Saturday, May 31, 2008

Doggie Daycare, Garden Pests and Hardwood Floors

The dog was created specially for children. He is the god of frolic. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Another stunningly clever title, wouldn't you say?

I took Dakota to doggy daycare yesterday, for the first time. I wasn't sure how she'd do because she's incredibly timid around new things and people. But, I knew her friend (a 4 month-old puppy named Star) would be there because I was dog-sitting him in the evening, so I figured she'd at least have someone familiar.

I got a report card when I picked her and Star up at 3:30. It read --

I had a great time while: socializing with my new friends. I was pretty shy this morning, but as soon as Star saw me, he gave me lots of kisses and I started to relax.

Some of my new friends are: Star, of course :-), as well as Dakota the chocolate Lab, Riley the Golden Retriever pup, Nala the black Lab, Roxy the Golden Retriever, Mollie the yellow Lab, Mojo the Boxer and Bledsoe the yellow Lab.

This is what the staff has to say about me: Dakota is a big sweetheart! She was pretty shy today and preferred to watch the other dogs get rowdy, but she was very curious about everything. Daycare will help her build confidence and relax around groups of dogs.

Isn't that cute?

We'll be taking her in once a week, or once every other week, just for a break. She may be quiet and shy THERE, but she sure isn't HERE.

=============

Dena, you mentioned you had green bugs on your roses. You didn't give a description, but there's a good chance they are aphids (because the really LOVE roses). Don't be mislead by the brown aphids in this picture... scroll down a bit to find the green ones. They are protected by ants who "milk" them, and the ants will attack predators (like the aphids worst enemy: the ladybug). If you're an organic gardener, you can try cleaning them off with a damp rag (maybe with a bit of soap or rubbing alcohol), or you can buy ladybugs. If you aren't , there are plenty of poisons that will kill them. Good luck!

===============

Speaking of pests... it seems it's not a chipmunk or a mole I'm fighting with in my garden -- it's a VOLE. I went in to my local Agway today and asked about my problem, and they said since it's eating the tubers and bulbs and based on the small size of the holes, etc., I had a vole. Dang it. They suggested traps -- but I balked at that. First: I don't believe in randomly killing other critters to get the one I want. If I put out traps, I'm going to catch all kinds of rodents who AREN'T eating my bulbs. That's not fair. Second: I don't want to see it's little corpse. I'm considering a live trap. Is that silly? I can catch him and take him many miles away to a lake area where he can live out his life without eating my plants. Of course, I wonder what else I'll catch?

=================

I can't believe I have all of my edits finished for "Kitchen Matches" and haven't even seen a possible cover yet. Dang, my editor and I are quick! LOL... I hope it's a fun cover. Liv was so serious. Guess we'll see someday soon.

==================

Ahh... hardwood floor installation. It was so much fun the first time around, it seems DH and I are helping my SIL install it at HER house today. Oh. Whee. I've been given permission to only participate part of the day because of Dakota and the DD... thank heavens. I have too much stuff on my plate to lose an entire day.

===================


More Fun Quizzes at QuizPox.com



Too bad the puddles are all frozen solid in January... lol...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Of Weeds and Watering

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

Gardening is a disease, I swear. As if it isn't enough to worry about my own gardens (One of which is under attack from all sides -- moles, chipmunks and deer have all but decimated my front flower garden to the point I'm tempted to dig it all up and plant grass), I worry about everyone else's.

My neighbor spent hours on Saturday planting flowers around her mailbox. She watered them in on that day, and then promptly forgot about them. Yesterday, I couldn't stand it any more...I'd ride by on my bike or walk past and see these nearly dead plants and want to cry.

So I watered them. Twice.

I also weeded another neighbors gardens while our dogs were playing.

I'm telling you, I just can't stop myself.

=============================

I got, and completed, my FLE's (Final Line Edits) for "Kitchen Matches". There wasn't much to fix, except one issue where Cori arrives in a truck and leaves in a car (whoops).

I still need to finish the short story for next week's LASR story. Judy and I have decided we're not running a short story contest again unless we have a backlog of stories! The only good thing is that next week, it's her turn!

===============================

I think it will finally be calm and warm enough today to hatch our Black Swallowtail caterpillars! Yay!! I'll be glad to get them out of the basement. I only hope they all three made it through the winter, or DD will be devastated.

================================




Your Expression Number is 6



You have an outstanding sense of responsibility, love, and balance.

You are helpful and inclined to comfort those in need.

You have many artistic and creative talents, but you only use them to better others.

You are loving, friendly, and appreciative of others.

You have a depth of understanding that produces much kindness and generosity.

Openness and honesty are apparent in your approach to all relationships.

Sometimes, you can be too demanding of yourself.

At times, you tend to sacrifice yourself for the welfare of others.

At other times, you have trouble distinguishing between helping and interfering.



I'm okay with most of that... I'm not so sure I use my "talents" for the betterment of others. And I'm certainly not the most open person in "all" relationships. You have to get to know me before you get to know me. You know? *G*

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rhubarb Cake Recipe & Misc.

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. ~James Dent

Okay... for those inquiring minds who asked, here is the rhubarb cake recipe I made the other day. I'll put the recipe down as it was originally written, and then tell you all the changes I made (I'm fairly certain I have never made a recipe exactly as it was written in my entire life).

============================

RHUBARB CAKE

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups rhubarb, chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup packed brown sugar

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, cream together butter or margarine and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In another bowl, sift together 2 cups flour, soda, and salt. Add sifted ingredients alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture.

Toss rhubarb with 1 tablespoon flour, and stir into batter. Spoon batter into buttered 9 x 13 inch pan, and smooth the surface.

Blend together 1/4 cup butter or margarine, cinnamon, and brown sugar; sprinkle evenly over batter.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes.

======================

Okay, now... the changes I made.

First, and most importantly: I used FOUR cups of rhubarb. And I all but pureed it because I don't like chunks.

I also cut back on the sugar slightly -- I used about 1 1/4 cups. I typically cut back on the sugar in any recipe, because I think they all over do it.

I added quick oats to the "crumble" as well -- about 1/2 cup.

I also ended up baking it for an additional 15 minutes -- that may be due to the extra rhubarb.

This was AWESOME served warm with a scoop of ice cream. I'm also going to try this with different fruits -- blueberries, strawberries, peaches. Yum. If you add other fruits, though, you can probably cut back even more on the sugar.

Oh... and I used half whole wheat flour and added a little wheat germ and ground flax seed to make believe I was being healthy. *G*

Enjoy!

======================

No writing. Did do some thinking about my stories, though, which I think counts as writing even though words didn't go down on the page. I do want to edit Stiller Creek soon, but something ... um... a little nuts has come up with the Long and the Short of It site, so I may not have time for much else over the next ten days or so.

Can you believe that June 9th is the official one year anniversary of the reviews blog? And August 27th is one year for the website. Amazing. It's flown by.

