Happy Fourth of July!


Whew. That was wild with the Weekend Three-Word Story! I pulled the whole family in to draw numbers. Saturday! For the PAX t-shirt: comment #69–Cheryl S! Five winners of an autographed backlist book: #25 (Carol), #207 (Elizabeth), #30 (Amber), #84 (Juanita), #150 (Teresa H). For Sunday! For the PAX tote bag: comment #312 –Robyn! Five winners of an autographed backlist book: #362 (KimW), #307 (Shari), #300 (Estella), #316 (Wanda), #404 (Marcy). (Winners: email me with addresses and backlist picks!) A special contest for today below….but first…..

As mentioned before, for those of you with your own blogs, if you read The Beast Within and I catch you talking about it on your blog, I’ll highlight your blog here and send you your pick from my backlist! Today: two catches! Lynn, who has a blog called A Jolt of Reality! “If you’ve been thinking about picking this one up, I highly recommend it. The interaction between the hero and heroine is heart-wrenching because of their history, and I found myself begging them out loud (yes, it did get me some strange looks) to find a way to deal with their inner conflicts and reunite.” Read Lynn’s entire discussion of The Beast Within here. (And Lynn–email me with your pick from my backlist!)

And! From the blog of Margery Scott: “If you’re a fan of paranormal romance, this book has it all. And even if you aren’t (I don’t usually read paranormals), if you’re in the mood for a hunky hero/werewolf, a strong heroine, action, suspense, and tons of sexual tension, walk, don’t run, to your nearest bookseller. You won’t be disappointed.” Read Margery’s entire discussion of The Beast Within here. (Margery, email me!)

Happy Fourth of July, for those of you who celebrate it! I’m not doing much today. We’ll have a barbeque in our backyard and we’re loaded up from the fireworks stand so our kids can have some fun tonight. Mostly, that’s how our holidays are…..pretty mundane. But things were different the year I was six. We lived in Silver Spring, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. It was the early 1970s.

My mother wrote this memory down and it appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram last year when they invited readers to send in their most memorable Fourth of July experiences. So now, in my mother’s own words…..

Washington, D.C.

We left home around five o’clock and found a good parking place at Vermont and K Streets, about a 20-minute walk from the Washington Monument where there was going to be a Bob Hope show before the fireworks. According to later reports, the crowd eventually grew to over 400,000 that night, but when we arrived there were still people sitting on the grounds, picnicking, and we were able to get a spot right up front just behind the fenced-off area for special attendees. The girls had seen Bob Hope on TV and were very excited to see him in real life.

Just as the show started, there was a huge uproar from the back of the crowd. We couldn’t see what was happening, but we did see police beginning to work their way through the crowd in increasing numbers. We could hear fireworks going off, but it wasn’t time yet for the National fireworks display. There was a lot of yelling, and then we could see cherry bombs dropping in the crowd behind us. People began pressing forward and there was no way for us to get out. Bob Hope and the other entertainers continued the show and nearby police assured us that we would be fine and that it was just some anti-Vietnam war protesters.

Then we heard people screaming and were told the protesters had thrown tear gas into the crowd. A moment later, it reached us. At first, we couldn’t move, then it was as if the entire crowd ran at once. Some people fell and couldn’t get up–people were just jumping over them. It was so hard to keep going and not stop to help, but we had two screaming little girls in our arms with their skin on fire, so we kept running. I wondered how we’d find each other, but amazingly we ended up on the same street where picnickers were passing out ice from their coolers to try to help. They only gave us two pieces and we rubbed the girls’ faces with them then let them put them in their mouths even as we wished we could have them for ourselves, and then our frightened children only wanted to go home. It was a July Fourth we would never forget.

Now for today’s giveaway……… I don’t consider myself a really patriotic person (I don’t fly a flag outside our house or anything) but I love living in the United States where there is a fast food restaurant and a bookstore on every corner. We moved to North Carolina last year (from Texas) and what I love about North Carolina are the lush trees and (mostly) mild weather and the beautiful Outer Banks beaches. I’m so happy to live here.

Leave me a comment today and one name will be drawn to receive their PICK of the PAX gear (one item: either the t-shirt, the mug, or the tote bag–Winner’s Choice!).

Where do you live and what do you love about it?


