Saturday, May 30, 2009

Coming Soon


Is this yummy or what? Red Rose Pub's cover artist, Nancy Grayson Donahue, did such an awesome job of capturing the essence of my World War II story, soon to be published. I'm very excited...somehow receiving the cover makes it real!'

Of course, now I have another video trailer to make. Gee, I'm my own best customer. *smile*

Note: I'm camping, remember. This message brought to you through the awesome scheduling option of blogger. I'd like you to picture me beneath a huge awning, waterside, sipping a tall cool Mai Tai, but you'll have to make that one a virgin. I'm still recovering from Parvovirus 19B and probably fighting the urge to pee on a tree. *lol*

Friday, May 29, 2009

Escaping the Confining Walls...

But while, I'm gone, sitting by the lake and sipping a nice cool drink, enjoy my latest video trailer for Sisters in Time, coming June 7th.

AND THE WINNER IS...

Before I reveal the winner of the $25.00 Amazon Gift Card, I would like to thank all the talented people who took the time to submit an entry. I think they were all well-written and I wish I could award a prize to each person, but unfortunately, my appreciation will have to do for all but ANITA DAVISON, the author of Entry #8. Anita is a multi-published author who writes historical fiction. I'm a fan, so it was no surprise that she ran away with the contest. Congratulations, Anita.

I promised I would identify the writer with their piece, so I shall:
Entry 1 = Sarma Burdeu
Entry 2 = Brenda Weaver
Entry 3 = Cheryl S.
Entry 4 = Mark Chapman
Entry 5 = Melissa Gilsan
Entry 6 = Diane Scott Lewis
Entry 7 = Anon
Entry 8 = TA DA...Anita Davison
Entry 9 = Sally Odgers
Entry 10= A.J. Ryan

So...again, my appreciation to each one of you and to Anita....the card is in the mail...or it will be, shortly.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Our Inner Archetypes

I was never as fascinated with archetypes as when I picked up Tami Cowden’s HEROES AND HEROINES. Wow, a whole encyclopedia of male and female personalities. Only problem was, I quickly realized I wasn’t focusing on the character examples that were used in literature and film, I was thinking about myself and the people around me.

Oh no. Could it be? I was a “Librarian.” A dull, down to earth, nose-in-the-book female, with a primal need to be swept off my feet by some bad boy. Ooo! Ooo! There was my best friend, Stacy. Yeah, she was defiantly a “Spunky Kid.” There wasn’t getting anything by that girl. And…how sweet! Yep, my dear husband fit right into the “Best Friend” category. Wait a minute! Wasn’t this book supposed to enrich my writing?

I reconsidered the heroes in my work. There was definitely a pattern. As a “Librarian” archetype myself, I was drawn to certain kinds of hero archetypes, much like a librarian character would be. Even when I created a different heroine archetype than the category I fell into, I was pairing her off with heroes that appealed to me. Was I forcing men on my poor helpless heroines?

Thinking about heroes and heroines is more important than we realize, before we start putting together a new manuscript. It’s one thing to lay out a plot, but to head into the unknown with only a mental image and some backstory on our characters, is really wasting time and watering down the potential of our story’s electricity.

Consider Scarlett and Rhett? Would there have even been a GONE WITH THE WIND if Rhett Butler in his “Bad Boy” way hadn’t been riveted to that saucy Southern “Seductress”? And what about Stephanie Meyer’s TWILIGHT? I’ll go out on a limb and say every girl’s favorite vampire is a “Lost Soul.” Would a “Bad Boy” have appealed to our spunky waif, Bella? Probably not.

I’ve taken another step in my author growth by spending time studying archetypes. Realizing who I am as writer, or, what character traits I am automatically drawn to, has given me an awareness to write not only more specifically, but to branch out into other personalities. So know your stuff when it comes to bad boys, best friends, and those alpha males. But break out of your own archetype and discover where you are coming from. Give yourself permission to create characters you never knew you had in you.

Danielle Thorne
www.daniellethorne.jimdo.com


Bio:
Danielle Thorne published poetry and more for over fifteen years while freelancing the family life market. Her first two novels will be available at www.Awe-Struck.net in 2009. Danielle is a member of Awe-Struck Authors, Epic Authors, Writers and Readers of Distinctive Fiction, Classic Romance Revival, The Sweetest Romance, and is a Long and Short of It reviewer. She lives south of Atlanta, Georgia. Visit her at www.daniellethorne.jimdo.com to find out more about her and her historical, THE PRIVATEER, just released!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ever Hear of Fifth Disease?

Well, neither had I. It's usually characterized by a mild rash and is often referred to as 'slapped-cheek' illness because of the obvious rosy appearance. I had no idea when Spencer was diagnosed the week before school let out how it would affect me, so I thought I would share. I'd never heard of this condition or it's real name...Parvovirus B19.

Here's the email I sent to my friends who knew I've been ill for weeks:

Hi,
I'm using the cross posting method to let you all know what I found out at the doctors today. As most of you know, I've been ignoring the computer in lieu of sleeping and trying to feel better. After a visit to three doctors, the final one being an internist, I discovered that I not only had a severe urinary tract infection, I had contacted a virus usually associated with Dogs. Yep...I tested positive for Parvovirus B19.

I'd never heard of it before, but it's the human strain and quite contagious. I didn't put two and two together until I looked it up on the internet and discovered it's also called "Fifth's Disease," something Spencer was diagnosed with right before school let out for summer. You think the school would have issued a warning to the parents, but... in children it's mild...(also known as 'slapped-cheek' syndrome because of the red rash), but in adults, it takes on an entirely new meaning. Every joint in my body was swollen, stiff and ached. I itched all over but didn't have a rash. I could barely get up and down. Couldn't flex my fingers or toes, and my hips hurt like hell.

Thankfully, I'm feeling so much better today, and I think Nr. Nachnani tested me for about everything. I love the man and I'm so happy I found him because the second doctor just handed me a handful of anti-depressant samples and sent me on my way. I'm sending him a note with hopes he doesn't discount his other female patients the way I felt he discounted me.

Parvo B19 usually takes four-six weeks to run its course, and I'm about midway. Horrible fatigue and diving blood pressure are the other symptoms. I've never felt this bad before and it scared the crap out of me.

I also learned that my Vitamin D was at the bottom of the barrel, so I'm taking one pill (50,000 units) a week for eight weeks. My test also came back positive for Lupus, but the doctor believes it may be the result of the parvo virus. I hope so, because that's an autoimmune disease and horrible. My sister Gwenn has it. When she gets sick...it's with multiple problems. Another reason the school district should have sent home warnings when symptoms manifested themselves in the children. Where's the accountability?

I have to have this whole battery of tests again in two months when I'm free of the virus. Anyhow...I haven't totally fallen apart, just mostly.

Of course, all the way home, I muttered to myself about being the butt of a joke for having a disease associated with canines when everyone else is worried about Swine Flu. Of course my husband lived up to my expectations and proved my point when he asked if I'd been sniffing crotches. God, I hate him sometimes. :)

Tomorrow's Thursday's Tourist

Author of Historic and Romantic Fiction!

