Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Boycott November

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group!

This is November, which for most writers means NaNoWriteMo. Personally I have refused to participate. I have too much going on in my outside life to focus on an additional 50,000 words. January Frost is in copy edits, I have three major projects going on at work, and the days are getting day earlier. Taking on another work in progress doesn't fill me with excitement. On the contrary, I feel dread.

I confess I am not the best at time management.. I have shiny penny syndrome. Everything distracts me when I'm not in the zone. That's why when I write I have to listen to something I know well enough for it to become background noise. Otherwise I don't writer, I day dream.

My lack of attention is the one thing about myself I dislike intently. It affects every area of my life, personal and professional. I won't take the medications. I did that to my son and I wish I hadn't. He told me when the Ritalin wore off it was like a bone snapping in his body. With my low tolerance for pain that's an issue.

So, my insecurity for this month is my lack of time management and attention to task. In the time I have written two books, some of my friends have pushed out four or five. Sure we don't all write in the same genre but it makes me wonder, am I any good at this?

That said, I will plug through my copy edits, and work out a few scenes in a work in progress I already have. If in the process of taking care of these obligations I manage to hit 50,000 words of editing, then I will consider that my NaNo project. And... there's always next year.

Don't forget my new romance, January Frost, will be out this winter from Keith Publishing.  Below is a sneak peek:

Evelyn Graham-Frost had it all: a job she loved, a daughter she adored, and a life far away from the pain and bitterness of her childhood. Then in the flash of an eye, everything disappears when a career-ending fall from her world champion show horse, Grey Cliffs’ Snowman, lands Evelyn on the ground and jobless.

When the offer to return to her childhood   home as the new trainer at Grey Cliffs presents itself, she is torn between the life she’s built, and the love of the man she ran away from ten years previous. Going back means giving her daughter a chance to connect with the father she’s never met, but it also means facing again the horror of what happened that long ago evening.

Unsure if those old demons will help with the healing her body and soul are going through, it may take some convincing before Evelyn realizes the only path into her future lies straight though the shadows in the past. 




JUNE, TWO YEARS AGO
My only clear memory of the accident itself is overwhelming pain.  I remember every detail of my preparations for that ride.  It was a brilliant mid-summer day. The sky was clear, deep blue with high, light clouds, but rain was forecast for later in the day. The temperature was cool in the morning, but heated up as the sun climbed higher into the sky. I remember arriving at the complex that morning, spending extra time getting my massive stallion Grey Cliffs’ Snowman, or ‘Manny’ ready for his divisions, and thinking about the promises I made to my daughter Davy, and my business partner Sebastian to make this show season our last. Manny had been ready as a farm stud for a while and it was his commercial viability that set the tone for the rest of our barn family.  As long as I needed to jump and run away, Snowman would take me.
When the storm front arrived, the rain was intense, clouds carrying lightning, accompanied by hail and buckets of water.  By the time Manny and I were on the course, the ground was a combination of ankle deep mud and shallow rivers. Once we were committed, I spent a great deal of time encouraging Manny as we worked our way through the sludge with the constant rain fogging my goggles and making it harder to see. We were approaching the fifteenth jump, an in-and-out ditch, then out again and through a corridor lined with hedge and finally over a flat top wooden bench with flowers and distractions galore.  Underneath my seat, the energy gathered in Manny’s legs as he prepared himself for the down and away slope of the jump.  But right when the massive grey stallion was ready to leap over the split rail four-foot-high jump, the ground under his hooves gave way, throwing him off balance.
                I lost my seat. My forward momentum did not change or slow down when he did. I was launched out of the saddle and over Manny’s head. I had fallen before, many times.  But this went wrong. When Manny clipped his front legs against the rail, he threw up his head. It connected with my left arm and I could hear the bone snap. The sudden noise, so close to his ears, startled the big grey stallion, who then flinched. I hit the ground with my right leg underneath me. Before I reacted, the off-balanced horse landed on my legs, causing the stress fractures and small breaks from the initial fall to worsen.  Finally my head snapped back, smacking the ground with enough force to crack my helmet into several pieces. After that moment, I can’t remember much of the coming weeks.
People ran around screaming for an emergency stretcher, while I did the only thing my body would allow given the circumstances: I passed out. Apparently my fall created a lot of activity with horse and human ambulances having to slog through waist-deep mud to our position. Manny was physically fine, just a few small cuts, but emotionally he was a wreck. Those hurts would take a long time to heal; in the grey baby’s eyes the fall was his fault. I wasn’t as lucky. A traumatic brain injury would make it three weeks before I woke up, and when I did it was to discover a lot of things changed while I was away.
My next conscious memory was wondering if I wanted to wake up or go back to sleep. Deciding I probably needed to wake up and check on Manny, I began the arduous task of opening my eyes and using my voice to speak. Slow and cautious, I pried my lids open. I was in an intensive care unit, tubes and wires connecting me to a bizarre combination of quietly beeping machines. Under my nose, tubes carrying oxygen breezed around my nostrils. My left wrist was in a small cast as well as my right leg all the way up to my mid-thigh. I felt like an abused rag doll, and my head pounded with every beat of my heart.
Noise in the corner drew my attention as someone shifted in the hospital chair. Someone else was in the room.  My head was well bandaged and my senses were overly drugged. The lights in the room were low, curtains pulled and the blinds closed, but I discerned the shape of a person sitting in a chair close besides the railing. Before I could adjust to the shock of waking up, the door opened and a nurse entered.
Right behind her was my friend and partner, Sebastian Faeroe.  Bas was oblivious to my opening eyes. He concentrated on trying to convince the young nurse to have dinner with him. I had to chuckle below my breath. Bas was constantly picking up women. It’s easy when you have billions in the bank. But he always came home alone to me, Davy, and our third business partner Karl. The women were all part of his public façade.
“Just dinner,” he was saying. “I know the best little café, right down the street. We could chat, get to know each other and then you can be back at work in no time. Come on, you have to eat, so why not with me?”
The nurse shook her head but the response was not very convincing to her or to me. “The hospital has a policy against dating patients or their families or spouses.”
“Well, that makes it perfect!” The smile on Bas’ face went from ear to ear. “I’m not family or spouse.”
“Aren’t you the father of her daughter?” I heard the waiver in her tone. It was just a matter of time before she fell for Bas and/or his money. Of course, he was very good looking in addition to filthy rich.
I watched the nurse as she took my vital signs and made notations. Every so often she glanced over the clipboard at Bas. Wavy dark blonde hair with deep green eyes, Bas worked out every day in addition to eating only organic foods. His accent hinted of the finest boarding schools in Switzerland and his clothes were hand tailored by the same store that had outfitted Faeroe men for three generations. Old money and a casual elegance all rolled into one glamorous package, it was no wonder so many women fell for his charm. I certainly had.
Bas chuckled. “I plead the no comment to that accusation. Evie and I are friends, and business partners. I refuse to assist speculation as to the details of our relationship.”
“Well,” the nurse mused. “I suppose one dinner wouldn’t be against regulations.”
“Excellent!” Bas always got his way.
The other visitor in my room laughed, with that polished silver voice I recognized so well. “Bas, do you ever stop playing the horn dog?” Lady Rachel Tattinger asked.
“Why would I want to stop?”
Through half-open eyes I studied my boss . Sebastian Faeroe was a multi-billionaire from the south of Spain. He preferred to keep most details of his private life as hidden as possible. I worked for him, riding and training his horses for almost ten years, and along with our other business partner  Karl Bittner no one knew more about Bas than I did. All three of us had learned to keep each other’s secrets well.