  1. Michelle says:

    What a fascinating, frightening day! I used to love the Fourth of July celebrations where we’d go to a picnic in the park and stay up to watch the fireworks. Such fun.

    Happy Fourth! :bananadance:

  2. Margery Scott says:

    Happy 4th of July, Suzanne. I agree, NC is beautiful, but I still prefer to live way up here in the frozen tundra :wave:

  3. Cheryl S. says:

    Wow, Suzanne! What a horrifying time that must have been! No huge crowds to watch the fireworks where I live in Ohio. That’s why I like it here. Not good in crowds, claustrophobic I think. Have a great day and thanks for all the wonderful contests! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. ruby55 says:

    Hope you don’t mind if I just comment on where I live since we just had our Canada Day on July 1.

    I lived for about 15 years in Manitoba and though it was sometimes bitterly cold, on a clear, sunny day -30 could be downright exhilerating. On a bad day…well, let’s just say that I was glad to make it home after walking more than 2 miles with the last quarter mile straight into the north wind.

    Ontario can be pretty cold too but you mostly have humid days. Ontario has a much more varied scenery than Manitoba–Niagara Falls, Agawa Canyon, lakes and lakes and more lakes. Some of the oldest rocks in the world. Beautiful provincial parks and farmland. It has almost everything imaginable. And it’s big enough to fit in at least 50 or so other small countries.

    Have a Happy July 4th, y’all!

  5. Mechele Armstrong says:

    Wow what an intense memory.

    Hope you have a wonderful fourth of July!!:hyper:

  6. Maureen says:

    What a scary day for your family. When I think about it I see how lucky I am to be raising my children in a country where both my son and daughter have an equal chance for success in whatever they choose to do. Enjoy your day!

  7. kacey says:

    Wow, quite a story! Scary for your parents and for you. Sad too, in a way, isn’t it? A family should be safe going to see fireworks on the 4th…

    I live in Missouri. Hot humid summers. I love it here, most of our family is here, but we do plan on retiring some place warm and sunny. But that’s sure a lot of years off…

  8. Estella Kissell says:

    I was born and raised in Oregon, USA.
    Oregon is one of the prettiest places in the world. We have the ocean, lush forests and hight desert—-now tell me, whats not to love.

  9. Carol says:

    Thank you, Suzanne, for the contest win!

    That was a scary Fourth of July! Things like that shouldn’t happen!

    I love living in Pittsburgh. We have great fireworks every Fourth of July and after some Pirate games. We have great sport teams, a very nice cultural center and three rivers where we can enjoy many activities. There is always something to do here! We are also a big medical center. It’s a great place to live.

  10. Amelia says:

    Happy Fourth of July!!

    The state in which I live is also NC. We live in the middle of the state, which is the perfect location for visiting the breath-taking mountains and delightful beaches. Our state definitely has much natural variety, and gives us many choices of places to see and explore.

  11. Biddy says:

    What an experience!

    I live in central London and I love it! I walk to work through St James Park, I get to admire the gaslights, the ducks, wave to the Queen and look at nice men in uniform. I also can do my “Tourist Run”, this is a run from my flat past the Houses of Parliament, past Westminster Abbey, up Whitehall, past Downing Street, through Horse Guards, up the Mall, round Green Park, past the Palace, past Wellington Barracks and then the last bit home. This is better done in winter when less people but takes about an hour (and it’s healthy too!)
    I can walk into a local restaurant and not have to book because I go there so often. I get a panatone at Christmas from my local Italian restaurant.
    I’ll give you the tour when you come over (but I won’t make you run it!)

  12. Mary says:

    I would like to win. Hope you have a great fourth.:bananadance:

  13. Toni Anderson says:

    This is hard for me–I used to live on the East coast of Scotland in a gorgeous fishing village right on the sea.

    Now I’m in Winnipeg and the bugs are a pain and the weather has been terrible.

