Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday This and That

I always love good news. Yesterday I found a lovely review from Joyfully Reviewed.

Cherished Destinies is a very detailed book. It follows fourth in Anny Cook’s Mystic Series and I highy recommend reading the others first. Arano, who is a master seer in his valley, sometimes scares other with his visions. Arturo, a warrior, who was brutally raped, witnessed by Arano through their twin mind connection, is treated with kid gloves and others walk on eggshells around him much to his dismay. Both men have a rough path to claim their bond mates. But in the end, it is so worth the trials and tribulations to achieve their future happiness. Cherished Destinies is incredible and a ton of imagination has gone into it and it is well worth the read.~~Raine

Thank you, Raine!

Ms. Cook is a delightful author who can spin a story like a master weaver, deftly weaving one character’s story with another to seamlessly create a story that leaves you breathless. Her flawless writing will transport you to a place where love, passion and chaos rule all amid the world of Avalon. Be prepared to jump your significant other after reading the next adventure of the LeFleur women and find out what makes the Hieney Twins so dang delicious! HONEYSUCKLE is truly a fun romp that will leave you longing for the third chapter, Daffodil, and remember…..what happens in Cam-a-lot stays in Cam-a-lot. Run to grab this one as well as the first in the Flowers of Avalon series and be ready to keep Ms. Cook on your auto buy list!~~ Dawn from Love Romances and More
Thank you, Dawn!

Daffodil by Anny Cook – holy snapping ducks! What a book - funny, hot and amazingly I was agog at parts of it. I am rarely ever agog. Anny, I no longer believe your story about babies coming from cabbage patches now. Buy the book and get an education.~~Amarinda Jones
Thank you, Amarinda!

My neighbors upstairs moved out with much noise and banging. I suspect that I will have about two months of total peace and quiet before there will be a new bunch moved in. It will be interesting to see what kind of neighbors the new people are. At the moment there are several vacant apartments in this building, but soon it will be moving season (when the kids get out of school) and then the apartment shuffle will be on.

Due to the RT convention and other things, I've been on a writing hiatus for about three weeks. It is a strange but true thing that once you are away from writing, even though you long to write, it is difficult to get back into the general swing of things. To that end, I did something that I rarely do at this point in a work in progress... I did a line by line edit. There were all sorts of things to clean up. And in the process I added about three hundred words. Then with a little push, I went for five hundred more and suddenly, I'm back in the game. So I look forward to working tomorrow on the finishing the current chapter (about 2500 more words.) It's amazing how those few words can give a writer such a sense of accomplishment.

I received my box of dead-tree copies of Dancer's Delight. What will I do with them? Hmmm. Send one to each of my children. Send one to each of the women mentioned in the dedication. I might even sit down and read one since Dancer's Delight is now a real book! It's a funny thing, but I wasn't all that excited to hold one in my hand. I think that's because I always considered my books to be real books. Maybe if I see it on a shelf in a bookstore some day or something like that, I'll get more excited. It's a beautiful book, but as far as I'm concerned, it was a beautiful book on the computer screen.

"They didn't want it good, they wanted it Wednesday"~~Robert A. Heinlein

Isn't that always the way?


Now I haven't a clue what Kelly and Amarinda are up to, except writing, writing, writing. Please stop over there and check them out. Then drop by OhGetAGrip where they're discussing Erotica vs. Pornography this week.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Got gas?

Have you ever wondered about the domino effect?

Some entrepreneur thinks up this wonderful idea... buy in bulk, sell cheap. He opens a huge discount center based on his philosophy. People flock to the new discount center. It's wonderful! No matter what you need, you can buy everything in one place--and it's cheaper.

Pretty soon the small local businesses close their doors because no one shops there anymore. Oh, it might be a little further to go to the discount center, but everyone has a car and really, you need an SUV to haul all of your cheap stuff home from the discount center!

But the economy plunges in the dumpster and suddenly, it costs more to go to the discount center than any amount of money you save. People quit driving as much as they used to. Some even start to walk again. The problem is now there's no store close enough to walk to. That cute little diner? Well, it went out of business. The cleaners closed. The drugstore was swallowed up by a conglomerate. Small town America is fast-food and hotel row. All the jobs are far away. Life is hours on the freeway in stop-and-go traffic.

Now people have to decide whether to buy gas or food. Most buy gas so they can get to work in the hopes of making enough to buy food. Families stand in line at the food pantries hoping there will be enough food for them this week. Mostly, there isn't.

I suppose you're wondering why the doom and gloom. It's just reality now. Cause and effect. Sure there are other strains on the economy, but there always have been. So why have we crashed and burned this time? I don't know for sure, but I think that our discount center lifestyle might have something to do with it. Hundreds of small independent businesses start up every year. And hundreds fail from lack of support. The huge conglomerates are formidable competition. How many actual gas companies are there? How many independent airlines? There have been so many bank mergers that most people don't even know who owns their bank.

Pretty soon there will be one oil company, one bank, one giant food conglomerate... And they'll set their prices. And we'll pay or do without. So take a tip from me. Turn out the lights when you leave a room. Plant a garden. Plan your shopping route so you use the minimum in gas. It's all in preparation for the time when the shortages will be real.


Hey! Check out the blogs at Amarinda's Place, Kelly's Blog, and OhGetAGrip! Oh, yeah! Leave a comment!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Tasty Planet

Isn't it beautiful? Could anyone wonder why alien visitors would be drawn to such a beautiful place? Oh, yes, I know. We've been doing our best to destroy it's beauty, but still... our earth is a gorgeous gaudy jewel in the infinite universe.

From this perspective, there are no countries, no governments, no wars, no famines, no divisions. This is the one view that demonstrates that we are one species, regardless of color or religion, sharing a common home.

In our daily struggle for survival, it is easy to forget that. Blessings on your day.


Please stop by to check out the blogs by Amarinda, Kelly, and OhGetAGrip.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Count your blessings...

How bad is your life? We get down and think our life is unbearable and then someone comes along who is dealing with far worse and we get that reality check that we so desperately need. No matter how bad things are, someone is worse off than we are.

Every year 15 million children die of hunger.

One out of every eight children under the age of twelve in the U.S. goes to bed hungry every night.

To satisfy the world's sanitation and food requirements would cost only US$13 billion- what the people of the United States and the European Union spend on perfume each year.

Only 58 per cent of the world’s population has access to improved sanitation facilities.

There were about 860 million illiterate adults in the world in 2000.

And all of that places our problems in perspective, doesn't it?


Check out Amarinda and Kelly and OhGetAGrip. Blessings on your day!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Power Nap

Since our return from Pittsburgh, there seems to be a crying need for the afternoon power nap. I haven't quite decided why this is. While I know that many of my cohorts were up until the wee hours of the morning, that was not the case for the househunk and me. We actually were able to fit in as much sleep as we normally do. So why so tired?

I haven't a clue. Perhaps it was all the rushing around at the convention. Perhaps I wore myself out waiting for elevators and talking to complete strangers. It could be that the book signings were too exciting for me. I don't know. What I do know is that I've been crashing on a daily basis, requiring power naps every afternoon before I can muster up the energy to cook dinner.

We arrived home in the midst of a roaring thunderstorm. After rushing to empty our SUV before we were drowned, we carted everything upstairs to our apartment, dumped it on the living room floor and there it remains. I suppose I must put everything away some day, but I can't seem to generate much interest in doing so. Of course, laundry day is slowly but surely approaching and then I'll have to at least dig the laundry out of my bags.