That's what Danielle Thorne's website proclaims, and I'm so proud that she's joining us tomorrow to share her successes with us. I'm sure she won't mind if I 'borrowed' her trailer to help welcome her to "Dishin' It Out."

Final Four Entries

ENTRY 7

The bloodhound's strength almost pulled Greg Jordan off balance, and the leash bit into his palm as the animal lurched forward, having again caught the scent he followed. A three-year-old child had gone missing, and determination surged through the off-duty deputy. Although Greg looked forward to his days off, finding the little girl was far more important than watching sports and guzzling beer.

Lack of sunlight made it hard to see, and the foliage grew denser with each step. On both sides of him, the footfall of other searchers trampled through the thick grass and their voices called the child's name. The dog stopped at the edge of a large pond or Greg might have walked right off the bank. Fog drifted from the surface like steam from a heated kettle and a musty smell hung heavy around him. He swallowed hard when the bloodhound sat with eyes fixed on the body of water and whined. Greg turned his gaze to the sky. "Oh, God, please tell me she didn't drown."

ENTRY 8

Horizontal rain lashed Peter’s face and icy cold water seeped down his neck. The leash slid through his fingers and the dog broke loose to career toward a neighbour's fishpond. Peter swore loudly, confident no one would be out in this weather to hear him.

Now what? He'd have to be some sort of hero to go in after her. Was any woman worth this? He didn't even like dogs, especially not leggy, slobbery ones who refused to obey basic commands. Going back without the animal wasn’t an option, or his chances of a date with Miranda would be non-existent.

Following the flash of a waving white tail, Peter stepped from beneath the eerie sulphur fog of the streetlight and plunged into near darkness. His foot sank into sticky mud at the pond’s edge. He swore again as the mutt bounced in the water like a goat, mouth open and tongue lolling in glee.

Peter eyed the wood beyond the neighbour’s garden. It would be dark soon, and if the daft animal took off in a bid for freedom, he would be tracking her through the trees all night. Taking a deep breath, he eased closer, one arm extended.

'Here girl. Let's get you out of there and back to Miranda's blazing fire.’ Steady rain pattered the surface of the pond forming ripples. His hand closed on the drenched, scrawny neck and the dog crabbed sideways into deeper water, whimpering.

'Now you're scared aren't you?' He hooked a hand beneath the dog’s collar and hauled her upwards into his arms. Furiously paddling paws scrabbled against his chest as he searched for the trailing lead and slipped, cursing again as icy water soaked his jeans up to his thigh.

Was shaggy dog-drowning a crime?

Something bumped against his leg and tucking the squirming bundle of soaked fur beneath one arm, he shoved away the object with his other hand. Peter glanced down, then leapt backwards, his grip on the dog tightening until she yelped. His gaze fixed on a stiff, white hand that bobbed in the water – attached to an arm, on a body.

ENTRY 9

Dog Day, Fog Play

Some hero! Sim thought, as he pawsed in the fog.
I’m not a bloodhound or a real tracking dog.

Why should I care for detection of crime?
or splashing through water in autumnal time?

And why, when I time-travel into the past
am I stuck in a fur-form? A canine is fast

but a human can interview suspects at least
and no one tries putting a man on a leash…

There must be a reason to make me a dog
and send me a trekking and tracking in fog.

They’re wanting a hero, or so they aver
But damn it, a hero should never wear FUR!

ENTRY 10

It was the fog. That’s how he was getting away with it, how he had gotten away with it—so sparodically, so randomly—for so long now. He did his killing at night, under the cover of mist. He wasn’t fixated on a certain area or location; this killer didn’t restrict himself to a certain town or state. It was a specific setting that attracted him: a remote bridge on a foggy night. The cops who had been tracking this guy over two decades across several states called him the Troll, and they weren’t wrong—the man was nothing if not a monster. His M.O. was simple and savage, his victims all young males, handsome, college-student-age, their mutilated bodies found in the shallows of small rivers and streams. As Josh Parker drove the car through the soupy veil, he swallowed hard, suddenly feeling way in over his head. He wasn’t doing this to try and be a hero, he was just your average Criminology student with too much passion for his chosen path. Exactly what made Josh think he could solve this crime was a mystery even to him. Was he following a hunch? A student’s suspicion? What the heck was he doing, daring to drive through the dead of night toward a lonely river that was renowned around campus for its late fall fogs? Whatever it was, Josh drove slowly through the blanket of mist as he neared the river, and slower still as he steered onto the rickety old bridge, the buckled, weather-worn boards groaning under the weight of the car until he feared the entire bridge might collapse. He stepped on the brake and cut the engine. Then, against his better judgement and driven more by his undying curiosity than any rational thought, Josh took a deep breath and stepped out of the car and onto the bridge.

Through the swirling fog that filled the beams of the car’s headlights, he saw something up ahead. At first he thought it was a sack or a bag of trash lying on the road in the middle of the bridge, but as he moved slowly closer, he realized it was an animal. A large black dog, lying dead on the road. The river trickled and giggled far below. The planks bowed and moaned as Josh stepped cautiously around broken boards towards the lifeless animal. When he reached the dog, he knelt. Warily he placed one hand on the dead animal. That’s when he felt a whimper escape the beast. It wasn’t dead at all. In fact, laying there in the veiled beams of the headlights, the dog didn’t even look injured.

Suddenly alarm bells rang, and a thought slashed across his mind—while Josh had been busy working out the profile of a serial killer, he forgot to look at his own profile.

Handsome.
Young.
College Student.

Alone.

He never saw the hand reach up through the broken boards of the rickety old bridge. All he felt were those gnarled fingers lock around his ankle and his head crack against the wood as he was pulled through the splintered planks into the giggling, fog-covered waters below. The last thing he heard was the savage barking of the Troll’s pet dog, now jumping back to life on the bridge above after pretending to be dead. Then the swift current of the river filled his ears and the black water filled his lungs. Cold at first. Then flooding with warmth. The warmth of his own gushing blood.


NOTE:
So similiar, yet all very interesting and attention grabbing. Now it's your duty to vote for the BEST of the BEST using the voting Poll on the left-hand side of the blog. I'll announce the winner on Friday, after my wonderful Thursday Tourist, Danielle Thorne.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Second Batch

ENTRY #4
The cloying mist closed around Roger Thompson. The sickly-sweet stench of death made it difficult to breathe—as if a giant white-gloved fist gripped his chest, making it impossible to fill his lungs. He knew he’d never be able to find his way back through the swamp in all this fog. That was Sherlock’s job. “You’ll get me home, won’t you, boy?” he whispered. The bloodhound looked up with sad eyes and wagged his tail.

Roger pulled the flap on his trench coat tighter to his throat and buttoned it against the chill. I had to be the hero, didn’t I? Roger shook his head. No case too big or too small.' Solving a murder is a job for the cops, not a P.I. What the hell am I doing here in the middle of the night, tracking a killer? I oughta have my head exami— He cursed and pulled his foot from the muck, nearly losing his shoe. He watched for a moment as the fetid water filled the impression he’d left behind. It’s always the dames who sucker me into these things. Always the dames He shrugged. Enough wool-gathering! Get back to earning your fee. Roger straightened his shoulders and gripped the revolver in his coat pocket all the tighter. He has to be close. Keep your eyes ope— The crack of a rifle shot pierced the mist and Roger slumped to the ground, facedown in the mud. Sherlock trotted over to him and licked his cheek, once and then again. When the man didn’t move, the dog lay down beside him and whimpered. Thick blood trickled down the back of Roger's skull and slowly dripped, dripped, dripped onto the ground.



