Tuesday, February 26, 2019

HOLLOW HEART #Blog-A-Book-Scene#TheWildingsSeries by Sarah J. McNeal

Blog-a-Book-Scene is a monthly themed blogging endeavor from a group of authors who love to share excerpts from their stories. You can find us at #PrairieRosePub @PrairieRosePub
February's Theme: Love Letters
March's Theme: Kidnapping

HOLLOW HEART




Madeline Andrews is a grown up orphan. Sam Wilding made her feel part of his life, his family and swore he’d come home to her when the war ended, but he didn’t return. With the Valentine’s Ball just days away, the Wildings encourage Madeline to move forward with her life and open her heart to the possibilities. But Madeline is lost in old love letters and can’t seem to let go.


Excerpt:
Madeline folded the letter and slipped it back into its envelope. Her heart ached as she put the envelope back into the box. She placed it with reverence on her dresser beside the picture of Sam and her, laughing into the sun on that beautiful summer day, years ago. She twisted the gold ring with the little heart-shaped ruby around her left ring finger. Sam had given it to her the day he left for deployment to Europe. He said it was a promise ring. The ring would remind her of his love, his promise to return, and his pledge to wed her when the war ended. A sigh escaped her. None of his promises had come true.


Excerpt:
“C’mon, fess up. I can tell you’ve been reading those old letters and digging up misery again, haven’t you?”
Madeline sighed as she collapsed in the chair opposite Juliet. “Yes. I confess.” She smoothed out the skirt of her dress and avoided Juliet’s gaze. “I can’t help it. It’s just so hard to believe he might really be gone, that he may never come back.” She swallowed against the rising tide of emotions gathering in her throat. “I feel so empty inside, as if someone has hollowed out my heart with a pocket knife. I can’t imagine my life without him in it. If I just knew he was alive and in the world somewhere, I could bear it.”
Juliet reached over and patted Madeline’s hand in comfort. “You have to stop this, Madeline. Somehow, you have to come up with the courage to go on with your life. I want you to go to the Valentine’s dance and just open up to the possibility that there may be a Mr. Right out there for you besides Sam. If you don’t, you’re going to wither away into a crone like that old Mrs. Havisham in her wedding dress with her dried up wedding cake in Great Expectations.
“What are you suggesting I do?”
“Go to the Valentine Ball. Just go and dance a little.”
Madeline stood and walked to the window to stare out at the white landscape below. “What earthly good would that do?”
Juliet left her chair to join Madeline at the window. “You’re too young and beautiful to closet yourself away like some old hermit. You need to get dressed up, fix your gorgeous, wavy black hair, put on some lipstick and enjoy a dance or two with some handsome men. God knows, there’re plenty of cowboys to go around, here in Hazard.”

Excerpt:
Joey glanced through the kitchen window at the snow falling in the yard. “I’ll do it right away. I wouldn’t want any of Dad’s patients sliding off the road into the ditch. When Mom and Juliet come home, they’ll need a clear road, too. I’d feel terrible if anything happened to them.” He turned back to Madeline and took the broom and bucket of cleaning supplies from her and followed her down the steps to his father’s office. “Did Juliet talk you into going to the Valentine Ball?”
Madeline smiled. “Who could resist the persuasive powers of Juliet Wilding? It’s like trying to take down a brick wall with a wooden spoon.” They both laughed.
“I’m glad. It won’t be so bad, and I can tell you for a fact all my cousins will be standing in line for a dance. Before you’ve had a dance with those idiots, I’ll take a turn first, before you’ve suffered too much damage. Hope you don’t mind some broken toes. None of us can dance worth a hoot.”
“Thank you, Joey. It makes me feel better to know I’ll be surrounded by men who are like brothers to me.” Madeline gave him a friendly swat on the arm.
“You can count on us to get you into trouble or get you out.” He spoke as he headed back up the steps toward the kitchen. “Well, guess I better get on a warm coat and hat and get out to the tractor. Get busy with those mops and brooms, girl; daylight’s wasting.” With a chuckle, he disappeared beyond the kitchen door.