The worst is my tendency to yawn and nod over my writing. It seems that if I can't keep myself awake with my stories, then how can I expect them to interest someone else? I've tried all sorts of things to prop the old eyeballs open... coffee, tea, walking, a shower, doing dishes. Sad when you're draped over the sink half-awake while you try to load the dishwasher. I've just healed up from the last time I stabbed a finger...

I'm in my third week of Vitamin D therapy so I hope that when I finish the current course of treatment, that I'll be more alert. I have this little idea for a romance between a were-tiger and a were-rabbit, but I would like to be awake when I write it. It's going to require some delicacy, obviously. After all, I wouldn't want the were-tiger to snack on the bunny because I was sleeping at the helm. Do you think it would be too cute if she had a job as a waitress in a bunny costume?

And Bishop, bless his little pea pickin' heart is still waiting for me to get on with his story. He would like to move past the rough spots so he can get to the good stuff with Samara. Of course, she's not nearly as anxious as she's ticked off at him right now. I need to devise a strategy to change her mind.

Well, for now I think I'll close up shop and toddle off to bed. Tomorrow is another day. Who knows? Perhaps I'll even unpack my suitcase. That would probably prevent me from stumbling over it, right?

Blessings on your day!


Drop by Amarinda's and Kelly's blogs and check out OhGetAGrip where our newest blogger, James Goodman, is making his debut.

Friday, April 25, 2008


A conflict involving the organized use of arms and physical force between countries or other large-scale armed groups. The warring parties hold territory, which they can win or lose; and each has a leading person or organization which can surrender, or collapse, thus ending the war.~~Wiktionary

When things are a little overwhelming on the writing front, I occasionally take a break and play a computer game called Age of Empires. I play the game in single player mode which means that I play against seven opponents who are picked at random from a possible twenty. My nationality is also picked at random and the playing field (topography and climate) is a random choice. My weapons and capabilities (soldiers, buildings, armor) are all determined by the nationality that I draw.

The things that I have control over are how I distribute and use my resources, how I arrange my "town", and whether or not I attack my neighbors. In single player mode, it is a given that they will attack me.

Why? Well, the object of the game is to capture five relics and hold them a specific amount of time or build a Wonder and keep it intact for that same specific amount of time. The opponents are trying to take the relics away or blow up my wonder.

That's the basis of the game--much like real war. War in the real world is about taking something away from somebody else (oil, gold, resources, religious freedom) or destruction of their wealth (oil, gold, resources, religious freedom).

I have learned much by playing the game. In the initial stages, you build a town, set your villagers to work mining, logging, and farming, and building your defenses. This stage of the game is about balance. Without enough wood you can't build the mining camp or logging camp or a farm. Without enough food you can't add villagers or soldiers. Without stone you can't build walls to defend your town.

By the second stage in the game, your neighbors begin to attack your village. At that point you must become ruthless in defending your town or your neighbors will wipe you out. I find that over time as I've gradually learned how to play the game that I've become something of a bully. My villagers roam around stealing stone and wood from my neighbors. My scout steals their sheep. I burn down their buildings if they are too close to my walls. My towers kill their villagers if they wander to close to my walls. And though it is a game, I'm vaguely uncomfortable with my aggressiveness.

In the beginning when I was learning to play the game, I tried all the various game modes, including one where you must totally wipe out your opponents in order to win. At that time, I wasn't quite ruthless enough to least not in a reasonable amount of time. After playing one game for eight hours and finding myself no where near an end, I decided that I would have to play a mode that was at least possible to win or lose in a couple of hours.

In the final stage of the game, you build a Wonder (large building) after you accumulate enough resources. In this game, there are no loan companies to help you so if you squander your resources, you end up sacrificing a lot of soldiers and villagers in order to obtain more resources. After all, someone has to pay for your lack of management. Right?

I suppose you're wondering by now why I'm nattering on about this game. It's simple enough. It's a life lesson in war and peace. From the dawn of time, there have been wars. Peace is a fragile thing, easily lost when people are hungry or thirsty or without shelter. A war for territory and resources is at least easily understood. There are wars fought to stop genocide and slavery. While one could wish that there was another way, again those wars are logical. There are wars fought in self-defense or vengeance. Again--understandable, if regrettable.

But there are those leaders who willingly enter war for one reason. They want what another has, not out of need but out of greed. There is no nobility in war. But of all reasons to fight a war, I think that greed is the most deplorable. Men and women die because of one person's drive to take what is not his. So you might say that the war is fought to enable theft. Ultimately, that is the type of warfare in most games we play--whether it's a board game or computer game, it's still a game based on acquiring what belongs to someone else.

I find it interesting that we play out reality in our fantasy. Nearly every game out there is about acquiring wealth through war. I wonder...

What kind of game would it be if we had to negotiate peace to win?


Check out Amarinda and Kelly and OhGetAGrip! Blessings on your day!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Gift Parent

In my spare time (very rare these days) I work on our genealogy. At one time I gathered all my information together and designed--and embroidered--a family tree, three feet by three feet, all tiny counted cross stitch. At the foot of the tree is a section I call the Gift Parent Garden. That's where all of the step-parents are recognized.

An acquaintance once asked me about that Gift Parent Garden. In my research down various highways and byways, I repeatedly came across step-parents who had raised numerous children not their own. In one case, a young woman of twenty three married a man with seventeen children and raised them plus her own three and then seven more that they had jointly.

Granted, that was in the 1870s and things are slightly different now, because in this day and age, there are many, many step-parents due to divorce rather than death. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean that they are less important or less valued.

My mother died when I was ten. I was the oldest of the four children she left behind. About a year later my father presented us with a "new" mother. I'll freely admit that we were a handful. Any woman who would take on the wild bunch and turn us into a reasonably civilized group of young adults had to have a strong will, infinite patience, and eventually an overflowing well of love.

Last Tuesday my stepmother turned seventy-nine. She and my father have been married forty-six years. She's the only grandmother my children have known. My grandchildren call me Nanna and they call her GrandNanna.

I called her on her birthday and we talked for a while. We live far apart but our hearts are close. The memories flow over us, memories of other times and other places. Before I go to bed at night I thank God for the woman he sent to us--our Gift Parent.


Don't forget to drop by Amarinda's Blog and Kelly's Place and the OhGetAGrip.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nutty Behavior

I haven't quite figured out why people behave so strangely when they are away from home. What possesses them to do things that they would never think of doing when they're home? Do they think that no one is watching? That no one will know?

Wake up, people! This is the era of the Internet. Nothing is secret. Five minutes after the indiscretion, it will be posted on Youtube for the international audience to salivate over. Unless you're behind a closed door--alone--then your actions can possibly be posted for public consumption.

My philosophy is simple. When I walk out my door I'm "on". At any moment I could possibly meet a future reader or an unknown fan. At a convention, this is true--only more so. There you could meet an editor or future publisher or reviewer.

I'll be blunt. If I observe someone behaving badly, I won't be doing business with them. They could be berating a wait-person or groping a model or cussing at a maid...doesn't matter what the behavior is. It it's wrong, it's wrong. If they're an author I won't be buying their book. If it's a publisher or editor, I won't be sending them my manuscript. Their public behavior is a measure of their work ethic and their personal ethic. I don't want to have a working relationship with a person who has poor ethics.

I both observed and heard about some really questionable behavior. Of course, I heard. You know that it really is NOT true that what happens in Pittsburgh, stays in Pittsburgh. Really. Before most of us had wended our way home, numerous reports of bad behavior had hit the airwaves. Some of the reports were accompanied by pictures. See pics at eleven!

