Monday, November 30, 2009

Cleaning


Most people start the holiday season with shopping or decorating. At our home we started with cleaning and rearranging furniture. There were a number of valid reasons for the rearranging and cleaning, but I admit it was not what I planned when I crawled out of bed yesterday.

It all started with the Christmas tree, of course. Apartment dwellers all have the same problem. Where to put the tree? Then if they have limited space to begin with, something must be moved...relocated to another room...thrown out...you get the drift?

My daughter spent eight hours in a car on what should have been a five hour trip. She had plenty of time to work out the rearrangements in her mind. Now the execution was a tad different. We started the day with a LOT of measuring. Part of the rearranging was the moving of hundreds of books when we moved the bookcases.

I have long wanted to move those bookcases out of their dark corner, but freely admit the shifting of so many books was a daunting thought. With the help of my granddaughters, we emptied the double and in places, triple booked shelves, sorted the books and reshelved them after the house hunk and the son-in-law moved the very heavy bookcases. That took most of the day.

But wait! Once they were moved, other stuff had to be moved! Rugs had to be vacuumed, rolled and shifted. Pictures had to be moved. And it all went on and on and on...

By eight o'clock everyone was ready to be finished. And we were. Then it was a matter of feeding the flock, baths or showers and off to bed. I admit I really like the new arrangements. The entire apartment has a lighter, airier feel to it. Not to mention there is now wall space for my framed covers and the few Christmas items we have that have languished in the storage boxes for the last few years.

There's just onnnnnnnnne thing. We still don't know where we're going to put the tree. Sigh.

anny

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Caturday!

Good morning! We're up and out to the lab for bloodwork... then a special treat at Panera's. After that, we'll finish decorating the house for Christmas. What about you?

anny

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Day After...

Well. The FEAST is over. We have enough leftovers to feed us for a couple more days, at least. Aside from the cooking (which I confess I did very little of), we watched a couple movies, talked, read, and generally relaxed.

One of the movies we watched was rather thought provoking for me. Everyone from the five year old to the house hunk watched it quite attentively. It was the Disney movie, Up. It says much that it captured the attention of such a widely varied age group.

The movie was generally about the pursuit of dreams--and how those dreams might change with time. What do we do when we discover the dreams we've pursued so relentlessly aren't really what we want? What do we do about dreams that are beyond our reach? At what point to we accept the fact and move on?

This week, I reached a milestone in my life--one of those milestones where you stop and reflect on your life, what you've accomplished, what you've left undone, what you might still be able to accomplish. So this movie was very timely for me personally. It afforded me a chance to stop and assess my place in life. Where have I been? Where do I want to go from here?

For many families, Thanksgiving is a time of reflection. At dinner, we went around the circle as each member from the youngest to the oldest said something they were thankful for. In a year of lean times and upheaval, it seems we have more to be thankful for. Interesting how that works, isn't it?

Today, while many are out pursuing bargains for Christmas, I'll be back at the computer, working, thankful for the skill and talent that allows me to work at home.

anny

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Vengeance

Glitterized by flmnetwork.com

Twenty five years ago we moved into a new house the day before Thanksgiving. Our furniture had been in storage for over four weeks after a move from Houston to upstate New York. At nightfall on Thanksgiving Eve what we had for the most part was beds set up in the bedrooms with bare mattresses and a LOT of boxes.

In an effort to make things easier, we bought several disposable aluminum pans to cook or bake in and a stack of paper plates. Add some sturdy plastic "silverware", plastic glasses and several rolls of paper towels and we were good to go.

Early Thanksgiving morning, there were hints that all was not going well. The first clue was the hot water in the toilets. Nice to have a warm seat, but a profligate use of hot water when we needed it for cleaning, laundry and dishwashing.

The next problem that reared its head was the frozen pipes in the kitchen area. No water--hot or cold. Never the less, we persevered. By eleven a.m. our turkey was in the oven, most of the side dishes were in the process and we were back to unpacking boxes. And boxes. And boxes...

At last the turkey was close to done. The househunk seized the pan with a couple sturdy pot holders and lifted it up (heading for the counter next to the stove) when the unthinkable happened. The pan collapsed, spilling burning turkey drippings all over his hands.

He tossed the turkey pan onto the stove top...where it promptly exploded.

We had turkey, dressing, and greasy drippings everywhere. Floor, ceiling, walls, counters and cabinets, and all over my new stove. All the things we'd cleaned so carefully and set on the counter were covered in bits of dressing and drippings.

