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Two Post Day: Post Two: A to Z Challenge 2018: V is for Vision

VGood morning and welcome to today’s post in the A to Z Challenge 2018. The letter is V and I’m going to talk about vision.

Vision is the ability to see. My father, at 90, has lost a good portion of his vision to something called Age-related Macular Degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss for people over 50, but it can occur as young as 40. This irreversible condition causes damage to the macula, a small macularspot near the center of the retina which is necessary for sharp, central vision, allowing us to see objects that are in front of us. Not everyone will develop AMD as they age, but if you smoked, have a history of high blood pressure, or have family members with it, there’s a good chance you’ll get it, too. That’s why it’s critical to see your optometrist regularly. I do.

Because of AMD, my father can no longer drive his own car, which results in an incredible loss of personal freedom. He can’t read or do word search puzzles like he used to do, and when he sits and watches what’s going on, he can’t always recognize the people coming toward him as easily as he used to do. He can’t clearly see photographs, either. There is a good chance I will develop this condition as I age, and I can say in all honesty, it terrifies me. I can’t imagine not being able to read, not being able to write, not being able to see the new flowers when they first show their faces in spring.crocuses

 

The idea that I may be unable to see the faces of my great-grandchildren or great-great-grandchildren makes me want to cry. For years, I’d known that I would get arthritis. Both of my parents have had hip replacements, but I never truly appreciated how debilitating it would be until I woke up one day no longer able to do what I’d always done. I won’t wait until I can’t see to get help with my vision and neither should you.

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Two Day Post: Post One: Midweek Tease: One Last Taste of The Price of Honor

MWTease15Good morning and welcome to this week’s Midweek Tease, the blog made possible by the lovely and talented Angelica Dawson and a group of international authors who share a portion of their work with you each week. Tales range from super spicy to clean reads like mine. There’s something for everyone.

This week, I leave you with a last taste of The Price of Honor, Canadiana Series, Book One.

Enjoy!

Guy glanced up to see the Caen carriage parked at the end of the wharf as it had been yesterday. Coming along the pier was the Chevalier d’Angrignon in conversation with another man who looked vaguely familiar.

“I very much doubt the lady would need to steal, as you put it, from her own home,” he sneered. “The goods she sent yesterday are all in the galley. Feel free to check each box, but rest assured, had there been a woman in any of them, the men would’ve noticed.” He chuckled. “Now, can you hurry up this nonsense? The women are cold.”

The lieutenant reddened. Before he could speak, two of his soldiers came on deck.

“Lieutenant,” the sergeant said, stopping before him and saluting. “Begging your pardon, sir, but the forecastle and beakhead are clear. There’s no one there.”

“Thank you,” the lieutenant answered. “Send some men below to search the lower decks. Don’t omit anything or heads will roll. Pay special attention to the galley and ask to see the goods sent from Caen. Send two men to search the quarterdeck as well.”

“Lieutenant, my mother and her niece are still in bed,” Guy interrupted. “Since I don’t want my family upset, I’ll accompany the men below.”

“As you wish,” the lieutenant answered. “Sergeant, have the men searching the quarterdeck wait for his lordship.” He turned to the women. “My sincerest apologies, mesdames. You may return to your cabins. I wish you all a safe voyage.” The lieutenant bowed.

Guy huffed out a relieved breath. Now that Sophie was safe, he need only worry about Isabelle and whatever surprise awaited him below.

Nodding their thanks, the women, wide-eyed and shivering, scrambled up the steps.

“Wait,” the chevalier cried, just as Sophie took her first step.

She halted, trembling so badly Guy could see her shake. Damn. They’d come so close.

“I have additional questions for you, madame,” he said walking over to the frightened girl.

Without warning, he grabbed the neckline of Sophie’s nightgown and pulled hard, ripping the linen down to her waist, allowing the fabric to gape open, exposing her breasts and the white birthmark beneath the right one.

Sophie cried out, hurrying to cover herself from the prying eyes of those on deck.

Guy, momentarily immobilized by the chevalier’s actions, rushed to cover her with the shawl that had fallen to the floor. Sophie buried her face in his chest and wept.