=========================

We're still waiting for a day that doesn't have 25 mph winds to let the swallowtails hatch. It's been warm enough, and their pillar food is plenty big for them to lay eggs on, but the wind!!! Holy cow! It's insane. I want to give them a good start and not have them break their new little wings.

The milkweed is growing like mad, and we're excited to begin our monarch ranching again this year, though I don't believe that started until July (?) last year. I'll have to check my blog posts from last year.

The garden suffered no further fatalities thus far and I added 18 marigold plants around the outside as a general pest deterrent. I'm also going to liberally spread milorganite, which is officially a fertilizer (made from human waste... yes, really. No grosser than using cow poop, is it?) but also helps keep the deer away.

I planted annuals today, too. I did impatiens and portulaca. I just didn't have the brain power to be any more creative than that, though I did go so far as to buy striped impatiens this year, so that's something.

And that is my exciting life *G*. You?

=========================




What Your Latte Says About You



You are interested in only pure and simple pleasures. You don't like to pollute your body or mind.

You can be quite silly at times, but you know when to buckle down and be serious.

Intense and energetic, you aren't completely happy unless you are bouncing off the walls.

You're addicted to caffeine. There's no denying it.

You are responsible, mature, and truly an adult. You're occasionally playful, but you find it hard to be carefree.

You are deep and thoughtful, but you are never withdrawn.



That's fairly close... except for the "never withdrawn" part. Been there, done that, have the bumper sticker.

You?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Quickie!

I've had two unexpected garden casualties -- I lost one pepper (something ate the roots...most probably grubs or cutworms, a POX ON THEM!) and one tomato (I can't figure this one out... maybe the other plants sucked up all the water and wouldn't share?).

The cucumbers all survived the night, though. As did the squash. Phew.

Brandy, I'll post the recipe for the rhubarb cake tomorrow or Friday.

Have a great day all, and enjoy the guest blogger's post, below! Comment and make her feel at home, k?

Welcome Guest Blogger: D. Renee Bagby

Welcome to D. Renee Bagby and a few of the characters from her novel, Adrienne.

Reporter - RPR
Adrienne - ADR
Malik - MLK
Sekhmet - SKH

RPR: Welcome everybody. Today, we're interviewing King Malik and Queen Adrienne of Ulan a kingdom on Bron, which is an alternate Earth. They are the hero and heroine of ADRIENNE, the debut novel of D. Reneé Bagby. As a special treat, Sekhmet muse to D. Reneé Bagby has joined us today.

SKH: Think of me as a fly on the wall. I'm just here to make sure they don't say anything they aren't supposed to.

RPR: OK. *smiles at Malik and Adrienne* Well, your majesties, how are you today?

ADR: I'm great and you can call me Adrienne. You don't need my title.

MLK: As my lady has dropped hers, you can do the same for me. I am fine as well.

RPR: Adrienne and Malik it is then. So, to get this interview started, how is your baby Adrienne?

ADR: *looks at Sekhmet* Is that allowed?

SKH: *shrugs with a bored look* It's a romance novel. Most people assume you'll be married with kids by the end of the book.

ADR: Oh, well in that case. He's fine. He was born December 01, 2007 admist much pomp and circumstance. The uproar of it all drove me nuts.

RPR: I'll bet. The birth of the royal heir is a big deal after all. Was the dad-to-be nervous?

MLK: Impatient. Mushira would not allow the use of magicks to speed along the birth only to dull Adrienne's pain.

ADR: I was in labor for fifteen hours. There was no pain but it was still frustrating and all the people of the kingdom had the nerve to be partying while I was stuck in bed.

RPR: Where's the baby now?

MLK & ADR: With Mushira.

ADR: She doesn't let him out of her sight.

RPR: And his name?

ADR: He hasn't chosen one yet. We're leaving it up to him. I read him names from books all day long, but he hasn't heard one he likes yet.

RPR: How do you like being a father, Malik?

MLK: It is not as hard as Adrienne's father made it out to be.

RPR: *laughs* You have an entire palace's worth of servants helping you raise him. Of course it's easy. Does that mean the second one is on the way?

SKH: *clears her throat and shifts in her seat*

RPR: I'm not allowed to ask about that?

SKH: Adrienne's future children are not up for discussion as that will carry you into the realm of later books.

RPR: OK. *flips through her cards* Am I allowed to ask about the supporting cast?

SKH: Depends what you ask.

RPR: OK. Let's just skip that then. *flips through more cards* Let's talk about the story itself. You two have read it correct?

ADR: Yes, we have. We enjoyed some parts better than others.

RPR: Did Ms. Bagby stick close to the truth?

SKH: Call her Renee.

ADR: She left out many events but stayed true to reality. In some cases, a little too true. Those parts were hard to read.

MLK: *kisses Adrienne's hand*

RPR: Uh, yes. Many readers wondered about the missing trip to the police station. *looks at Sekhmet*

SKH: *waves her on*

ADR: It was a pain in the butt that didn't need mentioning. I had to sit through a line-up and write down my account of the events then convince them -- with Malik's help -- that I didn't need to be present for the trial. All in all, not worth wasting chapter space.

RPR: So that situation is resolved then?

MLK: Just as was mentioned in the novel.

RPR: Good. I'm sure you're glad that's behind you. The readers were also curious about Malik's family. Besides Lady Piper, are there any other relatives?

MLK: My parents were both only children like their parents before them. Most of the royal lines of both Ulan and Kakra never had more than one or two children or most of the children were killed in an effort to assassinate the heir to the throne. As for Lady Piper, she is as much related to me as Hollace. Her family is descendant from a King Kenji's second wife after Queen Iolani was assassinated.

RPR: Sounds lonely. I'm sorry.

MLK: Until Adrienne entered my life, I had not noticed.

RPR: So, I take it you've visited Adrienne's Earth many times since those mentioned in the novel. What do you think of it?

MLK: Inconvenient, yet interesting. After many visits, I learned Adrienne's Earth is not a null planet. Magicks do not exist there but magic does. As I am a student of magicks, I do not and cannot harness or control the magic of Adrienne's Earth.

RPR: I know a few readers were slightly confused by the difference between magicks and magic. Some even thought it was a typo.

MLK: Magicks are an entity. Some believe it to be one of the original gods who shares his powers -- in fact, pieces of himself -- with those with an aptitude to use it. Magicks must be carried in the users body and they can be exhausted and used up if the user does not replenish in an environment where magicks exist freely. However, using magic is -- from what I understand -- merely a matter of knowing incantations and recipes.

SKH: That's partially true.

RPR: Do you care to elaborate?

SKH: Adrienne's Earth -- otherwise known as the Plain Sight Universe because the supernatural beings hide in plain sight yet are not found out -- has magic but the power and ability to use it is hugely hereditary. It's actually dying out because the people with magically abilities continue to have children with the people without. On the other hand, the Conclave Universe has magic all over the place. Say the right words in the write intonation and sequence and any idiot can cast. It's like a gun, just more dangerous.

