Ski Trip or Comedy of Errors?

Ski Trip or Comedy of Errors?

I’d wanted to go skiing ever since I saw “I Love Lucy” at a ski resort. I finally had  a chance to visit one after Rick and I had been married for several years. It was a five-hour drive from our home in South Carolina to Beech Mountain, North Carolina, and we could tell we were in unfamiliar territory when the terrain became hilly and patches of snow covered cow pastures.

When we finally reached our destination, car sick and exhausted, we discovered that our hotel was set in the curve of the main road up the mountain, which meant traffic passed the lodge on both sides, practically encompassing it. We tried not to focus on this as we settled into our room, which included a sitting area and kitchenette. The fireplace contained a treated log, and heat strips ran around the entire suite. Another perk of the establishment was free hot chocolate.

Needless to say, our first evening was cozy, sitting before the fire and tasting the best hot chocolate of our lives.  The electric heat was tremendous. I’m cold-natured, but even I thought it was too warm, so we turned it down. The buildings in the area were well-heated in general, which surprised me. I guess there’s a focus on being warm after a long day on the slopes.

The next day, we started preparations for our first ski adventure, not knowing it would take hours.  Snow fell at an alarming rate, and we heard chains were required for anyone driving up Beech Mountain. We stopped at a ski shop to buy some, and they offered to put them on our tires. Thinking we could get our ski gear while we waited, we agreed, not realizing how long it would take, or that the woman at the shop couldn’t help us with our skis and other paraphernalia. By the time we purchased goggles and rented skis and all the clothing deemed necessary for our lesson, we’d spent a small fortune.  (We had coupons we could have used at a nicer shop farther up the mountain, but we needed chains to get there.)

Armed with everything a skier could possibly need, we started up Beech Mountain. The road hadn’t been cleared, so we slipped and slid, hoping we wouldn’t plunge to the bottom as we rounded unprotected curves.  When we finally made it to the corral, joining our instructors and other would-be skiers, I was amazed at how comfortable I felt, despite the twelve degree reading on a thermometer.  (Those ski clothes really work!)

In a group of adults, I listened attentively to advice concerning turning around, slowing down, and stopping.  Since snow still fell incessantly, I wore goggles, which seemed to throw off my balance. That, combined with brand new, slippery skis, caused me to slide to the ground without warning.  At least it was a comfortable fall, since there was about  a foot of snow on the ground.

Next we were told to follow our leaders down and up a small incline to mechanical arms which flew by, conveyor-belt style, waiting for each of us to grab one and be pulled up the hill.  I was doing okay, but the lady in front of me was barely moving. I didn’t want to seem rude by passing, so I was forced to slow down, which made it difficult for me to get up the hill. By the time I reached the arms, I felt rushed, so I grabbed one before I was ready. (I should have paid attention to my instincts.) The thing flung me part of the way down the hill, wrenching my knee in the process. One of the instructors, let’s call him Mike, walked with me to the top, and I prepared for the descent.

When my turn arrived, I took off, zooming down the hill like a pro. Maybe I should’ve been in a race, because I found it impossible to slow down as I approached an orange barrier. Plowing didn’t help. Nothing helped. Delving into the far reaches of my mind, I remembered the way Olympic skiers stop, so I tried their method, turning my skis to the side, hoping for an easy, complete stop. It worked, and Mike call out, “Good!”

I felt pleased with myself until I fell directly into a snowy drift. I tried to release my skis, but sprained my left thumb instead.  Mike came to my rescue, and he  had trouble with the lever too.  Then he commented on how slick my skis were. These revelations made me feel better about having so many problems, but it’s frustrating that I didn’t have the equipment I needed in order to ski properly. I informed Mike that I’d had enough. With two injuries and a stinging sensation starting in my thumbs because of the frigid air, I just wanted to get warm and dry. I received my wish after Rick took his plunge down the hill, stopping the same way I did.

Arctic air continued to move into the area, and by the time we went to bed that night, the wind chill was well below zero.  The log we burned the night before hadn’t been replaced, and our free hot chocolate seemed lower in the cups the longer we stayed at the resort. We made the mistake of not turning the heat back up, and it really made a difference. About midnight, with windows to the parking lot just above my head, I was freezing in bed. I heard cars pulling in, then the screams of young girls  as they hurried to the building with sub-zero wind whipping around them.

All in all, it was an interesting trip to what seemed like another planet at times, or at least the top of the world. We had grown so accustomed to the snow, it seemed odd when we drove toward home and it disappeared. We hope to try another resort someday and use those goggles we bought.

