My Favorite Holiday (?)

I don’t have a favorite holiday. They’re all good, particularly if they include a day or two off from work. As I’ve matured the excitement of approaching holidays has waned and over the past few years, they’ve become just another day.

When I was younger, I was always enthusiastic over upcoming holidays. That’s normal, right? Even as I grew older and had kids of my own, I still looked forward to basking in their anticipation.IMG_3454

Now they’re grown and married. Sometimes they spend those special days with me, but they have in-laws to visit, and we all live in different states, or they add the extra days to their vacation time and take a trip. We’ll get together on an alternate date, which is fine. 164393_1572425078754_2720216_nPart of my blah attitude toward special celebrations stems from what they once were, to what they are now.

My dad loved to host a party. It didn’t matter the occasion, he loved to celebrate. Usually, his festivities involved tons of food, alcohol, and people, mostly relatives. I’m talking both of my parent’s kinfolks, grandparents, great aunts and uncles, aunts and uncles, cousins, second cousins. No one was excluded and everybody came, because everyone was welcome, even if they just walked in off the street.

 

The merriment may last until the wee hours of the night, and on into the next day. Many times, visitors stayed overnight because they couldn’t drive home. Once everyone was clear headed, they’d pick up where they left off the night before.

Even though I was just a kid, and I viewed the spectacles from the sidelines, I could always count on these events to be loud, entertaining, and quite often, over the top. There was lots of laughter, an argument or two, usually in fun, and yes, we experienced an occasional “almost” fist fight. No worries. Within minutes, everyone calmed and they’d returned to perform their jolly antics.

But life happens and all things must come to the proverbial end. Family members passed on and the crowd dwindled. Youngsters grew up, married, had kids of their own, and wanted to start their own family traditions. The guest list shrunk more. Others aged and could no longer pull all nighters.2017-07-09 (15)

Toward the end of my dad’s life, hardly anyone came to my parents home for holidays. If they did show, they ate, then they left. By the time my father died, there were no more family get togethers.

I remember being sad the first time we stayed home at Christmas. My sadness was generated from the fact so many were gone and how we our close knit family had grown apart.IMG_3461

Thankfully, our current celebration mode is shifting back to togetherness. My cousin’s daughter and her family has began hosting holidays. They including the entire family. We’re seeing each other more often, we’re communicating. We’re becoming acquainted again, this time as adults. We’re getting to know each other’s children and meeting their children, it’s wonderful.

The parties aren’t wild like in the old days, but that’s fine by us. We prefer to spend time reminiscing and laughing about those characters who left us with so many crazy memories as opposed to reliving them.IMG_2863

 

 

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What Happened to Summer?

Remember when school let out before the end of May and didn’t start again until late August or early September? Now it ends in June and begins in mid-August.

Why is it necessary our children be in school so many days? Yes, I realize they’ve expanded the holidays, and I’m also aware for working parents, school can be a godsend, but really, do our kids need to spend so much time in a classroom?IMG_2988

I work in an elementary school. It’s considered a poverty level school. To be honest, many of their parents do not see education as a priority. While I don’t agree, I do think there should be a line drawn and allow our children to be just that-children.

Playtime, (and I’m not including constant video games), social interactions, and family time should also be considered important.

Many of our kids are street smart, and some have experienced or live in a lifestyle no child should have to endure. But keeping them inside and force feeding them information they have to retain to move2017-05-08 (2) to the next level, or maybe they’re not mentally or emotionally prepared to acquire isn’t the answer, either.

To be fair, I’ve encountered quite a few who’d rather be at school because their home life is miserable. Sadly, school is their haven. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution to solve the problem.

I just know that these shortened summers don’t give students enough time to decompress after spending 180 days in a stressful classroom environment. And to be frank, teachers need a bit longer downtime.

It’s too bad we can’t turn back the clock and have the powers in charge put our children’s needs first. Kids need to be kids

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Debra Jupe is a romance/suspense author and she likes to read genres similar to what she writes, such as Sandra Brown, Lisa Jackson, and Linda Howard. She can be found at http://www.amazon.com and https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/.

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The Most Beautiful Placed I’ve Been

Summer usually means vacation time, and it’s always great to get away. For a writer a change of scenery is imperative to “get out in the world”. It definitely refreshes the mind, body and soul and spawns creativity.

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Ferry ride to Bolivar Island at Sunset

I’ve traveled some in my life, only not nearly enough. I’m always hankering to go again, and I’m especially drawn to the ocean. Don’t get me wrong, a vacation is a vacation and I’m up for a road trip any day, similar to the botanical garden excursion I took with friends last week.

