Link Love: Romance Gems Giveaway

Romance Gems, my group blog, is having a great Giveaway in September so I'm sending some Link Love their way.

It's all about getting back to you as an individual, not just a parent taking care of the kids on summer vacation.

So the prizes in the September Back to School? Back to YOU! Giveaway are sure to delight you and maybe pamper you a bit. In fact, it's winner's choice. Choose the Amazon Gift Cards or choose the Gift Prizes.

Enter the September Rafflecopter and you may be the lucky winner of an Echo Dot With Alexa or a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card.

Be sure and watch the Back to School? Back to YOU! video promoting the September Giveaway. It features all of the Romance Gems authors and showcases some with their respective author "tagline," a brief sentence that describes the kind of books you can expect from them.

I hope you like the video since it's one of mine. If you do, please click LIKE and subscribe to my YouTube Channel. If you have a moment, leave a comment and tell me where you found the link for the video.

The Amazing Author Sponsors

Bonnie Edwards * Caroline Clemmons * Cheryl Bolen * Connie Vines * Constance Bretes * Elsa Kurt * Hannah Rowan * Jan Scarbrough * Joan Reeves * Judy Hudson * Kara O'Neal * Karen Kelley * Karen Whiddon * Kari Lemor * Kathleen Lawless * Kathryn Hills * Laura Hunsaker * Liz Flaherty * Lucinda Race * Nancy Fraser * Nora LeDuc * Peggy Jaeger * Satin Russell.

Giveaway Details

Starts at 12:01am CDT, September 4, Wednesday.

Ends at 12:01am CDT, September 27, Thursday.

To enter, scroll to the bottom to find the Rafflecopter form.

Great Prizes Up for Grabs

Grand Prize: Winner's Choice—Echo Dot with Alexa or $25.00 Amazon Gift Card.

Alexa can read most of the ebooks on a Kindle, read an Audible audio book for you, keep track of your calendar, organize your life, do research for you, play games, play music, make phone calls for you, and even order a pizza!

Actually there's even more that Alexa can do for you. There are hundreds of free Alexa apps available to you.

2nd Prize: Winner's Choice—Reader's Journal or $15.00 Amazon Gift Card.

If you select the Woman's Writing Journal, you'll receive the one shown to the right if available or another attractive stylish journal.

3rd Prize: Winner's Choice—Lavender Bath Bomb or $5.00 Amazon Gift Card.

Have you had bath bombs before? They're like a bubble bath kicked up a few notches.

They fizz and smell absolutely wonderful. If you select Bath Bomb as your prize, we'll send one similar to the Lavender F Bomb, "a lavender bath fizzer with a message inside," shown on the left.

Good luck everyone! Enter often and tell your friends.

Wisdom for Today: Change

Life is change. How many times have you heard that?

I was at a party Friday night, and a friend and I were talking about some things happening in our community that are unsettling and puzzling.

I think one of the problems is that change is coming with the election of new officials. This change means following certain codes and restrictions that haven't been enforced before.

Weeks later there is so much turmoil in the community that it's unbelievable.

Is it the change itself that's upsetting everyone? Is it that the change means, rules that some don't like must be followed even though they have been there all along but unenforced? Is it that some of the residents feel they should be exempt from rules everyone else follows?

Whatever the reason, the end result is dismaying.

Stephen Covey said. Every human has four endowments—self awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom... The power to choose, to respond, to change.

Takeaway Truth

One can only hope that others will always respond peacefully, courteously, and decide to accept change that is lawful and inevitable.

Saturday Share: Storing Cut Onions

How about a tip on how to store onions in the refrigerator where they're always ready to use in recipes?

Onions are hard to store in a refrigerator because they tend to stink up the entire fridge. Whatever else you have stored in the fridge will reek of onion too.

I came up with this solution several years ago when I receive glass crocks of cheese spread. The crock was glass with a rubber seal and one of those old-fashion wire clasps.

If you're like me, you hate to throw out something that looks so useful. When it was empty, I washed it and stored it in the top of the cabinet with other canning jars that had once been full of jellies and pickles. I'm frugal. I just hate to toss something so useful in the recycle bin without first trying to find a regular use for it.