It's a shame that professional behavior is not the standard at conventions. There are enough nuts in the world already.


Drop by Amarinda's Place for the latest on her refrigerater at and then stop by Kelly's Blog to find out where she's moving to... I'll never tell! and finally, Blessings on your day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Face of a Friend...

Funny. When you make a friend over the internet, you have an image in your mind of the way they look. Your image is based on those little hints of their personality that they allow to enter their posts or e-mails. Are they perky? Are they cranky? Do they snap or crackle or pop with impatience? Are they so vague you want to scream in frustration?

And then you meet them. It's amazing how quickly you assimilate their true image and meld the two together. Suddenly there is a complete person there when you read their posts and e-mails. That vague impression is swept away forever and the real person is set in it's place.

In the past week I've met many of my internet friends. There was a whirling rush of impressions--laughter, annoyance, anger, excitement, hope, worry--all swirling around in dizzying speed. There are snapshots in my mind that are more vivid than the sharpest photograph. Cindy in her dragon's wings. Bronwyn in her beautiful gown for the vampire ball. Brynn walking across the stage on the arm of a hunk. Judith glowing with accomplishment after her interview with K. Duffy.

A little over a year ago we were all strangers, slowly revealing ourselves as we grew more comfortable with each other, hesitantly sharing secrets as we built shaky bridges of trust. It has been a process of two steps forward and one step back. There are uncomfortable moments when we step off the path of good taste or too much information because without facial cues, it's sometimes difficult to know where the boundaries are.

Yet I smile when I remember each of them. Funnily enough, our meeting was one of the first times in my life when I had no responsibility for any individual's behavior except my own. It was a liberating experience to be in a large group of friends without any old memories dragging me down. I was free to form impressions and just enjoy.

There is the tendency in such a group for everyone to feel responsible for everyone else. Are they lonely? Do they need company? Should we ask them to sit at our table? But this was a group of mature adults, each of them capable of taking care of themselves. And so any togetherness was simply for the joy of being together.

Too soon Saturday arrived and the goodbyes began. Too soon. Suddenly, there seems to be so much that we didn't say. So many things we wanted to share. Where did the time go?

Perhaps what we forgot was that the internet with e-mail and posts is still available. Only now we will be comfortable with those messages, tapped out quickly between a mug of coffee and the morning paper. Why? Because now we can see the face of a friend.


Seems so difficult to get back into the groove, doesn't it? Don't forget to drop by Kelly's Blog and Amarinda's Place... and of course the OhGetAGrip blog where we're still catching up. Blessings on your day.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

Well, we're home. That pretty much sums it all up. It was quite a week. So here are the highs and lows as I see them.

Meeting a lot of people I've only known on the internet. It was great to finally have names to put with faces. I especially enjoyed putting faces to authors' names that I've read over the last few years. There were a couple of really big surprises. No, I won't say who, but I'm still reeling from the shocks.

I loved meeting all the frogs. Most of them were pretty close to what I thought they would be like. Of course there were a couple exceptions and no I'm not going to say who they were either. All of them were lovely women and of course, there is that one bull frog who was unfailingly polite and patient with us "wimmin folk".

Personal kick-in-the-pants highs... meeting Morgan Hawke and having a quick chat. Having one of the models ask me if I was the one that wrote those "flower" books. Having a couple of authors in the elevator ask me when the next Valley book would be coming out. Geez, I was so excited that I didn't get their names, but they did ask for my card. And finally, standing shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of frogs so Syneca could take our picture. That was pretty cool.

I attended two fabulous work shops. One, taught by Judy Mays, was on "showing, not telling" and the other was a terrific workshop on writing a synopsis. Right this moment I don't remember the author's last name, but her first name was Sharon. Those two workshops made the trip worthwhile.

Hotel Hell. It was pretty clear that the powers that be at the hotel had no idea what had hit them. There was a continual round of faux pas and idiotic mistakes. Poor planning, poor judgment and crappy management led to a week culminating in my earnest desire to get the heck out of Pittsburgh. I will say that the staff I dealt with personally were incredibly polite and tried to be helpful, but once the juggernaut was moving, they didn't have a snowball's chance in you know where.

The food management and menu planning were a disaster. Okay, I know that it wasn't their fault that I'm allergic to chicken, but boy howdy! did we have to have chicken at every meal? Could we maybe alternate it with something else? My househunk loves chicken and even he is chickened out.

I have to say that not a single presentation went as planned. Hmmm. How shall I say this? I am a mature woman--a mature professional woman. While I did not expect a polished performance by anyone, I did expect a well organized program. As a retired secretary, I believe that three secretaries and a custodian could have probably done a better job. From the outside looking in (and as a new attendee, I was very much on the outside) I had to wonder how so much could go so wrong.

I could forgive all sorts of things except the stuff that just made us all look silly and incredibly unprofessional. I went to this convention anticipating an event that would make me proud to be an author. I left kind of hoping that readers would have a good attack of amnesia regarding my attendance.

Summing it up:
Back when I was working for a school district we always ended our courses and events with evaluation forms. No, they weren't long. Yes, they were anonymous. And yes, we paid a lot of attention to the information we gathered on those forms. Frequently, changes were instituted based on the feedback we received. I would heartily recommend that process.

I'm not sure if I'll ever go to another one. I suspect that it will take time and distance before I can make that decision. I do know that there was an awful lot of money spent on something that just might not be worthwhile. As much as I delighted in meeting the frogs, I could almost drive around the country meeting them one by one for about the same amount of money. And I likely would be able to spend more individual time visiting with them. Ultimately, the people were the only thing worthwhile. And that saddens me. I wanted more.


Kelly's home safely with family visiting her, but perhaps she'll have time to blog at and Amarinda has been holding down the home fort at Blessings on your day.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

On the roadagain Pt.2

Well it's time to pack up and leave! We'll be on the road in a couple of hours. We're meeting some friends for lunch... a woman and her husband. The house hunk and I went to high school with Bonnie and I think we haven't seen her in about thirty five years so this ought to be interesting!

After lunch, we're on our way home. I'll write a full report tomorrow when I have a real keyboard to type on. In the meantime, blessings on your day!


Please drop by Amarinda's place and Kelly's Blog.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday in Pittsburgh

The sun is coming up on Saturday morning. Don't know what this day will bring. The workshops are pretty much over. On Friday, I spent time with fellow authors just getting to know them.

Started out the day at out our publisher's breakfast. It was interesting to see all our fellow authors and put names with faces. After breakfast while we were still together, we took one more picture of all the "frogs" together. I think there were close to thirty of us. We did our editor proud.

Several of us had lunch together. Some people went off to buy souvenirs for their families. I checked out Club RT where there were all sorts of things to look at. Met some more authors. Looked at the newest Sony digital reader (very, very nice).

Have to admit by dinner time, I just couldn't face more noise and music and crowds so we bypassed the Vampire Ball and had take out dinner. Today is the print book signing. Still haven't actually seen one of my books, but pretty soon, I won't be able to say that!

More later!


Check out Amarinda and Kelly!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Table 57

The line for the Faery Ball snaked across the mezzanine and down a side hall. Women and men dressed in glittery fantastic costumes, many with filmy wings waited impatiently for them to open the doors.

