It came to my attention that the book cover wasn’t attached to my blog post yesterday, so I’m re-sending it out. Please let me know what you think! Thanks so much for all your support.
It came to my attention that the book cover wasn’t attached to my blog post yesterday, so I’m re-sending it out. Please let me know what you think! Thanks so much for all your support.
I’d like to officially announce that my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, has a new cover! This is in conjunction with my acquiring a new publisher.
It has been so much fun to reinvent my book and to breathe new life into it! A Beckoning Hellfire has been re-edited and improved. This book has received several awards and has earned many five-star reviews. It is the second book in the Renegade Series (the first is A Beautiful Glittering Lie). Stay tuned, because the third book in the series, A Rebel Among Us, will soon come out with a new cover as well.
Thanks so much for your continued support and interest in my books. I’m always fishing for reviews, so if you are interested, please let me know and I will send you a PDF!
Stranger things have happened. Coincidences, whether we admit it or not, are common occurrence, as are daja vu, although when they happen, we sometimes disregard them. I love watching old movies and late night TV. While watching an episode of the Twilight Zone the other night, I discovered something surprising.
It seems that one of the soldiers who was killed at the Battle of Little Bighorn was named David Summers. I found this freaky, since this is the name I chose for the antagonist in my Renegade series. Upon further research, I discovered that Mr. Summers of the 7th US Cavalry was from Missouri, but my main character is from Alabama. Phew!
Another weird coincidence happened to me while writing A Beckoning Hellfire (soon to be re-released). I chose a character’s name, William Williams, and learned that my character and a real person had the same name, and fought for the same cause with the same Confederate cavalry unit. Strange but true!
I love researching history, because I frequently discover strange things like these. It’s fun and fascinating. Now I have a new challenge: how to incorporate my newly-acquired knowledge about David Summers into my next novel.
Occasionally, I like to feature fellow bloggers on my site. Although these blog posts typically discuss other topics than what I usually write about or feature, I still post them to give other writers a chance to be seen. This article is very interesting, and since my husband and I recently downsized, I thought you might be interested as well.
8 Common Mistakes People Make When Downsizing Homes
As a society, we are shifting away from the “more is better” mentality that had us all looking for huge homes with unlimited storage space. In the face of piles of clutter and huge maintenance costs, downsizing to a smaller home has started to look like the best solution.
Downsizing is not as hard as it seems, but getting it right can be tricky. Whether you are a family seeking simplicity, a senior planning their golden years, or a millennial who wants to embrace minimalism, here are the mistakes to avoid when you decide to downsize.
Waiting Too Long
The longer you put downsizing off, the more money, time, and effort you will sink into a home you will have to move out of eventually. Signs that you should downsize include having a lot of unused space, home maintenance being overwhelming or unmanageable, a loved one getting older, or simply a desire to enjoy a simpler life.
Expecting to Make Money
In the long run, downsizing will absolutely save you money on bills and maintenance. However, there are costs you need to consider, like moving, renovations, and HOA fees. You may also soon realize that smaller homes are not necessarily cheaper, especially in bigger cities.
Not Considering Other Options
This is mainly an issue for seniors, who immediately assume downsizing to a smaller home is the best option for them. However, downsizing to an assisted living facility can also be a great choice, especially if they require some extra care. If you or a loved one are thinking of downsizing due to age, do tour a few local facilities to see if it could be for you. Bear in mind that the median cost of assisted living in Colorado is $49,140, so some facilities may not be in your budget. What’s also important is that you find a place that’s safe, secure, and suitable for your lifestyle.
Not Getting Rid of Enough Stuff
Many people are not selective enough when decluttering, which leads to cramming too much stuff into a smaller space. Not only will the house feel cramped, stressful, and unpleasant, but the clutter also poses a serious health risk, especially in the case of downsizing seniors. Specific clutter zones to watch out for include closets and cabinets, piles of paper under the bed, and things like shoes in hallways, which can cause you to trip and fall.
Expecting the Same Furniture to Fit
Similarly, many people don’t consider how their furniture will look in a smaller home. Chances are it won’t all fit. Even if it technically fits, it may look clunky and out of proportion, or it may crowd the space (which, again, is dangerous for seniors). A free online digital room planner like Planner 5D can be an invaluable tool at this stage.
