The title of this blog is a little deceiving because, although I did go to Nashville, I saw very little of the city. I attended a writers retreat and we spent long days in our hotel sharing and learning.

However, my roommate and I arrived early and decided to tour the Belle Meade plantation. For those unfamiliar with French, it means beautiful meadow.

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The founders started out in a log cabin and as they established their horse farm, they built the mansion. We had a tour of the interior but pictures were not allowed. Too bad as there were some wonderful period displays.

Belle Meade was the premier thoroughbred horse farm, From their original breeding stock come race horses such as Seabiscuit, Secretariat and in fact, every horse to race in the Kentucky Derby since 2003 can trace bloodlines back to Belle Meade.

The buildings were beautiful. Here is the carriage house.

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We were free to wander around on the grounds but there was a bitter cold wind blowing. (Don’t let the sunny fall colors fool you.)

Porch sitting for a nicer day. The stone building is their dairy.

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The low window-less building is a mausoleum no longer in use.

It was fascinating to get a glimpse into the lives of a southern plantation family.

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I considered doing a blog about where I’m going to be next week. (At a writers retreat in Nashville. Staying at this lovely hotel.)

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It’s a huge hotel (almost 3000 rooms and all under a dome. Several atriums joined together.) I can’t wait.


But next Tues. is Remembrance Day and after recently having had two soldiers killed by terrorists on Canadian soil, I would be remiss not to honor our veterans and soldiers.

Here is the memorial page from the Canadian Virtual War Memorial

On it you will see the information on one Quinten Grierson, my mother’s brother. It will be on display again in July.

memorial page

This information is also given:

In memory of
Flying Officer
Quinten Thomas Russell Grierson
July 29, 1944

Military Service: Service Number: J/26315
Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
408 Sqdn.
Additional Information:


Our freedom, peace and security have come at a high price.

May we never forget.


Commemorated on Page 322 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance.

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Yes, it’s November already. Already?? Yup.

I like November. Here are some of my reasons.

1. The yard and gardens are ready for their long winter sleep and no longer require large amounts of time and energy. What’s not to like?

2. Oven meals. I don’t feel guilty about turning on the oven and throwing in a casserole, or baking potatoes and meatloaf. In fact, everyone in my house loves carrots cooked in the oven (in a casserole.) Oven meals are ready and waiting when I’m done work in my office and the clean up is minimal. What’s not to like?

3. Writing challenges from writing a novel during the month to creating a new idea every day for a month to boot camps, the internet is full of encouragement and help. What’s not to like?

4. The beginning of Christmas celebrations. Our little town really puts a lot of effort into the season. Today, there is a showcase of local artisans’ work. Can’t wait to view it.

5. Remembrance day is especially poignant this year with two soldiers having been slain by terrorists on Canadian soil in the line of duty. Our hearts are both broken and proud.


6. Frosty mornings especially enjoyed through the window while sitting in a nice warm room. But is there anything prettier than a frosty winter scene? (except a summery scene of green?)

7. A writers’ retreat. I have not spent time with fellow writers for a couple of years so am really looking forward to talking about my imaginary friends and talking to real friends.

There are many reasons why I like November (can’t say as Movember is one of them, however). What are your favorite things about this month?

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The Halloween surprise

Today I am posting a little Halloween surprise dedicated to some special people—my grandchildren. This was a challenge to see if I could write a children’s story in less than 100 words including the words creak, broomstick and pumpkin.


What was that? Jenna stared down the long, dark hall.


Was it a Halloween ghost?


She tried not to breathe.

Her heart thumped.


The broomstick hit the floor beside her.


Mom raced into the dark hallway. “What’s wrong?”

“There’s a ghost in there.” Jenna pointed.

Mom flipped on the light.


It was her orange cat, Pumpkin.

“Pumpkin is the only one here.”

Jenna picked up her cat. “I thought you were a ghost.”

“Meow,” said Pumpkin. She was no ghost.

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October is my favorite month especially if it doesn’t snow and this year it hasn’t (so far). I am enjoying every beautiful day.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. Albert Camus

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It’s nice when the leaves hang on week after week.


I walked on bracken, and dry leaves after/That flamed with color and crackled with laughter. From the poem. Walking By Dilys Bennet Laing

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What fun to watch the little ones fun through the leaves, laughing at the crackling sound.



I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables

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In Heaven, it is always Autumn. John Donne

Is October your favorite month? Or which month is? Please don’t spoil my enjoyment by reminding me that if it’s October, winter can’t be far away.

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I love cats though I am not a crazy cat lady.

My grandchildren love cats so I really enjoyed watched my two year old granddaughter play with the old cat the other day.

