Unexpected Treasure-My FAVORITE! (And who won the bacon!)

So, as you may or may not know, I’m a deltiologist (one who collects and studies postcards)…my specialty being postcards of the ephemeral nature…antique postcards of the Edwardian era (1901-1920 officially…but extending through 1918).

Blah blah blah…let me get to the point…that being, as a deltiologist I have learned that one must be selective in which postcards to keep and which ones to sacrifice for the frustrating sake of lack of storage space.

Therefore, when I received an E-Bay auction “lot” of 15 vintage Christmas postcards, I knew that there would be a risk that some of them would have to be let go…whisked away to join someone else’s collection.

I initially bid on the lot of postcards because this one, and at least seven others, were so darling!  The lot was up for a cheap beginning bid, and I was pretty astonished when I won them for the opening bid price.  Impatiently I waited for the postcards to arrive, and when they did, I began to sort out the ones I favored and could keep over the ones I could not.

It’s important to mention here, that I like antique postcards not just for the beautiful artwork or photographs on the front, but for the wonderful messages that can be found on the back!  I LOVE when I find a fun, fun message on the back…or especially a romantic one, etc.  But to be honest, most have a simple, “Merry Christmas,” type message or something.  Others however, are very interesting, tender…or in the case of one of the postcards in this lot, historically significant!

So there I was, sorting through postcards…and though I hate to part with ANY postcard, this one of the 15 was my least, least, least favorite.  In truth, I didn’t like it at all…the poor little French clown kid having fallen down and dropped his mistletoe and holly.  :(   How sad!  Definitely not my type of postcard.

Yet, if and when I do have to part with a postcard, I always, always read the back first…and I’m so glad I do!

You may or may not be familiar with my book The Fragrance of Her Name…and the mention of the Influenza Pandemic that killed an estimated 100 million people (3-5 percent of the world’s population at the time).  WWI was part of the reason for the rapid spread of the virus, and as you know, Brant Masterson was a wounded WWI soldier at the beginning of the book.

While doing research for The Fragrance of Her Name, I learned so much about the “Spanish Flu” (so nicknamed because Spain it was falsely assumed, for some time, that Spain was especially hard-hit).  I remember a little skipping rhyme that I learned was popular at the time of the Influenza Pandemic:

I had a little bird…
Its name was, Enza.
I opened up the window,
And in-flu-Enza.

Morbid I know…and it stuck with me long after my research was over!  It STILL sticks with me!

Also during the time I was researching stuff for The Fragrance of Her Name, I went to visit my sister in Tennessee.  (Yep…same trip where we went to visit Graceland!)  Knowing I LOVE old cemeteries, she took me to one in a little town near where she lived in Knoxville.

As we were searching…wandering through the part of the old cemetery where those who had fallen during the Civil War were laid to rest…I meandered away from that spot for a ways.  I came upon a line of tombstones…the names of which all ended with the same surname.  At first, I thought that it was simply a family plot…for it was obvious that all the people interred there were relations.  Yet as I looked more closely I began to read the dates on the tombstones.  Seven of the tombstones bore dates very close to one another—with in days of one another—all in the year 1918.  Five of the tombstones were children, as I recall…and two were there parents.

In truth, it took me a moment.  I thought, “How terrible!  A whole family within the space of a week!  I wonder what could have…”

Yep…that’s when realization finally hit me…influenza.  How sad!

I was pretty depressed, in truth…thinking of that poor family and those who may have lived to miss them.  But then, when I returned to the car, my sister had switched my beverage (ice and water) with hers (ice and Sprite) in the center car console, and when I picked up my drink (which had only ice remaining in it a few moments earlier) and removed the lid from the plastic fast-food cup and tipped it and my head back to retrieve ice…but then found SPRITE all over my front, I was kind of startled out of my despair for that poor family back in 1918.

Anyway (how I DO ramble on, right), as I was going through the postcards I’d won on E-Bay, and found this poor little French clown kid one that I didn’t really like, I DID take a moment to turn it over and read the back.  Wow!  I hadn’t expected what I read…and needless to say, the postcard remains in my collection…not because of the front, but because of the message written on the back and it’s  historical significance to me.

I’ve posted it here, and you can click on it and it should bet big enough to read.  However, in case you can’t see it very well or something, I added some punctuation and it reads:

(Postmarked December 23rd, 1918)

To Mrs. Norma Ransbottom (Thanks for the name info, Mindy!)
Delphos, Ohio
R.R. #6

Dear Friend:

I have been wondering what had become of you.  We are well…have escaped flu so far.  Schools are closed again.  My sister is here visiting again so I am pretty busy.  How is Lorene and Edwin’s kids?  (Often) speak of them.  Answer real soon.  Your friend, Ethel.

See what I’m saying?  Historical treasure!!!  Did Ethel escape the flu entirely?  Did she catch it and then survive it?  Did Norma ever tell her how Lorene and Edwin’s kids were doing?!?!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  So many burning questions!

Maybe it isn’t the pretties postcard ever…but the history behind it is incredible and has already settled into my mind permanently!  Moral of the story…always read the back of something before you give it away!

And now, for a new silly contest.  Let’s see…the winner of my last blog contest is (“Hey, Rocky!  Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!”)…this post from Michelle Zeugin!

Michelle Zeugin says:

Hi Marcia! I cannot tell you how much this touches my heart! You see, I am a para professional ( a fancy name for aid) to special needs children! My student this year happens to be an amazing young athlete who just happens to have Down Syndrome! I love the story of Tim’s place! I feel Special people shine with a joyful light! Thanks for sharing!

Michelle…e-mail your address to me at marcialmcclure@cs.com and I’ll get that bacon to you asap!

As for today’s contest…you know I always like to have a contest that somehow parallels my goofy blog…so how about this…This LOVELY little book of 30 Norman Rockwell postcards!  I LOVE Norman Rockwell (and so does my beverage swapping sister!)!  These should be fun to send to friends, include with gifts, or SIMPLY to look through once in a while!  So leave a comment and I’ll pull a name out of my hat next time I blog for the winner of the postcard book!  Fun!  (Though…I’m still haunted about Ethel and Norma and whether or not they escaped the flu! :( )

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 9 Comments

Another Kevin Bacon Epiphany! (And the winner of the Almond Roca!)

So here’s the deal…you know how the only two places a woman can ever have a quiet moment to think are in the shower or when she wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep? Right? Well, today during one of those two moments a woman can find think (in the shower), I realized something kind of fun.

Let’s begin yesterday. I went to Joann’s to get a couple of spools of thread I needed for a fun quilting project, and while standing in line waiting to get my fabric cut (yes…I bought more than thread while I was there), I saw an old friend, Lori. (It’s kind of funny, because I rarely bump into her, but the last two times I have, it’s been at Joann’s. :) )

Well, Lori and I got to chit-chatting (me babbling on like an idiot…you know how I get when I’m nervous), and I remembered a trivial little story I wanted to share with her.

Last April, my sister-in-law, Kristi, and her kids, Amanda, Blake and Aubree, came down for a visit. While they were here, my brother-in-law, Kyle, had the idea all of us taking the kids to a fun little restaurant in Albuquerque called, Tim’s Place. (Click here for a link to Tim’s restaurant’s web site.)

You may or may not know that two of my sister-in-law’s four kids have Down Syndrome…and so does Tim, the owner of Tim’s Place! Therefore, we knew it would be a way fun place to have lunch! :)

We arrived at Tim’s Place, received our hugs from Tim (who slathered us all with attention :) ) and then were seated and told our waiter would be right with us. The very instant I saw our waiter, I kind of did a double-take, thinking he looked really familiar. He was tall, handsome and his name was, Sam…and I could’ve sworn I knew him from somewhere, but I couldn’t think where.  Hmmm.

