Monday, June 12, 2017

Musing Monday - June 12



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

What a difference a week makes. Last week was damp and rainy. Today is hot and sunny. They are talking record-breaking heat.

Last week was hectic with closings, soccer tryouts, and other end of school year stuff. I'm looking forward to heading to the Outer Banks soon. The pet sitters are all set and John Boy will be living here while we are away. I'm so eager to get away that I've already packed up my reading material. Plan to get some writing done too.

As for my mailbox, the second book in the Da Vinci's Disciples series arrived last week.


In a studiolo behind a church, six women gather to perform an act that is, at once, restorative, powerful, and illegal. They paint. Under the tutelage of Leonardo da Vinci, these six show talent and drive equal to that of any man, but in Renaissance Florence they must hide their skills, or risk the scorn of the city.

A commission to paint a fresco in Santo Spirito is announced and Florence’s countless artists each seek the fame and glory this lucrative job will provide. Viviana, a noblewoman freed from a terrible marriage and now free to pursue her artistic passions in secret, sees a potential life-altering opportunity for herself and her fellow female artists. The women first speak to Lorenzo de’ Medici himself, and finally, they submit a bid for the right to paint it. And they win.

But the church will not stand for women painting, especially not in a house of worship. The city is not ready to consider women in positions of power, and in Florence, artists wield tremendous power. Even the women themselves are hesitant; the attention they will bring upon themselves will disrupt their families, and could put them in physical danger.

All the while, Viviana grows closer to Sansone, her soldier lover, who is bringing her joy that she never knew with her deceased husband. And fellow-artist Isabetta has her own romantic life to distract her, sparked by Lorenzo himself. Power and passion collide in this sumptuous historical novel of shattering limitations, one brushstroke at a time.

An author friend of mine also sent me her next book to read to provide an endorsement.

That's it for me. Hope you have a blessed week.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day



Happy Memorial Day, everyone. While we usually talk about books today, I wanted to pause to reflect on the many men and women who have given their lives to protect freedom around the world. May God continue to look over our troops here and abroad.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

RAPV April 2017 Sales Report: Sales Up, Median Price Down



The REALTOR® Association of Pioneer Valley reported single-family home sales in April were up 2.3 percent compared to the same time last year. The median price, however, dropped 0.2 percent to $194,000 and inventory dropped 33.7 percent. Here is a breakdown by County.

Hampden County
Sales up 6.7 percent
Median price down 1.3 percent to $177,500

Hampshire County
Sales down 5.1 percent
Median price up 7.9 percent to $280,000

Franklin County
Sales down 5.7 percent
Median price down 11.3 percent to $173,000

In the Pioneer Valley, we continue to struggle with not enough homes to sell. At the end of April 2016 there were 5.2 months of supply at the current rate of sale, but at the end of April 2017 there was only 3.2 months of supply at current rate of sale.

It's been my experience that buyers are out there, but they simply don't have enough to choose from. Some listings are selling on the first day of showings. Multiple offer situations are happening more often. If a buyer can't get in to see a house soon after it hits the market, they might not get a chance to view it at all.

If you're considering selling or buying, please call me at 413-575-5751. A marketing proposal for your home is entirely FREE as is a buyer's consultation where you are provided with a FREE Buyer's Survival Guide.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mailbox Monday - May 22



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Happy Monday! I hope you had a nice weekend. The weather was good here and it gave me a chance to spread some mulch down and refresh that area of the yard I designated for my wildlife friends. I also sold a house. Real estate has kept me very busy this year. The market is booming: low inventory and high buyer demand have increased prices.

On the book front, I've been playing catch up. These reviews were posted recently:

Organizing for Your Lifestyle
Food Junkies
The Joyful Business Planner
Creating a Life Worth Living, Volume 1

The Friends of the Wilbraham Public Library held their annual book sale at the beginning of May. Here's what I picked up from there:



Most of them are research materials for my writing, but I did pick up a couple of novels.

Last week, Charlotte Hubbard sent me her upcoming release. She has a book tour coming up soon.

Founded by the three Bender sisters, the Amish community of Promise Lodge is thriving—and growing. In fact, residents are thrilled to welcome a charismatic new arrival—one who may not just strengthen their faith, but put it to the test . . .

When Christine Bender meets widowed Bishop Monroe Burkholder, it’s love at first sight. But Preacher Amos finds him too good to be true, and is determined to find out what’s behind his sudden, unannounced arrival. Still, the colony needs a new bishop, and everyone is excited to have a younger, more progressive leader. As for Christine, Monroe returns her affection, but her bubble is soon burst with the arrival of a young woman half his age . . .

Leola Duff claims Monroe “ruined” her and she now intends to make an honest man of him. But throughout the process of discovering the truth, Christine never doubts that Monroe is the fine man she believes him to be—and never wavers in her faith that all will work out as it should. And when Monroe is forced to confess the truth before the entire congregation, he can only pray that open hearts and minds will prevail, allowing him a future at Promise Lodge—with Christine . . .

That's it for me this week. Hope you'll share your new mailbox.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Book Review: The Joyful Business Planner by Kate Martin

Where has this business planner been for the past three decades of my life? The Joyful Business Planner by Kate Martin is unlike anything you've probably seen before--which is why the author says she put it together.

Broken down into five sections--Business Overview, Marketing, Yearly Tracking, Calendars, and Wish Lists and Aspirations--this planner has the systems to get you organized and on track to meet your goals.

What I love about this book (everything really, but...):
  • It's less than 100 pages (perfect for busy small business owners like me);
  • It is short on narration and long on helpful templates to put the right systems in place;
  • There is one sheet that is a look at your current year at a glance that you can complete and hang in your office to stay focused;
  • One chapter focuses solely on social media marketing (including blogging);
I could go on and on about The Joyful Business Planner, but in the end all I need to say is this: if you are a small business owner, The Joyful Business Planner is an essential tool for success. 

Paperback: 92 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 13, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1539141810
ISBN-13: 978-1539141815

I received a digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

New Listing: 11 Lang St, Springfield



Come see this conveniently located ranch featuring refinished hardwoods (2011), three bedrooms, dining room, and galley kitchen with newer refrigerator (2010), range and microwave, and a full bath. The pellet stove in the living keeps the main level toasty and has been previously used by the seller as the primary heating source. The finished basement offers plenty of closets and built-ins for extra storage or turn it into a great office space or family room. Step out of the kitchen onto an enclosed porch that leads to the garage and carport or out into the private, fenced-in backyard with patio. Easy access to 291 and the Mass Pike, area restaurants, shopping, and more. Showings start at the open house on Sunday, May 21 from 1:00 to 2:30 pm. Interior photos coming soon!

For more information visit http://www.realliving.com

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Listing: 28 Nassau Drive, Springfield


Lovingly cared for upper level garden unit in desirable Hampden East complex. Walk into an open living room and dining area with sliders leading out to a private balcony where you can enjoy your morning coffee and a nice view of the grounds. Sizeable kitchen with pantry, master bedroom with his and hers closets and a full bath, and another bedroom across the hallway from the second full bath. Public record shows three bedrooms, but the previous owner opened up the wall and turned it into a fabulous office space. Minor changes would restore it to three bedrooms. Unit is located in the E section of the complex away from the road and it has a parking spot right outside the door. It has extra detached storage space too. This complex is centrally located close to area shops, restaurants, and universites. Monthly condo fees include access to clubroom, tennis courts, and swimming pool. Hampden East is FHA and VA approved. Schedule your private showing today!

For more information visit http://www.circlepix.com/tour/agent.htm