Wednesday, July 1, 2015

In the Good Ol' Summertime



Tomatoes and Butterflies

Only a few more days to enter my Celebration Giveaway for my new book, The Innocent. Entries have to be in by midnight EST Saturday night, July 3, 2015. For more details, check it out on my website. I invited those who entered to share a summer story or something they especially love about summer and I've gotten some great stories and favorite things. I shared some of those favorite things on my Mailbag Tuesday feature on my Facebook page. One thing most of us could agree on was how we love those tomatoes from the garden in the summertime. And I might add seeing butterflies when I go walking in the fields. I'm always wishing I could see more. 

Some of you shared how summer was for you when you were a kid and I'm going to share Sandi's tonight. Sandi has a way with words. She'll have you running along with her in her summer fun and I would guess that many of you might have known similar summer  memories from when you were kids. I know I did.

Summer Memories from Sandi


We were a poor family...but only in terms of money. I was number six out of eight children. Our house was small and in the summer, my mom would, often, open the door and yell..."scat." She didn’t have to tell us twice because she had quite a list of things we could do inside–like dusting or washing dishes or cleaning under the beds–jobs no kid would want to do.


What we lacked in toys, we made up for in imagination. One year we had a zoo–with every bug we could catch lined up in jars for all of our paying customers to see...however, no one showed up in spite of our advertising. (Or perhaps it was because of our advertising). 

We younger kids were delighted when we’d find a dead bird or even a large bug because then we could get our older sister, who had plans to become a nun or a majorette, depending on the day, to come out and do a funeral service. She’d read scripture and we’d sing and wail a little if we felt a particular affection for the deceased. (The wailing was usually reserved for one of our many pets). 

We spent several days building a Ferris Wheel–needless to say, that went about as well as the bug zoo.


The grape arbor held endless possibilities and served as a grocery store (with cans we took out of the trash) or a fort that had to be defended against the Indians...or cowboys or just each other. We had an old shed on the property and one day one of the oldsters from the County Home (which was about a mile up the road) moved in. We didn’t notice until he had thrown nearly everything out onto the lawn and was sitting on a rock smoking a stogie (cigar). He was an interesting old guy and we learned several new words much to my mother’s chagrin and ours, if she heard us repeating them. 

My brothers had a basketball hoop (a bent hanger) attached to the shed and one day the ball landed on the roof–I watched as they climbed up to get it and both fell through at the same exact same moment. I can’t remember which was more exciting–watching them land or the chaos when my parents found out what had happened. They had plenty of kids, but only one shed.


The days seemed endless back then. My grandmother lived very close to us (on the same lot) and although we weren’t allowed to "pester" her, we’d go and sit on her porch with her, when invited and she was a wonderful source of love and entertainment. She had a very deep belly laugh and if she laughed, we laughed, so we’d go through all kinds of antics to make her giggle–which was fun all in itself.


We would catch lightning bugs at night and Dad would put up a tent and we’d declare that we were going to sleep in it–we’d make it about two hours before someone would bring up a story about a ghost or a mass murderer who had been seen lurking in our neighbor’s garden... Then, we’d all run screaming into the house and climb into our safe warm bed until the next time. Ghosts were one thing, but mass murderers were pretty scary.


We had none of the things kids have today. One bicycle was shared by all and I don’t think any of us had been to a real swimming pool until we were almost grown. The closest we got to water outside was if we turned on the hose and sprayed each other. We had a wagon and we’d take turns being the pusher or puller. Dad made us a seesaw/merry go round and it was great fun until someone would get in the way and...well, that’s another story.


I don’t ever remember being bored. When Mom would get out the Sear’s catalog and start thumbing through it for school clothes, I knew it was almost over. Oh well, there was always next year and time truly does fly...when you’re having fun.

More Stories to Come

Thanks for sharing your childhood summers with us, Sandi. I'll share some more of the stories in the weeks to come. 

Also watch for a big announcement Sunday. Of course, I am announcing the winners of my Shaker prizes in my Celebration Giveaway, but there will be another announcement as well about a little change going to happen here.

