Saturday, August 09, 2014

This is why you should change your smoke detector batteries once a year

A true story, thankfully not ripped from the headlines.

Two nineteen this morning, I hear it. BLEEP! An irritating sound and meant to be so. I know exactly what it is, the dying of a battery in a smoke alarm.

I also know that they only start BLEEPing in the middle of the night. There is no hoping it'll stop and I can go back to sleep. It will not. It was built to BLEEP. Every minute. Ad infinitum.

We have three smoke alarms, one on each floor's ceiling and one in the basement. I do not change the batteries on a regular basis. If I did, if I followed the handy advice of once a year whether they have BLEEPed or not, I would not have this problem. I do not and therefore I do.

The first problem is to determine which alarm is BLEEPing. They are, basically, one atop each other in the stairwell. I think, after the third BLEEP, that it is the one outside the bedroom doors. I get the step stool and determine that I can barely reach it with my fingertips. I drop the cover and awaken my husband.

This was not in the plan.

But now that I have a comrade, we can be more efficient about this. He removes the battery, I start to get a new one, and we hear BLEEP.

Wrong smoke alarm. Must be the one downstairs. It's easier to reach, we replace the battery quickly, head upstairs to do the same, and hear BLEEP.

Is it the one in the basement? Will I ever get back to sleep?

Husband replaces the upstairs battery, which probably didn't need it now but we need something to show for our efforts and a year's peace is making sense. I head to the basement to stake out the bad actor. Except the next BLEEP is not from the basement.

So now we have a well-behaved basement alarm, two new batteries in the stairwell alarms, and something is still BLEEPing.

We are having our stairwell repainted and the painters have quite nicely covered up the hall tree where the carbon monoxide alarm resides on top. Guess what's BLEEPing?

I tear open the plastic covering and look at the offending alarm. Had the plastic interfered with it? Never mind, it was getting a new battery and a new life on the kitchen counter until the painting is done.

Twenty minutes had passed and no, I never did get back to sleep. But when I go to bed tonight, I'll be assured that no smoke or CO will go undetected!

Sunday, August 03, 2014

C's Comeuppance on sale now!

The second of my Bone Cold--Alive novels, C's Comeuppance, is now for sale on Amazon. It will be in print through CreateSpace as soon as I approve the proof, probably in less than a week.

I'm still debating on whether or not to make it part of the Kindle Select program, wherein it can't be for sale anywhere else for 90 days. I've done that with the first in the series, T's Trial, because I want to offer it at a greatly reduced rate in September, hopefully after I get the third one up, Tib's Temptation. I'm just waiting on a cover tweak for it.

In C, we have the story of the other Samuels twin, Eddie C, bad boy and womanizer, egocentric to the heavens. He feels that brother T has deserted him by marrying--and being happy!--so he's made a nuisance of himself. T challenges him to get his own life and C sets about doing that, first of all tangling with real estate agent Jemma Lovelace, then going back to California for a misbegotten love affair with former fling Abby Sander. Things don't go well for C in California and he returns to Jinks, Texas, determined to find the happiness his brother has.

C has to jump through some hoops before it all straightens out and the Fates have more than one surprise in store for him before he gets his final comeuppance and happiness.

The back cover blurb:

"A lost man...

Eddie C Samuels' world has crashed before, but nothing to compare to his twin brother Eddie T finding the redeeming love of a good woman. C makes a nuisance of himself until T challenges him to live his own life.

A trapped woman…

Realtor Jemma Lovelace finds the man on the opposite side of her desk both appalling and obnoxious. He says he wants a house, but it soon becomes apparent he's seeking a home--and he has her in his sights to obtain it.

Will they be each other's salvation--or ruin?

Welcome back to Jinks, Texas. Just as life settles into a new normal, Eddie C disrupts it again--but this time he may get his comeuppance."

And the cover:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Coming face to mask with the world's cleverest raccoon

I got him. On cherries and goldfish food. There he was, precious mask and soulful eyes looking at me from the trap. I smiled. At last!

My joy was short-lived because this is the world's cleverest raccoon. The only good thing I can say from this point on is that I have his photo and my husband is witness to what happened next.

We were putting him in the back of the pickup for his ride to join the not-so-clever raccoons we have accumulated over the last month. It's a nice country spot. Perfect for God's creatures who need the wild. The trap slipped. He bounced. It opened and OUT HE WENT!

A flying leap to the ground and he was gone onto the property next door which we own also. So now, not only am I feeding the little rascal, I'm sheltering him!

It's not over, Mr. Raccoon. Just because you had one more trick up your fur sleeve than I did, doesn't mean I won't win.