After the initial shock and checking the house hunk's hands for damage, we embarked on the massive clean up. I vividly remember crouching on my hands and knees on the kitchen floor, vainly trying to clean the grease ingrained in the textured tiles. "I want to go home!" I wailed.

The house hunk leaned down to pat me on the shoulder. "You forget. We ARE home."

Eventually, we sat down to eat what we salvaged from the turkey and side dishes. Life moved on. Other disasters arrived to shove the memories aside. But every Thanksgiving one of the kids will get a reminiscent expression on their face and ask with a glint of humor in their eyes, "Do you remember?"

In some ways, that Thanksgiving pulled us together, preparing us for the really, really bad year we were going to endure. Triumphing over that single disaster taught us that we could deal with almost anything as long as we stuck together.

Sigh. I have to admit that since then, turkey really isn't on my menu most years.

anny

PS: Happy Birthday to my cousin Molly--who is SIXTY today. Neener, neener. I'm STILL older than you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Voyage of the Mayflower



Originally, the Mayflower set out with a companion ship the Speedwell, but the Speedwell had a leak so both ships turned back. On the second attempt, the ships reached the Atlantic Ocean but again were forced to return to Dartmouth because of the Speedwell's leak.

It would later be revealed that there was in fact nothing wrong with the Speedwell. The crew had sabotaged it in order to escape the year-long commitment of their contract.

After reorganization of the passengers and crew, the final sixty-six day voyage was made by the Mayflower alone. Some of the original company stayed behind, while others switched places with passengers on the Mayflower. With 102 passengers plus crew, each family was allotted a very confined amount of space for personal belongings. The 'tween deck of the Mayflower where the passengers lived was 8o feet long and 24 feet wide at it's widest part. And the passengers area was a large open area below decks with the deck area reserved for the crew.

The ship probably had a crew of twenty-five to thirty, along with other hired personnel; however, only the names of five are known, including John Alden. William Bradford, who penned our only account of the Mayflower voyage, wrote that John Alden "was hired for a cooper [barrel-maker], at South Hampton where the ship victuled; and being a hopefull yong man, was much desired, but left to his owne liking to go or stay when he came here; but he stayed, and maryed here."

The intended destination was an area near the Hudson River in "North Virginia". However the ship was forced far off-course by inclement weather and drifted well north of the intended Virginia settlement. As a result of the delay, the settlers did not arrive in Cape Cod till the onset of a harsh New England winter.

The settlers remained on the ship until homes were built in the spring. Disease took it's toll in the crowded conditions on ship board. Of the 102 passengers plus crew members, only 52 survived the winter.

One of the interesting stories for the John Howland descendants is the tale of how John Howland was washed overboard in a storm. Fortunately for his many descendants (including the house hunk), he was able to grasp a rope trailing in the water and the sailors pulled him back aboard.

Quite a few years ago, the house hunk and I visited the Mayflower II, an accurate replica of the original Mayflower. What struck me about the area below decks was the tiny, tiny area available to the settlers. There was no privacy. Most of the settlers slept on pallets or hammocks. And they shared their space with the supplies.

A bricked box served as a stove. The diet was limited and included salt pork, hard biscuits and dried beans. Small wonder that so many died of a combinations of scurvy, tuberculosis, and possibly pneumonia. Of the eighteen adult women who sailed on the Mayflower, only four survived to spring. Four women, helped by half a dozen teenaged girls were responsible for the care and feeding of the colony.

While we can't credit the colonists with establishing the first Thanksgiving, we can certainly honor them for the spirit and strength they exhibited when they sailed from Plymouth, England. Due to their incredible will, there are thousands of descendants today who can proudly state, "My ancestor came on the Mayflower."

For an easy website with wonderful information and pictures regarding the Mayflower and Plimoth Colony please click HERE!

anny



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The First Thanksgiving

Among the lies my teachers taught over the years was the story of the first Thanksgiving. Back when I was a kid, we learned all about the pilgrims, those stern, black-clad puritans who fled England, sailed on the Mayflower to America, and had a big feast for the Indians.

I think the only fact they had correct was the one about the pilgrims sailing on the Mayflower. The house hunk is descended from six of the original pilgrims, Francis Cooke, John Howland, Elizabeth Tilley, John Tilley, Joan Tilley, and George Soule. Elizabeth Tilley's parents died the first winter leaving Elizabeth, a thirteen year old orphan alone. Two years later she married John Howland.

