Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A little Jamberry fun...

I could never be accused of being girly, despite having gone to modeling school. The only things I learned that I kept are my plucked eyebrows, standing with my head up and my shoulders back, and being 15 minutes early.

All the other chaos in my life meant lots of things were allowed to be tossed to the wayside in favor of simply making it through the day.

I can continue to simply endeavor to survive. Albert Einstein said (paraphrased): The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different result.

Change requires change.

I decided I could start with something small. I've tried painting my nails. I could peal them off within hours of painting, and at least one ended up messed up. No matter what.

A friend is a Jamberry consultant. Why not? The first picture is my first sample of Jamberry nail wraps. They lasted almost two weeks! So I bought more. The second picture is my second attempt. It was easier. Funnily enough, it's easier for me to put on the right than the left. Odd considering the fact I'm right-handed.

Sometimes you need to have a little fun.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Friday is over...

The world is dark and hopeless.

Sunday is coming.

Happy Easter.

Grace wins.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Immortality by Janet Nelson-Alvarez

Evening at the end of The Shire by John Cockshaw ©

Upon a morning of fog, I set out,
the very air quieted beneath grey’d wraith-weight,
Sun rising through opal-orange mist.
Diademed fog-tears necklace the grasses,
lie heavy upon my hair and cloak.
Below the narrow ribbon of my path
(chocolate-thick with damp),
the Sea waits.
Even from this road-perch,
I see the discontent of her,
all but hear waves
rousing the sand
in green-glass fury.
It is not my lot
to walk beside her today.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Far into gathered wool-clouds,
my path,
mountain-rock's solid grey
like an Oliphaunt beside me,
(song yet hushed with dawn-chill)
calling from hunter's-green brake.
There is a great gathering of trees here.
I feel their greeting,
these ancient ones,
almost imagine
Fimbrethil and her lost sisters
enfold me in an enchanted ring.
I may not linger with them today.
I may not give ear to treeish tales.
Upwards still the road curves,
elanor within its fragrant ditch,
bold Sun drinking the dew of lac'd
spider's webs.
Almost to the very steeple
of the mountain I climb. 
Within a glade of odd-pocketed-dark,
I find my journey's end:
the glad spice of it floating
like a banner upon the close air.....
Oiolairë in the language of this land.
The Green Bough of Return.
In storied legend,
signet of reunion
beyond all Seas.*
My little knife serves to cut a single branch,
my feet find (with gathering haste)
the downward road.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
In the safe haven of Avallónë,
the incoming tide at last rolls calm.
Within its arms,
a white-prowed ship.
A shortened figure there is upon the deck,
a figure wonderful with age,
yet-strong hands tight
upon the rail.
And I hurry towards this meeting,
this tapestried reunion of Hope,
this simple hobbit’s
Bough of Return,
at last full-filled.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It is all  of forever,
this moment,
all of Home.
It is all of heart-wealth
and needful healing.
It is all that we,
with the Gift of Men
might know of Un-Dying.
It is all of Endlessness and Ending
held, at the last,
within time’s kindly twine.
*A/N: entry from The Thain’s book on oiolaire:  “The Elves put boughs from the oiolaire on the prows of their ships as a token of their friendship with Osse and Uinen, the Maiar of the Seas. The Numenoreans had a similar practice. When a Numenorean ship set sail for Middle-earth, a branch of the oiolaire called the Green Bough of Return was placed on the prow by a woman - usually the wife or a kinswoman of the Captain. The Bough did not wither as long as it was sprayed with seawater.”

© March 2016 Janet Nelson-Alvarez

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Death by Janet Nelson-Alvarez

Menace at the gate by John Cockshaw ©


A sounding-word.
A word which plain speaks of what it is.


Master Merry
pledged his sword to Theoden-King.

Master Took,
to the mad Steward of Gondor.

Blood flowed thereafter,
and a night was made but more terrible
by fire.

That was but the almost-ending.


Death there was
from the start,

the ice of its breath
in the fog-shrouds of  Crickhollow.....

in barrows of forgotten kings...
and the pocket-dark of Bree.