At last the doors opened and the line began to inch forward. When we reached the open doors,the huge ballroom was bustling with people. In the dim lighting it was impossible to see or identify anyone. We moved from table to table looking for two available seats. Finally in the far corner we found a table and sat down. A waiter came by and told us we had to move and find another table but there were no empty seats anywhere.

So we went back to table 57 and sat down with other people with no place to sit. Waiters started setting up more tables and chairs. The organizers expected approximately 400 people. Over a thousand showed up.

We didn't know any one at table 57. We couldn't see the stage. We waited a long time for service. But I want to say that we had absolutely wonderful table companions who were unfailingly polite and patient with a stressful situation. Their good humor made a potentially unpleasant situation a lovely experience. Sometimes you make the best friends in such an event.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Day Two...

Woke early Wednesday morning, walked a brisk 2-3 blocks to an indoor mall which had a food court. After breakfast with about fifteen frogs (all authors who share the same editor) we made a quick run into Rite Aid before heading off to take part in whatever activities were chosen. I chose to take part in various workshops regarding e-publishing. The house hunk wandered around checking out things.

My workshops lasted until it was time to have the e-book signing. Taige Crenshaw sat on one side of me and Lynne Connely sat on the other. Dee Brice sat across from me, facing me and behind me were a host of EC and Frog authors. It was a very interesting experience. Disorganized some, but interesting. That wound down at 7PM--and we needed to be dressed up, and downstairs at 7:45! Hustled upstairs, dressed and ran to elevators only to find they weren't working. Went downstairs in the service elevator and into the ballroom. There were yummy snacks and a lot of women in skimpy dresses. The house hunk had plenty to watch. Frogs took three large tables.

After they allowed the guests to enter (which took forever!) Raelene hustled us into line. Patty read our names off, we went up the steps to the stage where the hunks escorted us across the stage. Devin (my hunk) made my day by asking me if I wasn't the one that wrote the Flowers books. Hmmm. YES!

The cavemen put on a neat sexy show. About 10:30 PM the househunk and I folded our tents and sneaked away.

Until tomorrow!


Don't forget to check out Amarinda, Kelly, and OhGetAGrip...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

First day....

PJ O'Rourke~~ "Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely."

Well, after four days without a shower, it was a relief to finally arrive in Pittsburgh and pop into a nice warm shower. It's been a wild day to be sure. We arrived around noon to a hotel undergoing tones of renovations. One wing of each floor is closed off while the workers renovate the hallways and rooms. The parts that are complete are very nice. Bathrooms on the main floor are all closed. Since that floor also has the restaurants and lobby... well let's just say that it's a tad inconvenient.

After checking in and cleaning up, the househunk and I sallied forth in search of other fellow authors. We went to the Ballroom floor, just trying to get a feel for where things were located. Near the registration site (closed!), a group of women were waiting and talking. One of them came up to me and asked if I was Anny. When I replied in the affirmative, she said that she was Lacey Thorn and admitted that she felt confident in talking to me because she recognized the house hunk.

The others with her were Brynn Paulin, Cindy Pape, Carol Lynne, and Bronwyn Green. Within a short period of time, we met many others. Dee Brice, Kate Poole, Kaener Langford, Judith Rochelle, J.L. Wilson, Marianne Stephens. Kelly showed up in the afternoon amidst a chaotic influx of RT attendees. Wow! There are tons of people. After visiting to and fro, about sixteen of us went down to the restaurant and had dinner... the househunk and his harem.

Around nine in the evening we dragged our weary butts down stairs to the EC RT Virgins party. It was quite a group. We all scrunched up together and Ciana Stone took a picture of all the frogs we could round up. We should have it soon. And then we'll post it on our frog loop. Later today I'll have my camera batteries charged up and so I'll post some pics. Several very comely gents in Ellora's Cave T-shirts showed up and cheerfully took pics with the ladies.

For now? It's after midnight and a new day.

Until the next time!


Know that Amarinda is keeping you entertained while we're gone! and for a different perspective on the convention, check out Kelly at

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

On the road again....

Well, we're on the fourth day with no hot water. I finally went off to the hair salon and threw myself on their mercies. They shampooed my hair which made me feel 100% better. Came home, heated water on the stove and had a "sink" bath. Never have I been so glad that I was going to stay in a hotel. Supposedly by the time we come home, the hot water will be "fixed".

By the time y'all read this we'll be tooling down the road on our way to Pittsburgh. It's five minutes after midnight which means that I'm not going to have much sleep. It's been a loooong, loooong day.
So I'm going to make this really short and sweet. I'm off to bed. Tomorrow I'll report on the first day of RT.

Blessings on your day!


PS: Amarinda should be back, one with the internet. Drop by and check her out at

Monday, April 14, 2008

I was a cute baby!

For those of you following Sandra's contest... yep that was me. Bald, chubby, and toothless. Not much has changed in the last 58 years. Still have big feet and no fashion sense. Thanks to everyone who played the game.

Don't you just love it when you put something away so well that you never find it again? That's happened to me several times in the last few weeks. First I put away all the tiny boxes I bought to make chinka boxes for the RT convention. My grandchildren were coming for Thanksgiving and I thought I would put them away so they wouldn't be a temptation to the kids. Well, I can't find about half of them. The rest are painted and decorated, etc., but I sure don't have a clue about where I put the rest of them.

Second, I put away my beadwork for the same reason. After some intensive searching, I found most of the beads, but there are still a few missing. Some of them I bought at a huge sale at the $1 section at Target. $50 worth of beads are somewhere in my apartment! Unfortunately, I just don't know where.

Those were minor details actually. I worked with what I had and moved on. But yesterday I spent the better part of the morning hunting for my dressy pants that I planned to wear for the dress up events. Let me tell you. If they're still in this apartment, I have no idea where they could possibly be. No idea at all. Finally, yesterday afternoon I gave up and went out to the store to hunt for a replacement pair of pants. Fortunately, I found some without too much aggravation and annoyance, but the time spent finding replacement pants has seriously set my schedule back.

That means that packing and cleaning will all have to be done today. Of course, the cleaning was delayed because we're heading into day three without hot water. The apartment management says that early this morning the maintenance people will start working on it! They had no suggestions for all the people heading back to work after three days without a shower. It's an interesting life we lead sometimes.

When I was a kid, we didn't have a shower, and bathing was a twice weekly event--Wednesday night and Saturday night. Everyone did the same and no one thought much about it. Now of course, people think they're deprived without a daily shower. Sometimes I wonder if that's the reason so many people have dry skin ailments. I'll admit though that I'm ready for a shower and shampoo. And it would be nice to run the dishwasher so that at least there aren't any dirty dishes when I leave.

Yesterday I posted pictures of the beaded hair piks I'm giving away at the RT convention. I'm also giving away chinka boxes and other stuff. If you happen to be in the area, drop by and check out my table at the book signings. There will be two lucky hair piks and one lucky chinka box that will entitle their owners to free book downloads. Perhaps... just perhaps you'll pick the right one! Those giveaways will go to the first thirty-five visitors at each signing.

Tomorrow I'll be on the road most of the day. In the meantime, Blessings on your day!


Don't forget to check out Amarinda, Kelly, and OhGetAGrip.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Stuff

Here are just a few of the bunches and bunches of beaded hair piks I've been putting together for RT. There are two that can be traded in for a free book download after RT so anyone that drops by my tables at my booksignings and just happens to pick the correct "pik" might end up with a free read...