RPR: Sounds interesting. Can I ask about the Conclave Universe since you brought it up?

SKH: What do you want to know?

RPR: Will there be a book taking place there?

SKH: Yes.

RPR: What's it about?

SKH: Renee has asked that her books not be discussed until they are contracted. As such, I can't answer that question.

RPR: But there will be books set in the Conclave Universe?

SKH: Yes.

RPR: Will there be other Plain Sight Universe books so we can learn more about where Adrienne came from?

SKH: Renee is working on one right now, though the dynamics of the book don't go much into details about what I mentioned before. However, later books will.

RPR: Interesting. Exactly how many different Earths are there?

SKH: Hundreds of thousands. Renee has only opted to write about seven.

RPR: *looks at Malik and Adrienne* Have you two traveled to any others?

MLK: Portal travel is based on knowledge of ones destination. Without a clear picture of where I wish to go, there is no telling where I would arrive. Add into that equation the increased danger of interdimensional portals and the answer is no.

ADR: I'd like to explore so I can find the Earth that Na--

SKH: Too much!

ADR: Sorry. I'd like to explore, but Malik won't chance it. Though, now -- thanks to this interview -- that we've met Sekhmet, she could give Malik a guiding point to use. *hopeful look*

SKH: Renee already has enough characters jumping dimensions. I'm sure she doesn't want to add you two to the mix, so the answer's no.

ADR: No harm in asking.

SKH: There's a book planned for what you want to know. Just wait for that to release and read it.

RPR: That was cryptic.

SKH: Thank you. I try.

RPR: I think that's our time. Did any of you want to add anything before we say goodbye?

ADR: Feyr says hi and he's sorry he couldn't be here. He's busy with... *looks at Sekhmet* ... stuff.

MLK: I wish to know if we can sit in on your interview with Serenity and Melchior in December. Adrienne and I have read their story as well and I am curious to meet them.

RPR: *looks through her papers* Ah, yes. They do have an interview in December. Like you, it's to celebrate their print release. I have no issues with you showing up part way through that we can focus on them before it gets too crowded.

MLK: Good.

SKH: Are we done. My being here is interrupting Renee's work on her current WIP.

RPR: Oh wait, Sekhmet! I was hoping we could schedule an interview with you and Zenobia.

SKH: I'll think about it. *fades from view*

MLK: *opens a portal behind him* It was nice meeting you and we shall see you again in December.

ADR: Bye.

RPR: *watches them leave* I should have asked if I could visit their palace. Eh, well. I'll catch them next time. *gathers her things and leaves*

Visit the author at her website.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's.... Tuesday?

It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato. ~Lewis Grizzard

I hate Monday holidays. They really mess up my already muddled perception of the days of the week!

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?

It finally got warm here! Yay! In fact we got warm enough that DD wanted to play in the sprinkler. You need to understand that we use well water -- absolutely frigid -- and yet, she doesn't seem to mind the temps.

So, I give you a sure sign of summer:



Incidentally, I discovered that Photobucket has an editing program where you can blur faces, so I may be able to post pix of DD a bit more often sans visage. That's always good to know.

I also nearly killed my squash and cucumbers -- I didn't realize how dry every thing got. Between the heat and the wind, by midday (despite a watering in the morning) it was dust dry in the garden. The tomatoes can take some heat and dry, but not squash and cucs. They were laying, wilted and flat, gasping for a bit to drink with their dying breaths.

I watered them thoroughly, and the squash perked up immediately. Seriously, I do believe I could see it moving as it changed from utterly wilted to exceptionally perky. The cucs, though? Not so forgiving. Even after a good soaking, I couldn't see much of a difference. I'll check today, but there are two plants, especially, that I may have accidentally sent to the great beyond. Of course, it's not like I don't have a ton of them, but still...

To those wondering what I'll do with "so many" tomatoes? In this house, there is no such thing. The best part of summer is going out and picking them, giving them a quick dusting on the pant leg and eating tomatoes until you're sick.

Whatever is left, I'll can. IF there are any left. I can buy canned tomatoes any time -- but yummy, vine-ripened, warm from the sun tomatoes? Priceless.

==========================

No writing yesterday. Shockingly, I took the day off. Today, I need to finish my short story for LASR and then start to work in editing Stiller Creek for submission. Then I need to work on Camilla and/or Playing House. They both need a LOT of work. But I love them.

===========================




Your Ice Cream Personality:



You like to think of yourself as a fairly modest person. And it's true that you don't talk yourself up... but you're also pretty happy with who you are.

You are incredibly cautious. You rather miss out on something than make a mistake. No one would ever call you wild... but they would call you responsible.

You are a fairly open minded person with a wide range of tastes. You are quite accepting of unusual ideas and people.

You are a natural multitasker. You feel alive when you're doing more than one thing at a time.

You can be a big dramatic and over the top sometimes. You are bold in every way



Okay... I'm on the fence about the "cautious" one, I don't think I'm THAT cautious, but I do tend to at least give a passing glance before I leap. I am definitely a multi-takser, without a doubt. "Bold in every way". Hmmm... I like that. *G*

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

All we have of freedom, all we use or know -
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.
~Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue, 1899






=============================

For Jen -- I harvested a bunch of rhubarb yesterday, cuz it was in my way.


And the plant still looks like this:


The leaves are great for weedblock in the garden!


I'm making rhubarb stir-cake tomorrow. Yum.

==============================

One of my favorite flowers in my annuals bed -- the gazania:



===============================

I wrote about two-thirds of a very short story that will most likely post on the LASR week after next. Judy and I are being challenged, because folks are only submitting to our short story contest (and who can blame them -- they win a YEAR's free advertising if they win!). But, in the meantime, we have nothing to post, story-wise, until July 1st.

If there are any of you who don't care if you win a year's free advertising, and you have a 1000 -1500 word short romance story... please send it our way!

================================




You Communicate With Your Body



This isn't as bad as it sounds, it just means that you're a "touchy-feely" person.

You need a lot of affection in your life. And for you, this means both giving and receiving little touches.

Warm hearted, you bond with people easily. In fact, you often feel a little sad when you're not in the company of others.

A little moody, you tend to be controlled by your emotions. But a bit hug always comforts you!



Yep.. that's about right (except the feeling sad when I'm alone part... I do enjoy my alone time!).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Days of My Life

Weather means more when you have a garden. There's nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans. ~Marcelene Cox

So.. Saturday. DH was feeling better (we'd dosed him Thursday and Friday with zinc, vitamin C, Echinacea, and oregano oil) but it was far too windy to go boating. So he stayed home and puttered. The lawn is cut, the vehicles washed and he hung out with some family who dropped by unexpectedly.

I put in my veggie garden. I think I may have overdone it a bit. It doesn't look like I did, but when stuff starts to grow? Oh boy.

Here's what it looks like now:


I planted peas and potatoes and cucumbers (along with my monster rhubarb plant):



Tomatoes and corn:


Peppers and squash:



And here is DD's private garden with one of everything except squash (because it takes up too much room):


Told you it didn't look like much. But for those of you who garden, you'll understand when I give you numbers...

