Monthly Archives: April 2014

Island Hopping: Trinidad & Tobago

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Mystery Romance

Caribbean Literature


Historical Aspects


There’s a murder, but the author keeps light.

The sexual scenes, too are on a light note and no bad language.


Book Blurb

On the surface, the Island Hopping series is a remarkable journey of Sakkara Riley’s quest to locate her parents. What she learns is so much more than was ever expected. In Island Hopping: Trinidad & Tobago, Sakkara enlists the help of a local elderly historian, Natalia Day and her doting grandson, Anthony Lam. Equipped with her parcel of artifacts and a determined bravado, Sakkara uncovers more than she ever thought possible.

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“That day . . . ummmmm . . . the day we found you was the happiest day of our lives, sweetie. You were perfect. Everything about you was perfect, and you still are my perfect child.” Pearl’s words were becoming more difficult to understand, as she rambled on.
“Mom, what’s going on?” Sakkara waited to hear more, but all that came through the receiver was her mother’s sniffles. “Mom! Mom, what’s wrong?”
“I saw her. I knew it was her.”
“Who did you see?” Without being entirely sure of what Pearl was discussing, Sakkara started crying into the phone. “Mom? What? What aren’t you telling me?”
“Honey, I’m sorry that I never told you this before—
“Tell me what? Tell me what? Stop doing this to me, Mom! I don’t know what’s going on here. I’m gonna hang up—
“I saw your mother.”
“What? When? When? How?”
Mother and child exploded in fits of anger, hurt and uncertainty. Not a single word was legible. This session, this emotional firestorm, progressed for several minutes. Then the line cut silent for several seconds.
Sakkara was the first to speak. “Why are you doing this to me? Mom, I’m already overwhelmed with this. Why now, Mom? I’m not coming back. Not now.”
“Please child. Just list—
“Sakkara Riley, I don’t care about the woman that gave birth to you. I am your mother! I raised you. I raised you as mine. You’re going to listen to what I have to say. I’m not trying to get you to come back home. I just need you to know something. Okay?” Pearl rarely raised her voice. This scolding meant something, that was obvious.
“I’m listening, Mom.”
“The day we found you, we were leaving the theater. Your father took me there to try to cheer me up. Nothing could cheer me up. I didn’t want a show. I didn’t want to be out. I wanted to be at home, feeling sorry for myself. My birthday had just passed. It was another year of getting old, another year without getting pregnant, another year of being incomplete, another year of feeling like a failure as a woman.”
“Mom, why are you doing this to yourself?”
Pearl didn’t even consider Sakkara’s question, she just kept right on with her story. “I don’t remember much about that day, only the important things. I remember every second of discovering you and looking down into your colorful eyes. But there was more than just you, more than me, and more than your father.”
Pearl stopped speaking. Sakkara didn’t reply or add anything. Neither woman cried again. The line was hushed for close to a minute.
“When I saw your face, when I looked into your eyes . . .” Pearl stopped, sighed, coughed and exhaled. “I believe your father and I ran into your parents before.”
“Before they—before we found you. I saw them. I knew it was them. Ed didn’t remember, but I did. It was the eyes, Sakkara.”
“Remember what, Mom?”
“This little woman bumped into me. It was hot outside, but she had on this big tweed jacket. It was awful, full and lopsided in the front. Baby, I think she had you tucked under there.”
Pearl waited for her daughter to say something, but Sakkara didn’t react to the news. Feeling that she needed to explain herself, or at least give more than she’d already shared, desperation set in.
“Sweetie, I’ve never forgotten the way she looked at me. It dances in my mind at night, that similar face that I’ve grown to know and love. Her face was so innocent.” Taking a deep breath, Pearl continued, “She was scared. I sensed it. Then a man came up beside her. They were in love. I could tell. And she wasn’t scared anymore. This man, he was handsome, but she was such a gentle-looking woman. I think she wanted to tell me something, but she didn’t know how.”
Pearl paused. Sakkara didn’t try to fill in the gap.
She continued on, “When I saw you. When I unwrapped you from that blanket, removed you from that bag and looked into your eyes, I knew you were theirs. I remember seeing the bag in his hands. I knew, baby. I knew . . .” She let out a sigh. “I never said anything at the hospital, nor to the officials. I was afraid that they’d take you away. Sakkara, they didn’t look like bad people. No. A couple times I considered telling Ed, or talking to the police. But in the end, they would have taken you away from me.”
Pearl stopped abruptly. She couldn’t think of anything else to share; surely, she must have liberated her conscience.
The longer they went without words, the greater the static appeared to grow on the line. Finally, Pearl couldn’t take it any longer.
“Can you say something? Even if you’re upset I need to hear you say something.”
“You’re telling me that you knew who my parents were?”
“I mean I didn’t know them. We ran into them. They were here, Sakkara. They were in New York, not in the Trinidad or any of those other foreign countries.”