Now below are some of the froggie piks I made for fellow frogs who show up at RT and ask me for one. They're more of a souvenir of 2008 RT. So fellow frogs, if you drop by my table at the booksigning and ask for a froggie pik, I'll have one for you.
We had a rude awakening yesterday morning. We have no hot water. According to our apartment management, there will be no hot water until "sometime" on Monday as they have to replace the hot water heater. There are twenty-four apartments without hot water so you can imagine that there are some really unhappy people. As for me... well, I can't possibly do dishes without hot water, right?

Yesterday was laundry day. Absolutely despise laundry day. However, with everything clean and ready, I can pack today and I may do that. Then I'll find out exactly what I'm missing and I'll be able to run right out and pick it up on Monday.

A strange thing happened last night. We went to the store for a couple of last minute items. The house hunk picked up shoe polish and a brush to buff the shoes. When we finally arrived home and carried in all the laundry (did I mention that I really hate laundry day?) he opened the shoe brush package and tried to figure out which side was for the rough polishing and which side was was the final buffing. Finally, he brought the brush and packaging out to me.

Now this is a two sided brush with with longer bristles on one side and shorter bristles on the other. So I read the directions. It's not a shoe brush. It's a HAIR brush for people with really thin hair! I have no idea what it was doing in the section with the shoe care items, but obviously we weren't the only ones that thought it was a shoe brush. Weird...

Well, it's been a pretty busy week. Today is for packing and finishing up with whatever has to be done. Tomorrow will be a whirling rush through the apartment, vacuuming, straightening up, putting things away so the cat doesn't have a field day while we're gone. For those of you who might be concerned for her, don't worry. My neighbor, Jane will no doubt have her completely spoiled by the time we come home.

Until tomorrow...


Drop by Amarinda, Kelly, and OhGetAGrip for more exciting stuff--maybe.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Haircut, manicure, pedicure...

The house hunk and I have done all sorts of things in the name of getting ready for the RT convention. He didn't own a suit or a sport coat or any other remotely dress up clothing so he bought a suit, ties, dress shoes, dress shirts... and of course I went out and did the corresponding type shopping in the ladies department.

Yesterday I went for my haircut, eyebrow wax, etc. and he went along on the hair cut. When we parked I indicated a nail place a little further down the mall and mentioned that I needed to get a pedicure before we left for Pittsburgh. He suggested that I find out if they could do it when I finished in the beauty salon. We were in between the Friday night rushes so our business in the hair salon didn't take long.

We trotted down the strip mall to the nail salon. Could they fit me in? Why of course. Immediately, in fact. I have gnarly feet so it was pure bliss to have a very nice young man slaving over them. My seat vibrated. The water swirled. That was the life! After pummeling, pealing, massaging and shaping he painted my toenails a lovely shade of pale pink. Wow. I didn't know my feet could look so nice. While the toe nails dried, a young woman took over and gave me a wonderful manicure. By the time I was dry, fingers and toes, my belly was protesting that it was far past dinner time.

We went a few doors down to the Five Guys hamburger restaurant, had burgers and fries and I talked about how much I enjoyed the pedicure. The house hunk finished his hamburger and abruptly announced that he was going back to the nail salon to see if they had time to give him a pedicure. While I finished dinner alone, he was soaking his feet.

He enjoyed that experience so much that he said what the heck and went for a manicure also. So we're ready for almost anything now. We're painted and polished and all spiffed up. I think it's hysterically funny that my macho "real men don't...(whatever!)" decided that he really liked that pedicure and just might do it on a regular basis.

So our "older age" has turned out to be quite adventurous. Who knows what we'll think to try next?


Don't forget to drop by Amarinda's, Kelly's, and the OhGetAGrip blogs. Then pop over to Sandra's blog where she's posting baby pics of various authors. Blessings on your day!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Evolution of a Reader

I learned how to read when I was five. When people came over to visit, my father would drag out the King James Bible and I would demonstrate my prowess. When I began piano lessons at seven, then I would first read a Bible passage and then play a hymn. I always wondered if other fathers made their little kids play What a Friend We Have in Jesus for their company. Or was I the only one?

Anyway, I digress. Sorry. When I was ten, my mother died in a car accident Memorial Day weekend. We were actually moving across country so when she died, we were in the middle of New Mexico. There wasn't any home to go to. We went to my grandparents in Arizona and buried her there and then continued with the move to Indiana.

It was a lonely summer for me. I didn't know anybody. The other kids made fun of my southwestern accent. I was completely miserable until I found the bookmobile. It was a small library van that drove around to the different neighborhoods with books. I loved the bookmobile. That summer I became a reader.

Knowing how to read and actually being a reader are two very different things. I sneaked under the covers with a flashlight and stayed up all night reading. I have no idea what I read. I know that I became a voracious reader, soaking up anything I could get my hands on. My cousins had all of the Tom Swift and Hardy Boys books. Whenever we went over to their house I went into their room and devoured those books. Books... books were my friends.

From the time I was ten until I graduated from high school, I was a reader. One year I kept a diary of all the books I read. During one school year, I read three hundred seventy nine books. That was the year I discovered Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, biographies, mysteries, and who knows what else.

Then I married and reading sort of went by the wayside. I had three small children. I had friends. I was too busy to read. Until we moved to Texas where I didn't know a soul and spent all my time with three children under four. After a while to maintain my sanity, I found a library within walking distance. They had scads of paperback romances. Up to that point I didn't have any experience with romances. But at this library I discovered Emilie Loring, Glenna Finley, and Georgette Heyer. And thus began a long love affair with romances.

Over the years, I've read all sorts of books--everything from police procedurals to science fiction and fantasy. But inevitably I always return to romances. I read the first Nora Roberts back when it was her first book. And I've followed along as Nora, Jayne Ann Krentz, Elizabeth Lowell, Linda Howard, and Iris Johansen developed and grew as writers.

It's kinda of funny to talk to young women now who only know the most recent work of these and so many other writers. They rave about what great writers they are and act as though they've discovered some new fabulous treasure. Heh. They've been around a long time, along with so many who have passed away or retired. So many treasures that won't be added to because their creators are gone.

Then one day while browsing in Borders I came across a new kind of book--a book from Ellora's Cave. I bought it and brought it home where I devoured it in one sitting. There in the back of the book was a short explanation of e-books. Hmmmm. I never looked back. When I started reading e-books I could never have envisioned a time when almost any book was available in electronic format. Who could dream of such a thing?

As I sat up late--or very early, depending on your view--reading a book on my digital reader, it occurred to me that life has changed in many material ways and yet I'm exactly where I started back when I was ten. I'm a reader, soaking up the printed word, sinking into that hidden world that one can only find in an excellent story. Life is good.

So do you remember the first book that caught your imagination? Do you have a recommendation? Tell us about that favorite book yours.

Mine? The Windflower by Laura London, Morning Glory by LaVryle Spencer, Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer, and a ton of others.... Recent ones? Shades of Gray by Amarinda Jones, Marriage Mart by Kelly Kirch, Caught in the Devil's Hand by Ruby Duvall...


Please stop by Amarinda's Place, Kelly's Blog, and OhGetAGrip to find out what's new in life. Drop by Sandra's Blog to check out the baby pics of your favorite authors. Leave a comment for a chance for a prize.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Road Less Traveled

I've been doing a blog now for almost a eighteen months. For a while, I will reprint some of my favorite blogs on Wednesdays. This particular blog is one from exactly one year ago today. Please enjoy...

Most people have some sort of life plan. When you're young your plan is frequently full of grandiose schemes and implausible events. As you get older, you see how unlikely your plan for twelve children or your dream of being the first man on Mars is and you adjust accordingly.

