Never Forget, Ever Honor

american-school-decoration-day-from-a-book-pub-1896 (1)Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, which began with Southern ladies  decorating  the graves of fallen Confederate soldiers in 1868. Today it is celebrated all over the United States and its territories as a memorial to all those who have died in military service.

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8 Hacks for Mother’s Day (For When You Really Wish They Wouldn’t)

By Pauline Daley-Parril

 

1. Breakfast in Bed

 

It’s five minutes past dawn and you hear your kids banging cupboard doors down in the kitchen. Soon there will be syrup and pancake batter dripping from the walls, floors, countertops and overhead fixtures. Worse yet, you are about to be compelled to consume a plateful of cold pancakes that are burnt black on the outside while still remaining uncooked on the inside, all swimming in a bathtub’s worth of syrup.

 

The Hack: Quick. Hide the syrup. Give them a bag of chocolate chips and a package of paper muffin cups. Ask them to count all the chips into the cups. Tell them you would like a banana and twenty-thirteen chocolate chips for your breakfast. Ask Daddy to supervise. Hurry back to bed.

 

2.  The Card

 

Did your kids spend all of 47 seconds last week pouring school glue and dropping pieces of macaroni onto a piece of heart-shaped construction paper? Now you have to store that adorable handmade creation at the back of your closet for the rest of eternity with the rest of the collection of Penne necklaces and pasta shell pencil holders, right? That proves you love them right?

 

The Hack: Feeding them proves you love them too. Boil up a large pot of salted water, drop in the collected works, put your feet up and wait till all the noodles are al dente. Drain, toss in a handful of shredded cheese and voila! An easy mother’s day dinner is served. Don’t forget the paper plates.

 

3. The Husband With a Poor Sense of Timing

 

The minute you launch the kids on their way with the bag of chocolate chips, guess who slides back into bed beside you with less-than-minty morning breath and rough unshaven chin? Did he just scrape/nuzzle the back of your neck and offer you a “steamy” Mom’s Day present in the shower?

 

The Hack: You do want your pillow back right? If you want to unpoke his tongue from your ear fast, tell him he is a sweet boy and then remind him to call his Mom today to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. Point out that an early call might be bad timing as maybe his Dad is also giving his Mom a steamy morning kiss right about now too. Use descriptive adjectives to make sure he gets the picture. Then punch him playfully in the arm and cackle, “Aren’t you just a chip off the old cock?” As he begins to gag a little, mention that you just downed a handful of chocolate chips. Mistake! Aren’t they just ripping right through you! Yell “outta my way,” jump out of bed and hop towards the bathroom with your hands pressed against your backside.

 

4. The Spa Day

Did you get a gift certificate for a day at the spa? Nope, neither did I. Don’t let that stop you.

 

The Hack: Of course the answer is to book your worthy self in for the salt scrub flotation cabin, lotus glow massage and mani-pedi with truffles as soon as possible.

 

5.  The Flowers

Every mother loves getting a gift of cut flowers right? Trouble is now you have to clip the stems properly on a 45 ° angle with a sharp florist’s knife, creatively arrange the blooms in a vase like the Pinterest people are watching, and change the slimy water everyday. As if you didn’t have enough to do. The baby is teething and the toddler is trying to flush the cat down the toilet and now you are in charge of freshening up those candy-pink Carnations.

 

The Hack: Fill a carafe with red wine and let it aerate for five minutes. If the baby is crying very loudly, feel free to skip the breathing step. Carefully arrange the blooms in the empty wine bottle. If you have too many stems, you may open a second bottle.

 

6. His Mother

 

There is no known hack for your Mother–in-Law. Deal with it.

 

7. Your Mother

 

In all the bustle and fun of enjoying your special day, did you forget to call your own mother to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day? I know. I forgot too. Kill me now.

 

The Hack: Google images to the rescue. Spice up your apology message with some links. Recommended search terms: “shirtless hot dudes.” “Old Spice Guy + snake. For a few blessed moments, she will probably forget that she ever had you. Of course you still owe her chocolate.

 

8. The Hugs and Kisses

 

Who needs to hack a Mother’s Day kiss and hug? It’s totally the best part. Take all the sweet squeezes and smacks that you can get—even if the chubby fingers are smeared with chocolate chips and the bearer of the lips still needs a shave.

 

 

Collette Yvonne has written more than 150 articles published in Ontario’s Dailies.  Her short story, Snapshots for Henry, was made into a short film directed by Teresa Hannigan and received a 2007 Genie nomination for Best Live Action Short Drama.  More of Yvonne’s short stories, including From the Cottage Porch and Wild Words 2010 appear in published anthologies. She is a graduate of Toronto’s York University with a BA degree in Creative Writing, creating both fiction and non-fiction works. Her latest novel, The Perils of Pauline was published by Astor + Blue Editions in January 2015. For more information visit www.colletteyvonne.ca

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Ten Most Memorable Moms in New Fiction

What better time of year than Mother’s Day to showcase some of the most memorable fictional mothers in some of the best new novels?  From loving, supportive mothers to complex, trailblazing mothers to selfish, vindictive mothers, this list has it all!

