“…December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy…” FDR In remembrance of the day, I’m presenting additional facts on Wednesday at the West Seattle Senior Center. Come and join me!

A BOOK INSPIRED THE JAPANESE WAR PLAN

Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto conceived the Pearl Harbor attack, and Captain Minoru Genda planned it. Two things inspired Yamamoto’s Pearl Harbor idea: a prophetic book and a historic attack. The Great Pacific War was written in 1925 by Hector Bywater, a British naval authority. It was a realistic account of a clash between the United States and Japan that began with the Japanese destruction of the U.S. fleet and proceeded to a Japanese attack on Guam and the Philippines. When Britain’s Royal Air Force successfully attacked the Italian fleet at Taranto on November 11, 1940, Yamamoto was convinced that Bywater’s fiction could become a reality.

The Navy was warned…In 1914 workers began building Pearl Harborʻs first dry dock. Hawaiians gave warning that they were building the dock over the shark guardians cave. The prediction of doom was ignored but shortly after the docks completion, it collapsed in a torrent of timber and water. The Navy built another dock but this time consulted a Hawaiian priest who offered chants and prayers to the shark gods. After completion workers pumped the water out of the new dry dock and it held. They discovered the body of a 14 ft shark lay in the bottom of the new dock.

PEARL HARBOR WAS ATTACKED TO PROTECT THE INVASION OF SOUTHERN RESOURCE AREA

Japanʻs naval forces depended on the United States to supply natural and industrial resources (namely, oil), without which its forces would be significantly impaired. This led Japan to target Southeast Asia, rich in minerals and oil. While they knew that such an invasion would lead to war against America, Japan decided to destroy America’s Pacific Fleet to prevent American interference in its plan to access countries’ resources in Southeast Asia, which Japan called “Southern Resource Area.”

Gas/oil needs fueled the attack. “Sapphire Promise,” the memoir I wrote of a dear friend’s life from 1939 – 45 in Java, Indonesia, details how the horrific attack impacted her coming of age an ocean away.

THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR LASTED FOR ABOUT TWO HOURS

Coming in from all directions, at 7:55 am on Sunday morning, the defenders had no idea which direction they should fire. Wave-after-wave, Japanese planes arrived targeting airstrips, ships, buildings, and storage areas.

Dive bombers, fighters, torpedo bombers, and high-level bombers blanketed the sky, dropping their deadly payloads across the island of Oahu. The two waves of aircraft enacted a heavy toll on their targets, namely battleship row.

THE SURPRISE ATTACK DID NOT DESTROY THE ENTIRE AMERICAN PACIFIC FLEET

In the surprise attack on ‘Battleship Row’ on December 7th, the Arizona and Oklahoma were damaged beyond repair by bombs or torpedo hits; most ships returned to service. Of the 2,026 American sailors and marines killed in the attack, 1,606 had been aboard these two ships.

Three more battleships (the California, West Virginia, and Nevada) sank upright in the shallow water of the harbor. They were salvaged, and while many vessels did not return to the battlefield for several years, most suffered repairable damage. The Battleship Missouri is now anchored there.

Though devastating as it was the US Navy only permanently lost 2 ships in the attack on Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona, and the USS Oklahoma. All the other damaged ships were refloated and repaired, many within 6 months. This is because the Japanese failed to bomb the nearby repair facilities and dry docks. They also failed to damage any of the aircraft carriers who were out of port during the raid. The Japanese mistakenly believed battleships would play the main roll in naval combat. It turned out that aircraft at sea would be the main weapon that would lead to the deadly demise of the Japanese Navy. Although the attack on Pearl Harbor took the island by surprise, eight Army Air Force pilots managed to get airborne. Six pilots received credit for shooting down at least one Japanese airplane during the attack

HOW MANY PEOPLE DIED IN PEARL HARBOR?

On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan attacked the military installations in and around Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, HI. The 2-hour attack killed 103 civilians and 2,335 military personnel, including 2,008 Navy seamen (1,177 from the blown up USS Arizona alone), 109 Marines, and 218 Army personnel. Japanese pilots and submariners damaged 19 ships and damaged or destroyed more than 300 aircraft. However, as devastating as the attack first appeared, only three ships—the USS Arizona (BB-39), Oklahoma (BB-37), and Utah (AG-16)—were complete losses. (There were 1178 wounded.)

Families served together on naval warships. Tje Battleship Arizona had 23 sets of brothers. There were from 37 different families in pairs or trios for a total of 77 men. Only 15 of them survived, which was devastating. This policy was changed due to the tragic events of this day, but many brothers still served together throughout the war nonetheless.

