It’s The Cozy Times Chronicle!

Today I have Lisa A. Kelley and her Cozy Times Chronicle. We will find out a little about life as a book reviewer. Lisa is on my blog and I am on hers with Fuchsia’s Cozy Times Chronicle. Make sure you read both of ours to find out the lengths we go to  read books.

cozy-time

Editor: Lisa A, Kelley     Staff Reporter: Lisa A. Kelley     Staff Photographer: Lisa A. Kelley

 

feetThe Glamorous Life of a Cozy Mystery Reviewer/Blogger

I get out of bed at the crack of 7:00, sometime 8:00, okay . . . sometimes’s 9:00 AM. I go through my morning grooming routine, which takes a solid five minutes, unless I’m in a  hurry. I change into my work clothes, a fresh nightgown and my not always so fresh slippers a.k.a my scuff scuffs. It’s on to the kitchen to prepare a healthy breakfast of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies and my drink of choice for the day. Today it is Hawaiian Punch.

Armed with my nourishing meal, I head to my office, also known as my living room recliner. I  power up my laptop, and check my schedule. I am now in my blogger/reviewer/social media networking zone. My job (volunteer work really) . . . I read, blog, review, blog, Facebook, blog, Tweet, blog, and repeat.  Seven days a week, with the exception of holidays and sick days, I am plugged in.

Of course I do get out of the house. Sometimes I work in my mobile office, as I was doing when writing this article. My mobile office, a 2004 Chevy Malibu named “The Reverend”, is spacious, and offers a wonderful view of wherever I may be parked at the time, waiting for a sibling while they are at an appointment.

And there you have my glamorous reviewer/blogger life.

You know what? I love every single second of it!


Brick and Mortar Forever!

band-nThere is nothing like a real life, walk in the front door, pay at the register bookstore. I adore them! I could spend every day in one. The only thing holding me back is, my town, Dover, DE, capitol of the first state doesn’t have any bookstores. They’ve all closed down. And they were very small, without big selections. Over half of the stock of one of them was used books. (I’ll spare you my germ phobia.)

My sister(s) and I will day trips to our favorite Barnes & Noble, which is a hour and a half away from us, in another state. We do have one a bit closer in state, but it’s part of a huge mall, and the parking is a nightmare! (I digress). When I walk into “my” Barnes & Noble, I feel my worries and stress just fall away. My sister(s) and I stake out our favorite table at the café, and prepare to spend a day in paradise. It’s nothing for us to get there when the doors open, and stay until 2 or 3:00 in the afternoon. (One day I’m expecting them to start charging us rent.) Settled at my table, a stack of books and magazines surrounding me, and a cold root beer sitting before me, I am whole. I am at peace. I am home. 

I enjoy surfing though Amazon, and Barnes & Noble online, but nothing can compare to the feeling, the smell, the sight of a real bookstore. Forever may they stand!


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Pets in Cozy Mysteries

emmyI love the wonderful pets that are featured in cozy mysteries. The adorable cats and dogs (mostly) have such big personalities. Some even have sleuthing talents just like their owners.

While a lot of cozy pets are completely fictional, many are based on real life pets of the authors. Some are even based on, and named after reader’s pets!

I would love to have my Emma Belle a.k.a. Emmy show up in a cozy. However, there are a couple of issues. While Emmy is a little ole love bug, all she does is sleep. And when she’s awake, well, she has the most disinterested, bored look on her face. Think Garfield the cat’s expression on a dog’s face, and there you have my girl. Every scene with Emmy in a book would read something like, Emmy was asleep as usual or Emma looked at me  in that bored way.

No, my fur baby just doesn’t seem to be cozy mystery material. That being said, I couldn’t love her more if I tried.

You can find Lisa at:

Blog 

Twitter

Facebook

LK & MB Cozy Mystery Review Group

And in honor of guesting on Lisa’s Blog, Today January 25, all my books on Kindle are .99. One day only. To find them click this link. Julie Seedorf, Amazon Author Page

Thank you Lisa for being here.

 

There’s A Time and Place For Creative Clutter

SOMETHING ABOUT NOTHING published the week of January 23 in the Albert Lea Tribune and The Courier Sentinel

whats-upI am not a neatnik; I am a messer, and I am not going to apologize for it anymore. It doesn’t mean I don’t clean up my messes, it means I don’t always clean up my messes when others think I should. There is a time and a season for everything and that can be said about messes too.

I am trying to simplify my life so I have more time to write and to enjoy my family and friends, and movies, and chocolate, and reading, and not feel guilty spending the time having fun and relaxing. Stuff does get in our way. Yet, that same stuff can bring us peace. Simplifying does not mean always being neat.

I called a friend in Nebraska this week. We hadn’t talked in a few months. I thought of her over the last few weeks and was going to place that call, but I got sidetracked and it never happened. It was one of those messes which reminded me of my friend. My mess was funeral cards. When I talked to my friend she too has been simplifying and mentioned how behind she was on her house because of taking care of family. I mentioned I was behind, too, for no good reason. She explained she knew my house wasn’t as bad as hers. Yes folks, we do the dueling houses; my house I know is worse than yours. I laughed and said, “Yes and do you remember the reason I thought to call you? I am going through funeral cards from when my mother died 14 years ago.”

Those long-kept funeral cards were a blessing. I pulled them out because I am purging and I wondered why I was keeping them. One of the blessings was a reminder to call my friend and the other — the realization that in my grief at my mother’s passing, and other things going on in my life at the time which added to the grief I was feeling, I didn’t take the time to absorb what others wrote in those cards. Fourteen years later I sat down and read every one and my heart was moved by what others said, and those that took the time to remember us. Some of those precious people are now no longer with us, and it made their words more meaningful as I remembered their friendship. That is where the thoughts of time and season come in. This was the perfect time and season in my life to read those cards.

