Monday, August 31, 2009

Chat Hangover

In its early stages, insomnia is almost an oasis in which those who have to think or suffer darkly take refuge. ~Colette


see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I have chat hangover.

We had SO much fun at the chat -- I've never had hours pass so quickly. But, holy moly, the craziness!

Then, last night when we were finally officially done, and I closed the computer and crawled to bed, I could NOT get to sleep. I laid there. And laid there. And laid there.

I thought about my WIPs...

Should I add the new character to Stiller Creek, and what do I really know about police departments and forensics and crime? Maybe I should just trash the whole thing? Maybe I shouldn't have the hero be a cop? Maybe the original bad guy shouldn't be bad... but then, how does that affect the ending?

Should I get back to writing "A Jewel for Geoff"? What if Geoff leaves the law firm where he works and goes out on his own? Then how would I include info about Liv? Would he do something like that? What if he quits law altogether and does something completely different? How would that impact the story?

In "Playing House", maybe I should change the story back to where my hero isn't engaged to someone else when the story starts. Maybe he should only be dating Audree. This story is actually finished, so do I really want to change an integral plot point and then have to completely rewrite the entire thing?

What about Camilla? Is there a way I can have Jed have to live in her place without wounding him, since that's what hangs me up?

And...

... for two hours I thought about this stuff. Mulled it over. Felt like I should get up and write things down. My brain was a ping-pong ball, all over the place.

Finally, though, I crashed. Yay.

And then woke up at 3 a.m.

Yes, really. I laid in bed for an hour, certain I would get back to sleep, but the brain was awake again and singing to me. Yes, I had a song in my head ("Who Says You Can't Go Home" by Jon Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles, and no I don't know why) and it repeated until I thought I'd scream.

I got up. It wasn't like I didn't have work to do.

But... dear heavens I am tired.

How was your weekend?

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

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fall is in the Air

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Who would think that sitting at a computer all day moderating a chat would be so exhausting? I was fried by the time 9:00 came last night! And I get to do it all over again today, lol. It was fun. It was crazy. It was busy. What a blast!

DH and DD are planning on boating today. Not much more boating weather happening up here -- it's cooling down dramatically, like someone flipped the "fall" button. Nights are down in the 40s, days will have highs in the 70s. Yesterday, I wore a sweater all day (of course, we had all our windows open and it was only 62 degrees outside, lol, but we do like our fresh air). This morning when I went outside to put the bird feeders up, I didn't get attacked by bugs ... are the mosquitoes gone? That would be a plus for certain.

In any case, my plans for today are chat moderation and website maintaining - I need to build all our pages for next week in between chatting and giving away our three eReaders (that part will be really cool).

Are you up to anything interesting?

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




You Are Mocha Iced Coffee



You are bold and confident. You enjoy taking risks, especially when the rewards are great.

For you, there's nothing better than the taste of sweet success. You crave power.



You have a dominant personality, and most people are drawn to your strengths.

You are very creative and inventive. You follow your passions, and they rarely lead you astray.



About 50/50 ... though I do like a good mocha latte.

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

Saturday, August 29, 2009

This and That

Since there is nothing so well worth having as friends, never lose a chance to make them. ~Francesco Guicciardini

Rain today. Actually, we really needed it so I'm trying not to be annoyed -- but to have it on the weekend is bad. DH gets VERY cranky when he's stuck inside on his day off.

I have to apologize to my bloggie friends -- This week has been nuts between starting school and finishing up our anniversary celebration at LASR/WC and I haven't had much chance to come visit. I opened my Google reader yesterday and about passed out. I haven't forgotten you! This weekend is going to be nuts -- we're having a two-day chat in the LASR Yahoo group and the WC Yahoo group so I'm going to be dealing with that both days. But Monday? Hopefully things will be back to normal. A little.

I started reading a new cozy mystery series a week or so back, and enjoyed book one, so I'll share. It's the Coffeehouse Mystery series by Cleo Coyle. I started book two last night and I like her stories, but MAN does she make me feel declasse for the coffee I drink, lol. Her website is a serious time suck, too. Lots of neat stuff there. Enjoy!

And, now, I need to finish my other online duties because Judy and I are hosting the first hour of chat at 9 a.m. (EST). If you folks are looking for some fun and prizes, you should check it out. And we're giving away coffee mugs at the end of the first hour to one lucky chatter. We have prizes all day (autographed books, eBooks, free LASR/WC advertising and LASR/WC gear), plus our author/publisher hosts are also having giveaways. It's going to be tons of fun.

I may need to sleep for a week after.

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

Ceri did the unforgivable yesterday: She mentioned NaNoWriMo. Dear heavens. I may end up doing my own version of it -- I think trying for 50,000 words is setting myself up for failure with the workload I have. But, I think I'm going to go for 500 words a day (15,000 words in November) and host it on the JaNoWriMo blog. Anyone up for that? And, hey, if you're doing NaNo, you're welcome to share over there, too. I may change my tune by November -- maybe I'll be feeling more ambitious, but somehow I doubt it. LOL...

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




Your Soul Is Connected to the Fall



You are a somewhat sensitive soul with a tough exterior. You are street smart and wise about the world.

You have the heart of a poet, but you're not too eager to let anyone else see it.



You are very creative and deeply talented. You are still looking for the perfect outlet for your expression.

You embrace change and think the cycles of life are beautiful. You don't shrink away from the darker elements of life.



That part about "you embrace change"? SO not right... some of the rest is. Still, I'm a summertime gal.

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

Friday, August 28, 2009

**Yawn**

When you have insomnia, you're never really asleep, and you're never really awake. ~From the movie Fight Club

Long night last night, so I hope I'm coherent today.

At about 8:30 last night, DD starting feeling sick -- she didn't want to throw up in her room, so I found her curled up on her bathmats in the bathroom by the potty. She had a pillow and was settled in for the duration.

I checked on her about an hour later, and she said she still felt icky and wanted to stay in the bathroom, so I covered her up with a blanket and went to bed myself -- exhausted, but feeling guilty for leaving DD on the bathroom floor.

Also, DH had to work an overnighter at his job. This wouldn't normally keep me awake at night, but since I was already awake, I gave him a call before I went to sleep. Then, when I woke up at 2 a.m., DD was still on the bathroom floor (yes, I'm a bad mom...) so I woke her up and sent her to bed (she was feeling better) and called DH again. Poor guy was so tired... and he had to hang out until morning to do some more stuff. I suggested he go sleep in his car for a couple hours. It's time like this that his long commute really stinks because it didn't make sense for him to drive home, sleep for an hour and drive back.

So... then I felt guilty about sleeping in my nice comfy bed and couldn't get back to sleep, though I gave it the old college try.

**yawn**

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




You Are "Hey"



You are a bit of a wallflower. You're not a big fan of small talk and pointless conversation.

You tend to be more of a listener than a talker. You especially hate talking to strangers.



You are independent and very creative. You are good at expressing your thoughts, even if you keep most of them private.

Some people may see you as standoffish, but you're really a friendly person. It just takes you a while to warm up.



That's really pretty much right on... huh...

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

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Romance and Marriage

Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate. ~Barnett R. Brickner

A long marriage is two people trying to dance a duet and two solos at the same time. ~Anne Taylor Fleming


So, I have a writing friend who has a short romance story nearly completed that involves a married couple as a H/H. They're childhood sweethearts, married for nearly a decade and now on the verge of divorce. The wife has moved out and filed, because she has cause to believe her husband was cheating. The story is about how they overcome the trust issues and learn to love each other again.