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

JANUARY FROST - a Taste of My New Novel

Okay, I know I promised this excerpt on Monday, but this week hasn't been great in terms of work. Too much reality not enough writing. But without further ado...



JANUARY FROST - a contemporary romance due out this Fall from Keith Publishing...

Evelyn Graham-Frost had it all, an award winning career riding her champion stallion, Snowman all over the world; wealthy business partners who adored her and her daughter Davinia, and freedom from the painful memories of her past. For ten years everything has been a storybook existence. But every high has its opposite.
Riding for the Global Cup championship in the middle of a downpour, Evelyn suffers a career-ending fall. Awakening from a three week coma, she discovers more than her body has changed. Her partners, Sebastian Faeroe and Kurt Bittner, called in Davinia’s grandmother, Lady Rachel Tattinger, and filled in the woman on Davinia’s parentage.
Despite wanted to remain separate from Grey Cliffs, the farm where she and Snowman were raised Evelyn realizes her days of financial independence are over. Without a rider, ‘Manny’ can no longer compete, meaning no more money for his broken owner. Lady Rachel makes an offer Evelyn cannot afford to turn down: return home and become the trainer and manager of Grey Cliffs. It means a home for Evelyn and Davinia; a place for Manny to stand as stud, and the chance to introduce her daughter to the father she has never met, the new lord of the manor, David Edvard Tattinger, III. The first and only love of Evelyn's life.
Evie accepts the position, knowing her daughter’s needs are more important than her pride. But is her heart ready to see Trey again? Evelyn needs time to deal with the flood of emotions that have accompanied her return to Grey Cliffs. The unsolved car wreck that killed her parents, the argument between her and Sir David which drove her away from everything she loved – these are but two of the issues begging for her attention.
Training horses and riders for Grey Cliffs is Evelyn primary responsibility. With seven advanced students to assist her, Evelyn sets her sights on returning the barn to its days of former glory. However, with the brace on her right leg, her own mobility is severely limited. Despite what she knows will be disapproval, Evie begins riding just as soon as the doctor approves.
Preparing for the largest race of the year, the Greenway Cup, Evelyn and Trey find their old passions awakening and soon she relents, allowing Trey to know she still loves him. But memories of Sir David’s assault spook her, awakening questions the entire community never asked. This time however, Trey stays by her side, comforting and supporting her.
As the year rolls over to January, and a massive snowstorm prepares to assault the Greenway, Trey and Evelyn find themselves again fighting an unknown enemy; one who is prepared to go to any lengths to keep the truth of Daniel and Alise Graham-Frost’s deaths hidden and to keep Trey and Evelyn apart. Even if it means killing again!


