Down to Earth Romance

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Santa’s House at the Beach #photography #Christmas #ChristmasSpirit @Adele_Downs

I took these pictures of Santa’s House on the Rehoboth, Delaware boardwalk, where children visit Santa every weekend from Thanksgiving to Christmas. My four-year old grandson has enthusiastically embraced the concept of Santa Claus, especially the part about him bringing toys to good children, and his excitement has filled me with Christmas spirit. There’s nothing like having a small child around to better appreciate the holidays.

Merry Christmas!

Photos copyright Adele Downs 2018

Wishing you Thanksgiving Peace

Wishing my American readers a Happy Thanksgiving filled with the love of family and friends.

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2018.

Flamingos in Maryland by Adele Downs #photography @Adele_Downs

Flamingos in Maryland? Yes, at the Salisbury Zoo. I had no idea these creatures were so noisy! They sounded like a flock of honking geese.

The colors in this photograph are unaltered and exactly as they appeared through my camera lens.

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2018.

Little Library At The Beach

Greetings from the beach! I moved from my family home in Pennsylvania to my vacation home in Delaware full-time and dove straight into summer. As part of my new routine, I’m taking early morning walks on the boardwalk along the ocean. The air at dawn is cool and refreshing, and I’m learning to appreciate rising early to work out. By 8 AM, the sun starts to get hot, and my enthusiasm for exercise declines with every uptick of the thermometer.

Near the end of my route, a sign for a Book Box takes me a few yards off the boardwalk to an adorable little free library. Book Boxes are popping up all over the country, and book lovers and authors like me are thrilled by the trend. The process is easy–take a book, give a book. No library card or membership of any kind is needed and you can borrow or donate at any time.

There might be a little Book Box or two in your community. If not, maybe you and an organization close to your heart can start one in your neighborhood. Reading is fun!

Happy summer!

How could I resist taking a look?

Following Ms. Bunny to the Book Box.

Built by the Village Improvement Association.

Take a book. Donate a book. Easy.

I’ll be glad to donate signed copies of my books.

**

Photos copyright Adele Downs 2018.

Goodbye, My Love #Grief #Bereavement #LoveandLoss

Please excuse my silence. I haven’t posted much to social media the past few months, talked to my readers about my books, or started writing a new novel. How could I? My loving, sweet and kind husband of thirty years passed away suddenly in March and I’m devastated. My career has been put on hold while I grieve. At the same time, I’m packing boxes for the move from my family home in Pennsylvania to a little house for one in Delaware.

I hope you will be here when I return.

Best–Adele

Proud Mom of a US Coast Guard Recruit @USCG

I don’t often publish personal posts, since I try to keep my blog primarily about my books, but it’s an emotional time at my house, and I want to share this moment. My husband and I said farewell to our son James at Fort Dix, NJ, and watched him swear the oath of service as a US Coast Guard recruit before heading to boot camp. Every parent and spouse in the room became teary-eyed as we watched our loved one lift a hand to take the vow. It’s an experience and an honor I’ll never forget.

I’m excited for my son, and proud, and wish him all the best as he embarks on an adventurous life of service to our country and its citizens. I hope you’ll join me in wishing him well.

Semper Paratus.

The road to Fort Dix as dawn breaks.

The visitor center for vehicle registration, I.D. photo, and entrance pass.

The base entrance.

Santa’s House on The Boardwalk – #Christmas #ChristmasSpirit

I took these pictures of Santa’s House on the Rehoboth, Delaware boardwalk, where children visit Santa every weekend from Thanksgiving ’til Christmas. My three-year old grandson is just beginning to grasp the concept of Santa Claus, especially the part about him bringing toys to good children, and his excitement has filled me with Christmas spirit. There’s nothing like having a small child around to better appreciate the holidays.

Merry Christmas!

A Thanksgiving Filled with Peace #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivingweek

Sending warmest wishes to my friends, family, and readers for a Thanksgiving filled with peace and the promise of happy memories.

Photo copyright Adele Downs.