Not Having a Decluttering Strategy
A decluttering strategy is the most important element of staying motivated and on track. There are countless plans out there covering different approaches: a certain number of items a day, room by room, or just 15 minutes a day. Pick something that works with your moving and downsizing timeline, but give yourself plenty of time to accomplish these tasks.
Not Having a Follow-Through Plan
Once you have finished sorting, you still have to actually sell, donate, or toss your items, and it is easy to lose momentum. Don’t let those boxes pile up, and have a plan for exactly how they will reach their intended destination. An easy solution is to get the things picked up — several charities offer this service, including Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity.
Doing It Alone
Decluttering is a lot of hard work, so make sure you get some help. For instance, if your aging parent is downsizing, get all the family to help out. Alternatively, you could get help from a pro. A professional organizer will make the whole process a whole lot easier, but be prepared to pay around $30 to $80 an hour for the help.
More and more people are seeing the value of smaller, simpler homes, which are easier to maintain, cheaper to live in, and suited to a more streamlined lifestyle. If you think downsizing could be for you, don’t hesitate to get started, but do take a moment to plan things out. You won’t regret downsizing, but you might regret rushing into it.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day! A compilation of seven bestselling authors, with seven romance stories. Check it out!
Something Old, Something New
– A DRA Production
Seven bestselling authors. Seven incredible second chance romances. One epic anthology.
What would you do for another chance with the one you love?
Something Old, Something New – a unique novella anthology – tries to answer this question with fantastic, different, desi dramas.
Whether it is shapeshifters or shifting interracial relationships, single moms in small towns or rich alpha heroes, friends-to-lovers or passionate ex-husbands; this anthology has something for everyone.
Something Old, Something New explores the many different facets of love, forgiveness, fated mates and more in seven, distinctly Indian tales!
My Warmest Sorrow
by Preethi Venugopala
What would you do when you come face to face with your past?
When Ajay, now an IAS officer, is added into his college WhatsApp group, he is welcomed warmly by all his classmates. Except by Diana.
Diana is still living with the repercussions of what had happened in the past. She is thrown into despair by Ajay’s presence in the group.
Diana and Ajay were inseparable while in college. Their relationship had transitioned from being best friends to love overnight. But then fate had intervened in the form of Diana’s tyrant father who had separated them ruthlessly.
Five years of silence has created a wall of sorrow between them. Their interactions in the class WhatsApp group are nothing like what they once used to be. Every moment is churning out more anguish and unpleasantness.
How much have they changed?
Is love still hiding underneath their public facades?
What are the lies they are hiding?
Read an Excerpt from My Warmest Sorrow
My mobile phone rang as I unlocked the door to my flat. Who was calling me now? It was eleven o’clock on a Wednesday night.
As the project deadline was looming near, I had stayed back in the office till nine to complete the chunk of work I had scheduled for today. Structural designing demanded full dedication, even for a small-scale project. And my current project was unbelievably complex.
Wearily, I slumped onto the couch and rummaged in my bag to locate the phone.
“Diana, you won’t believe what happened today. And, where were you? I called you so many times,” shrieked Ashima, my engineering classmate, the moment I answered the phone.
I rolled my eyes but a smile curved my lips. Ashima had a flair for theatrics. What was it now?
“Go slow. I just returned home after a gruelling day. We have a deadline this Saturday.”
“Eek. Be like me and find a government job. The perks of a government job are endless. Private jobs suck, ” said Ashima.
“Now, now… you must go to that magnificent job tomorrow, right? Why are you staying up all night?”
Ashima had been like our dorm room alarm while in college. She dozed off at exactly nine and got up at five in the morning, every day, without fail. What had kept her awake today? Or had her so-called relaxing job altered her lifestyle?
“Idiot, check your WhatsApp messages. I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Thank me later. Goodnight for now.”
No! I wasn’t in the mood to drown in some WhatsApp group debate she might have started. Mostly, she called me for some additional support when she was on the verge of losing. Who was she arguing with today? Rahul or Avinash?
Most of my classmates were politically active and any new government decision or policies would undergo acute post-mortem inside our class WhatsApp group. Rahul was a devout follower of the Congress party, Avinash was a self-confessed Modi Bhakt and Ashima was a red comrade entirely. On some days, their arguments would last long into the night. I didn’t have the energy to jump into another such nonsensical discussion. All I wanted to do now was eat and sleep till the alarm rang at seven tomorrow morning.