Over the next 4 years, the United States sent approximately 16.1 million men and women to fight a global war that consumed much of the European continent, deserts of North Africa, and the steamy jungles and barren volcanic islands and coral atolls scattered across the Pacific Ocean.

In July 1944, the battleship USS West Virginia (BB-48), the last of the Pearl Harbor attack’s most heavily damaged but repairable ships, returned to service. The “Wee-Vee” saw action off the coast of Leyte, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. On September 2, 1945, the West Virginia anchored in Tokyo Bay as the United States accepted Japan’s formal surrender, ending World War II. To honor the Pearl Harbor survivor, the U.S. Navy asked the West Virginia’s band to perform during the surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri.

WWII survivors are dying quickly—according to US Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, 167,284 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II were alive as of Sep 30, 2022.

San Antonio, TX is home to the youngest living World War II veteran. Like many Americans, Bob Kelso signed up to fight in World War Two in 1944. But – he was only 13 years old. He was sent into battle and wounded – one of the youngest Americans ever to receive the Purple Heart at 14 – when he played a role in liberating France. Born in 1930 he was sent home, but sighed up again and served 20 years in the Air Force and. He’s been a generous philanthropist.

My father fought in the Pacific. I wish I would’ve learned more about this horrific part of our history from him. Writing the memoir opened my eyes. I’ll never forget the date.

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing, Simply Stated By Sally! | Tagged , | 1 Comment

THE WRITE WORD WITH WAREEZE

Photo by Ma Bou00ee

Is This Scene Necessary or Page Filler?

Christmas Greetings,

Hello readers. Welcome to Soul Mate Publishing blog. I’m happy to connect with you again. I write historical romance mixed with suspense under the pen name Wareeze Woodson. I have seven novels available on Amazon. My first novel forward: Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman, An Enduring Love, A Lady’s Vanishing Choices, Captured by the Viscount, The Earl’s Scandalous Wager, After She Became a Lady, and my historical western romance, Bittersweep all listed on my website:www.wareezewoodson.com

In this busy holiday season, thank you for taking the time to read my post. I will share a favorite recipe at the end of my post. At the moment, I’d like to discuss what makes a scene and why write it in the first place.

Scene: what, where, when in time, and now, we shall discuss why. Each time a scene is started, the location, the time (night, day, early, late, etc.), the weather (cold, hot, winter, summer, spring, fall) raining or bright sun is also important to the reader. Where is extremely important. Now to the why—is this scene necessary to the story?

What is the problem that needs solving? When does this scene take place—present day, long ago as well as the time of day (morning, evening, middle of the day or night). Where does the scene happen? (country, city, town or rural setting—inside or outside). The weather is also necessary (rain, sunshine, fog, dim or hazy, the dark of night). What is the problem? I’ve posted a discussion of each item in earlier posts. BUT, each scene is the place to start over with the time, place, and weather.

Now, let’s consider the why of the scene. Why is the scene necessary to the story and not more page filler? The scene is written to let the reader know the where, what, when of the story line. The question becomes—does the scene move the story forward? Show strength or weakness of the characters? Answer questions that have been raised in the plot? If not, we don’t want more ho-hum page fillers to read. No, we want action and reactions. Readers want emotions and all the trimmings. So why write the scene at all?

In the scene below, the plot is revealed and some of the characteristics of the heroine is established. From my work in progress Vanessa.

After several minutes of brisk walking, a gust of wind brought the faint sound of male voices up ahead. Vanessa halted in mid-stride to listen. Apprehension gripped her and her heart beat a little faster. Were the crooks still around? Where was the guard? The rustling in the undergrowth added tension to her already stretched nerves.

Mrs. Latham nearly bumped into her. “What is wrong? What do you mean by stopping in front of me like that. I could have tripped and been hurt.”

“Do be quiet. I heard something.”

The other woman gasped. “What if it’s the thieves come to slay us after all?”

“Will you be silent?” Vanessa gripped her pistol tighter and slowly moved forward. She edged to the side of the road and peered through the trees viewing the area where the roadway swerved around the bend. The voices became louder. Partially hidden by the stand of birch and plane trees, Vanessa crept around the bend. She witnessed the guard with his hands raised in anger while he shouted at the other gentleman in front of him.

Since neither of the men were brandishing weapons, only loud voices in an argument, she determined the scene was safe enough and strode forward. As she moved closer, she inspected the other gentleman. He was slender and of average height with blond hair and an unremarkable countenance. His muddy green eyes were trained on her and were his most striking feature, yet ordinary but for the color.

