top 10 books and authors

First I want to say that I am honored to be the new Wednesday fox. My first book comes out November 4th, Love Overcomes is a Contemporary Christian romance. My second book is going through the first round of edits.

This week we are all blogging about our top 10 books or authors. I saw something like this going around Facebook awhile back and I am sure that I did it but I honestly do not remember the answer since then I was told not to think about it. When you give something thought you come up with different answers from the ones you rattle off the top of your head.

Here are my top ten they are not in any particular order though.

Jane Austen the books she came up with. The fact that she gave herself and her sister happy endings in her books. I love looking into how life was back then. How they lived. The fact that I get to have Mr. Darcy fall for me every time I read Pride and Prejudice certainly helps.

The Chronicles of Narnia. My favorite book in the entire series is The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It was the first one that I read. It introduced me to Narnia. I fell in love with this magical world.

The Hobbit I remember reading this in school. I fell in love with it. This little hobbit that nobody thinks can do anything goes on a wonderful and fantastic journey.

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas this book is just plain fun. Plus his heart grows at the end of the book when he realizes that Christmas is not about the gifts or the food. Without those things you can still have a special and merry Christmas. Just ask Who-ville.

The Little House on the Prairie series this series is what made me fall in love with reading, it was what I read over and over. To this day I still find myself picking up books in this series and reading it. I even had the Little House cookbook. That is how much I loved these books. Now, my daughter enjoys them.

I admit that I love the Veggie Tales books. My kids enjoy them and they have grown on me.

I adore the writing of Wendy Knight. She creates worlds that are so magnificent and incredible. I love reading her books. She describes everything in such a manner that you can really see everything the way she sees it.

Sacajawea by Anna L Waldo this book was/is incredible. I got lost in it the summer after 5th grade. I could still be found in the tree that I loved to climb but I had this book with me or in my room at night staying up way past bedtime because I wanted to know what was going to happen to her next. It was a wonderful tale. One that I hope to share with my children.

The Outsiders. I know this book is not for everyone, my daughter did not care for it when she read it for school. I remember thinking that while some things in society changed many other things had not. You could still be born on the wrong side of town and looked down on by classmates because of that. This story pulled me in. Then it annoyed my brother because I started calling him Soda Pop.

The Bible. I did not read the Bible as child, I had children stories that were based off of the Bible. I have read it through twice now and I find something new each time. I love sharing the stories with my children. I love how it makes them curious. I love how I can find comfort, true comfort in it.

So those are my top ten authors/books. What are yours and why? I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for stopping by today

~~Angela Schroeder~~

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What would be on my shopping list this week and why?

cocolate chip cookie
That’s an interesting question. Especially since I don’t do much shopping. Other than the usual food and other personal items, I guess I have to say the most important thing on my shopping list this week (today actually) is a package of chocolate chip cookies.
Why chocolate chip cookies; you ask? My mother – who’s in a nearby care facility – is the answer. She refuses to take her medication without a chocolate chip cookie chaser. I keep her supplied. (I call her nurse the “candy man,” and he calls me the “supplier.”) LOL!
Long story short; I’ve been away for a couple weeks and returned yesterday to see she is out of cookies. I thought I left her well supplied before I left, but she IS a cookie monster. :) I want her to take her meds and so it’s off to the store with me today!
My daughter tells me she needs to take some advice from her grandmother. LOL!
OH! OH! OH! I missed my free week last week while I was out of state, but I can’t help this little bit of pseudo free week revelry. I slipped on a pair of size 8 jeans this (well, yesterday) morning and they went right on without a problem!! Down from a size 16 in May!! YAY!

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My Ten Favorite Books

I am so honored to be the new Monday Fox! I’ve been a fan of this blog for a long time. For those of you who don’t know me, I write sweet romance, both contemporary and historical. Two of my contemporary novels are co-written with the lovely Stephanie Michels. I’m a former elementary school teacher – for fifteen years I taught elementary music, and then I spent thirteen years teaching regular classrooms. I retired in 2005 and since then I’ve been an adjunct professor at GVSU in Allendale, Michigan, teaching future teachers. On days when I’m not teaching, I watch my two youngest grandkids, sew quilts and hats for a couple of charities, scrapbook, make greeting cards, and play oboe in a community orchestra and clarinet in a community band.