Giveaway Details

USA ONLY: 2 autographed paperback copies of “Island Hopping: Trinidad & Tobago”

(w/ bonus copy of “Jumping Ship” Introductory Novella)

International: 3 e-copies (any format) of “Island Hopping: Trinidad & Tobago”

(w/ bonus copy of “Jumping Ship” Introductory Novella)

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Meet the author

Me PortraitJanice G. Ross was born in Guyana, South America and migrated to the USA in 1980. She is an author. She enjoys writing about social issues and personal experiences. Her debut release was entitled Damaged Girls. She uses the three books in that series to detail the effects of different forms of abuse, discussing issues that are known to be taboo. Her latest release, Jumping Ship, is a dedication to her country of birth and an introductory novella to the Island Hopping Series – due out in 2014. It’s poised to be a colorful and emotional experience of life, love and family.

Janice enjoys reading. And is drawn to stories with distinct characters that she can love or hate, characters she can form alliances with or characters that she can swear off and despise. She is also weak for a good cultural tale, preferably in the form of historical fiction. Janice loves to be taken off guard by clever language and settings. Janice is also a devout supporter and promoter of other authors through social media. She hosts a weekly show, Cultural Cocktails, on the largest social radio network, Blog Talk Radio.


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Book Blast: The Necklace of Goddess Athena by Effrosyni Moschoudi



Book Description

Efimios is an ancient Greek and an unsung hero of Athens. He has saved the city countless times by undertaking time-travelling missions as instructed by Goddess Athena herself. Now an elderly man, he sends his son Phevos and his adopted daughter Daphne on a time-travelling quest to modern-day Athens. Mysterious as always, he only advises his children to look out for the signs without offering any explanations. Mystified, yet eager to obey their father’s will, Phevos and Daphne settle down in this new world, having been offered assistance by two orphaned siblings: Ksenia and Manos. New friendships and romantic love change their lives while their father’s covert purpose is gradually revealed. As the youngsters continue to unravel the secrets of their family past, inevitably they get caught up in the ongoing conflict between two Gods, one of which becomes their protector and the other, their worst nemesis. Who will prevail when the rival Gods meet again and will the mortal bystanders survive to tell the tale?




First, there was this tremendous roar.

Everything around them shook with force and then, a blinding light surrounded them as they were taken through a cyclone of ear-piercing soundsPhevos held the hand of his sister Daphne inside the forceful vortex of Time.


Neither of them knew where they were headed as they swirled frightened beyond description, their bodies surrendered to the powerful whirlwind. Their eyes were tightly shut to the blinding flashes of light and a sound that resembled a sweeping tornado tortured their ears. In the twenty years of his life, Phevos could never have imagined the intensity of the experience.


Although still captured in this unprecedented storm of light and sound, he managed to recall random pieces from his father’s stories. Efimios, his father and teacher, had described to him hundreds of times his experience of the Passage through Time but Phevos never expected there would come a day that he would experience it himself and at that, in such a different way.


Suddenly, he realized in panic that his sister’s hand had slipped away from his. He started calling out her name but through the roar he couldn’t even hear himself speak.


All at once, there was darkness and a soothing silence and next thing he knew, he was lying on the ground.


A strong buzz still sounded in his ears. It took a few moments to fade as he opened his eyes and tried to gather his wits. His body felt numb at first but he managed to sit up somehow and look around him. The ground felt wet under him and the air smelt of grass.

The moon shone high above on a starry sky with a velvet light that was ample, allowing him to inspect his surroundings quite easily. He was in an orchard.