“For God’s sake d’Angrignon,” he said, holding the girl tightly to him. “What’s wrong with you? Is that any way to treat a lady?”

“My apologies, madame,” the chevalier answered, not sounding in the least apologetic. “I had to be sure.”

“Sure of what?” Guy muttered between clenched teeth, angry enough to kill the man on the spot. If he would do this to an innocent, what might he do to Isabelle?

The chevalier turned to Guy, his cold eyes boring into him.

“This one closely resembles her sister. I had to be sure they weren’t playing tricks,” he said, the ice in his words freezing Guy’s blood.

“And what would your fiancée have done with her sibling? Toss her overboard to take her place?”

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed looking into the past.

The Blurb:

What is the price of honor? For Isabelle de Caen Gaudier, it’s disobeying the king, leaving her home, and giving up her identity.
When King Louis orders Isabelle to marry the Chevalier d’Angrignon, she’s appalled. There is no way she can obey and wed the man she believes may be involved in her husband’s murder and her father’s poisoning. Add to that, the monster may be paving his way to the throne of France for the children she’ll bear him by killing all those ahead of her in line, something she can’t allow. For the sake of her honor, Isabelle de Caen must die.
Hoping everyone will believe she drowned in the millpond, Isabelle disguises herself and sneaks aboard the ship taking her beloved cousin Sophie to the New World. That’s where the charged of treason against her husband originated, and that’s where Isabelle hopes to find the answers to clear his name and implicate the chevalier. But her plans threaten to fail when Guy Poirier, an old friend and her first love, finds her hiding under his bed.
Guy knows Pierre Gaudier isn’t a traitor. The man was on an errand for the governor-general of New France, bringing him critical information, but he was killed before he could deliver it. Someone doesn’t want the king to know what’s really happening in the colony. When Guy finds Isabelle hiding under his bed, he jumps at the chance to help the woman he’s always loved and clear his friend’s name, and if Isabelle can some day return his affections, that would be the best reward he could get.
But things are far more complicated than either of them suspects. After examining information found aboard a vessel attacked possibly by pirates and a wampum belt pointing to an alliance between the Iroquois Confederacy and tribes to the south, Guy fears for the lives of all those in the colony. There’s more than one conspiracy afoot, and with Isabelle at his side, he seeks to find the men behind it all to save not only the woman he loves, but the place he now calls home.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of this week’s teasers.

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#MidWeekTease April 25, 2018


 


 

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A to Z Challenge 2018: U is for Umbrage

UWelcome back to the A to Z Challenge for 2018. As my U word this year, I’ve chosen umbrage.

Lately, it seems you can’t do anything without offending someone somewhere. Well, I for one am sick to death of having to listen to people rave and rant about this right and that one, especially when those who hold dissimilar beliefs and attitudes are automatically in the wrong. I take umbrage with that.

By definition, umbrage means to be offended, annoyed, or displeased with a social snub, someone’s rudeness,  words, and of course actions.  If you have the slightest indication or vaguest suspicion, doubt, or sense of hostility, related to something someone has said, thought, or done, you can take umbrage. You have that right, but it doesn’t give you the right to be mean and offensive, to try and destroy someone’s career in the process.

Case in point. I write romance novels, the old-fashioned kind with a hero and a heroine. Both characters usually have emotional and often physical issues to overcome, and in some way, help the other to overcome those issues.  Because I’m asthmatic, my heroine often is as well, which does limit what she can and can’t do.  Do my heroines tend to be ball-breaking women who can stare down Godzilla if they had to? No.  But, in their own way, they have strengths and not just weaknesses. But to be accused of sexism because of my character isn’t Wonder Woman or GI Jane?  I take umbrage at that.

“Then there was the sexism such as the clumsy heroine trope and the fact that women were literally not allowed to even aid in the saving of the day.

WBB final coverIt’s a romance, for heaven’s sake.  It’s not real life. More than 50 percent of what happens in the book couldn’t happen in real life. It’s fiction. It’s a story. It’s meant to be a couple of hours of entertainment, not the Bible or a code to live by. An author shouldn’t have to defend her words this way, but because of the power of other words such as,

“All in all, I wouldn’t suggest it unless it were free and your to read pile was minimal, there are so many books out there that are actually, truly good.”

