Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Welcome Yolanda Sfetsos, my last Thankful Guest

Firstly, I’d like to thank Ginger for having me over here today. :)
We don’t actually celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not thankful for a lot of things in my life. There's a lot to be thankful for.  
First and foremost, I’m grateful for my small and wonderful family, and that the four of us (hubby, daughter, cat & I) have such a lovely life together. It doesn’t take much to keep us happy. As long as we’re spending time together, we’re smiling. I’m also thankful for my health (and theirs too), the strong sense of willpower I have most of the time, and that I have so many wonderful choices about how to live my life.
Then, there are the other things. The smaller every day things that most of us take for granted, but I can’t help and admire whenever spring rocks around. I love where we live, and the surroundings. We have a river nearby, and I absolutely adore going for my daily walks along the path. I also love the way it feels when the day is slowly blending into night on a summer day. I love warm summer nights, when there’s just enough of a cool breeze coming in through the window to cool me down. I love being indoors when a thunderstorm strikes, or when it rains. I enjoy waking up nice and early, when it’s still dark, and looking out the window to realize that the rest of the world is still asleep, but will wake in a few hours...
I love books—collecting them, reading them, holding them—and am forever thankful that I get to have my own books out there in the wild. This makes me very thankful for the publishers who have taken a chance on me and have given my stories homes, so they can be read by people from all over the world.  
I have to admit that I'm a gadget gal—Kindle, mobile phone, laptop, netbook, MP3 player, Nintendo DS, etc—so I'm thankful to be able to purchase these cool things. I'm also thankful for the music that gets my creative juices going. There are two bands in this world that never fail to inspire me, and for them I'm grateful too.
As you can probably tell, there are a lot of things that I love and am grateful for in this world, but most of them are the simple pleasures in life. I love to see my daughter smile and express herself, love to make my husband laugh and chat to him about anything and everything. And I really enjoy it when my cat actually knows what I’m saying to him and responds.
A lot of things make me smile, laugh, or feel wonderful, and glad to be alive. And without one of those in particular, I think I would go insane. Of course, I’m talking about my muse. Without my muse, I wouldn’t have the ability or drive to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. Or be able to find inspiration in just about anything I see or hear, and eventually turn it into ideas that become stories. 
I love being creative, enjoy expressing myself with words, and telling stories... So, thank you so much, my faithful muse. 
Oh, and I’m forever thankful that my husband is supportive enough to take the brunt of working a full-time job so that I can stay home and write (ie. listen to my muse) while my daughter’s at school.
I’m very thankful for a lot of things, and try to never take any of them for granted.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, November 29, 2010

Welcome, Marsha A. Moore. She's thankful, too.

Thanks lots for inviting me to be here today, Ginger. 

It’s incredibly hard to decide what I’m most thankful for since the list shifts from month to month, year to year. But, health, mine and of those closest to me, will always be at the top. I’ve lived through many troubled years with my own health issues, or cared for loved ones who suffered. Fortunately, all those who I hold most dear are in good health. There is no greater blessing. 

Beyond that, I’m thankful for new opportunities which have fallen my way in 2010. Trying my hand in the world of publishing has brought me many new friends who I’ll cherish for years to come. So many amazing authors I now count among my friends. Most I’ve met through writers’ organizations: RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter; Savvy Authors; Writing.com; Florida Writers’ Association. But the group I’m most grateful for is the MuseItUp Publishing community. I can’t begin to express how much I’ve grown through that fellowship of authors under guidance of publisher Lea Schizas.

Thirdly, I’m grateful our house is now as my husband and I envisioned when we bought it a year and a half ago. After that much time enduring construction crews, we celebrated with our first vacation in three years—a week in the Florida Keys. Mind you that was not a major trip since we live in Tampa, but appreciated just as much as if we’d traveled across the country. This past month I’ve been thankful:
            I subscribed to “Florida Travel + Life” magazine, so when we were finally set free, we knew the stops to make a fun trip;
that publication recommended a great fresh fish dive in Key Largo called The Fish House;
we were able to find our fav recipe from that restaurant online, Fish Matecumbe;
and my husband and I recreated the magic of our vacation in our own kitchen, which I’m happy to share today on Ginger’s blog. May it bring you a taste of the Keys and its happiness. I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

1/2 Spanish onion, chopped
1 (8-ounce) jar capers
5 shallots, peeled and chopped
5 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 lemons, juiced
1 cup olive oil
8 individual Mahi Mahi fillets
Salt and pepper
Serving suggestion: rice

To a medium bowl, add all ingredients except fish and stir to thoroughly combine. Refrigerate until ready to use; it is best to let flavors blend for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack so that it is at least 4 inches from the broiler, but no more than 6 inches.

Place fish fillets on a baking sheet and then season fish with salt and pepper. Place under the broiler and cook until done on 1 side. Watch carefully, as it may only take a couple minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish fillets and the proximity to the broiler. Remove from broiler and turn each fish over. Top each fillet with about 1/2 cup sauce. Return to the broiler and cook until fish is done on the other side and fully cooked through in the middle. If you are unsure about doneness, cut into the center of 1 fillet; it should be opaque. (You can cover up the cut with the sauce.) Serve with rice, if desired.

