Friday, April 30, 2010

Fun With Cats and Dogs

Although all cat games have their rules and rituals, these vary with the individual player. The cat, of course, never breaks a rule. If it does not follow precedent, that simply means it has created a new rule and it is up to you to learn it quickly if you want the game to continue. ~Sidney Denham

Thought we were going to get blown away yesterday -- I couldn't believe the wind!! Apparently 14,000 people lost power, including our library and the grocery store where I was shopping. Not for too long, thankfully, but OY. Sadly, there was one person killed -- a teenager who had a tree fall on him.

Today is supposed to be sunny, warm and fairly calm so, yay.

The dynamics between my cat and dog crack me up. From the time Dakota was a baby, the cat let her know who was boss, and now Dakota won't challenge her in any way. The newest "fun" the cat has is standing on the mat at the back door when Dakota and I go out first thing in the morning. When I open the door to let the dog in, she won't go past the cat, just stands and looks sad ("I want to obey you by going inside, but THE CAT is there." :::shivers:::).

The other day, the ultimate happened though. I saw this:



Yep... the cat in the dog's crate. Dakota just stood there, in her "vulture" pose (head down by her feet, should blades up, staring intently), but would NOT go in.

I think the cat spends her days thinking of how to torture the dog.

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




You Are Adventurous



You are a very broad minded person. You try to avoid judging or even having expectations.

You'll say yes to almost anything, and as a result, you tend to live a pretty wild and crazy life.

You are a colorful person with a lot of good stories to tell. You are definitely not a wallflower!

You have a wicked sense of humor, and you're amazingly funny. You get people laughing in no time.



Hmmm... about 50/50...

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

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Over the Hump (Day)

A daughter is a day brightener and a heart warmer. ~ Author Unknown

It was a crazy day yesterday, starting off with taking DD to the doctor early in the a.m. for her yearly check up (which got me to thinking -- I don't think I ever went to the doctor unless I was sick or hurt when I was younger ... did you?). We used to be up and around much earlier than we are now, and yesterday was worse because DH would NOT get up so it put us all behind.

In any case, last year DD was borderline "overweight", but this year her BMI is down into the healthy range (yay). She's TALL: almost 5' 2" (of course, I'm 5'9" and my DH is 6'2", so DD is going to be tall) and healthy. She had two vaccinations: a tetanus shot with a whooping cough booster (apparently whooping cough is in an upswing) and meningitis. One in each shoulder. Which gave my drama queen daughter reason to be unable to carry anything ("my arms hurt") and do much cupping of her shoulders and long sighs....

Still, I got the nicest compliment from one of the ladies in agility about DD. She mentioned how sweet, and grown-up and well-behaved DD is. Said, "She's a really good kid."

Yes, yes she is. Thanks.

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

It also snowed yesterday for a good part of the morning. It didn't stick here, but up north? Oh yeah. This link to WMUR has photos if you're interested.

Funniest part is it's going to be really quite warm this weekend -- into the 70s. Crazy weather. Three weeks until I can plant safely, but I'm going to finish hand tilling the garden this weekend, and will plant my cold crops (peas, spinach, etc) and may put out some of my soft crops under their milk jug greenhouses. I'm so ready.

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

Writing is going okay -- I've had a couple more epiphanies for "Now and Forever" so am hoping to get work done on that some more today. We're bringing on Admin help over at LASR/WC/Aurora so that will hopefully help free up a little time for me once she's up to speed.

I want something contracted this year. It's my main writing goal...

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




You Are Highly Authentic



You're as real as they come... and quite modest too.

You are very self-assured, and you have a healthy amount of self-esteem.

You feel confident that you can take on the world.

You are have a great sense of humor, especially when it comes to laughing at yourself.



Mostly right.

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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Welcome Guest: Eileen Ann Brennan

Give a warm blogger welcome to Eileen Ann Brennan -- leave a comment and make her feel right at home.

Eileen, tell me five things I probably don’t know about you and that most folks wouldn’t guess.

At least some portion of every one of my books was written while I listened to the soundtrack of Shakespeare In Love. I don’t know what it is but for some reason when that soundtrack is on, my fingers fly on the keyboard. I listen to a lot of other instrumental music but whenever I get stuck, I “pull out the big guns” as I call that CD and things just happen. Could it be that the “Big WS” is my muse?? (Somehow I never pictured a short, balding Elizabethan as my muse. I think I have more of a Huge Jackman/Christian Bale type in mind.)

I wrote my first erotic romance, Betrayed, on a dare. Two of my critique partners decided to try writing erotic romance and jokingly commented that they didn’t think I could write really “hot”. Well, I couldn’t let that go by, could I? I wrote it in five weeks. The fastest I’ve ever written a novel. Hmm, do you think my muse was at work way back then?

I dedicated my last release to a cat. My son’s cat, Kyle, came to live with us when he got caught after three years in his dorm room. He attached himself to me and follows me everywhere (He’s on my footrest as I type this) He’s known as my “posse”, “entourage” and “guard kitty”. Even after my son moved back in, “Pookie” as I call him, is still my constant companion. He was with me every minute while I wrote Waltz Me Through Time, so I figured it should be his book.

Three years ago, I drove a thousand miles from Jersey to Florida in one day…Alone…I left after 8:30 am…stopped to go shopping for an hour…stopped an hour for lunch…and an hour for supper…and two more times for gas and coffee…had no radar detector…and arrived home at 11:30 pm. I had one awesome book on CD! I sat in the driveway for ten minutes after I got home so I could hear the end of it! (And, no, I’d never attempt that again.)

I absolutely love the movie Wall-e. Although I hide it from my friends, my family knows and they feed my obsession. I have all the action figures, notepads, stuffed figures, a trashcan and anything else that was marketed by Buy N’ Large! I have his framed picture on the wall in my office. He’s the wallpaper on my phone and I even have the DVD in Russian. There’s just something about the innocence, sincerity and determination of that little guy that I fell in love with. I keep watching the movie over and over and over…

I have a stuffed animal that talks to me without my squeezing him or touching him. In fact, most of the time he’s talking, I’m not in the same room. I bought him at a garage sale about 8 years ago. It’s Sully from Monsters, Inc. Out of nowhere, he starts talking. It’s the weirdest thing. It was a bit scary at first but then I started talking back to him (that’s probably scarier). About a year ago he stopped. I figured the batteries ran out but never bothered to replace them. Two weeks ago he started talking again. My biggest fear is that I’ll open up his battery compartment one day and it will be empty…

Fill In the Blanks: I'd rather eat _____ than _____

I’d rather eat dirt than calamari which my dh and daughter love and order every time we go to an Italian restaurant. No way am I eating tentacles with the consistency of gummy bears.

Write me a paragraph using the following three words: Gentle, Phone, Beach.

I lie by the pool listening to the gentle hum of the filter as it lulls me to sleep. Through slitted eyes, I watch as Antonio Polaris, my pool boy, goes about his morning tasks. I’m glad I decided to forego my morning walk on the beach. This is a much better show than anything I might find there. Antonio turns and notices my attention. He drops the pool net and saunters toward me. Dropping to his knees next to my lounge chair, he leans in – close. His warm breath feathers across my cheek. I smile up at him, inviting. The phone on my desk rings, bringing me back to an office full of people and a desk full of work. Reality is soooo not fair!

**

Multi-published author Eileen Ann Brennan transplanted from the Northeast years ago, got sand in her shoes, and never looked back. (No matter what anyone says, your butt does look fat in a ski parka.) She lives with her husband, three cats and her son and daughter who move in and out on a regular basis.

