Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What, Where, When, Why, How with A. Y. Stratton

Give a hearty HOWDY to today's guest, A. Y. Stratton!

What do you want for your birthday?

There's never enough time to get through my whole book stack, so I want a Kindle for my birthday so I can carry a dozen books wherever I go. (And because it's such a nifty tool.) The only problem is, the book stack will still be there while I'm working on the Kindle stack.

When do you make a wish?

On warm, humid summer nights, when stars fill the dark sky and the air smells like my childhood, I whisper "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight." My wishes have changed over time, but inside I'm the same me, though wiser and even more blessed. Now that I think of it, the stars don't change at all, do they?

Where did you go on your first date?

My first date was in sixth grade, when Jimmy who lived two blocks from me, asked me to go with him to the Saturday afternoon movies in our church basement. He was nice, but not as exciting or cute as three other boys I'd been thinking about, and I was flattered, rather than thrilled.

We met on the corner near our house and walked the four blocks together. Normally too talkative, I couldn't think of anything to say, while he blushed and couldn't decide whether to walk next to me or in front of me.

At church Jimmy paid the twenty-five cents for each of us and then bought me a soda and a candy bar, far more than I ever could afford at the movies. As we watched the movie and munched our snacks, several boys behind us poked and heckled poor Jimmy for going "with a girl," while I wished I could magically evaporate. At school on Monday Jimmy told the boys I never even thanked him after he'd spent all that money on me, and I was ashamed that I had been too embarrassed!

That's how I learned my first lesson for dating: always say thank you. By the way, he didn't try to kiss me. My first kiss from a boy was a few weeks later at a spin-the-bottle party in my friend's basement.

Why didn't Christine choose the Phantom?

In the Phantom of the Opera, Christine had to choose light and sweetness over the magnificence of a beautiful voice, and true love over darkness and seduction.

However, if Phantom of the Opera had been written in 2008, the breathless and beautiful Christine would have chosen the Phantom for her life and after-life partner. Then she would get to meet the rest of his relatives. Perhaps she would even fix up the Phantom's sister with her former suitor.

How do you choose your character's names?

For my female characters I choose names with several syllables, because they sound more interesting than Jane, Pam or my first name, Anne. Lauren is my niece's name. I've always thought the letters look pretty on the page. Besides, Lauren Richmond sounds enigmatic, a name a poet might choose for his daughter, which is ideal for the character in Buried Heart.

I choose male characters' names from books or movies I've enjoyed. About the time I reach the middle of my manuscript, when the two protagonists realize they are in love and I've been living with them awhile, sometimes I try out new names. In Buried Heart, Luis (which is pronounced the Spanish way, "Loo-ees," like Louise, but with an "s" rather than a "z" sound) had several different last names, including a German one, since he is only half Mexican. However, I realized my dark, handsome, quirky and sexy man just had to have a Latin surname too. My daughter's college roommate's last name was Hernandez. "Luis Hernandez" sounded perfect to me.

Last week I began writing a new book that begins with a murder accidentally witnessed by my two protagonists. Right away I chose Emily for the woman's name and Jake for the man's. This morning Emily became Jennifer, a solid, reliable, stick-to-the-rules name, not that Emily isn't. My newly-named Jennifer has just broken into a house to steal a document that will restore her grandmother's honor, an act that a woman with that name would surely do. A guy named Jake would be attempting the break-in for more nefarious reasons, and he'd be grinning as he did it.

I grew up in Glenview, Illinois, moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin when I was in high school, and then attended college in New York, where I majored in English literature. (I wrote my senior thesis on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.) My husband and I have lived in a suburb of Milwaukee long enough to see the farmers’ fields around us burst into subdivisions.

When I was a child and had trouble sleeping, I’d make up adventures starring me as the heroine and imagined I’d write stories like those some day. Once our three children were older, I began writing free-lance for local periodicals, including a regular baseball column for the website of my beloved Milwaukee Brewers. I still make up stories as I go to sleep, but now I save them in my computer.

I got hooked on ancient ruins the moment I stood among the spirits of the sacrificed virgins at the top of the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan near Mexico City. Eventually I visited other ruins in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras, where I conceived the idea for what has become my first published novel.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Those Naughty Germs

“It is dainty to be sick, if you have leisure and convenience for it” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well... it looks like it's happened: I have a throat that feels as though someone took sandpaper to it. All day yesterday I told myself I was just thirsty and drank and drank and drank, to no avail.

Now, instead of just hoping and praying I don't get sick, I'm hoping and praying I won't be too sick to go to the fair on Thursday.

I'm so discouraged. I've been healthy all year until now. I just doesn't seem fair that the ONE day I want to be healthy, I may not be. *sigh* DD is distraught and feels as though it's all her fault.

In the meantime, I'm still giving myself my cold bombs and hoping this will either not get any worse until after Thursday, or get worse and then better by Thursday. The weather for Friday and Saturday doesn't look good, so Thursday is pretty much it for our choice of days.

::: fingers crossed :::


Still don't have DD's header for her shop. *sigh*

But, we're going to start working on earring next. She's got a good eye for color and design, so we should have some interesting items coming out. At least by the time the shop goes up, it'll be fully stocked! LOL...


You Crave a Sensual Adventure

Life has gotten a bit dull for you lately, and you are looking to indulge all of your five sense.

You want an adventure that includes amazing food, beautiful scenes, perfect background music, enchanting smells, and sweet air.

Whether you're in Hawaii or Paris, you want to drink every part of your experience in.

You crave both luxury and novelty. And you'll savor every taste, every sound, and every sight for years!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Too Pooped to Play

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn't ask me, I'd still have to say it.” - George F. Burns

I'm too tired to write much this morning. Yesterday was massively stressful for more reasons than I care to list, and then when I finally collapsed in bed I could NOT get to sleep. ARGH.

So, I'm pooped this morning. The good news is I'm still not sick. The bad news is, the weather may not cooperate with our fair attendance plans. Fingers crossed for nice weather on Thursday!!

DD starts her art lessons tomorrow. And, BTW, she bounced out of bed yesterday, still had a little cough and some sniffles, but was all but healed. Kids really do seem to get better faster!

In any case, we should be back to normal routine today and I should be more functional tomorrow.

Hope you all had a great weekend!!


Your Primary Mood Color is Red

You are a very passionate and fiery person. You have strong emotions, and you don't hold back.

You are bold and quick acting. You aren't afraid to take the first step or make the first move.

You are an attention seeker, and you love to be the center of things. You've learned how to entertain people well.

You are the type of person who the subject of speculation and gossip, and that's fine with you. You like to be talked about.

Yes on the first, not so much on the last...


Sunday, September 27, 2009


Now that it's all over, what did you really do yesterday that's worth mentioning? ~Coleman Cox

I locked the cat in the basement last night and laid around like a lazy slug this morning until 6 a.m.!! I think that's the latest I've slept in years (though I was awake at 5 a.m. -- it sure felt good to just lay there in that in-between state where you're fuzzy but not sleeping and not wide awake).

I need to do that every Sunday morning. It's the only day I don't need to be up to load pages for LASR/WC.

I'm still not feeling sick (knock wood). I exiled DD to the room over the garage yesterday for the entire day (except the book sale ... I let her go to that) with some movies. She watched "The House of Dies Drear" and two seasons of "Little House on the Prairie". I really need to buy her season three... she has a GC for Amazon sitting here. Maybe I'll do that today.