“Seems we have company.” The stranger cast a disarming smile toward Vanessa and bowed. “Ladies.”

The guard shifted under Mrs. Latham’s scrutiny. “Glad to see you ladies ain’t hurt none.”

Mrs. Latham sniffed. “No thanks to you.” She glared at the stranger though narrowed lids. “Are you one of them, the murdering thieves?”

“No ma’am. You are quite safe now? When I arrived on the scene, the villain’s fled. I fired at the cowards, but I don’t think I did any damage.”

The guard glanced at Vanessa. “This here is one Mr. Bartholin Sedgewick. He’s heading to Riven. When he arrives, he can make arrangements to send a coach back for us.”

“I’d be honored to do so, but I’m not going all the way to Riven. I intend to cut through the woods to Hill House. From there I’ll send one of my carriages back for all of you.”

His carriages? Vanessa nearly fainted. Her pulse drummed in her ears, and she fisted her hands. Why was this—this person laying claim to Hill House and the carriages? The estate belonged to her. Hill House had been hers ever since the death of her father all those years ago. The hard metal in her hand reminded her she still held her pistol at her side.

The scene states the problem. (Vanessa is on her way home to Hill House when the carriage is attached my crooks.) Where (on a dirt road on her way home)in England has already been established. She is walking, the sun is out, the weather a little chilled. She discovers someone is claiming Hill House-her house. This scene was necessary to the story to reveal part of the ongoing plot and one characteristic of the heroine. She is brave and not prone to wait for someone else to rescue her. The scene moves the story forward.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief discussion about the necessity of a certain scene. Necessary or is it merely page filler. Thank you again for reading this post and have a very merry Christmas.

RECIPE: Christmas punch

1 large can apple juice

2 large bottle of sprite

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Serve hot. It is very tasty.

Respectfully,

Wareeze Woodson

Website: www.wareezewoodson.com

Face book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wareeze-woodson/52372775689755

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/wareeze

twitter: https://twitter.com/@wareeze

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Holiday Romcoms for the win!

With Thanksgiving behind us and December right around the corner, we are getting into the thick of the winter holidays here in the US.

Photo by Ma Bou00eete A Photos on Pexels.com

There is an aura of hope and joy around the holidays, when the world feels a little more magical and dreams can come true. Added to that the importance of friends and family and human connection, it is no wonder there is a boom of romance novels and movies with winter holiday themes. I love stories where love triumphs and hope wins, so I’m a total sucker for a good holiday romance. While I enjoy reading love stories all year round, this is the one time of year where I try to catch the latest movies too.

I have a Netflix subscription so that tends to influence the movies I actually see, but fortunately they have lots of good options. Last year I particularly enjoyed Love Hard and A Castle for Christmas–they were both cute and funny, though with very different themes. This year I’ve already enjoyed Christmas With You. Aimee Garcia is one of my favorite rising stars so I couldn’t miss it. I’ve also got my eye on Noel’s Diary, though it looks a little more serious in tone than a lot of holiday movies.

What about you? Do you enjoy holiday movies or stories? Are there any new ones coming out that you are excited about?


Jaycee Jarvis has been an avid romance reader since devouring all the Sweet Dreams books her middle school library had to offer. Also a fantasy fan from an early age, she often wished those wondrous stories had just a bit more kissing. Now she writes stories with a romantic heart set against a magical backdrop, creating the kind of book she most likes to read.

When not lost in worlds of her own creation, she resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children and a menagerie of pets.

Jaycee is a Golden Heart® finalist and author of the Hands of Destin series. The award winning first book in that series, Taxing Courtship, released in June 2018. The final book in that series, Crowning Courtship, came out in May 2021.

Learn more about her around the web:

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Daily Thanksgivings, by Viola Russell

(Viola is busy celebrating the holiday with family, and asked to have her special Thanksgiving message posted today)

On Thanksgiving:

It is important as Americans to celebrate this day as a reminder of our unique heritage and the intricate past we have woven. We are a country made of many peoples with intricate pasts. Every person’s hereditary contribution to the American landscape is unique and shaded with the colors of justice/injustice, freedom/slavery, sacrifice/privilege, and ethnic cultural/American identity. Sadly, Thanksgiving, however, is often fraught with political and even familial tensions.

