Saturday, December 28, 2019

Flash Fiction Story by Connie Vines #RoundRobin

This month's Round Robin Blog Authors are posting Flash Fiction or story excerpts for your enjoyment

Marrying off Murphyⓒ
Flash Fiction
Contemporary Romance
Connie Vines

Snagging a copy of the OP News, Professor Murphy Flynn found himself staring at his unflattering photo. The headline: “Bachelor Auction.” The submissions editor was Sylvie Dupree. A dark-haired Creole beauty who was his stepsister’s best friend.

“Tallulah Belle!”

Sylvie bolted from her chair.

“You’ve made me the laughing stock of the faculty.”

Sylvie peaked around the corner to see her boss wave the program under his nose.
“Murph, it’s for charity.”

Murphy’s gaze locked with hers. “If I’m going to do this, I need to look the part. Sylvie, can you help me?”

Her mouth went dry and her pulse fluttered.  “Laissez les bon temps rouler, Murphy.”

Leaving Murphy at the barbershop, Sylvie examined the tailored shirts in at the department store.
“Is that the shirt you’d like me to try on?”

The tall, vaguely familiar man reached for the garment and she released the hanger with nervous fingers. No way. This gorgeous male was… “Murphy?”

He arched one eyebrow. “Yes?”

Sylvie knew her jaw had gone slack and she was staring, but she couldn’t help it. Murphy had gotten his haircut and styled, and he’d shaved his beard. His cheekbones had a Slavic slant to them, his jaw was firm and sexy; and his hair had a tousled look. She had a feeling she’d unleashed a tiger.

“Let’s go over the program again,” Sylvie coached Murphy behind the temporary rigged curtain inside the crowded restaurant.

“I smile, walk down the runway, take off my jacket, turn around, and then walk back to the podium.”
The frenzied sounds of bidding for the first bachelor filled the room. “It’s the emcee’s job to pump up the bids. Just strut your stuff.”

“Strut my stuff!” he yelped.

Sylvie seized him by the hand. “It’s an auction, a bachelor bidding war, remember?”
“Sylvie,” Murphy growled, his eyes dark with desire, as well as a hint of fear.

She liked the crisp scent of his cologne and the flare of fire in his green eyes.

Murphy stroked Sylvie’s jaw, is mouth hovered a mere inch from her own.  “Do you really want me to smile at other women?”

Before she could admit her feelings, Tallulah parted the curtain and shoved Murphy onto the stage.

“What did you say to him?”

Sylvie watched Murphy toss his jacket into the crowd and yank off his bowtie.  “I told him to strut his stuff.”



Tallulah glanced at the crowd. “Don’t just sit there, Sylvie. Bid!”

“Oh, I can’t just—” Sylvie watched, rendered speechless, as Murphy unbuckled his belt and tugged his shirt free of his trousers. “Five hundred!” she screamed.


“Seven!” she countered.

“One thousand!”

The emcee’s gavel hits the podium. “Going once, twice—”

“Two-thousand!” Sylvie shouted, knowing darn well her check would bounce.

“Sold!” yelled Murphy. He jumped off the stage, hauled Sylvie out of her chair, and led her to a secluded corner.

As his lips captured hers, Sylvie tangled her fingers into his hair. The sweet and gentle kiss soon turned hot and fierce.

“Laissez les bon temps rouler,” she murmured against his lips. Let the good times roll!

I hope you enjoyed my Flash Fiction Story, "Marrying Off Murphy".

Remember all of my ebooks are on sale!  75% off on Smashwords until Jan.1, 2020.

Smashwords  Link for Sale Prices!

Visit the blogs our participating authors to see what tales each has woven for your enjoyment!

Friday, December 13, 2019

I'm Blogging at Romance Gems

I'm Blogging Today at Romance Gems

The Scents and Memories of the Holidays

Please stop by and sign up for Candy Cane Kisses Giveaways!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Oddest Character I Ever Dream Up by Connie Vines #Round Robin

Thank you, Robin, for this month’s Round Robin Topic:

What is the oddest character you have every dream up, and how did he/she fit into a story?

Odd adjective, odd·er, odd·est.
differing in nature from what is ordinary, usual, or expected: an odd choice. singular or peculiar in a strange or eccentric way: an odd person; odd manners.

I seem to have eccentric people in most of my stories.

My favorite, however, is Caldwell, the cankerous cook in Brede, Rodeo Romance Book 2.

Caldwell keeps everyone on their toes.  His humor is biting, but Caldwell also has a soft-spot for those he cares about.  And to everyone’s amazement, he’s a bit of a Romero!