What choice do I have?  I take umbrage with those words. This is my career this person is trying to destroy. I have the right to fight back.

First off, the clumsy heroine exists. I know many women who get knocked down by big dogs, are afraid of spiders, lizards, and snakes as well as deep water. I’m one of them. I also know women who fall in love with the wrong man, get physically and emotionally hurt by them, and can also get cheated and have money, etc. stolen by said cad.  I know  women who color their hair, to make themselves feel better, and wear makeup. For many women, finding the right man, falling in love, and getting married is still the trophy at the end of the race. But my heroine isn’t Rapunzel in a tower waiting to be rescued. She has a job and is self-supporting, and she does stand up for herself when she can.

Next point. A woman is the villain. Did the reviewer miss that part? And a woman sacrifices herself to give the rescuers time to arrive and save the day. Some of us sometime do need rescuing. If I’m kidnapped and tied up, there’s a very good chance I’m not getting out without help. And, since I write old-fashioned romance, who doesn’t want to see the hero come charging in to save his ladylove?

How does that make me sexist? 

According to Dictionary.com, sexism is defined as “the belief that one sex (usually the male) is naturally superior to the other and should dominate most important areas of political, economic, and social life. Sexist discrimination in the United States in the past has denied opportunities to women in many spheres of activity.”

Never once do I say the male character is naturally superior to the female. In fact, emotionally, the female is superior to the male. The most powerful characters in the book are both women who control magic–one to do good, the other to do evil. This book isn’t a battle of the sexes. It’s about two people who’ve been hurt and gradually learn to love again. Sure they have a number of adventures along the way, but isn’t that why people read romance novels in the first place?

Rant over. Please don’t take umbrage. I’ll get over this. But in the meantime, I’ll let my righteous indignation and umbrage continue, at least until tomorrow.  Of course, you’re free to decide for yourself.

Don’t forget to check out more A to Z bloggers.

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A to Z Challenge 2018: T is for Tragedy

TWelcome to the last full week of blogs for this year. I hope you’re enjoying my posts. I like reading those I visit, happy to add to the number of blogs I follow as well as those who follow me. Today’s letter is T, and I’ve chosen to talk about tragedy.

Today is William Shakespeare’ birthday, and some of his best plays are described as tragedies, but that isn’t what I want to talk about. By definition, a tragedy is an event that causes enormous suffering, destruction, and desolation. Things like war, epidemics, mass shooting, major accidents and natural disasters that have catastrophic results are tragedies.

When I was a child, I can honestly say, I was untouched by tragedy. Canada wasn’t at war. It’s true that polio and tuberculosis were prevalent at the time, but I had my tests, took my vaccines, and the tragedy passed me by. I don’t ever remember any mass shootings like we seen in the last few years in schools, market places, concert venues, and the like. The first time an assassination wasn’t something from a history book was when I was in grade 8, and President Kennedy was killed in Dallas.  That was my first glimpse of tragedy. https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2018/03/01/kennedy-last-trip-orig-mc.cnn

Cornwall doesn’t suffer too many natural disasters, either. We don’t have hurricanes, tornadoes, or massive flooding. The closest we came was the Ice Storm of 1998, and even then, we got off better than most people affected by it.  And, as far as major accidents go, I have not personally lost anyone that way.

But sadly, I can’t say the same for the children of today. Tragedy is part and parcel of the twenty-first century, thanks to social media and television. Children have seen the images of the destruction caused by last summer’s hurricanes and fires. They’ve heard of the chemical weapons attacks in Syria, seen, the pictures of children struggling to breathe. Their schools and churches host events for the Syrian refugees and others trying to find a safe place to live and hoping Canada will be the answer. Even if they don’t understand it all, they’re affected by conversations surrounding school shootings, and have been through countless lock down and fire drills. Most importantly, they know they can’t trust that people don’t want to hurt them. And isn’t that a tragedy in itself?

