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April 28, 2016

@lsfabre A Trip Back in (#British) Time: #Oxford, #Egland #MFRWorg

In recent years, thanks to my husband’s job, I had several opportunities to visit England. While he attended meetings and slaved away on projects, I wandered about, sightseeing and eating. The first stop on one trip was Oxford, a great way to step back in time as well as indulge my huge fan-crush for all things Harry Potter.

Oxford began as a river crossing for oxen, and later, a military encampment. In 1066, Oxford Castle was built and included a monastic community with a chapel and living quarters. While the exact date for the founding of the educational institution is unknown, evidence indicates the religious order included teaching as early as 1096. Attendance exploded in 1167 when King Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. 

Currently, the University is composed of 38 different colleges, of which 35 offer undergraduate studies. While almost all colleges provide the same courses of study, they were founded at different times and tend to attract different types of students, and as such, have different “flavors.” One of the most notable is Christ Church, founded in 1524 by Cardinal Woolsey and re-founded and renamed by King Henry VIII after Woolsey’s fall from power.

I took both a walking tour of Oxford, which included a discussion of the University’s role in the country’s political and religious struggles. In 1555, for example, three Anglican bishops were tried and burned at the stake for heresy. A cross of cobblestones marks the spot now. Along the way, our guide pointed the oldest structure still in use in Oxford (on the left).

A tour of Christ Church College provided a chance to see the dining hall that inspired Hogwarts’ Great Hall. One notable difference was Harry Potter’s dining hall had four rows of tables, while the College dining hall has only three. We weren’t able to enter the hall until after lunch because it is still in use. Among the many notable graduates of Christ Church College is Charles Lutwidge Dodgeson—better known as Lewis Carroll. Our guide pointed out a number of objects (a small door in a wall, long-necked fire-dogs in the dining hall fireplace) that probably inspired subjects in the author’s fantastic tale.

My only regret was that I wasn't able to spend more time in Oxford. After his work was finished, we had to return to London, but that's another story....


Liese Sherwood-Fabre woking on a "Holmes Family Mystery" series, featuring the Great Detective at 13 and his family. You can read more about her works, check out some free materials, and sign up for her newsletter for a FREE short story by visiting her at www.liesesherwoodfabre.com 

April 20, 2016

I’ve Been Called to Serve #juryduty #RssosSisters #MFRWorg




The MOST DREADED letter EVER came in the mail last week—you know what I mean—Jury Duty.

Since I’ve turned eighteen, I’ve received a yearly summons to do my civic duty and serve on a jury. I didn’t serve for five of those years while attending college. But once I graduated, I served yearly until I married and had kids. With little ones at home, I found taking time was harder to do. Then the kiddoes hit high school and since, I’ve only been called a few times. *Crossing fingers* that will continue to be the case.

Honestly, I don’t mind serving. I find it interesting even if sitting around all day and nothing happens. I take a book and needlepoint. I make friends around me and if called to a panel, make friends there.

On the last panel I sat on, the defense attorney picked apart every single phrase of the charge and did so with every potential juror. This went on forever. I swear the judge napped. So when he got to me, he said, “And here’s the juror with my favorite last name.” Everyone turned around and looked. “Batman.” Being polite, I nodded. He began his shtick of dragging things on. I’d had enough especially in light of him focusing on my last name. I said, “If you do your job, and she does her job, I’m positive I can do my job.”


The attorney was shocked. The judge chuckled. The other potential jurors went, “Yea, what she said.” Obviously, they’d had enough too.

He continued on and on. Finally, we broke for lunch. Great relief.

After lunch, he started his spiel again. This time, another man commented about how the whole process was dragging on and several other jurors said again, “Yea, what he said.”

I think the attorney got the message. He sped his program up.

So after all the time waste, we were sent to the hallway to wait. Then names were called out, and the people picked for the jury were the ones I’d label milquetoast. Nice, plain, ordinary folks. Not troublemakers like me and the other guy and the engineer on the first row who could calculate the space between sprinkler heads. LOL

Have you ever served on a jury?

In Temporarily Employed, my romantic comedy mystery, Hattie has to go to court and fun stuff happens. Find TE at: Amazon

 

April 19, 2016

These are a few of my favorite things @sloanebcollins #PlottingPrincesses #Kittylove #Maine


In this everyday hectic, fast-paced, not-so-nice world, I  need to remind myself to stop and smell the roses.  Not always literally, although I did do it on the way out of work one late night last week.  But find something that gives me happiness and pleasure.  

For instance, every night when I am on the way home from work, I can’t wait to get to the house and open the door to find all four kitties waiting for me.  Of course, I recognize they want their dinner, but I like to think they want to see me, too. J

There’s nothing like kitty snuggles, no matter what time of day it is.  This past Sunday it rained all day long.  I’d planned to spend the day writing, and had just gotten things ready to go, sat down in my recliner, and Moms jumped up on my lap.  She pretty much stayed there all day, snuggled into the blanket.  So I decided to spend quality time with her since we don’t always get it.  Oliver even spent some time on my lap, laying next to his Mummy. 