There were trees, plants and bushes all around him.

Panicking, he realized that he was alone.


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Review: His Substitute Wife by Sylvia Hubbard

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About the Book2

Life has never been worth living for Charisse before her father died. After three attempts to kill herself were unsuccessful, she makes a deal for release from hell on earth, with one of the people who made her life what it was.

It wasn’t until Chyna finds out that her husband, Parker Mills, was having an affair with her twin sister, Cheyenne, that she realizes she’s losing the best thing she’s ever had. Feeling the ultimate betrayal by her own sibling, Chyna knows she has to do whatever it takes to keep her husband and give him what he longs for – a baby. Knowing that she’s unable to have children and Cheyenne is afflicted with the same condition, she decides to go to the only person that can help her save her marriage – her younger sister, Charisse.

In the end, one sister will die, another will lose everything and one will get everything that she wants.

My Review

His Substitute Wife is a fitting title for this controversial read. The author takes readers on a harsh journey of mental and family issues. When we first meet Charisse, she is pitiful in her attempts to end her life. She’s such a heavy burden to her family, but then we learn that there is a deeper purpose to her tale. Her sisters Chyna & Cheyenne, are both involved with Chyna’s husband Parker. Oh, and did I forget to mention that they are twins? Take a moment to let it register…Okay.  To make matters worse, a scheme is concocted to bring Charisse into their mess by using her as a pawn in their morally void lives! Chyna wants to preserve her superficial lifestyle and is unable to give Parker a child. Neither of the twin sisters can carry a child, so the obvious choice is…Charisse. It’s bad enough when two sisters are involved with the same man, but another having sexual relations too. What I’ve mentioned is only the beginning!

The characters were difficult for me to connect with because I was disgusted by their behaviors. Parker’s involvement with all three ladies left my spirit perplexed.

With that being said, Sylvia Hubbard knows how to weave a drama-filled story with strong characters.


“Spending fifty thousand dollars to produce off spring is crazy. Do you know what I could have done with that money? By this time, I’d have hundred college funds set up for you to donate to some third world child you could have adopted.”

Frustrated, Parker sunk down in the chair in front of Jaelen’s desk. “Yeah, but it’s not the same and you know it, Jae. Look at you. Five kids. Five damn kids.”

“Two are from my wife’s first dead husband.”

“But you’re still a family. You have off spring. You have someone to carry on your bloodline and you’re sharing these moments with the woman you first fell in love with and married. I want that. I want to be you… well not all ornery and mean, but you know what I mean. I’ve been married ten years to Chyna and you weren’t even married to Kim before you were bopping out twins.”

“Well, she raped me to get mine.”

“Let’s not even go into that. I think you just harbor that over her just so you can take advantage of her.”

Jaelen smirked wickedly. “It does make the mundane marriage very exciting when you can tie up your wife and make her beg for you. You should try it sometime.”

“Chyna says it might mess up her hair and hands.”

“If you can spend fifty on a baby, you can spend a couple of hundred– “

“Let’s not go into this.” Parker really didn’t want to expand upon his wife’s shallow behavior.

Jaelen took the hint, understanding in advance this was a sore subject for Parker. “So, this crazy sister-in-law, what’s her story?”

“Nothing I haven’t already told you. Chyna says her sister is so pathetic she can’t even kill herself.”

“How many times has she tried?”

“This last time makes three.”

Jaelen stopped what he was doing and frowned. “I’m not religious and all that, but she ever thought that it just wasn’t her time, and that she had a purpose in life.”

“You ever thought you’re just saying that shit because you’re an ass and you’re trying to find some hilarity out of a bad situation?” He stood up.

“So I take it you haven’t told Chyna about the boat?”

Parker didn’t answer because he knew Jaelen already knew the answer. He was saving it for the moment when Chyna announced that they were going to have a baby. Knowing that they were going to dedicate eighteen more years together deserved an award and “the boat” was the key.

Yet that moment hadn’t come and he was starting to think it never would. The majority of Parker’s friends were married and those that were had children, vibrant healthy off spring. Their blood running through small versions of themselves.



About the Author

Sylvia Hubbard(1)

Sylvia Hubbard knew she’d wanted to be a writer of romance long before she knew there were black writers in the world. Weaving stories magically as a summer past time to writing stories to get through the humdrum of school, she was able to create something from nothing.

