Gone On Vacation

I’ll be in England for the first two weeks in September (and frantically getting ready only days before). Come back on Sept 18 for my report, What I Did On My (After) Summer Vacation. I promise photos and tales of adventure.

Like what we saw at Buckingham Palace!
Buckingham_Palace_from_gardens,_London,_UK_-_Diliff

I leave you with a lovely quote about England by George Orwell:

George_Orwell_press_photoEngland is not the jewelled isle of Shakespeare’s much-quoted message, nor is it the inferno depicted by Dr Goebbels. More than either it resembles a family, a rather stuffy Victorian family, with not many black sheep in it but with all its cupboards bursting with skeletons. It has rich relations who have to be kow-towed to and poor relations who are horribly sat upon, and there is a deep conspiracy of silence about the source of the family income. It is a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts. Still, it is a family. It has its private language and its common memories, and at the approach of an enemy it closes its ranks. A family with the wrong members in control – that, perhaps is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase.”

Cheerio!

Lost Thursday

1880_Pierre_Auguste_Cot_-_The_StormYesterday felt like a lost day. I was busy morning until night.
Morning was my husband’s first visit back to the surgeon since his operation. The verdict?? He’s a star patient. But he still has to watch out not to do too much for a couple of months.

Then I went to my Critique Group with the fabulous Darlene Gardner and Lisa Dyson. Before we get down to work, we always get a carry out lunch at Panisa Thai and catch up on our lives, writing and otherwise.

box setLisa and Darlene are writing fabulous stuff, so it is always a pleasure to read and discuss their work. They’ve both been so helpful to me, seeing where my stories are going astray when I can’t, finding those inconsistencies I’ve missed, or catching typos.

Darlene is finishing up a wonderful New Adult series, The Dead Ringer series, written in serial fashion. I would really recommend this one. If you try the first in the serial, Illusion, you’ll be hooked.

APerfectHomecomingCoverLisa’s debut novel, A Perfect Homecoming, a wonderful reunion story from Superromance, is still available.

After critique it was on to the grocery store for everything.

By the time I was home and had finished dinner, I needed to work on my revisions on Bound by Duty, the first book of my new series, The Scandalous Summerfields.

The very last thing I thought about was my blog! That is why I’m writing it today instead of yesterday.

What does a busy day for you look like?

Don’t forget. Read A Romance Month is still on! Today’s authors are St. Martin’s author, Lucy March, the fabulous Historical author, Grace Burrows, and my fellow Harlequin Historical author, Kathryn Albright.

Be Happy

On Facebook, I’ve seen several “friends” posting lists of things that make them happy. In the news this week there have been so many unhappy events, I am in great need of this sort of happiness project!

Thomas_Rowlandson_-_An_Elderly_Buck_walking_with_a_Lady_-_Google_Art_ProjectSo here are 5 random things that are making me happy today.

1. My grandson. He turned one year old a few weeks ago and just keeps getting cuter and cuter! He is healthy and happy and growing like a weed, changing a little each time we see him. I can think of no greater blessing!

2. My husband is making a great recovery from his back surgery. He already feels better than before the surgery. We can take walks again!

3. The weather. We are having the most beautiful weather in the Washington, D.C., area this week. Of course, we did have a torrential rainfall, but it has left us with cool temperatures and clear skies and low humidity. We’ve not needed air conditioning for the last couple days.

Gillray-Three-Graces-in-High-Wind4. I’m happily planning my trip to England with the Duke of Wellington tour, buying things I need, making (mental) lists, starting some packing. It just makes me happy to think that I’ll be in London in just a couple of weeks.

5. Skirts. I love that midi skirts are coming back in fashion and I’ve purchased a few. Skirts are so comfortable. I’d rather wear them than jeans. They are cool when it is hot and warm when it is chilly. I’m taking some midi skirts with me to England!

What’s making you happy today? Can you think of 5 things?

(Come see my essay and interview on Celebrate Romance-Read a Romance Month on August 18. Today’s essay is by Carly Phillips!)

Read A Romance Month

imageRead A Romance Month is an idea conceived by romance fan, NPR feature writer and Kirkus reviewer, Bobbi Dumas, as a way for romance authors and fans to come together to celebrate the genre they love–Romance!

Bobbi has 93 authors lined up to write essays about celebrating romance and who answer some fun interview questions. I’m delighted to be a part of it. You can read my essay on August  18.