EXCERPT: 
JUNE, TWO YEARS AGO
My only clear memory of the accident itself is overwhelming pain.  I remember every detail of my preparations for that ride.  It was a brilliant mid-summer day. The sky was clear, deep blue with high, light clouds, but rain was forecast for later in the day. The temperature was cool in the morning, but heated up as the sun climbed higher into the sky. I remember arriving at the complex that morning, spending extra time getting my massive stallion Grey Cliffs’ Snowman, or ‘Manny’ ready for his divisions, and thinking about the promises I made to my daughter Davy, and my business partner Sebastian to make this show season our last. Manny had been ready as a farm stud for a while and it was his commercial viability that set the tone for the rest of our barn family.  As long as I needed to jump and run away, Snowman would take me.
When the storm front arrived, the rain was intense, clouds carrying lightning, accompanied by hail and buckets of water.  By the time Manny and I were on the course, the ground was a combination of ankle deep mud and shallow rivers. Once we were committed, I spent a great deal of time encouraging Manny as we worked our way through the sludge with the constant rain fogging my goggles and making it harder to see. We were approaching the fifteenth jump, an in-and-out ditch, then out again and through a corridor lined with hedge and finally over a flat top wooden bench with flowers and distractions galore.  Underneath my legs, the energy gathered in Manny’s legs as he prepared himself for the down and away slope of the jump.  But right when the massive grey stallion was ready to leap over the split rail four-foot-high jump, the ground under his hooves gave way, throwing him off balance.
            I lost my seat. My forward momentum did not change or slow down when he did. I was launched out of the saddle and over Manny’s head. I had fallen before, many times.  But this went wrong. When Manny clipped his front legs against the rail, he threw up his head. It connected with my left arm and I could hear the bone snap. The sudden noise, so close to his ears, startled the big grey stallion, who then flinched. I hit the ground with my right leg underneath me. Before I reacted, the off-balanced horse landed on my legs, causing the stress fractures and small breaks from the initial fall to worsen.  Finally my head snapped back, smacking the ground with enough force to crack my helmet into several pieces. After that moment, I can’t remember much of the coming weeks.
People ran around screaming for an emergency stretcher, while I did the only thing my body would allow given the circumstances: I passed out. Apparently my fall created a lot of activity with horse and human ambulances having to slog through waist-deep mud to our position. Manny was physically fine, just a few small cuts, but emotionally he was a wreck. Those hurts would take a long time to heal; in the grey baby’s eyes the fall was his fault. I wasn’t as lucky. A traumatic brain injury would make it three weeks before I woke up, and when I did it was to discover a lot of things changed while I was away.
My next conscious memory was wondering if I wanted to wake up or go back to sleep. Deciding I probably needed to wake up and check on Manny, I began the arduous task of opening my eyes and using my voice to speak. Slow and cautious, I pried my lids open. I was in an intensive care unit, tubes and wires connecting me to a bizarre combination of quietly beeping machines. Under my nose, tubes carrying oxygen breezed around my nostrils. My left wrist was in a small cast as well as my right leg all the way up to my mid-thigh. I felt like an abused rag doll, and my head pounded with every beat of my heart.
Noise in the corner drew my attention as someone shifted in the hospital chair. Someone else was in the room.  My head was well bandaged and my senses were overly drugged. The lights in the room were low, curtains pulled and the blinds closed, but I discerned the shape of a person sitting in a chair close besides the railing. Before I could adjust to the shock of waking up, the door opened and a nurse entered.
Right behind her was my friend and partner, Sebastian Faeroe.  Bas was oblivious to my opening eyes. He concentrated on trying to convince the young nurse to have dinner with him. I had to chuckle below my breath. Bas was constantly picking up women. It’s easy when you have billions in the bank. But he always came home alone to me, Davy, and our third business partner Karl. The women were all part of his public facade.
“Just dinner,” he was saying. “I know the best little café, right down the street. We could chat, get to know each other and then you can be back at work in no time. Come on, you have to eat, so why not with me.”
The nurse shook her head but the response was not very convincing to her or to me. “The hospital has a policy against dating patients or their families or spouses.”
“Well, that makes it perfect!” The smile on Bas’ face went from ear to ear. “I’m not family or spouse.”
“Aren’t you the father of her daughter?” I heard the waiver in her tone. It was just a matter of time before she fell for Bas and/or his money. Of course, he was very good looking in addition to filthy rich.
I watched the nurse as she took the vital signs and made notations. Every so often she glanced over the clipboard at Bas. Wavy dark blond hair with deep green eyes, Bas worked out every day in addition to eating only organic foods. His accent hinted of the finest boarding schools in Switzerland and his clothes were hand tailored by the same store that had outfitted Faeroe men for three generations. Old money and a casual elegance all rolled into one glamorous package, it was no wonder so many women fell for his charm. I certainly had.
Bas chuckled. “I plead the no comment to that accusation. Evie and I are friends, and business partners. I refuse to assist speculation as to the details of our relationship.”
 “Well,” the nurse mused. “I suppose one dinner wouldn’t be against regulations.”
“Excellent!” Bas always got his way.
The other visitor in my room laughed, with that polished silver voice I recognized so well. “Bas, do you ever stop playing the horn dog?” Lady Rachel Tattinger asked.
“Why would I want to stop?”
Through half-open eyes I studied my boss. Sebastian Faeroe was a multi-billionaire from the south of Spain. He preferred to keep most details of his private life as hidden as possible. I worked for him, riding and training his horses for almost ten years, and along with our other business partner Karl Bittner no one knew more about Bas than I did. All three of us had learned to keep each other’s secrets well.
I decided this was as good a time as any to let everyone know I was conscious. My voice rasped and was broken from tubes inserted in my throat during those lost days. I barely managed a rather ungraceful croak, similar to a large bullfrog. It was enough to capture their attention.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Racing Full Speed in to Fall

When Labor Day is over I always feel a sense of sadness. Summer, as far as I am concerned, is over and it is time to start the race through fall. Between horse shows, football, festivals and school every day and every weekend is packed to the rim with activities. The days begin getting shorter, the evenings cooler and my power bill goes down. Positive and negatives balancing their order in the universe.

Fall is my favorite season and not just because it's the season of my birthday. In fall, the air seems cleaner and the blue of the sky is bright enough to blind you. The crunch of newly fallen leaves under the horses' hooves as we trample through the forest on trail rides is soothing to my heart and soul. Watching the turn of summer into the dying embers of fall, a reminder of our limited time of this earth.

Memories of Friday night football games mix with after game dances in the high school gym as I wander the many long ago falls of my youth. They are followed by Saturday morning's of raking yards and burning leaves, along with hay rides, pumpkin patches, and bonfires. A simpler childhood, uncomplicated by electronic devices of all nature. How I have often longed for my children to have that same peace we enjoyed so many years ago.

Not too long ago our girl scout troop went to a corn maze during Halloween. The girls spent hours chasing each other around through the dying corn stalks, laughing ,shrieking at times, as each met with others in the 20 acre maze. Afterwards we all drank hot apple cider and sat around the bonfire roasting marshmallows to make s'mores.  As the hour grew later, the camp songs started and soon even strangers were singing along with us.