About half of the passengers were Separatists, the other half signed up for material reasons. Of the 102 original passengers nearly half died the first winter, leaving 53 survivors...mostly men. In the fall of 1621 when the harvest was finally gathered in, William Bradford, governor of Plimoth proposed a harvest feast. It lasted three days. For a wonderful interview with the food historian at Plimoth Plantation, click on Kathleen Curtin.
Other fun facts. They didn't wear black. Black was too hard to keep clean and also was expensive so it was reserved for Sunday services. Generally, they wore colored clothing. Heavy woolen fabrics.

A few years ago we went for a weekend to Plymouth and spent some time at the Plimoth Plantation speaking with the reenactors. Each reenactor picks a specific person to represent. They remain totally in character as they talk about their lives in Plimoth and before traveling to the New World.

So we were talking to Hester Cooke (wife of the Francis Cooke listed above) She did not travel on the Mayflower, electing instead to remain in Leiden (Holland) until later, with their children. One of the other tourists in the tiny Cooke house (see the pictures above) asked her about her clothing and commented that her skirt was wrinkled. "Didn't they iron their clothes?" the tourist inquired.

I've always loved 'Hester's' reply. "But that would be vanity."

I figure if it's good enough for the pilgrims, it's good enough for me.

The houses were tiny. For that matter, the beds were tiny. The bed would be too short for me and I'm only 5'2". When I asked where the kids slept, 'Hester' pointed under the bed and said, "They sleep on pallets."

Hester and Francis had eight children. I just wonder when and where they found privacy to start them! Certainly, there was no bedroom door to shut. Actually, the entire house was only two very small rooms. And one of those was the room with the "kitchen".

The harvest feast had little that we would recognize today. No potatoes (white or sweet)--the pilgrims weren't familiar with the potato as a food at this time. Cranberries might have been added to dishes for flavoring, but certainly there wasn't any cranberry jelly. And pumpkins, though a staple in their diet, were not used for pies. Actually, it's highly unlikely they would have flour or sugar to make pies. Nor did they have ovens.

For that matter, imagine the amount of food you would need for 50 people plus the 90+ guests over a three day period. Nooooo thanks!

I think I'll settle for my modern conveniences and the menu we're planning on. We'd hate to be without our pumpkin pie!

anny



Sunday, November 22, 2009

Crossroads

How much we appreciate accomplishments in ourselves or others depends on our viewpoint. A vivid demonstration of this truth was the brou-haha over Harlequin Publishing's various business decisions in the last two weeks.

Readers, by and large, were entirely unmoved by the shenanigans that gave authors so much heartburn. If they're Harlequin readers, they'll continue to be Harlequin readers with unimpaired tranquility. Their interest in the inner workings of the publishing world is nil--unless they anticipate submitting to Harlequin as an aspiring author.

The same can't be said for writers who more or less fell in two camps. Inevitably, the Harlequin writers themselves had some qualms about the changes that affected their professional futures. Many of them enter the RWA's Rita contest--a contest they are no longer eligible for because of the changes Harlequin announced. Though I do not belong to the RWA, I do appreciate their unhappiness. Among the print writers, the Rita is a prestigious contest with such winners as Nora Roberts and Tom and Sharon Curtis.

The opposite camp, if you will, is comprised of those writers who've been on the outside looking in because their publishers don't pay an advance to their writers. They have a different business model that the RWA doesn't recognize and therefore, they are not eligible for such things as the Rita. The decision isn't based on quality, but some nebulous combinations of royalty numbers and methods of reaching the public marketplace. Bluntly stated, an e-published author doesn't qualify unless they make one thousand dollars or more on the title they wish to enter...in that year. Much of it depends on timing and that is not always under the author's control.

So. Two camps forever divided were suddenly united when the RWA announced their decision. The situation is fluid at the moment while Harlequin, a huge juggernaut of a publisher, backpeddles madly. Will they change their stance in order to make their writers happy and bow down to the various author's groups such as RWA, SFWA and others? Probably.

Will any of it make a difference to the readers? No. And that ultimately is the bottom line. At a time of cutthroat competion in the romance market, the readers have the ultimate vote. If they buy, the publisher stays afloat. If they take their money elsewhere, the publisher sinks.

Readers may not realized just how critical their purchasing decisions are. Especially in this day and age of limited incomes and lost jobs, their votes with their credit cards are all the more critical. Who dreamed that romance would become so powerful and respectable that at most print houses, it's the primary seller?

For that matter, who could have foreseen the way the digital market growth has exploded? Three years ago, as I carried my digital reader around, using it as I waited for the doctor or while I was doing laundry, the average citizen had no idea what it was. And they usually pooh-poohed the idea that it would ever "catch on".

Now, when I haul out my reader, the questions are entirely different. The average citizen is quite knowledgeable about brands, how many books can be saved on the reader, how long the battery life is, and whether or not DRM will be a problem. Ready or not, the e-book world is here to stay.