ENTRY #5

Water splashed around their ankles as the search party spread out into the early morning light. A thick coating of fog blanketed the pine forest lending the already unnervingly perfect rows another layer of unspoken menace.

Jacob rolled his head on tired, tense shoulders and tried to forget the grisly crime scene he, and his best tracking dog, Beau, had been called on. Standing almost fifty feet away in the woods the woman had looked whole, merely resting with her back against the tree. But as they neared, it became obvious that different parts of her pallid frame decorated the stand of pines like a macabre work of art.

"Easy, Beau." Jacob pulled the dog up as the bloodhound bayed, having caught the scent of the killer over the water. "Wait for our back up, this is no time to be a hero."

ENTRY #6

Rain splattered his face as Jacob ran along the cobbles into the alley. The man ahead squeezed through the dimness, his long coat flapping. Dank and decay dug into Jacob’s bones, his heart racing. The alley spilled out onto the waterfront. The Thames stank and gurgled under London Bridge. Fog rolled over his shoes as Jacob slowed to catch his breath. Where did the scoundrel go?

Hands grabbed his shoulders. Jacob whirled about. “Did you catch him?” Amy asked, her face stark white in her cloak hood.

“I told you to stay in the coach, my dear. This is no place for you.” He put his hand over her small, cold one. Now he’d have to worry about her as well as the thief.

“I thought I recognized the man. He might be my husband,” Amy whispered.

“Your husband? I thought you were a widow.” Jacob saw the fear in her eyes. “Well, he’s disappeared now. Let’s get you back to the coach.”

He put his arm around her and they turned to walk back down the alley. At a snarling noise, Jacob halted. Eyes shone from the depths of the alley. A large brute of a dog, blocked their way, teeth bared.

Monday, May 25, 2009

One Little Change


Due to concerns that people would vote before reading each entry, I have removed the poll and will put it back on Thursday. For those two people who already cast a vote, I hope you will return and vote again after all entries have been displayed. I felt posting all ten at one time would be a bit overwhelming. I apologize for the confusion...but hey, I'm on drugs. (legal ones)

Writing Contest

Due to my recent ill health, the posting of my contest entries was delayed. I received ten submissions for the competition, and I will post three today, three tomorrow and the remaining four on Wednesday. There will be a poll on the right hand side on Friday for you to cast your vote. The winner will receive a $25.00 Amazon gift certificate for their effort. I have omitted the names and instead will use entry numbers, but I will announce the name of the winner on Friday, May 29th.

Remember, the following items have to be used in the "storyline in some fashion."

hero
dog
fog
tracking
crime
water

Also try to judge based on the presentation, tenses, and showing rather than telling.

ENTRY #1

Wispy white fog teased between the trees lining the path through the park. A perfect night for a crime, Tom Sheldon thought hopefully as he walked towards the car park. Not much chance of that, he answered himself. 'Noooooo,' a loud cry cut through the fog and a figure emerged from the mist and onto the path some distance away, looking towards Tom, then in the other direction. Coming closer he saw it was a woman, holding something. A dog. A wet, bedraggled dog which sneezed loudly and wetly as stopped next to them.

'You've got to help me,' the dog's owner tried to clutch at Tom's hand from under her pooch's rump. 'Someone grabbed Peaches and ran off into the fog then threw her into the pond after they took her collar.' Tom knew dog owners could get hysterical on occasion, but over a collar? 'Please,' she clutched his wrist harder. 'We've got to track them down.

ENTRY #2

The fog was thicker than pea soup. Randall really didn’t want to be a hero but the thrill of the hunt ran in his blood. He’d often wondered why he had become a crime scene detective when in actuality he would rather be in the canine unit with his dog Rufus, tracking killers through swamps and hell hole bogs down in the Louisiana Bayou country. He stopped and listened. He heard the trickle of water as it ran down the path a few yards away. He had to be careful. One slip and he’d be lost to the night forever.

ENTRY #3

The sound of a dog's frantic barking split the quiet night air as Cameron crept stealthily through the bayou. Squinting through the thick fog surrounding the area, his eyes slowly adjusts to the murky darkness and his gaze lands on the source of the dog's agitation. Moving closer to inspect the form he sees floating atop the water, our hero finds it is the prone body of the crime lord he had been tracking.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ginger, thanks so much for the welcome here on your blog!

I’m Clare London and I write male/male erotic romance for several publishers, including Eternal Press, where I first met Ginger. She was a tremendous help and support to me in my early days of publication, and has remained a friend throughout.

A little about me: I’m having a busy and hectic 2009 so far, with two novels released and a small clutch of short stories. I live in London, and juggle writing with a full-time job, busy family and an internet addiction that keeps me at a screen most of every day. My nightmare is being without internet access – and I’m just about to go on holiday for a week to a part of England that has none LOL.

Find out all about me and my books at http://www.clarelondon.co.uk/ and please let me know if you first met me HERE!








I wondered what to blog about today and then I saw those lovely flowers in Ginger’s introduction. I haven’t had a bouquet like that since before Hubby and I had the terribly-consuming, exhaustingly-lively, frustratingly-alien kids LOL. And it’s from a friend, not necessarily a lover. We should treasure friends, of course we all know that. Ginger has become a good and trusted friend to me, though we’ve never met, and possibly never will. Just look - she’s sick this week but she still found the time to come online and welcome me here.

So I’m blogging about…Friends.

*Friend-this, Friend-that.
In my humble opinion, the word ‘friend’ can be used rather too loosely. We talk about people we know as ‘friends’ – we have a ‘Friends List’ on our blogs and social networks, when sometimes it’s just a list of people who’ve added us to their list, or who follow our fiction and vice versa. I’m not saying we shouldn’t welcome anyone and everyone who likes to be in contact. I love that myself! And how else will we ever meet new people or add value from mixing with them? But for me, I deal with it in different ways. For me, there are Friends and then there’s what I laughingly call my Trust Folder.

*Me the Geek.
I get on with many people but at the heart of it, I have only a few I’d call real Friends. I’m quite shy in some ways, plus I’m close with my deepest personal information. I’m also a little cynical and a lot cautious. That’s in general, not with anyone or any set of people in particular. So my Trust Folder is small, and it’s a mix of real life and online people. People occasionally move in and out of the Folder, but I stay loyal to those who were there in the first place.
Do I sound like a real weirdo? LOL

*So what makes a real friend?
It’s quite clear to me. It needs to be someone I feel relaxed with, in that they have the same attitude to the important things in life, like tolerance and compassion and kindness and honesty and integrity. The same sense of humour helps too! Then it doesn’t really matter if they live a continent away, are a totally different age and background from me, even a different race.

*Can it be someone we’ve never physically met, or even spoken to?
I don’t see why not. It certainly makes things better if you’ve met, but I can feel close to someone I’ve only ever met online. It’s difficult, in that you can’t build the same connection with shared experiences, but I’ve met a couple of my US friends more often than I have ones in the UK, so that’s not the only parameter.