When I saw this week’s topic I was relieved. I’d recently been tagged for an activity on Facebook in which I was challenged to choose ten books that have stayed with me. As far as I’m concerned, staying with me is the same as favorite, so I figured my list from facebook would suffice. I’ll just add a little bit of annotation for each.

  1. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner: What I loved about this book is that four children survived on their own using their biggest resource—their brains, along with hard work. What better way to teach kids about empowerment?
  2. The BFG by Roald Dahl: Lots of wonderful humor, and a great lesson on diversity and acceptance.
  3. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough: a majestic setting and a swoon-worthy hero. Sigh.
  4. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: yeah, it doesn’t end well for the big romance, but Scarlett always manages to land on her feet, and I’m sure she’ll survive without Rhett.
  5. Bride of My Heart by Rebecca Winters: Rebecca Winters was the first romance author to consistently tug at my heart strings. Bride of My Heart is one of several that made me cry. I want to be like her when I grow up.
  6. Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder: Simpler times, strong families. ‘Nuff said.
  7. Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy by Nora Roberts: This is the stuff dreams are made of. I wonder if Nora has something directly connected to her brain so that when she wakes up the dreams are magically written out. I would love to invest in one of those, except I’m afraid the stories that come out may be a bit crazy.
  8. Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman: a great adventure in the far north. I loved the stoic way the heroine dealt with all her hardships. It was published and promoted as a true story, but lately I’ve read posts that claim this was all made up. Either way, it’s a wonderful tale.
  9. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. Whenever I have a bad day, I call myself Alexander. Nobody seems to get it. Yes, it’s a children’s book. But it’s a great one.
  10. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch: this book should be gifted to every new parent. It’s got a mother’s love down pat. If you haven’t read it yet, don’t let the repetition make you stop. The ending is a doozy.

So there you have it. My ten favorite books of all time. So far. If you’re wondering about the absence of major literary classics on my list, I apologize. I wasn’t much of a literature student. As a musician, when I hear the word classics I think of classical music. I chose books I enjoyed because they stayed with me. I worked with children, so a few are titles I read aloud to my classes. I’ve always loved romance, so I included some of those. And a few, like #1 and #6, are books I enjoyed when I was young. It’s a strange list, maybe, but it’s all mine.

Romance novels were a way for me to cope as an overwhelmed working mom. I’d pick up a romance, and within a couple of hours, whatever conflict appeared in the book was dealt with, the problems were solved, and all was right with the world. I could relax and go to sleep. And I think that’s why I chose to write them. I’d like to offer this kind of reassurance for others.

How do you choose your favorites?

Posted in authors, Book Reviews, Books, Life, Patricia Kiyono, protagonists, Random thoughts, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments


Free Week and I meant to have a guest, but an author I asked had a lot of commitments, so she asked me to check back with her, but…guess whose mind got pre-occupied?

Very occupied, not just my mind, but my life and my house. Once the sons start shifting their living quarters around I lose room…and my mind. I have put my foot down about the things left from the last time they did this ,(and it seems there are changes to both at the same time or one right after the other). Let’s put it this way, a local charity thrift store is getting several big loads from here.

And from here, they are also getting quite a bit from my husband and me, and most of that has been [brace yourselves] books!

We have gone beyond book collecting straight into book-hoarding, and it hasn’t helped that the local library keeps pulling books off its shelves and tempts us with more every time we visit. Nor has it helped that I keep winning books from blogs, but I’m not stopping…and I’m not giving away my autographed copies, either!

There are certain books we will keep; there are certain types we will still buy, new or used. We will never have less than a couple of thousand books, I’m sure. What our sons will do with them when we die, (besides curse them), I haven’t figured out yet.