Added to that, they’ve all been touched and victimized by bullying which has taken on a life of its own, growing at an alarming rate, fostered and encouraged by social media where you can not only be mean and cruel, but you can be faceless at the same time.

This month, my entire country was drawn together by tragedy. There isn’t a single adult or child who doesn’t know about the Broncos hockey players killed in a bus accident near Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Before that accident, I doubt most people even knew there was such a place, but the loss of life and potential has put it on the map. As I drive through my town, I see  hockey sticks lined up by the doors in tribute. Last week, people all wore team jerseys in support, and Sunday, my husband’s watering hole, held a fundraiser. Hopefully, we’ll learn something from this tragedy as the RCMP continue their investigation.

http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/the-hard-lessons-that-can-be-learned-from-the-humboldt-broncos-crash

Tragedy shouldn’t define the memories of childhood and yet, for many this century, it will. And isn’t that another tragedy?

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Tuesday Tales: From a Word: WASH

New TT imageWelcome back to this week’s Tuesday Tales, the weekly blog where books are born. By consensus, the group decided to decrease the length of our weekly posts, even when we are working from a word, to a maximum of 500 words per post.

For me, that means cutting more than half from my usual scenes, but maybe less is better. Time will tell. Hopefully, I’ll still be able to paint a complete picture for you, or at least, leave you biting your nails for the rest of what I start.

This week’s word is WASH. I’m continuing with my historical romance, The Price of Courage.

Enjoy!

“You’re an excellent provider, my friend,” Yves said, setting the dressed birds on the snow beside the fire. “We’ll eat well tonight, not having to rely on pemmican and corn soup again.”

The young Mohawk brave grinned. “Your woman’s pemmican is rich and full of fat. That’s why it makes good soup.”

Yves smiled. “Catiche adds bear fat to the meat.” He patted the man on the shoulder. “When our mission is over, you must come and stay with us.” He chuckled. “Her sister is fifteen, ready for a mate.”

Lucien laughed. “Matchmaking?”

“What?” he asked shrugging his shoulders. “He’s an excellent provider and my father-in-law’s old. Since I’m away so much, having a good hunter in the family is only logical.”

Okwaho crouched in front of his fire. “I will come to your village, Michaud, and look upon the female. Since the great sickness killed so many Mohawk women and children, many braves have traveled north looking for suitable women. Balavas, my friend, didn’t find a woman, but he found a family. Perhaps I can do both.”

Lucien laughed. “Ever the optimist,” he said. “Yves, help me set this in the branches and secure it. We got lucky last night, but tonight may be different, and we’ll need the extra protection. It’s almost dark, and if Okwaho says we’ll have snow tonight, I believe him.” From his large pack, he pulled out the oiled hide they used as a tent. “We should cut more logs before we eat, too.”

By the time they’d finished, Okwaho had the two birds roasting on a makeshift spit, roots buried in the fire, and was wrapping the dough for the bannock that would accompany the meal.

Lucien grabbed a dipper and filled it with the water from the pot on the side of the fire. No matter where he was, he liked to wash his face and hands before he ate.

“If it doesn’t snow, we should reach the Montagnais village tomorrow,” Lucien said, sitting back on the heavy bear skin he’d spread for himself under the tree, the air filled with the aroma of roasting meat. His stomach grumbled. All he’d eaten since breakfast had been a couple of mouthfuls of dried fruit and seeds.

“How do you think they’ll react when they see him?” Yves asked. indicating the Mohawk who was transferring melted snow into a smaller pot for tea.

“Lallier and his brothers will be more interested in the goods we’ve brought him rather than the fact we travel with a Mohawk guide, but convincing Atika, the Montagnais chief, that Okwaho isn’t a threat may take a fair amount of discussion. If Champlain hadn’t helped them defeat the Mohawk at Ticonderoga, they would never have signed an alliance with the French. Sometimes, necessity makes for strange bedfellows. Akhilesh is the first Mohawk chief to align himself with the French. That hasn’t made him popular with some of the other Mohawk chiefs.”

“Nor with other tribes,” Yves agreed.