Mornings By The Bay: Fishing and Crabbing #fishing

Where has the summer gone? Beach season has flown by. In addition to enjoying life on the Delaware coast, I’ve been busy helping my husband remodel the beach house guest bathroom. I’ll post before and after pictures when the room is done. I’ve also been working on a new novel, and have other publishing projects in the works that I can hardly wait to tell you about after the contracts arrive.

Blue claw crabs have been plentiful at the beach this year, and we’ve had good catches since May. Steamed and cleaned right out of the bay is the best way to enjoy them at dinnertime. Fresh corn on the cob from a local farm and a cold beer makes the perfect meal.

If you’d like to try your hand at crabbing–either from a dock using string and bits of chicken, or with handheld traps filled with bait, or by investing in crab pots that stay in the water overnight, you’ll need a fishing and crabbing license, and will have to follow the rules set by your state about keepers, but a seasonal license is well worth the enjoyment your family will have.

Here’s a picture of our overnight crab traps. Each household in our Delaware bay community is allowed a maximum of two. We use a combination of chicken and bunker fish for bait and the crabs love it.

This guy was definitely a keeper! On this particular day, we caught over 50 crabs, and though nearly half of them were too small to keep and had to be returned to the water, our catch yielded enough food for two meals.

Add side dishes for a great summertime feast.

When I’m feeling especially energetic, I make crab cakes or homemade crab bisque, which can be frozen and enjoyed during the winter months when we’re dreaming about warm weather.

It’s been a great summer in Delaware. I’ll be sorry to see the season end.

Mornings By The Bay: Birds and Water Fowl

This morning I watched a robin hop around our yard with a worm in its beak before it flew into a bush to feed its chicks. Birds seem to be everywhere at the beach and on the bay, co-existing with us humans and sharing the water, sun and sand.

This mama bird protects her nest high above a Delaware boardwalk beside the Atlantic Ocean. I needed my telephoto lens to capture this shot.

On the dock by our summer home just before twilight, this seagull sentry attempted to keep me from approaching the rest of the flock. I respected his wishes and kept my distance, though I took advantage of his pose with my Fuji digital camera.

As the sun went down, seagulls gathered on the next dock, and ducks and geese joined the party.

The seagulls have the beach to themselves during the off season.

Photos are unretouched. Shown exactly as nature intended.

Copyright Adele Downs 2017

Why do you love to read? Celebrate World Book Day! #LovetoRead #WorldBookDay

It’s World Book Day! Celebrate by supporting literacy, reading a book, and reading to your kids.

Do you have a favorite book? One that fueled your love of reading? Please share that story with us in the comments section. Book lovers appreciate recommendations!

My favorite book as a child was LITTLE WITCH by Anna Elizabeth Bennett. I could hardly wait to receive my copy the day I carried cash to school to place my order with a #2 pencil on a Scholastic Books form. Since then, I’ve kept the paperback on my keeper shelf to read again and again. From elementary school to college, to marriage and family, LITTLE WITCH has traveled with me. I read the story to my children and will read it to my grandchildren. If you haven’t read this wonderful tale, I highly recommend you do.

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My love for paranormal stories likely started with LITTLE WITCH. I’ve written a few books with paranormal elements, namely HER IMMORTAL VIKING and LIP SERVICE, but KISSES FROM LILLITH is my first supernatural short story with shades of romance, horror, and suspense. Early reviewers are singing the book’s praises, and I hope you’ll download a copy. Only .99 for an hour’s worth of entertainment.

KISSES FROM LILLITH by Adele Downs

A sizzling short story with bite.

Pre-order for only .99! Releasing April 27.

When Hunter receives an invitation for a group tour in an ancient cave to celebrate his cousin’s birthday, he and his girlfriend Rosa unwittingly attend a party…with unusual refreshments.

“Wow! For a short story, this was a long, thrilling ride.” ~Will Work For Books

Order from Amazon!

Happy Reading!

