Thursday, April 30, 2009

Living With Wildlife, Part 2

Our suburbs are stretching a little closer to the woods, and we like living in the woods. We enjoy the wildlife, so we're now a bit closer to where the predators are.” - Stephen Zawistowski quotes

The past three nights, DH and I have been awakened around midnight to screaming. Okay, it's not people screaming... it's this (go listen to the YouTube video, I'll wait -- you need to hear it to get the full affect of why it's been such a rude awakening for us):

That's a Fisher Cat.

What makes this even more amazing is... yesterday morning, before anyone but the dog and I were up, Dakota laid at the back door, staring out like she always does. Then she started growling... then louder... then "oof-ing". I looked, and saw nothing until ... HOLY COW! An enormous fisher cat popped out of the woods and sauntered across my lawn. The thing was just HUGE -- maybe two-thirds the size of Dakota. I've seen them before, but not this closely and never one so large. Dakota wanted to get out there and take him on, but fisher cats are very nasty buggers, and she'd have been torn to pieces. The articles I've read indicate that very large males can reach 20 pounds, but that's unusual. I'm guessing mine is one of those. Yikes.

So... no lions and tigers but even so, the wildlife count this year is through the roof.


I heard from the owner of Resplendence Publishing two days ago. A very nice email and request to resubmit. I might do that. I'm making a few changes in the story first, but there was a reason I'd wanted to submit to them in the first place. So, kudos to Resplendence for making it right.


You Are a Burrito

You're not a picky person. You're able to go with the flow and really enjoy life.

You have a taste for the exotic, and you're quite adventurous. You're willing to try almost anything.

You're very low maintenance. You don't mind getting a bit messy if it means having fun.

You aren't superficial or easily impressed. Someone has to be the real deal if they're going to impress you.

Except for the "adventurous" part, this is pretty close to right.

Plus, I love me a good burrito... mmmm....


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What, When, Where, Why, How with Laurel Bradley

Good morning and WELCOME Laurel Bradley!!

What danger would you choose: the three sadistic mob hit men about to drag you back to the evil twisted drug lord or the gargoyle with blood dripping from his talons?

Oh, that’s easy...the gargoyle with blood dripping from his talons. The dripping blood tells me he’s already eaten and since humans are the only creature that kills for the heck of it, I’m safe. Right? Besides, I’d really love to spend some time chatting with that gargoyle. What does it eat? How does it breed? They’ve been around for centuries and have a long world view. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to hang on the sides of buildings. What has he seen? Why do gargoyles always have such pained expressions on their faces? Are they in pain? Is there something I could do to help? I’d love to invite this one to live at my house if it’s not too big. Maybe it knows of a little one that would like to relocate.

I have a friend who has a small faux rock gargoyle that sits in front of her house holding a sign that reads, “Go away.” I think it’s hilarious.

When do you wake up in the morning?

I wake up at seven o’clock in the morning when my husband puts a steaming cup of coffee on my bedside table. The coffee is exactly the way I like it: scalding hot with more milk than coffee. I know I’m spoiled. My husband is wonderful. It doesn’t happen every morning, maybe two of three times a week. I never expect it, so I’m always pleasantly surprised. And, as you can imagine, I’m always very appreciative. Yes, my husband has brothers. Five of them, but they’re happily married, as well. Sorry.

Where is the best tourist spot in your town?

I live in a lovely small town. While we have a cool, newly reconditioned, 440 Union Pacific train engine, caboose and station on the main drag and a fair ground with stock car and snowmobile racing, our best tourist spots are the surrounding lakes and a small ski hill located out of town. Let me tell you about the ski hill. It’s amazing. It costs $2 for children (6-14), $3 for a student ticket, and $4 for an adult. It’s run by volunteers and open Saturdays and Sundays when there’s enough snow. The chalet was built using donations. It’s a testimony to community spirit.
The funny thing was, I asked two of my kids this question. My sixteen year old daughter raised a brow and said, “McDonalds?” Did I mention that we live in small town?

Why is that man wearing RayBans kept staring at you?

Because my future is so bright he needs to wear shades to see me. ((laughing))
Actually, it’s my seventeen year old son. I have the car keys. He and a buddy are doing a Blues Brothers number for the talent show at the high school tonight. It’s a reprise. When they did it last year, girls swooned. Did I mention he looks like his father?

How would you react to a meteorite crashing into your Jacuzzi?

Funny you’d ask.

My darling husband and I enjoy sitting on the deck watching the stars from our hot tub. You can see a lot of stars out here because nights are dark thanks to the low light pollution.

We have a running joke about UFOs. A national radio show highlights such things. It’s the only station the old radio in the bathroom gets. People call in to describe what they’ve seen. Invariably UFOs are described as being a color never seen before. My hubby likes to spot the odd airplane, adopt an accent, and point out the “UFO.”

So, there we sat one night, trying to identify constellations, teasing each other about UFOs, and catching glimpse of the odd shooting star when, “plop.”

“What the...! Something just fell from the sky.”

I look at my husband, certain he’s teasing me. “Oh, yeah. That darned UFO dropped something. Nasty outer space polluters.”

“No, really.” He fishes around the tub, earning a few giggles and hand slaps before finally coming up with a pebble from heaven.

He flips on the underwater lights.

We examine his find. I’m tempted to say it was combination of colors we’d never seen before, but really it’s an irregular, roughly oblong shape, about half an inch long by maybe a quarter inch across. It’s glossy, silver, and smooth. Frankly, I think it looks suspiciously like the remnant of smelting.

I have it around here somewhere.


Would I make up something like that?

Laurel Bradley lives in Wisconsin with her husband and five children. She is a liaison for Wisconsin’s Romance Writers of America and a frequent contributor to their newsletter The Write Touch. She enjoys talking to book clubs and writing classes about her writing, publishing and marketing experiences. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys painting with watercolor and creating Ukrainian eggs.

To book an appearance or find out more, visit her online at

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Living With Wildlife

Next time you have some weeding or a bit of pruning to do, start looking at plants and ask yourself: 'What made that hole in that leaf?' or 'What's living in that hole?' You start to look at your garden in a completely different way.” - Ken Thompson

Thanks all for your kind words regarding my not-so-good experience with Resplendence Publishing. I hope their non-response was an honest mistake, but I admit to finding it difficult to believe they misplaced three different emails.

I imagine I'll be overhauling "Return to Stiller Creek" a bit and resubmitting somewhere, but we'll see. It's one of those stories I've been messing with for so long, I dread returning to it. So, it'll sit aside for a bit first until it's not so fresh.

In the meantime, I'll be working on my fantasy and, most likely on "Drive Me Crazy" (if I could just get the two of them into the truck!). I'm desperate to get something finished again. It's too easy to get out of the habit of writing and submitting.


So... I've decided that living with wildlife is beyond frustrating. We all know my VOLE problem (still ongoing), but yesterday I took a walk around the estate (har, har) and discovered that the deer have eaten down ALL my hostas. To nubs. Sure, they're going to grow more because they've only just started coming up, but now that the deer have found them, any bets they'll be back?


And it's only April. What's next?


You Are a Ponytail

You are energetic, laid back, and a lot of fun. You are ready for whatever life throws at you.

Your idea of style is looking presentable. You prefer simple, well fitting, and neat clothes.

At your best, you are productive, inspiring, and full of live. You love to be active.

At your worst, you are hyperactive and frenzied. Sometimes it's hard for you to calm down.

Hmmm.... some yes, some no...


Monday, April 27, 2009

Writing Woes

"Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the most. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out the window." - William Faulkner

Happy Monday!