Recipe from The Fish House
Key Largo

Tears on a Tranquil Lake, 2/1/2011 & Sea Glass and Sand Memories, 6/1/2011 - MuseItHot Publishing

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Welcome, Carol Shenold...being thankful

                Hi Ginger and thanks for having me visit your wonderful blog.  For those who don’t know me, I’m Carol Shenold and I write urban fantasy, paranormal mystery and now, medical romance. I’ve been a nurse for over forty years and a writer for over twenty.
                This time of year we give thanks for everything. We pay attention to nature, family, food, everything in our lives. And I’m thankful. I have a warm house, good food, family to rely on—even if they feud with each other, fight their own demons, and are just as overwhelmed with life as everyone else.
                But I have to admit, I am overwhelmingly grateful for words, the words that allow me to make them my profession. Reading has been my pleasure all my life, from the times I got into trouble in grade school for reading during class, to nursing school when the nuns were shocked that I carried fiction with me to now, when my Kindle goes everywhere with me.
                Writing for publication has been going on for the last twenty years, success with fiction, much shorter number of years. Success is relative of course. I am now published in fiction, both e-pubbed and print and  I’d love to make money with fiction, not just nonfiction. What can I say, I’m greedy. But again, on the thankful side, I’m so thankful that Harlequin is interested in my Medical Romance. Plus, that could lead to money, my first advance.
                Okay, I’ll stop counting chickens. In the mean time, how about an excerpt from Fairy Dust, just for fun? This book is all about fairies, elves and a were-wolf confronting an evil wizard.

Fairy Dust
By Carol Shenold

I hovered three feet from the ceiling in the Herb and Fairy Gardens Shop, praying no customers came in while I calmed down my fairy dust emissions and my temper.
“Bouddicca Andraste Ryan, get your fairy ass off the ceiling and come help me. I’m dying here.”
Seirye, a six-foot elf with white hair, and half owner of the shop, yelled at me. I went up higher. She had no patience with my iffy hold on my magic, especially since we had an order from a coven for 16 flower wreaths, probably for a moon dance. They were due to pick up the wreaths by four and it was already after two. It’s not my fault that I’m only half Fae and not in total control of my magic.
I was named for a great warrior queen and a godess. I felt like neither as I grabbed for my flying waist length hair with both hands, avoiding the ceiling fan.
“You hold your skinny little horses there. I’m doing the best I can. What did you expect? Tell me a team of Darklings (Turned Fairies) from the Under is on it’s way to snatch the Titania Amulet from me and expect me to hold my temper?  Not going to happen.  It's the only thing my father left me, my only tie to the Fae World.  And it's the focus that lets me use earth magic so well." Titania Amulet from me and expect me to hold my temper? Not going to happen. It’s the only thing my father left me, my only tie to the Fae World. And it’s the focus that lets me use earth magic so well.”
Seirye’s laugh, a short bark, held no humor. “He didn’t leave it to you, he just left it because he was in a hurry to avoid responsibility.”
I plummeted to the ground. “Ow. You don’t have to get nasty about it or diss my father.”
She turned on her heel, talking over her shoulder. “It was the only way I knew to get you down before you were caught and we have work to do.”
Elves can be so pissy. I stomped after her, making certain the front door wards were in place as I passed by. They would let people in but any magical creatures would have to leave their powers behind.
Rampaging Darklings were the last thing I needed. I had an assignment this afternoon with the Paranormal Investigative Unit (PIU), to pick up an errant witch and a date that night, my first in forever.

You can follow Carol on her website.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Bit of Nostalgic Thankfulness...Marva Dasef

November 27th, 1921 and 1923

My parents share a birthday, but in different years. I think this officially kills any possibility of astrology describing a personality. They have yelled, fought, disagreed, and generally acted like they can't stand each other – until one or the other is in need of comfort or care. Then the whole ballgame changes.

I'm thankful that my parents have stayed married for sixty-eight years (yes, 68) despite their many disagreements.

Despite a recent diagnosis of throat cancer, my father is a tough old bird, and I'm not putting him down for the count. He's been a lot of places, done a lot of things, and I expect him to continue doing just that for a few more years.

Four or five years ago, I decided to write some of his stories about growing up in West Texas during the Depression Era. The first story was about going on a cattle drive when he was ten or eleven. Once that first story was published, he started telling more and more. I wrote just as fast as I could and soon had seven of Little Eddie's almost true tall tales published. Okay, what's another thirteen or fourteen? Piece of cake.

What came out of all this is Tales of a Texas Boy, which has been a modestly good seller since I self-published it back in 2007. It's now available in several ebook and print formats. If you're interested, you can find the links on my website at http://marvadasef.com/tales.aspx  I haven't kept up with sale prices and such since most people buy from Amazon. You can get it there in Kindle and print. Visit my author's page at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BM4DM6) for quick links to all my books.