Mornings By The Bay: New Season at the Beach

Springtime for my husband and me means more visits to our little piece of heaven. Though we visit our vacation home year round, April’s warm-up marks the beginning of our personal beach season. After a dreary few months of winter cold, snow and rain, we’re excited to enjoy sunshine, our bay views, and walks by the ocean. We’d planned, saved and searched for the right opportunity for many years to fulfill our beach house dream, and we treasure every day by the water.

Here are pictures I took on the dock, just before sunset, with my Fuji digital camera. Pictures are unretouched, shown exactly as nature intended.

Photos copyright Adele Downs 2017

Beauty and the Beast Movie – Review by Adele Downs #BeautyandtheBeast

What happens when four author friends get together when they’re not writing or talking about writing? They go to the premiere of BEAUTY and THE BEAST on opening day.

From left to right: Veronica Forand, Adele Downs, Judi Fennell, Beth Long.

Disney’s newest version of the fairy tale starring Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, and Kevin Kline as Papa Maurice is a big, beautiful film offering an escape from the world for two wonderful hours. The characters are perfectly cast, the musical scenes are breathtaking, the humor actually makes us laugh, the costumes and set designs are Oscar worthy, and the dark moments are intense. There wasn’t a single thing about the film I didn’t enjoy and I recommend the movie to romance lovers everywhere.

Those who have decided to boycott the film due to a rumor that two men kiss–that is only a rumor and simply not true. There is a ballroom scene at the end (–SPOILER ALERT!–) where everyone in the castle dances when the spell of enchantment is broken, and two men lift their arms to dance together, but the gay moment is offered in the spirit of fun. It was a snapshot inside a huge, exciting extravaganza that’s not to be missed. I want to see the movie again.

A Thanksgiving Wish From Adele Downs

This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for my family, my friends, social media followers, and my wonderful readers. Thank you for your support and your enthusiasm for my books.

I wish you all a safe and memorable holiday filled with love.

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Photo of Adele Downs’ homemade apple pie copyright 2016

Beach Shoes by Adele Downs #Foto_Friday

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Photo copyright Adele Downs 2016

Mornings By The Bay: Sea Glass Festival

The irony that broken glass is rightly avoided as dangerous trash, but that shards smoothed by the ocean and hunted by beach combers is highly collectible, wasn’t lost on me as I waited in line to enter the Sea Glass Festival in Lewes, Delaware. (Officially called the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Sea Glass & Coastal Arts Festival, sponsored by The Lewes Historical Society.)

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When I’m not writing romance novels, I’m exploring and taking pictures. The sea glass displays pictured here were made available for educational purposes. However, there were lots of beautiful nautical crafts and natural wonders offered for sale at the event.

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Gorgeous examples of sea glass in hard to find colors.

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More treasures from the sea.

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In order to beat the inevitable traffic jam the event created, I arrived half an hour before the gate opened and was one of the first to step inside this exciting maritime festival, held on the Lewes-Cape May Ferry Terminal grounds, overlooking the lovely Delaware Bay.

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A fun conversation piece—a sea glass dress.

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The vendors selling driftwood or crafts made with sea glass were especially busy. I bought a combination sea glass/stained glass window ornament for my beach house, shards of sea glass from the Chesapeake Bay to accent my bowl of shells, and a pair of miniature sea glass earrings.

For more information about the festival: http://www.leweschamber.com/event/community-events/2016-mid-atlantic-sea-glass-coastal-arts-festival

Delaware Boardwalk by Adele Downs #Foto_Friday

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Photo copyright Adele Downs 2016

Mornings By The Bay: It’s All About The View

Here’s my favorite view in the world, seen by day.

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Here’s the same view at sunset over the bay.

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Photos are unretouched.

Copyright Adele Downs 2016

Christmas at Longwood Gardens

Friends and I spent the day at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, to enjoy the spectacular Christmas displays for which they’re renowned. I arrived with my digital camera in hand, prepared to take dozens of equally spectacular pictures, and then…after the first shot…my battery died. I’d checked the battery beforehand, and thought it was okay, but I was mistaken. Grrr. Lesson learned. Always carry a spare.

