played every year. One was The Roger Whittaker Christmas Album (1978), featuring all original songs written by him. Another was Christmas with Nana Mouskouri (1972), which had two sublime versions of “Ave Maria” that still give me tingles.

My mom also had a cassette of Elvis’ Christmas Album (1957). My sister and I thought the background singers going “ah-oo ah-oo” on “Blue Christmas” was hilarious. We didn’t play that album much, since my dad hated Elvis. Now I love listening to it.

These days, I enjoy classic recordings by Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. My favourite carol of all time is “O Holy Night,” no matter who sings it. I also like more recent songs like Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” and “Last Christmas” by Wham. “Do they Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid isn’t a great song (let’s be honest), but it brings back warm memories of the popular bands of the 1980s.

What music do you like to listen to during the holidays?