Yes, I kept some still for when I want to remember and need some comfort when I think of my mother. No matter how old you are or how much time has passed you never quit missing your mother. I remember as my mom was in her last weeks and ill. She was smiling, and I asked what she was smiling about and she said, “I am going to see my mother and dad and brothers again.” It was a beautiful smile. She never quit missing her mother.

That is the part of the messy me, not always being able to let go of things that bring back memories. There is also the day-to-day messy me. It is hard for the person I live with to live with messy me. He is a neatnik and doesn’t have as many indoor hobbies as I do.

When I am immersed in the creative me, watch out. I may need a drink of water or a plate of food but don’t expect the dirty dishes to go anywhere beyond the top of the cupboard while I am creating. Don’t expect my shoes and socks to go anywhere except beside my chair. Don’t expect my paints to be put away one by one as I finish with each color. Don’t expect newspapers, books, appointment books, reference materials to be anywhere but scattered around me.

When I am in full creative mode I don’t hear anyone, and I don’t take the time to open the dishwasher, go to the clothes hamper, watch any food that is cooking or sweep the floor. It disrupts my chain of thought especially if I am writing, and it isn’t easy to get the flow of words back. I am in the groove so don’t expect me to carry that plastic water bottle all the way to the basement stairway for recycling. Don’t expect me to be neat when I am splashing paint or creating something out of nothing. I absolutely cannot work in a neat restricted environment. I work better in disarray. I find things better when my materials are spread out and tossed around me. And I drive my husband crazy because of it.

I’ve tried to be this neat person, and it is agonizing. It stifles me. I do the same thing when baking and cooking. You will see flour all over me, the kitchen counters and occasionally all over the floor. But I have fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to sit back when I am relaxing in a cozy, soft, neat environment, and I do, after all the creative craziness has passed. I clean up the countertops, sweep the floors, light my candles, make peace in my environment and relax.  My house is either one or the other. There is no in-between. I haven’t found the balance. Maybe I don’t want to. There is a time and place for my creative clutter and there is a time for neat and tidy.

“I like messy. What fun is tidy?” — Dasha Zhukova

The Courage Of A Leader

Something About Nothing published in the Albert Lea a Tribune January 16, 2017

Today is the day we honor a great man, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In case you don’t know, Dr. Martin Luther King was a Baptist minister and a leader in the Civil Rights movement. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was awarded posthumously the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Congressional Gold Medal. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was declared a federal holiday in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, and it began being observed three years later.

In 1963 at the March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech in which he stated his wish that our nation would rise and live out the creed that we would hold our truths to be self evident and all men would be created equal. He wished for all to sit down in brotherhood and that his four children would live in a nation where people would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. He wanted people to pray together, work together and stand up for freedom together. In spite of the oppression he felt over his lifetime, he loved this nation.

I was a senior in high school in 1968. That is 49 years ago. I never thought when I was a teenager that we would still be fighting the same race wars in 2016. I can only imagine what Dr. King would say if he would be able to speak today.

I grew up in a white community. I remember the first time I met a black person. It was in the early 1970s, and he was the husband of my best friend from childhood. It was the first time I was confronted with choosing whether I might be accepting of someone of another race, and I was. My friend made a smart choice in her husband. My children who were 3 and 5 at the time didn’t notice color — they noticed kindness. I had been sheltered from the violence and race wars where I lived and was relieved to know that I could look at a person and see the person not the race.

I think the reason I questioned how I would react to the meeting was because of what I had seen on television and heard in the media. Living where I lived I didn’t understand what the rest of the country was going through because I didn’t experience it, and so making judgements just by what I heard did put a little fear in my heart of those that were different.

I had a little taste of understanding earlier in 1968 when I read a book called “Freedom Summer” published in the ’60s. I don’t know the author, but the book had an impact on me. I read it for a book report my senior year. It highlighted white college students volunteering in Mississippi during the riots to register voters. I read it, went back to my nice life, but I never forgot that book.

I can’t imagine having the courage of Dr. King, speaking out and leading against hatred and violence that was directed at him. Yet he kept going and it cost him his life, but in doing so he left a legacy to aspire to. He believed in nonviolence and he preached nonviolence, yet violence took his life because he had the courage to stand up against those who were intolerant.

Here we are in 2017 fighting the same injustices. I don’t remember a year in my life since those early days when I have felt the fear I have been feeling. It is a fear we are going back to those early days of intolerance of those who are different than us. I don’t remember a year when I have felt hatred running out of control again.

And I don’t like feeling that fear because for me, if fear takes over, the lashing out begins. The rational thinking goes out the door and my mind fuels on what might happen and is focused on things which might never occur except in my own mind. When that happens I take it out on those I don’t understand, and it leads to family against family, neighbor against neighbor and judgement and repercussions. The blaming begins and we never blame ourselves. We always find a scapegoat for our feelings.

I read the story of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. today. He deserves our honor. He gave his life so others could have a better life. He didn’t stay silent about oppression out of fear. I find others doing that today, staying silent out of fear, bowed down by those that are louder. Staying silent because they don’t want to be targeted by those that think differently. I find myself doing that or apologizing to those that are the loudest and don’t like my viewpoint, because I don’t want to offend them even when they are offending me or I don’t want to be their target. Where is the fine line between swallowing our pride and our beliefs and our conscience and still staying friends with those who bully our opinions so we don’t speak out?

We learn from the past. Soon we will be the past. What will our children learn from us? Will it be the same as we learned from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Will it be an education of courage?