Something else that just makes my day is when my husband texts me out of the blue.  He’s not a texter by nature, so when he does, I treasure them.  He’ll usually send pictures of the cats, but it still means the world to me.

I had lunch with a friend yesterday, the woman I worked for in Tampa.  She’s the loveliest woman, and we had a great time talking.  Connecting with friends from the past is fun, but it makes it even more special when we pick up right where we left off. 

I love photography, and taking nature photos.  So every vacation we go on, I’m always looking for
that perfect spot for the perfect photograph.  I usually end up with at least one favorite picture from each vacation.  Something to look at later and remind me of what a great trip it was.  And they’re all pretty much great trips, because my husband researches every vacation for months ahead of time, all so we can have the best trips.  One of my favorite days ever was our first trip to Maine.  We set out one morning in the fog to drive all the way to Lubec, the Easternmost town that is the first to see the sunrise.  The fog hung over us the entire day, but it was made the day even more unique.  We ended up at one of the lighthouses, and trekked down the rocky path to the beach – I swear it was like visiting a different planet.  The beach was all rocks, surrounded by more rocks, and while we could hear the waves lapping on the shoreline, we couldn’t see the water.  It was awesome!


Books are a huge part of my life, and I truly savor them.  Love to curl up with a good book, a cup of tea, and lose myself in whatever world the author has created. 

One of the best things, however, is when I have a great writing day, or even an hour.  The words are flowing, and I know just what needs to happen with the storyline and characters.  I really need another one of those…actually another ten of those so I can finish my current work in progress.


How about you?  What do you do to unwind and relax?  Anything unique or out of the norm?

April 5, 2016

Michelle Miles: Finding Inspiration in the Weirdest Places (With Parenthetical Thoughts)

This past weekend was a “stay at home and work around the house” weekend. The husband was in the yard most of Saturday and Sunday and I cleaned up around the house, did laundry, hung a ceiling fan (instead of baking a cake – I was super proud of NOT baking a cake even though I was dying for cake). While the Man was in and out and I was puttering around the house and also browsing Amazon Prime, I ran across this show called Just Add Magic.

Now, I will tell you I am definitely NOT the demographic target for this show. Nor do I have a pre-teen girl in the house. But the premise sounded cute and I ended up watching the first episode on my laptop.

Guess what? I got hooked.

Silly, right?

March 29, 2016

Under the Princess Crown: Zoe Forward & her new book Playing the Witch's Game #ParanormalRomance #newbook #MFRWorg

Zoe Forward is a hopeless romantic who can’t decide between paranormal and contemporary romance. So, she writes both. When she’s not typing at her laptop, she’s a small animal veterinarian caring for a wide range of furry creatures.


Speed Round:
Favorite movie: Toss up between: 12 Angry Men and Pirates of the Caribbean
Favorite book: I need a genre, please! I love so many.
Last book read: Adult book - Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti;  Kids book- Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick
Favorite color: green
Stilettos or flipflops: flipflops
Coffee or tea: coffee
Ebook or paperback: ebook
Pencil or pen: pen
Favorite song: Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede
Streak or not: not
Favorite dessert: anything chocolate
Champagne or gin: champagne
Paranormal or Historical: Paranormal
Ginger or Mary Ann: Mary Ann
Favorite TV show: Top Chef
Hot or cold: hot
POV: third person
I'd die if I don't have: my family

March 21, 2016

Under the Princess Crown: Jennie Marts & her new book Romancing the Ranger #ContemporaryRomance #newbook #MFRWorg

USA TODAY Best-selling author Jennie Marts writes for Entangled Publishing and is addicted to Diet Coke, adores Cheetos, and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes, or friends. Her books include the contemporary western romance Hearts of Montana series, the romantic comedy/cozy mysteries of The Page Turners series, the hunky hockey-playing men in the Bannister family in the Bannister Brothers Books, and the small town romantic comedies in the Cotton Creek Romances.  Visit her at www.jenniemarts.com and sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest news and releases.


Speed Round:
Favorite movie: My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Favorite book: Harry Potter
Last book read: Girl On A Train
Favorite color: pink
Stilettos or flipflops: flip-flops
Coffee or tea: coffee
Ebook or paperback: paperback

March 16, 2016

Revisiting a #classicbook - LITTLE WOMEN #MFRWorg #RssosSisters #amreading #familyvalues

I’ve belonged to a book club for eleven or twelve-ish years now. We read new and old tomes. So at a recent meeting, one friend suggested we read Little Women.

I’d read Little Women many, many years ago. I would have rather read Alice in Wonderland because a recent article came to me about how Alice is the book most people say they’ve read, but haven’t and I hadn't. The others were up for Little Women
Wikimedia

I had a hard time starting the book. The first thing I noticed is the writing is very different. The point of view changes constantly, even has a narrator. Pops in and out of internal point of view. Uses “commanded she,” “demanded she,” etc. instead of what has been drilled in my head-“she said,” “he asked.” There’s a whole lot of narration not attributed to a character.

Yet...