Friday, July 29, 2011

School Pictures and Stings

Take time to smell the roses and eventually you'll inhale a bee. ~Author Unknown

First off... to Tori, Brandy and Dru: I will do my best to remember to take a first day of school picture when the time comes. I can't promise I'll remember as I suspect there will be nerves and panic and general chaos on that day, but I'll try. And just thinking about it gave me butterflies in my tummy. I may be more nervous than my daughter.

In other news, Dakota was stung by a yellow jacket yesterday. Yanno, there aren't many bugs I just simply hate for their mere existence, but yellow jackets fall into that category. They're mean, attack for no reason and their sting hurts worse than any other bee-type sting (I'm just glad we don't have scorpions here, like Maria Zannini does).

I was so sad -- she was just walking up onto our deck to come inside, I saw something flying around her (she didn't even snap at it like she does to the deerflies) and hurried her in. Just as she stepped in, she whipped her head around and looked at her leg and I saw the &^%$ thing right there stinging her. I scraped it off with my foot and stomped. And stomped. And ground it into the throw rug and stomped again. His corpse is still on my deck where I shook out the rug. I'd kill him again if I could.

She was a trooper, but it was clear it hurt. She stood, her leg raised, for several minutes. Refused a treat (this is UNHEARD of) and then curled up by my feet. I called the vet to ask if there was anything I could do -- there isn't, not really. Benedryl if she has a reaction (she didn't). Poor puppy.

Otherwise things are all about the same. The school's new student handbook comes out on Monday and includes some changes to the dress code, so we'll be able to go clothes shopping next week. I'm making an appointment to get DD's hair professionally cut and styled, and I think I might treat her to a manicure the day before school starts (shhhhhhh... don't tell her). I want her to feel pretty and confident (two things she frequently doesn't feel) when she goes.

Wishing you all a pleasant weekend. I've heard rumblings of a possible tropical storm / hurricane that might blow in down south? One of my author friends lives in Texas and mentioned it. If that's true, y'all be safe, y'hear? *G*


You Are a Silver Cell Phone

You are quiet, thoughtful, and contemplative. You definitely don't like to show off.

You're the type of person who's more likely to surf the web on your phone than text or talk.

You probably also have a bit of a thing for gadgets. You're somewhat of a geek.'

You are addicted to being plugged in to the world around you. You need to have the internet at your fingertips!

That's mostly right.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

School and Chomping Chipmunks

Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration. ~Lou Erickson

RE: school shopping -- Dru asked if they gave us a list. They did! This school is in close email contact, which is nice. The list wasn't that extensive, and (aside from the two boxes of tissues that Brandy mentioned in comments) I didn't find anything to be too "out there".

DD sat down and organized everything. Very cute. It was like she was dying to touch it all. Paper is in the binders, pencils and pens in the case. Only a month until school starts. While she's in the eighth grade this year, it's really her first day of school... I'm nervous. And excited. And hopeful. I'm trying to be encouraging for her because I think she's going to like it once she starts. But it's going to be a big transition for us both.

DD has a chipmunk in her flower garden. A very voracious one. So far, it's pretty much decimated her liatris ... though this last time it dug down and started feasting on the tuber/root, I covered up the exposed tuber and dumped about a cup of chili powder on it. Seems to have stopped him eating THAT, but he's simply just moved on to other plants.

We're trying to trap him in a humane trap, but no luck yet. He has about ten holes throughout her garden, and I'm not sure which one he uses most, so placing the trap is tricky. Once he got in, stole the piece of apple and got back OUT without getting caught, the little bugger. I don't want to kill him -- I don't, but he's being as destructive as the Cunning Voles of Doom, and that's just not good.

So, we'll put the trap back out today, and keep our fingers crossed.


You Want to Talk to Someone Confident

You like a person who just tells it like it is. You appreciate boldness.

You are self-assured and self-reliant. You have a lot of confidence in yourself.

You are a self-starter and very entrepreneurial. You seize every opportunity you can.

You are inner-directed and highly independent. You know what's best for you.

HAHAHAHAHA! Okay, that's so close to perfect it's scary...


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Back To School Shopping

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~John Dewey

More crazy weather yesterday. Thankfully, up here we only had a little rain, but south of us got hammered with tornado-like weather again (including poor Springfield, MA -- and they're still trying to recover from the tornadoes last month).

My friend, Michele, lost three trees in her yard -- the top of a very large maple broke off and took down a nearby birch and pine.

Scary stuff. I can't get over this weather -- we aren't exactly in tornado alley, yanno?

In other news, I went school supply shopping yesterday. I'd already gotten some random things at Staples a couple weeks ago (they had a screamin' sale), but this time I landed at WalMart. Binders, paper, liquid paper, glue, folders, pens and pencils, erasers... oh my!!

When I was in school, the school provided most of that stuff. We brought folders (I had Pee Chee Folders ... remember those? They were uber cheap, like $0.03 / each) and binders and that was about it. School provided paper, pens, scissors, glue, etc.

I think what boggles my mind nowadays is that the school system actually gets more money, but the parents have to supply more stuff. When I was in school, I played the flute -- and the school provided the instrument. I was in sports, and the school provided the uniform and transported us to games.


We haven't done clothes shopping as the school is adjusting their dress code slightly. We'll get the new on on August 1st. And then the fun truly begins...

Today, we're going to go see "MegaMind" at the Regal Summer Film Festival. Um, whee?

Have a great day!


You Are Fired Up

You are bold, adventurous, and even brazen. You feel like the world is your oyster.

You value your time, and you treat it like it's precious. No one is allowed to waste it.

You function well with heavy work loads. You like being and staying productive.

You are direct and to the point. You rather not waste time with small talk.

About 75% right.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Milkweed Tussock Moth Pillar in Pictures

The poetry of the earth is never dead. ~John Keats

It rained for half the day yesterday, and I have to say I'm truly grateful. A few of you mentioned that you're having droughts. Of all the things that terrify me about weather patterns, that it top of the list. EVERYTHING requires water, and the lack of it is just horrible. I'll do a rain dance for you all.

It was actually cool enough here yesterday that I wore a fleece cover-up inside (I kept all the windows open -- love me some fresh air). It was in the 60s! It's supposed to be back into the 90s and humid again by the end of the week, but this respite has been wonderful.

In other news, I thought I'd share our Milkweed Tussock Moth Pillar stories, since we appear to have NO swallowtails or monarchs this year. We have an abundance of Tussock Moth pillars -- far more than we've ever had before. If I had to guess, I'd say we have in the neighborhood of 600 babies on our milkweed.

They're like locusts -- they "swarm" and completely destroy the plant. No nibbling on a leaf for them. Nope ... check it out (you can click the pix to make them bigger if you want):

Unlike any other pillar I've seen, these guys thrive in mass numbers until they're almost grown. It's amazing. They apparently weave some kind of webbed "holder" to keep them on the leaf as they consume it and then migrate to the next, starting over again. Here are pix of three of the largest bundles I found... easily a couple hundred in each of these.

I admit to being half tempted to bring some in and raise them, though certainly they don't look like their numbers are waning. However, their pupae overwinter, and that's just a pain.

Still, I'm glad something is eating the milkweed and that it's not going to waste. I'm still terribly sad about not having any monarchs. :-(


You Are a Good Friend

You are reliable and dependable. You can be counted on, through thick and thin.

You are full of common sense and every day wisdom. You are street smart.

You are conscientious and organized. No detail slips past you.

People often say you would make a great therapist. You are an excellent listener, and you never judge.

About 75% right.


Monday, July 25, 2011

A Crisp Monday Morning!

