Welcome to another opportunity to spark your enthusiasm and creativity by joining in for Book Beginnings, hosted by A Few More Pages, and The Friday 56, led by Freda’s Voice.

To participate, just grab a book you are reading (or are about to read), share the opening lines and link up; and then turn to page 56, and grab something there to share…and again, link up!

Today I’ve picked up Best Staged Plans, by Claire Cook, one of my favorite authors.

As a professional home stager, Sandy Sullivan is an expert at transforming cluttered rooms into attractive houses ready for sale. If only reinventing her life were as easy as choosing the perfect paint color. She’s eager to put her family’s suburban Boston home on the market, to downsize, and to simplify her own life. But she must first deal with her foot-dragging husband and her grown son, who has moved back home after college to inhabit the basement “bat cave.”

After reading them the riot act, Sandy takes a job staging a boutique hotel in Atlanta recently acquired by her best friend’s boyfriend. The good news is that she can spend time with her recently married daughter, Shannon, in Atlanta. The bad news is that Shannon finds herself heading to Boston for job training, leaving Sandy and her southern son-in-law, Chance, as reluctant roommates. If that’s not complicated enough, Sandy begins to suspect that her best friend’s boyfriend may be seeing another woman on the side….


Beginning:  Okay.  So I accidentally wrapped my reading glasses in one of the packages I mailed.

“It could have happened to anyone,” I said to my daughter, Shannon.


Ha-Ha…that sounds like something I could do.  When I’m distracted.  Already I’m wanting to read more!


p. 56:  That first winter in our new old house I almost got pregnant again.



Now, I’m thinking I could have gone on, adding one or two more sentences, but I like just dropping this sentence like a bomb.


What exciting openers and excerpts did you find this week?  I hope you’ll share them with the rest of us!




Good morning, blog world!  What sparks your energy, creativity, and imagination on a Monday morning?

Today I was sparked by comments on my Creative Moments site where I talked about how I’d been slacking off a bit on my rewrites.

Encouraged, as always, by the wonderful and supportive remarks, I felt renewed.  Reenergized.  Is that even a word?

So as soon as I did some blog visiting for my Monday Memes post, I opened up my Defining Moments document and began again.

I left off last (with the rewrites) on page 64, Chapter Ten.  After two hours of total concentration on the work, I ended up on Chapter Fifteen, page 117.

Which also begins Part II in the WIP, called Revelations.  Part I is entitled Introductory Moments.

The MC, Jillian McAvoy, has just ended a bittersweet phase in her life.  A love affair has gone wrong, but her book is out there on the shelves.  She has improved her relationship with her daughter Megan.  And across the street, her neighbor Ernestine is remembering the past and the secrets that have plagued her all these years.

What will happen next?  Even though I have the first draft down, my rewriting can turn things around.  Nothing is written in stone.

I like this part.  As much as I have been procrastinating, when I do open the document and begin, I am excited and full of energy.

See what a few sparks can do?  What sparks you on a Monday morning?  What do you look forward to?



Catherine Parkestone has embarked upon a new life. Having lived in England through most of her life, she still has memories of time spent in the French countryside. So buying an old house near a small village in France seems like the perfect step in her life. And for her desire to begin her business of soft furnishings—needlepoint, tapestries, etc.

At first, the local farmers and others who surround her seem foreign and different. Their lives follow certain patterns that are strange to her. And the rainy season seems daunting.

But slowly, and over a period of time, Catherine comes to know, accept, and even feel comfortable with her neighbors and this life.

Taking on a special restoration of an old church banner signifies her final mission toward really belonging. But will the bureaucratic trappings that seemingly present obstacles to her burgeoning business do her in? And will a sudden loss take her away from this new life in the end?

What Catherine finally decides to do leads to a very satisfying conclusion for this idyllic tale. The Tapestry Of Love is really all about memory, nostalgia, childhood dreams, and how one can find new life in unusual places. I loved the characters, described so beautifully through their actions and their surroundings. This story made me long to visit the French countryside and meet characters just like these. Four stars.


Welcome to another edition of A Bit of Me (Me), hosted by There’s A Book.

As usual, our prompt from our leader helps us dig down a bit, exploring those bits and pieces of ourselves.

This Weeks Question: What is your favorite type of art? Or do you happen to have a favorite painting/artist/sculpture/etc.?

Art is in the eye of the beholder.  Isn’t that something you’ve found to be true?  I am enamored of many artistic expressions, but my all-time favorite is PHOTOGRAPHY AS ART.
When someone captures an image on film (or digitally, as today’s technology dictates), we can see another version of art.
Since some of you know that my eldest son is a photographer who has been capturing European images for several years now, I cite him as the perfect example of photography as art.
In my blog header today, I am sharing an image he captured when he was quite young, and the subject was his sister, at age fifteen.
A couple of years ago, he focused on the Berlin Wall, under reconstruction, and showcased the process from start to finish.

The Wall Under Reconstruction

A Piece of the Reconstructed Wall

And here’s one more:

In some ways, this is art twice created:  first, from the painters brush to the wall; and then, captured by a camera.

What are your artistic choices?  Why don’t you stop by and share…..



Yesterday, I couldn’t believe that we were already approaching the weekend, and I can’t believe it’s Saturday!  Time for A Bit of Me (Me), hosted by There’s A Book.

Today’s Question:

This Weeks Question: What’s your favorite color? Or maybe you have multiple favorites, which ones? Be creative with how you tell us if you have time.

I love color!  The more vivid, the better, but especially those in the reds, purples, greens, and occasionally blues….
These colors cheer me up and make me feel ALIVE!  Here are some samples:
Berlin Festival of Lights by Craig Robinson
Potpourri of Toys
Do these illustrate my love of color?  What about your choices?  I hope you’ll stop by and share….