*What does a Friend bring to us?
That’s support and joy and the pleasure of sharing. We authors can enjoy feedback and technical help and sometimes a shoulder to cry on. And as people, not authors, we can be rewarded with company and amusement and fun.

*The person behind the words.
Something important that I’ve seen discussions on recently is appreciating and respecting the person behind the words. It was in the context of ebook piracy – a colleague of mine has challenged us to think whether pirates would be less brazen if they *met* the person behind the author’s name. You don’t have to be everyone’s friend, but there should always be respect and tolerance behind any relationship, even several steps removed.

*What’s this got to do with writing?
Fiction is built on the friends premise, either because it’s there or because it’s lacking. Romance builds from it, against it and sometimes despite it. My books are full of people, not just m/m romantic relationships. Some are friends, some not, but it’s the interaction that keeps us alive and interested.

*And finally, thanks to my Hostess with the Mostest!
Ginger and I write in very different genres, yet we admire and like each other across that. A character in my new book ‘True Colors’ says of two friends – “Strikes me you’d kill for him, but you won’t live his life for him. And that’s how a true friend should be.” Yes, I know that’s very melodramatic LOL, but it’s based in truth too.

Hell, that’s much more than I intended to write today LOL. I must be feeling sentimental. Not a bad thing, eh? Don’t forget to let me and Ginger know if you have any thoughts on this yourself.

Happy reading and friendships to you all! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Bouquet of Roses for My Guest

I'm leaving behind a bouquet of red roses for my dear friend and Thursday Tourist, Clare London. It was my lucky day when Clare and I both signed with Eternal Press. She's been an inspiration, a support, and a truer friend that any I can imagine. My door is always open, and I hope you'll make her welcome.

I know she won't mind if I pirated a little information from her website:

Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fueled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fueled family home.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Graduation?

May and June are traditional months to congratulate and celebrate graduation. For over two decades, I worked at an institution of higher education and participated in the joy felt by those achieving their diplomas and credentials.

Today, I had a sad thought, realizing how much I missed being part of the big event, but then even sadder when I read, The number of unemployed persons increased by 563,000 to 13.7 million in April, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has risen by 6.0 million, and the unemployment rate has grown by 3.9 percentage points.

These hopeful young men and women are coming out of college with expectations that might not be met. There are no jobs to be had, and certainly no one spent thousands of dollars and hours on a degree only to land a fast food position.

President Obama has put a big emphasis on the importance of education, but I think the bigger issue is where do the thousands of graduates coming from the hundreds and hundreds of graduating college classes all over the country fit into the grim employment picture? Sadder now for our family, my unemployed husband and sister now have even more 'over-qualified' people with whom to complete. Thank goodness for the big $25.00 per week boost the unemployed recently received. Perhaps it might cover the 19 cent per gallon increase in gasoline over the past week. :)

Regardless of the grimness. My congratulations to all who have completed their educational endeavors. And my very best wishes. You've done yourself and your parents proud.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday's Fiction - A Man's Perspective

I'm pretty sure this is the first review I've had done by a male peer, and I was quite pleased that Rob Appleton ventured outside his "comfort" zone and picked my book to read. We exchanged comments about the ending, because, clearly, when I wrote this book, I knew people would either love or hate a veer from the norm, so I truly understand his comments. Once I explained my reasoning, I think he agreed I had done the right thing. The other reviews I've received, to my great surprise, have supported and praised Sarah's conclusion. I'm so honored that he enjoyed my work. If you haven't read any of Rob's books, you're missing a great treat. Like Sarah's Journey, you can find them at Eternal Press

REVIEW: Sarah's Journey by Ginger Simpson

Sarah's Journey

by Ginger Simpson

Historical Western Romance
eBook
72,000 words
Eternal Press
http://www.eternalpress.ca/sarahsjourney.html

1850. Somewhere on the Santa Fe Trail...

Sarah Collins awakens to a scene of utter carnage. Everyone in her wagon train headed for California has been slaughtered during a savage Indian raid. Weak and dazed, Sarah finds one survivor, her best friend, and sets about trying to revive her. But the poor woman’s arrow wound is mortal. She dies. Sarah is now completely alone in the world—homeless, penniless and stranded. In scene after scene of arresting pragmatism, we come to know Sarah not by her misfortunes, but through the resourceful ways in which she deals with them. This is a woman of her time, an upstanding, God-fearing daughter of pioneers, and she is going to survive.

Soon after starting her journey back to civilization, Sarah happens on the body of a (seemingly) dying Indian. Irony rears its head and bites her—in the form of a rattlesnake—when she tries to take his horse and ends up in his care. He slowly nurses her back to health. Against all odds, on the road to Independence, an unspoken attraction develops between the two. His name is Grey Wolf. He is a handsome man of mixed blood—his father was white, his mother was Indian—who sees the world through eyes every bit as pragmatic as Sarah’s. Will their true feelings for each other win out? What will happen when they reach Independence?

Sarah’s Journey is a heartfelt Western romance that doesn’t merely settle for being a romance. Its themes of intolerance and defining one’s own identity are prevalent throughout. The protagonist is a sensitive yet uncompromisingly moral woman, a spinster on the verge of love. She is by turns abrasive and adorable, and particularly in the final third of the story, adorably abrasive. For Sarah, equality is not an ideal but an absolute. Woe betide anyone who suggests otherwise. Yet for all her forthrightness, the biggest obstacle she faces is in her own heart—forbidden love.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Simpson’s recreation of Western life. The word that kept coming to mind as I read this story was uncompromising. Little is omitted, whether it be gruesome wounds, the preparation of herbs and food, Sarah’s body language, or the precise terms for the different noises made by a horse. I loved seeing all this research come to life. The author’s passion for the period and particularly for her characters shone throughout. This was clearly a labour of love. The only quibble I had was with the ending. I suspect many will lap it up, but I found the concept more compelling than the execution. I was hoping for a more bittersweet denouement. Nevertheless, it took a brave writer to end her novel that way. And having never read a woman’s western before, I can say unequivocally that Ms. Simpson, like her heroine, has real gumption.

--Robert Appleton


Don't miss this superb story at Eternal Press:

http://www.eternalpress.ca/sarahsjourney.html (eBook)

and now in paperback at Amazon!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bad Boys and why we love them


I wanted to thank Ginger for letting me be a tourist on her blog. We have run into each other online through publishers and yahoo groups and I consider Ginger a very good cyber friend. Maybe some day we will meet.
We are together once again as I've just signed a contract for my romantic suspense Incendiary with LBF books. (yeah!)

Onto the bad boys.

The bad boy holds a special place in my heart. I married the antithesis of a bad boy, but for some reason they hold some appeal. Maybe because I can watch them and be friends with them without worrying about succumbing to their charms. Not that I think I ever really succumbed to anyone’s charms. I don’t trust anyone that much and you come on strong I back off.

But they are fascinating.

Let me clarify. Bad boys are not the kind you see on cops with their girlfriend/wife/mother/sister yelling at them from the trailer. These are men who are so enamored of women that they have studied them for years.

Probably since birth.