When the bee comes to your house, let her have beer; you may want to visit the bee's house some day. ~Congo Proverb

Happy Monday! Here, it's very happy -- because it's COOLED DOWN. Even yesterday was a little cooler than the four days prior, thankfully, but today they're even saying it might rain! HALLALUJAH! My garden is dying, my flowers are dying, my grass has burned spots. Yes, we water, but it's been so hot, you water and 20 minutes later everything is dust dry again. The heat and humidity were just brutal -- so much so that my DH actually discussed getting a small window A/C. That's the first time he's done so. And although we didn't actually GET a window A/C, his almost caving tells you how hot it really was.

But we survived.

It made it difficult to work, however. On Friday, my only "alone" day (a day when I usually get the most done), my computer kept getting so hot that it burned the heels of my hands if I tried to work very long (and, yes, I have a laptop cooler). I got almost nothing accomplished.

Saturday, my friend Michele came up (YAY!) and we hung out all day. We went to see the movie "Thor" at our nearby cheap movie theater that plays the older stuff. It was surprisingly good and fun. It doesn't hurt that the guy who plays Thor is just gorgeous (he has that twinkle in his eye, too, that I'm such a sucker for) and has one sweet Australian accent. Yum. I wasn't a huge fan of the ending, insofar as the "romance" went, but otherwise it gets a thumbs-up from me.

Yesterday, my DH was in a bit of a tear, so DD and I spent the morning cleaning (apparently the house was a mess ... who knew?) and then we did our couponing. It was a good haul. I got hair bands, ball point pens, tampons, toothpaste, and mouth rinse for free. I got a toothbrush for better than free (earned $.50). I got razor blade refills that were marked $21.00 (for SIX!!!) for $6.50, cereal for under $1 a box and shampoo/conditioner for $0.69 a bottle.

I have so much toothpaste now, I'm looking for a women's shelter to donate to. But I can't pass up "free", yanno? It's a disease...

After lunch, DH left to help a friend work on his truck. DD made some jewelry (she had a custom order request) and I worked. I FINALLY got the website pages built for LASR/WC and edited the reviews for next week. It was a close thing, lol...

Oh! For those of you not on Facebook, you have to check out this cool bug we found walking on the table yesterday:

He was SO COOL... all spiky butt and stripey legs. I was fascinated. I picked him up and put him outside near the milkweed -- assuming, based on his coloration that he had something to do with milkweed (most milkweed bugs are black and orange -- the monarch, the tussock moth pillar, etc).

After some discussion on Facebook, I'm pretty sure he's the nymph of the milkweed assassin bug (photo borrowed from the website I just linked to):

I posted the picture up on What's That Bug? to find out for sure.

So far, that's the coolest bug we've seen. Yeah, I like bugs...

Today, DD is going to hang out with her grandma for part of the day. They'll sew, maybe swim and just generally enjoy being together.

How was your weekend?


You Are a Classic Cone

You are a compassionate and selfless person. You truly care about people - whether they're strangers or friends.

You are always aware of and sensitive to other people's feelings. You are tender and compassionate.

You're not easily impressed with novelty. However, you do easily impress others.

You take responsibilities seriously. You follow through with everything you commit to.

About half right.


Friday, July 22, 2011

The Dog Dish with: Candis Terry!

Mom fell in love with the cover of this book before she even knew what it was about, and we agreed we HAD to have the dogs and their person on the blog.

CJ, Maddie and Hank are here to help their person, Avon author, Candis Terry, promote her release, "Last Chance at the Sugar Shack". I hear that there's a prize of a $25 GC to one lucky commenter, so tell them howdy and let us know you were here!

And to read back on her other stops, click on this banner (look at the puppy!):

I didn't get a picture of the dogs who are visiting this time, but they describe themselves pretty darn well. So, with further

So, your human writes books. Does this mean she is home all day and easy to access? Elaborate if necessary.

Woof! Thanks for the inbarktation to your blog! My name is CJ and I’m the top dog around the Simple Dreams Farm on which we all co-inhabit. Me and my main pain-in-the-tail, Maddie, are both German Shepherds and then there’s Hank, a really dorky German Shorthair.

Candis, our Scooby-Snack Mom, as we like to call her, writes romance novels. Oddly enough she even has a puppy on the cover of her first book Second Chance at the Sugar Shack. A golden retriever puppy. Yeck. Unfortunately for us four-leggers she isn’t home during the day. She says she works as a graphic designer too. We think she’s just trying to avoid handing out more treats. Doesn’t make us happy, but we are down with make up snacks.

What are your techniques for distracting your human during crucial writing moments, just because it's fun? Whose primary job is it? What do the rest of you do to support the one doing the main distracting?

We are proud to say we have distracting Scooby-Snack Mom down to a science. Our doggy senses are on high alert when we notice her face starting to scrunch up and she starts to lean closer and closer to the computer monitor. When the big sigh pushes from her lungs we know it’s time to distract. Maddie is a pro nose-pusher. You have no idea what interesting words the Scooby-Snack Mom will type when eighty pounds of annoying pooch pokes, prods, and pushes the human hand with her big wet nose. I do my part by whacking Scooby-Snack Mom’s leg with the full force of my tail. Inserting, of course, the perfectly timed whine. When we see Scooby-Snack Mom’s eyes roll we know its treat time! But then she locks us out of the room. Grrrr.

What indignities and neglect have you suffered because of your human's writing career?

Ummmm, hello? Dog brush. Have you seen how much I’m shedding lately? By the way, I’m a plush German Shepherd, which means I have beeeautiful long hair that humans always compliment me on. What, Maddie? Oh, shut up. You are not as beautiful as me. You are a regular dog. And short hair is soooo dull. Right, Hank. You have no hair. Nice spots though.

Tell me about the animals in your human's fiction. How often do they appear and how big a part do they play?

You mean the pretend dog? The one who doesn’t really add to the dog breath center of our universe? Right. Well, I’m told that Kate Silver, the heroine in Second Chance at the Sugar Shack, finds this oh-so-adorable puppy and takes him home to try to find his parents. Can you imagine that? Kate doesn’t believe in owning an animal, she actually thinks they’re a part of the family. What, Hank? Oh, hmmm, right. We are a part of Scooby-Snack Mom’s family. We even get Christmas stockings and Thanksgiving dinner. Anyway, word on the street is this puppy is a huge, cuddly part of the book. Kate thinks there’s no way she can keep a dog but the puppy has other plans. Smart pooch. Kate is a Scooby-Snack Mom too.

On the off-chance your human has yet to incorporate animals into a story, what are your plans for making sure she rectifies this egregious error and demonstration of poor writing skills?

No worries. There are three books in the Sugar Shack Novels series. Each book has its own special pet. And since Scooby-Snack Mom is a big animal lover, the pets have more than a guest-starring role. You like cats? Oscar, the grouchy puss, is in book two.

What movies involving animals does your human enjoy sharing with you? Books with animals?

Well, we certainly aren’t into any of the Benji movies. Woof. No way. However, we did love Chicken Run. I dig (and I get in trouble for it too) Dr. Doolittle. What, Maddie? Animals most certainly can talk! Hank liked March of the Penguins but he walked kinda funny for a while after that one. And the tiger in The Hangover was pretty purry.

Books? Oh, you mean other than to chew on the corners of the cover? Hmm, Scooby-Snack Mom did recently bring home a picture book called If Dogs Could Talk (which, of course they can). Silly dog photos. Great one-liners.

If you could make one change to your human, what would it be?

More Scooby snacks! Seriously, I think we all would like to have her home more. Sometimes our distraction techniques need a jowl-lift.

Are you happy with your human? If you could tell your human one thing, what would it be?

Happy with her? Hello? She’s the Scooby-Snack Mom.

If we could tell her one thing it would have to be, “Dogs Rule and Cats Drool. Now can we sleep on your bed?”

What things does your human do that would mortify her it if known? What does your human do that most annoys?

Haven’t you ever heard never bite the hand that feeds you? She gives us double scoops of kibble. She rocks! Okay, okay. Maddie has a secret . . . “ Scooby-Snack Mom talks baby talk to the animals. And she gives nose kisses even when she has coffee breath. Ewwww. What do humans eat?”