Yesterday was a little crazy: book sale in the a.m. (I've decided to rebuy all the "In Death" books. I used to have them, then got rid of them, and now I miss having them -- the book sale had about half in nearly new condition for 50 cents each - woot! I found some books for my mom, and DD found 5 books for herself. I spent $7.25 for everything.

I had to make dog food yesterday, and DD couldn't help which was a drag. So, I boiled chicken, pulled it out of the broth to cool, added veggies to the broth to cook, deboned the chicken.... well, you get the idea. It was an ordeal. And just as I was getting ready to finish that, DH came home from his folks house with a pile of corn on the cob that he'd picked at a field near their house. Since we couldn't possibly eat that much corn over the course of a few days, I had to process it for freezing.

So he shucked it all and I washed, blanched and put it in freezer bags. Half my day was spent in the kitchen, and DH wondered why I didn't want to cook dinner! LOL... I made him barbecue.

DD is still coughing, but it sounds like it might be loosening up a little. I hope so. She starts art lessons this week, too, besides the fair. My DH did say he'd take her to the fair if I was sick, but the problem with that is he doesn't like to do what she does. He likes the tractor pulls and the big equipment sales and the cows. She likes the horse shows and the art exhibits and the rides. And cotton candy. She gets cotton candy once a year at the fair. Besides, I like to go. So am still taking cold bombs, and washing hands and keeping Lysol with me where ere I go.


RE: DD's store -- I found out yesterday morning that Judy and her mad photoshopping skills are gone for the weekend, so no DD store unveiling. Maybe Monday or Tuesday.


You Are Spirited and Spontaneous

You are an energetic, passionate person. You are quite impulsive, and your passions tend to change with the wind.

You are lively and fun. You like to stay busy with your various adventures.

You are a wanderer and a traveler. You're curious about the world, and it's hard for you to stay still for too long.

You get bored easily and tend to shirk on your responsibilities. You don't want to grow up yet!

I'd have to say that's almost completely incorrect... but the leaf sure is pretty! *G*


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Surrounded but not Surrendering

Sickness comes on horseback but departs on foot. ~Dutch Proverb, sometimes attributed to William C. Hazlitt

So... DD is sick with whatever DH had. Blech.

There are a few reasons why this is so much worse than when DH got sick. When he was sick, he stayed away from us -- worked in the basement, etc., and we hardly even saw him. Even so, I followed behind with my can of Lysol and anti-bacterial wipes, lol.

DD, though, is a very needy child even on a good day. She's touchy-feely, constantly needing hugs and kisses and to be in contact with me. She's also not as cognizant of touching things (for instance, last night she leaned over the breakfast bar and wiped her hands back and forth across it like windshield wiper blades). She won't just go into her room to read or even up to the schoolroom to watch TV. She wants to be near people.

So, even though I have my handy can of Lysol and the wipes, and I've washed my hands so many times I think the skin is peeling off; even though I'm bombing my body with my "cold bomb" (zinc, vitamin C, oregano oil and echinacea) three times a day I'm a little worried I may still get the bug.

This is bad on two levels. One: I hate being sick, of course. But the biggie? Our equivalent of a state fair is next weekend. The fair is something DD says she looks forward to as much as Christmas. She's been talking about going all year long, pretty much ever since we walked out the gates last year.

This creeping crud seems to linger. DH has been down with it for nearly a week and is still not feeling 100% (or even 75%). I figure DD will be well enough next week to go to the fair, but if I catch this bug in a day or two ... I'm not.

So, I'm going to fight the good fight. I don't want my DD to miss the fair because I'm sick. And I keep reminding her of that when she comes over for kisses and hugs. "It's not that I don't love you, but don't you want to go to the fair?"

Wish me luck.


Our library book sale is today. YAY! Mom -- I'll look for stuff for you. The cool thing is this: today I'll go for the stuff I REALLY want and pay the regular price for it. But on Monday, I can go back and fill up a box for only a few dollars with the stuff I wanted to read, but maybe not keep.

I love books.


My neighbors had their landscaping people come by a couple of days ago, and one of the things they did was walk all over the entire yard with this spray, and individually spray herbicide on weeds as they found them.

Here's what makes me scratch my head. If you're going to hunt them down one at a time anyway, isn't it just as easy to pull them up as it is to spray poison on them? If you pull them up, you don't have dead weeds all over your lawn AND you're not adding toxic chemicals into your environment. Seems like a no-brainer.

:::scratches head:::


I think we've made a decision on DD's store name -- but until I'm certain, I'm not going to announce it. Hopefully tomorrow. And, hopefully tomorrow I'll have the website graphic done (thanks to Judy and her Goddess Fish mad Photoshop skills) and the store opened.

My friend, Chris (whose fault this whole beading thing is) says to beware: beads are like crack ... addictive and a hard habit to kick. She's right. I can't stop going to the craft stores and looking (and buying, of course). Yesterday we went to a nearby bead store (WOW! High prices!!) and then to AC Moore. We got two strands of the prettiest twisty beads and a pile of silver separators, plus more crimp tubes (you can never have too many, lol).

We're going to work on either bracelets or earring next -- which require all new supplies, of course. LOL... Thank heaves AC Moore and Michaels both have coupons in the Sunday paper!!


Friday, September 25, 2009

Nothing Ever Goes As Planned

You can avoid having ulcers by adapting to the situation: If you fall in the mud puddle, check your pockets for fish. ~Author Unknown

So... Yesterday didn't quite turn out as planned. At 11:00, my garage door opened (and scared me to death) and in walked DH.

He said he'd been feeling better until he walked into the climate controlled building at work -- he instantly started coughing and getting congested again, so he came home. It's a shame buildings only do recycled air any more and don't have windows you can actually open for some fresh stuff. I think that's what helped DD and I stay healthy. The weather here has been gorgeous during the day, in the mid-70s, so I opened every single window in the house all day, every day. Flush out those germies!!

In any case, it was the first in a long list of things that didn't go as planned, and I am a creature of habit so it made for a very stressful day for me. Ah well, them's the breaks!


DD and I are trying to think of a name for her new business so I can get it set up online. I've decided NOT to use Etsy (their fees are a little steep for a kid's shop - .20 to list each item and 3.5% commission on every item sold PLUS they unlist your item if it doesn't sell after a certain amount of time and you have to pay the listing fee to put it back up again. On a $2.00 item, this pretty much kills the profit), and am most likely going with an online place called Artfire. I like how it looks (very professional), and the fees are far more reasonable, IMHO. There are NO fees if you only have 12 items listed, and it's a flat fee of $12/mo otherwise). Also, they allow you to link to blogs, twitter, etc., where Etsy does not. AND, you can even sell ad space on your page via Project Wonderful and keep the revenue. I just really think it's a far better deal.

Sorry to go on and on, but you can tell I was really excited to find Artfire when I was so unhappy about Etsy's fees, lol.

Anyway, the point is we're trying to think of a shop name and would love input. It may not end up being ONLY beading -- she's already thinking of other stuff she could create and sell, so we don't want it to say "Beading" or "Beads" or whatever.

She thought of "Imagination Creations" but it doesn't *quite* sound right.

Anyone have any ideas?


Isn't it amazing how you can pop right out of bed when you're worried about something? The last few mornings, I've had to drag my rear out of bed, but this a.m.? I woke up and realized the cat wasn't bothering me to feed her... all I could picture was the cat lying dead somewhere so I leaped up and started looking.