Chopped Onion Was the Clue
This is the kind of jar I use & must have the rubber seal

I was making a recipe that called for 1/4 cup of chopped onion. That meant I had more than half an onion left. So I diced it all up. Then I thought of the jar with the rubber seal and the wire closure.

I retrieved it from the cabinet, filled it with the rest of the chopped onion, made sure the seal was well placed, and closed it. I put it in the produce drawer of the fridge. An hour later, I checked the fridge for onion odor. Nothing!

Wow. I'd finally found something to store cut onion that didn't smell up the fridge. Now if I need a tablespoons of diced onion, it's easy to measure out.

I look for these jars, or crocks, at thrift stores like Goodwill. I've picked up another 3 over the years that I've kept. Any others I find, I give as gifts.

At Christmas, I fill them with a homemade spice mix, attach I a pretty bow and a card that explains to wash and reuse them as onion storage jars.

I'm always on the lookout for these jars, and I find at least 1 or 2 each year. Everyone who has received this as a gift passes on the tip to others.

Takeaway Truth

I've never found a better storage container for cut onion. Try it once, and you'll be convinced too.

Saturday Share

Join me every Saturday when I share a recipe, a household or organizational tip, or a short cut to make life easier for you!

Enjoy your weekend.

Review: The Sapphires

Last night I watched The Sapphires, a new release on Netflix. You can also find it on Amazon Video.

The Sapphires is a 2012 Australian musical comedy-drama movie based on a 2004 stage play of the same name.

Loosely based on a true story, the story is about 4 indigenous Australian women, Gail (portrayed by Deborah Mailman), Julie (portrayed by Jessica Mauboy), Kay (portrayed by Shari Sebbens) and Cynthia (portrayed by Miranda Tapsell).

These 4 girls with the awesome singing voices are discovered by a talent scout (Chris O'Dowd). When told they could perform as an act in Vietnam and earn $30.00 a week, they go for it.

They form The Sapphires, go to Vietnam in 1968 to sing for the troops fighting there.

Production began in 2010 on the movie with the casting of the 4 women who would portray The Sapphires.

Filmed in Australia and Vietnam during August and September 2011, The Sapphires premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. In August 2012, it was theatrically released in Australia and then had a limited release in the United States in March 2013.

My Thoughts

If you're looking for a feel-good movie with some good music, The Sapphires is it. The 4 girls portray sisters who love each other and fight with each other just as siblings often do.

What's interesting is the back story of the rift between 3 of the girls, who really are sisters, and the 4th girl who is actually not a sister.

In Louisiana where I was born, it was public policy in the bad old days to try to erase the Cajun patois from language, forcing all children to speak only English.

According to the movie's back story, in Australia, back in their bad old days, they forcibly removed light-skinned indigenous children from their homes and "gave" them to white families to adopt.

During the course of the movie, we get that history lesson and its emotional fallout on children and families who went through that. We also get a story with heart and optimism about 4 women determined to have more in their lives than the general public thought they should have.

Takeaway Truth

My husband and I both enjoyed this movie because of the story, the acting, the emotion, and the music. I think you'll enjoy it too!

Elizabeth and Robert: Their Love

On this day in 1846, romantic poet Elizabeth Barrett eloped with Robert Browning.

Theirs was a love story that lives on in her Sonnets from the Portuguese.

You may know nothing, absolutely nothing, about poetry, but I bet you know her poem, familiarly known as, How Do I Love Thee.

Maybe some historians say their love wasn't all rainbows and unicorns, but I like to think it was true love with some life problems and emotional baggage like we all have.

History of Sonnets from the Portuguese

Barrett Browning didn't want to publish her volume of poetry because she thought they were too personal. Her husband Robert Browning insisted they were the "best sequence of English-language sonnets since Shakespeare's time" and encouraged her to publish them. To try to remain anonymous, she agreed but published them as if they were translations of foreign sonnets. Originally, she planned to call the collection "Sonnets translated from the Bosnian."

Her husband suggested she change the source to Portuguese. One reason for that was because he called her my little Portuguese.

Since this work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago, I am publishing it below.