18 Tomato plants
12 Pepper Plants
16 Cucumber Plants
8 Potato Plants
20 Corn plants
3 Squash Plants
25 - 30 pea plants

All in a fairly small area.

Wish me luck.

It wasn't all work, tho. DD found a friend (that's her releasing him back where she found him... she'd carried him around a while first):


Here's a closer look (I think he was having a drink in the dribbles from the faucet):


Isn't he cute? We found a bunch of little toads hopping around this afternoon. They must be waking up.

===========================

I got another good review for "One Love For Liv" from the Gotta Write Network. Kathy rated it 4/5 and said, in part:


One Love For Liv was an enjoyable romance of a heroine completely out of her element, and a hero who is, at heart, a hero. Liv has absolutely no concept of how to perform the job assignments she received from Mike, so she has ingenious alternatives - primarily to have others do it for her. I particularly loved when she went grocery shopping. Mike knows that it is risky to trust a stranger, but he can't not help someone in need. It is just an innate reaction, just as he kept the ferret that was left in his apartment, and brings leftovers for the local stray dog. I simply adored Mike.


So far, so good!

============================

Did you know that The Wild Rose Press offers free reads? There are several up now, and they add more each week. What a great chance to sample various authors for free and see if you like their style. Click on the following links for non-erotic and erotic free stories.

Have fun! I know I did :-)

============================




You Are Cowboy Boots



This doesn't mean you're country, just funky.

You've got a ton of attitude and confidence.

You're unique, expressive, and even a little bit wacky.

You wear whatever you feel like – and you have your own sense of style.

You are straight shooting and honest. You tell people how it is.

Low maintenance and free wheeling, you're always up for an adventure.

You should live: Where you can at least get to wide open spaces

You should work: In a job that allows you to take change



What is it with these quizzes saying I like change and adventure?? I don't, really, I don't. And, I don't think I'm high maintenance. Otherwise, though? Pretty close.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Murphy, Pillars and Releases, Oh My!

“There are only three certainties in this life. The laws of physics, the laws of Murphy and death.” - Unknown

My DH has been waiting for Memorial Day since last November (okay, I'm exaggerating a little, but not by much). He's dying to go boating. Guess what?

Remember Murphy? Yeah, he and I are getting to be close, personal friends.

DH has come down with a cold. That wouldn't be enough to stop him, but it's also extremely windy, and expected to be thus all weekend long. So, instead of having a happy DH and DD (who loves to go out on the boat), I will be stuck with a sick, frustrated DH and a bored DD for this lovely three day weekend.

*sigh*

At least I'll get my garden put in. And yesterday we saw a yellow swallowtail butterfly, so I figure it's safe to let our three black swallowtails hatch. If DH and DD stay home today, I'll do it today. If I happen to catch them when they hatch I'll take pictures. After all, I know you're all waiting on pins and needles for the next season of "Pillar Place". Aren't you?

=====================

Have you ever had this happen: You pick up a book and begin to read. You recognize that it's a GOOD book, with the kind of voice you usually enjoy. You can see that you (and most people you know) would really enjoy this book. And, yet, you can't bring yourself to read it?

I have a book like that. I got it for review, and it's funny. It's well written. The voice is exactly what I usually LOVE to read. The few chapters I have read make me realize that, every other day of the week, I'd thoroughly enjoy this book. But... I can't seem to hunker down and read it. Every time I think about it, I'm filled with dread and find something else to do (scrub the toilets, scoop the litter box, mop the floor).

What is wrong with me? Bother.

========================

I can't believe I forgot to join in the celebration yesterday -- but my friend, Allie Boniface, had her first print release: "Lost in Paradise" is officially available in print!!! Woo!!

Incidentally, in case you didn't know, or had forgotten, "Lost in Paradise" is one of the books I'm giving away this month in my website contest.

It's a great book. You'll LOVE it. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.

==========================




You Know Your States



You got 9/10 correct.



You've got a pretty good handle on US geography.

There's a good chance you've visited at least a dozen of the fifty states.



Yes... there are benefits to homeschooling. I even know which one I got wrong, LOL. You?

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Post With No Title

I've learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. - Martha Washington

Note to anyone who doesn't have a dog: A Halti (or Gentle Leader) is NOT a muzzle. (Edited to add: This in NOT my dog, but is a picture I swiped from a pet supply store to illustrate what the Halti looks like):



It is a system to help keep your dog from pulling on the leash. If I have one more person ask my why my dog is muzzled, I may scream. Just saying.

=====================

Dru, I don't think "Kitchen Matches" will be released in print because it's so short. Sorry :-(

Melissa, I'll take pix of the front of me soon -- when I took the picture I posted yesterday I had NO MAKEUP on. It's frightening, and I didn't want to be responsible for the trauma.

======================

Does anyone from the East have an answer to why folks here don't use their front doors? I was gabbing with my DH and he doesn't have a good reason, despite having been raised here. It's the strangest thing. Many people don't have walkways to their front door, or clear the snow. Some folks even put huge decorations on their front step -- like those decorative wooden wheelbarrows with flowers -- so that you couldn't use your door if you tried.

I have NEVER seen this anywhere else. Thoughts?

========================

I think I'm going to write a Free Read for the Wild Rose Press, just for fun. Have you seen those?

Speaking of short stories -- you can win all kinds of free advertising in the Long and the Short of It's short story contest. Check it out!

=========================




Your Response is: Stay Calm



You don't have much of a fight or flight response.

In fact, you rather do neither. You don't like getting worked up.

You are able to approach most threats calmly and rationally.

You don't let your emotions get the best of you!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Locks of Love and Kitchen Matches

Hair brings one's self-image into focus; it is vanity's proving ground. Hair is terribly personal, a tangle of mysterious prejudices. ~Shana Alexander

I suppose I should try for cleverer titles to my blog posts, but... hey... I'm a "tell it like it is" kinda gal.

First off, I couldn't stand my hair any more, so I donated again. It's a little (okay A LOT) shorter that I wanted it, but it's such a relief. All you folks who say you want thick, curly hair? You have NO idea... I have so much hair that my head hurts all the time when my hair is long. I was headache free yesterday for the first time in MONTHS.

My hairdresser tied up my hair in a ponytail to cut it -- yes it's UBER frizzy because she brushed it. You can't brush curly hair without dire consequences.



Then she started cutting just above the rubber band. And she cut, and cut and cut. And changed hands and cut from the other side. And cut, and cut, and cut. Finally, she stopped, laughed and said, "I need a hacksaw!"

She did finally cut off the required ten inches. And left me with this:



And so, I start the cycle over again. Well, maybe not. I may keep it short. We'll see how it goes, because it really does feel fabulous. To be honest, I barely care how it looks!

=============================

I've been haunting my author page at Samhain, waiting to see the "coming soon" cover for "Kitchen Matches". Today, lo and behold, it is UP!!! Now I know my exact release date: August 12th. YAY!