The simpler things in life bring us together, remind us we are a community of like minded Americans. They make the harshness of the conflicts around the world seem far away. I know that sounds horrible, but don't we all need a little escapism every now and then?

Oh...
BTW - the helpful hubby is turning 50 this weekend, so I'll be back on Monday with a preview of my first contemporary romance, January Frost, due out this fall from Keith Publishing.  Stop by and check it out!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Returning to My Passion While Keeping My Day Job


Good morning, and welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group! I blogged with everyone until earlier this summer when life took over and all my hopes, dreams, and aspirations had to go on the back burner. I'm so glad to be here again, and hope to have many new friends to hop with as well!

Like I said, life got in the way. Isn't that what always seems to happen?  Five years ago, everything seemed to be going my way. Our family business was running smoothly and my helpful hubby gave me the green light to step back and write. It was what I dreamed of for so long, I should have known something horrible would go wrong.

And it did.

Now, three important people in my life have died, my sales person quit, my husband's health has gone down the drain and I'm back to working full time.

Life is what happens when you tell God your plans. So everyday I pull up my big girl pants, paint a smile on my face and get done what I can. So what if writing happens every night after the late night shows? At least I'm writing. For three months I wrote nothing, not even Facebook posts. 

I felt empty. What I really was, was pissed at life. Why do some people get everything their way while the rest of us struggle just to get by? What did I do in a previous life to deserve the crap I've been dealt in this one? Basically, I've been having a major pity party and spreading my 'happiness' every where I went. 

As a writer, you want to write all the time. I want the freedom to set my own agenda for how my days are spent. Unfortunately, that's just not going to happen anymore. But I'm getting okay with that. I wrote my first novel working at night, over 100K words in a little over five months for the original draft. So I know I can, but it isn't what I wanted.

So, off I go again on a new dream. Yes I am a writer. Yes I have a full time job. Yes, I want to do both. No, I'm not crazy. I don't make enough money as a writer to quit my day job. Yet.

We have to have our dreams. They power the words and the worlds we create. Without dreams I wouldn't have ever put the first word on paper. Following my dreams has helped my grieve the loss of loved ones and the postponement of my career. I won't stop now. I know if I make it through the valleys, the hills will be so much sweeter.

Be sure to visit other Insecure Writer's on the hop. We love visitors!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Good Morning!  I hope everyone had a super Labor Day Weekend!

Time to start another month, and who better to start the day with than a little dose of Monty Python front man, John Cleese.  

Cleese is a fantastic actor, author, comedienne, you name he's done it.  I have enjoyed everything I have ever seen him do, including 'Fawlty Towers", which over here you had to watch in the middle of the night because PBS didn't carry Brit Com during prime time viewing.

So, Happy Monday, Happy September, and don't forget your SPAM, SPAM, EGGS, and SPAM!!


ALERTS TO THREATS

IN 2013 EUROPE

From JOHN CLEESE

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.


The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.


The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.


Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."


The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbour" and "Lose."


Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels ..


The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.


Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be right, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is cancelled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level.


Regards,
John Cleese ,
British writer, actor and tall person


And as a final thought - Greece is collapsing, the Iranians are getting aggressive, and Rome is in disarray. Welcome back to 430 BC.

Life is too short...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Happy Labor Day!




The end of labor is to gain leisure.




Labor was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labor, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Madonna, Miley, and the VMA's

Let me start by saying I did not watch Miley Cyrus' performance live. I was busy writing (nights are my time to focus on WIPs), so I didn't see what all the hub bub was about until this morning.

Well, where do you start?

First of all, I like some of the singer's music but last night was not about music. This was one young lady's way of telling the world she isn't the little wig-wearing Disney princess anymore. While I certainly question her taste, the entire performance was large and in charge. Not since Kanye bum rushed Taylor has an awards show been front and center before the event was even over! While I know Justin Timberlake won the big award, I couldn't tell you any of the other winners without looking them up.

That brings us to the taste element. MTV strives everyday to push the boundary of non-subscription television, and this was no exception. Let's not forget this is the same network that brought us the Kiss Seen Around the World between Britney and Madonna; and will Eminem ever truly forgive Sasha Baron Cohen for sticking his crotch in his face? Not sure I would!

Extreme television sells, and every wild performance simply leads to the producers working to be more outlandish next year; and because we all remember how scandalous the previous one, I don't see an end to this trend anytime soon. 

What I would prefer is to see these homages to artists and performers turn to cable television as a pay-per-view event, or if they would show the awards on live television (with a delay) but put the musical extravaganzas on You Tube or some other streaming video service. I want the option of watching the event without wondering whose going to take the dive into the deep end of the pool.

Since I don't see this happening anytime soon, I will take the higher ground and consider the source. Would I expect less from MTV? No, and neither does the viewing public; we have come to expect the outrageous and would have been disappointed if nothing happened. Sort of like the spectators in the Coliseum when the gladiators fought, we want to see the blood shed.

All that said, Miley is over twenty-one and in charge of her own life. If she wants to push the envelope, it's hers to push. More power to her, but that sort of fame tends to be fleeting. Here's to hoping she finds her niche soon, before any credibility as a serious performer becomes over-shadowed by her theatrics.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hello and Thanks for Holding On...

Well, after being offline for most of the past four months, I have returned. I know all of you were so miserable without my witty observations on life, the universe and everything else, but rest assured I am back and ready to resume my duties as a voice. What have I been doing? Working, writing, and trying to stay dry! This has become the year of living wet in the South. It has rained more days this summer than in recorded history!

