Building Relationships Through Letter Writing.

Another plus is that we get to exchange letters. I love pretty stationary.

Mihran Kalaydjian's Official Blog

Corresponding with students via snail mail is a good way for teachers to foster trust anytime—but especially when everyone is physically distanced.

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With remote teaching likely continuing into the next academic year, we’ll need low-tech ways to establish relationships with students whom we can’t reach digitally. An ongoing letter communication through the mail is just that—and is also an empowering way to build relational trust with students. That trust, explains Zaretta Hammond, is the foundation on which culturally responsive teaching can change learning trajectories for even our most vulnerable students.

My first year in the classroom, I saw one of my more disengaged students pass a note to a friend. I thought about confiscating it, as my teachers had done. Instead, I wrote her my own note the next day. She wrote back, and we continued writing through the year, her engagement in class strengthening alongside our relationship. Letter…

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Tonight! You, Me, and Fresh Fiction Book Club

Tonight! It’s finally here. I’ve been anticipating this chat for weeks. I’d love it if you join us to talk about Saunders’ Choice, and to catch up on what we’re all reading, watching, and listening to.

I’d love to see you there!

All the details to join this free chat are in this link.

As always, thank you for reading!

Gina

#LongandShortReviews #WednesdayBloggingChallenge 6.24.2020

Do you know about this #fun #bloggingchallenge?

Peggy Jaeger

I’ve been M.I.A. for a few weeks because….life. But today’s topic got me back in the blogging challenge saddle.

My “go to” book or movie for a pick-me-up. Easy peasy and I’m gonna do both!

Book first:

I’ve mentioned this book dozens of times on this blog – and others – but whenever I can’t find something new and intriguing to read, I pull out my copy of NEW YORK TO DALLAS by J.D. Robb from my book case. It is without a doubt my favorite Robb addition of the In Death Series to date, even though they are all excellent reads. This one, though, is so packed with emotion, suspense, and love, plus the way Robb really gets to the meaning of marriage, that it’s worth a re-read every now and again. The last three pages are my absolute favorite in the book and even though I’ve read the…

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Happy Fathers’ day to those special dads

Wishing all Foster Dads and Dads a Happy Father’s Day along with Anne. I loved her tender post.

Author Anne Montgomery

unnamed My dad, who died a year ago, had lots of interests, including fly fishing. He taught me to love the outdoors and to cast into a garbage can lid in our driveway. I was lucky to have such a great dad.

I decided to ignore Father’s Day this year.

My dad died a week shy of his 96th birthday last June following a long and interesting life. He was a World War II Navy veteran, a mechanical engineer, a fly fisherman, an ice dancer who in his later years turned to ballroom, and a lover of animals, wild places, baseball, and musical theater.

I miss him every day.

With Dad gone, I felt Father’s Day had no further meaning for me, but of course I was wrong. I can’t believe I didn’t see what was right in front of me.

I have written about my three sons before. All…

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A Magic Book Signing – By Guest Author Anne Montgomery

It’s a strange time to hold a book launch, quarantined as we are, stuck with the feeling that there is no safe place to go. How long will this isolation last? There’s simply no way to tell. We long for a signal, like the one Punxsutawney Phil delivers each year when the furry rodent surfaces from his den to tell us when winter will morph into spring.

Alas, there is no miraculous creature to mark the end of our confinement. Which brings me back to the book launch for my new novel, Wild Horses on the Salt. Normally, I would host a book signing and a Q&A session at some lovely bookstore – Don’t you love bookstores? – but, of course, that wouldn’t work considering our current situation.

With that in mind, I popped on my thinking cap, and decided we could have a book signing of sorts right here. So, let me get my magic wand.  I’ll be right back.

Dodeedodododeedo…

Yay! I found my magic wand!

Whew! Found it. It was tucked in the back of a closet and it’s a bit dusty. But I think it’ll work. Let’s see.

Swoosh………………..

Oooo! Sparkles everywhere!

And now…here we are! Look at all those pretty books. You want to touch them, I know. And this bookstore – lucky us – also has a bar. What a brilliant idea. So, everyone get a beverage and then sit in those rows of chairs.

Oh my! We need more chairs. So many people! (A girl can dream.)

I take my place at the podium and lift the mic. Unlike a lot of authors – many of whom tend to be introverted types – I’ve never met a microphone I didn’t like. Could be my massive ego, but I digress.

“Thank you all for coming. I am overwhelmed.” I smile. “And now, I’d be happy to take your questions.

Hands shoot up all around the room and I blush. (Really.) “In the corner. Yes, you, sir.” A dapper-looking man with a gray beard smiles.