Death and worse-than
upon once-fair Weathertop.

Death within the ruined halls of Moria.

Black-feathered death beside the noble river
of storied Kings.

A......plentiment of Death there was:
a reaping of trolls and men,

orcs and elves,
                   dwarves and hobbits.

Torn bodies lie,

before cloven gates,

severed limbs a-rot in marshes.

The Great River's fish
feed upon gape-mouth'd corpses .......


Death there was
of yet another sort.

Ever it was beside me upon the Road.

I saw it in scars,
wound like map-lines
upon the back of a once-hobbit,

tasted it in the slime of foul water,

smelled it in the noisome air.....

knew it in the quieting of my Master's heart.

At the last,
but one hobbit surrendered his life
on that day of fire.

Yet death took note:
there was yet one as needed.....

No tender gardener, death,
but rather that which plucks blossom
                   and root
and stalk withal
                   before it is time.


He is gone now, my Master.

Gone long ago
across the great and Sundering Sea.

Death has taken his cousins.

And my Rosie.


A ship stays in grey-clouded harbour,
far horizon burnt with the sunset.

Elanor bids me farewell.

At last
I may follow this promised

To whatever end.

To whatever.....

© March 2016 Janet Nelson-Alvarez

Destruction of Mount Doom by John Cockshaw ©

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tolkien Reading Day...

In a hole in the ground by John Cockshaw ©

Tolkien Reading Day is observed on the same day each year: March 25, the day which saw the
destruction of the Ring. Since the inception of Reading Day in 2003, the Tolkien Society has
put forth a new theme for each successive year. For 2016, the theme is "life, death and

The choice of such a theme may or may not be coincidental to March 25, 2016 being Good
Friday, certainly a day closely associated with....life....death.....immortality.

In observance of the day, with all its multiplicity of nuanced meanings, I hope you will enjoy an
offering of a trine of poems, which, because of length, will be posted over the next three days.
Suite: Road


I am Master Under-the-Hill.



Child of the Kindly West.

merely a heart too long


1389, S.R.

My quill scratches
bold and round
upon the parchment's face:


Like unto my youth,
a year of Great Adventure.

A year of Treasure-finding.

A year of Home-coming.


In the quiet heat of half-past summer,
I depart,

Halimath moon, large in the sky,
stars and the unseen ribbons
of little rivers marking my course.

Nigh a week upon the Road ~
Sun fierce and unforgiving in Her

black-winged birds silent in cloudless blue,
the companionable river winking its brass-gold
eye amongst heat-bent rushes.


Ah, the day of the Sea.

How seeming-right for journey's-end.


A hundred yellow-fat candles dance in the windows before me.

A hundred arms offer a harvest-hardened embrace.


one not-yet-grown lad,
face serious against the tumult-tide of talk,
eyes mysterious as the unquiet Sea itself.

Here is my portion of treasure,
all elbows and temper,

all books and stars and map-roads of no ending.

All.....my blood,
though it took me these long years to know it.

In the almost-noon next day, we set out.

Not for this lad (not yet!)

the almost-endlessness of the Road
betwixt home and


A Prince of Elvish blood never sat a horse so prettily.

Still, there are two days gone before the winking green of The Water
bathes our feet....

two days of silence beneath the Sun,
two days of words split like spun-smoke silver beneath the netted stars.

And then we are Home, indeed,
the brass-bind of the door opening and closing,

the sweet-earth tinge of the roof-tree scenting the air of the smial.

Soon, we shall celebrate our birthday together,
soon, tramp each goodly Road there might be,
speaking of everything.......

speaking of nothing,
the Sun and Moon and Stars

witness to our Walking Song.

My Lad.


© March 2016 Janet Nelson-Alvarez

Summer reverie in the Shire by John Cockshaw ©


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Sharing Links

Donna Hatch shared mourning customs in Regency England:

Rebeca Seitz shares "Why A Kiss Is Enough":

Beth Trissel celebrates St. Patrick's Day with one of my favorite Irish Blessings at the end:

God bless.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day...