Her first choice of romance publisher (the one she's contracted with on another story) doesn't contract stories with married couples as the protagonists. They don't feel that a married H/H is "romance". Romance should be (loosely):

Boy meets girl.
Boy loses girl.
Boy gets girl back.

And with married couples you don't have the "boy meets girl" component.

While I agree that much of the fun of a romance is seeing how they meet and slowly fall in love, I wonder if watching a couple remember why they fell in love to begin with isn't just as romantic? OTOH, married couples aren't something you see often in romance novels (aside from Eve and Roarke ... but their books are more suspense than typical romance), so maybe this publisher has a point.

I'm on the fence. What think you?

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

DD loves her new curriculum. She loves the format, and is enjoying school. On Tuesday, after breakfast I was going to take the dog for a walk, and couldn't find DD. Then I heard singing ("My Country, 'tis of Thee") and discovered she'd headed up to the school room and started school without being asked!

I hope it keeps up. Having her excited about school is awesome.

I haven't been able to get in touch with either 4H leader that I wanted. I've called and left messages, but haven't gotten a call back. **sigh** I'll try again today, and then if I don't hear back, I'm calling their "headquarters" and ask what else I should do.

We're enrolling in art lessons today. I hope she enjoys them. And, we'll be heading to the library to pick up our volunteer forms and do that (and, yes, I'm volunteering with her ... might as well, since I'll be there anyway).

When she's older, we'll probably start volunteering at the nearby animal shelter instead. We tried that a couple of years ago, and they let her be with me, but she couldn't DO anything so it was no fun. She has to be thirteen, so we'll hit them up again in a few years.

Do you volunteer anywhere?

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

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What, Where, When, Why, How with Barbara Meyers

Give a warm welcome and hearty howdy to today's guest, Barbara Meyers!

What super power would you choose?

Super Keen Vision. I never needed glasses my whole life and I’d always heard if you don’t need glasses by the time you’re 40, you’ll need them shortly thereafter, which is what happened to me. Yes, I know there are much worse conditions I could have and believe me, I’m grateful that this is my one humanoid “defect.” But it is endlessly annoying. My husband, a glass-wearer from about the age of nine, insisted I needed bi-focals and wouldn’t believe I didn’t until the eye doctor told him so. My distance vision is almost perfect, but fine print, computer screens, the cash register at work, even food on my plate is fairly blurry without a pair of cheaters. I can’t see the print on my cell phone. God help me if I end up without one of my many pairs of glasses in a restaurant. A companion has to hold the menu for me across the table. Shopping is a pain. I can’t see the size or price tags without glasses. Sometimes I feel like the visual-deficient counterpart to the Karate Kid. Glasses on. Glasses off.

Included with my Super Keen Vision would be Eyes In The Back Of My Head. It wouldn’t help me now, because my kids are grown, but it might come in handy if I ever have grandchildren. I could also see if my dog is secretly laughing at me behind my back.

And I want Super X-Ray vision, also. My eyes could laser through the refrigerator and freezer doors and determine if there’s anything in either of them that I can throw together for dinner or if a trip to the grocery store is required. In a sub-section of Super X-Ray vision, I would also have the power to create a possible dinner menu from anything that already exists in the freezer or fridge. This would come in handy in locating items in my overcrowded spice shelf and disorganized pantry.

I’d like to be able to program Super Keen Vision to focus in on anything I’m looking for or have misplaced at any given time. Like my glasses.

When is the worst time for someone to call you?

I hate it when the phone rings when I’ve rented a good movie and I’m all settled in to watch it with my bowl of popcorn and blankie. Usually, (if it isn’t one of those annoying telemarketers offering to refinance my mortgage or find my cheaper car insurance) it’s my daughter or a friend and since there is a “pause” button on the remote, as a general rule I’ll choose to talk and allow my cozy time to be interrupted because people in my life are more important than any old movie. I also hate it if I’m watching a favorite TV show. I don’t have TiVo. I’m not techie at all. If I miss it, I miss it. But I’ll still choose chatting with family or friends over the TV show. I’ll catch the rerun and it will all be new to me. People tell me I sound angry when I answer the phone, but that’s only because I get so many telemarketing calls on my land line I always think it’s someone trying to sell me something when it rings.

Where was the last beach you went to?

Seagate Beach in Naples, Florida. It’s a turn-off right before you enter Clam Pass Park (the one with the boardwalk with the trams that take you out across the mangroves to the beach). There’s a pretty curved drive (Seagate Drive?) to get to the small parking lot. There are always people jogging, walking dogs and riding bikes along the road. Of course, I have a beach parking permit because I live here. I love walking down the brick walkway to the beach. The entry is marked by giant boulders. Sea oats and sea grapes are roped off. The county tries to protect the vegetation to prevent beach erosion. There are a lot of water birds along the shore. Egrets, gulls, sandpipers. I’m not sure when sea turtle egg-laying season is, but during that time there are sea turtle egg nests cordoned off as well. Every time I go there, it doesn’t matter what day of the week or what time of day, I see the same woman jogging. Up and down the beach. Up and down. Up and down. I wonder if that’s all she does. 24/7. She’s brown as a button. She laps me easily. At the pace I walk, it’s about 45 minutes to Clam Pass and back.

Why do spaceships need mufflers?

So they don’t get pulled over by the Space Shuttle and ticketed for disturbing the peace.

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

Sadly, I am like the owl in the old commercial. I can suck on a Tootsie-Roll pop until there is only a thin layer of the hard outer shell, but then I have to bite into it because to me, that’s the best part. You have to leave some of the crunchy to eat with the chewy center, or really, what’s the point? I don’t think anyone knows how many licks it takes. No one can resist biting into it before they actually reach it.

Originally from southwest Missouri, Barbara Meyers now lives in a posh southwest Florida community filled with golf courses and country clubs. She is still married to her first husband and her two children survived to adulthood in spite of her inept mothering skills. Her latest book, the sweet and spicy romantic comedy, A MONTH FROM MIAMI, is available in both digital and print formats. Her previously published work includes a short story and two squeaky clean romantic comedies. She spends her non-writing time working on her goal of becoming the oldest living barista at the local Starbucks. She may also be found sneaking into a nearby gated community to walk her dog or meandering along the beach having conversations with her fictional characters.

For the truth about Barbara Meyers, check out
www.barbmeyers.com or http://www.myspace.com/barbmeyers

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What's Happening in My Neck o' the Woods

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~Elwyn Brooks White

School went well yesterday -- DD really enjoyed the new curriculum and set up. It's going to take some getting used to for me, though, as it takes pretty much all day to do and we've been terribly spoiled the past few years with having lots of time during the day to do other things.

Today on my list of things to do: I just discovered that a local 4-H club does dog agility! So, I'm going to contact them and find out if I can get DD involved. I'm also trying to find a sewing class for both of us to go to. Our local Y doesn't have their fall schedule up yet, so not sure what I'm going to do for phys. ed. yet. I am enrolling her in homeschool art classes at the local art museum. And, we're going to both volunteer one day a week at the library.

Whew.

I'm tired already.

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

Because I know you've been unable to sleep over worrying about Dakota and her digestive problems... I thought I'd let you know that she responded to treatment very nicely. A special thanks to Anne-Katherine who reminded me about using pumpkin -- it was one of those things I knew, but had forgotten.

We're in the midst of transitioning Dakota off her "bland" diet and back onto regular food. I'm keeping the slippery elm and probiotics up while we do so and so far, she's doing fine. I hope this will be the end of it. It's a good thing she's so cute, because she is VERY high maintenance.

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

In other news, I received a call from Sears yesterday -- the part for my washer? Is out of stock and they don't have an estimated date when it WILL be in stock. But, hey, they'll touch base with me every 48 hours to keep me updated until they figure out when it will be in stock.