I didn't make my writing challenge goal over the weekend (7500 words), but I did write (2000 on one story, 1000 on another), so that was something. Still, it was frustrating to struggle to write. I have the stories in my brain, but when I try to put them on paper, it's nearly impossible.

Speaking of stories, I've withdrawn my submission of "Return to Stiller Creek" from Resplendence Publishing. When I initially submitted, I received an auto-reply that indicated my submission was rec'd and that they respond in 6 - 12 weeks. I waited twelve weeks with no response, so I emailed them (per the instructions in the auto-reply). Waited 10 days with no response. So, yesterday, I emailed them a request to withdraw the story from consideration.

Clearly they publish authors, so I imagine they respond to some people. I'm not certain why I was unable to get a response from anyone. It was disappointing, to say the least. My first truly negative experience with a publishing house.

I'm shelving Stiller Creek for now until I decide what I want to do. Should I make the revisions requested by the editor at Samhain, even though I disagree strongly with one of the suggestions? Should I let the desire to see it in print slip away and submit it to The Wild Rose Press? Or should I see if I can add an additional 10k words so that it meets the print guidelines for them? Should I look for a completely different publisher? I'm not sure what the right answer is, so will mull it over for a bit.

Today, with any luck, I'm going to till my veggie garden and put in the cold weather crops. Tuesday will be our last truly warm day, and then we'll be going back to the usual temps for spring in NH. The planting guidelines here are -- no planting "soft" crops (annuals, tomatoes, peppers, etc) until Memorial Day. Last year our last frost was about 3 weeks prior to that, but the one time I disregarded that "rule" and planted the Friday prior to Memorial Day, it SNOWED the next day. So, now I listen.

My wild turkey has found a friend, and brought her to visit the other day. I haven't seen them in two days, though, and hope they are okay. Maybe she's laying eggs? I'd love to see a little flock of babies in a couple months.

How was your weekend?


You Are Vitamin C

You are responsible and good at taking care of yourself. Your health comes first.

As far as you're concerned, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

It's likely you eat well, exercise frequently, and avoid stress.

And because of this, you're quite healthy and free from illness.

Um... not really.


Sunday, April 26, 2009


Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker

I don't want to sound as though I'm complaining...but...

It was ninety degrees here yesterday.


In April.

In New Hampshire.

I haven't even tilled my veggie garden yet -- had planned to do that this weekend so I could put out the cold weather crops like carrots and peas.

But it was too hot to put out my cold weather crops. Anyone else find that ironic?

I'm not too worried, though, because by mid-week, the temps are dropping thirty degrees again. After this weather, 65 degrees is going to be frigid. I worry when this kind of thing happens, because it encourages the more delicate plants to start growing and then -- WHAMMO! -- it freezes again and kills them.

Not that it matters, really, since the Cunning Voles of Doom are doing a bang-up job killing everything anyway.

Yesterday, I was looking out my front window at my pretty grape hyacinths that are just beginning to bloom when a vole ran across my "vole repellent" and started to nibble on the greens. A short time later, DH was putting out ant traps and saw a vole having a snack on my peonies. I wondered why they weren't coming up as well as they usually do.

I've been doing massive amounts of research on vole control, and the two really effective poisons for them are illegal in New Hampshire. My options? Snap-traps (ugh) or anti-coagulant poison (ugh, again). The snap traps I don't like for two reasons: I don't want to have to handle their little corpses AND they're random -- so I could catch squirrels, chipmunks and heavens knows what else. And the anti-coagulant poison is torture, plain and simple.

So... what do I do? I'm at my wits end. One of my true joys in life is gardening, and it's become such a stressful situation, I'm not sure I shouldn't just dig everything up and plant grass.


Judy and I are in the midst of a writing challenge: 7500 words in two days. In fact, I still have 6000 words to write by tomorrow morning, so I will bid you adieu. Have a great Sunday!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm Giving Away Stuff Again!

Hey all... Samhain Publishing is having a "Spring Fling" scavenger hunt, and today is MY DAY! Want to win "One Love for Liv" in eBook? go here:

What, When, Where, Why & How with Lynn Reynolds

Today, I give you a special edition of WWWWH with Lynn Reynolds!

Lynn, what would you do with a million dollars?

Whenever I hear that question, I think of The Barenaked Ladies song:
If I had a 1,000,000
I'd but you a house
If I had a 1,000,000
I'd buy you furniture for your house ( maybe a nice chesterfield or an ottoman)
If I had a 1,000,000
I'd but you a K-car ( a nice reliant automobile)
If I had a 1,000,000, I'd buy your love

It goes on and the things he promises to buy get ever sillier, until he's talking about buying gourmet dijon ketchup for his Kraft macaroni and cheese. I don't think I'd buy anything that quirky if I had a million dollars - for one thing, I don't think I'd like dijon ketchup. I think like most of us these days, if I had a million dollars, I'd do a lot of practical sensible things.

First off, I'd put a bunch of money aside to pay my son's tuition. He has Asperger's Syndrome, a kind of mild autism, but he's very bright. So he goes to a phenomenally expensive school especially for bright kids with learning issues. Every year has been a struggle to pay the bill, and with the current economy - next year, the money runs out. He'll finish eighth grade there, but we won't be able to send him to the high school. Unless I get that killer story idea, of course. Hmmm. Maybe something about a 108-year-old vampire who picks up girls at the local high school science lab. Think anyone would buy that one? Nah, probably not.

So after I pay tuition, I'd probably buy a different house - a big old Victorian. Maybe I'd even get a small farm and add a few goats and chickens. No horses. I have a friend with a horse farm, and once I saw the per-horse poop quota, I decided to forget the horse farm. Not unless I can afford to hire a strapping young farmhand to clean out the stables. But wait! If I have a million dollars, I guess I can hire that strapping young farmhand after all. Might be a few objections from the darling hubby on that point, though.

Maybe forget the horses and the strapping stablehand. Maybe I'll just take the darling hubby on a sexy Mediterranean cruise.

When do you write?

There have been times in my life when I have had a very nice regular writing schedule, usually several hours in the morning or late at night. But this has been a pretty hectic year, so I pretty much write whenever I can. I carry my notebook around with me and jot random thoughts and ideas down throughout the day. I tried getting a voice recording so that I could also record ideas while I'm driving, but that was a bad idea for two reasons. For one thing, trying to listen to myself talk is downright annoying. I always feel like I sound entirely too much like Lucy in the Peanuts cartoons. And for another thing, it turned out to be really distracting fiddling with all those itty-bitty buttons while weaving in and out of city traffic!

Where did you last shop?

If we count virtual shopping experiences, I just went to QVC last night and bought the spiffy new Free To Be All Natural Makeup kit from Bare Escentuals, my favorite cosmetics company. I have really sensitive fair skin and Bare Escentuals makes mineral makeup with no artificial colors and preservatives. It's expensive, but I'm worth it.

As far as face-to-face shopping experiences - well, that's kind of sad. There was the new seat cushion at Salvo Auto parts and the entire new wardrobe for my son, whom I think has grown about four inches in the last couple of weeks. Wait, I'd better check - he probably went up another size while he was sleeping.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Well, considering relativity, I'm not sure that he did. Maybe the chicken stayed right where it was and the road moved.

I just had to Google this joke when I was asked this question. I didn't come up with any particularly good answers, but I did discover this early version from a magazine called Potter's American Monthly in 1890:

Why should not a chicken cross the road?
It would be a fowl proceeding.

Now that's what I call historically funny.