I found her, locked into a room she'd gone in last night and then fallen asleep. What surprised me most, though, was that she wasn't crying, just sitting patiently at the door until I let her out. She's a VERY vocal cat, so that was just plain odd. Of course, the moment I opened the door, she started giving me the business all the way down to the kitchen until I fed her! *G*


We whacked down the milkweed yesterday -- the seedpods were starting to open, and I just don't need any more plants there. Unfortunately, there were still some Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars eating, so we relocated them down the street where there was more milkweed growing in the wild. I really love those pillars -- so fuzzy and cute (photo from


Anyone have any fun plans for the weekend? Here our plans are sealing the driveway and chopping wood by hand (DH has apparently opted out of getting a wood-splitter).


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Return to Routine

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~Albert Camus

It's been an interesting few days down here at the ranch... DH has been home sick all week, which really puts a hitch in the routine DD and I have organized. The schoolroom is behind the master bedroom, so we have to wait until DH is up and out before school starts ... this has put DD a bit behind as it's hard for her to settle down after putzing around all morning.

As for me? Well... I haven't been able to watch any of my shows this week (usually I have the TV on while I'm working on the computer) and it's season premier week! ARGH. Thank heavens for TiVo. Also, just having DH in the house is oddly unsettling ... I didn't get any real "alone" time this week and it makes me very cranky. I've often said that DH and I need to have our own houses, side-by-side, and visit each other. Neither he nor I like too much togetherness with anyone, so it works out, really. But this week was a strain.

Today, he's planning on going to work, but he's off again F/S/S ...

The good news is, neither DD nor I seem to have caught his bug (knock wood).


DD and I went to the eye doctor yesterday. Her Rx has changed quite a bit (which I figured, as she can't see the oven timer if she's on the other side of the kitchen), but mine didn't, which is good. However, I've been getting headaches when I work on the computer too much, and the doc said I really need reading glasses. Here's the problem: I wear a prism because my eyes see on different levels -- one is looking up a little higher than the other. Basically, I have permanent double vision. I can't wear contacts for the condition either. When I was younger, my eyes worked to focus together, but as they get old and tired, they can't do it anymore, so I have special glasses that help them work together. If I had reading glasses, they'd have to have the prism, too.

While this wouldn't be a problem under normal circumstances, I'm a little ADD and tend to not sit still for very long. So, I'm on the computer for 20 mins and then pop up and mop the floor, then sit again, and then pop up and walk the dog, and then sit....

And having reading glasses would mean a game of "change the glasses" every few minutes. So, for now I'm opting out. It's not that bad, and it's better than the alternative.

Getting older really stinks.


The weather here has been just amazing -- high-70s and mostly sunny. DD and Dd have done a LOT of running around outside, and I'm still cleaning out the gardens for winter: dead-heading and cutting the perennials that are dying (like the hostas) and pulling up my dahlia bulbs to store them over the winter.

I bought a bunch of pink daffodil bulbs to put in for next spring. They're deer (and hopefully vole) resistant and will give some nice, different color to the yellow ones I already have. The voles and chipmunks have eaten nearly all my crocus and grape hyacinth bulbs, so I'm not really certain what my spring gardens will look like next year. We won't talk about the almost certain damage the voles will do over the winter... little buggers.


Your Right Part Says You're Conventional and Professional

You are confident, smart, and together. You command respect.

You've found it easily to excel in life. You play by the rules and win the game.

You are a very practical person. If something works, you stick with it.

You approach life rationally and carefully. When things aren't fair, you just work harder.

Well... yeah.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What, Where, When, Why, How with Jennette Green

Give a warm welcome today to author Jennette Green!

What kind of shifter/creature would you prefer to be paired with if you found yourself in a paranormal story?

Wow. I haven’t read any shape shifter novels, so this is a wild question for me. I think maybe a lion, because lions seem strong and brave, and they look noble and peaceful as they rest in the African savannah while the hot breeze ripples through their manes. Nothing seems to disturb them. They appear calm and deliberate about stalking their prey, too. There is something relaxed and confident about lions that appeal to me—as long as I’m not their next meal, of course.

When do you wake up in the morning?

I wake up between 4:30 and 6:00 every morning. Sleep is a battle for me. It’s hard to get to sleep, and I’ll often wake up at 4:30, feeling completely wide awake, but then feel exhausted a half an hour later. However, I can’t go back to sleep. I think it’s hormones. Yes, I said it. HORMONES! Why are we, as women, plagued by the dratted things? Why don’t men have trouble sleeping? A word of experience—soy isoflavones have helped me considerably—I used to wake up at 2:30 a.m. every day. The extra two hours of sleep have made a world of difference to me.

Where did you go on your first date?

My first date was a trip to NBC Studios/Universal Studios. I was eighteen, and shy. It was a cool date. We got to see the “Tonight Show” set. Johnny Carson was still hosting it then, although Jay Leno ran the show when we sat in on the taping. I probably also saw the set for “Days of Our Lives,” but don’t remember it, because I didn’t watch the show then. I became a rabid fan of the soap two years later, in college. I returned to NBC Studios last year, and enjoyed gawking at those two cavernous, warehouse-type rooms that “Days of Our Lives” use to set up and tape scenes. They set up a scene in one room while they tape in the other. …But I guess I’ve left the subject of my first date.

Why is it important to be honest?

If you’re not, no one will ever trust you completely. I’m a Christian, and being honest about everything is something I’ve felt a strong conviction about for years. It’s tough at times. Especially when a friend asks my opinion about something—like a story she wrote. I may see all kinds of problems in the piece, but how do I say it? I don’t want to discourage her. It’s much easier to say, “I love it!” and move on. Instead, I’ll list several positive things that I genuinely like about the story, but then throw in a few constructive comments as well. Of course, I end on a positive note. I wish someone had done that for me. Maybe then my writing skills would have grown faster.

How can you solve a Rubik's cube?

I solved the Rubik’s cube when I was fourteen years old—yes, by myself. I worked and worked at it until I figured it out. I can still do it. I like puzzles. Maybe that’s why I like figuring out how computers and websites work, and stories, too. If I can figure out how to make something complex work, it’s a real rush for me. LOL

Writing has always been a passion of mine. I wrote my first story over thirty years ago. Since then, I’ve written numerous stories and have had several articles published. My first love, however, is writing romance novels. I've written seven. I'm blessed with a wonderful, supportive husband, and three terrific children who put up with my crazy writing hours. When I'm not writing, I love reading, photography, making videos, and creating and managing my websites.

My historical romance novel, The Commander’s Desire, is now available in print from Amazon. It’s also available in Kindle format, and in pdf format from The Wild Rose Press.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Dakota

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

Time really flies...

I remember when we brought you home, all fluffy and small:

You were only 12 weeks old, and so cute!

I documented your growth with a daily photo on the blog because you changed by the minute.

You tried my patience to the point of tears. There were times I was ready to give up and find you a different home. But I never did...

... and then something clicked. And you started to mature and learn and enjoy behaving. Then, we discovered agility, and you truly turned the corner into being a dog we could enjoy.

Happy Second Birthday, Dd (for Dork Dog or Ding Dong Dog or Dumb Dog or Dear Dog ... depending on the moment) -- we can't imagine our lives without you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

First Cold of the Season

The appearance of a disease is swift as an arrow; its disappearance slow, like a thread. ~Chinese Proverb

The day's barely started and it's already been eventful.