Here is a list of the highlights of my sabbatical:
1 - Finished and submitted the first of a five book series in YA. Not usually a field I write in, but my darling daughter is a teenager and I wanted something for her and her friends.
2 - Went back to work on a full time basis at our special events family business. That alone seriously curtailed my blogging, and I apologize deeply for deserting my friends and followers.
3 - Began Book Three of the Guardian Stories - working title: "The Purity of Fire"

When I look at this in print, it doesn't look like much, but trust me - it's been a three ring circus around my life. It seems the more I long for a vacation the more things come up. But in the long run I know it is a good thing. I tend to write better when I feel stressed. For example - I started "Fire" five days ago and I already have over 35K words. As my target for Book Three is 100K, I'm really moving along.

One thing I have implemented is taking at least one full weekend day and going off the grid. I don't go on Facebook, I don't Tweet, I don't even check email. Instead I spend the day interacting with the family, playing with the horses, detoxing from the week. It is amazing how much that one day relieves my stress level. As a side benefit, things with the helpful hubby are getting better since I'm not spending every free moment I have with my nose in the laptop.

Another accomplishment of this recent mental clarity is we have completed the final edits for my next release - "January Frost".


"January Frost" - Evelyn Graham-Frost had it all: a career she loved, a beautiful daughter, amazing business partners, and no personal entanglement. After running away from love at eighteen, she put that portion of her life on hold, preferring to bottle up her pain at the tragic parting from her first love, Sir David Tattinger III, Lord of Grey Cliffs. But a career ending injury has suddenly brought the past into collision with the future.

Returning to Grey Cliffs means returning to the home of her childhood, the place where her parents were tragically killed in a traffic accident. It also means coming to terms with Trey and the dark secret that drove her away. Ten years is a long time to repress emotions, and now in order for her body to heal, Evelyn needs to face what happened that night. The night Trey couldn't protect her.

In the rush to escape her past, Evelyn ran headfirst into the future. But to live in the present, she will have to return to the one place all paths seems to head - back to Grey Cliffs. But whether that includes Trey's arms is an entirely different matter!

I don't have the cover art as of yet, but I will share as soon as I get it back. Anyone out there who does book reviews who would like a review copy, please let me know so I can get the ARCs out there.

Well, that's enough for tonight. Stay tuned for my next rant - Windows 8, Office 2013 and incompatible systems and how they can slow your progress to a crawl.  Thanks for hanging in - I promise I won't flake out again!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

'T' is for Turnips, Again


Today I wanted to stop about talk about what's going on in my little corner of the world.

Spring is here in full swing and the pollen count is off the scale. Several days the yellow haze in the air is a swirling cloud move around the state, blessing everything in its path with an even coating of pollen. Even after the rain storms, all the puddles have yellow rings around their evaporated edges.

This past weekend we spent time working up on the farm. Hubby worked moving bulls to new pastures and collecting branches off the fence lines while I started straightening up the garden for another year of delicious vegetables. Which means, fighting Round Two with the reoccurring turnips.

I don't know how many of you were with me last summer as I ventured out of the writing room and into the garden for the first time in many years. Long story short (look it up - it was funny!), I despise turnips. They took over my garden last year and some of my seeds never recovered. I lost my carrots and peppers along with watermelons to an infestation of turnips. This year I vowed would be different.

I pulled an 800 square foot plot of turnips. That's right, root and all, just pulled those suckers out of the ground. Then I sprayed with a mixture of white vinegar and soap to kill whatever might remain.

Let the games begin again!



Monday, April 22, 2013

"Q,R and S' belong to Quite Right Sir!


In more than just an effort to get back on track, I have lumped these three into one resounding statement of praise to the Boston and other Metro Area police departments along with all those involved in the investigation and resolution of the Marathon Bombing.

In less than one week the case was solved, the suspects confessed to the carjacking suspect, and one is in custody awaiting resolution of his case. Some people are upset he hasn't (as of this posting) been read his Miranda Rights. In a case like this I do no think it is an abuse of his rights. Let's exam the facts.

1 - They committed an act of terror on this country. This is tantamount to treason in my opinion, and those who commit treason abdicate their rights as citizens.

2 - He was shot in the throat, making communication minimal at best.

3 - We, the USA, need to know if there are any others of his political ideas ready to unleash other homemade explosive around the country.

If, as some have speculated, this younger brother was only following an admired older brother, then he will give all he knows as soon as he can to negotiate a life sentence instead of the death penalty. But if he is equally guilty, then he should be treated as an enemy of the State and his rights are forfeit.

A huge shout out to the people of Boston for their collective response to the entire week. From bombing to lock down to joyous resolution they have exhibited the very best of what it means to be an American - faith in God, faith in country, faith in their elected officials.

Let us pray we don't have to experience another day like April 15, 2013 anytime soon.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

'P' is for PARTY!


'P' is for Party
'A' is for All Night Long
'R' is for Right On!
'T' is for Take Your Time
'Y' is for Y'all come

An old cheer from my high school days. With the mess going on in Washington, the bombing in Boston, and the explosion in Texas I think we could all do with a little partying this upcoming weekend.

When I was younger, partying meant drinking, smoking and acting like a crazy person. Now that I am middle aged (there - I admitted it), I don't drink anymore. I quit smoking almost 27 years ago, but I can still act crazy. So I began thinking of was to decompress from this week.

1 - Run Away from home. This only works if I don't take my cell phone. They always manage to find me.

2 - Ignore the world and do what I want to do. Yeah, like that'll ever happen!

So this weekend I am going to the garden and spray the existing weeds and vegetation before plowing. Then I'm going to paint garden stakes and get my house in order. If I'm feeling really wild, I might even cook something I've never tried before.

Sounds totally boring right? Well, I've reach the stage of life where boring is sometimes exactly what I need to counterbalance the out of control chaos that is my work. Especially right now in the wake of what happened in Boston.

I do public and private events. Now my public events are going to consist of even more scrutiny than before, which means more chaos and regulations and headaches. More problems for the majority of us who have nothing more in mind than a peaceful happening.

