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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Message in a Bottle By Rose Anderson

Happy 4th of July! Independence Day is a marker for me. To me it means summer is officially on. Where I live, the corn is supposed to be knee-high by the 4th of July. We're right on schedule. In keeping with RB4U's summery theme for July, I'm talking about beaches and the things people find on them.

Don't you just love beaches? I do. I love the solitude, the sandy, wet, somewhat fishy scent on the air, and especially the sound of moving water. Visually, you can't beat an overcast day. That's when you realize the tan sand beneath your feet is actually a rainbow of colored micro stone. That's also when the silvery-gray driftwood comes alive, sort of like Tolkien's Ents. Void of shadow, they become living beings who stand perfectly still whenever an eye is cast in their direction. 

One of my favorite things to do on the beach is look for treasure. I've never found a gold doubloon, but I have found other treasures such as shells of all sorts, bleached sand dollars, dried starfish, and those otherworldly mermaid purses (empty shark/ray egg cases). Of all, my favorite beach treasure is polished beach glass. A metaphor if ever there was. If conditions are right, the glass trash we throw in the water surrenders to the waves and the water reclaims the sand that made the glass. If the conditions are right. We humans are sloppy creatures. I won't linger long on our plastic trash that's choking the world's oceans other than to leave you a bit of good news here.

Long ago, on some sunny Pacific beach in California, the child I was found a glass Coke bottle with a note inside. Unfortunately, the bottle wasn't sealed well. Water had made the note illegible. I've often wondered what the had said before the salty sea washed the ink away

I've since learned people have cast bottles of messages upon the waves for a very long time. In 310 B.C., the Greek philosopher Theophrastus tossed sealed bottles in the sea to prove the Mediterranean was formed by the inflowing Atlantic ocean. Fearing bottles might contain secret messages sent home by her numerous British spies or her naval fleet, Queen Elizabeth I of England appointed an Uncorker of Ocean Bottles to her royal cabinet. Under his watchful eye unauthorized opening of bottled messages became a capital offense. Then there's this famous message in a bottle from a passenger on the torpedoed Lusitania in 1915. The poignant note reads:

Still on deck with a few people. The last boats have left. We are sinking fast. Some men near me are praying with a priest. The end is near. Maybe this note will...  (That's where the sentence ended.)

There are many interesting stories of messages in bottles. I'll share a few in order by how long they were at sea:

1.) Time spent floating at sea~ Just a few months.
When crossing the English Channel on a ferry in 2002, a mother from France tossed a message in a bottle overboard. The message was a note to her child who had passed away at age 13: It said:

"Forgive me for being so angry at your disappearance. I still think there's been some mistake, and I keep waiting for God to fix it … Forgive me for not having known how to protect you from death. Forgive me for not having been able to find the words at that terrible moment when you slipped through my fingers".

The bottle washed up on a beach in Kent to be found by a woman walking her dogs. Along with the note, the woman found a lock of hair. Her friend, Author Karen Liebreich, translated the message and was inspired by it enough to write The Letter In The Bottle. Several years later, the mother who penned that heart-breaking note contacted the author and they eventually met.

2.) Time spent floating at sea~ 76 years
One November in 2012, a bottle with a note was found floating in the surf in Australia. The handwritten note was dated March 17, 1936. It said:

At sea. Would the finder of this bottle kindly forward this note, where found, date, to undermentioned address.

The note was written on special stationery marked with a picture of a ship, and was signed: H E Hillbrick, 72, Richmond Street, Leederville, Western Australia. It's believed the ship was the SS Strathnaver, a British Royal Mail Ship bringing mail and passengers to and from England and Australia. The finder tracked down Mr. H. E. Hillbrick, but the man had died sometime in the early 1940s. The address lead to Hillbrick's grandson, who was alive and well and living in Perth. The grandson told local media about his grandfather's message, saying it was his only connection to the man.

3.) Time spent floating at sea~ 85 years
In 1999, a fisherman found a green ginger beer bottle with a note from Private Thomas Hughes, a 26-year-old World War I soldier, to his wife. Along with it, a note for the finder of the bottle which read:

Sir or madam, youth or maid, Would you kindly forward the enclosed letter and earn the blessing of a poor British soldier on his way to the front this ninth day of September, 1914. Signed Private T. Hughes, Second Durham Light Infantry. Third Army Corp Expeditionary Force.

