Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sleepover Drama

Sleepovers are not for wimps.

I'm exhausted. DD and her BFF had a wonderful afternoon/evening together, but then night came and it was all drama. AND, very loud trips to the bathroom at least fifty times (I swear, I'm not exaggerating -- neither kid knows how to be quiet; doors slammed, footsteps thumped).

All the below happened between 11:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.

DD: "I can't sleep without music on."

BFF: "I can't sleep with music on." (this after I found the BFF trying to sleep in the little hall area)

DD: "BFF won't stop coughing." (which was true and odd, considering she hadn't coughed all day)

DD: (comes into my room at midnight) "I need a hug."

Me: "You do remember I was getting up at 4 a.m. to get some work done before all the stuff I'm doing tomorrow, right?"

DD: "Yes." (sniff, sniff)

And so, it has been decreed: NO MORE SLEEPOVERS. Playdates, yes. Sleepovers, no. At least not for a very, very, VERY long time.

And now, since I overslept almost an hour ... I'm outta here.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Mumbles

Had a fairly uneventful weekend. I won't say quiet or relaxing, because that's seldom the case. So, I'll take uneventful.

There is much drama in writing circles about Pay Pal forcing third party carriers to pull works they deemed immoral. While I agree with Pay Pal in theory (I wouldn't want to read books about incest, bestiality, rape, etc), I don't like the idea of what is essentially a bank or payment processing center deciding what is and isn't available for sale. Because -- first incest, bestiality and rape ... next it'll be something I do read or write. In fact, they're even required "pseudo-incest" books be pulled. This is sex between non-blood related family (i.e. step-father and daughter; step-uncle, niece) and I had this idea for a step-brother / sister story, so I guess I *am* impacted since I can't publish it at Smashwords.

Anyone know of another reliable payment processing company?

If you want to read more about it (and all about the (now former) treasurer of the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA caught plagiarizing, or the scuttlebutt about Dreamspinner Press and fan fic that may or may not be copied), go to Dear Author's post here.

DD is off this week, and we don't have a lot of plans. I am going to get her hair cut on Wednesday, and mine trimmed ... it's *almost* long enough for Locks of Love, but the ends (THE ENDS!) they are so damaged, I'm going to have 1/2" or so snipped off. Yeah, it'll take me a little longer to donate, but I can't stand how it looks.

Hope your weekend was happy!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

What Day is It?

It's been an interesting week. DH has stayed home every day, and might again today. DD has been off. We've all been under the weather, though I admit to being surprised that DH stayed home yesterday. He looked like he was feeling better -- maybe he's just sick of work?

I can't remember what day it is either, with all the weirdness going on.

I'm recovering, but am still pretty congested and run down. Hate being sick. The worst part so far wat that it was warm and sunny out yesterday (50 degrees, in New England, in February!) and I couldn't get out and enjoy it much.

Otherwise, I'm just working. I've been buried in work, and am trying desperately to dig out of the pile. It's one of those double-edged swords: it's wonderful we're busy, but Judy and I (and the ladies who help us) are drowning a bit.

Speaking of, I need to get back to work. Hope you all have a wonderful day!


You Are Opaque Pantyhose

You are a practical person. You don't have any room for fluff in your life.

You are a creative problem solver. You've figured out what works for you, and you just go with that.

You are original and independent without trying to be. You just seem to pick paths that are less traveled.

You are brainy and you love difficult intellectual challenges. You don't have patience for your time being wasted.

Okay .. ha... that was spot on.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Attack of the Germs... redoux-doux

Humorous Pictures

Yep ... it's true. Looks like I caught a bug. It doesn't appear to be the same bug as DD and DH, interestingly. Mine is just a plain old cold. I've been fighting a mild sore throat for a couple of days, and last night the congestion started. It's not bad, thankfully, just enough to make me annoyed and a little fuzzy. Still, I was really hoping I'd stay healthy through the germ attack.

DH is staying home from work today, too, so that's the end of my chance for one last "alone" day before DD's extended vacation.


Wishing you all a happy, healthy Tuesday!

funny pictures of cats with captions


You are Honest, Loyal, Generous, Humble and Tolerant


You value loyalty a fair amount.
You're loyal to your friends... to a point.
But if they cross you, you will reconsider your loyalties.
Staying true to others is important to you, but you also stay true to yourself.


