Archive for December, 2015

Tracy-Chapman

Hello and happy Monday!

Isn’t this one of the best weeks?  We’re in between holidays, after one long holiday weekend and looking forward to another long holiday weekend.  I could get used to it!  How was your Christmas Eve and Day?  I hope you celebrated it surrounded with dearest family and friends.

I enjoyed my holidays greatly – although I am still suffering from a cold.  Have you noticed the full moon for Christmas?  It was beautiful!  I hear this was the last full moon on a Christmas Day for the next 25-30 years, so with that in mind, it was even more special.

Today on our Music Monday column I wanted to share with you Tracy Chapman with “Give Me One Reason“.  There’s something in her voice that soothes my soul, and I just love listening to her.

I’m drinking a lemongrass tea with a spoonful of honey and lemon.  I hope the cold and fever go away completely before the New Year’s Eve!

Wishing you all a fabulous week!
xo,
Madison

favorite-books-in-2015
We’re just one day away from a Christmas Eve, and I am so ready to dive into the holidays, take some time off, enjoy the family, my dearest friends, my Pippa and our long walks.  I am also excited to take some time for myself; I look forward to enjoying a good book in one hand, while in the other I’ll be holding a good glass of wine, of course – holidays are to be enjoyed the best you can!
If you are reading this blog, you know that besides writing I love reading, that’s why I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of my favorite books that I read in 2015.  They are not listed in any particular order, and are not necessarily published in 2015, they are just some of the books I read, and that moved me in one way or another.

My Favorite Books in 2015

1. Muse, by Mary Novik – Mary is my writing colleague, and I loved her book
2. The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – a very interesting book
4. All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr – winner of the Pulitzer Prize
6. State of Wonder, Ann Patchett – I love Ann Patchett
8. The Best Place On Earth, short stories by Ayelet Tsabari – my friend and colleague’s first book. Award winner! Great stories.
9. Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand – so much better than the movie. Hard to put down.
10. Boudoir Stories, by Madison Lake – my latest book, freshly published just a month ago.  A perfect bedtime reading, and an everlasting present.
What were your favorite books in 2015?  Share your top reads in the comments below – if you’re an author, do share your latest published book!
Much Love & Merry Christmas,
Madison Lake

Un-Scrooged

Posted on: December 22nd, 2015 by Madison Lake 1 Comment

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I Caved Scrooge last week and Mother Christmas this week. My how things can change.

My biggest mistake was I went downtown. It was a gorgeous day, well, not raining. I wanted to see the Christmas lights and walk around in the crisp December air.

It reminded me of when I was a young girl. My mother and grandmother took me and my sisters to see the decorated department store windows around Union Square in San Francisco every year. Back then there were whole scenes in the large display windows of the old buildings; pretend snow falling, electric trains going over hills and through tunnels, battery operated stuffed animals whose mouths and limbs moved. It was magical and we loved it.

I finally left the chilly weather and went into a department store with all the hustle and bustle of people shopping, laughing, carrying bags brimming with gifts. It was all light and sparkly and decadent. Music played, people were dressed up, store clerks more than helpful. How could I not feel joyful? Granted, this was my first foray into the seasonal holiday blitz. I was still a novice.

But then, randomly, without intention, I started to buy. It just happened. I found the perfect so-and-so for her and the perfect whats-it for him and so on and so forth. I didn’t buy much, but I did cave in. At least, each item had someone clearly in mind when I bought it, and each purchase was very suitable. Justification noted.

Of course, there are the children. Well…say no more. You know when you’re a kid and you really hope that big box under the tree is for you?

So, I had one indulgent day. My feet are killing me. I did not wear practical shoes. Who wears practical shoes when shopping downtown? (sensible people I guess) I had a grand time. The city looked festive and the holiday spirit was everywhere I went. It was infectious.

But that’s all. No more spending. No more shopping. Tomorrow I turn back into Scrooge.

Just kidding.

Happiest of Holidays to you and yours. See you all again in a brand new year – 2016. Amazing!

ML

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151122-coldplay-amas

Hello and happy Monday, the last Monday before Christmas!

I hope Christmas fever is easy on you, and you’re getting ready for a wonderful long weekend with your dearest ones.

Today I’m sharing with you the first single from Coldplay’s upcoming new album, A Head Full Of Dreams, called Adventure of a Lifetime.  It was suggested for this column by my reader Wilbur, I loved the song and wanted to share it with all of you as well.

Thank you, Wilbur, happy listening to all of you, my dear readers, I wish you a wonderful and warm Christmas!
Love,
Madison

The 1940s were a tumultuous time on both sides of the ocean.  Nobody knew who to trust and both sides of the war were looking for allies they could confide in.  During this time General Dwight D. Eisenhower, more commonly known as Ike, was rumoured to have found his calm centre in his chauffeur turned secretary, Irishwoman Kay Summersby. 

England --- England: This girl has much to do with the smooth, efficient running of the working day of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, as he maps out plans for the coming invasion of Europe. Photo shows Kay Summersby, driver and personal secretary to the General. Miss Summersby is a British subject, born in Ireland and has been with the General in North Africa. She can take shorthand at 200 words per minute. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Kay was née Kathleen Helen MacCarthy-Morrogh in Ballydehob, County Cork, Ireland in 1908.  Her father was a black Irish retired Lieutenant Colonel and her mother was English.  In her 20s she moved to London and worked on movie sets and as a fashion model.  At 28 she married British Army officer Gordon Thomas Summersby, divorcing him within a few years, but keeping his name for life.  When Britain joined WWII in 1939, Kay joined too.  She enlisted herself in the Mechanised Transport Corps and quickly became known as a reliable driver after successfully navigating the London streets during the blackouts of the London Blitz in 1940 & 1941.

BELATED V-E DAY CELEBRATIONWhen Ike arrived in London in 1942 Kay was assigned to be his driver.  They worked closely together until 1945 when the war was over and he dismissed her from his staff by letter. “I am terribly distressed, first because it has become impossible longer to keep you as a member of my personal official family. . . .” he wrote.  Kay won multiple awards for her bravery and service in the British army and married stockbroker Reginald H. Morgan in 1952 for a short time.

So why the rumours that they were lovers?  Why would a powerful man working side by side with a smart and independent woman lead to these malicious tales?  If Ike had never become president would their “affair” have stayed under wraps forever?

One major piece of evidence of their romantic connection was the record of their written correspondence, one letter in particular stands out from the bunch. He wrote “Irish– How about lunch, tea & dinner today? If yes: Who else do you want, if any? At which time? How are you? D.”  Her post-mortem memoirs state that she kept this note intact in her personal belongings for her whole life, it was later auctioned off by Sotheby’s in the 1990s.  Another big piece of evidence was a statement by Truman claiming that in 1945 Eisenhower asked him and General Marshall if he could divorce his wife, Mamie, and marry the Irishwoman.  They denied his request and convinced him that it would lead to political suicide.  They just may have been onto something….

Sadly, Kay passed away from cancer in 1975 at age 66.  Her memoirs – scandalously titled “Past Forgetting: My Love Affair with Dwight D. Eisenhower” and rumoured to be ghost written by Barbara Wyden – were released the following year.  If you are looking for more information on this tittilating topic, I would recommend this book as your next read- apparently she spills all the juicy wartime gossip.