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Botanical Garden’s Ft. Worth, Texas

As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and while I do yearn to walk white, sandy beaches at sunset-holding a glass of wine, of course, I find a lot of nature’s handiwork quiet lovely. All I have to do is get in my car and drive a short distance.

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A journey into the unknown…

Manhattan is one of my favorite cities to visit. There’s something magical strolling the sidewalks on a warm summer night. The sounds of the metropolis as a distant saxophone hums a jazz tune in the background, while inhaling mouthwatering scents from nearby eateries is heavenly.

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Downtown Manhattan at night

A trip to Vegas always gets my adrenaline pumping, particularly at night when the strip is lit up and transforms the city into another world. The sheer creativity of the hotels and buildings never ceases to amaze. But its not just the twinkling lights that are superb. It’s God’s breathtaking images that surrounds the hub that adds the real magnificent spender.

Unfortunately, I haven’t traveled much out of the U.S., but it’s on the list to get out into this great world. I aim to view other countrysides, visit historical architectural feats, and become enchanted by the countless sites that are available. I want to see it all, just once, but I’ll always return to is the Caribbean, a place I have been, and can’t wait to go back.

Until then I’ll stay in my home state of Texas where I can discover incredible beauty on just about any journey. Most spots are a days drive away, and some places only take a few hours. Each are well worth the time.

And the last place I’ve been that I find quite stunning is my own home. I love to spend time with my best friends and write books!12718310_10205803565356544_4280931478357604152_n

 

 

 

 

Geology instructor Darla Hennessy’s dreams are shattered when her longtime boyfriend dumps her to marry someone else. On the rebound, she lets a friend drag her to a party where she stumbles into a former teen idol Eric Boyd, a Scottish rocker.

Eric has one goal: return to the industry as a legitimate musician and earn the respect of his peers. But his manager is missing, someone is murdering his former band mates, and he might be next on the killer’s list. The last thing he needs is a relationship.

Despite their growing chemistry, Darla is wary of getting involved too. But when the killer attacks Eric, she can’t turn her back. On the run, they have to stay one step ahead of a madman even as their attraction heats up. It may be love, but can they survive long enough to find out?

 

Debra Jupe is a romance/suspense author and she likes to read genres similar to what she writes, such as Sandra Brown, Lisa Jackson, and Linda Howard. She can be found at http://www.amazon.com and https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/.

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Are You a Friend of Social Media?

Ever wonder what we did with our spare time before social media entered our lives? For many, scrolling social media outlets is an essential part of the day. Home and work computers or our phones allow us to check sites anytime, anywhere.

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Why has this growing, sensation become such an important aspect of the public’s lives? According to Science in our World, social networking is an instrument of communication. So, basically, it’s a way that we can talk to or keep up with each other through the web.

While there are tons of choices, and I’m on several, I tend to gravitate toward Facebook, like others in my age bracket. Again, what’s the draw? For me, it’s a connection.

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I’ve been very fortunate to have kept in touch with three or four friends since we were in grade school, and I graduated high school over forty years ago. Pretty cool, right?

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But since the birth of social media, i.e. Facebook, I probably have reunited with over 500 high school friends, which is wonderful. I find out what’s happened in their lives. Many times, we PM to discover common ups and downs that’s occurred over these past 40+ years. Occasionally, an in-person meeting ensues, or at least I know their face when I see them at high school reunions and I hope, vica versa.

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I’ve also managed to keep in touch former and current coworkers. Since there’s little time for true social interactions with my fellow employees, it’s nice to view their families, interests, and activities outside the workplace. As for former coworkers, you know the ones you promised to stay in contact with after one of you leaves, but you don’t…now I can and I do.

This is also true of my author friends. We’re introverts who would rather be home in front of our laptop instead of socializing, (although when we do meet, we gab about writing, which is always a rush). FB allows me to know about their current releases, learn about their latest projects, and I can support, like, and share.

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One of the coolest social media features is meeting new friends, folks I’ve never met. I’m privileged to have friends from all over the world. Some live in places I’ve dreamt of visiting and others reside in places I’ve never heard of. Either way, discovering foreign lands, customs, and celebrating our differences has been an enlightening and fun experience.

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And finally, social media has helped me reconnect with my family. Strange? I’m speaking beyond my children and mom, because I’m going to bug my kids whether they like it or not, and my mom’s going to bug me whether I like it or not.

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I’m talking about my cousins, uncles, my cousin’s children, etc. Our linking on FB has made us closer. My extended family gets together on special occasions, something that we’d discontinued after older family members died.

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And it’s not only for holidays. We’ve gotten to know each other as adults. We’ve found we have many things in common, and we genuinely like one another and we enjoy spending time together.

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I also have a few friends from my father’s side of the family, a line I’d lost touch with after he passed away. That’s also been a nice perk.

