Christina Cole Romance

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Sing Your Song

A few days ago one of my readers from “Christina’s Corner” tagged me in a little Facebook posting game.  I call it the “ABC” game. There were questions for each letter of the alphabet, all the way from “Age” to “Zodiac sign”.

Two of the questions were especially interesting to me.

  • Favorite song?
  • Song sung last?

For me, it was impossible to choose a favorite song.  I listen to many different genres of music, and there again, it would be impossible to choose a favorite.

The Greek philosopher Plato once said,

Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order and lends to all that is good and just and beautiful.

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I love sharing music with others, so I’m browsing around a bit and finding a few songs that I especially enjoy.

By the River from Florida Suite – Frederick Delius

Collide – Howie Day

Daybreak from Daphnis et Chloe – Maurice Ravel

Drops of Jupiter – Train

Farewell – Apocalyptica

Killing Moon – Echo and the Bunnymen

No Excuses – Alice in Chains

Nothing Else Matters – Metallica

When I Could Come Home to You – Steve Wariner

Willowbank – Rudy Adrian

Listening to music can stimulate us, soothe us, inspire us. But there’s much more to music than listening, which brings me to the second question.

Song last sung. When I answered the question on Facebook, I’d just come into my writing room, humming a little jingle from a television commercial I’d heard earlier. I do enjoy singing. I sing along with songs on the radio, and during a typical day, I might belt out a line or two as different songs cross my mind.

Singing is important. I’ve heard it said that “a singing heart is a happy heart”, and isn’t that something we all want for ourselves and those we love?

Today, music therapy is recognized as a valuable part of the healing process. It’s now an accepted fact that music can be used to help treat anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. It affects not only our hearts and minds, but also the physical body. Music can help lower blood pressure, cortisol levels, and heart rate.

SeegerIn addition, music is a vital element of social change. Late folk-singer Pete Seeger brought people together in sing-alongs, wanting to “get the world together” through music. “Participation,” he once said, was “what will save the human race.”

Studies suggest that exposure to pro-social lyrics does increase positive thoughts, empathy, and a willingness to help others.

When disaster strikes, musicians often come together. Today, many organizations use the power of music to heal and help. Musicorps seeks to heal disabled vets through teaching music. Rock Against Dystrophy organizes concerts to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Music is not only a part of life, in so many ways, music is life. It’s our heart and soul, it’s our memories, our hopes, our dreams.

It doesn’t matter if you “can’t carry a tune in a bucket”. Sing…sing a song today. Sing from the heart.

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La, la, la, la, la… I’ll leave you with this little song.

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Thoughts for Nepal

Geography has never been my strong suit. When my husband and I heard the news of the devastating earthquake striking Katmandu, he asked “Where’s that?” I couldn’t answer. I knew it was…somewhere. Somewhere in Asia. Was it in Tibet? Nepal? I wasn’t sure.

What was certain was that people were suffering. The land itself was hurting.

I wanted to learn more, so I browsed around online, and I now know that Katmandu is the capital city of Nepal.  From Wikipedia:

FlagNepal is a mountainous nation between India and Tibet known for its hiking opportunities, wildlife parks and temples. Trekkers visit its Himalayan mountains to follow the Annapurna circuit or trails around Mt. Everest. Annapurna treks start at Pokhara, a relaxed lakeside town with yoga centers and waterside cafes. Kathmandu, the capital, has a mazelike old quarter filled with Hindu and Buddhist shrines.

 

 

The death toll from the earthquake has now reached nearly 2,000. The sorrow and suffering in this beautiful land is heart-wrenching.

Earthquake in Nepal – CNN Video

I won’t post additional news reports — we’ll be seeing continued coverage for a long time to come, I’m sure — but I do want to find a way to help.  Perhaps you’ll help, too. There are many organizations already stepping up to offer medical aid and other assistance.

Here is a quick link to CNN’s “Help Resource” page. It lists many of the charitable organizations which are sending workers to help. Donations are needed. I hope you’ll consider giving a few dollars to help in this effort. Sometimes what we have to give may seem little, but every penny will help. If you can’t make a monetary gift, please help by giving your thoughts and prayers to the people of Nepal.

