Sunday 4 June 2023

This Summer, Take Time to Unplug by Sweet Romance Author Catherine Castle...

Statistics I found on the internet suggest that on the average people pick up their cell phones about 58 times in a single day. The top 20 percent of users spend more than 4.5 hours on their phone just on a weekday.  Although many of those pick-up times might only be, at a minimum, only a couple of minutes to check email or delete scam calls or texts, they add up.

I don’t know how many times  a day I pick up my smartphone, but if I’m being honest, I’d say I look at it a lot. Whenever an unknown-caller rings me, I pick up the phone after it stops plinking and delete the number so I don’t accidently hit redial the next time I remove the phone from my pocket. I do the same with spammy texts and emails. I check and answer my email several times a day. I text my daughter and best friend several times a day, and answer when people I know call me. I go the “Fount of all knowledge”, aka the internet, anytime hubby and I have a conversation and I wonder about a word, or have a question, or when I’m writing something and I need to answer a research question.  Sometimes I peruse Pinterest while watching television. Most of the time I keep the phone in my pocket, a habit I got into when I was home alone and wanted to have the phone close by because I’m a klutz  who falls a lot. The phone on my hip or in my pocket was my “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” security blanket. The one thing I don’t do, however, is look at it during a dinner conversation lull while eating with friends or family ocasions. I also spend as little time as possible on social media and that’s all related to my job as an author.

Hubby and I are just back from a lake retreat where we were unplugged from social media. Our mornings at home at the breakfast table often include our cellphones while we check our emails, blogs, and social media stuff before we begin the rest of our day.  

While we can look out at our hillside garden and hear muffled bird calls as they land on the porch railings and trees outside, we are essentially cut off from nature’s sounds and sensations. Here’s the view at our house from the breakfast nook.

The garden view from the breakfast nook

Our long, lingering breakfast on the screened porch at the lake looked like this.

Breakfast at the lake

Trilling bird songs entertained us all day long, the breeze blowing through the screens ruffled our hair, kissed our cheeks and cooled us as the sun crept into the porch, and the lapping of the water against the docks soothed our souls. I wish my blog had the ability to show videos, because I recorded at least 2 minutes of birdsong to play when I came home. I loved listening to the birds!

Our phones may have been sitting beside us, but the scene in front of us and the songs of the birds overwhelmed any urge to bury our heads in the tyranny of social media. Instead, we sat back and only used the phone to record the birdsong and photograph the beautiful, serene lake in front of us. The only screens we spent time on at the lake were our computer screens as we were working on our WIPs. The uninterrupted time was fruitful, too, as plot problems were ironed out and manuscripts reworked.  

My peaceful time on the lake porch reminded me of my youth when I’d take an armload of library books onto the front porch of my home and read all day long while the breeze rustled the leaves of the trees shading my summer reading nook. Back then, there was no internet, no computers, and no cell phones. If you wanted to communicate with someone you visited them or called on the landline telephone. If you lived too far away to visit or call without incurring long-distance phone charges, you sat down and wrote a letter. We did have a landline, but we didn’t even have an extension phone, just a long cord on our only phone. I would drag the phone into another room so my parents and sisters couldn’t hear my conversations. There wasn’t even call waiting, so Mom would often yell, “It’s time to hang up! You’ve been on that call too long now! Someone might be trying to call us.”

Yep, our six days at the lake were a bit of heaven for more than one reason.

Then we came home.

I have a mountain of emails on my smart phone. Honestly, I’m dreading slogging through the list. However, I will dig into the emails and do what must be done.

But I have to tell you, I can’t wait to unplug again!

What about you? Have you unplugged recently? Do you want to do it again?

Multi-award winning author Catherine Castle loves writing. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems. In addition to writing she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, FB or her blog.

Check out Catherine’s romantic comedy A Groom for Mama available on Amazon and  Barnes and Noble in Ebook or Print.

What readers are saying about the book:

Four stars Dec 03, 2017 Cyrene Olson rated it really liked it

Uncaged Review: Allison’s mother is very ill but in order for her to try out more tests, to find a cure - Allison must find a husband. As fate would have it her ex-boyfriend Jack runs an online dating service, but finding a groom won’t be that easy as Allison first thought.

I really enjoyed this book and even if the subject matter is a little sad. It is still a very romantic story. I loved Allison as a character as I felt I could identify will her and what she was going through, due to similar c Uncaged Review: Allison’s mother is very ill but in order for her to try out more tests, to find a cure - Allison must find a husband. As fate would have it her ex-boyfriend Jack runs an online dating service, but finding a groom won’t be that easy as Allison first thought.

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.


  1. Welcome to my humble abode, Catherine. Unplugged and ready to hang with you for the day. Cheers for your wise words and digital detox strategies, my friend!

  2. Thanks for hosting me,Sharon. I’ve been taking my own advice so I apologize for my delayed reply.

    1. No worries, Catherine! Now, go unplug! Cheers!