DH has been feeling run down the past couple of days, but last night right before bed he was completely stuffed up and feeling gross. He went to bed early (8:30) and I opted for the couch (which I shared with the dog and the cat -- we challenge the laws of physics, lol, because we shouldn't all three of us be able to fit comfortably on it, but we do). I do NOT want to get sick, too. YUCK.

I heard him start moving around at about 4:15 a.m. and then he was showered, dressed and taking his "cold bomb": big doses of vitamin C, zinc, echinacea and oregano oil. He has too much to do at work to skip -- but before you think he's going to spread germs willy-nilly, he'll be working alone in the server room (which is kept really cold... no germs will survive, muhahahah....). He dressed appropriately, nice and warm, and headed out the door.

Five minutes later he was back.

He'd changed the timing belt in his car over the weekend, and apparently something wasn't quite right because, as he drove down the road the check engine light came on. So... back he came and swapped for his truck. I offered up The Pea since it gets better gas mileage, but he opted not to.

If it's not one thing, it's another. He really didn't need anything else on his plate this week -- we already have my SIL's 4Runner in the driveway in need of a new starter. Looks like a busy weekend of car repair is in DH's future.

How's your day so far? How was your weekend?


Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Little Entrepreneur

"Big thinking precedes great achievement." — Wilferd Peterson

So, DD is really enjoying beading stuff. She has the book thongs down and made four yesterday (for an order she already got *G*). They're gorgeous -- see? Here are two I took pictures of (the other two are on colored ribbon with colored beads):

I'll be honest and say that I had no idea beading was so complicated. I took her to AC Moore and Michaels and got pretty much the bare minimum in supplies. I spent ... a lot (and that with coupons, sales AND my 10% off teacher discount at AC Moore) and we came home with: 6 different pliers, wire, hemp, ribbon, leather, and twine, crimping beads and tubes, three kinds of needles, a book on beading and beads. And what I got isn't even for regular jewelry making or using those itty-bitty beads.

In any case, she's excited and really applying herself (and taking her time) which is good to see. She's not the most patient kid in the world.

After she does several more thongs, we'll move on to bracelets, I think. I hope I don't need more supplies for them!

I told her once she'd made at least 6 more thongs, I'd open her Etsy shop for her. She's already planning on how she'll spend her millions...


We picked all our apples yesterday. They were the UGLIEST looking things you've ever seen, but boy did they taste good! We all ate some, and then I made a pile of applesauce. My SIL called and said our other SIL had dropped off a bushel of peaches from their tree and SIL had spent the morning pureeing them and did I want some? YOU BET.

I didn't have time to can the sauce yesterday, so today I'm going to make half regular applesauce and half peach-applesauce and can it all up. I think I might make some peach jam, too, if I have enough puree.

I'm also going to experiment with making my own refried beans (we use them a lot and they're so ridiculously expensive to buy) and canning them in pint jars. I don't know if I have to pressure can them or not, so will have to investigate.

Feeling a little like pioneer woman, lol.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Special Interview: WWWWH with C. L. Talmadge

Welcome to C. L. Talmadge on today's stop for her tour through Goddess Fish Promotions. Every comment left earns an entry into a drawing for an autographed set of the first three books in her Green Stone of Healing series!

The series features four generations of strong-willed female characters who inherit a mysterious green gem ultimately revealed to mend broken bones and broken hearts, protect against missiles, and render its wearers undetectable.

For more information about each book, please visit -- and now, down to business...

What was the title of the first book you ever wrote (published or not) and what was it about?

My first book was partially completed nonfiction for a nationally known medical malpractice attorney. I cannot reveal the name. I was not his first choice for ghost writer, so he stopped the project after the first two chapters. His first choice for writer is now available after a stint in politics, so maybe he will get that book done after all. I hope so. It would be a humdinger and infuriate a lot of powerful people. Now that’s my kind of tome.

My first completed work is nonfiction entitled Hope is in the Garden: Healing
Resolution Through Unconditional Love. This book explains the underlying cause of illness at all levels of self, not just physical, but mental, spiritual, and emotional, too. Hint: It’s not what most books on this topic say it is. Hope states the principles of healing within the energy of human consciousness and explains why/how people don’t heal, and how we can change that dynamic.

(For a free e-book version of Hope, go my blog and follow the instructions. Deadline to vote is Sept. 25, so hurry!)

Hope was the absolutely necessary precursor to writing my speculative epic, the Green Stone of Healing® series. Many of the same healers from physical and non-physical dimensions have helped me write both of these works. A new, expanded definition of energy contained in Hope is from the “fictional” soul known in my series as Maguari, the Mist-Weaver. Maguari is a wise, powerful healer and a member of an otherworldly association of healers known as the Sunan Society. The character known as Isaac Sudras in my novels is the head of this group, and is known as Dr. Sunan. Interesting similarity in their names, no? And even today, I give this poor soul the same guff that Helen gave Isaac. It keeps him humble—a tough job, but someone has to do it.

When is truth stranger than fiction?

Truth is always stranger than fiction. The latter has to make some sort of sense or readers will object and editors will demand rewrites. Truth often makes no sense whatsoever.

There’s an interesting line in The Dark Knight, the latest Batman film. The loyal servant Alfred tells his master, “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” This is a most sharp and devastating insight into the madness/ennui/pure evil of some souls. Yet this truth sounds so senseless to the relatively sane that they tend, like Bruce Wayne/Batman, to reject it. They simply cannot comprehend it because it is so far from their personal truths.

Truth is not only far stranger than fiction, it is also personal and subjective. This is one of the enduring themes of all my writing. Even science is hesitantly, tentatively, furtively groping toward this realization. Objective truth is a total myth, because we all perceive through a field of human consciousness that contains our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. None of us can be objective since our fields are so distorted and warped by that same factor that is the ultimate cause of disease at all levels of self, which I discuss in Hope.

The best we can achieve is to be honest about our biases with ourselves and, if we are writers or other kinds of artists, with our audience.

Where would you live if you could live anywhere (and tell us why)?

I would live on a tropical island like Hawaii or Tahiti. My comfort range for outside temperatures is between 55 and 75 degrees F, so it’s the tropics for me. Ideally, I would live beside a waterfall and spend a part of each day melding my energy with that of the rushing stream. Great for energizing, relaxing, and creativity. Aaaahh….

Why did the suicide king feel there was nothing left to live for?

I have absolutely no idea why anyone would feel there is nothing more to live for. I have come to this understanding after an excruciating learning curve of many, many lifetimes. I will offer some thoughts about suicide, however. It doesn’t stop the pain. The pain is in the emotional, spiritual, and mental parts of our being and these don’t die with the physical body. These parts of self are a certain kind of energy and they go on to new dimensions. To quote a famous soul named Seth, “You are as dead now as you are ever going to be.” So toss those useless thoughts of dying and start living!

How far can you walk without thinking of something one of your characters did or said?

Maybe two steps. But then again, maybe not. My characters have been on my mind in one way or another since I was 13 years old. Once I determined I wanted to write a novel, they started marching into my conscious awareness, introducing themselves to me, and many even told me their names without my asking. (They’re such characters!) I confess I love them all, even the worst of the villains, because without them I have no story to tell.