This is what I'm truly thankful for on my father's 89th birthday. I captured his tales and put them in “his book.” He's proud of the book, as am I. I'm also very thankful that I decided to write the stories in Eddie's voice. The tales are, after all, all his. And my mother is ticked off that I haven't yet written HER book!

I've included this excerpt because it's a good lesson to us all about how much we have to be thankful.

Excerpt from a Tales of a Texas Boy story: “The Thief”

Eddie and Pa have taken a road trip to the big city. On their way home, they stop for the night at a roadside grove, which is filled with Sooners people driven from their homes further north by the great dust storms. In the night, a girl tries to steal from Pa's truck, but Eddie catches her. Her father storms over, angry and hostile.

“Take it easy. No harm done here,” Pa said quiet-like.

“She’s a damned thief,” the man yelled, then he slapped her hard across the face.

Pa hauled back his fist and shot it right into the man’s jaw. It dropped him like a rock and he fell on his back. The girl took the opportunity to skedaddle over to her ma.

“Now, sir, that is no way to treat a girl and it is no way for you to speak in front of my son here.”           
I thought the man would yell at Pa or he’d get up and try to fight him. But he didn’t. Instead, he started to cry and he held his face in his hands and started sobbin’. I was purely shocked at this turn of events. Pa let him go on for a short time, then he reached his hand down to help the man up.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” the man gasped for breath.

“It’s all right. You just shouldn’t be treatin’ your girl like that. It ain’t proper.”

As the sun was now comin’ up, everyone started to go back to their fires again. The man walked slowly over to his own camp. I was glad to see him put his arm around the girl’s shoulders. She flinched back some, but he spoke to her quiet then she wrapped her arms around him. They stood there holdin’ on to each other, like family should.

As we boiled up some coffee and got the cornbread out for breakfast, Pa tol’ me these folks had lost everything to the dust.

“Sometimes, you can’t blame a person if they go too far, if they’d already been pushed too far,” he said. He shook his head and I saw he was sad. I was sad, too.

We packed up our gear. Pa took the rest of the cornbread and went over to the family’s campsite. He handed the package to the girl’s mother, then talked to the man for a few minutes. I saw them shake hands and Pa came back and tol’ me to get in the truck.

Once we were headed down the road, Pa said, “We’ll be seein’ those folks in a couple of days.”

“Why, Pa? Are they comin’ to visit us?”

“I’m hirin’ John, that’s his name, on for a few days.”

“But, Pa, you said we just had enough for us to get by. You quit hirin’ people on last season.”

“I know, I know,” he said and didn’t speak for awhile.

Then, he said, “We just have enough to get by, that’s true. But, if folks don’t have enough to even live, then we just have to make do with a bit less.”

“Yessir, Pa. I can see how’s that’s the right thing to do.”

We drove on home mostly quiet the rest of the way. When we got home and Pa took Ma aside to tell her we’d be havin’ company, she shook her head, but not like she was sayin’ no. She tol’ me to get out to the chicken coop and see if those hens didn’t lay a few more eggs. She had some bakin’ to do.

Tales of a Texas Boy Blurb:

How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. Take his word for it when he tells you always to bet on the bear. These are things he learned while dreaming of becoming a cowboy in West Texas during the Depression. Through Eddie, the hero of "Tales of a Texas Boy," we find that growing up is less about maturity and more about roping your dreams. Hold on tight. It's a bumpy ride. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys books like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Tom Sawyer." A great bit of nostalgia for seniors, too.

Bio: Marva Dasef is a writer living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a fat white cat.  Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation.  Marva has published more than thirty-five stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with her stories included in several Best of anthologies. She has five published books. The latest is “Ultimate Duty” released this month from Eternal Press. 

More about Marva on her website.

Enjoy her latest video:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lorrie Unites-Struiff Stopping in to be Thankful!

Hello Ginger and readers,
Thank you for giving me a spot on your blog today, Ginger.

Now, this may be sort of sappy, but it’s from the heart.

There are so many things to be thankful for in life, how do I choose the most important one to blog about?

I’ve searched my brain, my heart, my life, trying to figure out the number one blessing during my many years on this Earth that I give thanks for everyday.
Sure, we may have God, Country, Family, Health, Wealth, Children, etc. Narrowing it down to one is tough, impossible.

As we all know, life throws some terrible curves at us. And, we all have lived through enough sorrows, bad times, depression and the loss of loved ones and friends. We have enough to complain about, cry about, even whine about.

We have had happy times, laughing times, and have known great excitement and joy.

But, through all of this, what is one of the major things that I give thanks for everyday?

Since I must choose one, I choose my friends.

I have read, if you have one good friend in your lifetime, you are truly blessed. I profoundly believe that.

What do I consider a friend?

A friend is a person that you can count on to be there for you, the good times as well as the bad. 

The true friend accepts you for who you are, warts and all. The one who drops everything without being asked and rushes to your side to hold your hand when times are bad. They are the ones who listen to you when you pour your heart out and without judgment. 

