Itchy feet and Lobster? by Barbara Edwards

Although I posted this on another blog, I wanted to share it here, too.

Coast of Maine
Coast of Maine

I’ve mentioned before that my husband gets bored when he doesn’t have anything to do. The heat wave we’ve been experiencing made it impossible to do outside chores and he already painted the living room a lovely shade of ivory.
IMG_0014He asked me if I’d like to take a ride to Maine for fresh lobster. Since it’s difficult to write with him placing through the house I agreed a lobster dinner would be terrific. The trip is about four hours from where we live in Connecticut. i assumed a drive up and back along one of the scenic routes.
Whoops. While I packed my laptop, he loaded the truck camper on our Dodge Ram. He mentioned casually that I should take a change of clothes. Thankfully I interpreted
Williams Park
Williams Park
that to mean three days.
Of we went. then he says he reserved a campsite. Okay. I sit back to enjoy the ride. For some reason the traffic past Boston and Cape Cod was light. The roadwork that seems a constant repair, slowed us for very little time.
We set up in the campground and headed out for dinner. I had this picture in my head of lobster.
IMG_0022There are lobster places all over. Lobster rolls, lobster bisque, mac and cheese with lobster on signs galore.
Here is the big but. These are your usual tourist eateries geared to handling the summer crowd. You walk in, stand in line, order over the counter, pay and wait for your tray. You take it inside in the AC or out on a patio, usually overlooking the water. I’m ready. My husband wants a restaurant. A sit-down, waiter, table with tablecloth restaurant.
He didn’t find one. Not on the first cruise through town. Not in the second town.
I’m hungry, but I know better than to ask when we’ll eat.
He’s on a quest.
He doesn’t want to eat outside in the heat. He wants what he wants. I don’t care. I just want lobster.
Today we’re stopping at a lobster pound, getting them steamed, grabbing side-dished from the supermarket and eating at the campground.
To keep me happy. He drove to the oldest lighthouse in Maine.
Beautiful park maintained by volunteers from town.
I’m glad we went. I got two thousand words done on my WIP and lobster.
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A poem from Act of Valor

IMG_0012I am a proud patriot. I cried when I heard this read. Please take the time to share this with others. I think all Americans can benefit from these words.

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

~ Chief Tecumseh (Poem from Act of Valor the Movie)

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The Tenth Suitor by Laura Strickland : 12 Brides of Christmas

Please welcome my guest Laura Strickland and author of  The Tenth Suitor: The Twelve Brides of Christmas Book Ten

perf5.000x8.000.inddGenre: Historical Romance


When Edwina Armstrong’s father invites ten titled lords to spend Christmas at his estate so Edwina may choose one for a husband, she finds the idea romantic. She dreams of gazing into the eyes of one of her suitors and falling deep in love. But it soon becomes apparent the lords in question are far more interested in gaining her father’s estate than Edwina’s hand.

Thorstan’s in attendance but he hasn’t been invited and he’s no lord. A former mercenary, he’s come disguised as a fool to get near Edwina, long adored from afar.  Edwina quickly falls for his charm and quirky humor even though she fears her father will never approve of a commoner for her husband.  But when Edwina is abducted, only Thorstan—a skilled swordsman— has hope of rescuing her in time for the promised Christmas wedding.


Edwina quickened her steps, and the fool drew her arm more closely against his side.  Oh, highly improper, but at the moment she did not care.

A guard stood at the gate.  Edwina nodded to him, and they passed into the chill of the evening, and a wash of moonlight.

A stone wall lay to the left; Edwina urged her escort there and drew a deep draught of air.  “You are right, Lord Fool.  Much better.”

“’Lord Fool’?” he questioned, his mouth beside her ear.

“If you can call me ‘lady,’, I can call you ‘lord.’.”  She turned her head and found her face very near his.  Aye, most improper – but it was such a luxury to be with a man taller than she.

Too bad he was just a fool.

He leaned on the wall beside her.  “My fool’s wisdom tells me you are not enjoying this great pageant staged for your benefit.”

“That I am not.”

“Yet I hear there is much gaiety and frolic yet to come–a play, and even a masked dance.”

“Aye.  Perhaps you can attend as a fool.”

“Perhaps I will.  If I do, will you dance with me?”  He caught both her hands and, in true fool’s fashion, whirled her about in the cold air until her breath came fast and she laughed aloud.  Edwina could no longer hear the music from inside, but the fool hummed a tune in a deep, velvety voice.  The moonlight flickered around them, striping his face in brightness and then shadow until all she could see was the laughter in his eyes.  When they came to rest at last, she leaned against him.

