I Think I Missed the Picnic Making Gene.

Does your family go on picnics? We didn’t make a big deal of them. Mama packed sandwiches and took jugs of sweet tea when we went swimming. We did have coolers. Cups or glasses? Aluminum tumblers, I think. Who remembers? Our picnics didn’t look like this and mine don’t, either.

Day trips to the beach meant loading the ’37 Ford and later the ’50 Ford and heading out early from Augusta, Georgia and later from Macon. We 3 children and Mama would sleep most of the way. The last half of the trip meant girls begging for bathroom stops and Daddy pronouncing every gas station bathroom too dirty without slowing the car to check. Most of you won’t remember stopping by the side of the highway or a few feet down a side road or in the country and looking for the right spot to hide from view, but I do! No Porta Potty or outhouse to be found at a picnic spot. (That’s a topic for another blog.) Those trips meant smelling the pulp mill outside of Savannah and declaring we smelled ocean salt air thirty minutes before we got there and grins, giggles, and shivers of excitement with the first view of the ocean.

I remember brown bags with the food that was special because we were hungry and wanted to keep swimming. I’m sure there was probably a blanket, but my memory is sketchy there. I don’t remember potato salad or fried chicken or lunch meat. Maybe that’s because we were good with peanut butter or cheese sandwiches wrapped in wax paper.

Beach lunches were the same simple picnic food. Sometimes Mama packed a blanket. Other times, we used towels. Shivering, salty, sandy kids weren’t picky when they were hungry. Mama had her hands full getting us ready and out of the house with towels and food. Her picnic food wasn’t fancy, but we loved it. Potato chips were way better to kids than potato salad would have been. We preferred sandwiches to chicken salad.

The beach meant Sea & Ski! It meant fun and food with a bit of sand. It meant wet bathing suits under shorts and too much sun to make kids miserable all the way home.


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Antecedent or part of a family member's title or "name".

In case you have questions about commas.
Maggie, my cousin, annoys everyone.
My cousin Maggie annoys everyone.
One of my cousins, Maggie, annoys everyone.

Maggie, my cousin, has an antecedent. Cousin is the antecedent for Maggie. Cousin renames Maggie Note the comma before my and after cousin.
One of my cousins, Maggie, Maggie is the antecedent of One, not of cousins. Maggie renames one. Note the comma before and after Maggie.

Grandpa James plays the piano!
My grandpa, James Jackson, plays the piano.
James Jackson, my grandpa, plays the piano.

My grandpa, James Jackson, plays the piano.
James Jackson is the antecedent of Grandpa. James Jackson renames James. Notice the commas before and after James Jackson.

James Jackson, my grandpa, plays the piano. My grandpa is the antecedent of James Jackson. Grandpa renames James Jackson. Notice the commas before and after my grandpa.

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The White House Wedding by Seelie Kay

A brand spanking new book!

When politics interferes with love, can love survive?

Getting married isn’t easy when your father’s the President of the United States! After reluctantly agreeing to a White House wedding, Sarah Lee Pearson, the president’s daughter, finds herself swept into a political maelstrom of unimagined proportions.

The White House staff and the first lady see the wedding as a political event, a way to sweep the president into his next term. Congress is complaining about the collateral costs. The media is delightfully rehashing every aspect of Sarah’s life, even those events that have nothing to do with the impending marriage. And the American public? Visions of an American royal wedding have swept them into a frenzy and vendors take advantage, making a quick buck off of everything from limited edition t-shirts to commemorative teacups.

Sarah and her fiancé, Sam, fight hard to ignore the craziness, but after learning a bounty has been put on their heads by an anti-government militia group, they have to decide whether a White House wedding is indeed worth it. And given all the hurtful controversy, perhaps a better solution is to not get married at all.

The White House Wedding Excerpt:

“How does my father feel about this?” Sarah asked.

“Your father wants you to do what makes you happy.”

Jamisen Powell entered his Chief of Staff’s office and nodded coldly at Jeremiah. He added, “He would never ask you to do otherwise.”

Sarah smiled and rose to kiss her father on the cheek. “Thanks, Dad. I knew you wouldn’t ask me to be a political stool pigeon.”

Jamie Powell chuckled. “No. That job apparently falls to staff.” He smiled at Sarah. “Look, hopefully, you only get married once. Make a memory that will mean the most to you and Sam. Nothing else matters.” He shook his head, “Maybe Jeremiah will get lucky and your sister, Melissa, will hook some poor sucker before the next election. She and her mother would be overjoyed planning a White House wedding.”

Jeremiah scowled. “I am only thinking about your re-election, Mr. President. Your first term has been a bit rocky. You need a solidifying factor, something that will grab the hearts and minds of the American public and provide a clear path into the next term. Your story, a daughter lost and found after twenty-five years, especially a daughter who just happens to be a stellar human being and a successful international law attorney, won their hearts in the first election.