The ‘winner’ of my oddest character, should probably be awarded to Meredith, my zombie heroine in Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow.  Though I must admit, even in her Zombie persona, Meredith is surprisingly normal.  Perhaps this is what is ‘odd’.

How do you feel about odd characters in a novel?

What is the favorite ‘odd, oddish’ character from a novel?

Please visit the other authors in this month’s round robin blog!

Happy Reading,


Skye Taylor
Victoria Chatham
A.J. Maguire
Dr. Bob Rich
Diane Bator
Beverley Bateman
Fiona McGier
Judith Copek
Rhobin L Courtright

Sunday, November 3, 2019

November Romance Gems Contest and Raffelcopter Drawing

November Romance Gems Video

The Contests being November 4th and run until the November.

#RomanceGems #Raffelcopter #RomanceGems Blog

Raffelcopter LinkRafflecopter link


November is the month for Gratitude, Appreciation, and counting your Blessings if you are religious and/or philosophical. Grateful, Thankful, Blessed—that's what many of us are, but we probably don't think about that often enough.

Most of us have lived long enough that we've made a lot of mistakes. From those mistakes, we've learned. After all, wisdom comes from learning from mistakes.

With that thought in mind, we decided to make our November Promotion about the Life Lessons we've learned and want to share with you.

On every daily post, feel free to leave a comment about a Life Lesson you learned along the way. You may help someone who is confronting a similar issue.

Our November Rafflecopter has 5 Amazon Gift Cards as prizes. Be sure to enter often to improve your chances of winning, and, please, tell your friends about Romance Gems—our Authors, our books, our blog posts, and our Giveaway every month.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Cannibal's Hot Dogs

What is my favorite thing about Halloween?

My Halloween Event is my Spook-tacular Dinner Party for my children and grandchildren.

Each year there is a different theme for the dinner and party. I email invitations with the menu.

 My first dinner featured “Deadman over Worms” (meatloaf in person-form with a fork in the chest) served over wheat pasta with snips of parsley, bleeding cemetery cake, and eyeball, witches-fingers.

The next year it was hot-dogs carved to look like bloody fingers served in a hot dog bun, punch with ice-cube eyeballs, dip that looked like slime, veggies arranged to look like a skeleton, chocolates shaped like mice served over cake with chopped and crushed candy to resemble graveyard dirt.

For photos and inspiration visit my Zombie Nite Café on Pinterest.

Of course, everyone dresses up, we play spooky music, and play games.  All these events are very tame and especially for preschoolers.   Everyone goes home with a goodie-bag and toy (flying bats, wax teeth, a blinking necklace).

The planning and selected theme is discussed through out the year.  As the children matured, they helped prepare the meal.  Painting the bloody fingers with ketchup, smashing the ghosts (mashed potatoes), and taste-testing the cemetery dirt were the most popular.

Happy Halloween my Lovelies,

Connie Vines

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Unique Situations by Connie Vines

The best stories connect with readers on a visceral level. They transport us to another time and place and put us in a different “skin,” where we face challenges we may never know in life. And yet, the commonality of the story problem draws us onward and, in solving it vicariously through the
protagonist, changes us.

This Month's Topic:
Unique Situations.  Your story/characters changing direction.

What happens when a story or your character(s) take a different direction?

What happens when characters that take over your story? t One of the highest compliments I’ve never received for my novel “Lynx”, Rodeo Romance came when one reader told me she thought about my story constantly. She said that Lynx and Rachel’s story seemed so real, so heart wrenching, and their love so very enduring.  She said that she was going through a difficult time in her life and my story gave her hope.  Hope.  Hope for someone during a desperate time—I felt blessed that she shared her story.  I was also humbled.  It is moment such as this that I know just how powerful worlds and stories are to our readers.

While I never sit down at the keyboard and say, “I think I will write a powerful, life-changing story today.”  What I do, by nature, is select a social issue for the core of my stories.  Since my stories are character driven and often told in the first person, the emotion has a natural flow.

How do you create this type of engagement with your story?

Go beyond the five senses.  Your reader must feel your character’s emotions.  Your reader must forget there is a world outside of your story.

Embrace idiosyncrasies.  As teenagers everyone wanted to fit in, be one of the crowd.  Your character isn’t like anyone else.  Give him an unexpected, but believable trait.  In “Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow”,  my heroine, a Zombie has a pet. Not a zombie pet. Not a dog, or a cat.  She has a teddy bear hamster named Gertie.

Make them laugh. It doesn’t need to be slap-stick.  Just a little comic relief when the reader least expects it to happen.