In short., my ideas about partying had significantly changed the older I got. That doesn't mean I don't like to thrown down and boogie to some good music. It just means that the company of good people, with diverse conversation and excellent food can be just as much fun as drinking all night and passing out.

Minus the hangover or urge to puke.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

'O' is for Outrageous Humor


After a really crappy start to this week, I decided a little Monty Python was order for Hump Day!


Hope this makes your day a little brighter!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

'N' is for Needless Violence


I was all set to write about something witty and shallow when I heard about the bombings in Boston. So I redirected my thoughts and today is devoted to those who were there, those who were injured, those who lost their lives needlessly.

Fear, in my opinion, is the worst of all emotions. It drives us far from reason. But those who inflict fear through acts of terrorism do more than just incite fear. They take from us the one thing we all value - the illusion of civility.

It's all well and good to hear about bombings in the Middle East and Europe. We've made ourselves immune to the unstable environment in those locations. Americans are the original NIMBYs. (Not In My Back Yard.) Wars are fought elsewhere, riots happen elsewhere. Until 9/11 we considered ourselves an impenetrable fortress, a continent unto ourselves. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Was this an act of terrorism? Absolutely. The more important question is: was this foreign or domestic terrorism?

Americans have gradually gotten used to the idea that people around the world hate us for no other reason than we are Americans. That we can handle. But to think someone within our own borders would cause such senseless violence is terrifying. We are all one, aren't we?

The role call of violence in America since the 1990s is shocking: Waco, Oklahoma City, Atlanta Olympic Park,  Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown. But wait, you say, some of these were shootings, not bombings. That doesn't matter. An act of terror is designed to create fear and damage. All of these accomplished that mission.

As a nation we must be ever vigilant to keep those who seek to destroy us, whether from without or within, from seeing the true legacy of their actions. Are we content to let ourselves become the doormat of the planet, or will we rise up stronger and more resolved? Only "We, the People" can make that determination.

Rise Up America and take back our Happiness. Remember those who have given their lives to these senseless acts and never let their sacrifice go uncelebrated. They are the ones in whose name we carry on. Let's make them proud.

Monday, April 15, 2013

'M' is for Mondays



Good Morning from the letter 'M'.

There are many things I could have written about that start with the letter 'M': menopause and all its joys, maternity and the joys of motherhood. But as the letter falls onto a Monday, how could I write about anything else?

As the Ramones once proclaimed, "I don't like Mondays." Even when I was in school I would prefer to have nothing on Mondays, just to ease back into the week from the excess of weekends. Today is no exception.

I just produced the largest of my spring events and I am pooped. In ten days, my company built a small city, which for eight hours on Saturday contained more than 18,000 people. It was a beautiful day, perfect weather, perfect food, perfect friends.

Sunday I spent most of the day in bed. I did some writing. I did some sleeping. I watched some bad movies but mostly I just worried about what comes next. When you put on an event of that magnitude, there is a letdown afterward of will I be able to top this? Is this all I can do or is there more?

I want more. I just want it to come Tuesday through Friday.

Happy Monday everyone, and may yours be a productive, profitable, pleasurable day.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

'K' is for Keeping My Day Job


Time moves forward in steady ticks of a measured clock,
I listen, intent for knowledge and direction to our rendezvous.
My heart listens for your approach, needing you near me.
I pause but the forest is empty.

Perhaps the day long avoided has arrived and you,
Longing to stay were unable to delay the appointment.
For truth and death wait for no one, least of all you.
The one who mocked the Specter

And so alone I must go on, bearing the memory of you
With me as I flee before the righteous frenzy.
Perhaps one day the heavens will grant up mercy.
Until then we must wait, apart.

Alas for truth, whose bite is so cruel to lovers.
If not for justice ours would be a lost tale for all ages.
But now I must go, before the final nail is set in my back.
I pause, but the forest is still empty.


I've never been much for poetry, but thought I might give it a whirl. But now, "Blazing Saddles" is starting, and I need a good laugh!.

Tomorrow, or so, will be 'L'

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"J' is for Juxtaposition


Juxtaposition is the act or placement of two things (usually abstract concepts) near each other.  Here are a few of my favorite. This is no particular order, just as they appeared in my directory.


This one reminds me of my kitchen at this point in time. I've been working on overdrive so no one has been to the grocery store. Also, when I am stressed I eat strange combinations of food, like peanut butter, jelly, and bologna.  Yeah, I know.



Having worked on high school and college news papers, I am acutely aware of the multitude of decisions which accompany page layouts, but this one takes the cake.




This is my favorite. The simplicity of the yin and yang represented in coffee and milk. Basic. Crisp. Elegant. Coffee.

What are your favorite juxtapositions? Anyone use them in their writing? In what capacity?

Tune in next for the Magical Letter 'K'

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

'H' is for Horses, My Heart and Cause



Today is brought to you by the letter 'H'.

Anyone who knows me learns very quickly I am a passionate advocate for animal rights, especially dogs and horses. I thought at first I might write about the horrific decision by Oklahoma to reopen horse slaughter plants, but then I realized instead of focusing on the plight of excess animals at one end of the pipeline I needed to focus on the truly innocent.


These are nursemaid foals. They are the babies who are ripped from their mother's as soon as 2 days after birth in order for the mother to nurse the foal of a better, more profitable mother; or worse the foals of mares who are kept pregnant to produce urine for female hormone replacement drugs. (Another reason I refused to take hormones.)

Most of these innocent babies are killed by the owner/breeder, usually with a hammer to the skull, for the mere crime of being 'extra'. The only reason they are extra is the big money machines driven by breeders looking for the perfect horse to make them rich, and the labs needing PMU by the tanker.