Sonnet XLII from Sonnets from the Portuguese aka How Do I Love Thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace.
True Love is always worth everything.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise;
I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith;
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Takeaway Truth

An anthem to a beloved that still thrills us.

Day of Tragedy; Day of Service

On a sunny September morning in 2001, I was vacuuming the gameroom when my husband called from his office in Houston and told me to turn on the television.

I did. I could not believe what I was seeing. Black smoke billowed from what looked like the north tower of the World Trade Center.

I told my husband something must have happened to the plane's inflight computer and somehow the  autopilot was locked on.

Of course, that was just my brain trying to make sense of what I was seeing because I could not believe someone had deliberately flown into the building.

As I watched, a United Airlines plane (Flight 175) flew into the South Tower.

Horrified, I stared at the television. For a few minutes I think my brain disconnected. No longer was I trying to find rational explanations of the horror I was seeing. My chest hurt. I realized I was holding my breath. I exhaled and gulped some much needed air. A thought flashed through my mind.

The world has changed.

Where Were You?

Nearly every time 9/11 is mentioned in conversation, someone says where they were and asks where you were on 9/11. It was a seminal event in the lives of most Americans.

If you weren't born or were too young to remember those early anniversaries, here are some facts for you to know.

The attacks took the lives of 2,996 people and injured more than 6,000 others.

The death toll included 265 on the four planes, (No one on the planes survived.), 2,606 in the World Trade Center and in the surrounding area, and 125 at the Pentagon. There were 11 unborn babies who lost their lives.

Of the people trapped in the collapse of the World Trace Centers, only 20 were found alive.

There there are all the service members who were killed or wounded in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Turn Tragedy Into Service

Rather than let the 9/11 anniversary fuel your anger, let it inspire you to be of service to others on this day.

nine-eleven-3134131_1280, by Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay
There are many ways you can honor those who died or were injured. Here are a few suggestions.

1. Fly your American flag at half-mast in honor of those lost their lives.

2. Give blood in honor of the more than 6,000 who were injured on that day. There are many blood drives on this day. Find one near you.

3. Join a local event to observe the six moments of silence for each key event of the attacks.

  • The first moment: 8:46 a.m., when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower.
  • The second moment : 9:03 a.m., when United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower.
  • The third moment: 9:37 a.m., when American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon.
  • The fourth moment: 9:59 a.m., when the World Trade Center South Tower collapsed.
  • The fifth moment: 10:02 a.m., when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field outside the town of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
  • The sixth moment: 10:29 a.m., when the orld Trade Center North Tower collapsed.
WTC Memorial, Image by Ronile from Pixabay
4. Talk about with others, especially share it with young people who know it only as part of history.

5. Post a picture on your website to honor those who lost their lives or were injured.

6. Volunteer through one of the non-profit organizations dedicated to preserving September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

7. Donate to a charity that supports the families of 9/11 victims, museums, and other beneficial programs.

8. Thank a soldier, sailor, marine, Air Force, Coast Guard and first responder for their service.

For more service suggestions and history of why September 11 was chosen for this attack, read the 2016 article 15 Ways to Remember. The historical significance of September 11 is at the end of the list.

Takeaway Truth

We remember, despite the pain, that fateful day. Philosopher George Santayana famously said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Remember history's lessons. We never want to repeat that day.

5 Blog Tips: Effective Hyperlinks

Want some more blog tips about making effective hyperlinks? These 5 tips will make your blogging more successful too.

Using these tips is not difficult. Only a little thought is required. You can write the post first then go back and edit to make sure keywords are reflected in the title, first paragraph, and anchor text of links.

1. Make the anchor text for your links clear and succinct.

Anchor text is the word or words on which the hyperlink is embedded. Always make those words relevant to the website that the link goes to. For instance, if you're linking to an article that gives more information about the subject of your post, your anchor text probably says, "Click for more information."

2. An even better way is to make the anchor text be a keyword.

The above example is rather generic. Let's use keywords. For instance, keywords for this post would be "blog tips" and "effective hyperlinks."

So instead of using generic anchor text, "Click for more information," you could say, "Click for more blog tips" and/or "Click for more about effective hyperlinks."

You would use "blog tips" and "effective hyperlinks" as anchor text for the links, just as I've used them in the sentence above.