Today, she has independently published over 28 books, is the founder of Motown Writers Network and The AA Electronic Literary Network, CEO of HubBooks Literary Services, runs over five blogs on a variety of subjects, host The Michigan Literary Network Radio Show and is a happily divorced mother of three children in Detroit, Michigan.

“I’m no superwoman,” she states with a smile that seems infinite on her lips. “I’m just being an asset in the world instead of a liability.”

Considered an addicted blogger by, nominated and recognized for her literary work in the Metro Detroit area, referred to as “A Literary Diva” by Detroit City Council and donned “Cliffhanger Queen” by her readers, she finds solace in speaking and educating on a variety of topics.

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RRBC Spotlight Author Angelia Vernon Menchan

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(Please join me in welcoming this week’s Rave Reviews Book Club SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR Angelia Vernon Menchan!)




 by Angelia Vernon Menchan

Chapter One

Two Years Earlier…

Walking into the nightclub, Fletcher Mitchell could feel the pulsing music. He had decided to attend graduate school at USC and was enjoying the left coast. He was an east coast man in his blood but after breaking up with his longtime girlfriend he needed distance. Los Angeles was a long way from North Florida. After graduating from the University of North Florida he had worked for a few years at United Parcel Service because they had paid his tuition. The management training program was good but he wanted more. When USC accepted him and his company provided him with a transfer that paid more, he was all in. The company had found him a great roommate who was also a co-worker and fellow student, Rashad Ferguson.

He liked Rashad but Rashad was a ministerial student and a bit too preachy. He had heard enough about God and sin from his parents. His parents had become staunch Christians about ten years earlier when he turned fifteen and for all his high school years it had been God this and God that. Though he moved out at nineteen, they still always referenced God when he saw or spoke to them. He loved his parents dearly but he was tired of it, besides they seemed to have forgotten they weren’t always saved. Richard and Cynthia had once never set foot in a church. He found that hypocritical. Shaking those thoughts from his head, he started moving to the music. He had minored in music production and he knew he had some moves. He also knew that being six-two and muscular and slim the women were watching him. His smooth, dark brown skin and short fro didn’t hurt either.

Deneisha Young watched Fletcher from across the floor. She loved the sensual way he danced and wanted to know him. Other than the dark skin, he was her type. She had always been attracted to lighter skinned men like her dad, but there was something about Fletcher that held her attention. Starting her own dance she danced up close to him, with her eyes closed and hips swaying. Taking in her curvaceous body and pretty face, Fletcher touched her lightly, causing her eyes to open.

“Let’s show them how it’s done.”

Smiling, she followed him to the floor and they danced through four songs. Drenched with sweat, he took her hand leading her to the bar.

“What’s your poison?” He asked in a deep, sexy voice. He wanted to kiss the mole beneath her eye.

“Tall, dark, handsome men who can dance.” Grinning down at her, he winked.

“To drink in a glass.” Her tittering laughter pierced him.

“In that case I will take a margarita. Tequila makes me crazy.”

Loving the sound of that, he ordered a margarita for her and Heineken for himself. He stared at her while they sipped. There was something hypnotic about her stance and her eyes.

“So what’s your name lady and what do you do?”

“I’m Deneisha Young but my friends call me Neisha.”

“Then Deneisha it is. I’m a business student and work for UPS as an IT manager.”

“I work as a paraprofessional at USC. I was in the military for three years, that’s how I ended up out here. My folks live in Alabama. My dad is a music producer.” His ears perked at her words.

“Really? That’s cool. I write music in my spare time, I also play a few instruments. What else do you do?”

“I’m a dancer!”

She started dancing as if moving up and down an imaginary pole.

“A stripper?”

He started humming the strains to ‘I’m in love with a stripper’ by T-Pain. She giggled again at his words and in tune humming.

“No, but for the right man, I am willing.”

For the remainder of the night they danced and flirted. He knew he could take her home but he wasn’t ready yet. She wasn’t his usual type. Physically, she pretty much had it nailed but he really loved brainy women and she seemed pretty content to be a Para-pro.

Deniesha thought about Fletcher on the way home. Her friend Karen hadn’t been feeling him and was making her opinion known.