Eileen Ann writes contemporary and historical erotic romance with a tinge of mystery and magic. She would love to spend every minute of every day holed up in front of her computer, writing about sexy heroes, sassy heroines and scintillating plots but somehow those pesky chores of everyday living (sleeping, dental hygiene, watching the weather channel) always seem to get in the way.

http://www.eileenannbrennan.com

http://eileenannbrennan.blogspot.com

Blurb for "Waltz Me Through Time": Juliana Douglas has a thriving antique shop and a boyfriend who is likely to propose any day. Everything is working out just as she wants it to…until a handsome stranger arrives from 1902 and claims she’s his wife.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What Makes It a Keeper?

Thinking is the activity I love best and writing to me is simply thinking through my fingers. ~ Isaac Asimov

I'm excited: "Savor the Moment" by Nora Roberts comes out today. YAY. I've read mixed reviews about this series of hers, but for me? It scores 100 -- every one of the books has made me get weepy at the end, a sure sign I'm attached to the characters. So, yeah, I'll be at the store getting my copy today.

I've been re-reading some warm and fuzzy keepers lately and thinking about writing in concert with that. I've tried to figure out what makes that book a keeper when this book is a wall-banger (aside from poor writing, grammar and editing which makes me CRAZY).

I think it's two-fold for me.

I have to connect to the characters, and pretty quickly. I'm not one who will give a nasty, snarky heroine who will grow and change and develop a heart of gold (and manners) very much time. Snark is fine (Oh, how I loved Cranky Agnes in "Agnes and the Hitman"), but sheer nastiness loses me every time.

I've also discovered that I love a good sub-plot. As time goes by, I find that a simple romance, where ONLY the romance is happening, bores me. It's probably why I've found myself gravitating toward the paranormal or suspense romances, because there is always something else going on. I find this last part amusing because I usually just write ONLY romance. But it's given me pause for thought... and I'm considering whether I want to add some significant sub-plots to my work.

What about you? What draws YOU to a book? Makes it a keeper for you?

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

So yesterday was *mostly* a success. We went to the mall, where I spent my Macys gift card from Christmas. I'd forgotten there was a Macys in there (it used to be something else... like eight years ago -- yeah, I don't get out much), so DD and I ended up with five shirts (three for me, two for her). I splurged and bought some smelly lotion at Bath & Body Works (I prefer Body Shop, but the sales help is VERY heavy-handed there and it makes me uncomfortable -- if I have a question, I'm not too shy to ask, but otherwise...GO AWAY). Then it was off to Toys R Us and her pogo stick only.. they were sold out. But, they did have refill foam arrows for her bow, so I got her a big pack of those.

But, no pogo stick.

:-(

Then to the library, where we got so wrapped up in getting books that we forgot to get a movie. I realized halfway to the restaurant.

DD said, "Great. The whole day is ruined."

I said, "Yeah, cuz new clothes, new lotion, refill arrows and a yummy seafood lunch pales in comparison to watching a movie YOU'VE ALREADY SEEN."

Ah, the drama of the tween years.

But, movie aside, we had a good day. She even came up to me at bed time and said she'd had a great day and gave me a big hug.

So, yay.

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




Your Name is Gray



Your name tells people that you are calm and level headed. Your name makes you seem honest and fair.

You are able to look at things clearly and without emotion. You tend to remain neutral in most disputes.

People see you as reliable and trustworthy. You treat everyone equally, and you don't tend to have any prejudices.

You are naturally calculating and even a bit cunning. You don't like to show your cards too early in the game.



That's mostly right on...

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

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday, Monday...

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. ~Doug Larson

Yesterday turned out to be a very nice day -- a surprise, really, because the weather forecast had called for overcast and rain.

DH decided to go fishing, and DD went with him, so I had some alone time -- not a ton, because they left late and came home early, but I'll take what I can get.

I relaxed a little ... took the dog for a nice walk, pulled dandelions (an ENTIRE big bucketful AGAIN, and that's not all of them! -- this tool is a miracle, though), did some other weeding (yes, I find weeding relaxing). My neighbor came by with her dog, so that was nice for both Dakota and I.

I did some writing (my heroine has a regular menagerie of animals... who knew?), and managed to get *sort of* caught up on my crit group (speaking of which, we could REALLY use one more active member ... anyone out there looking for a good, serious but fun crit group? If so, email me at authormariannearkins AT gmail DOT com).

The only black mark this weekend is this: my business partner, Judy, went away on Thursday expecting to have internet available. Much to our mutual dismay, this was not the case. So, I've been doing double duty at LASR/WC/Goddess Fish and will all that's going on (including a BUNCH of virtual tours) it's been a little crazy. I think she gets back today. Thank heavens.

Anyway, today DD takes off school and we officially celebrate her birthday. We were going to go see "How To Train Your Dragon" in IMAX, but it's school vacation this week, and I couldn't face all the kids sure to be there. I promised her a trip to the movies next week. Instead, we're heading to the mall to walk around (DD is learning the fine art of window shopping), she wants a new paint-by-number, then to Toys-R-Us for her pogo stick, and then we'll head to lunch for some seafood (she's craving shrimp) and then to the library to get a movie.

I'm tired just thinking of it.

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




Your Attention Span is Long



You're attention span is amazingly long.

You can concentrate well, and your mind doesn't stray easily.

Even if you have a mundane task to complete, you can get it done easily.

Because you don't get distracted, you accomplish more than most people.

Your self discipline is your greatest strength.

You can will yourself to do almost anything. All you have to do is put your mind to it.



Yep... pretty much correct.

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

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weddings and Weeding and Writing -- oh my!

There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage. ~ Martin Luther

Yesterday wiped me out... lol. I went to bed at 8:30 --

DD said, "Mom, it's EARLY."

I said, "I'm old and tired."

She said, "You're not old, you're only 43. You're middle aged." Then she stopped to think for a minute. "No, wait, you ARE over the hill."

Gee, thanks.

I think it was the wedding that wiped me out. There's a lot of family drama involved with the girl who was getting married. She's my niece that lived with us for a little while a couple of years back, and we were very excited for her .... but...

Drama. Most of which DH and I were on the wrong side of (side note: I hate leaving that "of" at the end of my sentence -- it really rubs me wrong, lol. As Winston Churchill said, "...ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.").

So, I was wrung out.

DD had a fun day, though. She had cake for lunch (what? Is that wrong?) and opened her gifts after (she especially loved her earrings that I bought -- she got her first hoops ... tiny, yes, but still HOOPS), and she got to play computer games, which doesn't happen often.

Okay, yes we tilled the garden, too, but she didn't find that all THAT onerous. It was more like a biology lesson. We opened our composter to take out the stuff on the bottom that had composted and found the most massive ant hill I've ever seen. Our composter is about two feet in diameter, and the composted part was at least a foot high, and they'd PACKED that sucker with ants and eggs and larvae.

Sadly, Hurricane Marianne hit and destroyed their home -- I really needed both the new dirt AND the room in the composter -- but not before we watched them for a while. We also discovered that the toads are still hibernating (another reason I carefully use a pitchfork to turn the garden and not a tiller) since we turned up several of those in the dirt as well.

We only got it about half done -- it's full of weeds (which are filling my composter!) and rocks, so it's hard work. But we'll be planting our cold crops in the next week or so AND putting the softer crops outside in their little greenhouses (thanks to a neighbor who consumes quite a bit of milk, I have lots of little greenhouses).

