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Summertime by Vicki Batman

From Christina: I’m pleased to have Vicki Batman here today to share a few thoughts about summertime.  It’s always a pleasure to visit with her.

 

Summertime

by Vicki Batman

Summertime–fun days!

When my kids began school, I would count the days like this:

  • Labor Day
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Holiday break
  • Presidents Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Spring Break
  • School is out.

Then…

Summer Pic

 

As a little girl, my family went on some great vacations–Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Island, Florida, California. And I wanted those experiences for my children, too. Trips to visit family members, Washington D.C., New York City, and Colorado.

Sometimes, we moms don’t know what things we’ve taught our kids will stick. I took mine to the art museums. I loved going and only had a one opportunity when I was a child. I determined that wouldn’t happen to mine.

Statue of LibertySo we were on vacation in New York City. We’d planned age appropriate Broadway shows, a trip to the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island, the exhibition Art of the Motorcycle at the Guggenheim.

But I had to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and if I really wanted to go, I had to take the boys. I’d mapped out that visit so they wouldn’t be bored. First, the arms and Armaments; then, the Egyptian stuff; finally, we passed though to another area and skimmed by the Impressionist exhibit.

Money PicThat’s when I heard, “Look, Mom, a…”

 

 

 

I had to stop and take that in. Wow, they remembered.

Time marches on. The kids are grown, and we don’t have the same kind of vacations. Whenever I’m vacationing in NYC, I go to the Met by myself, pass through the Impressionists and think, “Look, Mom, a Monet.”

Maybe I’ve done my mom job well.

 

About Vicki:

Vicki BatmanLike some of her characters, award-winning author, Vicki Batman has worked a wide variety of jobs including lifeguard, ride attendant at an amusement park; a hardware store, department store, book store, antique store clerk; administrative assistant in an international real estate firm; and a general “do anything gal” at a financial services firm–the list is endless.

 Writing for several years, she has completed three manuscripts, written essays, and sold many short stories to TRUE LOVE, TRUE ROMANCE, TRUE CONFESSIONS, NOBLE ROMANCE PUBLISHING, LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS, MUSEITUP PUBLISHING, and THE WILD ROSE PRESS.

She is a member of RWA and several writing groups and chapters. In 2004, she joined DARA and has served in many capacities, including 2009 President. DARA awarded her the Robin Teer Memorial Service Award in 2010.

 Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking “What if??”

 

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Going to Glacier National Park by E. M. Bannock

From Christina: When E. M. Bannock posted a few of her vacation pictures on Facebook, I quickly messaged her to ask if she would share her trip — and her gorgeous photographs — with readers at Time for Love. I’m so glad she did! Enjoy her scenic look at Glacier National Park.

 

Going to Glacier National Park

by E. M. Bannock

 

We made the five hour drive from Clark, WY to Malta, MT without event. Malta is a small, rural town named in the late 1800’s when a railroad official spun a globe and put his finger down landing on the tiny island country of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. I had always wanted to go there since my father was born in the ‘real’ Malta and my mother was the first generation out. I’m proud to say that I am a purebred, 100% Maltese.

The fascination for the little town faded when as we realized the train was going to be late, eight hours late to be exact. Our daytime train ride ended up being a very uncomfortable, long, nighttime trip. We had planned on enjoying the view from the upper deck of the Amtrak train as it skirted along the south end of Glacier to our final destination of Whitefish, Montana. As it turned out, it was a nighttime trip and we saw nothing.

Glacier 1This was not a good way to start our mini-vacation. The next day we spent getting caught up on our sleep. Thankfully we had a hotel suite so the kids camped out in the living room while Papa and I made ourselves comfortable in the bedroom. My grandson and his school pal, who came along, took it all in stride and by early afternoon the kids were ready to hit the pool. The next day was GlacierNational Park day. I was really excited. This was to be my highlight of the trip.

Glacier 2After we got a good night sleep and had breakfast we hit the road in our rented car. As we approached the Park we marveled at the wonders of the surrounding area. Kalispell, Whitefish, and the cities around the Park are not exactly what you would call ‘big city’ but it seemed like they had every convenience as well as natural beauty. It was definitely geared for the outdoorsman; white water rafting, fishing, hiking, and other activities.

As we came close to the Park it got noticeably more forested and less populated. My anticipation grew. To my delight I was old enough to qualify for a senior pass. I hate the idea of being old but I am finding that it has its perks; discounted train tickets, discounted meals, and discounted park entrance fees.