    So what do I love about it… my house, which is big and spacious, relaxed yet elegant!! All the things I’m not LOL!!!:shock::lol:

  14. Toni Anderson says:

    That experience must have been terrible for you all! I hate the whole crowd thing since we had the Hillsborough disaster in the UK. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

  15. Cherlyn says:

    Wow! What a story!
    There’s going to be a large crowd here in my downtown neighborhood to watch fireworks, but I’m planning to watch from afar! I’m 4’11 and fear getting trampled in large crowds if an incident were to break out. Nobody ever sees me. :no:

  16. Robyn says:

    Thanks for the tote bag win.
    I’m from Canada and consider myself fortunate to be living here.
    Happy 4th of July to everyone.:wave:

  17. Beth C says:

    Firstly, I love the pic of your daughter with the ‘sparkler’. Earlier I was remembering how much I loved those as a kid.

    Secondly, thank you for sharing your mom’s story. That was fascinating. Frightening, but fascinating.

    Lastly… I live in New Jersey and what I love is the diverse mix of people that live here. A true melting pot. A daily reminder that people from all over move here to enjoy America’s ‘freedom’.

  18. Peggie says:

    I too live in Canada,in one of the most beautiful parts of Canada IMO. We are located in the foothils of the rockies surrounded by lush mountain forest and deep blue glacier fed lakes.
    The people are what makes it home. Everyone from business men in suits and ties to old hippies commune to make a diverse and interesting community. I am proud to live in a community where men can walk down the street holding hands and music flows from every street corner. People in my community pick up lost mittens and hang them on parking meters just so you will see it when you come back to find it.
    I never lock my doors and have been known to leave my purse on the seat of my car, with the windows down, while running into a local coffee shop.
    It’s a nice place to live. I just wish we had California weather to go with it!
    I posted the view from my window on my blog.

    Happy forth and happy first to all you Americans and Canadians!

  19. Joely says:

    Wow, what a frightening but memorable experience! I grew up in the same small MO town with my now hubby. His younger brother was in my class. We didn’t have a McDonalds or a Wal-Mart (but the last time we drove through they had a General Dollar Store. :thumbsup: When I graduated from H.S. I went off to college, hubby went in the military, and as the years went by we ended up in TX, NE and then MN. We always went home to visit our families for the holidays, but it wasn’t the same.

    When our first monster came along, it was time to move back home. So here we are back in MO and it is just as lovely as we remember. It’s like living in the country, even when we’re really near a fairly large city now. Best of all, our entire family (grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins) mostly live within 1 1/2 hours of us!! We have some great family get-togethers. :fryingpan:

  20. Larissa says:

    Happy 4th! :wave:

  21. Phyllis LaCroix says:

    :thumbsup:I live in the country, in Illinois. I love the rural life and our small town Fourth of July celebration, just 3 miles away. For being such a small town, they really put on a nice celebration. Morning breakfast, parade, live music and the finale’ fireworks. I bake lots of pies and take up to the festivities and everyone lines up to grab a slice.

    We are so proud of our veterans and the pride they take in themselves. Most are well up in the years, but to see them wearing their uniforms and waving their flags, still brings tears to my eyes. We are free nation, thanks to them.

  22. Jill says:

    Wow, what a story from your mom!!

    I near Tahoe and every day think I’m the luckiest person on the planet.

  23. Cheryl Free says:

    I live in Indiana – and the only thing I love about it is that I’m with my loved ones … my fiance and two miniature schnauzers ๐Ÿ˜‰ I do, however, also LOVE North Carolina and the Outer Banks. I went to school in NC and my mom’s 15 miles inland!

  24. Elizabeth says:

    I live in Michigan by Lake Michigan and that’s what makes this area so special. It’s a small town which means it’s peaceful and relatively safe too. It’s a good place for kids to grow up. (However I lived in the Chicago suburbs for many years too and that’s where my heart really is. I can’t wait to go back someday when the kids are off on their own.)

  25. Amber Smith says:

    Its hot here in Fort Worth,Texas, but I love it because all of my loved ones are here. I can tolerate any weather if it meant being closer to them.

  26. Amber Smith says:

    Happy 4th Of July everyone!

  27. Amy K. says:

    What a story! Yikes!

    I live in Kansas, and while I don’t love the state, I do love our funky little college town where there’s a wide range of things to do and loads of quirky people to watch. :hyper:

    Happy Fourth!