Naturally, the moment Sam had seated us and had handed our menus to us, I leaned across the table and whispered to my niece, Amanda, “Amanda…aren’t you glad we got the hottie waiter?”

In her adorable little voice she said, “Yes I am, Aunt Marcia!” Amanda appreciates a handsome guy as much as any of us, after all.  :)

Now, over the years, one of the blessings I have observed of having Down Syndrome, is that those with Down Syndrome don’t seem to be as easily embarrassed as the rest of us. Amanda and Blake (Amanda’s brother who also has Down Syndrome) don’t struggle with the burden of humiliation like the rest of us do. They own a certain liberation we can only envy.

Therefore, when Sam Our Hottie Waiter returned to our table, Amanda promptly smiled and greeted, “Hi, Hottie!” (Awesome, right?!?! That girl is so free and uninhibited! I love it!)

Sam Our Hottie Waiter was very patient with us…very kind and cordial and even posed for some photos with Amanda! (Cute photo of Amanda and Sam Our Hottie Waiter to the right there.  I told you he was tall!  How dreamy, right?)

Yet, the entire time we were at Tim’s Place, I kept thinking, “I know that guy,” any time Sam Our Hottie Waiter was a round.

Well, we had a blast at Tim’s Place, then went home, and that was that. Of course, Tim is too wonderful NOT to request as a friend on Facebook, so I requested him, and he kindly accepted me as a friend.  :)   He’s such a nice man!

Weeks and months went by.  Periodically I would check in on Tim (via Facebook) here and there to see what he was up to.  (And he’s always up to some adventurous thing.  :) )  But I never could figure out why Sam Our Hottie Waiter had seemed so familiar to me.

Then one day, WHAM! Tim posted a photo of Sam Our Hottie Waiter and tagged Sam in it! Lo and behold, Sam Our Hottie Waiter’s full name was Sam Dalton—and that’s when it hit me!

If you remember the Author’s Note in by book, A Better Reason to Fall in Love, I mention that my “Bacon Number” is three—you know, my Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon number—I can be linked to Kevin Bacon in three people…remember?

But what I did NOT tell you in the Author’s Note, was through WHOM I’m linked to Kevin Bacon in just three moves. And since it’s pertinent to this little tale, here’s the deal:

1. In High School I was acquainted with a couple of Hottie Brothers named Eric and Darren Dalton…the younger of the two being Darren Dalton. Well, while were in high school, Darren Dalton just happened to became a movie star! And one of the first movies he made was The Outsiders.  (He was Randy Adderson. :) )
2. So I know you see where this is going…Darren Dalton was in The Outsiders with Tom Cruise.
3. And as EVERYONE on earth knows, Tom Cruise was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon!

So there you have it! Now you know the secret to my THREE Degrees to Kevin Bacon! And I think you can see what’s coming next, right?

After Tim of Tim’s Place, led me to Sam “Our Hottie Waiter” Dalton, I Facebook messaged Sam and asked him, “Are you related to Eric Dalton?”  I mean the minute I realized Sam Our Hottie Waiter’s last name, I realized he looked sooooooooooo much like his dad!

Sam took mercy on me and was kind enough to answer my message and tell me that, Yes!…he is Eric’s son and that Darren Dalton is his Uncle! Totally fun, right?  The family resemblance is so uncanny…and that’s why I thought I had met Sam Our Hottie Waiter before, that first day at Tim’s Place!  Ha ha!

Anyway, back to me having a moment to think in the shower this morning…as I was in the shower this morning thinking over my conversation with my old friend, Lori ( I was actually thinking of what a dork I had been…nervously babbling on like and idiot…because for some reason the ol’ social phobia still raises its ugly head now and then and chose yesterday in Joann’s to do so…ugh :( ), and how I’d told her about bumping into Eric Dalton’s son/Darren Dalton’s nephew, because she was friends with the Dalton boys as well…it hit me!

I thought, “Oh my heck! I have GOT to tell Kristi and Amanda that they have a Bacon Number of four through Sam Our Hottie Waiter from Tim’s Place!”

You see, Kristi and her kids are in town right this very instant for another visit! And I realized that since Amanda met Sam Our Hottie Waiter, and since Sam Our Hottie Waiter is Darren Dalton’s nephew, and since Darren Dalton was in The Outsiders with Tom Cruise, and since Tom Cruise was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon…Amanda has a Bacon Number of 4! Yay!

Yep…true inspiration and/or epiphany usually hits me while I’m showering. I mean, I’m sure that’s true for everyone…but I thought I’d just share my morning epiphany with you…just for fun…being that we all LOVE to know our Bacon Numbers, you know?

Now…because I’m such a terribly tardy blogger…I realized that I owe someone out there a GIANT can of Almond Roca! And that lucky someone is…Melody!  Melody…here’s the comment I pulled out of my hat, and it’s yours…so just e-mail me at marcialmcclure@cs.com with you address and I’ll get your Almond Roca shipped asap!

Melody says:
February 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm “Love it! Coquette is a name I have down if I am lucky enough one day to have a daughter, I think it’s just beautiful. ”

As for the little goody I’m giving away for THIS blog…hmmm…let’s see. I’ve got it! Leave a comment here, on Facebook, Goodreads, etc. concerning your Kevin Bacon number, an “it’s a small world” story of your own, or anything fun, and I’ll plop your name in my hat to receive a package of Hormel Black Label Fully Cooked Bacon…72 STRIPS OF BACON!!!!! Delicious!

P.S. 30 years ago this very month, my college roommate, Sandy, and I…hailed the soundtrack to the ORIGINAL Footloose as our favorite music to blast through our apartment! Long live Kevin Bacon! Ha ha!

P.S.S. Here’s a video of an interview with Tim of Tim’s Place!  He’s sooooooooo awesome!!!!

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 13 Comments

Almond Roca and The Whispered Kiss! :)

It’s been soooooooooooooooo long since I blogged…5 months, to be exact. But when The Whispered Kisswas chosen as this week’s “featured title” on my site, I was asked to blog about it, and decided this would be just the perfect thing to get me started…again. (*The Whispered Kiss being featured at www.marcialynnmcclure.com means that all versions of the book are on sale all week! Hardcover, softcover and e-book! So if you’ve been needing extra copies, or haven’t read it at all, here’s a chance to get a copy cheap, by the way. )

The truth is that, The Whispered Kiss is one of my favorite books! Like very book ever written in the entire world, it gets some guff from reviewers here and there (mostly for being too sappy, or because of Coquette’s first name), but it’s honestly one that I love, and that I loved writing.

When I was getting ready to write this blog, my mind was a void (which it often is, ha ha!). I couldn’t get started, so I asked friends to ‘jump my battery’ so to speak, and give me some suggestions of things they’d like to know about The Whispered Kiss and it’s origins.

I’m going to start with Teya’s posted comment: “I love the beauty and the beast reflection of the book. My question is, was that it’s inspiration and if so why and if not how did it come be like that?”

Well, Teya…bingo! Beauty and the Beast was ABSOLUTELY my inspiration for the book! I’ve always, always loved the story of Beauty in the Beast, and would still tag it as my favorite fairy tale…or at least in my top two. One reason I love the Beauty and the Beast theme, is because the thread of Beauty and the Beast can run through so many different real-life situations. If you don’t take the beast part as literal (a guy who physically turns into an animal-type thing), you can actually see Beauty and the Beast stories all around you. I think that’s why the idea resonates so strongly in me…and it’s what inspired me to write The Whispered Kiss.