Bible RockThis was going to be a quick trip through Glacier National Park. It was only June and the Driving to the Sun road was only opened part way. It had been a very snowy winter and a cool spring. There was still too much snow on the road for the plows to get through. The road was closed 14 miles in but in those few miles I saw many wondrous things. We started with a quick stop at the Park store where our nine year old grandson and his school buddy, who accompanied us on the trip, quickly picked out a stuffed animal to be their trip souvenir. I picked out several postcards and a refrigerator magnet to add to my collection of places I’ve been. Then we were off.

Glacier 5Although I was clearly enjoying the magnificent views of snow covered mountains, lush forested land and raging glacial steams, Papa and the boys were not impressed. The complaining started almost immediately. Papa could not see the attraction. We live close to Yellowstone and I think they were expecting some of the same attractions. There were no geysers at every turn, no hot springs, no buffalo or elk crossing the road and holding up traffic. But there was a whole lot of unspoiled, natural beauty; Flowing, brilliant blue glacier steams that had carved out a path through the mountains making its way to crystal clear glacier lakes.

We stopped briefly at Lake McDonald. Its picturesque beauty was breathtaking. Its stillness reflected the mountains on the other side like a mirror. I found it spiritual and inspiring. It’s tranquility soothing my tensions and stress as I pondered the view from its bank. Although the boys found it boring and mundane I shamed them into stopping anywhere a road pull-out appeared. They sat quietly, but uncomfortably, as I jumped out to enjoy and snap pictures. At one stop, I followed a narrow trail that wound down to a viewing point of rushing waters and mountainous canyons. There were two men on the landing taking pictures of each other obviously enjoying the view as much as I was. “What a perfect place for a picture,” I thought wishing one of my guys were there to take a picture of me.

“Would you like us to take a picture of you?” one of the men asked me.

“Oh, yes!” I answered enthusiastically.

Glacier 3

Although I have many beautiful pictures of the Park, there is only one picture with me in it. It is a lovely reminder of my Glacier National Park trip.



 

E. M. Bannock is the author of Totally Devoted, a spicy romance.

She was born in 1950 and grew up in the Detroit suburbs. She is the second child of seven and eldest daughter of a working class family. Her mother was always at home to care for her children, which instilled Marie with deep rooted family ties. Her parents had traditional, old style, European ideals which clashed with her modern, adventurous personality. The daughters were not encouraged to attend college. Instead they were expected to get married, have children, and be homemakers.Her love for writing began during high school where she excelled in writing short stories and poetry. During her junior and senior year, she wrote and sold short stories that other students turned in for homework assignments.Born with the wanderlust, she found herself in Los Angeles. LA was an exciting place to be in the early 70’s and E.M. experienced all that it had to offer. It was here she met her husband. The two have a son.

E.M. and her family have lived in California, Oregon, Alaska, Florida, and Wyoming, where she now lives with her husband, son, grandson and a menagerie of cats, dogs, chickens, and horses.

She has made her living as an office manager, computer programmer/analysts, and project manager. Throughout it all, she never lost her love for writing. Although never published, she has a small collection of the short stories and poems that have been written throughout the years.

Until 1999, she had never attempted to write a novel. Then, while descending into Detroit on a business trip, she had the inspiration for her first novel, Totally Devoted.

After completing the book she submitted it to several literary houses only to be rejected. Life became complicated and her book sat in the memory of her computer for 15 years. At her husband’s urging, she “brushed” it off, added more dimension to the characters, and more spice to the romance. The result is a gripping, erotic tale of modern romance and rugged western adventure that exposes the struggles of life with raw human emotion, lust, love, devotion, and danger.

She believes that writers should write what they know about and draws inspiration for her characters and locations from her varied and unique life. She writes about the places she has lived or visited because she feels correct geographical details are an important ingredient in a story to give the reader the full experience.



More from E. M. Bannock

Winter Morning in Clark

Journeys – Part 1 by Devika Fernando

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka

 

Journeys – Part 1

by Devika Fernando

I live near Kandy, a historically important city with a population of about 125,000 that lies smack in the middle of the island. It’s the capital of the Central Province and part of the Sri Lankan up-country filled with hills and mountains and picturesque villages. Colombo couldn’t be more different. I should know, I lived in one of its suburbs for 3 years, and I don’t ever want to go back. As the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo boasts around 4.5 million inhabitants and is a metropolis right at the coast, part of the Western Province. If you’re looking for anything official and important, for entertainment and for modern high-rise buildings with luxury apartments, you’ll find it there. If you’re looking for teeming slums, smog, dirty politics and overcrowded roads, you’ll find those there, too.