How would you feel if you discovered you had the back of your skirt caught in the back of your panties and your assets showing?

I would like to think I'd be cool and calm and unflappable at a time like this, but a lot would depend on which panties I was wearing at the time. And where I was. At a nightclub, in the dark, wearing the leopard print booty shorts - hey, that might not be so bad. At a PTA meeting at my son's school, wearing those big grey mommy pants with the hole in the waistband - well, then I'd probably just want to die. But I wouldn't be that lucky. I'd have to see those people again and again and again. So that's probably where something like this would happen - because that's how things work in my corner of the universe!

Lynn Reynolds has been writing ever since she could hold a pencil. She's a city girl currently trapped in a split foyer in Green Acres.Sharing her captivity are the tall, dark and handsome Matt; the always loud and hyperactive Chris; and Tiger, the lethargic wonder cat. She writes romances because she really does believe in Love at First Sight and Happily Ever After. Her first book, Thirty-Nine Again, will be released by The Wild Rose Press on June 12, 2009. Visit her website at to check out a really cool trailer for the book or to sign up for her newsletter. Or visit Lynn's blog at .

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Day After

“Your Birthday is a special day, one that's just for you, a time for doing everything, you have always wanted to do..." - Author Unknown

It was a good day, yesterday. Busy. Fun. Fattening.

Best part? Surprising DD with the ear piercing. We walked into the mall and stopped at the main area (where there just happened to be a Piercing Pagoda).

I said, "What do you want to do first?"

She shrugged.

"How about getting your ears pierced?"

Her eyes got WIDE and she asked if I was joking, and then asked if Daddy would mind.

She was terrified. But she was a trooper. And now she has holes in her ears.

We cruised the mall. We went to Toys R Us and got the Nerf bow she wanted.

We went to Olive Garden, where I pretty much told her she could have anything. We ordered an appetizer: calamari! She asked what it was when she saw the menu. I said, "Squid." At that point, she HAD to try it.

She liked it. Said it was chewy and a little bland.

We had soup, salad and breadsticks. Yum. And then black tie mousse cake for dessert. They sang, she blushed and blew out the candle.

It was good.

Today, she was up early and is gone fishing with her daddy as well as a couple other family members. I made a point of singing to her at 5:37 a.m. Good thing she was already up, or it could have been ugly! *G*


You Are a Dreamer

You are primarily concerned with possibilities. You tend to be a fanciful person.

All of the world's opportunities sometimes overwhelm you.

You are obsessed with ideas and tend to be a big thinker. Theories interest you greatly.

You crave intellectual stimulation. You are drawn to a philosophical way of life.

Mostly right. Judy hates it when I IM her and say, "I was thinking..." -- it makes her shake in her shoes. *G*


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Writing and Turkeys and Birthdays, oh my!

Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again. ~Menachem Mendel Schneerson

So... those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook know that I actually managed to write some words on Tuesday. Not very many, but I think they were good words. AND, they helped my solidify my H/H's first (and last) kiss from high school. You know, the one they NEVER TALK ABOUT. Yeah, that one. My poor hero, Zach, is obsessing about it on his drive to my heroine's place.

It felt amazingly good to write. I forget, sometimes, when I'm so busy I can't breathe how much I crave the action of putting words to paper (or letters to laptop screen). It's as though the tension builds in my brain and I have to let some out or run the risk of having my poor head explode.

It was only a few hundred words, but it helped. I need to do that again. I can't figure out how Zach is going to get Syndey to cooperate, so am stuck in that scene right now, but I think I'm going to hop ahead to the scene where Cori, Cori's mother, Syndey and Michah's mother are discussing the upcoming wedding (this story takes place just over a year since "Kitchen Matches"). I'm also considering the bachelor party. Hmmm.... dunno. But this story is going to be one I write out of order, that much is clear. To be honest, I don't care how it's written, so long as it IS written.

How about you? Do you write your stories in order? Or do you write miscellaneous scenes and them sew them together like a patchwork quilt?


The wild turkey has visited my feeders every day this week. On Tuesday it stayed for nearly three hours! I think I'm going to buy it some cracked corn today. I'm a little afraid to get too attached: there are two turkey hunting seasons in NH and one of them starts soon.

Still, I think I need a name. I noticed that it has a "beard", and I've researched it and discovered that females don't -- not even little ones. I think he's a young tom, still finding his way in the world. Aside from the name, Tom, anyone have ideas?


Today, DD and I are celebrating her birthday. It's a day early, but tomorrow she is going fishing with her dad. We're going to run a few errands and walk the dog first thing so Dd is tired enough not to mind being crated for several hours. Then it's off to the mall.

She doesn't know it, but she's getting her ears pierced. I'd planned on waiting until she was 14 (like I had to wait!), but I really think she's ready and I know she'll remember it forever.

We're also going to Toys-R-Us to get her a bow and arrow set. She's been asking for one forever, and they sent her an ad book with a small set in there. We'll probably hit up AC Moore for some art supplies as well.

We'll browse (she loves to browse... that's my girl) and putter and then it's off to lunch at the Olive Garden.

I'd intended on taking her to a movie, too, but with the dog we can't do the mall and the movie, so we're going to Blockbuster and renting "Bedtime Stories". We'll pop some popcorn and watch it at home. The next best thing for her last day of being nine years-old.

What about you? Do you have any plans today?


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What, When, Where, Why, How with Maggie Toussaint

Give a big blog welcome to today's visitor: Author Maggie Toussaint!

What character would you pick to model your hero: Captain Kirk or Spock and why?

Great question! Captain Kirk, natch. He has charisma in spades, thinks on his feet, delegates the boring stuff, and radiates sex appeal. Captain Kirk could slip right into the shoes of Devlin Temple in NO SECOND CHANCE. They’re birds of a feather.

Where would you keep a pet rhinoceros?

I’d put it out back, in my mother’s yard. This would benefit us both. It would drive the neighbor’s always-barking dogs crazy. When the rhino had enough and charged through the fence, the dogs would get their comeuppance. Of course, Hope Farrier of NO SECOND CHANCE would want me to put the rhino in her lower pasture, but I’m not sure how rhinos and horses get along.

When would it be appropriate for a hero to have the compulsion to sing top 40 songs in lieu of conversation to the heroine?

When he want to tap dance around the issue of where their relationship is going. Naturally he’s crazy about her, but he can’t admit it until she says the magic words, or joins him in song. She’s baffled by his sudden musicality, can’t sing a note, and prompts him to sing even more. Both my heroes, Jake Sutherland and Devlin Temple tap danced a bit around their feelings, but neither of them broke into song. IF they’d thought about singing, Jake would have sung classic rock lyrics and Devlin would be a show-tunes singer.

Why is vanilla ice cream white when vanilla extract is brown?

A little vanilla goes a long way. Some vanilla ice cream is spotted instead of creamy due to the use of chopped up vanilla beans. My brainy heroine in HOUSE OF LIES, Hannah Montgomery, told me so.

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie-Roll pop?

None! One chomp and you’re there. This was confided by my very direct hero in HOUSE OF LIES, Jake Sutherland. He gets right to the heart of every matter.

A scientist by training, a romanticist at heart, Maggie Toussaint loves to solve puzzles. Whether it’s the puzzle of a relationship or a who-dun-it, she tackles them all with equal aplomb and wonder. Maggie’s cozy mystery from Five Star, IN FOR A PENNY, is about a terrible golfer trying to save her best friend from a murder rap. Her three other published works are romantic suspense books, one of which won Best Romantic Suspense in the 2007 National Readers Choice Awards. Her day jobs include freelancing for a weekly paper and leading a yoga class.