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Everyone has an opinion concerning social media. What are your thoughts? Time suck or time well used? Leave me a comment and tell me your viewpoints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Within twenty-four hours, Katie Drapier has lost her job, become a murder suspect in her former boss’s death, and run into her school girl crush, Jack Pharrell, who stomped on her heart fourteen years ago.

Jackson Pharrell is down on his luck. Nothing seems to be going his way. Things go from bad to worse when he discovers a dead body, who turns out to be the former boss of an old friend’s pesky sister. Plagued with guilt from the past, Jack feels obliged to help her find the murderer while ducking a murder charge, even if it means breaking the law. Together, they dodge police, the real killer, and the growing heat between them. The plan is to rise above their woes and get on with their lives. Falling in love is not an option.

Debra Jupe reads and writes romance suspense-thrillers that are sizzling, dark, and fun. Her favorite authors are Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, and Lisa Jackson, and she aspires to join them on the best selling ranks some day. You can find her books at http://wwwthewildrosepress.com and http://www.amazon.com

 

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Welcome fellow Rose author, Sandra Masters

Sandra pens amazing Regency tales that whisk the reader back in time. Everyone give her a warm hello!

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A bit about Sandra,

From a humble beginning in Newark, New Jersey, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, N.J. at the age of fourteen, Sandra Masters retired from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, and settled in the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park with her husband, Ron, and two dogs, Silky and Sophie. She traded in the Board Rooms for the Ballrooms of the Regency Era and never looked back.

She wrote her first book at the age of thirteen and since then she’s always traveled with pen and notebook for her writing experiences. It’s been the journey of ten thousand miles with a few steps left to go. She deemed it a pleasure to leave the corporate world behind decades later.

Nothing she expected, but everything she desired. Her business card lists her occupation as Living The Dream.

Hot off the presses!

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Allow SANDRA MASTERS to transport you to the Georgian Regency era with her new Book Five of the Duke Series, ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE. Sometimes, in the middle of ordinary life, LOVE gives us a fairy tale. Sandra Masters is an unapologetic story teller. She used to read fairy tales, and now she writes them.

http://amzn.to/2p0h4bu       Amazon US  $2.99 through June 21st pre-order discounted

http://amzn.to/2oUCF6D       Amazon UK

http://bit.ly/2qx0Dr0             The Wild Rose Press through June 24th – Publisher

When a high-spirited beauty disrupts the world of a duke who follows the rules, sparks fly, and passion ignites. The gossamer thread of sensuality and sexuality weaves through the tapestry of this novel.

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Author’s Notes:

In 2015, I contracted my first novel, Once Upon a Duke, Book One of the Duke Series with The Wild Rose Press, which started my journey with the series. But the characters in ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE, Raven, Duke of Ravensmere and Lady Samantha Winston, haunted my writing life.

With Book Five in this series, ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE was accepted, and my lifelong dream of publishing this story became a reality. What did it take? Cutting the too-long epic by 57,000 words was a prodigious task.  I worked like a dervish, so my Raven and Samantha could see the light of a publishing day. I gave them cameo appearances in each of my books so I wouldn’t forget that they begged to earn a place in the series. Seven years later, they made their long awaited debut

Now, I’m happy to say that ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE has an official release date of June 21, 2017.  

www.authorsandramasters.com

Once Upon A Duke

My Divinely Decadent Duke

Thorn, Son of a Duke

The Duke’s Magnificent Bastard

One Night With A Duke

Amazon | Kobo | BN | Apple iBookstore | The Wild Rose Press

Follow Sandra Masters on Facebook

Follow Sandra Masters on Twitter

 

Once in a lifetime

In the middle of ordinary life

LOVE gives us a FAIRY TALE.

I used to read fairy tales. Now I write them. Hope you enjoy my work for it is my passion and obsession. Have a great day.

Sandra Masters, unapologetic story teller.

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The Song Remembers When

As I approach my sixth decade, I’ve come to realize the music I enjoyed growing up means more to me than ever. Songs that I listened to as a teenager seemed to hold a profound significance to my past.

I think this is true for all of us. The power of an old song can trigger vivid memories and can transport us back in time. Those songs we quickly turned up the volume to hear are woven into a neural tapestry and can entwine us to people, seasons, and locations we’ve encountered throughout our lifespan.

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Researchers have uncovered evidence that suggests our brains are bound to the music we listened to as teenagers. We are tightly bonded to those songs as opposed to what we hear as adults, and the connection to our youth doesn’t weaken as we age.