You value honesty a fair amount.
You're honest when you can be, but you aren't a stickler for it.
If a little white lie will make a situation more comfortable, you'll go for it.
In the end, you mostly care about "situational integrity."


You value generosity a fair amount.
You are all about giving, as long as there's some give and take.
Supportive and kind, you don't mind helping out a friend in need.
But you know when you've given too much. You have no problem saying "no"!


You value humility a fair amount.
You tend to be an easy going, humble person.
But occasionally your ego takes over.
You have a slight competitive streak - and the need to be the best.


You value tolerance highly.
Not only do you enjoy the company of those very different from you...
You do all that you can to seek it out interesting and unique friends.
You think there are many truths in life, and you're open to many of them.

Mostly right... :-)


Monday, February 20, 2012

Attack of the Germs, Part 2

DH is sick.

I swear, I'm surrounded.

He has the same thing as DD -- this odd chest congestion and cough. Not a "real" cold, but the cough is nasty and persistent. He spent yesterday in a fog ... made me laugh, actually, because I'd catch him just staring off into space or at something (like the fire) for the longest time. He couldn't DO anything. He was tired, unfocused.

He has today off work, and hopefully that will be enough for him to get better. We, as a family, tend to get sick seldom and heal quickly, so I have my fingers crossed.

DD only has two school days this week: Monday and Tuesday. Then she's off Weds/Thurs/Fri, the whole next week and the following Monday. Winter vacation, mostly, though there's a teacher workshop in there. I'm not sure what we'll do -- she's expecting to be entertained significantly, and I can't take two weeks off.

Me? I'm just trying to avoid the germs that appear to be gleefully dancing through my house. Not sure if I'll succeed, but I'd sure like to!

Hope you all had a great weekend.


You Are Boxing

You are assertive, strong, and downright aggressive.

You have the power to demolish your opponent...

And you have the endurance to make sure the job is finished.

Muhahahahahaha! FEAR ME!

I am looking forward to the Olympics, though. :-)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Attack of the Germs

DD is sick. Just a cold, but a whopper of one. She seldom gets sick at all, and when she does, it's typically pretty mild. Folks told me this would change once she entered school, and it looks like that may be correct.

She'll most likely be staying home today and she's distraught about it. She has two tests she'll have to make up, and she doesn't want to miss them. I don't want her to, either, but I can't send her to school when she's coughing hard enough to hack up a lung.

Now, hopefully, I won't get what she has.

Other than that, things are pretty much the same here ... no big plans for the weekend. I'm hoping it snowed enough up north overnight for my husband to go snowmobiling. It rained down here. At this rate, I'll be able to plant my garden in March... the ground is already beginning to thaw. That's unheard of for February.

Have a great weekend, all!


You Are Chopsticks

People see you as exotic, unusual, and even a bit intimidating.

You are a difficult person to figure out.

In truth, you try to live a very simple life.

But most people are too frenzied to recognize the beauty of your simplicity.

Oh yeah, that's me ... exotic, unusual and intimidating. ;-)


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hump Day

Took Dakota to the doggy doc yesterday for her check-up and shots and was shocked to find that she's lost six pounds. SIX. That's like me losing 15 - 20 pounds. First, I asked her what her secret was (*G*) and then decided to increase her food a bit. She HAD been getting heavy (was 52 pounds and should be 50), so I'd cut it just a tad, but apparently it was too much. She's 44 pounds now.

She should be a little on the thin side due to her breed, but I don't want to starve her either. Plus, the weather will be getting nicer and we'll be walking more, so she'll need a bit more food.

In other news, DD and I have been watching Lord of the Rings over the past couple of weeks (about an hour a day after school). She's really enjoying it, though she doesn't understand some things and misses small, subtle references that I have to explain. I was worried the uri-kai would freak her out, but so far the only thing that she wanted me to fast forward past was the spider, Shelob, in Return of the King which is funny since she's not afraid of spiders IRL.

Otherwise am still working on the cover for "Now and Forever". Found some stock pix and have an idea, so have sent to my cover designer, Judy, and we'll see what she comes up with. I also have one scene I want to add in, so am trying to make the time for that.

And such is my life. :-)


You Are the Middle Toe

You are naturally very aggressive and competitive. You go for what you want.

You like to get ahead, but there is nothing traditional about your approach to success.

You use your creativity and your wit to your advantage. You are a flexible thinker.

You have a lot of inner fire and strength. You harness your passion well.