That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales

 

 

 

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Three Post Day: Post Three: Accent on Romance Giveaway

Last Day!

susanne matthews

Do you love winning things? Finding great book bargains? Discovering new authors? Then, you’ve come to the right place!

Banner April 18-22 promo_small size

For the next four days, you have the opportunity to do just that with a fabulous Rafflecopter giveaway. See the link at the end of the post. If you aren’t a US resident, you can’t win that,  but comment for your chance to win an electronic copy of my latest release, The Price of Honor, Book One in the Canadiana Series.  Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll automatically get an electronic copy of Sworn to Protect!

Now, let me tell you a bit about the books involved in this fantastic promotion.

Finding Home eBook Cover - 2-28-18 600dpiFREE during the promotion: Finding Home

Twenty-four year old Phoebe Hawley is on a quest to find her family a home. On the road with two siblings, twelve year-old Maydean and five year-old Willie-Boy, Phoebe is out…

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Sunday Surprise: Megan O’Russell’s New Book, Boy of Blood

It’s my pleasure to welcome Megan here to Living the Dream this morning. This dystopian and fantasy writer has long been a personal favorite. Megan’s here to tell you about her new book, Boy of Blood, the second book in her Girl of Glass series. Take it away, Megan.

What is the difference between a secret and a lie?

It seems like a silly question, but it is one that haunts Boy of Blood’s Nola Kent.

Boy of Blood: Blurb

After Nightland’s vicious attack on the domes, the safety and perfection of the world within the glass has been contaminated. Desperate to rebuild, outsiders are allowed into the domes to help, breaking the cardinal rule: outsiders and Domers must always be separated. But the city is in shambles, crumbling into chaos without the Vampers of Nightland to keep order, and one name is carried on the wind: Nola.

Clinging to Jeremy, Nola struggles to find a way to exist in the domes, turning her back on all she learned in the city. But when one of the outsiders brings the dark secrets of the domes to light, the line between survival and murder blurs against the spectre of the dying world.

Can Nola follow the dark path laid out by the domes? Will the dangers of the night become her new sanctuary?

Say Hello to Nola

Nola is a loving person. Her compassion for others is actually what causes so much of the chaos in the Girl of Glass series.

Wanting to help those who suffer leads Nola into the outside world, and when she comes back, she has no choice but to lie. Lies about where she was, why she was gone, who she loves… every detail spirals into the next until there is no seeable path left to the truth.

But what about the others in the story? The ones who simply keep secrets.

A boy who loves her but hides the truth of what he is. A leader who never shows his hand, even when others’ lives are on the line. A mother who turns away rather than bestow knowledge on her daughter.

Are any of those people more innocent than Nola? She has lied—there can be no argument there—but has she done any more damage than those who simply keep their mouths shut as others suffer?

It’s a question that I’ve struggled with throughout both books in the Girl of Glass series. When the world is falling to pieces and no one can truly be considered innocent, who is the villain? Are complacency and wrongful deeds the same, for lack of a better term, level of bad if they both result in death?

Nola is learning to navigate the world of secrets and lies as she ventures into Boy of Blood. With the threat of death shadowing her every step, one wrong whispered word could mean the end of a life.

So what do you think is better: secrets or lies? Is there a difference?

Last, but never least, a huge thank you to Susanne for letting me sneak onto her blog!

You’re very welcome. I’ve long been a fan of Megan’s books and I look forward to reading these.

Girl of Glass:

Two worlds…one glass wall…no turning back.

The human race has been divided. The chosen few live in the safety of the domes, watching through their glass walls as those left on the outside suffer and die. But desperation has brought invention, and new drugs have given the outsiders the strength to roam the poisoned night unafraid – but it comes at a price.​

Seventeen-year-old Nola Kent has spent her life in the domes, being trained to protect her little piece of the world that has been chosen to survive. The mission of the domes is to preserve the human race, not to help the sick and starving. But when outsider Kieran Wynne begs for Nola’s help in saving an innocent life, she is drawn into a world of darkness and danger. The suffering on the other side of the glass is beyond anything Nola had imagined, and turning her back on the outside world to return to the safety of the domes may be more than she can stand. Even when her home is threatened by the very people Nola wants to help.

 

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