February 9, 2015

Cards From the Heart...

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. What girl doesn’t want an entire day to celebrate love? “Oh, love, sweet love.” I’m a sucker for love songs too.

When I was a kid in grade school, we each decorated a fancy box with white tissue paper and hearts cut from red construction paper. A hole was slit in top of the box. Our classmates dropped in Valentine cards with all sorts of silly sayings on them. 
Some even contained candy hearts with sentiments such as Be Mine. Love You. Kiss Me. 

After getting married, my husband showed up the first few years on the love holiday empty-handed. He quickly learned that a Valentine’s Day without a gift or card did not a happy wife make. Especially when my friends got together the day after to share what they received. 

He got the message. He didn’t always buy a card. But he got it about the candy. After we had three little girls there were always four boxes of candy. Years later, he added red roses to his gift giving. 

And then as the years went by, shopping became difficult for him.

I told him it wasn’t necessary to express his love through gifts and cards. We had our share.

However he somehow felt he was shorting me.

He became adept at finding other ways to surprise me.

One year he drew a huge heart on white paper, colored it with a red pencil and wrote, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear. I Love you.”

Other years I would buy one card to share. I’d sign it adding a special greeting and then he would do the same.

I have several sweet cards that he made on paper napkins. He’d draw hearts and write his love message. A few times he wrote I love you in short hand which he excelled at and had to translate for me. 

I have a stack of cards from him tied with a ribbon. They’re all I have now to cherish.

I miss him every day. But I realize he did all he came here to do. Husband, Father. Grandfather. Those were his coveted roles.

So ask me now how important it is to have a store bought card. And I’ll tell you money can’t buy a card from the heart.

January 27, 2015

Winter, Summer, and Elvis

The long cold days of January have sped past with amazing speed. We’ve had a mild winter so far. Overnight it is predicted that we will get 4 inches of snow. I’m sure more ice and cold temps will accompany the white stuff!

When my three girls were little the best time of day during winter was when they were all home from school and daddy would build a fire in the fireplace. I’d have a pot of vegetable soup or chili simmering on the stove. Oh how I miss those days.

I loved when the girls went sledding and came back inside for hot chocolate all red faced and sometimes sweaty in the layers of jackets and snow pants and scarves.

Why does time go by so fast, especially now? When I was a kid the long lazy days of summer seemed to stretch out before me like an endless blank canvas. I got to color in each day with dress up, creek wading, swinging, walking to the store on the corner. Any number of things that made me love my life. 
I got up early and couldn’t wait to get outside. I’d be outside all day. I’d be called in for dinner and go back out for another few hours. I slept like a baby in those days. I remember going to the movies every Saturday at the small town cinema to see John Wayne movies. I’d sit through those shows at least twice in a row. All on the same afternoon. We’d stay all afternoon and eat our weight in popcorn and candy.

I remember when Love Me Tender was showing at the theatre with my beloved Elvis Presley. It was so crowded I sat on the floor with a bunch of friends. All girls of course. I can’t remember seeing any guys in the theatre that day! On any other Saturday there would be a good number of boys, some from different schools, and we would sit behind them and giggle. Sometimes a piece of popcorn would somehow leave our hands and hit some cute guy in the back of his head. When he turned around and smiled we giggled more. They were teens and we were still in grade school which made it even more exciting. Sure we had on Evening In Paris perfume - eventually I graduated to Tigress - and Tangee lipstick -  a tube of clear lipstick that turned orange when applied.

Well, enough reminiscing. It’s been awhile since I’ve written here. I’m still getting settled in my new condo and learning my way around town. It feels good to be in a new writer's group and women's study group. I look forward to hearing from you. What are you into? Is the winter getting to you? Or is it warm where you live?

I’ll be back with news about my next novel Sweet Baby James. I’m working on  the story again. Be good to yourselves until next time!

Be well. Leave a comment. Stay safe. Here’s to spring!

December 13, 2014


My three books are free from December 12-16. Click the links below to check them out.
Hope your holidays are the very best ever.

I have my tree up and the wreaths on the door.  Let the holiday festivities begin!

I was pleased to see that VADA FAITH was one of the books featured in the Pixel of Ink newsletter. Thanks POI.

Hope you decide to invest in a book as a gift for that special one on your list. If not then read the kindle versions free for the next few days.

Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year. Here's to a great 2015.

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Enjoy the romance, suspense, and humor in this collection of short stories. In award winning “Mabel and the Garage Sale,” Mabel’s house rests in the path of a proposed highway. As Mabel sorts her things to move, she recalls the colorful characters who’ve passed through her life. 
The story, “Delphine and Rainelle,” poses the question, is a marriage worth saving at all costs?
In “Joy Ruth and Minnie Hendrix” the ladies find more than arrangements for a funeral over at Miller’s Funeral home. 
Newlyweds, “Wally and Bun,” are set for life as they fly off in a hot air balloon, leaving their friend, Murphy, to figure out where he stands with the girl he left behind many years ago.