It's lovely that they're so concerned, but their phone calls do get my laundry clean. I am NOT a happy camper.

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

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School

If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers. ~Edgar W. Howe

I remember when DD was a toddler and I'd be pulling my hair out, people would say, "Don't worry, she'll start school soon and you'll have a break." and when I responded, "We're homeschooling." I'd frequently get a pitying look and a, "Oh... well... then..."

DD still makes me pull out my hair now and then, but she's a good kid, and I'm very, very lucky. Still, there are days I question my sanity about our decision to homeschool.

School starts today for DD and I. Yes, for both of us, lol... I realized, as I looked through the curriculum for this year, that there is a LOT for me to do. More than usual. Last year we used that computer-based curriculm and it was fun and easy for both of us. It did all the grading, most of the teaching and all of the lesson-planning. The problem was: I just didn't feel as though DD was learning.

Not so this year's curriculum. Oy. Vey. It is not easy. I hope it will be fun (or as fun as school can get), but there were 20+ pages for me about lesson planning and grading. Thankfully, it's pretty concise about what I need to have on hand, and what my responsibilities are, but the fact is -- I have a LOT to do. And, I'm wondering where I'm going to find the time to do that and everything else I already have on my plate.

Ah, well. I imagine I'll manage. I always seem to, somehow.

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

In reading, I finished "The Trouble with Valentine's Day" by Rachel Gibson and enjoyed it tremendously. She's fun without being over the top silly, and her characters are real and flawed. The plots are plausible, the romance both sweet and hot. I highly recommend her -- I've read two of her novels now, and have started a third ("I'm In No Mood For Love") and have yet to be disappointed.

I also started "How I Write" by Janet Evanovich which is interesting and fun to read. It's not heavy, or written like a textbook, which I find many "how-to" books can be. Her advice is given in small bites, and in a Q&A format which is easy to read. So far, it's not all that different from other books on writing that I've read, but it does help me remember what matters. Sometimes it's easy to forget things when you step away from them for a bit.

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




You Are Fantasy / Sci Fi



You have an amazing imagination, and in your mind, all things are possible.

You are open minded, and you find the future exciting. You crave novelty and progress.



Compared to most people, you are quirky and even a bit eccentric. You have some wacky ideas.

And while you may be a bit off the wall, there's no denying how insightful and creative you are.



I'm not sure if I was just insulted or not... OTOH, this is pretty close, lol!!

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

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'm Bugged!

Cockroaches really put my "all creatures great and small" creed to the test. ~Astrid Alauda

DD and I were taking a look at the garden yesterday. A couple of days ago, she'd found a tomato worm, but he was infested with wasp eggs, and she knows the rules on that: we encourage natural predators so we left him in order to let the eggs hatch.

Unfortunately, it appears that mama wasp missed some of the other worms in our garden. We found them yesterday and HOLY COW were they huge!!! I've never seen tomato worms this enormous -- my bugs are on steroids. Check it out:



Sadly, I discovered that the hummingbird (or "sphinx" moth) is the mama of these critters. I LIKE hummingbird moths. They're really cool to watch. **sigh**

In other news, we also found a monarch pupa on the echinacea around my well pump. At first, we were VERY excited!! It was dark, which should mean it would hatch soon... but on closer inspection, you can't see the wings through the pupa wall, which probably means it has the black death. We're leaving it for now and watching it and hoping for the best. But I do wonder how we missed finding a butterbaby on our milkweed -- we checked it quite closely.

Still, the light is fading earlier each night, I have to grab the birdfeeders and bring them in by 7:30 (so the bear doesn't get them overnight) and I don't put them out until 6 a.m. -- next week, the temps will be in the mid-70s and fall is in the air. Summer was far too short this year, and it's time for school to start (tomorrow! DD is distraught) and time to think about splitting the wood we took down last fall. Time to winterize the lawn and gardens and put away the fans.

I miss summer already.

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

Saturday, August 22, 2009

TP or not TP?

Can you imagine a world without men? No crime and lots of happy fat women. ~Attributed to both Marion Smith and Nicole Hollander

What is it about toilet paper that causes people to forget to put on a new roll when the previous roll is done? Does it have some weird kind of amnesia gene embedded in the paper? Perhaps it's only targeted toward people of the "XY" persuasion, because I find that men tend to thing toilet paper is an optional accessory.

I remember once, many (many, many) years ago, I was dating this guy -- Robert. I swung by his house once and had to use the bathroom and when I stepped inside, I notice an empty toilet paper holder. I looked under the sink. No TP. I opened the door and asked if they had some hidden away somewhere.

Robert looked about frantically and then tossed me a wash cloth.

Yes, that's correct, this bachelor household had NO TOILET PAPER in the entire place. And while I understand that most of the time, they don't need it... there are the occasions when they DO.

I think that may have marked the beginning of the end for our relationship.

When I was younger, we had a rule in our house that whoever used the last of the TP replaced the roll. Common sense, yes? Well, my step-father decided that ONE square of TP on the roll meant it wasn't empty and would regularly leave exactly that much instead of just putting on a new roll.

What on earth is ONE square of toilet paper good for?

I bring all this up because I had to potty in the middle of the night. Who turns on the light to do that? Not me... so, I did the deed, reached for the roll and hit cardboard.

Yep, that's right folks. Despite thirteen years of nagging my DH to put on a new TP roll if he used the last, it still hasn't soaked in. He's a smart guy, he can take apart computers and put them back together. Cars, too. And various other electronic and mechanical devices. He writes computer code. But he can't remember to change out the toilet paper rolls.

I really do think it's some kind of genetic anomaly.

You?

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

Friday, August 21, 2009

Doggy Doo Woes

Half the modern drugs could well be thrown out the window, except that the birds might eat them. ~Martin H. Fischer

Today is MY scavenger hunt day for the LASR/WC Anniversary Celebration. For those of you who have read my stories, it's an EASY way to earn an entry into the contest to win one of three Sony eReaders! Go here for more information.

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

So... Dakota had a run-in with Giardia a couple weeks back. The vet put her on antibiotics (I have a love/hate relationship with antibiotics... I know they have a job to do, but GAH they're so hard on a body) and I think it messed her all up again. Her, erhm, digestive problems got better for a bit, but they're back and worse than ever.

I feel as though I'm fighting a constant battle. I've never had a pet with problems like this, and I have to admit that as much as I love my vet, I think he's reached the end of the things he can do. He's suggested that I put her back on the prescription diet (you might remember when she went on that as a puppy -- and my horror when I read the ingredients: cornmeal, chicken by-product meal [which is all the stuff they can't use elsewhere, so feet, necks, etc] and cellulose [which is often simply wood pulp]. When I read the ingredients I took her right back off ... I'm not feeding my dog cornmeal, chicken feet and sawdust just because it clears up her runny poop... even if they add all the vitamins, etc., to it to make it "nutritionally complete", it's clearly not a diet I would want her on).

I discussed her problem with a lady at agility who uses a homeopathic vet AND a little with my agility instructor, who advocates natural care for your pet. Yesterday, I started Dakota on a 24-hour fast to "rest" her digestive tract. Then, today, she'll go on a bland diet of boiled chicken and potato with added probiotics and slippery elm (which, as an aside, is good for human digestive health as well).

She'll stay on this for a few days.

If this doesn't clear her up, I'll take her to a homeopathic vet and see what that person has to say. I'm at my wits' end.

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




You Are Kind and Sensitive



You relate to others easily. You have many friends, and you love making their lives better.

You are genuinely warm and radiant. People feel comforted by your presence.