“You should laugh more often,” he said.  “It makes you even more beautiful.”

Suddenly Edwina felt breathless from more than the whirling dance.

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Bloodstone is My Birthstone? By Barbara Edwards

March Birthstone, Bloodstone
March Birthstone, Bloodstone

I’m still surprised by what I learn daily. I was window shopping an estate jewelry sale when I noticed a bland, small ring. Debra, my favorite jeweler, held it up and the light picked out a red veining in a dark green stone. Bloodstone, she explained. The delicate filigree setting was 18 carat gold and on each side depicted a fleur-de-lis. I couldn’t resist. I slipped it on my pinkie finger and fell in love with it. She assured me it could be resized for another finger but I refused. It felt right. I even joked that it would help me to read my Tarot cards. The problem was this was two weeks before Christmas and we had already gotten presents. Sigh. Then she told me it was March’s birthstone, too. My birthday is March first and I wanted to cry. But….. we left.

Bloodstone is a dark green Chalcedony with splashes or occasional spots of red Jasper. Bloodstone is reputed to be a powerful healing crystal. It is sometimes referred to as ‘Heliotrope’ especially in old grimoires. Legend says the stone formed when the blood of Christ was spilled on the rocks below the cross, and the stone is blessed with healing power. Older legends link Bloodstone with the healing powers of the Sun God.

Bloodstone instills courage which lead to it being called ‘hero’s stone’ at times.

Roman soldiers believed Bloodstone could staunch the flow of blood and prevent wounds from becoming infected.  India uses it as an aphrodisiac. Bloodstone is said to be especially effective for lower back pain and blood disorders such as anemia, diabetes, high blood pressure or circulation problems. It is a useful crystal to use in any healing work, believed to increase the flow of blood to the tissues, boost the immune system and improve overall health.

Heliotrope, Herb
Heliotrope, Herb

Bloodstone is said to have a special affinity with the herb Heliotrope (‘turns with the sun’), and if the two are used together in spells or charm bags the herb is believed to amplify the stone’s power. According to old magical writings, a charm made with Bloodstone and Heliotrope will make the bearer invisible. Sleeping with Bloodstone and Heliotrope under your pillow is said to cause prophetic dreams. Maybe that’s why I felt a connection to Tarot cards.

On Christmas Eve, my husband gave me a small box and I ‘knew’ he’d gotten me the ring. Imagine my pleasure. I wear it more often than anything else I own. Do I believe it has special properties? I can’t say that I’ve noticed, but it does make me feel good.

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Ghostly bride haunts cemetery by Barbara Edwards

Colonial Cemetery

Haunted cemetery features ghost of bride should be the description of most creepy stories. I decided to be logical about the over-abundance of dead young brides if there is any kind of logic to deciphering deadly tales.

My opinion is that there aren’t more brides fluttering over gravestones than any other demographic.

So what causes the stories?

In times past burial was a simpler matter. Wash the body, cloth than wrap in a shroud or winding sheet, put in a wooden box (this is if there was someone to build it in the time left), dig a hole and insert remains. Cover with dirt.

Now comes the interesting part.

The body decomposed. TaDa- gas is released. At night this could appear to be a mist or cloud rising from the grave. Thus anyone passing the cemetery at night might be treated to a scary sight.

Imagination would provide the identity in a small town where everyone knows who was the most recent person to die.

Would you expect to see the actual person or a misty form floating near the grave?

My favorite local story is in a Harwinton Cemetery and she is called The Green Lady. The story says the Green lady was murdered by her husband on their wedding night. He threw her body into the swamp bordering the cemetery and claimed she ran off. This was in a time when the settlers were sparse, the graves few in number and the area not well-traveled.

Since then the area has been populated, the old cemetery expanded to hold hundreds of graves and a major highway passes close by. The swamp still exists due to inland-wetland preservation.

My two sons went there one dark night near Halloween to check her out. They parked the car and walked in, daring each other and talking the trash boys exchange when trying to scare each other.

I don’t know what they saw.

A green light floated over the swamp. Growing brighter, larger, it drifted toward them. They ran like rabbits and almost blew the tires speeding out of there.

They were laughing by the time they got home, but they did say ‘no’ when I wanted to go there, too.

Do you have a scary story?

