Mary thought the last person she wanted to see on her Hawaiian vacation
December 16, 2010
Mary thought the last person she wanted to see on her Hawaiian vacation
December 13, 2010
"Mary thinks the last person she wants to see on her Hawaiian vacation is her ex-brother-in-law, a Montana Park Ranger..."
I’ve been working on a lot of projects. I coordinated and participated in a holiday book event for our Northwest Authors in November. It was a huge success and I consider it the first Christmas party of the season for me. There’s more info on my webpage: http://www.janellemerazhooper.com/
2010 Oklahoma Book Awards- Even though the book I wrote this year isn’t based in Oklahoma, I entered the contest anyway so they won’t forget me! Bears in the Hibiscus is a humorous romance that should give the judges some giggles even if it isn’t chosen to be a finalist.
I’ve just completed a collaboration with other writers for a multi-cultural website: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Bicultural-and-Multicultural-People-Rule-A-Place-to-Discuss-Our-Uniquenes/103633399674730 , I’ll let you know when it is posted.
I did my Christmas card for 2010. I’ve posted it above.
Mentored several authors on how to get their books on Kindle.
Boogie, Boots, and Cherry Pie is back from the editor and is ready for final tweaking.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! A belated Happy Hanukah to my Jewish friends (time got away from me this year).
In the new year, I’ll be posting some sample chapters from other Northwest authors. Please check back!
Now, I’d better get out the catalogs and do some Christmas shopping. Where does the time go?
Quote du jour: "Knowledge is a rising tide that floats all boats." Courtesy of Mike Meraz (not a relation of mine...I say that to protect him!)
No time to edit! Send complaints to my email address: JanelleMHooper@comcast.net
October 29, 2010
10-29-10- Patty has done a good job for the people of Washigton and our country. Whether or not you are in agreement with our political process, power in the U. S. Senate stems from seniority. In Patty, we have a 3-term senator who has proven her ability to function as a U. S. Senator and is a powerful voice for the State of Washington. In these economic times, replacing her with a junior senator with no voice and no position of power is not smart politics. Her opponent, Mr. Rossi, has run for governor twice. Now he is running for the U. S. Senate. The Washington electorate has twice made the correct decision and should, once again, reject Mr. Rossi's attempt to feed at the public trough he so vehemently opposes. Dino Rossi: Not ready for prime time!
September 01, 2010
Mary thinks the last person she wants to see on her Hawaiian vacation is her ex-brother-in-law, a Montana Park Ranger...
There's still some sun left...order this book and run for the beach!
Note: All of my books are formatted for Kindle and paperback. Not all of my guest authors have their books in a format for Kindle, and are only available in paperback.
August 22, 2010
July 10, 2010
It is the taker of youth, the taker of dreams.
My colleagues and I sat shivering on our trunks and suitcases in the back of a canvas-topped truck, waiting for the driver to take us to the railway station. Cold and miserable inside and out, our usually animated group had slipped into brooding silence. Suddenly sucked into the eye of a vicious storm, a bloody, merciless war, we pondered our helpless, hopeless situation and our chances of survival.
There were eleven of us: eight girls, dancers, between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one; Hannimusch, a matronly singer and our accompanist; Egon Molkow, our director, ballet-and-taskmaster; and his wife, Hilde, mother hen and go-between. I was sixteen, the youngest in the group.
Our small, traveling dance company had recently left Berlin to begin a new tour through eastern Germany. Relieved to escape the nightly bombing raids on the city, we grudgingly accepted the tedium of wartime travel, from late and overcrowded trains and broken-down buses, to unheated hotels and theaters. At least, we were no longer in the line of fire.
We had spent less than two weeks on the road when our troupe received a summons to appear and audition before the German Military High Command in Poznan, Poland. It superceded all prior commitments and put us on the next train to Poznan. We knew that the military on occasion drafted shows for the sole purpose of entertaining its troops, and speculated with some excitement that we might be sent to France, Belgium, or to some other safe zone.
In a whirlwind of events, within only three days after arriving in Poznan, we had auditioned, were approved and processed like draftees, were given a number and handed our orders—a six-month assignment to the Russian front.
The Russian front!!! Our first reaction was, “No! This can’t be happening! Not to us! They would not…they could not send us girls, adolescents to the front, into the bloodiest of all battle zones! To Russia…in the deep of winter? No! We aren’t soldiers, we are dancers.”
The Russian Front!!! Orders every soldier feared. Orders often given out as punishment. Too many of our men who had been sent there never returned. The lucky ones got wounded. It was like a death sentence.
