WHEN IN ROME Photo Travelog: Ancient Rome

When the hubs and I went to Rome in April 2007, we spent our first full day puttering round  Ancient Rome, including the Coliseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.

Like us, WHEN IN ROME heroine Kate Miller explores the major sites. Our photos aren’t as good as hers would be (since we used a little digital point-and-shoot instead of SLR), but I hope you’ll enjoy them anyway.:)

Much of the Roman Forum has been left open to the elements, and outside of a few facades, much of it has been lost to history.

The Forum connects to Palatine Hill.

The view from Palatine Hill encompasses the Roman Forum and Coliseum.

The Coliseum itself is impressive all on its own.

Next time, we’ll take our tour through Renaissance era Rome, including Trevi Fountain, the Borghese Gardens, and a few other beautiful views of The Eternal City.

WHEN IN ROME is available now for Kindle – and don’t forget to check out BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE (now available in print from Amazon and Barnes & Noble), the story that started it all!

Three friends. A broken engagement. A surprise elopement. A big secret. A lot of chocolate.

Three friends. A broken engagement. A surprise elopement. A big secret. A lot of chocolate.

Love isn't always picture perfect...

Love isn’t always picture perfect…

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Tag: A Cautionary Tale (Virtual Tour)

tag tour banner_edited-1

What happens when a game of Tag becomes more than just a game?

Tag: A Cautionary Tale

By John Collings

When Tommy knocks Franklin over and cries “You’s it!” he starts a game of Tag to end all games of Tag. Before long, boys gathering to play on Arabella Hill are consumed with the game, picking sides, forging allegiances, and waging all-out war. In the process of the game, rules evolve, constitutions form, and lives are lost.

From the mind of John Collings comes a satirical allegory about the clash of ideologies and what happens if this confrontation is never resolved.

In the battle of the playground, there is only one question that matters—which team, will emerge victorious?

Excerpt

Back then, roads didn’t exist. Big buildings didn’t block out the blue sky. Even the cars didn’t hurry off to the places where cars hurry off to. Tall trees circled the expanse of the field, a few stray trees here and there offering their shade to those in need on sunny days, and shelter to those in need on rainy days. Arbella Hill stood over there, the steep sides of it also covered with trees. On the top of it stood the mightiest of all trees, a proud oak. And, of course, this rock I’m sitting on sat right here.

Back in the day, we didn’t call the hill Arbella; that name came later. We only called the hill, “The Hill”, just as we called the rock, “The Rock” and each individual tree, a tree. We didn’t spend a lot of time naming things back in those days. We had more important things to do. We had a big field.

I couldn’t tell you where everybody came from, but we came, none the less. We all wandered out of the woods and across the horizon, drawn by this majestic mound. It stood above everything else on the plain, rivaled by no other formation in its beauty. On it, assorted fruit trees and tall pines pointed their peaks towards the heavens, wondrous wildflowers blossomed, rearing their heads to the world, animals scurried under the protection of the hill, peeking their happy heads out whenever they saw fit. If they ever noticed us looking at them, they would dart back into the shadows. They didn’t know they had nothing to worry about because we cared about them as much as they cared about us. We had many more exciting things to do, besides.

We ran. Not to or from a specific place—doing something like that didn’t interest us much. We ran more for the why, rather than the where.

What was the why, you ask? Well, why not?

But just imagine a huge field stretched out before you, soft and supple grass growing just tall enough to tickle your toes as the drops of dew dance upon your bare feet, the subtle sun warming you as you wind your way through the maze of dandelions. And if ever its heat gets too hot, the shade of a nearby tree is there to comfort you. If you’d rather continue on your run, the wind is there to blow a refreshing breeze your way. As far as we were concerned, the field had been created for our pleasure, and we took every opportunity to partake in that gift.
As was the case with the hill, the rock, and the trees, we didn’t bother with each other’s names. We didn’t even bother to acknowledge each other’s presence. We weren’t very social at that time—running occupied most of our time.

We didn’t care about speed or direction—some of us sprinted from one end of the field to the other; some of us twirled in circles, arms outstretched; some of us darted this way and that; and some just meandered from place to place, spending more time taking in our surroundings than those who surrounded us. It probably helped to get it all started, I guess.

The first uproar was caused by two kids of opposite natures. I later learned that their names were Tommy and Franklin, but I just knew them as the Fat Kid and the Focused Kid.
Tommy ran with purpose. He focused directly on where he wanted to run and when he got there, he turned right around to focus on getting back.