I can't wait. I can almost taste the fresh veggies now.

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

Last night after I crawled into bed, my brain kept thinking about my "Kitchen Matches" sequel and I have the next scene I want to write. My favorite character is not the hero or heroine, though ... it's Gram. I <3 her. She's so much fun to write. She's a little loopy, irreverent and full of love for her granddaughter.

I can't wait to sit and get it on paper.

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




You Are a Lucky Person



You are wild, to the point of being reckless. You often act before you think!



You are happiest when you have an obstacle to overcome. You need to be challenged.



You work at a pace that is comfortable to you. You can get more done if you don't burn yourself out.

You are a quick moving person. You get through things as efficiently as possible, though you occasionally cut corners.



Um... 50/50. I'm REALLY not wild and reckless, but much of the rest **might** fit.

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

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Busy Day!

A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip. ~Author Unknown

Today is a little jam-packed. First off, and most importantly, it's my DD's ELEVENTH birthday. Sadly we will not be celebrating much today because we also have my niece's wedding right smack in the middle of the day.

Still, DD will get whatever she wants for breakfast, she has a cake, and she'll have gifts to open this morning. I love to buy her little things and wrap them all individually, because small presents drive her crazy. :::cue evil laughter:::

Monday we're planning on having a real celebration, with lunch out and a movie in (we'll get the DVD of her choice and have popcorn and soda) and we'll go pick up her "big" gift -- a pogo stick.

Sometimes DD wishes she was allowed all the "stuff" her friends have: iPods, cell phones, gaming systems, etc., but I really love that she's still being allowed to be a kid -- playing simple games that require her imagination -- like I had to because, yanno our version of the Wii was Pong.

For those of you too young to remember Pong, here's a video showing you how it worked:



And, yes, I had a friend who had it for her TV and we played for HOURS at a time, lol.

In any case, I need to stop now and go bake applesauce coffee cake for breakfast.

Have a great day!

==========




You Are a Tank Top



You are a lively, energetic person. You are often on the move, and it's important for you to dress comfortably.

It's likely that you are quite healthy and fit. How else would you look good in a tank top?

You are fashionable and stylish. When you wear a tank top, you make sure that it's chic and not trashy.

You are bold and courageous. You don't mind showing a little skin every now and then!



HAHAHAHAHA.... uh, no.

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

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weeds and Bugs and Clouds, OH MY

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

The last few days have been mostly just gorgeous. Yesterday had its up and down moments where it couldn't decide (sunny, cloudy, sunny, cloudy). The biggest downside to that is this: the bugs are out now, and when it's cloudy, they swarm.

Yesterday must have been a mass mosquito hatching, because when I looked out onto my back deck there were thousands of them just... everywhere. ::shivers::

This is the one thing I do NOT like about the nicer weather here. I don't remember ever having this many bugs when I lived in California.

DD and spent some time weeding the gardens between us and our neighbor. It's very frustrating, to be honest. It's hard to keep your lawn and garden looking nice when your next door neighbor's "lawn" looks like this:




As a result, my flower gardens that run the edge of our shared property look like this:




All the weeds from his lawn LOVE to share their seeds with me. It's a constant battle... and I've considered putting down weed block and mulch or rock instead, but that area is lower than the rest and when it rains, it washes everything away. DD and I spent well over an hour weeding diligently and barely made a dent.

We have a new neighbor, though -- the original owner was forclosed on about a year ago and the house went up for auction, and we're hoping the new guy will do something with the mess.

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




You Should Work With Information



You are highly analytical and logical. You are good at sifting through facts.

You enjoy complexity, and for you, there's nothing more exhilarating than solving a puzzle.

You are detail oriented and focused. You don't let anything slip through the cracks.

You are trustworthy and ethical. People can trust you with there most private information.



Yeah.. that'll work. CIA, here I come!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Special Guest Blog: My Friend, Wendi Zwaduk!


Give a HUGE round of applause to Wendi Zwaduk a friend and crit partner that I just had to host. She's having a whirlwind tour of the blogosphere via Goddess Fish Promotions to celebrate the release of not one, but TWO eBooks -- "Right Where I Need to Be", a contemporary romance from The Wild Rose Press and "Learning How to Bend" a contemporary erotic romance from Total-e-Bound!!!

Even cooler, if you leave a comment today, you're entered to win your choice of one of her books in eBook format. So -- tell Wendi what you think about her answers to my goofy questions.

Now: here's Wendi!
Tell me five things I probably don’t know about you and that most folks wouldn’t guess.


1. I am scared to death of roller coasters. When i was a kid, my folks said, yeah, go ahead and ride on them (at our semi loval amusement park - Cedar Point). The moment we got to the first hill, my stomach dropped to my knees. No joke. I wanted to scream, throw up, and get the heck off the coaster. So when I dated my DH, he says, heck yeah, we're gonna ride all the coasters... I did... but lemme tell you, my idea of fun is so not going upside down on a rollercoaster. I'd rather have a root canal.

2. I kill plants. Not that it's intentional, but if it comes to growing those little green things that live in pots and are supposed to brighten the day... yeah, i either over-water or underwater and they end up limp and most likely dead. I once had this gorgeous Lilly DH bought me. He promised me... put it outside and it'll come back and be pretty. I followed his directions. Needless to say, it's a brown lump in the front flower bed.

3. I'm not a dog person. Really. I'm a cat person, but each time I go to the animal shelter or watch those irksome commercials for the ASPCA, I want to take all the critters home. If I could make my choice and have the pets of my dreams, I'd have a Maine Coon cat and as many strays that i could find... but DH is allergic and he's a dog person, so my house is two dogs and one cat.

4. I"m scared of dead things. I know, I know, I wrote a story about a vampire, who is technically the undead, but if something keels over in my yard, it freaks me out. The only time I didn't freak out was when my poor Rusty passed and when I had to bury my Messiah kitty. That I can handle. If there is a dead bird in the yard, you bet your bottom I'll see it, scream, and hide in the house. I know it won't get me or whatever, but it still gives me the heebie jeebies.

5. I hate band-aids. I'm not real keen on things sticking to me. I like to have room to breathe. When I was a kid and I'd get hurt, the first thing out of mom's mouth was, 'Let's put a band-aid on it.' I'd run like heck the other direction. Those things, if left on, collect hairs in the sticky part, and those little black marks happen if you have to leave them on over night. :::shudder:::: They just squick me out. You're probably laughing hysterically. That's fine. As long as you don't chase me down with a band-aid we'll be just fine.

Fill In the Blank(s): If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to ________

If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to learn how to drive a stick shift car. Yes, ma'am. I have no coordination when it comes to driving, but knowing when to press the clutch is beyond me. DH keeps trying to teach me to drive his truck, which is stick, but when I get in the truck, my brain goes into frozen mode and I cannot get the hang of pressing the clutch. That, and I'm afraid I'm going to screw up and destroy the transmission. I have this fear that I'll press the accelerator too early, the transmission gets messed up, and I come to a slow, aching stop with parts and pieces falling out from under the truck. Oh, and there's that dirty look DH gets on his face when I destroy something (even if it's an accident).