C.L. Talmadge is the author of the Green Stone of Healing® speculative epic. The fourth in the series, Outcast, will be published Oct. 1. Vote for the first book, The Vision, through Sept. 25 and get a free e-book on healing, love, and spirituality. Details at her blog:


Friday, September 18, 2009

This and That

Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance but disappear when you get up close to them. ~John Shirley

DD has to make a potpourri pie for her art lesson this week. It's different smelly things in a dish covered with strips of felt to look like a pie. She went outside with our harvesting basket (the one we use to pick veggies) and came back in with stuff I wouldn't have thought of putting together. Her "pie" ended up being chives, rosemary and cinnamon (which she grated from cinnamon sticks). Surprisingly, it smelled AWESOME. In fact, I think I'm going to put it in my bathroom :-)

Tomorrow our 4Runner goes to its new home and I won't be able to avoid learning how my new-to-me car works anymore. How sad is it that I'm overwhelmed by The Pea? Mary mentioned yesterday that she had family members who recently bought brand new cars and had to attend a class to find out how everything works!! A CLASS.

Dear heavens.

Our local fair is coming up in two weekends. DD is bouncing off the walls about it -- says it's almost as good as Christmas. She asked me what I liked best about it (I said "the food" ... lol) and she said, "I like the horse shows and the exhibits and the rides and the cows and the food... I like EVERYTHING."

She's thinking about going on the big Ferris wheel this year, but isn't sure because I won't go on with her (yeah, I'll do roller coasters, but Ferris wheels terrify me). We're torn between going on "bracelet day" when you buy a bracelet for $20 and can ride rides until you vomit, or going on a different day when the fairway won't be so crowded, but you use tickets -- and she'd only get to go on 5-6 rides. Tough decisions to make at ten.

We're not sure what to do with Dakota on fair day, either. We'd either have to crate her for 6 - 7 hours or take her to day care. Every time we've taken her to day care, she's gotten sick, but I don't love the idea of crating the little bundle of energy for that long either. Days like these, I really miss my last dog. She was so easy.

DH wants to get a log-splitter for our three cords of wood this year. The past couple of times we've taken down our own trees for firewood, we've split it all by hand. It's great exercise, but very time-consuming, and we're running out of time this year. Guess we'll find out...

I'm going to pick all the apples off of our trees today. I think I might make applesauce, though the idea of it exhausts me. But, we got enough this year we can't just eat them all, so I have to do something with them.

Got any fun ideas of what to do with a bunch of apples?


You Are North

Like a Viking, you are assertive, decisive, and dominant. You seek power and destroy those in your way.

People admire that you are so confident and independent. You seem to have the world figured out.

Sometimes you come across as pushy and aggressive... not that you mind! You like being seen as tough.

You make a fairly good leader, especially in times that require grit and ruthlessness. You are a warrior.

Next stop: World Domination! ........ muhahahahahaha.......


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where Did Wednesday Go?

Often, when I am reading a good book, I stop and thank my teacher. That is, I used to, until she got an unlisted number. ~Author Unknown

Yesterday was totally nuts. I woke up feeling completely organized -- the night before I'd make up a detailed list of things that needed to get done, both online and IRL. It was long, but didn't seem out of the realm of possibility.

I ran to AC Moore in the morning with DD to pick up a tool we needed for beading -- she's going to start making somethings for Christmas to start, but wants to eventually sell her items online to earn some spending money. I told her if I thought her items were done well enough to sell, I'd open her own Etsy shop. My little entrepreneur.

BUT, that little jaunt put a big blip in the day. Now, DD didn't want to focus on school... she was ready to bead. Um. NO. So I spent a good part of the rest of the day chasing after her to keep her head where it should be.

As an aside, my new car ("The Pea") has a GPS system. Probably good for me, since I get lost in a paper bag, but I don't know how to use it yet. And EVERYTHING feeds through it: heat/AC, radio, etc.

Yesterday, on the way home from the store, DD touched it with her finger. We don't know WHAT she touched, but the audio came on AND it had a route mapped that would send me down to Massachusetts. Now, I know my way home, but I was annoying the GPS lady by not following her directions.

Bong. "Turn left in one point two miles."

One point two miles goes by and it begins to BONG BONG BONG frantically as I pass my turn. Then the screen madly searches for an alternate route in order to send me back to Mass.

Bong. "Turn left in point five miles."

Point five miles passes and it begins to BONG BONG BONG frantically as I pass my turn. Then the screen madly searches for an alternate route in order to send me back to Mass.

And, well, you get the idea. It did this the ENTIRE way home, until I turned on my street which dead-ends. It didn't like that at all and threw a pretty picture of a U-Turn up on the screen.

Today, on my NEW list of things to do: Read GPS manual (and yes, there is one whole manual just for the GPS system).

I miss the simple life.


DD has been working with Dakota, teaching her tricks. While I absolutely adored my last dog, Bailey, she wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. Dakota, though, is pretty dang sharp.

She know the basics, of course (sit, down, stay, etc) and we've added shake (with either or both paws), sit up, high five and the latest is roll over. She's so cute -- I'll have to take a video and show you. We tried and tried to get Bailey to roll over and never could teach her.

Next up: teaching her to fall to her side "dead" when we point our finger at her and say, "BANG!".


Speaking of pet tricks... you HAVE to check this out:


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What, Where, When, Why, How with Anne Kane

Welcome to Changeling Press author, Anne Kane!

What is your least favorite food?

My least favorite food is lobster. Ever since childhood, I’ve had an aversion to any seafood that doesn’t come deep-fried in a nice beer-batter. When I was nine, my Dad arrived home from an East Coast business trip with two live lobsters. Now you have to realize that we kids had never seen live lobsters before. Dad put them in a box in the back yard to wait for the big dinner planned in their honor. My siblings and I promptly named them. And played with them. And bestowed personalities on them. I’m sure everyone on the continent heard my mother’s amazing outburst when she found out that he expected her to drop Annabelle and Betsy – still alive and kicking – into a pot of boiling water. I had no idea she had such an impressive vocabulary. I’m not a vegetarian, but if it’s alive when I get to the restaurant, I’d like it to be alive when I leave.

When is a heroine TSTL?

Oh, this is such a good question. There are so many times when the heroine, while gorgeous and incredibly sexy, proves that she’s just too stupid to live. The author spends ninety-nine pages keeping her just steps ahead of the homicidal maniac, but on page one hundred, the brainless ninny ditches her hunky bodyguard and drives to the local mall because she needs the perfect shade of nail polish to match her lingerie. Any bets on how this one ends?

How about the woman who just spent twenty pages wondering if her co-worker is a serial rapist, and then decides to park her car in that dark, deserted underground garage that he has unlimited access to?

My personal all time favorite TSTL heroine, though, is the one who wakes up to find a strange man in her bedroom and immediately thinks, “Wow, he’s gorgeous!” How stupid is that? Unless you ordered room service before you went to bed, a strange, uninvited guy in your bedroom is NOT a good thing, no matter what he looks like.

Where do you go to have fun?

Well, if I told you that, everyone would go and then it wouldn’t be as much fun! *G*

Okay, seriously, it depends on what time of the year it is. Up here in the frozen North, we have four very distinct seasons. In the spring, I love to go hiking. There are many wonderful walking trails near my home and I just love to take the dog and wander around the hillsides. We enjoy smelling that nice clean mud and admiring all the spring flowers.

Now in the summer, you can find me in the water. Any water will do. I kayak, go swimming in the river, or splash around the local pool, and I just LOVE the waterslides. Of course, I need to take a few grandkids with me as a disguise. After all, I’m much old to be going because I love the big loop de loops and the huge splash I make when I land in the pool at the bottom. Sometimes I just like to sit on my deck with a nice glass of wine and watch the world go by.

