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As a person who habitually finds cats camped on my doorstep or yard, I have long wondered how they know MY yard–of all the yards in the area–is the ONE to come to. How can they make that decision?
I think I finally figured out the hobo signs that cats scratch on trees as they travel the neighborhoods, leaving clues for the next little furry feline vagabond who wanders along.
In my imagination, I see little claw marks along the bottoms of trees and posts that sort of resemble these figures, left by traveling cats to warn others of good and bad houses along the “kitty hobo trail”.
#
Dog lives here — use caution
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Persons with gun
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Great garbage
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Even better Food
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Lots of Good food
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Crazy cat lady lives here
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Resident cats already here
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Can get a warm bed here
Bad dogs  would somehow feature a cute dog within a circle and slash
Naturally I have adopted a few little furry hoboes, after taking great pains and time to tame them down. Without exception, once they are moved inside, they acclimate within a few days and never look back on their wild wandering days. A couple have remained (years later) suspicious of all humans and visitors, while others have adopted a tolerance of anyone who might want to pat them.
Whatever their origins–feral colony, second generation wild cat, or just homeless waif– I have loved them all and they have all enriched my life in their unique ways.
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I originally reviewed this book in September for “Uncaged Book Reviews”.

Joy Smith

Joe Carella’s father is missing at sea, and presumed dead, lost while sailing his beloved yacht, the Anna Bella. Now it falls upon Joe to get the recovered boat from Florida back home to Mystic, Connecticut. He’s no sailor, in fact he has spent his life living under his dad’s controlling shadow, but he feels obligated to get the boat home. To succeed, he will need a good captain who knows what they’re doing.

Marty Chase is a fishing boat captain, now living in disgrace in Mystic, Connecticut. Resigned to painting the undersides of boats since she took the rap for a boating accident, she leaps at the chance to captain Joe Carella’s boat back home. He’s a privileged son of a famous yacht racer. This could be the turning point in her captain career. Never mind she never handled large yachts or deep ocean waters. How different can it be from a fishing boat in local waters?

Set sail aboard the luxury yacht the Anna Bella.  Joe needs this trip to prove something to himself. And so does Marty. What they encounter is bigger than both of them. A brewing hurricane is just the start of their problems. Toss in a jealous ghost onboard, hijackers, being left for dead and having to fight to survive. The story does not suffer from lack of action.

In places the pacing does drag and there are frequent cases of abrupt timing changes. There are times Marty seems confused or inconsistent with her romantic choices between an old lover she knows she has to stay away from and her growing attraction to Joe. However, the chemistry between Marty and Joe is great, it’s hard not to root for them. The sex scenes are short, detailed without being overly descriptive.

The author is knowledgeable about boats and boating and her familiarity shows throughout the pages.

This book easily earns 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.

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I have been busy lately, and not had much time to invite guests to stop in at the blog. Fortunately for me, Jeri Bronson has been holding her invitation and patiently waiting for me. So I am very happy to welcome Jeri now, to come, sit down, have some tea and cookies, and talk to us about her book, “Seeking Perfect”. Might I say, it has a lovely cover. Welcome, Jeri!

SeekingPerfect600

What is this book about?  My book is a YA Contemporary about a 17 year old girl named Jesse Barnes. She lives in a small town in Oregon with her alcoholic mother trying to stay invisible until one day Derek Aames sits with her at lunch.  (Cue scary music) He’s so perfect, can she trust him with her secrets?

Why did you write it? I didn’t have a choice it wouldn’t leave me alone. I also thought it was good way to look at the choices people can make.

How long did it take? The first draft took me a summer and the edits like 7 years of learning how to write.

Seven years? That’s some dedication and education.

Any special inspiration? The world is full of inspiration. I took some from me and other brave people that choose survival.

Where do you write? Photos optional— Haha! It’s a mess always so no pics, but actually my dining room table. We only eat here on special occasions now.

