Cats & Winter with George


thWe had a warm spell that inspired portions of my pussy willows and lilacs to bud. Not good. Those false springs really knock the trees and shrubs for a loop. I’d prefer my seasons come in an orderly fashion and stick around for their allotted time. I sure hope we don’t get a replay of last year’s arctic misery.

Today I find the cold weather has returned. Too bad I haven’t yet managed to trap the cats. We have two cats living in our shed and I’d really like to catch them and get them to a shelter before the cold of deep winter sets in. I have a cardboard box for them to curl up in and I’ve been feeding them each day so they expect the food is there to eat without reason to be wary of my offering. My task this weekend is to get them used to eating inside the trap before I set it.

A surprising plus to this pair of outdoor cats is for the first time in nearly 30 years I don’t have winter mice in the house. But the downside to outdoor cats, beyond their horrible stink that invites other cats to come leave their scent too, is the havoc they wreak on wildlife. These cats aren’t feral animals, they’re house cats. Both sit on my porch and leave me headless mouse carcasses and make the little dog insane by their presence. If we have another super cold winter like last year, the cats will suffer outside. I have to get them gone and the sooner the better.  I won’t have a baby bird, bunny, squirrel, or chipmunk in the yard come spring. I feel for homeless animals in general but in the winter months especially. Were I an author with JK Rowling fame and cash, I’d champion animals. I donate food and toys to shelters now, but it’s not nearly enough.

You can help animals in need just by stopping at this click site~
http://theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/ars/home
Click sites like this get sponsor dollars by how active they are. The more clicks showing people stopped by, the more dollars to the animals and other worthwhile causes. Poke around this site. They also sell fair trade goods and the money goes mostly into the hands of the people who make them. I’ve been clicking here for at least 15 years, back when it was only for animals, rainforest, and literacy. Now there are tabs for many causes and you can click as often as you like to help. It’s a small thing with big impact.

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Speaking of winter…
On this day in 1777, Washington settled his troops at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania for the winter. The British had taken Philly and planed on a comfortable winter there. Washington’s army had been trounced that fall. Some historians believe had General Howe washington-and-committeejust pressed his winter advantage, the war would have been over with England the victor. Instead Howe enjoyed the Philly social scene and waited on word of his retirement.

Meanwhile…Washington wanted to keep the screws on the redcoats through the winter. The spot chosen for Washington’s 12,000 men was on the defensible high ground above the Schuylkill River approximately 20 miles from Howe and his Philadelphia night life. The encampment wasn’t the cold tent city often depicted in paintings. That’s part of our beloved American mythology along with George chopping down his father’s cherry tree. Valley Forge’s encampment actually consisted of 2000 small log cabins laid out in military streets, with full trenches, redoubts, and a bridge over the river for resupplying the troops. It was true that some men were poorly outfitted –miserably so. It was also true there was scarcity and deprivation. Though the men had meager rations and were often hungry, the greatest impact on Washington’s army wasn’t starvation. It was disease off all sorts that spread through the tight living quarters.

I remember reading once that the British were practicing biological warfare by sending infected people out into the countryside in the hopes smallpox would meet the armies before they did. I also read that after George Washington’s wife described for him what she had read about inoculation, he had his surgeons inoculate the men. This forward thinking would later become an advantage.

More~
http://www.ushistory.org/ValleyForge/

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/valleyforge.htm

Here’s the clip shown at the Valley Forge Museum

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Vintage Greetings

As mentioned earlier this month, my husband and I are building a vintage postcard scrapbook — one postcard at a time. The album covers 100 years from 1860 to 1960 and has many slots yet to be filled. In the spirit of the season from now until New Year’s Day, I’ll share cards from my collection. Scroll down to see previous posts. Subscribe to get them in your inbox!

holi13

 

 

 

 

 

 


Here’s one from 1902.  Cute card with a weird dusty feel. Like the lithograph inks were gritty.

:)

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Get your FREE ebooks in all formats
>>>Both are now at Barnes & Noble<<<
Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 2.
Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 1.

And while you’re there, sample my scorching love stories for free too!

❋❋❋❋❋

RB4U purpleToday is Author Sharon Hamilton’s blog day.
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
The December contest is on at RB4U! The top prize this time is a $100 gift card to Amazon or B&N. The horde of remaining prizes will be split between two winners.
http://www.romancebooks4us.com

❋❋❋❋❋

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Through the Golden Door


Today is International Migrants Day. On this day in 1990, the United Nations General Assembly set the date aside to acknowledge immigration as being a key part of the society we live in.