Even though The Whispered Kiss is a historical romance, the wounded bad-boy theme is believable—because haven’t we all known a situation like Valor’s? Whether it’s the boy or the girl in a relationship, we’ve all known someone who has been brutally injured emotionally and has had to go through a healing process…one that often includes anger, bitterness and resentment. Heck! most of us have our own personal experiences on some level, that helps us relate to Valor.

Next I’d like to address Kelsie’s suggestion. She wrote, “I always like to hear the history of the characters names, any inspiration and trivia tidbits.”

Kelsie’s comment is kind of fun for me, because one place where The Whispered Kiss once got hashed was by a reader who went on and on about how much she hated Coquette’s name. Thick skin or not, I am upset when someone trashes one of my character’s names. After all, you might as well tell me you hate one of my kids’s names, right? But I so so soooooooooo love Coquette’s name! Since Beauty in the Beast is oft times associated with a French setting (being that the first published telling of it was La Belle et la Bête by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740), I wanted to pay tribute to that by using a French name for the heroine. However, my main reason for naming the heroine, Coquette, is because I LOVE the word…and I have loved it since the first time I ever heard Bing Crosby sing, “Katrina” in Disney’s animated version of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

“And yet when you’ve met, that little coquette, Katrina…you’ve lost your heart!” the song goes.

In truth, the word coquette most literally means a woman who flirts…and it’s also a species of hummingbird. But it can also mean, enchantress…which is the definition I choose to acknowledge with my heroine in The Whispered Kiss. To me, Coquette is a very pretty name that brings to mind femininity and the appearance of vulnerability.

Of course, these days, the qualities of femininity and the appearance of vulnerability are sometimes considered weaknesses in a woman. But I whole-heartedly disagree. First of all, femininity is fun, soft, nurturing and important. And as for the appearance of vulnerability…just because a woman inspires protective instincts in a man, the world should not assume she’s weak or not empowered. The phrase “Steel Magnolias” says it all. So there you have my thinking behind naming Coquette. A synopsis would be, she’s a very feminine woman, inspires the protective instincts in a man, yet is strong in spirit, mind and body.

As for Valor…well the name just came to me as sounding really cool…and then a moment later, I realized that the meaning of the name fit what Valor is. Though he slipped up for a time and became bitter and resentful…vindictive for a moment even…Valor literally means: determination and boldness in facing danger, especially in battle; heroic courage and bravery. That’s what Valor exemplifies to me at his best—what Coquette needs to unearth in him by healing his heart.

Yikes! That turned out to be a pretty long explanation of my inspiration for the names of the hero and heroine in this book. Sorry.

Now, my friend, Astasia, had several questions for me. I’ve listed, and answered them below.

What playlist did you listen to while writing this? I listened to a playlist I compiled of pieces by my favorite composer, Brian Crain. Some of the titles of the tracks I listened to are, A Walk in the Forest, A Voice From the Past, The Secret Letter, Eclipse of the Moon and Crimson Sky. Brian Crain is AWESOME!!! His music is what will be the intro on the audio editions of my books. ?

Which scene was your favorite to write? Oooo! I have no idea! I could tell you what my favorite scenes are…but those weren’t necessarily my favorite to write. Um…I did like writing the one where Valor and Coquette are at the dinner party and she’s freaked out by Lord Springhill and Valor picks up on it and stuff.

Do you have a ceiling mural? Ha ha! Nope! My bedroom has a sign over the door that reads, “An Autumn Haven,” and it’s all about coziness and warmth. :)

Did you come up with the ‘whispered kiss’ idea or were you introduced to it? Ha ha! Katie asked the same question. :) I was never introduced to it, that I remember. I just thought it would be deliciously romantic! (I must mention that, the ‘mumbling against my mouth’ kisses are ones I know WELL from experience, however! :) )

What was your comfort/brain food while writing this awesome book? Ha ha! The same as it always is…a package of Milk Chocolate Chips and a jar of Jiff Peanut Butter! Mmmmm!

Next, Kirsten asked: “What was your inspiration for the book? Why did you choose the specific timeline, place setting, and certain characters? Do you ever dream about your characters while you’re in the middle of writing the book (I ask because occasionally I’ll dream about the characters as I’m reading it!)?”

My inspiration for the book (other than the basic idea of Beauty and the Beast without the thread of magic in it), would totally be the simple fact that the idea for the title popped into my head while I was driving somewhere one day! It’s not the only time that’s happened…that I’ve thought of a book’s title before I’ve even thought of the concept for the story…but it was the first time it happened this way. Once the title popped in my head and I started thinking about it, the Beauty and the Beast plot thread began to simmer in my mind and Voila! Ha ha! I’m so weird, right?

As for the timeline, setting, etc…it’s simply what I imagined when I thought of Valor and Coquette’s romance…i.e. the surroundings in which I envisioned them.

And do I ever dream about my characters? Absolutely! Both waking and sleeping! To me, each story is real in my mind, you know? Like a movie, or memory. Though, maybe your dreams are a bit different. :) I did have a friend call me after she’d read The Heavenly Surrender years and years ago. She told me she dreamt all night about being on an airplane with Brevan…and that he was the most delicious kisser ever! Ha ha! ?

Okay, Marche asked me the question that is always, always a quandary for me. She asked, “Do you ever picture any celebrities when writing about your characters? Who would you pick to star in the movie (if it were made into one)?”

It might surprise you to know that, while I’m in the process of writing a book, I never ever picture celebrities! Each character has their own appearance in my mind, and that’s how I always see them. It’s also why I have trouble imagining who could play them if a book was ever made into a movie.

For instance, here’s one description of Valor from the book: “Her breathing stopped, her breath dying as she gazed on his perfect face, intense amber eyes, narrow and straight nose, square jaw, and strong chin. The brown of his hair, windblown, gave him the look of some wild predator.”

Honestly, I cannot think of one movie star that measures up to how I see Valor in my mind! Ha ha! I way open for suggestions! :)

One thing I did want to mention (because Jennie commented that the book frustrated her at first because of all the misunderstandings) is that, to me, that lack of communication and multiple misunderstandings thread in the book, is probably one of the things that makes the relationship so real. We can’t ever assume someone feels one way, for they might feel completely opposite of what it appears they do. We have to talk things out…communicate with one another. Otherwise misunderstandings begin to snowball…to fester and grow to a point that is ridiculous. I’m all about communication and working things out NOW…instead of waiting until a more convenient time. I think Valor and Coquette realized that in the end…and that’s how life is a lot of the time. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to suffer deep hurt and harm to learn important lessons.

Now for some Trivia Tidbits, as Kelsie suggested.

1. I LOVE Nutmeg! Honestly, quite often, I just take the jar of Nutmeg out of my spice cupboard, rip of the lid, and inhale to my heart’s content! It soothes my senses and gladdens my heart. It may sound weird, but to me, it’s TOTALL aroma-therapy! I also love the taste of it, and use Nutmeg in my French Toast, instead of cinnamon. :)

2. My friend Amy (one of the friends this book is dedicated to) is hysterical! I called her one day to talk to her about something in the book I was working on. Amy had been reading The Whispered Kiss chapter by chapter as I wrote it. Once I’d written the chapter where Valor and Coquette first kissed, Amy called me…and when I answered the phone she exclaimed, “Let the games begin! Do we get to see him naked?!” It made me laugh so so so soooooooooooo hard! She kills me!

3. Lions are one of my favorite, favorite, favorite wild animals! In fact, as a chilled I used to collect little lion figurines, stuffed animals, etc. I still love lions and wish I had a place to keep a collection now…but I already collect too many things I have to find places for, you know?