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Grove Park Inn: A Great Place, Summer or Winter

Grove Park Inn

My husband and I discovered Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina many years ago.  Built entirely of stone, it was once a playground for presidents and celebrities. (Their portraits are displayed in the hotel’s hallways.)

Although we first visited the famed inn when a relative recommended it for their after Christmas buffet, we discovered there was so much more. From the lobby with its polished stone floors and enormous, six-foot high fireplaces, to endless hallways and hidden  sitting areas, we were blown away. It’s easy to get lost, even on the first floor, but it’s a great place in which to disappear. It’s also a good way to find gems such as a small waterfall isolated in a quiet spot.

christmas-grove-park-inn-001.jpg

After our initial trip there, we returned several times. One year we opted for an historic room. Instead of using the regular elevators, we were sent to a small one set into the stone wall and guarded by a steward. The old-timey compartment took us to the top floor, under the eaves. The whole room seemed to be carved from oak, and the thick furniture made me think a giant once lived there. We didn’t have the amount of space we were used to, but we did have a magnificent view of the mountains and part of Asheville through our tiny window. And, although it was interesting, we thought we’d rather stay   in one of their modern rooms during subsequent trips, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows and all    of the updated amenities.

Something unique about Grove Park Inn is the Gingerbread Contest. It wasn’t well-known as the time, but a few years later I spied it on television, and it had become a really important national competition. Perhaps that’s one reason so many people started showing up during the Christmas holidays–and now it’s      the place to be.

Grove Park Fireplace 001

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A COWBOY’S PRIDE

A Cowboy’s Pride

(Rocky Mountain Cowboys #4)

by Karen Rock

Contemporary Romance, Paperback & ebook, 384 pages

September 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Old wounds run deep

Only the truth can heal them…

Rancher Cole Loveland has no interest in dredging up the past, but his ex-fiancée, Katlynn Brennon, has other plans. To save her struggling TV show, she’s come back to Colorado to investigate the infamous Cade-Loveland feud. Trusting Katlynn again isn’t easy—she’s already chosen her career over Cole once. But he’s beginning to realize that true love, like legends, never dies.

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Review

Karen Rock’s excellent writing never disappoints, but A Cowboy’s Pride might be my favorite book in her Rocky Mountain Cowboys series. The previous three novels have centered on the Cade clan in Carbondale, Colorado, with an emphasis on their feud        with the Lovelands–a ranching family nearby–but this one shows the dispute from the Lovelands’ point of view. It’s an interesting change, causing the reader to wonder what really happened to Maggie, Everett, and Cora’s Tear–a missing jewel in the center of       the mystery.

The story begins with Katlynn Brennon on the set of her popular show, Scandalous History, wondering if the trappings of show business and fame are worth the hassle.       But when she learns that her career might be in danger, she comes up with a solution      that could help or hurt the ancient feud–and her relationship with former fiance, Cole Loveland–when she decides to take her Los Angeles film crew back to her hometown     of Carbondale.

The Lovelands are on the brink of losing their ranch, so when their father is offered a sizeable sum in exchange for their time, he has no choice but to comply, even though       he and Joy Cade are supposed to be married soon–a feat no one in the family would     have imagined a few years earlier. Filming Scandalous History could stir up trouble,          or it could help to solve the controversy that created the longest-running family feud         in America. A Cowboy’s Pride is filled with suspense and intrigue, as well as mystery,    and it’s easy to get swept up in the drama of the three love stories featured in Karen    Rock’s well-written novel.

Other Books in the Series

About the Author

 

Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet and spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of both YA and adult contemporary books writes sexy suspense novels and small-town romances for Harlequin and Kensington publishing. A strong believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers with a smile. When she’s not writing, Karen is an avid reader who also loves cooking her grandmother’s Italian recipes, baking and having the Adirondack Park wilderness as her backyard, where she lives with her husband, daughter, dog and cat   who keep her life interesting and complete. Learn more about her at http://www.karenrock.com or follow her on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/karenrock5.

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Memories at Lake Oconee

Vidraru Lake 2

My father never really cared for the beach, but he loved the mountains, so my earliest vacation memories involve traveling a short distance to spend a week at a small cabin       at Oconee State Park near Walhalla, South Carolina. Replete with hiking trails in the       Blue Ridge foothills, the park is located near the Foothills Trail on the Blue Ridge Escarpment which goes to Table Rock. The main attraction of the area is Lake Oconee, and my two brothers and I depended on our little inner tubes to keep us afloat when     our family of seven went swimming. 