I’ve mentioned before that my husband has been researching both his and my family’s genealogy. He’s been on the quest for years. If there’s a family tree anywhere with which to glean from, chances are good he’s found it and stripped it bare.

washington-crossing-the-delaware-emanuel-leutzeTo that end, we’ve even taken road trips around what old cemeteries, town hall records, and research libraries are to be had. We both love digging up these treasures from the past and it’s been fun hobby that’s often filled with surprises. For instance, we learned his great-grandfather, so many times removed, owned the boat that ferried General George Washington across the Delaware River. I suspect he’d be the guy I’ve circled in that iconic painting by German-American artist Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze. ;)

My great-grandfather so many times removed owned a settlement and trading post that outfitted George Rogers Clark in Virginia and that allowed him to take a bite out of British influence in the Northwest Territory (Kaskaskia and  Vincennes) during the Illinois Campaign of 1778-79. You just never know what you’ll find when digging among the roots of your family tree.

So far my husband has discovered that in my family on my mother’s side, first footfall on the new continent took place in the 1640s. His family landed about 100 years later. To fully appreciate this Atlantic crossing you have to get to know the Great Ships that made the trip. They had basic navigation tools at the time such as astronomical sextants, marine chronometers, and quadrants, but nothing else other than their seafaring experience. I should note that these are the same waters the Titanic crossed. During that tragic event the captain called for help and ships came as soon as they could. For our ancestors, if trouble arose on the water, unless there was another ship you might signal to there was no S.O.S to ask for help. I found a this  interesting clip showing the ships that made the treacherous crossings but it mostly talks about outfitting them for piracy on the high seas. It’s still entertaining. So far no pirates have been found in the family. That’s not to say one won’t fall out of the family tree one day.  :)

Closer to home on my limb of the family tree are my grandparents. Three made the voyage around the turn of the last century — two from Poland and one from Sicily. The ships were different then and no doubt accommodations, even low class, were infinitely superior to what those family members crossing on those pirate-type ships had 200+ years before. 

A while back I stumbled upon an English-dubbed Italian movie entitled Nuovomondo — also called The Golden Door. In it, a dirt poor Sicilian family leaves for the new world. The time period depicted shows what it was like when my grandfather left Sicily and what the processing on Ellis Island was like for these frightened hopefuls. For example, women were not allowed in to the United States if they didn’t have family or a man vouching for them already here. I suppose this was to keep destitute women from their last resort — prostitution.

I watched The Golden Door on Netflix. Martin Scorsese was involved in this award winning movie and was quoted saying the story was exactly what his grandparents experienced when they came over. If you don’t mind subtitles, I recommend it.

Had my ancestors never taken the chance to migrate here, I would never have been born. Thank you one and all.

More~
That famous poem on the Statue of Liberty,
and a picture of Ellis Island.

http://www.ancestry.com/ is a good place to start.

And here’s a very interesting 2-part, 18-minute documentary on immigration.

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Vintage Greetings

As mentioned earlier this month, my husband and I are building a vintage postcard scrapbook — one postcard at a time. The album covers 100 years from 1860 to 1960 and has many slots yet to be filled. In the spirit of the season from now until New Year’s Day, I’ll share cards from my collection. Scroll down to see previous posts. Subscribe to get them in your inbox!

holi5

Here’s a sweet one dated 1911. It’s embossed too. The texture you see along the border is raised.

:)

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Get your FREE ebooks in all formats
>>>Both are now at Barnes & Noble<<<
Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 2.
Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 1.

And while you’re there, sample my scorching love stories for free too!

❋❋❋❋❋

RB4U purpleToday our guest is Author Suz deMello.
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
The December contest is on at RB4U! The top prize this time is a $100 gift card to Amazon or B&N. The horde of remaining prizes will be split between two winners.
http://www.romancebooks4us.com

❋❋❋❋❋

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Saturnalia & the Lord of Misrule


00130070_000Happy Saturnalia!

According to Catullus, Roman poet and consummate scribbler of any thought that popped into his head, Saturnalia was the absolute best time of the year. For one, this happy celebration lasted a week. Two, various roles specific to slaves and masters temporarily reversed –such as slaves were served rather than did the serving. And three, those temporary masters got to do things the free people took for granted — like gambling, taking extra long baths, and partaking in other leisure activities. The *Lord of Misrule oversaw the whole event and made sure everyone was participating. 

