Monday, May 10, 2021

 Take a Peek at The Bride's Curse!

 Delighted to announce that The Bride's Curse, Number One in the Wedding Bliss Series, is now published by The Wild Rose Press and available for pre-order! 

What do a Wedding Planner, a Jilted Bride, a Missing Groom, and a Ghost With a Bad Conscience have in Common?

https://tinyurl.com/yg6cq8fp

Here's the Blurb:

Kelly Andrew's store, Wedding Bliss, is the one-stop for all a bride's needs. Abandoned by her own fiancé, she hopes to make it easier for brides by planning their ceremonies down to the last detail. But one little problem keeps her from being successful. Three brides have brought back the same vintage gown saying it was responsible for dashing their dreams.

Brett, the nephew of the original owner of the dress, needs to get the gown back. Impossible since Kelly sold the garment and claims the gown is cursed. Brett's confusion at her words deepens when he discovers she communes with ghosts. Yet, when a contrite spirit comes forward, with a message, Brett goes along on a wild-bridegroom chase. Passions flare as they work to break the wedding hex before another bride's dreams goes up in flames.  

But all's well that ends well - the fun is in getting there!

 


Thursday, May 6, 2021

 If a Kind Word Means So Much - Why Are We Afraid to Give One?


How do you react to being praised? How do you feel if you give a kind word or admiring comment to someone else?


An article in Psychology Today, reveals an interesting bit of research first published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. They suggest that we tend to underestimate how well another person will feel about a compliment, and we overestimate the cost to us of giving one. The result is that we hold back the kind word or bit of praise we thought of uttering.

Yet praise or a kind word can mean so much to all of us at one time or another.

That could be anything like a comment of how well they looked, how well they'd done a job, through to how pretty their shirt was or how much their hairstyle suited them. You know, everyday compliments that we all give or think of giving - sometimes.

Following up on this, participants in research by a group of scientists were asked to offer a 'sincere' compliment to a stranger. The participants were asked how they felt about
approaching someone and giving them a compliment, what their own mood was like, and how they thought the stranger they were speaking to would react.
The researchers then looked at the results: The compliment recipients reported for the most part that they were happy, flattered, and pleased to receive the compliment.
It was a two-way street - the compliment givers reported that their own mood improved after giving the compliment or kind word, even though they had underestimated how pleased the people on the receiving end would be.
See? It was a win-win situation. Those who gave the sincere kind words or compliments felt in a much better mood, and those who received the compliments reacted positively.
So next time, when an opportunity comes up to say something nice about one of our fellow humans, maybe we should take a chance and not hold back.


So, thank you for being smart enough to read my blog :-)


Monday, March 15, 2021

 Uhmmm-Yum!  Traditional Irish Soda Bread.     The perfect accompaniment to your St Patrick's Day Meal!

I lived an worked in Ireland for a few years and saw a great change in the Irish culinary attitude, due in main to the membership of the European Union. Travel on the continent, and the influx of people from many different countries, led to an explosion of different cultural gastronomic delights. Even the small town I lived and worked in had one of the best Indian restaurants I have ever had the pleasure of dining at - and there've been a few!
 But on food item that still holds sway in the country is the traditional brown soda bread. This is how I was taught to make it, and it's perfect for St. Patrick's Day, whether you're going the whole way and having an Irish stew, or just enjoying slathering a home made jam on the bread as a simple tea.

Irish Brown Soda Bread:
250g wholemeal flour (sometimes known as wholewheat or brown flour)
100g plain flour
50g porridge oats
1 level tsp alt
1 heaped tsp of bread soda  (I sometimes used baking soda as a substitute)
200 -250 ml buttermilk (you can add a teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to fresh milk if you don't have buttermilk!)


1) Preheat oven to 210C (approx 375 on most Canadian ovens)
2)Put wholemeal flour, oats, and sugar into a bowl, sieve in the white flour, salt & soda.
3) Mix well, using a wooden spoon or your hands.
4)Add buttermilk slowly and until a dough is formed. You may not use all the buttermilk.
5) You want a dough that is not very sticky and that you can form into a ball.
6) place on a floured surface and knead gently for a couple of minutes.
7)Form into a ball again, place on a greased, floured baking sheet, and press gently to flatten just a little into a round shape. 
8) brush lightly with milk, then with a sharp knife, cut the traditional cross deeply into the dough. Some people like to cut right through.
(9) Bake for about35 to 40 minutes. Enjoy the lovely scent of baking bread! 

Your soda bread is done when it looks risen and sounds a bit hollow when you tap the bottom.