The bottle had been tossed into the English Channel when Private Hughes was en route to fight the war in France. The note to his wife read:

Dear Wife, I am writing this note on this boat and dropping it into the sea just to see if it will reach you. If it does, sign this envelope on the right hand bottom corner where it says receipt. Put the date and hour of receipt and your name where it says signature and look after it well. Ta ta sweet, for the present. Your Hubby.

Two days later Hughes was killed. The fisherman delivered the letter to Hughes' daughter 85 years later.

3.) Time spent floating at sea~ 98 years
A few years ago, a Scottish fisherman trolling the waters off the Shetland Islands hauled up a bottle in his nets. The note inside said simply:

Please state where and when this card was found, and then put it in the nearest Post Office. You will be informed in reply where and when it was set adrift. Our object is to find out the direction of the deep currents of the North Sea.

This wasn't a love note or an S.O.S., but rather a century-old science experiment meant to study local ocean currents. In June of 1914, one Capt. C. Hunter Brown of the Glasgow School of Navigation set this bottle to sea, along with 1,889 others.  At the beginning of the last century, these drift bottles gave oceanographers valuable information regarding the patterns of water in circulation in the seas around Scotland. The Guinness Book of World Records considers this one to be the oldest message in a bottle found. But who knows what else is floating out there.

From bottles to beach glass to gold doubloons, have you ever found some sort of treasure on a beach? Have you ever launched your own message in a bottle? It just may be found one day!
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About Rose
Rose is a multi-published, award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and discovering interesting things to weave into stories. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper Midwest.

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Guest Blog: Judy Baker/Ann Sugg: July's Flower and Birthstone

Judy Baker/Anna Sugg writes historical western romances and contemporary/suspense romance. Judy lives in the beautiful western state of Utah. Though she’s a southerner at heart, she loves the surrounding mountains and the desert valleys. When not writing the stories that fill her head, she enjoys RVing with her family, stargazing through one of her many telescopes, digging in her wildflower garden, and golfing, or just swinging on the patio while plotting her next story. She’s also an avid sci-fi fan, loves coffee, sweet southern tea, and the ocean.
Since the month of July is my birth month, I did a little research on the month’s flower and gemstone that I’d like to share with you. I hope you find this interesting even if your birth month is not July. The July flower is the Delphinium, aka Larkspur, and the July gemstone is the Ruby.

Did you know it was over 130 million years ago that the first flowers graced planet Earth with beautiful colors and delightful scents? Hmm, maybe the dinosaurs like the way they tasted. Celebrating birthdays with flowers dates back to the Roman Empire times, honoring the Roman gods and adorning the altars with flowers. The Roman Goddess of flowers was Flora, a collective term used for plant life and flowers to this day.
During the Victorian era there were strong rules of etiquette when expressing affection or feelings of love, hence, the “Flower Language” evolved. Each flower was assigned its own message, and when a lover sent flowers, the beautiful posy conveyed a hidden romantic meaning, communicating in a mysterious, romantic way. Oops! I got carried away with the flower and its origin. Back to the July flower.
The delphinium (larkspur) flower resembles the shape of a dolphin’s nose, hence the name.  

The Larkspur is mentioned frequently in mythology. One such Greek legend takes place during the battle of Troy, when Achilles’ mother ordered her son’s armor to be given to the bravest warrior during the battle. When the armor was given to Ulysses, the brave warrior Ajax was so upset that he threw himself on his sword. It is said that small blue larkspurs grew where his blood hit the ground. Another Greek mythology story attached to the larkspur is the handsome Spartan prince, Hyakinthos, who was transformed into the larkspur flower by Zephyrus’ jealous anger. Even Apollo, god of war, believed the flower sacred.  If you’re into Greek mythology, there’s many more stories involving flowers.
Did you know
-          a dried larkspur placed in stables keep witches from casting spells on your animals?
-          the larkspur flowers cures ailments and are used during the Summer Solstice celebrations in England?
-          the blue dye of the larkspur flowers were used by Native Americans?
-          the larkspur flowers were used by the ancients to drive away scorpions?