CJ here again. One thing Scooby-Snack Mom does that drives me doggy is she uses me as a footstool. No kidding. What do I look like, a fur ottoman? Woof.

Has your human named a character for you? Are you pleased? If not, why?

No, she has not named a character for us. That would be totally undignified. Hank! Stop licking your–

And did your human name you for a fictional character? Hate it or love it? If you could rename yourself, what would your name be?

We here down on the farm are all originals. Maddie and I are perfectly happy with our names. CJ, by the way, is the initials for Candi’s Job. Ha! Hank says he is very happy with his name. His previous humans had given him a name that rhymes with Hank but describes a part of the male anatomy. Really.

Well, it’s been a grass-ripping time, but we have to get back to patrolling the farm. Can’t have any wayward poultry escaping the place. Did someone say chicken dinner? Oh, and the Scooby-Snack Mom says she’d love to hear about your animal adventures. Contact her at Woof!

This is the first in a series of coming home stories. In SECOND CHANCE, the heroine, a Hollywood stylist’s estranged mother passes away and she returns home for the first time in 10 years. The high school sweetheart she left behind is now the deputy sheriff and doesn’t quite know if he’s forgiven her for leaving. As she settles back into small town life, the two try to fight their feelings for each other, but the attraction is explosive and they can’t resist its pull for long.

Thanks for visiting!


Friday Frying

Summer has set in with its usual severity. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A quick post to chat before I put up the next one -- it's another "dog dish" post, and I don't normally do two a week -- but LOOK at that cover! How could I resist?

It's sweltering here. In the high 90s with about 800% humidity (which is what makes it so bad) and we have no A/C in our house. Even with my fan, my laptop gets so hot I almost can't touch it. My glasses won't stay up .... just slide on down on the sweat that drips from my skin. By 9:00 it's not safe to be outside doing much of anything. I walked the dog yesterday at 7 a.m., and by the time I was home I was dripping.

We have two more days of this coming (today and Saturday). While I'm reasonably certain I'll survive it, it's really very uncomfortable.

And, although we still have no monarchs, we're making up for it in Milkweed Tussock Moths. Check it out:

They stay in a group like that until they're quite big, completely decimating the leaf they're on and moving to the next. It's really pretty incredible.

Wishing everyone a cool, pleasant and fun weekend! Anyone have plans? I do! My friend, Michele, is coming up for a visit. I can't wait.


You Should Play Classical Guitar

You have an idea of how the world should be. You have a very clear vision for your life.

People respect you for holding on to your ideals. You don't stray from what you believe in.

You're the type of person who still believes in changing the world. You passionately believe that things should be better.

You have strong emotions. You listen to your heart... it has rarely led you astray.

That's about 80% right!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Dog Dish welcomes Gordon Kessler!

Gordon's dog is here helping his person promote the sci-fi thriller "Brainstorm" (and Mom bought a copy for herself already -- because it's only $0.99 for the duration of his tour! How cool is that?) because the more people read Gordon's books, the more dog kibble Jaz gets. You can get it for $0.99 on Kindle here, and in pretty much every format known to man (and dog!) at Smashwords, here.

And even better? Jaz's person is going to draw one name from all the comments on his tour and give them their choice of a basic Kindle, Kobo, Sony Reader or Nook -- so you'll have something to read his books on! For more chances to win, you can visit his other stops on the Goddess Fish Promotions tour.

Now, I'm going to turn the blog over to Jaz.

So, Jaz, your human writes books. Does this mean she is home all day and easy to access? Elaborate if necessary. human is a he.

Ooh.. sorry. We don't get many men on the blog. It's a nice change!

I'd pity the female that looked like him. And no, he's not home all day. He claims he "works". But I don't believe him. Sometimes he comes home smelling of other dogs, with blonde fur on his pant legs—I'm a golden retriever. I think he might be having an affair.

Then, when he does come home, he wants to write. Oh, he'll let me take him out for a "walk" once in a while, but they're seldom long enough. And he never lets go of the leash so I can chase rabbits or squirrels. He is s-o-o insecure, that way. Thank the Good Lord and dog biscuits we go to the leash-free "bark" on Saturday mornings. That's what he calls the dog park—thinks he's clever.

What are your techniques for distracting your human during crucial writing moments, just because it's fun? Whose primary job is it? What do the rest of you do to support the one doing the main distracting?

Well, it's just me, but I do a pretty good job. Sometimes I just sit and stare at him; you know, look up with head bowed—that sad bloodhound look. I suppose my favorite technique is to drop one of my toys in his lap to try to get him to play with it. When he pushes it to the floor, I just go get a different one and try the same thing. I have a whole basketful of toys—it can go on a-l-l night.

What indignities and neglect have you suffered because of your human's writing career?

I get shut out—no, he won't kennel me. He'll kennel himself. He puts furniture between me and his writing desk. That doesn't work if he wants to relax in his recliner to write, though. Sometimes he has the audacity, during a tender moment when I'm lying across his lap, to set his tablet PC on top of me and work on email or his novels!

Tell me about the animals in your human's fiction. How often do they appear and how big a part do they play?

He's pretty good about that, I think. He's got an animal that plays an important role in all of his novels.

In Jezebel, he had all kinds of dogs—dozens. Even the lead character is a dog—a beautiful, female Great Dane. But then he killed off some of the "bad" dogs in the story, and he really paid for that—complaining emails out the tail. He finally had to put a disclaimer in one of his eBook versions of the novel that said something like: "No dogs or other animals were actually hurt in the writing or publishing of this Novel."

In Dead Reckoning, the main character—a female NCIS agent named "Spurs"—has a horse named Rocket.

In Brainstorm, a German Shepherd named Sarge is enlisted to help save his master.

On the off-chance your human has yet to incorporate animals into a story, what are your plans for making sure he rectifies this egregious error and demonstration of poor writing skills?

Let's hope that never happens. But I could always tinkle on his manuscript. I can get down and dirty when I have to.

What movies involving animals does your human enjoy sharing with you? Books with animals?

Dances With Wolves, Old Yeller, Marley and Me (I cried so hard he had to give me three dog biscuits to get me to quit).

His favorite book from his childhood is One Man and His Dog. Loved it!

If you could make one change to your human, what would it be?

Make him quit writing and pay more attention to me. Writing is way too sedentary—he needs to get out and walk, run and play much more—chase a ball or catch a Frisbee once in a while. Sometimes I wonder if he even knows how.

Are you happy with your human? If you could tell your human one thing, what would it be?

I know he loves me. I'm just a pup and I need more exercise. I'm happy with the love—not with the inactivity.

What things does your human do that would mortify him if it were known? What does your human do that most annoys?

He walks around naked in front of me—disgusting. Also, he sings old Marine cadence songs—some of them quite nasty...nothing for a lady to hear. And he always sings when we're alone in the car—makes me want to just howl!

Has your human named a character for you? Are you pleased? If not, why?

Well...kind of. In his first thriller novel, the main character is a dog named Jezebel (he'll say it's Tony Parker, but don't believe it). Jezebel's master calls her Jazbo—my name is Jaz (short for Jazmine). It's a stretch, but I suppose I'm kinda named after Jezebel. And let me tell you, I don't mind it—that Jezebel is one mean b***h when she has to be. But, in the end, you'll fall in love with her—just like you would with me.

And did your human name you for a fictional character? Hate it or love it? If you could rename yourself, what would your name be?

As above, love it. If I could rename myself (sniff, sniff...scratch, scratch...yawn) I suppose it would be Sophia. That's one of those elegant names—like I am.

Thanks for interviewing me. It's nice to get the master's side of the story over the human's once in a while. Well, it's time to take him for a walk—I hope he doesn't forget the poop bags!

Thanks for visiting!

