Happy New Year From Sanctuary Point on the Great South Bay

The characters from my work in progress, Burning Heart, wish you a humdinger of a New Year.

Erica Brogna, always a bit fashion forward in her pants outfits, but shy about it, is calling you to say say, “By golly, have a healthy, happy.” 

Lorne Kincade: jumps off his motorcycle and gives you a small salute and a big wink.

They’re still not welcome at the Sanctuary Point Yacht club. You know, that little thing about having accused Ranald MacTavish of murder. Ooops. So, Lorne will be taking Erica to a swanky place he heard of while doing carpentry work in Long Beach, NY.

Erica got out her sewing machine and whipped up this little number. Sewing is fun again, with fabric plentiful now that the war’s over (World War II that is-remember they’re back in 1946). 
And off they will go to celebrate New Year’s Eve at a cosy restaurant over looking the Atlantic Ocean. Lorne will don his WWII officer’s dress uniform for the evening.
From my pen to your home, have a wonderful New Year, a truly blessed 2010.

Last Minute Gifts – Run To The Book Store

If you’ve checked your list twice and still have a gift you didn’t get for Aunt Felice. Not only that, you just realized you left Uncle Tad off your list altogether. Run, don’t walk to your nearest Barnes & Noble or Borders.

Here are a few suggestions for the discerning Christian reader…

Fit to Tied by Robin Lee Hatcher. It’s 1916 and Idaho rancher Cleo Arlington knows everything about horses, but nothing about men. Enter: English aristocrat Sherwood Statham.

Celtic Knot by Tammy Doherty. A tale about learning to love and trust in the midst of lies, turbulance, counterfeiting and betrayal. Set in 1890 Colorado, this book is a compeling western romance.

Try Darkness by James Scott Bell. Former high power trial attorney Ty Buchanan is out of prison and trying to put that period of his life behind him. He’s living in a trailer on the grounds of a monestary. He’s easing back into professional life when his client is murdered…and he has to protect the woman’s little girl.

Deuces Wild: Beginner’s Luck by L. S. King. With gangsters on their tail a berieved cowboy and and cynical space pirate are forced to work together for their mutual survival. A full of explosions, spacey technology, and more.

Deadline by Randy Alcorn. After a tragic car accident involving suspicious circumstances, award winning journalist Jake Woods teams up with Detective Ollie Chandler to uncover the truth.

When A Female Writer Checks Out Men

Caught in the Act of Observing

At least once a month my husband and I take our 12 and 13-year old girls to the local skating rink. It’s a big place, housed in what was a WWII hangar on the old Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn — hence the name Aviator Sports and Recreation.

They have two rinks. One for ice hockey and one for figure skating. Between them is a concession they call the Aviator Cafe. It sells really good brick-oven pizza, pretty good sandwiches, soft drinks, coffee, and an assortment of health and power snacks. On the outskirts of a grouping of aluminum tables, and standing agains the walls are a variety of arcade type electronic games. Two swinging doors lead to a basketball court. Way at the other end of the facility a gymnastics class is being taught and they have an indoor rock-climbing set-up near that.

Aviator Cafe

My husband and I watched the girls on the ice for about an hour, then decided to thaw out over a cup of coffee. That night they had an ice hockey game going on in the other rink. So, the place was crawling with dads who had come to see their sons on the ice. Since I was ensconced on a seat next to my husband, I decided this was a good time to observe the physicality of how fathers relate to their sons. We have girls, and daddy relating to his “little women” is a completely different ball game.

I wanted to get a firm picture of the nitty-gritty of fathers and sons so I can reproduce it on paper. How do men smile at their sons, move their arms when they draw the boys into a bear hug? What is the precise physical movement?

I was furtive, not wanting to intrude on personal family moments. One man thrust his chest out and beamed at two other men as he bragged a bit on his son. I duly noted the chest thrust. I caught a man scolding his son, quickly took in as much of the scene as I could and averted my eyes, not wanting to embarass the boy.