Franklin didn’t run so much as meander all about the place, his head constantly turning to observe the world around him, darting from place to place, to stoop down to look at a wildflower, or up to the sky to watch an eagle fly. Rarely was his head in what he was supposed to be doing down on the field.

As in all other aspects of life, when you have two opposites such as Tommy and Franklin, they are destined to clash, and clash, they did.

Franklin backed into Tommy one hot Thursday afternoon, too busy watching a wild turkey dart across the field while trying to get out of its way, running backwards, not really looking where he was going. Tommy, on the other hand, was so focused on where his run was taking him that he didn’t see Franklin coming. Franklin weighed more than Tommy, and it was he who took the tumble and landed flat on his butt.

Tommy wasn’t much of an orator at that early age, but of course none of us were. Later, Tommy would become the great speaker you may have heard about, but on that fateful day, he looked at where he’d landed in that big field of grass, and said the only thing he could in that situation: “I’s It.”

Rather, that’s what Franklin thought he’d said, for even though Tommy talked as if he’d marbles in his mouth, he wasn’t one to practice such bad grammar. He also didn’t back away from a confrontation, particularly one spurring from an intrusion concerning his right to run.
Tommy stood up, and walked over to where Franklin was standing. Franklin tried to stammer out an apology, but was unable to articulate the thought before Tommy pushed him, and Franklin landed on his butt.

Franklin could not believe Tommy capable of performing such an act of anger. He looked up at his antagonist, hoping for an apology he knew wouldn’t come. Instead, Tommy responded with a retort that would endure in the cannon of our consciousness for all eternity.

“You’s It!” he said.

Buy Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tag-Cautionary-Tale-John-Collings-ebook/dp/B01GOVCELQ

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/tag/id1121357988?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Kobo : https://store.kobobooks.com/ebook/tag-14

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/John_Collings_Tag?id=IOJLDAAAQBAJ

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tag-john-collings/1123892563?ean=9781508040897

Rafflecopter giveaway

ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN one of three copies of Tag: A Cautionary Tale

About the Authorjohn-collings-photo-237x300

John Collings has traveled the world and has taken the wisdom he has collected from various cultures and placed it in his novels. He has found that satire is the best way to impart this knowledge due to its lasting effect with the reader. It is his goal to open up discussion about what he perceives is wrong with the world in the hopes that we can come together to fix it. Tag: A Cautionary Tale is the followup to his debut novel, Hell, and God, and Nuns with Rulers.

Follow John Collings

Blog: https://johncollings.com/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/John-Collings/e/B00XT272WK/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/john.collings.33

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jacollings44

All Roads Lead to Rome

In WHEN IN ROME, the second installment of my Sweet Somethings series, heroine Kate Miller makes a split second decision to join an international photography team as they embark on a photo shoot in Rome, Italy’s “Eternal City.”

The story focuses on the development of Kate’s romantic relationship with fellow photographer Domenic Varezzi, but along the way, Kate gets to check out some pretty amazing sites in and around Rome (and later, Taormina in Sicily).

The fun part is that just about everything she experiences comes from my memories of Rome.

The Coliseum is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Ancient Rome.

In April of 2007, my own Romantic Hero of a Husband (though at the time he was my Romantic Hero of a Boyfriend) and I took a trip to Rome and Taormina when I was off school for spring break.

Awww, look at us!

Now, it’s time for you to join me on a return trip to Rome! Over the next several weeks, we’ll take a photographic journey through The Eternal City, followed by Taormina on Sicily’s Eastern coast. While you’ll have to read WHEN IN ROME to get all the juicy details of Kate Miller’s experiences, I’ll be sharing fun tidbits about my own unforgettable trip to Italy.

WHEN IN ROME is available now for Kindle – and don’t forget to check out BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE (now available in print from Amazon and Barnes & Noble), the story that started it all!

Three friends. A broken engagement. A surprise elopement. A big secret. A lot of chocolate.

Three friends. A broken engagement. A surprise elopement. A big secret. A lot of chocolate.

Love isn't always picture perfect...

Love isn’t always picture perfect…

Want to stay updated on announcements and upcoming releases? Join my email newsletter and follow me on my socials (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube).

School’s Out For Summer!

Friday was my last day of work for the school year, which, weekend not withstanding, means today is the first official day of summer vacation.

Ahhhh….