HOW TO HELP

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While researching the news and help resources, I found many beautiful scenes from Nepal. I hope you find these images inspiring.

The Village of Ghadrun

Bridge on Ama Dablam

Beautiful Nepal

Pictures from the NATTA Gallery – Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents

I’d also like to share a few Nepali folk songs I found. I hope you enjoy this unique, enchanting music.

Nepali Folk Song

Nepal Folk Music

Journey to Nepal

Another beautiful and inspiring video is “The Great Bell Chant – An End to Suffering.”  It is taken from Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying.

Bell Chant

THANK YOU FOR VISITING TODAY.

DID YOU KNOW: The motto of Nepal is “The motherland is worth more than the kingdom of heaven.” Source: Facts about Nepal


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Regrets?

I’m currently working on the fourth book of my “Sunset Series”. The title is No Regrets, so naturally, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the whole business of looking back at life and wondering if we could have and should have done things differently.

I want to know your opinions on the subject.

One of the first times I ever considered regrets came from hearing a country song. It was “I’d Rather Be Sorry” by Ray Price. Please, take a moment to listen.

I’d Rather Be Sorry

The words that jumped out at me as most meaningful were these:  I’d rather be sorry for something I’ve done than for something that I didn’t do.”

Sorry

I was much younger then, and when I heard the song and listened to those words, I didn’t agree. I hated doing the wrong thing and later regretting it. It seemed so much easier to cope with those “wishy-washy” regrets that were more like forgotten wishes. “Oh, I wish I’d gone skating with my friends…sounds like they had a great time.”

Here’s how I saw it. If I regretted something I’d done, I had to face up to the fact that I’d made a mistake. I had committed an error or infraction. Something I hadn’t done, on the other hand, wasn’t a mistake so much as a simple oversight. Well, I should have realized how much fun skating would be…hey, maybe next time.

Mistakes — those things I regretted doing — caused harm. Little oversights and missed opportunities, not so much.

Now that I’m older and a little wiser, I can see it a bit differently. We shouldn’t live our lives being afraid of making mistakes and having regrets. Life should be about taking chances, daring to live our dreams, and doing things we love — even if we sometimes make mistakes. Sometimes, we even fail.

I see, too, that life really is all about choices. Letting an opportunity pass us by is a mistake, and afterward, we have only ourselves to blame. As we get older and look back over the years, what hurts most aren’t the things we did wrong but the things we neglected to do, the times we allowed our fears hold us back, the times we chose not to get involved.

Writing No Regrets has given me an opportunity to explore what “being sorry” means in our relationships with others — and in our relationship with ourselves. Through listening to my characters and sharing their stories, I’ve come to understand and fully embrace the need to be who we are, to follow our dreams, and above all, to dare to live passionately.

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HOW ABOUT YOU?

Would your rather be sorry for something you’ve done?

Or for something that you didn’t do?

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Thank you for visiting today.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Remember, each comment on my blog this month adds $1.00 to my May pledge to Reach Out and Read.


DID YOU KNOW: The State of Colorado once had a law that made it illegal to kiss a sleeping woman!  Watch for more fun and fascinating little facts to come. 


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If Wishes Came True

“If you could wish for one thing to happen today, what would it be?”

That’s the question of the day from my little “Question and Answer” book. What an impossible question to answer! There are so many different levels from which it can be approached. My mind is filled with wishes, and choosing a single one requires setting others aside. It’s difficult, indeed.

To answer the question, I’m going to tke the noble approach. I’m going to make a worldwide wish that cancer didn’t exist, that no one would ever suffer from it, that no more friends or family members would be lost to it.

I wish today could be the day the medical community announced that cancer had been totally eradicated.

WishThere are, of course, lots of little personal wishes in my head. I’ll admit, the noble response was not my first. My first thought was a rather selfish one. I wished a small debt might be repaid. Then, reality struck. That little wish, I told myself, was never going to happen. It wasn’t worth wasting a thought on it.

Other insignificant little wishes quickly sprang up. Wishes are so easy! Some will surely come true; others, probably not.

I wish the weather would warm up a bit.

I wish I could sell a million books.

I wish I were finished with No Regrets.

I wish I had time to play a few games today.