Write me a paragraph using the following three words: THIRSTY, STRAWBERRY, BEACH

Luke stared across his desk. Reese knew how to push his buttons with the most innocuous actions. Eating a strawberry shouldn't turn him on, but each time she bit into the juicy fruit, his mouth watered. He'd drank from her only that morning, slaking his need for her blood. But seeing her lick the sticky liquid from her crimson lips made him thirsty for her once more. He rubbed his thumb over the frosty glass dribbling condensation onto the polished surface of his desk. Any moment now, she'd finish the berry and sip her Sex on the Beach drink. At this rate, he'd never last. He needed her--now.

Any news you’d like to share?

I have my first paranormal novel coming out this Winter from Total-E-Bound, entitled "My Immortal". The follow up to my novel "Right Where I Need to Be" is in progress and I hope to submit it later this year. I also have the follow-up to my short story "Learning How to Bend" coming out at the end of June. It's called, "Must Be Doing Something Right."

I can't help it, I have to share at least one of her book videos along with the blurbs for the story:

"Right Where I Need to Be"

Sometimes the love of your life isn’t the one you expect, but he’s the one you need.

Cass Jenson needs an actor for her made for TV movie. The previous actor dropped out, leaving her stranded. Her savior shows up looking sinfully sexy and totally right for the part, but what part is she auditioning him for? Her movie or her bed?

Logan Malone needs an acting job and fast. With his string of broken hearts, his professional life lies in shambles. To resurrect his career, he must audition for a television role which could be the job of a lifetime. That is, if he can work with distraction and Cass is a major distraction with a heart of gold. Is their budding relationship enough to survive separation, lies, and a couple zany fans?



You can visit Wendi at her website and blog.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Welcome Guest: LaVerne Thompson

Please give a warm welcome to LaVerne Thompson. I know she'd love to gab with you, so leave a comment!

LaVerne, tell me five things I probably don’t know about you and that most folks wouldn’t guess.

I'm a pretty straight forward person, more so now that I'm older. I know what I like and I like what I know, but I am open to new things.

Most people think I'm very friendly and this is true. But when meeting new people I can be very quiet, at first, that's because I'm listening and assessing (the lawyer in me). Now some people mistake this quietness for shyness. This misimpression doesn't last long. I'm anything but. LOL

I love to dance around, even when there's no music you can hear playing, drives my girls nuts, but every now and then they find themselves doing the same thing. We dance to the beat of our own drums.

While I love my Kindle and my husband's Nook, I will always love the smell of a brand new book and can be caught sniffing the pages and feeling content. My kids do the same thing. Hmm, I guess I should be very very careful what I do around them. LOL!

Like most people I watch the local news before going to bed at night, but this is often depressing so I always need a pick me up. So I have TIVO shows for this purpose, usually I'll watch reruns of Frasier, Seinfeld or The Nanny. I prefer to fall asleep with a smile on my face.

Fill In the Blank: In my pocket _________

In my pocket is my Blackberry cell phone. It is on me at all times.

Write me a paragraph using the following three words: Generous, Football, Dog

We got my dog Coco when she was eight weeks old, and topped off at less than 3 pounds. She's a brown and white short haired Chihuahua and we were told she'd grow to be no bigger than the size of a football. When people first saw her they'd say, 'What the hell is that?' and 'Is it real?' Then she began to grow. Turns out she's got a bit of Beagle in her and let me tell you she grew to a pretty generous size football. Still, in the winter when we put her outside, she's not even big enough to break the ice on the ground. She ends up slipping and sliding all over the place. But hey, we love her anyway.

==
LaVerne Thompson is an award winning bestselling author, an avid reader and writer of contemporary, fantasy, and sci/fi sensual romances with interracial main characters but where race is not a factor in the storyline. Visit her website at lavernethompson.com to read excerpts of her books or visit her blog http://www.isisindcblog.blogspot.com for a sneak-peek at some of the stories she’s currently working on.

And don't forget to check out my latest release from Red Rose Publishing, Chances Are is a contemporary romantic intrigue. Read an excerpt and check out the book trailer
HERE

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dandelion Season

Many gardeners will agree that hand-weeding is not the terrible drudgery that it is often made out to be. Some people find in it a kind of soothing monotony. It leaves their minds free to develop the plot for their next novel or to perfect the brilliant repartee with which they should have encountered a relative's latest example of unreasonableness. ~Christopher Lloyd, The Well-Tempered Garden, 1973

What a nice day yesterday (if you don't count the wind). It was so wonderful to be able to get outside, walk, weed... look at all the dandelions that are sprouting in the grass.

Last year, my friend Sarita tried to make dandelion wine. Last I knew, it was fermenting in her house... I'm tempted. I feel like I should do SOMETHING with the bounty of flowers they're giving me. Anyone have any ideas?

Today is going to be even nicer (in the high 60s!), and SHOULD be less windy, so I might get out and weed. All the rain we had has made everything just take off -- good and bad. I actually really love weeding. I know, I'm sick, but I do. It's just like what that quote says up there ^^ ... It's a time to let my mind wander and think and contemplate. It's really rather "zen" for me.

I also need to sneak out this afternoon and get a few birthday presents for my DD. She turns ELEVEN on Saturday. How did that happen? We're going shopping together for a few things (she wants a pogo stick, for example), but I want to have a few little things for her to open on her birthday. So, I'm going to get some nail polish, earrings, etc. Girly stuff for my daughter who is getting more girlie by the day BUT is still not afraid to get her hands dirty.

Have a great day!

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




You Are a Brain



It's not easy to stretch your brain, but who ever said that life was going to be easy?

You work hard to learn more and challenge yourself. You find thinking hard to be fun!

You enjoy long term projects and complicated problems. You are good at wrapping your mind around complex problems.

People tend to be jealous of your big brain, but they don't see how much work you put into being smart.



Hey, y'all ... are you jealous of my big brain? *G* ...

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

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Again

Family is just accident.... They don't mean to get on your nerves. They don't even mean to be your family, they just are. ~Marsha Norman

Crazy busy weekend. And it rained most of it -- finally cleared (sort of) Sunday afternoon, which was fortuitous because we were having a family get-together for my MIL's birthday and if we'd had to stay inside with all those kids? Oy vey.

Dakota is having tummy troubles AGAIN. I have never had a dog with so many digestive issues. It's making me crazy. She had me up half the night needing to go out, and I really tried to not get cranky but MAN am I tired. Today, I'll be taking a stool sample into the vet to see if she has giardia AGAIN. And maybe this time they'll agree to vaccinate her if she does. Cuz, I'm telling you, this is getting old.

We started helping at a new agility class last week. And, as always, there was a bit of drama. One of the dogs, a pit bull, has some dog aggression issues (and before anyone thinks, "Oh.. well.. a pit bull..." -- remember: aggression isn't breed specific and bad dogs aren't born, they're made). Interestingly enough, when they walked in, Dakota was off leash running around while we set up, and in her way (her way being, "All dogs love me.") ran right up to him, licking his face and trying to get him to play. And he didn't react to that in a negative way at ALL.

He's a sweetie toward people, too. And I have to admit to having a soft spot toward pit bulls because they're terrifically misunderstood creatures.

But...

After the entire class was there, we were talking and introducing dogs and whatnot, and one lady lost the leash of her schnoodle (schnauzer / poodle cross). And he trotted right over to the pit who was being kept a little apart from everyone, and stuck his nose in a .. hmm... private spot, and ... **sigh**... yes, he got attacked.

The scariest sound in the world has to be that scream a dog makes when it's scared. Thing is -- the pit bull didn't grab anything but fur. I was the closest, so I grabbed for the schnoodles leash and pulled him away. The schnoodle didn't have a mark on him and, amazingly enough, he bounced right back like it had never happened.