A friend rejoices in your good fortune without envy or taking advantage.
There are many of what I call, “Me, Me, Me,” people in the world who take but give back very little. I’m sure you all know a few. There are some who are so tied up with themselves in their own little worlds, they offer you platitudes and go on their merry way.

I am truly blessed, for I have more than one real friend. A few who live near me, and my friends who hold my hand through either the phone from distances away, or through words in emails meaningful enough to make me feel they are right here with me. They give of their time to laugh with me, cry with me, and listen. Friends make it easier to survive the hardships of life.

To me, friends are the staff of life, the ones who feed and sustain my very being. I only hope I do the same for them.

This is the time of year we express our thankfulness, but know I am thankful every day, not only for a season. 

So, for this blog Ginger has kindly let me have a guest spot, I want to thank you, my friends. You know who you are and always believe that you are very special to me.
You are the rock that keeps me anchored while I continue my journey through life.

Everyone has secrets.
Homicide Detective Rita Moldova has a secret, a crystal amulet from her Roma bloodline that shows her the last image a victim had seen before they died. Now, a ritual killer is terrorizing her town and the crystal’s magic has suddenly stopped.
 FBI agent, Matt Boulet, is sent to lead the task force and gives the group strange orders. Worse, Rita senses he is holding back a deep dark secret about the killer.
When she confronts her seer mother’s advice, she learns another secret about their clan that she finds impossible to swallow.
Rita swims through a whirlpool of confusion as the investigation continues. Can Rita deny the lore of the ancients? Can she deny her growing feelings for Matt Boulet?
Check out the great reviews on my website.

Gypsy Crystal is available in PRINT and Multiple E-book formats at Amazon

A new short story and a roller coaster ride of thrills and chills.

Morgan is researching on an Indian reservation in Prescott, Arizona, for her new paranormal novel. She doesn’t believe in the paranormal, but writes it for the trend and the nice royalties. That is until her soon to be divorced husband tries to kill her, and she survives by her wits and a little “strange” help.

Buy site

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pat? Dale? Who's the Thankful One?

Even Molly looks suspicious.  :)
It’s that time of year again. This is when we strain our brain in search of reasons to be thankful for what we have. By the time you’re my age, I think we should be thankful each day we wake up and realize we got another reload. 

I do have a number of things to give thanks for, other than my still being on the planet as something other than plant food. First of all, my birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day this year. I was born on my parents second anniversary and thanksgiving, so I’m thankful for loving parents and a wonderful time of year to celebrate. 

I just got my quarterly royalty payment from one of my publishers, so I’m especially thankful that my books are still selling. Can’t wait until I’ll be getting one of these things from Muse. I’m excited as well as thankful that Lea and Litsa have got this baby going top speed already. Should be a fun ride, and not just for the money though that makes it even better.

Don’t know about the rest of you, but I write so others can share a bit of my strange creativity. Characters come to life in my brain and I bust my chops to get them out where the rest of the world (at least the part that is paying attention) can assimilate them. I just love it when a character comes to life!

I have a great family, mostly in good health, mostly more fun than the proverbial barrel of monkeys, and mostly hoping the old man (moi) will hang around a little longer. A tip of the hat to Craig, my son in law, who just had major back surgery and is back home recovering. He and my daughter Mikki have a pair of grandkids that would make anyone thankful to be their grandparent. And to Lecia, my daughter in Florida, who’s given the family Jaden, who lights up our smiles on a regular basis.

I also have more three more kids and a passel of grandkids all over this great country, something else I give thanks for. America is not perfect, but she’s the best thing to come along so far, and with a heart that reaches out to people all over the globe. 

So, that’s my thanksgiving shopping list in a nutshell. God has been kind to me, given me health, talent, family, and a wonderful land to spend my earth days with. How much better could it get?

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Let’s celebrate another year! Cheers,
Dale Thompson (living as Pat Dale in a book near your computer)

Check Pat Dale's impressive list of available books on his website.

Coming in 2011:

Sleeping with her Enemy
After losing her husband to an accident and her son to a hit-and-run driver, Ana finds love in Dan’s arms only to discover he may be the driver who killed her boy.
(available April 1, 2011)

Dance with the Devil
Buddy battles a seamy local legacy as he searches for love he can trust, but after finding it with Robin; he’s in for the fight of his life.
(available July 1, 2011)

Zach’s Amazing Dream Machine
Zach, taunted by his classmates, sets out to build a machine that will confirm his grandfather’s stories are true, only to discover a startling fact about ‘truth’ and an unsettling one about human nature.
(available September 1, 2011)

Learn about these and many other fine new novels in multiple genre at:


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stopping on Her Blog Tour, Julie Wise

Julie Wise is a professional life and relationship coach who works with people around the world to manifest their dreams. As a motivational speaker and freelance writer, she draws on her innate wisdom and personal life experiences to inspire others. Wise currently lives in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

