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What a trip!!

It’s good to go away and good to come home. My trip with my son, daughter, and granddaughter was informative and fascinating. I have stayed away from traveling to Israel because of the unrest there. But after so many years of unrest, religious pilgrimages that have never stopped, and my own curiosity, I was ready to go. My underlying suppositions were wrong. I felt safe there. It felt familiar, like going to Miami or some other American city. A lot of the American chains were there. Shopping malls, busy outdoor markets, and restaurants. All teeming with humanity. We drove everywhere in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Went to the Western Wall on the Sabbath and I was gobsmacked by the sheer number of people praying. Just another typical Friday night in the Holy land. Jews from all walks of religious intensity. Orthodox, Hasidic wearing the furry hats and long coats, and modern Jews like us. Incredible scene.  And in the cities, the call to prayer of the Mosques, women wearing Muslim identifying clothing that is allowed in Israel but banned, for example, in France.

We traveled to Eilat and drove through miles of desert the likes I’ve never seen. Barren bleak country with mountains so tall they seemed surreal. Desolate behemoth mountains in never-ending clusters all the way to the final destination. We swam in the dead sea, the red sea, and the Mediterranean. We liked to say, we swam in the red, the dead, and the Med. And then we crossed into Jordan and went to Petra, a wonder of the world. Visitors are greeted there by Jordanians selling camel rides, donkey rides, artifacts. A bustling place of entrepreneurship feeding on tourism. Just like anywhere else in the world.

We left Israel and flew to Greece where we visited the Acropolis in Athens and then rented a car and drove north to the town of Ioannina, the birthplace of my ancestors. We met friends there and made new friends joining a tour for the day. After Ioannina, we drove to Delphi for some wisdom from the Oracle. Round and around the mountain roads we went with my son becoming and expert driver for this kind of terrain. Dizzying but splendid, nevertheless.

A wonderful trip. A trip to be revered and remembered. And an enormous thank you to my son for making it happen.

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Summers here, new grand baby, taking a major trip

I’ve been feeling guilty lately because my life has gotten in the way of my writing. What? I know I love to write but I also love living my life. In fact, my life is the source material so-to-speak for my work as a writer. I told myself to take the summer off and just enjoy, but it gnaws at me they urge to write and the avoidance of writing. The push and pull of it. But there are things that really get in the way. Important things, fun things. First, I spent a week in Ireland. The Galway area then Dublin. The sights were outstanding, magical. A road called the Wild Atlantic Way takes you on adventure of green rolling hills, arid hills, wandering sheep,  Celtic ruins, remnants of forgotten monasteries and of course the magnificent Atlantic Ocean. One does in Dublin what all tourists do in Dublin, visit pubs and listen to music. Brings out the best in humanity.

Then a most wondrous thing happened. My grandson was born. A big fella at 8.lbs and 8oz. Of course, I flew out to see him. Held him in my arms and kissed his sweet cheeks. Got to see my beloved granddaughter and my son and his wife as well. Icing on the cake.

Now, I plan to visit Israel with two of my kids and my other granddaughter. Then on to Greece. A major trip for two+ weeks. Lots to take in, lots to wonder at. One of the wonders of the world, in fact. Petra, Jordan is on the itinerary that my son planned.

So writing will have to wait because my fabulous life is giving me experiences I am blessed to have. I am grateful and cherish my life. I know I’m one of the lucky ones and I’m thankful. So I’ll write when I can as I live the best life ever.

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Fab review

Review Rating:

5 Stars – Congratulations on your 5-star review

Reviewed By Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers’ Favorite

When a Stranger Comes… by Karen S Bell is a gripping psychological thriller. Born Gladys Lipschitz, Alexa Wainwright is thrilled to pieces to have her debut novel published, especially when it shoots straight to the top of the bestseller list. She never expected the fame or the money that went with it, but her next work doesn’t reach the same dizzy heights. Fearing the loss of the fame, she vows to do whatever is needed to stay at the top. A lightning bolt strikes, spreading eerie tendrils across the sky and the streets. Unaware that her vow may be seen as greed, she is taken to another reality where her story characters come to life. King Blakemore – publisher or devil? Or both? The lure of a lucrative book deal proves too much for her and she finds herself trapped, unable to escape. Her book contract seems to keep changing its wording, so she can’t get out of it, leaving Alexa trying to find a way to get back to her real life. Will she escape or is she stuck with the devil for life, paying for her greed?

When a Stranger Comes by Karen S Bell is a compelling story. It is a gripping thriller, but it’s also got the fantastical side to it as well as the paranormal touch, a rare mix that Karen has really made work. This is so original, a truly clever plot that seamlessly blends reality with an alternate reality. It dips and dives, taking you on a journey you will never forget. Karen has developed her characters flawlessly, to a level where you feel as if you know them inside out. Although the story is set partly in an alternate reality, you feel as though it is really happening, as though it could happen to you at any time. More than just a fictional novel, this story takes us on a journey through real-life issues, like greed, like being careful what you wish for. Not everyone is cut out for a life of fame and fortune and some people get taken in – it’s a dangerous world as protagonist Alexa finds out! Fabulous story, so different, so original and so refreshing.

Perhaps my subscribers might get a copy?

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This writing life

When I start a new writing project, I just jump in. I have an overall idea but not particulars. This sometimes gets scary because the narrative is in the details. How do I get from here to there? It just happens as I write. I start a sentence and it leads to another. I have an idea and it leads to another. One sentence a a time, one paragraph at a time that leads to a chapter, then another. Slowly it unfolds  by itself. I am led in a direction…somehow. New characters pop up…somehow. I never do a story board, never write out the plot and characters. I sit down and write and the story comes to me. It’s a scary endeavor. I am at the mercy of the cosmos. Will the ideas come? Everyday, I wonder, will they come?

For my latest book, I got inspiration from something I read (I can’t remember where) about a love story plot. But it stayed with me. As I was swimming in the lake the arc of the story came to me. It was comforting and satisfying that the conflict between my two main characters came to me and I’m encouraged now that the details will come. It’s fun to explore the plot unfolding as I write. Have it emerge from the ether as I write. It is mind-boggling. And I am grateful for this gift.

A saying I have on a paperweight: Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  I can add–Gratitude can turn sentences and paragraphs into a novel.

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