My second round edits are done, and the manuscript is headed for a FLE (Final Line Editor). The cover is being drafted and I'm interested to see what the artist comes up with.

In the meantime, why don't you head over and see what the blurb whiz at Samhain came up with (from my lame attempts at writing a blurb) -- click here.

What do you think?

=============================

You know Murphy...? Of "Murphy's Law"...? Yeah, me, too. In fact, I met him yesterday. I'd mentioned on Monday that my cucumbers that I'd planted from seed well over two weeks ago hadn't peeked their little heads above ground, right? Well, today I looked all over the place until I finally found the type I wanted -- a little expensive, and each plant was in its own little pot (no cute, inexpensive six-packs for me... oh no). I bought six plants. I was so relieved to find them I almost cried.

You know what's coming, right? Yep. I got home and brought my new plants over to where I'd been keeping the dirt and peat pots that hadn't grown into cucumber plants. Since THE MORNING plants grew. Only two so far, and they really aren't even above ground, just the upside down "U" of the stem just beginning to emerge.

But, darn it... they're growing. It may be that I'll have twelve cucumber plants in my garden this year. Anyone want some?

======================




What Your Fridge Says About You



You like to be surrounded by things you love. You aren't exactly greedy, but you can be materialistic at times.

You tend to be a fairly thrifty person. You splurge occasionally, but you're mostly a saver.

You are a very adventurous person. You love to try new things, and you get bored very easily.

You are responsible, together, and mature. You act like an adult, even when you don't feel like it.

You are likely married, possibly with kids.



Okay, yeah... except for that new things part, I'm good with this.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Welcome Guest Blogger: Adelle Lauden

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to blog with you all today. I thought I’d start off by answering a question I’ve been asked on more than one occasion: what is Biker Fiction?

It was in 2006 that I first dipped my toe in the publishing pool. I sent out a contemporary inspirational novella titled Juliana. Shortly after, I signed my first contract with Forbidden Publications. For some time after, I genre hopped. I tried my hand at several genres, trying to conform to the trend at the time. I became frustrated, not happy with the words I typed. I wish I could remember the exact person who gave me some sage advice after I expressed my frustration, to which she replied, “Write what you know.”

These four small words made all the difference. You see, I’ve lived the ‘biker’ lifestyle most of my life. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some call me old school. It used to be that all bikers shared a common bond, a code of ethics. Contrary to the bad-assed bikers portrayed in the movies for the most part, we are a group of men and women who take respect, solidarity, integrity and family very seriously. I have made it my mission to change the image of bikers...one book at a time.

That being said, I had a very dear friend, Faith Bicknell-Brown, who happens to be a top-notch editor, ask me if I’d be interesting in writing a biker fiction book for Wild Child Publishing. Of course, I was thrilled with the prospect and outlined Iron Horse Rider. Much to my delight, I signed a contract before I’d even written the book! I worked my butt off during NaNoWriMo in 2007 and finished the rough draft. The rest is history.

Iron Horse Rider portrays a man dealing with the death of his beloved wife. I wanted to show people that bikers are much the same as anyone else. We feel the same emotions, shed the same tears...and when we fall in love, we do so with the same passion we experience riding in the wind.

One reviewer said: "Laudan has crafted a remarkable story of grief and love. We feel Shane’s grief and his loss rends our heart. Filled with vivid description and unexpected surprises; scene after scene we are carried along for a wild ride to a shocking finish."

Iron Horse Rider 2 – Coming Home, released yesterday, May 20th and Iron Horse Rider 3 is in the works. The response I’ve received from readers has been humbling to say the least. Bikers, who have read my work, have expressed their approval at my attempt to show them in a new light.

Biker Fiction isn’t all about the motorcycle; it’s also about the journey. I hope to show the extreme passion with which we live life—there is a lot more to being a biker than buying a motorcycle. If you just buy a bike, you are a motorcyclist. Being a biker is a way of life, a proud way of living we hold in high regard with a burning passion for the open road.

Shortly after Iron Horse Rider was published, I entered a book, Smiling Eyes, in a call for submissions at Freya’s Bower Publishing. Much to my surprise and delight, I won 1st place for their T.R.O.U.B.L.E line. Smiling Eyes is a story of healing. How a young girl’s life changes after the death of her mother, and how the gentle spirit of a biker/handyman, keeps her from harm’s way.

So, what is Biker Fiction? It can be any genre, romance, suspense, even inspirational. My hero or heroines share the same passion as I do for the open road. They also live by the same code as I do, where honesty is more than just a word. I invite you to read one of my books and see for yourself what I am trying to accomplish. Both Iron Horse Rider and Smiling Eyes are available in print and eBook. Iron Horse Rider 2 is now out in EBook, with hopefully print to follow. All those who sign up for my newsletter between now and May 31st will be entered in a drawing to receive their choice of a print copy of Iron Horse Rider OR Smiling Eyes. You can sign up on the main page of my website.

I’d like to thank Marianne and Long & Short Reviews for giving me this opportunity to blog about Biker Fiction. If you have any questions, just comment here and I’ll get back to you asap.

Until next time...

Wishing you Miles of Smiles :-)

Adelle ‘Legs’ Laudan

Adelle Laudan lives in Southern Ontario, with three of her four children still under her wing. There are three things in her life she is most passionate about: Family, Writing, and Motorcycles. Adelle is known to write with a depth of emotion that sometimes surprises even her. Her characters are as real as the situations life puts them in. It is her belief, if she can evoke any emotion from her readers, whether through laughter or tears, she’s accomplished what she set out to do. Join Adelle on the many twists and turns her stories will take you. Be sure to fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be a ride you won’t soon forget.

My website – http://adellelaudan.com/
My blog – http://adellelaudan.blogspot.com/
MySpace – http://myspace.com/adellelaudan

Watch a trailer of Adelle's book:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday Twittering

I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation. It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from and Old Manse

First off, to answer a question from yesterday:

Dru, it'll be easy to add the 200 words I need -- probably more, actually. The first thing I'll do is go through and check all the places I used "it" and be more clear about what "it" I'm talking about. I already did it for the first 25 pages, and added 100 words. If you consider I have nearly 250 pages, I don't think adding the words will be a problem. Unless I find I have entire scenes that aren't necessary. Heaven forbid!

====================

I got my second round of edits back for "Kitchen Matches". These will prove more difficult, which I expected. The first round always tends to be the overt grammar problems, etc. Once those pesky annoyances are out of the way, the editor can hunker down and pay attention to places I've said two different things about the same person or address continuity issues. "Kitchen Matches" has its share of those problems because I did massive overhauls to the story three times, and it's easy to miss things.

I need to have them back to her by the end of the week, so will be busy working! We're aiming for an August release date. Yay!

=====================

Didn't do much outside yesterday (aside from let the dog drag me around on my bike -- I swear she's like a horse. I'm going to hook her up to a cart one of these days!). It was windy (!!) and cold (about 55 degrees).