I switched on the geyser to take a quick bath. Then I transferred the biryani I had bought into a plate and placed it into the oven to reheat it. In the present Bangalore climate, nothing stayed warm for long. I was not fond of the winters. It wasn’t the cold that bothered me, though. The winter season brought back long-lost memories, making me long for the warmth of a specific loving embrace. It also reminded me of my twenty-two-year-old self who had almost given up on life.
By the time I returned from the bath, there were two more missed calls from Ashima. What was wrong with this girl today?
As I dug into the tasty biryani, I turned on my phone data. Notification beeps began. I swiped left till I found the WhatsApp icon. I had 1200 plus unread messages just from the 2013 Civil Gang, my class WhatsApp group. Some serious discussion must be happening. I groaned inwardly. I was certainly not in the mood to drown in nasty arguments. But Ashima would probably kill me if I didn’t hop in and speak my bit.
Avinash and Ashima had sent me private messages as well. What was so urgent?
Curious, I opened the group chat. Avinash had added a new member. Though our class had a total strength of 60 students, there were only 45 were members in the group currently. Many of my former classmates were pursuing higher studies whereas some had landed jobs in distant lands. Hence, we had lost contact with many of them in the five years that had elapsed after graduation. Occasionally, a new member would be found and added by one of the admins. Then there would be a mad rush to get reacquainted with the new entrant.
The name of the person added today drove away all my lethargy in a second. I blinked twice to confirm if I had correctly read the name mentioned in Avinash’s welcoming message. Ajay Menon. Ajay… after all these years?
About the Author:
Preethi Venugopala stepped into the world of words during a sabbatical from her hectic civil engineering job after the birth of her son. She began as a blogger and wrote fiction to pass time. Her debut novel ‘Without You’ came out in 2015 and was received well. She was then mentored by eminent author Anita Nair at her writing platform ‘Anitas Attic’ in 2016. Since then, she has published 7 novels on Amazon and more than 15 short stories in various anthologies and platforms.
First Prize – A Kindle
Second Prize – 6 Months Kindle Unlimited Subscription
As promised, I would like to reveal the new book cover for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. I’m so excited to share this with you! Please let me know what you think.
This book has gone through quite a few transformations in the past few years. It was originally published by iUniverse, an “assisted” self-publishing company. Then it was published by a hybrid publisher. Now it is being published by Westwood Books Publishing, a new publishing company out of Florida. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Westwood Books Publishing family!
This book has received numerous five-star reviews, and is the recipient of the prestigious John Esten Cooke Fiction Award, as well as the B.R.A.G. Medallion. It also received special honors at the L.A. Book Festival.
I’d love to hear your feedback, so please, let me know what you think!
As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, my three novels in The Renegade Series are being republished with a new company called Westwood Books Publishing. This is a fairly new publisher that is run by several literary agents. It is an indie publishing company, but has an interesting marketing plan in place.
The first book in the series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, is the first to be republished. I have been working with Westwood Books to create a new book cover. This is the original cover of the book, which is a painting done by Don Troiani, titled “Up Alabamians.” The new cover will be completely original.
I can’t wait to share it with you and find out what you think. I’m hoping I can share it with you as soon as next week, so stay tuned!
I would like to wish you a very happy New Year! This year is especially special, because it is a new decade, and it is, once again the Roaring 20’s! I hope that this decade graces you with love, joy, prosperity and peace. I also hope this year provides you with many opportunities, blessings, and reasons to achieve your goals.
During the past decade, I faced many blessings, some challenges, and a few heartaches. My husband was transferred several times, so we moved from Horn Lake, Mississippi to Loveland, Colorado to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and finally landed in Colorado Springs, Colorado three years ago. We bought a little fixer-upper bungalow with a gorgeous view of the Rockies and Pikes Peak. I lost my father in 2012, but we were blessed with two grandsons, the youngest of which is only four weeks old. And we met many new friends.
The past year was somewhat challenging for me. My previous publisher decided to drop my Civil War Renegade Series, so I spent months finding a new publisher. I have succeeded and look forward to re-publishing A Beautiful Glittering Lie, A Beckoning Hellfire and A Rebel Among Us with Westwood Books Publishing. It should prove to be a very exciting and lucrative partnership.
In the meantime, my nonfiction book, Horses in Gray, has been holding its own. I’m thinking of making it into an audio book. What do you think?