Make them cry.  Remember the scene in the movie classic, Romancing the Stone, where Joan Wilder is crying when she writes the final scene in her novel?  I find this is the key.  If you are crying, your reader will be crying too.

If you are writing a romance, make them fall in love.  Make the magic last.  The first meeting, first kiss, the moment of falling in love.  These are the memories our readers savor, wait for in our stories.

 Don’t disappoint them.

As Emily Dickinson, said so well:
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

And when you character decide to take over your story-line, or create a persona of his or her making, step out of the way!

Enjoy Halloween, my lovelies!


Round Robin Blog Hop Members: 

Dr. Bob Rich
Rhobin L Courtright

Saturday, October 12, 2019

I'm Blogging today at Romance Gems

Topic today:
Mercury Retrograde: The Return of an Old Flame or Truth Bombs?

I'm also giving-away a free novel.

The drawing will be held October 13th, 2019 @ 11:00 PM.

Follow this blog and comment in the comment area.

Remember to Click on the link to Romance Gems to enter the October Contests!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Plots--Personal, Imagination, or Research? by Connie Vines #RoundRobin

Topic: In designing your plots what do you rely on most: personal experience, imagination, or research? 

Thank you Robin for another great topic!

I'm unable to select only one choice.  I must conclude that
I add all three choices into the my plotting when I am writing.

Obviously, when I am am writing an historical novel, short-story, or article my plot line will be heaving in the area of research.  However, odds are I've also visited the area, visited a museum, etc. so I can claim personal experience.  Where does the imagination fit in?
My characters' personalities and how he/she would react in a situation would be a product of my imagination.

The same could be said of writing a sci-fi or fantasy.  Science fact is Science fact.  However, the facts can be stretched or discarded (to a degree) in a fictitious universe or in a time-travel novel.  As for fantasy.  You must state the 'new' truth as to why you vampire can stand in sunlight and not dissolve.  Or as in the case of my zombie novel, Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow, Why my zombie (Meredith), a former vegan, only consumes chicken, etc., instead of human brains.

As for my romantic fiction/suspense/Gothic novels, my stories rely heavily on my imagination. My characters may have traits of people I have known (remember, not everyone has a positive influence in your life), or traits that work well with my plot-line.  I strive to make all of my characters to be living, breathing people with faults, challenges, and successes.  I have also discovered that true facts are not always believable in a novel.  Even if it is true, if it seems like a 'convenient plot-device' toss it out and start over.

Please visit the other wonderful writers who are part of this month's Round Robin Blog.

Please click on the side-bar to purchase or read snippets of my novels.
You will find by works on BookBub,, , Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Walmart, and your other favorite online ebook stores.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

Poodle Talk Sunday # 7, #Doggie Birthday Party!

Chanel will be four years old in November. 

She may even be mature enough to have a birthday party this year.


Her first birthday she was totally clueless.  She was still jumping though the air like a demented circus poodle, grabbing a paper napkin from my hand and tearing into tiny pieces. Or, snagging a page of the newspaper and racing through the house which we, my husband and I, unsuccessfully tried to retrieve it before—you guessed it, she tore it into tiny pieces.

Her second year, she was a little less enthusiastic in her desire to destroy paper products, but she’d moved on to birthday cards and brightly printed note paper, along with the corners of a paperback novel or two.

During her third year, I made and purchased doggie cookies.  However, this was a poodle version of Goldie Locks and the uncooperative Toy Poodle, I’m afraid.

This cookie was too hard, this cooking was too big, and this cookie was too soft and I started to choke.

So, after that traumatic event, more traumatic for me (I’m still in panic-mode) than Chanel who is, you guessed it, gleefully caring around a piece of discarded wrapping paper.

I have months to plan this event, of course, but I’m not going overboard—no banners in the local doggie park, no inclusion of doggie-friends, this year it will be a low-key event. Afterall, her birthday is only a few weeks after Halloween. Everyone loves to dress his/her dog for Halloween.  (Though, I’m keeping Chanel’s face out of my popcorn bowl and/or glass of diluted punch.)

This year I may shop online for doggie-cake mix, or stop by PetCo or PetSmart for pet ice cream.

I located this recipe on  This looks simple, inexpensive, and no leftovers. I may give this one a try.


A dog friendly, single serving cupcake to celebrate the special hounds in your life! Grain free and no added sugar.
10 minutes
20 minutes
30 minutes
1/2 small/medium apple, diced into small pieces
3 tablespoons peanut butter** + more if desired for frosting
1 whole egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
bacon bits for topping (optional)

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F

In a small bowl mix together all of your ingredients until combined.
Spoon the mixture either into a cup cake sized ramekin or into a regular cupcake tins. You can make either one jumbo cake, or two average sized cupcakes.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow the cupcake to cool completely. You can leave it as is, or frost with peanut butter and sprinkle with bacon bits.