"Take a moment to remember daydreaming as a child.  Recall the joy, freedom, and sense of possibility you felt.  Imagine being able to experience that every day. You can with Dream BIGGER, Julie Wise’s heartfelt and inspiring guide to realizing your deepest desires.  Using her experience as a life and relationship coach, Wise provides personal anecdotes and numerous client examples to create a living, breathing roadmap for those seeking insight and wisdom on their daily path.
 The workbook format deftly illustrates Wise’s motivational message, giving you the chance to work through past doubts, disappointments and fears using simple yet effective techniques.  She shows you how to stay focused and achieve your dreams by creating a workable action plan.  Divided into easy-to-read chapters, Wise offers inspiring stories from those successfully living their dreams and covers topics such as revealing the dream; befriending the gremlins; reawakening your potential; seeing the signs; and much, much more!
     When your children are born, you imagine a wonderful future for them.  Perhaps they’ll be the next Einstein or Michelangelo, or the scientist who finds a cure for cancer.  You encourage your children to explore the world, develop their imaginations, and dream big dreams.  And you do whatever you can to help them reach those dreams.

     What happens to your dreams along the way?  If you’re like most parents, you probably set them aside a long time ago, dismissing them as impractical or unrealistic.  Perhaps you tried to reach your dream once, only to hit a roadblock and you gave up.  Maybe you figure it’s more important to focus on your children now, and you’ll go back to your dream later, once the kids are older, or when you retire.
     Children learn from watching and listening to us.  If we really want to encourage our children to be all they can be, then we need to walk our talk. 
     Yes, it is possible to enjoy some of your dreams, raise your children and pay your bills all at the same time.  In fact, it’s not as hard as you might think.  That’s why I wrote Dream Bigger: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease - to give you the skills and tools you need to make your dreams a reality.
     Look at all the skills you’ve already developed to support your children in exploring their dreams:   
·        patience with the process;
·        absolute faith that everything is possible; 
·        encouragement during the moments of doubt and fear;
·        a helping hand;
·        a listening ear;
·        words of wisdom. 
     How can you apply some of these strengths to your own dreams?
     Give yourself permission to do a little daydreaming this week.  Let your imagination run wild.  Imagining is easy for children them, so spend time with them.  Let them show you how to dream again.
     While you’re at it, why not work on some family dreams too?  Dreams don’t have to cost a lot of money or be complex and difficult.  In fact, they’re about bringing more joy and ease into our lives.  And we can all use more of that, can’t we?
     To boost your motivation, check out the “Dream Bigger Reinvention Challenge” at http://www.dreambiggercontest.com and find out how people across North America are reinventing themselves and their lives.  Join the movement to dream bigger and win prizes to help you make your dream a reality.

Your dream is within reach.  Let Dream BIGGER show you how to make it a reality!"

Here's Julie's next blog tour stop:   http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bkwalker

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What is Roseanne Dowell Thankful For?

What am I most thankful for?

Wow, where do I even start? Back when I was a child? I’m thankful for my parents, their strict rules (although I didn’t think so at the time) my 3 brothers and two sisters. Thanksgiving was an important holiday in our lives. We always got together with one of my uncles and his family – aunt and four children. Needless to say it was quite a crowd. Thanksgiving was either at their house or ours. We always alternated. My parents are gone now as are one of my brothers and my older sister. But the memories remain and everything thanksgiving, they’re in my thoughts. Memories of how my aunt stuffed the turkey without pulling out the neck. We all had a good chuckle out of that. It was the first time she stuffed a turkey and she took the joking in her usual good natured way.
Next on the list is my husband. We married two days after Thanksgiving in 1962. My family was growing.  Now I had in-laws to share the holidays with too. By this time, of course, we no long shared the holiday with my uncle and his family. Too many of us were married with families of our own.
My husband and I began having Thanksgiving with his family – one brother – one sister. Usually there were friends from out of state who shared their day with us. My in-laws were gracious people and opened their home to several families from their church. Again, it was quite a crowd.
And then we had more to be thankful for. My oldest daughter was born – I can’t begin to describe the feeling. It wasn’t long before her two sisters and three brothers joined our family all within nine years. Needless to say, as they grew and got married, we began our own Thanksgiving tradition. Our family has since grown from my six children to fourteen grandchildren and a great grandchild. As their children grow, they’ve also started their own traditions and have thanksgiving with their families. We’re down to ten for dinner,  my three sons and their children. Later the rest of the family join us for dessert.
So what am I most thankful for? Needless to say my family. As my husband and I celebrate our 48th anniversary tomorrow (the 24th), memories of years past will fill my mind. I’ll remember the years growing up, my parents and siblings and maybe shed a tear or two for those who have gone before us. I’ll look at my children and a surge pride will well up inside of me as I watch them with their families.  I thank God for blessing me every day of the year, not just on Thanksgiving
Find out more about me at www.roseannedowell.com

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Stop on C.A. Verstraete's Blog Tour...

