Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Quickie

Just a quick check in today, friends. We're heading out to spend another fun day with my dad. First stop? Breakfast. Oh, I love having breakfast out! It's so nice to have someone else make the pancakes for a change!

I hope you're all doing well. I know I've been seriously AWOL lately, and horribly negligent about answering emails and visiting blogs but I've spent hardly any time at the desk. I know you understand, I just know you do. I'll admit it...I've been spending every possible moment with my dad. And loving all of them, too. So please forgive me for neglecting everything, and everyone, for now.

Next week my dad will be home and I'll be miserable, so it'll probably take a few days for me to find my feet. Then you'll be stuck with me again!

Wanted to share a fast thought about a book I finished reading last night. I'm not a big NASCAR fan (all right, I'm totally clueless about car racing) but I read--and enjoyed--Barbara Dunlop's Overheated. I picked it up because I liked the cover and was really very pleasantly surprised by the wonderful story. Great characters, with lots of action and snappy dialogue...all good. I may pick up another of Harlequin's NASCAR books the next time I'm in town.

Wait...there's a bookstore just down the road from the restaurant. Hmm...pancakes, Dad and books. Yeah, it's going to be another great day!

Hope you have a fabulous holiday weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What'll It Be?

Ice cream. For some, it's obviously something to be taken seriously. Very seriously. For others?Not so much.

Lunch had filled them all to bursting but the trio couldn't--wouldn't and didn't--resist the tempation of a last cone before the local lunch stand closed for the winter.

Yes, in some parts of the country winter officially begins on September 1st. *G*

The problem--or maybe it wasn't as much of a problem as a situation--was that with only four days before closing for seven months, the pickings behind the counter were slim. Very slim. The soft-serve vanilla had run out about an hour earlier. Already the natives were voicing their displeasure.

Our intrepid trio? All for trying something new.

The shop owner took their orders. "The soft vanilla is out but I've got all the flavors on the board, soft chocolate and hard-serve sugar-free vanilla. Anything sound good?"

"What'll you have, Dad?" She eyed her father, holding her breath. Would he go for the sugar-free stuff? Or would he deem it "too diet-y"?

"I'll have the sugar-free. How bad can it be?" He said with a shrug. Accepting his cone, he took a bite and smiled. Apparently it wasn't bad at all.

"I'll try the vanilla panda paws, but in a waffle cone," Hubby said.

"A waffle cone?" She raised an eyebrow. "You never have a waffle cone."

He shrugged, then smiled. "Sometimes you've got to try new things."

Try new things? That line wasn't getting a comment.

When her turn came, the wife said, "Soft chocolate, please. In a regular cone."

The trio went back to their table in the corner. Then, they watched the show.

People came in groups. Some came singly. But they came, and everytime the owner repeated her spiel.

"The soft vanilla is out but I've got all the flavors on the board, soft chocolate and hard-serve sugar-free vanilla. Anything sound good?"

A lady who looked smarter than she sounded. "What about the twist? You know, the soft vanilla mixed with the chocolate? You got that?"

Good grief.

A little boy, his eyes showing his horror. "Does that mean you don't have any white ice cream?" After an explanation about hard white ice cream as opposed to soft white ice cream, as well as a reading of the offerings on the board, he asked, "So does that mean you don't have any soft white ice cream?"

Ah, so that explains why patience is a virtue!

A man, wearing dirty jeans and a faded blue workshirt. After scrutinizing the board, he asked, "You got any of that stuff--that pineapple orange stuff--you had last year? Got any of that left?"

"I might, in the back. I'll get it for you, if you don't mind last year's leftovers."

"Don't mind, not if you still have some of that. I've been thinking about it all summer, wondering if you still had some." When he got his bright-orange ice cream he smiled, looking less like a construction worker and more like a little boy.

One person's leftover is another's gourmet, it seems.

Two senior citizens, who may or may not have been married. "I'll have strawberry," he said. She looked at him as if he'd decided to tear off his trousers and do a Chippendale's routine.

"You can't have strawberry," she said, waving her cane dangerously near his left foot.

"Why in the hell not?" He leaned close, less fearful of the cane than those who watched.

She shot him a know-it-all, tight-lipped smile. "Because you don't like strawberry, remember?"

