Friday, August 21, 2015

A special promotion for One Year Past Perfect

I'll be featured as a new release--or rather, One Year Past Perfect will be featured as a new release--at Free Kindle Books and Tips tomorrow. In honor of such, I've set the Kindle price at 99 cents through the weekend. Here's your chance to get a peek at a modern take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears and a scandalous diary they're all reading! Check it out here!

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Monday, August 17, 2015

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

The 1947 movie The Ghost and Mrs. Muir has always had a special place in my heart. Today, I get to share that love with the romance audience at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. I compare the movie and the book which inspired it.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Woman's World

It should be on the shelves today, the August 24th edition of Woman's World magazine. My short romance, Young at Heart is on page 44. Enjoy!

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Sunday, August 09, 2015

What could possibly still be useful after 43 years?

My husband and I will celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary this week. I'm not sure where 43 years have gone or if I even have a good comprehension of them. The old adage keeps creeping through my mind: The days creep and the years fly.

I was thinking, besides my husband and myself, which of the wedding gifts we received do we still find useful?

I'll have to start by exempting the fine china (Franciscan Royal Renaissance) and crystal (Franciscan Elyse) from the list. Is it still useful? Yes. Is it used? Not really. More's the pity because it's beautiful and rich and comes with service for 12 and all the serving pieces. It was bought with the idea that if we didn't get it as wedding gifts, we'd never have the money/time/see the sense of getting it at all. And that's true. It's no longer made, it's worth more than it was listed for 43 years ago, and is… beautiful. But in a drawer. Or two or three.

We still use the silverware (Oneida Michaelangelo), good stainless steel. I have service for 18 or so since my mother had it also and my sister and upon my mother's death, we split her service for 12.

There are steak knives from Neiman Marcus, with very good bone handles. I know who gifted them. As I do the porcelain hanging lamp in the living room, the one with the orange flowers. It's subtle and since we've had the thing rewired at least 3 times, it's with us to stay. The yellow Club aluminum remains in the presence of the huge stock pots which I use to make jelly. I even have an original set of sheets because they were so fine I didn't use them until recently. A card table and 4 chairs purchased with my mother's green stamps. (If the 43 years didn't date me, then THAT just did!)

There's some Corningware, a strainer, a set of avocado green measuring cups which I finally retired to the cat food box. An electric carving knife. A few utensils that ended up in our wedding share when my father-in-law's business moved.

And, of course, the grapefruit spoons. Four of them, stainless steel, serrated edge, perfect. Just four spoons from a family friend. Selfishly, we thought surely there would be something else. It was JUST four spoons. Perhaps she was giving us the greater lesson, because we use these all the time. Not the steak knives, not the Club aluminum, not the card table or carving knife. These.

Useful. Used. Remembered.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

A very special quilt

My husband and I, my sister, both sons and a daughter-in-law, have all graduated from Austin College in Sherman, TX. It is a very special college and one I'm proud to have been associated with. Its mascot is the Kangaroo (Go 'Roos) and so when Roo graduate son married Roo graduate daughter-in-law and then had Roo-to-be? baby boy, I knew what the next quilt had to be.

For each of my grandchildren, I've made two quilts, one for the crib and one for the "big person" bed, twin in size. I love to hand appliqué so all of them are done that way. For this latest quilt, I took inspiration from a wall-hanging I'd seen at Austin College, of Roo involved in various activities. My Roo would need to be doing things associated with their lives and doing them on a twin quilt, so I had to invent the pattern.

I completed it last night, signed my name in embroidery, and will hand it over to its still-crib-bound owner next week. His parents have already seen it, so this isn't a spoiler alert. Hopefully, if Blogger and I can get along, the explanation for the quilt squares will be under each photo.

Detail of the quilt, showing: Roo with kite, Roo in Maine with lobster pot and light house, Roo goes to church, Roo fishes, Roo as gymnast, Roo in the rain, and Roo in a blue sports car in front of our house.

Roo quilt, top to bottom: Roo doing yoga, Roo at beach, Scout Roo, Roo opening bottle of Mumm champagne, Roo snow skiing, Roo at football game, Roo walking their black dog, Roo golfing, three rows as described above, Roo water skiing, Roo barbecuing, Roo in love writing initials on a tree.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

The July Round Robin: Pets in Books

It's a rare person or family who either does not have or has never had a pet. Pets become part of our families and lives. Study after study has shown that pets are valuable to us as companions. Scads of money has been thrown at these findings only to ascertain what pet owners already know.

That said, I've used pets sparingly in my books. I hadn't realized how sparingly until Robin suggested this topic. As a lifelong cat owner, I've only put them in one of my books, the romantic suspense Once Upon a McLeod. In it, the two black and white cats, Tuxedo and Penguin, are both comfort to the heroine and harbinger of the bad acts perpetrated upon her. If something's up with the cats, bad doings are afoot!

I've used large dogs, golden retrievers (personally, our first "children" were Cocker Spaniels, alas a breed which wouldn't have worked in these books), in After the Thunder Rolls Away and T's Trial. In the former, a household of men, the outgoing, rambunctious retriever was just the right companion. In T's Trial, an older, more staid retriever guards the door of the convenience store and checks out all who enter. At night, they sleep with "their" boys.

Pets add humanity to a story just as they add it to our personal stories. My house is empty without a cat. From now on, when I pen a novel, I shall have to think about whether my book is empty without them also.

Interested in how other authors view pets in novels? Check out my fellow Round Robin-ers:

Beverley Bateman
Victoria Chatham
Connie Vines
Margaret Fieland
Rachael Kosinski
Judith Copek
Marci Baun
Diane Bator
Anne Stenhouse
Skye Taylor
Rhobin Courtright

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A hard letter to write

The harshest, most demanding thing a writer faces is a blank page, whether it be paper or computer screen. The advice to "just put something down" helps a bit for novel writing, but how about a letter to be read 17 years from now?

Our grandson Grayson will be one year old this weekend. His parents want to make a time capsule for him to be opened on his 18th birthday. They've requested letters, thoughts, from his grandparents and family. I extended the invitation one more generation to his great-grands and a great-aunt. Grayson will have a pack of reading to do.

I think it's a clever idea. I'm happy to try to impart some grandparental wisdom that, over the course of the next 17 years, he may have heard before. But it's one thing in theory and it's another in practice.

I stared at a blank sheet of paper. Pen in hand, I started with "To Grayson on his 18th birthday from his grandmother." That's as far as I got for a while.

All sorts of thoughts crowded in. In 2032, when Grayson is 18, I'll be 81. If I'm still alive--and I'm planning on it, let me assure you--will I even know him? Will he have had opportunities to know me? Will we share secrets, well kept from our "common enemy," his parents? Will his future truly be as bright as I want it to be? Will his troubles just circle around girls and cars and whatever social media has yet to be invented? Will he be college-ready? Will he strive to fulfill the potential to be all that we want him to be?

Does anybody?

I wrote the letter, signed it. Reread it a day later and sealed the envelope. I think the most important thing I wrote was that I loved him. And in the end, now or in 17 years, that's what counts the most.

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