With a Holiday, USA novella, from 2014:

Tough Luck

The fourth novella in the series is finally here...

Welcome back to Holiday, USA, small town America, where nothing happens, except holidays... and maybe a little romance, if the hero and heroine trust God.

Holiday's playboy, Brent Kelly, returns home a changed man, if only everyone would believe him. The First Annual Tough Luck Run offers him the opportunity to prove he turned over a new leaf.

Cindy Garvey has worked hard her whole life, and now she is preparing to move from employee to business owner with her best friend. The last thing she needs is one more surprise in her life.

God provides the way to Happily Ever After, no matter how far astray His children wander...

If you prefer paperback, you'll find it in Holiday, USA Anthology 2014.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Posts About Me 7

This is the seventh in a series of posts about me. I hope these help you decide my books are worth the read. I also hope they help save time for those who have no interest in my books. I know there's nothing more disappointing than expecting one kind of book and discovering what I'm reading isn't something I'm interested in reading. Not all books in a single genre are the same. Authors in the same genre are as different as football players on the same team and cupcake bakers. A lot of similarities but no two are alike.

The Silver Locket Sisterhood series. I saved this series of stories for last, except for the Holiday series. TSLS is the most difficult to talk about, for me. It's the most personal of all the series. I took major turning points in my life and wrote stories with the truths I know now but didn't know then.
The inspiration for the Silver Lockets came from the story, The Refiner's Fire, shared through emails and on FB. One of my dear friends was a part of the women's Bible study group and shared the story with me. I chose the symbolism of the silver heart locket and the photos inside. Carol Fiorillo chose beautiful lockets for each cover. I held off on my descriptions for the lockets until I saw the cover mock-up. I did have specific ideas for some of them, but mostly Carol chose what she thought fit from the information given to her on the Cover Art sheet.

Some of the events in each of the stories are true.

In Luck In Love, I worked in Yellowstone, at Lake Hotel, in 1983. I was on the second floor, the women's floor, of the Sandpiper dorm. Sara, the heroine was chased by a moose. Yes, that happened to me. No, there was no Luck for me. He was a "What if?" I had so much to learn. I didn't know anything about PTSD yet. I gave Sara and Luck the benefit of my growth and changes. I endeavored to be careful to not use anything not common knowledge in 1983.

In Mark's Grace, I brought to life a dream I'd had years ago. I dreamed the man who wanted to impress me decorated my home for Christmas. I didn't know how to accept the gift. It terrified me at first, and then charmed me. I couldn't imagine any man doing something like that for me. Writing it into the story allowed me to live the dream. The house where Mark and Grace live actually exists in Signal Hill. If I were independently wealthy, I'd live there. The dog story is mine. Mark was inspired by cover model Jimmy Thomas. The first time I met him I asked for a hug. He gives the best hugs. I don't know how he did it, but he managed to wrap his arms around me without making me feel trapped or even uncomfortable. The moment he hugged me, I knew I'd found what I wanted for Grace. By the way, Grace wasn't supposed to have her own story and then her story wasn't supposed to happen for a few more years. Characters have their own ideas. I endeavor to stay out of the way.

In Saving Lisa, I lived in Thailand, in '84 and '85. I was present at the Fourth of July celebration at the embassy in Bangkok. I expected Lisa, but I didn't expect Eric. He surprised me, pleasantly. I'm not a photographer, but my sister is, so I picked her brain frequently. I knew of the slave trade while I was there, but only peripherally. I learned more later, after I returned home. Heartbreaking. I did land myself in a precarious position on one occasion, and to this day think that but for the Grace of God... All the royalties go to Operation Underground Railroad.

In Finding Home, I flew to England for the summer of '86. The moment I landed in London, I felt like I'd come home. The joy of writing the book was re-visiting a beloved place, and more especially the people. I learned a lot about being gracious and appreciative. I had a lot to learn. I was treated with kindness by everyone. Becki worked for the airlines, and so did I. Ian lives in the flat I would have loved to have owned. It was down the road from where I stayed. I miss the people who treated me like their American princess and claimed me as their own. I did not properly appreciate it then; I didn't think I deserved it.