I remember one summer in particular, when I was five. Our cabin was just up the hill from the lake, with lots of trees in between, and I woke up early one morning, soon realizing that my father was missing. I asked my mother where he was, and she told       me he’d gone fishing. I looked out the door as he climbed up the hill, carrying his pole and a few fish. Somehow it seemed heroic to me that he would go out to catch fish     while everyone else was asleep.

We went to a square dance at the recreation building on certain evenings, and I loved watching everyone pair up and swing about the room. I especially noticed my older sister with her partner, having a great time.  I was too young to participate, but one night my father let me stand on his feet and “dance” for a little while right next to the juke box.

We had some rain that week, so we had to find something to do inside. We played several card games, but the one that stands out in my mind is Old Maid. After we’d gone through a few rounds, I ended up with the Old Maid card. I might have been okay about it if my older brother hadn’t teased me mercilessly, saying that I was the Old Maid. (I don’t think he said that about anyone else who got it.)

It really bothered me, and my five-year-old mind decided that if I could get rid of the offensive card, I wouldn’t be the Old Maid. My solution?  To toss the card out the door.     I did so, even as the rain continued to fall, and I kept quiet when people started asking where the card was later on.

I thought I’d gotten away with it until we started to leave at the end of the week. My older sister laughed for years about how we went outside and found the Old Maid drifting in a puddle next to the cabin!

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LOST IN THE EVERGLADES

Suffering an airboat accident, Stanley and Maggie Cummings leave their mostly unconscious tour guide at an abandoned cabin and wander around Everglades National Park, seeking help. Constantly amazed by the one and a half million acres, complete with dangerous wildlife, they face the greatest challenges of their lives, including one they never expected.

Lost in the Everglades by [Rogers, Dale S.]

Buy link: myBook.to/DaleSRogers

Reviews: 
Kate James

5.0 out of 5 stars  A fast-paced, suspense-filled story!

Lost in the Everglades is a fast-paced, suspense-filled story, with genuine, likable characters, vivid settings and strong dialogue. Once you pick it up and start reading, you won’t want to put it down!

Karen Rock

I particularly loved Dale S. Rogers novella LOST IN THE EVERGLADES for it’s fast-paced suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat and the incredible descriptions of the Everglades that were so vivid and rich in authentic detail that I felt as though I was riding shotgun beside likeable characters Maggie and Stanley. I couldn’t put this down and can’t wait to read more from this very talented author. Five Stars!

SCTiger78

“Lost in the Everglades” draws readers in at a leisurely pace and sets an easily recognizable tone in the excitement at the prospect of leaving everyday stresses behind and traveling to an unfamiliar locale, just as the main characters do. Almost without notice tension sets in, quickly followed by fear and outright panic; it is impossible to stop reading until the fate of Stanley and Maggie Cummings is revealed. Clearly, the author has a working knowledge of the wildlife and ecosystems of the Everglades. She skillfully uses imagery and vivid descriptive details, but not at the expense of realism. No part of the story is so far-fetched that it could not happen in everyday life; perhaps that is what makes it frightening. Pleasantly surprising is that this forty-three-page short story is completely free of profanity and sexual innuendo, a rarity in today’s market. Although the characters in this story are adults, Rogers could make a few alterations and easily expand her fan base to include young adults; YA readers love the type of peril this story offers. Regardless of the audience, it is clear that Dale Rogers is a talented writer with much to contribute, especially for those who are looking for wholesome entertainment of substance and quality. I highly recommend “Lost in the Everglades” to any and all readers.

Grantland

Lost in the Everglades is a wonderful short story. It begins with a married couple, Maggie and Stanley, who take a vacation from their stress-filled life in Philadelphia. They are expecting a relaxing trip to south Florida, but a series of events pitch them into a difficult situation. Their circumstances seem to improve when they meet a man named Sam, but, as the plot continues, they meet with difficulty, then with a life-threatening conundrum. The author seems to have researched the area well. Her descriptions are thorough, and her plot development is masterful. I came to know and then embrace her principal characters. But I most appreciated a plot resolution which blended into positive life changes for the main characters. I highly recommend this short story for those who are looking for adventure in the context of what some would call a “clean read.” It is part of a larger Solstice collection (Let’s Have Fun), or may be purchased individually.