While readers may not care about the internal struggles in the publishing world, their buying decisions directly affect the swiftly changing landscape in the world of books. All of us are racing toward the "back to the future" era.

anny

Sixty Years

I've always wondered why people get so uptight about their birthdays. Personally, I think every birthday is a blessing. After all the alternative is not a lovely picture.

I'm sixty years old today. When I was ten, that was unimaginable. When I was twenty, the day was far off when I would turn sixty. Now I'm here and I'm wondering how I got here. What happened? I'm not ready to be sixty already. I still have a lot of things to do.

Sixty is a pretty significant number, you know? So in order to celebrate with my friends and readers, I'm having a Birthday Bash at Joyfully Reviewed from 7 PM to 10 PM EST! Drop by and say hello! If you're a writer bring an excerpt to post. If you just want to chat with the guests, then come on over and talk! If you don't belong to the loop, the link is up above...click on Joyfully Reviewed.

Earlier in the afternoon the house hunk is going to take us all out to Don Pablos for Mexican food. I always love to eat Mexican food and the restaurant is family friendly.

Until tonight...blessings on your day!

anny

Friday, November 20, 2009

Life Skills

As you make your way through life, you acquire strange little skills and odd bits of experience that you usually never expect to use. And then the day arrives when you need that odd skill in a way you never imagined.

In this day of job shortages and down-sizing and retraining, one of the bits of advice that job coaches are sharing is to think out of the box, look at your skills with an eye toward how those skills are related to new jobs you're applying for.

In the past I worked for a small manufacturing company where I ran a drill press to drill holes in knobs, McDonald's, Friendly's, a Waldenbooks warehouse, and a county-wide school where my position was executive secretary. I also taught adult education vocational classes at that last job. Filling out a resume or a job application can be a challenge. But there are commonalities in all my past jobs.

One of the skills I have in common from every one of my employers was that I was the job trainer for new employees. Nope, that wasn't in my job description when I started, but in some strange way, training became one of my duties every time.

In each job, I also wrote and compiled a manual for the job. Hmmm. That wasn't in my job description, either. But it seems that most jobs need some type of reference manual--whether one done professionally by an outside agency, or one done in-house.

Every one of those employers needed an inventory compiled. In all but one job, I made up the forms and process as I went along. But the job was finished and the counts were accurate.

Along the way, I've picked up other oddments of information that I'll use one day. I'm convinced that nothing we learn is wasted. When the day arrives that I desperately need a skill or information, it will be ready to hand.

What is the strangest skill you have acquired in life?

anny

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Review!

"I just wanted to squeeze Joe Harris. What a sweety! He handled Becky with kid gloves when appropriate, but also treated her like a woman. Becky, though she’s had a hard time, was no shrinking violet. Their romance moves along nicely until Joe drops an unintentional bomb on Becky. Her interpretation of his comment makes for a tense moment or two, but Joe saves the day. And he saves Becky too, in more ways than one. A delightfully romantic and steamy read."--Chris of Night Owl Reviews, 4.25 out of 5

To read the entire review...NOR!

Tonight the authors of the Carnal Reunions anthology will be having a chat at Coffee Time Erotic. We'll be there from 7 PM-9 PM. I hope you'll join us for sample excerpts and perhaps... a contest or two!

Wow! The suggestions for the Assassin's Creed were fabulous! Thank you so much for playing! The winner (picked by my daughter in a random draw) of the autographed copy of Carnal Camelot was JacquƩline Roth! Congratulations, JacquƩline! Get in touch with me about a snail mail addy so I can mail this out!

anny

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Assassin's Creed

So I'm tootling around looking at e-mails and stuff and I see this list of "most popular searches today" and lo and behold, number ten was "assassin's creed".

Now I'm a literal minded person so I thought. Hmmm. Assassin's have a creed? What the heck kind of creed would a bunch of assassins have? Maybe like, "don't kill innocent bystanders" or "collateral damage is not acceptable". Or it could maybe be "if possible assassinations should look like an accident" or "don't carry out a mission when children are present".

Anyway, curiosity got the best of me, I admit! So I clicked on "assassin's creed" and... it's a game. Bummer. Who would name a GAME something like that? Apparently, the second version of it is coming out so there are all these posts and forums about the new game. Gah.

That's sort of like searching for information on fairy lore and only finding pages about fairy characters from Dragons and Dungeons type games. I was soooo disappointed.

