Celebrating Our Canadian Flag

Raised for the first time on February 15, 1965, our national flag is 54 years old.

On July 1st of this year, Canada will celebrate its 152nd birthday.

A discrepancy that can be explained by our history…

For almost 100 years after Confederation, Canada flew the Red Ensign, a design based on the flag used by British naval vessels and Canada’s Coat of Arms.

In the early 1960s, Canadians started to voice their concerns about a flag that didn’t recognize our sovereignty. Aware of the public discontent, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson decided to make the creation of a new Canadian flag a priority.

At the time, I was in elementary school. My teacher—and many other teachers across the country— assigned a “Flag Design” project. While there were several artists in the class (not me), I don’t recall any exceptional sketches. I’ve often wondered if any student sketches were part of the thousands of submissions made to Ottawa.

A fifteen-member bipartisan committee was created to pick the most appropriate design. The submitted designs featured union jacks, Fleur-de-lis, maple leaves, and beavers (the most common element). Almost all of these submissions were eliminated, leaving three possibilities.

Here are the two semi-finals:

The winning design (our present flag) came from Dr. George Stanley, a professor at Royal Military College in Kingston.

10 More Interesting Facts…

1. King George V proclaimed red and white as Canada’s official colors in 1921.

2. The flag is twice as long as it is wide. The white square and its maple leaf make up half of the surface of the flag, equal to the two red bars combined.

3. The French nickname for the flag is L’Unifolié, which means one-leafed.

4. In 1982, Canadian mountaineer Laurie Skreslet brought the flag with him to Mount Everest.

5. In 1984, the flag was launched into space by Marc Garneau, the first Canadian astronaut on the NASA space shuttle Challenger.

6. In 1996, February 15 was declared National Flag of Canada Day.

7. The flag at the Peace Tower (Ottawa) flies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s changed daily, usually early in the morning and by a designated employee who has received training on how to perform the task. Flags on the East and West Block are changed weekly. Once a flag is taken down, it is sent to the Ministry of Public Works and Government Services. Canadians can request these flags by emailing minister@pwgsc.gc.ca or faxing (819) 953-1908.

8. Anyone who wishes to receive a flag that has flown on the Peace Tower will be placed on a 10-year waiting list. The wait is five years for a flag that has flown on the East or West Block.

9. The role of flag-bearer for Canadian teams attending international sporting events is a special honor reserved for outstanding athletes like Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who proudly represented Canada at the PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2018.

10. The largest Canadian flag ever made was unveiled at a football game in Hamilton between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts in 2009. The flag was 38 meters by 76 meters and required at least 80 pairs of hands to carry it on the field. The flag cost $15,000.

Happy National Flag of Canada Day!


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The Power of Thinking

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A fan of Jen Sincero’s books, I look forward to each new release. Here’s a short reflection from her latest, You Are A Badass Everyday.

True power comes from thinking what you want to think, regardless of how things appear or what other people say or how impossible your ideas may seem. Your thoughts are what lead the charge through all the obstacles, doubts, and dark nights of the soul that are standing between where you find yourself now and where you’re headed.

Think courageously, think largely, think audaciously, think magically.


Book Blast: Can’t Let Go by Chrissy Brown

I’m happy to welcome author Chrissy Brown. Today, Chrissy shares her new release, Can’t Let Go.

Blurb

A sweet, yet steamy new adult romance about a girl who’s not ready to fall in love and a boy who isn’t ready to let her go.

Beau

She is beautiful, probably the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, but she’s damaged.
Her a-hole exboyfriend broke her.
I still want her.
I can show her that all men aren’t the same
That I’m different.

Mallory

He’s everything I need to stay away from, and I try.
I really do, but he’s relentless.
So, I give in and let him have me.
All of me.
I should have known better.

Excerpt

I throw the valet at the Sheraton Hotel my keys and hurry up the steps. A sign in the lobby welcomes guests for the Cross and Doyle wedding.