What are some of the traits of a bad boy? He’s fun. He’s confident. He’s good in bed. (Or at least he thinks he is.) He thrives on being bad and he knows how to get you to do what he wants. He has studied women for years and knows every type and how to get past their defenses. Think about your hero. Wouldn’t he be fun to write this way? Wouldn’t it be fun to live vicariously through a guy like this? (What? You don’t sometimes imbue your characters with traits you’d like to have?)
So bad boys come in all shapes and sizes. He doesn’t need to be an ex-Special Forces guy. He can be that college professor or the accountant who does your taxes. Wow. Now I really want to write a bad boy in my next book.

Bad boys study women endlessly. They don’t just know generalities about women. They know specifics about the women they are pursuing. There is a certain charm in that. They do see women as individuals. During the chase. After, probably not.

He isn’t a player. A player will brag, only go after one type of woman and cares only enough about them to get them into bed. A bad boy is discreet about his conquests, likes all women and does know more about them then just how to get them into bed.

Doesn’t that sound like a fun hero of a romance novel?

He doesn’t have to be ex special forces.

My boss is a former bad boy. He’s a paramedic who used to be a paid firefighter.

Why do you want your hero to have bad boy qualities? Because it can stir up the story and give it conflict.

How does a bad boy do this? What are the techniques? There are three of them: Tell you that you are beautiful, encourage naughtiness, occasionally fight.
Don’t all of those sound like a hero in a romance novel?

Bad boys know how to compliment a woman in a way that is unique to her. They don’t go for the obvious, but rather something very personal to the woman. Think about giving your heroine some unique trait. Maybe she snorts when she laughs. He finds that irresistible. So he’ll comment and compliment her on it. But he does it in a way that she isn’t offended.

It will most likely take her off guard. She’ll respond.

Think of the buttoned down heroine getting to let loose with her bad boy. She goes out and buys that party pack of glow-in-the-dark ribbed condoms. Haven’t you ever seen someone really let loose? It’s invigorating to watch.
Or think of that person who doesn’t laugh very often. Getting them to laugh is so cathartic. There was a deliver guy at a library I once worked at. He went about his business and never made eye contact. That’s a challenge to me. So I said hello to him every day. By the fifth time he said it back. I think one of the librarians within ear shot had never heard the guy’s voice.

That’s how a bad boy feels when he can get a woman to let loose.

Think of the possibilities.

Today I’ve just scraped the surface of what a bad boy is and how you can use him in your writing.

Chris Redding lives in NJ with her husband, two boys (one of which is a bad boy to be) a dog and a rabbit. When not writing she works in the male dominated field of Emergency Medical Services. She is teaching her full online course about men, Show Up Naked, for the Northeast Ohio Romance Writers in July. For more details about her books visit www.chrisreddingauthor.com.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Visitor This Thursday

This week, I swing open the gate and allow Chris Redding to hold the spotlight in my Thursday Tourist slot. I hope you'll log on tomorrow and see what she has to say.

I visited her site and 'borrowed' a little information about her:

Chris’ desire to become a published writer began at an early age. When she received her first A on a story she wrote in fifth grade, Chris knew she wanted to be an author. However, writing romance fiction books didn’t enter the picture until later in her life. She didn’t read many romance books growing up, but after college, discovered the genre fictions of mystery and romance. Her favorite authors are Suzanne Brockmann and Lisa Gardner, both of whom she has had the pleasure of meeting.


NOTE FROM GINGER: I'm sure I'm not among her favored authors because we haven't actually 'met.' *lol* We do tend to share the same publishers though, and I always consider myself in good company when she's around.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Woman to Woman

I read this shared post with great interest because it really applies to so many cases. The friends I've found on the internet have replaced the co-workers who I assumed would be friends for life, stepped in when a sister wrote me out of the family registry, and lent a much needed shoulder when I felt alone and desperate for friendship. Families become dysfunctional in ways you never imagined, but I've found "virtual" sisters I value more than they ever will know. The older I get, the more I understand why women turn Lesbian. It isn't for the sex, it's for the understanding and companionship. No one understands a woman like another woman...at least in most cases.


Butterflies

Time passes. Life happens. Distance separates. Children grow up.

Jobs come and go. Love waxes and wanes. Men don't do what they're supposed to do.

Hearts break. Parents die. Colleagues forget favors. Careers end..

BUT......... SOME sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girl friend is never farther away than needing her can reach.

When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, some of the women in your life will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end.

Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you...Or come in and carry you out. Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters,daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, Mothers,Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended family, all bless our life!

(NOTE from Ginger: I vote "AYE" for the extended family...all the "sisters" who support me every day with their praise,encouragement, and love.)

The world wouldn't be the same without women, and neither would I. When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other. Every day, we need each other still.

Pass this on to all the women who help make your life meaningful. I just did.Short and very sweet: There are more than twenty angels in this world. Ten are peacefully sleeping on clouds. Nine are playing. And one is reading this post at this moment.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Entries are Coming In

I've received a handful of entries and will post them all on the 20th. I'll have a 'poll' in the sidebar that will allow you to vote for your favorite, so please come back, read and vote for the cream of the crop.

There's still plenty of time to submit your own creative piece, so share the word and let's have lots of people in the competition. Remember, the winner get's a $25.00 Amazon gift card. Given the economy and the fact that we're all unemployed in this household, that's a mega gift from my standpoint. *lol* I'd love to give away a new car, but I'll leave that to Oprah...she can afford it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Writing Contest


A short time ago, I announced a writing contest starting May 8th. You need not be an author to enter...anyone can submit.

Rather than supply the entrants with a single sentence as I previously stated, I'm providing a list of 'components' that must appear in a one or two paragraphs. The genre is "Mystery/Suspense" and the winner will be judged by readers of my blog. Please EMAIL your entry to me at Mizging.

Depending upon how many entries I receive, I will post them here in the course of one week. You have until May 20th to submit your "winning" paragraph.

Here are the 'items' that must be used in some fashion:

hero
dog
fog
tracking
crime
water

Example: SHOW how a hero tries to find someone who committed a specific crime. Fog, dog and water must play a part in the plot.

It should be easy, but try to make your submission stand out with a good hook and lots of suspense. The winner will be announced after the voting is completed, and one lucky person will receive a $25.00 Amazon gift certificate.

Get those fingers moving on the keyboards. I've ordered the prize and will have it ready to send when I announce the winner. I won't mind at all if you use the card to buy one or more of my books. Of course, the choice is yours. *lol*

"Fan"tastic Friday



I'm very honored to have the opportunity to interview Yvonne Perry on my blog. This is one talented lady, and if you haven't subscribed to her newsletter, Writers in the Sky, you are missing a wealth of information and an opportunity for free promotion. Yvonne is also a Tennessean, and I hope to meet her in person one day soon.

Without further ado, let me ask her some questions so we can find out more about her:

Yvonne, you’ve created such a wonderful Web site in “Writers in the Sky.” What prompted you to spend so much time creating it?