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Love letters from a soldier during his tour in the Vietnam War.
Dedicated to Veterans of the Vietnam War.


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Lee Smith said of Vada Faith, “...the combination of the tight, funny, punchy writing and the serious theme (surrogacy) make this an unusual and memorable novel. The sisters’ relationship...is wonderful as ever, and Mama is simply a dream....great characters and great narrative energy.” Vada Faith is the story of a young wife and mother with issues. She decides by becoming the first surrogate mother in Shady Creek, West Virginia, she will get the recognition she has longed for. Instead, the fight is on! Vada Faith, her family, and the townspeople draw up sides, leaving Vada Faith's life full of hurt and even more discontent. Read this novel about family members learning to love better, to accept and to forgive each other.

November 19, 2014


My friend Liz Vollstadt is offering three copies of her middle-grade novel, PAIRS ON ICE, as a Goodreads “Giveaway.”  Just go to www.goodreads.com, and type PAIRS ON ICE in the search box. When the book comes up, scroll down to “Get this book for free” and click to enter. 

To find more Giveaways–and there are lots of them––you can click on the arrow next to Explore on the Home page, and then select Giveaways in the drop-down menu.  You just might win a book!  You can also find PAIRS this way by clicking through and choosing one of the following tags: children, middle-grade, coming-of-age, or friends 

As an added note, Liz’s book just won a Royal Palm Literary Award from the Florida Writers Association.  PAIRS ON ICE placed second in  the the middle-grade category. Congratutions, Liz


Book Description

Competition is getting tougher for Jamie Bartlett, 12, as she advances in figure skating. She won a bronze medal at the Novice National Championships, but it wasn’t gold, and others are pulling ahead. Will her Olympic dream fade away?
Her coach suggests a new path, skating pairs with Matt O’Connor, who’s looking for a new partner. With pairs lifts and fewer triple jumps, Jamie would have a better chance of making it to the top. There’s just one problem: Jamie and Matt have already met–and clashed–on the ice. They join forces anyway and their skating is smooth and polished. But their constant battles keep them from becoming a winning team.
Adding to Jamie’s problems, her divorced father tells her he is getting married again. A new stepmother and brother are just what she doesn’t need, especially since she still hasn’t sorted out her up-and-down relationship with her mother. Will her life ever be smooth skating again?

“Everything in Jamie’s life comes to a head the night before sectionals, and she will be forced to grow up or quit skating. . . . This is a book that tweens will really enjoy especially those that are interested in ice skating and just discovering boys."


September 30, 2014

September Wrap-Up

It's hard to believe today is Sept. 30th. It's been a whirlwind month with me buying a condo and planning a move back to the city. My house sold without me even advertising or putting a sign out front. How much of this experience was fate and how much divine intervention? I'm not sure. But it feels so right. Not only that, the entire endeaor has taken not quite a month.
A friend told me when I make decisions I should ask myself if the decision felt light or heavy. From the very beginning thinking about buying a condo and moving closer to town just felt right. The house and two acres here in the country has been a huge responsibility this summer with grass growing at breakneck speed. Thankfully my daughter Susan and her family have pitched in and cut grass and weeded. Whew. I not only do not like to cut grass but this summer I was unable to cut it. It kept them busy cutting their five acres and my two. Now, problem solved.
I move October 13th. I'm excited and scared. Excited because I'll be so much closer to - well - everything. Shopping, restaurants, my doctors, my church. Old friends. A new writing group.
I've sorted and cleaned files and put my writing world in order. When I do get settled I hope to FINALLY finish the project I've been working on for way too long. MISSING: SWEET BABY JAMES. Then I have at least three novels to finish before I start on anything new. After James is finished I may write some short stories. I miss writing them. Not only are they fun to write but much quicker to finish than a novel. Which with me seems to take a lifetime.
I'm loving the fall weather. The leaves here have changed drastically in the last week. It seems the peak will be here sooner than we expected. I love this time of year when everything feels fresh and new.
How's the weather in your neck of the woods? Here, it's been lovely. A bit of rain today but not enough to spoil the beauty of a fall day in Ohio.
Have a great week. Let me know what's going on with you and yours. Blessings and hugs.