Also, the timing could not have been worse. The German army had just suffered its biggest, bloodiest defeat of the entire war at Stalingrad, which left it crippled and its front lines virtually defenseless. Our soldiers complained bitterly about shortages, from winter clothing, to supplies, to ammunition and equipment. Now they faced a stronger-than-ever Russian army, preparing to launch a new major offensive and had nothing left to stop it. Morale among them had plummeted to its lowest point.
What could they want with girls at a time like this?
Our orders listed Smolensk as our immediate destination. On a map at headquarters, it showed Smolensk to be only twenty some miles behind the lines, protruding into enemy territory like a burr. A severe winter freeze had temporarily stalled the fighting there, but once the weather eased, we would be caught in the thick of it. We felt like sacrificial lambs sent to appease the God of war.
During the short, bumpy ride through the narrow, cobbled streets of Poznan to the railway station, my mind raced down a road of gloomy scenarios. Six months from now, where would I be? Dead? Wounded? Or even worse—captured by the Russians? We had heard stories about another troupe like ours that had been captured and was later found raped, tortured to death and mutilated. Would I live to see my seventeenth birthday? I thought of home and my parents. It would break their hearts when they found out. They have had no say, and would not even know about my fate until they received my letter. That could take from one to two weeks.
Dry, voiceless sobs shuddered up my throat.
The truck stopped. With flashlight in hand, the driver came around to the back and lifted us down. Laden down with bags and bundles, we trudged behind our director, Herr Molkow, through a tunnel made of rocks and sandbags to a massive door which opened onto the enormous, empty lobby of Poznan's railway station. Our entrance stirred up a drone of ghostly echoes. Molkow waited until everyone was accounted for, then ordered us to stay there while he oversaw the transfer of our baggage.
Left standing in the middle of this immense, empty space our group appeared lost and abandoned. Our voices drowned in the reverberations of Molkow’s footsteps that multiplied to sound like an army, marching. The echoes hung in the chilly air long after he had disappeared into the shadowy recesses of the depot.
I scanned the dimly lit space for a bench, a counter or shelf, anything where I could set down my load. Nothing. Grimy outlines on the inlaid, marble floor still indicated where such furnishings used to stand, but the place was gutted, plundered. Scrap lumber closed off broken ticket and concession windows. Holes in the stone walls with wires sticking out suggested an earlier presence of lighting fixtures. A low-wattage bulb on a long, thin wire dangled from high above a domed ceiling, casting a dim, shadowy light, the only light inside the station. It was also the only clue that the station was still in operation.
My eyes lingered on the still undamaged, ornately sculpted border that banded the cupola and two supporting marble pillars. It spoke of Poland’s better days, of a time described in dusty old romance novels I had read.
The straps and handles of my bags and bundles cut into my arms and hands. Reluctantly, I set them on the dirty floor to allow the blood to flow back into my freezing, tingling fingers. Inge and Erika did the same. The three of us usually hung out together. Inge was from Hamburg, a quiet, shy, wispy, frizzy-haired dreamer with eyes like a fawn's, only months older than myself. Erika, already seventeen, was my roommate and best friend. Square and solid in build and character, with a no-nonsense attitude, she was my bulwark; my source of stability and advice. In many ways, she and I were opposites. She was orderly; I was disorganized. She respected and obeyed rules; I questioned and challenged them. She was level headed; I was impulsive. I was her source of entertainment and adventure, and she made sure that I did not step off the deep end. She anchored me; I gave her flight. We were a good combination. We needed and depended on each other.
All three of us had signed on with the Molkow Ballet under a government required apprenticeship contract. As minors, we had to attend and graduate from a State-approved program for artists that included more than just dance training.
July 04, 2010
Chapter 15- SOAP ON A BOX
...Vera and Maxine set up the picnic for the first meal. They’d all be there until the fireworks were over later that night, so food would be shuffled in and out of the ice chests all day. Grace had invited Kiowa and Marshall to eat with them;naturally, Maxine was glad they were going to stay near their table to protect Soap. No one around them seemed to notice the company that Grace and her table had were wearing uniforms. The men had been around town for so many years that everyone just accepted them as a natural part of the crowd at any community event.
Vera casually observed the tribe from New York, “They look awfully smug,
don’t they? I wonder what they’re up to?”
June 24, 2010
My guest author is Judy Comer Franklin. Judy has just released Sanctuary Stones, the second book in her May Scott Mystery series. Her first book in the series is Cold Passion. Judy was born and raised in North Carolina. She now lives in Tacoma, Washington.