Join me in welcoming C.A. Verstraete as she stops in at Dishin' It Out to share a little about her new release, The Killer Valentine Ball.  I don't know about you, but I'm always interested in finding out something about the author who wrote the book, so here's her bio:

Bio: I grew up with my nose always in a book, so it seemed a natural progression that I wanted to be a writer. A prophetic wish, it seems, judging from my favorite baby photo as seen on my website of me with a newspaper and a pencil behind my ear. I studied journalism and continue to do freelance writing for newspapers. 

I also enjoy writing all kinds of fiction, with stories appearing in several anthologies including the recent Steampunk'd from DAW Books (coming out Nov. 2). 

My kid's mystery, Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery, was #1 on Kindle for Miniatures books and was a 2009 EPPIE Award finalist for best young adult/children's ebooks.

The Killer Valentine Ball
Author: C. A. Verstraete 
Cover Artist: Delilah K. Stephans
Word Count: 3,094
Pages: 15
ISBN: 978-0-9865875-6-6
Price: $0.99
Release date: October 1, 2010
Warning: Light gore


A party at a day camp; a blind date on Valentine's Day. Can you say loser? Jess thinks. But this is no ordinary party. The Killer Valentine Ball has more thrills than Jess ever expected--or will ever forget.
As they walked into the shadows, Jess noticed that things weren't quite as they appeared. Sections of the room lightened for a moment before being cast again in deep shadow. What Jess thought she saw in that split second made her heart race. On the dance floor, the same three couples stood, clasped to each other. Jess stared. She swore they never moved.
The music played quietly in the background. When the shadows brightened, Jess caught a quick glimpse of one of the couples. The young man's mouth gaped open. His partner's gown glistened with streams of dark ribbons. The light flashed again and Jess gasped. Those weren't ribbons! The girl's dress shone with dark glimmers. Like-like blood, she thought. No, it can't be! She looked back at Dylan, who shook his head and urged her on.
"Light tricks," he whispered. "It's not real. It's Halloween stuff, like the movie. Don't worry."

Muse Book page 

Here's the next stop on the blog tour: http://francespauli.blogspot.com/

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What is Juliet Waldron Thankful For?

Years ago I first saw “Getting Old Is Not For Sissies” posted on the wall at my mother’s nursing home. It’s proved truer than I could have ever imagined.

A few years back, I had life-changing surgery which put an end to five years of suffering with ulcerative colitis. That’s one of those “down there” diseases, like colon cancer, recently out of the closet of unmentionable ailments. One of the worst things about UC—besides the pain--was becoming virtually housebound whenever the disease was active. Surgery left me with an ostomy, but brought about positive changes, too, freeing me from the burden all my ruined body parts. Once again I could travel, go out to eat, go to the movies, or even just out to the mall. I could ride my bike to the farmer’s market and load the bags with vegetables, or hop up onto the back of my husband’s motorcycle and go out to admire the rural Pennsylvania countryside for hours, a pastime we both enjoy very much.

I’d been feeling stronger every month for the last three and a half years. I could lug sacks of mulch around the yard, pull tough weeds that were hoping to settle in my garden. I was going to the 50+ classes at the gym, planning a trip back East and generally enjoying life again.

Unfortunately post-surgical patients of my kind are digestive Rube Goldberg machines.

Lots of things can (and do) go wrong. I considered myself well-educated about possible problems re-engineering might create, but I missed the early signals of adhesions, which are not uncommon after this surgery. Mine formed a complete intestinal blockage. I’m still emerging from a long hospitalization followed by a longer convalescence, crestfallen and weak. It’s far harder to imagine a nice seamless (literally!) future.

I’ve got to suck it up, though, and bravely head “onward, into the fog.” The beauty of the right-now-moment--a phone call from a beloved grandchild or the late blooming of morning glories—must take precedence over anxiety and “what if’s”. I’m thankful to have been given more time in which to celebrate the small daily wonders of this life.

Check out Juliet's website to learn more about her.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Welcome, C.K. Volnek, a thankful new Muse Author

Life’s Little Pleasures

Thanksgiving. I know it is an American holiday, but I think it’s a day one can appreciate worldwide. To me, it always conjures up a picture-perfect dinner. Turkey. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Dressing. Cranberry sauce. Pumpkin Pie. Watch out... I’m already drooling. I can see the table, filled with food, and around it, my family. I love my family. I can’t imagine life without them. Children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, parents... I can’t help but chuckle as I recall one Thanksgiving when my brother-in-law dropped a large spoon-full of peas on the floor and tried to kick and hide them under the table ... except the video-camera caught everything on tape. Busted!

But as we celebrate Thanksgiving, it reminds me I have so much to be thankful for. I have been blessed. For all the things I have – life, love, freedom, and faith... Yes, mighty big things to be thankful for. But I also have many little things to be thankful for; so many of life’s little pleasures. I’m so thankful for...

... toilet paper. You don’t appreciate it until you’ve been somewhere where you don’t have any.

... water. As I sip from my glass, I am reminded how I take my abundance of clean water for granted.

... a warm coat. As the temperatures begin to dip and the threat of snow lingers, I’m ever more thankful for a warm coat to wear.

...a comfortable bed. As one of many with back and neck issues, I can attest to the difference a good bed can make in the quality of life.

