They loaded up the truck and they moved to Tennessee

Beverly Hillbillies in reverse. We live in Michigan and we’re moving to Tennessee…NEXT WEEK!

Last Thursday (April 10), my trophy husband said, “My company has a job opening in Tennessee.”

I said, “Well, what are we waiting for?”

We’ve been discussing moving South for quite a while. The snow in Michigan sucks! But since we were here, we’ve also been looking for a farm in Michigan for the last year, but everything we found, put an offer on, got an acceptance on, etc. has fallen through. Maybe we’re MEANT to move South. If you know me, you know my life is about SYNCHRONICITY! I completely believe things happen for a reason, and you will know you are on the right path by the crazy signs around you. Obviously, the difficulties we had trying to buy a farm in Michigan meant we were not on the right path. When things are right, they’re not difficult…they’re easy. Tell me if I’m on the right path when you read the following story…

10156091_10152321047728326_6600643372095374873_nThat night (April 10), I found a farmhouse online and emailed about it. We planned on going down Sunday (April 13) for a couple days for hubby to check out the job and me to check out the neighborhoods for houses. (In 2 weeks, I’ll be out of the country until August, so if this is going to happen, it has to happen quick quick quick.)

Early Sunday morning, I got a response to my email which was uber-strange, stating the owner worked for the UN and was being transferred to South Africa, and asking questions like ‘Can you attach a photo?’ ‘How much can you put down upfront?’ ‘What’s your birth date?’   It was more than a little weird, so you know me, I Googled it. Turns out it was a scam. It’s been running since 2009. They get your info, you send them a lot of money, and you don’t get the house. I searched online and found the REAL real estate agent and sent her an email, telling her there was some fraudulent activity going on with that property. In the car on the way to Nashville an hour later, I got an email from her asking me to call her. I did and we spoke about the email I had received, which I offered to forward to her. I also asked (since I had her on the phone) if I could set up an appointment with her (since she’s a real estate agent and I’m looking for a house).

10247300_10152318711128326_7398557137487060087_nMonday morning (April 14), I dropped hubby off at the new job and went driving around. Armed with coffee, my GPS, and a list of 20 houses, my plan was to look at all of them before meeting with the real estate agent at noon. All of the houses were in dinky neighborhoods with no yards. I hated them. I’m a country girl. Give me room. Give me grass. Finally, I ended up at the farmhouse I had originally emailed about. I was in LOVE. There were cows and a donkey next to the house…chickens and geese in the barn…and a beautiful 150-yr-old farmhouse.

 

1010207_10152321047538326_4270091319921640956_nWhile I was in the driveway, my trophy husband texted, “The job is a go! Find a house!”

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I texted back, “Just did! Check your email.” I sent him pictures of the cows and the house, and I headed to the real estate office.

The agent showed me some houses on her laptop (some of which I had just driven by) and I told her the one I really loved was the old farmhouse. She told me all about the history of the house and the land. I asked her why she knew so much about the property.

She said, “Because I’m the owner.”

SYNCHRONICITY

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We signed the papers Thursday morning (Apr 17) before we left, and we’re now back in Michigan packing. The movers are coming Apr 29! I gotta go….

Happy New Year, I’m baaaack!

Hello 2014! It’s so nice to see you.

1469780_10152023739203326_873291096_nI have to admit the year has been more than screwy so far. I was working on a ship out of New York the whole month of December, and on January 5th, I tried to board my hour-long flight from New York to Detroit to get home…but…2 cancellations, 3 delays, 1 missed flight, 3 states, 42 hours, and a partridge in a pear tree later, I finally arrived. Yes, I’m complaining, but not as hard as the folks I spoke with on Monday night in Minneapolis (don’t ask me how I got there) who were trying to get home to Toronto since Thursday. I hope everyone finally made it to their destination and is recovering from the experience. P.S. I’m still searching for my luggage. 😛

1479265_10152062245918326_674580956_nThe most exciting part of the trip was a medical emergency on the ship in the middle of the Atlantic, which caused the Coast Guard to fly out and airlift someone. If you look under the helicopter in this photo, you’ll see the Coast Guard guy coming down onto the ship on a rope. Just another gig for these guys. They are amazing! I’ll tell you what though…they lifted the sick person into the helicopter, strapped on to a stretcher. If the person didn’t already have a heart attack, he probably did during that lift. Note: I spoke with a Coast Guard person while sitting in the airport (see above paragraph) and he said there is no cost for a person to be rescued at sea. Thank goodness. That would probably cause a heart attack also.

51QeOBe26zL._SL500_AA300_PIaudible,BottomRight,13,73_AA300_So, in December, my book Okatibbee Creek came out on audio. It’s available at Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. It was narrated by the amazing actress Margaret Lepera. If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s the life story of my third great grandmother, and hearing her voice come to life takes my breath away. You can listen to a sample clip at any of the above links. Check it out.

 

 

AOH%20cover_webAlso, my cover for An Orphan’s Heart, created by Elite Book Design, moved into the finals at AuthorsdB Book Cover Contest. It is in the Top 10 in the ‘Overall’ category. That’s like ‘Cover of the Year’ or something. The winners will be announce in February. Wish me luck!badge-finalist

bluebird_small webWhile I was away, I finished writing Savannah’s Bluebird, which is coming out in February, and I’m very excited about it. I had tea every Tuesday morning at Port Canaveral with the dolphins in the inlet. You can’t see them in the photo, but trust me, they’re there. I also partied for five weeks with the casts of Rock of Ages and Second City and am enamored by those awesomely talented people. It was a great trip. I’ll be sailing out of Miami to the Caribbean the month of March. I’m hoping for a better flight experience. 🙂940829_10152095248678326_1464106962_n

I may not post a lot this month as I’m opening a new dueling piano club in Grand Rapids, Michigan starting TONIGHT, then working in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for a couple weeks. I promise I’ll be back full time in February.