And now, I'm supposed to share some stuff about his book -- and I might only be a dog, but I think his book sounds pretty exciting! Remember to comment and be in the running for your choice of eReader (listed above).

In Brainstorm, Gold Rush seems to be just another sleepy little Colorado community full of friendly, caring citizens, quaint cottages, and a sort of quiet peace, held gently by the picturesque mountains that surround it. However, something isn't right in Gold Rush, and early on a Monday morning Robert Weller awakens with a cautioning and insuppressible voice inside his head. He soon finds a secret behind every door, a motive with every glance, and a lie beneath every spoken word.

After meeting a strange but beautiful woman named Sunny who insists they were once lovers, people begin dropping dead around him and his world twists upside down as paramilitary teams hunt him, and his own wife and friends turn against him. Weller is thrown into the middle of a military mission to rescue thousands of the town's citizens from a plot to destroy the Free World.

Time is running out: Weller, Sunny and thousands of innocent citizens are facing nuclear devastation. Major “Jax” Jackson and a U.S. Air Force Para Rescue team are their only hope—but how can Jax and his PJs save them all, armed only with nonlethal weapons?

Kudos for Brainstorm:

“ exciting and fast-paced as a thrill ride on a dive bomber, a maelstrom of action, violence, murder and mayhem, way too much fun to put down...based on an actual black CIA program known as ‘Project Stargate. Kessler...really knows his stuff. An outstanding novel.”— Douglas Preston, bestselling author of The Codex, Relic and Book of the Dead and many more.

"...a wild ride into the reality of human consciousness...a kickass adventure story that will have you thrumming through the pages well into the night...handled with stunning effect."— James Rollins, bestselling author of Black Order, Sandstorm and Map of Bones as well as many others.

And a little about Gordon:

Author bio: Gordon A Kessler is a former US Marine parachutist, recon scout, and Super Squad team leader, with a bachelor's degree in creative writing. He is a Master Instructor for Johnson County Community College, National Academy of Railroad Sciences, and the BNSF Railway. He has taught novel writing for Butler County Community College, English Composition for Hutchinson Junior College and has previously indie-published the thriller novels Jezebel and Dead Reckoning, and a book about the novel-writing craft, Novel Writing Made Simple.

He is a founder and former president of the Kansas Writers Association and tries to stay connected to writers and the writing industry by doing speaking engagements at writers conferences and for writers organizations, and has does his own "The Storyteller" seminar in Wichita, Lincoln (Nebraska), Kansas City, and other Midwestern cities based on his Novel Writing Made Simple book. His websites, and www.IndieWritersAlliance are landing pages for writers to help them in their writing endeavors.

He also has a Facebook page -- make sure you head on over and join him!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This and That

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

Yesterday I had one of my most productive days, work-wise, in a long time. Not sure what the difference was, but I *felt* organized and efficient, and it apparently reflected on what I was doing. I'm still behind, but not as badly. Mostly my "behind-ness" is related to creating book videos, which takes an absurd amount of time. But that's okay, I'm getting there!

DD is learning to sew at Grandma's house. She's helped make some Barbie clothes, and she's very excited. Maybe the sewing gene skipped a generation? I hope so, because one of us should like and know how to sew. I can do the bare minimum, but it's just never been anything that excited me. I might should look into getting better at it (and getting a sewing machine) because it would certainly be a money-saver, and I'm all over that, even if all I make are hair scrunchies and pillow cases.

A couple weeks ago, I picked up two huge bottles of multipurpose contact lens cleaner for free (after coupon and rebate). I really love couponing ... and mostly I try to get stuff I'd use, but I couldn't pass this up. My DH is the only one here who wears contacts, and he uses gas permeable (aka "hard") lenses, so doesn't use the solution. I asked around, couldn't find anyone to take it. I didn't want to toss it -- that defeats the purpose. But, wow, was it hard to find someone who wears contact lenses that I knew. Yesterday, it finally found a home with my neighbor's SIL.

Now I have about 15 bottles of aspirin I got for free that need a home...

Today, I'm hoping to get out and weed a little before it gets too hot, but I have to take DD to the bead store -- she got a custom order request for some earring, and we don't have the right beads.

Wishing you all a wonderful, refreshing summer day. I'm getting to your blogs, a few at a time ... and I swear, when I'm caught up I'm going to STAY caught up!


You Are a Nose Smiley

You are a very detailed oriented person. You feel happiest when all your ducks are in a row.

You are conventional and orthodox. You are the most normal person you know.

You like to work hard, but you also value your downtime. You seek balance in your life.

You are smart to the point of being a genius. You are very learned.

That's me ... smart to the point of being a genius... :::pats self on back:::... LOL!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday Talk

If you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive. ~American Quaker Saying

It rained yesterday. Rained a lot, thankfully (but not for long -- just dumped a few bucketsful and headed out). A little thunder, but nothing too bad. It was overcast most of the day, which is a drag, but did we ever need the rain! If I were in charge, I'd have it rain EVERY night between 3 a.m. - 4 a.m., a good, solid, soaking rain. Then clear and pleasant.

Of course humans are notoriously bad about being grateful (we're happiest, I think, when we have something to complain about), so maybe a day of bad weather now and then would be in order to make folks happy about the sun.


Yesterday, Tori asked: Is it nice having your mom back?

Of course! It's been interesting, though, because it both feels as though she never left AND that incredible amounts of things have changed since she left. It's been a rough few weeks getting her all settled in, but I think it's finally happening.

Maria Zannini commented on the Milkweed Tussock Moths: It almost looks like you can use those caterpillars as scrub brushes.

I think they are one of the coolest pillars I've ever seen. I liked the Luna moth pillar we found, too, but mostly because it was SO HUGE. But the tussock moths almost look like something you could keep as a family pet.

As an aside, this is a Luna moth pillar:

And this is a Luna moth:

And they are one of the pillars I discovered that I could raise indoors if I wanted to -- I can even buy babies. It's very tempting, as they are no longer as numerous (and are even considered endangered in some areas).

And Brandy said: Sorry to ask so many questions.

You don't! If I sounded frustrated yesterday, it's because I am frustrated over the lack of pillars. I get very angry sometimes about big agriculture's lack of consideration about the health of our country: people and critters. It's one of my "hot buttons". Pesticides, herbicides, GMOs (like corn that makes its OWN pesticide so bugs that eat it die... what happens when WE eat it?) ... big ag and I are not on good terms. And I really think they are largely to blame for our current honeybee crisis and the declining numbers of so many good bugs.

Okay, end rant again, lol. Told you it was a hot button. On to other stuff...

It's only a month before DD starts school. This whole "back to school" thing is new to me. I have to check her wardrobe and make sure she has enough of the right clothes to wear. I need to get a list of school supplies to buy (on a side note, I went to Staples last week and scored HUGE on their sale: cap erasers for $0.01, ball point pens for $0.01, two reams of paper for my printer for $0.25/each and more).

She's nervous. Excited, too, but fear of the unknown is worse. I think she's going ot enjoy it. She's going to do one sport (I think team sports are awesome for kids). Depending on what they have, she'll do soccer or volleyball (her choice -- *I* think she should do basketball ... that was my sport, and she's so tall she'd be perfect). They have art, drama, and more. I'm excited, too.

For now, though, it's time to wake the house and start my day for real. Have a great Tuesday!


You Are Plucky and Brave

You enjoy variety and new challenges. You're always looking to shake things up a bit.

You are deeply emotional. You are a very soulful person, and at times you're downright fiery.

When you want to get your way, you're assertive and gusty. You are a good actor, even when you're not feeling brave.

You are easily excited and inspired. You are engaged with the world in many different ways.

About 50/50...


Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Meandering

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. ~Rabindranath Tagore

It's Monday, yay! It wasn't a bad weekend, not at all, but busy. I'm still behind, still scrambling to catch up. I really do think it's possible to do that, once I have a few days with no interruptions. My Saturday was mostly like that (after I got home from the dog park and helping my mom move some furniture) and it helped. DH and DD were boating so I had no drama, no interruptions. I was so relaxed and settled by the end of the day. I felt very zen.

