Wednesday, January 28, 2015

And This Mystery Photo Is...


On my last post, I finally found a mystery picture that was a real mystery to you all. A few of you came close but nobody figured out exactly what Sunday night's mystery picture actually was. You did make some great guesses however. 
The stumper mystery photo

Some of you were right there with my title last week saying "what in the world is that?" You were too stumped to come up with a guess. Then again, Mary said she didn't know what it was but thought it might be invading earth. So that would mean it was out of this world. Thank goodness, she wasn't right. :) 

The most popular guess was the sprouts on a potato or roots. Faye thought it might be deformed roots. A couple of you said starfruit. Then there were those of you a bit grossed out by the picture and remembering pictures of the inside of intestines. You can be assured I haven't been taking any pictures like that!

Then we had the creative guesses. Kate guessed a seashell with dingle berries. That was a fun guess. Annette saw an olive covered cheese ball but she admitted the olives were a bit weird. To stick with the cheese theme Patricia guessed cheese or potato through a grater. That showed she was really thinking. Donna guessed orange or grapefruit peel enlarged a lot, I suppose. A few of you thought of cow udders. My sister made an imaginative guess of dust on some sort of special dust rag. The most imaginative part of that guess is imagining I'd been dusting. LOL. 
The Rest of the Picture

Judith was partly right guessing pollen and Robin was nearest to being right by saying a flower with pollen. I suppose you could even say that was right although she didn't say which flower. I assured you that most of you had seen this before but you have probably never taken such an up close look at the bloom of a peace lily. 

Thanks to all of you who guessed and made the mystery picture last week fun. I have to admit I enjoyed stumping you because usually I can't. One more mystery picture to guess up top. This one probably won't be as difficult for you, but remember to guess first and then read the other guesses to make it more fun. 

I'll draw three winners on Sunday using a random number generator online. The winners get their choice of one of my books, (you can see more info about the titles on my website) plus a grab bag book. USA or Canada winners win a print book and if you're overseas, I'll send you an e-book. International postage is a killer. Remember you have to be over 18 to enter but that doesn't mean you can't get your kids to help you guess the mystery pictures. Please leave a way to contact you in case you're one of the winners. If you've already entered, a new guess on the new mystery photo gets you another entry in the drawing. 

Thanks again for dropping by and playing my mystery photo contest. And no, my sister doesn't get to win, just make guesses. She's already got all my books. :)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What in the World is That?

New Mystery Photo

Great Guesses

You all are the most fun! Love the guesses and I have to admit that I'm glad I did finally trick a few of you with my mystery picture. I still think it sort of looks like a fish head and NOBODY guessed anything near that. But somebody did guess a caterpillar under snow. That has to be the most creative guess so far although the yellow snow the result of a polar bear passing by was certainly very interesting!! Or at least, entertaining. 

We actually had snow Saturday here. I happened to be out of state visiting my daughter in a state to the south and missed it, but wow, the photos I saw on Facebook were gorgeous. Still, I didn't see any of polar bears in our area. LOL. Thank goodness!!

There were also guesses of Angel Food or lemon sponge cake and one of you simply guessed a lemon. I can see all those guesses. I liked the one where you suggested the pineapple was floating in a bowl of punch for a baby boy shower. A baby boy because of the blue, I'm sure. 

The Rest of the Picture

As you can see from the "rest of the picture" posted here, many of you were right when you guessed pineapple. That was a nice plate of fruit I got at Bistro Restaurant inside JosephBeth Bookstore last week. I had one of those doctor appointments where they order you to skip breakfast. So, I mostly went in to get a cup of tea for a bit of a caffeine fix at the Bistro, To my distress, they were out of black tea. So I settled for fruit. I need to carry tea bags in my purse the way my agent does. She orders a cup of hot water and then brings out a sleeve of tea bags. I would have been happy with one plain old Lipton bag. What some of you thought looked like "snow" in the picture is actually sugar I sprinkled on the fruit. A little sugar always makes things better. :) And a cup of black tea! Of course, just getting to go to the bookstore is a treat. 

On to the Next Challenge

So now on to the next challenge. Know what the picture up top is? If the first guesser gets this one, I may throw in the towel and give up on ever tricking you all!! My daughter and son-in-law kept suggesting I take a picture of this or that to make into a mystery photo while I was visiting them this weekend. I did not take this one in SC. That's the only hint I'm giving you. You don't need hints. You always guess right!