*Wiki says the Lord of Misrule would be sacrificed at the end saturnus-caravaggio-smof the festivities, but I haven’t seen that information turn up anywhere else that wasn’t exactly the way Wiki worded it. (One must be careful when citing Wiki as fact. Until an original source turns up, I’ll take it as rumor.)

Wine and laughter flowed, feasting was had, and gods and goddesses were happy with their mortals. Pondering life’s big questions was also a popular thing to do and some really great points were made by master and slave alike.

Roman+mosaic+cockerel+310708fburr201Here are a few Saturnalia quotes from the ponderers of Ancient Rome. Some you may recognize like this oldie but goodie at the bottom of the list~ which came first the chicken or the egg?  Who knew this question is at least 2000-years-old!


“Nescis quid vesper vehat.”

“Thou knowest not what evening may bring.”
Macrobius. Saturnalia, L, 7, 12.

“Tempus ante mundum esse non potuit.”
“Time could not exist before the world.”
Commentarii, II., 10, 9.

“Non potest amor cum timore misceri.”
“Love cannot exist where there is fear.”
Saturnalia, I., 11, 12.

“Omne quod dulce est cito satiat.”
“Every thing sweet quickly brings satiety.”
Saturnalia, VII., 7, 15.

“Opinionis ortus est memoriae defectus.”
“The origin of speculation is a defective memory.”
Commentarii, I., 12, 9.

“Plebeia ingenia magis exemplis quam ratione capiuntur.”
“Vulgar minds are more influenced by example than by argument.”
Saturnalia, VII., 4, i.

“Se judice nemo nocens absolvitur, nec de se suam potest vitare sententiam.”
“With himself as judge, no guilty man is acquitted, nor can any one escape his own sentence.”
Commentarii, I., 10, 12.

“(Ita enim fit ut) si sanitatem sumentium mediocritas observata non sauciet, ipse tamen luxus morum sit aegritudo.”
“So it is that even if the moderation of those who live luxuriously prevents injury to the bodily health, still luxury itself is a moral infirmity.”
Saturnalia, VII., 5, 32.

“Sibi quisque dat mores; conditionem casus adsignat.”
“Each one forms his own character; his station is assigned to him by fortune.’
Saturnalia, I., 11, 10.

“Sic loquendum esse cum hominibus, tanquam dii audiant; sic loquendum cum hominibus, tanquam homines audiant.”
“We should so speak with men as though the Gods were listening, and so speak with the Gods as though men were listening.”
Saturnalia, I., 7, 6.

“Totidem hostes nobis esse quot servos.”
We have as many enemies as we have servants.”
Saturnalia, I., 11, 13.

“(Consuluisti) utrum prius gallina ex ovo an ovum ex gallina coeperit.”
“You have been considering whether the fowl came first from the egg or the egg from the fowl.”
Saturnalia, VII., 16, 1.

I just love these! The human experience and the desire to know remain the same no matter the century.

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Vintage Greetings

holidog1My husband and I are building a vintage postcard scrapbook — one postcard at a time. The album covers 100 years from 1860 to 1960 and has many slots yet to be filled. In the spirit of the season from now until New Year’s Day, I’ll share cards from my collection. Scroll down to see previous posts. Subscribe to get them in your inbox!

No date here, but going by clues on the lithograph I’m guessing late 1800’s. Victorians were big on little lap dogs and they were regular subjects on cards and postcards of the time. And the camera looks like the kind where the subject needed to stay perfectly still while the treated glass plate took the picture. Could it be a tailboard camera?

:)

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Get your FREE ebooks in all formats
>>>Both are now at Barnes & Noble<<<
Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 2.
Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 1.

And while you’re there, sample my scorching love stories for free too!

❋❋❋❋❋

RB4U purpleToday is Author Jean Hart Stewart’s blog day.
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
The December contest is on at RB4U! The top prize is a $100 gift card to Amazon or B&N. The remaining prizes will be split between two winners.
http://www.romancebooks4us.com

❋❋❋❋❋

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Sweet words are like honey


thTo My Dear and Loving Husband

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persevere,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
~Anne Bradstreet

Today I offer a favorite from Anne Bradstreet – America’s first published poet who so eloquently dipped her quill pen sometime in the mid-1600s. I just love metaphors and hers are great. As a romance writer, I can read between her lines. Such talent. Much of her metaphor uses nature-inspired wordage and this makes sense because Puritan beliefs celebrated the glory of nature. To give you some idea the regard in which this Puritan poet was held in her time, she was often referred to as the Tenth Muse.