This picture was taken only days before this little one was taken away from her mother. Luckily for her, and seventeen other nursemaid foals, Pure Thoughts Equine Rescue in Florida has purchased these innocents (that's right, the owner would rather kill them with a hammer than give them away!). These babies will be raised on their farm for many months to come but they will be up for adoption to qualified homes.

What we do to animals, all animals, in the name of money and glory is an abomination. As a species humans should be ashamed. If you are looking to add a pet to your family, whether a cat, dog, donkey, or horse. consider adopting from reputable animal rescues in your area. In doing so, you will save two lives: the one you take home and the one the rescue can save into that spot.

If you are interested in learning more about the Nursemaid Foals of South Florida, please check out: Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue Nursemaid Foals on Facebook. Please consider sending a small donation to help with the expense of raising so many infants.

Monday, April 8, 2013

'G' is for Gingers


Today is brought to you by the letter 'G', and my favorite word that starts with that letter, gingers:


 Ha Ha, fooled you. These are ginger plant flowers, also known as Beehive Ginger. And that is today's Random Plant Monday.

(Sorry for the lack of my usual acerbic wit, but it's been a long weekend. I promise to be better tomorrow!)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

'F' is for Football, Especially in the South


I know that is it spring, but already teams are readying themselves for the Fall Gridiron Spectacle known as Football.

Don't get me wrong, I love baseball. Maybe one day the Braves will actually make it all the way again. I wonder if they hold the record for most times close but never there? I remember going to watch the games at the old Atlanta Stadium back in the 70's, where a ticket got you into the door, but there were so few people you could sit wherever you wanted.

I saw Hank Aaron hit quite a few of his home runs, listened to the games on the AM radio my father kept beside his bed with my pillow on the floor; but always and forever the fall weekends belong to football. On Friday night it is the high school games with their sense of community.  But Saturday the gloves come off and it is time for old rivals to square off again as college ball takes center stage.

We are a house divided. I cheer for the blue & gold of Georgia Tech. My son, alas, is a UGA Bulldog. And if that wasn't bad enough, now my daughter is hell bend on attending Auburn. Go War Eagle.

For those who manage to survive Saturday, grab a hair of the dog and hang on because the Falcons play on Sunday. That slides us back around to Monday where we will gather around the water cooler and debate the various games and teams until Friday rolls around and we start the entire circus all over again.

Yep, I love baseball, but give me a case of good old fashioned hatred anytime!

Friday, April 5, 2013

'E' is for Escher


I love the drawings of M.C. Escher. As a small child, my parents had a coffee table book with about two dozen of his words and I could spend hours looking at them, tracing all the possibilities with my finger. For those not familiar with his work, Escher is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. These feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations.

In plain English, his works appear to have no beginning or ending. Here are a few of my favorites:


This is his "Stair" composition. Dizzying, isn't it.  And another, this time one of his tessellations, "Pegasus":


One last optical illusion for your day:


Refreshed and renewed don't forget to tune in tomorrow for 'F' is for Football!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

'D' is for Dogs, of Which I Have Two


It's Day 4 of the 'A to Z Blogging Challenge', which means today's letter is 'D'. So I feel I need to brag on my dogs. My husband will laugh to hear I am writing about the boys; he says they don't need the attention. But I love all my four legged pets, they are part of my family just as my children.


This is Ketka's Meriadoc of Buckland, commonly known around our little corner of the world as Merry. He came to us from a breeder in Michigan. Merry is a Norwich Terrier, and he lives to be loved. This picture doesn't show it, but he is actually laying on my helpful hubby's legs watching television. If you lay down on the carpet, he will lick your face so long you will actually not be able to breathe. He's a lover, not a fighter.

 
 
The white fuzz ball in the bay window is Peregrin, Prince of the Halflings, aka Pippin. Yes, here is the other adventurous hobbit. A West Highland White Terrier, we rescued Pip from a pet store. He is my boy; when we ride together to work he has a tendency to slide into my lap while I drive. We have an easy rhythm together and our lives would be slow without him.
 
My animals are just as much a part of my family as my children. Together we form a strange pack: Four humans, three horses, two dogs, and one cat. But we all get along, and having the patter of four little feet around the house is comforting.
 
Thinking of bringing a new animal into your home? Please consider a pet from either a reputable animal rescue or shelter. And don't be afraid of an older animal. They have just as much love as a puppy, and they need more reassurance. They've already been abandoned once.
 
AND... no matter where you find your next family pet, please spay or neuter to help control the pet populations.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

'C' is for Confidence - Insecure Writer's Support Group


Today is Wednesday, April 3rd and the first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog day. Hoping to kill two birds with one blog, here is the letter 'C'. In a strange twist, I have chosen Confidence as my topic for IWSG and A to Z Blog Challenge.

Am I a confident writer? Not by any stretch of the imagination. When I put words on paper for the public to examine, it is putting a piece of my inner most soul on display for others to abuse or adore as they see fit. There is no power within me at all to determine which emotion will triumph. The words are an extension of me; if they are rejected how can I not take it as a personal rejection? The words and the woman are intricately woven as one.

I don't think I am alone in this feeling. Any performer who puts a part of themselves out there for the world, be it an actor, musician, or writer. Of course, that doesn't make it any easier. But with each rejection letter another piece of the armor is forged. I will be stronger for the journey than I would be if immediate success came without work.

That is what makes me open the computer night after night, writing the scenes that fill my head night and day. Therein comes the topic of the day - Confidence.

I am confident that no matter how long it takes, how many hills I must struggle to climb, I will keep writing. It is a part of me just as much as breathing. And that is enough for me.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

'B' is for Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning


I was searching for "Blooms", thinking I would talk about flowers and Spring. Instead I was ambushed by diagrams for something called the Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning. Having studied Psychology in college before deciding I didn't want to listen to other people's problems for the rest of my life; I was interested at once. Part of my previous incarnation was administering standardized tests.