August 20, 2014

Rebate, Summer, Books & Moving

Finally, the Verizon rebate arrived in the form of a $50 Visa card, much appreciated by me.
As I wrote in my last post I'd been battling to get this rebate for several weeks, sending in a variety of requested forms with receipt and all being the wrong ones.
The last ones I sent were simply a repeat of the ones before and VOILA. They were the exact ones they wanted.
Enough said.
I'm going back to my life now that that issue has been put to rest.
Speaking of going back to my life, it appears a move for me may be on the horizon.
This summer has been an uphill battle to get the lawn work done. Services in this area have not returned my calls. I've been depending on family to cut my two acres all summer and battle the weeds that grow in abundance here in the country. It's been an uphill struggle for all of us. I'm throwing in the towel. I simply can't do it anymore. Mostly I worry and someone else does the actual work! And I don't much like either.
Tomorrow I'm going to look at a condo back in the city. And though I'll be sad to see this phase of my life over, I'm excited to begin life anew where I'll have sidewalks and trails to walk,  a shopping center that isn't miles and miles of driving through the country to get to and so many other amenities I can't begin to name them. Last but not least will be moving back near old friends and a community I know so well.
That's it for now. I'm sad to see the end of summer looming so fast and hard. The weather here has been the best ever. Cool mornings and evenings with sunny afternoons with lovely blue skies.
I have a book signing coming up at Tamarack Aug. 29, I actually worked on a few chapters of Sweet Baby James and can see myself completing it before the year's end when I can get settled somewhere and have the time to concentrate.
Happy end of August to you. What are you into? I've read some stories by fellow bloggers Teresa Coltrain who wrote GRIM TALES OF THE RURALHOOD, loved it, and am reading a novel titled HOT FLASHES AND COLD LEMONADE by Susan Flett Swiderski. I'm loving the book.
Have a great day all. Hope to hear from you. Hugs!

Both available on Amazon!

August 3, 2014


I have spent much time since the beginning of July trying to get through the process of getting a rebate from Verizon, you know, the company that sells communication supplies and services. Mostly they sell supplies for which they offer very little service. And the service is sketchy at best.
I guess I sound miffed. Ummm, yep, I am.
First, I called Verizon about my slow wifi service. We live in the country and don't get great reception. I've limped along with the box (modem)  I had for a couple of years.
When I called the first time, the tech told me I needed a new box and an upgrade and to agree to a new two year contract. Okay. Yep I was in. For just $30 she would ship a new box that would provide me with faster service.
I got the upgraded box in two days and was singing the praises of Mr. Verizon. Yay. I was going to be up and going and could google everything and anything I wanted. I could shop, ebay, go to Snopes to my heart's content, facebook, twitter, pinterest, you name it I was gonna be able to do it ALL. Not!
The new jetpack wouldn't let me get online - when it did - it knocked me off instantly.
I called Verizon and the tech said, "Why, guess what? --- you have the wrong jetpack. I checked the service in your area, and it's very slow. It's goes from a 2 to a 3 then to 4 and back to 3. Whatever that meant. The jetpack, I had, had to have a higher number signal.
I needed to return the jetpack to the closest Verizon store and to ask for a specific jetpack, which I was given the stock number for. My LONG journey through the maze called verizon "the communication company" began. The communications part slays me. Like I said, the supplies are great. it's the service that is lacking.
I went to the store, stood in line, and was finally called to the holy shrine, otherwise known as the computer/desk where they plugged in my info. Yep, wrong jetpack! After several trips back to the stock room, the salesman came out with the wonderful new jetpack which was going to put an end to my misery. If only!
I had also brought in the new jetpack that didn't work in my area and that I'd had for two days. I had to pay a $35 restocking fee for an item that cost me $30. (I'm sure Verizon would say it cost them hundreds of dollars!) Still haven't figured that one out. Restocking free indeed, for sending me the wrong item in the first place. Anyway, the new jetpack ended up costing $99.99 + restocking fee of $35. Total cost to me $143.04. Oh, but the salesman said you'll get a $50.00 rebate when you send in your receipt. Oh goody, I said and headed home with my new jetpack and receipt, sure that the quality of my life would improve by 100%.
NOT. The jetpack worked well. I was never pushed offline and the service was faster. 
Then I started the rebate process. I had only a store receipt which did not contain any info about a rebate. I called the store. Oh, an oversight on the salesman's part. If I wanted to trek back the 20 miles they'd give me what I needed or I could "simply" go into my verizon account and in my documents and receipts file print off the necessary paperwork and get the rebate form online. According to the rebate form, I needed a copy of my customer agreement with Verizon and a receipt titled "the Verizon wireless small business receipt. Along with the store receipt. WHICH should all be in my documents and receipts folder. None of which were in the folder.
I managed to get online and get the rebate form. I sent that in with my receipt and a similar receipt form from my documents folder.
Nope they said. Not the right documents. I was told that in an email, also telling me to go back online and into the documents folder where I'd find the necessary paperwork. WHICH GUESS WHAT??? IS STILL not there!!!
So I'm waiting on an email reply - in the meantime I made approx one dozen phone calls to Verizon where one rep said he had made a complaint in my name expressing all the trouble I'd had trying to get a simple rebate. DO I love Verizon. Nope. Their personal communications with the customer is a HOOT. And that's all I have to say about that.
Barbara A. Whittington