Since people are more and more Internet savvy these days, they look online when they need a writer or editor. The first thing I did when I started my business was to get my domain name and set up a Web site so people could find me. The site I had from 2003 to 2008 only had a few pages, and there were several services combined on one page. While it looked nice, I didn’t feel that it functioned as well as it could. I now have a separate page for each service we offer: editing, writing, and book promotion services. Plus, there are individual pages for our newsletter, podcast, blog, and my full bio. This allows me to use specific keyword phrases in the text and tags that search engines can easily match to a seeker’s query.

If I go to a Web site and can’t find what I’m looking for, I immediately move on to another site. I figure other folks do the same; so, I need to give my visitors a reason to stay on my site long enough to discover everything we have to offer. It needs to be user friendly, look nice, and function well. My new Web site allows me to offer resources, demonstrate writing samples, showcase team members, and feature the books of clients my team has worked with. It also serves as a basic storefront for my personal books. While all my books are on one page, each book links to its separate blog for detailed information. In a nutshell, my Web site is my shop or store on the Internet. It invites, greets, and serves the needs of those who come there. But like any store, it will not thrive unless people know about it. Therefore, I drive traffic to the Web site by using other online marketing efforts.

I see that you promote many ‘paid’ services to authors, but you continue to solicit free postings for you monthly newsletter from any author who cares to contribute. Besides being a very generous offer of free promotion, how does this benefit you?

If someone posts an announcement in my newsletter, they will probably sign up to receive the publication in order to know when their piece is distributed. If they are happy with the results, they will tell their friends and they may also subscribe—thus, a viral distribution of the newsletter occurs. Because new folks subscribe daily, WITS is in front of more people each time it is issued. This keeps me in consistent contact with my readers. The content-rich information has helped me build a loyal audience so that when I launch a new product, they are the first to know.

I note that you’ve ghostwritten a number of books. I’ve always been interested in how you become a ghostwriter. Could you divulge a little information about this part of your career?

When I started my company in 1999, it was an administrative service that I operated on the side while working a day job. As I began to get more assignments for writing, I switched gears and founded Writers in the Sky in 2003. I soon became known as a ghostwriter because (unknown to me at the time) the keywords I was using in my Web site’s meta tags and descriptions was attracting mostly clients who wanted someone to write books for them. Now that I understand how to write Web copy to attract the attention of search engines, I have magnetized more editing projects and clients seeking author publicity and query letters, and I appeal to corporations who want to outsource business writing such as Web text, resumes, biographical sketches, cover and sales letters, white papers, industry-focused articles, and media releases.

If you could share only one valuable tip with other authors, what would it be?

Your book is your business, not your baby. If you want your book to sell, you have to detach from it enough to receive constructive criticism that will help you improve it and make it sellable. But, by the same token, you must be passionate enough about your book to promote it with consistent enthusiasm. Marketing a book actually requires more effort than writing it.

How much faith do you have in blog tours and do you recommend them?

I found a blog tour to be very effective in launching Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America. However, I used social networking to launch my e-book Book Marketing in the Digital Age, Online Promotion Made Easy and had just as much success. I can imagine that the two tools used together would produce even more sales.


You’ve written some very interesting books, many of them self-help genres. What inspired you to write, More Than Meets the Eye?

It was right after my uncle passed that I felt led to write about the experience of helplessly witnessing his year-long demise. As I put pen to paper (or my fingers to the keyboard, since I rarely compose by hand), the idea to include stories from other people became part of the picture. I interviewed about twenty people and wrote their stories along with mine to help illustrate valid points. Adding some research to cover topics such as euthanasia, suicide, hospice care, options for body disposal, and ways to help a dying person transition gently, I felt I had a well-rounded book to share with the world. I was quite shy about sharing my book with people who didn’t know me personally, but I quickly learned that if a book is not promoted properly, it doesn’t sell. So, with my limited marketing experience at the time, I didn’t need to worry about anyone discovering my book!

I also notice you offer assistance in writing query letters. That seems to be a hot topic on many of the loops these days. Care to share a tip or two with us? Some of us have gotten to that stage and have no idea how to meld together the mixed bag of information on the Internet.

Writing a query letter and a book proposal is as important as writing the book. Even if you don’t plan to use a conventional publisher, creating these two documents will help you define the scope of your book, know your target market, outline your marketing plan, and give you text/material to use in the book promotion effort. There is an art to writing these pieces and if you don’t have the necessary components or have typos and mistakes, you automatically give agents/publishers a reason to eliminate your query from the pile of hundreds of book queries they get each week.

You made a very brave move in leaving a Fortune 500 career to begin your own business. If you had it to do over again, would you make that same decision?

Absolutely! My move was well-planned and executed. My husband and I prepared to live without my income by reducing our debt, refinancing to lower our mortgage payment, saving as much money as we could, and purchasing needed office equipment. I was also researching and educating myself on how to improve my writing, operate a business, report my income to the IRS, and other legal and necessary matters. It took more than a year to get into position to make the move and it was still a struggle. I must have quit or fired myself twenty times that first year! After about two years, the business started turning a profit; and now, I never regret my decision.

I found it so interesting that you have been involved in Toastmasters. I attended for a number of years and thoroughly enjoyed it. How has your membership served you in the writing world?

Toastmasters teaches one how to communicate verbally. However, each speech requires the presenter to provide an opening, body, and closing just like you would in a term paper or essay. You also have to properly cite any sources you quote in your speech. After preparing a speech, you have a great piece that can be repurposed as article, essay, or media release. Almost every speech I gave, was somehow tied to my writing business. So, I was not only networking and familiarizing my fellow club members with what I do as a writer and business owner, I was also using the speeches as writing samples and online marketing pieces for my business. By the time I earned my DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) Award, I had written and presented more than fifty speeches.

Here’s your chance to add anything you wish to this interview. I truly thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to visit with me, and I know introducing you to authors who haven’t met you is a service to them. I follow your posts regularly and have learned a great deal. I’m still hoping we can share that cup of coffee in person someday soon. *smile*

I might not have taken the step toward self-employment as a freelance writer had it not been for the people in my life who encouraged me to write my first book. I had been sending my friends some crazy and hilarious emails with stories about the things that were happening in my life then. My teenage son was raising reptiles in our basement, my daughter was being homeschooled, and I was going through mid-life challenges that eventually led to a divorce. We had lived in four houses in three states within a five-year period and my nerves were on edge. I used humor to keep from going insane! My friends kept urging me to publish the email episodes as a book. So, I did.

I appreciate your generous offer to allow me to share my thoughts with your readers. In fact, I have a gift for anyone who leaves a comment here on your blog. I’m giving away my first e-book, Email Episodes A Hilariously Honest Look at Life.


Thank you, Yvonne, for taking time to visit my blog and share tidbits about yourself. I'm really happy to be a regular reader and occasional contributor to your newsletter. Again, I urge my readers...if you aren't a subscriber, you're missing out. Subbing is as easy as clicking the link above.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My first shape shifter romance!


I want to thank Ms. Ginger for inviting me to guest blog. This is a big month for me.

I'm not a particularly prolific writer – real world demands get in the way. But this month I have two new releases, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm really excited. Serpent's Kiss, my first shape shifter romance, was published by Total-E-Bound last Monday, May 4th. My menage short, Truce of Trust, is due out on the 18th, also from TEB.