In the fall, I make a valiant effort to visit all the fall fairs within driving distance. I love country fairs. They have that yummy confection known as cotton candy, and I have to admit it’s my one weakness. Well okay, I have a lot of weaknesses, but cotton candy is pretty close to the top of the list!

Winter? Well, let’s just say I like to see how realistic I can make a snowman. Then I retreat to a nice fireside chair with my wine and a good book.

Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?

The answer to this is somehow related to the fact that we call it rush hour when the cars are barely moving. I think it’s a conspiracy by the Big Three car manufacturers to make the general population even more confused than normal, and get them to buy more cars. Just picture the three CEOs, sitting at the boardroom table for their annual strategy session.
“We need to name that stretch of mud people have in front of their homes where they keep their cars,” says CEO number one, chomping on his cigar stub. ”If it had a name, everyone would have to buy a car from us to keep on it.”

“How about a parking space?” suggests CEO number two.

“Nah.” It needs to be something catchy.”

CEO number three takes another swig of his imported beer and grins maniacally. “I think we should call it a driveway.”

“Are you serious? That’s nuts!” says CEO number one.

“They don’t drive on it, they park on it” points out CEO number two.

“But they have to drive onto it to park.” CEO number three warms to his subject. “And they drive off it when they leave. Besides, the guys over at ABC Home Sales owe me one. I gave them a great discount on all of those cars we had left over after the exploding gas tank debacle. I’m sure I can get them to co-operate.”

And the very next day, the head realtor for ABC Home Sales was overheard talking to a prospective buyer. “And with this model, you get a double driveway. Never heard of a driveway? Oh, it’s all the rage. Everybody who is anybody has one!”

How did the One-Eyed Jack lose his eye?

It’s a very little known fact that before he retired to the deck of cards, the One-Eyed Jack was a swashbuckling pirate. He went by the name of Jack B Nimble because he had a habit of jumping back and forth over candlesticks when he got drunk. And he got drunk a lot.

One day, when he’d imbibed a great deal of the local grog; an evil landlubber exchanged the usual eight inch tall candle for a twelve inch tall one. Well, Jack was a little less nimble than usual and his foot nicked the top of the candle on his very first jump. He went crashing to the floor and a splinter jabbed right into his eye. The local doctor did his best, but he couldn’t save the eye, and from that day forth, Jack B Nimble became the One-Eyed Jack.

Anne Kane lives in the beautiful Okanagan Valley with a bouncy Jack Russell terrier, a cantankerous Himalayan cat, and too many fish to count. She has two handsome sons and three adorable grandchildren. By day, she’s a respectable bean counter, but after hours her imagination soars and she writes romances that span the galaxy and encompass beings of all sizes, shapes and origins.

In 2007, she decided to take her writing seriously. She entered a novella, Kellen’s Conquest, in the Red Sage Alpha Male contest. She also submitted a short story to Changeling Press. Much to her surprise, the novella won first place and will be published in the Secrets: Vol. 30 anthology in 2010. The short story was the first of many she contracted to Changeling Press, LLP.

Her hobbies include kayaking, hiking, motorcycles, swimming, skating, playing guitar, spoiling with her pets, singing and of course, reading.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

R.I.P. Patrick Swayze 1952 - 2009

"Nobody puts Baby in a corner." - Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing

So sad... what a great actor and dancer and all around entertainer. Who didn't love "Dirty Dancing" (and who didn't want their own "Johnny")? And then there's one of my DH's fave "man" movies: "Roadhouse". What about that pottery wheel scene in "Ghost"? Ooh lala...

He fought his disease bravely. I wish him peace.

Every YouTube video for this has the embedding disabled, but I would be remiss if I didn't show the final dance in "Dirty Dancing".


Monday, September 14, 2009

Darling Dog Details

If you can look at a dog and not feel vicarious excitement and affection, you must be a cat. ~Author Unknown

The more one gets to know of men, the more one values dogs. ~Alphonse Toussenel

Looks like we're going to have TWO princess's riding around in The Pea. Because the thing has leather seats (I HATE leather seats... just saying. They're high maintenance, blech.) and since we take Dakota almost everywhere with us when we're out and about, and we don't want doggy claws ruining the seats, we're getting princess #2 a doggy hammock. It's kind of cool, really. Here's a picture from Oh My Dog Supplies:

What I find most amusing is the pocket for a water bottle. Really? LOL...

I swear, they have everything for pets nowadays. About the time I figure I spoil mine rotten, I see something that makes it clear many other pets are FAR more spoiled than mine. The only other two "frivolous" things I might end up getting Dakota this year are a blaze orange vest for hunting season (she jumps JUST like a deer and even has a little white butt when her tail moves ...) and a doggy snowsuit -- like this one from Baxter Boo.

Unlike my last dog, Bailey, Dakota has NO undercoat. This is awesome when it comes to shedding (she doesn't shed much at all!), but not so awesome when she plays in the snow. She freezes her can off... shivers, cries. Once she was so cold she wouldn't even move to come in and I had to fetch her and carry her in to lay by the fireplace. But she LOVES the snow. Hence the snowsuit. We'll see... I'm frugal by nature, so it seems silly. OTOH, I really think it would be useful. Our local Petsmart carried them last year, so I'm hoping they will again.

In other doggy news, I finally heard from the lady who runs the 4H club for dog agility. YAY! They don't start up again until January, but there is room for us and we're welcome to join. The only down side is that they meet on the same night as we have our current agility class. Figures.

Still, I think 4H would be a huge benefit to DD, so what I think I'll do is see if we can go to every other class at our current agility place (and then just pay every other time). The instructor there is really good about working around our needs.

And, with the 4H club, they do agility exhibitions and competitions at a lot of the local fairs and stuff, so it would be a lot of fun for DD.

Busy times ahead for us!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Grandparents Day

Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting. ~Author Unknown

Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete. ~Marcy DeMaree

What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies. ~Rudolph Giuliani

Because DD and I can't celebrate with our fave grandparent today, we want to wish my mom/DD's gramdma a happy Grandparent's Day.

* She saw DD born and actually held her before I did.

* As a toddler, DD called her "Guh" for the longest time.

* She taught DD to cross stitch and was the first to help her plant seeds.

* DD's first sleepover was at Grandma's house -- even though it was only over our garage.

* She shared nearly every moment of the first eight years of DD's life and it made an impact.

And we miss having her nearby.

Happy Grandparent's Day, mom!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Something New in our Driveway

A bargain ain't a bargain unless it's something you need. ~Sidney Carroll

Busy day for us yesterday. DD was working on a science project for school (which required a little hunting in the woods), and DH & I bought a new-to-us vehicle. He can never sleep the night before he drops a significant amount of money, so he tossed and turned and tossed and turned. I finally got up around 2 a.m. and crashed on the couch with the dog, who snores but doesn't toss and turn *G*

My DH is a car salesman's nightmare. He does massive amounts of research on something before he even shows up on the lot and he's an incredible negotiator. He will dicker them down to a price that's nearly painful. He knows what something is worth, and won't pay more. He'll allow the dealership a profit, but not an obscene one, and WILL walk away if they won't give him what he asks (we almost had a nearly new 4Runner ... *sigh*... but the dealer wouldn't come down enough in price). I'm lousy at negotiating, I HATE to do it, so DH goes by himself, because I have a lousy poker face. Then, when it's done, I come down and sign the papers. *G*

In any case, we got one of these (this is almost exactly what it looks like, except it's solid green):

And since every vehicle has a "call sign" in my DH's family, and there is already a "green bug" (and a black bug, and a gold bug and ... well, you get the idea), and since this is a bit shorter than the trucks and vans and SUVs that everyone else owns, it's been dubbed...