*A piece of my own trivia. I had hoped to use The Tenth Muse for my blog title in honor of Anne Bradstreet, specifically because her confidence grew with each work she gave to the world; something I desired for myself as a new and nervous author. Alas, Tenth Muse was already taken by someone else. My Calliope’s Writing Tablet honors another muse — Calliope the muse of epic tales. It’s all good.  :)

imagesIf we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

So true!

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holly3Vintage Greetings

As mentioned earlier this month, my husband and I are building a vintage postcard scrapbook — one postcard at a time. The album covers 100 years from 1860 to 1960 and has many slots yet to be filled. In the spirit of the season from now until New Year’s Day, I’ll share cards from my collection. Scroll down to see previous posts. Subscribe to get them in your inbox!

:) Here’s a sweet one without a date. The artwork on this card is reminiscent of the works of children’s’ book illustrators from the early 1920-30s.
H. Willebeek Le Mair perhaps?

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Get your FREE ebooks in all formats
>>>Both are now at Barnes & Noble<<<
Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 2.
Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 1.

And while you’re there, sample my scorching love stories for free too!

❋❋❋❋❋

RB4U purpleToday is guest Author Adele Downs.
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
The December contest is on at RB4U! The top prize this time is a $100 gift card to Amazon or B&N. The horde of remaining prizes will be split between two winners.
http://www.romancebooks4us.com

❋❋❋❋❋

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Ratified~


bill-of-rights-scrollRatification ~ from the Latin ratus =fixed and facere =to make

In 1789 when Thomas Jefferson was living in Paris as the U.S. ambassador to France, he became concerned that the relatively new Constitution consisted of few plain-spoken guarantees of personal liberty. Individual states had their own versions they followed, but not the county as a whole. Given the year, my guess his concern stemmed from his being exposed to the discontent on the eve of the French Revolution.

Jefferson wrote James Madison and asked him to propose to Congress a bill of rights of some kind. Madison agreed and whipped up a thoughtful list of twelve salient points on personal liberty for consideration. Not everyone was in agreement. In fact, only 10 of the 12 proposed amendments were passed by a two-thirds majority (one would later be passed in 1992. The other never made it). On this date in1791, Virginia became the tenth of fourteen states to give approval for the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights. 

The actual wording is meatier and broader in scope, but here they are in a nutshell:

1. free speech, religion choice, and right to assemble
2. free to have a well-regulated militia
3. freedom from forced housing of soldiers
4. freedom from search and seizure without probable cause
5. not be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process
6. the right to a speedy and public trial
7. the right of trial by jury preserved in suits of common law
8. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted
9. protection of implicit rights such as privacy
10. keep state’s rights

There are now 27 constitutional amendments. Were you to compare and contrast them all, particularly the first ten, to events over the last 13 years you’d be outraged. And rightfully so. Last week we were shown shameful abuses to #4, 5, 6, 8, especially #8, that have been happening for years. As an American who believes in civil liberties as granted by our Constitution, I don’t have words for how sad, ashamed, and disappointed this makes me.

If we don’t understand the Bill of Rights it’s impossible to understand civil liberties under the law. If we don’t understand civil liberties then abuses of our liberties occur.

More~
This is entertaining if not a little artistically polished. It even says so in the opening
credits.

Quiz and History for Bill of Rights Day December 15

Find the full list of Amendments on Wiki

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Vintage Greetings

holi6As mentioned earlier this month, my husband and I are building a vintage postcard scrapbook — one postcard at a time. The album covers 100 years from 1860 to 1960 and has many slots yet to be filled. In the spirit of the season from now until New Year’s Day, I’ll share cards from my collection. Scroll down to see previous posts. Subscribe to get them in your inbox!

Hmm…It’s plain to see why he eventually got himself a sled.

:)

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Get your FREE ebooks in all formats
>>>Both are now at Barnes & Noble<<<
Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 2.
Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 1.

And while you’re there, sample my scorching love stories for free too!