If you use anchor text in keywords, that increases the SEO value of your content.

3. Make the text of your hyperlink that shows when moused over, clear and succinct too.

Many times, readers are hesitant to click a link if they mouse over it and gibberish shows up.

4. Avoid using too many links in your content.

Besides spoiling the appearance of your formatted content, too many links are annoying, and they slow the reader's eyes down. Too many hyperlinks stuffed in will also decrease your SEO value.

5. Always set your links in a post to open in a new tab.

You want the reader to stay tethered to your blog. With a link opening in a new tab, your blog will still be open in the original window so readers can easily wend their way back to you.

Takeaway Truth

These 5 tips aren't difficult. They require just a little thought.

Link Love: Info to Keep You & Your Home Healthy

I received an email from HouseMethod asking me to promote 3 posts about making the home a healthy environment.

I think the posts contain some good information so just click to be taken to the HouseMethod website to read them.

9 Home Tech Devices for a Healthier Home

The Best Morning Routine for Your Health: A Medical Opinion

Kitchen Habits for Eating Healthier and Reducing Waste

Takeaway Truth

It's always good to pass along useful information.

Review: Murder in the South of France

I haven't reviewed a book in a while so that's what I'll do today since I read a book that was offered free—and then I immediately went to the second book in the series. And the third. *LOL*

Yes, making the first book in a series really does pay off when a reader loves the first book!

Murder in the South of France by Susan Kiernan-Lewis is the book that I received free. To date, there are 15 books in the Maggie Newberry Mystery Series.

Book Blurb

Maggie Newberry is an advertising copywriter who's fast on her feet and a little stunned to realize that she's over 30 and still hasn't found true love.

When her long missing sister ends up dead, Maggie flies to the south of France to find the little niece that no one in the family even knew existed.

Along the way, she finds handsome, sexy Frenchman Laurent Dernier to help search for the girl. Meanwhile, her sister's murderer sets his sights on the little girl—and Maggie too.

My Thoughts

Since I love Paris, I'm predisposed to like this book with action taking place in Paris and Cannes.

Maggie is intelligent and believable in her regret, her grief, and her bewilderment about how her life is turning out. The last thing she expects when she goes to France to claim her sister's body is to find a sizzling attraction to a Frenchman she never expects to see again.

Her trip is like this novel with unexpected twists and turns that change her life forever. Maggie and Laurent, her French lover, are compelling characters about whom you can't wait to read more. I've happily followed them through 3 books now and am eager to read more in this series.

I imagine once I work my way through this series, I'll move on to her Stranded in Provence series.

Takeaway Truth

If you like your mystery on the cozy side with  no graphic violence or strong language, you'll really like the Maggie Newberry Mystery Series.

Saturday Share: Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Confession time. I love chocolate milk.

Sometimes, I would indulge my taste buds by pouring some Hershey's Chocolate Syrup into a glass of milk.

That's the best dessert anyone can make in under a minute.

However, once I got serious about eliminating artificial ingredients from the family diet, my fave chocolate syrup had to go.

Here's why: Sugar, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Salt, Mono- and Diglycerides, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 60, Vanillin, and Artificial Flavor.

If you're a chemist or a nutritionist, you might know what those ingredients are. I'm just an amateur nutritionist, but I do know that Xanthan gum is a type of sugar made from a bacteria through a process of fermentation.

The FDA considers it generally safe which actually means some may be "sensitive" to it. If you're the unfortunate person who is sensitive, Xanthan gum can cause bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea. (So does guar gum which is in just about everything that's supposed to be thickened.)

So I started making my own using this Cocoa Syrup Recipe which I'll share below. You can skip down to the recipe if you don't want to read the scoop on common ingredients that have found their way into our food.

First, I want to talk about Hershey's Simply 5 Chocolate Syrup, a new product with only 5 ingredients that are labeled Non-GMO. Those ingredients are sugar, organic invert syrup, water, cocoa, and natural vanilla flavor.

That sounds good, but I wondered what invert syrup was. I looked it up.

Invert Syrup

An ingredient used as a sweetener in foods, just as table sugar, maple syrup, or high fructose corn syrup is used. It's derived from table sugar, scientifically known as sucrose.