Waving a hand in his companion's direction, he turned to the woman behind the counter whose pen was still poised above the order pad and said, "I'll take a strawberry cone."

"You sure?"

"I'm sure," he said, nodding. "I like strawberry just fine. Her?" He pointed over his shoulder. The woman had made her way over to a nearby table and was busy placing paper napkins at every place--all six of them. "She doesn't like strawberry. Me, I like it just fine. Oh, she'll have the soft-serve chocolate. In a cup, not a cone. And could you put a cherry on top, please? She loves those--sometimes I think she only eats ice cream for the cherry."

In a flash their ice cream had been paid for and served. The elderly man made his way to the table, where there were now not only napkins but plastic forks at every seat. He put the woman's cup down, took a lick of his strawberry ice cream and handed her a plastic spoon. She took the spoon, poked at the cherry and asked, "What's that? A strawberry?"

The man sat in the chair closest to hers. He smiled, then shook his head. "No, it's a cherry. Remember? You love those."

She looked at him as if he'd lost his mind. "I do?"

"You do."

With a shrug, she scooped the cherry from the top of her ice cream and popped it into her mouth. When she had swallowed, she grinned and said, "Not bad. Not bad at all. I guess sometimes you've got to try something new, don't you?"

The trio ate the last bites of their cones. Ice cream had never tasted so good.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Weekend Update

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Here at Casa Leone our days have been filled with love and laughter. In case you've forgotten, my dad is visiting from Florida. We love having him here and honestly I'd keep him if I could. Just send the plane off without him. Alas, that's not possible so we enjoy him to the fullest while we've got him here on the farm.

So what have we been up to, you ask? Nothing spectacular. Everything spectacular. Can you understand what I'm trying to say? Even the littlest things can become extraordinary when they're done with your favorite folks.

We've picked veggies. And berries. Made pineapple sorbet. (Heavenly, by the way! And oh-so simple to make!) Watched the Olympic closing ceremonies. Yesterday my mom and step-dad came over and spent the day with us. We had a huge Sunday dinner, talked and laughed. Laughed some more.

And we played pinochle. We play so much pinochle in our house that cards get worn out and replaced with great frequency. Yesterday we opened a new deck; it's already showing signs of wear! If you'd like to know more about pinochle, I found this site. It explains the game pretty thoroughly.

So there you have it, a weekend in our home. Like I said, nothing newsworthy but all good.

I hope your weekend made your heart smile. And I hope you've got a great week coming up.

Me, Here and There

Wanted to let everyone know I'm in the Author Spotlight over at The Long and the Short of It this week. I hope you'll check it out...and remember, the spotlight news changes every day, so check back daily, please. Monday's post is here.

A couple of people have been kind enough to email me about last week's interview with Cora Applebaum at Orchard Hill Highlights. I agree with all of you; Cora is a pip and I loved being there. If you missed the interview you can still see it here.

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Time Freeze

Have you ever felt like you'd like to freeze time? Just capture the moment, hold it close and make it last forever? If so, you're familiar with how I feel right now.

I'd like to freeze time. Stop these glorious, warm, happy days and never let them go. Why?

My dad is visiting and we're having a wonderful time with him. Too much...just too much of everything. Love, laughter, fun, good times.

Hubby is feeling well. Looking stronger than he has all summer long. That, my friends, is something that cannot hold a price tag. It is much too precious. What I'd give to freeze his healthier days.

Have managed to begin a new book, something I hadn't expected to do while Dad is here. But the writing is coming easily, the story growing smoothly. I'm thrilled. (Getting caught up on the blasted synopsis, but that's another story. And no, I don't want to freeze my angst over synopsis writing, so let's just forget about that bit for now. )

But me, overall? Enjoying every bit of it. Loving the fun, the laughter, the love. Yeah, these are the days to freeze.

I hope you're enjoying these August days as much as we are. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Just in case you're interested...

Memory-making Cookies

1 cup softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed almonds
1/2 cup crushed walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter cookie sheets.

Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla.

Separately, combine the dry ingredients. Then, stir into the creamed mixture.

Add chips and nuts and mix well.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Do you remember?

August in Upstate New York doesn't necessarily guarantee warmth but the post-dinner kitchen felt cozy. The air held the scent of garlic, roasted veggies and a mouth-watering mix of other, subtler, scents.