In your early twenties (or earlier) your thoughts turn to marriage and family. The life plan is probably still unlikely, but it's changed in minute ways that make it possible, if not improbable.

And then a detour pops up and life takes an unexpected turn.

If anyone has had a plethora of detours, I have. It seemed that every time I aimed for a certain goal, that less traveled road popped up and somehow, somewhere I ended up out in the boonies again--so far out that I couldn't even SEE the plan, let alone get there.

I have dreamed of being a writer for nearly thirty five years. I worked at my craft, trained, took classes, and wrote, wrote, wrote, sometimes in five minute increments because that's the time that I had available. I longed to be a Silhouette or Harlequin author.

But it seemed that I was way ahead of my time. There really wasn't a place for my alien fantasy characters that insisted on having sex with each other. Alien wasn't in. Fantasy wasn't in. And sex? No that wasn't in, either. Characters were barely allowed to kiss.

Which is just as well, because I had a raft of detours. Children, moving, working, children, school, working, moving, ... There was an endless stream of changed plans. I didn't plan on having any children, yet I have four. I never dreamed that I would live in four widespread states in the forty years of our marriage, yet I've lived in IL, TX, NY, and MD. I started school at 27 and then stopped, started, stopped, started my way through until graduation at 43.

And jobs? Well...let's just say that I didn't have any careers, unless you count McDonalds, Friendly's, library clerk at a public library, drilling plastic knobs in a factory, Waldenbooks warehousing, and substitute teaching as careers. The closest to a genuine career that I came to was thirteen years as a secretary in a public school.

Still my goal to be a writer beckoned from the misty future. Maybe? Maybe there would come a time when it would happen? Then last year it was finally time. Six years ago a young woman started an on-line publishing house because the print houses all said her books were too "hot". And this year my alien fantasy books are not considered "hot" enough for her publishing house.

Six years ago, I was in a position that would have been compromised by a writing career. Now? Now is my time to shine. For all the detours and back roads that I traveled to get here, there were reasons. Some of those detours made me a stronger writer with emotional insights I wouldn't have had otherwise.

I don't regret my less traveled roads nor taking the long way home.


Please stop by Amarinda's Place, Kelly's Blog, and the OhGetAGrip bunch for good stuff! Blessings on your day.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ack! Pirates are stealing me blind!

Once in a while I'll Google my name hoping to find a new review or mention of my books. Well, tonight I found something new all right! I found several sites with my books listed for free! I wonder how many books have been stolen from me?

If you're one of the readers who stole my books, shame on you! If you like my stories so much, why would you take them without paying for them? If enough books are stolen, it just won't pay me to spend the time writing them! And then, sadly, there won't be anymore stories by Anny Cook.

I totally ticks me off when I find that someone has pirated one of my books, but tonight on three of the pirating sites, the thief listed the books as "All of Anny Cook's books by request". Well, hello? It's nice that someone really likes them, but if they like them so much, then they need to pay for them instead of stealing them! If I don't get paid, then I can't afford to sit at home, typing my heart out for no return. Nor can my publisher afford to keep publishing my books if there are no sales.

What part of theft do books, music, and movie pirates not understand? If you take something, it's theft just as though you walked into Borders, Wal-mart, or Barnes and Noble and walked out with a book without paying for it.

If I stole someone else's work, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. I certainly wouldn't enjoy the book or movie or album because my conscience wouldn't let me. Whoever you are, wherever you are, I would rather that you didn't read my books if it means that you have to steal them. When you steal, then you are no longer a fan.


Stop by and check out Amarinda, Kelly, and OhGetAGrip! Blessings on your day!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Anny Makeover

I'm a t-shirt and shorts kind of woman. If pushed, I could wear a pair of jeans or slacks. I have hair hair and eye colored eyes and that's pretty much who I am. My feminine side is expressed with brightly colored cotton granny panties and bras and wild socks in every color in the rainbow. Life was good.

Then I signed up to go to a convention.

While I can't be sure exactly what women wear to this convention, I'm pretty sure it isn't ratty t-shirts and shorts. I tried to pin several veteran attendees down, but they wiggled free without sharing any helpful information. The answers more or less consisted of "Wear whatever is comfortable." I'm guessing that my idea of comfort is probably different than their idea of comfort.

Preparing for this shindig has pretty much given me a flash back to the future when I was in high school and it was worth your life to be dressed differently than the rest of the girls. There was nothing more mortifying than to be so totally out of step with the rest of the young ladies that you were completely shunned. I was never one of the "popular" girls and that didn't bother me because quite frankly most of them were dumber than a box of rocks. However, there is a point when you can blend into the hodgepodge of humanity and that's what I was perfectly happy to do.

Suddenly, I'm back where I started. How much is too much? How much is too little? I'm striving for some kind of middle ground. To that end, I dragged my friend Jane to the Rite-Aide to buy make-up. I don't wear the stuff. Never have but I suspect that a minimum lick and promise might be an improvement. We discussed foundation, blusher, lipstick... lipstick? Okay, okay. No eye stuff because I can't see my eyes without my glasses and... glasses get in the way when you're trying to put that stuff on. While I was at it, I tossed in nail polish for good measure.

Next on the agenda is a pedicure. Never ever, ever had a pedicure in my life so this is something I'm looking forward to--maybe. The thing is I don't want to show anybody my ugly feet if it's warm enough for sandals so the pedicure.

When that's taken care of, it will be time for a hair cut and eyebrow wax. That eyebrow wax is so not fun which makes me wonder how in the world people endure bikini waxes. I bet there a tad of masochism there, even if they don't acknowledge it. It just makes me shudder when I think about it.

Then of course after I've been buffed and polished and tweaked, I'll have to dress. Sigh. With all the detailed helpful information I received I've devised a middle of the road strategy. Dark chinos with pretty tops for the workshops. Slacks with a dainty sweater for the book signings. And glittering tops with black slinky pants for the dress-up stuff. Sparkly shoes and bag. Done. Oh yeah, jewelry. Geez, this stuff is so girly.

I remember when I received my first pair of nylon stockings...and they really were nylon stockings--the kind that you had to wear with a garter belt. They ran like mad and cost a fortune. I thought I was the height of fashion. I was a woman! Well, I can be forgiven for the idiocy as I was only sixteen. My mom commented about how I should enjoy it while I could because the time would come when I did not delight in dressing up. And she was certainly correct.

That and defoliating my legs and underarms was my big concession to dressing like a woman. I don't count menstruation and wearing a bra because just about every girl deals with those one way or another. The other feminine rituals like learning to wear make-up and choosing your own shampoo were things that didn't happen in my home. Those items required money. Money was in short supply at my house. Shampoo was purchased by my parents for the family. Saturday afternoon my mom lined us up and washed our hair in the kitchen sink. We didn't have a shower so that's the way that problem was dealt with.

When I received my first paycheck (when I was gainfully employed after graduation) one of the first things I bought was my own shampoo and cream rinse--that was what the conditioner was called back in the dark ages. I also bought my own rollers and a bonnet shaped hair dryer. That was before blow dryers. That hair dryer was state of the art. I think I had it twenty years before it finally died. By then, you couldn't even buy them anymore.

Well, I'll pack my blow dryer, though I use it so seldom that it's still in the box. And the novelty of buying my own shampoo and conditioner has long worn off. Funny how your perspective changes when you get older. In one week, I'll be there meeting up with friends, getting to know my internet buddies face-to-face. In the meantime...let the makeover begin.


