Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Get onto the train..."

“…I’m going to drive you all off a cliff!”

Relax! I’m only kidding—well, I’m half-kidding. I just finished One Grand Season, the second book in a series I’m writing. I am so glad to be done with the book!

Honestly, by the time I get to the last two chapters I feel like ushering every character (including the parrot!) onto a train so I can send them careening around corners, swooping past rockslides and finally out into the wild blue yonder, the wheels leaving the track in one smooth whoosh!, taking each and every one of those annoying characters on a ride they’ll never forget.

Once I write the last page I generally like my characters again (okay; maybe I don’t like them right away but after a bowl or two of ice cream they’re usually allowed to leave the train intact) but just leading up to the end I’m sick to death of them. I suspect they share my sentiments, so I make a rule never to board a train while working toward the last chapter. Hey, you never know what might happen!

I’m off to whip up an ice cream sundae—with all the trimmings! Then, I’ll take a day or two before I begin writing the third book in the series. I’m on a roll, and with no cliff in sight the characters should be safe for a few weeks at least.

Hope you’re enjoying January!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Resolution Report

Ah, the revolving resolution scheme. It’s January, and that means I’m foregoing cookies. Now, cookies don’t seem to be a big deal, and in the Grand Scheme of Things they aren’t but I will say that in my ordinary, ho-hum life cookies are a Big Deal.

My mother raised me with the cookie-for-each-hand motto, and I’ll admit I’ve faithfully adhered to her way of thinking. It’s a credo that’s served me well, one I never thought to relinquish but…

Dare I say it? Aloud? Here and now, in the presence of witnesses?

Oh, I hope I don’t regret this—

I’m getting used to not eating cookies every day. There, I’ve said it. Miraculously, the sky didn’t fall and the earth didn’t shake. Who knew I could say such a thing and not suffer dire consequences?

Live and learn…

Oh, right. The cookie resolution. I’ll admit, at first it was tough not eating cookies. I’m nearly (but not quite, mind you!) embarrassed to say this but I even dreamed about cookies the first week of the month. That’s right; I dreamed I was in a bakery, facing a wall of the most incredible cookies which were—inconveniently!—behind glass. What do you think Freud would say about that honey of a nightmare?

Anyhow, the cookie dreams have stopped. My jeans are looser in the posterior region. I’m satisfied that I’ve made a healthy change. All good, right?

So, I’d say this resolution-a-month plan is working. So far.

Now, if I could only think of something for February I’d be set. Any suggestions?

And how are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? All good, I hope. If you’ve slipped, remember there’s always the first of February, which seems like as good a day as any to jump back onto the resolution wagon.

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thinking Back

January is definitely a point in the year when I focus on what lies ahead, but at the same time I can’t help but remember the year we’ve just closed out. What a year it was!

Yes, I’ve been somewhat reflective these past few days, remembering all we were going through—and all we’d yet to encounter—this time last year. This week in ’09, Hubby had recently been released from the hospital. I was totally relieved to have him home, even though I knew he would be readmitted for surgery in February. It’s hard to believe we sailed through that, and so much more.

I’ll admit, my knees get a bit wobbly when I recall the whirlwind year, so I don’t spend much time doing so. For some reason, though, I can’t help but think about it—maybe now that it’s January I’m finally allowing myself to consider the scares of the past. A bit of distance—that might be what I’ve needed to reflect on it all.

I am so grateful we survived 2009! I’m just as thankful for the kindness, support and love of family and friends that we’ve been showered with this past year. Everything would have been so much more difficult had it not been for the amazing people who surrounded us when we most needed to be enfolded. They are still supporting us, and we will be forever grateful. Sometimes life takes a sharp turn when it’s least expected, but it’s a blessing that there are those who run toward the chaos instead of from it.

All right, I’m done reflecting. For now, at least.

Hmm…I wonder if cookie deprivation could have any effect on a person’s capacity for reminiscence indulgences? You never know…

What about you? Is January turning your gaze forward? Backward? Sideways—no, just kidding about that one! Or are you like me, looking in both directions at once?

Any forward, backward or even sideways thoughts you’d care to share on this wintry morning? Hmm?

Monday, January 25, 2010


I can’t say anything about anyone else’s mother, so maybe I should have titled this post “Mother” instead of “Mothers” but it’s too late now to change it so we’ll just have to move along. Anyhow, this morning I’m thinking of one very special lady. She’s my mother, and today’s her birthday.