Describe the path to publication? I never intended to publish. I thought I was never good enough and no one would want to read it. This was only supposed to be a way for me to help process emotions and thoughts that never ceased to be quiet.  I got brave in 2012 and I sent it out to agents and someone wanted it after I made some more revisions. She was very excited about it and I freaked out and I never sent it back. You see I fear success I know it doesn’t make sense.  I didn’t touch it again for another 3 years; talk about hiding out in a cave. Finally, in 2016 I joined RWA and sent it out once again and was offered a contract in 2017 by Soulmate Publishing. I found some courage finally.

Fantastic story. Loads of people fear success. I’m glad you sent it out again.

Are you working on anything else right now? YES, I have a romantic suspense that I’m editing now hoping to send out by the end of the year. I am also working on another YA that’s partially written, but some more plotting is needed.

Hardest part about writing? The never ending self doubt even with a published book I wonder if I’m good enough.

Biggest surprise about being a published author? People are always so surprised when I tell them that I write and their always so supportive.

Yes, I’ve noticed that too.

How do you beat procrastination? I walk. It works for writers block too. Once I go for my walk then I need to sit down and write. It engages my brain for whatever reason.

Okay, I’m convinced, this sounds like a terrific book, for young adults and us older adults too. Now, can we talk a little about you as an author and a regular person?

The most recent movie you’ve seen or book you’ve read? (or both) I went and saw The Incredibles 2 (so funny) I just finished rereading Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts. It’s a comfort story for me.

What is your favorite past time? I love to watch tennis and of course I read a lot.

Would you rather have the ability to be invisible or have x-ray vision? I would totally be invisible and go in all the places you’re not allowed in like Buckingham Palace.

I like that.

What ‘s a typical day like? I drop my son off at school, he’s 16 working on the license so not for much longer yay! Then do house business stuff and writer business then go walk for about an hour. I will write or edit for a few hours eat lunch work some more till the boy gets home. Then writing will put aside till after his swim practice, dinner, dishes etc. I might work for another hour before bed then read a little. Boring, day, I know. 

Boring to some, blissful to others. We should never envy someone else’s life.

How do you like to spend a rainy day? I live in California what rain?

Good point.

Do you know any foreign languages? I could speak Spanish fluently when I was little because my grandmother was Hispanic. Now I get by with necessity Spanish like asking for food or the bathroom.

What one item would you grab if the house was on fire? (assume no living beings are  inside) Pictures of my kids and probably all the computers with the pictures on them.

Describe one moment in time when you took a huge leap of faith. How did it turn out? I sent my book to a publisher and worked out pretty well.

Indeed.

What’s one favorite thing you do by yourself? Going to the library and the movies. First no one will rush me at the library I can peruse as long as I want and then I don’t have to share the popcorn. Notice both places are silent.

Silence is a good thing, right?

Favorite food to cook? I can’t cook my husband does it. I’ve burned things and not only food.

Oh-oh.  Let’s move on to less incriminating topics, shall we?

Favorite animal? Cat

Favorite color? Green

Favorite book? Pride and Prejudice

Favorite sport or physical activity? Tennis

Favorite kind of music? Alternative

Favorite song?  U2, Where the streets have no name

Favorite place to visit? The mountains, any of them.

What makes you laugh? My husband constantly

What three adjectives describe you? Loyal, quiet, compassionate

Favorite season? Summer

Strangest thing you ever ate? Tofu it was fried but squishy in the middle.

Strangest thing you ever did? I asked my favorite tennis player for his autograph and he offered to take a picture with me. Remember I’m the quiet one hoping to be invisible.

That could qualify as a leap of faith too.

Which do you prefer for a second home? Mountain cabin, beach house or big city condo? Mountain cabin definitely.

What dessert do you order most often? Chocolate cake/brownie ice cream combo thing.

Oh my…YES!!!!!!!!

Whom do you admire? (living or dead) Why? I think Jane Austen because she wrote about women doing things they weren’t allowed to do.

What is your favorite type of art? Music always music

If you had a magic genie, what would your three wishes be? Hmmm…world peace you know like the pageant ladies really that would be nice. I would like to be able to speak every language in the world and an all access pass to See’s candy.

Favorite vacation spot? Hawaii

 Jeri, it has been an absolutely pleasure to have you visit today. Let’s wrap up our conversation with a few parting thoughts so we can share how readers can connect with you and check out “Seeking Perfect”.