4. The very first cover of The Whispered Kiss featured a lavender rose against a muted gray background. That image was taken from a painting that famous artist Jared Barnes did just for me…just for the first The Whispered Kiss cover! Jared gave me the original painting and I cherish it more than he can ever imagine!

5. Of all the covers of my books that incorporate a human element (some I like and some I do not), The Whispered Kiss is one that I really like! Not that the people on the cover are really who I imagine Coquette and Valor to look like…but I just like the unusual color and the concept.

I’m not sure whether or not you found anything interesting in this little blog about The Whispered Kiss…but I hope you did! And just to make sure you find SOMETHING to like about it…how about some Almond Roca? Ha ha! So random, right?

Leave a comment here, on Facebook, Goodreads, etc…or e-mail a comment to mariclamcclure@cs.com concerning anything to do with this blog about The Whispered Kiss, and I’ll choose someone to receive a 42 oz. can of Almond Roca! Ha ha! That’s like 100 pieces of Almond Roca! A dream come true, right?

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 24 Comments

I’m Thinking WAY too Much About Food!!! (And last blog’s winner, too!)

Okay…the truth is that, right now, there are two things I can’t get out of my mind!  One is Autumn, Glorious Autumn!…and the other is…PANERA BREAD!!!!  I’m sooooooooooooooooo craving my favorites at Panera!

I think they’re connected…the two things stuck in my head…because I LOVE Panera Bread in the fall more than ever!  Even though I love it all year long, fall and winter at Panera are my favorite!  You know, when the soup is extra hot and the fires are on in the dining area…Heaven!

Lately, I just start salivating whenever I think of my current favorite meal there…their Basil Pesto Sacchettini AND a half of a Frontega Chicken Panini!  I’m dying over here!  Then you throw in a chocolate chip cookie and WHAM!!!  I’m there!

Do you know that I’ve never taken a laptop to Panera and worked?  No way!  I prefer to savor my food there…mmmmm!

Anyway, I was just sitting here craving Panera Bread (especially their Basil Pesto Sacchettini) and I realized I haven’t blogged forever (again!)!  So here’s the deal…the winner of the Sadie’s Salsa from my last blog thingy, (and  yes, she’s getting TWO jars, because it took me so long to blog again) is…Lily Jones!  Just e-mail me your snail mail at marcialmcclure@cs.com, Lily, and I’ll get that Sadie’s Salsa in the mail to you!

Meanwhile, leave a comment about absolutely ANYTHING fun and/or happy here, on Facebook, Goodreads or e-mail, and I’ll drop your name in my hat for a chance to win…yep…a Panera Bread Gift Card!  Ha ha!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!  I LOVE PANERA BREAD!!!!

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 34 Comments

Shannon’s Southwest Chicken Recipe! Yummy!

Wow!  I had no idea it had been over 2 months since I last blogged!  Ugh!  I guess it’s an indication of what summer was like around here…NUTS!!!!  Crazy!!!!  Chaos!!!!

Still, the past is in the past…so onward with the determination to do better from here on, right?  (Ha ha!  HOW many times have I set THAT goal for myself, hmmm?)  :)   First, however…the winner of the last blog contest is Jessica Spafford!  Jessica…which magazine subscription would you like?  Country or Reminisce?  Just e-mail me at marcialmcclure@cs.com and I’ll get you signed up asap, okay?

Now, so so sooooooooo many of the Ticket Holder’s Event attendees have written asking for the recipes for the thooper dooper, yummy Southwest Chicken Party Posse member, Shannon, served at the events!  Therefore, I asked Shannon if I could share the recipe on my blog and she has graciously allowed me to.  Yay!  Therefore, this week’s blog is simple…a delicious new meal for your family to enjoy (or, as we say in our house, a new thing to slop the hogs with!  Ha ha!)!

Shannon is a culinary genius you know.  You should have a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch at her house!  It’s incredible!  Gouda cheese, some sort of fancy ham, a delicious, butter garlic-herb-spread on the thick, soft, white bread…perfectly grilled and INCREDIBLE!  Wow!  Kevin and I were blown away!  Needless to say, I’ve now upped the quality of my own grilled cheese sandwiches, you know?

Anyway…here are Shannon’s recipes for the INCREDIBLE Southwest Chicken, the Vulture Dip she served with it, and a list of the…as Kevin would say, “Accessories,” for toppings!  Ha ha!  Hope you love Shannon’s recipes as much as we do!

Oh!  And one more thing…leave a comment here, on Facebook, or via e-mail at marcialmcclure@cs.com, and you’ll entered to win my newest blog contest:  A jar of Sadie’s Salsa (as featured in The Time of Aspen Falls) AND a few cans of Hatch Green Chili!  Yay!

 

 

Southwest Chicken

6 Chicken breasts (frozen are fine, might take just a bit longer, like half hour more on high)
1 can drained kidney beans
1 can drained black beans
1 cup frozen corn
1 Tbs. cumin
1 t. salt
Jalapenos to taste, (I put in about 2 Tbs. diced)
2 cups mango salsa
1 8oz. package of Cream Cheese

*Place in crockpot and cook for 4 hours on high, or 8 on low.
*Before serving, remove chicken and chunky-shred the chicken.
*While doing that, add 1 8oz. cream cheese to mix. Gently stir in cream cheese until melted and add the shredded chicken back in.
*Serve over tortilla chips.

“Accessories” (a.k.a. Toppings)

Shannon’s Vulture Dip (Recipe below.)
Grated cheese
Pico de Gallo
Salsa
Sour Cream
Guacamole
Olives
Jalapenos

 Vulture Dip

(From Shannon:  “My family eats this every Sunday after church for lunch
and fight over it like a pack of Vultures, hence the name!”)

2 cans chili beans. (SW are my favorite)
1 8 oz cream cheese
1 tbs. diced jalepenos

*Heat on stove and use a submersion blender and blend until smooth.
*Eat with tortilla or Dorito chips.

 


Posted in Marcia's Blog | 12 Comments

White Lie Cake (AND new contest AND Jenny/Raisinets-you won the last one!)

Okay, (as my friend Gina always says) so here’s the thing…I subscribe to exactly 2 magazines.  Yep…2 and only 2…Country Magazine and Reminisce Magazine.  Of the two, I love Country for it’s AWESOME photos (especially in autumn and winter) and Reminisce for it’s nostalgic quality.

Well, as you’re sitting there wondering why on earth I’m going on about magazines I like…I have to tell you that sometimes they have just funny little things in them that brighten my day!  And I came across one of these funny little things just yesterday, and decided to share it with you.

This little cutie thing, not only reminded me of my Mom’s famous “House” birthday cake, and a little of the movie “The Help”…but just made me smile so sincerely that I thought it was worthy of going a little further than just my box of “Magazines I Don’t Really Want to Throw Away, But Don’t Know What Else to Do With.”  You know what I mean?

And so, hoping you enjoy it as much as I did, here it is:

White Lie Cake

“Alice was to bake a cake for her ladies’ church group bake sale but forgot to do it until the last minute. Worse, whens he took her Angel Food Cake out of the oven, she found that the center had dropped flat.

With no time to bake another cake, Alice looked around the house for something to build up the center and found it: a roll of toilet paper!  She plunked the roll in the center of the cake and covered it with icing.  The finished product looked perfect.

Before dropping off the cake on her way to work, Alice woke her daughter, giving her money to go and buy the doctored cake as soon as the bake sale opened.

When the daughter arrived at the bake sale, she found that the cake had already been sold.  Getting the bad news by phone, Alice was horrified.  Everyone will know!  I’ll be ridiculed! she thought.  All night, Alice envisioned people pointing and talking behind her back.