Autumn didn’t want to let go of the Wiltshire plain. There had been several days with wind and rain but the leaves, in their colorful splendor, wouldn’t release their hold on the tree branches and fall to the ground. The crispness in the air and sunny days belied the calendar, which indicated harsh winter should have arrived. Lazy smoke rose from the cottage chimneys and left a lingering smell in the air of comfort and home.
Roses spilled over the fences. Apples, some on the ground but more on the trees, were alternately used as weapons for children to throw at each other or to eat, with the sweet juice dripping down their chins.
Birds scratched around in the fields that had been turned under by the farmers’ tractor blades. By now, the birds would have started their migration south to the warmer climes of Southern Europe. This year, though, the geese and smaller birds waited for their inbred knowledge to tell them when to take flight. Their calendars were surer than the farmers, who shook their heads and wondered what was happening to the weather. It was the primary topic of conversation in the pubs and no one had an answer but everyone had an opinion.
The young girl leaned out of her opened bedroom window and took in deep lungfuls of air. She loved the smell of autumn and was happy that it had lasted much longer this year. Her bottle-blonde hair, the same shade as her mother’s, shone in the sunny afternoon. She turned toward the mirror that hung over her small dresser and pinched her cheeks, which were already rosy. Her blue eyes looked back and she smiled in anticipation of her afternoon. After rummaging around her closet, she pulled out a sweater, although she wasn’t sure she’d need it for the ride she was about to take.
Now, all she had to do was sneak out of the house, get her bicycle from the shed in back and make sure her mum saw none of it. She looked at the clock and knew it was time to leave.
She tiptoed out of her room and moved as quietly as possible toward the rear of the little stone house. When she opened the backdoor it made the familiar squeak that usually didn’t sound so loud.
“Sarah, where are you going at this time of afternoon?” her mum asked as she rounded the corner and saw her sixteen-year-old daughter halfway out the door. “It’s almost time to start our tea. Your dad will be home within the hour.”
“I need to go to the library and pick up a book for my school project,” Sarah answered, hoping her mum believed the lie. She could feel the slow flush that was creeping up her neck onto her face. “I’ll be home before dad gets here, I promise,” she said, knowing it was another lie.
Her mother looked at her daughter, saw the flush and asked, “Are you going to the stones? How many times have I told you to stay away from there? The Boat of the Dead’ll take you away to Avalon if you don’t stop it. You aren’t going there, are you, Sarah?”
“No, Mum, I told you. I’m going to the library. I’ll see you later, in time to help with dad’s tea.”
Sarah closed the door and ran for the shed and her bike. Her mother always seemed to know exactly where she was going, but Sarah didn’t believe that nonsense about the stones. She had always felt safe there, as if she was in the sanctuary of a church. It wasn’t scary at all, no matter all the legends that surrounded the stones.
The busy A303 that skirted the village went out to the area, but Sarah knew another way, across the fields and along a path that, for a little while, followed the River Avon. She didn’t like lying to her mum, but she just had to meet him. He had crept into her mind and heart and nothing could keep her from him, even the love she had for her mum and dad.
Her bike rattled over the rough path. The sky was a beautiful robin’s egg blue and the journey seemed shorter than it was because she enjoyed being outside on such a wonderful early winter day.
When Sarah reached a small rise, she got off her bicycle and stood for a few moments and took in the splendid view that lay before her. The massive stones that formed Stonehenge stood sentinel, as they had for thousands of years.
She hesitated and wondered at the small voice that she seemed to hear, coming from deep inside of her. “Don’t go,” it pleaded. “Go home to your mum and dad.”
Sarah got on her bike and considered turning around and peddling as fast as she could toward home. She took another look toward the stones just as he came out from behind one of the sarsens and waved to her. She waved and smiled but the voice was still within her, telling her not to go, to turn back now, before it was too late.
“Mrs. Waters, you’ve got to help me,” Sarah said between sobs as she knocked on the door of the whitewashed limestone cottage at the edge of the village.
“Go away! I don’t want anything to do with any of you from around here,” the old voice said.
“I’m desperate, Mrs. Waters. You’re my only hope.” Tears and terror made Sarah difficult to understand.
A gnarled claw of a hand reached outside the door and creaked it open. “All right, child, come in.”
Sarah had never been inside this house but she’d spent plenty of time outside it, especially on All Saint’s Eve. It was a well-known fact that Mrs. Waters practiced the ancient arts of the goddess.
“I didn’t have anywhere else to go. I’m pregnant, Mrs. Waters, and I don’t know what to do.”