Check out the ladies-- Amarinda, Kelly, and OhGetAGrip!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Living with a learning disabled adult...

There are tons of articles and books written about living with a learning disabled child. Tons. I know as three of my four children have learning disabilities. But then, those children grow up and must face life as an adult with learning disabilities. Disabilities don't just go away when you reach adulthood. That's when life begins to get interesting.

My father is seventy eight and still has a terrible time reading. He's a minister where reading (especially the Bible) is important. My mother does most of the reading --out loud to him so that he can catch the meaning of the passages. But he can quote pages and pages from the Bible. He can make almost anything--and I do mean anything.

My husband is sixty one. He can't find his way across the street unless he has detailed directions. If there are more than two turns between home and his destination he gets lost. He may ask me the same question thirty times. He may repeat the same story over and over because he forgot that he told me the first time. He can't spell. And when we married, he barely read second grade level despite graduating from High School. But he can take a computer apart and put it back together. Or wire a phone. Or replace the engine in a car.

My son is thirty eight. He can't spell cat. Never could. Never in his life has he passed a spelling test. His motor skills are such that his hand writing is barely legible. He gets lost if his "landmarks" change. Every time he comes to see us, he gets lost either coming or going. He makes toner for copiers for a big name company. He runs the evening shift and tests the toner quality and does quality control.

Adults with learning disabilities find life difficult because cultural expectations change when you reach adulthood. Some have a terrible time keeping a job because their attention span is zero. Some drive you crazy because they insist on sticking to their schedule even when its clear that today it won't work. Their reasoning skills are all whacked. Explaining why a particular plan won't work doesn't necessarily mean that they will understand three words in ten.

They jump into new interests with both feet, without knowing what's involved. And just as quickly, they may abandon that interest without a backward look even though they've invested hundreds of dollars in supplies. For them, once the interest is gone, it doesn't exist for them.

There is a certain amount of self-centeredness. Not selfishness. If you point out that so-and-so needs help carrying in the groceries, they will gladly help. But they don't see that need for themselves. So as a spouse or parent you can't ever assume that they will know that you need something. You always have to verbalize your need. They don't read facial expressions so they may not know that the individual they are with is upset or angry or happy.

Women in particular place value on all the romantic gestures... flowers, gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, Valentines Day. The house hunk has no idea when those days are, let alone what he might be expected to do about it. From the beginning I have known that if I wanted something for my birthday I would need to do one of two things--buy it myself, wrap it up and slap a tag on it--or give him a detailed list of instructions on where to buy it, etc. Gift cards are wonderful inventions. I just tell him how much and when to buy it.

Of course, what this all means is that when I want something, I just point out that my last however many occasions were overlooked...which is how I ended up with a Sony digital reader for Valentines Day. There are silver linings in the clouds.

A friend once asked me how I stand it. We all have imperfections and difficulties. I'm sure that there are days that I drive him nuts. I don't put the toilet paper on the roller. I hang the towels up backward. I leave my shoes where his shoes are supposed to go. Life is good.


Check out OhGetAGrip, Kelly, and Amarinda! Blessings on your day.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Celebrating Women

A lady is a woman who makes it easy for a man to be a gentleman.~~American Proverb

Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.~~Timothy Leary

Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily this is not difficult.~~Charlotte Whitton

Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.~~Billy Crystal

At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.~~P.G. Wodehouse

If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things.~~Plato

The thing that women have got to learn is that nobody gives you power. You just take it.~~Roseanne Barr

I think it's about time we voted for senators with breasts. After all, we've been voting for boobs long enough.~~Claire Sargent

Whether they give or refuse, it delights women just the same to have been asked.~~Ovid

Women with pasts interest men... they hope history will repeat itself.~~Mae West

If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base. ~~Dave Barry

After about 20 years of marriage, I'm finally starting to scratch the surface of that one. And I think the answer lies somewhere between conversation and chocolate. ~~Mel Gibson, about what women want


Check out Amarinda, Kelly, and OhGet A Grip. Blessings on your day!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday Newsflash!

I am happy to announce that I received a release date for Kama Sutra Lovers--July 18! Starting next week, I'll post an excerpt from Kama on my webpage at Look on the bookshelf!

I'm also excited about my first book in print. Dancer's Delight is now available from Cerridwen Press in both e-book and print.

And finally, I wrote an article about my acorn research that is appearing in this month's Lady Jaided magazine here! It details the difficulties (and fun) of processing acorns as a food source.

The research was all for a future time-travel romance as yet untitled or finished, but it is a work in progress so hopefully it will be finished by the end of the year!

Okay... I promised to post a picture of the hair piks I'm working on. It's difficult to pose them so I'll try to find some other way to photograph them, but in the meantime, this is what they'll look like. Feel free to offer suggestions or critiques. Now's the time to do that before I drag them off to the convention!

Also wanted to thank everyone who wrote to me with suggestions for places to shop for clothing. I really appreciate your help and your concern.

I posted fourteen items yesterday on the blog and miracles do happen because most of them were answered by one or more of the readers. And I learned all sorts of new things. Thank you so much for taking the time to pass on your knowledge!

Stop over at the Amarinda, Kelly, and OhGetAGrip blogs to see what's what in their worlds! Blessings on your day!


Friday, April 4, 2008

Fourteen things I don't know...

1) Why is it a hurricane in some places and a cyclone in others?

2) Why do we never hear of tornadoes in other countries?

3) Why is it sometimes spelled blond and other times spelled blonde?

4) What kind of job requires people to wear those funky blue telephone thingies on their ear?

5) What is the difference between baby back ribs and St. Louis ribs?

6) With all the hours and hours and hours and hours... of television, why isn't there more international news that isn't about politics? Why isn't there more international weather coverage?

7) Why don't restaurants cut the portion sizes in half--and do likewise with the prices? Wouldn't that provide economic stimulus?

8) Why isn't there a dressy dress made in a comfortable fabric? Why do they all feel like sandpaper?

9) Why is the sky blue... instead of say, green or purple?

10) Why don't they position seatbelts in cars so that they don't strangle short people?

11) Will the Chicago Cubs ever win a World Series?

12) Why does broccoli give you gas?

13) Who invented bras?

14) What in the world am I doing up at midnight?


Check out the ladies at Amarinda, Kelly, and OhGetAGrip! Blessings on your day!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Art of Creativity

Yesterday I worked with beads. Tiny little beads. Big clunky beads. Green beads, blue beads... lots of beads. What the heck am I doing with beads, you ask? Well, I'm making promo things to give away at the RT Convention. Now, I've never been to a convention before so I have no idea about what authors give away at these events. I have a notion, however, that they don't give away the kind of stuff I'm going to give away. And that's the point, I think.

After the first fifty bookmarks you acquire, the things kind of lose their punch, you know? Magnets are expensive in large quantities. Pens are probably the most practical, but I couldn't find anything I really liked. And since this is something that is representative of my work and me--well I wanted to create something that the reader wouldn't just be inclined to stuff in their purse and toss out when they get home.

So... the beaded hair piks and the painted chinka boxes. Goodness knows I certainly have enough beads to make piks for the entire Mystic Valley. The creative part comes in combining the different beads for unique looks. So little beads alternate with medium beads. Shiny beads sit next to softer colored beads.

Can you tell that I'm getting into this bead stuff?

If nothing else comes of it, the "gimmes" should stir up a little curiosity about the place where people use beaded piks or chinkas to secure their long hair. And in the long run, that's the name of the game. The point is to generate interest in my books.