From upstairs they heard the sound of water running. Then, singing from the shower.

He surveyed the mixing bowl and assorted measuring cups and spoons. "I haven't had these in a long time."

"I'll bet, Dad."

"You used to make them all the time. Do you remember?"

"I did. And I do." She smiled, adding a generous measure of vanilla to the bowl. "Isn't there a bakery down there by you?"

"Nope." He shook his head. "Not a good one, anyway. One of the things I left behind in New York. We used to go to the bakery down the street from the house all the time. Do you remember?"

She stirred, bringing the ingredients together quickly. With a nod, she said, "We did. And I do. They had the best--"

"Cheesecakes. Remember?"

The years melted away. In their minds they were younger...much younger. With practiced ease, she dropped batter onto pans and slid the pans in the warm oven. Then she dumped the mixing bowl, cups and spoons into the sink and ran hot water over everything.

"I do," she said. "They were good, weren't they?"

"Real good."

The last bowl nestled into the cupboard just as the oven timer pinged. They leaned over the baking sheet. Watched as the cookies lined up neatly on the wire cooling rack.

Without asking, she poured two glasses of milk, brought them to the table and sat beside him. They looked at each other and grinned.

"Be careful," she warned as he took a cookie. "They're hot. Don't burn yourself."

The words were familiar ones. She'd heard them from him time and again when she was an eager child--one prone to having burnt fingers.

For a few minutes they chewed in silence. The cookies disappeared, eaten not by a senior citizen and his middle-aged daughter but by a young father and his little girl.

Their empty glasses hit the table at almost the same instant. With satisfied sighs, they sat back and smiled.

He spoke first. "We used to do that a lot. Do you remember?"

Her heart swelled. If he only knew how much she remembered. "We did, Dad. And I do. I remember."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cozy with Cora!

Good news!

The always delightful Cora Applebaum has posted our chat at Orchard Hill Highlights. I am a big Orchard Hill fan so cozying up and chatting with Cora is definitely a high point for me.

Thanks Cora!

I hope you'll take a peek. :)

In any language

Do you have a secret love? Something that you pursue in private, an interest that makes the hours fly by and fills your heart with pleasure? Do you?

Oh! No, that’s not what I meant. Although if you do have a secret love of that sort that brings you joy, I’m happy for you. But really, I was thinking more of a hobby than an actual person.

I love languages. Always have. I’m intrigued by the way different cultures communicate. I’d love to be able to speak every language on the globe. I mean, who wouldn’t? It would make talking to anyone—and everyone!—as easy as…well, as easy as opening one’s mouth and heart. Bliss, sheer bliss.

Since I know it’s impossible to learn every language in the world I make due with knowing just a few. I speak Italian and Spanish, as well as—obviously—English. There are a couple other languages that I’m passably capable of speaking. I’d love nothing more than to see my books translated into other languages. It would be a dream come true. Who knows? Maybe someday.

So, what about you? Do you have a passion you’d like to share? Some hobby that interests you, some passion you pursue whenever you get a spare moment or two?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

This and that

I hope you've been well, and have had a great week.

Oh! What about the Olympics? Have they been incredible, or what? I'm loving watching them, and am completely overwhelmed by the athletes. So many people with extraordinary talent and determination. Wow.

My dad's visiting with us so I've pretty much put everything else (joyfully and willingly!) aside to spend as much time with him as I can. My husband and I look forward to this visit all year long. The truth is, I miss my dad when he's not here, more than words can say. He's a great guy.

So, we've been laughing a lot here. Eating a lot. Just enjoying life. All's good in our house, and I hope it's the same in yours.

On Monday I'll be interviewed by Cora Applebaum at Orchard Hill Highlights. I'm very excited about the interview--anyone who knows Cora knows it's going to be fun. She's a real character and I'm looking forward to chatting with her.

By the way, Kara Lynn Russell's new installment in the Orchard Hill Romance series, Accepting Charity, releases next Wednesday from The Wild Rose Press. I've read most of the other stories in the series and they were wonderfully entertaining, so I'm looking forward to reading this one, too. I know it's going to be the perfect end-of-summer read.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend. Me? I'll be here, poking around the farm with my two favorite men. Life doesn't get much better than this!