Um, hello? Mid-May, here. **sigh**

I did buy my tomatoes and peppers. Then I realized I hadn't started my squash seeds yet. AND, my cucumbers don't appear to be germinating, which is really bad because it's a variety I can't find at the nurseries.

========================




You Are a Salty Person



When it comes to snacks, you're more likely to grab a bag of chips over a bag of cookies.

There's a good chance you're male (men prefer salty snacks)...

Or at least, you feel very comfortable in male dominated environments.

Your taste tends to be complex, sophisticated, and adult.

You tend to crave your favorite restaurant meal... or mom's cooking.



Now, see... I disagree with this. Of course, it really does depend on, um, what "time" of the month it is. I always like to help my bloat along by eating LOTS of salty snacks just prior to that "time". :-)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Gone to the Birds

My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather. ~Loire Hartwould

I'm really excited! I picked up a new species of bird as a regular on my feeder: the Baltimore Oriole! I had two on my tree a couple weeks ago, and noticed they didn't eat, so I researched it and discovered they are primarily fruit eaters. I have a handy screw on my platform feeder, just begging for half an orange, so I put one out, and have had regular visits from them.

This is NOT my photo, but aren't they lovely?



Additionally, I've been visited quite a few times by a male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak -- not only are these lovely birds, but they have the most amazing song.

Again, not my photo, but had to show you how pretty he is:



And, I was thrilled to discover that my cardinal couple -- after being AWOL from the feeder all winter -- has returned. Along with all the many goldfinches who visit us, I hardly need flowers to have a colorful front yard.

========================

I am happy to report that I made time to write on Sunday morning and put the finishing touches on the first draft of my mystery!! Woot! I'm about 200 words shorter than I'd like, but that's easy to fix.

========================

The Long and the Short of It has suspense author Lisa Jackson in the author spotlight this week and we're giving away two of her books!! One, her latest entitled "Lost Souls", is in hardback and BOTH books are autographed. Swing by every day to learn how to enter. This is one giveaway you don't want to miss.

==========================




Your Body's Element is Air



You are competitive, assertive, and dominant.

You live to win, and it really makes you angry if you lose.

You are brilliant and competent. No matter what you're doing, you know your stuff.

People tend to be intimidated by your intelligence. It's hard to measure up to you.

Your energy tends to be: ebbing and flowing

Your power color is: white



Gee... I sound sort of scary. Am I? LOL...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

For Dru

I almost forgot... I was going to answer your questions from yesterday about DH taking down the trees.

You asked: How easy is it to chainsaw through a tree? And wouldn't it fall as you got to the other side? How big is the tree that DH could pick it up and then drop it? I know nothing about tree-cutting and find this all very interesting.

1. How easy is it to chainsaw through a tree?

It is TOO easy, LOL, which is why so many men with chainsaws think they can. When we first moved in here, DH and a BIL took down a TON of trees in our backyard (NH is just thick with them). In a matter of minutes, you can saw through a pretty decent sized tree.

2. And wouldn't it fall as you got to the other side?

The way DH does it is to cut a wedge out of one side (the side he wants it to fall on), and then makes a cut on the opposite side. Despite what folks may think, trees actually fall pretty slowly, and if you're paying attention, there is plenty of time to move away. The problem we had with the beech tree was that it was leaning toward the lawn, so despite all our efforts it fell the wrong way (and yes, foolish folk that we are, we even stood behind it and pushed... to no avail).

3. How big is the tree that DH could pick it up and then drop it?

When I said DH "dropped" the tree between our two apple trees, I meant that's where it fell when he cut it. Green trees, even small ones, weigh far too much to lift. The problem with that tree was it began falling ON the apple tree, so DH walked over to the trunk and gave it a hard shove as it fell in order to move it the foot or so it needed to drop right between them.

And, Dru -- for all the tree-cutting info you could want, feel free to ask Judy. She and her DH do that kind of stuff for a living (and, yes, she make a comment about amateurs when I talked to her about this *G*).

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

Sunday Smatterings

"The future starts today, not tomorrow." - Pope John Paul II

Spent the day alone (except for the dog, and resolved to put her in doggy day care the next time DH and DD go fishing). I'm terrifically behind in updating my own website and the LASR one, and am also helping a friend with line edits on her WIP. Plus, the weather was lovely and the green, growing things called my name.

In between all that, I watched "The Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Two Towers". I think my mom ended up with "Return of the King" on the move. We had a tendency to buy only one copy of movies we both liked when she lived here, but this is proving to be a real problem now. I'm making a list of the movies I wish I (still) had -- like the original Star Wars series on DVD (funny thing, that -- I have the real original Star Wars series on video, then the updated ones. How many times am I going to have to buy the blasted things?), and now "Return of the King", and the first "Pirates" movie. I'm sure there are more. OH... "Titanic".

Oh well. I'd trade all the movies in the world to have my mom close by again. *sigh*

In any case, I thought I'd share some flowers with you -- photography credits go to DD.

This is some unknown flowering tree I got from the Arbor Society ten years ago:



And the small-leaf rhododendrons are blooming:



Dakota smiles for the camera (I think she's pretending to be a bulldog - she's been hanging out with her English Bulldog friend, Bugsy, too much):



===============================



What Your Blue Outfit Means



You're a classic girl with an impeccable sense of style.

Down to earth you project a loyal and honest persona.

You are sweetly feminine - a strong, tough guy can't resist you.

Designer match: Prada

Signature accessory: Fur lined leather gloves



I chose "blue" cuz I'm normally in jeans, LOL. But, fur-lined gloves? Uh, no. I'm beyond "anti-fur".

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Give a Man a Chainsaw...

God in His wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.
~Ogden Nash, "The Fly"


A week or so ago, DH was out looking at our apple trees. We have two. One is covered with flowers, the other has, maybe three. He wondered, and contemplated, and considered and decided it was because we have too many other trees shading that area.

Yesterday, he took care of most of that problem. Being the equal opportunity kind of guy he is, he took down a beech tree, an oak tree, and a maple tree. The good news is they're all hardwood, so we can burn them next winter. The bad news is he dropped one--the beech--on my apricot trees. I lost one completely and the other is, um, a little shorter than it used to be.

It could have been worse. He nearly dropped it on the very apple tree he was trying to save. He risked life and limb to give it a shove as it fell, and neatly dropped it between the two apple trees.

Oh, and my rhubarb is a little worse for wear.

I'm telling you, the man is a menace with a chainsaw.

====================

Earlier in the day, I was outside working on the back flower garden, moving things around and weeding. Dakota was on her remote trainer and running hither and yon. On one of her "yon" trips, she did a loop through the woods. She probably wasn't there two minutes. When she trotted to me, she had numerous ticks on her head! ACK!! Most were deer ticks, nasty, tiny little buggers. Apparently they are REALLY bad this year. She's already had one embedded in her tummy. And they're so freakin' small, it's hard to find them. Of course, she's on tick stuff, so they die eventually (within 24 hours), but it doesn't repel them. One of the ticks on her head was RED. I don't think I've ever seen a red tick.