“What kind of books do you write?”

“Good question. I write fiction, though not in any specific genre. My stories are based on subjects that interest me. In the past, I’ve written about a former soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress, child abuse, polygamy, domestic terrorism, cults, archeological looting, the black-market sale of antiquities, and a serial rapist. In Wild Horses on the Salt, themes include the problems associated with the over population of wild horses in the West and the struggles involved in escaping from domestic violence. However, all my books have one thing in common: the amazing landscape of Arizona, from the Sonoran Desert to the Verde Valley to the high country of the Arizona strip.”

I spy a few younger members of the audience and am delighted, as a just-retired teacher, to see some of my former students. “Makayla.”

“Ms. Montgomery, what inspired you to write about the wild horses of Arizona’s Salt River?”

“You can call me Anne.”

Makayla and the rest of the kids look like I’ve asked them to serve detention for a week. I sigh and realize I will be Ms. Montgomery for the rest of my life.

The horses that roam along Arizona’s Salt River are beautiful but problematic.

“The horses that roam free along the Salt River have been the subject of much controversy in Arizona, primarily because their numbers have grown too large to be sustainable and they too frequently encounter vehicles, events that result in accidents that have killed the animals and injured humans. Though millions of wild horses once roamed free in the United States, today approximately 82,000 remain. Because their ancestors were brought here by European explorers, there are some who believe these animals are an invasive species, a creature that should be culled to safeguard native fauna, fragile grasslands, and riparian habitats. Others believe the wild horse should be defended, protected, and allowed to roam free. The debate is ongoing, with those on both sides of the issue often unwilling to compromise.”

I scan the room and focus on a young woman dressed in a turquoise T-shirt, jeans, and strappy sandals. I nod.

“The protagonist in Wild Horses on the Salt is running away from domestic violence. What made you write about the topic?”

“Thank you for asking. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, nearly 1 in 4 adult women and approximately 1 in 7 men in the U.S. report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.

The often-silent scourge of domestic violence invades all walks of life and, though the poor are disproportionately affected, no one is immune. I felt it was important to point out that domestic violence does not discriminate. People of all kinds, young, old, rich, poor, white, black and brown are subjected to its wrath.

The life of Rebecca Quinn, the protagonist in Wild Horses on the Salt, seems idyllic from the outside. She’s a smart attorney with a handsome, successful spouse. She comes from wealth and privilege. And yet, Becca is repeatedly brutalized by her husband.

I created Becca from personal experience – I’ve been subjected to domestic violence myself – and from statistics. The point is no one should have to deal with this abuse and there is always a way out, though that does not mean leaving is easy. One needs support, both emotional and financial, to get away, as well as a plan to survive the split. It’s my hope that those reading about Becca’s journey will be inspired to make changes in their own lives.

I take more questions. Everyone is so interested in my book, I’m giddy with delight. Eventually, however, the manager of the book store taps her watch.

“Thank you so much for coming everyone. I will be signing books at that table in the corner.”

OK. You got me. This is me signing books at a previous book launch. There’s only so much my magic wand can do.

A long line of book buyers forms as I take my seat. When the last book is signed – of course, it’s a sellout – I have cramps in my hand, but it’s pain I will savor.

After everyone leaves, my sweetie pie appears with a glass of wine. “Thought you might need this,” he says, and I remember why I love him.

That said, the first person in the contiguous United States who contacts me will get a signed copy of Wild Horses on the Salt.

And, again, thank you for coming.

Wild Horses on the Salt

A woman flees an abusive husband and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert.

Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Order your paperback through an independent book store*:

Wild Horses On The Salt
Wild Horses On The Salt: Large Print Edition

Amazon: http://mybook.to/wildhorsespb

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Reviews

“Ms. Montgomery weaves an intricate parallel tale, portraying the struggles of one woman, and that of a lost wild stallion—both fighting to rise above the cruelty of an unkind world. Her unique writing style, incredible knowledge of her subject matter, combined with her ability to create vivid scenes of the East Valley, and particularly the Tonto National Forest and Salt River area in Arizona, takes the reader on a fascinating (and educational) journey.” —Author Margaret Millmore

“The author’s brilliant world building soon had me relaxing and enjoying the desert, the wilderness with so many horses. This was the kind of story I knew I wouldn’t want to end.” Anita Dawes

*This post contains affiliate links which may provide me with a commission when books are purchased through this link. There is no additional cost to you and your support is greatly appreciated.