What is wonderful about this is that each of the authors has a different take on why they love Romance or what it means to them, but we are all celebrating love. And believing in hope, the hope that when things are hard in life, they will get better. When we are alone, somewhere, sometime, love awaits us.

I am so proud of the Romance genre for promoting hope and love. In a Romance novel, love always triumphs over adversity. We always find a happy ending.

So…take a look at these wonderful essays and get to know authors who write Romance and believe in its power.

Read the current essays here

Read the 2013 essays here

(My husband is doing great, by the way. He’s almost back to normal and feels so much better than before the surgery!)

HGTV and Me

I didn’t blog last week. My dh was home from the hospital but was in need of lots of TLC (tender loving care) and that was about all I could do.

Home_&_Garden_Television_original_logo.svgExcept watch a lot of HGTV. HGTV is the cable TV station that airs lots of real estate and renovation shows and watching show after show was one of the ways I dealt with the stress.

House Hunters is a perennial favorite. I never get tired of watching people tour houses and select one, even if they sometimes drive me crazy. Oh, we can’t buy a house with stairs. It’s too dangerous for the children. They might fall down! (As if children were not reared in two story houses through the last few centuries). And then there are the people on House Hunters International who want an American-style house in–say–Paris.

income-property-with-scott-mcgillivray_b277-incomepropertyscottmcgillivrayseason7_2Another show I like is Property Brothers or any of the shows Drew and Jonathan Scott are on. I like Jonathan’s decorating style, whereas I’m not fond of the Kitchen Cousins’ choices of decor.

I also enjoy Income Property, because who wouldn’t with Scott McGillivray? Sometimes I don’t understand why the owners select the lesser renovation when the more expensive one is only a few thousand more.

flip.or.flopMy current favorite, though, is Flip or Flop. I love seeing Tarek and Christina select a house and then go through the process of renovating it. I find them appealing as a couple and definitely good at what they do.

If you think these shows are fluff, then consider that my other favorites are Say Yes to the Dress (both New York and Atlanta), and I Found The Gown. I just never get tired of watching women select their wedding gowns!

What shows are your favorites? Or do you dislike TV?

All I know is that HGTV helped me get through the most stressful part of helping my dh recuperate. He still has a ways to go, but he is definitely on the mend and progressing very well!

In-Between Day

Ever have one of those in-between days? You know, the kind of day where tomorrow you have something important to do and yesterday you did almost everything you needed to do to prepare? That’s my day today.

Tomorrow the dh is having back surgery and we are all prepared and today I’m just trying to figure out what to do with myself.

I could start on my revisions, but I am saving them for the hospital waiting room. I am thinking I’ll have lots of time and I’ll need a good distraction.

So far today I’ve shopped online–am thinking of buying shoes and a raincoat in preparation for The Duke of Wellington Tour (Yes! I’m going on the tour!!) and am washing clothes.

Here are the shoes I’m considering –Clarks may poppy loafer: imgres

And here is the raincoat (MICHAEL Michael Kors Double-Breasted Belted Trench Coat):
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What are you doing today?

The National Gallery of Art

Today my blog is late, because a friend and I visited The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

We went to see a wonderful exhibit about Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas. Cassatt and Degas met in 1877 and for ten years they collaborated creatively before their work went in different directions.
Mary_Cassatt_-_Little_Girl_in_a_Blue_Armchair_-_NGA_1983.1.18

This painting, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair by Cassatt, is a painting in which Degas had some input. In her later years, Cassatt wrote about this painting, saying that Degas not only advised her on the painting, but also painted on it himself. A recent technical analysis revealed that the background “corner” of the room had a similar style of brush strokes as Degas.

Edgar_Degas_-_Mary_Cassatt_-_Google_Art_Project

Cassatt posed for Degas on occasion, when he “finds the movement difficult and the model cannot seem to get his idea.” (Cassatt) In the exhibit were several versions of Cassatt in the Lourve but her back is turned and you cannot see her face. Degas painted one portrait of Cassatt. She was in her thirties when he painted this portrait, which he gave to Cassatt as a gift. When she was older, she quietly sold the painting, saying he’d made her look unattractive. What do you think?

The National Gallery of Art was also exhibiting the paintings of Andrew Wyeth. Wyeth did a whole series of paintings featuring windows.
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After that we went to my favorite place to eat lunch – the National Gallery of Art Garden Cafe, where the theme was French. Here’s the marvelous menu.

It was a lovely day!