It helped that I did some weeding. Really. I love to weed. It's one of those quiet, introspective times for me but still productive (I really like to be productive) and a time where, when I'm done, I can step back and see results. It's satisfying for me on so many levels.

Of course, nothing is ever perfect. I was chopping down some of my mini-iris greens that I have ringing my veggie garden, because they're blocking the sprinklers and nearly chopped off my thumb with the snippers. Oops. Oddly, it didn't really hurt (though it's tender now), so I finished the job with blood running down my hand, lol.

Still no monarch pillars or swallowtails (though I'm grateful about the swallowtails now as any caterpillars would be the kind to overwinter as pupae and I really don't feel like keeping them in my basement again). We DO have a ton of tussock moth pillars. They're so cute and fuzzy and I want to hug them (I don't ... really... I'm a little odd, but not totally crazy). Aren't they adorable?

They usually come in big batches until they get MUCH bigger and it's easy to find them because they totally decimate the leaves they're on.

Brandy asked why I thought we were not getting any pillars this year, and I'll be honest and say that I have no idea. Our winter wasn't the harshest we've had, the spring wasn't the hottest or wettest. Best guess? Butterfly numbers are down. I'm not a crazy uber-environmentalist, but even I can see that when we overuse pesticides, destroy habitat, etc., there will be negative results. The swallowtail typically eats people food plants (carrots, fennel, parsley, etc) so we kill them. The monarch eats a plant considered to be a "noxious weed". In Mexico, where they overwinter, their habitat is being destroyed, hundreds of acres at a time.

In truth, there may come a time we don't see the monarch or black swallowtail anymore. And that makes me sad. But the fact is: I've seen dozens and dozens of tiger swallowtails -- they're everywhere -- and the only difference between those and the black swallowtail is food. The tiger swallowtail eats tree leaves. So, I can't blame the dearth of the black swallowtail on the weather. They overwinter the same.


Tirade ended.

Today, my mom is taking my DD for most of the day. And I'm going to spend a least a little of that getting the new ending to my "Kitchen Matches" sequel written. I have the entire scene in my head, playing out like a movie, and I desperately need to get it down.

I also am planning on trying to visit you. At least as many of you as I can.

I miss you.

In any case, I hope you had a good weekend!


You Read to Escape

You appreciate creativity and imagination in all aspects of life. You love a good fantasy.

You can be passionate to the point of being possessive. It's hard to quell your flames.

You see beauty everywhere, and you like to share your inner world with others.

You love to get lost in someone else's head. You are truly curious about other people's dreams.

All that from a bookmark ... and pretty close to correct.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Life In the Nuthouse

If you have a job without any aggravations, you don't have a job. ~Malcolm S. Forbes

Life is crazy. Right?

I don't even know where to start, though I am hoping that my life will be a little less nuts soon. Right now, I'm still playing 'catch up' on all my work due to my internet outage (FOUR days without!) and the craziness of getting my mom out here and settled.

I've visited a total of ONE blog in the past week or so (waves at Brandy) and my Google Reader totals are downright scary. I'm not sure if I'm going to try to visit them all, or just empty it and start from scratch.

My gardens are full of weeds (and cucumbers ... I'm going to have a bumper crop of cucumbers, though my tomatoes are doing poorly), my house is a disaster area and I'm alternately tearing my hair out or bursting into tears.

However, I think things are slowly getting better.

We're disappointed that we have had NO black swallowtail caterpillars this year -- first time EVER. And we have yet to find any Monarch eggs (we went searching again yesterday at the library with no results). DD is so sad.

Oddly, I expected life to settle a bit once school was out, but clearly that was an erroneous assumption (which always makes me think of the line in "The Long Kiss Goodnight" when Samuel L. Jackson's character says, "You know what happens when you make an assumption -- you make an ass out of you and umption." which cracks me up every time).

With any luck, I'll get mostly caught up on stuff this weekend (assuming my internet actually stays up) and on Monday will be myself again.

For now... that is all from my neck of the woods. Gotta get to work! But when I don't post, I am berated by various people, so ... I'm posting! I'm posting!



You Are Social

You are very group oriented. You believe other people make things more fun.

You are altruistic and unselfish. If you were rich, you would be a full time philanthropist.

You are assertive when it comes to getting your way. You put your own needs first.

You tend to be a leader, both at work and at play. People gladly follow you.

About 50/50...


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

R.I.P. Quackie

All our knowledge merely helps us to die a more painful death than animals that know nothing. ~Maurice Maeterlinck

Sad news ...

Three days ago, I drove past the duck pond, and saw a pile of loose, white feathers. I *hoped* that didn't mean what I thought it meant and tried to count ducks, but none were there (the past few weeks, there have been three white ducks and about five male Mallards).

The next day, I drove past. Counted. Two white ducks.

Now, Quackie was odd duck out in the white duck flock. The two that came are clearly mated, and they'd hang out, while Quackie stayed a few feet away at all times. The two ducks I saw were stuck like glue.

Sometimes Quackie hides in the water plants though. So I hoped.

The next day I drove past. Counted. Two white ducks and a handful of Mallards.

Sadly, I believe I must report that Quackie was nabbed by a predator of some sort. Breaks my heart -- he made it two years all alone at the pond, and now that he finally had a flock of sorts ... gone.

At least he had friends around him for several weeks before he was taken. He had some happiness before he died. I hope his death was quick and painless and that he's with his mate (who was taken two years ago) in duck heaven.

Nature is a cruel mistress. Beautiful, but merciless.

R.I.P. Quackie. I'll miss you.


You Are a Lion

You're very self-reliant and apt to do your own thing. You know what you want out of life.

You are a total visionary. You have your own idea about utopia, as impractical as it may be.

You have sharp senses and a heightened awareness. Very little escapes your notice.

Decision making is easy for you. You have a spot on intuition that's been with you your whole life.

That's about right....


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Dog Dish with Terri Reed!

Hi all ... Dakota here again! Would you believe Mom lost internet again yesterday and is so far behind she can't think straight? She asked me to stand in for her (she offered dog cookies ... how could I say no?), so I'm here today interviewing one of the dogs who own Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense author Terri Reed.

She's touring the virtual world to talk about her new release called "The Innocent Witness" (kind of like me when I see the cat shred the toilet paper and then I get blamed). I hear she's giving away a $25 Visa gift card to one lucky person who comments -- just THINK of all the treats you could buy with that!

So, without further ado, let's chat with Blueberry Reed. And I know how much *I* like being petted, make sure you leave a comment for Blueberry -- it's like a virtual pat. :-)

So, your human writes books. Does this mean she is home all day and easy to access? Elaborate if necessary.

My mom’s home most of the day. I like to sit next to her chair, but sometimes she plays her music too loud so I move to the top of the stairs where I can watch out the window to see who comes and goes from the neighborhood. I take my job of protecting my mom very seriously.

What are your techniques for distracting your human during crucial writing moments, just because it's fun? Whose primary job is it? What do the rest of you do to support the one doing the main distracting?

Well, I’m the well-behaved one while my little brother, who’s about as tall as my knee, is the instigator when it comes to distracting mom. He likes to go into her office and sniff around until he can find something to snatch. Then he stands by my mom’s chair until she notices, then he takes off downstairs and of course I have to chase him because I’m an Australian Shepherd and herding is in my blood. Then mom chases both of us which is so much fun.

What indignities and neglect have you suffered because of your human's writing career?

Mom used to take me to the park across from our old house every morning, but we had to move so she could have a private office. Now that she is writing so much, we only play a little in our front yard. Though fun, there was more room to run at the park.

Tell me about the animals in your human's fiction. How often do they appear and how big a part do they play?