So I've decided to put together my own ASSASSINS CREED. And I need your help. Put in your suggestions. I'll be drawing one entry at random for a free autographed copy of Carnal Camelot. So make 'em good.

anny

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Doll House

When all your belongings are packed up in a storage facility--including your toys--things can get sticky. This last weekend my granddaughter wistfully mentioned her Barbie dollhouse. The next thing I knew, my daughter had an empty cardboard box and she was requesting a craft knife, heavy duty tape and scissors.

Then there were intermittent requests for other items... glue, fabric remnants, yarn, etc. I remembered a box full of craft items I purchased years ago with the intent to create a Christmas village. We dug those out of the closet, discovering with delight that there were long forgotten items such as miniature candle sticks and tiny clay pots.

With a flare of creativity, Mama and the girls decorated their house with repurposed foam furniture, toilet paper "log seats" out by the fire pit on the patio, and an aluminum foil mirror over the couch. The addition of about five dollars worth of doll house odds and ends from the craft store finished off the house.

Since then, the little one has happily played with her dolls in the doll house. Happy and contented--even proud, because she helped create the doll house.
Overall, it beats her last set of toys--one of my pots and the clothes hamper. Amazing how little it takes to entertain kids, isn't it?

anny

Monday, November 16, 2009

Doctor's Visit

I can with confidence state that I'm not contagious. No flu, no strep, not even a cold. After a visit to my new doctor--mostly to convince my family that I'm not going to kill them all off with my new virus--I can assure them they're all safe.

First the doctor's visit. It was fabulous. We went to the clinic at 5 PM on Saturday night, prepared to wait a long time. Walked right in. Registered. The nurse, a real cute guy named Chris came right out and took me back for the usual weigh, bp, temp, etc. No temp! BP was good, lost four pounds... all good. Then we went into one of the little exam rooms where he swabbed me for strep and flu--not fun at all--and whisked off to check the results.

After a bit, a very pleasant (also attractive) doctor came in. First thing he said? "You can take off the mask. You're not contagious!" After a few more questions and listening to my lungs, etc., he pronounced me over-all healthy. I have a mild sinus infection and the reason for the cough??? Allergies. Something in my apartment doesn't like me.

He ordered an antibiotic and an allergy meds. Prescriptions were ready before I even had a chance to get re-dressed. We paid $10 each for the prescriptions on the way out the door.

Total time from leaving to returning home? One hour. Really pleasant people and a quick visit. I think I'm gonna like my new doctors.

Do I feel better? Maybe a little in that way that you feel better because you know you have a perfectly ordinary cold instead of the H1N1. Still coughing intermittently for no apparent reason. My family is now taking my allergy/asthma difficulties seriously as we slowly work our way room by room to clear out whatever it is that's setting off the coughing attacks.

And today? Today, I'm going to get back to writing! There are tales to tell and stories to write! What about you? What are you doing today?

anny

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Yarnia Tales

Ah, winter. Soon it'll be time to re-visit Yarnia. You know that place with beautiful, colored yarns, some silky, some fuzzy or lumpy or multi-textured. Time to haul out the collection of crochet hooks, knitting needles and afghan patterns.

I'm one of those people who can't resist a ball of yarn. Maybe I'm part cat. But don't let me loose in a yarn store or even the yarn aisle at the local Wal-Mart. There's just something about yarn...

Of course, I'm also an acquisitive person when it comes to other strange oddments like antique and one-of-a-kind crochet hooks. So a store that specializes in both is a double whammy for me. I'm twice as dangerous to my debit card/bank account when I find myself in a store like that. Probably, it's best that there aren't too many of them around here.

I come by my love of yarn and crocheting honestly. One of my earliest memories is watching my mother crochet the edge of a doily. I still have a tiny dress, a wooly shawl, and a baby blanket she crocheted. I also have a picture of me wearing that dress.

Years ago--about thirty years ago--the house hunk had carpal tunnel surgery on both hands. I taught him to crochet so he could keep his fingers moving while he was recovering. Now that was quite a fortuitous thing I did. Since then, he's crocheted numerous bed-sized blankets--at least two for each of our children, grandchildren, parents, and various other objects such as hats, scarves, and shawls.

Yep. If we want to embark on a knitting or crochet project at my house, there's no need to run to the store for yarn. Just look in the closet. There's plenty of skeins in there in just about every color.

Someone suggested I give it all away. But the last time I discussed it with the househunk, he was horrified. He's been infected with the Yarnia bug, too. Instead of giving it away, he hauled a bag of skeins out and started a new project. And it wasn't even winter yet!

anny

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Speaking of frogs...

Have you ever run across a picture that you thought was just perfect? Yep, this is the one. Goodness, it feels like I have that entire frog down my throat.