Amazon Customer

Ms. Rogers has a style of writing that puts the reader in the middle of the action. Easily read and savored in a single afternoon or a weekend, it is the story of Stanley and Maggie Cummings desire for a little change of scenery. Be careful what you wish for Maggie. When you are lost in the lost in the Everglades anything can happen. Spoiler alert, it does! There is lots of adventure and action as two suburbanites find themselves pitted against nature in a struggle for survival. There is so much to love about this story. It would make a great movie. I am sure that we will be hearing more from Dale Rogers       in the future.

Buy link: myBook.to/DaleSRogers

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Bad Boy Rancher

(Rocky Mountain Cowboys #3)

by Karen Rock

Contemporary Romance, Paperback & ebook, 368 pages

April 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming

He’s not the only one who needs saving…
But maybe they can save each other?

(Rocky Mountain Cowboys #3)
Dark, brooding, dangerous…and possibly suicidal. Renegade rancher Justin Cade was exactly the kind of man former army chaplain Brielle Thompson needed to avoid after escaping the horrors of Afghanistan with an honorable discharge—and PTSD. The whole point of moving to the remote Rocky Mountains of Colorado was to leave the darkness behind, not fall back into it. But falling she is…

 

My Review

When it comes to realistic behavior and human emotions, KarenRock doesn’t disappoint, and the third book in her Rocky Mountain Cowboys series, Bad Boy Rancher, is no exception. Even from the beginning of this story, which takes place in Carbondale, Colorado, the reader is aware of the angst Justin Cade is experiencing because of the death of his twin, Jesse, a few years earlier. He can’t get past the feeling that it was partly his fault, and it’s their birthday, which always seems to cause the negative feelings to resurface, although they never seem to be far from his mind. On this particular day, Justin feels the need to outrun his torment by zooming down the road on his Harley, but as he speeds into the black night, he meets his fate.

Brielle Thompson, having been honorably discharged from service as an army chaplain   in Afghanistan, is in Carbondale to start a rehabilitation center, but she’s not sure that the community will accept such a facility. The fact that she suffers from PTSD could make her more sympathetic to those struggling with addiction or other problems–if the center is allowed to remain–but she also needs to be on the road to recovery herself.

Justin must attend a hearing because he was driving his motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol, and when he’s forced to choose either a jail sentence or six weeks at the facility, he eventually opts for the latter, even though he refuses to believe that Brielle or anyone else can pull him out of his slump. Fireworks of different types take place more than once as the two work out their differences and their problems while trying to keep the center open.

The author delves deep into the human psyche in order to express the emotions Justin, Brielle, and others feel throughout this Rocky Mountain Cowboy journey, providing a compelling and informative read.

About the Author

 Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet and spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of both YA and adult contemporary books writes sexy suspense novels and small-town romances for Harlequin and Kensington publishing. A strong believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers with a smile. When she’s not writing, Karen is an avid reader who also loves cooking her grandmother’s Italian recipes, baking and having the Adirondack Park wilderness as her backyard, where she lives with her husband, daughter, dog and cat who keep her life interesting and complete. Learn more about her at http://www.karenrock.com or follow her on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/karenrock5.

Other Books in the Series

Christmas at Cade Ranch

(Rocky Mountain Cowboys #1)

by Karen Rock

Contemporary Romance

Paperback & ebook, 384 pages

November 7th 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

The Christmas they never had.

James Cade has one priority: keep the family ranch running smoothly in the wake of his younger brother’s death. With Jesse’s ex, Sofia Gallardo, and her young son, Javi, stranded at Cade Ranch over Christmas, this task just got a lot harder. The longer Sofia and Javi stay, the harder it is to imagine the ranch without them. James couldn’t save his brother from his inner demons, but he can give his nephew a secure future. Maybe more—if he can figure out how to trust Sofia, and stop feeling like he’s betraying Jesse. Because trying to stop thinking about beautiful, determined Sofia is impossible.

Falling for a Cowboy

(Rocky Mountain Cowboys #2)

by Karen Rock

Contemporary Romance

Paperback & ebook, 368 pages

January 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Doesn’t he get that she’s blind?