Mostly right.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

From Wikipedia:

The first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer. Chaucer wrote:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.

["For this was Saint Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."]

This poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia.[21] A treaty providing for a marriage was signed on May 2, 1381. (When they were married eight months later, they were each only 15 years old).

Readers have uncritically assumed that Chaucer was referring to February 14 as Valentine's Day; however, mid-February is an unlikely time for birds to be mating in England. Henry Ansgar Kelly has pointed out that Chaucer could be referring to May 2, the celebration in the liturgical calendar of Valentine of Genoa, an early bishop of Genoa who died around AD 307.

Chaucer's Parliament of Foules is set in a fictional context of an old tradition, but in fact there was no such tradition before Chaucer. The speculative explanation of sentimental customs, posing as historical fact, had their origins among 18th-century antiquaries, notably Alban Butler, the author of Butler's Lives of Saints, and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars. Most notably, "the idea that Valentine's Day customs perpetuated those of the Roman Lupercalia has been accepted uncritically and repeated, in various forms, up to the present".

There were other three authors who made poems about birds mating in Saint Valentine's Day around the same years: Otton de Grandson from Savoy, John Gower from England, and a knight called Pardo from Valencia. Chaucer most probably predated all of them, but, due to the difficulty of dating medieval works, we can't know for sure who of the four had the idea first and influenced the others.

Here, it is pretty much a day like any other ... sad but true: this romance author seldom celebrates Valentine's Day.

What are you up to today?


Your Love Style is Balanced

You tend to approach falling in love practically. You don't let your heart get ahead of your head.

You see love as an important part of your life, but it's not the whole picture. You keep romance in perspective.

You see love as calming and relaxing. Being with someone makes you feel pampered and cared for. You need a stable relationship.

You are swept off your feet by words of love. A love letter or love poem from your sweetie can make your heart melt.

That's pretty much correct.


Monday, February 13, 2012

My Life In YouTube Videos

What's in my brain this morning:

Seriously... as is typical, I got nothin' today.

What made me sad this weekend:

Why does it seem that so many big stars anymore hit a downward spiral and die far too young? Especially when they have everything (including a daughter who loves you more than anything) and throw it away?

What made me smile this weekend:

Hope your weekend was lovely.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Fan Mail

I got a fan email yesterday. I was tickled pink. Not only did they thoroughly enjoy "Kitchen Matches" but wondered if I was going to write about the brothers. Guess I'd better get the cover done for "Now and Forever", hadn't I?

It made me realize how much a kind word can do for folks, and made me determine to take the time to do the same. It only takes five minutes to send off something that could make a person's day.

I encourage you to do the same.


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

Tory asked me Tuesday if I'd seen the video of the dormouse snoring. I hadn't, so went off to look. I have a soft spot for rodents, so this was definitely an "awww" video:

I've been looking for stock pictures for "Now and Forever". It's amazing how hard it is to design your own cover -- I have much greater empathy for the cover artists now, though I wonder: is it harder or easier to design a cover for a book you haven't read?

I've been trying to write as well, but am having a tendency to flit between stories and, as a result, am getting little actually accomplished. I need to settle on one, I suppose.

Other than than, things are pretty quiet. That's a good thing...


You Are a Carrot Cake Cupcake

You are a complex person. You have many interesting layers to your personality, though others might not know it.

You are drawn to a cross section of people. You friends play different roles in your life.

You are like a cupcake because you are are deceptively simple. There's actually a lot to you!

There are many ingredients in your life, and you only want them in proper amounts. Being you is a delicate art.

Hmmm.... maybe 50/50.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Dog Dish Interview and Giveaway: Bella w/ Allie Pleiter

Dakota is happy to welcome Bella, a lovely Havanese who owns Harlequin author, Allie Pleiter.

Bella is here today to talk a bit about herself, her life and the new HQ Love Inspired novel, "Falling For the Fireman". She's also offering a print copy of the book to someone who comments on her interview (she's really hoping for more comments than she has toes, so let's knock her paws off) -- chew marks on the cover are optional, and available upon request. *G*

Okay, enough about Allie and her book, Bella would like to speak now.

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

Oh, my goodness, that’s the best part. She’s home all the time and often in a big cushy chair where I can snuggle up against her. Whoever invented laptops, I want to lick your face!

What are your techniques for distracting your human during crucial writing moments, just because it's fun?