Now, we all (hopefully!) love our mothers. Me? I think I’ve got the best mother in the world. Why? Oh, there are so many reasons it would take forever to list them all. Let’s just say I think she’s the best and leave it at that.

While I love it that she’s having a birthday, it also gives me a slight case of the collywobbles. How so? Because while it’d be a dream come true to have my mother be one of those wrinkled faces on the side of one of Willard Scott’s Smucker’s jars, most of us don’t make the 100-year mark. As much as we’d love to, and as much as we might deserve to do so, we just don’t get there. A sad, but true, fact.

So, as my fabulous mother marks another year with what we hope will be a spectacular birthday, I am reminded that life is short and those we most love won’t be with us forever. For my part, I’m going to hug my mother tight, tell her I love her and make sure all the candles on this year’s birthday cake shine brightly for her. I’m going to thank her for being my mother, and remind her I’m thrilled to be her daughter. And I’m going to say a silent prayer to the Big Guy above, and ask that He give us many more years and lots more birthday candles.

What about you? When was the last time you hugged your mom? And if your mom’s not available for hugging, have you considered telling someone else that they’re important to you and that you hope they have a wonderful day?

You know, you’re not doing anything now besides reading this blog post which, I promise you, is less important than whomever you’re thinking of this very minute. Why not pick up the phone and call someone you love? What have you got to lose? And could there be a better way to spend the next few minutes than sharing them with someone important? Hmm?

Happy birthday, Mom! You're the best!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Slow and Easy...

That’s how the last few days went. No muss, no fuss…just Hubby and I kicking back before the roaring fire, sipping tea and hot chocolate (minus the cookies! Ahh!) and whiling away the hours in quiet companionship.

Don’t you just love days like that?

We had no place to go. Nothing that needed immediate attention. There wasn’t even a sock to wash or a meal to plan, thanks to some strategic planning last week.

So…relaxation here. What about you? How did your week unfold?

Whatever you did, I hope it was pleasant. And I wish you a fabulous weekend!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hideaway in the Hills

Don't you wish you could own a place like this? I sure do!
We don't own it but plan on taking a mini-vacation here in the next few months. Surrounded by hills, trees and hiking trails, this is the perfect spot to just relax and pretend all of life's annoyances just don't exist.
Looks like a good place to write, don't you think?
Hope you have a great Monday!

Friday, January 15, 2010


Wintertime in the northeast can be pretty chilly. We eat a lot of homemade soup around here. Often I pull together a loaf of bread and toss it into the oven to bake while the soup simmers. It’s a fast, hearty, tummy-friendly meal that doesn’t take a great deal of thought or endless preparation. I mean, we all have lots to do these days, so standing over the stove is fine for some nights but not-so-great for others, right?

Last night we had black bean soup—with a loaf of no-knead, fast-rising bread. It hit the spot here, so I figured it might be a crowd-pleaser at your house, too. Hope you enjoy it!

Black Bean Soup

1 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
splash olive oil
3 cups cooked black beans
1 chopped tomato
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. red pepper flakes
½ cup chopped green chilies
1 T. lemon juice
salt and pepper

Heat oil, then sauté garlic and onion until tender. Add remaining ingredients, turn the heat to low and simmer for a bit. There’s nothing fancy about this recipe, and it doesn’t take a lot of skill. Just toss everything in the pot, let it bubble away for a while—and that’s it! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Release News!

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from my editor at Avalon Books. It's official. The Christmas Bargain releases in October 2010!

I had a hard time not screaming in her ear.

So, good news in a crazy week. We can all use some of that now and again, don't you think? Ah, I meant the good news, not the crazy week...but you probably already figured that out.

I've got to dash. Tell me, have you gotten any good news lately? I sure hope you have. Me? I'm still grinning from ear to ear!

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


My darling husband knows me well. Too well, sometimes, but that’s another story! Anyhow, one of my Christmas gifts was Stephen King’s new book, Under the Dome. I was thrilled, as Hubby knew I would be!

From the first page, I’ve been hooked. I could easily—and happily!—inhale the huge volume but I’m making myself take it slowly. I’m savoring the story, enjoying each layer of intrigue and becoming more fully invested in the lives of the folks trapped beneath the dome in western Maine with each turn of the page. I have laughed aloud, swallowed tears and kept screams at bay—barely!—by holding my hand over my lips. No one tells a story like Stephen King, and I must admit I love every minute of every wild journey he takes readers on.

