Food for the Hungry

Tarrant County Foodbank distributes fresh food at the First Methodist Church of Hurst on the second Friday of each month. This time over 300 came. I handed out sweet potatoes and told people they could cook them for six minutes in a microwave. Volunteers came from Tyson, AT&T, and the Awareness Project. I asked the representative standing next to me what they did. He said they give food regularly to the homeless, and twice a year, they offer shoes and socks.

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Old Tree Becomes St. Francis Statue

At 79 years old, after having 4 heart bypass operations, Carroll Gant of Hurst, Texas, decided he wouldn’t let that stop him from being active. He had to cut down a tree in his back yard, but he decided to make something of it. He could honor St. Francis by carving a statue of him.

I saw this as I perused a garage sale on my daily walk and asked him about it. Now 84, he  told me October 4th was St. Francis Day. He showed me the stigmata on the hands and the wolf he’d carved from a log from the tree to stand beside the statue. He’d also carved a bird sitting on the statue’s arm and a duck standing nearby.

 

 

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Teaching English

Last Saturday I volunteered to help in an ESL (English as a Second Language) class. Students were originally from Mexico or The Democratic Republic of Congo, and spoke mainly Spanish or French. The student I helped was a woman from The Democratic Republic of Congo and spoke French. I could see her frustration as she tried to think of words to answer my questions. (I took French in high school long ago, but wasn’t about to try using it.) English to French and English to Spanish dictionaries were on each table. In response to the teacher’s question, “What does respect mean?” my student looked it up.

Vicki Ingle, the teacher, spoke clearly and enthusiastically. She asked them to tell what they liked and disliked. She explained “dislike” meant the same as “do not like.”

Then she had each student ask another classmate questions and write down their name, description, likes, dislikes, and language spoken. After that, each student stood and told the class that information about the person they spoke to. Each one was able to speak clearly and give the information.

Teacher Vicki Ingle asking class members to tell what they liked.

 

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Forgot to Smell the Roses

This is the last day of summer. I wanted to attend the RWA National Conference, visit a friend and my brother and sister in Florida, swim in the ocean, read some books, and plant flowers in my whiskey barrel half.

I made it to the conference, visited my friend and my brother and sister and even visited an interesting estate on a Florida bay, but did I swim in the ocean? No time.

Bay view from Deering Mansion

Courtyard in the Deering Mansion

Home again I finally caught up on writing my novel, so I can swim in the city pool. After all, it may be September, but it’s been 90 degrees or more every day.  I put on my bathing suit, grabbed a beach towel, and drove to Chisholm pool on the north side of Hurst. It was closed! 😦  I drove to the other pool. Closed also. 😦 Don’t they know it’s still summer?

I did read books I got at the conference. My rose bush won’t bloom. Then I looked at my whiskey barrel half with the remains of my dead petunias that a squirrel dug up. I need to visit Calloway’s Nursery for advice.  After all, it stays warm until December, but I’m not planting another batch of pansies for that squirrel to dig up again. Maybe I’ll do that winter cabbage like plant and hope he doesn’t like the smell.

 

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Entertainment for Storm Victims

I delivered over one hundred books for victims of Hurricane Harvey.  Evacuees can entertain themselves with mysteries, young adult books, romances, or romantic suspense books from authors David Baldacci, Alex Cross, Cindy Dees, Lara Lacombe, Kara Lennox, Robin Perini, Delores Fossen, Nora Roberts, B. J. Daniels, Jane Graves, Kay Thomas, and others.

Collecting was easy. My Word Wranglers critique group loaded my car.  I knew right where the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Dallas Convention Center was. I drove past the life-size sculptures of cattle being herded to market, but then I couldn’t figure out which door to park next to.  I didn’t want make several long trips to carry everything. After being turned away and given nebulous directions, I finally found the volunteer desk outside. They said I should take the books to the Potter House and gave me directions to a place several miles outside the Dallas City limits.   When I finally got there, I was thankful to have helpful men unload the big box, shopping bag, and two plastic bags full of book

Books to escape with

 

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Florida and the RWA Conference

I took a break from the RWA Conference and walked past the shops along the boardwalk. I ducked into one and couldn’t resist buying a Tinker Bell charm for my bracelet. All sorts of snacks were available – at higher than grocery store prices, so I decided to wait for supper. I was glad I did because the Salmon and Asian noodle salad in the hotel restaurant was delicious.

The Boardwalk near Disney World

 

 

 

 

The view from my window at Disney World Dolphin Hotel

 

Watching swimmers have fun from my hotel room window, I wished I had brought a swim suit. There were cute little boats to ride on a miniature lake off to the left.

 

 

My sister is a prolific painter

After the conference, I visited my sister in Sun City Center and worked with her son, Cousin Vinny, on his book, The Devil’s Glove.

 

 

Next I visited my brother, Ray, in Fort Lauderdale. He drove me to the Deering Estate, now a museum with a huge mansion and formal gardens with fountains. They were so scenic, photographers were taking pictures of models in flowing evening gowns. One garden had purple and yellow orchids. Each room in the three-story mansion was large and well furnished, even the maid’s room.

Courtyard in the Deering Mansion

 

While I didn’t get to swim in the ocean, I soaked up lots of sun and knowledge from the conference, as well as a request for a novel proposal.