Visit her at

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Miscellanea

A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

Hey... I'm giving away an autographed copy of "One Love for Liv" today for Humor Month. Want it? Then go enter!!

Speaking of book, I finished "Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading" last night. Was disappointed to find there were NO ZOMBIES (C~ you lie like a dog ), and was VERY glad I never have to go to high school again. By the time I hit the middle of the book, I could NOT put the thing down. Things were such a mess and I knew I wouldn't be able to stop thinking about it if I didn't finish it. Of course, now I want to know what happens NEXT year to Moni and Bethany (and the very hot Jack, of course). *sigh* Darcy, Charity... well done, you.

It's raining. I know we need it (it's been a DRY "mud season"), but I really do prefer sunshine. Wish there was a way it would rain every night and clear up by dawn -- no need for sprinklers, never a rained out barbecue, no droughts. Yep. I think that is a stellar idea!

Started my two days of dog food yesterday. I find it's far easier to spread things out. Cooked up 20 lbs of chicken quarters in my canning kettle. They are in my second refrigerator now (aka the garage -- man, I miss having that convenience in the summer) while the broth cools and the fat rises to the top and hardens so I can toss it. Today, I'll cook veggies in the defatted broth this a.m., let cool, smash and mix together. It really is getting easier to do every time.

Haven't been able to sleep well the past few nights. My hips hurt... reminds me of how they ached when I was preggo. No. I'm not pregnant. I think it's just age, lol. Still, it's a drag. I need my sleep.

Going to write today. Seriously. AM. GOING. TO. WRITE. I got mostly caught up on my "must do" list yesterday. I only have a few things that I MUST DO today. Then, I AM GOING TO WRITE.

FYI: Brandy and Groovy -- I buy my curriculum early because it is ON SALE. I'm all about the cheap. I got free shipping AND saved $125 on the package because I bought it at a showing. Yay me. It actually arrived yesterday and DD wanted to read all of the books for Language Arts. Um, no. LOL...


Your Soap Opera Name is Claire Florence Spaulding

The Fourth

The fourth. Do women get to be "the fourth"?


Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Miscellanea

Let no one think that real gardening is a bucolic and meditative occupation. It is an insatiable passion, like everything else to which a man gives his heart. ~Karel Čapek, The Gardener's Year, translated by M. and R. Weatherall, 1931

The family "thing" yesterday exhausted me. For whatever reason, those things are terribly stressful for me. DD had a FABULOUS time, though, and I'd attend for that reason if no other.

My talk with the voles apparently stirred them up as I found two new holes in the gardens in front of my house and they got one of my crocus bulbs (thus far, they'd limited themselves to the greens). Going to make Vitamin D peanut butter balls and drop them down the holes, I guess. Frustrating.

We had a wild turkey at the bird feeders yesterday. Cracked me up. One of my tube feeders hangs a little low and if the turkey stretched her neck a bit, she could eat from it. Of course, she pecked so hard it would swing pretty violently, but she figured it out. It always amazes me how big wild turkeys are AND how smart, considering how incredibly stupid domestic turkeys can be. I imagine she'll be back as this is her second visit that I've noticed (though the first time, she only ate off the ground).

DH saw a bluebird yesterday, too. They are so gorgeous. Made me think about getting mealworms to put out to see if I can attract more. I really love the colorful birds, but they are more difficult to attract. Last year I had a pair of Orioles, but had to keep half an orange on my feeders constantly. I think I'll put out hummingbird feeders this year.

I've been struggling to write the past week -- I just sit and stare at the computer and nothing comes. It's driving me batty. Going to try a couple tricks (going to write the first scene of "Drive me Crazy" from Zach's POV just for grins, for instance) and see if I can't get the juices flowing again.

I planted cucumber, squash and tomato seeds a couple days ago and have them in my spare bedroom (which gets nice, full sun). I should have done it all a little earlier, but just keep forgetting. DD bought seeds for purple and orange striped carrots that we're going to plant outside this week. She asked if there is a way to keep the swallowtails from laying their eggs on the greens because we can't bring those inside (the greens die), so I am going to have to rig some sort of netting to discourage that. It's not as though we don't have plenty of parsley, rue and dill in the garden! Silly bugs.

A friend mentioned that she'd heard there is an invasive plant locally that looks like milkweed but is actually toxic to monarch butterflies. I've tried to find information about it online, but haven't been able to. If anyone out there has heard, I'd sure love more information.

DD turns TEN this Friday. We're going to celebrate a day early (because DH is fishing on Friday and DD wants to go). I have a couple of surprises in store for her. I think it will be a good day. I can't believe she's ten. Where does the time go?

I was notified that our next year's curriculum was shipped and it made my heart go pitty-pat. Why do I get so excited to receive the new stuff? We're trying a new curriculae next year as I wasn't thrilled with what we used this year. We enrolled DD in the Abeka DVD Academy. She'll watch a DVD every day with a teacher giving the lesson and then do the work in her work books. The lesson plan is already done (yay) and I'll have all the tools I need to help her, too. Hopefully she'll respond well to this.

That's enough rambling for now. I still have nearly half an hour to try to write something before I have to wake up the house! Have a great Monday.


Your Sunglasses Say You're an Artist

You are clever, unique, and a total nonconformist.

Your sense of fashion is based on your own personal creativity.

You need to be shaded from the mundane parts of life.

You feel sunniest when you can express yourself freely and without judgment.



Sunday, April 19, 2009

Case of the Crankies

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. ~Winston Churchill

Had a cranky day yesterday. It started when I found that one of Suzanne McMinn's goats had died unexpectedly. I know, I know... it wasn't even MY goat, but it really made me sad. **sniff** We've watched those little babies grow up, so it was rough. I can only imagine how hard it was on her and her kidlets.

Then it was overcast. Blech. So, all my plans went out the window. And TODAY, when it's sunny and nice? We have a family "thing" and I can't work outside in my garden (::grumble, grumble::) and tomorrow it's going to rain.

Ah well... this too shall pass.


I spent some time yesterday talking to my voles. Yep, really. Stood outside the holes I HAVE found and gabbed. Told them if they wouldn't destroy my gardens I wouldn't kill them. Seems like a fair exchange.

Honestly, so far I haven't seen any more damage. I'm not expecting that to last, however, so I'm doing some research into what they won't eat... which isn't much, sadly. Still, I'm going to try some tricks (surrounding the root balls with weed block before I plant, etc) and see if I can't discourage them. I am on the hunt for some pretty daylilies (NOT orange or yellow -- everyone here has orange and yellow and I want to be different) because they don't eat them (nor do the deer).

It's frustrating. I've managed to work in concert with all the other wildlife. Yes, the chipmunks sample my garden, but they don't eat THAT much (though I do get testy when they take one bite out of several large tomatoes). The deer haven't decimated anything but my tulips in some time. The bear? As long as I pull in my bird feeders at night, he leaves us alone.

But these doggone voles? Sheesh... the most destructive thing I've seen. And they are so SMALL.

So, the war continues.


I've been pondering first lines on Twitter and Facebook the past couple of days. If you haven't given your two cents worth, feel free to chime in.


Your Inner Retro Girl Is 1980s Girl Next Door

Or at least, that's what your heart is.

Oddly... this isn't far off, really. LOL...


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring is Really Here!

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time. ~John Lubbock

Yesterday, DH and DD went fishing. Yep...the boat officially hit the water for the first time this season. "Ice Out" isn't official yet, but it will be soon. Still, even though the Mount Washington may not be able to make its tour of the lake (which is how they determine Ice Out), a small boat CAN.