Buy Link: AMAZON KINDLE


Diverse stories filled with heart




Thursday, February 14, 2019

In Honor of Mars Rover Opportunity #TheWildingSeries#FarewellOpportunity By Sarah J. McNeal




In 2004 the United States sent twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, to Mars on a 90 day mission to discover if water ever existed on the red planet. Soon after their arrival, Spirit and Opportunity parted ways to explore opposite ends of Mars and gather all the data possible about the landscape, rocks, and soil. A wealth of photographs and important information began to flood into NASA. An ancient volcano was discovered and, beneath a layer of red dust, silica. Silica is an extremely important find because it indicates there was once hot springs of salty, sulfuric water made acidic by volcanic eruptions. Though most likely alive with microbes in the beginning, it did not have the necessary elements to support a higher evolutionary climb. Expecting only 90 days to gather data, the scientists worked as quickly as possible to learn all they could. They felt the solar panels on the rovers would cover with dust and block them from recharging from sunlight. Turns out, there is wind on Mars and the wind swept away the dusty layer on the panels.

In 2010 Spirit faltered and went silent. The scientist tried to revive her, but turned to Opportunity when they could not get Spirit to wake up. Well, Opportunity turned out to be quite a champion. He worked and worked and worked over the years and the scientific community began to think he would never die as they collected the invaluable information from the mechanical little soldier.



Then, in June 2018 a global dust storm overtook the planet and rover Opportunity was buried under the dust. Still, scientists hoped he would revive so they waited and waited for a recovery. Opportunity never replied to any of their commands after that. 

At the end of the night on Tuesday Dr. Callas phoned operators of a radio dish in Australia, part of the network that NASA uses to communicate with its interplanetary voyagers.

He thanked them for 15 years of work with Spirit and Opportunity, and said he was now signing off.
“There had been a lot of talking and laughing and whatnot between crying and hugging,” Dr. Harrison said. “As soon as that moment happened, it just went silent.”


On February 13, 2019, Opportunity’s mission official ended. The last message sent to Opportunity was a song, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” sung by Billie Holiday in an original recording. Opportunity did not reply. When I heard that song played on NPR radio as a last farewell to the brave rover, Opportunity, I have to confess, I broke down and cried.

Link to Billie Holiday singing "I'll Be Seeing You"

On a positive note, NASA plans to send another rover, a more sophisticated one that can analyze mineral content to Mars in 2020. I have missed the hope, knowledge, and excitement of space program since it ended. But at least we have rovers and dedicated scientists still exploring the unknown.
Are you a science enthusiast? Do you miss the space program? Were you sad to learn of Opportunity’s death? What are your thoughts about future adventures to explore space?



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Sunday, February 03, 2019

THE WEIRD MARCH WINTER OF 1960 by Sarah J. McNeal




Here we are in the deep freeze IN THE United States right now and although Charlotte isn’t getting any snow this year, back in 1960 in March of all months, it snowed—I mean really SNOWED—every Wednesday for three weeks in a row. Well, I was a kid back then and in the south we don’t go to school if someone even smells snow. So, the neighborhood kids, my sister, and I had a pretty dang good holiday that year.

But let’s face it, kids all holed up in the house for three seeks must be a pain for moms who, by the way in those days were mostly stay at home moms. We were all HIGHLY encouraged to go outside and play.
Luckily, my Yankee parents had some delightful sleds that suddenly became the center of the neighborhood kids’ attention. We had a huge hill and two sleds so, hello fun times. The really great thing about the snow that year was that it was also extremely cold. So all day the snow only melted enough so that overnight it froze into an ice sheet over the top of the snow making a nice slick, sled riding highway. Good thing, too, because we had already built all those snowmen and tried to kill each other with snowballs the first day. The snow was hard on top after that with the icy layer so we couldn’t build any more snow people or throw snowballs anymore.