Doyle.

What kind of last name is that? Tristan Doyle. It’s a stupid name. No hesitations. Placing both hands on the white wooden door, they fly open with a thud that echoes throughout the room.

“Don’t do it!”

At least a hundred eyes turn to me, bride and groom included. It’s then I notice the bride. She’s breathtaking in her big white dress, but she’s not Mallory. Mallory stands beside the bride in a long coral gown. Her jaw is dropped. Face pale. Eyes wide. My stomach sinks to my feet. She’s horrified to see me.

Maybe this was a bad idea.

“Shoot, everyone,” I say, hands up in surrender. “Sorry. I thought Mallory was the one getting married.”

“What the fuck are you doing here, Beau?” Mallory yells from the front of the room.

“Beau?” The groom says. It’s more of a statement than a question. Mallory’s head nods once. I’m not sure if even she knows she did it.

I start up the aisle. It’s a f’ing long aisle. Or at least it feels that way. The groom meets me a few feet from the first row. He has the same dark hair and blue eyes as Mallory. This must be her brother.

He draws back. I know what’s coming. There’s no point in stopping it. I deserve this. I crushed his sister’s heart. I barged into his wedding. My face jolts to the left when his fist connects with my cheek. A sticky liquid leaks from my nose. I wipe it with the back of my hand. Blood. Great.

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Author Bio and Links

Chrissy Brown is a Contemporary Romance and New Adult Romance author. She lives in Central Florida with her husband, twin girls, two dogs, and the neighborhood cat.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like cuddling on the couch watching movies with her family, reading, Netflix, and beach trips. She reads two to three books a week, but favors stories with strong women, true love, and steamy scenes.

When Chrissy is not sitting at her computer, fantasizing about gorgeous country boys, she is teaching third graders how amazing books are…and writing, and math. She has also been an amateur wedding photographer and a CNA (to which she gives kuddos but says never again.)

Website | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Chrissy Brown will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner, also an ebook of the second installment (tentatively to be released 2/9) Come a Little Closer, to another randomly drawn winner, both via Rafflecopter during the tour. Enter here.

Follow Chrissy on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.


How Criminals Operated in the Past

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Linda Pennell. Today, Linda hands over the reins to Professor Liz Reams, the protagonist of her novels, who shares interesting insights into how criminals operated in the past.

Here’s Linda!

Thank you, Joanne, for inviting Professor Liz Reams to your blog. With her specialty in the history of American crime, she has a lot to say about how criminals have operated in the past, especially in the early 20th century. She has received accolades and professional recognition for her discoveries about the likes of Al Capone and other Prohibition era gangsters. Without further ado, here are ten things that she believes readers may find of interest.

1. It is the footnotes of history that often make for the most interesting research and reading.

In addition to the “publish or perish” dictum under which most university professors find themselves laboring, Liz has an added level of stress. The dean of the University of Florida’s College of Liberal Arts hired Liz because she had a reputation at her former university of being able to magically attract undergraduates to her classes. On her slim shoulders rests the responsibility of keeping the budgetary ax from the History Department’s neck each academic year.

Teaching was never anything that Liz believed she wanted, but the first time she saw the light click on in a student’s eyes, she was hooked. Teaching has become her special joy.

The secret to her success in the classroom and in her research is her focus on discovering how big events and overpowering individuals affect the lives of ordinary people, those interesting little footnotes of history. She teaches history through the eyes of people caught up in the turmoil and chaos of events beyond their control. So far, the formula has worked very well.

2. Achievement in one’s professional life does not necessarily translate into one’s personal life.

Liz is like some young women you may have known. She is beautiful, talented, successful, accomplished, and smart – all the things a parent could hope for in a daughter save one small habit. She is attracted to the bad boys. If a guy is kind and pleasant, she finds him boring. She craves the glitz and glamor of rock stars and test pilots in her romantic life. It is a failing she works on.