I watched body language — the tilt of a head, a man’s girth shaking as he laughed, another’s hands on his hips, yet another’s proud smile directed at his son. My gaze traveled across the rest of the room, catching dads carrying trays laden with pizza and drinks to their sons waiting at tables re-lacing skates. All this fodder for my upcoming novels — which I’m hoping to sell gads of.

So my eyes were sweeping the scene on thier return recon mission, going back across the room, when a certain man caught me checking him out for the second time. He stared back, directly at me — hard. I scooted closer to my husband and wanted to shout out at hm, “Don’t worry about it. I’m a writer.”

Aviator Figure Skating Rink

Christmas In The American Colonies

I began researching Christmas in the colonies for the Social Studies portion of my daughters’ homeschooling lessons. It became such an interesting subject, I decided to use it as a blog article…

New England Colonies: Christmas celebration was banned from 1659 -1687 because it reminded Puritans of church traditions in England, where Christmas had fallen into drinking, gambling, and sometimes violence. By the French and Indian War, Christmas had made its way into some parts of the New England colonies, as both the French and British soldiers who remained and settled after the war tended to celebrated Christmas. During the American Revolution, middle and southern colony soldiers came to assist New England patriots in the war and these men observed Christmas. The New England colony most lenient toward Christmas was Connecticut. Thomas Hooker left Massachusetts in 1636 because the rules there were too strict and he began a new settlement in Connecticut with wider religious freedom. There are Connecticut Christmas sermons and stories dating to 1774, and perhaps even before that (A Connecticut Christmas: Stories, Poems and Sermons, 1774-1918, by Ed Ifkov). In addition, some Dutch settled in Connecticut, but their big day of celebration was Epiphany (Three Kings Day). [As most of the Dutch settled in NY, see below]
Middle Colonies: Christmas celebration started on Christmas Eve and lasted 12 days until Epiphany (also called Three Kings Day). Food was very important, but it was a light meal on Christmas Eve and off to church, as this was mainly a religious holiday. Most folks were Anglicans or Roman Catholic and on Christmas morning, it was church again, then a big feast at home later. The Quakers did not celebrate Christmas, nor did the Baptists. The tradition of Christmas trees, then called Paradise trees, was brought to New Jersey by German soldiers fighting for the British (1775/76). The ornaments were handmade bits of colorful cloth or yarn, pinecones, and the like. Middle colony homes were decorated with bits of holly on mantles and in windows. The Dutch in New York celebrated Christmas, with their big celebration on Epiphany, when stockings were hung. On this day, Sinter Klaas came and left small gifts for children, such as a hair ribbon, a small flute, socks, nuts, or bits of chocolate. With the exception of the Dutch, Christmas giving was not aimed at children. It was a time for masters to give to servants, for employers to give to employees, for craftsmen to give to apprentices, and usually it was a small gift in coins. Christmas day meals included wild turkey, goose, deer meat, rabbit stew, fresh fish, a fruited Christmas loaf, spice cookies, apple cider, and beer. For the Dutch, Christmas day activities included ice-skating on frozen ponds and streams.
Southern Colonies: As in the middle colonies, the southern colonies started their celebration on Christmas Eve and it lasted 12 days through Epiphany. Most folks were Anglicans who had a light Christmas Eve meal and went to church. Christmas morning meant church services followed by an early feast at home on Christmas Day. In the evening, they went caroling and visiting. In the southern colonies, Christmas celebrations often included a public dance. Richer people had balls in their mansions during the 12 days of Christmas. Fox hunting would follow during the remaining 12 days. Homes were decorated with bits of holly on mantles and in windows. As in the middle colonies, Christmas was not a children’s holiday, but a time of giving by the richer to the poorer. The gift, often a few coins. Typical Christmas day meals included wild turkey, beef, goose, deer meat, rabbit stew, fresh fish, apple dumplings, gingerbread cookies, wine, and spirits.