Take care. :)

Friday, August 15, 2008


I don't read as much during the summer as I do during the snowy, cold winter months. That's not to say I don't still read a lot. I do. A lot. But just not as much, you know?

What about you? A summer reader? Winter reader? Just all-around, have-to-read-or-I'll-perish kind of reader? Hmm?

Last week we had some friends over for dinner. That's such a weird expression, isn't it? Over for dinner. Hmmph. The expression kind of bugs me, so let's just say Penny and Jim weren't the dinner; they shared dinner with us. Okay?

Anyhow, Penny asked what I've been reading. I told her about a book I consider one of the best books I"ve read in a long, long time. It's called The Gargoyle and is Andrew Davidson's debut novel. The New York Times gives the scoop on the book here, if you're interested in checking it out.

I loved it for so many reasons but mostly because it's a story of redemption. I like those. And while it's sometimes horribly vivid, it's brutally honest. Again, I like that. Also in its favor, it's almost flawless in its delivery. And that? I like that very, very much. But mostly, I was enthralled by this story because I cared about the characters. I wanted this almost-dead, suffering man to live, to laugh and love anew. And the woman who comes to his rescue, just when he needs rescuing the That's all I can say about Marianne. Just wow. It's not often a character leaves me speechless, but this one did.

So, what have you been reading? Please share.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Going for the Gold

He shook his head. "How did it happen?"

"Who knows? It seems like..."

"...Just yesterday. Doesn't it? It feels like we just..."

Nodding, she said softly, "Met."

They sat in silence and watched the morning sky grow lighter. Birdsong and the chatter of branch-to-branch squirrel gossip filled the air. Shifting his coffee mug from one hand to the other, he reached over and took her free hand in his. Threading his fingers through hers and giving a gentle squeeze, he said, "It's been beautiful, hasn't it?"

Her throat was tight. "It sure has been."

With a philosophical shrug, he said, "Oh, sure, we've had our tough times. Not many, but enough."

"Enough to make us appreciate the good ones."

"Mmm hmm. That's right. Every marriage has 'em, I think." He turned, meeting and holding her gaze. "Don't you? Think that every marriage has tough times?"

"I do. We've been blessed; ours have been few and far between. And we've always managed to get through whatever life throws our way."

"That's right. Together, we get through it all together." He leaned close, so close their noses were almost touching. "So, what do you say?"

A shiver shot up her spine. They were older and grayer than they'd been on this day so many years ago. But not much else had changed--not where it counted. "Say about what?"

"I thought it'd be obvious. Today we celebrate the silver. Want to go for the gold with me?"

Her answer came instantly. "Of course I do. There's no one else I'd rather team up with, darling."

"I hoped you'd say that..."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Proportions

I apologize for missing our Monday morning chat. I hope you'll excuse me for being AWOL; we had thunderstorms here and between those and an anniversary celebration the day just got past me. Anyhow, I hope you had a lovely start to the week. Ours was a bit damp, but otherwise good.

We've been watching the Olympics. I loved the opening many amazing things, like the drummers and moving cubes that were powered by people, to entertain and astound. In this era of computer-generated images and mechanized everything (at least that's how it seems!) it was refreshing to see so much of the show put on with lots of skill, sweat and dedication. Wonderfully Olympic, I thought.

Although we don't generally watch a lot of television, we've been turning it on intermittently and checking in on things. The athletes blow me away, and even those who don't go home with medals are still superheroes in my eyes. Just incredible.

Love learning about China, too. Isn't it a gorgeous country? I see the terracotta warriors, the Great Wall and all the lush scenery and an overwhelming desire to see it all up close sweeps over me. In the past I've considered Chinese as an interesting language to learn; now I really would love to be able to speak it. Anyone willing to teach me? Hmm?

What about you? Are you watching? Enjoying?

In other good news, my dad arrives tomorrow for a three-week visit. We are very excited!

I suspect my computer time will be almost zilch but that's fine. I think I need a break from working, although I'll miss visiting with online friends. I'm going to try and keep to my thrice-weekly posts but I probably won't get to bloghop. We'll all just have to catch up when dad goes home. Actually, I'll probably be blue after he goes home, so I hope you'll all help cheer me up. :)

Friday, August 08, 2008


"Bubbles? Do you remember that?" He chuckled, shaking his head.

