How Do You Connect?

My, how the world has changed! With today’s technologies, we can be connected with friends from all over the world practically in an instant. I remember my grandfather telling me many years ago that the world was changing so fast, he could barely keep up. And that was before the personal computer saw the light of day. But I understand how he felt, because some days I feel I can’t keep up either. Maybe I have an old soul.

A hundred years ago, pioneers could only connect with others by one type of social media. It was called getting together and talking, face to face. People worked hard in those days–not that I’m saying we work any less–but they made time to connect with their neighbors, family and friends. They didn’t Skype, or have Face Time. They couldn’t email, or even phone someone. They simply hitched a team of horses to a wagon or sleigh and traveled to a neighbor’s farm for a visit. They appreciated their friends and took time to nurture their relationships.

As well as visiting, they also organized group events to keep in touch. The box social was a major function held in the fall after the harvest was finished. It gathered friends and family from the four corners of the district together in one place, usually in the one-room schoolhouse. At the same time they raised money for the upcoming Christmas Concert.

A box social was a simple concept. The women packed a lunch, wrapped it in some creative manner, and secretly took it to the social. The men would bid on the boxed lunches, and the woman who prepared the lunch would share it with the winning gentleman. More often than not, a husband knew which lunch was his wife’s, but there was usually a prankster in the group who loved to mix things up. Sometimes the outcome was good, sometimes not.

In my recently re-released book, Stubborn Hearts, the young school teacher has packed a lovely lunch for the box social. She wonders who will be the winning bidder. Will he be the blue-eyed Norwegian she rather fancies, or perhaps a father of one of her students? Or will he be that interfering, insufferable blacksmith she so despises? And who is that man funding the most hapless bachelor in the district? But no matter who buys the teacher’s lunch, he’ll be treated to some interesting conversation and delicious food.

Maybe the pioneers had the best means of communication after all.

 

 

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A “Hearts Racing” Teaser

Hearts Racing 3I was away for an extended weekend retreat to work on my other creative passion, polymer clay. It was refreshing to take a break from writing, but I have to admit I missed my computer and the internet immensely. It was especially difficult because my second novel, Hearts Racing, was released on the first day of my retreat. So I’m back and ready to return to the work/fun of writing books.

Since my latest novel is brand new, I thought maybe I’d introduce you to it. Here’s the premise: Lexi Craig is sent to Travis Strong’s ranch to hide out until the police recapture an escaped convict who wants to kill her. This scene is very early in the story. Travis speaks to Lexi, while his housekeeper, Hilda, quietly listens to the conversation.

“Don’t tell Charley, but I thought I’d give her the filly for her birthday. She’s been pestering me for a horse for nearly a year.”
“Will she take riding lessons when the time comes?”
“What do you mean when? She’s been riding by herself since she was six.” Travis gave her a puzzled look as if to say every kid learned to ride at that age, and didn’t she know that. “What about you?” he asked. “Do you ride?”
“Oh, sure. Bikes, cars, buses, the subway. I’ve even been known to ride around on someone’s coattails. But a horse? There’s not much need for horseback riding in Edmonton, so I never learned.”
“Well, Miss City Slicker, no time like the present. As soon as we’re done with lunch, I’ll give you your first lesson.”
“Oh, no. You’re not getting me on a horse unless it’s made of wood and goes ’round and ’round in a carousel.”
Hilda tittered in amusement.
Travis raised an eyebrow. “I thought you told me you wanted to earn your keep while you were here?”

That’s all you get for now. I hope it piques your interest. There may be more excerpts to come later. It all depends on the feedback I receive. 😉

Of course, if you’d like to purchase it to read, here’s the URL: http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Racing-Carol-Ritten-Smith/dp/1499215657/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399043299&sr=1-3&keywords=Hearts+Racing

The Romance Reviews Banner …Ta Da!

90x120_TRR_AnimatedBanner Sometimes I wish I had a split personality and the other half of me was a teenager with computer skills! Then, whenever I came across a tricky task (tricky for me, anyhow), I’d invoke my teenager-self to figure it out. Like today. I wanted to put “The Romance Reviews” banner on my blog. The Romance Reviews a great site if you want to find out about a romance novel, and whether you’d enjoy it. Since they help promote romance authors, including little old me, I’d like to promote them. Honestly, how hard should it be to put up a little banner? Apparently for me, very hard. And alas, I have no teenager to call upon.

Apparently, WordPress.com doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of WordPress.org. You can only do certain tasks if you are a WordPress.org member. I didn’t know this. So I spent over two hours trying to upload the banner to a sidebar. Nope. Not allowed. I’m sure any teenager would have tried once, twice at the most, and would have known it couldn’t be accomplished. But, because I flounder on a computer like a flounder at a computer, I just assumed I was doing something wrong.

We all know that saying, “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.” But that didn’t stop me from doing the same wrong thing over and over again. Of course, I checked for assistance on google several times. Nothing made sense. I hit the help button on WordPress. I hit my head against the wall. But I couldn’t get that little banner to upload.

If not for my Crimson Romance friend, I’d still be cursing! Terri Herman-Ponce, sweet girl that she is, suggested I put the banner in a post. So I did. See it? Nifty, isn’t it? Here’s the link! http://www.theromancereviews.com Maybe a teenager lurks within me afterall.

Want to Win a Big Gift Card?

I thought that title might get your interest. Let me tell you how you could win one of three Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift cards.

Between November 17th and November 21st, a large group of Crimson Romance authors are getting together for a blog hop. (See sidebar photo.) All you need to do is visit one of the designated blogs, leave a comment and, ta dah, you’re entered  in a raffle to win either $1oo.00 or two chances at $50.00. That’s simple enough. The more blogs you read and comment about, the greater your odds.

But that’s not all you could win. I’m giving away one of my handmade pens to anyone who comments on my blog.

I don’t know about you, but when I read a good book, I am completely submerged into another world. It’s a wonderful escape from reality for a while, plus I get to visit exotic places or find myself in other times, past or future. That’s what our theme is about: Books Take You to Another World.

When the blog date approaches, I’ll post a complete list of other Crimson Wonderland Blog Hop participants. Please add this blog hop to your upcoming events so you don’t miss it. Think of all the books you could buy with that $100.00 or $50.00 gift card. And maybe you’ll be able to write your own romance novel with a new handmade pen. You never know!

If you’re interested in finding out who is blogging, check out this site: http://crimsonromanceauthors.com/crimson-wonderland-blog-hop/

The premise

Can the love of an honorable man be enough to forgive a woman’s one felonious act? Should that woman risk everything to find out?

When Tom Carver, Whistle Creek’s blacksmith, tackles a youth prowling in his barn, he certainly doesn’t expect that youth to be the recently-hired school teacher, Beth Patterson. Her feeble excuses invite his suspicion, so for the next few weeks, he devises “chance” encounters with her so he can watch her every move.

Hiding from the law, Beth had hopes of starting afresh in the town of Whistle Creek. But with one brother obsessed with stealing a horse, and the other younger one befriending the town’s intrusive blacksmith, she fears her ugly past will be uncovered.

Tom’s deliberate encounters with Beth reveal she is a deeply devoted sister, and a beautiful, loving woman. Soon desire expels his distrust and he purposely courts her romantically. Denying her own yearnings, Beth knows she must reject his advances for the sake of her small family.

Surely Tom, a decent and respected man, would condemn her for her one tragic deed. Wouldn’t he?