I have a couple other ideas if I end up having extra time. Yes, I can hear Kelly and Amarinda and all my other fellow authors snickering. Time? What is that? My editor probably thinks I'm delusional. Didn't y'all know that time is elastic? We stretch it to fit in whatever we have to fit in. That's how it works, right?

Currently I'm working on a green pik (suitable for a frog) in wonderful shades of green from grass to a soft jade color. If I had longer hair, I think I'd be tempted to keep this one for myself!

I have red, blue, pink, some "natural" stone, black and gray, green, purple. Hey, pick one. There's probably something here for any outfit. Barbara and Molly asked for pictures. In a couple days, I'll take some pics and post them on the blog and the web page.

A friend once told me that she wasn't creative. One day I was over at her house and noticed these gorgeous feather hangings. Gorgeous and intricate with literally hundreds of feathers. When I commented about how beautiful they were, she brushed me off with, "Oh, that's just something I do while I watch television."

Truthfully, I've never met a woman who isn't creative in one way or another. They may be wonderful cooks or perhaps they can turn a piece of fabric into anything from a fairy princess costume to a placemat. But we're all creative. A few of us write. Some sew or embroider or crochet. Have you noticed that we find personal ways to beautify our surroundings? That's our creative spirit nudging at us.

The next time you get that urge, let it out and celebrate all the ways we demonstrate our creativity.


Drop by Amarinda's Blog and find out who won the copy of Daffodil. Then pop over to Kelly's Place to see what new and exciting thing she's writing about. Check into the OhGetAGrip Blog to find out what Cindy's getting a grip about to meet Amarinda's challenge. Blessings on your day!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Wednesday Jumble Sale

Over at Amarinda's blog, she's discussing Sex... I'm her guest author and we're discussing sex and writing. Amarinda's running a contest on her blog. Go over there and possibly win a PDF copy of my book Daffodil. So, tell Amarinda - what genre do you like best when it comes to erotica? Put a comment on Amarinda's blog and you will go into the draw to win a PDF copy of Daffodil. Now, as always, if Amarinda cannot track you down through your Blogger ID or you do not leave an email address you cannot win. If you are under witness protection you can email your answer to Amarinda on Just a reminder... the comment has to be on Amarinda's blog to go in the drawing! Okay, now on to our normally scheduled programming...

I tried to post a couple of things on Yahoo yesterday. Yahoo is under the weather evidently. It took nearl
y two hours for my posts to arrive. So gee, I'm glad it wasn't anything of immediate importance, right? The e-mail seems to be arriving via Pony Express also, so if you e-mailed me yesterday, send it again.

I started drilling teeny-tiny little holes in my bamboo chopsticks. Next I'll wrap them with gold wire and beads. Voila! Hair skewers from Mystic Valley. Today, I also have mucho many tiny little chinka boxes to paint and decorate. See, I'm a crafty soul. Will I finish everything before I go to RT? I have no idea. But I'll give it the old college try.

Working with the Dremel was pretty cool. I've always wanted one, but when you're raising four kids, there's usually something else th
at's more necessary. So last fall with my one of my first royalty checks I bought a Dremel. Now have I had time to play with it? No. So at least working on this stuff has given me a reason to play with my toy. I used to do a lot more crafts, but guess what? Writing pretty much takes up most of my time. When I'm not writing, I'm straightening up the place, cooking, or doing laundry. Ah, the glamorous life of a romance writer. Let's see. Yesterday the most glamorous thing I did was sort the laundry because today is laundry day.

In between hopping in and out of the car this past weekend and running in and out of stores I did get the chance to finish Marlow's Curse by Amarinda Jones. It was delicious. If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, well, what are you waiting for?

Oh, maybe you're waiting to read Shades of Gray first? Well, don't lollygag around. Time's a-wasting. Trot right over to Ellora's Cave and get your copies of Shades of Gray and Marlow's Curse... vampires with a difference!

Now, I admit that I did NOT have a chance to finish Marriage Mart by Kelly Kirch. That's because the house hunk refuses to drive when we go out and he just couldn't seem to resist the shopping bug. I'm about half way through the book and it's getting frustrating to have to keep putting it down! However, hopefully I'll be able to finish it when we go to do laundry. It's wonderful so far. Kelly, tell the house hunk to leave me alone so I can read!

When you read this post you will no doubt wonder why I can't seem to manage solid blocks of print just like everyone else. I have no idea. Normally, I am not technologically challenged, but blogger defeats me some days. That's when you know that it's just better to stay in bed!

Don't forget to stop at Amarinda's Blog for the contest and Kelly's blog just because. And then stop by Oh Get A Grip where Regina Carlyle is telling us what tics her off. I've heard that she has quite a list! Blessings on your day!


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tuesday, Tuesday...

I just finished your first angels book. I had no idea we had so much crime here in Bristol!! That's where I have lived for the last 7 years. I loved the book and was surprised to see my adopted town as one of the settings.~~Maureen

There once was an author named Cook
Whose books make you sit up and look
At the sex lives of Flowers
Blue people with Powers
Daffodil-EC-Buy the Book!~~Molly Daniels

I have been fascinated with your books for sometime and recently purchased Chrysanthemum, which I love by the way.~~Rasha

Wow! You've outdone yourself this time!~~Jane, the neighbor

Yes! I love fan letters and poems. How cool is that? So bring 'em on. Write, write, write. I can't tell you what a wonderful boost it is when a fan lets you know they like your work.

As I mentioned in the Oh Get A Grip blog, I spent the weekend shopping for clothes for the RT convention in a couple weeks. Well, lest you think I was falling down on the job, let me assure you that I was busy talking about my books, passing out my card to anyone who looked remotely interested and demonstrating my digital e-reader to one and all from the lab technician who took my blood to the manager at the Olive Garden who stopped long enough to ask me about the e-reader I was, er, reading while waiting for my check.

What I found very interesting is the turn around I've observed in just the last few months. When I first started showing my Sony e-reader around town, the general reaction was a non-committal "uh-huh". Now when I demonstrate my e-reader the reaction is more along the line of "cool" and "where can I buy one?" Strange...very strange.

Last night we went shopping for a suit for the house hunk. Yeah, like I want to go shopping with a man who thinks that the first suit you buy should be the last suit you buy. Well, a wonderful gentleman named Craig took the house hunk under his wing and just fixed him up. I've been trying to convince house hunk he needs dress shoes. Oh no, he couldn't possibly find a pair of dress shoes that would be comfortable enough and he didn't want to spend the evenings with sore feet. Hmph. Craig had him eating out of his hand. House hunk not only came home with a pair of dress shoes... he's considering going back for another pair!

Honeysuckle is a laugh out loud story that will have you fanning yourself both from the exertion of laughter as well as other reasons.~~Elyssa Edwards, e-Muse-zine

As I read the book, I came to love the characters and their many varied peculiarities. Gareth and Chrysanthemum are the main characters, but everyone else is also bigger than life. My favorite part of the whole story was Percy, the dragon...~~Ashley, Fallen Angel Reviews

So later today, I will start playing around with the little things I'll be giving away at the convention. I'll be using a Dremel to drill and stuff. This should be soooo interesting. Heh. We'll see how I do. If things don't work out, I may end up giving away magnets! And I'll have enough chopsticks to eat Chinese food for the next three years. Wish me luck!


Drop by Amarinda's blog to see how we're doing and then roll on over to Kelly's to catch up with her.