In any case, the instructor separated the dogs to work with them: pit bull, shy german shepherd and a beagle for me (I think she knows I love the big dogs!). She and DD took the little dogs: a dachschund, the schnoodle and a papillion (who is NEVER quiet ... yao, yap, yap... I thought I'd lose my mind).

We're having a grand time.

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




You Are a Açaí Berry



On the one hand, you tend to be very controversial. People are always talking about you and trying to figure you out.

On the other hand, you are quite wholesome and humble. You don't know what all of the fuss is about.

You are unsettled in your life. You're not sure what you want yet, and you're a bit of a searcher.

If there's one thing you know, it's that you crave adventure and travels. You want to see as much of the world as you can.



Um... not really...

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

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Mini-Blogcation

Hey all... going to take today and tomorrow off blogging. I am drowning in other stuff to do and I need the time to try to get my head above water. But, I hope to leave you with a laugh (I posted this on Facebook yesterday, but it's worth sharing again):



Have an awesome weekend!

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

Friday, April 16, 2010

Do You See What I See?



Yes, that is my deck this morning, why do you ask?

There are no words...

Except -- WHAT THE HECK??? It's SNOWING??

Or maybe these -- I HATE NEW HAMPSHIRE.

Or this? -- HOW MANY OF MY PLANTS WILL I LOSE?

*sigh*

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

Before I go curl up into a ball and cry, I'd like to thank everyone for your questions from yesterday. They were a big help!

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




Your Funky Nail Polish Color is Blue



You are a calm and cool person who is content to do your own thing.

You tend to get lost in your thoughts. You're usually daydreaming about something, someone, or somewhere you love.

You don't take anything or anyone too seriously. You prefer to hang loose whenever possible.

You are a deeply introspective person. You're the type most likely to think about why the ocean is blue!



About 50/50 ...

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

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Looking For a Little Help

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing. ~William James

It was a gorgeous day yesterday -- if a little chilly with the wind. But the sun was shining and it was so pretty! I, once again, discovered some new bulbs I planted in the fall that I don't know what they are. But they're quite pretty. See:




They also come in this gorgeous dark pink, but only bloom in the sunshine, and this one was shaded when I was taking pictures:


So, I guess I'm going to need to research low-growing, deer resistant bulbs that are good for Zone 3 and bloom in the early spring. LOL...

Another nice day expected for today, and the weekend.... not so much. But, as always, I'm just glad it's not snow.

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

I need some writing help for my "Kitchen Matches" sequel. I posted it to my crit group and got a couple responses, but I want more, More, MORE!!! Here's what I posted:
Hey all.. I need help. I'm looking for a list of questions someone might ask a potential husband.

Pretend you're at one of those one-minute date things -- you know, where you get a minute or two to chat with the person, and then a bell rings and one of you moves to the next table?

What would you ask that person if you only had a very short time? What's most important (assume that you already know if he's single, etc).

No question is too silly.

I really mean that.

So, if you were husband-hunting, what would be some things you'd like to know? And, as I stated, no question is too silly or unimportant.

I appreciate your help!

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




You Are Straight Leg Jeans



You are a steady and reasonable person. You are never frivolous or flippant.

You enjoy being modern, but you avoid trends whenever possible. You think trends are often foolish.

You are comfortable in your own skin, and you don't mind being a little bit different from everyone else.

You accept yourself for who you are, and because you do, others do too. You are gloriously consistent.



Yep. Tagged. Except for the "you are never flippant" part it's 100%.

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

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Welcome Guest: Pauline Baird Jones

Give a BIG welcome to my friend, Pauline Baird Jones. I'm excited to have her here on my blog.

Tell me five things I probably don’t know about you and that most folks wouldn’t guess.

I’m not sure there is anything about me that folks couldn’t guess, thanks to facebook and twitter. And I’m not that interesting. That would be why I write fiction. I’ll try to stick to non-fiction, but no promises.

1) The girl can’t dance in real life. When I was little, back in the dark ages, all little girls in my town took dance, tap and tumbling, yes, tumbling. We learned how to cartwheel and do somersaults and not much else. We also got our hair permed into ringlets, because our parents secretly hoped they had given birth to another Shirley Temple. (If you don’t know who she is, I can’t help you—and let’s be real. You don’t need my help with Wikipedia and Google.) At our first dance, tap, tumbling recital, I made it through the tap routine okay, but when I put on the tutu, things went South fast—all on account of my nervous stomach. There is something particularly noxious about a hurled upon tutu—and it never recovers. Ever.

2) You can probably guess my second “secret.” I get nervous in the public eye, though I have refrained from hurling now that I’m a grownup. I suspect it is a combo of my hermit personality and where I grew up. In Wyoming, even when sitting on a float, you are supposed to be noncommittal. My dad has totally mastered the “Wyoming index finger wave.” I have heard there is a marginally warmer two finger wave, but I’ve never actually seen it. It’s not noncommittal.

3) I knit dishcloths. That’s it. Just dishcloths. Why just dishcloths? I have pondered that myself. I believe there are two reasons for my knitting limitations. One is the climate here in South Texas. It is mostly hot (until this year). I can’t knit with sweaty hands. Even inside, in the summer, with a/c, I can’t do it. My hands feel hot when they know it is hot outside. Or my brain tells my hands to feel hot. The other is probably my attention span coupled with the climate issue. The “winter” isn’t usually long enough to knit a larger item and by the time I get back to a larger item, I can’t remember how to do it. It takes me some thinking to remember how to do the dish cloths again. And I don’t need that many knitted items when winter is usually a day and a half. This year I have knitted a record ten dish cloths. And it’s still cold. Mother Nature has a sense of humor. Or she needs dish cloths, too.

4) In case no one else interviews me about my books? I interview myself. Seriously. Me interviews myself in a series called Behind the Book: The (mostly) True Story behind the writing of (fill in the title here). I even interviewed me about what it was like to interview myself.

5) I have a small collection of Lilliput Lane houses. I also collect pewter dragons, wizards and castles. And Elizabeth Cadell books. I know, not that interesting. I’m scraping the bottom of my barrel here. I did mention that my life isn’t that interesting. I’m all tapped out. If I have any more secrets, I’ve forgotten them because I was born in the dark ages.

Good thing I didn't ask for TEN things *G*...

Fill In the Blank: My mother always said ________


My mother always said I’d go blind if I didn’t eat my carrots. I used to hide them in the hollow leg of the kitchen table until I started going near sighted in the second grade. After that I ate my carrots until my eyes kept getting worse. Then the carrots when back in the hollow leg until my parents got a new table. Now I eat them when I feel like it.

Write me a paragraph using the following three words. Alert, Clerk, Rainbow


The weather alert came while the clerk was ringing up my order. Neither of us looked outside. We didn’t consider a rainbow a dangerous event, even if the guy with his finger on the alert button did. We all had theories about his fear of rainbows, most revolving leprechauns and pots of gold. Not that original, but you try to be original with rainbow conspiracy theories.

Many thanks, Marianne! Fun interview (now that it’s over! LOLOL!)