The next day, Alice attended a fancy luncheon and bridal shower, even though the hostess was a snob who had looked down on her as a single parent from a working-class family, and other guests were definitely upper-crust.  After serving an elegant meal, to Alice’s horror, the hostess presented her bake sale cake as dessert!

Before Alice could leave her seat to tell the hostess about it, the mayor’s wife said, “What a beautiful cake!”

Alice, still stunned, sat back as she heard the hostess say, “Thank you. I baked it myself.”

Smiling, Alice thought to herself, God is good.”

Seriously, do you LOVE that story?!?!  It’s sooooooooooo something that would happen to me…well, except for the happy ending!  Ha ha!

And so, hoping you enjoyed the little story I ripped from the pages of Reminisce (authored by Emily Caglione by-the-way), I’m going to hope you enjoy this blog’s contest, too!

First of all, though, I need to let Jenny (whose Paw Paw loved Raisinets) know that she won the Olive Garden gift card!  Hey, Jenny!  You won the Olive Garden gift card!  E-mail your address to marcialmcclure@cs.com and I’ll get your gift card in the mail asap!

For this week’s contest, leave a comment here, on Facebook, or Goodreads (you know the drill) and I’ll pop your name in my hat for the chance to win a subscription to either Country Magazine or Reminisce Magazine!  Each one is an every-other-month magazine, meaning you’ll get 6 issues a year!  So the winner can just let me know which one she/he wants!  Fun, huh?!?!

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 31 Comments

The Art/Rituals of Eating Certain Types of Candy :) (And Michelle C.-You won the last blog contest!)

As you may, or may not know, I spend a lot of time in my pumpkin-themed office, trying to force myself to work.  While doing this, I find that at various times of any given day, my mind begins to wander.  Understand that once my mind starts to wander, there’s no telling where it might end up!

As it would happen, this moment is one of those moments!  I had been sitting here for who-knows-how-long, trying to work…and yet, for some reason, all I could concentrate on was how many yummy things there are out in the world right now that I want to eat, but can’t!  Naturally, this train of thought led me to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (the mini ones).  Which, for some reason, led me to thinking about Baby Ruth candy bars and Butterfinger candy bars…which consequently led me to thinking about 3 Musketeers candy bars which of course led me to thinking about my life-long friend Amy L. and the delicate manner in which she use to consume a 3 Musketeers candy bar.

I can still see it now…the vision as fresh in my mind as if it were only yesterday!  There we were…sitting in the Valley High School cafeteria, having just finished our lunch.  Yep…me and Amy…Amy and me…and from her lunch sack, her pocket or by having dropped 50 cents in a vending machine (I don’t remember the means by which Amy came to have a 3 Musketeers bar in her possession that day), Amy produced a 3 Musketeers bar.  What followed was truly a mesmerizing sight to behold.

Now, I’ve since seen other people consume a 3 Musketeers candy bar in a similar manner.  In fact, my own daughter, Sandy, use to eat a 3 Musketeers bar in this same fashion (even though I had never told her about my witnessing Amy’s legendary method of thoroughly enjoying a 3 Muskeeters).  (I say that my daughter, Sandy, USE TO eat a 3 Musketeers bar this way because, she apparently doesn’t anymore, owning to the fact that one of her college friends told her that the middle of a 3 Musketeers bar reminder her of chicken fat.  Grodie! :( )

Anyway, though the method might be familiar to you, way back in the Valley High School cafeteria in the early 1980s, I had never witnessed such a thing as Amy’s savoring her 3 Musketeers!  It was totally intriguing to me…the way she very gracefully removed the candy bar from its wrapper, completely stripping it of it’s silvery, aluminum-ish envelope…the way she held it with one thumb and index finger poised at its center, as she nimbly, slowly and very neatly, used her teeth to pull the chocolate coating off one end of the 3 Musketeers bar and reveal the creamy nougat.  Next she rotated the candy bar, then stylishly repeat the process of removing the chocolate coating on the other end by using the same method, or perhaps the index finger and thumb of her free hand…you know, to mix it up a bit.

Then came the sides of the 3 Musketeers bar…removed in the same manner (either with teeth or thumb and forefinger)…the the chocolate bottom of the candy bar was then removed.  (Ha ha!  “Chocolate bottom!” :) ) Having saved the best chocolate coating for last (the top with the cute little swirls on it), Amy then relished the taste of the final pieces of chocolate coating before eating the creamy nougat that is the innards of a 3 Musketeers.

Now to be honest, I can’t remember if Amy always had the time during our lunch there in Valley High School’s cafeteria to perform this ritual as perfectly, delicately and with as much patience as a Tibetan Monk the way she did that particular day (it seems I remember that in most incidences she only had time to do the sides and ends), but on that particular day I was in AWE!!!!  I’d never seen anything like that!

I mean, for the most part, I had always taken after my dad when it came to eating candy bars…open one end of the wrapping and pull it down as if peeling a banana…take a bite, then another, then another and Voila!  It was like Mr. Turtle counting how many licks it took to take to the get to the center of a Tootsie Pop…“One, two, three. (Sound of crunching.)  Three.”  Therefore, Amy’s meticulous dissection of the 3 Musketeers bar was mind-blowing to me!

Well, getting back to the subject at  hand, reminiscing over Amy’s 3 Musketeers ritual, did NOTHING to get my mind back on track and to writing today.  On the contrary, my dear Watson!  Instead, I began to think of the fact that I have my own ritual preference when eating Whoppers.

Yes!  Though I’m always careful when eating a Baby Ruth bar or Butterfinger bar…you know, because they’re so messy (like when you eat the Baby Ruth, sometimes you hit a peanut and then it causes the surrounding chocolate to crumble and get all over the seat of the car while you’re driving…and of course you can’t take your eyes off the road long enough to brush the chocolate crumbs off the seat between your legs…so you just have to leave them there and then you end up with melted chocolate all over your inner thighs and rear end…and your husband asking you how chocolate got all over the driver’s side seat and reminding you that it is the very reason that he always buys cars with leather seats…because the chocolate cleans off easier, and the same thing happens with Butterfingers if you eat them while you’re driving), and so I keep my hand cupped up just under my chin in case of residual chocolate crumbs.  Right?

But Whoppers…now that’s a different ballgame!  That’s where I have my own ritual, and I’m guessing you might, too.

First off, I always eat one Whopper at a time…which is weird for me, since with most candies that are small (like skittles or M&Ms) I have to have two at at time…one for each side of my mouth.  However, for me, Whoppers take care of themselves in that regard.

What I do is take a Whoppers and bite it in half with my front teeth.  Then I gingerly pop both halves in my mouth, working them around a bit with my tongue, until one half is on one side of my tongue with the malted inside part pressing against my taste buds, and the other half is mirroring the placement on the other side of my tongue.  Then I wait with delicious anticipation until when, in the very next instant, I can feel that malted center tingling on my tongue as it dissolves!  LOVE that sensation!  Fabulous!

So there you have it…an example of where my thoughts wander to when I’m trying to work!  Of course, NOW I’m back to thinking about all those yummy things I’m not supposed to eat…like a Butterfinger bar crushed up and mixed into a bowl of Vanilla Bean ice cream!  Yikes!

Meanwhile, it’s time for a new contest!  But first, let me pull a name out of my hat for the winner of the last one…Michelle Christensen!  LOVED your story of the Barbie house, Michelle!  They have these ones now on Amazon that I dream over all the time!  I might have to get one once I have a granddaughter to spoil!  Meanwhile, shoot me an e-mail with your address so I can get your copies of Over in the Meadow and Andrew Henry’s Meadow sent to you!  Hope you love them!