This past weekend has been a busy one, with Bloggiesta activities, etc.  Plus, I had reviews to post and thoughts to assemble for the upcoming reading week.

Today’s thoughts are about the effects of computer “glitches” on how I face the day.

This particular glitch has actually only happened to me about three or four times over a period of four years or so.  Not a lot, when I look at it from that perspective.  But each time, I go into panic mode.


The first time, I was totally at a loss, and even called my son, the electrician/computer person to see if he could sort it out.  Well, he tried a few things and fixed it.  I observed some of what he’d done, and the next time it happened, more than a year later, I was able to go through the processes and sort it out on my own.

My other computer-expert son, who lives in Europe, told me that the power strip could be a factor, so I made sure to have an extra one on hand.  Today when my computer wouldn’t turn on (yes, that’s how the glitch expresses itself!), I went through my usual panic mode, and then recalled his advice.  I pulled out the new strip, changed it out, and voila!  Fixed.


Of course, my mind is going to be on red alert for awhile.  Why is that?  My paranoia about the computer and its various possibilities for failure could keep me up at night.

Well, one of my biggest fears, of course, is that someday nothing I do will work and it will mean a new computer!  And my budget is not ready for that!  LOL


Do you ever freak out over these kinds of things?  What do you do when, or if, that happens?  If you’re lucky, you have a resident computer expert…ah, wish I did!



Welcome to another day in the blogging world of NaBloPoMo.

Today’s episode will touch on all the Hump Day events around the blogosphere, as well as on my own family stuff.

Over at Embrace the Whirlwind, you’ll find the new book I’m waiting for…full of family moments.

Then, at Creative Moments, I updated my progress on the ROW 80 Challenge.

Today is my day to pick up youngest grandson Noah at school, and the manicurist is also coming by to do my nails later this afternoon.  All morning, I’ve been cleaning!  In-between those tasks, I’ve been blogging, writing, etc.

Moments with Noah

The book I finished yesterday is reviewed at Chasing Stardust.


Lots of family and friend moments in this one, too.

I started my next read, which I was really excited about…but, for whatever reason, just couldn’t connect with the characters last night.  Maybe today…

If things don’t improve, I’ll have to find another one on my stacks.  My vow:  to read at least one book a week from my Old TBRs (as distinguished from my newer ones).

Now I’m off to do some more writing before settling in to read.



Craig Robinson - Berlin Photographer

Today descended like a dark, cold blanket—no fog, just a lot of darkness, even at this hour.


I could use a lamp like the one in my header, lighting my pathways today.  Speaking of the lamp in my header, my eldest son, Craig, Berlin Photographer, captured this a few years ago.  As I gaze at it, I am carried along fantasy pathways.  Many who have noticed it have mentioned that Narnia springs to mind.

I love images like this one.

Or how about some of these images, captured by the same photographer (my amazing son!) in an old abandoned sanitarium outside of Berlin.

Beelitz Sanitarium

Or how about these decaying images:


Capturing the ordinary moments in our lives in a unique way is the gift of the creative photographer.

I try to capture those moments in the life around me through words.  As a blogger/writer, my journey takes me next to my WIP, in which my characters are leading me along, hoping that I will see the world through their eyes.

Meanwhile, I have posted my Teaser Tuesday for today at my Potpourri blog.

I entered a new header at that site that also conveys ordinary moments in a unique way, from the vision of Mary Engelbreit.

I like the sentiment expressed in this one:  Everything You Want in the World is Just Right Outside Your Comfort Zone.

What is your vision for today?  What thoughts are carrying you forward into your day?


Today I’ve been clicking around the blogosphere, which is where I discovered another challenge for 2011.  It will totally mesh with some of the books already on my stacks.  I love being able to “kill two birds with one stone.”  Satisfying my personal TBR challenge while participating in another.

The Ireland Reading Challenge is hosted over at Books and Movies.

This year, I’m collecting all of these challenges under one “umbrella” at my CURL UP AND READ BLOG. This is also where I document my journey through my TBR stacks, with pages of Books Read and Books Purchased, since I’m trying to exert some kind of control…LOL.

Today I’ve also changed up my blog header here, as well as my background.

Background by Mary Engelbreit’s art work, and header from my own photo collection that spotlights my holiday decorations.

Yesterday I finished reading Mary Ann in Autumn, by Armistead Maupin, and you can click on the title for my review.

Teaser Tuesdays is also an event for today, so check it out.

Hope you’ll pop on over here and see what’s happening.  What inspires you during the holidays?





From my header above, you’re probably thinking that I skipped right from early fall to deep winter—a season wrapped up in snowy images.

But I’m just practicing…and remembering snowy days in the past.

Awhile ago, some of you may remember that little blog called Snow Impressions, which I’ve merged into this one.  That blog featured my two granddaughters, as depicted above, as the “permanent” header.  So then, as in now, it’s all about remembering.  Here’s the STORY.

In the photo (header), the girls were seven.  That was eons ago, as you know, since they’re teenagers now.  Young teens, but still teens.

Now they have Facebook pages and think about all those “teen” things.

But I’ll bet they still remember the snowy vacation at the little “cabin in the woods.”

Here are some updated photos of them.

Fiona - 2010

Aubrey - 2010 - With Youngest Brother

Meanwhile, I’m sitting here on Day 11 of NaNoWriMo, hoping I can keep my creative juices flowing.  I’ve done well so far, but I know (from past experience) that there’s an inevitable slump.  I’m stockpiling my words.  So later, I’ll go over to Creative Moments and write an update.