I wish my sister were still alive.

Yes, truly I do wish my sister were here. She was one of those claimed by cancer. Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I were talking about one of my closest childhood friends — and a little scene from real life that found its way into Not the Marrying Kind. That friend, Mike Reeder, is gone now, too, another victim of cancer. So many good people have been taken from us.

I wish there were no illness or disease.

I wish poverty and homelessness would disappear.

I wish for an end to war.

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IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE WISH COME TRUE TODAY

WHAT WOULD IT BE?



DID YOU KNOW: Just an unbelievable little fact I stumbled across while researching for No Regrets. Did you know that in 1880, the legal “age of consent” in the United States was 10 years old?  WATCH FOR MORE LITTLE TIDBITS OF INFORMATION TO COME. 


 

THANKS FOR VISITING TODAY!

REMEMBER: Each comment on my blog during the month adds $1.00 to my Reach Out and Read pledge in May.


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This and That

this-n-thatI’ve got lots on my cluttered little mind this morning. First and foremost on the agenda is wishing my friends a very happy spring holiday. Whether you celebrate Easter, Passover, or the return of nature’s growing season, may you and your family be blessed.

We’re having a simple holiday, combining a bit of remodeling work with an easy cook-out — hot dogs on buns, coleslaw, chips, and dip. Probably some lemonade, too.

Next on the agenda is a little excitement. It’s always fun to log-on and find a new review. I loved the comments this reviewer made on her Amazon review:

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not has so much for a reader…mystery, love, amateur sleuthing, and twists and turns within the pages. I will definitely be reading the first two novels in this series…its just that good.

– Ashley Schoen

Yes, dear readers. Nothing brings a smile to an author’s face faster than a favorable review. Knowing that you’re enjoying my stories makes all the long hours I spend alone here in MLWR (My Little Writing Room) worth it. I’m not alone in that feeling. Every author I’ve spoken to has made similar remarks. We love hearing from you.

If you read and enjoy a story, please spread the word. Tell us about it, and tell others, too. Post a short review at Amazon or Goodreads. It means so much to an author.

What if you don’t enjoy the story? When that happens, we want to hear from you! Let us know where we let you down and what we could have done better. Without you, readers, we’re nothing. We need to know what you’re looking for when you pick up a romance novel.

Moving on…item 3 on the list. Don’t forget the Petticoat Ball coming up on April 9. Shanna Hatfield is celebrating the release of her latest western historical, Thimbles and Thistles. Joining her and sharing hostessing duties will be the following authors:

Julie Lence, Kathleen Ball, Rachel Rossano, Peggy Henderson, Kristin Holt, Karen Witemeyer, Kayla Dawn Thomas, and me! My scheduled time is 11:30 AM to Noon — PDT. Here in the KCMO area, that means 1:30 to 2:00 PM. No matter which time zone you’re in, please plan on dropping by to say “Hello”. I’ll be running a little giveaway contest, and you could win an ebook copy of any of my romance novels.

Now, last, but far from least, I’m asking all my blog readers to show their support for childhood literacy. If you missed yesterday’s post celebrating International Children’s Book Day, here’s a link:

INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S BOOK DAY – REACH OUT AND READ

I’m a “Book Buddy” with Reach Out and Read, an organization which provides free books for children. I make a regular donation each month. During the month of April, I’m asking you to show your support by leaving a comment on this blog. For each comment, I will add $1.00 to my usual monthly pledge.

THANKS IN ADVANCE TO EVERYONE WHO COMMENTS!

Now, I’m heading off to work on the fourth book of “The Sunset Series”. No Regrets is due to the publisher in only a few weeks. It won’t be released until July, but you can begin reading it now on my “Snippets” blog. Let me know what you think!

Have a beautiful day!


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International Children’s Book Day — Reach Out and Read

In the midst of all the crazy, wacky, and bizarre celebrations this month is one that is near and dear to my heart. It’s International Children’s Book Day. The annual event is celebrated on — or near — April 2, the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen.

A popular picture that makes the rounds of Facebook pages is this one:

Child

 

It’s true. The gift of reading is one of the greatest gifts we can give to any child.  I cherish my memories of my grandfather holding me on his lap and reading to me — not only from “Little Golden Books” but from newspapers, encyclopedias, and poetry books.