Put on your table on a wooden bread board with a sharp knife. Cut slices as needed, slather them with butter for a stew or butter and jam for an afternoon treat! Enjoy!

And for a bit of Irish atmosphere, my Irish detective novel, Winters &Somers, is on a fantastic 99c sale at Smashwords from now until the 18th of March as a St Patrick's Day special. The Smashwords coupon code is MT29A and the link is https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/444879 if you want to take a peek!



Tuesday, February 23, 2021

 

The End of The Writing Dry Spell?

I have heard a number of writers say that the lockdowns, instead of giving a lovely spread of clear writing time, have actually been dry and uninspired. I’m one of them. I really thought that I’d write like the wind – I have so many books in various stages of unfinishedness (is that even a word?) So there certainly wasn’t a problem with finding something to work on.

But.It.Just.Wasn’t.Happening.

It’s cold and grey and snowing outside. Snow too deep to make trekking enjoyable. Even the chickens were staying on their perches and cuddling up to each other.

And I was home, cuddling up to a few good books – ok, many good books – when I should have been producing something myself.

Then, hallelujah – I got the final galleys for The Bride’s curse from my lovely editor at TWRP – the book is heading for publication and suddenly, writing became possible again. I sent off Dark Revenge, a romantic suspense, to the publisher in an act that felt like desk clearing.

And I sat down to write again.

What to choose from the list of ideas that seems to have grown longer and longer?


The answer is obvious, really. I wanted something fun, and it’s almost Sit. Patrick’s Day. Soooo, what could be better than the sequel to Winters & Somers, my Irish detective tale? In this latest adventure, Ciara Somers, the Dublin Based PI, and her lover, New York Homicide cop J.V.Winters, get involved with organised crime and stumble over some very disorganised crime, as well….with help (or hindrance) from two grannies, a couple of pot smoking friends, and a cynical Dublin cop. Did I mention the weird bed and breakfast lady?  And an assorted list of characters from the first book.

Oh, yes, this writing is going to be fun!

Here’s the link for Winter’s and Somers, the first book:

Tirgearr Publishing - Winters & Somers By Glenys O'Connell

or https://tinyurl.com/y8g2yhua for Amazon

 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

February - The Month We Have A Love/Hate                        Relationship with. 

"Every Day is a New Beginning - Smile, and Start Again!"


Ah, February - love it, hate it, look forward to it, dread it....so many feelings about this, the second month of the year. It trails along after January, which has usually pelted us with bad weather, with cold, snow, ice...depending, of course, on where you live.

February holds out the promise that Spring isn't far away. And then dumps a foot of snow on you, just to make the point. Pictures abound on calendars and magazines, tempting you to believe that any minute now, bright daffodils and sweet smelling lily of the valley are going to spring into being...and then reality dawns. Living here, in Ontario, these poor wee signs of spring would need a power hammer to beat their way out of the snow and ice that covers them.

But there are some special things about February. St Valentine's Day, the most romantic day of the year - well, maybe you have other choices, like New Years Eve or your birthday, whatever - just bear with me on this for a while.

One good thing about the month is that it's shorter than the others - because when the calendars were being put together, the creators used lunar months. They wanted to get an even number of days in the months, so it looks to me like poor old February was short changed amongst all the 30 and 32 day contenders. 

It's the only month on the calendar, though, that has the compensation of being able to add a day, once every four years. Interesting for most of us, but possibly a bit frustrating for folks born on - yes, you've guessed it - February the 29th. It could mean that you only get a birthday party once every four years. Alternatively, you don't age as fast as the rest of us. If you're a leap year baby, when your friends and relatives hit, let's say, 40, the leap year baby is only 10 years old....figuratively speaking.

February didn't exist in Ancient Roman times, when the calendar didn't have months and the time was just referred to as 'Winter'. Shiver, can you imagine having no time markers between months, just one long period of cold, dark winter making it hard to comprehend when will the summer come....

That all changed around 700 BCE, possibly because people needed the sense of hope that ticking off those much shorter calendar months gave them, rather than having just one long, long Winter month. It's a psychological thing :-) 

Here in Canada, February is claimed to have more sunshine than other winter months, and the sun shines on the snow and makes it look pretty. Oh, the deceptions of nature.

February is also Heart month, when we're bombarded with reasons why we need to get more exercise (really? In three feet of snow and windchill of -OMG?) and to eat healthy (sure, we can add chocolate and wine to our lettuce leaf salad, yes?)

It's also now Black History Month, from Feb 3 - Feb 20. An interesting addition but sounds like that's a bit short changed, calling it a month when there's only 16 days....but that's February for you.