One of my favorite authors, Claire Cook (Must Love Dogs), sent me an email with this inspiring list, so I’m passing it on to you. Thanks Claire!
SELF. You can’t have self-awareness, self-confidence, or any of those other good self words until you decide to like yourSELF, and who you really are.
SOUL SEARCHING. Sometimes it’s just getting quiet enough to figure out what you really want; often it’s digging up that buried dream you had before life got in the way.
SERENDIPITY. When you stay open to surprises, they often turn out to be even better than the things you planned. Throw your routine out the window and let spontaneity change your life.
SYNCHRONICITY. It’s like that saying about luck being the place where preparation meets opportunity. Open your eyes and ears—then catch the next wave that’s meant for you!
STRENGTH. Life is tough. Decide to be tougher. If Plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters (204 if you’re in Japan!).
SISTERHOOD. Connect, network, smile. Build a structure of support, step by step. Do something nice for someone—remember, karma is a boomerang!
SATISFACTION. Of course you can get some (no matter what the Rolling Stones said). Call it satisfaction, fulfillment, gratification, but there’s nothing like the feeling of setting a goal and achieving it. So make yours a good one!
BONUS STEP: SIMPLIFY! In the years since writing this list, I’ve discovered how truly fabulous it is to simplify. I’ve moved and downsized twice in the last decade, cleared away so much physical and mental clutter, and learned to say yes only to the things I really want to do. I’m finding the balance between writing and walking the beach every day.
BONUS 2020 VISION TIP: Pick one of the words above (or another!) and make it your theme for 2020. Print out the word in big letters and tape it to the refrigerator or your bathroom mirror. Write it in tiny letters on a small river rock or on the inside of a seashell and carry it in your pocket or purse. Scrawl it across the top of your daily journal entry or write it on each day of your calendar. Choosing a single word is such a great way to set your intention and keep your focus on it for the whole year.
I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas! The following is a story about a remarkable man. During this holiday season, let’s all make an effort to show others love and compassion, just as he did.
A Soldier’s Christmas Gift
By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr., freelance writer, author of the book When America Stood for God, Family and Country, and member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is a True Christmas Story
Christmas is a wonderful time to celebrate with family, friends and supper at Grandma’s house. Grandpa will gather the children around the fireplace and tell them the story of Jesus Christ who was born on Christmas Day while Grandma makes gingerbread cookies and Daddy brings the Christmas tree in the family room for decorating. Mamma as always will lead us in the singing of ‘Silent Night—Holy Night’ as the Star of Bethlehem is placed on top of the tree.
90 years ago….
During the year 1919, one year after the end of World War I, the people of Atlanta, Georgia were celebrating the Christmas Season. Many people attended Church or Synagogue and gave thanks to God for his many blessings. Folks, while shopping, were uplifted by sweet sounds of Christmas music played by the Salvation Army Band. There was a friendly and charitable atmosphere during this time of the year.
There were, however, some who were not as fortunate!
The aging veterans, in the Confederate Soldier’s Home, were proud men who had braved many a battle in the 1860s. One of these men was former Captain Thomas Yopp who saw such battles as that of Fredericksburg where a cannon shell burst knocked him unconscious.
The man who stayed with him until he recovered was his servant who had also joined the 14th Georgia Regiment, Company H. Bill Yopp was more than a servant; he and Thomas Yopp were friends who hunted and fished together.
Bill Yopp, a Black Confederate, was sympathetic to the men of Atlanta’s soldiers’ home who had been his compatriots in arms over fifty years earlier.
During the War Between the States, 1861-1865, Bill Yopp was nicknamed “Ten Cent Bill” because of the money he made shining shoes. He did this for the soldiers at a dime a shine and ended up with more money than most of his comrades. These men, also, cared for him when he was sick.
During the Christmas of 1919, Bill wanted to pay back the kindness that was shown to him. He caught a train from Atlanta to Macon, where he was offered help from the editor of a local newspaper [The Macon Telegraph]. He then caught a train to Savannah to raise Christmas money for the old veterans. Bill met many generous people on his trip.
Just weeks before the Christmas of 1919, he had raised the money and Georgia’s Governor Hugh Dorsey helped him distribute envelopes of three dollars to each veteran. That was a lot of money in those days.