Express Train

The unimaginably slow, so-called intercity express train

To travel from where we live to the capital city, it takes us 5 hours by car each way, which means a whole day needs to be sacrificed. The physical distance is about 130 km, but it feels like a trip to the other end of the world. Most of the journey takes you through villages and towns, up and down mountains, around hairpin-bends and through stretches of beautiful emptiness. You can’t drive faster than 40 km/h for the better part of the trip, and you need to constantly be on your toes unless you want some frustrated, maniacal driver to hit your vehicle. Taking the train isn’t much better. The vista is stunning, but the train crawls at (less than) walking speed, the noise is unbearable and the roughly 20 tunnels make reading a difficult task. I shouldn’t complain, though, because until the British colonized the island and drilled through the rock, a trip from Kandy to Colombo took several arduous days involving bullock carts, jungles and accidents galore.

Bible Rock

View of Bible Rock from Kadugannawa

All the stress aside, travelling from Kandy to Colombo has an exotic flair to it that gets my writer brain whirring. What fascinates me most – apart from the idyllic views of towering peaks, misty mountains ranges, oddly shaped rocky outcrops, impossibly green paddy fields and weed-choked lakes – is the hustle and bustle of life we pass by. You see a zillion shops, houses, schools, banks, restaurants and religious buildings, encroaching on the main road, much too numerous and close for comfort. There are constant traffic blocks, police check-points and crowds monopolizing the road. What adds to the fascinating flair is the fact that specific things are sold at intervals along the way:

Rambutan

Rambutan, mangosteen and durian

• When you wind your way down towards Colombo, you find inflatable toys and balls and boats and what-not lining both sides of the road in splashes of colour (don’t forget, going to Colombo means getting close to the beach).
• There is an aptly named town called Pilimathalawa where people specialize in arts and craft, or rather, in stone or plaster statues (pilima) of all kinds. Some of them are breathtakingly beautiful, others make me cringe with their kitsch and exaggeration.
• The crafty goodness goes on because not much later there’s a town dedicated to furniture and accessories woven from wood. The offers range from simple baskets over cupboards or tables and chairs to lampshades and statues made out of intricate wood weave.
• Up next are places where an array of vases, pots and decoration items made out of clay is on display. Pottery has always been important in this country.
• Following that comes a long stretch around the town of Kadugannawa where vendors sell steamed, salted corn on the cob and spicy snacks to brace yourself for the strenuous journey yet to come.
• Next you are met with girls and women clad in red-coloured traditional clothes who sell cashew nuts, roasted and unroasted. Cashews are available in supermarkets for an ungodly prize, but a little cheaper along the Colombo-Kandy road.
• Hold on tight, exotic fruits are last! It starts with durian, jackfruit, rambutan and mangosteens. Closer to the low-country regions, you can grab pineapples at bargain price.

With such highlights that never fail to interest me and will probably find their way into my book “Saved in Sri Lanka” (it’s in its draft stages at the moment), the negativity fades away a little.

If you have enjoyed reading about one of my journeys, stay tuned for Part 2, where I talk about the real and internal journeys the protagonists of my books face.

 



 

More from Devika Fernando

Nature Photography

About Devika

devikaAlmost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a German web content writer and as a translator. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing. Her debut romance novel, When I See Your Face, is now available at Amazon. 

 

Daddy by Summer Ross

From Christina: You probably know Summer Ross  through her alter ego, Decadent Kane. Today she’s here not to write about elven troubles or other mystical dilemmas, but to pay tribute to a very important man in her life.

Daddy

by Summer Ross

There is a little bit of a hero and a villain in all of us. That’s what my daddy taught me without realizing it. He’s not my biological father, but he is and always will be my daddy. I met him when I was eight years old I think it was, and I didn’t call him daddy then. No he earned that title. If there is one thing I could say without a doubt in my mind, I have no clue what hell hole I might be in if he never would have showed up in our lives.

It takes a hell of a man to walk into a broken family and put them back together while loving children that he didn’t make.

Steve BeadleI’m not going to say all of it was easy, or that he never did anything wrong. Because no matter how much of a hero he was, he was also still a man with flaws. But I learned to see the better part of people because of him. I learned that love could move past arguments, throwing shoes at each other, even mixing two separate families together. The real love, the kind that I have come to see as true love, is the kind of love that doesn’t give up when things get bad.