So…I improvised, and spent the afternoon taking pictures with my iPhone 5C. Not ideal, but doable. When I got home, I edited the photos with a picture program. I hope you enjoy them. Longwood Gardens is one of the most beautiful places in the country, and if you visit Pennsylvania, you won’t want to miss it.

I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas, and a wonderful holiday season.

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Photographs copyright Adele Downs 2015

Old Ornament, New Ornament that Shines

Feeling especially sentimental about the holidays this year…

and a little boy is the most important reason why:

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Our grand toddler broke an ornament on our Christmas tree during a recent visit, but since it was plastic and not glass, I wasn’t concerned for his safety. We placed only (theoretical) unbreakables on the bottom half of the tree, with him in mind. Paper, cardboard, plastic.

Turned out the broken item was the first Christmas ornament I gave my husband when we were dating–almost 30 years ago. Grand toddler has good taste–I understand why he liked that particular ornament. It was a molded vehicle with big, cool looking wheels. Clearly, he wanted to play with it. But the ornament was old, and more fragile than I’d thought, and collapsed in his tiny hands.

My husband and I looked down at the ornament we’d hung for three decades, carefully wrapped each year in its box to save for the next. “Should I try to glue it back together?” I asked. Without missing a beat, we looked at one another and shook our heads. The ornament symbolized the beginning of our relationship, but our first grandchild marks the beginning of a new and wonderful chapter in our lives. We are sentimental about our past, but excited about our future, and the future of our growing family. The ornament we rehung with special pride this year, and will display for years to come, says, “Grandson’s First Christmas.”

Summer’s Here! Beach Photos by Adele Downs

Welcome summer!

To get you in a beach mood, here are unretouched photos taken with my Fuji digital camera at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, Delaware.

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Photos copyright Adele Downs

Orchids, Original Photographs

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Original photographs taken with my Fuji digital camera at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA.

Photos copyright Adele Downs.

Cozy Mystery Author Cate Price And CONTEST!

–CONTEST ALERT!!!!–

Do you like to read cozy mysteries? I certainly do, and I love Cate Price’s Berkley Prime Crime mystery series.

I share a special connection to Cate’s books, since I read early drafts of book one Going Through The Notions and was a research source for that book, as well as book two in the series, A Dollhouse To Die For. Cate’s new release is Lie of The Needle.

When I discovered Cate had visited a New England carousel museum over the holidays, I invited her to share her beautiful pictures and experience with us. I hope you enjoy her tour.

Please welcome Cate and be sure to leave her a comment.  Residents inside the continental USA will be automatically entered to win a copy of her latest cozy mystery Lie of The Needle.

*Winner Announced Saturday, 1/24/15.

Congratulations to Laura F., winner of LIE OF THE NEEDLE!

Many thanks to all who visited and entered Cate’s contest.

Best~Adele

***

The New England Carousel Museum by Cate Price

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On a recent trip home to Connecticut, I paid a visit to the New England Carousel Museum that’s housed in an old hosiery factory building in Bristol. A friendly and knowledgeable tour guide showed me and my mom around, and we started with how the horses are made.

Interestingly, they’re not carved from a single piece of wood as I’d imagined, but from many small pieces held together with wooden dowels and animal hide glue. A carousel horse is hollow inside to make it lighter in weight. Some are time capsules in a way, because carvers often hid items in the cavity, like their tools or even a lottery ticket! The heads and bodies were made separately from each other, and our guide showed us a quirky example where the head was far too big for the horse’s body.

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The museum has a large variety of antique hand-carved, hand-painted carousel horses, in various stages of repair. Some are in their original condition, but most are fully and beautifully restored. They’re not just historic examples of entertainment, but truly works of art, and there are several different styles. The highly expressive “Coney Island” style horses have flared nostrils and “peek-a-boo” looped manes, and are flamboyantly decorated with cabbage roses, feathers, jewels, and even real gold leaf. The “Philadelphia” style is more classic and realistic, with sweet faces, and then there’s the folk-art “Country Fair” horses which are smaller and built in simpler poses, with outstretched legs which made them easier to stack for transport.