But right or wrong, a guess or even a "what in the world is that" gets you another entry into my drawing for one of my books and a grab bag book by a different author. Remember, if you are overseas, you can only win an e-book. You have to be 18 to enter. Feel free, however, to enlist the help of your kids in the guessing fun to figure out the photos. Please leave your e-mail or a way I can contact you just in case you are one of the three lucky winners.  

And thanks for guessing and joining in the fun. One more mystery picture on Wednesday and I'll draw for the winners on February 1st. Each guess on a different picture gets you an additional entry.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Another Mystery Picture to Guess

Here's the new mystery picture. We'll see if I can be a tad trickier this time than last time. I was trying to be tricky last time, but obviously I missed the mark on that. I had no idea that all of you were country girls like me who knew your wood.
Here is the picture nearly all of you figured out. And then the rest of the picture. I was imagining you seeing canyons and who knows what else. But most of you saw exactly what it was. A slice of tree trunk. Still, it's pretty neat, don't you think? I spotted it on my walk last week. A little bit of a tree sawed down and deserted. No fire made with it. 

When I was a kid, one of my chores was to carry in loads of wood and stack it on the back porch for the woodstove. Helped develop my muscles. Even after I married, we burned wood for heat until a few years ago when my husband developed allergies. Nothing like the warmth of wood heat. Sitting by a fire, reading a book, drinking a cup of tea. Simple pleasures.

I've got all of you who made a guess on the last picture entered in the giveaway for one of my books and another grab bag book. Remember, I'm picking three winners on February 1, 2015. You have to be 18 to enter and a USA or Canadian resident to win the paper books. But if you live in other countries and want to play the guessing game, I'll send you an e-book if you win. If you guessed on the last picture and then guess again on this new picture, you get another entry. Each guess on a new picture earns an entry for you.

So what do you think it is? I do hope I have a few of you at least momentarily puzzled with this one. LOL. We'll see. You all are hard to fool. Remember, it's more fun to guess first and then check out the other guesses. The most important thing to remember is that it's all for fun. Wrong guesses get an entry the same as right guesses. But you do need to leave a way to contact you. If you don't want to leave your e-mail here, you can send your guess via my e-mail, annhgabhart(at)yahoo(dot)com or leave a message on my Facebook page.

Okay. Time to guess!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Mystery Picture Contest to Win Some Books

Are you ready for a new mystery picture contest? Like to win a new book or two? Then you've come to the right place. Between now and the end of January, it's time to guess the pictures. 

So what do you think it is?

Make a guess and on February 1, I'll draw for three winners from those of you who comment on the mystery photos in the next couple of weeks. Remember, the guess doesn't have to be right. Just a guess. You do have to leave a way to contact you. You can leave your e-mail or message me on my Facebook page. You don't have to like my Facebook page to enter. That's just a way I might be able to contact you if you don't want to leave your e-mail here. If you have trouble leaving a comment here, you can always send your mystery photo guess via an e-mail at annhgabhart(at)yahoo(dot)com.

The prizes are books. Bet you were really surprised by that. :) But if you play the game, you might win your choice of one of my autographed books plus a grab bag book by a different Christian author. The contest is open to United States and Canada only for print books, but if you want to play and you live overseas, I'll send you an e-book copy of one of my books (your choice) if you are one of the lucky winners. You must be 18 to play and the winner will be chosen by random drawing after the Jan. 31 deadline. Each guess on a different mystery pictures in the next couple of weeks gets you another entry. Remember, it's more fun if you guess first and look at everybody else's guesses later. I'll let you know what this picture is on Wednesday and post a new picture. 

Last time we had fun with this. Some of you were great guessers and figured out the mystery pictures most of the time. Others of you were more like me when I see a mystery photo and made guesses a bit off the mark. That's okay. We're just playing and wrong guesses are as good as right guesses to get your name in my drawing hat.

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, here are some his inspiring quotes.
  • Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.  

  • The time is always right to do what is right.
  • Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
  • The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

As always, thanks for reading and I'll look forward to your guesses on the picture.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January - the Month of Dreary or the Month of Beginnings?

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary. (Edgar Allen Poe)

Can't you imagine Poe writing that on a January Monday midnight?Chilled to the bone and unhappy, but with pen in hand?