A series of recent studies have found that listening to music engages broad neural networks in the brain, including brain regions responsible for motor actions, emotions, and creativity. Interestingly, it appears that if you haven’t heard a song in years, the neural tapestry representing that song stays purer and the song will evoke stronger specific memories, while memories linked to overplayed songs can become diluted because the neural network is constantly being updated.2017-06-18 (4)

In other words, musical nostalgia isn’t just a cultural phenomenon, but a neutronic command. And no matter how sophisticated our tastes may grow; our memories remain attached to songs we obsessed over during adolescence.

An example:

1973 my family, best friend, Linda, and I took a trip to California. Back then, taking a two week vacation from work wasn’t unheard of, and Dad liked to do an extended road trip along the western coast.

My parents had just purchased a new car, a gold Ford Maverick. We were ready to cruise. The drive and the beginnings of the journey are pretty fuzzy, and the visit doesn’t become clear until that brand new vehicle started to “cut out” during mid-trip.

Instead of an afternoon, oohing and awing over movie stars homes, we spent the day at a Sears Automotive Center in downtown Hollywood. Linda and I remained in the backseat while my parents went inside. They were kind enough to leave the radio on. Linda, I believe was either reading or taking a nap. I watched people.

The opening cords of the Sounds of Silence, by Simon and Garfunkel began to play—I realize this song was released in the 60’s…but to this day if I hear the tinkling intro, I’m transported to 1973, and I’m sitting in the backseat of a Ford, marveling at the city.

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The day was sunny, but the air possessed a dark sheen, smog maybe? We were surrounded by a mass of buildings that seemed messy and unbalanced, but I was fascinated just the same. Movement was all around me, but everything appeared to slow down as the first strains began.

Hello darkness, my old friend,

I’ve come to talk with you again,

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Probably my writer’s imagination, but that’s how my memory works.

I tried to think of songs past 1979 and connect them to a memory, but I couldn’t. Even though I married and had my first child in the 80’s, I can’t recall the music I listened to in my 20’s, unless I hear it played. And although the emotional relationship isn’t as strong, it doesn’t stop me from bouncing to all my favorites.

What songs bring back emotional memories from your past?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debra Jupe reads and writes romance suspense-thrillers that are sizzling, dark, and fun. Her favorite authors are Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, and Lisa Jackson, and she aspires to join them on the best selling ranks some day. You can find her books at http://wwwthewildrosepress.com and http://www.amazon.com

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The Last Day

Who remembers the last day of school? Yeah, I don’t recall much either. I began reflecting the other day, because that’s what we authors do, reflect, during dismissal at the school where I’m employed. I searched the outgoing faces, mainly the fifth graders to see if it had hit them, yet. That moment that smacks square in the heart.

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This is it. I won’t be coming back here.

My finale at Robinson High School occurred, strolling across the football field, (which is no longer used, by the way), happened in late May, back in 1976. Forty-one years ago, if you’re not inclined to do the math.

My graduating class was small compared to today’s standards. Everyone knew everyone. We were considered a good group of kids, and in spite of the normal secluded social circles and cliques, we were a fairly close knit bunch. IMG_3010

I wasn’t considered a good student. Most of the classes bored me, and I found myself daydreaming instead of paying attention, and my grades showed my lack of interest.

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Nor I did I participate in a lot of activities. I did join band in the sixth grade and stayed throughout my time at RHS. Yep, I was a band nerd. I also made the color guard team, and those two organizations took up a bulk of my spare time.

As far as popularity went, I wasn’t considered a part of the “in” crowd, although I don’t think I was unpopular, either. I had friends, many good ones, and yes, I even went out on a few dates.

Most of my personal occurrences were due to my choices, even if didn’t realize I made the decisions, and my lack of involvement had little impact on my life after I left school. Overall, my time in the classroom/hallways left a positive mark in the memory bank, and even if I don’t remember that final day, I do have many fond memories, especially with great friends. These were kids I grew up with. I unrealistically assumed these people would always be a part of my life.

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Only they weren’t. Once I moved from the area, I lost touch with most. I’m fortunate to have kept a handful for the last four plus one decades.

Social media, opened up a new way to reconnect, and I’ve resumed many alliances through FB and other venues. We’ve also held reunions and those were wonderful. We caught up, but after the few hours were over, and the buzz of excitement wore off, we went back to our busy lives. As one former classmate and I discussed after a reunion, we just don’t have much in common anymore.

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But that’s okay. We grew up, like we were supposed to. We moved on. Sadly, quite a few have passed on, and we are left holding onto what was dear, and the rest we let go.

I hope those who are going forward and into a new life, will take the time to contemplate and remember. Because some day they’ll understand. They won’t be passing this way again.

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Robinson High School

The Class of 1976
IMG_3003  My friends, I will remember you, think of you, pray for you.
And when another day is through, I’ll still be friends with you.

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