I'm sneaking in to share Pauline's book video for her release, "Girl Gone Nova". She didn't ask me to, but I was busting at the seams because I made it! Hope you enjoy:



Pauline Baird Jones is the award-winning author of nine novels of science fiction romance, action-adventure, suspense, romantic suspense and comedy-mystery. Her latest release is Girl Gone Nova, the second book in her Project Enterprise/Garradian Universe series. She's also written a steampunk novella called Tangled in Time that will release in 2010. She's written two non-fiction books, Adapting Your Novel for Film and Made-up Mayhem, and she co-wrote Managing Your Book Writing Business with Jamie Engle. She’s been awarded a Dorothy Parker award, an EPPIE, an Independent Book Award Bronze Medal (IPPY) and a 2007 Dream Realm Award. Originally from Wyoming, she and her family moved from New Orleans to Texas before Katrina.

You can find Pauline at: www.perilouspauline.com , http://paulinebjones.livejournal.com and http://worldsapage.blogspot.com

With the release of her ninth novel, she'll be running some fun contests, so be sure to check her website or subscribe to her ezine.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Elusive Sleep

The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more. ~Wilson Mizener

My DH is killing me.

He has a big project this week at work. Sunday night, he tossed and turned until I finally got up and crashed on the couch. Last night he was so exhausted, he went to bed at 8:30 and then was sawing "ZZZ"s so loud, I couldn't get to sleep when I went up, so I crashed on th couch to start with and that would have been fine except...

... except he woke up at 2 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep, so showered, got dressed and came downstairs.

Ugh.

"Go back to sleep," he says.

Uh.. no. I can't. After I've slept a good 4-5 hours, if I wake up, I'm done.

Worse, he's bringing home company for dinner tonight, and said company will be staying over in our spare bedroom, which is fine I guess except ... I'm really just going to want to collapse at about seven.

*sigh*

I'm sure I'll survive, but I turn into demon-woman when I don't get my sleep.

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

Yesterday I took some pix of my daffodils. Aren't they purty?




I also had a discussion with the creeping phlox in front of my house, and mentioned that it's blooming too early. It didn't listen.



I love spring.

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

I posted the first bit of the "Kitchen Matches" sequel (working title: "Now and Forever") to my crit group and they seem to like it (yay!), so I'm moving forward with it. It's fun :-)

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




You Scored 100% Correct



You are an 80s expert,

You never confuse New Order with the Pet Shop Boys.

You know which classical musician Falco rocked.

When it comes to 80s music, you Just Can't Get Enough!



That was WAY too easy...

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

Monday, April 12, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy...

If you've never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden. ~ Robert Brault

Yay for Monday! This weekend exhausted me, lol...

Yesterday was gorgeous here (if you ignore the 30 MPH winds): sunny and pretty warm -- near 60 degrees.

DH decided at 8 a.m. that we had to go to Lowe's and get stuff, so off we went. We came home with a nectarine tree, several tree rings and the burning need to get that tree and the peach tree we bought a week or so ago into the ground. I only had that one spot cleared, so off into the woods I went, shovel and clippers in hand.

This spot was near an oak tree DH had downed a few years ago, so I was continually hitting some big tree roots. And rocks!! Dear heavens, were there rocks! Finally DH came to help me do the harder stuff, and my job was to roll the rocks out and sift through for blueberry bush and mountain laurel roots.

We finally got both trees planted, and then decided to move one of our apricot trees, so off DH went to dig another spot. This is a fairly big tree, so we're hoping it will survive the move -- but it was planted FAR too close to the apple trees we have, and as a result neither tree is doing well. Since the apples are even bigger AND are producing fruit, they got to stay where they were.

DD worked on her woods garden some more as well, adding all the various bulbs and tubers I found while digging spots for the trees (a few years ago, I lined the edge of the woods with rhubarb, irises and daffodils -- all deer resistant).

So, a busy day, but a good one.

How was your weekend?

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

Brandy commented yesterday that she'd love to plant bulbs but doesn't know how. Let me tell you: bulbs are the easiest thing to grow, without exception, if you choose the right flowers. Here in NH, some types have to be pulled out every fall because they aren't cold hardy (calla/canna lilies, gladiolus, and dahlias for example) so I don't plant those. I'm a lazy gardener -- I typically focus on perennials and not annuals because I don't want to spent my days planting.

Here in NH you plants your new bulbs in the fall because they need to harden through the winter, but I don't know all the rules for various zones. I'm sure it would be easy to find out.

I plant daffodils, crocus, tulips (not my faves, because they don't always flower year-to-year), allium and whatever those cute little blue and purple flowers are around my mailbox. This fall, I'm adding hyacinth.

You dig. You pop the bulb into the hole. You cover.

Then, like a miracle, when the time is right, the bulb grows.

Poof.

Easy peasy.

Even better, every year, they make babies, so you have more and more flowers every year!!

Brandy, you should give it a try.

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




You Are Royal Blue



People find you difficult to understand. In fact, you often find it hard to understand yourself.

You think so much that sometimes you get lost in your own thoughts!



LOL... it's pretty darn close!

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

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Daffodils

If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. ~Terri Guillemets

I was enjoying my daffodils the past few days, especially in the back where they've lived unmolested by me for several years and so come up in great clumps of color. I have several different kinds, plain yellow, yellow with an orange ruffle, yellow with a white ruffle and now my white with a pinkish/orange ruffle.

They're lovely, and such a harbinger of spring.

But I admit to wishing I had more -- just a real blanket of color like Daffodil Hill.

Photo courtesy of this site.

Most of you probably don't know about it or haven't even heard of it -- but I spent much of my growing up time outside Amador County in California, and Daffodil Hill is a big deal there.

Check this little tidbit out:

For the last twenty years, the McLaughlins have continued to plant up to 6,000 new bulbs a year. It is estimated that today, Daffodil Hill is carpeted with over 300,000 bulbs.

How amazing is that?

So, someday that's my goal... to have the side of a hill or a field or some other area to plant with spring bulbs. Not just daffodils, but crocus and hyacinth and more to announce to the world: SPRING IS HERE!

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

Yesterday's weather didn't cooperate with my plans. Most of the day was cold, overcast and VERY windy. So.... no outdoor work. Hopefully today.

Later in the afternoon when it started getting nicer, though, one of the ladies from agility called and asked if Dakota would like to come by to play, so we went over and spent a couple hours there.

I think my dog has a busier social life than I do.

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




You Are a Chocolate Cheesecake



You are both dreamy and decadent. And you can't help but be attracted to luxury.

You are a sensual person, and you're easily intoxicated by smells and tastes.

People find you to be vivacious and passionate. It's clear that you love living.

You can also be a bit moody and dramatic, but when you're happy, you're exuberant.



Mostly right.

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

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Rainy Days and Shopping

Buying something on sale is a very special feeling. In fact, the less I pay for something, the more it is worth to me. I have a dress that I paid so little for that I am afraid to wear it. I could spill something on it, and then how would I replace it for that amount of money? ~Rita Rudner

L-O-O-O-O-N-G day yesterday, made longer by the rainy, cold weather. It's incredible how quickly we get used to temps in the 80s, and yesterday it plunged down into the 40s and 50s and -- BRRRRRRRRRRR.

Aside from massive amounts of housecleaning, I went shopping.

I've been trying to find DD a swimsuit. This shouldn't have been such an ordeal, but she wanted a tankini (WAY easier for potty purposes), she wears women's sizes now (but only just barely ... she's in a 4/6, and there aren't many places that carry that size), but she's not "developed" really, and most of the women's suits come with preformed cups. Additionally, I'd like her to be at least a little modest, and nowadays that is a tough thing in and of itself.

We'd already tried the cheap places, to no avail. So I was headed out to Macys yesterday, when I realized I hadn't tried the L.L. Bean outlet yet and we were going to pass it en route.

Good move on my part.