I hope you're not cold or unhappy. But let me ask you. Do you like winter? Do you like January? Or is it the month you want to slide on past and make way for February which can be pretty nasty on its own. But at least, February is shorter with Valentine's Day right in the middle to make for some fun times and a great excuse to eat chocolate and brighten our houses with red and white flowers. But January seems to go on and on. A full 31 days.  

Around here in Kentucky, January can be the month of dreary when the sun hides behind the clouds. When the announced wind chills make you shiver even while you're sitting by the fire. When snow can pile down, make travel impossible and cause you to fall prey to cabin fever. When the Christmas bills show up and the taxes loom. Are you depressed yet? Oh yeah, it's a good month for that too with its short days and frigid air that keeps a person inside even when the sun does pop out from behind those clouds. 

Nobody needs a smile so much as the one who has none to give. So get used to smiling heart-warming smiles, and you will spread sunshine in a sometimes dreary world. (Lawrence G. Lovasik)

You can find smiles in January. Snowflakes that cover the gray January ground and brighten the world. Sunshine sparkling on the snow and ice. Hot chocolate without guilt. Books to read by the fireplace or all snug in under a soft blanket. A perfect reading month. 

January is a time of new beginnings. A time to try over if we've messed up. A time to look toward the blessings waiting in the year ahead. A time to be thankful for the gift of another year. A time to smile even on the gray and dreary days. 

Winter is a season of recovery and preparation. (Paul Theroux)

We need winter. Well, perhaps I should say I need winter. You might want nothing at all to do with it and wish you lived in the Bahamas. But January can be a month for gathering thoughts, for thinking stories, for being ready because spring is on the way.
Seasons are necessary for me.

What do like best about January? Worst?

Thanks for reading. Come back Sunday. I'm going to have another of those "mystery pictures" games and give away some books. Are you ready?

Tweet: What do you like best about January? Worst?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Do You Need a Smile Today?

Did that make you smile? It does me. Smiles are what this post is about. Some of you may check out my Facebook page. If so, you know that I have some regular features on my page on different days. Sunday morning coming down. Tuesday mailbag. Shaker Wednesday. Throwback Thursday. And Friday is smiles day. All day. Some Fridays we have a brief interruption for some bit of special news, but I try to stick to smiles on Friday. 

So tonight, I wandered back through my Facebook Fridays and pulled out a few of my favorite smiles. If you follow my FB page, you may have already read them, but a good joke can make you smile even on the second or third telling. And it's good to smile and laugh. The Bible says so in Proverbs17:22a. "A merry heart does good, like medicine." (New King James Version)

So here we go. A few of my favorite smiles from Fridays past on Facebook.

 Story One:

A nursery school teacher was helping a boy get his shoes on at the end of the day. After quite a struggle with the boots, which were a little tight, she finally got them on. 
"They're on the wrong feet," the boy said. 
He was right, so with a sigh, she pulls them off and manages to get them back on the right feet. All is well until the boy looks up at her and says, "They're not my boots, Miss." The teacher does her best to stay calm as she kneels down again to pull the boots off again. "Why didn't you tell me?" she asks. The boy looks at the boots. "These aren't my boots. They're my brother's. Mom said for me to wear them." At this point the teacher can feel tears coming, but she pulls up her teacher fortitude and gets his feet shoved down into the tight boots one more time. Then she helps him into his coat and wraps his scarf round his neck before asking him where his gloves are. "Oh, Miss, I always put them in my boots so they won't get lost!"

Story Two:

   Little Jethro and his family were visiting the big city for the first time. In the lobby of the fancy hotel where they were staying, Jethro and his father stood marveling at the elevator with its blinking lights and shiny doors. After a couple of minutes, Jethro asked,       "Pa, what in tarnation is that thing?" 
   His pa replied, "I don't right know, son."
   Just then an old woman approached, pushed one of the buttons, and stepped carefully into the elevator. The doors slid shut and when they reopened a few moments later, out stepped a beautiful young blonde. "Boy," Pa said quietly. "Go and get your ma."

Story Three:

   A man finished reading the book Man of the House while riding the commuter train home from work. When he reached home, he stormed into the house where he pointed his finger in his wife's face and said, "From now on I want you to know that I am the man of this house, and my word is law! You are to prepare me a delicious meal tonight and when I'm finished eating my meal, I expect a sumptuous dessert afterward. Then you're going to draw my bath so I can relax. And when I'm finished with my bath, guess who's going to dress me and comb my hair?"    His wife thought a moment, then said, "The funeral director is my guess."