I’m certain our parents were happy since all of us kids were occupied with sledding all day, we only came in for lunch or to warm our hands and back outside we went. I actually got a snow tan. Pop came out with me once and we rode down the hill together. His skills at sledding had faded so we crashed and burned spilling both of us off the sled. But that just added to the special memories for me.
I don’t recall ever having that kind of snow here again, but I remember that time with great joy.
The official climate report:

March 1960 remains the snowiest month on record in Charlotte.

How crazy was that March? It was and still is the snowiest month on record in Charlotte with 19.5” of snow for the entire month. That’s snowier than any other month including December, January and February. Even more, 1960 is the snowiest year on record in Charlotte as well. With 22.9”  of snowfall and 19.3” of that falling in March alone.

It was very cold as well!

It’s amazing to think that one month outside of Winter in one year can still be the record holder for snowfall in Charlotte.  Not only was it snowy it was frigid. The March of 1960 was the coldest March on record by 3.4°, and it was an astounding 11.5° below average.
There is good reason that so many people who were here remember the March of 1960. It will remain one the coldest and snowiest periods in the history of the area. For more information on that crazy March here is a great write-up that the National Weather Service Office in Greer, SC did in 2010. That was the 50 year anniversary of the memorable March.

For those of who were raised here during that time, do you remember that weird March in Charlotte? What did y’all do for fun? Now I know some of you experience this kind of winter weather every year where you live. Do you like that kind of snow that gets so hard on top you can walk on it? How did you spend your time as kids in winter? What about right now—are any of you living where this weather has gotten into the sub-zero category? Have you lost power? By the way, do you have a backup plan for power outages? What are you doing to amuse yourselves during this weather? What is the most memorable time from your childhood about winter weather?

 Charlotte Past And Present Face Book Page is a great place to check out pictures and stories of historical events here in Charlotte, NC just in case you might be interested.

3 Wednesdays graph in Charotte, NC 1960




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Saturday, January 19, 2019

INSPIRATION FROM OUTER SPACE by Sarah J. McNeal







Yesterday I watched a new release on Netflix titled VOYAGER. I expected it to have some exciting facts and images, and I certainly was not disappointed, but I also got something unexpected.



Voyager 1 and 2 were launched a month apart in 1977, their mission to send back pictures and data on Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune including the moons that orbit them. From there the two spacecraft would continue to travel out into interstellar space beyond our solar system into the great unknown. We will receive information from Voyager 1&2 for many years to come because they have nuclear batteries powering them.

Jupiter's Moon, IO

All of this scientific data is enough to excite us Earth-bound humans, but Voyager 1 has on board something very special, something that the scientist, Carl Sagan envisioned and included that will carry humanity into the stars in immortality.

The Golden Record

Carl Sagan made a golden record of Earth sounds, of animal sounds, a variety of music from classic, to jazz, to rock, and music from other countries around the world. A message of “Greetings from planet Earth” spoken by adults and children in many languages was recorded on the golden record. Sagan also included images of humans and a map to Earth using pulsars.

The Arrow shows the last picture of Earth from Voyager 1 

Voyager will be out there still traveling with humanity’s thumbprint long after all life on Earth has disappeared and our sun has turned into a red giant. And maybe somewhere, sometime if other intelligent beings are out there, they will find Voyager and discover that there was a planet named Earth where once life abounded and human beings reached out to say, “Hello, we were here.”


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Saturday, December 15, 2018

A HUSBAND FOR CHRISTMAS by Sarah J. McNeal #BlogABookScene #prairieRosePub #WildingsSeries


A HUSBAND FOR CHRISTMAS
by Sarah J. McNeal
Prairie Rose Publications
Historical Western Holiday Romance
Buy Link: AMAZON


A night of horror… a wish for a new life...and a secret love



Jane Pierpont and her son, Robin, survived the Titanic, but her husband went down with the ship and the emotional scars of that night have kept her and her son locked into that frightening event. Robin is terrified of deep water and Jane has nightmares and survivor’s guilt. She yearns for a family, a loving husband and maybe another child, but she feels disloyal to Michael’s memory whenever Teekonka Red Sky comes near her.