On this day, many classrooms will have writing competitions, book award presentations, and special events with authors of children’s literature.  I hope that many families will also take time to celebrate literacy in the home by reading with their children or grandchildren.

Sadly, reading is a neglected activity in many homes, especially in poorer communities. The differences in the vocabulary skills and social skills between children whose parents read to them at an early age and those whose parents don’t is mind-boggling.

Please, take a moment to click and read this information:

The 30-Million Word Gap

Reading is fundamental to success in all areas of life, yet too many children are not given the opportunity to fully develop this essential skill. Many children simply aren’t exposed to reading. This needs to change. Every child deserves the benefits that come from reading.

I am a strong supporter of the literacy program, Reach Out and Read. This initiative works with doctors, nurses, and other health care practitioners who actually prescribe reading — and give free books. In 2014, over 6-1/2 million books were distributed through the program. The children receive stories, and parents receive valuable advice on the importance of literacy skills and how to develop them.

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There are many ways you can help. You can donate online to Reach Out and Read or another literacy organization. You can contribute children’s books or volunteer your time with a literacy program, helping either children or adults who are learning to read.

You can also help by commenting on this post. I’m a Reach Out and Read “Book Buddy” — a supporter who makes a regular donation to the organization each month. In honor of International Children’s Book Day, I’m pledging to increase my donation by $1.00 for each comment I receive on this post.

What to say in  your comment? Why not give me the name of your favorite children’s story? Was it a fairy tale? An adventure? An animal story? If you’re like me, you still recall the magic as reading brought the stories to life.

Please comment and please share this post. At the end of April, I’ll tally up the comments and add the amount to my May donation as a special gift from “Friends of Christina Cole Romance”.

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THANK YOU FOR VISITING, AND A SPECIAL THANK YOU FOR COMMENTING AND SHARING!
What was your favorite childhood tale?


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Put On Your Dancing Shoes…We’re Going to the Petticoat Ball!

Being a romance author today is lots of fun. Not only do I get the pleasure of spending my time doing something I truly love, I get to meet lots of great characters along the way. I’m constantly surrounded by handsome heroes, and I enjoy falling in love with each of them. I like getting acquainted with the heroines of my stories, as well. The women I write about have many different qualities, but most of them are clever, intelligent, and caring.

The fun extends into the real world, too, of course. I love getting to know readers, meeting you in person or forming friendships on line. It’s exciting to hear from you, to know you’ve stayed up late in the night reading one of my stories, sharing little bits of trivia with you about your favorite characters. I can’t tell you how many readers have commented on Cody Bradford. Yes, he was a fun character to write.  I had a lot of laughs while writing Not the Marrying Kind and even though he wasn’t the hero of the story, Cody was responsible for much of that laughter.

Another perquisite — a “perk” in modern parlance — of being a romance writer is sharing a strong bond of friendship with other authors. The community of western historical romance writers is especially strong. If you love reading the genre, you’ll want to check out Pioneer Hearts, one of the largest and most active readers’ groups on Facebook.

Through Pioneer Hearts, I’ve met and have become friends with many readers and with many other western historical authors. We all share a love of old-fashioned romance, cowboy love stories, and tales of the old west.

Next month, coming up on April 9, author Shanna Hatfield will be celebrating the release of a new western historical romance. We all love a good, old-fashioned shindig — hosted by new-fangled technology — so she’s planned a great event to launch the book. It’s the Petticoat Ball.

 

Petticoat Ball

 

 

On Thursday, April 9, Shanna will be celebrating the release of Thimbles and Thistles, the second book of her “Baker City Brides” series. There will be lots of giveaways, games, guest authors, and fun! The event begins at 8:00 AM CDT and will run for four hours.

I’m thrilled that I will be one of the guest authors. I’ll be stepping in at 9:30 AM CDT, hosting for about 20 minutes, and running a fun little contest during that time. Winner will receive a choice of ebooks from my “Sunset Series” of western historical love stories.

So, put on your dancing shoes…and let’s get ready to party! Mark your calendars now, and watch for more news about the event.

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Thank you for visiting today!