Our Lady of the Roses in Presale Now

Thursday, March 19, 2020

FREE DOWNLOAD!


FREE - That's a word to get your attention. In order lighten all our spirits, I'm making my newest romantic comedy, OUR LADY OF THE ROSES, free to download to your Kindle, Nook, tablets, computers, and phones.

It is set in Rome, a place many of us have on our minds today, and is lighthearted and fun--something we all need now. Feel free to share. #romanticcomedy #novel #freereads
#freeKindle #books #FreeNook #Funny



Please feel free to spread the word to your reader friends anyone can download it, and you can read it on your Kindle, Nook, tablet, computer or cell phone. I only ask that if you like the book, please leave a review on the site where you downloaded it. I hope the book helps to cheer you in these crazy times.

Stay strong and stay well!

Janice

Links to download for FREE:

Friday, March 6, 2020

One Love



I had the great fortune to take a break from winter and embark on a cruise in the Caribbean at the end of January beginning of February. We stopped at 12 islands, and in addition to enjoying the feel of the sun on my face, refreshing saltwater washing over me and the warmth of powdery sand beneath my feet, I enjoyed something else—freedom.

If you have never been on a cruise, you may not know that there are people aboard, passengers and crew alike, from all over the world. In addition, the islands are inhabited by people who have mixed races of African, Dutch, Spanish, English, French and local Indians, depending upon which port you visit.

Unless they were presenting a false face to us or it was the euphoria of escaping snow, not once did the citizens of any of the islands we met stress that they despised Columbus, felt oppressed, or focused on what color skin they had or you had. We were just people. Different in skin pigment and cultural practices but just people.

Slave huts on Bonaire
But they weren’t ignorant of their history, and they showed us the impossibly austere huts on Bonaire, where slaves lived while forced to make salt. We saw the Hato Caves on Curacao and the soot from fires on the cave's ceiling left from the slaves who had hidden in there from their slave masters. In Puerto Rico, our taxi driver proudly showed us the monuments to Christopher Columbus and Ponce de Leon and told us proudly that Puerto Ricans are a mixture of Spanish, Taino Indian, African. 

In Antigua the store owners looked at us in amusement when we asked them if they knew where we could buy more sunscreen, implying do you think with my skin color I need sunscreen? 
Hato Caves

Christopher Columbus Memorial in San Juan, P.R.
Ponce de Leon Memorial, San Juan, P.R.
On board ship, it was no different. My husband explained some things about the Super Bowl to an inquisitive man from India while watching the big game, and I chatted for an hour with a man from Toronto who had immigrated to that city from Trinidad back in the 1980s. We laughed when he told me how cold his Caribbean-weight cloth pants left him when he arrived there in December.

People on board engaged in games, enjoyed music, laughed, drank, swam, conversed, held elevators doors, and dined with people who did not look like them. It was so freeing. There was no looking back to the past and all the mistakes made there. There was only now.

So, imagine my sadness when I recently interviewed a black businessman who had traveled the world and told me that he found Pittsburgh to still be very racist. I couldn’t argue with him; I don’t know. I’m not in his skin, but if it is, I’m very sad. Not only for him but for all of us.

In the Bible they often describe heaven as a wedding feast, but sometimes I think it’s more like a cruise ship where all God’s children from around the world are enjoying themselves, laughing, dancing, and feasting and the lyrics of Bob Marley are playing: “One love; One Heart. Let’s get together and feel alright.” 

This originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Northern Connection magazine. http://northernconnectionmag.com/wherewasi/ 

Friday, February 14, 2020

You’re Nobody Until Somebody Loves You


Life sends so many mixed messages our way. We are bombarded with happy, feel-good, simplistic platitudes and Facebook memes that say things like: “You are special! You are unique! There’s no one else like you! At the same time life often reminds us that we are nothing special. We are just one of the 7.5 billion people living on earth.

While each one of us is different, paradoxically, we are also all the same. I may have a different genetic makeup and a unique fingerprint, but I also share a common physiology and psychology with everyone else on the planet.

This was recently brought to my attention while learning about advertising for my newest novel. Do you know that with today’s technology and all the data it has collected on us, it can pretty much predict with a great deal of accuracy your behavior, your likes and dislikes and even what you are likely to purchase.

I’ve always thought I was unique; I’m sure everyone feels that way to a certain extent. No one can completely know what it feels like to be another person, but alas I’ve learned that I’m actually average and very predictable. The new technology knows that as a white, married, middle-aged woman, I’m apt to buy certain books, attend certain events and even adhere to certain political and religious beliefs.

However, while at the time I was learning all of this, I also received a picture frame as a gift that said “Grandma, to the world, you’re one person, but to us you are the world.”

Now which is it? Am I ordinary? Or am I someone special?

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day and our thoughts turn to love, I think I’ve found the answer. We are both. Yes, we are all just a number, but what elevates and makes us special is love.

It’s the love of a mother that makes you treasured more than all the other babies in the world. It’s the love of a spouse that makes you special compared to all the possible mates in the world. It’s the love of our Heavenly Father that makes us humans “a little less than the angels.”

But what about those who sadly have not been shown love? Are they not special? They are as well. You don’t have to be on the receiving end of love to be valued, you can be the bestower of love because it is also in the act of loving another, whether it be romantic, parental, platonic, that raises us from being a nobody to a somebody. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!  

This originally appeared in the February issue of Northern Connection magazine.