I’m a pro at it. Often I stick my nose over the top of the laptop, or I am a master of rolling over to look uber-cute and making little woof noises that beg for attention... like this:

If that doesn’t work I start licking fingers.

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

She doesn’t seem to understand that I should be walked twice a day, every day. To the coffeebar. Where they give me my own mug. Her editor bought her a little tiara once, and she put it on me. Really. Was that necessary?

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

I’m especially fond of this new book, Falling For the Fireman, because there’s a very clever dog in it. Plug is a firehouse hound and rather coarse, but also very cute (but not as cute as me). We are both rather tubby, but I wear it much better.

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?

I’ve already achieved my goal. I usually get what I want--haven’t you noticed?

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

We watch lots of Doctor Who, which has aliens but no animals--but Allie tells me previous incarnations of the Doctor had a robotic dog. We watch lots of TopGear, which had a dog for a few episodes but is mostly about cars. And Castle, which has no dog whatsoever. She doesn’t share books with me because I’ve been known to chew on them.

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

I think we could take the unconditional adoration up a notch. You know, more cute pictures on the cell phone, monthly collar and matching leash purchases, hand-baked goodies and hand-knit sweaters. Yes, that’d be lovely. Thanks for asking.

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

I’d say, “You know those little brown cookies with the paw-prints on them? I really like those. Buy more.”

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

She sings show tunes at the top of her voice. She was a theater major, but I’m rather sure her best days are behind her. It’s amusing, but I don’t know if I’d categorize it as entertaining. Fireside brushes of my fur are much more enjoyable. As for annoying, I’d vote for her insistence that I can’t sleep in her bed. That definitely needs to change. Crates are beneath me.

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

No, she has not, and I’ve a mind to speak to her about it.

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?

I must admit, lots of people ask her if I was named after the Twilight heroine, but as I was a rescue, I had my name before I joined her family. According to my first owner, I was given the name Bella because I am so beautiful. I am, you know, so I need no other name.

Bella, I have some brown cookies with paw prints on them ... do you suppose they're same as the ones you love? Why don't we try a few and you can let me know.

:::Bella and Dakota trot off to the pantry:::

There's something achingly familiar about the look in fire marshal Chad Owens's eyes. Widowed mom Jeannie Nelworth knows firsthand what it is: loss, hurt and yes—bitterness. Ever since the fire that changed their lives, Jeannie's young son has borne that same look, pushing everyone away. So she's grateful when Chad tries to get through to the boy with the help of his trusty fire station dog.

But the man who's all about safety and prevention keeps himself protected—from loving and losing again. Seems as if Jeannie will have to add his kind, guarded heart to her rebuilding efforts.

An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced two parenting books, fourteen novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing. Visit her website at www.alliepleiter.com or her knitting blog at www.DestiKNITions.blogspot.com

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Blank and Cute!

I'm blank today ... I should have a theme or something to start me off writing. I'm absolutely exhausted for starters and I'm sure that contributes.

So, instead, I give you "Attack of the Cute":

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Superbowl Hangover

I'm tired.

Saturday, my FIL asked me who I thought would win the game. I'm deep in Pats country, and I'm kinda ornery so, even though the Giants beat my 49ers, I was pulling for them to win.

I told my FIL "Giants by three points".

I was awfully close.

When the Giants hit that safety early on all I could think was: that's going to cost the Patriots the game. And it did.

I really love football and have missed watching -- I don't much back here because they don't show the teams I love unless they're playing someone out east.

So ... in celebration of the Superbowl, and football in general I give you the "Top 5" things (if you don't like rap music, keep the volume down):

This one has no music -- just the announcers and it's so fun!

So happy Monday after Superbowl folks. I wish you a week as awesome as Eli Manning's going to have.


Thursday, February 02, 2012

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Marie Astor

I'd like to give a big welcome to Marie Astor, who's visiting my blog today on her latest stop for the "On the Rim of Love" tour!

Please enjoy her blog and then comment so you have a chance to win! Marie is awarding two prizes to randomly drawn commenters during her tour: a sterling silver plum quartz necklace and earring set, and a sterling silver aventurine necklace that were custom designed for the tour. Plus, if you go back and visit her previous stops (click on the banner for all her tour stops) and comment, you'll have more chances to win.

I asked Marie, "How much research goes into your books? For example this one has the characters skiing in British Columbia - did you do some skiing there to research?"