Day three of the creeping crud. However, that didn't prevent me from adding another 1400 words to my work in process count yesterday. Considering everything, that wasn't bad. It rained all day as Hurricane Ida came to visit. I know a lot of other parts of the south have a lot more rain, but with the rain we also had much cooler temps and I was sure enjoying the warm weather earlier in the week!

Last night I took part in a chat at Talking Two Lips! We had a great time posting excerpts from the Carnal Reunion books and just talking. If you want to check out some of the excerpts just hope on over to TwoLips and scroll down!

Next week we'll all be at Coffeetime. I'll post a link on that day so you can join us if you like! Chatting with the readers and authors is a lot of fun.

Which reminds me... today I'm the featured author interview over at Tina Holland's blog. Just click on the link and then click on the blog when you get there. Hey! Leave me a comment so I know you stopped by! I'll put all the commenters names in a pot for a drawing. Prize--your choice from my current books--including the new one, Prisoner of the Heart!

Today, I hope to finish chapter Eight on my Vampire story. How do you write a book? One word at a time. So I'm practicing BICHOK (butt in chair, hands on keyboard). Hopefully, I'll have this book finished before Christmas. Wouldn't that be cool?

Until tomorrow... blessings on your day!

anny

PS!! This new blog skin doesn't show the links! So scroll over the words in the blog that seem logical links. If the underline shows up--you know you hit the right one!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Allergy Woes

Yep. That's pretty much what I look like today. Have no idea what I have. I think it's mostly allergies, but an allergy flare up can make you pretty miserable.

For some reason, it's always worse at night. Haven't quite figured out why that would be. Now what do most people do at night? That's right! They SLEEP! Not, however, if they are coughing up a lung or two. Sigh. By the time the body settles down so I can sleep, it's time to get up.

So the best thing would be to go to the doctor, right? Except for the second time in a year, my doctor has moved on. In her new practice she's no longer on our insurance. The doctors left in the old practice are not on our insurance. So... we have to pick a new doctor who is on our insurance. We've been informed that this will take anywhere from two to four weeks. Good thing I'm not deathly ill at this point.

It used to be that you could go to an emergency room/clinic if you had a dire need for a doctor in between shifting to a new primary care physician. I don't know. Maybe you can. But our insurance doesn't pay for that kind of visit at the emergency room. And frankly, after seeing the ER when my granddaughter was there...I'd have to be pretty darn sick to go that route. Not to mention--if I don't already have the Swine Flu, that would be a great place to contract it.

I share my general miserableness with you, because that's what friends are for, after all. Then if I get snippy or something out of character, y'all will know it's just because my eyes are watering, my nose is running and I can't breathe. Anyone would understand, right? Right?

In case you would like to spend more time with me, I'll be at a chat tonight at TwoLips. (9:00-11:00 EST!) Drop by and visit with us. We'll be sharing excerpts from our new anthology, Carnal Reunions.

Until then... blessings on your day.

Anny

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Prisoner of the Heart!

Today my first book from Resplendence Publishing will be released! It's part of a seven story anthology title Carnal Reunions.

Prisoner of the Heart

When Rebecca Iversen graduated from college, she headed home with nothing on her mind but wedding plans. Less than a month later her plans were in ruins when she discovered she was pregnant the same week her fiance was arrested for selling drugs. Anxious to provide legitimacy for her child, she married Tom while he was still in jail. Years later, Becky finally divorced him, resolved to make a peaceful life for her children and herself.
When the reunion invitation from Karen arrived in her e-mail, her Aunt Mary urged her to take the time to enjoy a little adult time at the reunion.
Young Joe Harris lived across the street from the old Victorian where Becky lived during college. He spent those years secretly yearning for the “older woman”. Now that Becky is back and single, Joe plans to do everything in his power to convince her that he’s exactly the man she needs.

I haz a bug...

Be back tomorrow!

Don't forget to check out my new release, Prisoner of the Heart, at Resplendence Publishing!

anny

Monday, November 9, 2009

Waffling on

I suppose you might wonder what the picture has to do with my blog post. Absolutely nothing. I sat in front of the computer mulling over the possibilities for a blog topic and couldn't think of a single thing to say. I suppose you could say I felt just like that cat--all bundled up.

On January 6, 2007 I wrote my first blog. Truthfully, I never imagined I would still be blogging nearly three years later. It was a new venture with all sorts of possibilities waiting in the wings. I sat last night reading through some of those old blogs.

There are posts about things that happened in my childhood. And posts about everyday things that happened over the last three years. There are pictures, quotes, and excerpts from my books. Looking back, I'm amazed that I found so much to say.