3. Living and working with your boss will complicate one’s life.

How should one introduce the man with whom one lives and works? She could call him her fiancé, but she has yet to accept his proposals. Revealing that he is her boss will certainly raise eyebrows. Alas, another romantic issue she must resolve.

4. Florida has a long history of criminal activity and vice.

Even in pre-Columbian times, Florida was the refuge of the outcast and the outlaw. The Native tribes of present day Georgia and Alabama once exiled their undesirables to the swamps and sand hills of Florida.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Florida development as a tourist destination began. Julia Tuttle settled beside the Miami River and convinced Henry Flagler to extend his railroad to the city she helped found. Flagler and Tuttle are considered the father and mother of Miami respectively. Interestingly, while they worked hard to keep moonshining and prostitution out of their town without any success, they had no problem with gambling, which was a violation of state law. Both of them ran gambling parties in their luxurious mansions.

From its founding, Miami was a wide open city when it came to vices and other human foibles. Prohibition and the city’s proximity to the Bahamas meant that Miami became a major port of entry for contraband booze. Even local law enforcement ignored what went on. It is no surprise, then, that no one batted an eye when the Mob moved to town.

5. Childhood friendships can last a lifetime.

During her research into Al Capone’s brief stay at the Blanche Hotel in north Florida, Liz discovers the friendship between two young boys, Jack and Zeke, which led to the discovery that brought her professional acclaim. Almost by accident, she also found that the boys’ friendship endured despite the realities of segregation, threats from criminals, and finding a parent involved in acts of horror. The boys lived through it all and their love for one another never faltered. The strength of their friendship and what they endured touched Liz deeply friendship.

6. Even gangsters are not always 100% bad.

Liz’s research for her new class entitled Gangsters on the Gold Coast: the Mob in the Sunshine State brings the story of Sam, a young Jewish boy from Brooklyn who witnesses a gangland hit.

At 14, Sam quit school and took a job that paid two dollars more per week than he could make elsewhere. He needed every penny he could earn to help support his widowed mother and younger brothers. Unfortunately, that job was working for a low level Mob boss at the Fulton Fish Market and in the man’s speakeasy. It was in the speakeasy that Sam witnessed the murder of labor organizer William Mack. Under such circumstances, witnesses usually did not have a long life expectancy. Because Sam was young and a hard worker, his Mob boss took pity on him and sent him into exile in Miami. This act of kindness did not come without a price, however.

7. Disentangling oneself from the Mob is difficult.

Forced into working for the Mob in Miami, Sam longs to find a way out. He has fallen in love with the daughter of his devout landlord. Remarkably, the beautiful Rebecca wants only Sam, but they cannot marry until he disentangles himself from his Mob bosses and the debt he owes them.

8. Debts do not always involve money.

Both Liz and Sam discover that some debts do not involve the repayment of money. Whether it is a debt of “friendship” such as Sam owes or an emotional debt such as the one Liz owes, repayment would be so much easier if all they owed was money.

9. It is possible to care deeply for people one has never met.

Liz’s research into Jack, Zeke, and Sam’s lives brings out in her an emotion she is not expecting. She develops maternal feelings for these young boys caught in situations beyond their control. She wishes she could travel back in time and warn them of the dangers to come. In coming to know and care about the boys, she also gains insights into herself.

10. Learning from the past can inform our future in personal ways.

In analyzing the mistakes of the historical figures Liz is investigating, she learns to apply the lessons contained therein to her own life.

Liz can be found solving historical mysteries in Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel and Miami Days Havana Nights.
























Buy Links for Linda Pennell

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Bio

Linda Bennett Pennell is an author of historical fiction set in the American South or about Southerners traveling far from home. While she writes about the land of her birth, anything with a history, whether shabby or regal, ancient or closer to our own day, has fascinated her since early childhood. This love of the past and the desire to create stories of it probably owes much to her Southern roots.