I thought that I'd share the story of how I got the idea for Serpent's Kiss. I was down in the gym, slogging away on the Nordic Track and pondering, as I often do to relieve the tedium of exercising, what I could do to improve my book sales. I knew that shape shifters were popular, but it seemed to me that the last thing the romance world needed was yet another werewolf, were-bear or were-tiger.

As the sweat dripped into my eyes and my joints complained, I thought about men and beasts and the ties between them. I remembered that many so-called primitive cultures believed that their deities could take animal shapes. Something reminded me of Queztalcoatl, the fabled Feathered Serpent god of the Mayans. Mayan carvings in Mexico, Guatemala and Hondurus show him as part man, part animal. What if the ancient gods survived into modern times, normally taking human form but shifting to their beast-shapes when pure power was required? I recollected reading that the Mayans had an epic view of history. They believed everything was cyclic, that the world was destroyed and remade and destroyed again with predictable regularity.

There was also this itch at the back of my mind, from some book or other, something about twin gods. When I began to do some research, I discovered pairs of twins, dualisms of light and dark, played a central role in the Mayan mythos. So I could create a counter-force to my hero/god, a villain who could also roam in a beast-shape, and they could battle it out, with the fate of the earth hanging in the balance.

I had my hero and my villain, but what about the heroine? For Elena, I went back to relatively modern history, the vicious civil war that tore Guatemala apart in the 1980's and the atrocities committed by the government against the peasant opposition. Dr. Elena Navarro grew up in America with her Guatemalan father. On his deathbed, he confesses to her that he was responsible for torturing and killing hundreds of people during the war. Trying to atone for her father's misdeeds, she returns to Guatemala and opens a rural health clinic in a remote, poverty stricken village. There, she encounters her destiny in the form of the beautiful and mysterious Jorge, who collapses on her doorstep, his chest torn open by some terrible weapon.

I had a fabulous time working on Serpent's Kiss. It was like nothing I'd written previously. I found myself getting more and more interested in Mayan civilization, to the point where I shelled out a significant fraction of a month's royalties on research books. By that time, I was nearly done with the writing. I was delighted to discover that I'd made some lucky guesses on the details in the story.

Now I'm thinking of writing a sequel – if only to amortize the cost of my research material!

Anyway, here's a short excerpt that I haven't shared on any other list or blog. Serpent's Kiss is erotic romance, labeled “Total-E-Burning”, meaning that it includes explicit sex. The excerpt below is rated R as it includes a naked man...

Enjoy! And if you like my writing, please visit my website, http://www.lisabetsarai.com, for lots of excerpts and free stories, as well as information on my other books.



For some immeasurable time, Elena drifted in a warm swirl of greenish mist, sated, at peace. Finally, though, her physician’s mind dragged her back to reality. The weight of Jorge’s body reminded her that he hadn’t moved since his orgasm. Was he all right? Or had the strain of making love been too much for his convalescent body?

With difficulty, she rolled him off and onto his back. He was breathing regularly. His pulse was within the normal range. He even had a bit of a smile on those luscious lips of his. However, he was definitely not conscious.

Elena surveyed his naked body. Her eyes lingered on his sculpted thighs, his narrow hips, the rippled planes of his belly. His penis drooped against one thigh, shiny with her juices, thick and meaty even in its quiescent state. Her mouth watered as she stared at it. Perhaps she could rouse him with an intimate kiss.

On the other hand, he may already have had more sex than was good for him. Elena flicked her gaze up to his wounded torso, checking that her stitches had not worked loose.

She gasped in wonder and horror. His chest was perfectly smooth, the swell and dip of his pectorals unblemished by any flaw.

The terrible gash she had treated only twenty-four hours ago was completely gone. There no signs of the two dozen stitches she’d inflicted on him. There wasn’t even a scar.

She shook her head, unwilling to believe what she was seeing. It couldn’t be true. It was impossible. Yet here was the evidence, physical evidence that her rational doctor’s mind could hardly ignore.

Who was this man?

She grabbed his shoulder and shook him, far from gently. “Wake up. Hey, Jorge! Rise and shine. Come on. You’ve got to wake up and tell me what’s going on.”

The thick dark lashes fluttered. The man sighed, stretched, opened his eyes. When he saw Elena leaning over him, he gave her a beatific smile that warmed her despite her suspicion and disbelief.

“Querida! Thank you. That was–world-shaking…”

“Who are you?”

“You know who I am, querida. I’m your lover.”

“No, that’s not enough. I need an explanation…for this.” She gestured at his perfect torso. “What happened to your injury?”

Jorge looked embarrassed. “It healed.”

“In one day? That’s not possible. I’m a doctor. There are limits to the regenerative capabilities of the human body.”

He grabbed her hand and squeezed sympathetically. “I know that’s hard to believe. But try.” He brushed a stray lock of hair out of Elena’s face. “Trust me. I’m only trying to protect you from knowledge that might endanger you.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rolling Out The Red Carpet Again

My Thursday Tourist this week, hopefully making an appearance tomorrow on cue, is Lisabet Sarai.

I had the good fortune to meet Lisabet through our mutual publisher, Eternal Press. She's quite a talented and fun person, even though I can only attest to that through virtual contact. As I've said before, Internet relationships can be as tangible as face-to-face, and I'm happy to host her on my blog anytime.

From her website, it appears she's led quite an interesting life, obtaining a master's degree, globetrotting, and spending more than twenty years with a husband she seems to adore. The pair lives with their two cats in Southeast Asian, and Lisabet still plans to do more traveling. Her writing leans more to the 'sexy' side, and I'm sure hubby doesn't mind at all. I checked her list of favorite authors...and darn, I wasn't listed. My content is probably far too bland for her. *smile*

If you don't believe her books are steamy...just check out this cover:

Please make her feel welcome.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Anyone Still Wear an Apron?

I don't think our kids know , what an apron is.

Remember the pioneer women in the westerns we watched who always wore one? In my mind, I picture a gray-haired woman stepping out onto the porch to welcome John Wayne, first wiping her hands on the her apron before waving hello. Sad, both the Duke and aprons have become little more than a memory. Here's a little history:

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath,because she only had a few,it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

Thanks for whomever shared this piece so I could pass it along. It brought back some warm memories of my grandmother and her aprons. *smile*

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Importance of Spare Keys

A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and I fear mine is on the verge of dementia. I can prove it. Today, I drove with my husband to the airport for his flight to his mothers in Arizona. In front of the check-in counter, we stopped, he got out to get his bags and I promptly exited the car to assume the driver's role. Problem began when he closed the trunk. I kissed him goodbye and went to the driver's door...locked!

Now, he had to hurry to check-in and I assured him I would be fine. He no sooner left the area than my palms became sweaty, my heard scudded against my breastbone, and I felt sick. My purse, phone, everything was in the car...even the pills I needed for the rising panic I felt. And the car was running.

Already a line of traffic formed behind me, assuming like everyone else, we would drop off and move on. Surprise, I wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.

The first person I snared was a traffic control woman. She was full of giggles because she couldn't figure out her radio. Each time she depressed the key, it beeped loudly, rendering it useless. I finally managed to explain my dire situation after she went on for ten minutes about her radio and how so and so put her on the current channel, but now it seemed to be off-line, and she wasn't supposed to be off-line, after all...how could she call anyone? "How about that cell phone in your hand," I asked. In ten minutes another traffic control person showed up, played around with her radio, declared it broken, and left. She phone another number, this time requesting assistance for ME.

