Give Thanks for the Little Things

November Sunrise (1)

It’s Thanksgiving week already. Time to give thanks. Time to reflect.

So what am I thankful for? The little things.

I get up each day and look at the morning sky. Whatever the scene, I try to appreciate something about it. The title picture is a November morning. The sun’s coming up in my backyard. The pink clouds were amazing and I couldn’t stop peeking out the window until they disappeared.

PJ steals my breakfast (3)

I’m grateful for this wee little bird who fills our home with joy and happiness. Sure she’s stealing my breakfast, but she makes us laugh.

August Shower (63)

I love that I live close to Lake Erie and can easily get there in a short drive. Maybe I don’t visit as often as I should, but am thankful it’s there.

Nighttime Visitor (1)

I’m thankful I can still be surprised by things. This deer looked like a statue standing in my yard. It was kind enough to stay put until I got the camera and captured the moment.

New phone trying to take selfie (3)

I finally joined the smartphone generation and am grateful I can take a selfie – a poor one, but at least I tried.

Of course, I am thankful for friends and family, good health and a roof over my head. But the little things? It takes effort to stop and notice. Try it this week. What little things are you thankful for?

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Aw Darn, You Mean I Have To Go There?

AubreyWynn_DantesGift_BandNoble_1333x2000 copy

As you know, if you read my blog, I’ve asked my author friends if anyone has done research for the setting of their book by actually visiting the area. Their experiences were something I wanted to share. Today I have a guest blogger, my author friend, Aubrey Wynne. She talks about her time in Chicago and how going being there helped write her book.Hope you enjoy!

Aw Darn, You Mean I Have To Go There?

Research can be time-consuming and tedious. It can also be fascinating and fun. As a history geek, I often get sidetracked with the interesting trivia I find in little known sources or while talking with experts. But whenever I can, I visit the destinations in my books.

When I began Dante’s Gift, I knew I wanted the contemporary couple to live in Chicago. I live an hour away from the Windy City and informed my husband we would have to make several trips in order to fulfill my research needs. “Darn it,” he said. “But whatever I can do to support my wife.”

My main characters live in the same city but opposite ends. Dominic lives in Lincoln Park, one of the older neighborhoods, while Katie is in the Lake Point Condos near downtown. Her building sits along Lake Shore Drive next to Navy Pier and is an amazing piece of architecture.

The hubby and I are both foodies. Alinea’s, located on the east side, is one of the most expensive and prestigious restaurants in the city. Winner of the James Beard Award for Best Service in the United States and the coveted Michelin 3-star rating, I could only afford to look at the building from the street. Meals average $400-$600 and tickets are sold a year in advance. A bit out of my league but definitely on the bucket list.

Heaven On Seven, however, is a “must-do” for lunch when visiting the city. Located on the seventh floor of the historic Garland building on Wabash, the atmosphere drips with New Orleans charm. This is my husband’s favorite restaurant and has some of the best Cajun food in the Midwest. The prices are reasonable and the service is excellent. But expect a wait—the locals love this place, too. I recommend the gumbo and jalapeno corn muffins.

The other location in my story is Benevento, Italy. I gave my husband that look when I showed him pictures of the lovely, ancient city. With a long sigh, he said, “Please tell me it’s tax deductible.” Yup! So, our summer vacation is in the planning stage… 

Check out the Chicago restaurants in Dante’s gift:

Alinea’s https://website.alinearestaurant.com

Heaven On Seven http://www.heavenonseven.com

Dante’s Gift

Kathleen James is far too practical for her own good. But on the most important night of her life, she gives way to romance and prepares for an intimate dinner with the man of her dreams—and an engagement ring. Unfortunately, the evening doesn’t end the way she envisioned.

Dominic Lawrence has planned this marriage proposal for six months. Nothing can go wrong—until his Nonna calls from Italy. Now he must interrupt the tenderest night of Katie’s life with the news that another woman will be under their roof.

Nonna, a wartime bride from the ‘40s, knows how precious love can be. Can her own love story of an American soldier and a very special collie once again bring two hearts together at Christmas?

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About the Author

Award-winning author Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule, and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding, and all things Christmas.

Her short stories, Merry Christmas, Henry and Pete’s Mighty Purty Privies received Best Short in the Preditors & Editors Reader’s Choice of 2013 and 2014.

Aubrey’s latest holiday romance Dante’s Gift, includes both a present day and WWII love story intertwined. It is included in the box set Christmas Pets and Kisses and sold as a single. Her true love is historical romance and Rolf’s Quest, the first in a medieval fantasy series, will release in 2016. Sammi’s Serenade will debut in the box set Valentine’s Pets and Kisses.

Website:

http://aubreywynneauthor.wordpress.com

Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/AubreyWynne/e/B00II8QD6G/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Newsletter: https://madmimi.com/signups/122105/iframe

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/magnificentvalor

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/Aubreywynne51

Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/aubreywynne51/

 

Buy Links:

Amazon:http://amzn.to/1OTMBmL

B&N:http://bit.ly/1MFcvpM

Kobo:http://bit.ly/1LGmdse

iBooks http://apple.co/1N0XSSd

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26120629-dante-s-gift

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Fall is Back Full Force!

Holden Arboretum (1)After a two year absence, fall has made an appearance in Northeast Ohio again. It had become so depressing, I named the season Flinter last year. Get it? Fall and Winter mashed together. We had snow in October, cold, rain then more snow. The end of October was something to fear, not look forward to. The weather continued right into real winter and straight through April. Endless gray days were the norm.

Fall-Winter Nov. 12 (9)Fall 2013Fall Nov 13 (3)Fall 2014

Then a miracle happened this year. Fall came back! I can’t stop taking pictures of the beautiful colors, the fall trees and scenery. I had to share. My husband and I have gone to parks to enjoy the sun and autumn-like weather. The tree above (with the title) is from a beautiful park – Holden Arboretum. Below I share a few more from that park.

Holden Arboretum (6) Holden Arboretum (9)

Holden Arboretum (4) Holden Arboretum (21)

Now on to Garfield Park – a little closer to home.

Garfield Park (4) Garfield Park (7)

And finally my own backyard.

Backyard Nov. 2 (1) Backyard Nov. 2 (8)

Backyard (4)

Hope you enjoyed the show! Happy Fall!