She’s had a dog in one of her stories. A golden retriever pup. I don’t know why she didn’t have an Aussie. We’re cuter than those retrievers. The dog even made the cover of the book. I’d have a been a good cover model.

On the off-chance your human has yet to incorporate animals into a story, what are your plans for making sure she rectifies this egregious error and demonstration of poor writing skills?

Well, I’m hoping she’ll get the hint and let me appear in a book. My plan is to smile lots and be right there while she’s working so when she’s writing she’ll think, hmmm, I need a dog in here. And there I’ll be.

What movies involving animals does your human enjoy sharing with you? Books with animals?

We watched that movie with the little dogs, Chihuahua in Beverly Hills. I keep wondering when they’re going to make a movie starring Aussies. I look real good on camera. I can even smile.

If you could make one change to your human, what would it be?

Are you happy with your human? If you could tell your human one thing, what would it be?

I am happy with my human. My mom knows exactly the right places to scratch and when I need water or to be fed. She takes real good care of me and my little brother. I would tell her how very glad I am she picked me.

What things does your human do that would mortify her it if known?

Hmmm. She talks to herself. And she acts out some of her action scenes, which is quite funny to watch.

What does your human do that most annoys?

Sometimes she sings at the top of her lungs. And she can’t carry a tune. Ouch, my poor ears.

Has your human named a character for you? Are you pleased? If not, why?

No, she hasn’t named anyone Blueberry.

And did your human name you for a fictional character?

No, I’m named after a fruit!

Hate it or love it?

Well, it kind of suits me because my coat is called a Blue Merle. So I guess I’m okay with it.

If you could rename yourself, what would your name be?

I’d name myself The Queen.

Faith sustained Vivian Grant through her horrible childhood and loveless marriage, but how much more can she take? Her husband has been killed. Her autistic son is the only witness. And someone is twisting the evidence to place the blame on her. Viv has no one to trust—and danger is closing in.

A failed protection detail cost former Secret Service agent Anthony Carlucci his job—and his self-confidence. He's not going to fail anyone under his care again. Anthony will risk anything to keep Viv and her son safe…including his heart.

Visit Terri Reed at:


Monday, July 11, 2011

Guest Blogging

Still treading water folks... but there's a distant light at the end of the very long tunnel.

In the meantime, I posted at "All Day, All Night" this morning. Why not stop by and say hi?


Saturday, July 09, 2011

Saturday Snippet ...

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths. ~Etty Hillesum

I know I don't usually post on Saturday, but I am today ... because, HA, I forgot it was Saturday until just now. :-)

My friend and LASR/WC/Goddess Fish biz partner, Judy, sent me this card yesterday.

She knows me well, and it gave me a much needed laugh after yet another long, stressful day. BUT -- we should be done with those!

I hope.

Seriously, Murphy needs to be shot. Between not having internet AGAIN and then U-Haul not following through on their promises, it was nuts. After the debacle on Thursday with U-Haul not even dropping off Mom's stuff, they promised to have her bin to her by noon (and hopefully earlier).

Noon came and went, and we called. The driver was on the road, but still in Maine. The stuff didn't even get to her place until after 3:00 and then we had to wait for a trailer to show up for her to put it on.

We didn't start unloading until 4:00 or so.


Anyway, she's unloaded, has her stuff (though it's still boxed), and it's all good. Her apartment complex is really nice (yesterday, we saw a maintenance guy zip by on a golf cart to do something. He ran in, then out and zipped off ... then skidded to a halt and brought out those pincher-thingies, picked up a teeny bit of garbage with them and zipped off again -- no wonder the place is so clean! They even provide doggie poop bags outside every side exit.)

I'm so far behind on my LASR/WC/Goddess Fish work I may never catch up, but I'm going to give it the college try today -- DH and DD are boating and I should be able to work all day with NO interruption. At least that's MY plan. Murphy may have another one.

I haven't even been able to think about blog-hopping this week folks. I'm sorry. But I'm hoping life will be back to what passes for normal her starting Monday.

Have a great weekend!


Your Mind is Attentive

You are always paying close attention to what's going on around you. You are focused but also a multitasker.

You are a doer, not a dreamer. You like to put all your ideas into action.

You are very productive. You are good at knowing what needs to get done first and then doing it.

You are proactive, and you try not to let anything slide. You avoid lazy thinking habits.

That's about right!


Friday, July 08, 2011

Murphy Needs the Boot

It is an experience common to all men to find that, on any special occasion, such as the production of a magical effect for the first time in public, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Whether we must attribute this to the malignity of matter or to the total depravity of inanimate things, whether the exciting cause is hurry, worry, or what not, the fact remains. - British stage magician Nevil Maskelyne

In the "anything that can go wrong" corner....

When Mom tried to move into her apartment yesterday, they told her the date was wrong. It wasn't 7/7 as her move in date, but 7/8. Never mind that she had all her deliveries scheduled for 7/7, and I was there with a full UHaul that needed returning by 3 pm.

Speaking of UHaul -- their $19.95 deal for the small truck? Not so great a deal. It's $19.95 for a "day" (and it's not even a full day), plus $0.79/mile + you have to fill it up with gas or get a $30 fueling charge PLUS pay $4.49 / gallon. After all was said and done, one trip with a half full truck going very few miles (24 miles) ended up costing me almost $60.

THEN, when the apt complex finally agreed to let her move in (and offered us an empty garage to put stuff until the apt was ready -- it needed to be cleaned), we realized the UHaul "pod" that she'd filled and had shipped with ALL her other stuff hadn't shown. She called (Three times to finally get a human) and they started with, "We don't have that pod here." When she insisted, they said, "Oh, well, we have it but don't show you called to scheduled delivery." When she mentioned that the final charge was ALREADY on her credit card, they finally said, "It was a mistake on our end." and will deliver it today.

The problem with that, is today was supposed to be MY day to spend alone and working like a dog to get caught up on all the stuff I'm so far behind on. DH and DD will be out boating and I would have no interruptions.

Now, I'll have to go help Mom unload her pod.

Of course, as it turns out that may not be such a big deal because, when I got up this morning, my internet was down. I called tech support and they confirmed an outage in our town, with NO ETA on when it will be fixed. No worries, I can hook up my mobile hotspot on my phone right?

When I went to hook it up, it popped up with a "To use this service, you must subscribe for $30 / month." WTH? No one ever mentioned this to me. EVER. And I specifically told the guy at the phone store that one of the biggest reasons I was getting the phone was for THIS reason. He failed to mention that it was a promotional offer...

I called Verizon and talked to "Joe" who apologized profusely, but basically said there was nothing he could do. It was what it was and that's all there is to it.

So... I sat here for a good 30 minutes deciding whether or not I wanted to subscribe. I finally did (hence the ability to post this blog), but I'm still steaming.

So not only is my full "alone" catch-up day not a full day because of UHaul's screw up, but I don't have reliable, high-speed internet to work on all the stuff I need to. The mobile hotspot it nice, but it's a lot slower than my usual home internet and it's incredibly frustrating.

Folks, I'm telling you right now -- Murphy has moved in and is a very unwelcome guest.


Your Tropical Fruit Flavor is Mango

Your heart is carefree, wild, and irresponsible. You let your heart lead you, even when it leads you astray.

You love freedom above all else. You think everyone could do with some liberation.

If someone plays hard to get with you, it makes you all the more interested. You love a challenge.

You love to talk for hours - whether it's sharing a story or teaching someone something.

Um... not really -- and more, I don't like mangoes.


Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Dog Dish welcomes authors Mina Carter and BJ Barnes (and their critters)

Hi all! This is Dakota... my mom was busy today, so asked me to introduce our guests. Seems like there's a new book out called "Taming the Vixen", and the authors are busy touring the internet to promote it. Since they're owned by their own critters, so I asked to talk to them. Oops, I've just been told that Mina has fish, and they aren't talking, so BJ asked her four-legged family to visit instead. I hope you'll all make them feel welcome!