Make sure to use xylitol free peanut butter as xylitol is very poisonous for dogs! I purchase my dog peanut butter at the pet store (Connie’s note).


Do you throw birthday parties for your pups?

Does everything go as planned?

Have a Happy Poodle Sunday!

Luke 6:37
Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Poodle Talk #6 Is Your Poodle a Wild Sleeper or a Snuggler? by Connie Vines

As you know,  I belong to several fb poodle groups and poodle-fostering/rescue groups. 

We began a conversation about whether or not 'our' particular poodle, or poodles, had to 'touch' you while sleeping.

Of course none of these findings are verified by animal behaviorists,
or supported by any Random Poodle Polls. 

We had fun sharing the stories, (please post your personal poodle findings in the comment area, if you like 🐩🐩🐩 ).

  • Poodle #1 (apricot toy) had to be touching her owner at all times. She was label  the Wildest Sleeper.  She would wake up and change positions all through the night so she always had physical contact with her owner/mom.
  • 🐩
  • Poodle #2  (white toy) hogs the bed (taking 3/4s for herself). It's amazing how such a small dog can muscle a human to the edge of the bed.
  • 🐩
  • Poodle # 3 (white poodle-maltese mix) scootches until he rests against his human/mom's. tummy. He was given the 'gentleman's award).
  • 🐩
  • Poodle #4 (gray miniature) all 4 paws again his human's back.
  • 🐩
  • Poodle #5 (multiples) all three poodles sleep touching her.  If not, one will wake up the others to re-position the group.
  • 🐩
  • Poodle #6 (white/tan toy)  Yes, this is Chanel.  She sleeps (flying superman position) paws on one side of the bed, stretched out with her toenails touching me.  Or, sleeps with her head resting on the curve of my shoulder.
Of the 225 comments, pictures, etc.  Not one person stated the poodle slept in a 'dog' bed/ kennel,  or even at the foot of the bed.

Mind you, several poodles claimed a pillow to rest his/her head upon (probably from a now pillow-less human).

Several poodles snored, others were loud dreams, some twitched, while others complained when his/her human claimed more mattress-territory (me) after spending half the night trying not to slide off the edge of the mattress and land on a pile of discarded toys.

So is your poodle a 'Wild Sleeper", or a "Snuggler"?

  1. Image result for poodle in bed

Happy Poodle Sunday,

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Poodle Talk #5 and #5 Doggie Fashion: Yes or No?

Poodle Talk Sunday

My apologies for not posting last Sunday.  My router stopped functioning last week and I called Spectrum Cable for service.  My router was replaced but not until I missed my blog deadline :-(

Doggie Couture?

I must confess, I do enjoy a little touch of fashion in my poodle's life., PetCo, PetSmart and other online sites does make it simpler to be a bit indulgent on a budget.  I'm more inclined to squirrel a bit of money away for emergencies (vet visits, vaccinations, teeth cleansing, monthly grooming appointments).  And, while I don't mind dedicating a dresser drawer to doggie fashion, I'm not sharing my closet--yet.

Chanel has a cute harness that looks like a dress with a taffeta skirt (don't tell her, but it's a cat harness).  She dresses up like a gingerbread girl during Christmas time (my kitchen and dining room is decorated with gingerbread girls and boys collectibles).  She also has a set of jammies and sweaters she wears during winter..

Image result for gingerbread girl dog costume
Chanel's gift from Aunty Carla
Bond & Co. Pink Rose-Print Cat Harness and Leash Set
Chanel's harness
Image result for poodle with sunglasses
I wouldn't mind having this hat and scarf.
Chanel would probably wear the sun glasses

When temperatures start to fall below 45°F, some cold-averse breeds will get uncomfortable and will need protection. For owners of small breeds, puppies, senior dogs, or thin haired breeds, anytime the temperature outside feels at or below 32°F, pull out the sweaters or coats!

Dos my dog need sunscreen? Yes, you should put sunscreen on your dog.   Vets say if a dog has to be outdoors during peak sun exposure hours (10 am to 4 pm), sunscreen should be reapplied to sun-sensitive areas of the body—the nose, around the lips, tips of the ears, the groin, and the belly—throughout the day.

It's highly important that you only use types of sunscreen that are specifically intended for use on dogs. They should not contain zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), as these ingredients are toxic to dogs if ingested, and dogs will often lick their skin and accidentally ingest the sunscreen.

Happy Poodle Sunday,

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. ... Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

This month's topic is an excerpt dealing with travel or vacation in one of our novels.

Connie Vines, author, from the quirky suburbs of SoCal.
Link to Podcast
I've taken an except from Lynx, Rodeo Romance, Book 1. 
This is just before my hero and heroine take a trip together.
This is also my 1st venture into podcasting.  I am also searching for the perfect mic and filter.

My except takes place in Running Springs, Montana before Lynx Maddox and Rachel Scott travel to Lubbock, Texas to meet his family.

They'd never made the trip to Missoula yesterday for supplies, deciding instead to spend the remainder of morning, in bed.  Afterwards, Lynx had told her stories and snacked on warmed leftover for dinner.

At first, Lynx's stories of his childhood had made her laugh. He'd been just as much of a hell raiser as a boy, evidently.  As he spoke more and more about his family, Rachel's fears mounted and hung over her like a blanket of fog.

Lynx had led a privileged life. And, contrary to Rachel's understanding, his parents were not small-town Texas ranchers.  A..J. and Elizabeth Maddox were founding members of community projects, pillars of the Lone Star State. A.J. Maddox lunched with Congressmen at the local cattlemen'a club, and Elizabeth Maddox arranged charity fashion shows.

No matter how much Lynx tried to reassure her to the contrary, Rachel had a feeling Maddox men did not get involved with someone from her background.

She hurried to the kitchen, as if by the act of making breakfast she could cope with everything. Lynx cared about her, she reminded herself. She'd always been stronger when he was near.

But did he love her?

"Of course he does," she whispered, trying to convince herself.  Why else would he take her to Texas?

Before Rachel could spoon the first ladle of pancake batter, Lynx was beside her, reaching for the coffee pot.

"I missed you," he said, kissing her on the temple.

She wasn't going to ruin the morning by giving into her fears, Rachel promised herself. Everything will work out for the best--it had to...



Podcast for a longer version of excerpt

Stop by and read the fascinating travel/ vacation stories other members of our Round Robin have to share this month!

Rhobin L Courtright

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Top Ten Poodle Mixes #Poodle Talk #4 Poodle Sunday by Connie Vines

Image result for poodle hugWe've completed the top ten most-popular poodle-mixes. I don't know about you, bur  I think everyone of these little is cuties are adorable.

After all, Poodles are the dogs we love to love!


5. Schnoodle = Poodle + Schnauzer crossbreed

If you want a dog that is a lap dog and an excellent jogging companion the Schnoodle is the dog you’re looking. From its Schnauzer parent side, the dog is very sturdy, unlike some lap dogs. Loyal, fun, smart and affectionate the dog tends to be independent and stubborn sometimes. The coat of the Schnoodle requires some maintenance like trimming and grooming. Expect the dog to be an avid digger, and it has a tendency to hold blankets along with toys with its front paws like hands.


6. Peekapoo = Poodle + Pekingese

Along with the Cockapoo, this was one of the mixed Poodle breeds that during the 1950s and 60s. However the Peekapoo has not been given much attention like the Cockapoo, but for the last five decades, the breed has gotten enough notice. It is not an uncommon thing for a small mixed dog breed to excel in being a watchdog, but the Peekapoo does that job. If the dog sees a person it thinks is suspicious, it will bark loud.


7. Yorkipoo = Poodle + Yorkshire Terrier

This dog is the kind of dog that enjoys physical activities such as obedience and agility competitions. The Yorkipoo is good at performing tricks for the benefit of its owner and visitors. Possessing boundless love and energy the Yorkipoo with its low-dander, the low-shedding coat is the ideal lap dog for people of all ages. Like other mixed Poodle breeds, the Yorkipoo excels at training but be sure to use positive reinforcement on the dog and avoid any harsh methods of training it.


8. Pomapoo = Poodle + Pomeranian

Pinpointing the exact origins of some Poodle mix breeds is futile at best. Nobody knows of the Pomapoo origins, but what is certain is that the dog is friendly, intelligent and affectionate. Some Pomapoos are eager to meet other people while some are a bit reserved. These traits may be due to the socialization training it went through. This dog is highly adaptable to the lifestyle of its owner and daily walks as well as playtime keep it in shape.


11. Poochon = Poodle + Bichon Frise

Whether your home is in the suburbs with a big backyard or a small apartment; the Shihpoo will fit it in all of them. This delightful, fun-loving dog likes to play with its family or run around the home as a means of exercise. Though the dog can be stubborn, it has the gift of cheering up people especially those who are sad. Despite having a Shih Tzu in its parentage, the Shihpoo’s hair is moderately long.


10. Chipoo = Poodle + Chihuahua

A small outgoing, healthy dog that gets along with kids and has a coat that does not shed is the goal of dog breeders. Thanks to the efforts of Melbourne’s Chevromist Kennels during the 1990s the Poochon was produced. Unlike other Poodle breeds the Poochon’s hair does not shed, though some grooming and trimming are necessary. Households with children or other pets are no hindrance to the dog. The cute and lovable Poochon requires half an hour or more of exercise daily to keep it healthy.


12. Doxiepoo = Poodle + Dachshund

Surprisingly the dog has other names like Dachshunddoodle, Doxiedoodle, and Dachshundpoo.
However, the name Doxiepoo is the name preferred by dog lovers since it pronunciation is shorter. Most mixed Poodle breeds inherit 50/50 of their parents’ traits and characteristics. The Doxiepoo is one of those dogs that take more traits and characteristics from one parent. If the dog is mostly Poodle, it possesses a hypoallergenic coat and is a dog that is intelligent making its training easier. On the other hand, if the dog takes more from its Dachshund parent the fur it possesses is short making grooming an easy task. Additionally, its frame is lower and longer.

So many mixed Poodle breeds to choose from and all you need is one. It’s true that these breeds have the usual health problems, but don’t let it discourage you. These problems are treatable and can be prevented with proper care. Ultimately the mixed breed Poodle that you are going to choose depends on your personal preferences and current situation. Just remember to give your adorable pet the love and care that it needs.

Thank you for the messages about little Chanel.  She is much improved (ten days of antibiotics and cough syrup).  She is playing with her favorite puzzle toys and shadowing me after her naps.

Happy Poodle Sunday, 🐩

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." ~ Isaiah 41:10

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Sunday Poodle Talk #3

Poodle breeds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. Aside from the Standard, Miniature, and Toy Poodles, other kinds are sure to catch your eye and your love. If you’re the type who likes Poodle mix breeds, there’s a lot of Poodle mixed breeds that you can find. To get a mixed Poodle dog you have to know which Poodle crossbreeds you can choose. Here is a list of cute Poodle mix breeds to make your choice easier.

Today we are discovering the top 3 mixes.  If you own one of these poodle-mixes, feel free to add your personal experiences in the comment box.

1. Cockapoo = Poodle + Cocker Spaniel

If you want a sweet small dog that is funny and likes to clown around the Cockapoo is that dog for you. Cockapoos were some of the first designer dogs in the 1960s when Poodle dog breeders were cross-breeding Poodle breeds with other dog breeds. A Cockapoo is a lap dog so expect this breed to be intelligent, easily trainable and affectionate. So a dog of its size, it is agile, and it is superb at its role being a therapy dog.

2. Maltipoo =  Poodle + Maltese

One of the more attractive Poodle mix breeds to choose. This breed is the dog of choice for an individual or families that want a dog pet that can fit right in their homes. The Maltipoo is very attractive due to its charming persona, and it can be a very active dog. Because of its loving and fun-loving nature, grown-ups, as well as kids and elderly, will love this adorable dog.

3. Labradoodle = Poodle + Labrador

The dog’s original purpose was to be a guide dog that has a hypoallergenic trait. The breeders who originally bred this Poodle crossbreeds were members of the Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia. The result of such a cross-breeding was the Labradoodle. This dog breed is affectionate, sociable and smart as well possessing the expertise of being a guide dog. These traits and role of the dog are the reason why the Labradoodle’s popularity is high.

Rodger A. Caras
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."

Monday, July 29, 2019

Just A Taste - Ginger Simpson

Classic Monday from  Ginger Simpson
Joy Garrett is preparing to marry the man of her dreams and needs her birth certificate in
order to get a passport for her honeymoon. For some reason her mother wants to avoid the issue
and urges her to enjoy the good ol' USA. While pilfering in her mother's things in the attic, Joy
comes across a birth certificate, and although the date, hospital and doctor are a match with her,

the paper certifies someone else's birth... What secret is her mother keeping?

Fresh from her shower, Joy Garrett stood naked in front of the mirror and fingered the inch-long
scar just below her navel. Surgery performed on her at ten months had left the jagged line.
She’d forgotten the reason her mother gave for the operation, but the obvious results, although
small, marred Joy’s otherwise flawless torso and irked her. Anyone who wanted to keep Scott
Porter on a short leash had to look their best.

Wrapped in terrycloth, she went into the bedroom. Her heart pounded with anticipation of
the evening ahead—her first cocktail party and introduction to Scott’s co-workers. She planned
to make this an evening he’d never forget.

She slipped into her matching black bra and thong and then removed her dress from the
hanger on the closet door. Thankfully, those dreadful panty hose of old and annoying slips were
passé these days. “The less the better,” Joy murmured.

The plastic bag, with the retail store’s name emblazoned across it, crackled as she slipped it
off of her slinky dress. Annoying static plastered it to her hand. She peeled the cloying
cellophane away, wadded it, and flung it into the trash. Visions of her luscious date ran through
her mind: dark hair, eyes bluer than the sky, tall…and those shoulders—broad enough to make
other guys envious.

“Scott Porter.” His name dripped from her tongue like water from melting ice as she
shimmied into her dress. Even though they’d been seeing one another for the past six months,
thoughts of him still turned her stomach fluttery. She hoped to marry him one day. Of course, her
dreams hinged on him asking.

She had one year left to complete her master’s degree and still lived at home. A part-time
job didn’t offer the luxury of an apartment. Sharing the rent with a roommate was an option, but
she was holding out for something better. She scanned her room, noting the floral drapes and
frilly bedspread, and then wondered what style Scott would prefer in the bedroom they’d share.
Yep, someday she’d be Joy Ann Porter if she had her way. She warmed at the thought of waking
up in Scott’s arms.

This and my other short stories are available at a discounted price in various downloadable formats at Muse It Up Publishing

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sunday Poodle Talk #2

My little Chanel came down with an upper respiratory infection this week.  
She had a fever, cough, and diarrhea  so I called her vet and he took her right in.

He was concerned.  I was concerned.  Chanel is taking 10 days of antibiotics (she received an injection before she left the clinic), cough medication, tummy medication, and has a special diet for the next 2 weeks.

She's improving, though she sneezes when I take her outside to take care of her business (it's 100+ here in SoCal).  She's napping throughout and is becoming more like her usual 'poodle' self.

We worry about all of our loved ones (family, friends, co-workers) but fur-babies  seem to worry us because they become ill so quickly--or are ill and we aren't aware there's even a problem.

My little girl is a re-homed poodle-mix. 8 lbs and a couple of wiggles, I like to say.

I belong to several poodle groups on Facebook, and follow Adopt-a-Pet for fosters in our area.

Please share your poodle/poodle-mix stories in the comment section :-).

Birthday Parties, fashion accessories, and poodle quirks are always fun to share.

Image result for cute poodle gifs

Have a wonderful week,

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Writing Around You Day Job by Connie Vines

It’s a 5:00 world, at least that is what the popular “Vogues” song from yesteryear (1965) tells us.  In 2003, the song was reborn via the movie, “Big Fish”.

Up every morning just to keep a job
I gotta fight my way through the hustling mob
Sounds of the city pounding in my brain
While another day goes down the drain
(Yeah, yeah, yeah) but it's a five o'clock world when the whistle blows
No-one owns a piece of my time

As most writers know, writing hours are made after you complete your day job.  You time is also doled out in little snippets while watching your child’s water polo practice, Harp recital, or while boiling pasta for the evening meal.

For those of us who may find writing until 1:00 AM and having the alarm set for 5:00 AM a bit fatiguing.  It seems we are keeping good company.

Some of these stories you may be familiar with, others may come as a surprise.
He may be a renowned author of over 50 novels, but Stephen King wasn't always a full-time writer — his time as a high school janitor helped inspire the novel Carrie. King originally threw the first draft of the story in the trash, but his wife Tabitha fished it out and told him to keep going because she wanted to know how it ended.

Before she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee worked as an airline reservations clerk in New York. She eventually quit when her friends helped support her financially so she could finally write full time.

He's a well-known author now, but before Nicholas Sparks wrote The Notebook, he worked odd jobs, including selling dental products over the phone.

She was a talented science-fiction writer and awarded the MacArthur Fellowship — but before her success as a writer, Octavia Butler worked as a potato chip inspector. She also worked as a dishwasher and a telemarketer, using these day jobs to support her writing. And they really were day jobs, because Butler would get up at 2 a.m. to do her writing before going in to work! Amazing.

She's known as a mystery novelist; Agatha Christie was once an assistant apothecary. She reportedly knew a lot about poisons, which was no doubt helpful as she created the characters of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Just goes to show that you never know what knowledge will come in handy later.

Bram Stoker wrote Dracula while working as the manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, imagining Henry Irving, a famous actor and owner of the theater, playing the vampire himself.

So how about you?  What is/was your day job(s)?

Does your day job get your creative ideas flowing?

I work in the field of education, students, staff, and events give me ideas—or at least creative thoughts.

Sometimes, after a long day. It will take me five minutes to write a sentence.
Five minutes of staring into space until the idea of writing an opening line about how long it took me to think of an opening line popped into my head.

In the grand scheme of things, five minutes isn't all that long. But for a writer, five minutes for nine words can add up.

Writing takes time. A whole lot of time.

I always imagined I'd write my first book in a vacation hideaway overlooking the beach or cabin in the Grand Tetons.   Unfortunately, most first-time authors won't get to live out this literary fantasy.
In fact, circumstances will most likely be the opposite: writing during off-hours, scribbling notes in public, enjoying less sleep than you'd like and slowly losing your mind while trying to maintain personal relationships a full-time job and run a household.

Say you've finally found a quiet hour to yourself. You know you should write, but you're tired from work and are only on season four of “Game of Thrones.” What were once simple choices become tormenting tests of will power and resolution.

As George Orwell famously stated, “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.”

In his book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,” Stephen King shared a similar though more concise sentiment: “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”

So how do I stay on track to reach my deadline?
I’ve learned to say “no.”

I also participate online instead of driving to Orange County Romance Writers or L.A.R.A. monthly meetings; I sign-up for online classes.  I miss interacting with other writers, and my plotting group, but talking isn’t going to write my novel.

This doesn't mean you have to say no to everything, but writing is always going to require compromise.

A large part of writing for me is preparing my environment. I like to have a cup of coffee by my side, music playing. I prefer to write from 8:00 to 11:30 PM every other day. On Fridays I write until 2:00 AM, Saturdays after the gym and running errands.  I’ll write for a few hours, then spend time on other tasks, until about 8:00 PM I will write until 10 or 11:00. (though is writing until 2:00 this morning). 

Sunday, unless I have a blog post due/or am on a deadline, I do not write.  I may edit my week's work in the evening but that is the extent of my writing.  This is family time for me.

Remember: If you keep waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect time, you’ll never get anything done.

Pencil in you time to write on your calendar, or task journal.  Honor that time like you do all of your other commitments.

You may find your day job fits in quite nicely into your novel.  After all, if you have life experience, no research in needed.

Happy Reading and Writing,

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Sunday Poodle Talk

🐩  Poodles have a tendency to be extremely affectionate animals (my Chanel is a little love bug). Most of them like to cuddle and give kisses and in most cases, they don’t usually mind being hugged.  Chanel crawls into my lap each morning, and before going to bed, to give me a hug and kiss my ear.

🐩 If you are looking for a dog that you can bring into the family that will allow everyone to hug on it and pet it, a poodle is always a good option. Remember, every dog is different so getting a poodle doesn’t guarantee that you will get all of these things.

My little poodle (all 8 lbs. + a couple of wiggles) is brave.  She will stand guard next to me.  She seldom barks, unless I don't remove a package from the front porch quickly enough (yes, she's probably thinking it is her dog food delivery).

🐩 They respond to your voice

Some of the smartest dogs understand enough words that they have a vocabulary similar to a toddler. As a result, they can understand a lot of phrases like good girl, stop, leave it, and come, among others. Even when your dog doesn’t understand what you are saying, she knows your voice and will respond to that sound again and again. Your poodle also knows how you are feeling based on the inflection in your voice. As a result, she can tell when you are happy, sad or angry, as well as when you are excited about something. That is why she will often come up to you automatically and attempt to cuddle when you are angry or feeling blue.

🐩 They’re comical

Anybody that owns a poodle will tell you that they’re funny. These dogs just seem to have a penchant for knowing how to make you laugh and they do it on a routine basis. You might argue that they are merely showing off their natural personalities. Some people that have poodles will undoubtedly argue that they are trying to make you laugh on purpose. Either way, they are a lot of fun to be around and they can take an otherwise mediocre day and have you rolling in the floor in no time.

Chanel always knows when my day has been trying.  After a welcome home 'poodle dance', I take her into the back yard so she can run her laps.  She will bark, bounce, and involve me in her playtime.  Back inside we go.  She knows the ritual.  I change my clothes, remove my earrings (ear-kisses, remember).  Then back to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee.  

Chanel will remind me (do a figure-eight quick-step) then herd me in direction hallway if I try to start a pot of coffee before changing.  I'm not allowed to explain.  Chanel will have none of that.  She will argue with me (verbally).  Scolding, I suppose is a better description.

I will laugh and all is well in Chanel's world.  

🐩 And all is well in my world, too.

Happy Sunday,  ðŸ©   


"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." ~ Matthew 11:28-30

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