 

1) The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White (Lake Union, July 2015)

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Ella Fitzwilliam, the mom in THE PERFECT SON, quit a successful career in jewelry design to be full-time parent, mental health coach, and advocate for her son, Harry, who has a soup of issues that include Tourette syndrome. She has devoted 17 years of her life to his therapy, to educating teachers, to being Harry’s emotional rock and giving him the confidence he needs to be Harry. Thanks to her, Harry is comfortable in his own skin, even when people stare. After Ella has a major heart attack in the opening chapter, her love for Harry tethers her to life. But as she recovers, she discovers the hardest parenting lesson of all: to let go.

 

 

2) Rodin’s Lover by Heather Webb (Plume, January 2015)

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In RODIN’S LOVER, Camille’s mother, Louise Claudel, is spiteful, jealous, and disapproving of Camille’s pursuit to become a female sculptor in the 1880s. She also shows signs of mental illness. Because of this relationship, Camille struggles with all of her female relationships the rest of her life, and ultimately, to prove to her mother that she’s truly talented.

 

 

3) Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen (Astor + Blue Editions, April 2015)

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In IMAGINARY THINGS, young single mother Anna Jennings has a unique power that most parents only dream of—the ability to see her four-year-old son’s imagination come to life.  But when David’s imaginary friends turn dark and threatening, Anna must learn the rules of this bizarre phenomenon, what his friends truly represent, and how best to protect him.

 

 

4) The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister (Sourcebooks, January 2015)

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In THE MAGICIAN’S LIE, Arden’s mother is remarkable both for what she does and what she doesn’t do. As a young woman, she bears a child out of wedlock and runs away with her music teacher, never fearing the consequences. But later in life, her nerve fails her—just when her daughter needs her most.

 

 

5) Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer (Putnam, 2014)

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In FIVE DAYS LEFT, Mara Nichols is, in some ways, a typical mother: she loves her daughter fiercely, thinks about her constantly and goes to great lengths to balance her high-stress legal career with her daughter’s needs. But there are two ways in which Mara isn’t typical at all. First, she adopted her daughter from India, making good on a lifelong promise to rescue a baby from the same orphanage where Mara herself lived decades ago. And second, when Mara is diagnosed with a fatal, incurable illness that will render her unable to walk, talk or even feed herself, she has to make the kind of parenting choice none of us wants to consider—would my child be better off if I were no longer alive?

 

 

6) House Broken by Sonja Yoerg (Penguin/NAL, January 2015)

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In HOUSE BROKEN, Helen Riley has a habit of leaving her grown children to cope with her vodka-fueled disasters. She has her reasons, but they’re buried deep, and stem from secrets too painful to remember and, perhaps, too terrible to forgive.

 

 

7) You Were Meant for Me by Yona Zeldis McDonough (Penguin/NAL, 2014)

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In YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME, having a baby is the furthest thing from Miranda Berenzweig’s mind.  She’s newly single after a bad break up, and focused on her promotion at work, her friends and getting her life back on track.  Then one frigid March night she finds a newborn infant in a NYC subway and even after taking the baby to the police, can’t get the baby out of her mind.  At the suggestion of the family court judge assigned to the case, Miranda begins adoption proceedings.  But her plans—as well as her hopes and dreams—are derailed when the baby’s biological father surfaces, wanting to claim his child.  The way she handles this unforeseen turn of events is what makes Miranda a truly memorable mother.

 

 

8) The Far End of Happy by Kathryn Craft (Sourcebooks Landmark, May 2015)

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In THE FAR END OF HAPPY, Ronnie has hung in there as long as she can during her husband’s decline into depression, spending issues, and alcoholism and he will not accept her attempts to get him professional help. She is not a leaver, but can’t bear for her sons to witness the further deterioration of the marriage. She determines to divorce—and on the day he has promised to move out, he instead arms himself, holes up inside a building on the property, and stands off against police. When late in the day the police ask Ronnie if she’ll appeal to him one last time over the bullhorn, she must decide: with the stakes so high, will she try one last time to save her husband’s life? Or will her need to protect her sons and her own growing sense of self win out?

 

 

9) Your Perfect Life by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke (Washington Square Press, 2014)

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In YOUR PERFECT LIFE, long-time friends, Rachel and Casey wake up the morning after their twenty year high school reunion to discover they’ve switched bodies. Casey is single with no children before becoming an instant mom to Rachel’s two teenagers and baby. Despite her lack of experience as a parent, and her often comedic missteps with the baby in particular (think: diaper blow outs and sudden sleep deprivation) Casey’s fresh perspective on her new role helps her connect with each of the children in a very different way than Rachel. And when the oldest, Audrey, is almost date raped at her prom, it is Casey’s strength that she draws from an experience in her own past that ultimately pulls Audrey through. Although it is hard for Rachel to watch her best friend take care of Audrey when she so desperately wants to, she realizes that Casey can help her daughter in a way she can’t. And Casey discovers she might have what it takes to be a mom to her own children someday.