The history and traditions surrounding the birth flowers, also includes gemstones.
July’s birthstone is the Ruby.

The gleaming Ruby should adorn,
All those who in July are born,
For thus they’ll be exempt and free,
From lover’s doubts and anxiety.

Interesting facts about the Ruby:
Ruby derived from the Latin word, ruber, meaning red
It’s the Birthstone for July even during ancient times and continues to this day
Deep red stones are the most valuable, out-valuing diamonds of the same size
Rubies are extremely hard, second only to diamonds
Rubies are rare, not frequently found in large carat sizes
Rubies the color of blood and fire symbolizes vitality, vigor, power, strength, love, anger, undying devotion and other passionate emotion
Rubies are graded like diamonds, by color, cut, clarity and carat weight.
Ruby is a member of the Corundum (aluminum oxide family)
In ancient times, inserting a ruby in your skin was believed to ward off evil and make you courageous in battle.
Rubies are high energy stone, opening a heart to true love.

July Birthstone video:

For those of you that celebrate your birthday in JULY, I wish you the best day during the month, and for the rest of you, remember to give someone a flower to express your affections to one you love.
Thank you RB4U for having me as your guest.

New Release: Spirit Catcher, April 8, 2015    Link
Where you can find Judy Baker


Thursday, July 2, 2015

In the month of July I really start to miss Big Water and Beaches. Being that I live in the Heartland of America, smack in the center of the U.S. of A., I can't get much more landlocked. It's this time of year that I have to either travel to the east or west coasts or resort to memories of beach and ocean visits. Having lived in Florida for nineteen years I  have a zillion hours of sun and sand soaked memories of walking the Atlantic ocean coastline .

                                        St. Augustine, Florida

My dad grew up in Massachusetts, about twenty minutes from Cape Cod. Summer visits to see grandparents and cousins always included going to the Cape, climbing the sand dunes that line the coast, splashing in the cool water, often dodging giant spools of kelp. Unlike Florida, cars aren't allowed on beaches so there's a trek from the car to the beach, which is how it should be.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts in July

Cape Cod in November
Last July my husband and I went to Virginia to see the bands of wild horses that have called Chincoteague and Assateague Islands their home for a couple centuries. I'd wanted to go there ever since I read Marguerite Henry's Misty of Chincoteague, when I was in grade school.

Chincoteague Island, Virginia

A couple years before that trip, we went to Mendocino, California. It had been twenty years since my last visit to the northern California coast and I was amazed at how little the area had changed. Even the Agate Cove Inn, the bed and breakfast inn I'd stayed in before was still there. Different owners but still the gorgeous view, cozy accommodations and great food. The Pacific coast this far north is very different from the south end, just like on the Atlantic side of the country. Darker water, a little less hospitable, especially this far north on the west coast. Rugged cliffs, patches of sand that can't really be called a beach, but so what? It's glorious. Everything about it. The sight, sound, scents. I love it all.

Mendocino, California coastline

A trip to Scotland and Wales in 2011 combined my obsession with Big Water and my love for castles when I visited the city of Caernarfon, Wales and its castle. Caenarfon Castle, in northern Wales is situated on the southern bank of the Menai Strait between north Wales and Anglesey.

 The Mensai Strait flows into Caenarfon Bay, west of the city, which flows into the Irish Sea. From atop the castle you can see the bay and imagine it stretching out into the Irish Sea. A breathtaking sight.

So when I start pining for bodies of water that are so immense their opposite shores can't be seen, I pull out my photos and my rock, seashell and sand collections (I have bowls of sand from every beach I've ever been on), add a mental soundtrack of seagulls and ospreys, and let my ocean-side memories whisk me out of the Ozarks. It doesn't cure my longings, but I'm grateful for the memories that let me travel first class, totally free, until my next visit to an ocean.   

Any ocean-side memories of your own? Have you written scenes set on a beach?

Polly posts on RB4U's blog on the second of every month. You can find out more about her and her books at her website:
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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Secret Ingredient to Love with @AuthorNicMorgan #Romance #RB4U

Welcome to Romance Books 4 Us everyone. I'm your tour guide for the day, Nicole Morgan and as some of you may have noticed I drop by with a new post on the first of every month and either ramble like a fool or amaze you with my intellect. LOL. Okay, yes that last one was a stretch, but...I've got you smiling now, don't I? Now that you're good and loosened up, go ahead and kick your shoes off, sit back, relax and enjoy!