And for this week’s contest…how about we make it simple.  I don’t have any 3 Musketeers bars loitering around here anywhere, BUT how about a $25 gift certificate to The Olive Garden?!?!  Yes!  Now my mind is REALLY wandering!  Must be time for dinner.  Just leave a comment here, on Facebook, Goodreads, etc. telling me anything about your favorite candy and I’ll drop your name in my hat for the chance to win the gift card to The Olive Garden!  Yay!  (Still wish I had a Costco-sized bag of Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups though. :) )

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 46 Comments

Stress, Lists and a Barbie Binge! :) (And Corrie C.-You WON!)

 

So here’s how it went down a couple of weeks ago:

You may, or may not know, that my newest book, Midnight Masquerade, is…well, let’s just put it out there and say it…LATE!!! :(   Without going into great, over-verbose and heinously boring detail…let’s just say that a couple of weeks ago, I hit my “dealing-with-stress” outer limit!  Do you know what I mean?  As I said, however, I’m not going to whine and have a melt down HERE…I’m just going to tell you how I muddled through it!  Ha ha!

First of all, don’t you love that sometimes the things that end up calming you the most, are just the little things?  Anyway, remember a while back when I asked you for blogging ideas?  Well, ALL of the ones sent to me were FABULOUS!  AND I’ve kept a list of them for future use.  Ironically, the fact that I sad down and put those ideas into a “list” is…well…ironic!  Ha ha!  All of the ideas inspired me, but the one that kept popping out at me was the one Corrie C. suggested that included these questions:  “I’m thinking lists. Aren’t you a list maker?”

Ahhhhh ha ha!  Am I a LIST MAKER?!?!?!  Corrie!  Are you even kidding?  List making has been a ‘thing’ of mine ever since I was a kid!  Now, I never make daily or productive lists (other than my Christmas list, which is meticulous), but I LOVE making lists!   List-making has always, always soothed me!  You know, just random lists…lists of CDs I own or wish to own, lists of children’s books I own or wish to own…lists of memories I want to journal about one day, lists of things I used to cook when my kids were little.  I could go on and on and on about the healing powers of list-making!  Seriously!

Well, as Corrie’s questions began to nest in my mind…that stressful day hit, and I thought, “Hmm.  I’ll just make a list of Barbies I already own, and then make a Wish List of Barbies I want to  own.”  (See…people are always asking me what I want for Christmas, my birthday, etc. and though I always have Barbies, children’s books, etc. at the top of the list, only my kids seem to realize that I’m TOTALLY serious!  Ha ha!)

Naturally, before I could really make a serious list, I had to sit down and go through my “open” Barbies…you know…the ones I’ve ‘removed from the box’ and keep around for when my niece, Aubree, comes to visit and stuff.  However, I began to realize, that I keep my “open” Barbies around for ME!  Not just for Aubree!  And as I began to sort through them, I felt my stress begin to wane a little.  Just looking at their pretty faces, feeling that familiar hard plastic of their limbs and stuff (a WAY throw-back sensation to childhood, right?  Like sniffing Crayola Crayons!)…smoothing their hair back into place.  All of those ‘fee/touch’ sensations began to calm me down a bit…and I hadn’t even gotten to the list-making part!

My niece had been here just a week or so before that, and she, me and my daughter Sandy had been playing with the “open” Barbies…so their clothes and stuff needed some straightening out before I tucked them away for another rainy day as I planned to.  (I have to veer off here a minute, and tell you that I have this weird obsession with dolls being closed up in boxes!  For years, my mom stored her childhood baby doll…her only doll (a composite doll made in the late 1930s or early 1940s) in a trunk out in our garage/storage area!  It FREAKED me out!  Knowing that that little baby doll was out there in a trunk and maybe couldn’t breathe, really haunted me!  In fact, tit was so bad, that I finally talked my mom into letting me at least go out there and lay the doll down comfortably and make sure the trunk lid was open just a titch so she could breath!  Add to that the fact that when my sister was really little, one of her FAVORITE books in all the world was this ghastly story about these dolls that were stored in a trunk and would sneak out of the trunk and live it up around their owner’s house when the people were gone…and you had the stuff of nightmares!  I mean, Mom read that book aloud to my sister night after night after night…with me lying wide awake in my bed in the same room!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!  The Muffletumps!  I mean, seriously!  Look at the front page in the book!  Freaky illustrations, right?  Well, at least when you were a fifteen year old girl with a weird obsession with dolls NOT being trapped in trunks!) ANYWAY…I was settling my “open” Barbies in their plastic tote boxes…you know, making sure every girl was with her propper boyfriend or husband…did I mention that I also insist that EVERY “open” Barbie, has a handsome boyfriend or husband?  Ken will do in a pinch…but I really prefer the Ken Dolls names like Ryan, Steven, etc…OR the ultimate Barbie mate ever made…the Alan doll from the 1990s!  He’s handsome and way buff!  Anyway (AGAIN), I was straightening out my “open” Barbies, realizing how soothing a project it was, and that I really needed to get all my Barbie clothes in order…and that how wonderful it would be if I could talk my son-in-law into building me a Barbie Bridal Boutique for all my bridal and formal gowns…and I’m not kidding…I really began to feel a ton better!!!

I’ve sorted things before to chill out…sorting does settle my nerves.  I like to sort coins and look for wheat pennies, Bi-Centennial quarters, etc. (one time my son Trent and I spent six ours sorting Lego pieces when he was stressed out, too, and I LOVED that!)…but sorting my “open” Barbies was even different that all my other soothing-sorting.  While sorting my “open” Barbies, I was reminded of how much I LOVED my Barbies as a kid…what an escape to fantasy and fun they were for me…how I just loved them more than any toy EVER!!!!  It was like a miracle elixir!  I just really started feeling better and like all would (eventually) be well.

Sorting my “open” Barbies…well, you know how the song/saying goes, “One thing leads to another,”…and pretty soon I had come up with my idea for Aubree’s Christmas gift!!!  Barbie outfits!  I mean, they do NOT make Barbie clothes the way they use to!  Ugh!  It’s amazing  how different they are!  Plus…the new Barbie clothes, don’t fit any Barbies made before 1997 …because even though these Monster Bratzillaz and Monster High dolls are out…back in 1997 everyone decided that Barbie’s long legs, small waist, and big bosoms were giving little girls unrealistic body image expectations…though I’m not sure how that’s worse than the skimpy Barbie clothes of today, or the Monster High dolls.  I mean, really?  I mean, let’s look at the evidence:  Below you have a Monster High Doll, a current Barbie Doll (you know, the one that supposed to help little girls have better body images) and a Barbie doll with the original physique.  Take a minute and look these over while I go eat my oatmeal (to try and get my cholesterol in line :( ) and I’ll be back to discuss this further.

Oh yeah! My body image would be MUCH better after owning a Monster Doll (big head…skinny, skinny body)! :) P.S. I DO own the Fashionistas Barbie shown above…because I LOVE Barbies!  (Except for the ones that come in just their bathing suits because they have these big, wide, weird flat feet that won’t fit in Barbie shoes :( )Even the new ones-even though their heads are disproportionate to their bodies…and wouldn’t that encourage a girl to try and be too skinny?!

But I’ve digressed to my Barbie’s Shape Change/The Destruction of Femininity soapbox.  Sorry.  :(   (Clears throat.)