DH didn't catch anything, but my FIL did -- two big lake salmon. And he didn't want them, says they are too much trouble to cook. DH brought them home. I'm not usually a salmon fan -- but I've found that's because I don't like farm bred and ocean salmon. Lake salmon? A whole different ball of wax. It was, on the whole, a good start to fishing season.

And it was a beautiful day. Sunny. Warm (almost 70!!). A slight breeze. Ahhhhhh...

Dakota and I were home alone and it was lovely. I had a TON of work to do, but who can spend a day like that on the computer? So, I worked a bit, then took the dog for a LONG walk (and realized just how out of shape I truly am). Worked a little and then sat out on the front step and read. Worked a little and then weeded my little flower garden out front. Worked a little, then played ball with the dog.

What I like best about spending the day alone? No schedule. No one to consider before I act. I feel like walking? I walk. Feel like eating? I eat. Feel like dancing naked in my living room? ... Okay, I didn't do that. But I COULD HAVE. And that is very freeing. I really am a solitary person by nature, and spending my days and nights with people (even people I love) is very stressful.

It was a good day.



You Are Dusk

You are a naturally idealistic and creative person. You look forward to nights where everything is possible.

You spend most of your energy on play. Work is okay, but the true you emerges after the work day is done.

You're an offbeat type that doesn't like rules or schedules. Life's too short to waste at a desk in a cube.

Whether you spend your night socializing or working on side projects, you like that your time is yours.

Um... no. I'm in bed with the sun and up before it. Some of the other is true, but not the rest. I give this quiz a 50%.


Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm Not Ignoring You...

Methinks I see the wanton hours flee,
And as they pass, turn back and laugh at me.
~George Villiers

Hey all... I know I haven't been visiting blogs much this week -- you're there in my Google reader, beckoning me, but this week has been NUTS. I haven't forgotten you... I promise. I MISS YOU and will try to catch up this weekend. I hope.

Have a wonderful day!!

Great Deals for .99 Cents!

Thrift means that you should always have the best you can possibly afford, when the thing has any reference to your physical and mental health, to your growth in efficiency and power. ~Orison Swett Marden

Warning: Blatant promotion coming up below. I haven't done that in a while, cuz I haven't had anything to promote. So.. anyway...

How cool is THIS? The Wild Rose Press has ALL it's rosette length stories on sale for $0.99! This includes MY rosettes, if you're interested and haven't already bought them.

I was very impressed with Magic. Although not a long story, it had tremendous character development for seven characters. I loved the camaraderie between them, and would love to revisit this group. As for Ben and Cass, I do wish it had been a little longer, but only because I hated the story to be over. I am definitely looking into additional stories by this author. - Katherine, Joyfully Reviewed


Marianne Arkins has created a light-hearted, fun short story. Patrice’s dedication to hunt down snacks of all kinds will bring a smile to the reader’s face. The playful bantering back and forth between Patrice and Joey is delightful to watch. The realism of a comment or statement being misunderstood is a nice building block for this plot. Although this story was told in less than twenty pages, it is no less enjoyable. This reader was glad she decided to stay up those extra minutes to read it. Pregnancy Cravings is a well-written story that follows two innocent bystanders and one pregnant girl’s interesting food choices. 4 Angels! - Shayley, Fallen Angel Reviews


Miles From You is a touching, heartwarming story of love and hope. I loved it! I felt as if I was living in the age along with the characters, as if I could feel the tears Millie cried and hear Paul’s voice as he said good-bye. Ms. Arkins has given dimension to her characters, even in such a short story. I would have honestly loved it if this was longer, because I liked Millie and Paul so much that I wanted to know more about them. I am hoping for a sequel to this story, just to learn what happens next! Aside from making me care about the characters, Ms. Arkins has also given the reader a compact, yet engaging, story, complete with tons of details that made the images come alive. Miles From You is one of those great little stories that can be savored time and again. 5 Angels & Recommended Read! - Marlene, Fallen Angel Reviews

Marianne Arkins writes one of those books that should come with a box of Kleenex attached, or at least one of those pocket packs... Ms. Arkins has done a great job with this book of memories of a different time in our history. Even though I'm sure there are still people like Paul and Millie around, we don't hear about them much. I'm glad the author reminds us. This is a sweet read. But remember what I said about needing tissues handy!! - 5 Hearts - Dee, the Romance Studio


This charming short story is another winner for author Marianne Arkins. Marianne Arkins has a knack for creating everyday heroes who work their way into your heart after just a few pages. I’m looking forward to this author’s first full-length novel, as the only disappointment I feel after reading her short stories is that they aren’t nearly long enough! - The Long and the Short of It


Your Personality Cluster is Introverted Intuition

You are:

You are multilayered and complex. No one can quite understand you.

You are very inspired and driven to achieve your goals.

Whether you know it or not, you are a visionary with a complete life plan.

You are intuitive enough to understand difficult problems, ideas, and people.

Yep... okay... mostly.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Word Verification

I've gone back to using word verifcation for a while... hopefully it will stop the spam from a person using Chinese symbols that I keep getting -- once or twice a day.

I curse all spammers. May they all live eventful lives and find their armpits infested with the fleas of a thousand camels.


Movies from Books and Spring Fever

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. ~Nadine Stair

I've been underwhelmed by the four Nora Roberts movies this past month or so. Have any of you watched them? I understand that it's hard to squash a novel into less than two hours, but they all four were really lacking parts of the book that I thought were important. Maybe if I'd never read the books? Dunno. IMHO, Nora's big enough to rate a mini-series type thing. I also didn't love the casting. **sigh** It was disappointing, to say the least.

Did any of you watch the movies? What did you think? Have you read those books ("High Noon", "Tribute", "Angels Fall" and "Midnight Bayou")?


The weather has been lovely the past couple of days. Sunny and warm (for here: in the fifties). I wish I'd been able to get out in it more, but I'm swamped with work as always... *sigh*... Spring Fever is only going to keep getting worse! Even Dakota has it -- she's starting running off into the woods when we play ball now, or even when she's playing with a doggy friend. She doesn't focus and, up until now, she's been pretty darn good. I think an invisible fence is in order ... just to keep her in when we're puttering outside. Otherwise, she'll end up inside the house too much because she's terrified of her tie-out. She flips out when we hook her up, and then just ... stands... won't walk, won't move, won't lie down.

She is a very high maintenance dog.


You Are Not Stylish

To be honest, you think fashion is a complete waste of time.

You don't really care about how you dress, and those who do are simply superficial.

While you don't have to look like you stepped out of a magazine, maybe you should update your wardrobe.

People treat you better when you look better. Besides, it's fun to express your personal style!

Well, now... THAT'S a surprise! HA.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What, When, Where, Why, How with Christiane France

Welcome today, Chris Grover aka Christiane France!

What's you favorite ice-cream?

I'm only allowed to have one favorite? about rum raisin-vanilla-raspberry ripple-butterscotch-chocolate-cookies&cream-praline all on the same plate? I recently discovered Haagen Daz' raspberry and manogo sorbets and they are so indescribably delicious it's difficult for me to sneak past the freezer without dropping in for a spoonful--especially if you combine them with HD's triple chocolate which is the most sinful thing I have ever put in my mouth.

When did you have your first story or book published?