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My mother loved the white English prancing horse, but I think my favorite was the little one who hadn’t been restored yet, with his distressed wood and multiple layers of peeling paint, showing how many times he had been fixed up over the years, with whatever paint the carousel park owners happened to have on hand.

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The horses have a fancy or “romance” side that is highly decorated, but the one that faces the inside of the carousel is plainer. Something else I hadn’t realized is that in America the horses travel counter clockwise. In England the horses go clockwise, so those horses were pointing in the opposite direction to show their best side. I also noticed that some had a decorative feature at the rear of the saddle, like a brace of game birds peeking out, a monkey, flowers, or fruit, to name but a few.

The museum has Menagerie figures, too, like a double-seater rooster, rabbit, cat, duck, giraffe, pig, and magnificent carved lion. The master carver on staff has created new figures, such as a lovely manatee. There are other curiosities, including an old fortune teller machine, a wooden fairy tale carriage, and a Wurlitzer band organ.

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    The New England Carousel Museum has the contract to manage the historic Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford that was built in 1914 by Stein and Goldstein and features forty-eight hand-carved wooden horses and two lover’s chariots.

    Carousels often included open carriages to accommodate Victorian ladies’ skirts.The       museum is dedicated to the acquisition, restoration and preservation of carousels and carousel memorabilia, with a focus on educational programs. Although we didn’t have time on this visit, also housed in the same building is the Museum of Fire History and The Bristol Center for Arts and Culture.

Price of admission is only six dollars for adults (less for seniors and children), which includes a ride on the working carousel. It’s definitely worth a visit!

The New England Carousel Museum is located at 95 Riverside Avenue, Bristol, CT. 860-585-5411. They are closed in January and February, but available for private parties. www.thecarouselmuseum.org

 About Cate Price:

Cate Price is the author of the Deadly Notions mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. The third book in the series, LIE OF THE NEEDLE, was published January 6, 2015.

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 As the owner of Sometimes a Great Notion, a shop specializing in vintage sewing notions and antique treasures, Daisy Buchanan is a strong advocate of preserving the past. But when a killer strikes, she turns her attention to saving lives…

Talk about a great notion! As a fund-raiser to save a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse and stop an ambitious developer, the ladies of the Historical Society of Millbury, Pennsylvania, are producing a Hunky Men of Millbury calendar. Daisy is delighted to lend her support, and the female population of the village is abuzz with anticipation.

But after Daisy’s close friend Cyril doesn’t show up for his photo shoot and the calendar photographer is found dead, it’s beginning to look like the days may be numbered for the men of Millbury. Can a cryptic verse on an antique sampler help Daisy pin down the killer before another pinup runs out of time?

Buy The Book on Amazon!

Cate Price loves to hear from readers at her website, www.cateprice.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/catepriceauthor

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Easy Keepsake Christmas Crafts

The greatest event in my personal life in 2014 was the birth of my first grandchild. He’s the light of my life and the center of his parents’ world, and that’s how it should be. In the spirit of loving the child and celebrating his first Christmas, my daughter created paintings on canvas for her home and mine, using imprints of her infant’s hands and feet. The nose on the reindeer was made with his thumb! We will treasure these keepsakes for many years.

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I loved the pictures they created so much that I took photographs and added text on Photoshop. The results are digital Christmas cards for my readers, friends, and followers from my family to yours. I hope you like these digital cards, because I made them with you in mind. “)

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Perhaps you’d like to create holiday keepsakes like these with your children. Though you can use paper, my daughter bought pre-cut canvas and non-toxic paint from the craft shop. The canvas will last for decades, preserving our memories of baby’s first Christmas.

I greatly appreciate you reading my books and following my blog. Enjoy the holiday season!

Happy Thanksgiving From My House to Yours

To all my American readers, family, and friends ~ HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

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