At the library, I will keep picking up books I have read and loved or real classics and always real poetry anthologies. Those are so hard to find. If you find any poetry books, they often have a few really famous poems by classic writers and number of modern ‘classics’. I’m not knocking modern poets, as I am one, as is our Hound here, but to find lesser-known poems from the great poets is difficult, as are many who were not as famous; poetry just doesn’t have a place in much of modern society. It’s a crime.

Libraries only have so much room, I understand. They have to make room for all the newly published works…you bet I understand, but I put off reading many books, fiction and non-fiction, hoping to get to them later. Can you guess how few I have found again? Many are impossible to find even through inter-library loans and if they are listed for sale on-line, they are asking collectors’ prices. I’d never be able to afford them.

I can’t seem to resist buying a dictionary or thesaurus. I have one or two at every desk…and dictionaries in Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, German and a Yiddish one,(I have no idea why). I even have one for Klingon…really, I couldn’t resist it.

When my oldest son was in high school, he had an assignment to collect poems about one subject and since he was into trains, (and not into poetry), he wanted to collect poems about them . That proved to be very hard before the internet was in full force, but he managed to find enough of them to get an A+ for originality. There were none in the books on the shelves of our local library.

If you go to nearly any library you can look up Boris Pasternak and probably find a copy of Doctor Zhivago, yet he wrote so much more. His poetry is among my favorite works. The same problem affects the works of Leo Tolstoy. With the multitudes of writings Tolstoy accomplished, few are seen. You can more than likely find a copy of War and Peace and you will ALWAYS find a copy of Anna Karenina, which is a real shame. That is his worst work, unworthy of him. He did it when old, tired and strapped for money. He was talked into doing it as a series for a magazine. He threw most of it out and his daughter pulled the pages out of the trash to send off because they were broke. Too bad; she should have left them there. His short stories are incredible. If I see any more of their works, I’ll be inclined to pick them up, but I’ll never find one at a library sale.

We have a ridiculous number of children’s books and I’m still looking for more of the classic Golden Books and Rand McNally Elf books that I loved as a kid. I will hold onto a few that I read over and over to the grandkids, too, but really, there are too many here that some other children might be thrilled to have. Many years ago I sent quite a number alone with toys and clothing when Jamaica was ravaged by a hurricane. And there are many books given to the grandkids that they have read, but won’t again. I have a request from Grandson to please keep his Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl and Chronicles of Egg books among a few others, but most of the mysteries are on their way out, along with the redundant nature books…where did they all come from?

Husband is thinning out his collection of sport autobiographies, non-fiction, military and extra copies of historical and religious works. We still have so many more. I am clearing out novels I know I will not read, biographies that don’t have special meaning and no reason to be kept. Humor books that we all enjoyed can stay, but not all of them, not once the grandchildren finish them.

I have a number of school-age books on history, archaeology and the like but my sons hardly used them and the grandkids do their research on line more often than not. I’ll keep some, the rest are being pulled.

How many huge books of classic opera stories and music does anyone need? Most of you would probably answer ‘None!” There are three on the shelf in my bedroom, but not for long. I will make the decision on which one stays. I never even listen to the opera broadcasts any more, and have not attended one is over 20 years.

The needlework books and gift–crafting ones that I will never get to or use again will be better served making a little for charity and into someone else’s talented hands, as have so many of my cookbooks. I still have plenty of those and some I will eventually give to the granddaughters,(or grandson, if he is so inclined), but I had so very many, including specialty ones that I never used even when I had my bakery/restaurant, that there is no reason for them to be here. I often prefer to develop my own recipes anyway. My mother’s unused Italian cookbook will never leave, nor will the Italian cookbook that was my priest’s late mother’s (She lived to be 97 and had all her marbles, She was a real piece of work!), Nor will others that are meaningful, others that belonged to friends, but the rest are out of here.

What about you? Do you keep books?

Many people keep none whatsoever. I can’t imagine that but I know that when I read that a man’s house in India collapsed from the weight of his books I knew that ours was in real danger as well.
As is my sanity.