Early in 2000 --my full length romantic suspense WHERE'S MICHELLE was published under my real name of Chris Grover by a now defunct e-publisher and later republished by Amber Quill Press. I then published two more full length mystery-suspense books before I got the message that readers wanted more chili peppers for theirt reading pleasure, so I changed my name to Christiane France and began writing erotic romance. I started off with the regular boy meets girl stories, but then readers tastes changed again. Now I write mostly gay and m/m/f menage stories. But that's now, I have no idea what readers will want a year from now and they don't either, so that's why I constantly check the best seller lists to find out what's hot and what's not.

Where would you find a purple people eater?

In the land of purple people, busy cooking up a casserole of purple people filets with onions, artichokes and fennel for flavor, while he sharpens up his arrows and tightens the string on his bow so he can go out and find a few more to freeze for winter. We can't have a purple people eater without a reserve supply of purple people, or he'll start eating pink people, green people, yellow people, and, as this is a real scary thought, he even might take a fancy to striped or spotted people if he's desperate.

Why is the sky blue?

According to what I found on the Internet--"A clear cloudless day-time sky is blue because molecules in the air scatter blue light from the sun more than they scatter red light." I'm no scientist so in this case I have to believe what I read. But we all love a clear blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds that look like little lambs, so however it happens, I'm just glad that it does.

How do you feel when someone has been dishonest with you?

I'm a Scorpio, I also tend to be a bit of a soft touch--always offering a helping hand, etc., etc., so I don't handle it well. I may stay on outwardly friendly terms with the person, but I'll never trust them again, I'll keep my distance and the warm fuzzies will be a thing of the past.

A multi-published author, Chris Grover writes romantic suspense and British-style mysteries under her own name--of which two have been nominated for awards, and she has also contributed paranormal/fantasy short stories to several anthologies.

Chris Grover also writes erotic romance under the name Christiane France. With one exception where a ghost was involved, all her erotic stories thus far have been straight contemporary. However, in the future, besides straight contemporary, there will be other tales of ghosts and the paranormal and stories in other sub-genres, such as time travel, ménage à trois, man-love, and maybe even an historical tale or two.

Chris was born in England where she first began her love affair with books, but she now lives in the Niagara region of Canada with her husband and their two Persian cats. Chris has traveled extensively—throughout the U.S. and also to France, Italy and Spain and often uses places she's visited as locations for her stories. As a devoted fan of mystery and romance, Chris likes to write what she most enjoys reading: stories with an international background, a police officer as a major character and sometimes a touch of intrigue or history as well.

You can read short excerpts from most of Chris' books at You can also visit her at

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Writing and Reading

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions. ~James Michener

I wrote a little on "Drive Me Crazy" yesterday. It's fun. Zach is such a man. Poor Sydney is all keyed up about seeing Zack again. His response? To get out of the car and say this: "Gotta use the can.” He pushed by Syd, the slight touch of his hand on her shoulder enough to make her shiver, and let himself into her house.

She wasn't pleased. Or amused. And yet, she will be driving from Montana to California with the man. And a goat.


My friends, Charity and Darcy, have an upcoming release (I always want to *squee* a little when I say that!) with Simon Pulse: The Geek Girls Guide to Cheerleading. I'm going to be giving away a copy next month, but for now I must satisfy my inner geek by taking their quiz:

Your result for The What Kind of Geek Are You Test...


You know the difference between a period, a comma, a colon and a semi-colon. You are on a first name basis with all of the characters in Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter and probably the Twilight books too. No one doubts your supremacy in English class, but your ability to diagram relationships or punctuate a social life can be … well, meh. Get your nose out of those books occasionally. Real life can have happy endings too.

See the other results here.

Take The What Kind of Geek Are You Test
at HelloQuizzy

Oddly, this doesn't surprise me at all! LOL... you?

And folks, I've had the privilege of receiving an ARC of this book. I'm about halfway through and it's fantastic. Buy one for all the teens on your list, and then do yourself a favor and grab one for yourself!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Favorite Reads

There are books so alive that you're always afraid that while you weren't reading, the book has gone and changed, has shifted like a river; while you went on living, it went on living too, and like a river moved on and moved away. No one has stepped twice into the same river. But did anyone ever step twice into the same book? ~Marina Tsvetaeva

How was your Easter? Mine was good -- quiet, but good. I ate too much, of course. DD had malted milk balls and Reeces peanut butter eggs in her basket that she shared. My weaknesses... do you think the Easter Bunny knew that? *G*

I started re-reading "Watchers" by Dean Koontz last night. It's an old book -- original copyright is 1987 -- and there are lots of technical things that are outdated, but the story holds up. It's one of my favorite Koontz books, and I'm very much enjoying the read once again.

Aside from a few Koontz books, I also enjoy "The Stand" by Stephen King. And the Valdemar Series by Mercedes Lackey. The first book I read was "By the Sword" and it completely sucked me in.

What's your favorite book to read outside the romance genre?


You Are a Lynx

You are a quiet observer of the world around you. Your wisdom comes from listening carefully.

You've always been extra sensitive and aware. And it's made it difficult for you to fit in.

You see past people's outward personas. You are able to penetrate a stranger's soul.

What you've learned about people is both beautiful and ugly. And you keep these secrets to yourself.

Some yes, some no....


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

See the land, her Easter keeping,
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices... ~Charles Kingsley

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times...

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~Mark Twain

Ahhh... SPRING. How I love thee, and hate thee...

I love the colorful birds at my feeder. The goldfinches are bright yellow again, and I can look forward to the red-winged blackbirds and orioles returning.

I love green growing things and the promise they make as the begin to push up out of the thawing earth.

I love the thought of flowers and butterflies and home-grown tomatoes.

I love the bright sunshine, longer days and warm weather.

I love leaving my windows open and airing out the house.

I love being able to walk around barefoot.


I do NOT love the mud.

I do NOT love the black flies who are beginning to awaken. They are out now, but only the males who hatch first and do not bite. They are the advance guard, warning us their mates--their vicious, nasty, biting little mates--will arrive soon.

I do NOT love having to bring my bird feeders in at night to keep them out of the clutches of our bear.

I do NOT love ticks on the dog. My Dd has every issue known to dogdom and can't use chemical flea and tick repellents. I use an all-natural one that smells amazing, but it only repels, it does not kill, and it just isn't as effective. So, yes, Dd has already had her first embedded tick.

I do NOT love the waiting period between thaw and being able to plant. Our growing season for "tender" plants officially begins on Memorial Day.


Despite my love/hate relationship with the season, I wouldn't skip it for anything.


You Are a Drawing

You appreciate things that are simple and elegant.

You believe that complexity is mostly used to mask flaws.

You believe that art is about leaving more to the imagination.

The best art isn't overly showy or flashy. It subtly beautiful.

Very true....

Many moons ago, I dated a man who was the director of a local corporate art gallery -- they had mainly modern art, which still confuses me. I went to a showing with him and brought a friend who really loved art. I can remember standing in front of an abstract with the two of them saying things like, "I see anger..." and I finally piped in and said, "I see dots."



Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Food Thoughts

If we're not willing to settle for junk living, we certainly shouldn't settle for junk food. ~Sally Edwards

If junk food is the devil, then a sweet orange is as scripture. ~Audrey Foris

Yesterday on Facebook I mentioned that I'd just made food for Dakota. I had a couple folks ask if they could have some, and I commented that DD had eaten some before I pureed it. Now I wonder if there are horrified people thinking I feed my daughter dog food! LOL...