This month I turn sixty. For those younger than me, sixty is just a word. They have years to live and things to do before they reach sixty. For those who are older than me, sixty is a milestone they've already reached. They look back on sixty and marvel at their younger selves as they reflect on the things that have changed since then.

Recently I watched Castaway, the movie with Tom Hanks. In the movie he spends four years as a castaway and when he returns to his life, things have changed. There are so many things for him to adjust to, both the big and the small.

When I look back on my life, I have a hard time comprehending the way the world has changed in that time. I find it difficult to talk to some friends that are just twenty years younger because the events that happened during the twenty year span that separates us are not real to them. That's ancient history.

I'll never forget the puzzled expression on my daughter's face when she was about five. She looked at me with wrinkled brow and asked, "Mommy, how many covered wagons did it take when you moved?"

For her, I was so old I could very well have assured her that dinosaurs pulled those many covered wagons. She wouldn't have known the difference. I suspect that time perception is something we get better at as we age, though I have a sneaking suspicion that few of the younger generation in school now will really have a frame of reference for the past.

Someone in my family is descended from Charlemagne and Alfred the Great. When I revealed this exciting information, they looked at me with a blank stare and asked, "Are they famous?" Somewhat stymied, I replied, "Well, yes." "Like Madonna?" "Um, no. Not like Madonna."

As I sit here, I wonder who our children will find to compare our current politicians and rulers with for their children. Will they know who George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are? Will they care?

Or like so much else in life will the past be a jumbled puzzle of names and faces that meant something at one time but no longer hold our respect or attention. Maybe in the future sports figures and actors will truly be our new gods.

It will be interesting to see what the next few years bring.

anny

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy Weekend

There are days that I feel like Rip Van Winkle. Certain things have passed me by and I wonder exactly where I was when they took place. Was I sleeping? Or am I that oblivious to the world around me?

Of course, there is a limit to how much information we can input from the world we live in. The constant barrage of facts and figures tosses us into inevitable overload once in a while.

But more and more, I feel like that overload is drowning me. Maybe I turn off the world in self-defense. Maybe I've developed selective hearing because it's simply impossible to devote the same amount of attention to everything.

The weekend is generally my downtime. I don't plan to write unless I end up with a quiet time fortuitously. Usually, I read. Maybe I play a computer game. Maybe I go shopping. Writing is the last item on the list.

I lost a couple writing days this week so I might not follow my usual schedule. We'll have to see.

What do you do when you realize you're missing out on the world around you? How do you catch up?

anny

PS: Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday

Friday--the end of a long week.

It was a particularly sad week for many soldiers and their families at Ft. Hood. It's impossible to ignore such a tragedy. Information trickles in and yet knowing what happened doesn't lessen the shock or the grief.

How could this happen? No person walks into a public arena and starts shooting until they have reached the end of their rope. Apparently, they are skilled at hiding their despair. So skilled those around them don't see their despair.

Of course, it adds insult to the injury when such carnage is carried out in a place one believes to be safe. Increasingly, shootings are carried out in churches, schools, hospitals and colleges. So the question is do those places have more people with problems? Or do people with problems seek out those specific places to make a final statement?

Whatever the truth, let us keep all of them in our prayers. That's always an appropriate way to end the week.

anny

Abraham Maslow - "If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sometimes I sits...

Yesterday was one of those days when you would be better off if you just stayed in bed. I didn't do that so I spent a considerable time sitting. On rising at my customary eight..mumble, mumble... and then tossing my morning meds down, I went into my office to peruse my e-mail, etc. while drinking my coffee.

Right then my morning went downhill. Sometime in the wee hours my monitor died. It was beyond resuscitating. So I hauled out my elderly laptop and set it up.

The problem is A) my current works of progress are not on my laptop. The currents files are NOW on a flash drive. B) I'm nearly blind. The transfer from a twenty inch monitor to a twelve inch laptop was not very successful. C) My chubby fingers do not fit well on a laptop keyboard--especially when they're used to a roomy ergonomic keyboard.

So after I answered some e-mails, peered at a few blogs, and played a couple games... I decided to check out a few monitors on the internet. That was fun. I pretended I had money and shopped accordingly. After that, I settled down to the serious job of locating a reasonably priced monitor. I finally settled on a twenty-three inch beauty from BestBuy.

The house hunk called to make sure they had it in stock in the store and when he came home from work, we ALL went to the store--my son-in-law, the grandkids, and us. I looked at a few of the other monitors, the kids played Guitar Hero, I picked up a game I'd been searching for, and we made our way to the checkout counters.