Looking back, I can see how I searched for a partner who would be, at least in part, the kind of man he was. The kind of person that could see past faults, work through problems, and stick with it until the end. And he did that, every day with me, my little brother, my step sister, my step brother, and my alcoholic mother. He was there, always. And that’s the kind of man I want in my life.

There is one line he always said to us kids whenever something went bad, or we were hurt. “I’ve had worse cuts on my lip and never stopped whistling.” And one of these days a character in my books will say that line.

My daddy’s favorite actor was John Wayne, the old western guy. He’s a bit of a hero and has some villain in him too. I’ve never put much stock in John Wayne, never really asked him why he liked that man so much. I’ve seen a couple of his films. I’ve seen him be a drunk and be a good guy. I’ve seen him be a down right jerk, saying all the wrong things, and still save the girl or the kid. I can appreciate my daddy’s liking of him and if there was ever anything I wanted to tell my daddy, it would be that he’d always be my John Wayne, the one that didn’t just do what he had to do. He stepped up, went above and beyond, and I have the life I have right now because when I was eight years old, a man who sometimes drank too much and sometimes said things that broke my heart walked into my life and changed the world as I knew it in all the best ways.

His name was Steve Beadle.



Look for Decadent Kane at Amazon and other online booksellers. 

 

Decadent Kane

You can also visit her blog.

Decadent Kane – Blogspot



MORE FROM DECADENT KANE

“My Winter Deuce”

 

Remembering Dad by Kathleen Ann Gallagher

From Christina: When I first learned that Kathleen Ann Gallagher’s father was a professional magician…well, I know envy is wrong, but, yep, I was a tad bit envious. I’ve always loved magic shows, and the thought of having a magical father makes me a bit giddy.  I asked Kathleen if she’d share him with  us for Father’s Day.  I’m so glad she accepted the invitation.

Remembering Dad

~ By Kathleen Ann Gallagher ~

Magical FatherMy father was a wonderful man and an inspiration to me. He was a talented and unique individual, and he taught me to pursue the things I wanted in life with passion. Dad was a professional magician, a hypnotist, and a tap dancer. His goal was to help people forget about their troubles and escape into the fascinating world of magic. On occasion he’d let me help out in the show. My favorite part of the act was when he made a woman float in mid-air. Once I got to be his assistant, and it was awesome. Most of the time I helped set up the stage and assisted in the care of his beautiful white doves. Obstacles didn’t discourage him. He’d come up with a plan and always see the bright side of things. His positive outlook on life was contagious, and I try to remember his fighting spirit during times of stress. Dad’s kindness and generosity showed in everything he did. If someone needed a shoulder to lean on, he’d be there for them. I remember the day a friend confined in him about his fear of having dental work. My dad accompanied the man to the dentist and offered support in his time of need. He used hypnosis and positive affirmations to help him relax. Father’s Day is a time to pay tribute to the many giving and loving fathers in our lives. Even though my dad is no longer with me, I’ll never forget his smile and the sound of his laughter. His zest for life and desire to entertain will forever live on in my heart, and it helps remind me to never give up on my dreams. Thank you, Dad!



KathleenKathleen lives in New Jersey with her husband and their two dogs. She’s a registered nurse who works in an emergency room. Writing has been her passion since she was a young girl. Contemporary and paranormal romance are her favorites. She has three adult children and three lovable grandsons. Her favorite romantic getaway is Cape May, New Jersey. You might find Kathleen on a beach down the Jersey Shore, sipping iced tea, dreaming up her next romance novel.

Find Kathleen online at: Kathleen’s Place to Reflect



More from Kathleen Ann Gallagher

A Time for Renewal

Things Happen for a Reason

New Release: Savannah’s Journey by Kathleen Ann Gallagher

Lessons from a Feral Cat Father

From Christina: It’s my pleasure (I think) to have Liza O’Connor as a special guest today as part of a Father’s Day weekend celebration.  She’s here to tell us about her “feral father”.  Enjoy!


Liza O’Connor—Yes, I was raised by feral cats.

Feral Cat Dad

However, I loved my Feral Dad Cat (FDC) and wish to share a few valuable lessons I learned from him:

1) There’s no shame in frugality

My dad was the cheapest cat I ever knew. He’d buy large bags of bread, past the expiration date, meant to be sold as chicken food. To ensure humans didn’t buy it for consumption, someone would jab their hand in the middle of each loaf. While Dad once retrieved a partially eaten grapefruit from the trash and made me scrape all the flesh out better, thankfully, he allowed me to toss out the bread slices that had been finger stabbed. Even feral cats have their limits of cheapness.