  28. Shari C. says:

    I live in Minnesota and love the change of seasons…from the cold temperatures and white, fluffy snow to the warmer, sunny days of Summer and the great beaches and lakes. In between we have the beautiful changing of the leaves in Fall and the gorgeous blooming flowers in the Spring. Every day is a surprise to wake up and enjoy. While I live in a small town I am within a half hour drive of the twins cities where there is a large choice of activities and events to enjoy or participate in…plus many stores to shop in, which usually can put a smile on my face.

    Have a wonderful 4th of July.

  29. Alyssa says:

    Wow, what an intense story!

    I live in Utah, and I love so many things about it. I love the mountains and the Great Salt Lake.

    I also love the Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, Utah. It’s always so professionally done.


  30. Kim says:

    Thanks Suzanne for yesterday’s game. That was fun!

    I live in Crystal Lake where there are two lakes that are so beautiful. That’s what I like most about the town. I love to take long walks with my husband by the water and watch the sun set from the beach.

  31. Anna says:

    Oh Suzanne, when I read your question for the day a little frisson passed through me, and my eyes started burning with unshed tears.

    You see, I really, deeply, love where I live.

    This post might just end up being a long one… ๐Ÿ˜ณ

    I live on the edge of the Lake District in northern England. There’s so much I could say about landscape and history, people and customs, my home and my village, but let me condense it all and just describe my drive home from work.

    At the start the road’s new enough, a great artery running towards the coast, dual carriageway in places. But I always glance to left and right to catch a glimpse of the old coaching road here and there.

    The land is rolling, moor and forest, a thousand odd years of peat overlaid with last century’s spruce and pine. But soon the dark bulk of the mountains ahead are looming – the whale-hump of Blencathra; Skiddaw’s great broad shoulders; the knuckles of Causey Pike and Red Screes.

    The road climbs, the mountains lift to meet it, and soon I’m running between oaks and ash at the very foot of Blencathra. This whale has teeth at its front, sharp, ice-cut ridges in pale grey slate, only lightened by a clump of yellow gorse or verdant bracken.

    Down along the side of the valley, watching for the first close sight of Skiddaw and the ancient woodland at its feet, like a soft and indulgent foot muff.

    We slip between the fells here – across the bridge, across the river, and down the hill to turn around the base of Skiddaw and follow the eastern shore of Bassenthwaite Lake.

    Only we can’t see it yet. We’re in green fields and scattered trees, bounded by grey stone walls. Some were built two hundred years ago. Some five.

    The lake is down to our left somewhere. I can see glimpses of the faded gold of the reed beds where the river splits and fills the valley. There were Vikings here, I know. And before them Romans. And long before them the same stone-age families who made stone axes and arrow-heads by the thousand not many miles away.

    They saw the same stone, the same mountain, the same lake. Different, but the same.

    Now – there! There’s the Lake, still and blue beneath the cloudless sky, with fields of brightest green running gleefully down to its wavering shore.

    Keep going. One hand on the wheel, one on the gearstick, because this is the fun drive, now. The sweep of corners and sudden dips. Slow for the hamlet with the silent church, slow for the old packhorse bridge over the stream. Then fast again, past Castle Inn, onto the long, straight road that the Romans marched on.

    Nearly home. The fields are larger, the mountains are behind us. Another road takes us down the last hill till the Solway Plain opens up before us – a view to take the words from my fingers. Flat farmlands, quiet villages, the sea… and beyond it Scotland.

    Look! That cluster of white houses over there, sheltered against the rise? That’s where I live. Take the last road, careful for the man and his daughter walking their greyhound.

    Crawl through the village – the children play on the green outside the school, and the bridge is narrow and blind – past the Grey Goat pub and the rows of narrow Victorian cottages.

    Up the hill under the giant Sycamore.

    Over the hill and there’s a glimpse of the white-painted stone bulk of my house, a splash of orange where the rose overshadows the door, a shadow of blue where the seat hides behind the flowers in the front garden. There’s peace here, and contentment.

    And, more often than not, a sleek black cat leaping up on the wall to welcome you home.

  32. Katherine says:

    I live near Wright Patterson Air Force base and love the sense of community there. We always go to each 4th of July celebration there and even got to spend 3 hours one year in the company of the MPs due to a horrendous thunderstorm that hit during the celebration – very memorable.

