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And So We Dream – my latest novel

Anne, Vita, Beth. They were hippie girls. Teenagers. Long flowing hair, embroidered peasant tops, long skirts, dangling earrings, bare feet. Pulled one way by the tradition of their small Mid-Western town, another by the promise of the wide world outside.

Twelve-year-old Joey Roland spends the summer with them while his parents “work things out.” He soon discovers that, like the home he left behind in Chicago, the small town of Greenberry is also filled with sadness – loss, betrayal, fears, and disappointment.

The difference is that the three sisters – especially the middle one who pursues the path of acting – teach him how to infuse ordinary life with magic, adventure, and joy.

The result is a summer of transformation, and, for Joey, new-found confidence in his dream path.

Springtime reading

Now that it’s officially spring, reading outdoors has even more appeal. Opening a new book amid the first flowers of spring or under blossoming trees speaks of new beginnings, a sense of well-being, and hope.

There’s the promise of longer days and milder weather, and hopefully, more free time to indulge in the discovery of new books.

And if it’s still too cold where you live to read outdoors, bring a bit of springtime inside with a few blossomy sprigs or some fresh-cut flowers to remind you of what’s up ahead.

All images are from my Pinterest boards.

And So We Dream

My new novel, And So We Dream, is now available for pre-order on Amazon, Kobo, and iTunes (and will be available on Barnes & Noble and Google Play in a few days,) with a release date of March 1st.

Back cover:

In this coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, a lonely boy finds acceptance when he spends the summer in a loving family with three beautiful daughters.

Twelve-year-old Joey Roland is sent away to family friends while his parents try to work things out. He’s eager to leave sadness and secrets behind in Chicago and head downstate to the small town of Greenberry, where the Vitale family awaits him. He thinks of their town as boyland—a world of bike riding, fishing, and going barefoot. Though initially shy of the teenaged daughters—Anne, Vita, and Beth—they welcome him into their lives of adventure, beauty, and dreams.

Joey especially bonds with the middle sister, Vita, and her all-or-nothing pursuit of an acting career. Joey’s “there must be more” merges with Vita’s “I must make it happen” resulting in a magical summer where the town of Greenberry becomes the crucible for two desperate dreamers.

Though the story is not autobiographical (alas), many of the details are rooted in my life. The fictional small town of Greenberry is based on my hometown of Carlinville, in south-central Illinois, and I was one of three teenaged sisters during the 1970s (along with two younger brothers). At the encouragement–and example–of our mother, we approached life as a wonderful adventure, with each day to be savored, and dreams to be taken seriously and actively pursued.

As with all my books, AND SO WE DREAM is very much about stepping into a world of beauty, wonder, longing, and, ultimately, transformation.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09SK36812

Valentine’s Day – Happy reading!

This Valentine’s Day, light a candle,

fix your favorite hot drink, snuggle into your reading chair,

and indulge in a good read.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

All images from my Pinterest boards.

Ahh – the bath

Relaxing, indulgent, soothing. In bathrooms simple and uncomplicated,

old-world ornate and Bohemian,

or vintage elegant,

the simple act of bathing can easily be transformed into a rich and tranquil experience.

A hot fragrant bath can relax the muscles, ease the day’s tensions, and bring about a sense of wellness.

By adding a few bath salts, lighting a candle (or using a nightlight), and using your favorite soap and bath towels,

the ordinary can become an indulgence.

There’s a certain pleasure to be found in a daytime bath, with sunlight filling the bathroom.

There’s another pleasure with a bath at end of day, in preparation for nighttime and sleep.

On these cold winter days and nights, enjoy the soothing experience of a hot, fragrant bath. It will both relax and recharge you, and increase your sense of well-being.

Home Arts in the Christmastime Series – Part 2

In the Christmastime series, the home arts were always made of materials that Lillian, her sister Annette, and Kate and her daughters had close at hand. Sometimes this meant stepping outside to collect greenery, pine cones, and red berries.

A stroll around the orchard, farm, nearby woods — or for Lillian, Central Park — provided a way for them to bring nature indoors and decorate their homes for the holidays with winter bouquets, garlands, and wreaths.

A way to add a splash of color or a bit of charm throughout the house,

or to bring woodland beauty to the mantelpiece.

Orange slices were dried and combined with spices to decorate the Christmas tree and windows.

And of course, the holiday table was made more festive and colorful with holly, cranberries, and pine added to traditional desserts.

The home arts were a simple, old-fashioned way to make the home cozy and welcoming. Then and now, bringing the outside indoors is always a good idea.

All images from my Pinterest boards.

Home Arts in the Christmastime Series – Part 1

Throughout the Christmastime series, the home arts enrichen the lives and homes of Lillian in Manhattan, her sister Annette on her orchard in upstate New York, and Kate and her daughters Ursula and Jessica on their farm in the Midwest.

Knitting, sewing, crocheting, and embroidering were activities for early winter evenings while they listened to the radio, or sat near a fireplace with a hot drink at hand.

The home arts were practical and serviceable, yet at the same time, they were creative endeavors that added beauty and charm —

whether quilts that were lovingly made from salvaged scraps of fabric,

cozy afghans that kept away the winter chill,

or crocheted-edged pillowcases and handmade sachets that made sleep sweeter.

The Christmas holidays were made more festive with red and green embroidery,

and decorations using oranges, pine, and cranberries added color and scent,

and were used to trim the Christmas tree.

The home arts added a sense of comfort and love throughout the year but were especially welcome at Christmastime.

All images are from my Pinterest boards.

Traveling by train

Lately, the only kind of traveler I’ve been is an armchair traveler.

Though it can’t compare to feet-on-the-ground traveling, it does have charms of its own. You can comfortably dream, make plans for numerous destinations,

and pack your mental bags of your favorite traveling clothes.

Considering possible European destinations, I thought perhaps traveling by train would be an interesting way to get from one country to another. So I’ve decided to add the rails to my travel list.

There’s something inherently romantic about train travel. It conjures up images from old movies and novels of old-world elegance, a slower time.

A time when journeying by train meant handsome dining cars,

snug berths,

and the romance of traveling by night.

Traveling by train allows for contemplation and enjoyment as the world passes by outside,

and long stretches offer the perfect opportunity for reading and writing —

before you sit up in your seat or hang your head out the window as you near your next destination.

Hopefully, 2022 is the year to get out there and start seeing the world again.

Until then, …

(All images are from my Pinterest boards.)

September–a time for reading

The transition from summer into fall brings with it a sense of quiet. A time for contemplation, a looking within.

Vacations are over and school has begun. The weather has shifted and the trees are beginning to be show the golden colors of fall.

It’s the perfect time to find a special place outside and indulge in reading a good book.

Before the temperatures drop, before the pace changes for the coming holidays, take time to catch up on your reading and enjoy the quiet mildness of September.

(All images from Pinterest)

Aquamarine

Bluegreen, aquamarine, summer’s color of sea and sky.

An expansive color of tranquility and well-being,

cool, calming, fresh, and uplifting.

Coastlines and seashells mix colors of sky and water

in subtle shades from blue to green,

the range itself full of movement and light.

In these last days of summer, I hope you can enjoy the beauty of aquamarine, at the beach or by brining it into your home.

All images from Pinterest