Here's what my Dd is eating lately (keep in mind this is for nearly 2 weeks of food):


17 lbs chicken (or other meat)
1 3/4 c fresh, chopped garlic
7 c peas
7 c carrots
3 1/2 c pumpkin or sweet potatoes
3 1/2 c squash
3 1/2 c green beans
3 1/2 c celery
7 T rosemary
water to cover

I actually cook the meat separately and don't puree it. Sounds pretty good, huh? Smells good, too, which is why DD usually can't keep from eating a little. In the book "The Whole Pet Diet", the author actually suggests that the animal and human have dinner together. Honestly, if I ate Spot's Stew every day, I'm certain I'd be a healthier person.

As a side note: I do add supplements to the finished product -- bone meal, an oil mixture and a canine multi-vitamin/multi-mineral I get from Halo Pets.


I bought some "ice cream" last week -- a name brand that is a fave in our house. When I got it home, and actually paid attention to the label, I discovered it was not "ice cream"... nope... it was "frozen dairy dessert".


No more milk, sugar and flavoring for them... no way, no how. Now we have all kinds of odd things in there and, to be honest, it really put me off. DH is now eating the chocolate brownie frozen dairy dessert because I can't stand the idea of putting it in my mouth.

From now on, I'm sticking to Turkey Hill All Natural Ice Cream. Notice how it's actually called ICE CREAM?

Do you think my behavior is weird?

It reminds me a little of "cheese food".

It's frightening when you take the time to really pay attention to the labels, isn't it?



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

Some of it yes... some of it no...


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Agility, Burglary and a Call for Help!

There are so many things that we wish we had done yesterday, so few that we feel like doing today. ~Mignon McLaughlin

Let's see... where to begin?

First off, at the end of agility class last night we were told there was going to be an agility competition for all the dogs who school at the same facility we do -- they are franchised, so there will be several groups of folks vying for the trophy. Apparently, our location lost it last time, and the instructor wants it back! LOL...

In any case, the cool part is that it's a "fun" competition. Yes, we'll be timed, but all level dogs are welcome (and will run against their levels), they don't freak out if you use treats or leashes and if you have a fault, you aren't disqualified (like you would be in a real agility competition), you just have to go do it again -- which counts against your time. It sounds like fun, so I'll probably put Dakota in. And, I'll try to take lots of pix and/or video. It doesn't happen until the end of May, so we have time to train! *G*


My mom's house and car were broken into yesterday. This upsets me on so many levels. First off: here's a newsflash -- she's a retired person and DOESN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO STEAL. Not even prescription drugs, as she doesn't take any. Secondly: It's my mom. So, yeah, I worry. Lastly: Odds are it was someone she knows.

In other burglary news, there was a daytime break-in in a nearby neigborhood (just a couple streets away). They cleaned out the house -- took anything and everything of value. They must have spent an hour in there. They even took the change from one of the kids piggy banks! The police believe this is only the beginning of a regular burglary routine, and have asked everyone to keep their eyes open. This same thing happened a couple years ago in our neighborhood -- wonder if it's the same guys?

DH, who is a bundle of laughs these days, said, "As long as the economy keeps tanking, these things are only going to get worse."

Thanks, hon.

I'm glad Dakota sounds like a killer, even if she's a wuss.


Most of you know that Judy and I run the reviews website, The Long and the Short of It. When we started it less than two years ago, we had no idea how huge it would get to be. As wonderful as that is... the fact remains that we need more help with pretty much everything.

Currently, our biggest need is for people to edit reviews. We are in desperate need of a couple of people who have a decent command of the English language to look at all the reviews uploaded by our reviewers to verify whether they are correctly written (we have a few "rules" that we expect to be followed) and whether they need any grammar assistance. This week alone, Judy and I had 13 reviews that needed a little extra help out of the 45 we posted.

If you think you have the time to open and look over about 30 - 40 reviews a week -- and then contact the reviewers who might need to correct something (we actually do the grammar corrections ourselves, but any corrections to the actual content is requested from the reviewer) -- would you let me know? We're desperately hoping to find at least two (maybe three) people: 1 for the non-erotic and 1-2 for the erotic reviews.

We can't pay you for this, but we can compensate you with free books and gift certificates. If you think this might be something you're interested in doing, email me at lasreviews AT gmail DOT com for more information.

Did I mention we were desperate?


Your Supervillain Name is Diamond Wolf


Blog Post: Coming Soon

This morning -- the faster I pedal, the behinder I get.

Will write soon!!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

What, When, Where, Why, How with Cat Johnson

Welcome today, Cat Johnson!

What would you name your car?

LOL. This is the hardest question of all. Why? Because my friends have actually named their cars and with names that are hard to beat. Things like Natasha and Aurora, even The Sh**box (which was very apt). So I never named mine because I felt intimidated by the greatness of my friends' cars names. But now you are making me do it. Okay, so here is the deal... I have a fabulous black Thunderbird convertible. I love that car. It gets attention from men, women and children of every race, creed and color. That car will get a second look long after I am so old and gray that no one will look at me any longer. Why do you think I intend on keeping it forever? So, my T-Bird needs a special name. I think, if forced, I would name her Angelina, because like Angelina Jolie, love her or hate her, you always find yourself looking at her!

When is the happiest time of the day?

The morning, hands down, is the best time of day. Why? Because I get to snuggle under the blankets with a piping hot cup of coffee and open my email inbox. You never know what will be waiting there for you. It's like Christmas morning each and every morning. It could be a new review for one of my books. It could be an email from one of my muses halfway across the world. It could be a coupon or a sale notice for my favorite store. Honestly, what could be better than all of that?

Where were you when you got your first kiss?

Oh boy! You don't pull any punches do you? Though considering I write erotic romance, I suppose this question could have been a lot worse, couldn't it? Anyway, it was in the basement of Lynn Sommavilla's house in 8th Grade during her girl/boy birthday party. There was a heated game of spin the bottle, I remember, and then somehow I ended up in the dark in the closet with Chris Rubeo. That was my first kiss. The funniest thing was when I introduced Chris to my husband at my 20 year high school reunion. I said, "This is Chris, he was my first kiss." Totally unfazed, my husband shook his hand and said, "Nice to meet you. I was her last kiss."

Why did you decide to start writing for publication?

Because writing isn't any fun if no one reads it? But seriously, I started writing for money about 2 weeks after graduating college and had 12 books published in the Young Adult genre. Though my writing career went through ebbs and flows over the years, I was always writing something for someone, even if it was ghostwriting. I finally tried writing romance in 2006. I recently considered giving it up. What stopped me? When I considered what my life would be if I wasn't a writer, I didn't have an answer. For better, or worse, at least for now, writing defines me.

How good are you at Scrabble?

Oh my god! Let me tell you, Scrabble is BIG among my friends and it gets quite serious. At one point, I bought the Scrabble computer program and practiced alone at home because our friendly Friday night games got so competitive. So you can always count on me to whore off your high scoring word with an 's' if at all possible, and always steal the Triple Word Score even if it is with only a 5 point word, just to block you from getting it! Offensive Guerrilla Scrabble, that's the only way to go!

Cat Johnson stands barely five feet tall but rarely shies away from anything, including going out on a literary limb and writing romances in niche genres that sometimes require extremely creative research and marketing techniques. A past bartender and tour guide (among countless other jobs) she also isn't shy when it comes to people, and warns everyone to be careful when speaking with her or they may end up in her novel. Some of her best friends wear combat boots for a living and she is the sponsor for a real live bullriding cowboy.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Voices in My Head

I've been beyond busy with the LASR website the past few days and haven't been able to write. My sanity is paying the price...