A giggle escaped her. "How could I forget?"

Balancing his glass on the wide wooden arm of the Adirondack chair he occupied, he shifted to put his feet on the gazebo railing. She followed suit, and crossed her legs at the ankles. They sat like that for a long moment, smiling at the sky and listening to the rumbling. The thunder seemed louder than it had just a few minutes earlier. She wondered if the storm would cool things off.

"You were so cute that day."

"Just that day?" she teased.

“No, not just that day. But there’s no denying those bubbles were something else.”

“That’s one way to put it,” she sighed. The years hadn’t dulled the memory; it was so real she closed her eyes, put her head back and saw it all. “It was our first house and I was—”

“So young. Just out of college,” he said softly.

“But I felt so grown-up. Those new appliances…when the delivery guy hooked them up I figured I was in business…”

Black clouds skittered across the sky, bringing the storm ever closer. They paid Mother Nature little attention, they were so intent on their stroll down Memory Lane.

“Oh, you were in business, all right.” He pulled her hand into his, wrapped his fingers around hers and gave a gentle, teasing squeeze. “Leone’s Laundry—oh! And let’s not forget the Italian Kitchen part of it. That’s right, Leone’s Laundry and Italian Take-Out…or was it Italian Blast-Off?”

“Stop it!” She smiled, raising her eyebrows and giving him a fast stare. “Oh, I thought I had it all figured out. I knew you’d be home from work in a little while so I started a big pot of marinara sauce for dinner.”

“That’s right…in that old farmhouse the kitchen was right next to the utility room, remember? Sort of connected, wasn’t it?” He squinted, gazing off at the hills. She knew he didn’t see the scene before him, but the one in his mind.

“Uh huh. There was a doorway between them but the utility/mudroom led from the back door right into the kitchen, remember?” She paused, took a sip of her iced tea, then continued. “Then I figured I’d give the new washer and dryer a test run—”

“Oh, you ran it, all right…”

Pretending she hadn’t heard him, she said, “I dumped the clothes in the machine and set the dial. I remember the tomatoes and garlic were starting to scent the air…oh, I thought I was so smart, right on top of it all—”

“That’s one way to put it.” He chuckled and gave her hand another squeeze.

“Then I put in some detergent and some of that stuff—remember the stuff? That hard water softening junk?”

“Because we had well water,” he said, nodding. “The appliance salesman said we needed it to soften the well water. Who knew he didn’t know what he was talking about?”

The image of the label on the little blue bottle was seared into memory forever. She’d only added one capful—just one!—and before she knew it—

“I turned around, stirred the sauce and put a pot of water on to boil. Before I could pull the pasta from the cupboard the machine started making noises. Weird, scary noises.”


Lightning flashed in the distance but he turned to her and, smiling broadly, urged her on. “What’d you do?”

“I opened the lid.”

“And what’d you see?”

“Bubbles. Lots and lots and—oh, I’d never seen so damn many bubbles. And they were multiplying—fast!”

He’d heard the story countless times but it didn’t matter. He laughed, the sound low and deep, like it came from the pit of his stomach. “Then?”

“I slammed down the lid of the washer, but the bubbles pushed it up. They actually pushed the lid open! And the bubbles—they came flying out of the machine in big, puffy blobs!”

“What’d you do?” The question sounded strangled, he was laughing so hard.

“You know what I did—I did what any young housewife would do! I called the GE hotline, the 800 number. I figured they’d know how to stop the bubbles. The machine was obviously possessed—they had to know how to deal with demonic appliance possession!”


“And what did the lady say? The 800 lady?” His laughter masked the thunder’s rumble. The sweltering heat was forgotten as they saw the mountains of bubbles, smelled the clean, flowery detergent scent of the soap. “What did the GE hotline genius say?”

“‘Oh my!’ Can you believe it? I called asking for help and she said, ‘Oh my!’ By then the bubbles were up past my knees! I couldn’t see the floor—at all—and the machine was jumping around, just spewing big—I mean they were really huge—blobs of bubbles. Blurping and burping—and the lady had the audacity to say ‘Oh my!’ Oh my my foot!” She wiped away a tear with the palm of her free hand. They doubled over, their laughter so loud finches flew out of the tree branches above them.