As always, thanks for reading. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Buzzing about a New Winner

Last week's Mystery Picture

And so we see the rest of the picture. Most of you guessed it right off the bat. Well, you guessed the bee anyway. A few of you didn't see the daisy but nearly all of you recognized that bee. Sometimes the mystery picture is hard and sometimes not. And the fun part is that different people see different things. It's good to work our imaginations a little. Well, it's especially good to keep mine working.  :) 

Bees

I liked seeing this bee on the daisy because that means they are some out there. Bees are vital to our food supply chain since they pollinate many of our plants' blossoms. But bees are having a hard time in areas, including ours. Several beekeepers have completely run out of honey locally. My husband likes his honey. He thinks it helps his allergies. I'm not a honey eater. Didn't like it even when I was a kid and my sweet tooth was at high alert. I guess it didn't taste enough like chocolate. However, I would beg Tums from my aunt at times to feed my sugar addiction. I never went for that chocolate appearing Ex-Lax though. LOL. 

But back to bees. We are not beekeepers here on the farm. My mother's father was. I should have worked that into the Rosey Corner books. Mom said she sometimes watched her dad gather the honey and that he didn't get stung. Or not that she could remember anyway.  

I can only remember getting stung by a honey bee once when I was a kid. But they were everywhere on the hollyhocks that grew all around our yard. We sometimes caught them in quart jars just for fun. Didn't take a lot to entertain us, I guess. We always let them go after they buzzed at us in the jars. 

I do wish I saw more of them buzzing the wild flowers now.Our world is an amazingly complex system of intertwining  creatures. "Then the Lord saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good." (Genesis 1:31)

On to the Winner!!!

Danie is the Wednesday blog winner. I'll get her choice of one of my books out to her as soon as I hear which one she wants. Sharon was my previous winner on last Sunday's blog and she sent me a message that I just looked for and didn't locate. I read it while I was away visiting my daughter this weekend, but unfortunately I don't remember, for sure, which book she wanted. I think it was Love Comes Home. But sometimes my thinker gets a little mixed up. Does that ever happen to any of you? I'll search again, Sharon, or contact you again.

Newsletter and Website Contest

I appreciate all of you playing my guessing games. You make blogging more fun. Now, if you haven't already entered, you can hop over to my website to see details about my Celebrate The Innocent Contest. Deadline to enter is midnight EST July 3rd. Shaker prizes! 

As always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

High Energy Days and One Last Mystery Photo Contest

Better Late than Never

At least that's what we tell ourselves when we show up late. I'm late with this post and you can maybe see the reason in this picture. The grandkids have been to visit and stay a few days. They can keep this grandmama hopping. They've gone home now, but they had lots of fun. 

Well, this front runner had fun until yesterday when she came down with some kind of bug. Sick, sick all day long. Couldn't even hold down ginger ale. Now I'm a little worried that her little bug may have hopped around to me. But so far I'm holding my tea down. She was a very brave kid. Suffering in silence mostly and handling being sick very well. But it did put a damper on her fun. Thank goodness we already had the promised fishing trip done the day before. And all the kids caught fish. She said she caught the most at seven and the boys caught five or six. I lost count, but I have the feeling she would have counted up more than the boys no matter. After all, she's their big sister and should catch the most. LOL. 

One More Blog Contest to Win a Book


So how about an easy mystery picture puzzle for the last blog contest? (Well, last right now. I'm sure I'll have more later.) Just leave a guess on what this is and you'll be entered in a drawing for your choice of one of my books. 

Remember the guess doesn't have to be right to get an entry. Any kind of comment will do, but it's fun to guess. And so can you tell me what this is?

Sunday's Winner

I guess it's time for me to tell you the winner from Sunday's "Tell me about your Dad" drawing. By the way, the Dad stories were fabulous. If you didn't read the comments on my Sunday post, then you should go back and read them. Those who shared about their dads really helped us get to know some great guys. Deadline for entries is 6 p.m. EST on Sunday June 28, 2015. You must be 18 to enter.

Oh yeah, you wanted to know the winner, didn't you? Drum roll please. And the winner of her choice of one of my books is Sharon M. I'll be in touch, Sharon. 

Thank you all for reading and for playing my flower (and Dad) games.




Sunday, June 21, 2015

Share Something Your Dad Liked to have a Chance to Win a Book


Everybody needs a dad. That somehow is not the same as a father. A father is something we all have. But somehow when you say Dad it changes that father into someone you can run to when you skin your knee or when you need your bike handlebars tightened or to give you a boost up into a tree. Or to take you on a ski lift when you're five. I don't really remember the ride, but I love the picture.