The Secret Ingredient to Love... 

For the month of June, the authors of Romance Books 4 Us we have chosen the themes of the July birthstone, Ruby, the July flower, Larkspur and added to that the theme of Beach scenes/scenarios; music, movies, plays, books with beach settings. What do these things mean though, once combined together? For each of us we will probably have our own unique thoughts and ideas. And that's what I'd like to focus on for today's post. 

Ruby is thought to be the gemstone which promotes friendship and love. And if there is one thing I think we can all agree on, it is that in order to love someone completely, they must also be our friend. Only with that type of connection with another can you truly be in love. Without it, its almost like an elemental ingredient would be lost on your entire relationship. The person who you choose for your partner should be the one you turn to when you're sad, the one you turn to when you're happy and the one who makes even the most monotonous of days and tasks so much better. 

So, what's my message? It's simple... when finding "love" or even maintaining it, never forget to be a friend and keep that friendship alive. The physical attraction and connection with someone can only go so far. It is the emotional connection that keeps those home fires burning and the heart truly invested in one another. 

If you're lucky enough to find love, respect it enough to nurture it. And above all else, cherish your friend, and love them fully... ❤


Indulge in this decadent collection of Teasers and Tastes from some of today’s hottest romance authors in a variety of romance genres including Billionaires, Cowboys, Super Steamy Romance, Firefighters, Historical Romance, Holiday Romance, Mechanics, Motorcycle Clubs, Men in Uniform and Military Romance, Paranormal Romance, SciFi & Fantasy Romance, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense/Mystery, Hot SEALs, Time Travel, Vacation Romance, Vampires and more! 

and find all of my other books on any of these fine retailers: 

That's all for me this months, guys and gals. 
I'll see you here next month,

Same bat time...Same bat channel.

Nicole Morgan is an author of erotic romance novels, which more often than not have a suspenseful back story. Erotic romance mixed with good old-fashioned whodunit. While she's written everything from contemporary to paranormal her leading men will more than likely be wearing a uniform of some kind. From military to police officers, she has a love for writing about those who protect and serve. From her very first novel about Navy SEALs to her more recent releases you will be sure to find a few twists and turns you were not expecting.

She also has a recurring monthly column in Book & Trailer Showcase's eMagazine, is a proud member of the Romance Books 4 Us Gold Authors, as well as Sweet and Sexy Divas. 

Find out more about Nicole and her books by visiting her website, blog, Google + Page, Twitter, Facebook and her Yahoo Group, Nicole’s Think Tank.

Keep up to date with Nicole:

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Rose in Bloom... #RB4U #HotBeachRomance

I love summer, don't you? This year, I got together with 14 other authors and decided that we needed to start the summer off right. We all wrote stories based on beach themes and will make them available for a limited time for 99 CENTS in a boxed set called HOT BEACH ROMACE:SAND, SUNSHINE AND SIZZLE. How awesome is that?

My contribution to the series is the first story in my Carnal Coed series, called TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE. This series came about because I wanted to write fun, quirky reads that could be finished during an afternoon at the beach. All of the books in my series focus on college-aged mena dn women who are exploring life and figuring out who they are.

I like to think of these characters as roses ready to bloom. Each one of them has huge potential, but something holds them back from being the person they were meant to be. Roses are considered beautiful and are associated with love. Likewise, each of my stories are about women who are exploring what love means and finding relationships that are meaningful to them.

In TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE, the heroine, Hannah, is a graduate student in chemistry at a local university. She is shy and quiet, with only one close friend. This friend convinces her to go to the end-of-the-year department party, which is being held at a local beach. The two Irish exchange students in her department are there, and the flirting that had been going off and on all year is suddenly kicked up a notch. Sparks fly and Hannah is faced with a decision - which man is right for her?

I don't want ot give away the ending, so I'll just say that at that beach party Hannah starts to bloom. She comes out of her quiet, introverted shell and starts to become the woman she was meant to be. Pretty neat, eh?

Summer is a great time for exploration and rediscovering your passions. Tell me your favorite summer past time in the comments section below. I'd love to hear from you!