“What—what—” He gasped, trying to talk around the laughter. Finally he asked, “What did you say?”

“I said—oh, I’ll never forget this—I said ‘Oh my, my behind! My husband is going to be home any minute, and I’ve got a houseful of bubbles! Help me—please, help me!’” She remembered the moment as clearly as if it had happened yesterday. The feel of popping bubbles on her calves, the horror of being such an inept wife. Now, it was funny. But then? It had been—

“Priceless! That’s just what I heard when I walked through the door. I saw you with the phone in your hand, yelling ‘Please help me!’ and I ran toward you, never even seeing the—”

“Stupid bubbles!”

“And I slipped and—”

“Fell,” she said, laughing and clutching her middle. “And I saw you going down so I—”

“Dropped the phone—in the bubbles!—and—”

“Reached for you and—”

“Fell—right on top of me!” He pulled her into an embrace. A quick slide across the chairs brought her right onto his lap. With a tender thumb he wiped the joyful tears from her cheeks and planted a quick kiss on her lips. “We were on the floor, surrounded by bubbles, remember?”

“How could I ever forget?” She smiled, shaking her head.

“You looked so sweet, covered in bubbles,” he murmured, gazing deep into her eyes. “I was so glad you were all right, so happy to have you in my arms, that I couldn’t help myself. Remember?”

She nodded. “Mmm…kissing in the bubbles…how could I forget? It was wonderful…until—”

“That damn smoke alarm went off. I could’ve stayed there forever, right in those bubbles with that machine dancing away in the corner, if it wasn’t for that smoke alarm. What a horrible noise!” He shook his head in disgust.

“The noise? What about the mess in the kitchen? Sauce everywhere! On the ceiling, the floor, the cabinets! Remember?”

A fat raindrop hit her bare thigh, sending a ripple of coolness over her heated skin. A second, then a third, drop fell. Thunder boomed, but still they lingered.

He kissed her. “How could I forget?”

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Evening Chat

The night air was balmy, heat left over from the scorching afternoon wafting up from the ground in almost tangible waves. There was no breeze to stir leaves on the maple above, no ripple in the vineyard beside them. Stillness reigned, the proverbial calm before the storm.

Ice rattled in her glass as she lifted it and drank, the cool tea going down her throat like liquid snow. Slightly refreshed, she turned to him and smiled. He looked warm, his curls pushed back in untidy waves and perspiration glistening off his muscular shoulders.

Conversation. That's the ticket. It'll take our minds off the heat.

She said the first thing that came to mind. "Marianne's running a contest on her blog."

"Does that contest involve a swimming pool filled with ice?"

She ignored him. "I don't remember the prize, I just remember the contest. She's got a new novella coming out, Kitchen Matches, so she's asking blog readers to send their funniest kitchen stories to her. I guess the wackiest couple will win...something. Anyway, I thought it was a clever idea."

With a mischievious grin, he said, "You can't enter that contest."

"I hadn't planned to, but why not?"

"It wouldn't be fair." He chuckled, turning toward her. Raising his glass in a silent toast, he took a sip, then said, "You've got too many to choose from."

His wisecrack earned him a poke in the shoulder. "No smartass remarks from you, pal. Especially since you don't look like you're starving. My kitchen talents must be up to par; you've gotten fed all these years, haven't you?"

Shrugging, he stared philosophically at the sky above the hill. It had darkened considerably. "Hey, I'm not saying you don't have kitchen talents. I'm just saying there have been...incidents."

There was no denying it. There had been kitchen episodes, especially during the early years of their marriage. Some had been funny. Others had required a fire extinguisher and a sense of humor.

"All right, you've got me there. But I was't even thinking about the one or two teeny, tiny kitchen snafus--"

"One? Two? Teeny? Tiny?"

"Watch it, pal!" She laughed, the sound mixing with the distant rumble of thunder. "I wasn't thinking about the kitchen, anyway. Remember the--"

To Be Continued...

Monday, August 04, 2008

This, that and the other thing

Good Monday morning. I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Here, we had a relaxing few days. Busy, but relaxing, if that makes any sense.

