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Posts Tagged ‘America’

In case this is news, we had a power outage in San Francisco today. The first I heard of it was a phone call to my office on the south side of Market Street. I heard the police and news helicopters most of the morning but that is not unusual in this city. Our building security kept an eye on the streets and from what I’ve since heard on the national news, fourteen neighborhoods—from the Financial District to the Marina—were affected.

I left my office shortly after noon, walking along Montgomery Street to Sutter, back along Kearny and up the north side of Market. All shops, building and restaurants were closed. All traffic lights were out.

Happily, I am able to report that San Franciscans behave well in a crisis. Drivers followed the basic rules of stopping at every intersection, moving forward when the box was clear. Pedestrians crossed in crosswalks without risk—pedestrians have the right of way in CA and today that law was actually followed.

I heard laughter, saw kindness and courtesy, patience was the operative word. BART engineers set up generators, the Municipal Transit Agency directed traffic and our wonderful Police Department kept everyone safe.

Even late in the afternoon, most of the business sections of the city were still shut down. And yet, civility reigned.

Thank you, San Franciscans, tourists, shoppers and commuters!

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PennsylvaniaSeveral cultures include festivals in the Winter months, some to illuminate the darkness, some to celebrate the hope of a coming of new life. Many of us prepare a list of goals for the coming year, a list of resolutions for change and growth. For nearly 300 years, Americans have celebrated a family event called Thanksgiving.

The American version of Thanksgiving is unique because the celebration crosses all ethnic, religious and cultural groups as a family celebration. For many of us, it is a major family get-together, celebrating the creation of this country. Thanksgiving Day became a national holiday shortly after the greatest struggle America faced in the 1800s. Abraham Lincoln encouraged Americans to gather together to give thanks for the bounty of our freedoms.

In my family, my mother began her efforts days before the fourth Thursday of the month, making fudge, stuffing dates, decorating the house, ironing table cloths and napkins. We were (and still are) a large family. Until late in her life, my mother was the sole cook, hostess and bottle-washer. We young ones eventually stuffed the dates, mixed the fruit salad, prepared the stuffing (always made from scratch). But Mom was the only one of us who made the Parker House Rolls.

I have never been able to match her rolls, though I have mastered the stuffing and my basted turkeys are well-received. My husband is the king of the stuffed dates and one of my daughters-in-law has conquered the pumpkin pie.

Once again, this year, our celebrations will be much different because my husband and I are living far from our family. Chances are that we will share our Thanksgiving with friends but I wanted to share a Verrill/Rhys family traditional recipe that is always a big hit with adults and children alike.

Winter in WalesThis is also simple and great for children to participate in the preparations of this wonderful family event.

STUFFED DATES

1 package (or more) of dates (pitted is easier but not necessary: the pits separate from the fruit without much effort)

Cream Cheese, Peanut Butter, Hazelnut Chocolate Butter and/or other favorite creamy spread (Cookie Butter Cream, anyone?)

Open each date and drop a ½ teaspoon or so (personal taste is the final determinant!) of any of the above spreads into the center of the date.

Arrange decoratively on a pretty plate and try to get them to the family before they disappear.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and best wishes for a joyful Christmas season too.

© 2014 Parts of this post were first published at ClassicandCozyBooks.blogspot.com

Photographs: © Leigh Verrill-Rhys

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In honor of all those who were murdered on this day, September 11, 2001, may they and their loved ones find peace. My most heartrending memory of this terrible event were the phone and email messages of love sent by the victims to their families and friends.

There are still unanswered questions about this event:

  • Why was there no mention in the Main Stream Media, then or at any time since, of the total destruction of Building 7, which collapsed in its own footprint, as did the Twin Towers?
  • Why, despite reliable eyewitness accounts to the contrary, the authorities still claim that the perfectly round hole in the Pentagon was caused by a plane when there was no evidence whatsoever of plane wreckage?

There are many other questions and serious accusations abound. My concern is that Media silence on these and many issues will cost American lives, now and in the future.

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As my first guest writer, I’m very happy to present, J.L. Salter, who is writing today about one of my favorite topics: World War II. As an editor of two volumes of women’s autobiographies about their experiences during this devastating war, I became even more interested in this period of world history than when my mother told me her story.

Welcome, Jeff!

C2AA-med-453x680Very much appreciate Leigh’s gracious invitation to appear here today.  Leigh and I actually go way back — she was one of my earliest contacts after I began consciously networking.  After she very graciously welcomed me to RWA’s PRO group, we began corresponding.  Eventually she read the first 100 pages of one of my manuscripts and provided helpful feedback.

We’ve followed each other’s progress and I believe her first Avalon novel came out around the time of my first Astraea book.