We in the United States—and elsewhere on other important holidays—have to move past these tensions on events that should be celebratory. Our world has become too fraught with conflict over the most mundane matters. We don’t simply disagree with others over politics; we shoot them or invade their homes with hammers. We don’t simply follow the codes of our own religion; we insist others must follow them as well and enact laws to restrict the rights of others. We shoot gathered groups of people in public places who may not live a lifestyle we approve; we vilify people by race, religion, or ethnicity on social media. Sometimes, it is hard to remain thankful in a world with so much hate. Only today, a university I once attended had to close because of a threat.

Instead of ranting against others, we should count the blessings of our daily lives. We should remain grateful for our daily blessings and not concentrate on the hate we feel for others—if we feel hate. We need to push past the limits of our own gratitude. Most of us do not have perfect lives; however, they are far from imperfect, either. I am no saint. I have had my share of angry, self-righteous, and ungrateful thoughts; however, I have made a promise to myself that I will not dwell on negativity. My husband just celebrated a milestone birthday; we had a very wonderful gathering with a small group of friends. My school voted me Teacher of the Year; my sainted mother would have been so proud! We have not yet sold my rental house (St. Joseph, please come through), but we have the option to rent it if we don’t. We will celebrate Thanksgiving with family out of state this year, and our beloved New Orleans Saints won their last game.

In my writing, I write characters that rise above hatred, crippling challenges, and fear. We need to rise above that paralyzing ingratitude in our own lives as well and count our daily thanksgivings. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all –

Viola Russell

Posted in Viola's Variety | 3 Comments

Earth friendly gifts

It’s late November and everyone is frazzled and freaked by how close it is to Christmas. A month from now and before you know it you will be getting presents from the service station! I’ve tried to gift some earth friendly gifts over the years, and often they end up time saving as well.

Firstly, make yourself a list. You can often bulk purchase for sets of people and online ordering is a wonderful thing. Or you may get a surprise opportunity for an interesting present. For instance, you may be accosted in a shopping mall by a charming young fireman selling their calendars where they hold kittens and puppies. The poor dears couldn’t even afford shirts for the photos! (Full disclosure: I bought 4 that year).

Gift Certificates are always pretty good. Snap them up a few at a time when you are grocery shopping. I find general ones are much easier to spend – you don’t want to send people to a shop out in the middle of nowhere or they can’t find things they like. If all else fails, you can always buy groceries with a generic card.

Subscriptions are available for a lot of things now – magazines, survival supplies, book mystery boxes, makeup etc. You can now set up a subscription on Amazon for things, which I only found out the other day, as I promptly gifted myself a favourite face cream to arrive every two months!

Donations are also a great gift, particularly if you can’t think of something for them, or they are a bit of a minimalist who hates getting Christmas junk. These can vary from charities such as World Vision, wildlife carers and animal shelters. They often provide a nice card. Make sure you check out the charity online shops for other presents such as calendars (teachers like these), pins, clothes etc.

Things that reduce waste are also nice presents. These are things like a reusable coffee cup, cloth makeup wipes, reusable cloth menstrual pads (perhaps save this one for the close family), solid shampoo and conditioner bars, a box of hankies, or a selection of kitchen things like silicon freezer bags, beeswax wraps, silicon baking mats or storage containers. Or an e-reader for a bookworm – load it with all your books if you are an author – and if you know an author – buy all their books as a gift. (Not that I’m hinting at all!)

Or something to help get rid of waste. A compost system, a worm farm, or bokashi bucket for instance. Don’t forget the wrapping – bags that can be used again, brown paper wrapping that can recycle, or wrap in teatowels.

There are also a range of handy power saving devices. Solar power tech is getting better all the time, and there are many more things that are usb and/or solar charged. Torches, lanterns, blow up lights, small emergency radios and also solar phone chargers are all handy, particularly if you get power outages.

A personalised hamper is a minimalist present that is always appreciated. A small reusable container with some snacks they like, and then add in a few things they use – handcream, makeup, a special beer brew, a magazine, or some expensive pet treats they wouldn’t buy generally for their special furry friend. All consumed and little waste.

Or something that makes their life a bit greener. A nice indoor plant, a bee hotel, a few packets of seeds or bulbs, a microgreen grower or a small hydroponic light system. Or a trailer of manure!

Lastly, a gift of love – your time. An afternoon of gardening, a walk and a chat, a coffee. A plate of home baked biscuits or even a bag of groceries or a subscription for monthly toilet paper or something useful for someone you know is struggling a bit. This one gives not only to them, but makes you feel better too.