Barrel racer Amberley James wants to join the premier rodeo circuit more than anything, but she faces the ultimate hurdle when she loses her eyesight to a rare genetic condition. All she’d ever wanted seems out of reach. Giving up is the only option…until her best friend and local hero Jared Cade steps in. The last thing she wants is Jared’s help. But his persistence at encouraging her to get back in the saddle is ridiculously annoying. And undeniably inspiring…

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Tour Schedule

April 2nd:

Launch

Katie’s Clean Book Collection

The Power of Words

I Am A Reader

Reading Is My SuperPower

April 3rd:

Hearts & Scribbles

Spice of Life

Two Points of Interest

Deal Sharing Aunt

April 4th:

Faithfully Bookish

Rockin’ Book Reviews

Busy Bumble Bee Book Reviews

Remembrancy

April 5th:

Janice’s Book Reviews

E-Romance News

Harlie’s Books

Nicole’s Book Musings

April 6th:

Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!

Getting Your Read On

underneath the covers

Between the Pages with Katrina

April 7th: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive print copies of CHRISTMAS AT CADE RANCH and FALLING FOR A COWBOY by Karen Rock, WISHES AT FIRST LIGHT by Joanne Rock, A SKY FULL OF STARS by Samantha Chase, WHAT IT TAKES by Shanon Stacey, and FAMILY TREE by Susan Wiggs (US only)

1 winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card (open internationally)

– Ends April 11th

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Christmas at Cade Ranch

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

                                          Christmas at Cade Ranch

                                      (Rocky Mountain Cowboys #1)
                                                  by Karen Rock
Contemporary Romance

Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
November 7th 2017 by Harlequin

The Christmas they never had.

James Cade has one priority: keep the family ranch running smoothly in the wake of  his younger brother’s death. With Jesse’s ex, Sofia Gallardo, and her young son, Javi, stranded at Cade Ranch over Christmas, this task just got a lot harder. The longer Sofia and Javi stay, the harder it is to imagine the ranch without them. James couldn’t save his brother from his inner demons, but he can give his nephew a secure future. Maybe more—if he can figure out how to trust Sofia, and stop feeling like he’s betraying Jesse. Because trying to stop thinking about beautiful, determined Sofia is impossible.



About the Author

In a quest to provide her ELA students with quality reading material, educator Karen Rock read everything out there and couldn’t wait to add her voice to the genre. In addition to her work as a Young Adult romance novelist, she’s now an author for Harlequin’s Heartwarming line and thrilled to pen stories that moms can share with their teenage daughters. She’s loved Harlequin books since she spent summers going through her grandmother’s Presents books that she passed along in paper grocery bags each year. As half of the writing duo J.K. Rock, Karen also pens young adult romance. When she’s not busy writing, Karen enjoys scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking her grandmother’s family recipes, reinventing her gardens to suit her moods and occasionally rescuing local wildlife from neighborhood cats. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, her very appreciated beta-reader daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels, who have yet to understand the concept of “fetch” though they know a lot about love. For more information about Karen’s upcoming books, check out her website.

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 My Review

As a former drug addict and single mother, Sophia is at her wit’s end. Not only was Jesse, the father of her five-year-old son, killed in a drug-related incident two years earlier, but Sophia has been evicted from her apartment. Her only hope is that a move to Portland, Oregon will be a new beginning. But first, she needs to visit Carbondale, Colorado to fulfill the wishes of Jesse’s mother, Joy, who wants to meet her only grandson.

What she doesn’t count on, however, is losing her wallet before she arrives at Cade Ranch. But since Joy needs help around the house during the holidays, spending Christmas with the Cade clan seems a viable solution. But will the family accept her and Javi without Jesse? She’s relieved that they seem to feel as if part of Jesse is still   with them, since Javi is there, but Sophia doesn’t think she has the approval of James, the eldest of the grown Cade children.

After being on her own from an early age, Sophia is enthralled by the Cades’ relationships with each other, and she hopes Javi will finally have the Christmas she’s always wanted to give him. But she can’t get past James’ serious nature and what she perceives as suspicion on his part. This, along with the ancient feud the family has with the Lovelands–their less than stellar neighbors–complicates Javi’s and Sophia’s stay, wreaking havoc in her heart. 

As usual, Karen Rock keeps the reader engaged with her descriptive writing and realistic, no-holds-barred portrayal of circumstantial human behavior. She also offers possible avenues of resolution, making the reading of Christmas at Cade Ranch a meaningful learning experience as well as a gratifying journey.

 About the Author

Other Heartwarming Books by the Author

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card along with print copies of HIS KIND OF COWGIRL, UNDER AN ADIRONDACK SKY AND A COWBOY TO KEEP by Karen Rock, TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH by Elizabeth Lowell, THOSE TEXAS NIGHTS by Delores Fossen and FAMILY TREE by Susan Wiggs.– US Only.

– Ends November 15th

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