I hear that if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win a cool prize: a $10 Amazon GC. It's no meaty bone, but it'll have to do. If you click that purple banner under here, you'll get to see all the other neat places they'll be on their tour.

So, your human writes books. Does this mean she is home all day and easy to access? Elaborate if necessary.

Queenie: Thanks for having “us”. “Us” includes myself, Queenie (Domestic Shorthair tabby & white kitty - constant indoor and writing companion of Bethany J. Barnes), Devon (Thoroughbred/Quarter Horse cross - longtime trail riding, team penning companion), Tristan (Friesian horse – tall, dark & handsome, newest member of the Barnes family) and Nika (spastic ball chasing, Frisbee catching Australian Shepherd dog). My sisters, Tig and Zoe, declined to participate in this interview. They are too busy taking naps. Ransom, our third horse “sibling” is sunbathing. He’s got to look good for the ladies. I’ll be doing the typing, since my paws are the smallest.

Devon: Tristan’s hooves are too big. He would have crushed the entire laptop. (snickers)

Tristan: Sounds like someone has hoof envy.

Devon: Shut up, I do not! (swishes tail and pins ears back)

Tristan: (satisfied horse smirk)

Queenie: Knock it off you two. It’s bad enough that you kick your stall at all hours, Devon. Sheesh! Yes, our human – Bethany J. Barnes – is home all day and we have access to her 24/7. I usually sit next to her while she’s writing. I love that she’s able to spend so much time at home. More cuddles and pets for me.

What are your techniques for distracting your human during crucial writing moments, just because it's fun? Whose primary job is it? What do the rest of you do to support the one doing the main distracting?

Queenie: I like to meow at her a lot and try to crawl into her lap when she’s writing. It’s not very easy, since she’s using a laptop.

Devon: I kick the inside of my stall to make noise to get her to come out to see me…

Tristan: Yeah and then she yells at you to stop kicking.

Devon: So – it works. She’s MY human.

Tristan: Insecurity is such an ugly thing.

Devon: Shut up. You’re nothing more than the horse version of Fabio.

Tristan: (smiles and poses for the camera)

Queenie: (rolls eyes and looks bored) *yawn* They can do this all day long. Moving on…

What indignities and neglect have you suffered because of your human's writing career?

Devon: She doesn’t take me out for trail rides in the mountains as much as she used to. Heck, she doesn’t ride any of us horses as much as she used to.

Tristan: I’d have to agree.

Devon: She doesn’t ride you because you outgrew your bridle, you big, long-haired bas –

Queenie: (cuts off Devon’s tirade and bad language) I haven’t suffered at all. She’s been in the house more than she used to because of her writing.

Tell me about the animals in your human's fiction. How often do they appear and how big a part do they play?

Queenie: Bethany and her co-author of “Taming The Wildcat”, Mina Carter, didn’t write about real animals in their book. They made up some nasty tempered beast called a wild “Hasang” and mentioned it in passing.

Tristan: Nasty tempered? I wonder who they based that on? Any ideas, Devon?

Devon: (glares and bares teeth) Certainly NOT me.

Queenie: I do know that Bethany has two horses in one of her works in progress. I’m sure she’ll add a pretty tabby and white cat before the books is up. (feline grin)

Nika: (comes running in) Someone throw the Frisbee for me! Play, play, play!

Queenie: Silly dog. Why don’t you go back outside and chase your short, stubby tail until you get dizzy and fall over?

Nika: That sounds like fun! Thanks. (runs out to do just that)

Queenie, Devon and Tristan: (all rolling eyes)

On the off-chance your human has yet to incorporate animals into a story, what are your plans for making sure she rectifies this egregious error and demonstration of poor writing skills?

Devon: Well, she’d have to write something that isn’t set in outer space for one. I just plan on taking her for some great trail rides in the mountains this summer. That will spark her imagination to write a sweeping epic romance that the heroine also happens to have this great looking bay colored horse –

Tristan: It will be a big, long-haired black Friesian horse, not some spindly-legged bay horse.

Queenie: Moving on again. (bored cat sigh)

What movies involving animals does your human enjoy sharing with you? Books with animals?

Tristan: She doesn’t let any of us horses in the house.

Devon: (snickers) Yeah, I think she’s worried we’ll scratch up the hardwood floors.

Tristan: And perhaps leave a big stinky present…

(both laughing at that one)

Queenie: She loves watching movies that have horses in them. A few of the movies she watches have the same breed of horse featured as the hero’s horse as what Tristan is.

Tristan: Baby, I’m a star.

Devon: It wasn’t actually you in those movies, bonehead. You wish!

Tristan: True, I’m better looking than those horses. I’ve been featured on the Cowboy Magic Facebook page more than once.

Devon: So have I.

Tristan: Only once.

If you could make one change to your human, what would it be?

Devon: That she’d spend more time with me and take me out for long rides.

Tristan: Ditto.

Queenie: I’m perfectly happy with her.

Are you happy with your human? If you could tell your human one thing, what would it be?

Devon: Yes, I’m very happy with her. I’ve been with her the longest. Eighteen years. Beat that, Tristan. She trained me herself and we’ve spent countless days riding in the desert around Tucson, Arizona. We moved two years ago up to Idaho. I tell her I love her all the time now, by hugging her.

Tristan: I’m very happy with her. She loves all of her horses, but I give the best hugs. I’d tell her I’m glad she picked me out of all the Friesians she had to choose from. She drove all the way from Idaho, through Arizona first to visit a friend, to eastern Kansas to pick me up. All by herself! I, too, tell her I love her.

Queenie: I already answered…I’m happy. I’d tell her to get off the damned computer and pet me more. Just kidding. I’d tell her how much I like cuddling with her.

Nika: (barking from outside) Very happy! Happy dog. (pants) I’d tell her to throw the Frisbee! Or even a ball. A ball would be good too! (gets distracted by small furry animal) SQUIRREL!

What things does your human do that would mortify her it if known? What does your human do that most annoys?

Queenie: We’re sworn to secrecy. She feeds us and takes care of us, so we’d never tell anything too embarrassing. Um…she makes faces when she’s writing or reading. It’s quite funny.

What’s most annoying about Bethany? How she sometimes has to get up to do something right after I’ve made myself comfortable on her lap. It’s so rude to make me move after I’ve found the perfect, comfy position.

Devon: When she gives Tristan or Ransom apples, carrots or treats before me. She doesn’t do it often though. Seniority rules!

Tristan: Seniority drools! Senior is right, old man. Didn’t you just turn 20 this month?

Devon: Yes, I did. You know what you need, Tristan?

Tristan: No. What’s that?

Devon: (kicks Tristan and watches him falls down) Respect for your elders! (snickers)

Tristan: (groans)

Has your human named a character for you? Are you pleased? If not, why?

Tristan: Yes, she has. (big horsey grin) In her work in progress that she’s taking her own sweet time writing, she has a horse that is a dead ringer for me. I’d have to say it IS me, since she even named it Tristan…after yours truly. I’m very pleased.

Devon: Braggart! She hasn’t named one after me yet, but I know for a fact that she based the other horse in that book on me and my sparkling person…er…horsenality. Even though it doesn’t look like me, it’s me.

And did your human name you for a fictional character? Hate it or love it? If you could rename yourself, what would your name be?

Tristan: Yes, she named me after Tristan Aragon, from “Tristan and Isolde”. Also after Tristan Ludlow from “Legends of The Fall” and Tristan from a movie called “Stardust”…and of course, let’s not forget Tristan of Camelot and the legend of the knights of the Round Table. I love the name she gave me. It’s easier to pronounce than my registered name, which is Thijs. I was born in The Netherlands in 2006 and imported to the United States in July 2009. Wow…I’ve been in America for two years now!