“Marry the boy.” A large tabby cat strolled into the room and sat next to the fire, which burned cheerfully in the grate.
Tears ran down Sarah’s face and her tragic eyes told the story.
“So, he won’t marry you, will he?” Mrs. Waters had heard this tale told a thousand times. She moved toward a large, soft chair and sat down.
“When I told him we were going to have a baby I thought he’d be happy, like I was. I told him I loved him and he said, ‘Well, there’s nothing I can do about that. And anyway, how do I know it’s mine?’ Then he walked off and I haven’t seen him since.”
Mrs. Waters looked at the young girl and heaved herself up from the comfortable chair. She walked over to a cabinet that covered the better part of a wall and opened one of the doors. Inside, bottles and boxes were stored in tidy rows. “Here’s what can help you, if that’s how you want to solve the problem.” She walked over to Sarah and handed her a small bottle with an undecipherable label on it. “Take this every night for a week and by the eighth day, he’ll be gone.”
“He?” Sarah asked as she looked at the bottle. It glistened in the firelight.
“Your baby boy,” Mrs. Waters said as she carefully watched Sarah’s
“My mum and dad would kill me if they knew. I’m their perfect daughter. I’ve always done everything they wanted. I can’t tell them. My mum couldn’t show her face in the village anymore. Dad would be the worst, though. He’d disown me. I’d never see them again. I don’t want to kill my little baby, but I don’t have anywhere else to turn.” Sarah put her hands over her eyes and rubbed them, as if she could rub the horror away. “How much do I owe you, Mrs. Waters? I have some money with me.”
“Naught. Just think hard about what you’re about to do, Sarah. Go to the sanctuary stones and listen to what they tell you.”
“I don’t know where they are. Tell me and I’ll go. Where are the sanctuary stones, Mrs. Waters?”
“You know, child. You’ve always known.”
June 23, 2010
June 06, 2010
May 30, 2010
My dad didn't ever say much that I could carry into later life, but he did say one thing I remember: "Girl, sometimes you have to use good old common horse sense."
May 28, 2010
I'm back!- When I began converting all of my paperbacks into a format for the electronic readers, I felt like I got sucked into my computer. Now it's all done and my readers can read my books in almost any format they choose.
I am particularly happy about the font-size options in the new devices. Until recently, I was really sight-impaired. So much so that I increased the font size of every blog and website I have. Now that my sight crisis seems to be over, I'm leaving the sites' font sizes as they are. I hope it helps anyone having sight problems.
What are you reading?- Email me and let me know!
Politics- The gulf oil spill situation has made me very sad. And angry. Is greed the biggest cause of all of our problems? Seems so. If we keep it up, we'll not have an oceanic food supply and this planet will be well on its way to extinction. Well, maybe we are already. I think I heard that there are at least five other oil spills in the Earth's oceans. Now is the time for world leadership. Instead of killing each other, why don't our leaders do something to help us live?
On my TV- I've really enjoyed watching Selling New York on HGTV. Architecture has always been one of my interests and the glimpses of high rise real properties in the middle of Manhattan has fascinated me. The giggle bonus is the people in the show--they are so full of themselves! Sometimes it hurts to watch them. I have to shut my eyes...
On my Kindle- Due to the low prices of books on Kindle, I've finished few books this month. I keep buying more. Who could resist Anna Karenina for under two bucks?! But yesterday, I did manage to finish The Angel's Game (literary) by Carlos Ruiz Zaffron. Also, in May, I read Free Prize Inside (marketing), Last Resort: Marriage (romance), Where the Heart Is ( romance), and Whirlpool (romance). I love my romance books. Years ago, there used to be a commercial whose tag line was: Calgon, take me away...That's the way I feel about romance books. If the situation in the gulf and Wall Street doesn't improve, I'm going to be reading a lot more of them!
Bernie Madoff- I haven't forgotten you, Bernie. What's for lunch over in the big house today?
Health care- Now that we have a health care bill I'm hoping to relax some. I had to withdraw from participation in the discussion because it literally made me sick. I know the bill we got isn't perfect, but we had to start somewhere. Yesterday, in the doctor's office, I read in a magazine that an acress had lung scans for years to keep tabs on a possible cancerous growth. It finally did become cancerous and she had an immediate operation to remove it. That's nice. I'm happy for her. But what about all of the people who don't have the luxury of such expensive, preventative care? Hopefully, we're on the road to making good health care assessable to everyone.
Quote du jour:
"The quality of our expectations determines the quality of our actions." Andre Goden