My dad was a farmer. He worked hard, growing crops and tending cattle. We had hogs, cows, sheep and chickens. Dad sold cream before I can remember and then later milk in metal milk cans. Mom traded eggs for groceries at the local country store. We made our own sausage and salted down our hams and cooked our lard. We had a freezer full of beef and a cellar full of potatoes and canned vegetables and fruits. 

I remember Dad on a tractor, feeding the cows or taking care of whatever needed doing at the time. He built a barn by himself. He repaired the roof when it leaked and sawed our wood for the stove. He liked to play cards and was serious about winning. He pitched horseshoes and was hard to beat. He played clay court croquet in a league. He went on a motorcycle to Oregon when he was twenty-one. He didn't marry until he was almost thirty. He was a good dad and I miss him.   

The Flower Mystery


None of you guessed that the flower last week was a wild rose. And I thought you'd all figure it out. But I'm glad a few of you threw your name in the hat for a book. The odds were really good for you, but of course, I still only drew out one number. Linda Mc, you were my lucky winner this post. I'll be in touch to find out what book you'd like to have.

New Game - Tell Me Something Your Dad Liked

Not really a game this time. But if you leave a comment and tell me something your dad liked then I'll throw your name in the hat for this post's contest. Deadline is Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST. And then I'll have one last blog book giveaway game posted Wednesday night. We'll have a new flower game of some kind maybe. Remember, you have to be 18 years old to play.

Contest to Celebrate The Innocent

I also sent out a newsletter with a contest to celebrate the release of my new Shaker book, The Innocent. If you'd like to throw your name in that hat, check out the Shaker prizes and how to enter at www.annhgabhart.com/events.html. But meanwhile back here at the farm, er blog, you can make a comment to have a chance to win your choice of one of my books. 

And as always, thanks for reading!



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Another Guessing Game, Another Book to Give Away



The Winner of the First Book is...

And my first blog book giveaway winner is Alla.  I'll be in touch via e-mail, Alla. 

Flower #2

You all were too good at the first game. You're either lucky guessers or you paid attention on my Facebook page. If that's it, you'd play a mean game of Concentration. Wasn't there a game like that on television where they had to match something on a big board? There used to be so many games on daytime television. Some of them are still around. Price is Right. Jeopardy. Wheel of Fortune. I used to like Password. I think that's the right name. More recently, that crazy game A Minute to Win It was sort of fun. I watched it some with Mom when I was staying with her. She liked it. Which old television game shows do you remember?


But back to my flower game. Yes, indeed, flower #2 was the new flower that bloomed too late to make my parade of yellow flowers on my Facebook page. It's a moss rose or at least, that's what I always called it. Those little flowers are so cute and tough too. They can take the heat.

And Now on to the Next Game

This post we're doing something a little different. It's still a yellow flower, but do you recognize which one? Any comment will get you an entry (even an "I don't know"), but the right answer gets you two chances to win. Remember to guess before you read the comments. One winner, named in the Sunday post, will win the choice of one of my books, autographed to the winner or to one of the winner's family or friends. So if you already have ALL my books (and I really thank you if you do!), keep in mind that books make great gifts for any occasion or a just for fun occasion. 

Newsletter Shaker Gift Giveaway

I'm sending out a newsletter in the next couple of days with a Shaker gift giveaway to celebrate The Innocent. So if you'd like to be on my newsletter list and you aren't already, be sure to sign up pronto. 

Thanks for reading 







Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Flower Guessing Game for a Chance to Win a Book

Flower 1
Flower 2                                                                                  Flower 3

The Innocent is Ready for Readers

The Innocent is going out to readers. The internet sites are shipping the paper copy of the book already. It's about three weeks before the official release date, but if the book is out there, that date doesn't mean much. I haven't seen it on a store shelf but where I live, don't many stores have bookshelves. Just our local WalMart Store, but they don't always carry my books. Local connections don't mean much in the corporate world. 


First Review Spotted

But I did just see the first review of The Innocent online and I was happy to see that the reviewer highlighted the spiritual thread in the story. Here's a bit of the review from Jeanette's Thoughts "Keep praying. When you feel like giving up...keep praying. When you are hopeless and scared...keep praying. This book had such a powerful message. Keep praying." 