In any case, I picked them off and squished them. But later, when DH took down the trees, my job was to drag all the branches into the woods. You know, the woods where Dakota picked up all those nasty creatures. I was sure I was covered in them. I could all but feel them crawling on me. The moment I was done, I hurried in and took a shower and scrubbed about four layers of skin off my body, as well as giving my hair a very thorough shampooing.

Ick. Ick. Ick.

Did I say ick?

========================




Your Independence Level: Medium



In some aspects of your life, you can be very self reliant.

Making your own informed choices feels great.

But you aren't as independent as you could be.

When things get stressful, you sometimes run away from the hard decisions you need to make.



I don't think that's very true... Hmm...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday's Feast 191

A library is a hospital for the mind. ~ Anonymous



Appetizer

What is the nearest big city to your home?

We live near the biggest city in New Hampshire: Manchester. But with a population of merely 107,006 it doesn't really qualify. I'd have to say Boston, MA -- ringing in with a population of 589,141.

Soup

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how well do you keep secrets?

I'd have to say 9. I mean, after all, you didn't know about that time I... erhm... never mind.

Seriously, though, I'm a world class secret keeper. Feel free to share yours *G*.

Salad

Describe your hair (color, texture, length).

I have thick (not just how much hair, but each individual hair!), dry, frizzy, super curly, impossible to tame reddish-brown (going to gray, *sigh*) hair. My hairdresser tells me she cuts more hair off my head for a "trim" than most people HAVE on their heads. I have yet, in 41 years, learned how to deal with it so most days I pull it into a braid or a ponytail.

Main Course

What kind of driver are you? Courteous? Aggressive? Slow?

I drive the speed limit (thereby annoying everyone else on the road), I obey the traffic laws, and I let people in when they need it. That said, I also despise pushy drivers, and nothing annoys me more on the road when someone does something like zoom past me in a lane they KNOW is ending (or on the shoulder), just to get four cars farther ahead and then try to shove their way in. In those cases, I admit to having a tendency to kiss the bumper ahead of me and then look straight ahead (I don't see you....) -- hmmm, am I really that passive aggressive?

Dessert

When was the last time you had a really bad week?

Last week. That's all I'll say. I have NO desire to relive it.

=========================

Yesterday, I looked into doggy daycare for Dakota. I think I'm going to start putting her in one day a week. I hate to spend money on something that isn't really necessary, but honestly -- I need one day for my sanity. I took a tour of the facility and they even have an indoor pool for the dogs!! In fact, for $20 you can reserve the pool for you, your family or friends, and dogs for an hour on the weekend. How cool is that?

Anyway, she'll go in for an "evaluation day" next week where they'll see how she does, see what group of dogs she'll fit in with for the playtimes, etc., and then I think we'll start the once a week trip the following week.

Yay. Freedom!

==========================




What Your Taste in Music Says About You



Your musical tastes are upbeat and conventional.
You are an easy going, optimistic person.

Family and friends are very important to you.
You enjoy caring for and helping other people.

You thrive in a tranquil environment, and you do your best to keep things peaceful.
You enjoy your life. You have your priorities straight.



Uh. No.

I am, possibly, the least optimistic person you'll ever meet, LOL...But, fact is, this quiz didn't give me "real" choices and I had to select the lesser of evils. Oh well.

::shrugs::

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

"There seems to be a kind of order in the universe, in the movement of the stars and the turning of the earth and the changing of the seasons, and even in the cycle of human life. But human life itself is almost pure chaos. Everyone takes his stance, asserts his own rights and feelings, mistaking the motives of others, and his own." - Katherine Anne Porter

Just FYI, one of my older short stories is posted as the Free Read at The Long and the Short of It today.

===================

Also, if any of you purchased and read "A Change Of Heart", I'd love if you went back to the Wild Rose Press site and left a review. You can do that on the "buy" page of the story. Thanks! And, I hope you enjoyed it :-)

It's the number two bestseller in the Yellow Rose category, but hasn't hit the front door, overall best seller list yet. :::fingers crossed:::

====================

I got the first round of edits back for "Kitchen Matches" (and, yes, it seems we're going to stick with that title after all, lol). They aren't so bad, phew! Maybe I am getting better at what I do, but it's clear that an author can't edit herself well because some of the things I look for (like words that distance: felt, heard, saw, smelled, etc) and the dreaded "THAT" still slip through. Not as many as used to be there, but still... when you consider how many times I check for those things, it's frustrating to still miss them.

=====================

Dakota has taken some form of a puppy pep pill. Seriously. There seems to be NOTHING we can do to wear her out. Yesterday she went on FOUR bike rides -- each of two miles or more. Understand that she runs full out the entire time, usually holding the leash in her teeth and pulling me. She also went outside twice to fetch the ball, and once just to run around on her own while I watered. And she was still bouncing off the walls all day long.

Dear heavens. A word of warning: DO NOT GET AN IRISH SETTER. EVER.

And, I don't care what the breeder says, she's at LEAST 3/4 Irish Setter, lol.

========================

Another picture from DD -- the maples trees leafing out:



And the model horse grandma got DD for her birthday:



=============================


Your Score: Much Ado About...


You scored 35% = Tragic, 52% = Comic, 29% = Romantic, 33% = Historic



You Scored Much Ado About Nothing!

First published in 1600, Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare's most enduring comedies, and probably his most performed to this day.

Much Ado About Nothing tells the story of two pairs of would-be lovers and the hysterical events that happen surrounding the wedding. As Claudio and Hero prepare to marry, Don Pedro and his friends, bored with the length of preparation time, take it upon themselves in the meantime to play matchmaker to Benedick and Beatrice, two sharp-tongued would-be lovers whose love for each other is masked by the "merry war of words" in which they are engaged that both of them are too stubborn to lose.

Based on your results, we believe you to be a quick-witted, light-hearted romantic who is probably very charming and charismatic. While your stubbornness may sometimes get the better of you, we are confident that you always eventually come to your senses and do what's best. You probably have a lot of friends and we like you too!

Link: The Which Shakespeare Play Are You? Test

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Released! A Change of Heart!

"I want to escape the unrest, to shut out the voices around me and within me, and so I write." - Franz Kafka

My scheduled guest blogger was a no-show today, which actually worked out well for me since it's my release day!!! Now, I can do all this, and not feel guilty:

It's finally HERE! Yay! And the winner of yesterday's contest for a free PDF copy of my story, "A Change of Heart" is AMY!! Amy, email me a marianne AT mariannearkins DOT com and I'll get that out to you.

This story was a challenge I made to myself. I wanted to take a cliche (the secret baby cowboy story) and set it on its ear a bit. That ear-setting was one of the first things my editor mentioned when she contracted the story. I hope you all enjoy it as well!