... my hands. I was asked on an author interview once what I would do if I didn’t have the use of my hands. That would be a most difficult loss for me and I pray I never have to experience it.

... the past. Without my past, good and bad, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

...the smiles of family and friends. My days would be so dark and dreary except for those warm and sunny greetings.

... an embracing hug. Nothing can warm my heart more than feeling arms surround me in love and support.

These are just a few of my little pleasures, and though they are little, I know my life would never be complete without them. I pray for you all to have a most blessed and happy Thanksgiving. May your cup never run dry and the toilet paper be abundant.

You can read more about my upcoming releases on my website.

C.K. Volnek

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Welcome Debra Dunlap

 Today, I'm pleased to host Debra Dunlap, a fellow Muse It Up Publishing author as she nears completion of her blog tour.  Debra is the author of Fallon O'Reilly &; the Ice Queen's Lair and I'm happy to help her launch the first book in her series, Magic in the Americas.  She's been kind enough to answer a few questions for us.


Please tell us about your book.

Fallon O’Reilly & the Ice Queen’s Lair is the first book in the series, Magic in the AmericasIn this book, twelve-year old Fallon leaves her home in the Alaskan wilderness to attend her first year of school at the Borealis Academy of Magical Arts.  She and her wheelchair-bound cousin, Ardis, befriend Eddie, a student from Wyoming whose parents both teach physics.  Fallon’s curiosity leads her into a dark mystery, wherein she and her friends band together to save themselves and their school from a great evil.
Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?
I work full-time in the legal system, so am constrained to writing part-time.  My alarm is set for 5 a.m. to give me writing time before work.  For me, it’s much harder to stop writing than it is to start.  Thus, I frequently dash to work with hair wet from the shower and the words for magic spells still reverberating in my mind!

What made you decide to sign with a new publisher, Muse It Up Publishing, rather than an established company?

Lea Schizas!  I met Lea several years ago at the Muse Online Writer’s Conference, which she founded and I discovered accidentally while searching the net for something or other.  I loved and admired her dedication to helping authors achieve their goals.  When I read that she had opened a publishing house, I submitted my manuscript the same day.

Describe your writing space.

My writing space tends to change day to day and sometimes several times within a day.  I have a huge desk, given to me by a niece, where I like to write.  There’s plenty of space for my coffee cup, globe, printer and Droid.  Sometimes I sit on a couch with my laptop propped on my knees or a t.v. tray.  If the day isn’t too hot, I might haul my laptop to the park and sit at a picnic table.

What types of books do you read and who are your favorite authors?

I read everything I can find from Shakespeare to Chilton manuals.  Nearly everything interests me, although some of the ancient writers can be difficult to read.  I particularly love science fiction and fantasy.  Isaac Asimov is a favorite.  He’s written so many wonderful books on so many subjects.  I kept one of his non-fiction books on my desk while I earned my physics degree because he had a knack for explaining complex subjects.  I also love Anne McCaffrey’s books.  If I could choose to live on another world, I would live on Pern and ride dragons!

Now, as an extra treat, let's hear from Debra's Character, Fallon:

My name is Fallon O’Reilly and if you like rugged, unspoiled wilderness, you will love my home.  Fireweed Village lays hidden deep in Alaska.  It remains hidden, like other wizarding towns, because kippups would find it upsetting.  Kippup?  Oh, sorry.  That means a person who doesn’t use or believe in magic.  Can you believe some people don’t believe in magic?  Crazy!

I turned 12 years old this summer so I’m ready for school.  I can hardly wait for my first year at the Borealis Academy of Magical Arts.  Dad says Borealis has a stupendous library.  Yes, I admit I’m a bookworm, a dork, a nerd.  Choose a name that pleases you because it doesn’t bother me.  Even though my nose is always in a book, as my Mother likes to tell me, either the book or my nose frequently leads me into trouble.  I have a feeling this year will be no different.

There are rumors of strange events at the school and in surrounding villages.  My intrepid cousin, Ardis, will be at my side as I delve into what I’m betting will be a dark mystery.  Join us as we sojourn through our first year of wizarding school and across some of Alaska’s magnificent terrain.  You’ll be surprised at some of the people, living and dead, you meet!

If you'd like to find out more about Debra and Fallon, here's the link:


You can also find Debra at the following addresses:


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What Are You Thankful for? Janice Seagraves wants to know...


Ginger, who kindly allowed me to guest post here, told me her theme this month is Thankfulness.
And this is a good month it is for that theme. *grin* With Thanksgiving coming up faster than we want to admit and all that cooking we gals usual do.
I’ve had a better year this year than last. Last year right on Thanksgiving my only surviving Uncle on my father's side of the family passed away. So not a great Thanksgiving for me or my family.
But so far this year it’s been pretty good. My first book, Windswept Shores, got published June 3rd, by Pink Petal Books. The a few days later on June 9th my daughter graduated from High School, since then she’s entered college.
I’m also extremely grateful that my daughter survived a terrible car crash with only some bruises. She was literally the only one to walk away from the accident. The two other girls, who both happened to be sisters, one the driver and the other the back seat passenger were both airlifted to Fresno. They both had surgery. But thankfully both are making a good recovery.
So I think I have a lot to be thankful for.
How about you? What are you thankful for?

