Monday, July 29, 2013

My friend Marci's new book!!!

Marci Jefferson’s first novel is about Frances Stuart, who rejected three kings and graced England’s coins for generations as the model for Britannia. The book will release February 11, 2014 from Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Press. But pre-order this week and comment on Marci’s blog [create hyperlink included below this paragraph] for a chance to win a pair of sterling-silver pearl-drop earrings like the ones Frances wears on this elegant cover (be prepared to present your receipt).
Impoverished and exiled to the French countryside after the overthrow of the English Crown, Frances Stuart survives merely by her blood-relation to the Stuart Royals. But in 1660, the Restoration of Stuart Monarchy in England returns her family to favor. Frances discards threadbare gowns and springs to gilded Fontainebleau Palace, where she soon catches King Louis XIV’s eye. But Frances is no ordinary court beauty, she has Stuart secrets to keep and people to protect. The king turns vengeful when she rejects his offer to become his Official Mistress. He banishes her to England with orders to seduce King Charles II and stop a war.
Armed in pearls and silk, Frances maneuvers through the political turbulence of Whitehall Palace, but still can’t afford to stir a scandal. Her tactic to inspire King Charles to greatness captivates him. He believes her love can make him an honest man and even chooses Frances to pose as Britannia for England’s coins. Frances survives the Great Fire, the Great Plague, and the debauchery of the Restoration Court, yet loses her heart to the very king she must control. Until she is forced to choose between love or war.

On the eve of England’s Glorious Revolution, James II forces Frances to decide whether to remain loyal to her Stuart heritage or, like England, make her stand for Liberty. Her portrait as Britannia is minted on every copper coin. There she remains for generations, an enduring symbol of Britain’s independent spirit and her own struggle for freedom.

"In her wonderfully evocative debut, Girl on the Golden Coin, Marci Jefferson recreates the fascinating story of Frances Stuart, whose influence over England's Charles II became the talk of a nation. As vibrant and delightful as the woman it's based on, Girl on the Golden Coin is a jewel of a novel!"
—Michelle Moran, New York Times bestselling author of The Second Empress and Madame Tussaud

"Beauty is not always a blessing, as young Frances Stuart finds out when her lovely face pits her between the desires and politics of rival kings Louis XIV and Charles II. Frances makes an appealing heroine, by turns wary and passionate, sophisticated and innocent, as she matures from destitute young pawn to the majestic duchess whose figure would grace Britain's coins for centuries. Her struggles to support her loved ones, uncover her family secrets, and somehow find a life of her own amid the snake-pit courts of the Sun King and the Merry Monarch make for lively, entertaining reading in this lush Restoration novel by debut author Marci Jefferson."
—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of Mistress of Rome

"Girl on the Golden Coin is a fantastic novel. I couldn’t put it down. The plot is fast-paced and compelling, with intriguing characters, lush settings and captivating narrative voice. Jefferson’s debut paints an intriguing portrait of Frances Stuart, a novel worthy of the determined, golden spirit of the woman whose face became the model for Britannia herself."
—Susan Spann, author of Claws of the Cat

“Girl on the Golden Coin is a sexy, exciting tale featuring vivid characters, rich historical detail, scintillating court intrigue, and a complexly rendered heroine in Frances Stuart, Maid of Honor to the Queen of England, who will capture the reader’s heart -- as will the man she loves, that rascal King Charles II.”
-- Sherry Jones, author, FOUR SISTERS, ALL QUEENS

Barnes & Noble    

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I was thinking today about my life...always a dangerous topic for a 40-something write-at-home mother in the throws of summer vacation, and I realized that the only thing that makes this a life I love and not the nightmare my younger self was so afraid of, is the perspective.

I told my friends that if I ever lived in the suburbs and drove a mini-van, to just shoot me. Put my out of my misery because I'd be so far gone, I'd not even be me anymore.

Huh. I hope none of you remember that, because most days find me driving my children, in my minivan, through our suburban sprawl to our club for swim practice, dive lessons, tennis and golf.

REALLY?  Really.

So I wonder from time to time, what ever became of that idealist--that free thinker, who vowed never to live outside the city limits and certainly would never have joined a...dare I say it? Country Club.

Well, she lived her life, found a family, became a mother and lost her mind.  Maybe not in that order, but you get my drift.

Twenty years later I realize I was not afraid of houses with 1/2 baths on the main floor as much as I was of losing who I was. Bike trails and common areas are NOT a threat to the person I am inside.

Motherhood, on the other hand, threatens my idealistic, younger self on a daily basis. Protecting and cherishing the children I hold near and dear, holds my brain hostage along with my wallet.  I sigh with relief in the rare moments they are both occupied with activities and I have the house to myself, then pace the empty space, not sure who I am or what to do without them underfoot.

Most of the time I think if I could have looked into the future, the younger me would have been disappointed in my homogenized suburban, mocha-chino life. But then, I remember something
Sam Keen once said, "Love isn't finding a perfect person, it's seeing an imperfect person perfectly."

And maybe such is life. So what if I don't have the perfect, politically relevant existence I always thought I'd live? I'm not even close. But as I take stock of all its imperfections,  and the path I took to get here, I see it perfectly. And maybe, that makes all the difference.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blogging isn't Sissies!

My name is Big Mama and I'm a terrible blogger.

Admitting a problems is the first step in fixing it, right?

While it doesn't seem so, I dearly love my little corner of the internet. I've thought about unpublishing BMLMs as to me it's sad to see all of the abandoned blogs all over the internet, once so full of promise, now just set out to the curb like last weeks newspapers.