And why not let the romances in this boxed set spark some ideas? The stories have a wide range of heat levels, so I'm sure there is something there for all sorts of tastes and preferences. Check it out!

Hot Beach Romance: Sand, Sunshine and Sizzle


Buy links: 

15 contemporary romance stories by best-selling and award-winning authors. Each book has a beach setting, an irresistible love story and high sizzle factor.

ECSTASY BY THE SEA-Chris Almeida & Cecilia Aubrey – When it’s pointed out that a key point for a new marriage has been overlooked, Trevor Bauer plans the perfect honeymoon getaway down to the daintiest swatch of lace. His detail-obsessed bride won’t know what hit her when he sweeps her away for a weekend filled with pure ecstasy by the sea. . .

BURN ME-√Čirinn Brennan-Emma Clark has made a decision that will impact the rest of her life. But a chance encounter with the handsome windsurfer Kevin Nash can change a woman’s mind about a lot of things. In the end, it’ll be up to you to determine her fate.

FINDING JOY-EmKay Connor-When Landon Wells is left standing at the altar with no bride and no explanation, there’s only one logical place to find her: Hideaway Bay. Can this desperate groom convince his runaway bride to reveal her secrets and give them another chance to say I do?

KISSING DRAKE-Jenna Dales – Paige Owens’ bookshop is ready for another summer tourist season on quaint, quiet Butterfly Island. But sometimes her naughty beach books leave Paige feeling a little…lonely. When a late storm blows in a sexy, by-the-numbers, venture capitalist Drake Dorsey, she figures a one-night mini vacation is all she needs, but Drake is counting on so much more…

MADRONA SUNSET-Jami Davenport-Welcome to Madrona Island, where the main entertainment on Friday nights is a high school football game, the pace is slow, and the residents wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Meet a wounded warrior suffering from paralyzing guilt and a woman pining for her dead husband–both damaged souls craving comfort for a moment or a lifetime.

THE GOOD ENOUGH HUSBAND-Sylvie Fox-Hannah Morrison Keesling hops into her SUV and drives away from the man she’d thought was good enough. When her dog gets sick on the way, she turns to local veterinarian Ben Cooper. Stranded with a sick dog on the black sands of California’s Lost Coast things quickly heat up.

TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE-Suzanne Rock – Is the shy, straight-laced Hannah open to a three-way relationship? Two handsome Irish exchange students will have to do everything they can to convince her that two men are better than one.

THE POSSE-Tawdra Kandle-Being a young widow was never in Jude Hawthorne’s plans. After her husband’s death, the last thing she’s looking for is another chance at love. But if her husband’s best friends, the Posse, have anything to say about it, love is just what she’s going to get.

HOW TO SAY GOODBYE-Amber Lin-Dane lives for the salty breeze and a sweet wave, because that’s all he has. He lives on the streets. Then he meets Amy—smart and accomplished, she’s everything he’s not. He wants to be the sort of man who deserves her, except that means facing down his past.

LAST CALL-Alannah Lynne-For the first time in years, Sunny Black puts herself first and takes a trip on the wild side with a customer whose raw sexuality is too strong to deny. The next morning, however, she learns that in addition to rocking her world, the stranger might destroy everything and everyone she’s worked so hard to protect.

MIAMI DREAMS-Layla Wilcox-Recent widow Deena Montgomery answers a model call for a new lingerie line, thinking she is leaving a life built on lies behind her. Photographer Ben “Hottie” Hoddi wants to help her get the job, but doing so might reveal a secret in his past, and Deena has made it very clear that her new life demands transparency.

A lifetime New Englander, Suzanne married her college sweetheart and has been with him for over twenty years. Every summer she drags her husband and two daughters to Maine on a quest for the perfect lobster dinner. Every fall she can be found down in Foxboro, Massachusetts cheering on her favorite football team. In between those trips, she’s a chauffeur, a maid, a chef, an event planner, a hairdresser, a wardrobe stylist, a tutor and a sometimes masseuse. To keep her sanity, she often drinks copious amounts of coffee and stares at the blank screen of her laptop, dreaming of great adventures. Sometimes she even writes them down for others to enjoy.
Suzanne is represented by Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency and writes mainstream romances under the pen name Ava Conway.

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