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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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A new member of the household

A few weeks ago we welcomed a new member to our household, our "grandcat" Oscar. Formerly of my older son's household, Oscar is a reclusive cat and after three moves, two children and a dog, he was an unhappy eleven-year-old kitty. No one, feline or human, should be that unhappy if there's an easy solution to the problem, and Oscar came home with us.

Not that every member of our household was happy with this. Our elder statesman cat Tuxedo cast a gimlet eye on the situation and has been hoping Oscar is going away, as he has before when we would keep him when he was a kitten. Alas, Tux is not to get his wish.

They haven't really reached kitty detente, but Oscar is adjusting. He's not as reclusive as he was. He likes to watch the birds on the windowsill and has his favorite sleeping spots picked out. I think they may be dividing the house, with the kitchen and my study as neutral territory, the downstairs belonging to Tux and the upstairs to Oscar.

We had other cats do this, Calico and her kitten Frisky. Frisky owned me, the living room, and the master bedroom. Calico took charge of the boys, their rooms, and the den. They really didn't cross into each other's realm.

Of course with Oscar, we started with separate food bowls and separate litter pans. Within a week, Oscar had shown a preference for Tux's dry food. They used each other's litter pans in what I'm sure was a show of "I'll show you!" and all it got them was one litter pan. I'd had enough of that nonsense.

Today, I poured some of the outdoor kitties' food into their bowl for a different taste treat and they chowed down together until Oscar took offense and swatted at Tux. Tux backed up and I picked Oscar up and moved him away from the bowl. Eat together amicably, or no one eats. The special treat is still awaiting whoever shows up first.

I'm glad Oscar is with us. He's added a bit of spice to our staid household and will keep Tux on his kitty toes.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Presented for your viewing (dis)pleasure

Yesterday I caught a quick lunch at a fast Mex food place. Order at the counter, grab your drink, sit down and the buzzer goes off ASAP. Can't complain about the service. What I am complaining about--and it's not just at fast Mex food places--is the choices offered on the large TV screens.

Sports. All the time. Sports. Maybe, if you're lucky, there's two different channels on the three, four, or five screens. Perhaps the closed captioning is on. But yesterday, the area was under a flash flood watch and had already had a trying time of it rain and wind-wise. But, on the screens? Sports.

It was noon. There were news and weather channels available and perhaps I should have asked for a change of station on at least one TV. I'd have liked to see the big picture before setting out for home. Because it's not like anyone was watching the sports. They were all involved on their phones or computers. Probably watching the radar because it wasn't available on the TVs.

I think the first tendency is to think that the staff was catering to the male clientele. Granted, many women enjoy sports, and I'm not suggesting a series of soap operas or old movies or the latest talk show, although I don't know how the latter would be any different from a sports announcer panel. I looked around the establishment and more than half of the diners were women and children.

Most of the time, I'm not in such a place long enough for it to matter and perhaps next time, given the same circumstances, I'll ask for a change to weather and news.

Thoughts?



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Friday, February 19, 2016

An honor from Smithsonian Journeys

I was contacted by Smithsonian Journeys for permission to put my TravelQuest Around the World articles on their travel blog. Such an honor!

Please check it out. The first one is up and I'm not sure when the others will be. I'll also include the links to the three TravelQuest articles on the North Texas e-News.

TravelQuest from the e-News, Part I
TravelQuest from the e-News, Part II
TravelQuest from the e-News, Part III

Smithsonian Journeys, Part I

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Around the World with Smithsonian Journeys

This fall my husband and I had the opportunity of a lifetime to travel around the world with Smithsonian Journeys. Today begins my three-part TravelQuest article on our internet newspaper, the North Texas e-News.

Please read, enjoy and come back tomorrow and Tuesday and finish the journey with us.

TravelQuest, Part I

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