The Pea

My DD doesn't like the name, and calls it "Sweet Pea", but I told her that she can be the Princess in the Pea. *G*

We're selling my beloved 4Runner (**sniff**) and already have a buyer who's been bugging DH for it for a couple years. That's good, I suppose, but I'm going to miss my baby.

So, we're on the poor side of middle class again, but I have a fairly new, reliable vehicle and on the plus side, it gets much better gas mileage.

Still, I really love my Runner.


Your 80s Hunk is Kirk Cameron

Back in the 80s, you would have been the most popular girl around.

And obviously, you'd want to be with the cutest, most popular guy!

You like a guy who is friendly, funny, and a bit of a troublemaker.

Yes, you're a bit picky. But you're willing to fight to win you're dream guy's heart.

LOL... I did watch his show, but the rest? Not so much...


Friday, September 11, 2009


No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap. ~Carrie Snow

This was a rough week made rougher by a series of unrelated events: DH being off through Tuesday and off again today (and up EARLY... he's up now which messes with the little bit of time I get in the a.m.), Breeann sick, my biz partner, Judy unavailable most of the week, school, and oh-so much more.

I'm pooped.

This is all I want to do:

Unfortunately, I'm a VERY light sleeper. I only wish I could sleep like this baby:

Yesterday, my neighbor brought her dog by to play with Dakota -- however, the cat was in the window, and Mindy wanted to play with HER instead. The cat was not amused. Dakota kept running over and staring at the scene, "What? It's just the cat... big deal! Come on, play with MEMEMEMEMEMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE...."

But it made me laugh at this:

And, don't forget -- it's after Labor Day, so no more white dress shoes or we'll all be horrified:


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday Already??

You own a dog but you feed a cat. ~Jenny de Vries

You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals. ~George Mikes

How can it be Thursday already? Where did the week go? My DH wasn't just off last Friday (he works a four day work week), but also Monday AND Tuesday. I am so messed up... *sigh*

First off, Breeann is doing quite well. I'm not sure what set her off on her little vomiting spree, but there were no blockages on the x-rays and her blood tests came back clean. Well... except for one little problem: her kidney enzymes were elevated. Under normal circumstances, the doc would attribute that to the dehydration (and that might be what it was), but her sister (my old roommate's cat) died from kidney failure almost two years ago and apparently that can be a hereditary disease.

Also, we have to deal with the massive amounts of arthritis in her back legs and hips, which will be made more difficult by her kidney problems (some medication can stress the kidneys).

If it's not one thing, it's another. But, she's up and around, asking for food and perky enough to beat on the dog so she's pretty much back to normal.

Thanks for all your kind thoughts, prayers and well-wishes on her behalf.


I got a bit of a jolt in the mail yesterday. My local SAU (school administrative unit) sent me a letter:

"As of this date, we have not received notification that your child will be homeschooled for the 09/10 school year..."

I had visions of the truancy police, the regular police AND social services all knocking on my door. In a panic, I grabbed the letter they'd send the month before, acknowledging receipt of the letter of intent they now claimed to NOT have received and took off for the SAU.

It was all over in a matter of minutes. They found my letter of intent on file and apologized. Still, it took a while for my heart to stop pounding, lol...


Am still working my way through "Stiller Creek" and realizing that I really am not 100% cognizant of the inner workings of the police. It makes me uneasy about writing a story that has the police chief as the hero, no matter how much research I do.

Ah well... I guess I'll find out if I did okay if and when the story is ever accepted for publication.


Your Brown Eyes Say You're Clever and Witty

You are seen as brilliant and irreverent. You speak your mind, and people love you for it.

You don't let other people see any insecurities you might have. You like to present a brave front.

You are sharp as a tack and very quick on your feet. You're the first to get or tell a joke.

You are also clear thinking in a crisis. You are an excellent problem solver.

That's ME ... brilliant, sharp as a tack, clear-thinking. How did they know?


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

What, When, Where, Why and How with Christine McKay

Give a warm welcome to Christine McKay!!!

What character would you pick that could easily transplant into another

This is a hard one. I know you said transplant a character from one story
to another, but I consider my life the best story of all.

For the most part, I really love my characters. I'd love to pull my
bitchy but very talented queen Cerenth from "Shadow Queen" and put her
into today's world. I could put her to use shaping up my husband.

Morgan, from "A Taste of Summer Magic", is a modern day witch with kick
ass culinary skills. She could bring along both her men, Jason and Perry,
and set up shop in my kitchen.

And then there's my Scottish shape-shifting hero from my Harlequin
story, "Loch Dragon's Lady" (sorry folks, it's contracted but I don't
have a release date yet). How hot is a man with a Scottish burr strutting
around in a kilt? Bye, bye, husband. Hello Robert Dunyveg. Yummy. I'd
never get any writing done.

When you were young, what did you do?

When I was young and fearless, I did competitive and endurance riding on
my mule, Sidney. At that time, there were only 5 mules competing in the
Midwest (everyone else pretty much rode Arabians). I racked up a lot of
miles on both my mules and my crummy Chevy truck.

Why a mule? They're super smart and take care of their riders. I still
have Sidney and she's just as witchy as she was when she was 5.

I also played piano and pipe organ, showed dairy goats, and was very
involved with model horse showing (to the point where I became a state
certified judge). Yes - people do show their plastic ponies. I still
collect model horses - Chevals are my favorite as well as Peter Stone's
drafters, but I no longer show them.

Oh and I earned Expert status in the National Rifle League's Junior Rifle
program. That occupied every Friday of my life for 5+ years. So I'm very
accurate with a .22 target rifle. Unfortunately or fortunately,
that isn't a skill I have to use very often, though it sometimes comes in
handy when the coyotes decide one of my pets look tasty.

Where were you when you got your first kiss

I was in a field. And honest, it didn't go any farther than that!! Can't
comment on that one because I haven't shared those details with hubby.

Why does "I" come before "E" except after "C"?

Having a college English background, I could get super technical on this
one (but I can already picture you all yawning). And I'm sure the very
famous Ayn Rand would say "I" should come before all the letters in the
alphabet. If you haven't read her books, do so!

But let's just say, if "I" didn't shove "E" aside, hike up its skirt and
run, it'd have been swallowed by the sea. See?

How many rooms are in your house?

Oh, this is a funny. My house is less than 1000 square feet so every room
pulls double duty. We have the standard ones - bathroom and bedroom, but
the bedroom moonlights as the exercise room and the sewing room. The
kitchen and dining room are one and we also have a narrow hallway that is
the laundry "room" though I use that term loosely. The living room is an
exercise in compromise - my half is mustardy tone with dark wood
furniture, horse portraits and models, my computer and my piano. My
husband's side is painted fawn (ecru-ish) and features a zillion wildlife
paintings as well as an elk, 3 deer, and bear mount as well as black
leather furniture. We also share the space with a neurotic Jack Russel
Terrier and a very senile and ancient Schnauzer/Poodle/mutt mix. Oh and
every now and then, an orphan baby goat occupies the "laundry room".