“I didn’t care for him. He had the arrogant, stuck up air about him. That boy from the middle class, slumming, with the hood chicks’thing.”

“Karen, how did you read all that into it. I spent three hours with the man and didn’t get all that.”

“I know the type. He’s at USC and has all the bougie signs. I am sure he left some girl back home who he is in love with who will have his babies.”

Deneisha’s eyes met her friends and immediately she felt enraged. She got tired of being told she wasn’t good enough. She came from a good family, her mom being a paranoid schizophrenic, notwithstanding. She furiously rolled her eyes and continued staring out the window. She really wanted to slap Karen or spit in her face.

Deneisha was from a long line of volatile women who dealt with everything by hitting. Her mom had been hitting and cussing at her since she was a young child. However, she would be the first one in the church, dancing and praising and damning folks to hell. Her father on the other hand was a passive man; many would call him weak; he was from a hardworking, lower-middle class family who had married her mom because she had gotten pregnant at sixteen. Rena Young was also abusive to her husband. She had been raised to believe that a woman got all of a man’s money and hit first before she could be hit and that was how they lived. Fortunately, Ron was a naturally passive man who allowed Rena full reign. He loved her and would do anything to keep her, including allowing her to poison the minds of their three daughters of which Deneisha was the youngest.

Fletcher was the only child of middle class parents who had worked towards their own version of the American Dream. They had been born of parents who wanted more for each generation and they were no different. They had been married eighteen years and Fletcher fifteen when they had bought their first home. Before that, they had lived in nice apartments in good neighborhoods. His dad worked as a postal carrier who earned a good salary and his mother was a high ranking civil servant and had a side job as a sought after cupcake artist. Several years earlier they moved into a newer home in the country and were living out their blessings as their mother called it. She had often told him God had taken care of them when they ignored him but now that they gave him praise and honor, their blessings overflowed. He had to agree with that because he had always thought they lived well, but it was nothing in comparison to how they were currently living. God or someone was blessing them.


About the Author

Angelia Vernon Menchan is an author, publisher and public speaker with two publishing companies, MAMM Productions and Honorable Menchan Media. Mrs. Menchan is also a Budget Officer and former Job Corps Counselor. To date she has published twenty four books of her own work, both fiction and non-fiction and more than seventy Ebook novellas on You can access her bibliography on search words: Angelia Vernon Menchan

 Menchan has also published the work of nine new authors to date including two volumes of poetry; memoirs by Deborah Dominque, Lena Jordan, Patricia Richards and Nadine Singleton: a recently released novel by Darnetta Frazier and an upcoming novel by Malik Vernon Menchan, she also has an upcoming collaboration with Elissa Gabrielle of Peace in the Storm Publishing.


Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight Author Bette A. Stevens

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(Please join me in welcoming Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight Author – Bette A. Stevens!)


As a save-everything-I’ve-ever-written-writer I put together a short story for you. During a brief three year jaunt along my journey as a writer (1995-1997), I kept a special journal to document what we still refer to as our California Vacation. I’m taking a small section from my journal to rewrite for this post. Our 2014 winter in Central Maine has been brutal. We still have over a foot of frozen snow in the back field. It’s been a long and bitter New England winter. A trip back in time to bask in the California sun sounds pretty soothing to this Mainer right now. So here we go.


Solar Fever…

A short memoir by Bette A. Stevens © 2014

It was hard to believe we were leaving as we headed southwest in our 1988 Camaro on a 3,700 mile journey over interstate highways that would lead us to California’s High Desert. Dan had accepted a three year internship with the U.S. Air Force that he couldn’t turn down. We kept telling ourselves that the next three years were going to be one long vacation. And, we planned to enjoy every moment of it.

By the time we crossed the Mojave in late August of 1995, desert temperatures were in the triple digits. We found a one-bedroom apartment in Lancaster, a small-by-California-standards city, near the base. We spent our first week basking in the sun. The terrazzo-roofed adobe complex, immaculately landscaped and complete with pool, sauna and weight room was as luxurious as a fine Caribbean resort.