"Life is not about the moments we breathe, but the moments that take our breath away."
Stories that leave you breathless . . . Janice Seagraves

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Meet Dr. Joe Sivak - Stopping by on his Blog Tour

The true life account of a young man living with the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease in a parent. The disease was diagnosed in his mother when the author was seventeen years old in 1979, long before Alzheimer's disease was a household term.

The book candidly traces with graphic detailed description and dialogue the course of the fatal illness. The emotional issues of such pivotal events as the loss of autonomy of driving a car and entry into a nursing home are experienced through the eyes of a young son. From a concurrent viewpoint Alzheimer's is explained with the wisdom of a 21st century physician who has personally experienced the emotional anguish, and thus the fact-based journey is a truly unique dual-perspective Alzheimer's memoir. The story juxtaposes the active uphill battle to become a doctor set against the backdrop of the passive helpless struggle of losing a parent to the disease.

The narrative provides explicit commentary on the modern plight of the physician and the global connection family members of an Alzheimer's victim painstakingly share. The unusual, seldom before elicited insights of the dual-perspective vigorously address universal issues such as coping, hope, futility, humiliation and societal bias toward the disease throughout the text.

About Joe Sivak:

Joseph J. Sivak MD is a board certified adult psychiatrist with twenty years of experience in direct patient care. He has taught and lectured in the United States and internationally in the areas of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mood disorders, and chronic suicidal ideation.

He completed medical school at Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and Residency Training at the University of Rochester. Dr. Sivak has served on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Alzheimer's Association and the Northland Chapter of the American Red Cross and hosted a weekly mental health Radio Program for eight years on KUWS- Wisconsin Public Radio. Currently Dr. Sivak serves on the legislative committee of the Minnesota Medical Association, is a assistant professor at the University of Minnesota-Duluth College of Pharmacy and is in full time private psychiatric in Duluth.

More from Dr. Sivak:

I first started writing When Can I Go Home? back in 1989 when I was in my last year of medical school. That was about a year after my mother died from Alzheimer's disease. 

The book is a memoir about my mother's futile struggle with the disease. After she passed away I had a tremendous need and sometimes furious drive to record the journey in a timeless and permanent way. As a teenager, I had been my mother's primary caregiver for a few years, as the disease progressively robbed her of her cognitive abilities, personality and her very essence. At the time writing about it was very cathartic. 

The disease process is profoundly isolating for families and I wanted to scream out and tell the world. That element is there in so many Alzheimer's memoirs.  Unfortunately the issue of isolation has not improved in our society and much as we like to pretend it has in the last thirty years since my mother was diagnosed. At that time most people had not heard of Alzheimer's disease and of course now it is a household term, but as a society we are still ignorant and terrified about it till it affects our own family. The isolation is still there. 

The book is a bit unusual or even paradoxical from an Alzheimer's memoir point of view in that  It presents a dual perspective. First is a family caregiver specifically a teenager son, which is a bit unusual and at times even bizarre, since that is not the prototypical demographic of a caregiver. The other perspective is a clinical one from a physician. I have treated thousands of patients and their families affected by many psychiatric and neurological problems including many Alzheimer's victims. The clinical information is broken down and translated for the reader. 

So you essentially have these two very different points of view sort of flip-flopping but sort of coming into what I hope is a harmonious symmetry. The third aspect of the book is an underlying and ongoing commentary on all the relevant sociological and psychological issues this book interfaces with. Such issues as the state of health care delivery, being a doctor, and the aging population are addressed and sometimes not in a very convenient way for those that need to hold onto pretense and prejudice for security.   For example as a society we really don't treat the aging population with the honor and dignity they deserve. We are pretty much obsessed with youth and appearance. We also have a lot of bias toward the medical profession if not at times completely vilifying the field. So in that sense speaking candidly about things albeit my opinion yet based on experience may open the readers eyes, on some issue conversely it may propel some to try to look the other way even more. It's not always politically correct, but it is a memoir and it is honest. It is sort of visceral, some people will cry some will laugh some will get more angry, it makes you feel first, then think.

The manuscript was hard to finish, it lay dormant for some fifteen years, I never had an ending. Even after the death of an Alzheimer's victim, there is never an ending for the five million families affected by the disease.  something hit me, after all these years. We are all universally humanly connected by this disease process, and I had the clarity to finish this book.

I love writing, but most of my energy and creativity is spent in my day job. I am currently working on a novel about psychiatric residency. Fiction is obviously a much different prospect than a memoir but it taps a different part of your brain and soul to create something like this compared to a memoir. 

Joseph J. Sivak MD
twitter @whencanigohome

Dr. Sivak's next stop is November 18 at http://www.armsofasister.com

You can also learn more about Dr. Sivak on his website

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