Back to Aubree’s Christmas gift.  You see, Aubree is a TRUE Barbie enthusiast like I was/am.  She is the funnest little girl I’ve ever played Barbie’s with!  She knows how to treat them, how to play with them, change their outfits, and share a fabulous conversation while doing so!  She’ll be nine in a couple of weeks, and of all the little girls I’ve known in my adult life, only my daughter Sandy and Aubree have been at the level of Barbie devotee’s that I was/am.  (My daughter-in-law loves Barbies, too…but I never was able to witness her playing Barbies when she was little, so I don’t now how she played.)  Therefore, I decided that for Aubree’s Christmas gift I would do this:  I’ve purchased a LOVELY little round suitcase (very vintage-looking) that has “Paris” embroidered on the front, and I’m slowly filling it with Barbie outfits, shoes and accessories!  I mean, GORGEOUS outfits…and the kind that fit any Barbie body!  Need an example?  Okay…here’s one!  Lovely, right?

Naturally, sending all the outfits in their original boxes would be too bulky.  So when I find one, I bring it home and carefully remove it from the box…then nicely fold it and place the outfit (including accessories) in a pretty organza bag, gently pull the ribbon drawstrings closed and plop it into the little round “Paris” suitcase.  That way I only have to wrap and ship the suitcase…and when Aubree opens it on Christmas morning…hopefully she’ll be pleased! :)

Now in comparison, here’s a new Barbie dress.  In truth, I LOVE the new Barbie shoes…because they’re glamorous and stay on!  But I still prefer the more elegant dresses, and colorful pants and shirts of the Fashion Avenue era!  Not that I don’t like the flashy, sparkly material they make Barbie clothes out of now!  I do!  But I just love the old-school clothes…and they often come with fancy panty-hose and stuff, too!  LOVE the little details, you know!?

Anyway, I’ve babbled on and on (as usual) and gotten totally of track…which was to tell you that Corrie C. inspired me to blog about making lists!  Ha ha!  But I HAVE started my Barbie Lists and typing them up soothes me, relaxes my mind and distracts me from my stress!  :)   Unfortunately, my list of Barbies on my Wish List, is FAR too vast!  And I still haven’t finished my list of the ones I own!  Though I did finish the “Halloween Own and Wish” lists!

Which reminds me, I need to start saving up my allowance!  Because, even though I LOVE LOVE LOVE all Halloween Barbies (old, new…normal heads or big heads), there the one at the TOP of my Wish List is soooooooooooo expensive!  She’s the Holiday Hostess  Halloween Haunt Barbie!  She’s a Silkstone one…which I usually don’t lean toward…but isn’t she a toooooo FABULOUS!?!?!  Don’t worry…when I was five or six I saved up my pennies until I had $10 or $15 and could buy my first Barbie RV…so I figure I’ll get enough pennies saved up in my penny jar to eventually feel like I can drop $100+ on the Halloween Haunt Barbie!  (Don’t know how I missed her when she was new and cheaper!)

(P.S. In case you were still freaking out about it the way I tend to do…don’t worry about my mom’s baby doll!  :)   Mom gave her to me years and years ago, and she now sits comfortably in a little Victorian sleigh in my entry room!  She can breathe fine, and she’s nice and warm in her little furry white cape and matching furry white muff! :)

So, yes, Corrie C…I DO like to make lists!  Thank you for reminding me, so that I started my Barbie lists and settled myself down that day when the stress hit me so hard!  You’ve won the Candle and DVD!!!  E-mail me at marcialmcclure@cs.com and let me know where to send it!  Okay?  I’ll get it in the mail right away!

Meanwhile, for this week’s contest…I think I’ll go with two of my favorite children’s books again!  As you know, Andrew Henry’s Meadow rules as the book I loved most as a child, and Over in the Meadow was one of my favorite poems when I was little.  So, whether or not you have children, these will be a nice, relaxing escape for you!  Just leave a comment about something you loved as a kid, and I’ll pick a winner the next time I blog!

Thanks for letting me babble, thus purging my stress a little more!  And thank you, again, for all the FABULOUS blog ideas!  P.S. Corrie C…here’s the Halloween section of my “Barbie List” for your approval! :)

 

Halloween Barbies

Have:
Enchanted Halloween Barbie AA (Black dress with orange sparkles)
Enchanted Halloween Barbie Blonde (Black dress with orange sparkles)
Halloween Fortune Barbie (Gypsy Outfit)
Halloween Fun Barbie and Kelly (Orange and Black kitty outfits, auburn haired Kelly)
Halloween Party Barbie (Jack o Lantern’s in background, Big Head)
Halloween Princess Barbie (Purple with Orange Sparkly Spider Web Dress)
Halloween Star Barbie (Kitten Whiskers and Black/Pink Outfit)
Halloween Treat Barbie (Pumpkin Outfit-Big Head)
Halloween Wishes Barbie (Purple Overdress, lace up boots-Big Head)
Happy Halloween Barbie (Pink Plastic hat, Pink empress waist dress-Big Head)
Maskerade Party Barbie (Orange spotted Kitten outfit)
Perrr-fectly Halloween Barbie (Pink and Black Leopard Outfit)
Pink Halloween Barbie (Black dress with silver spiderwebs-Big Head)

Need: (Any and All African American, as well!)
Halloween Haunt (Holiday Hostess) Barbie (2011-Pricey!)
Trick or Chic Barbie (Standing w/Orange Brimmed Hat)
Halloween Glow Barbie (2002)
Boo-tiful Barbie
Halloween Enchantress Barbie (Spanish on Front?)
Halloween Charm Barbie (2006)
Halloween Hip Barbie
Halloween Star Barbie (Estrella de Halloween-Black and Gold Bodice/Black Hat)
Trick or Chic Barbie on Broom!
Halloween Haunt Barbie (Multi-colored dress, holding broom-2011)
Halloween Party Barbie (Orange skirt, pink and black striped shirt)
Fashion Spell Barbie (Pink hat and skirt, black top)
Halloween Treat Barbie (Purple midriff, long orange skirt, 2008)
Happy Halloween Barbie and Kelly (Jack o Lantern sweatshirts)
Halloween Party Barbie and Ken (Pirates-1998)

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 11 Comments

Inspire Me! Please!!!!

Holy cow!  Look how long it has been since I blogged!!!!  FAIL!!!! :(   Not that I write these wonderful, entertaining, uplifting or even informative blogs at all…but it does help me clear my head, and escape from work a bit while I’m at the computer.   You know?

However, I’m the first one to admit that my blogs are NOT what I would like them to be.  Therefore, I was wondering if I could beg you for some help.

I need some inspirations for blogging.  Believe it or not, I get kind of bogged down where thinking is concerned a lot of the time.  Stress, fatigue, too much sugar…it all adds up to rotten blogging.  :(   So, I was wondering if you’d be willing to do this for me:  Over the next few days, post some ideas for me either here as a comment, on Facebook, Goodreads, or via e-mail.  Ideas I could use for blogging that might entertain me as well as you (hopefully :( )  Or at least help to get our minds off all the demands weighing us down, you know?

Personally, I don’t have ANY ideas…at all!  So I’m up for tons of suggestions!  And what I’ll do is this:  Whichever idea strikes me first and gets me going on a blog (interesting or not)…well, the idea submitter person will win my Blog contest of the week…i.e. a WoodWick Pumpkin Butter Candle AND a DVD copy of Nim’s Island!  The candle and DVD aren’t as random as they may sound, by the way.  :)   For over a year now, any time I’m writing a book, I burn a WoodWick Pumpkin Butter candle on my desk!  AND I LOVE the movie, Nim’s Island…because, as odd as it may sound…I can often relate to Jodi Foster’s character, Alex Rover!  No kidding!  I do!

So if you can find a minute and are willing, please post a comment somewhere or drop me an e-mail with blogging ideas for me, okay?

AND I didn’t forget about the winner of my last Blog contest!  The comment name I just pulled out of my hat as the winner of the Pumpkin Patch photo and the children’s book is, Samantha Gwilliam!  Samantha…please e-mail your snail mail address to me at marcialmcclure@cs.com and I’ll get your winnings in the mail to you asap!  AND thank you so much for commenting!