Becoming a better person is something you think about every day. You want to be interesting, insightful, and special.

You need love more than most people in the world. You're willing to love those who don't love you in return.



Um... no. Not really close at all, IMHO...

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

Thursday, August 20, 2009

On Books and Reading

Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors. - Joseph Addison

So... I was going to do Booking Through Thursday today. I haven't done it in awhile, and thought it might be fun. But...

But it asked what the worst book was that I've read recently and I don't like to talk about those, at least not by name. Some author somewhere worked very hard on that book, and it may be loved by many, even if it wasn't something that excited me. I'm not into being snarky like that. Here's the thing: Of the last, oh, ten books I've started, I've probably finished two. I have VERY VERY little time to read anymore, so I refuse to waste that precious time on something that doesn't grab me right off the bat. I'll give it a couple of chapters, but if I still feel a little *meh* about it, I'll quit.

One book I actually "finished" was "Burn" by Linda Howard, and even that one didn't grab me like I'd hoped. There was a hook at the beginning, but then she flashed back for a few chapters, and those chapters bored me. I almost put it down, but I thought "Linda Howard... come on, you always like her." and kept moving forward, albeit skimming now and then.

Truthfully, this was probably a stellar book. Everyone else that I've seen mention they've read it thought it rocked. I suspect my problem was my limited attention span. Also, I've discovered I really hate flashbacks.

I just started a new cozy series (not the scrapbooking one I talked about a few days back, a different one that shall remain nameless at this time) and it starts with a friend/co-worker of the heroine's getting injured and then... you guessed it... flashed back in time to why the heroine took that job in the first place and WORSE, in her flashback there were flashbacks!!

I think the story shows potential, so I'm giving it another chapter to get to the present and prove to me why I should read it (and future books), but it needs to get that business done quickly.

I did finish a Rachel Gibson book the other day, "Tangled Up in You", and thoroughly enjoyed it, but that was sort of cheating: it was a re-read from my keeper shelf. However, I promptly requested all of her other books from my library to read. I hope she keeps up the momentum. I could really get into finding several books in a row that I enjoy!

What about you? What do you like and not like about books? Is there something that completely annoys you or turns you off?

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

In other news, it looks like our humidity has broken!! I woke up this morning and didn't feel as though I was swimming in the air. Woot! Just in time for Hurricane Bill to come visit us this weekend. Fingers crossed that he doesn't smack us and/or that we don't lose power. Right now, he's scheduled to hit the Cape in Massachusetts and Down East Maine (that's not you, is it, Groovy?).

My DD said, "It's awful the damage that tornadoes and hurricanes and earthquakes do." And I, in a effort to teach her sarcasm (I said sarcastically), responded, "That's why they're called natural DISASTERS. If they didn't do bad things, they be called flowers or cookies."

At least she giggled.

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

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What, Where, When, Why, How with Christina Phillips

Welcome on this sunny August day to author, Christina Phillips!

What would you say to a half dressed man you caught stealing your tomatoes out of your garden?

In reality I would probably pitch a fit, hide under the kitchen sink and call my husband on his mobile! However, in my fantasy world the half dressed man would be a dead ringer for Clive Owen (oh wait, this is my fantasy isn't it - OK it IS Clive Owen!!!) So I would slink out and enquire in a seductive manner if there was anything else he fancied stealing...

When was the last time you got in a fight?

I'm going to be very boring here and say I don't get into fights. I'm very non-confrontational and would rather just ignore horrible situations. (Unless it comes to my kids, but that's different because that's a Mummy thing!!!) I've found it's easier to just let go of people who prefer to make a huge mountain out of an air bubble. Life is WAAAAYYYY too short for that kind of rubbish!!

Where on your body would you get (or do you have) a tattoo?

I don't have a tattoo on account of my aversion to having needles stuck in me unless it's a life threatening situation, and the fact I avoid any and all unnecessary pain! But if I did get a tatt, I'd have one of those fabulous 3D ones over my entire back. Something really gorgeous, glittery and fantastic incorporating a fantasy wood, waterfall and fairies!

Why shouldn't a heroine be afraid when a wolf with lavender eyes has her cornered in a cave?

With lavender eyes? Wow. I think the heroine would be too mesmerized by those eyes to bother with being afraid! Plus, lavender eyes clearly indicates this wolf is under a Curse, so all the heroine has to do is break the enchantment. Once she's done that she'll be faced with a hot hunk of masculinity with a ripped body and... lavender eyes!!

How long does it take you to write a book?

This varies soooo much. My first book, Foretaste of Forever, started off as a recurring dream over the course of four years. Eventually I wrote it down, just to get it out of my head, but it was another four years before I went back to it and revised it with a view to publication.

Thankfully eight years is NOT the normal length of time it takes me to finish a story!!! My second Scarlet Rosette, Touch of the Demon, came to me one evening as I was sitting at the computer doing some correspondence. The entire plot just fell into my brain, virtually complete, and I started writing it there and then. I think that one took three weeks to finish the first draft.

I moved to sunny Australia from the UK almost ten years ago with my very own hero and our three adorable children. Over the last few years as I’ve actively sought publication for the romances I love writing, I’ve tried my hand at category romance, chic lit, paranormal and now dark erotic romance. My mantra is Never Say Never, because I will immediately go and do whatever I said I could never attempt!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Keep It Simple

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. ~Albert Einstein

My washing machine is broken. The one we bought eight months ago. It wasn't cheap, and we've been stupidly careful with it. It's all electronic (which I HATE, but you can't get simple stuff anymore -- my last washer/dryer set lasted me 14 years and was one of the least expensive models they sell). We were warned it can fry its circuits in a thunderstorm and we should make sure it's unplugged. Since we get storms regularly, I just unplug it whenever I'm not using it.

It was acting a little funky for a while, but decided to stop working altogether on Saturday (luckily, I was able to get out the clothes that were in it -- the door was locked and didn't want to open but it had just enough life left that I messed with it a bit and got it to release).

The problem is this: it's HOT here. DH and DD have been going to the lake constantly (Fri, Sat and now today). We're sweaty and "lakey" and generally icky. We're having what Judy called "two shower days". We don't have AC in the house and not only can we not wear anything more than once, there are times we'll end up changing mid-day.

We're running out of clothes.

The repairman doesn't come until tomorrow. And -- what if, even then, he can't fix it? What if he needs parts or something? I do not want to go to the Laundromat. OTOH, it's end of season out there -- I could go on a shopping spree and get summer clothes wicked cheap.

Hmmmmm............. an excuse to shop?

Still, why isn't anything built to last anymore? My DH and I have been mulling about replacing my 4Runner. It has 260,000 miles on it, so it's getting up there. BUT... there's nothing wrong with it. It runs like a champ. Makes it hard to get rid of, yanno? And the stuff they build now? All the electronic doo-dads that make stuff so nifty? It's more stuff to break AND it's expensive to fix.

It was the same thing for me at the cell phone place. I haven't replaced mine in three years, so it was time. Here's the thing: I don't text, I don't access my email, I don't play games, I don't download ringtones... I USE IT FOR PHONE CALLS. I know, I know... shocking. The problem was, 90% of the phones they had for sale have little mini-keyboards on them now. I just want a phone with a numerical keypad. It's easy, simple, basic. I want to open it up and dial a phone number. It's a cell PHONE not a cell COMPUTER.

**sigh**

I miss simpler times.

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

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy Anniversary

A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year. ~Paul Sweeney

Today my DH and I celebrate 13 years of marriage. I use the term "celebrate" loosely, because it will probably entail a greeting of "Happy Anniversary" when I wake him up and not much else, lol.