Sucrose is a disaccharide, meaning it's made of 2 different individual sugar molecules attached together. Sucrose has glucose and fructose attached together.

Invert sugar is made by breaking the bonds between the glucose and fructose through a chemical reaction called hydrolysis. That results in a solution that is half free glucose and half free fructose.

The part that bothers me is the hydrolysis. The past tense of hydrolysis is hydrolyzed as in hydrolized vegetable protein, hydrolyzed yeast, and other hydrolyzed ingredients in food.

(Some hydrolyzed ingredients result in a "second cousin of MSG." I'm allergic to MSG so I don't want it or its cousin in anything I eat.)

This hydrolysis of sucrose results in a solution of half free glucose and half free fructose. The chemical reaction uses water (for the hydrogen) along with heat, enzymes, or acids. It's considered generally safe.

I was tempted to try the Simply 5 chocolate syrup, but in the end, I decided an ingredient created in a lab isn't something I want in my food if I can avoid it. So I'll stick with my recipe for chocolate syrup.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup
mug-2597167_1280_by StockSnap, Pixabay

  • 1 1/2 cups of water at room temperature
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of Hershey Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup, i.e., white Karo Syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  1. In a saucepan, mix the water and the sugar. Bring to a boil.
  2. Using a whisk, mix in the cocoa powder,stirring well until the powder is dissolved.
  3. Add the salt and corn syrup, whisking well until everything is combined.
  4. Lower the heat, add the vanilla, and simmer the mixture until the sauce reduces. It should thicken slightly.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  6. Pour into a glass jar with a lid or pour into a squeeze bottle. Regardless of the bottle you use, store it in the refrigerator.
Takeaway Truth

Perfect for adding to milk or serving over ice cream. More importantly to me, it doesn't have questionable ingredients.

Saturday Share

Join me every Saturday when I share a recipe, a household or organizational tip, or a short cut to make life easier for you! Enjoy your weekend.

Who Created the Law & Order Theme

Several TV channels replay the various Law and Order shows. As soon as you hear those famous 2 notes play, you know, the "Donk Donk," you know an episode from one of the Law and Order series is starting.

The sound is heard at the beginning of the show then again whenever a major scene change occurs, accompanied by a black title card with white text describing the new scene.

I wondered who was the genius who created such a memorable, iconic sound.

One source said the sound was created to be an audible symbol of a jail cell door slamming shut. posted that the sound, created by Mike Post, was made "by combining close to a dozen sounds, including that of a group of monks stamping on a floor."

Mike Post is an American multi-Grammy and Emmy-winning composer. He's best known for his TV theme songs for series such as Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, The A-Team, NYPD Blue, Renegade, The Rockford Files, L.A. Law, Quantum Leap, Magnum, P.I., and Hill Street Blues.

Although I read various articles, I couldn't find a specific statement from Mike Post, who made the sound, or from Dick Wolf, the show runner who went to the well-known Mr. Post, about exactly how the "Donk Donk" sound was made.

However, there were comments on many of the articles from sound engineers who offered their own explanations of what was used to make the sound.

In the meantime, enjoy the sound of the "Donk Donk" in this very short video.

Takeaway Truth

Music brands TV shows into our subconscious.

Another New BookBrush Feature

Last week I reviewed the most recent features BookBrush offers.

Before the digital ink aged even a little, BookBrush has added another great feature to the Plus and Professional Plans.

I'll sprinkle some images around this post to illustrate what they mean by saved templates.

The April Fool Bride image to left was saved as a template.

I opened that image from my saved templates, selected to change cover, selected the LuvU4Ever cover, and voilĂ . It was done.

Took about a minute to do because all my covers are saved on my BookBrush dashboard.

Latest Feature

Starting this month (September), BookBrush increased the maximum number of saved templates from 25 to 50 for the Plus and Professional Plan users!

That means I can create 50 images, save them on my account, and then simply swap out the book cover when I need to create an image for a different book.

If I've created an image using Custom Creator, with a "picture" background, and saved it as a template, I can swap out the background and the text too if I wish.

I can also keep the background and change the cover image and/or the "frame" for the cover if I wish.

At right you can see a background layout using the same picture with 2 different covers and text boxes.