In Wings to Fly, Samantha and Jordan wrapped up my whirlwind life of travel. The dog and the horse were mine. Samantha gave me an opportunity to pull together so many of the things I learned through my counselors. A fun side note is that Samantha and Jordan's favorite place to eat is P.croissant, which is my favorite eatery. P.croissant kindly gave me permission to use them in my story. They've been open since 1983. What a perfect coincidence.

In many ways, The Silver Locket Sisterhood was cathartic. I was able to release a lot of painful memories as well as clarify my faith. I can't remember ever doubting Jesus as my Savior. However, learning to trust Him has been a lifelong battle. I have to remind myself that the real lack of faith has been in myself. I was able to build my faith along with my characters. My hope in writing the series and seeking publication is others will learn they aren't alone.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pie Day

Are you ready for Pi Day on Monday?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Posts About Me 6

This is the sixth in a series of posts about me. I hope these help you decide my books are worth the read. I also hope they help save time for those who have no interest in my books. I know there's nothing more disappointing than expecting one kind of book and discovering what I'm reading isn't something I'm interested in reading. Not all books in a single genre are the same. Authors in the same genre are as different as football players on the same team and cupcake bakers. A lot of similarities but no two are alike.

Endless Knights series was originally supposed to be part of the Endless Possibilities series. I didn't take into account the value of book covers. I appreciate it far more now. I knew what I wanted for the covers, and it wasn't a continuation of the beautiful Endless Possibilities series.
Donna Drivers Keever created this picture of the tag line for Endless Knights for me.

Truth be told, I never planned to write the Endless Knights series. However, gentlemen made small appearances in the Endless Possibilities series, and I liked them. I wanted to know why they were they way they were. I wanted to know what happened to them. I wanted them to have their own Happily Ever Afters.

I fell in love with Jack long before I had any idea about his story. I toyed with a number of ideas, including time travel. Jack would go from the future, when they finally had transporters, to the past. I spent a little time considering the possibilities but finally decided to keep him firmly in the Regency time period. I knew he was clever and elusive and incredibly bright. I enjoyed including weird facts like the Clydesdale horses, which were bred not far from Castle Sugan's location. Jack filled the role of a Tarnished Knight exactly as needed.
Richard, my Reluctant Knight, was only ever supposed to have a minor role. In fact, he wasn't supposed to be there at all, but James Thorn needed a roommate. I couldn't have him chasing after Lily and leaving Molly all alone, attended. Richard stepped in and, to my surprise, claimed Molly. My description of Gretna Green comes from material I read and my own visit, in 1986. My writing method began to changing during the writing of this book, for the better, I hope.
Another beautiful creation from Donna Keevers Driver, sharing a bit of conversation between Cassandra, the heroine, and Mrs. Davies.
Errant Knight is the next book in the series, scheduled for release, this June. It's currently in edits. Fitzgerald twisted into a different character from the Endless Possibilities series to the Endless Knights series. Life-changing events will do that. I've seen the mock up of the cover, and it fits with the series, of course, thanks to the talented Carol Fiorillo. I'll have another post on my cover artists.

Knight in Disguise comes out in 2017. I'll keep you in suspense for now.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Look what's available on Amazon...

Re-discover Holiday, where love is in the air and God is in the mix, in the 2015 collection of the Holiday, USA ebooks, for the romantic heart

In "Faith's Labor," organic herb farmer Faith Walker regrets many things in her life. Horse trainer Dusty Harper crushed on Faith all his life. God provides unexpected answers to those who seek His will..

In "Just Friends," after Mindy Harper's life crashes, she cuts off her friends. Cowboy left most of his past behind, with no regrets. God opens closed doors to those who knock, if it's His will..

In "Secondhand Samhain," Jan Connor, the new manager of the secondhand shop Vintage Holiday, loves her job, her town, and her life. Trent McDonald, computer guru extraordinaire, is looking for a place to call home. Between one breath and the next, God changes everything..