Not only did we find a really cute tankini (in aqua with a little skirt and a sporty top that doesn't plunge to her navel, with cups appropriate for someone who is a size 4), but their skirts were half off, so DD picked up another cute denim one (she loves to wear skirts) and I found some croc-like clogs for only $8.99! I've been wearing my Target gardening clogs for three years -- they are SO comfy I can take long walks in them, but they're finally beginning to wear out and Target isn't carrying them this year (I was distraught).

Being me, I didn't want to shell out $40+ for Crocs, but I also was determined to get something that I could wear for hours at a time, and during my walks and if that meant Crocs, then so be it.

These L.L. Bean clogs are regularly priced $24.95, but they were so much cheaper at the outlet. DH thinks it's because of the color (HOT PINK!). I'm hardly a walking fashion statement, so I didn't care. And after I take a nice long walk in them and see if they'll work for that, I'm going back and buying every pair they have in my size.

:-)

I love a bargain.

Today is supposed to be sunnier, though not much warmer. Aside from the work I have to do on the LASR/WC site, I plan on getting outside and clearing more of the woods. DH is home today, so maybe he'll help with the heavy lifting this time. We'd like to move our two apricot trees (hopefully this won't kill them, but the apple trees behind them are getting so big, that the apricots aren't doing well anyway) and plant the peach tree. We're going to buy one more apple tree, and our orchard will be complete. I really REALLY wanted a cherry tree, but that is a favorite snack of Japanese beetles, and I decided I wasn't up for the battle.

What are you doing this weekend? Anything fun or interesting?

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




You Are Imaginative and Idealistic



You are popular and well liked. You know how to please a crowd and work a room.

You rely on yourself and yourself alone to figure out what's best. In your experience, the "experts" are almost always wrong.

You have an optimistic take on life. Things are always a lot better than they seem at first.

Spending time alone makes you more optimistic and ready to take on the world. You like to recharge.



That's fairly close, especially the last part.

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

Friday, April 09, 2010

Finding the Happy

Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length. ~Robert Frost

I was talking to my mom yesterday and we both agreed that we tend to focus more on the bad stuff than the good stuff -- which leads to a pretty stressful life. The bad stuff is easier to see, I think. It's loud and active and it jumps up and down in front of the good stuff, waving its hands and shouting, "Look at me! Look at me!". It's tough to move it aside and see what sits quietly behind it, smiling and peaceful.

Many years ago, I was part of a women's group. We got together once every other week, shared our lives, supported each other and talked about how to have a happier and more stress-free life. I miss that group...

In any case, one of the things we did was use the book, "Woman's Comfort Book" and work our way through. Some of the stuff in there was a little ... odd or "woo woo", but one of the things that we had to do that really stuck with me was creating a "comfort journal" of things that made us feel good, made us smile, made us happy. And it wasn't only a few things. We had to list at least 100 things, so we'd have something to refer to in the times we were down to remind us what really mattered.

I remember starting it, thinking, "This will be a breeze!"

Uh. Not.

The first ten or twenty were ... then I had to really stretch for the next twenty or so. By the time I hit around fifty, I was empty. I'd spend my days thinking and watching and contemplating, trying desperately to find more things that at the very least made the sides of my mouth quirk in a smile, however briefly.

I never did make it up to 100. But I got darn close. And, looking back on that list today, many of those things don't apply (For instance, I was dating someone who is not my husband, so ... having him make me happy is probably one to line through), and I decided that I need to make an updated list. And, I imagine I'll breeze through the first twenty or so, struggle with another twenty and then will have to really, really look for the rest. But it'll be worth it to have something to focus on besides the negative.

Because there's no pain in looking for the happy things in life, right?

What about you? Could you make a list of 100 things that make you happy? Don't you think you should?

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




You Are Conscientiousness



You are extremely detail oriented and organized. You do a thorough job.

You stick with whatever needs to be done, no matter how long it takes.

You are highly motivated and energetic. You are a valuable employee and a trusted friend.

You are a planner, and you follow through with your promises. You take your commitments seriously.



Yeah... that's about right.

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

Thursday, April 08, 2010

What Not To Blog

Sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel. ~Author Unknown

Warning: mild rant ahead.

I follow a lot of blogs for various reasons. Many are author blogs, some are friends, some are country living or cooking blogs, some are just fun blogs I've stumbled across. But they are numerous.

I'm fairly patient and relatively tolerant about what people post. I'm well aware not everyone shares my opinions (even though I'm right *G*) and that they're absolutely free to talk about whatever they want on their blogs. Just as it's my right to follow and read or NOT follow. For the most part, if I typically enjoy a blog, a jaunt in a direction I don't particularly care for won't put me off permanently.

However...

Recently, I stopped following a blog of a person who I very much like, but who has -- in the past two weeks -- posted long-winded rants about a large religious organization who she believes is utterly corrupt, and a political rant that got ... extremely unkind and personal.

Here's the thing: I'm not a member of that religious organization, and feel much the same as she does about it, but her post was vicious and rabid. Ditto the political post. What really distressed me, though, is that she's a published author who is (I assume) trying to use her blog to promote her writing. And she's lost me and probably others from her list of followers because of her virulent rants.

Those of you who know me well know I have strong opinions on a variety of subjects. And I'm sure that some of it must leak through here now and then. BUT... this blog isn't for the discussion of religion or politics. I'm not in the least bit interested in starting debates about any of that (I'll reserve that for my IRL conversations). I find the lengthy, passionate discussion of such things off-putting ... even when I may agree with the heart of the post.

I stopped following one of my favorite authors of all time when she began getting extremely political on her blog. If I want to read a blog on politics, I'll read a political blog (and I DO have several blogs on politics in my Google Reader). I just don't expect a romance author's blog to cover politics day in and day out.

I miss her. But I haven't been back in over two years -- even though, odds are she's not still posting about politics every day (she might be, though -- who knows?). She put me off that much. Interestingly enough, I've also stopped buying her books, though it wasn't really an intentional decision (and only just occurred to me as I wrote this).

What about you? What will cause you to stop reading a blog? What do you like about blogs that you read, and what do you find off-putting?

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




You Are an English Garden



You are creative and vibrant. You are inspired by everything around you, and you don't have any one style.

You like a mix of old and new. And you always have something unique to add to the equation as well.

You are informal, open-minded, and flexible. You love to play around with art and design.

You tend to change things up a lot. Whether it's your own clothes or your home, you can't stay with one look for long!



Um... 50/50.

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

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Welcome Guest: Barbara Edwards!

Give a warm welcome to this week's victim guest, Barbara Edwards!

::::massive applause::::

Barbara, tell me five things I probably don’t know about you and that most folks wouldn’t guess.

My family would laugh themselves sick, but I’m a secret perfectionist. Everyone with children knows this is a helpless cause. My husband is a mess maker so I keep my fetish hidden. I fold my underwear in a certain way. My clothes are sorted by color, season, casual, business. I have everything in my office sorted in my personal filing system and keep the door closed to discourage company.

My goal is to visit the South Pole to see penguins and mating whales. I want to put my hand into the water and touch the ice. I have a file on cruise ships and their itineraries that I regularly update as I dream. I even have a list of necessary cold weather gear I’ll need to buy so I don’t freeze. This is from the person who hates being cold.

I love to travel and enjoy all the benefits of living in a camper for months at a time. But I need to go home every few months. There is something about my kitchen, my yard, my own bed that welcomes me. I need that. I need to sit in my office and write. Somehow I feel more productive at my desk.