The old Confederates were speechless. Tears were shed because of Bill Yopp’s good heart and kind deed. Many of these men had little or nothing. Bill was invited to come into the home’s Chapel and say a few words.
Bill Yopp was later presented a medal of appreciation for his support of the old soldiers and also voted in as a resident of the Confederate Soldier’s Home.
Bill died on June 3, 1936, the 128th birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. He was buried at Marietta, Georgia’s Confederate Cemetery with his compatriots.
The Confederate Soldier’s Home was located at 401 Confederate Ave. in Atlanta, Georgia.
Christmas is about love, forgiveness, old friends, family and the Child who became a savior.
The source of information for this story came from the book, entitled: Bill Yopp “Ten Cent Bill” Narrative of a Slave! This book was written in 1969 by Charles W. Hampton.
William H. “Ten-Cent Bill” Yopp; Company H of the 14th Georgia
Residence: Laurens County, GA
Enlisted on 7/9/1861 as a Drummer-Colored. On 7/9/1861 he mustered into “H” Co. GA 14th Infantry. He was surrendered on 4/9/1865 at Appomattox Court House, VA.
After the war, now a free man, he returned to the Yopp plantation in Georgia and worked there until 1870. He then secured a job as bell boy at the Brown House in Macon. From there he went to New York, California, Europe, and then worked as a porter on the private car of the President of the Delaware and Hudson Railway.
In his later years he returned to Georgia to find his former master, Captain T. M. Yopp, ready to be enrolled in the Confederate Soldier’s Home in Atlanta. Bill was a frequent visitor to the home, not only to see his former master but the other Confederate veterans
as well. At Christmas, with the help of the Macon Telegraph, he raised enough money to give each resident in the home $3.
In 1920, Bill wrote a book entitled “Bill Yopp, ‘Ten-Cent’ Bill.” The book was about his exploits before, during, and after the war. The book sold for 15 cents a copy, or $1.50 for a dozen. Proceeds were shared by Bill and the Confederate Soldier’s Home.
The Confederate veterans were so appreciative of Bill’s help that they took up a collection and awarded him a medal. The board of trustees voted to allow Bill to stay at the Home for as long as he lived. He was one of the last remaining veterans in the Home when it closed its doors in the 1940’s. Bill was also a member of the Atlanta U.C.V. Camp.
1880 United States Federal Census:
Name: William H. Yopp, Home in 1880: Albany, Albany, New York, Age: 34, Estimated birth year: abt 1846
Birthplace: Georgia, Relation to head-of-household:Self (Head), Spouse’s name: Mary J., Occupation:Waite,
Marital Status: Married, Race: Black, Gender: Male Household Members:, William H. Yopp 34, Mary J. Yopp 34, Phoebe Woods 75, Forester E. Alford 20
Census Source: Dainah Chandler
Marietta Confederate Cemetery, Marietta Cobb County, Georgia, USA
(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452 Sons of Confederate Veterans, President Jefferson Davis Chapter Military Order of the Stars and Bars, Volume 43, Issue No. 12, December 2019)
A SOLDIER’S CHRISTMAS…
Christmas (December 25, 1864) came while we were fighting famine within and Grant without our lines. To meet either was a serious problem. The Southern people from their earliest history had observed Christmas as the great holiday season of the year. It was the time of times, the longed-for period of universal and innocent, but almost boundless jollification among young and old…
The holiday, however, on Hatcher’s Run, near Petersburg, was joyless enough for the most misanthropic. The one worn-out railroad running to the far South could not bring to us half enough necessary supplies; and even if it could have transported Christmas boxes of good things, the people at home were too depleted to send them. They had already impoverished themselves to help their struggling Government, and large areas of our territory had been made desolate by the ravages of marching armies.
The brave fellows at the front, however, knew that their friends at home would gladly send them the last pound of sugar in the pantry, and the last turkey or chicken from the barnyard. So, they facetiously wished each other “Merry Christmas!” as they dined on their wretched fare. There was no complaining, no repining, for they knew their exhausted country was doing all it could for them.
Source: REMINISCENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR, By Gen. John B. Gordon, 1904.
Defending the Heritage
Photo: “Confederate Pickets in the Snow” by Don Troiani
(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452, Sons of Confederate Veterans, President Jefferson Davis Chapter Military Order of the Stars and Bars, Volume 43, Issue No. 12, Dec. 2019 ed.)