Read my paranormal romances, Ancient Awakening and Ancient Blood for some frightening scenes.

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Is arguing about politics a waste of time? by Barbara Edwards

So maybe my title is a tad misleading. When I decided arguing about politics made me angry and didn’t affect the big picture, I decided to try “Another Adventure.” (I always use the reasoning that any new knowledge is ‘grist for the mill.”)

I leaped blindly into the political area. Well, maybe put in a toe in some very turbulent waters is a better description. I know who I’d like to have elected. So I volunteered to help.

Working as a volunteer for a politician is uncharted waters for me.  I’m a registered voter and I consistently vote in every election. I like to argue about political topics. I have a lot of opinions that disagree with a number of family and friends.  I once ran for local office and lost, sooo….

Why am I volunteering?

I hate the way the politics have taken over the news. Years ago the Presidential election started after the National Conventions. Voters had four to six weeks of bombardment and argument.  It got hot, but it was over and the new guy (or girl?) took over. Now the news builds hate and resentment against every candidate and I don’t like it.

I’m obsessive about following issues I regard as important. Did you notice I’m keeping this in a general context? I don’t want to get into an argument with you. I’m sharing how I feel and hope it chimes a chord with you.

I’m helping at a rally. Helpers do lots of stuff. Wear a hat with the candidate’s name. Cheer during the speech. Actually meet the candidate and find out if all those pretty words mean anything. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I’m too good a writer to be taken in by empty phrases.

My husband and I are debating a yard sign. He says no because the neighbors are the other party. I say yes because I care about who wins. I winced when I overheard someone say their grandchildren will not have the kind of life we enjoyed.

I believe in the United States of America, The Bill of Rights, The Constitution and the power of the people to control our nation’s future.

Are you doing anything positive?

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Funerals and Superstition by Barbara Edwards

The older I get the more I think about death. I read the obituaries with interest. Not to find names for my characters, but to see if anyone I know is listed. Did you ever hear the joke about knowing you’re not dead if you don’t see your name?

I’m not babbling. Making a joke is one way to deal with grief and stress. I don’t like funerals.

Old cemetery

They remind me too vividly of the loved ones I’ve lost. They happen all too frequently when you have a large family.

Funerals rites are based on superstitions. You wouldn’t know it to attend one of the hush-voiced solemn visiting hours the modern American thinks is normal. Sitting around the casket comes from the practice of attending the dead until they could be interred. The body was never left alone. What if the dead person wasn’t dead? Someone prayed and watched since being buried alive was a real fear in the days before adequate medical aid.

Did you ever notice the big double doors on many old houses? That was to carry out the coffin, throwing wide both doors. At no other time were they both opened because the departed spirit could return only through the way it left.

How about the mourners eating together after the burial? That was based on the belief every morsel eaten was taking away the departed’s sins. Some cultures paid poor people to come and eat at a banquet since the sin was absorbed by the consumer.

Book Cover
Paranormal romance by Barbara Edwards

Wailing and weeping loudly is to frighten away evil spirits that might trap the departed soul. The more primitive the culture, the louder the cries. In many Middle Eastern countries, they hire professional mourners to cry and weep.

How about that beautifully carved tombstone? It was heavy enough to hold a restless spirit in its grave.

I wonder how many superstitions I’ve forgotten? Do you know any?

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Memorial Day is for every soldier by Barbara Edwards

Minute Man National Park

Memorial Day is for every soldier in every conflict. I feel so strongly I am reblogging this post from my Memorial Day blog on Roses of Prose.

Memorial Day’s about more than parades, red poppies and barbeques.  Memorial Day honors sacrifice.

So visiting the Minute Man National Park in Lexington-Concord Massachusetts has special meaning.

The shot heard around the world happened in a tiny village where a handful of men gave to the 350 million Americans alive today their freedom. As I walked their path, my heart

Minute Man Statue, with my husband Bill

was in my throat. We don’t appreciate the struggle they endured. They lost their farms and businesses, their men died.

The area is charming with a few period houses still open. The park has two visitors’ centers and interpretive guides dressed in period attire. The path followed by those resolute men goes for

Interpretive guide

miles. I’m going back with my younger grandchildren. I want them to know where they got their freedom.

Would you be willing to sacrifice so much? I hope I would.

I came from a family that fought. My Father’s and Mother’s brothers (seven in total) all went overseas in World War Two. They marched through France and Italy, North Africa, Japan and the Pacific Islands. They serve on ships.  My Father built ships at the Brooklyn Navy Yards. My Aunt Edna was a riveter putting airplane wings together.