But I love to read my old blog entries and remember the great times with the Little Mouths. I use my blog as my own personal online recipe book, love to think about blog posts I want to writer, love the the kick my other writing gets when I'm blogging regularly...but I seem to stink at ACTUALLY writing blog posts.  But I don't want to pull the plug, because were still here, the Little Mouths and I. And I think I still have something to say.

So this year for my 4th of July resolution (hey, maybe it will work out better than my New Years resolutions) I, Big Mama, do solemnly swear to blog at LEAST once a week until the end of the year.

There. I've put it in writing...smack me if I don't actually DO it.


Big Mama

Friday, December 14, 2012

Chains of Love ~ 12 Days Until Christmas

Todays Chain of Love was inspired by this article about SENIOR'S SANTA in our local paper and a neighbor who helps out with it.

Check out the article here!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chains of Love ~ 13 Days Until Christmas

Yesterday was an extremely busy day for both Big Mama and the Little Mouths. Big Mama had to make a holiday lunch for 60 staff at school, the girly Little Mouth had a Christmas Choir tour around the city and the dude Little Mouth had Cub Scouts.

Luckily, Santa Claus was looking out for us, because today's Chain of Love was something we could do BEFORE school.  YAY!

Mr. Quick is one of our school Custodian who also serves as the crossing guard in front of the school on during the busy drop off time each morning. We printed out our trusty card on the fly and ran through the drive-thru at Starbucks. Here's a copy of the flyer. You can just click on it and print it out if you'd like.

Thank you flyer!


This Little Mouths jumped out of the car and ran up to Mr. Quick. But since Mr. Quick's job is to stop traffic, he did his job and the Little Mouths didn't know what to do.  Big Mama helped them out and explained the situation and Mr. Quick came back to fetch his treat.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chains of Love ~ 14 Days Until Christmas

Today's mission was one close to both Big Mama and the Little Mouths hearts. Santa included with ths chain, a list of our local ASPCA's needs. These things WERE quite extravagant...toilet paper, paper towels, batteries and cleaning supplies. They were also hoping for a bulletin board and some non-clumping kitty little for Christmas.
The Little Mouths took off with their list and scoured the house for what they could find to take. They did pretty well, and loaded the back of the car for the trip into the city.

After a stop at the dollar store for a boat load of kitty litter, we arrived at our destination and began to unload. 

The folks at the ASPCA were estatic and the Little Mouths remembered that it's not only people we need to remember with kindness this year!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chains of Love ~ 15 Days Until Christmas

The first link on our chain of love? Take a donation and treat to a bell ringer.
This was the perfect activity for day one. Both because it was one of the first bitterly cold nights we've had and because the Little Mouths had a school sponsored roller skating party and we were a little pressed for time.  That Santa!  He sure is a master scheduler!
While I made dinner, I printed out these flyers in black and white set the Little Mouths loose to personalize them.


Next we stopped off at McDonalds and grabbed three of these...

Then went off to find some bell ringers. We went first to the Kroger Marketplace and hit pay dirt. Two doors, two bell ringers! This would seem like it would be enough, but we had an extra Little Mouth last night and we couldn't leave her out of the fun!

At first they were tentative. They went together in a pack of Little Mouths. One had the flyer, one had the Hot Chocolate and one took the coins for the donation. They approached the bell ringer and gave them their goodies and ran back to the car, a look of shock on their faces like they were being chased by the Grinch who stole Christmas! They were afraid to do it, but more afraid to NOT do it and risk their names being scribed on the naught list for ever more.

They yelled Merry Christmas over their shoulders and ran back to the Big Mama's mini-van faster than if they were being pulled by eight flying reindeer.


At the next door, after they caught their breath, they once again piled out, calmer now and made their way to the bell ringer. They handed him their flyer and his cocoa. He was already sipping a beverage and instead of immediately accepting, he gestured towards his counterpart down the way and asked them to take the treat to him. The kids responded they'd taken one to him already. By that time, this nice man had read the flyer and a rewarded the Little Mouths with a huge grin and a booming Merry Christmas!

The ran back to the van and pile in, still breathless, but instead of fear in their eyes, excitement started to bloom.

We still had one flyer and one cup of cocoa left. We headed out in search of another bell ringer. Time was getting short and the skating party was starting soon. We drove to Walgreens. No bell ringer. Fresh Market. Office Depot. CVS. All of the Salvation Army stands were empty! Apparently, not enough person power to ring bells on a cold Monday night.

We finally found this gentleman at a Walgreens down he road from our house...

He was hunched over in the cold, his hooded sweatshirt tied tightly round his face with only a tiny hole for his eyes, nose and mouth to peek through. He was hopping from foot to foot and blowing on his cold hands when the Little Mouths dashed from the van. They handed out their loot and before they could even turn to run back o the van, he was sipping his treat and calling out his thanks!

This time when they ran back to the van their faces were alive! They were getting it! The REAL spirit of Christmas shone from their little dear faces and my loving, giving children once again replaced the terrors the frantic holiday season had morphed them into for the past few weeks.

They wanted to continue and find more bell ringers, but they were already late for their party and I wanted to make sure they were still excited for tomorrow's link in the chain, so we thanked the bell ringer for his service and drove to the roller rink.

One thing I did notice on our search for Bell Ringers, was the lack of bell ringers. As we drove past empty stand, after empty stand I made a mental note to come home and do some research.

I did, found out that some bell ringers are paid and some are volunteers. Here is a link to our the Salvation Army website where you can find out if there are opportunities to serve in your local area. I know we will be taking a turn at his next year!

 National Salvation Army Volunteer Website

Use the zip code box at the upper right hand corner to find your local chapter. You never know, maybe some Little Mouths will bring you a cocoa and cup full of holiday cheer!

Anyone been a recipient of a RAK (Random Act of Kindness) lately?  Tell us about it!
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