What I didn’t get in the picture was the young cat wandering by teasing the child to chase him. When she did, he raced away always staying just out of her reach.

Watching cats and kids is one of the many joys of life.

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One of the things I enjoy coming across in my travels is statues. I seldom see one without ‘seeing’ a story.

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I’m sure you can all think of possible stories when you see this wooden man and the totem pole. But it reminds me of a real-life story of my son. How many of you have heard this song?

Poor ol Kaw-liga, he never got a kiss, Poor ol Kaw-liga, he don’t know what he missed,Is it any wonder that his face is red?Kaw-liga, that poor ol’ wooden head.

When my son was young—before he started school, he listened to a record with the instrumentals of that song. No words, mind you. He turned to me and said, “What a sad song.”

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This bear was along a road in Alaska on a trip we made with our daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren. Gecko is sitting on the bear’s head. Gecko went with us everywhere and yes, there is a story there that will be written one day.

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 This statue to honor the local firefighters was in Libby, Montana.

I never think of fires without remembering being in a school fire when I was seven years old. My class and others were in the basement classroom watching a play put on my one of the older grades. At first we didn’t hear the fire ‘alarm’ which was a hand bell rung by the principal. He stood at the top of the stairs shouting, ‘Get out. Get out. It’s real.’

We barely made it out before the top floor crashed down to the spot at the top of the stairs where he stood. It was Feb. and so cold outside. We escaped without coats or boots. The water froze in the hoses as the men fought the fire. You might say it was an event that left a fiery memory in my brain.

One more statue:

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Again in Libby, Montana. A brass plate identifies it as ‘In His Hands, Artist Al Youso.’

I love the reminder to pray.

My prayer for today and every day is that people might show the kind of love the Bible implores.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7New International Version (NIV)4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

God bless you today.

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One thing I really enjoy about travel is unexpected surprises. On my recent research trip to Montana I made one such discovery.

I found the Ross Creek Cedars. I had no idea Montana had such stunning beauties.

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Some of these trees are 500 years old.

The protected area is about 100 acres but the trail is a mile long and even accessible for wheelchairs. That was a nice surprise too.

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I am always in awe of such tree—mendous size. (Pun intended for my punny family)

The road to the area twists and turns and twists, and turns some more but it is well worth the drive. And thankfully we did not meet any approaching cars when the road was too narrow for two vehicles.

The scenery was also stunning.

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This is a good reminder to me as a writer. I think readers like surprises in stories. I know I’ll never be able to write the kind of beautiful surprise the Ross Creek cedars were for me but I will work to give as many surprises in my story as I can.

Do you like surprises? What are some of your favorite ones?

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This week I sent in the proposal for the last book in the Cowboys of Eden Valley series. I hate to say goodbye to those I’ve spent so much time with but it’s time to move on.

And I’m excited about the new series I’m working on.

It’s about three cowboys. Here’s the blurb I used to sell the idea to my editor.

Three half breed men as bold as their Indian forbearers, as uncompromising as the Montana mountains. Their mother was a Lakota Indian, Seena. Injured and fleeing the battle of the Little Big Horn, she is unable to continue. Big Sam Harding rescues her, nurses her back to health and strength and marries her. They produce three sons.

I’ve enjoyed researching for this series. My research has involved lots of reading and of course, provided an excuse to driving around Montana, taking pictures and visiting museums.

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Here is where the Harding ranch will be placed. Isn’t it a beautiful setting?


This might be the house they live in.

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The three cowboys will likely be called Tanner, Johnny and Levi.


Although they each deal with their heritage in a different way, they are seeking freedom from their inner struggles so they can get on with their lives. Can love heal this trio?

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I don’t know how long a person must write and publish books before that person feels like a real writer. (That person being me!)

But there are a few things that help me believe it. One is research. Traveling through an area, making notes in a little notebook, taking pictures, going to museums all make me think what I am doing is authentic.

A trip to Montana this summer contained all the above and more.

The Libby, Montana museum:

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It’s a beautiful building with displays both inside and out. A big thank you to the volunteers who marked everything with dates and a description.

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But the best part of the research trip might have been the few hours I spent in the Libby library.

There was a very extensive local and state history section. I delved in and had a great time.

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I spread myself out and skimmed a dozen or more books. I the ‘good’ old days I would have been forced to either take notes or photocopy the pages that interested me. But thanks to technology, I simply used my camera to take pictures and capture the information I needed. It sure did make things fast. When I got home, I printed out the pages and created a hard copy of all the research. Here’s a sample of the books I enjoyed.

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These are some of the things that make me feel like a real writer. Of course, there’s seeing the new covers, getting the edits back, having a box of books delivered to my door and best of all, brainstorming with my writing friend, Carolyne Aarsen.

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