And then there's Winterlude - a huge festival which takes place in our capital city, Ottawa, with skating on the Rideau Canal, ice sculpting, and lots of things happening all over that very beautiful city.

And don't forget the Hôtel de Glace in Quebec, where you can book rooms in a genuine ice palace, the only one known in North America. Dress warmly...

Meanwhile, my friends, 
I'll be cuddled up to a blazing woodstove with a good book and waiting Winter out.











Monday, January 25, 2021

             The Never Finished Book - My Dark Little Secret

 

They whispered to her: "You cannot withstand the storm."

She whispered back: "I am the storm."



I started a book - a romantic suspense-back in 2014.

Yes, you read that right. 2014. More than six years ago. And it’s languished on my computer, getting a quick titivation here and there, but never actually being finished. I have excuses—at least four of those years have been a nightmare for many reasons too depressing to note here. But I have finished other books that have been published, made headway on several others. But this book? I felt like calling it Dark Depression, rather than Dark Revenge.

One simple problem that I have never, in all my writing career and all my completed books, come across before.

I COULDN’T GET THE ENDING.

 Then, strange as it sounds, I woke up in the middle of the night a few nights ago, and I just KNEW what the ending should be, made some notes, and I’m about to sit down and get that in gear. It will require a fair bit of rearranging of events, but yes, it looks like Dark Revenge will be finished and available for sale sometime soon!

So, the moral of this story is never give up on an idea. You’ll never know how close I came to deleting all the files for this book because seeing them every time I started to work, seeing all those stunted, unfinished pages, was undermining my writing.

Now I feel like the elves in Snow White – hey-ho, hey-ho, it’s off to write I go!

You can visit some of my finished books at https://tinyurl.com/yyb5uz8r









Sunday, May 24, 2020



Come, Travel With Me.....To Capri:

We can go there in our imaginations, at least:
Funny thing about this self-isolation/lockdown/shutdown, whatever you want to call it – we find ourselves missing the little things – the monthly bookclub meeting, real coffee in a café, people watching at the park, browsing the stores, family get-togethers and visits, dinner out to celebrate a birthday or anniversary…things we might have taken for granted suddenly seem so desirable.

And intertwined with this is daydreaming about …’when this is all over’ travel. So many people have had to cancel travel plans this summer, sometimes for dream vacations. This trip to Capri was one of my dream trips, back in 2006. We usually have a couple of weekend in Niagra on the Lake each year, and hoped to repeat last year's trip to Newfoundland….and next year, maybe to revisit Europe. But right now England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy, Greece – they may as well be a million miles away rather than a plane ride or two.

To feed this longing for travel, I've been taking an armchair journey through some of the places we've visited and loved. Why not join me, take my hand and we’ll travel…for example, how about a trip to Capri?


 We set out from Napoli in the rain, with Vesuvius scowling over the docks...and the smell of sulphur with a yellow haze over the water.


But it seems in no time at all we were looking at this welcoming view of Capri...




The town itself is quite beautiful, full of history and flowers..and very steep. There is a funicular railway that gets you up the steep sides of the island. What is a funicular, you ask? Here is the Collins dictionary definition: A funicular or a funicular railway is a type of railway which goes up a very steep hill or mountain. A machine at the top of the slope pulls the carriage up the rails by a steel rope.  People like myself, who don't like heights, may be suspicious about that steel rope, but believe me, it's safe and well worth the trip to get the views from the perch at the top.




Speaking of steep, this photo doesn't really do justice to the views...











This pretty little garden was once the favorite relaxing place of one of the Roman emperors - Claudius, if memory serves me right. Just imagine, strolling in a garden where an emperor and his entourage once rested and played! Not that the emperors were very nice people, but still...


Have you ever seen water this beautiful color of aqua green? It's something to do wit the minerals in rocks, I believe.




Capri is an island, so boats of all variety are part of the lifestyle. 












 
 Look closely - you'll see the figure of a woman at the very top f this cliff. Sorry, but I can't remember who or what she was...I think something to do with keeping the sailors safe?

I was fascinated by these huge billionaire mansions on these daunting cliffs, retreats for their very wealthy and privacy loving owners. Apparently, attempts to visit are discouraged...:-)


 



As I said earlier, much of the life around Capri is oriented to the sea...these tall rocks have a romantic story...apparently, if you sail between them and kiss your companion, your love will last forever. Sorry, hon., looks like you're stuck with me...



And then, Goodbye to Capri and back to Naples & Vesuvius.


Another item ticked off the bucket list!