Of course, though our neighborhood does have a community pool, I don’t exactly envision myself spending the next two months relaxing by or in it. Wading around the kiddie pool trying to keep my toddler from falling and smashing her head into the concrete edge of said kiddie pool? Maybe that’s a bit more realistic.

(I jest. The kiddie pool is actually pretty sweet, and Babycakes totally loves it.)

In any case, it’s been quite a whirlwind of a year. Starting a new teaching job, putting Babycakes in daycare, taking Babycakes out of daycare and into Gramma-care, moving to our permanent home, releasing two novels (remember that Better Than Chocolate and When In Rome are both available for Kindle, and Better Than Chocolate is now in print!), and of course surviving my first year teaching fourth grade.

So what does the summer hold? Some training for work. Getting ready to change schools and grade levels. Writing Sweet Somethings Book #3, of course (and hopefully Book #4 as well). And a trip back to my old stomping grounds in July to visit friends and family.

And my first book signing! Details on that for those local to my old stomping grounds will be forthcoming once everything is completely finalized. Stay tuned to my Facebook page for the event announcement.

And the best is spending lots of time with Babycakes, who is now almost 2 and entering the “I won’t eat anything in the fruit or vegetable groups except carrots and asparagus and maybe some apple if you’re lucky” stage.

She also wants soup every day for lunch.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another, right?:)

BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE is Now in Print!

Being published for Kindle has been a pretty awesome experience. But still, I have always held onto that dream of seeing my work in actual physical print.

(I know technically an ebook is in print. But you know what I mean.)

Now that dream has come true!

BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE is now available in print at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Three friends. A broken engagement. A surprise elopement. A big secret. A lot of chocolate.

*squeeeee*

This is like, the epitome of awesomesauce for me as an author.

And if you’re of the “I prefer Kindle/ebook” persuasion (because let’s face it, it’s easier to load up on books for a vacation when you don’t literally have to load up on books), and still haven’t snagged a copy of BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE yet, here’s another fun scoop of awesomesauce.

For one week, starting this Friday, May 13th, BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE will be available for $0.99 at Kindle Nation Daily and BookGorilla.

So really, there’s no good reason to NOT check it out.:)

On a somewhat related not and as a final announcement, thanks to everyone who entered my Rafflecopter giveaway for the May Fresh Fiction Box NOT to Miss. Congrats to Ryan Summers, the lucky winner of this great box of literary goodies.

It’s a Fresh Fiction Giveaway! #FFBoxNOTtoMiss

Have you all heard of Fresh Fiction? If not, it’s pretty cool. In addition to checking out new authors, books, and reviews of the same, they have this program where readers can sign up to receive a monthly Box Not to Miss, which contains free paperbacks and ebook download codes for new releases. It’s a great way to get some fresh fiction in your hands – literally.

Now, why do I mention this?

Because, as a #FFBoxNOTtoMiss sponsor, BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE is one of the May featured books!

And what’s even cooler is that I have a May #FFBoxNOTtoMiss, containing three paperbacks and all four ebooks, to giveaway to one lucky fan!

How do I win this box, you may ask?

Easy. Just enter my Rafflecopter giveaway between midnight on May 5th and midnight on May 9th!

One winner will be chosen and notified within 24 hours of the end of the giveaway, and must provide a valid mailing address within 48 hours of notification. (This is very important, as the access code for GOOD GIRL is only good through May 16th, and I want to make sure your box is in your hands before then!)

As always, be sure to follow me on my socials, and sign up for my email newsletter to stay on top of announcements about new releases and future giveaways!

WHEN IN ROME Release Day Giveaway – Winners Announced!

I’m very pleased to announce the winners of the WHEN IN ROME Release Day Giveaway.

Love isn’t always picture perfect…

Grand Prize Winner of the $25 Amazon Gift Card is: RITA WRAY

And the winners of a copy of WHEN IN ROME for Kindle are:

  • Sophia Pelamonia
  • Robin Abrams
  • Elizabeth Stacy
  • Brandi Dagwan
  • Sue Ahn

All winners have been notified. Thanks, everyone, for entering the giveaway!

And remember, if you’ve read BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE and/or WHEN IN ROME, please don’t forget to leave some reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and of course tell your friends!

If you would like to stay in the know about future giveaways, releases, and other special things in the Awesomesauce category, remember to sign up for my email newsletter, and follow me on my socials, Goodreads, and my Amazon Author page!

And speaking of upcoming Awesomesauce, I have a great series of posts planned for the next few weeks. Get your passports ready!