Stay warm! and I’ll talk to y’all soon. ♥

Monday Music – When you can play like this, you can PLAY!

Whew – these books have taken over my life for the last two weeks. Let’s do something different!

996966_10202610971501100_49121576_nI’d like you to meet someone. This man is very dear to me. I’d like to introduce you to the incomparable Skip Pruitt. We spent a few years on the road together, and he is a dear! We spent more nights than I can count, sitting at the dining table on the tour bus, coloring pictures of The Little Mermaid and watching the same movie over and over again while heading to the next town…and the next…and the next. We only had one VHS with us (Yes, it was a few years ago), and believe it or not, I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the movie, but I DO have blackmail photos around here somewhere of him coloring pretty pictures! Now, why would we only have one movie with us but have a whole box of crayons? I think my next Monday Music blog will be about packing for road gigs.

Anyway…

Skip is a master. His tone, his soul, his stage presence, his professionalism are second to none. His love for the music, the melody, the meaning of the song simply oozes out of every note he plays. He has a new Christmas CD coming out November 21st and I can hardly wait!

In the meantime, this will have to tide us over. This is my FAVORITE gospel song, written by the great Richard Smallwood. Skip puts a whole new meaning to the song Total Praise.

Back in the USA!

Hi everyone! I’ve miss you all so much and will hop around the next week and catch up. I have been working out of town for the last eight weeks and completely out of the country for the last five. I have one thing to say about the experience: Satellite Internet is for the birds!

So, now that I’m back, here are the highlights from my last eight weeks: I’ve been working on a ship and going back and forth to Bermuda which is a lovely place. I passed the Statue of Liberty a dozen times. I watched 4th of July fireworks from a UK territory (Thought that was funny!). I had chefs and housekeepers take care of me so much that I admit I’m lazy now and a few pounds heavier. I missed my pets and my trophy hubby more than words can say. I met amazing people from all over the world and now have new and fabulous friends who have invited me to wonderful places like Honolulu and Barcelona. I lost my luggage only once (Deltas fault, not mine). In my downtime, which was constant, I finished the rough draft of my next novel “Elly Hays” and hope to release it in October.

That’s about it. Here are photos:

Oh, look, there’s the Statue of Liberty…again

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My floating office

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Bermuda’s Horseshoe Bay

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I visited a lot of historical sites. This is St. Peter’s Church in St. George, Bermuda. It was built in 1602.

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…and the Maritime Museum at Heritage Wharf. Those stone walls don’t look that big, but they were over 20 feet high.

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My job

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My desk

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Lunch and Literature in 1812

Tomorrow I’m having lunch at the Sawyer House.

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The property is located in Monroe, Michigan. There have been two homes built on the property. The original house was built by Francois Navarre on land given to him by the Potawatomi Tribe. The house is named after one of its residents, Dr. Alfred Sawyer, who lived there from 1859-1870. The original house was demolished and a new one built in 1873. Dr. Sawyer never lived in the current house, but it remained in his family until his daughter donated it to the city of Monroe in 1973.

Following lunch, my ladies from the United States Daughters of 1812 are having a bench dedication at the River Raisin National Battlefield, commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

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My 1812 soldier is Hays Rodgers.

While I was writing this little blurb, my phone rang and a lady told me my book “Okatibbee Creek” won the bronze medal in Literary Fiction at the 2012 eLit Book Awards. Check the book out on Amazon. The book is about Hays Rodgers’s daughter. “Wow, that’s a weird coincidence,” said the award-winning author. 🙂

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Sheee’s Baaaaack!

Hi Y’all! I’m back from vacation. Happy New Year to you all!!

A few interesting things happened while I was on vacation.

First, in case you missed it, my book “Okatibbee Creek” came out in paperback. Check it out on Amazon here. If you’re a Kindle fan, the Kindle version will be out in a week or so.

The interesting thing about the book release is watching the progress, which is like watching a horse race. The Amazon ratings, which are generated by some incomprehensible algorithmic computer program, shows my book jumping up and down between 60k and 380k on the best selling list. I swear it changes by 10k in the two seconds I’m looking at it. The ratings of “books released in the last 30 days” are a little more stable. I’ve been bouncing between 25 and 35 in the historical fiction category for the last week. Out of over 1000 historical fiction titles released in the last month, that’s not too bad.

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Next interesting thing. I went to Biloxi, MS for a few days and found that 50% of the beachfront is still vacant since Katrina went through seven years ago, and it’s all for $ale. I didn’t know it was possible to purchase beachfront property any more, but apparently it is! And while it’s not cheap cheap, it’s still relatively affordable – about $1 million per acre. Not a bad price for beachfront. Yes, I’m thinking about it.

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Next, I didn’t know New Orleans was so close to Biloxi – only an hour and a half away. So, we sauntered down to the French Quarter for an afternoon. Gumbo and Beignets!

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Following our Bourbon Street party, we went up to Murfreesboro, TN to see the 150th anniversary reenactment of the battle of Stones River. It was a cold, rainy day – just like the day of the real battle 150 years ago. I walked the land where my third great grandfather died on December 31, 1862 – which happens to be a large part of my above mentioned book. The only word to describe the experience is “humbling.”

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RIP Private Rice Benjamin Carpenter, 41st Mississippi Infantry, Co C.

One more picture – the REAL Okatibbee Creek!

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