#Gazpacho #Soup #Recipe For Hot #Summer Days From Guest Author Sloane Taylor

Please welcome cookbook author Sloane Taylor to the blog with a chilled soup recipe. If you’ve never tried gazpacho, this is a great recipe to start with because it’s easy and packed with flavor.

Beat the Heat Summer Supper

When the days are muggy and hot, cool down with this light and refreshing meal. Add a loaf of crusty fresh bread and a bottle of chilled, crisp white wine to make dinner complete.

GAZPACHO – Cold Fresh Vegetable Soup

Image by Яна Тикунова from Pixabay

1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
5 medium Roma/plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, chopped fine or pressed
4 cups French or Italian bread chunks, crust removed
4 cups cold water
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tsps. salt
4 tbsps. olive oil
2 tbsp. tomato paste

Combine cucumber, tomatoes, onion, green pepper, garlic, and bread in a large bowl. Stir in water, vinegar, and salt. Ladle mixture into a blender or food processor. Be careful not to overload either appliance. Set on high speed until you have a smooth puree. Pour the blend into a clean large bowl and whisk in olive oil and tomato paste.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours minimum. Just before serving stir well to recombine ingredients. Ladle into a chilled tureen or large soup bowls.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Romantic Meals to Dine al Fresco, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.

Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.


What do you think of gazpacho?

Thanks for reading,

Gina

It’s Time For Summer Romance Bingo!

The Ripped Bodice’s 4th Annual Summer Romance Bingo cards are ready and I’m excited to play.

Reading will always be one of my favorite summer activities, along with warm evening walks and outdoor concerts. It looks like that last one is out for the foreseeable future, so I’m extra excited to play bingo with my friends.

Downloadable pdf cards and rules are at: https://t.co/x6Luu9aYXB
That’s also where you go to win PRIZES https://t.co/pjdiOMLAks

I have my eye on a specific row and I could use some help for recommendations on two of them: There Was Only One Bed, which I am so excited about, because I haven’t read one of these in a long time; and Violet Eyes. Have you read any romances that you like and that fit one or both of those squares?

I’m reading You’ve Got Tail by Renee George, which will count for the Title Is A Pun square.

I ordered Chaos Reigning: A Novel (The Consortium Rebellion #3) by Jessie Mihalik from The Ripped Bodice for The Final Frontier square.

I plan to read Bound to You (Demon Knights #1) by Alyson Caraway for the Debut Novel square. It releases 8/7/20.

You can fill in some squares from my titles.

The Dreaming, which is the first book in my Natural Gifts series, counts as either the Debut Novel or Psychics/Telekinesis square. I have psychic characters, not telekinetics.

Desert Sunrise can fill in two squares; Ice Cream and Psychics/Telekinesis. Again, no telekinetics, only psychics.

No Yesterdays counts for either the Dumped At A Wedding square or the Psychics/Telekinesis square. No telekinetics here, but various types of psychic talent for sure.

Deep In The Dreaming fits in the Psychics/Telekinesis square, under the psychic side.


I’m looking forward to seeing your recommendations and to reading these books!

If you’re already playing I’d love to know where you post updates. I hang out on Facebook, Instagramand Twitter.

Thanks for reading,

Gina

Do You Suffer From Bibliophilia? Guest Post By Catherine Castle

“When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.”— Desiderius Erasmus


Do you ever feel like this? I know I do. I’m a bibliophile and my house is full of books and magazines. Many of them I’ve opened for reference at one time or another. Many of them I’ve read cover to cover. Most of them I have not read at all, but I hope to one day. They had begun to run me out of my office and then we bought Kindles. Ah, the joy of endless storage. I can go through a twenty-five dollar gift certificate in no time flat.

Here’s the thing about my book habit … it knows no genre limitations. I have fiction books of almost all genres, non-fiction books, books for research, writing craft books, books about historical eras, quote books, half a dozen or more dictionaries, including two rhyming dictionaries, a flip dictionary and several thesauruses.

I keep thinking I’ll cull the herd, especially the dictionaries. After all how many versions of a dictionary does one person need? But I can’t bear to part with a single book. After all, who knows when I might need a synonym?

I did the other day when I was writing a poem that referenced heaven and Word’s thesaurus only had paradise, bliss, ecstasy, dreamland, cloud nine and rapture as alternative options. None of those words fit what I needed. So, I hauled out the thesauruses, the rhyming dictionary, and the Merriam Webster in search of the right word. I found it. So, yes, I do need all those books.