  33. Juanita Stender says:

    Happy Fourth of July to All.:wave: It is my favorite holiday because it is my only niece’s birthday.:bananadance: She will be three today! What a lucky person to always have a big celebration on your birthday. We are very close and she is like my own. I can’t have any children so I borrow my sister’s kids every chance I get. That way I can give them back when they act up or want too much money!:shock:We are going to the local fairgrounds for a concert and fireworks show today but after reading your experience Suzanne – I am thinking twice about it. How scary it must have been for your whole family.:sad: I live in beautiful Northern California and love it. No snow to deal with and lots to see and do here. The mountains, the beaches and the majestic redwood trees. Close to the Golden Gate Bridge and lovely San Francisco.:hyper: We get a little shaking once and awhile with earthquakes but the big problem is the traffic. Too many people have found out about how wonderful it is to live around here. The sites are great to see if you can get there. I guess that the price you pay to live in such a wonderful place!:heart:

  34. Danni says:

    I didn’t love America when I was young. The reality of living in our country was so expected I didn’t give it a thought. In 92 when we lived in Turkey my tune changed. I began to see America for the flawed heaven that it is.

    Now, idealism and world vision clashes with thankfulness and selfish focus. On a day like today it’s so easy to ignore all the social ills, but tomorrow the knowledge returns.

    I live in Nebraska now, where summer means heat and baseball(college world series and triple A ball). We live the Norman Rockwell slice of life here, and I love waking to nature’s July 4th fireworks, then hanging with my kids and setting off fireworks with my husband’s entire family later. BBQ obligatory of course! :yes:

  35. Crystal* says:

    Happy Fourth! :wave:

    I live in Oklahoma, and I love it because no matter where else I’ve traveled, this is where I belong. I was born here, raised here, and I have roots.
    The pace is decidedly slower than other states. There are highways you can drive for miles and admire the trees. The people are friendly (for the most part). heh
    When bad things happen, our people pull together and help one another. And it makes me proud.

  36. Tori says:

    What a scary 4th that must have been, Suzanne!

    I live in a small town in northeast Arkansas and right at the moment I can’t think of much I like about it. :rolleyes: Well, okay, it is pretty and green in the spring and the leaves are gorgeous in the fal. There.

    Now, how many of us are going to descend on Biddy and see London? Then it’s on to Anna’s to see the Lake District! ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. TeresaH says:

    What a scary day that had to have been! Thanks for sharing. I love the picture of your daughter. Also, Thanks for the win!!!

    I live in the 4th largest town in SD (LOL our pop. is only about 15,000) But it’s a friendly town, with a university, a lake, a river, a Cabelas (lol) and the Corn Palace, among other things. The main thing I love about this place is this is where my SO lives,:love: and me too for the past 4 1/2 years now. Another thing I like is that we don’t have NEAR the extreme tornado weather as we did in the TX panhandle!!! Compared to there, up here it’s nothing.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful July 4th!

  38. Danica says:

    Wow what a story!

    Anna and Biddy, brace yourselves for the American invasion!

    I live in Colorado, at the base of the Rocky Mountains. It’s usually neither too hot nor too cold, much to the surprise of people who only know us for skiing. I can’t imagine living anyplace else, as nice as other places have been, this is where I want to live. However, it would be nice if all the Texans and Californians stopped moving here. Go away, people crowding up my beautiful state-it sucks here… really, it does!

  39. Biddy says:

    Danica – I invade your state every other year so it is only fair! Where in Colorado? I did a year of elementary school in the Denver area. I wouldn’t mind living there again one day (I’m neither Texan or Californian – will you let me in?)

  40. Saundra M says:

    I was born and raised in Winston Salem, NC and when I got married at eighteen, we moved to Alabama. Oh, how I miss the south! The people, the rain, Green, just that whole laid back southern feeling. But I remarried in 2002, and in that three years, we have lived a year in Los Angeles, a year in Las Vegas and now in Phoenix, AZ. His job transfers him about once a year as he trains for his company.
    Next year, it’s back to California.
    I cannot think of anything I like about Phoenix, so I won’t say anything about it at all. Las Vegas was ok, and I loved Los Angeles because of the beach and so many things to do.
    My favorite memory of the 4th of July is when I was small. We always had homemade ice cream, made with a crank type machine; lots of family over, sparklers to play with, and a trip to see the fireworks that night. Aren’t traditions wonderful? Have a great 4th! ๐Ÿ˜€

  41. Teresa says:

    I live in Georgia. And what I love about it is everything. I know that sounds like I’m cheating doesn’t it. But really, the beach is a short drive away. The hills are a short drive away. The scenery is amazing and there is always something to do or somewhere to explore or some history to learn. It’s great.