 

 

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Please Welcome Cathy MacRae to my Website.

Cathy, what genre do you write? Hi, Carolyn! I currently write stories of Scottish historical romance.

How many books have you written? Well, I have 5 full-length books in my Highlander’s Bride series, 4 novellas in The Ghosts of Culloden Moor series, a long novella in a Kindle World, World of de Wolfe Pack, headed by Kathryn le Veque, and just released the second in a co-authored series, called the Hardy Heroines.

Cathy, I see you have a contest on your facebook page. Tell me about it?  This week, my latest (with co-author DD MacRae) The Highlander’s Viking Bride is out on a book blog tour. Stop by my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/cathymacraeauthor/ for the daily links. Check out the older ones, too, for even more chances to win a $20 Amazon gift card. You’ll get to read excerpts from the book, read reviews and find new pages to like!

What were some of the most interesting facts you uncovered while researching your books? Oh, I’m a history buff!! This most recent book offered me a chance to learn Norn (ancient Norse language—a few words, anyway) and a bit about ships in the 1300s. The book I’m currently writing takes me even further back (to 1221, in fact) and is full of an account of living in the Levant between Crusades, ancient Armenia, the Assassin (Asasyiun) Order, and how to fight off pirates. Pretty cool stuff!

Have you taken a trip to Scotland? If so, tell me about it.  I’ve been to Scotland twice. Both times were with tour groups, but the second was actually a writer conference headed by Grace Burrowes. We stayed at a lovely home on the Menzies Castle estate and (when we weren’t discussing books or the writing process) took short day trips to nearby areas of interest. Oh, and shopping. I revisited Culloden Moor where the Battle of Culloden (the source of the Ghosts of Culloden Moor) was fought, and viewed heather-covered hills as we drove up into the mountains for the famous Braemar Highland Games where we met (saw) the Queen!

What takes time away from your writing, and do you consider that a guilty pleasure or a time waster? Lots of things, actually. From family time (cooking, cleaning, actually taking part in the family, lol) to gardening and music (I play piano and violin on the church music team), I sometimes have to make myself sit down and write. But all of it is completely worth it.

What is one interesting thing about you that few people know?  LOL! Let me think on that one. One of my favorite jobs was as a tour guide at George Dickel Distillery. I loved meeting the people who came through, and developed an appreciation for the distilling process. Oh, and I’m partial to their whisky.

What gives you the most pleasure from writing? I really enjoy writing stories, but one of the great things is finding readers. Talking about my books, even in just a few lines in a chat on facebook, is like sharing a bit of my heart.

Tell me about your family. How old are your children? I have 2 children who are 28 and 25, and my husband has 4 who range in age from 22 to 29. We’re closer (distance wise) to a couple, not so much to the others. And we have 2 granddaughters. Love those kids!

I see you write with DD MacRae? Tell me about DD. DD and I started as critique partners probably 8 years ago. We were both just starting out, and had a lot to critique, but learned a lot. We also learned we have strengths and weaknesses that really mesh well when story-telling. DD has a background in martial arts and really gets the action right. I’m stronger in fleshing out characters. We decided to put a book together, Highland Escape, and were astounded at how well received it was. The heroine was trained as a warrior, much as the Pictish women in her ancestry were. Readers were thrilled to see a heroine who didn’t rely on the hero to protect her. So we decided to create the Hardy Heroine series which are stand-alones where the heroines have strengths you may not have seen before.

How do you work with a partner? It’s really easy for DD and me. Thanks to the internet, we’re constantly shooting chapters back and forth. DD plots and knows where the story should go. I’m a pantster who just jumps in and starts writing. It’s great to surprise DD occasionally with the direction I take a story, lol! Though, if DD gives me the exact plot, I’ve found I become disinterested. So, we’ve learned how to make it work.

What is your latest book about? (cover attached) The Highlander’s Viking Bride (we refer to it as Katja’s story) is a tale of a young woman who has been verbally (and occasionally physically) abused all of her life by her father. Though quite wealthy, she accepts marriage to a destitute laird in order to end a feud between their clans and to escape to—hopefully—a better life. Here’s the blurb:

Calder MacGerry, laird of an impoverished clan, has resolved to end the bitter feud between the MacGerrys and Sinclairs. He jumps at Laird Sinclair’s offer of marriage to his only daughter, Katja, to seal the agreement between their clans—only to get more than he bargained for.

Katja’s chance to escape her father’s harsh treatment appears to be too good to be true. But becoming Lady of a clan that despises her because she’s a Sinclair, doesn’t make her life any easier. When the attacks turn deadly, she fights her way out, making a dangerous passage to the Shetland Isles for refuge with her Viking family.

Calder and Katja’s marriage, built on mistrust, rushes quickly into disaster. As Calder seeks to repair the damage, Katja discovers not another enemy, but a husband who pledges a new beginning.

Thanks for the opportunity to be on your blog, Carolyn!!

You can find me on my website at http://www.cathymacraeauthor.com and follow me on Amazon at https://www.amzn.com/author/cathymacrae Please ‘like’ my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/cathymacraeauthor/

The Highlander’s Viking Bride buy links:

Amazon: https://www.amzn.com/dp/B0728HWJRY

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940157486617

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-highlander-s-viking-bride

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