Barbara Edwards at monument

My daughter and her husband served in the United States Army. Two of my sons and a daughter-in-law served in the United States Navy. Just their service adds to more than 100 years. My grandson and granddaughter are in the Navy with number three in the early enlistment program for next September.

I am the grandchild of emigrants. My family appreciates the freedoms here. All four escaped the religious suppression, forced military service and virtual slavery of a serf type life. I love this country.

The shot heard around the world

My husband’s family has been here since the 1600s. One of his ancestors joined the Minutemen. A company of armed men journeyed overland from New Haven, Connecticut to Lexington in two days, an incredible feat.

My eyes fill with tears as I picture their hardships. It was all for my family and me.

Take the time to visit the park. Walk where they marched and died. Listen to the lectures and learn why you enjoy the freedom you do.

Salute the flag and stand during the National Anthem.

Put flowers on the grave of a soldier on Memorial Day.

Say “Thank You” to our military.

And register to vote. Use the greatest privilege they sacrificed for: Vote for a free and responsible government.

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The Statue of Liberty with Barbara Edwards

Everyone intends to visit the Statue of Liberty. Not only is it impressive and a huge part of our history, but it’s part of our American Dream. You know: Give us your tired, your hungry, your huddled masses yearning to be free. My grandparents followed that invitation and here I am.

The statue’s in a metropolitan New York a major population area, withing driving of three huge airports and a short hop by train.

Why did it take me so long? I hate to drive in the city. So I put it off until the day my husband said he’d bought tickets for a tour. Another of my least favorite ways to travel, but hey, we’re already going.

It turned out to be a lousy day weather-wise. Pouring rain and cold kept us under overhangs and huddled in our raincoats.

The first stop was Liberty Park in New Jersey. This was my first surprise. I didn’t have to contend with the city traffic and parking is a huge lot. We entered a converted rail station where the emigrants took to the rail to cross this country. Chicago, St Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans could all be reached by those with a ticket and a little name tag with a destination fastened to their coats.

The ferry took me to Ellis Island. The place is a huge echoing building with areas describing the medical quarantines, the long lines, the luggage or lack of, and pictures of the ships.

Can I share with you my heart wrenching moment? I stood in the emigrant center. A huge room where every person had to register at one of the desks. A clerk phonetically wrote the name  in a ledger and  made sure you had enough money to find shelter.

All four of my grandparents walked through that room. Crossed the marble floor. Found a home and a dream. I cried as I had my husband take my picture. Because of them, here I am.

We crossed the short channel to the Statue. As many of you know, repairs are underway. I didn’t need to climb to the top to be happy I’d come.

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The real reason for Thanksgiving

Everyone is writing about Thanksgiving, but what do we really know?

The Indians and the Pilgrims sharing a great feast to celebrate the harvest is the popular tale. There is evidence of a different story, a love story to be exact.

Several years before I wrote my first book, I visited Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. It’s a pretty place on the Connecticut-Massachusetts line.  They have an excellent collection of historical items.

In the museum was a display of letters written by the children and grandchildren of the original settlers. The Pilgrims didn’t leave many personal writing, probably since they had no spare time or energy for simple pleasures. Or maybe their letters were sent back to Europe.

I spent several hours reading the missives. They described incredible hardship and fortitude by a people who didn’t understand how terrible the conditions would be. Since the spelling, language and writing were all in a manner suited to that age, they were difficult to understand.

Then I found it. The truth about Thanksgiving and what they were celebrating.

Do you remember the story of Squanto teaching the Pilgrims to plant corn? Popular writing says he did it out of the goodness of his heart. Guess what? The truth is Squanto was a lovelorn suitor for the hand of a widowed Pilgrim lady.

Indian culture demanded he show his future in-laws that he could feed the family. Squanto was under the mistaken belief the Pilgrims were one family. Remember they called each other brother and sister?

So what did he do? He taught them how to provide for themselves.

The letters say he married his fair lady. Other letters mention several marriages. Many died that first winter and those left were starving. In those harsh, desperate times I bet those women thought themselves blessed.

The biggest quandary was what to call their children. Were they Indians? Or Pilgrims?  The solution seemed to be to call them what they desired.

As a love story, it can’t be beat.

Happy Thanksgiving.

And those letters were on loan and no longer on display.

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