 

 

10) The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman (Bantam, 2013)

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Elizabeth Bohlinger, the mother in THE LIFE LIST, is actually deceased. But she still has a big presence in her daughter’s life—some may say too big! With heartfelt letters, Elizabeth guides her daughter, Brett, on a journey to complete the life list of wishes Brett made when she was just a teen. Like many mothers, Elizabeth has an uncanny ability to see into her daughter’s heart, exposing buried desires Brett has long forgotten.

 

2015-05-09_9-39-52Andrea Lochen is a University of Michigan MFA graduate. Her first novel, The Repeat Year (Berkley, 2013), won a Hopwood Award for the Novel prior to its publication. She has served as fiction editor of The Madison Review and taught writing at the University of Michigan. She currently teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, where she was recently awarded UW Colleges Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Her second novel, Imaginary Things (Astor + Blue Editions, 2015) is recently released and has garnered wonderful praise. With features on Barnes & Noble.com, Huffington Post, and Brit + Co., her work is being introduced to thousands of new readers.  Andrea currently lives in Madison with her husband and daughter and is at work on her third novel. For more information visit www.andrealochen.com

 

Book Links for Imaginary Things:

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Moonlight by Ann Hunter

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Moonlight by Ann Hunter

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Moonlight, the WHITNEY AWARD NOMINATED prequel to The Subtle Beauty (free on Amazon), is the book critics are calling “Kind of ethereal”, “…a fairytale world that will steal your heart and fuel your imagination”.
In this fractured retelling of THE SWAN PRINCESS, one girl will sacrifice much to save her family.
When her mother dies, Aowyn vows to protect her brothers and father from the conniving Ciatlllait who is bent on usurping the throne and the kingdom. To do this, Aowyn makes a deal with the twisted creature Sylas Mortas, only realizing too late that breathing a word of their bargain will kill her swan brothers. Will she be able to wait out the 1,000 moons the steep price of the deal requires with war and romance on the horizon?
Find out in MOONLIGHT.

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Xander’s hand crawled over the loam and rested on Aowyn’s. He squeezed it gently.

The princess inhaled sharply. She blinked as she jostled from her reverie and offered a smile. He smiled back and squeezed her hand again, then bumped his shoulder into hers. “Tell me your name,” he whispered.

She looked away sadly. You know I cannot.

Xander turned her face back to him. “I cannot call you love names forever.”

Aowyn’s brothers swam quietly in the water. They had begrudgingly come to accept Xander. Caoin Croí began singing in his swan voice which sounded more lovely and sad than many others of his kind. His brothers bobbed their heads and began to honk rhythmically.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Heart of the Hunter by Natalie-Nicole Bates

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The Heart of the Hunter by Natalie-Nicole Bates

Heart of the Hunter

After a devastating accident, Barret Atkins has accepted a quiet, solitary existence. His life is turned upside down, when he finds the badly injured Kansas Smith, left for dead in a case of mistaken identity. As Kansas begins to recover, Barret must face some deep scars of his own. When the couple begin to fall for each other, their lives spin into a revival of past hurts, jealousies, and betrayals, causing Barret to put a halt to their budding relationship.
Barret’s hesitation causes his best friend-turned vicious rival, Duncan Craig, to pursue a friendship with Kansas. Where will this leave Barret? Can they all hold on long enough to escape Kansas’s attacker, and will they ever conquer their own inner demons intent on keeping them apart.

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Barret thought of Kansas alone in her hospital bed. She was a sweet, sensitive soul who had money and glamour handed to her, but wanted a devoted husband and family instead. He had to admit that he admired the fact that she divorced her cheating husband, and struck out on her own.

Maybe, if they’d met ten years earlier they could have given each other the contentment of marriage and fulfillment of family they both desired. But, even ten years ago wouldn’t have mattered. At that time, Kansas had been married to Quinn Michaels, who was an up and coming star. The thrill of his rise to fame had probably been invigorating for both of them.

And, he was twenty-eight at the time, trying to raise his ten year old sister with very little help from his mother, and trying to finally get his career started.

 

About the Author

Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author.
Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography and antique poison bottles. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.
She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos and antique poison bottles.
Visit Natalie online at www.natalienicolebates.com.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BatesNatalie
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natalie-Nicole-Bates/352610728138768
Blog: www.natalienicolebates.com
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Facebook Fan Group:
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Buy Links:

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Hunter-Natalie-Nicole-Bates-ebook/dp/B00IIALWTW

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-heart-of-the-hunter-natalie-nicole-bates/1116810317?ean=2940149034154

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: A Change of Plans by Donna K. Weaver

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Valentine’s Day Book Blitz Countdown Day 1

A Change of Plans by Donna K. WeaverChange of Plans

When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old Colorado high school teacher wants is to forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. What she plans is a vacation diversion; what fate provides is Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship’s make-believe world and its temporary friendships, her emotions come alive.

However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he navigates, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship—on the very anniversary Lyn came on the cruise to forget. But Lyn’s painful memories are too powerful, and she runs off in a panic.

Things are bad enough when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise’s snorkeling excursions in American Samoa. However, paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped. Lyn’s fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.

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