Plus, she was once a Guest Fox at my group blog, Four Foxes One Hound, and here is the link to her April 28, 2011, appearance:

http://fourfoxesonehound.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/the-hounds-guest-fox-leigh-verrill-rhys/

Important and timely

Have you ever read a novel which seemed so important and timely that you could hardly contain your enthusiasm about it?  Have you ever WRITTEN such a story?

Well I have.  At least it seems that important and timely to me.  No, not FOR me — because this novel is my tribute to the Greatest Generation … and those still living are leaving us all too quickly.  I’m a “baby boomer” — my parents, aunts, uncles, and teachers (and practically every adult I knew) were among that generation which struggled through the Great Depression and sacrificed during World War II.

About the story

Called to Arms Again was released on May 30 from Astraea Press.  Of the eight novels I’ve completed so far, this was my third written and my third fiction book published.

It’s the story of a young newspaper reporter looking for a new angle for her Veterans Day special section.  Who better to give her a fresh perspective than a bunch of old war dogs who’d been there and back.  Not only does Kelly Randall learn what the Greatest Generation was made of, but she soon discovers a great deal about her own mettle.

My story has action, comedy, romance, plenty of the ‘can-do’ spirit, and an unashamedly healthy dose of patriotism.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll cheer.

I need your help

I haven’t gone ‘all-out’ with promotion of my first two novels – romantic suspense and romantic comedy – because they’re mostly enjoyed by readers of those genres.  But the sky’s the limit on promoting C2AA — this story appeals to readers of both genders … from ages 19 to 90!

If you were born before about 1930, you ARE part of the Greatest Generation and you’ll find yourself (and your siblings and friends) in my story!

If you’re a Boomer (born after WW2) — your parents, aunts, uncles, and teachers were members of the greatest generation.  Buy this book and read it, because you’ll recognize these characters.  And if you have living parents or other relatives, tell them about my story.  Please remember, the WW2 generation – both those who served in the military and those who sacrificed on the homefront – are dying at a rate of about 2000 per day … so there is an urgency to let them know about this story which honors them!

If you’re the child of a Boomer Generation parent, you need to read this so you’ll understand what your grand-parents (and their siblings) went through and how they prevailed.

Read it!  Pass the word!  Get this story into the hands of everyone who loves Freedom!

Don’t you agree that artist Elaina Lee did an outstanding job on my cover for Called to Arms Again?

——

Called to Arms Again

By J. L. Salter

Grit doesn’t fade away … it just becomes crusty.  With harrowing elements right out of today’s headlines, this story reaches back into the sturdy heartbeat of people raised during the Depression and tested during World War II.  Though the old uniforms haven’t fit in many decades, their resilient spirits still have that same intensity which helped save democracy.

Needing only a fresh angle to write her Veteran’s Day special, Kelly discovers first-hand that the Greatest Generation still has enough grit to fight back.  While all the authorities are occupied during a massive Homeland Security drill, an urban gang of thieves targets an isolated retirement subdivision … figuring the crippled geriatrics would offer no resistance.

Though Kelly’s widowed boyfriend came along only for a post-funeral luncheon, Mitch soon finds himself leading a mis-matched flanking team. Kelly’s good friend Wade has his own assignment, with a home-made mortar and lots of illegal gunpowder.

Maybe it’s difficult to remember everyday things like taking pills, but these octogenarians have never forgotten it was up to them to defend family, home, community, and country.  The outcome of their courageous stand depends on the resolve and resourcefulness of an unlikely ensemble of eccentric elderly neighbors, several American Legion members, and others spanning four generations.

——

Called to Arms Again is available here:

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Called-to-Arms-Again-ebook/dp/B00D3D3O8G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1370649179&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/called-to-arms-again-jl-salter/1115454541?ean=2940016705842

 

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11 September 2001: 1:45PM: On the road between Alltyblaca and Cribyn, just where the road curves and dips into a wooded glen, I am crying. For no reason. This has happened before and will happen a few years later, but today, I am overwhelmed with sorrow and desolation.

When I reach my office at Theatr Felinfach a few minutes later, I head for the Reproduction Unit to collect the programs for that evening’s performance. Roy greets me with “Have you seen what’s happening in New York?” He is watching his TV in his office cubicle. I turn my head and see the Twin Towers as chimney stacks. I know what this is. I have no doubt. The news commentators are speculating. I know what this is.

I still have work to do. During the remainder of the time between my arrival and the performance, I stand in Roy’s office, watching, transfixed and horrified by the thought that anyone could possibly be so evil.

The chairwoman of my Board of Trustees asks if I have family in New York, do I want to call them? I have family in Connecticut and Maine. They don’t work in New York. I have a friend in the Chrysler Building and I don’t think of her then. I think of those people who are dying, about to die, knowing they will die and they phone their families to tell them that they love them. They send messages of love in the last moments of their lives.

That is the memory I hold in my heart about this day ten years ago.

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