What three items would you take if you knew you were going to be stranded on a tropical island for a year? (enough suntan lotion is a freebie) Books, a boat and wet wipes. Sometimes sand is not your friend.

One quote you love, that keeps you going in life? Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light –Albus Dumbledore.

What would you do in life if you knew you couldn’t fail? Play the piano

One thing few people know about you? That I can speak Spanish.

Do you believe  in love at first sight? I’m not sure anymore because no one ever looks up from their phones.

Excellent point. Jeri!  How many first’s do we miss because of that?

Anything special you would like to share with readers?   My story is about hope and choices people have to make on a daily basis.  I think sometimes young adults think they can’t do anything about their circumstances and to certain extent it may be true, but there is always help if you’re willing to ask for it.  You also have to do the hard work it’s definitely about the hard work in this life.

BLURB for “Seeking Perfect”:

Jesse learned early not to trust a soul, but what if he was her soulmate?

Senior year of high school should be about friendship, boyfriends and graduation, but for seventeen-year-old, Jesse Barnes, it’s about escaping the shame of life with an alcoholic mother.

Jesse’s goals are clear, keep a roof over her head, avoid the revolving door of leering men her mother brings home, graduate from high school, and do everything possible to keep her home life secret. Friends, boyfriends, not an option. Who would understand?

Then, perfect, popular Derek Aames, sits with Jesse at lunch. How can she discourage him? How can she keep him from intruding on her life and discovering her secret? And most of all how can she keep him out of her heart?

Will his persistence finally break down her walls, or just break her?

Connecting with Jeri:

Jeri is a native Californian that found her storytelling voice while walking home from elementary school. Long walks with a hyper imagination led to all sorts of wild ideas. Her debut novel, Wildflower, finally came to fruition after she was laid off from her full time job as Human Resources Manager.

She now works part time as a substitute High School teacher, which is a constant source of fabulous material. She lives in Orange County, California with her husband of 28 years, her teenage son, their dog Sam, and cats Sparky and Lilly. The whole time missing her daughter who’s away at college. Jeri does her best writing still while walking, but now Sam goes as well.

When not writing she is an avid reader, of course. She also is an equally avid tennis fan and can be found watching the Tennis Channel most nights. Definitely, do not bother her during Grand Slam tournaments. She is currently working on several Romantic Suspense novels, plus another Young Adult book is brewing. Stay tuned she’s just getting started.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/JeriBronsonauthor/

https://twitter.com/jeribronson

www.jeribronson.com/

 

Book Links:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38472691-seeking-perfect?ac=1&from_search=true

https://smpauthors.wordpress.com/meet-jeri-bronson/wildflower-by-jeri-bronson/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seeking-perfect-jeri-bronson/1128622457?ean=9781682916674

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August 15th is National Relaxation Day. In our crazy never-stop, always-on-the-go society, I personally think one day a year isn’t sufficient. I think we need more like one day a month, twelve days a year, in which to experiment, find and perfect the art of relaxation. With multiple methods available, we could find the one that matches our personality and needs the best.

Lying around in our jammies, binge watching TV or binge reading while eating ice cream? I’m in! Going to the movies? Cool. Traveling to the forest/beach/country/city/ happy place to take in the stillness? Or the sights? How about a spa? Massage? Golf? swim? Horseback ride? combing the flea markets? Most of those would be on my list to try.

Lounging on the front porch in a swing or hammock? With sweet tea of course. Chair with our bare toes gliding through the grass? Picnic? Park? Zoo? Day drive with the top down and music up loud?

I am so there!

 

How about gardening? Mowing the lawn? For some it’s work, for others it’s relaxing. For me, I find it soothing to putz in the yard, digging my fingers in the dirt, deadheading flowers and watching new transplants grow. And of course I am always planning next year’s planting designs. This next planting season I am seeking blue and white flowers to fill in some gaps. This was inspired by a lovely bouquet I received this summer, with a gorgeous, huge head of a hydrangea bloom. It was pure white with tiny baby blue pin dots in the center of each petal.