We have shelves everywhere but not enough to hold the multitude. I need a more orderly house and I need to be able to find what I’m looking for, (although, I usually can put my finger of a particular book pretty quickly under the circumstances.)

Do you live in a library?

(Don’t even get me started on all  the VHS tapes and DVD’s! Many of those are also in the boxes ready to be carted out, if not gone by the time you read this.)

Posted in authors, Books, Family, Friendship, Guest, Life, movies, poetry, Random thoughts, Tonette Joyce, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Scratching the Seven-Month Itch

Jeff’s Newest Release: Scratching the Seven-Month Itch

By Jeff Salter

The prequel to “Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold”
Released by Dingbat Publishing
Part of the Amanda Moore or Less Series

Cover Tag:  If Jason does have the itch, Amanda is after the tramp who’s scratching it.


Amanda can’t believe her new lover is already cheating, despite “proof” from her domineering older friend. But she reluctantly complies with this posse of amateur investigators to determine whether Jason does have the seven-month itch… and which tramp might be scratching it.



Amanda can’t believe Jason, her new lover, is already cheating — they’ve only been a couple for seven months. But her domineering older friend, Christine, has “proof” and insists Amanda should take it seriously. Knowing Jason spoke with a woman in the mall food court and another in the grocery store isn’t exactly an iron-clad case.

But when she hears rumors about a different woman stalking Jason at his workplace, Amanda reluctantly finds the evidence sufficient to allow her boyfriend to be tailed… provided Christine and her posse of amateur detectives can be discreet. Unfortunately, Christine’s idea of discretion is akin to blowing up a billboard.

The more Amanda learns about Jason’s unusual behavior, the more their recently shaky communication crumbles. Unable to resist the momentum of the mounting case, Amanda joins the investigation and stakeout.

Does Jason have the seven-month itch? If he does, which tramp might be scratching it? And is it remotely possible for their relationship to grow even closer despite the clumsiest surveillance efforts bossy Christine can devise?

Only $2.99 in digital formats. Paperback also available at different price.

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Learning From Parents

I find this week’s topic difficult: If we had to write a letter to our parents, what would we thank them for?

I had a relationship with my father that is better left undiscussed. It was not just with me, either, but let’s give him his due. There were a couple of very important lessons by example and listening that I got from both he and my mother. Unfortunately sometimes, I learned the hard way.

The first and most important lesson I learned from both of them was honesty. Neither of my parents would accept a penny over their due when being given change at a purchase, nor would they ever think of not going back and paying for something that they had inadvertently not been charged for.

Another virtue that was practiced by both was charity. Both of my parents would do good things for other people, especially those in need, and not accept payment. They also listened to people who were not needy but needed to talk, and would they never be cruel or less than charitable with those who were less than fortunate in any way, (physically, emotionally, etc.). We sometimes had extended family members or children of friends staying with us, who had a temporary need. It was unfortunate that the kindness shown to others was not often shown to all members of the family. But however bad my parents’ marriage was, they were both fond of, and kind to, each others’ families… (and, boy, did my father put up with a lot from my crazy aunts!) Plus, both of my parents were kind to animals.

The biggest gift was that they raised we kids to have absolutely no prejudice and to respect all people, judging only individuals and then only by their actions. This was particularly important since I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, where we had people from all over the nation and all over the world.

There was their work ethic that really made an impression on me. If either of them put their minds and hands to something, they always did a perfect job of it. Always. Whether it was a wiring job by my father or folding towels by my mother, it was a thing of beauty. (My mother had been an executive secretary before we kids were born. The company hired THREE women to take her place and they still offered her to name her own salary to try to lure her back; ’nuff said. Unfortunately, my father was not as good with money as he was an electrical engineer and turned down every one of many offers to be set up in business for himself. He would have been on the ground floor of television. And I’d be a rich media or electronics tycoon, but I digress.)

Certainly not the least of their better virtues was that both of my parents had very good senses of humor! Neither could tell a joke to save themselves, but they had quick wits, they laughed readily and were both good story-tellers. I listened all the time, which is probably why I am here with you today.