Basically, this triangle illustrates how our brains process information. Just as with the famous 'Food Group' pyramid, you start from the bottom and move upward. 

Now, why did this interest me as a blog topic for "A to Z Blogging"? This is similar to the process I use when creating new characters for my different series. I remember what the character has already revealed to me. Then I understand how they fit into the overall story. I apply the character to the story and analyze what his/her impact will be to the story arc. I then evaluate the positive and negative of the character in the long range forecast, and create the final version. 

It isn't perfect, but I find it works will with my particular form of attention deficit disorder. Maybe some of my readers can relate. Otherwise, happy "B" day, please return on Wednesday for "C". This will be a dual posting, as the first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop Day. No telling what I will find that starts with a 'C' to mesh into both groups, but that's what makes it all fun. I love a good challenge. 


Monday, April 1, 2013

'A' is for All About Me


Today is April 1st - April Fool's Day, and the beginning of my journey through the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge. The object is to post each day, except for Sunday, using the appropriate letter of the day as the beginning of your subject. In that spirit, here are 18 Random Things About Me, your host for this stop on the tour!

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Thank God, no although Nancy Sinatra was popular around the time I was born.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? March 18th. But that doesn't mean anything, I might cry an hour from now, who knows?

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I love my handwriting, except when there is a paper to be written. God Bless Computers and why didn't we have them when we were in school!?!?

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Turkey or Roast Beef

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?  I have two prime-time drive commercial-driven consumers, both in target demographic ages, but I still can't get the Nielsen people to ask my opinions!

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I'd like to think so!

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM? Only when I'm being sarcastic.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Nope, but my Happy Husband does, can't wait for that surgery to come around. 

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? There isn't enough money or tequila in the entire world to make me jump. I have an extreme fear of unconfined heights. 

10. FAVORITE CEREAL? Peanut Butter Bumpers. An Organic peanut butter cereal that puts Cap'n Crunch to shame.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Nope!

12. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? It depends on my mood. Most times I will order chocolate chip, but I might go with Cherry Vanilla or Chocolate Raspberry if I'm feeling crazy.

13. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Their eyes, followed closely by their hands. Those two things can tell you a lot about a person.

14. RED OR PINK? uh, neither.

15. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I can be very lazy, especially if I am working on a new storyline.

16. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My daddy. He died more than 20 years ago and not a day goes by I don't wish I could pick up the phone and ask his opinion on things.

17. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD? Macaroni and Cheese made from scratch, with real butter and real cheese. (I have great cholesterol thank God!)

18. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Blue jeans and Cowboy boots, what else is there to wear on a wintry spring morning?


There you go, a few pieces of useless trivia to start this month's project. Stop back by frequently, I don't know that I have 26 topics worthy of blogging about but I intend to find out!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Getting Ready for April Challenges



I've decided to bite off a challenge. I might be crazy but it sounded fun. Basically, the challenge is  Blogging From A to Z. You use a letter of the alphabet for each day.

So I am gathering little pieces of trivia, story ideas, book reviews, and anything else I can think of to accomplish this feat. I can't promise each post will be a masterpiece, I hope that there will be something for everyone.

And now I am off to do more research, maybe right a few more words, and try to figure out why this year seems to be flying by at the speed of light. Along with why it is late March and we have freeze warnings in the Deep South along with thunderstorm warnings.

See everyone on April 1st for " 'A' is for April!"

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lucky in Love? That Depends



Lucky in Love? Well, are you? It's a time of luck and wealth...or not. With each romance we find ourselves in a new world of love and memories. Are these just by chance? Is it luck? Welcome to your second annual Lucky in Love Blog Hop where we want to hear about your love, your romance, and how much you love St. Patrick's Day!!! Are you wearing green? Ready to get pinched...or wait...do you like that?


Almost 300 bloggers have giveaways and posts about those men we love!



But that's not all....

We have TWO grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

Now what are those prizes?


1st Grand Prize: A $100 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
2nd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!
 
 
 
Have you ever met a couple who were lucky enough to have found their one true love? Sometimes they are insufferable to be around, always completing each other's sentences and sharing the same clothes (which is weird on a different level all together). But my question has always been: was it luck that brought them together or something else?
 
For example: Let me introduce Will and Frankie. Raised in two different geographic regions of the country, they met at the theatre in a small college town. Will was tall and handsome, outgoing and talented in music as well as academic subjects. Frankie was quiet and beautiful, smart as a whip and working her way through graduate school.
 
Two different people there never were. He liked to go out dancing, visiting with friends, being seen. She was more interested in reading at the library or taking long walks through the woods near the campus. But their relationship worked because of their differences.
 
They complimented each other in the areas they needed it most. She would follow him out into public, letting him take the lead and talk for her. He would go with her to the library and work on his own projects while she indulged in her favorite authors.
 
After only six months together, they married. Then came children and careers, moves and relocation that covered most of their years until at last all the kids had flown from the nest and it was just the two of them, remembering how it had been all those years ago, dancing to the music only they could remember.
 
However, happy endings are hard to find, even if you are lucky. First Will fell ill, and they couldn't discover what was wrong. Then he had a stoke, which eventually led to his death, many years too early. That left Frankie alone, with no Prince Charming to share the newspaper with or to go for a walk. But it was OK, because she knew they would be together again soon.
 
But the years ran away, 5 years then 15 years. Soon it had been 20 years alone, and the loneliness is overwhelming. The saving grace? The failing memory which gifts her with visits from her Will when none of the rest of us can see him.
 
Are they lucky to have found each other? Absolutely. Was it fair for Will to die young and leave Frankie alone? Well, who ever said life was fair?
 
So go be lucky, who know what you might find? My parents (whose names have been changed because otherwise I'd be in trouble!) found each other in the middle of nowhere during a war. If it is meant to be... who needs luck?