Pray Anyway

My character, Carlyn, did find out that no matter the circumstances in her life, prayer could help. Perhaps I zeroed in on that theme in this book because I was writing it during those last hard months of caretaking for my mother who suffered from dementia before she passed away. Prayer got us through some tough days. Not only my prayers, but many of you and also my Facebook friends lifted Mom and me up in prayer then and also later when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now I have a niece going through cancer treatment and she has prayer warriors making her difficult path of treatments easier. Prayer is powerful.

So it was good seeing that the reviewer appreciated the prayers or need for prayers through my new Shaker story.

Yellow Flower Contest - Maybe Win a Book

I did finally figure out a contest to use my yellow flower pictures. For those of you who don't join the conversation on my Facebook Page, let me explain. For thirty days in May I spotted and posted a different yellow flower every day. Then the thirty-first day came and I hunted but couldn't find a new yellow flower. Since then a few more yellow flowers have popped up for me to spot. The game is to guess which photo of the three above is a new yellow flower that wasn't posted on my FB page. Flower 1, flower 2 or flower 3.

Every guess gets an entry, but if you guess the correct new flower (the one that wasn't posted on my FB page during the thirty day run), you'll get two entries. One winner, chosen by random drawing, will win his or her choice of one of my books. That includes the new one, The Innocent, if that's the one the winner wants. Your comments have to be on here by 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 17 when I'll draw and post the winner on my next blog post. Then I'll put up a new set of flower pictures to play again with the winner posted on the next Sunday. Two winners this week and two winners next. Open to all readers over eighteen. 

So I hope some of you will play my flower guessing game. Thanks for reading.



Thursday, June 11, 2015

What's in a name?

Maggie Monroe
Callie
Thank you, everyone, who suggested a name for the calico cat who is going to make an appearance in my third Hidden Springs mystery, my work in progress. I have so many great names now that I can name a few hundred cats, and I love them all.



I not only got name suggestions I got pictures to spur my imagination about what my fictional cat is going to look like and perhaps hints about her personality. 

But back to the names. Callie/Kali/Cally was by far the most popular suggestions followed by Patches. Some of you said that Callie was the only name. Others of you said name the cat anything but Callie. Some suggestions were for Calico something, like Calico Zoe, Calico Liz, Calico Jo or Kelly the Calico. I had actually considered Calico Jane. 

Hissy Fit
Kate Tippi Toes










Stormy


A few of the more interesting suggestions were Hissy Fit. That cat's picture is here and her owner says the Vet says of course her cat has attitude. It's a calico. Kate Tippi Toes might fit in that category too. She was named after Kate Hepburn who never lacked for attitude. We had Coquelicot (French for poppy); Miss Priss; Pumpkin; Izzi; Stinkerbelle, Rainbow; Calicat; Rags; Puzzle; Kitty Boo; Cosie; Cali Lily; Crazy Quilt; Blotchy; Butters; Sassy; Sunny; Calliope; Sparkle; Queenie; Butterscotch; Moon Doggie, and many more.

I liked J.C. for Just Cat, Heinz 57 for all the colors, Marmalade for the orange, Muslin and Cotton for Calico cloth, Maple, Pandora for all the colors let out of the box on the cat, Stormy because of the clouds of black perhaps, and Perfect because every cat thinks she's perfect. 

Stella
One of the cats pictured is Maggie Monroe. I think her beauty mark tells you how she got her name. Then there were the regular people names because cats know they are people just like you names like Stella, Lucy, Wilma, Angie and Martha. 






So many names and great looking calico cats that I may have to write a dozen stories starring calico cats. But whether I do that or not, I have enjoyed all the names and meeting some of your cats. Thanks so much for sharing their pictures and names. 
Zita

Meanwhile, my cat still goes unnamed. I'm juggling all the suggestions and wobbling first one way and another with a name. But I do have many great ideas now. I just need to show them all to my elderly character, Miss Fonda, who is actually going to be the one to pick a name. 

So what's in a name? Do you have a favorite among these names I've mentioned here? 


And I am going to get that flower contest organized and give away some books Sunday. At least that's my plan, but you know what they say about "best laid plans."