I’m going to hate to see Under the Dome end, but that’s no surprise. I’ve felt that way about every one of Mr. King’s books I’ve read, and I’ve read them all at least once.

What about you? What are you reading? And will you be happy to see the end of the book or will you wish, as I know I will, that it could just go on and on?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Missing Piglet

Monday, January 11, 2010

Good Thoughts, Please

I hope this Monday is a happy and healthy one for you and yours. We will be busy embarking on what we pray will be an exceptional adventure. Any good thoughts or kind prayers sent our way will be greatly appreciated! Thank you, and have a great day!

Friday, January 08, 2010


Last year Marianne gathered a group of writing friends together to embark on JaNoWriMo. It is a January version of National Novel Writing Month, an event that takes place each November. I always participate in NaNo so I loved the idea of doing it again in January!

Of course, I gladly participated in Marianne’s January adventure last year. It is a bit fuzzy in my mind, the whole beginning-of-year period and since it brings back some vivid images I’m going to let the time slip into the wispiness of memory.

This year I’m playing along again, and having a blast. Thanks, Marianne!

In November, during NaNo, I wrote a Regency romance called In Name Only. It mostly takes place at Willowbrook Manor, so I called it the first Willowbrook Manor Romance. Now I’m working on the second book in the WM romance series, One Grand Season. I am enjoying the opportunity to return to the place and most of the characters from the first story. I feel like I’m visiting with old friends! Just for fun, I’ve introduced new faces to the group, and the plot is unfolding just as I’d hoped it would.

What a wonderful way to begin the new year! I have plans to write more Willowbrook Manor romances—how could I not when I’ve fallen in love with the charming old manor and its unusual inhabitants?

All I can say is that I hope Marianne makes JaNoWriMo an annual event. In fact, I could go for FebNoWriMo. Then, MarNoWriMo. And, actually ApNoWriMo sounds like a good thing…

Yoo hoo? Marianne…?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


One of my personal New Year’s promises involves needles and string. Well, not string, precisely…it just feels like string since I’ve got the present length miserably tangled. Yarn—it’s yarn but I assure you it feels like a hank of boat rope as I try to mimic the motions in the knitting books Santa left beneath our tree. You see, I’ve always wanted to knit socks. I know, it sounds deceptively simple but I assure you it’s harder than it looks. Either that, or I’m hopelessly inept at sock-building.

I know the rudimentary stitches, and can whip up a respectable scarf in no time flat. But socks? That’s a whole other story!

A sad, tangled, frustrating story.

One of my Christmas gifts was the basic sock stuff: books, needles and yarn. Unfortunately the yarn isn’t “sock yarn”—which, if I may add, the book says I can get at my local “yarn shop”—so it’s fine for practicing stitches but it won’t work for making actual socks. And the “yarn shop” the book refers to so blithely? Ridiculous! We live in the middle of nowhere—I could search high and low and would be more likely to find an Agway or Quick Mart before stumbling upon a yarn shop.


So here I am, knitting needles in hand and determination stiffening my spine as I ponder the best way to purchase sock yarn on line. I’d love to be able to feel the yarn, but since that’s not an option I suppose I’ll just have to wing it and take my chances. I may either have the softest or bulkiest socks this side of the Mississippi, but one way or another I’m going to have handmade knit socks.

I should hold book on how many toes and heels these socks are going to have. You know they’re going to be pretty funky, don’t you? I mean, it took me…well, I won’t say exactly how long it took me to learn to knit a rectangular scarf. Let’s just say the first try didn’t turn out perfectly. Or the second…or the…well, you get the idea.

Do you knit? Any sock-making hints you’d care to share?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Good News!

I am pleased to announce that my Regency romance The Christmas Bargain has been sold to Avalon Books! It will release later this year and I couldn’t be happier about it!

I have long been an avid reader of Avalon romances. I love the way their character-driven stories are wholesome enough for teens as well as grannies. It thrills me to know that my book will take its place beside others I’ve read and enjoyed. I’m completely jazzed to know that The Christmas Bargain will hit not only bookstore shelves but library shelves, as well. I don’t recall one day of my life when I didn’t love the library, so knowing my book will end up in libraries makes my heart sing.

So, good news to begin the new year!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2010!

Don’t you just love New Year’s Day? So much optimism. So many high hopes. A wealth of promise, and a face toward the future.

It’s all good, isn’t it?

I hope you had a wonderful New Year’s Eve, and that 2010 brings you and yours only the best of everything.