I don’t admit I see ghosts. Well, not usually. I can count on my fingers the times I’ve actually experienced an event. Does seeing the same one several times count as once? Or do I need to add more fingers? Gettysburg is so haunted you’d have to be asleep not to see something there, but how about Resaca, Georgia? The Southern defenders from Sherman’s advance are still lighting their campfires on the mountain. I’m one of the few who saw them the night we camped there.

Once I explored an empty house and was so frozen by fear I couldn’t go through a door. Not many people know about that.

I want a cat although I recently became allergic to them. When I was growing up, my cat slept under the covers at my feet. I dressed it in a baby bonnet and I carried at around all the time. I miss having a cat, but my dog isn’t welcoming and my husband doesn’t like them. Sigh. I love to hold a cat and hear it purr.

2) Fill in the blank: If I had a million dollars, I would __________

If I had a million dollars, I would build a castle on a cliff over the sea. My office would be in a turret high above the surrounding land and I would have all the time I needed to write.

Write me a paragraph using the following three words: Stork, Afghan, Diary

I don’t have a record of my life. I write in my diary in a haphazard manner. It’s supposed to record daily events and I always forget or am too tired to a think of an entry. Tonight, I’m cuddled under an afghan on the couch. The on-going cold has made our trip South for the winter moot. The only think of to mention is the Great Blue heron I photographed this morning. The salt marsh was teaming with birds at dawn. I tried to catch a picture of a stork, but it flew away. I can look for it again tomorrow.

**

My name is Barbara Edwards and I’m a native New Englander. I’m a graduate of the University of Hartford with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. I write poetry for myself and novels when I need to tell a longer tale. I’m fascinated by the past so naturally turned to writing historical romance. The dark paranormal stories evolve from nightmares. The romance comes from my belief in people’s basic goodness and longing for love.

I lived in Florida for several years and am past president of the Central Florida Romance Writers and a member of Romance Writers of America.

When I returned to Connecticut, I founded the Charter Oak Romance Writers, a Chapter of Romance Writers of America, along with several close friends.

My husband is a retired Police Sergeant. We share an interest Civil War re-enacting and travel the Eastern states to participate in events. I love visiting museums, galleries and battle sites, gathering information for my stories.

I taught Romance Writing at Manchester Community college for three years.

I’m fond of gardening and growing antique roses with limited success.

Most of my exercise is when my Belgian Shepherd, Dixie, demands a walk.

Visit my website
www.barbaraedwards.net for excerpts of my books

Ancient Awakening, a paranormal romance is available on Kindle.

http://barbaraedwards.net/blog/blog.asp for Barb’Ed Comments

Author Barbara Edwards is a featured panelist at the RTBookReview Conference in Columbus, Ohio, April 28 – May 2, 2010

PSYCHIC AWAKENINGS Walk through the light of hope, healing and love. How does psychic awareness develop characters, add layers to your story and provide that wonderful happily ever after?

PANELISTS: Barbara Edwards, Elysa Hendricks, Jade Lee, Melissa Lopez, Susanne Saville, Elissa Wilds

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

I Fought the Woods...

Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it. ~Author Unknown

Was very busy outside yesterday -- we want to get the peach tree we bought on Saturday into the ground, but our "orchard" is still claimed by the wild woods of New Hampshire.

For those of you who don't live here, understand that New Hampshire's wild areas are amazing in their growth. Things grow here, fast and thick. We have an area just past our neighbor's house that the first builder who owned the property had cut a road into (without permission...) and when we moved in, you could actually see a couple miles over to another neighborhood. It's been just over ten years now, and the growth is so thick and the trees so tall you wouldn't know anyone had every cut a swath through there.

So tackling the woods isn't for the faint of heart.

What we started with:



I know, I know ... it doesn't look all that tough. It's what lurks beneath that gets you: blueberry bushes (I'm pretty sure their roots go to China), mountain laurel, grass, tree roots (including a stump from a small Sassafras tree that DD kept whittling at and sniffing -- it smells like a mix between root beer and mint -- YUM) and rocks (NH grows the BEST rocks).

We worked for nearly three hours (and surprisingly only harvested two big rocks!) and still didn't get it done. It *looks* done, but again it's what you don't see that matters... there are still a ton of blueberry bush roots in there -- and they'll grow and take over if we don't get them out. Even so, it was gratifying to see what we'd done -- a plot about 3' x 3':



We also found DD's little woods garden (underneath leaves and full of weeds, which we cleared out). She has the only lupine that we've been able to grow:



We had to stop because I twisted my knee badly enough I could barely walk (I don't have good knees to start with, and my right knee has been giving my trouble of late) while getting this rock out of the ground:



The knee is still achy this morning, but I'm still going to take our walk and then work some more in the woods today. So there.

We have some more flowers blooming as well. I can't begin to tell you what they are (anyone? anyone?) even though I planted the purple ones as bulbs last year and SHOULD remember. :::shrugs::: They're pretty, and they know what they are, so that's all that matters.




And behold my pink daffodil:



IRL that ruffle looks more melon orange than pink. I'm a little disappointed. Too bad we can't Photoshop life.

How was your Monday?

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




You Should Play the Trumpet



You are a natural leader. You have a very dominant and strong personality.

Working with others suits you. As long as you're in charge, that is!

You are aggressive and strong in your approach to most things.

You feel like no one is as competent as you are, and you rarely make mistakes.

The limelight is where you feel most comfortable - and you'll take risks to get some extra attention.

You definitely would bring your own flavor to any music you were a part of. Even if it means being a little loud and obnoxious.

Your dominant personality characteristic: you're a showoff

Your secondary personality characteristic: you like to be in charge of other people



Hmmm... about 80% right (although, as a side note, I played the flute).

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

Monday, April 05, 2010

Small Signs of Spring

Earth laughs in flowers. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Hamatreya"

Easter was nice yesterday. I ate too much and stood too much (at the in-laws ... I don't think I ever sat down). I was completely exhausted when I got home and just barely forced myself to stay awake until 8:30, at which time I collapsed into something resembling a coma.

I feel better this morning.

We've been having this amazing weather, which is apparently going to last a few more days, and everything is growing (which alternately thrills and dismays me -- I LOVE the green growing things, but am worried that our upcoming frosts will kill things that wouldn't normally be above ground yet).

I have a few blooms brightening up the yard, with the promise of many, many more to come.

The Creeping Phlox is just beginning to bloom:



The few clumps of grape hyacinth that the voles and chipmunks missed:



The crocus (almost gone by, but still lovely):



And the daffodils which are only just starting (I can't wait to see the pink ones I planted last fall -- they seem to be a little behind the others):



I'm already seeing bunches of plants I'll need to either find new homes for (anyone in S. NH need rhubarb, chamomile, bachelor buttons, echinacea, creeping phlox or dragons blood seedum?) and can't wait until I can really get out there and get my hands in the dirt.

Speaking of which, my broccoli and cabbage seeds are all up and quite big and I have one cucumber up so far, with the anticipation that the rest of them as well as the squash seed I planted will be following soon.

Yay!

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




You're Happy Cute



People find you cute because you truly shine from within. You are an optimistic and cheerful person.

You have a lot of positive energy, and you're rarely stuck in a rut. You are also very creative.



At times, you have so much energy that you can become a bit high strung or anxious. It's hard to channel all of your drive.

You sometimes take on too much and get overwhelmed, but even when your life is chaotic, you have a sense of humor about it.



About 75% right....

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