About the Author: I've been writing as long as I've been able to hold a pencil, though thank God my mom wasn't one of those mothers who saved all her child's scribblings. Right now, I have two books contracted with Harlequin Spice briefs, 3 novels (2 fantasy and 1 contemporary) published with Cerridwen Press, 2 erotic short stories with Ellora's Cave, a very sexy m/f/m novella with Carnal Passions, and a sarcastic/comedic paranormal novella coming out with Champagne Books in April.

What can I tell you about my writing? For some reason, I attract folks who don't normally read. If I had a quarter for every time someone told me their husband/significant other couldn't put one of my stories down, I could stay home and write full time. But seriously, I have a hard time sitting still and my stories reflect that. They're sexy, they're fast paced, they're humorous. Visit me at

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Kitty Update

Just got Breeann home... she's pleased to be here. She's not so happy that she's locked up in the laundry room. The vet wants me to keep her well-contained for the next day or two to make sure she's not vomiting where I can't see her. The x-rays show no obstructions or obvious reason for her vomiting. OTOH, they DO show MASSIVE arthritis in her back, hips and back knees, poor baby. The vet says she's probably in a great deal of pain, even though she only limps a little bit. He says cats go into "stealth mode" when they hurt.


Anyway, we won't have the blood test results back for a day or two, and at this point have no idea what's made her sick, so I just have to watch her, make sure she eats, drinks & poops and hopefully that she does NOT throw up again.

:::fingers crossed:::


Worried About my Kitty

There is something about the presence of a cat... that seems to take the bite out of being alone. ~Louis J. Camuti

I'm worried about my cat, Breeann.

Yesterday morning, she threw up -- everywhere. All the food she'd eaten, plus about ten times more (where did it all come from?). The basement was covered with her mess... she'd even thrown up IN her food dish. And then she curled up on her fleece blanket and slept ALL DAY LONG.

She finally woke up around 7 pm (usually, she comes upstairs around 4:00 and starts asking for soft food -- she used to take medicine every night, and hasn't decided to forget that, even though she hasn't gotten it in months) and strolled upstairs, then curled up in a chair to sleep again. She never asked for food and didn't touch the little bit of hard food I'd put in her bowl.

I found her in the same chair this morning. She didn't move until about 4:30 a.m., when she jumped down and threw up again -- just liquid goo this time since she hadn't eaten since the morning before. And then she went back down into the basement, ignored the food bowl and curled up to go back to sleep.

She's an old lady ... fifteen years old. I got her as a baby from a lady where I worked. She'd been handed around from house to house since she'd left her mama and no one wanted to keep her (my other cat doesn't like her, she sheds, she gets into my stuff) and they knew I'd taken her sister (who promptly adopted my roommate, lol) so asked if I'd take her, too.

I had every intention of finding her another home. At the time, my roommate and I already had four cats and didn't need another... but, she fit right in and the rest is history. She's a GOOD cat -- a little cranky, but she deals with the dog, doesn't climb on the counters, doesn't shred the furniture.

As soon as the vet opens this morning, I'm calling for an appointment. I hope she just has a bug and everything goes away... but I'm worried about her. A lot.


Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Labor Day

Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow. ~Douglas Pagels, These Are the Gifts I'd Like to Give to You

In honor of Labor Day, and because I'm trying to get lunch, swim bags and more ready for DH and DD to head out on the boat, I'm taking the day off blogging today.

I'll leave you with this... and what IS it with cats and sinks??

You Are Peppermint Flavored Gum

You have a sharp mind that is always churning.

You are mentally hyper. You're always thinking of something.

And while your mind is always on, you're not the most physically active person around.

Some people make mistake you for being lazy, but the truth is: you never relax.

You tend to get so deeply into your projects that you ignore everything around you.

You are creative and cutting edge. You love telling people about your newest ideas and discoveries.

Huh... that's mostly right, lol...


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Preparing for Winter

When the bold branches
Bid farewell to rainbow leaves -
Welcome wool sweaters.
~B. Cybrill

I started tearing down the garden yesterday. On the one hand, it makes me sad, but on the other, we had such a terrible year (garden-wise) that it's almost a relief to pull everything up and get it out of sight.

I think I picked three full-sized tomatoes this year -- off about a dozen plants! And, though we certainly had more cherry tomatoes, there were never more than we could easily snack on in one sitting, and that was from another dozen plants. We should have been swimming in red.

We picked five cucumbers this year, off of eight plants. A few handfuls of beans and peas. The carrots died for no apparent reason. The only thing that produced decently was the squash, which is starting to die now, and I'm not sure why. I'll probably get 4-5 more squash off them before they're gone.

So disappointing. I really wanted to have tomatoes to can this year. And maybe more pickles. Good thing we aren't pioneers, and can go to the store when the garden flops!

Today, I'll finish pulling up what's left, except for the squash which gets to live until it dies on its own. I'll also finish chopping down most of my perennial flowers which are done blooming. All I have left are the fall bloomers: asters and chrysanthemums.

Then I need to do my bulbs -- I want to plant pink daffodils for the spring since the voles and chipmunks have decimated my crocus and grape hyacinth bulbs, and I want something besides yellow. I think there are a few other deer resistant bulbs (which probably means vole-and-'munk resistant), so I need to research that as well.

And then hunker down and get ready for a long, white winter.


ACK! A bird just flew into my slider -- not hard, but still. We don't have a plain glass one, either. What was it thinking? We had a bat slam into it once a couple winters ago and then land, motionless in the snow on the deck. I couldn't just leave him there, so I donned oven mitts and grabbed a towel, picked it up and put him in the rafters underneath our deck where he'd be safe until he regained all his facilities. I like bats. They are good doobies.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

A Dribble at the Well

"If you chase two rabbits, both will escape" — Unknown

"Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There's plenty of movement, but you never know if it's going to be forward, backwards, or sideways." — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Our water comes to us from a well on our property -- a concept that took me some time to get used to, being a city girl and all. Something else I needed to get used to was the fact that the pump can only send so much water to us at one time.

This morning, while the sprinklers were running outside, I'd just flushed the potty, and had turned on the water at the sink. It was a mere dribble. I didn't get a decent amount of water until the toilet tank finished filling, and it got me to thinking (yes, epiphanies DO come from the strangest places...): we're sort of the same way, right? Only a finite amount of time, energy, creativity, brain power, etc.

I know I could be using my time more efficiently. I am lured by the email accounts on a regular basis -- I feel as though our business emails HAVE to be answered immediately or the world will come to an end. And that's just stupid.

I have a friend who has several tasks she needs to complete on a daily basis. To do so, she figures out how much time the task should take if she worked, focused and uninterrupted, and then sets a timer for that amount of time. THEN she focuses on that task, and that task only, until the timer goes off.

I feel as though I have so much on my plate that I'll never get it all done. But, I'm thinking that if I can focus on one thing at a time (not my strong suit...) I would be able to be more productive in less time, therefore giving me more time to do the things that keep getting set aside.

I've put a kitchen timer on my shopping list and am going to start this new endeavor next week -- Wednesday, when DH goes back to work. And then, maybe, I can give more than a dribble to the things I do.


You Are Taco Salad

You are brutally honest and totally real. You can't be bothered to be fake for a second.

You are a total riot. You have a wicked sense of humor, and you crack people up.

You often shock people with your antics. You have a very spicy personality.

You are energetic and intense. You live every moment to its fullest.

Well.. yeah... mostly...