I can't stop thinking about "Drive Me Crazy". I constantly have snippets of dialogue, scene ideas, little movies (my heroine now has a pair of box turtles: Frank and Jessie ... don't know how these suckers are going to figure in, but gotta go with what the voices tell me) and more. It won't leave me alone. I was absolutely exhausted when I went to bed last night, and yet... 45 mins later, the story was still rattling around in my brain, keeping me awake (mostly because I really like some of the ideas that were popping in there and was terrified I'd forget them by morning, but was so tired I didn't want to get up to write them down).

Today, busy or not (and I KNOW I'm going to be busy, oy), I have to write... I have to let some of this stuff leak out or my head might just explode.

I think being an author is just another word for schizophrenia.


I think I've found a moderately humane way to kill my voles AND not risk my dog at the same time. Hopefully, if I'm clever enough, it won't get the chipmunks either.

Vitamin D overdose.

Yep... that's right. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and will accumulate in your body. It takes a lot to overdose a human (or a larger dog), but not so much for a three ounce rodent. It causes a calcium deficiency and the critter just loses all desire to live. I'm hoping it's a little less painful than an anti-coagulant (which is what most rat/mouse poisons are... you just bleed to death internally over a period of about 5 days, ick).

Anyway, if you're interested, here is the "recipe":

1/2 cup peanut butter
3 crushed vitamin D tablets
Roll in oats, place inside a 2 inch cardboard tube and bury in a tunnel or where damage is occurring. This creates a calcium deficiency and so our unfavorable rodents perish!

I'm actually going to use something sturdier than cardboard so that things larger than voles can't chew through it easily. I really want to do my best to specifically target the animal I want. I don't like collateral damage.

If it stops raining today, I'm going to give it a go.


You Think Concretely

Your brain works best when you are able to see or visualize what you're thinking about.

You have an both an eye for detail and for the big picture. You study things carefully.

You are in tune with all of your senses, and you think better with a clean workspace.

You are open to all sorts of input. You are a free thinker who lives in the now.

Mostly right... but that part about a clean workspace? Um... no. I subscribe to the "a clean desk is a sign of a sick mind" train of thought.


Monday, April 06, 2009

Moles vs. Voles

It is utterly forbidden to be half-hearted about gardening. You have got to love your garden whether you like it or not. ~W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman, Garden Rubbish, 1936

Yesterday, Ceri asked how moles and voles are different. Interestingly, most folks have never even heard of voles -- and this includes places like Home Depot, where I went to get some kind of vole control yesterday (unsuccessfully).

::Warning: Stepping on Soapbox::

As an aside, I was horrifed at all the truly inhumane ways you can catch mice and rats. Seriously. Glue traps? Should be outlawed... can you imagine?? How can anyone just throw a live animal away while it either starves to death or chews off its own limbs to get away? "Pest" or not, it deserves humane treatment, IMHO. Kill it if you must, but quickly and as painlessly as possible, please (which is why I agonize over using poison... and still haven't decided to do so).

::Steps down from Soapbox::

In any case...

Moles: First off... moles are far less destructive than voles, IMHO. They also eat insects (another plus) -- typically grubs, and other critters that live in the ground, and any damage they do to your lawn and garden is incidental. They are solitary (ANOTHER plus!), produce young only once a year and have small litters (WOOT! Another plus!) and they look like this (they're fairly large -- at least the one my dog, Bailey, dug up was... about 8" long):

Voles: Voles eat vegetation, feeding on roots, bulbs and anything they can find -- tops AND bottoms of plants (most recently, my voles ate all the green parts of my crocus plants... grr). They cause a lot of destruction by gnawing on young trees and shrubs. They can strip the bark of the plant at ground level, killing or exposing it to insects or diseases. They have a tremendous reproductive rate, able to give birth at one month of age and have several litters a year. They look like this (and are TINY... maybe two inches long):

I have to decided what to do soon -- if I plant my veggie garden without having these buggers under control, they'll just eat that, too.


You Are Milk Chocolate

A total dreamer, you spend most of your time with your head in the clouds.

You often think of the future, and you are always working toward your ideal life.

Also nostalgic, you rarely forget a meaningful moment... even those from long ago.

Umm... not really...


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Update: Cunning Voles of Doom

If you're in a bad situation, don't worry it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry it'll change. ~John A. Simone, Sr.

Yesterday, DD and I had a movie day. DH had to work, so we girls popped popcorn and watched "Bolt" (what a cute movie!) and "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" (which, as Veggie Tales goes, wasn't really up to par -- a few cute moments and funny jokes... I may have nightmares about cheese curls with teeth... but not as clever as I've come to expect).

Then we went outside for a bit, even though it was overcast and windy. DD and Dd played and I scooped poop (whee). As I made my way around to the back, I saw a VOLE. A gray, furry vole -- he ran right by me and under the deck into the rock wall. The little buggers have been eating the tops off of my crocus before they can bloom and probably have their eyeballs on the bulb part as well. The scary thing is, this means they are EVERYWHERE. And... and... and... all my neighbors have them, too!! Dakota found a vole body at her friend Bugsy's house and they live clear at the end of the road. And now that the snow has melted, I can see vole trails on HER neighbor's yard AND the people across the street from me.

Dear heavens.

I don't know what to do. I'm probably going to resort to poison, which I HATE. But I have to make sure I do it in such a way that Dakota doesn't find it. And I don't want to kill the chipmunks, either. And, once I get rid of mine, what's to stop the neighbors' voles from moving in?

DH said we should get an outside cat (and yes, Brandy, my kitty is an indoor one) at which point I reminded him: BEARS. Hello? Not to mention the fisher cat I know lurks out there. And, cat safety aside, I don't want the kitty eating my birds or chipmunks.

Maybe I'll just move into an apartment somewhere and not deal with the wildlife.



Last night I couldn't stop thinking about the "Kitchen Matches" sequel, which now has a working title of "Drive Me Crazy". I thought of scenes, dialogue, how to realistically transport an orphaned baby goat (I want to say "kid", but need to make certain folks understand it's the four-legged variety) across half the country, how my H/H can make each other totally nuts AND still fall madly in love.

It's fun.

I like it.


You Are Twitter

You are energetic to the point of being hyperactive. You are the ultimate multitasker.

You don't have much of an attention span for anything. You like things short and sweet.

You can't help but let everyone know what you're doing, even if it's just what you're having for dinner.

You are big on sharing what's going on in your life. If anything, you share too much!

The first part... mostly yes. The second? Not SO much...


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Lions and Tigers and BEARS!

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

Okay... only bears. But then the title wouldn't be so catchy.

Yesterday morning I awoke to a scene of carnage...

Apparently hibernation season is over... a little early. I don't typically start pulling my feeders in at night until DD's birthday, a couple weeks from now. But, it's been warmer, the snow is pretty much melted and apparently the bears are awake.

Thankfully, it only completely destroyed one feeder:

Though it took a big bite out of my finch feeder:

It very thoughtfully OPENED the suet baskets and took out the suet. The last couple of times the bear has gotten to my suet, s/he's destroyed the baskets. This time, they're still functional. So, that was nice.

In any case, now I know. Last year, I made it through the entire year without losing any feeders, so this is not an auspicious beginning to my season.


You Are Rosemary

You are stable and grounded. You may take a slow, steady approach to live, but you're a survivor.

You are an intellectual and very rational. You can see things from a logical, detached viewpoint.

You are successful but not particularly ambitious. You have a way of letting success come to you.

You tend to be a bit understated and modest. You let your accomplishments speak for themselves.

Mostly.. though I would say I'm ambitious but not particularly successful! LOL...