Anyway, hope this helps any frazzled present buyers. Any other ideas? Post them in the comments and spread the joy.

About Cindy

Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre author, with her SMP series Druid’s Portal a time travel action adventure romance set in Roman Britain. Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. The 30 Organizing Tips for Writers provides much needed help for authors trying to navigate social media and build an author platform. Doing NaNo this year? Check out her free book NaNoWriMo Ready. Or pick up a copy of the free Romance Short Stories.

Contact Cindy on

Website: https://www.cindytomamichel.com/  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CindyTomamichelAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CindyTomamichel

Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/cindytomamichel

Newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/AdventureNews

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/cindy-tomamichel

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Thanksgiving with Family and Friends by Susan Hanniford Crowley

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

My husband is descended from a Mayflower Pilgrim on one side of his family.

Some of you may not know the history of the Pilgrims of Plymouth, Massachusetts. For one thing, the Mayflower was supposed to land in Virginia where there was already an established English colony. Blown off course by storms, they ended up at Plymouth. The captain had tried to find a route south but found little inlets instead and winter was fast approaching, so he left them and took the Mayflower back to England. He didn’t want to be stuck there for the winter. So instead of being welcomed by English people and getting help building homes and obtaining food, the Mayflower’s passengers of men, women, and children were alone in the wilderness.

Half of them died because of the cold and illness. The rest survived because of the kindness of the Wampanoag people. They taught them how to hunt, fish, and plant crops. Their alliance with the Wampanoag tribe created a flourishing Plymouth. When they celebrated the harvest and thanked God, they share their feast with the Wampanoag.

What was on the table of the first Thanksgiving? People aren’t really sure. From the only two documents that survive from that time, we know they ate deer, wildfowl (ducks, geese, homing pigeons, etc., possibly not Turkey), cod, bass, and corn which they used for porridge and cornbread. This comes from the website https://food52.com/blog/20949-what-was-actually-served-at-the-first-thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in my family usually starts in the morning with watching the parades with the grandchildren, then watching children’s shows, while the chefs confer in the kitchen. We usually eat in the late afternoon. It’s a fact of house construction that you can see the tv in the living room from the dining room, so no one missed the football game.

Our Menu:
Roast Turkey with stuffing
An extra bowl of stuffing
Mashed or Baked Potatoes
Corn
Mixed Vegetables
Cranberry sauce
Pecan or Apple Pie for Dessert (I’m voting for the Pecan Pie!)

Wishing everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving, a great feast shared with family and friends! I am truly grateful.

Smiles,
Susan
Susan Hanniford Crowley

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Back to baking…

My former day job included teaching industry pros (chefs, bakers, caterers) how to bake with traditional French pastry doughs produced by LBA. I occasionally barter tune-up baking sessions for frozen dough. Saw the Star Wars shape and needed to try one.

I like the new (to me) shape and felt it held plenty of filling. I generally bake first then fill, or at least let the dough rise/proof before filling. Avoiding doughy, greasy, unbaked layers – under heavy filling – is my goal.

Sheets of brioche dough were part of the bartered samples, so savory roll ups scented the kitchen. I’m heading to Cancun next week, and froze a few to take on the nearly six hour plane flight. Ham and cheese with veggies are my favorite.

Future plans include drafting a book on techniques and tricks I learned when I met wonderful baking staff who wanted to utilize LBA dough. We’d share successes and learned from one another. LBA uses all butter and premium ingredients, so anytime I can score a few dough samples, I’m more than willing to crack out my rolling pin and teach a few tips.

Wonderful reading for a chilly evening. Happy trails, Sally
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Honoring Veterans with Lovely Digits’ John Brodie

By Jeanine Englert

In Lovely Digits, Constable John Brodie is a man somewhat broken by his past as a soldier and by the secrets of his family. As a former sailor, he has nightmares of former battles and blames himself for the loss of younger men and sailors under his care. Despite this fictional account as seen through hero John Brodie, there are many men and women who suffer with such similar losses or regrets related to their service of their country. The strength and persistence of these men and women amaze me, and I feel indebted beyond what I can express for their service.

I challenge you this coming Veteran’s Day in the United States (November 11th), to find a way to honor those who have died in service to their country and its people or to give back and acknowledge the service of those veterans around you. It can be a verbal or written thanks, a meal paid for without them knowing, a donation of time, goods, or money to a charity that supports current service members, veterans, and/or first responders, or just a prayer for their wellbeing and comfort.

