Irish Blessings

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May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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May you have:
A world of wishes at your command.
God and his angels close to hand.
Friends and family their love impart,
and Irish blessings in your heart!

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May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been
the foresight to know where you’re going
and the insight to know when you’re going too far.

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May God grant you always…
A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you.

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May your troubles be less,
And your blessing be more.
And nothing but happiness,
Come through your door.

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May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun.
And find your shoulder to light on.
To bring you luck, happiness and riches.
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

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HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

More Blessed

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If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the millions who will not survive the week.

If you have never experienced the dangers of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people around the world.

If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than almost 3 billion people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish some place, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over 2 billion people in the world who cannot read anything at all.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

Anonymous


Open Windows

I’m happy to welcome author Liese Sherwood-Fabre. Today, Liese shares her writing adventures and books.

Here’s Liese!

liesesherwood-1600-2My excursion into fiction writing began a little more than twenty years ago. While living in Mexico and after reading several issues of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, I thought, “I can do that,” and labored for several weeks to produce a 20-page short story quickly rejected by the publication. Regardless, I learned two things from that experience: it was possible for me to complete a story, and that I needed to learn more about how to write if I were to ever be published (not so easy when living abroad and before the Internet came into its current form).

Shortly after the rejection letter came, my husband was transferred to Moscow, Russia. Once the dust settled in our new location, the children were in school, and I took a job at the embassy, I tackled my next project, using my experience in a bi-cultural marriage as the backdrop for the story. It, too, never garnered much attention, and I started another book—this time set in Russia and inspired by a New Yorker article by Richard Preston: “Annals of Warfare: The Bioweaponeers.” He described the plight of Russian scientists following the fall of the Soviet Union and the Iranians’ efforts to recruit them for their own laboratories and weapons programs. What, I wondered, would push a scientist to agree to develop biological agents for a foreign, radical government? I gave my main character no job, a sick child, and friends with underworld connections—and Saving Hope was born.

Musa Publishing published the novel in 2012, hitting the market the same day as my oldest grandchild was born. Less than three years later, the organization folded and returned the book’s rights to me. I am finally at a stage where it will soon be in print (and digits) once again.

Any writer will tell you, as soon as you finish one book, start on the next. Shortly after Saving Hope came out, I moved on to another project: a novel involving Sherlock Holmes at age 13. This book landed me an agent. I recently completed its sequel, but so far, I haven’t found a publisher for these stories. But I have connected with a very organized Sherlock Holmes fan-base and have been sharing essays on Victorian England for publication in their newsletters. Through one contact, I heard of a call for alternate universe Sherlock Holmes stories, and submitted a story about a world inhabited by vampires, and Holmes must discover who is murdering them.

So far, 2017 has been an exceptional year for me with the release of one new book (a collection of the first two years’ of Victorian England essays), the imminent release of a second (Saving Hope) and a story appearing in the anthology Curious Incidents: More Improbable Adventures. And I just learned of plans by our local Sherlock Holmes society to publish their own anthology (sign up for my newsletter if you want to learn more about that as events develop!)

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If I were to identify one key word of advice for any writer, it would be perseverance. My mother always said, “When a door closes, a window opens.” When you get that rejection or learn that your publisher is no more, seek out the window. I’ve crawled through quite a few on my journey and know they always lead to new opportunities.

What about you? Have you face some difficulty, only to find opportunities opening as a result?

Where to find Liese…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon


Movie Review: Queen of Katwe

When I first heard of this movie, I assumed it would receive several Oscar nominations. That buzz was apparent at the Toronto International Film Festival this past fall. Unfortunately, the Academy chose to bypass the movie.

Disappointing but not discouraging enough to prevent millions of people worldwide from seeing the movie on the big screen and now on DVD.

Set in Africa, the movie has an entirely black-speaking cast and focuses on a five-year period in the life of Phiona Mutesi (brilliantly played by Madina Nalwanga), an illiterate Ugandan girl living a hardscrabble life in a Kampala slum.

The trajectory of Phiona’s life changes when she walks into a small classroom, enticed by an offer of free porridge. There, she discovers the game of chess and a mentor in Robert Katende (played by David Oyelowo). She demonstrates an extraordinary talent for the game and easily learns the rules and strategies.

Throughout the film, many life lessons are imparted, some from Katende, others from the colorful cast of characters.

In his first encounter with Phiona, Katende watches the newcomer physically attack the chess kids who mock her. Instead of reprimanding her, he comments, “This is a place for fighters.” Other chess/life lessons include believing in yourself, accepting challenges, “resetting the pieces,” and overcoming defeat.

The tiny girl assigned to teach Phiona the basics shares her love of the game: “In chess, the small one can become the big one. That’s why I like it.”

In five short years, Phiona achieves what many consider an impossible dream for an impoverished African child: Flying to international chess tournaments, enrolling in higher education, and buying a house for her mother (played by Lupita Nyong’o).

Director Mira Nair has succeeded in recreating Phiona Mutesi’s empowering journey while skillfully capturing the intensity of life in Katwe.

A must-see film that will inspire and motivate.


Spotlight on I Love You More

I’m happy to feature USA Today bestselling author Josie Riviera and her Valentine-themed novella, I Love You More.

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Blurb

A billionaire and a single mother have more in common than they know.

He’s a billionaire businessman …

Luciano Donati, entrepreneur and eligible bachelor, lost his first wife to cancer. So though he lives in romantic Charleston, SC, he has every intention of ignoring the upcoming holiday for lovers … at least until he sets eyes again on his younger sister’s best friend.

He remembers Anastasia as a teenager who idolized him, not this lovely, fragile woman with heartbreak in her eyes. Heartbreak that he finds himself wanting to cure. Her smile warms his soul, her touch ignites his desire, and her little girl Soo-Min melts his frozen heart. Adopted internationally himself at a young age, Luciano understands all too well the strong need to belong somewhere.

She’s a single mom …

Anastasia Markow, cancer survivor and divorced mother, didn’t come to Charleston, SC, for romance. She’s here to make sure she has custody of her adopted daughter, Soo-Min. But when she encounters the first man she ever loved, here in the city of horse-drawn carriages and candlelight, her battered heart can’t help but bloom again. And when Luciano and Soo-Min take to each other, resisting his charm becomes even harder.

Handsome, self-assured, every inch the successful billionaire, Luciano is out of Anastasia’s reach. But when a hurricane strands them together and they must trust each other to survive … things heat up despite the driving rain and gale winds.

Can Valentine’s Day bring this unlikely pair together … this time for good?

Don’t miss this poignant story of love, loss and renewed hope—get your copy of the novella today!


Trailer


Buy Links

Amazon (ebook) | Amazon (paperback) | Universal Buy Link (iTunes, Nook, etc.)


Bio

josierivieraJosie Riviera is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and live in an old house forever needing renovations.


Author’s Note

Thousands of families around the world have opened their homes and hearts through international adoption. Soo-Min is the embodiment of many, many fortunate adoptive children and parents who’ve together created forever families. This book is close to my heart as my husband and I adopted our daughter from South Career 22 years ago.


Where to find Josie…


Website | Facebook (Author Page) | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube


Honoring President Abraham Lincoln

Born this day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He led the country through its Civil War and preserved the Union. He also abolished slavery, strengthened the Federal Government, and modernized the economy.

An extraordinary man and leader, he is consistently ranked among the greatest American presidents.

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I’m honoring his birthday by sharing 10 favorite quotes:

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

Determine that the thing can and shall be done and then… find the way.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.