Southern families are filled with storytellers who keep family and community histories alive. It is in their blood and part of their birthright. Linda’s family had many such yarn spinners who entertained the family on cold winter evenings around her grandmother’s fireplace and during long summer afternoons on her wraparound porch. And most important of all, most of those stories were true.

Where to find Linda…

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Newsletter Sign Up


Adding a Touch of Gold to Celery Soup

During chemotherapy, I found myself unable to tolerate a host of foods, among them coffee, meat, fish, cheese, tomatoes, onions, garlic, salad dressings, citrus fruits, and all cooked vegetables.

So, what could I eat?

Plain Eggo waffles without syrup, roasted chicken, white bread, some luncheon meats, white rice, apples, pears, carrots, and celery.

I was especially fond of celery, a preference that has remained in life abc (after breast cancer). I love munching on the stalks and tossing them into casseroles, stuffings, and soups. Almost every soup I make has at least one celery rib.

Last week, I decided to make celery the primary vegetable. While researching celery soups, I discovered that most of them included potatoes or cauliflower. The final results appeared a bit too pale and unappetizing for my taste. I experimented and came up with this golden alternative.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
4 cups of fresh celery, chopped
2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup of baby carrots, chopped
Handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped (include stems)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Hemp hearts (optional)

Directions

1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft.

2. Add garlic cloves and cook for a minute before adding celery, stock, carrots, water, and parsley. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.

3. Lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the celery and carrots are soft enough to be puréed.

4. Purée the soup in the pot using an immersion blender. Or remove the soup from the pot and purée in a blender.

5. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper (to taste).

6. Sprinkle hemp hearts into each individual bowl.

Makes 4 servings, about one cup each.

Buon appetito!


Spotlight on Barbara Nolan

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Barbara Nolan. Today, Barbara shares her writing journey and debut novel, Beyond Paradise.

Here’s Barbara!

My journey to publication evolved over time, but it wasn’t until almost ten years ago that I became serious. I already had the equivalent of about 200,000 words on my computer and after achieving a degree in Creative Writing from New York University I was able to convert all those words into something that was worth reading.

The professors at NYU gave me the tools I needed to make my dream come true, and believe me, I had a lot to learn. Punctuation, Pesky run-on sentences and the Power of show don’t tell. I still have problems with commas as my editor with gladly tell you, but overall my writing has improved greatly. (I know, I really didn’t need that adverb.)

Armed with all the tools I needed I converted those words into three books which became my Paradise Series. I read that entering contests was a good way to get noticed so I entered at least three a month and was pleasantly surprised when I became a finalist in many of them.

I would highly recommend entering contests as most have agents and editors as judges and even if they don’t request your work you will get critiques. Some of my most valuable critiques have come from contest judges. Entering contests is what brought me to Soul Mate Publishing. Cheryl Yeko was a judge, liked my work and offered me a contract for my Paradise Series with the first, Beyond Paradise, published December 12, 2018.
I have always considered reading a luxury and writing a necessity.

Blurb

Jonny Vallone, the dark, brooding owner of Manhattan nightclub, Beyond Paradise, doesn’t need any more complications in his life, or women. Then savvy con artist Cheryl Benson, barges into his office and spits out a confession that would make most men run for cover.

Cheryl’s fast-paced, out-of-control life is closing in, and her only hope against a ruthless crime boss is bad boy Jonny and his powerful connections. Her knight in black Brioni has a body made for sin with enough baggage to fill a 747, but when a near-fatal attack throws the two together, they implode in a night of steamy, sheet-gripping passion.

Jonny can’t resist the beautiful blonde with the pleading green eyes plus he has his own agenda with the underworld thug who owns a piece of his soul.

Their wild ride whisks them from the high-powered glitz of Manhattan to the sultry beaches of Miami in a desperate attempt to break free of their shady pasts while trying to tame their fiery passion and the dangerous deceptions swirling around them.

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Where to find Barbara…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | BookBub | Facebook