Devon: Do you ever shut up? I wasn’t named after a fictional character, but a place. Two places actually. Devon, England…because Bethany would love to go there some day to see the countryside there and Devon, Pennsylvania…because there are a lot of horse shows there that she’s watched on TV for years. I love my name.

Queenie: Okay, before Tristan starts talking about how beautiful he is again, I’d better thank you for allowing us to stop by and visit with you. It’s really cool that your human lets you interview other author’s pets. For the readers of Marianne’s blog (your very cool and hip human) Please check out our human’s book, “Taming The Wildcat” that she wrote with her friend and co-author, Mina Carter. We hope you like Bethany and Mina’s book.

Devon: Oh gross! Tristan farted. Time to go.

Tristan: I did not!

Queenie: (wrinkles nose) Oh dear…and on that note, we’ll be leaving now. I’m off for a cat nap and these two nags have to get back to the barn...but if your human’s friends have any questions for us, I’ll be back after my nap to answer to the best of my ability. We’ll make sure that Tristan chews up a few boxes of Gas-X before we bring him into an enclosed area again. Meow for now. =D

Fresh out of a disciplinary that almost ruined her career and landed her in jail, Summer King is out for a much needed night on the town...or bar district in her local space station. It seems this King girl can't stay out of trouble though, causing a bar brawl within minutes of her arrival.

Roz Taren is a mercenary, leader of the Wildcats, and a man who knows what he wants. Right now, that's the pretty girl in the purple dress. Rescuing her from the unwanted attentions of a bunch of drunks lands her right in his bed for the hottest weeked he's ever experienced.

Then she's recalled and Roz discovers his little firebird is a fleet pilot aka insane crazy with a side of total fruitloop. Fleet pilots live fast, die young and leave legends behind. When he receives word her ship is lost with all hands, Roz must bury her along with his heart.

Only this firebird isn't your garden variety. This bird is a out to tame a Wildcat

BJ Barnes -

A fiery-tempered stay at home mom by day, Bethany J. Barnes is really a superhero in disguise. Equally at home creating fantastical worlds and the men and women who inhabit them or driving armed across county to collect a hot male (her gorgeous horse, Tristan), she'll happily wrestle rattlesnakes, rescue baby owls or perform strenuous casting tests for male leads in her stories. An active RPGer, B.J. is equally happy writing hot paranormal or steamy sci-fi and is the mainstay of many online games. An accomplished photographer, B.J.'s specialties are concert and equine photography. She’s dabbled in wedding photography, but has no patience for Bridezillas.

PS – She’s been known to shoot a bumble bee hovering in midair. Not a lady to be messed with!

Mina Carter - Mina Carter was born and raised in Middle Earth (otherwise known as the Midlands, England). After a slew of careers ranging from logistics to land-surveying she can now be found in the wilds of Leicestershire with her husband and young daughter…the true boss of the family.

Suffering the curse of eternal curiosity Mina never tires of learning new skills which has led to Aromatherapy, Corsetry, Chain-maille making, Welding, Canoeing, Shooting, and pole-dancing to name but a few. A veteran Star Trek RPGer, she’s run both games and groups of games but now finds her home in Bravo Fleet, one of the internet’s oldest Star Trek simm groups.

She juggles being a mum, working full time and writing, tossing another ball in the air with her cover artwork. For Mina, writing time is the wee hours of the morning before anyone wakes up and starts making demands, or any spare minute that can be begged, bought or conned.

Her first stories were penned at age 11, when she used a stationery set meant for Christmas thank you letters to write stories instead. More recently, she wrote for her own amusement and to save on outrageous monthly book bills. Now she’s totally addicted and needs her daily writing fix or heads roll!


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack..... !

Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else. ~Will Rogers

At least I hope I am!

To say that the last ten days or so were crazy would be a huge understatement. The worst part was when I lost internet for THREE DAYS. I thought I'd lose my mind. Day One, DH wouldn't let me tether my new phone to the computer (he wasn't sure how secure it was). Day Two, he got it set up, but STILL didn't like the security and strongly warned me to not use it except under desperate need. At the end of Day Two, I called the internet provider's customer service to find out when a repairman would be here, and the lady said, "We ran a test and show you have internet, so we canceled the ticket."

Um, yeah ... I was ready to murder someone.

Day Three, a repairman came by. Turns out that another worker had "piggy-backed" someone ELSE's internet on our port so it showed the port was working, it just wasn't making it to our house. So, he had to go check the three places it could have been done.

Finally, FINALLY three days and about two hours later, I had juice again! I'm fairly certain that my cheering could be heard for miles (Maria, did you hear it in Texas?).

However ... this put me SO far behind on LASR / WC / Goddess Fish work that I may never dig out.

Still, I miss you guys (and that would be one of the reasons why I didn't visit your blogs), so I'm trying to take some time and say "HI!!" to everyone. I haven't made it to all the blogs I love (my Google Reader was downright scary ... still is), but I'm trying!

We've also been busy getting my mom all set up for her place -- she moves in tomorrow. She's left behind much of her furniture (or hadn't had any to start with), so we've be scouring consignment stores, etc., to find decent pieces. Not an easy task -- there just isn't much out there. We've been visiting the dog park daily as well. Even though her dog, Bonny, is old and cranky she really LOVES going to the park and wandering around, sniffing and peeing and whatnot. In fact, in the mornings if we don't get going quickly enough, she'll go to the door and whine, and if we open the door, she runs to the car! It's funny.

I'd posted this picture on Facebook when it happened, but we stumbled across the most amazing moth a week or so ago. I'd pulled into this little parking area to cut through to the street where DD's new school is and I saw something huge fall to the ground. When I looked, it was moving! I jumped out of the car (yes, really ... wait until I tell you about the mouse) and scooped it up. Poor thing! It's nocturnal, and doesn't fly well in the day -- we took it to DD's school and put it in a tree to wait (safely) for night.

He's in the silk moth family (he's a Antheraea polyphemus) and was enormous -- probably 6" wide. I say "he" because the males have the super feathery antennae (and his were incredible). They're apparently decreasing in number pretty dramatically, but when I looked online to see about raising them indoors (there's a wasp that lays its eggs on the pillars, apparently squirrels like to snack on them, and the tree pruning is a huge issue), I couldn't find anything. I DID find information about raising Luna Moths indoors and I may have to give that a try someday.

Re: the mouse I mentioned, above. A few days ago, I was stopping at a stop sign when I saw something moving in the road. I stopped, put on my hazards and got out (yeah... I do that a lot). It was a mouse! He was running in tight circles and clearly afraid but he wouldn't run straight. I don't know if he was sick or injured or just confused, but I didn't want to leave him there, so I grabbed my ice scraper thing and "escorted" him off the road.

A lady sitting on her front steps was laughing at me, but even rodents need a little TLC, right?

Yes, I'm probably going to end up like the guy who got killed trying to get baby ducks off the highway.

As a side note, we still haven't found any pillars this year. It's the strangest thing! We've NEVER had this problem before, and I have to say it makes me a little sad and uneasy. DD is distraught.

OH... and here's an update on the field that Cigna owns. Do you remember I'd mentioned talking to a woman who works there who spoke to the man who arranges the mowing, and HE said they wouldn't mow until first frost? Well... a week ago, I walked out of the library (which is across the street) and they were MOWING!! In a way, if they were going to do it, now is a good time (before the monarchs are here), but even so, I'm furious. So, I guess trying to work locally isn't good enough. Time to start my email campaign...

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but that's it from here for now. Hope everyone is well. Update me on your lives, would you? I'm so behind and feel a little lost!


You Are a Fantasy Book

You can't help but see the world as how you want it to be. You are an idealist.

You don't put bounds or limitations on your thoughts. You are a down to earth daydreamer.

You can picture whole other worlds and lives. You have a very vivid imagination.

You're the type of person who would like to believe anything is possible. You believe there's so much more to this world than what we see.

That's about right :-)