We were going to take a weekend away this year, but the logistics got too crazy. Finding someone to watch the DD and the Dd is tough. My in-laws and the one friend I'd trust to keep DD all don't like dogs. And boarding the dog costs more than my frugal self can stand. We can't go out to dinner -- DH's long hours at work preclude that. So, we'll just wish one another a happy anniversary and go from there. One of these days we'll get away. Heck DD turns 18 in eight more years. Maybe DH and I will go away then!

:-)

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

It's hot here. Sometimes I think that the earth's tilt has changed a little bit because it sure seems like our seasons have shifted by a few weeks. The past few years everything seems to come just a little later. The weather we're having now is typical for late July, and I bet we have a longer fall. Last year we didn't even get our first frost until October!

Regardless, it's going to be brutal the next couple of days. It's hot (high 90s) and it's VERY VERY humid (which is what gets me). We don't have A/C because we really seldom need it. But OY.

It makes it especially tough for the dog because she's got so much energy, and we just can't take her for walks or play with her between late morning and early evening. Poor puppy.

DD is angry because I won't let her bake cookies.

**sigh**

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




You Are Right Brained in Love



When it comes to love, you go with your gut not with your head.

You have an open heart. You fall in love easily and get hurt just as easily.



You are spontaneous with relationships. You go with the flow and don't worry about the future.

You are romantic, empathetic, and caring. More than most people, you really love being in love.



Um.. No.

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

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Start Ups

Yes, risk taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, it would be called sure-thing-taking. ~Tim McMahon

I frequently receive questions from authors about various publishers. Via LASR, I have significant amounts of dealings with both publishers (and their reps), authors and then just input on quality of books from a ridiculous number of places.

Do I know everything there is to know? HA... no.

But, it has given me an interesting outlook (and a somewhat cynical one) on the ePublishing world. I absolutely know who I would and wouldn't want to publish with (and, no, I'm not putting it here) based on their professionalism, editing and story quality.

But... I was recently asked my feelings about a particular start-up ePub that will be releasing its first contracted stories this fall. Their site is professional in appearance (though run on a blog platform, which put me off a bit), it's owned by reputable people with previous experience in publishing, and they've posted their contract publically. These are all things I appreciate.

But...

But they're still a start up and so I'm concerned. WHY start a new press right now? WHAT can they offer that no one else does? WHAT makes them special? HOW are they going to make themselves stand out? HOW are they going to compete with the biggies like Samhain Publishing, Ellora's Cave and others already well-established in the ePublishing world?

My first contract was with a start-up. When I contracted "Now That We've Found You" with The Wild Rose Press, they had only just released their first batch of stories. I was young and foolish and just wanted to get something published. I was also very lucky: Rhonda and RJ are fantastic, honest and professional people. BUT, would I do that again, knowing what I know now? Nope. I would have waited a while to see what happened with them. What do their contracted authors have to say about them? How are they handling marketing? And so on.

So, let me ask you: would you publish with a start-up company if they appeared professional and headed by people well familiar with the publishing world who are open enough to publish their contract for the world to see? Understand, there are no releases yet, and nothing else to judge them by.

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

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Blueberries!

This special feeling towards fruit, its glory and abundance, is I would say universal.... We respond to strawberry fields or cherry orchards with a delight that a cabbage patch or even an elegant vegetable garden cannot provoke. ~Jane Grigson

Yesterday, while out boating, my DD and SIL picked blueberries on the islands in the middle of the lake.



Lots of blueberries.



They filled an empty gallon ziplock bag, and then started filling other various containers they had on hand.

I love blueberries... and these are pretty much organic, so it's even better. I had some on my shredded wheat this a.m. I'm going to make muffins. And then I'm going to freeze the rest.

They won't last long in this house, but it's going to be great while they do.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

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

Friday, August 14, 2009

What Cost, Winning?

If I were playing third base and my mother were rounding third with the run that was going to beat us, I'd trip her. Oh, I'd pick her up and brush her off and say, "Sorry, Mom," but nobody beats me. - Leo Durocher

DD and I have been playing a card game called "Racko" lately.



It's fun, and at least a little challenging, which I appreciate but here's the problem: I win FAR more than my DD does. Racko is about strategy, and the way you win isn't just by getting the right cards for you, it's by paying attention to what the other person pulls from the discard pile and guessing what they need and HOLDING it in your own rack until the end to keep them from winning.

I've explained this to my DD. I've discussed strategy and how best to win. And she still doesn't grasp it. I know, I know -- she's only ten (even if she IS five feet tall... I'm still in shock over this), so I wonder where to draw the line. At what point, if at all, do I let her win? Is encouraging her by winning now and then going to help or hurt her if she doesn't earn it? She does win sometimes, but only once for my four or five and she gets so angry and frustrated.

**sigh**

I'm torn between wanting her to earn her wins and wanting her to be less discouraged.

What would you do?

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

I was talking about romantic comedy yesterday and realized that I could have made a few suggestions myself. Nearly anything Jennifer Crusie, of course. But what about lesser known ePubbed authors that I've stumbled across?

One of the funniest ePubbed books I read in a long time was "The Jinx" by Jennifer Johnson. She has a new book out called "The Clergy Affair" which I have on my TBR list -- I can't decide if I want it in eBook or Print (it's available in both). But, if you're looking for a laugh, I highly recommend her work. And I'm not just saying that because she's in the LASR author spotlight this week giving away an autographed copy of "The Clergy Affair" -- seeing her face this morning only reminded me of how much I loved "The Jinx". If you want to get a clue of her sense of humor, though, go read her spotlight posts. She's a hoot (and if you leave a comment, you're entered to win her book -- if you don't want it, you can always send it to me *G*)!

So, intead of rom/com, yesterday at the library I picked up: "Keepsake Crimes" by Laura Childs (a cozy mystery), "One Scream Away" by Kate Brady (I saw this on someone else's blog... don't remember who now, maybe Brandy?), and "Smash Cut" by Sandra Brown. Not a giggle between them (though the cozy might be at least a little amusing... has anyone read this series before?).

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

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ends and Beginnings

Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine. ~Jeffrey Glassberg

We released our one and only monarch butterfly on Tuesday. Lenape went through her life cycle in a picture perfect way and we wish her well.



I washed out all our containers and boxed everything up for another year. Pillar Place 2009 is over, and was a year that will go down as our worst yet. I sincerely hope things shape up next year.

We also made Dakota's day:



I spent a good part of the day pulling weeds again yesterday. It's amazing to me how quickly they grow and how strong and deep their roots are. I feel it could easily be an analogy for something (maybe negative thinking?), but am only on cup of coffee #1 so the brain isn't up and running at full speed yet. What do you think -- what can fast-growing, strong with deep roots be an analogy for?

The goldfinches are out in full-force at my feeders. This is the time when their babies hatch -- they are later than most birds because they eat seed exclusively and need to wait until things go to seed in order to be able to feed their babies well. At any given moment during the day, I can look out my window and see two dozen little yellow bodies covering my feeders. They're so pretty :-)

School starts in two weeks. DD is not happy. I'm not exactly thrilled either -- she tends to forget it's just as much work for me, and that summer vacation is a vacation for both of us! I occasionally envy the mothers who celebrate the start of school because they earn a bit of "me" time... but still, at least for now, I'm happy I'm homeschooling. This year will mark some changes though: we're planning on getting quite active in a local homeschool group, and DD will have a series of classes she'll be participating in. I'm going to have to figure out how to use time more efficiently than ever.

Wish me luck.

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

Read any good, funny romances lately? I'm looking for some new rom/com's to read.

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




Your Defense Mechanism is Humor



When life gets you down, you just have to laugh. And that's a very healthy reaction.