There the house hunk paid up so I now have my birthday--and my Christmas present. On the other hand, I definitely received something I wanted.

I'm still getting used to the monitor. It's somewhat similar to the feeling you get when you put on a brand new pair of glasses. Stuff keeps leaping out at me from the screen. It's also much, much brighter so I feel like I need my sunglasses.

I didn't accomplish much yesterday except some thinking. Mostly, I just sat.

anny

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

They will find you...

Promotion. I'm convinced the key to promotion is simply to not care whether anyone buys your books or not. In the weird way that these things work, I suspect the harder you are to find, the more people will seek you out.

It works that way in everyday life.

If I go sit in the living room, available for all and sundry to talk to me, no one will be around. The kids will find something to keep them busy. My daughter will take a bath. The son-in-law will play a game with the house hunk.

However, if I pick up a book and retire to my office, it's an iron clad guarantee that every single one of them will need to speak to me. That is the way life works.

Why should it not work in the world of selling books? So based on the basic premise, I should retire to my office and write books. Write, write, write and let the readers find me based on my writing instead of my promo. If I'm reclusive enough, people will seek me out.

My new motto? "Run and hide."

anny

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Prisoner of the Heart



Only one more week until Prisoner of the Heart is released as part of the Carnal Reunions anthology from Resplendence Publishing!

When Rebecca Iversen graduated from college, she headed home with nothing on her mind but wedding plans. Less than a month later her plans were in ruins when she discovered she was pregnant the same week her fiance was arrested for selling drugs. Anxious to provide legitimacy for her child, she married Tom while he was still in jail. Years later, Becky finally divorced him, resolved to make a peaceful life for her children and herself.

When the reunion invitation from Karen arrived in her e-mail, her Aunt Mary urged her to take the time to enjoy a little adult time at the reunion.

Young Joe Harris lived across the street from the old Victorian where Becky lived during college. He spent those years secretly yearning for the “older woman”. Now that Becky is back and single, Joe plans to do everything in his power to convince her that he’s exactly the man she needs.

If you would like to win a free copy of one of the anthology stories, check out the details at Resplendence Blogspot! Hop right over there for your chance to win!

anny

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wild Weekend...

What do we do on a weekend when all of the rest of the family has left town? Why, we go to a party, of course!

The house hunk and I traveled down to Afton Locke's home for a Halloween get together with some of her friends. Her hunk and mine repaired to the man dungeon and talked electronic stuff while the ladies hung out upstairs and visited.

Afton lives on top of a mountain! Wow, way, way up there! She has an absolutely beautiful doggie. Speaking of doggies, we had to leave early so we could get home in time to walk ours. But we had a lovely time and the food was delicious!

What did you do this weekend?

anny

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Trick or Treat?

Back when I was a kid--and when my children were trick or treating, there were a few conscientious souls who tried to provide "healthy" treats. On the whole, they were not appreciated by the kids. In reality, Halloween, Easter and Christmas were the three times of year candy and sweets were allowed. Generally, the rest of the year was all about good nutrition.

I suspect that's one of the reasons childhood obesity was much rarer back then. The other reason was...exercise. The kids went outside in the morning and played until dark. Again, TV was a limited treat. And of course, who knew about video games? Games? A game was baseball, kickball, tetherball, and occasionally football or soccer. In the deep of winter we might play Monopoly or Sorry.

When my children were teenagers, little trick or treaters started using pillowcases as their treat bags. I don't fool myself that it was the kid's idea. That had greedy parents written all over it.

Now--in my area at least--trick or treating is pretty much a thing of the past. If two or three kids show up at our door, that's a lot. This year? Zip. Not one kid. Parents are finding other things to do with their kids.

The dress-up costume is still popular, but now the kids wear them to the mall where the stores pitch small promo items in the kids bag. It addresses all possible needs. The stores get inexpensive promotion. The kids find small gimmicky toys in their bags instead of candy. And everyone is safe because they're not out walking up to strangers' doors begging for a treat.

As a matter of fact, most parents I know toss the entire bag of candy in the trash, rather than risk a weirdo poisoning their kids. And once that's taken care of, they provide their own "treats".

I guess we've come full circle. And the day's not far off when the kids will indeed get something like a toothbrush for trick or treat.

anny

BTW...been thinking about buying my book? get it today and receive 10 chances to win a book a month for 2010 from Romance in the Backseat. Go to my webpage, scroll to the bottom of the first page and click on the icon. Increase the odds by emailing proof of purchase to RITBSDoni@gmail.com Last day to Enter!