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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Carol Presents: R.A. Donnelly … Evelina and the Reef Hag

One thing I love about authors is their imaginations. I’m thrilled to have Ms R.A. Donnelly on my blog today because she has an imagination extraordinaire. Just reading her excerpt tells you this book is going to keep you highly entertained.

I requested she send me a brief bio and she took me literally: R.A. Donnelly is a Golden Heart and Golden Pen finalist. She lives in Canada with her husband, two children, and a crazy cat.

You’ve got to love an author who knows what ‘short’ means! Haha.

Reef-Hag-CoverHere’s the book blurb followed by the excerpt:

Evelina Crimm has to stop the Swamp Hogs from winning the Glaring, but a Reef Hag is killing off the competition.

Her powers are limited as a novice Water Witch, but she’ll fight the dark forces that conjured the Reef Hag to the bitter end. She’ll do what she has to to catch her parents’ killer, even if it means risking expulsion. Falling in love with a Time Keeper is just as forbidden, but it’s difficult to stay away from Frankie Holler, even when he keeps breaking her heart.

Frankie Holler is a Time Keeper on a mission. Like other Warlocks, he wants his tribe to win. But he’ll sacrifice glory and do what he has to, to save the future of the Water Witches, including breaking a few rules, to help Evelina Crimm.

CHAPTER ONE

“You’re dead, Crimm!” Henrietta Ledbetter leered across the aisle, jowls quivering, black eyes narrowed to slits in her big melon head.

“Evelina Crimm!” Sister Mary Rosalina, or Sister Mary Elephant as everyone called her, swung round from the blackboard, like a Smart car pulling a U-ie. The scent of shoe polish and mothballs swirled around her in a noxious tornado. The chalk in her hand slid away from the half drawn quarter note. “Eyes on the board!”

Evelina came upright in her seat.

Every hair sprang to life from the stubble on her legs to the tip of her ponytail.

She’d been thinking about Frankie Holler again. Whenever that happened her brain left the building.

Everyone turned to stare—sliding in their seats toward her, like water to a drain.

Her heart tapped louder.

The last thing she needed was another detention—one more and she’d be pulling garbage duty, or scraping gum off chairs.

She stared straight ahead, ignoring Henrietta’s hot glare, wondering what she’d done this time to incite her wrath? Not that it took much. She was a freak show.

Maybe it was that goose in her bed. Maybe not the goose so much, but what it left behind. Having just learned she was a Water Witch, Evelina didn’t have much control over her powers. Nights were cold at St. Cecelia’s in December. She’d only been trying to conjure a nice warm duvet. But things got a little out of hand—okay, a lot out of hand, especially when the goose escaped.

But who knew that was going to happen?

Not that she was ever far out of Henrietta’s beady sights. But right now Henrietta was relishing her power. Every day since her cousin, Sister Bellona became their new Phys. Ed. instructor, Henrietta had grown meaner.

She seemed to feed off the fear Sister Bellona incited. One gym class was enough to discover why. After two broken noses and a near fatal asthma attack, the school was on high alert. Bellona was out for blood.

A shiver ran up Evelina’s back.

Sometimes she hated school. Hate was a strong word, one you should never use, according to Grammy Crimm, but, today it seemed appropriate. Oh, she enjoyed the learning part, especially music, when the flute trilled in her hands like a spring robin. But all that theory she could do without.

And classmates like Henrietta. She took the prize for evil. It oozed out of every pore, dripping in foamy bubbles from the side of her mouth whenever she went ballistic.

Like right now.

She looked like a bull ready to charge.

Henrietta sprang from her seat, snatching the piece of paper from Evelina’s hand.

Henrietta held it high over her head like a trophy. “Lookee here! Whatcha got, Orph?” She slashed Evelina a look of poison. “Doesn’t look much like a treble clef!”

The entire music class roared with laughter.

A few clapped.

Molly Nuttle, Henrietta’s best friend, howled like a hyena, sending her greasy blonde hair swinging past her ears.

The caricature of Sister Mary Elephant with her pointer shaped like a claw floated above Evelina’s head like the angel of death. She hardly remembered drawing it. She was always drawing something.

Actually, it was a pretty good likeness.

“Oh, no!” Lily Huckabone, Evelina’s best friend, groaned, slinking down in the desk beside her. “Not good.”

She was right.

From the look on Sister Mary Elephant’s face, retribution was at hand.

“SILENCE!!!” She snatched the claw from the corner of her oak desk. The image was so similar to Evelina’s picture a few students snickered. “You think that’s funny, do you, Crimm?”

“No, Sister.”

Sister Mary Elephant’s pale blue eyes narrowed behind her black horn-rimmed glasses. “On your feet when I’m talking to you!”

Evelina scrambled out of her seat, taking the opportunity to snatch the picture from Henrietta’s meaty fist.

Henrietta gnashed her bulldog canines in a snarl.

Evelina leveled a fierce glare on her. For once Evelina was grateful for her height. She might be a feather weight, but at least she could look Henrietta straight in the eye.

Henrietta backed up, wedging her bulbous butt into her seat with a satisfied sneer creasing her face.

“Evelina Crimm!”

Evelina spun round.

Sister Mary Elephant’s pinched features constricted. “Go to Sister Juliana’s office at once!”

Evelina glanced back at Lily, who sat clutching her sandy braid like a rip cord, chocolate eyes as wide as cupcakes behind her wire-rimmed specks.

Being sent to the Mother Superior’s office was no small matter. Inevitably consequences followed, not usually of the pleasant kind. Sister Juliana meant well. But her discipline bordered on medieval, adhering to the ‘no pain, no gain’ philosophy.

Evelina strode from the room with a straight back.

But the hollow bang of the door closing chilled her blood.

***

Okay, you tell me. Wasn’t that the most engaging excerpt you’ve read in a long time? I’ve got a feeling that this book will keep you highly entertained with heaps of humor and many fun twists and turns. Eveline and the Reef Hag is the latest release for Ms Donnelly. Congratulations!

You might want to check out her links to see what else she is up to. And thank you, Rachel for being my guest. I can hardly wait to read Evelina and the Reef Hag!

http://author-racheldonnelly.blogspot.ca/

http://www.amazon.com/R.A.-Donnelly/e/B00KK0S2O6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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?