Not sure where to start? One of my favorite nonprofits that support those who currently serve is Operation Gratitude at www.operationgratitude.org. I have been making paracord bracelets on my own and with students for years now, and I am always touched by the emails of thanks we receive by the men and women who serve when they receive their handmade bracelets and notes.

You can also reach out to a local veterans’ nonprofit in your area. The Veterans of Foreign Wars at www.vfw.org is a great place to start. Don’t ever think your giving of goods or donation of time is too small. It only takes a little to show you care a lot.

If you have other ways that you know of to show support, honor, or care for those who currently serve, veterans, and/or first responders, please drop a comment and share below. I would love for our reach of love, support, and gratitude to grow even further!

With many thanks and gratitude to all of those veterans who have served, especially my husband Brian, and those still serving,

 Jeanine

Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a VIVIAN® and Golden Heart® Finalist as well as a Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery.

Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers. Visit her website at www.jeaninewrites.com.

Social Media Links –

FB: http://www.facebook.com/JeanineWrites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeanineWrites

Website: https://www.jeaninewrites.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46222432-lovely-digits

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jeanine-englert?list=abouthttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46222432-lovely-digits

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Happy Halloween!

Today is Halloween here in the US which means it is time for costumes and candy and all things spooky. I really love Halloween because it is such a quirky community celebration, with everyone getting into it in their own way.

Trick-or-treating is a strange and wonderful tradition, and something that happens in one form or another across the whole country. When I was a kid, my family lived abroad for a year and it was really hard to explain this annual fall celebration to my school friends there–and of course we didn’t really experience Halloween that year, because unlike most holidays, it is a community event that can’t be done right with just one family. Dressing-up and asking strangers for candy doesn’t work very well if the strangers aren’t expecting you!

There are other ways that the larger community gets in on Halloween too, with local farms offering hay rides and corn mazes. My family tries to make it to the pumpkin patch every year to pick out carving pumpkins–one of my favorite traditions of the holiday!

Where I live now, Halloween is even more of a neighborhood event since we’ve turned it into a block party with hot cider and lots of socializing to go along with the usual trick-or-treating. It makes for a festive evening for everyone, and it wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of lots of families and friends.

What about you? Do you celebrate Halloween? What are your favorite spooky fall traditions? Do you have any other favorite holidays with distinctive ways to celebrate?


Jaycee Jarvis has been an avid romance reader since devouring all the Sweet Dreams books her middle school library had to offer. Also a fantasy fan from an early age, she often wished those wondrous stories had just a bit more kissing. Now she writes stories with a romantic heart set against a magical backdrop, creating the kind of book she most likes to read.

When not lost in worlds of her own creation, she resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children and a menagerie of pets.

Jaycee is a Golden Heart® finalist and author of the Hands of Destin series. The award winning first book in that series, Taxing Courtship, released in June 2018. The final book in that series, Crowning Courtship, came out in May 2021.

Learn more about her around the web:

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The Allure of Online

I dedicate several hours each morning to writing and editing. I have a daily log of word count and make sure to spend time every day (including weekends) doing something writing related. It fills my soul and keeps my mind from whirling in unhealthy directions. What’s more fun, finding inventive ways to torture my characters or obsess about a mistake I made ten years ago that I can’t change? Anyone? Bueller?

Recently, though, I discovered Reddit. Specifically, the AITA (Am I the A**h**e) and BORU (Best of Redditor Updates) forums. When I say it’s a rabbit hole, I mean it. The seductive lure of lives gone wrong and people reaching out for advice on an Internet forum is something I never thought I’d get sucked into, but here I am.

Honestly, some of those stories make me despair for humanity. Some tales are worse than others, of course, and some are funny, but the number of stories about toxic partners, toxic parents, narcissistic siblings and crazy neighbors initially made me want to dig a bunker in my back yard and hide away from all humanity.

It’s a microcosm of the world, I realize that. Most people are decent and want to do the right thing. Even those on these subforums sometimes realize their mistakes after being piled on by a bunch of Internet strangers. Sometimes they don’t. And those stories, while often entertaining, are also sad. These are people lives being dragged down by whatever situations they are writing in about and they can be so awful that all you can do is hope that the person survived.

I haven’t been one of those people who uses research as a way not to write. I make myself finish my targets for the day before doing whatever else is on my plate. But I admit the allure of reading “just one more story” is hard to resist. I have to limit myself so that rabbit hole doesn’t become a cavern.

One thing I do know – whatever is going on in my life, I won’t be turning to a Reddit forum to find out what to do. That stuff lives forever!

What about you? Any good tales?

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing | 4 Comments