Another twenty minutes and Passenger Assistance shows up in a white truck with flashing yellow lights atop. To shorten my anguish, I'll simply say, the wonderful man jimmied my door, opened my window and unlocked my car. I was overjoyed to be on my way, but hugged him first. Not just a little hug, but a big bear-squeeze that left him breathless. No...not breathless in the sexual way, but because I literally squeezed the air out of him.

So, while headed down the highway in the pouring Tennessee rain, I started thinking about my blog. A sudden flash of memory raced through my brain...recalling the time I blogged about locking Spencer in the car. Perhaps you remember? Right after I got the PT Cruiser, and how I fell to pieces with guilt. But...I digress.

Another thought struck me...after the Spencer incident, I swore it would never happen again, and marched right down and had a spare key made and put it in a magnetic box, then Kelly attached it to the car's underside. Yep...when I got home, I had my son check, and it wasn't just a false image. There it was...snug as a bug in it's little case...that spare key. I could have saved myself and others a big headache if I had a brain.

Sad, I can't get a spare memory, but then if I put that in a magnetic box and stored it somewhere, what would I have to buy to help me remember where I put that? Life is a vicious circle these days. :(

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday Stopover from my Thursday Tourist



My Thursday Tourist, Margaret Tanner missed her flight (she mumbled something about VP Biden's warning about flying/Swine flu) and is making a late appearance. Anytime I can host this talented and favorite author, is fine with me. Here's a little about her:

Margaret Tanner is an award winning multi-published Australian author. She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical romance novels, and prides herself on being historically correct. Many of her novels have been inspired by true events, with one being written around the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia.

Margaret is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Melbourne Romance Writers Group (MRWG) and EPIC. Her fellow writers from the MRWG have been an inspiration and a tower of strength, so generous with their help and support that she will always feel indebted to them.

The Trouble With Playboys
is special to me as my late father served in the 2nd World War in Singapore and Malaya. He was engaged to my mother at the time, and wrote many poignant letters to her, which I had access to. I wanted the memory of their love and fortitude, and that of their generation, against such tremendous odds, to be remembered, but not in some dusty history book shoved in an out of the way library.

Because of my Dad’s war service, I was able to get first hand information on the terrible happenings and chaotic situation in the few weeks before Singapore capitulated to the Japanese, which adds realism to my story.

Blurb:

When a wealthy Englishman, Paul Ashfield travels to Australia in search of the birth mother he thinks deserted him, he never expects to meet and fall in love with Daphne Clarke. Upon meeting her parents, Paul is horrified by the possibility that they have the same mother. He beats a hasty retreat, believing he has slept with his sister.

Amidst the turmoil of WW2 they meet again in Singapore, where he discovers the truth, Daphne is not his sister. They marry as the Japanese pour into Malaya and Singapore teeters on the brink of invasion. In the chaotic aftermath, each believe the other has died during the bombing. When they finally see each other again, it is in a church, where Paul is about to enter into an arranged marriage.

Note: You can read more about Margaret and discover more of her enthralling stories on her website.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Upcoming Contest - Beginning May 8th

Okay fellow authors...get your fingertips ready on those keyboards. I've decided to hold a contest, and yes there will be a prize involved...yet to be announced. There's a bit of a challenge involved because most of my author friends are 'romance' writers. I'm trying to write outside my genre comfort area and finding it's not all that easy.

So, on May 8th, I'll provide a single sentence. Your job, should you choose to participate, will be to write a paragraph, length your choice, and incorporate said sentence into your imaginary mystery, and end with a hook.

I'll ask you to email your submissions so I can post them during the week, and I'll promo the contest and solicit readers to come and vote for their favorite. So...get ready to play. I'm thinking of something I might like to win as a gift to make this worthwhile.

Friday's Facts

Boy, I'm batting a thousand here. I said something in a past blog that offended my intended tourist for the 23rd, and she cancelled, unsubbed to my group and let me know I wasn't her cup of tea. So, this Thursday, I rolled out the red carpet for naught. I fully expected Margaret to be here to entertain you, but something must have come up...or else I'm doing an award-winning job of pissing people off.

Anyhow...I guess we'll see if next week's tourist shows up. If not, maybe I should consider discontinuing that "show."

So, since we don't have much to laugh about these days, with the economy on the fritz and Swine Flu lurking in the air, I thought perhaps I'd share a bit of humor from "Life is a Bowl of Toilets..."



Expectations

When I was a teenager, I expected the world would end before I ever had my first date. After I had my first date, I knew for sure it would end before I had to chance to marry. When I got married, I was certain I would never have children because the world was going to be blown apart on a certain date. Television programs about the ancient predictions of Nostradumus convinced me I would never live to see twenty-five. When I got to be twenty-five, I read the Book of Revelation in the Bible and learned a whole new reason to worry. Well, I’m almost sixty now, and every day the news predicts something. I’ve stop setting my expectations by what other people say will happen and expect things based only on my own experiences—you never know!

We probably come into this world with very few expectations, but by the time you reach midlife you realize you have acquired a few. For example: I expect when I go to the cash register, the line I select will be the one in which someone ahead of me is trying to buy something that doesn’t have a price marked on it. I also expect that if I’m in a hurry or running late, all signals will turn red just as I reach them. If the sky is blue and I wash my car, it will rain. If there’s a single nail on a 300-mile stretch of highway, I can find it, or if I have something important to go to and only one pair of panty hose, I’ll run them no matter if I’m wearing silk gloves. If there’s a hemorrhoid to be had, a pimple you can get when you’re over fifty, or a stray hair that needs to be left in someone’s food plate…then I’m your girl!

I have good expectations too. I expect that people will treat me with respect. If they don’t, then screw ’em…who needs people like that anyhow? I expect that my friends will accept me, warts and all. So far they have, and I try to return the same respect and acceptance to them. Face it, we have no control over what happens us. We can plot, plan, try to steer in a certain direction, but it only takes one act of fate to change everything. I’ve decided to stop worrying about where my life will go. I just want to live it while I can. I used to want a big house—I don’t anymore. I used to want everything that everyone else in the world had. That’s called coveting and I don’t do that anymore either. I gave it up because it didn’t work. You can covet all you want, but you ain’t gonna get unless you earn it. Oh, sometimes I’ll see someone wearing something I wish I could wear, but as far as envying other people, I think my life is pretty great the way it is. I survived two children, two marriages, I’d like to say two affairs, but that would be a lie, and I have good friends, good family, and the good lord. What else could anyone ask for? But I do have one expectation that I detest. I abhor the fact that I’m expected to be the only one who cleans the toilets.

Author's Post Note: I'm now sixty-three and things haven't changed much except that most of the friends I thought would be forever, weren't, the family I thought would never become dysfunctional, did, and there are still things to worry about every day. My new motto is "don't sweat the small stuff." I pray I'm still here to report I've turned seventy-three and to announce that my grandson Spencer finally overcame his disabilities. Like I said...I still expect that true friends will accept me warts and all.

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