It's not that you don't take your problems seriously. You do. You just don't let them control you.



You are able to make the best of things, even when things look very, very bleak.

Some people may consider your sense of humor to be dark, but it has served you well!



Um... mostly.

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

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What, Where, When, Why, How with Amber Leigh Williams

Welcome today to author Amber Leigh Williams!

What's the longest trip you've ever been on?

Three whole weeks at my grandmother’s house in Florida. It was late spring and I was poolside with a book and completely lazy the entire time. I don’t think I ever took off my bikini. Two weeks of nothing but sunshine and margaritas… Who the heck needs diamonds and chiffon? That's luxury!

When would you kill your own food?

Probably only under the most dire circumstances…and only if the DH wasn’t present. He has no problem bringing home the bacon…in the most literal sense. He's really man-y that way. But me? I draw the line after fishing. I’ll hook it, but I won’t clean it. I’m squeamish…

Where's the best place you've been this year?

Physically or in my head? Physically—the family lakehouse. It was still cold but sitting out on the glassed sun porch watching the sun glisten off the water and just listening to the quiet echo was so sublime! In my head—a candlelit penthouse suite with a very seductive incubus ;)

Why do doctors leave the room when you change?

Erm…because I’d tell them to leave if they didn’t? I have a huge problem undressing in front of anyone but the DH...and it took me so long to get used to that! Kinda ironic considering part of my job is writing full-flesh love scenes.

How much time should be spent making yourself look better each day?

Personally, as little as humanly possible. Most days it’s just me and my computer. Getting dolled up occasionally is nice, but I’m so in my head on the average day that it’s just best to get right to work and focus on those people in my head who’re so much more appealing then me anyway :-)

Amber Leigh Williams is a member of Romance Writers of America and Secretary of the Gulf Coast Romance Writers. She is the author of romantic suspense Denied Origin, now in print from The Wild Rose Press, Fox & Hound, Simply Romance "Outstanding Read" also available in print, and Blackest Heart, an installment in The Wild Rose Press Wayback, TX line "Where A Cowboy Falls In Love Every Eight Seconds!" Her contemporary romance A Summer's Hope is scheduled for print release in May. She lives on the Gulf Coast of Alabama with her husband, Jacob, and their three goofy labs.

Website:
http://www.amberleighwilliams.com

Blog:
http://www.amberleighwilliams.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Joys of Editing

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain

I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter. ~James Michener

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. ~Author Unknown


I really don't like to edit. The First Draft is like that initial rush you feel when you start dating someone... especially someone who might be The One. Everything is exciting and good and fun.

And then, the second draft begins. Suddenly you notice he burps after he eats or scratches himself in public. Maybe he leaves his clothes laying all over the house and snores.

What do you do? Do you ditch him and look for someone new? Or do you try to work things out?

As I've mentioned, I'm editing "Return to Stiller Creek" and, though I know what needs to be done, it's pretty major (adding an entirely new character who must be layered in through the book AND changing the antagonist entirely, which also means changing the OLD antagonist to someone who didn't do it) and I'm not really enjoying myself.

I lost my internet connection for a while yesterday and decided to go work in the garden. I still hadn't moved deer-resistant plants to the veggie garden, so opted to do that (why I decided to do it at 3 pm in 90 degree weather, I have no idea). And, as I dug up plants from one area, pulled the weeds that surrounded them and then replanted them in another better place, I realized that this is what editing is. Pulling the weeds and moving things around until they work better. Sometimes it means planting new seeds or getting new plants altogether and working them into the existing garden.

In an odd sort of way, it made me feel better about what I'm doing. So, when I lost my internet again this morning for thirty minutes or so (and WHAT is up with my internet??) I wrote two new scenes for the book AND introduced the new character in an existing scene.

My "Stiller Creek" garden is beginning to grow and look healthier already.

What about those of you who are writers? Love editing? Hate it? Why?

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

At some point between 4:30 a.m. (when I got up) and 5 a.m. our lone monarch pupa (Lenape) became a lone monarch butterfly. She's just lovely. Perfect. Has all her parts. She's hanging from what's left of her pupa and letting her wings harden. She should be ready to release once the sun is well up. At least ONE of our pillars in Pillar Place: Monarch looks to have a happy ending. I'll have pictures later -- don't want to freak her out yet while her wings are still soft.

We've looked at all the milkweed around here and none of it has any more monarch pillars that we can find. We did find Tussock Moth babies (so cute and fuzzy), but no monarchs. Very sad.

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

Monday, August 10, 2009

In the Dark of Night...

Night time is really the best time to work. All the ideas are there to be yours because everyone else is asleep. ~Catherine O'Hara

... is when the best ideas come to me.

Last night, as I was drifting off to sleep I figured out a HUGE problem I was having with Stiller Creek. I even started writing the new version in my head AND wonder of wonders, I remembered it this morning without having written it down.

YAY.

So, as soon as I get DH off to work, I'm going to sit down and write it.

I've decided that once I get it fixed, I'm going to resend to the editor at Samhain again. Resplendence didn't invite me to resubmit (though she liked my writing and asked me to send anything new) and it looks like WRP is really pushing out their release dates. Hopefully, I'll get it ready to resubmit soon. It's been greatly on my mind.

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

****WARNING: GROSSNESS AHEAD (weak stomachs beware)*******

>
>
>
>
>

In other news, I was awakened at 3:30 this morning by DD racing for the bathroom to throw up. Thankfully, she made it, but because she'd been holding it in, most of it ended up coming out her nose. I know, ICK, right? And DD is prone to nosebleeds, so when she blew her nose to get out the residue, she began to gush blood. We finally got THAT taken care of and the blood in her throat made her nauseous again, so ... you guessed it. More throwing up.

It's been an interesting morning.

She went back to bed. Not so, me.

**yawn**

I think naptime may be called for today.

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




Your Walk Says You're Approachable



You are intelligent, thoughtful, and even philosophical. You like to go unnoticed for the most part.

Other people see you as humble and down to earth. You don't put on airs.

You are assertive, energetic, and curious about the world. You never hold back, and you're often the first to try something.

You tend to be all work and very little play. You are too responsible to let loose.



That's about 75% right...

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

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Welcome Special Guest Blogger: Clare Austin

When I heard about the story of "Butterfly" by Clare Austin, I was intrigued. I love all things Irish and am a huge fan of Celtic Music (which figures prominently in the story), so I asked Clare to talk a bit about it on today's virtual book tour stop via Goddess Fish Promotions. At the end of her post is a music-related excerpt -- give it a read!

Note: Clare will be giving away a free download of her book each week of her tour to a lucky commenter, randomly drawn from the comments during that week. At the end of the tour, one commenter will win an autographed copy of the novel. Also, the tour host with the most commenters, not counting duplicates or Clare's comments, will receive a beautiful butterfly pendant, hand carved out in Leenane, Connemara, County Galway, Ireland from Connemara Marble.

Thank you for having me here today. This has been a virtual whirlwind so far.

I wanted to share with your readers my love for Celtic…specifically Irish Traditional music. It’s hard for me to find music I don’t like. Everything from Bono to Bach, dependent on my mood, but when I hear or play a jig, reel, hornpipe or air in the Irish style, it reaches deep into my soul. As a violinist I play both classical and Irish---whatever mood strikes me when I lift my instrument to play.

When I wrote Butterfly I hoped to convey the joy, sorrow and sense of history the Irish people have always put into story and song. To quote Chesterton from his “Ballad of the White Horse.”

“For the Great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,

For all their wars are merry and all their songs are sad.”


Not quite accurate, but a compelling thought.