I counted the non-fiction books before starting this blog. I have about 300 non-fiction (writing or research related) books. Just saying that sounds ridiculous and actually embarrasses me. Especially since that doesn’t include my gardening book collection, quilting books, cook books, health-related books, fiction books, or the books in my husband’s office.

With the internet you’d wonder why I would need so many print books in my personal library. But perhaps that’s just why I need them. Because it is my personal library. There’s something about a collection of books that makes me feel richer and smarter. Even if I haven’t read all 300, or maybe I should say 600, from cover to cover.

One thing’s for certain … I’ll never run out of bathroom reading material, even if I live to be 150. Now if I could only keep from putting those ebooks on my Kindle and my phone, I might make some headway in the battle against bibliophilia, and afford some new clothes.

Can you relate to my bibliophilia? If so please comment. I’d like to know I’m not alone in this. How about a peek at my latest sweet romance while you decide?

One date for every medical test—that’s the deal. Allison, however, gets more than she bargains for. She gets a Groom for Mama.

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

EXCERPT
With a sweep of his hand, Jack spread the photos out on the table in front of Allison and Beverly. “Here’s a few I just grabbed from the database. Any of them interesting?” He studied Allison’s reaction. She didn’t bat an eyelash as she scanned the men’s pictures. Then, without warning, she scooped them up and shoved them at him.

“I told Mama I wasn’t going to do this. It’s a stupid idea.”

“I’ll admit it’s not the ‘some enchanted evening, see a stranger across the room’ romantic way to find a husband, but it’s not totally unacceptable. Several of the couples my company has brought together have married.”

“And lived happily ever after?” she retorted.

“It’s a new company, Allison. I don’t have the stats yet.” He pushed the photos across the table. “Just take a peek. What harm can it do?”

Beverly grabbed the photo of a particularly handsome man. “How about this one? His coloring complements yours. You’d have beautiful children.”

Mama!” Allison snatched the photo away. “We’re not going to discuss my possible, yet unlikely, progeny in front of Jack.”

A flash of Allison kissing this guy flew through his head. He grabbed the photo from her. “He’s not your type anyway.”

“And just how do you know?” she asked.

“I dated you, remember? You ditched me for some suave, corporate hotshot. At least it’s what you said.”


“Allison!” Beverly exclaimed. “You never told me that.”

Allison shot him a fierce scowl. “I’m not comfortable discussing my love life with you, Mama. Besides, what’s done and over with should be buried . . . in the past.” She picked up another photo. “What about him? Or him and him?” She pointed to two nerdy-looking fellows. “They seem corporate.”

Mama leaned over and checked out the pictures Allison had indicated. “Too ugly,” she said. “He’s got to be handsome. Like Jack. I want to know my grandbabies will be as beautiful as you two.”

He grinned. “Thanks for the compliment, but I know I’m not your daughter’s type.” He laid a sheet of paper on the counter. “Fill this out. Then I can get a better idea of what you want in a husband.”

“I don’t want—”

“I know,” he interjected. “But, for your mom’s sake, just pretend you do.”

Amazon Buy Link

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. A former freelance writer, she has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit (under her real name) in the Christian and secular market. Now she writes sweet and inspirational romance. Her debut inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing, has garnered multiple contests finals and wins.

Catherine loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, watching movies, and the theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Learn more about Catherine Castle on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out Catherine’s Amazon author page and her Goodreads page. You can also find Catherine on Stitches Thru Time and the SMP authors blog site.


Thanks for reading,

Gina

Oatmeal Raisin Bread Recipe – Guest Post By Author Chris Pavesic

A tasty way to incorporate fiber-rich oatmeal into your diet.   

IMG_20200203_102341

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 package (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Melted butter
  • Additional oats
  • Olive oil
  • Nonstick cooking oil
  • Plastic wrap

Materials:

  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Small bowl
  • Teapot
  • Thermometer
  • Loaf pan (8 x 4 x 2 inch)

Directions: 1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine boiling water and oats; let stand until warm (110°-115°).  In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water; let stand for 5-10 minutes. If the mixture foams up, the yeast mixture can be used and added to oat mixture.  If it does not foam, the yeast should be discarded and redo the step with dissolving yeast with sugar.  Next add honey, butter, salt and raisins beat until smooth.  Add 2 cups flour; beat until smooth.  Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.  

2.  Turned onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl (olive oil), turning once to grease top.  Cover with plastic wrap and place a damp cloth on top.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.  Punch the dough down.  Shape into a loaf; place in loaf pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle with oats   

3.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.  Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown.  Yield 1 loaf.  

Here are three of Chris’s books:

Amazon

Audible

Smashwords

Thanks for reading,

Gina