❋❋❋❋❋

RB4U purpleToday is Author Fran Lee’s blog day.
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
The December contest is on at RB4U! The top prize this time is a $100 gift card to Amazon or B&N. The horde of remaining prizes will be split between two winners.
http://www.romancebooks4us.com

❋❋❋❋❋

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Fun Day Sunday ~ Krampus!


funday smileIf you’ve been here before then you know Sundays on my blog are all about wonder and smiles. In honor of mentally kicking back once in a while, Sundays are Fun Days! Each Sunday, visitors will find a fun, interesting, or unusual something here. I’m a nerd with a complex sense of humor and absurd wit. It could literally be anything.

As promised yesterday, here’s a bit more on the Krampus. No holiday parade is complete without them!

More~
A video collection of old postcards with the darker Santas and Krampus’

The Life and Times of Krampus (more vintage Krampus postcards in this one)

A cute Krampus exposé

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Vintage Greetings

holly4As mentioned earlier this month, my husband and I are building a vintage postcard scrapbook — one postcard at a time. The album covers 100 years from 1860 to 1960 and has many slots yet to be filled. In the spirit of the season from now until New Year’s Day, I’ll share cards from my collection. Scroll down to see previous posts. Subscribe to get them in your inbox!

Here’s one of my more perplexing cards. I suspect the guy in black is a chimney sweep rather than a ninja. I may be wrong.  Perhaps the artist had an encounter with those trippy mushrooms.
;)

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Get your FREE ebooks in all formats
>>>Both are now at Barnes & Noble<<<
Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 2.
Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 1.

And while you’re there, sample my scorching love stories for free too!

❋❋❋❋❋

RB4U purpleToday is Author Marianne Stephens’ blog day.
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
The December contest is on at RB4U! The top prize this time is a $100 gift card to Amazon or B&N. The horde of remaining prizes will be split between two winners.
http://www.romancebooks4us.com

❋❋❋❋❋

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Shooting Stars!


650x366_12121504_hd27Astronomy is old. Even the name is old. It comes from the Greek and literally means star accounting. People have been looking up at the sky since the dawn of mankind, and people have tried to explain what they were seeing for just as long. Then as now people will have their interests.
The earliest astronomers were most likely priests whose interest drove them to study the procession of celestial bodies and draw correlation to what night sky wonders were visible during which seasons. This was necessary to determine animal migrations for hunting and later for planting cycles. Knowing also played a huge role in when to have celebrations.

I had planned to have a Geminid Meteor Shower gathering tonight. Alas, the weather is not cooperating. Now I’m planning a quiet evening at home working on presents.

Geminid_Meteor_Shower_Peaks_Tonight-579f83423c0314de32e5baac41b851de The Geminds are always a good show and worth your time if you enjoy such things. The shooting stars come out of the section of sky where the constellation Gemini hangs.  For years this particular shower was considered a mystery because astronomers didn’t know where this space debris was coming from. Showers are normally tied to comets but there were no orbiting comets in this portion of the sky. In 1983 a rapidly moving asteroid was discovered in that section and it really got astronomers excited. For the first time since man looked toward the heavens an asteroid had been definitely linked to a meteor shower. I just love science nerds.  :)

So while I won’t be partying with family and friends under the stars tonight, perhaps you can. It peaks tonight and goes into the predawn hours of Sunday morning until sunlight blocks it from view. This is a very active meteor shower because the space debris hits the earth sideways. If debris comes in the from the side instead of head-on, we get to see long slashes of light as it burns up in earth’s atmosphere. NASA is predicting between 100 and 120 meteors per hour in rural areas. Now that’s a good show. Make a wish!

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Vintage Greetings

holi2

As mentioned earlier this month, my husband and I are building a vintage postcard scrapbook — one postcard at a time. The album covers 100 years from 1860 to 1960 and has many slots yet to be filled. In the spirit of the season from now until New Year’s Day, I’ll share cards from my collection. Scroll down to see previous posts. Subscribe to get them in your inbox!

No holiday postcard collection is complete without a Krampus, but boy are they hard to find. Never heard of the Christmas devil? Here’s more:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com-krampus

http://www.thedailybeast.com-meet-krampus

:) Come back tomorrow for more Krampus!

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Get your FREE ebooks in all formats
>>>Both are now at Barnes & Noble<<<
Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 2.
Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Vol 1.

And while you’re there, sample my scorching love stories for free too!

❋❋❋❋❋

RB4U purpleToday is Cindy Spencer Pape’s blog day.
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
The December contest is on at RB4U! The top prize this time is a $100 gift card to Amazon or B&N. The horde of remaining prizes will be split between two winners.
http://www.romancebooks4us.com

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Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments