Thursday, June 16, 2016

A game of hide and seek

I'm running a month-long budget ad on the Smart Bitches Trashy Books website for Wedding Belle Blues. The price is very affordable (hint: budget) and the exposure great. The site is full of romance reviews, publishing information, and just plain fun!

Now, why is it like a game of hide and seek? Because the ad can appear anywhere on the website at any one time. So, I can search each page--like when I'm reading them--and scroll down the right hand side to find my ad.

Just thought I'd clue you in!

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Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Pickled!

Putting up my own dill pickles is not only something I enjoy, but also something I'm sufficiently good at that I've won blue ribbons at the Texas State Fair with them. Last year, the weather was so wet, there weren't any pickling cukes to be had, so we've had to endure a year of "store-bought." Granted, I've only bought Claussen, but when you're used to your own, it's just not the same.

So, despite the 6 inches of rain we had last week, I was very pleased to see an ad in the local paper for cucumbers at our favorite truck farm. I joyfully headed out this morning.

Alas, the rain has not done this garden any favors. Most of the cukes were of a size to fit individually in a quart jar. I did hunt around and find sufficient size for 5 quarts.

And then, lowering one of these precious quarts into a water bath, I heard the unmistakable sound of glass cracking. I quickly pulled it out, hoping to save the produce and repackage in a fresh jar. I was able to do so.

I think I know where my mistake was: the pot I was using to water bath isn't made for that purpose so the jar sat directly on the bottom of the pot. Usually I can get away with such neglect, but today it caught up with me. I hauled down the old pressure cooker (which I don't use to pressure cook any more) with its insert for jars and finished water bathing.

We like to have one quart of pickles for each week of the year. I'm doubtful of this happening which makes the five I have all the more precious.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Wedding Belle Blues


Once I received my rights back from my former e-publisher, I determined to update the books and release them once again. This time I'm proud to announce the release of Wedding Belle Blues.

From the back cover copy--except there is no back cover as I've released this in e-only, but if there were back cover copy:

"How much drama can one wedding have? If it’s not bride Krista's parents, it’s her four aunts. What they each need is a male distraction and guess what? They need only look under the engagement party tent.

Mary Willa is shocked to see her long ago ex taking the stage at the engagement party and even more traumatized to realize she’ll have to introduce him to their two daughters.

Felicia finds her husband’s infidelity the last straw in their shaky marriage and decides the photographer the perfect foil for her frustration.

Widow Penelope determines to break out of her good daughter image by taking the bridal party to Las Vegas. But why is the groom’s uncle following them?

Maureen is the in-your-face sister who’s earned her hard-nosed reputation. When guilt unexpectedly rears its ugly head, can the family priest heal her struggles?

What will it take to guarantee there are no Wedding Belle Blues?"

I tell WBB in five sections, each one dealing with a different couple and taking on one of the aspects of the wedding: engagement party; travel shower; bachelorette party; rehearsal dinner; and finally, The Wedding.

I've styled this as a romantic comedy. There's nothing behind the bedroom doors, just a gentle falling into (or back into) love all over again.

So, please take a look on Kindle, Nook, or iBooks.



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Friday, May 06, 2016

Another Woman's Quilt

I'm not sure why repurposing this particular old quilt should have struck such a nerve with me. I've taken "cutters" before and fashioned toys, vests and jackets from them. I've given what many people would have tossed into the trash new life.

But this quilt bothered me. Perhaps it was the detail: small squares, perhaps 1 1/2 inches, hand cut, hand sewn, hand-quilted onto a nondescript beige muslin with real cotton complete with cotton stem bits for batting. In no place was the pattern complete; it was not a show quilt of perfection. Instead it was meant for warmth. I think part of it came from a man's shirt, the pattern had the look of that.

I needed a new insert for my Canton cart. The original black one had torn, its velcro slipping and the whole thing worthy only of the trash. I found this quilt in my stash (she who dies with the most fabric wins). I don't remember where I got it, probably an estate sale for a bargain price. The black squares had deteriorated to the point of shredding and the top and bottom were not even cutter worthy.

So why should I grieve another woman's quilt when I've taken the middle and fashioned a cart insert? When I've given it a second chance? Perhaps it was the smallness of the squares or the fact that I've made six quilts for my grandchildren since I last repurposed a quilt. Perhaps I worry that someday someone will repurpose one of the ones I have so lovingly worked on and presented.

Perhaps.

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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Oscar's Grand Adventure

If grand-cat Oscar's big adventure was moving from our son's house to ours, then his grand adventure was last night.

Oscar is 11 years old and quite the athlete, at least as compared to his "uncle" Tuxedo who is almost 15 and needs help accessing the bed. Oscar makes a running leap and he's there. That said, Oscar is also a house cat and since he has been here has never tried to go outside. Very good.

But he likes the windows and when he turned up missing this morning, I recalled a similar incident with cat Pyewacket, who had pushed against a window screen until it bent, then he had tumbled out, down the metal porch roof and spent a scary night under my car.

Oscar does have a hidey-hole of some sort which I've not been able to find, so when he wasn't present last night as I went to bed and I'd done a cursory search, I thought he was being stubborn and was in it. But this morning, when his food had not been touched, I began a room by room search.

Last evening, we had installed a new dehumidifier in the basement. Tuxedo had had basement adventures before, but as Oscar has shown no interest in the basement, and Tux was asleep in the den, we might have been a bit lax about the door. So, since all the screens were intact, that was the logical place for him to be. Except I'd called to him last night there. And again this morning. And I'd used a flashlight to check out the dark corners of our pier and beam house. No Oscar.

A last ditch attempt, and crying like a fishwife, I went back into the basement. Suddenly there was a meow and out he popped! He'd been in the dark and without food or water for well over 12 hours. I can't say I felt sorry for him. I'd given him his chances and he could always have come to the door and squalled.

He knew I was miffed and for the next hour, he tried to make up to me, twining about my legs and following me around. I've forgiven him and I hope he's learned his lesson about dark places. In the meantime, if we're in the basement, the door will have to be closed.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Weather-ing a book: A Round Robin post

At every writer’s conference, there’s bound to be a workshop on Setting as Character. Gothic house, Bahamian beach, big city, small town… each calls for a different cast of “human” characters and situations. But does the weather influence the book as well?

I think so. I quit reading a popular mystery author when I realized after 5 or 6 books that each of her stories was set in the dreary autumn with a too-hopeless-to-be-helped heroine. It made me consider more closely not only my type of heroine (I need women who can save themselves but aren’t too proud to accept help), but also the weather. And here I had to pull up short, because I was writing nothing but August.

August in Texas usually. Not only is it my birthday month, August in Texas has its own characteristics. With few exceptions, it’s wearyingly hot and dry. Not just a little hot, but over 100 degrees hot. Humid, but no rain. It creates a certain atmosphere of lassitude. Everyone is just waiting for that first gust of autumn air, usually mid-September and then snatched away until October. But the September peek at fall gives us hope. But we don’t have that hope in August.

I had already set a few books in August in Texas. It was time to try a different time of year if not a different place. Spring break in Florida. Autumn in Maine. Fall and spring in Texas. August—but in Hawaii!

To see how other authors handle the weather, please check out the following Round Robin members:

Skye Taylor
Rachael Kosinski
Beverley Bateman
Connie Vines
Anne Stenhouse
Helena Fairfax
Judith Copek
Dr. Bob Rich
Victoria Chatham
Rhobin Courtright

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

T's Trial now available for iBooks and Nook

The subject line says it all. T's Trial, Book One in the Bone Cold--Alive series, is now available for iBooks and Nook as well as Kindle.

T's Trial had several iterations. Originally, I entitled it Heaven on a Kitestring and it was a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist for unpublished works in Long Contemporary. Alas, it didn't win the category. Once it was published electronically, the title was Lyla's Song. When I took my rights back and re-edited it, I decided to title all of the books in the series from the hero's point of view. Hence, T's Trial, C's Comeuppance, Tib's Temptation, Ron's Run, Ian's Image, and Bo's Beauty.

Check it out!

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