By the end of the first month, our vacation resort complex, well-secured with iron gates and alarms, began to take on the appearance of a stockade. I figured I just needed time for The Golden State to grow on me. After all, 20 years before, adapting to a country lifestyle in Southern Maine after leaving New York’s suburbia proved to be an unexpected pleasure. Maine—The Pine Tree State—a place where breathing fresh air and not getting stuck in traffic are the norm.

The desert, the mountains, the cities, the night life—Californians seem to have it all. The Golden State is pure bliss to the vacationer or to natives who relish the relentless sun and the fast-paced excitement of highway driving and milling through crowds as a steady diet. California has its perks.

Our first year in The Golden State took us over more than 3,000 miles of highways and byways. I had little doubt why vacationers return again and again. In a state that covers more than 164,000 square acres, there’s plenty to see and do.

Our first of many trips along The Pacific Coast Highway began at Morro Bay and took us north to Eureka. It was nothing less than spectacular. As we approached Eureka on the northern coast, protected groves of 3,000-year-old redwoods towered above us in majestic splendor.

From there we headed inland. We drove through the Sierra Nevada’s over The Gold Strike Highway that climbs, descends and winds like a gargantuan roller-coaster along precipices of mountain canyons, to explore Yosemite National Park where El Capitan—the world’s tallest terrestrial monolith—rises to a height of more than 3,600 feet above the valley floor.

Before we’d arrived in The Golden State, I was pretty sure I knew where California got its moniker. I’d suspected it grew from the fame of its Gold Rush Days. Later I learned that the nickname adopted in 1968 was derived not only from the 1849 Gold Rush, but also from the fields of golden poppies that can be seen each spring throughout the state.

By the end of our first year of vacation, I had determined that it’s not just the gold nuggets and poppies that claim the gold: it’s also the sun-bleached grasses. No matter where you travel—desert, coast or mountains—the grass has a golden tan hue. It rarely turns green on its own. Extensive systems of enclosed pipelines and aqueducts are as abundant as the state’s freeways. Arid lands metamorphose into productive agricultural vistas of fruits, flowers and vegetables as far as the eye can see. California is a gloriously golden state.

I’m sure that Californians would agree. After all, The Golden State is their home. Freeways run its length and breadth. Recreation runs the gamut, the sun is always shining and Californians are always on the go.

There’s just one problem in a land where changes to sky and land are nearly imperceptible because the sun shines most of the time. I call it solar fever.

Early one morning, a glance out the window threw me into a state of delirium. “Praise the Lord,” I shouted as droplets of H20 splashed about violently in a puddle and danced around on the concrete walkway. As I raised the blind my spirits sank. It turned out to be the sprinkler system watering the verdant floribunda.

This strange solar phenomenon affects California natives, too. That same week, a co-worker returned from a four-day trip to Washington State where it had rained every single day of her long awaited vacation. “I just loved the rain!” she smiled over at me and sighed.

It may sound odd to New Englanders who yearn for more sun, but I think that solar fever can affect anyone exposed to large doses of sun over extended periods of time. The effect is similar to the cabin fever experienced by those of us who have just plain had it with mountainous snow banks, unrelenting sub-zero temperatures and the scarcity of sun for months on end.

Imagine those poor Californians who have to suffer from solar fever all year long. Fortunately, remedies for solar fever abound. A jaunt along coastal highways to stand in awe of giant trees or simply to enjoy the cooling effect of a salt marsh along the Pacific Coast isa sure cure for these solar-induced doldrums.

After the long cold winter of 2014 on the Atlantic Coast, this writer is still awaiting an effectual remedy for her cabin fever—the powerful cure-all is called spring. It’s on its way. It just hasn’t arrived yet. When it does, the snow and ice will disappear and we’ll be walking the two-miles of wooded trails here at the Farmstead instead of breaking trails on snowshoe. Greens of every tint, tone, shade and hue will unveil themselves like magic. Maine is a place where nature is always in the process of change. It offers a way of life that Dan and I have grown to love—a respite where we have the luxury of time to get to know our neighbors, our family and ourselves.

It was a treat not to have to shovel snow from October to April and not to fight black flies and mosquitoes from May to September during our California vacation back in the 1990s. There are winters here in Maine when I long for another California vacation. Still, there’s no place like home. The changing seasons are invigorating. Solar fever and life in the fast lane remain fond vacation memories.


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