Hi and thank you for inviting me. My name is Marie Astor and I am the author of contemporary romance novels, On the Rim of Love and Lucky Charm, and a short story collection, A Chance Encounter and Other Stories.

I often get asked about how much research goes into my books. My latest contemporary romance, On the Rim of Love, takes place in British Columbia. I visited Banff, British Columbia two winters ago and I was instantly smitten by its beauty – the vast open spaces, the towering mountain cliffs and the white, sparkling snow that seemed to stretch endlessly. I have always thought there is something very special about the atmosphere of ski towns, and I was charmed by Banff’s quaint streets and the wonderful people who walked them. An idea for a contemporary romance became to form in my mind: big city girl meets a big-mountain skier who is rooted in his small hometown. By the end of my ten-day stay at Banff, I had jotted down an outline and notes on the main characters, Maggie and Taylor, as well as Taylor’s best friends, Shawn and Hannah.

On the Rim of Love takes place in Eagleville, British Columbia. But before you start looking up Eagleville on the map, I have to tell you that Eagleville is a fictional town. Why did you create a fictional town? you ask. Off-piste skiing is a big part of On the Rim of Love, as it becomes the initial point of connection between the main characters – Maggie and Taylor, so I wanted to create a ski resort with access to all kinds of ski terrain. From the research that I did, I learned that most US ski resorts do not offer lift access to wild mountain terrain and require either renting a helicopter or climbing long, arduous routs to get to wild mountain terrain. Europe, however, offers easy access to off-piste skiing – you can take a lift car to the top of Mont Blanc. However, I have never been to Mont Blanc, but I have been to British Columbia and my heart was dead set on its beauty. So, I decided to combine the best of both worlds and create a ski resort where Maggie and Taylor could take an enchanting ride to the very tops of the mountains – I hope you’ll come along for the ride!

Here's the blurb for On the Rim of Love:

Maggie Robin has been dating the irresistibly good-looking, successful Jeffrey Preston for two years. But when Jeffrey proposes marriage a week after Maggie’s college graduation, she is no longer sure if she wants to marry a workaholic TV producer.

Her doubts culminate when during a ski trip to British Columbia, Maggie meets Taylor Denton, a handsome, free-spirited big mountain skier who is the complete opposite of Jeffrey. It does not take Maggie long to realize that she has fallen in love with Taylor and she decides to break off her engagement with Jeffrey. But just when she thinks she has found the love of her life, an ill-fated misunderstanding tears Maggie and Taylor apart.

A week later, Maggie is told that Taylor has died in a tragic ski accident; yet, her heart refuses to believe in Taylor’s death. When Maggie returns to Taylor’s native town, she learns that Taylor is indeed alive, but has been seriously injured. Resolved to bring her lover back to life Maggie stands by Taylor’s side, convincing him to embrace life again.

More about Marie:

Marie Astor is a die-hard romantic who wholeheartedly believes in true love, which is why she writes in the contemporary romance genre. Marie is the author of contemporary romance novels, On the Rim of Love, Lucky Charm, and a short story collection, A Chance Encounter and Other Stories. Stop by Marie’s website: www.marieastor.com to sign up for book releases and events. Marie can also be found on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/marieastorcollection and Twitter: @marieastor.

Books by Marie Astor:

On the Rim of Love – a contemporary romance about the unexpected power of love.

Lucky Charm – a humorous contemporary romance about love, luck and friendship.

A Chance Encounter and Other Stories – a short story collection about love and everyday life.

Murphy Visited

Oh ... what a day yesterday was. I won't go into details (they might make me cry), but suffice it to say Murphy showed up and he was worse than usual. Not just for me, but for my DH as well. The stars were aligned crooked over our household.

Lexie has been feeling uber needy lately. I mean, it's nice to have a cat who wants to hang out with me, but I can't have her in my lap 24/7. If I sit down anywhere, she wants up, if I walk around, she's under my feet. She'd definitely settled in well, though. And I think she and the dog might actually end up being friends in the near future, though Lexie is definitely boss (cats usually are):

There was no coming up for air yesterday, and probably won't be today. I'd really like my life back, please.


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Marianne's Day Off

No time to blog this morning ... I've discovered that the first of the month is going to be crazy, busy nightmare because of our site reconstruction.

I know this is all over Facebook, but for those of you who either aren't on FB or haven't watched, I give you one of the cleverest commercials for the Super Bowl (and you don't even have to watch football to see it):