Now let’s see if anyone has any blogging ideas for me…because I sure don’t! :(

 

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 16 Comments

A Photo Fanatic and An Edwardian Wedding! :)

You probably already know that one of my greatest joys, hobbies, interests, obsessions…is photographs! I just LOVE photographs! I’ve loved them for as long as I can remember! They’ve always held such wonder to me…such mesmerizing fascination! Whether their old or new I love them!

Recently I found out that a friend of mine has a common interest in old photos. Her name is, Katie. And though I don’t know if she’s as unbalanced as I am when it comes to old photos, she has her own quirky little obsession about them. Furthermore, it was Katie who lent me the book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children which is WILDLY intriguing to me because of the premise! Though I haven’t read it yet, I’m starting this weekend and I’m stoked about it!

However, being that I was impatient to read this book and needed to wait until I was a little less stressed so that I could enjoy it…I ordered a book by the same author entitled, Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued From the Past. I was hoping it would be something I could share with Katie…and parts of it are. However, there were a few photos and captions included that kind of took the zing out of it for me, enough that I decided not to buy it for her. BUT the author’s Introduction and Afterward are PROFOUND! I definitely will share those with Katie…and I’d like to begin sharing them with you!

Just as Katie found Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, read it, loved it and then remarked, “Darn it! Someone else ran away with my idea before I could do it!”…I flipped through Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued From the Past and had a similar reaction. I suddenly began wishing I could catalog my antique photo collection somehow…turn it into a book, including my thoughts about each one or something. And though I don’t plan on doing that, I would like to share a few of my favorites here and there, you know?

Not to worry! I won’t overwhelm you at all! Ha ha! And believe me I could! I just thought it would be fun to share a few…just because. I’ll start simply, with something that I discovered just last autumn. These photos aren’t vintage. They’re not beautiful, and they don’t tell a wonderful, sweet or romantic story. But they crack me up!!!! (Keep in mind that, after sharing these with you, I do hop to a vintage photo as part of my blog contest this week. :) )

I know you’ve seen them, too. They were all over the Internet last year…and even though I feel bad for everyone caught in one of these photos, they just made giggles start burbling out of my mouth and lifted my heart with each and every viewing! They’re photos taken by the automatic camera set up in some haunted house (which I’ve forgotten the name of! :( ) I’ll include just a couple of my favorites:

I call this one:  “Freaked Out Boy Band”58

The guy furthest to the right just kills me!  AND I love how they’re all hanging on to each other for dear life!  Seriously, I don’t really go to haunted houses anymore, because I’m afraid I’ll literally have a heart attack!  But these guys are classic!  Young, brave and obviously able to handle the sudden scares!  Yikes!  Do you love it?  Ha ha!  It’s a favorite of mine!

 

 

Another one that I like from last year is:  “Hang Onto Your Flip Flops, Maynard!”112

Just LOVE the guy holding his flip flops!  Like it’s not bad enough you have to walk through a haunted house…you’re going to go through bare foot, too!?  Yikes!  No way!  The girl at the back of the line is great!  I just love this one!  You’ve GOT to love people, right?  How can we all ever have any contention with one another when these kinds of photos and experiences together exist, you know?  Love these haunted house shots!  I wish I could have a drawer full of them!  And, I’m sorry…but I HAVE to share this one!  Seriously, it kills me and is one of my very favorites!

I call it:  “Happy Halloween, Shawties!”  5

Good times. :)   Good times. :)   I hope there are more this fall!  Let me know if you see them and I miss them, okay?

Speaking of Halloween:  Well that brings me to my next little story…and yes…it’s totally random.

However, as you also may or may not know, some of my favorite, favorite in the world photos, are old Wedding Photos.  My daughter, Sandy, and my daughter-in-law, Mallory, share this passion of mine.  Nevertheless, I’m the psycho in the bunch.  And here’s proof.

Whenever I’m in an antique store, I search through every box of photographs I have time to.  To be honest, if a photo is too faded or silvered, I have to find the strength to pass it up, because I already have more wedding photos than one person would ever need.  But last fall, I kept coming across one particular wedding photo that began to sort of call to me.  It wasn’t very expensive, and it wasn’t the best quality in that it had some soiling and some silvering.

131Yet, I found myself returning to look at it over and over and over.  Something in my heart just wanted to purchase it so badly.  And I think it might have been merely for the fact that…well…(and I’m not meaning to sound mean, I’m just being honest about my thoughts)…the reason I kept passing it up was…well, the poor little bride just was a bit odd looking.  I kept imaging that she was exactly what Edward Rochester’s poor insane wife-in-the-attic looked like, you know?  I know it sounds so mean…but it’s just what I kept thinking!  And furthermore, every time I looked at the groom…I would think, that even though he’s a fairly handsome guy (probably considered a REAL catch back in the day), I would also think that he kind of looked like Prince Frank Stein in one of my favorite children’s books, The Witch Who Wanted to Be a Princess.  I mean, he’s a good looking guy…and she’s really a sweet and obviously blue-eyed girl…but I just kept pausing in purchasing.

130And then one glorious, crisp autumn day last October, I finally caved!  I bought the wedding photo of Frank and Bella (named for the hero and heroine in the romantic The Witch Who Wanted to Be a Princess)…and I have never regretted it for a moment!  The photo of Frank and Bella is still one of my favorites in my collection…and it’s not even in good condition!  But I just LOVE that wild-eyed Bella lured tall, dark and edwardianly handsome, Frank into falling in love with her!

I have a lot of custom framed antique wedding photos clustered throughout my house…and as soon as I find just the right place, Frank and Bella will be framed and join the ranks of my eternal favorites!  I’m so so sooooooo glad I purchased this tattered little photo!  (Katie…you HAVE to go get that one you wanted at that antique store!)  It’s so dear to my little heart.  Don’t you just adore them?  Don’t they just look so in love and happy?  I mean, this photo is from the era when people didn’t DARE smile in photographs…and to me the fact that they look so resplendent, is just further proof of how in love they were!  How romantic, right? :)

Now, I know I’ve bored you long enough…so how about we get on to this week’s contest, huh? :)

First of all, the winner of last week’s contest and the 2 Pamela Duncan Edwards books is…Amy Koster!  Send me your snail mail address, Amy…at marcialmcclure@cs.com and I’ll get your books in the mail!

the witch who wanted to beAs for this week’s contest…hmmm…how about this…leave a comment in any of the various venues (i.e. Here, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.) and the name I pull out of my hat next week will win a paperback copy of The Witch Who Wanted to be A Princess, AND an 8×10 professional copy (photo only) of a “kissing in the pumpkin patch” photo that hangs in my office!  What do you think?  Fun, huh?129

Yep!  I just love photos!  It’s why I changed my Facebook cover photo every day!  It’s why I have so many boxes and boxes and notebooks and notebooks filled with new and old photographs!  I’m going to leave you with a quote from that book by Ransom Riggs, Talking Pictures:

“We are no longer leaving behind a tangible, enduring photographic record of ourselves.  Future generations will be far less likely to find our creased snapshots in dresser drawers and attic trunks, as we did those of our ancestors.  Which is to say: old photos may seem numberless now, but they are being lost and tossed and an alarming rate, and we’re not making new ones.  (He’s referring to the fact that we all store our photos digitally, and digital devices are much more easily destroyed than printed photos.)  It us my hope that someday soon the act of collecting and saving old snapshots will be more than just the unusual hobby of a few, and that we’ll stop dismissing them as just “other people’s pictures.” 

 

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