I love the mix of contemporary and traditional music of the group Clannad, the fiddling of Kevin Burke, Paddy Glaken and Martin Hayes. My heroine in Butterfly was inspired by some great fiddlers I’ve seen over the years. Another group I like for inspiration in my writing is Altan, from County Donegal. The music of Ireland varies from subtle to dramatic depending on the region. Donegal fiddling is dynamic and heart pounding. Clare music tends to be more lyrical. I simply love it all, but I especially enjoy playing Clare style.

Maybe it’s in my mitochondria. The beat of the bodhrán and the whisper of the uilleann pipes mimic my heart and breath. When I stand on a cliff or beside the sea in County Clare I can literally hear the music all around me. Bards are still alive in the land of saints and scholars and you don’t have to look long and hard.

Open Butterfly and step into O’Fallon’s Pub of an evening. It won’t take long…someone will tell a story, sing a song, and pull out fiddle, bodhrán, or pipes to play a tune. I guarantee the music will be deadly, the pints frothy and the craic mighty!

Thanks for having me on your blog today. Please check my website http://www.clareaustin.com/ for excerpts from my books…Butterfly, available now, Angel’s Share, coming in March and Hot Flash, spring 2010. If you would like to email me I would love to hear from you…authorclare@gmail.com

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

Flannery Sloane is a free spirited bohemian with a soul blessed by Irish musical tradition. She doesn’t give a care for where she’s going or how she’ll get there. Joy and passion are her only map. And, though she’s not interested in falling in love, she wouldn’t mind a little fun with a fine looking man. Hunter Kincade looks like he could fill that bill and have a bit of change left over.

Flannery never wears a watch. She’s late for everything but the downbeat of a fiddle tune. She’s happy serving pints in the pub and playing for tips and smiles. Hunter thrives on punctuality. He is in the music business with his focus on the bottom line. The pretty fiddle player with the bright green eyes would make his next production worth the price of a CD.

Their only common ground is the belief that falling in love is a danger to health and sanity.

Will it take more than Irish magic to pull a man like Hunter into the spell of a woman like Flannery? They are all wrong for each other...and they are so right.


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

Excerpt from "Butterfly":

He lost sight of the fiddler in the mobs of tourists enjoying the April sunshine.

No sooner had he decided to give up on his quest than he heard hands clapping in rhythm with the beat of the now familiar Irish drum.

Then he saw her.

She lifted her instrument and, with the surety of a bird’s wing slipping through the air, bow was laid to strings and life was breathed into melody.

He moved to the edge of the gathering where he could have an unobstructed view of the musicians. She looked up, and he thought she recognized him for an instant. Then her eyes turned and followed another. She smiled and nodded.

Cade had never thought of himself as the jealous type, but he did feel cheated out of that smile.

As soon as the last vibration of strings quieted, a man Cade recognized from O’Fallon’s came up behind the fiddler and, with disturbing familiarity, spoke in her ear. She responded with a hug and an adoring look in her eyes.

Cade had been raised to be competitive, in sports as well as in business, and the appearance of a rival on the field made him want to draw blood. He wanted the fiddler in his studio, and if she ended up in his bed, that might be as nice.

He stood and listened until the sun set and the air held a chill that thinned the throng. The musicians were packing it in.

He hadn’t realized he was staring, until she walked up to him and stood so close he could smell the scent of her warm skin in the cool evening air. Her approach to introduction took Cade completely by surprise.

“Are you lookin’ at me or waitin’ for a bus?” she said, one hand on her hip and a sassy smile on her lips.

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

Saturday, August 08, 2009

TipToe Throught the Tulips

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

Swamped with business today -- DH and DD are gone for a few hours this a.m. so am taking advantage of the peace and quiet and WORKING.

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy a walk through my gardens.

DD's garden by her swingset was the prettiest one this year -- no deer or voles or chipmunks or bugs dared invade!


She has the prettiest lilies:


And Liatris that the deer didn't eat:


But my garden out front has a few surprises... ageratum:


And gallardia:


And my well pump garden is doing nicely:


With bachelor buttons:


And what appears to be two different kinds of echinacea (isn't it odd?):



And nearby we also have hydrangea:


And garden phlox:


So despite the damage done by pests this year, it seems that at least some of my gardens are still hardy enough to make things pretty.

Flowers always make me smile. What about you?

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

Friday, August 07, 2009

Meet Chuck.

Somewhere in the world there is an epigram for every dilemma. ~Hendrik Willem van Loon

However... in this case I couldn't find a quote (or "epigram") to use for today's post. *G*

Something has been eating my SILs garden, especially her lettuce and other greens (including the marigolds that are supposed to help keep pests away!). She thought it was chipmunks, but the other day she saw a critter run across her lawn and had her answer. Yesterday, she put out a trap and lookie what she caught -- Meet Chuck:



Isn't he CUTE? He's actually Chuck #2 -- she caught and released another woodchuck two years ago. Here's C2 asking, "Please, would you mind getting the door?"



We took him to some conservation land around a nearby lake and released him. And, hopefully that will be the end of her problems.

I'm telling you... it's amazing to me that he settlers who came here originally survived. It's amazing the amount of pests we've fought this year.

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

Bet I made my neighbors REALLY nervous yesterday. I went down to the end of our road and took pictures of the damage. I imagine they think I'm using it to report them (I wish it would work -- note to all of y'all who suggested we report them to the police. We have, several times, and it does no good. The coppers come down, give them a verbal warning and go away. We've finally given up.), but I was only taking the pix to share with you. *G*

One set of tracks through the loop:


You can't tell from this picture, but one friend of the family took their full-sized Chevy that was lifted into near Monster Truck capacity down this hill to tromp in the mud pit below and then had trouble getting out -- clearly spun his tires to the point there are two ditches right at the edge of the road that are a good 12" deep. When do you suppose the road will start crumbling at the edges?


And another set of tracks:


If I had the money, I'd import some HUGE boulders and circle this area so they couldn't use it. They'd still use their bikes and ATVs, but hopefully it would keep them behind their own house.

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

Yesterday, I typed up my longhand notes from last night and then took the notepad back to bed with me. It's my new best friend. If I can get 500 words a night (about what I did the first night), I'll be a happy camper.

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

DH's boat trailer is broken -- the carpet covered board that cradles the boat snapped on their last trip. So, all boating plans for this weekend (which promises to be lovely) have been suspended until DH figure out how to get it fixed. The problem isn't the actual fixing, it's finding a place to put the boat while he fixes it!

So... I suspect it's going to be a long weekend...

Do you have any plans?

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

Thursday, August 06, 2009

You can Pick Your Friends, Pick Your Nose...

A bad neighbor is a misfortune, as much as a good one is a great blessing.~ Hesiod

... but you can't really pick your neighbors.

For two nights in a row, my neighbors at the end of the cul-de-sac have decided that MY bedtime is the best time to ride their ATVs in the road. We have a weedy dirt circle in the center of the cul-de-sac (that I have been tossing in flower seeds and we had some come up this year... but that doesn't seem to stop them from destroying it) and their driveway leads straight into it. So they ride up their driveway, across the loop (doing the "whap, whap" thing where they gun it so the wheels tear up the dirt even worse than if they just rode through), then around the road, into the woods, around the back of their house and back again.

Last night they rode from about 9 pm - 9:30 pm and I wanted to cry. I was so tired and just wanted sleep. Apparently they don't care in the least that some people may be on a completely different schedule than they are. I swear, one of these mornings I'm going to bring an air horn down there at 4 a.m. and set it off... except I actually LIKE their next-door neighbors.