This was done in a matter of minutes. Easy peasy.

I love being able to save up to 50 images I've made as templates because you don't have to "reinvent the wheel" each time.

If you just want to have 3D images in an ereader, cell phone, or iPad "frame," it's easy to do. Make them, save them, and download them.

If you save the 3D image as a template, you can just change the cover in the frame when you need to make a different 3D image. Now that's a time saver that you'll love.

At right you can see what I mean by making 3D "cell phone" framed images. I made one and saved it as a template.

When I needed another 3D "cell phone" framed image, I opened the saved image, removed the cover, and put another cover in it.. So easy to make all these images and download each.

If you're a subscriber, then you know already that BookBrush is offering webinars with live training on how to make your BookBrush images look professional. When you get an email notice of this, be sure and sign up because spots go fast.

Takeaway Truth

If you're not using BookBrush, you're not taking advantage of one of the best design tools available to authors.

Blog Tips: Use Keywords in Blogging for SEO

Keywords in Blogging...Search Engine Optimization...SEO? These blog tips are what you need to make your blogging more rewarding and increase traffic to your quality content.

De-mystify Keyword

Let's take away the intimidation factor. What is a keyword?

"Keyword is a word or concept of great significance, a word that acts as the key to a cipher or code, or an informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document."

See, that's not intimidating at all. Even though the first two parts of the definition—word or concept of great significance and a word that acts as a key to a cipher or code—are accurate, the last part of the definition is what we'll focus on.

"An informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document..."

Yes, that's exactly what we're talking about today. When you list a book for publication, you select keywords. When you set up a blog and/or a post on the blog, you select keywords. Usually on blogs, those keywords are called Labels or Tags, but they're really keywords in disguise.

When you think about keywords as "informative words used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document," the whole issue of using keywords makes sense, doesn't it?

You want to have words that readers would use in searching for a post, a blog, a website, or a book that fits those words.

FIRST, plan a post & select keywords BEFORE writing
Using Keywords In Blogging

There are simple ways to make your blog post "pop up" when someone browsing online is looking for the subject of your post.

1. Always think about the content of your post.

What is it about? What words would describe the subject of the post? Pick out 3 or 4 words that tell someone what is contained in your post. For instance, in this post I've written, keywords would be: keywords, blogging, blog tips, SEO.

2. Once you've selected the keywords check to see if you actually used them.

Keywords that "indicate the content of your document" should be in: the post title, first sentence, and first paragraph.

3. If you didn't use them, edit your post to include them.

Keywords should be in your title, your first sentence, and first paragraph. You want your chosen keywords to especially be in the title. Here's why.

The most common web crawler is Googlebot. It looks at the entire title, but it only registers the first 65 characters.

Those 65 characters are what a user sees when your page appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Web Spiders, Crawlers, and Bots—Oh My!

Automated bots called web spiders or crawlers, index everything on the internet, looking for new content from the last time they crawled your blog or website.

When your keywords are crawled in the title and then again in the first sentence/paragraph, they're "registered" in a positive way and your post can rise to the top listings in the SERPs.

Takeaway Truth

Thinking of keywords this way—informative words used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document—will help you easily choose them every time.

Most Read Post: 10 Best Smells

Photo by jonas mohamadi from Pexels
I wondered which of the thousands of posts I've written and pubished continue to be read.

I did a quick scroll through the years and saw several with over 2,000 views.

The post that seems to be most popular, with 3,116 views to date, was published in August 2005.

I thought I'd republish it here today—not because I'm lazy, but because I'm a little short of time to write something new.

(Okay, maybe I am a bit lazy after the Labor Day Holiday.)

Here it is in its entirety. (You can see it's a but dated with my reference to micro cassette recording.)

10 Best Smells in the World

Recently, I visited my local, friendly Office Depot for toner. Why friendly? Because so many fresh-faced, young people ask me if I need help finding anything that I'm tempted to make a micro cassette recording of, "no, thank you" and punch play when they start stalking me with their good intentions.

Down the center of the store were the back to school specials, and the smell of Crayons washed over me, whisking me back to all the years I'd participated in the annual rite known as shopping for school supplies.