Someday. Just not today.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My kosher raccoon

Once again, we have a clever raccoon invading our back yard. He's very consistent, arriving around 11 PM each evening, scarfing up the leftover cat food and forcing the water bottle off its perch with his nose. I know all this because I've captured his image on the game camera.

Obviously, it is time that Mr. Raccoon find a home in the wilderness which is where I believe God meant raccoons to live. Not my back yard.

In the past, I've had good fortune to trap them on fruit, so I started with oranges, then strawberries. The fruit would be gone--and so would the raccoon! He is a bit on the scrawny side (and unbelievably clever) and so didn't weigh enough to trip the trap. So I greased the trap some more.

After a week of this nonsense--and quite frankly I'm tired of being bested by a lightweight critter--, I pulled out all the stops and positioned a pork rib in the trap, tied top and bottom so he couldn't, as his predecessors have done, sit on top of the trap, pull the rib through, and dine.

From the photos that night, he didn't even look at the rib. The next night, I added strawberries and a fresh rib. He looked but didn't enter the trap.

What kind of raccoon is this? Does he keep kosher? Is he a vegetarian?

Last night I put all the leftover dry cat food under a box and put a plant on top of it. I should have swept it up, because the plant was dislodged, the box still downturned, and the food gone! Besides that, there was a possum in the photos! Now he's bringing friends?

But I have another plan. NO cat food out. I will sweep up what remains from the cats and they will have to wait until morning. Maybe then, he'll be tempted by… strawberries? peaches? A Brussels Sprout?

Wednesday, July 02, 2014


I've received a four-star review from BTS Book Reviews, an online magazine, for ONCE UPON A MCLEOD.


The link!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

T's Trial available now!

I published T's Trial yesterday on Amazon. Currently, it's available only for Kindle since I'm trying a little experiment. I joined the Kindle Select Program for 90 days. Within that time frame, it can't be available for sale anywhere else. What it can be is borrowed in the Kindle Owner's Lending Library and offered for a free/greatly reduced price sometime during the months.

Since it's the first of a series, that's what I plan to do as soon as C's Comeuppance is formatted and the cover finalized, hopefully by August. In an ideal world, I'd be able to release the third one, Tib's Temptation, within that 90 day window as well.

T started life as Heaven on a Kitestring (and was an RWA Golden Heart finalist), then evolved into Lyla's Song as it went through two e-publishers. Over the years, I added books to include all the members of the band Bone Cold--Alive, plus giving a jilted lover from the first book his own HEA.

And because I think it says so much for the hero, here's the cover again.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Round Robin for June--emotion and fireworks!

"It was the music. Always the music. It started somewhere deep in his soul and coursed through his body in a mad rush to explode on the surface. He had felt it as a small child, this urgent need to touch the piano keys, to hear the notes, to reach inside the old upright in his grandmother’s parlor, close his eyes and feel the strings and make the vibrations. To release the music from within himself and then take it back inside, remold it and start all over again.

"He felt it now. Eyes closed, hands splayed on a keyboard, his foot pumped, his head moved, his body swayed. He felt the music, was the music and both started and stopped with the music. Smoke, lights, crowd, video screens, revolving stage—all enhanced his music, helped others feel it. But no one knew the music as he did. No one was the music as he was. Not the four other members of Bone Cold—Alive, not even his twin brother, who lolled his head as he sang to the 75,000 fans that screamed and yelled and gyrated with them. The drums modulated the rhythm, increased, called to him. He felt them. The crowd called to him. He felt them. Shifting his weight, he took a deep breath, and began to sing into the mike attached to his headphones. His words, his song, his music.

"His soul."

This is the beginning of the prologue for T's Trial, releasing July 1 and the first of six in the Bone Cold--Alive series about a rock band and their individual redemptions. I wrote this years ago, when the book was entitled Heaven on a Kitestring. It was a 1997 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist in Long Contemporary. I knew it hadn't a prayer of winning (it didn't), but RWA in Orlando was certainly more fun because I was a finalist.

Why did I know it wouldn't win? Rock. Star. Music. Drugs. Eddie T, the man who is music, has flaunted every rule and held nothing sacred but his music. While I have rewritten parts of the book over its course of two e-publishers as Lyla's Song, and now being independently published, these words have always stayed the same. I placed my hands on the computer keys, closed my eyes, and gave life to T.

This round robin focusses on emotion. You've wandered here from Beverley Bateman's blog and I'm sending you on to Anne Stenhouse.

But that's hardly fair. Perhaps you'd like the complete list of participants and here they are:

Margaret Fieland
Heidi M.
Beverley Bateman
Kay Sisk
Anne Stenhouse
Connie Vines
Ginger Simpson
Geeta Kakade
Fiona McGier
Lynn Crain
Rhobin Courtright