It's times like that when I wish I wrote murder mysteries so I could kill them off in my next book... maybe run them over with their own ATV? And then their snippy little dog could gnaw on their bones...

**sigh**

In any case, because I was lying there away, and didn't have a book to read, and my computer was off, I grabbed a notepad and started writing a story that popped into my head. I must have winter on the brain, because my H/H get snowbound in a preschool. I may continue writing longhand at night. It was good -- and no distractions or feeling like I should be working on the website because I was on the computer.

We'll see.

And, yes, I'm still editing "Stiller Creek". I'm struggling to find places to put in my new antagonist smoothly. I don't want this person to stick out like a sore thumb... this person needs to blend, so know one thinks this person did it (and yes, I'm avoiding using the appropriate pronoun -- I wouldn't want to give you clues as to who the antagonist IS, lol).

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

We had our first real garden harvest yesterday: 20 cherry tomatoes (DD and I split them and gobbled them right down.. YUM), 3 big tomatoes, four squash (one that we'd obviously been missing... it is HUGE), two cucumbers and countless peas and green beans. She's distraught, though... something is causing her carrots to die. I don't know what and we've never had this problem before.

Summer's nearly over... it's already starting to get cool at night, and the stores are putting out their slippers.

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




You Are Fairly Normal



You scored 70% normal on this quiz



Like most people you are normal in some ways...

But you aren't a completely normal person. You're a little weird too!



Why You Are Normal:



You'd rather have rats than cockroaches in your home

You find the Macarena to be the more embarrassing dance

You prefer a good meal to a good nap

You think glasses can make someone more attractive

You would rather be pale than tan



Why You Aren't Normal:



You would not eat meat from a cloned animal

You don't keep up with your horoscope

If you had to, you rather live without laughter and still have music

You would rather be a movie star than an astronaut

You know a little about many subjects



70% normal? Ha.. fooled them! *G*

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

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

What, Where, When, Why, How with Silver James

Welcome to Silver James...my new BFF. Why? Because she is both silly and sarcastic!! We could be twins. Give her a great big howdy -- AND, she's giving away a $10 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press to one commenter today! So read, talk, share with a friend! :-)

So, Silver, do tell: what is your favorite beverage?

Caffeine. Liquid. Solid. Filleted. Fried. Stewed. Fricasseed. Whipped. Wait! What? Whipped? But mostly liquid. In coffee flavors or Diet Coke with Lime®. Iced tea is good and the beverage of choice when dining out. Unless it’s the Super Bowl. Or the World Series. I fall off the wagon then and have a Killian's or Harps beer, or three, on special occasions. For REALLY special occasions, I prefer light, sweeter wines or single malt Scotch like Glen Fiddich or Glen Livet. Are you bored yet? When it’s just for fun and I’m not the designated driver, Margaritas on the rocks with lots of salt rock my socks. Pay no attention to those rumors. I swear I never sang “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” in public. Srsly.

When did you start writing?

I can remember, at the age of four, lining up my stuffed animals for Story Time, telling them tales I made up. At thirteen, I committed my first “novel” to paper – in a spiral notebook with a black and white plaid cover. “The Talisman” had a decent plot along the lines of “Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” though processed through the brain of an adolescent girl. Needless to say, it was abysmal. There were boys. And kissing. And time travel. Did I mention kissing? No petting. Life was much more innocent back in the dark ages. My BFF at the time and I were the heroines and I believe Davy Jones (The Monkees) and Peter Noone (Herman of Herman’s Hermits) were our love interests. I have mentioned that I’m older than dirt, right? Technically, I suppose it would have been considered fan fiction, if the term had been in use at the time. Trust me, the whole thing was truly cringe-worthy.

In the story, our intrepid teen exchange students were whisked back in time to medieval England where they saved the kingdom, fell in love, and then got shuttled back to the present, where they met their teen heartthob rock stars. Said stars looking, talking, and kissing suspiciously like our two medieval heroes.

Wait! That plot sounds vaguely familiar. In my novel, Faerie Fate – to be released in 2010 by The Wild Rose Press – my heroine is sent back to 10th century Ireland to "get it right" with the love of her lives, clann chief Ciaran McDermot. Yes. You read that right. Lives. The books in my Tír Nan Óg trilogy deal not only with the Tuatha De Danaan (the faeries of Irish mythology), but with reincarnation and finding true love life after life.

Where is the best tourist spot in your town?

This is Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains. A lot depends on your tastes. Many people are drawn to Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial downtown. We have wonderful museums – art and historical, a water park and a theme park, the venerable Frontier City. In the fall, we have football. In the spring, we have…tornadoes. Srsly. Tourists pay money to chase tornadoes. I mean…dude! How stupid is that? We have wonderful historic districts, too. And restaurants. Bricktown is the place to be for nightly entertainment, plus we have Triple A baseball and the OKC Thunder, our NBA team. The Oklahoma Museum of Art has an incredible collection of blown glass by the renowned glass artist, Dale Chihuly. The Western Heritage Museum houses an extensive collection of western art and sculpture. The Oklahoma Heritage Center provides a glimpse into the state’s past. I could go on and on. The Zoo. Remington Park Race Track. The Firefighters Museum. ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, home of the Women’s College World Series.

Did I misread that question? I did, didn’t I? You asked about the best tourist spot. Singular. Sorry. Take your pick. Considering our rather red-neck and unsophisticated reputation, Oklahoma City offers amazing sights, sounds, and tastes.

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

Wait. Is this a trick question? You know, like “There is no I in TEAM”? Or, shall we sing it altogether now? M-I-C “See you later” K-E-Y “Why? Because we like you!” M-O-U-S-E. That doesn’t quite fit either. *blink* What do you mean you have no idea what that song is? Didn’t you ever watch the Mickey Mouse Club? With Annette Funicello? Oh. Right. We’re back to that “older than dirt” thing.

Okay. Best answer. “I” comes before “E” except after “C” because some old dude in robes and a long beard (who faintly resembles Richard Harris as Dumbledore) decided to play with our minds and create English as a first language. English is such a mongrel of other languages I am absolutely amazed on a daily basis that we can write anything at all and make sense. All the synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, homophones, and other grisly creatures of language usage are designed to drive writers, editors, and readers completely bonkers. As an example, you might check out this Language Lesson. I actually have a "100 Things To Do Before I Die" list and number 42 on that list is "Learn to spell 'ridiculous' without having to look it up." (Yes. I spelled it right, but I had to look it up to be sure I'd spelled it right.)

Still, as a writer, I find language to be a delicious feast for the imagination. Alliteration, adjectives, and adverbs! Oh, my!

How do you drink your coffee?

I came to truly appreciate coffee late in life – my thirties, in fact. Newly married at the time, my husband was a coffee drinker. Back then, I drank it with a lot of milk and sugar. Accompanying him on a business trip to New Orleans, I spent a morning at Café du Monde drinking café au lait and pigging out on beignets while he was in meetings. It was…orgasmic. Really. *points to answer to first question* Coffee is now my preferred drink of choice. Year round. In the summer, I’ll add crushed ice. And chocolate. Mmmm. The rest of the time, café au lait with a bit of Splenda® is my IV drip of choice from my first cup of the morning throughout my day. Being a lazy sort, I simply put my light soy milk in a large, plastic travel cup, zap it in the microwave, add sweet and coffee. I sip while I write, guzzle when I’m blocked, refill often. My husband teases and says the only exercise I get is trudging back and forth from my computer to the kitchen for refills. Coffee is my BFF. Truly, madly. *nods*

You gotta, just GOTTA go read Silver's bio. It's a hoot. Srsly.

http://www.silverjames.com
MySpace - Silver James Romance
Silver James at Live Journal