In "Christmas Present," Terra Connor doesn't have time for romance. Carson McDonald has enough on his plate for the foreseeable future. God's ways are not man's ways..

Enjoy four complete novellas all in one book.


If you'd like the first:

Discover Holiday, where love is in the air and God is in the mix, in the 2014 collection of the Holiday, USA ebooks, for the romantic heart

Happy New Year

Officer Tim Black moved to Holiday for a change of scene. Sandy Foster moved to escape her dysfunctional family. The willingness to set pride aside makes the difference between spending the New Year alone and Happily Ever After..

Chocolate Cake for Two

Henry Weaver needs a fresh start. Holiday Sweets, a specialty cupcake shop, is Annie Sweet's heritage. Choosing God is rarely the easy way, and sometimes the way to Happily Ever After appears impossible..

Valentine Deliver

Lance Nelson delivers flowers every Valentine's Day. Sharon Kelly stops waiting for someone to send her what she wants. God works in mysterious ways to provide the way to Happily Ever After, even when His children stand in their own way..

Tough Luck

Holiday's playboy, Brent Kelly, returns home a changed man. The last thing Cindy Garvey needs is one more surprise in her life. God provides the way to Happily Ever After, no matter how far astray His children wander..

Enjoy four complete novellas all in one book.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Sharing Links

Writers In The Storm shared fight styles:

Patricia Johns shares The Next Right Step:

Donna Hatch shares the history of London Bridge:

Author Donna Keevers Driver is starting a new blog "Morning Tea." Lovely little bits and bobs:

God bless.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Posts About Me 5

This is the fifth in a series of posts about me. I hope these help you decide my books are worth the read. I also hope they help save time for those who have no interest in my books. I know there's nothing more disappointing than expecting one kind of book and discovering what I'm reading isn't something I'm interested in reading. Not all books in a single genre are the same. Authors in the same genre are as different as football players on the same team and cupcake bakers. A lot of similarities but no two are alike.

Endless Possibilities series had an interesting start.

I used to write Lord of the Rings Fan Fiction (taking the original story and giving it your own twist). Someone who followed my story emailed and suggested I write a historical romance. I didn't think I could. Creating a whole world of my own intimidated me. I wrote back and told her I simply didn't have the gift for it. About fifteen minutes later, I wrote again and told her I'd give it a whirl. The worst I could do was fail. I'd done a lot of failing in my life; what was one more thing?

My early romance reading was Regency by Elizabeth Mansfield, clean, sweet. I own them all.

I didn't intend to start out writing Christian. As I wrote, it slipped in. I finally stopped fighting it.

A Promise of Possibilities was under a different title and rejected. I learned some things, like no head hopping. To make it work, I rewrote the book. By the time I finished, about half the book was new.

I hadn't planned to write a series. I liked Ellie's brother. One thing lead to another.

Hidden Possibilities told her middle brother's story. I wanted to explore amnesia. I was going through a time in my life when I wished I could forget the past and start over new. Amnesia opened the door. As I studied, I realized forgetting everything doesn't solve anything. In fact, it created more problems than it solved.

Unexpected Possibilities told Ellie's oldest brother's story. He would be the most likely to follow in their father's footsteps. What would happen if the right woman didn't appeal and the completely wrong woman captivated the hero instead?

As I contemplated the youngest brother's story, he wasn't supposed to have his own story. His romance would be interwoven with one of the others. Best laid plans. I was sidetracked by the youngest brother's best friend. The problem was he died, before the series even started. Desert Breeze Publishing offered the perfect solution: A free short story. I still had to figure out how to tell George's story. He dies. Leo solved the problem, but then I had to figure out how he ties into the youngest brother's story. I thought the title rather apt: Impossibilities.

The last story in the Thorn saga is Grace's Possibilities. The youngest brother did not start out the way he ended up being written. As I became acquainted with him, I didn't like him. How do you take an unlikable hero and make him likable? He has to change. It doesn't matter he has his reasons for being the way he is. He needs to change. As much as I wanted the heroine to be the change, I knew he needed a God change.

There are scenes I still remember vividly from each of the books.