Teekonka Red Sky loves Jane and her son, but all his efforts to help them past their painful memories of the night Michael Pierpont died have been unsuccessful. Unwilling to give up, can his Lakota beliefs help him bring peace to Robin and free Jane to love again?



Excerpt:



He laughed, the sound rich and deep, interrupting her. “I know your name…Jane.” He spoke her name softly, reverently as if it were a treasure.  He chuckled a little. “My first name’s about as long as my last.”

“Does Teekonka mean something in Lakota, like brave or warrior, or some such thing?”

“It means ‘talks too much.’ Figures, doesn’t it?” He did laugh then, and Jane couldn’t help laughing along with him.

He touched her face at the corner of her mouth with his finger. “Your face brightens when you laugh.”

Jane backed away. “You’re just flirting with me now.”

He flashed her a wide grin. “Yes ma’am, I am, but I also mean it. You are very pretty.”

She stood speechless unable to respond to him. She couldn’t remember the last time a man complimented her, let alone blatantly flirted with her. It felt good, like a warm hug on a cold day. He bent his head and kissed her. His lips, warm and supple, took hers in a tender way, so sensual, yet asking nothing more. Jane’s heart beat against her ribs, and heat flooded her core. All too soon, Teekonka pulled away and grinned.







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Friday, December 14, 2018

Prairie Rose Publications Christmas Sale December 14-16 99 Cents and FREE Books

HO HO HO!!! Prairie Rose Publications and Imprints has got the king of all Christmas gifts for YOU! Give everyone on your Christmas list (including yourself!) something wonderful to read--and at unbelievable prices! Join us for our VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS SALE today, Saturday, and Sunday--where many select books in our various imprints are on sale for .99 or FREE! Stop by the PRP blog for a wonderful world of reading selections at a steal of a deal! .99 and FREE? You need to stock up! Historical and contemporary romance, sci-fi, YA, contemporary and historical mysteries, and westerns...BOXED SETS, novellas and novels...COME ON OVER AND TAKE A LOOK!

About this website
prairierosepublications.blogspot.com
Christmas is headed our way at break-neck speed and Prairie Rose…




HARMONICA JOE'S RELUCTANT BRIDE by Sarah J. McNeal FREE

Excerpt:


HARMONICA JOE’S RELUCTANT BRIDE (time travel western novel)



This book is where the Wildings series begins with Joe and Lola in the fictional town of Hazard, Wyoming 1910



A haunted house, a trunk and a date with destiny.



Buy links: AMAZON 



Excerpt:

             She heard bursts of laughter and the clank of glasses bumping together as she tried to open her eyes.  Someone played a piano in discord and feet stomped in time to the music.  The smell of stale beer, old wood and body odor assailed her senses.  Lightheaded and disoriented, it took a moment before her blurred vision focused.  She straightened from her crouched position and stood on a wooden plank floor covered in sawdust, peanut shells and bits of refuse.  The card that had dropped from her grasp lay on the floor at her feet.  She reached down and clutched it in her hand as she heard a man speak in a ceremonious voice. “I now pronounce you man and wife.  Harmonica Joe, you may kiss your bride.”  Laughter resonated and cheers went up around the room.

 

      Lola clasped the card tight in her fist and glanced up just in time to see an angular face with mesmerizing coffee brown eyes framed in sandy hair move toward her.  A day’s growth of beard graced his jaw but it only enhanced his handsome features.  She backed away a step only to have someone push her forward.  She collided with the solid body of this imposing stranger.  The stranger’s arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her close as his head dipped down, his mouth capturing hers.  The bristles of his chin scraped her tender flesh that caused a thrill to scamper down her spine. 




Diverse stories filled with heart