  Cats are masters of relaxing.

 

 

 

So in honor of National Relaxation Day, I’d like to offer some of my books for your consideration to find your perfect relaxation spot and get lost in another world. To me, that’s the ultimate relaxation!

 

 

If romantic suspense is your fave, there is “Upon the Tide”, set on a boat in the Caribbean. If you like a hint of two of mystical or paranormal with your suspense and romance, consider “Chasing the Painted Skies”, set on an isolated lighthouse island in the Great Lakes (complete with its own ghost) or “Wild Whispers”, built around the exciting world of horse racing.

If you prefer clean and wholesome Inspirational Christian fiction, how about “Shimmers of Stardust”, with a bit of time travel included; “Beside Still Waters” or “Rainbows in the Moonlight”. Both of these are family centered stories, rooted in romance, forgiveness and second chances. Sweet!

If you like anthologies, I got ya covered there too. “Sizzle in the Snow” is eight stories all about Christmas. “Food and Romance Go Together” is, yep, you guessed it, stories all about food and romance. Talk about cooking in the kitchen! “Craving Country” turns up the heat, with twelve stories all about finding love and good, country living.

And if you like a shorter read, consider “Glimpse Eternity”, a pretty little story centered around Valentine’s Day or “It Happened at the Park”, a rollicking romantic comedy including dogs and their humans.

Speaking of dogs, if you prefer non-fiction, how about my self-published story about Ty, my adopted collie (a beautiful blue merle) with PTSD and the first two years of our journey together? It’s called, appropriately enough, “Ty’s Journey” and features countless photos.

 

 

 

 

All these fine books can be found at Amazon or my website, http://www.ryanjosummers.com. Several have been nominated for various peer-review awards.

 

So there you have it, loads of ideas on how to relax on National Relaxation Day and a few not-so-subtle suggestions for a good book or two if reading is your fave way to relax. However you like to escape, feel free to drop me a line in the comments and share your secrets. As for me, I’ll be busy working August 15th, but I’ll be thinking hard of relaxing, most likely by trying to write another book.

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I am so happy to welcome Limitless Publishing author Renee N. Meland today. She is here to share her Science-Fiction (sci-fi) dystopian series, The Extraction List.

If you’re a fan of Unwind by Neal Shusterman, you will enjoy Renee N. Meland’s page-turning tale of survival in a world where obeying the law is no longer an option.

The Extraction List, Book 1 (In development for film by 5×5 Media!)

An unforgettable, fast-paced science fiction adventure where a mother and daughter must rely on a gifted killer for survival…

In an America where parenting is regulated by the federal government, fifteen-year-old Riley Crane assumed she would never be taken from her home, and with good reason: her mother Claire had designed the criteria that parents must live by in order to keep their children.

But a simple knock at the door one evening proves her wrong.

Now on the run, Riley and Claire must rely on Cain Foley, a gifted killer who is as handsome as he is dangerous, to get them out of America alive. But when they discover what’s really happening beneath the government’s surface, they realize that escaping the country is only part of their problem. Together, they figure out that a killer can save a life, and a mother can damn a nation. 

Kindle Unlimited: https://amzn.to/2uDUglJ

Paperback: https://amzn.to/2L9je6E

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Burning Doors, Book 2

The suspenseful science fiction adventure continues as we now follow Cain Foley back to the beginning, where the extraction list started…

Fifteen-year-old Cain Foley just faced a fatal choice…

Fight back against his abusive father, or die on the basement floor.

He chose life. 

Now a fugitive in an America that is stricken with poverty and violence, he finds himself being hunted by a police officer with his own special brand of torture. Before he can save even a handful of the children who have been swept up in the gang life, he must first cover up not one, but two murders. His father’s and one committed by a teenage madam who is either the love of his life or his final undoing. 

As he feels himself being pushed closer and closer to the edge, Cain realizes surviving his father was just the beginning.

 

Kindle Unlimited: https://amzn.to/2uC8yTQ

Paperback: https://amzn.to/2O8bvDE

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Leave Me Lost, Book 3 

Riley thought she could live a normal life after The Extraction List, but now in this third book in the fast-paced sci-fi adventure series, she must reconnect with Burning Doors’ hero, Cain, to save the people they love most from certain destruction.