Story Four:
   A church was having a special program about marriage enrichment and an old farmer and his wife decided to go even though they'd been married for a long time. The old farmer was a little nervous about the whole thing, but he was determined to do his best. The guest speaker spoke directly to the husbands about how they should pay attention to their wives and thus know what they liked, such as their favorite flower. 
  The old farmer wanted to make sure he was right so he leaned over to whisper in his wife's ear. "It is Pillsbury, isn't it?"

So there are a few of my favorite stories over the years. Which of them made you smile?  Do you have a favorite funny story to share? Feel free to share the post with friends if the stories made you smile. 


Do you tweet on Twitter? You can click on the tweety bird to share the smiles.
Tweet: Any day is a good day to smile. Do jokes make you smile?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Scene from The Seeker

The Seeker, my Shaker book set during the first two years of the Civil War, is on special e-book sale this week for $1.99 or less on most e-book sites. It's fun having reduced price books to give readers a chance to try one of my stories. Of course, there is always the library too for those who prefer a physical, feel the pages type of book.

Which do you prefer? I like the paper book, but I've read some books on my Nook. It's not bad. Very convenient to carry several books with you. Even a hundred or more. Very easy to download books too. Maybe too easy. But at least that to be read shelf doesn't take up much room.  

So to celebrate the special sale, how about a scene from The Seeker tonight? I enjoyed getting to know my characters in this story. I liked Adam, the artist/illustrator. It was interesting finding out how reporters and illustrators followed the troops to record the battles in drawings. Photography was in its infant stage and while there are photos from the Civil War era, taking those pictures was not an easy process. It took a whole wagon load of equipment and the subjects of the photos had to sit perfectly still for fifteen or twenty minutes while their image was captured. And now we jerk out our phones and snap pictures right and left. Even videos that end up on the news or YouTube. I posted a video on Facebook today that had already been shared a zillion times, give or take a few. 

This is a scene from The Seeker after the first battle that Adam sees, the Battle of Bull Run where the Confederates won the day and the Union soldiers retreated in disarray.

   Long after Adam returned to his hotel room, the questions with no answers whirled in his head. He tried to push them aside so he could concentrate on getting his sketches ready before Sam Johnson's man knocked on his door at first light. He didn't have to have answers, only illustrations. But as he flipped through his sketches, the sounds of exploding shells and men dying echoed in his ears, and he wanted to rip the drawings into a thousand pieces. He shoved aside the scenes of death and pulled a writing tablet toward him.
Dear Charlotte,
     You won't mind if I don't call you Sister Charlotte, will you? Thinking of you as a Shaker sister will take some time. It appears that how that came to be will remain a puzzle at least for now. Tell me of your life there. It has to be very different from that of a Southern belle, but as I told you at Grayson, even then you were not like most young ladies I have had the pleasure of meeting in drawing rooms across the South.
   I realize you have probably not had time to receive my earlier letter, but this night as I sit in the capital city surrounded by a wounded army, I seem to need to put pen to paper again to you. To tell you of the first real battle of the war at a stream called Bull Run near the town of Manassas in Virginia. The Rebels won the day. It appears the Confederates aren't as ready to be beaten as the Union generals had hoped. I have a sketchbook full of the most horrible scenes of war. My pens seemed to be dripping blood on the paper. I will send you a couple of sketches, but you can see more in Harper's if the Shakers read such. And it sounded as if they might if they saw their stairways on those pages.
   Here in Washington, the generals will meet and the soldiers will be given new guns to replace those left behind on the field of battle. The armies will meet again and I must be there to draw more pictures. It is what I do.
   It is good you are in a place where peace can bloom undisturbed like roses in a garden. Tell me of your garden and I will let my hand trace the flowers you see and hope that once the battle smoke clears there will still be flowers to pick in our own personal gardens. 

Yours, Adam

   He folded a picture of the army lining up for battle and then one of the carriages of onlookers, wagons, and soldiers all vying for a place on the road north as they retreated. Last he picked up a small book where he sometimes jotted bits of scenes to keep the sights fresh in his mind. He drew the bench under the dogwood tree beside Grayson's veranda. The one where he was sitting when he first saw Charlotte. She would know. 

Thanks for reading and if you're interested in grabbing The Seeker, here are some links. 
Barnes & Noble
Always be sure to double check the price before you download to make sure the sale price is still in effect.