Of the five senses, smell is particularly interesting. My romance novel Scents and Sensuality has a heroine who is a perfumer by trade. I found the research fascinating.

I'm sure all of you have smelled something and immediately remembered something linked to that smell.

I can catch a whiff of Estee Lauder Youth Dew and I immediately think of my mom. That was her signature perfume when I was a kid.

Of all our senses, smell is the most primitive and is hard-wired into our brain which accounts for the smell-memory connection. Pheromones, those "invisible" smells account for probably 99% of love at first sight.

So here's my list of the 10 best smells in the world not in any particular order.
  1. A freshly bathed baby
  2. Crayola crayons
  3. Johnson baby powder
  4. New mown grass
  5. Old-fashioned roses in the garden
  6. My mom's homemade mayhaw jelly cooking on the stove
  7. Chanel No. 5 (Love that old movie Seven Year Itch where Marilyn Monroe says: "That's their highest number.")
  8. Clean clothes drying on a clothesline in the sun
  9. Really old, single malt Scotch
  10. Baking bread
You may be wondering why I've used a couple of coffee graphics to illustrate this post, but I didn't list freshly-brewed coffee as one of the 10 best smells.

Since I truly love the aroma of brewing coffee, I'll make it a #11 on my list. But only if it's Dunkin' Donuts Coffee, my all-time favorite morning beverage.

By the way, did you know that the health benefits of coffee come from drinking it within 20 minutes of its brewing?

Takeaway Truth

What's on your list?

In Some Ways, Publishing Is Unchanged

I was reading a quote I posted several years ago. I think it's still true about traditional publishing.

I also think the situation described in this quotation is why so many authors embraced indie self-publishing.

"There can hardly be a stranger commodity in the world than books. Printed by people who don't understand them; sold by people who don't understand them; bound, criticized and read by people who don't understand them; and now even written by people who don't understand them." —Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Who Was Lichtenberg?

He wasn't a modern man. He was born in 1742 and grew up to teach physics, mathematics, astronomy, and other subjects. He did research in many fields: geophysics, volcanology, meteorology, chemistry, astronomy, and mathematics to name a few.

Primarily, he's remembered for his work in physics. His only true scientific discovery though was related to electricity. In 1777, he found that discharges of static electricity formed patterns in bits of dust.

Those patterns were called Lichtenberg figures and were of no use to him, but they became the basic principle used in modern photocopying machines.

He's also remembered for thousands of pithy sayings. Actually, I think he's remembered more for his creative witticisms since he's considered a mere footnote in scientific history.

Takeaway Truth

I find it a bit comforting someone a few hundred years ago felt the same way writers often felt about publishers.

Then ebook technology came along and changed things.

Interesting Book & Author Facts

Since we did Labor Day celebration yesterday, today I'm kind of working and kind of goofing off.

The goofing off part is watching documentary about Vikings.

The kind of working is adding content to my ebook, Little Book of Sunshine. I'll republish it in a few days and will give away a bunch of free copies when I do.

Even though it says, "for Writers," you, as a Reader, will probably find these amusing tidbits about authors, writing, and books entertaining too.

Random Facts from Little Book of Sunshine

In the last 7 years of his life, Thomas Hardy took no baths. (Yes, he's the man who wrote Far from the Madding Crowd. (Is there a connection between those 2 facts?)

John Grisham received 28 rejections for A Time to Kill.

Jonathan Swift went a full year without speaking to anyone.

Lord Byron set his hair in curlers at night.

Mary Higgins Clark had her first short story rejected 40 times. (That was back when there were more than 40 publishers to whom she could submit.)

Charles Dickens detested being called Grandpa.

Frank is the real first name of Mickey Spillane.

Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski is the real name of Joseph Conrad, author of Heart of Darkness and other classics.

L. M. Olenhewitz is Jules Verne.

The Admiration Authors Have for Other Authors

Harold Robbins said about Ernest Hemingway: “Hemingway is a jerk.”

Tolstoy said about Nietzsche: “Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal.”

Truman Capote had less than admiration for just about everyone so I won’t single out an individual for his caustic comments.

Takeaway Truth

I'll finish with what Kurt Vonnegut said: “I’d rather have written Cheers than anything I’ve written.”