“Walking that same daughter down the aisle, something you had never dreamed was possible? The ratings alone will rival a royal wedding. No offense, but Melissa’s marriage—if it ever happens—could never have the same impact. People don’t view her in the same light as Sarah. Melissa is a flighty socialite. Her deep-seated sense of entitlement offends. The ratings for her wedding would be nonexistent. But Sarah? She’s the golden child. The American public loves her.”

The president’s sapphire blue eyes, which mirrored Sarah’s, flashed with annoyance. “Be that as it may, I am not about to force either of my daughters into something they don’t want. Sarah has declined your request, and as far as I am concerned, that’s the end of it. You will have to find another solidifying factor, Jer. Surely I have done something that’s re-election worthy!”

About Seelie Kay:

Seelie Kay is a nom de plume for an award-winning writer, editor, and author with more than 30 years of experience in law, journalism, marketing, and public relations. When Seelie writes about love and lust in the legal world, something kinky is bound to happen!  In possession of a wicked pen and an overly inquisitive mind, Ms. Kay is the author of multiple works of fiction, including the Kinky Briefs series, the Feisty Lawyers series, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, and The President’s Daughter.

When not spinning her kinky tales, Ms. Kay ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. She resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she shares a home with her son and enjoys opera, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.

Ms. Kay is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS:  Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Find Seelie’s Social Links:

Prior Books:

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Am I Famous Yet?

Mary Marvella

Want my autograph?  Why, you ask? Didn’t you know? I Indie-published 8 novels and 2 novellas. That’s why. Not impressed? I contracted a book, and it has been published! Exciting news to me.  Still not impressed? I was a guest Monday night at blog radio (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hummingbirdplace) and am now a radio celeb.  Well, you can’t have my autograph anyway, and one day it will be worth something.

In case you didn’t catch on, I’m messing with you! I think each person who completes a book deserves a gold star, and revising one earns an extra gold star.  Each person who has submitted a book to an editor or an agent  deserves more points, of course. (Have a handful of stars.)

If you took time to polish a book and Indie publish it, you deserve a medal. (We’re past the gold stars now.) Seriously, it takes guts/courage to do that. I’m not bragging or complaining, but the formatting part caused me pain and whining. I am not computer competent. BUT I did it 10 times.

In 1991 I started writing my first novel and some family memories as short stories. Since then I have taken courses, attended workshops, read books and magazine articles, entered contests, and submitted my manuscripts. Despite “good” rejections, no one wanted to buy my books. I really wanted to sell and get an advance and lovely royalties. That didn’t happen.  One editor I respect and love for her writing suggested I self-publish a book she had to reject. I considered it, but still held out hope for that sale, even to a small publisher, even to an e-publisher. (So much for the New York Times Best Selling list and long lines in bookstores.) No one wanted that book or my others.    

Finally I bit the bullet and uploaded one novel and then another and become an editor for a new small press.(Gilded Dragonfly Books) Finally an editor wanted my first novel.  I had revised it and polished it and he wanted me to polish more. Because I didn’t give up or cling to old dreams, I found a new one. I have a romantic suspense novel published as an erotic romance. (Who knew?)

My advice.

Finish the novels you begin, even if the stories and characters change and toss roadblocks in your way.

Revise and polish over and over again.

Listen to critique partners and beta readers, but remember the book is YOUR book!

Submit the book until you don’t have any options left.

If you decide to publish the book yourself, get it edited by someone who knows about story development and someone who knows grammar rules.  Just because you think someone knows good grammar and punctuation doesn’t mean it is true.

Don’t give up on your dreams, but be willing to adjust them.

Try new things, like I did the radio interview.

Mary Marvella is a retired school teacher turned writer.  She tutors and edits and writes, and that’s about all she does.



Twitter  Mary Marvella@mmarvellab



Mary Marvella Edits

Mary Marvella Author


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A Sale, a Prize, and Goals for 2020

The Protecting Series

For years I have been a writer, a tutor, an editor, and a writing coach. I seem to be editing more than I am writing or tutoring, I do have writing projects to finish.  I don’t make resolutions, but I do make goals.  

I plan to finish my 3 or 4 book demon sisters series and 2 stories in which my buddy, the Elvis tribute artist, comes into the story to save the day.

I plan to clean out 2 unwanted and unneeded pieces of furniture left over from my divorce 18 years ago and few clothes.

Catching up with my blogs and social media is a given.

ABOUT THE BOOKS ON SALE! Each of the books is reduced to $1.99 for the next week.

Mary’s links






Follow Mary Marvella on Twitter @mmarvellab



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Just in time for Christmas: For the Love of Christmas!

Each short story shows what Christmas means to its characters.

In “A Very Bella Thanksgiving”, a 4 year old child meets her extended family for the first time. A small town Christmas parade and a visit with Santa give her more than anyone would guess. I patterned Bella after my daughter, Danielle. She didn’t start talking with baby talk, so when she spoke in complete sentences adults were confused. She was a perky and friendly little person who charmed adults who met her. Bella shares those characteristics. One never knows what Bella will repeat that she has heard. One favorite expression is “I’m no hongry I could eat the south end of a north bound mule. she learned this from her grandpa.

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