Four years after escaping America, Riley Crane discovers the compound she calls home is facing a looming danger, and she’s in desperate need of a solution. The last person she expects to have the answer is the guy who has been the one piece missing from her life—Cain Foley.

With a broken heart and a switchblade knife, Riley follows Cain to Italy in order to rescue a missing child. If they find him, the child’s parents will give them enough cash to move everyone they love to a safe location where they can build a new life for the second time. But with their goal almost in sight, they discover their mission wasn’t what they thought, and much more than they expected hangs in the balance.

The question they must ask has no simple answer.

They want to save the people they love…

But are they willing to sell their souls to do it?

 

Kindle Unlimited: https://amzn.to/2NzAa3g

Paperback: https://amzn.to/2O5hCbT

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About Renee:

Renee N. Meland is an avid writer and reader of speculative fiction. She and her husband reside in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. When she is not writing or being a devoted doggy-mom, she is gardening or learning a new recipe.

She is currently working on the rest of the books in The Extraction List Series. Other upcoming projects involve reincarnation, and a house filled with people who all have something to hide.

Amazon Profile: https://amzn.to/2NxafJv

Website: https://www.reneenmeland.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Reneenmeland

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorreneenmeland/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/reneenmelandsbooks

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The Extraction List Series by Renee N. Meland is proudly published by Limitless Publishing, LLC. http://www.limitlesspublishing.com/

 

 

 

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I recently had the pleasure of reading Books 2 & 3 of the Sanctuary Tales by Giacomo Giammatteo. He and his wife, Mikki, operate an animal sanctuary and over time, Giacomo has shared his adventures and misadventures. They have pigs, dogs, cats, a horse, (had a duck), a boar, and other charming critters at their home.

Both books are fairly short, and are filled with dozens of large, color photos to help bring the stories to life. There are a few minor word and typographical errors in both volumes, but they are small in comparison to the humor and sometimes bittersweet stories between the covers.

If you are an animal lover, you will no doubt enjoy these true stories.

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What is it about stairs that appeals to me? Not that I like climbing them, as my hips and knees complain loud and long whenever I must. It’s the old, preferably abandoned outdoor flights of overgrown steps that make me stop and stare. I also love steps leading into the water. Oh, I really love those steps!
There is a neighborhood where I walk regularly, an old, historic area, with older houses. The roads are steep and winding hills. It’s a great cardio workout to hoof around there. And the landscaping of the old homes is always interesting. One thing most of them have in common is they are accessible by steep steps on one side and up a steep hill on the other side. I guess that’s how they designed neighborhoods years ago. steps 6  One of my favorite views

steps II 12-2016    steps  Steep climbingsteps 8  steps 5

steps 3  Any here you’d love to see the top of? steps 9   Or no way?Stairs 3

Very overgrown with ivy and kudzo.

 

stairs2228(1)  N-a-r-r-o-wThe Steps pic

This was in Galway Bay in Galway, Ireland. These sorts of entrances were quite popular. I am guessing people came in on larger boats, and took small rowboats/hookers from there to the land, using these types of stairs to cross over.

I think stairs represent something in our lives: a connection from where we are emotionally or physically to where we want to be or think we should be. Perhaps we’re trying to climb the ladder of success. That is easily seen in a flight of steps. Maybe we’re thinking we should have made another choice somewhere along the line. The flight of steps indicates where we are now compared to where we could have been. Or want to be. Thus steps are narrow, steep, long and winding, short and maintained, overgrown, etc… all dependent on how we view the journey. It is just a few footsteps away or the path of a thousand miles?

I also wonder if flights of staircases are indicative of our lives. Do tidy, well maintained staircases appeal to us? Does that mean we keep our lives tidy and well maintained? What about the overgrown, unassailable steps? Does it indicate our hearts?  Some here are lined in even blocks of concrete and others are stacked from natural stone. Some are edged in moss and others are kept free. Just like people, there are staircases to fit every house and personality.

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