  42. Laurie says:

    I live in southern Florida. I love the warm temps, year round flowers, walking on beautiful sand beaches, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets and meetig people from all over the world. No more SNOW OR FREEZING TEMPS for me…I grew up in Wisconsin.

  43. Melissa Marsh says:

    Wow, Suzanne, I can’t believe what happened to you and your family on that long ago 4th of July…

    I live in Nebraska, have all my life. Our motto is “Nebraska – the Good Life” and that’s true (for the most part). I grew up in the western end of the state (a few miles away from Wyoming) and the best part about living there was the ability to watch the storms roll in on the plains. I still like to go to my Dad’s house (it sits right in the middle of the prairie) on a cool summer evening and watch the clouds. I live in the eastern part of Nebraska now, in the city, surrounded by houses and trees. I love living here because of the vitality of the city, the things to do, and the wonderful mid-western attitude.

  44. Gladys Paradowski says:

    I live in the state you left…Texas; and I love it. Whatever one wants, one will find it some place in Texas…big cities, small towns, dry climate, wet climate, beaches, mountains, you name it. Texas has it all. I have been in North Carolina and I agree it is a pretty state. While in college, my roomate and I worked during the summer at Ridgecrest, North Carolina, a Baptist encampment; and we had a blast! Visited Chimney Rock and a few other scenic spots. But I am happy in Texas and am a native…a native Houstonian, in fact. I have traveled to all parts of Texas and found something interesting everywhere. I attended college in West Texas at Hardin-Simmons University and found the friendliest people you ever hope to meet in Abilene. I love to travel and have visited most of the 48 inland states, but give me Texas to live.

  45. Gina says:

    Happy fourth!

  46. Marcy says:

    Thank you for yesterday’s book win, Suzanne!

    Anna – I love the description of your ride home. I can see it all through your eyes.

    I live in SW lower Michigan between Kalamazoo and Lake Michigan. *waving at Elizabeth* I live in a small town with friendly people, but I didn’t end up here because of them…it was the house that grabbed me first. Two-story brick Victorian with hardwood floors and 11′ ceilings. The town was a bonus. :yes:


  47. Jeanette Jackson says:

    I live in Ontario Canada. I love Canada for a lot of the same reasons Americans love the US…our soldiers fought in the wars for our freedoms also

  48. Lis says:

    Happy 4th!

    I live just outside of Edmonton, Canada. Why do I love it here. Well we do have the world’s biggest mall just twenty minutes away: West Edmonton Mall. When there actually is an NHL season we have our beloved Edmonton Oilers…we have a lot of trees and beautiful scenery (the mountains) is just a short drive away. Not too mention we have a lot of cool summer festivals. The only downside is the cold cold cold and long winter :no:

  49. Janet says:

    I live in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It’s a beautiful town in a valley surrounded by mountains. Our town is rich in history because we have natural mineral springs that many people consider to be healing water. A few years ago we moved out of the city onto 6 acres of land. We’re happily overrun with squirrels. At dusk the night creatures come out – skunks mainly. Recently we spotted a mother and three little ones. We put food out every night for them.

  50. Danica says:

    Biddy, I live in the Denver area, so if you’re invading the area, do let me know. I’d love to get together. (True for any of you, too. I’ll even let you move there, because anyone who’s a friend of Suzanne’s, well, you gotta be good people, and we need more of you around here.)

  51. Sue A. says:

    I live in Beautiful British Columbia. I’m in Vancouver, near mountains and water. What I like about being here is it is always green. And I even like the rain.

  52. Jana Cleveland says:

    I live in Fort Valley,Georgia.It’s next to Macon.What I love about Fort Valley are two things:

    1)the Dairy Queen
    2)the public library

    In the summer,I like to read and eat ice cream!!!!:smile::smile:

  53. Lynn Daniels says:

    WOO HOO! I won! I won! Off to browse your backlist.

    But before I go, I had to mention what a horrifying memory that must be.