Pardon? Oh, what did we do? Nothing to write home about, really. We gardened. Picked the first tomatoes -- Yay! Mowed the lawn. (Don't you just love the scent of freshly cut grass? It makes me sneeze, but still...I love it.) Baked banana bread. And zucchini muffins. Oh, and zucchini bread. Froze most of it but the house still smells yummy. We made pickles, blueberry jam and blackberry jam. Yeah, that was a couple hours' of hot, sweaty work but hey, when the berries are ripe there's no putting off the jam making.

Hmm? I guess you're right. It doesn't sound all that relaxing, does it? But we enjoy the summertime chores. Really, we do. And we did find time for a couple of games of chess in the gazebo, and for reading. Last night I finished a book I got for Christmas last year. Things have been so busy I hadn't had time to open it until this weekend. It was actually kind of funny to read a holiday themed romance while fanning away mosquitoes and praying for a stray breeze.

My next book, Legal Tender, releases on September 1st. It's a paranormal romance, with a wisecracking ghostly grandmother. I had so much fun writing this story; I'm completely jazzed it's coming out in a few weeks. (If anyone's interested in ordering a signed copy, the link is at the top of this page.)

I'm in a bit of a tight spot with Legal Tender, though. You see, my dad's coming to visit next week and he'll be with us into September. I am very, very excited about his visit, even though it means I won't get any work done. But believe me, that's fine. I think I can use a break, too. tight spot. I don't know how I'm going to get any promo done for this release. I have one week left to do whatever I can do, then I'll just have to have faith it'll work out. Any ideas?

But I'm not going to worry about it. I'm going to enjoy my dad's visit and hope for the best with the book.

I guess this is one of those times where I can plan for this and prepare for that but the other thing? It'll just have to take care of itself!

What's been going on in your world?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Simple Pleasures

Ahh...isn't summer great?
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Making a Difference

Have you seen this? It's a story about a lion, a couple of guys with big hearts and the desire to make a least, in the life of Christian the lion. I love this story, and have watched the video a bunch of times. I've got to admit, it gets me every time. Every. Single. Time.

I love the idea these guys opened their hearts and homes to a creature whose future didn't look all that promising. Who knows what might have happened to this lion had it not been taken in? I hate to even speculate...visions of bars and cages make me shudder.

The best part, I think, is that even after being out in the wild, Christian remembered those who had done him such a great kindness. In his heart, he knew the men were family--not dinner.

Just wanted to share this happy newstory with you.

Hope you've got a relaxing weekend planned. Me? Oh, just the same old, same old. You know...gardening, writing, maybe taking a walk in the forest. There are all sorts of colorful flowers blooming beneath trees now. I love to poke around and "discover" them. :)

Friday, August 01, 2008


Happy August 1st!

In our house we're celebrating. We've had some special things happen on this date. No, it's not a birthday. Or a wedding anniversary.

A couple of years ago, on August 1st, I had some pretty major surgery. Honestly, my life changed on this day. While I'm not going to go in-depth into what we went through, I am going to say that every August 1st since that fateful day we celebrate.

I celebrate the people whose kindness, care and selflessness have enriched my life...

My husband, who took care of me during the long months of our ordeal. Without his love, faith and care I don't think I could gotten to the other side. The doctors, nurses and therapists who worked their miracles, then shrugged as if it was all in a day's work. They are incredible, and I am grateful. Bill, who carried me when I couldn't walk. I don't think he'll ever fully realize what an impression his kindness left on my heart and soul. Our family and friends, whose support made my recovery journey so much easier than it could have been. And, last but certainly not least, today I celebrate a donor, whose ultimate gift and sacrifice affects me every single day.

Today I celebrate these special people. They've touched me with their kindness, and I will be eternally grateful.

This is also a red-letter day in our home because Snowdance, my first novel, was released on August 1, 2007. It's hard to believe a year has gone by, but it has. I am so grateful to the folks at Whiskey Creek Press. They gave my little story a home, and helped bring my writing dreams to life.

Yeah, this is a special day in our house. I'm touched every day by the generosity of those around me, but on August 1st I smile all day long. Isn't it amazing how people touch our lives in such wonderful, profound, life-altering ways?

I hope August 1st is a day that brings joy to your heart, too. Thank you for sharing my special day. :)