2) Expect to work for anything you get and value what you earn.

Like all small children wandering through a store full of toys or candy, I would ask my feral cat if I could have something. He’d say ‘not unless you have the money to buy it.” That would provoke me to follow behind him saying ‘cheap, cheap, cheap’ like a baby chick. You might think it unsafe for a baby chick to taunt a feral cat, but he just laughed at me. However, I NEVER got the item I asked for.

Finally, after six months of chirping, I took his advice and asked for a job. He grew flowers for a living and it turns out even tiny children can carry small potted plants from one place to another. (I was paid a penny for relocating a pot to wherever my dad or grandmother said to put it.) Trudging through a hot humid greenhouse during summers was hard work. I soon learned that money could be had, but it didn’t come easy, and thus I became very selective on what I bought with my money.

3) Love can be said without words

My Dad Cat worked all the time, but since he worked ‘at home’ in the green houses, when I tired of carting pots, I would crawl upon his big foot and wrap myself around his leg and let him cart me about while I bonded with his ankle. He soon nicknamed me ‘Bug’. When I challenged my new name, he said it was short for ‘Sweet potato bug”. I loved sweet potatoes, so I became ‘Bug’. Even as an adult, he called me that. It was his way of saying he loved me. Because, let’s be frank, you have to truly love a person to let them sit on your foot while you drag them about as you try to do your work.

4) Be adventurous and brave

My feral dad cat had no sense of safety precautions. NONE. He once let me climb into the bucket of his tractor so he could carry me about. (I had gotten too old for his foot; I was about twelve). I get in the bucket, he says something, but I can’t hear him over the noisy tractor. So I look over the top to ask him what he said—just as he raised the bucket. Split my chin wide open. BTW: He’d tried to tell me to hold on tight because if I fell out of the bucket, he wouldn’t know and I’d be run over. (And still he was going to let me do this.)

He once had me walk the 6” beam across the top of the green house, dragging along thin rope, so he could attach it to the heavy plastics and pull it over the beams, creating a new roof for the greenhouse. If I had fallen, it would have been a 30’ drop.

Each summer we would go to Buffalo River. We couldn’t afford a raft, so, he taught us to ‘walk the rocks’ in the rapids. (You keep your feet out in front and walk over the rocks you meet as the water rushes you downstream.)

Having survived these adventures, I learned not to fear danger, which explains why I kayak, raft, fly planes, hand-glide, sky-dive, scuba dive, shark dive etc.

Love you, Feral Dad Cat from your kitten, Liza

These are just a few things my feral cat dad taught me. I could go on for pages. Yes, he was a flawed parent, but you don’t have to be perfect to be greatly loved by your kittens. You just have to love them and give them moments of happiness. And that he did.

Love you feral Dad Cat!

 

 

 

 

 

 



Having been raised by feral cats, Liza is a certifiable nut.  She has no manners, loves to make people laugh, and works very hard to make you laugh.

You can find her books at Amazon.



 

Liza O’Connor was recently featured in an Author “Quick Chat” at ABC Author Book Chat.  Check it out!

Author Quick Chat – Liza O’Connor

Father’s Day Ideas by A J Best

From Christina: Next weekend we’ll be celebrating Father’s Day. My husband already has his present — the old weed-eater broke, so I convinced him he needed a new one.  Of course, I’ll give him a lovely card, too, along with a special treat. Cream puffs. He loves them. 

Author A J Best is here today to share a few ideas to help you make your Father’s Day special.

 

Father’s Day Ideas

by A J Best

Father’s Day is just around the corner. My relationship with my father was never one where I made something for him, or even bought him something. And now that I’m getting older and I see how I want my kids to treat their father, it saddens me that I don’t have the experience to help them make something spectacular for their dad. And knowing their dad, spectacular meant that they remembered Father’s Day to begin with.

So, without the worldly experience behind me I did what any normal human would do, I Googled it. I think I found the perfect thing for at least the 10 year old to do. Check this out:

Father's Day

 

I borrowed the picture and the idea from this blog: A Day In My Life.

She really does have some great ideas. Even if you don’t have the best relationship with your dad, I suggest using tips from others to make sure your kids have memories to share with theirs.



 

A J Best is a frequent contributor to Time for Love.  Visit her at her blog: A J Best Writes.