Excerpt:

When the bell over the ice cream shop entrance rang, Emily dried her hands on the towel hanging from her waist. She stepped through the doorway, a smile on her face. That smile froze as hard as a fresh bucket of ice cream at the sight before her.

Jacob Langley.

"Hey, Emily." He said it like it had been six days since the last time he'd seen her instead of nearly six years.

"Jake." Her throat was tight with fury and hurt and she could barely speak. "What do you want?"

"Some of that caramel peanut butter ice cream on a sugar cone if you don't mind." He flashed his best grin.

Did he think they were still best friends like they were all through school? Had he forgotten what he'd done to her? Worse, what he'd done to Casey? If he thought she'd let him stay in her place any longer, he was mistaken. "Sorry. We're all out." Emily's gaze never wavered, her smile didn't thaw.

"Funny, I'm looking at it right there in front of me." He pointed through the glass case.

She tapped a sign behind her. "Then I guess I'm exercising my rights."

He pursed his lips and read the bold, black words printed on the white board: We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason.

Click here to buy your own copy of this 80 page story!


=============================

To the folks who asked me to do a blog post on creating a book trailer... I'm certainly no pro! It was agonizing for me, and was actually the second I'd created (I played around with one for "Pregnancy Cravings", but it's just not good enough to show anyone at this point).

Still, I'll keep that in mind for a post at a later date after I've messed around a bit more and get better at it!

Thanks.

==============================

Some pictures DD-- the budding photographer -- took yesterday:





And a picture I took -- the dog was looking for DD and when she found her it was full speed ahead and a tackle:



=======================




Your Mind is Green



Of all the mind types, yours has the most balance.

You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver.

You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns.



You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).



It isn't easy being green. You knew I had to say that, right?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New Review for "A Change of Heart"!

Lookie what I stumbled upon -- another great review for "A Change of Heart" (releasing TOMORROW!):

Four Hearts from Maura at The Romance Studio:

The author of this story packed a lot of story into a small package and does it with great skill. The characters are very real, none of them too perfect or too evil. ... The author does a good job of reintroducing the characters to each other .... Bode is also a great character who realizes just how great Emily really is. He seems to be the one person who recognizes Em’s beauty without having it pointed out to him, making him the smartest person in the story in my opinion. The author does a wonderful job of describing small tourist town life as well.

Yay!!

So Busy and Contests!

A good book is always on tap; it may be decanted and drunk a hundred times, and it is still there for further imbibement. ~Holbrook Jackson

Do you ever get so busy that you forget something important? Yanno, like an upcoming release?

Cuz, I did! My next story with The Wild Rose Press comes out tomorrow and I all but forgot. I also forgot to do anything to celebrate, so I'm going to give away a copy of it to one lucky blog commenter from today! It releases tomorrow, so I'll make the winning announcement tomorrow morning so, if you don't win, you can hurry on over and buy it! ***VBG***

Here's the scoop on the story:



Returning to Wyoming after a six-year absence, Jake Langley finds more than just changes in the now run down family ranch. His warm feelings for a former girlfriend have cooled, and he finds himself drawn to her sister and his former best friend, Emily. His discovery of the sisters' well-kept secret, however, upsets his long-term plans and sets duty against his heart's desire. Now, four hearts and four lives will be changed, forever.


Check out my first ever trailer made by ME!!



It's a little blurry, which is odd because it wasn't on Movie Maker.

========================




You Are a Carousel



You are young at heart and a truly playful person. No one would ever accuse you of taking life too seriously.

You are definitely in things for the fun. You find joy easily, and you are often building up anticipation for your next adventure.

In relationships, you tend to want to be babied and taken care of.

And while you may be a bit high maintenance, you are incredibly loyal.



Your life is simple and satisfying. Each day you treat yourself to something you enjoy.

You have a lot of emotional attachments, and experiences are extra vivid to you.

You tend to be nostalgic and sentimental. The past is important to you.

Comfortable around all living things, you have a special connection to animals and children.



At your best, you are whimsical, free spirited, and creative.

Even if your schemes seem a bit strange, they usually work out wonderfully.

At your worst, you are spoiled, demanding, and impossible to satisfy.

You've been known to act like a brat if you aren't getting your way!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Collages and Contests

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

So, Saturday Groovy asked me what I use the collage for. I actually post the collage of whatever my current WIP is as wallpaper on my computer and use it to remember what my characters look like! LOL...

I'm only partly joking about that. As I've mentioned before, I frequently travel from one story to another, so it's easy to forget what color hair someone has. I also like to remember some of the important things in a story, and that's easy to lose sight of.

So, I have collages for most of my WIPs.

Return to Stiller Creek:



The Possibility of Forever (Formerly Camilla's Critters):


One Love for Liv:



You saw what I have for Kitchen Matches. I'm still working on one for "Playing House" and "Queen and Assassin" (that one will undoubtedly be the toughest, since it's a fantasy).

Yes, I do use the pix of the H/H and pets to send to the art departments of both publishers. But, mostly I do it for me.

========================

~~~permission to forward granted~~~


The Long and the Short of It's First Annual Short Story Contest

It's said everyone has at least one story inside them. This is your chance to let yours out. The Long and the Short of It is seeking the best new short story 1,000 words or less.

So... put on your thinking cap, dial up your muse, and give it a shot. The story must be a romance and must end with a HEA. PG-13 or less, please. You can see samples of the types of stories we're looking for by checking their short story archive here.

The Grand Prize Winner will receive, in addition to publication on The Long and the Short of It website, a banner for their blog or website, one year free book cover/banner advertising, six months author pages, plus an award certificate suitable for framing.

First prize will receive publication on The Long and the Short of It website, a banner for their blog or website, six month author page + three month free book cover/ banner advertising, plus an award certificate suitable for framing.

Second prize will receive publication on The Long and the Short of It website, a banner for their blog or website, three months book cover/banner advertising, plus an award certificate suitable for framing.

Five honorable mentions will receive publication on The Long and the Short of It website, a banner, plus an award certificate suitable for framing.

TWELVE DOOR PRIZES (randomly drawn from all participants):

One copy of Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress

Six autographed books

Six goodie bags

Please send your entry via email (lasrcontests @ gmail.com-- no spaces) with the subject line: Short Story Contest: NAME OF STORY

Your entry will be provided to our judges with all identifying names removed and will be scored by a rating system.

Deadline for this contest is June 14, 2008. The winners and runners up will be posted July 1, 2008. By entering the contest, you agree to allow The Long and the Short of It to publish your entry on the LASR website. All stories chosen to be published will be archived for a period of six months following publication. All rights revert back to the author at that time and, at the author's written request, the story will be pulled from our archives.

============================
What's Important to You... And What Isn't:
For you, primal needs like eating and sleeping are your top priorities.
You don't mind having things to get done... as long as they don't pile up on you.
You have trouble giving time to any of your priorities. You life is too busy and chaotic.
You want thinking to be a high priority, but you don't take enough time for yourself.