I was exposed to all types of music and was shown many movies and TV shows, and taught to make discernment on the quality, depending on the type or genre. I was read to, and there were always book around and trips to the bookmobile and once in a while, a magazine subscription, just for me.

Besides the fact that I can do great laundry, my mother taught me to cook, and a taskmistress she was about it, too! She worked me to the bone during the holidays but I became a cook and baker. I even had a bakery/restaurant and knew I could put my food in front of anyone with pride…I had no qualms about sending anything to the movie producer and his unnamed celebrity guests when the calls would come in.

And my mother made sure I knew to get all the pots and pans perfectly clean and shiny afterward, even if it took until 3:00 A.M Thanksgiving morning.

Through both of my parents I learned to be a good host; always share, always offer, always serve and never let anyone think that helping them or serving them is an inconvenience in any way.

I also learned from both of my parents that life is not fair, nor should I expect it to be. I learned that sometimes the screw-ups get the attention instead of the ones who are dutiful…in other words, I can empathize with the Prodigal Son’s brother. Sometimes there are just different sets of rules for different people, even within a family. I learned that you can’t make someone care for you, no matter what you do, which kept me from making a fool of myself over men, so I am grateful for that. I learned that I did not need many ‘things’ and how to be frugal, but to always have dignity. I learned early to deal with disappointment. I learned that everyone has human weaknesses; there are no perfect people or heroes. I learned that personal choices have consequences that last for generations, both good and bad. (You can use your imagination as to how I learned some of these.)

Although she often put up stumbling blocks and projected her own fears, my mother used to tell me that I could do anything I mind to; sometimes I believed her. I do believe it now.

For what I received, including my life, (which I know came at a bad time in their own lives), I am grateful.

[Co-incidentally, today is the 104th anniversary of my father’s birth. It is also his youngest sister’s birthday, who is still very feisty at 91! Happy Birthday, Aunt Marion!]

Posted in childhood, Family, Friendship, Life, Random thoughts, Tonette Joyce, Uncategorized, youth | 6 Comments

Great Parents

Great Parents … and Terrific Role Models

By Jeff Salter

This week’s topic concerns what (about our parents)  we are grateful for.

It would be too difficult to attempt to put this in any particular order (of importance), so I’ll just start listing:

*          They taught me frugality; I learned the meaning of “no” and usually understood it was because our family income could not stretch far enough to constantly hear “yes”.

*          Our family of five survived on a single income of a minister’s salary (which, at that time, was less than starting school teachers made). We didn’t have any frills, but we never went hungry.

*          Both taught me to appreciate fine arts: music, visual art, literature.

*          As a kid, I had a lot of freedom to roam and play and – as long as I didn’t get into trouble somewhere else – there were relatively few restrictions.

*          I was taught to treat people fairly, with as little pre-judging as possible.

*          I learned consequences for when I broke rules.

*          I had chores to do – inside and out – and was not usually bribed to do them.

*          My parents knew (or got to know) my school teachers and kept up with my grades and such, but they NEVER did my school work “for” me. Those were my classes and I had to do all the course work.

*          Both parents encouraged my own creative expressions — whether visual arts, music, or creative writing.

*          Neither parent “compared” me to my older brother (a straight A student) or my younger sister. Both of them possessed musical talent and discipline.

*          My friends were welcome in our home.

*          My parents took me to church when I was little and encouraged me to continue when I was older, but I never felt like religion was being crammed down my throat.

*          My Dad was a fairly liberal Democrat and my Mom was a fairly conservative Republican … and I was allowed to get myself informed and make my own decisions.

*          I was never pushed to attend a particular university, or select a particular career field… but when I made each of those decisions, my parents supported them.

*          Both parents accepted and loved my spouse… and accepted and loved my kids. My Dad only lived long enough to meet my first grandchild, but likewise for that next generation.

*          When I was young and gave my parents little 25 cent gifts at Christmas, they made me feel very appreciated.

My list could continue, but I think you get the idea.

What were YOUR parents like?

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