Tuesday, January 31, 2012


While in Mexico, I picked up a few popular books in Spanish. I enjoy reading foreign language books--in the languages I'm familiar with, of course!--because it keeps me sort of "brushed up" on skills that might otherwise get rusty. I generally read with a dictionary by my side to catch the words or phrases I don't comprehend right away.

Yesterday was cold and blustery here. The perfect day for reading while the laundry whooshed in the machine. I built a roaring fire, pulled one of the books from the stack and settled in. Instantly, lost in a great story. Don't you love when that happens?

What was I reading? La Cabaña by William P. Young. Mostly, it's called The Shack and was highly recommended by several people. Now that I'm nearly through the story, I can see why it's caused such a buzz. I'm enjoying it, even though I'm plodding through and looking up unfamiliar words as I read.

So, that's what's keeping me busy here on the farm. Today I hope to finish the book. What about you? Anything interesting going on with you these days?

Monday, January 30, 2012


I had a nice, calm, quiet weekend. No commitments, pressure or schedule. Just perfectly random hours spent doing whatever came my way.

Saturday I spent with family, taking a spur-of-the-moment adventure which proved fun and productive. Both good, no? My mom and I browsed through shops, picked up a few necessary items and several totally nonessential bits and pieces. We had a blast, and to his credit my step-dad schlepped around behind us without a grumble of protest. Now that's a good guy!

Sunday? A blue sky lured me outdoors. Trekking through a forest, stacking firewood and sitting beneath a leafless maple tree, contemplating my spring vegetable garden, was the extent of my exertions.

Now I'm ready to tackle reworking the remainder of the last book. I'm still going through it, tweaking and, in a few spots, rewriting. Remember, I wrote the last chapters in Mexico, under the influence of, ah, a mudslide or two. Okay, maybe there were three mudslides involved, but no more than that. Regardless, the last chapters are a bit looser than I'd like them, with spare words and random sentences that are being purged. Evidently I become verbose when sipping mudslides.

Note to self: No mudslides while writing.

So, that's my weekend and Monday in a nutshell. What about you? Did you have a pleasant weekend? And what are your plans for this gorgeous Monday?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


In Mexico I indulged my taste for plantains every day. Really, every single day. I ate plantains for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I love 'em and they were everywhere so I just ate and ate and ate...

Plantains are such a common food in many countries across the globe. There are as many ways to serve plantains as there are to serve potatoes, if not more. Here is another plantain recipe that is sweet, deserving of a place of honor on any dessert table.

Carmelized Plantain Tart

4 plantains
½ cup granulated sugar
2 sticks salted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup ground almonds

In the bowl of a food processor, mix vanilla, confectioner’s sugar, and butter together until mixture is creamy. Add flour and almonds and pulse until dough forms. Remove dough from food processor and press gently into a greased tart pan. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Tart shell will be very light brown in color.

Peel plantains and slice thinly. Drop slices into ice water until all plantains are sliced. Drain plantains and arrange on baked tart crust. Sprinkle granulated sugar over top of tart, and place in 350-degree oven for five minutes. Just before removing tart from oven, turn on broiler and broil tart until the sugar topping becomes bubbly and carmelizes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


reprieve [rɪˈpriːv]

1. to postpone or remit the punishment
2. to give temporary relief

1. a postponement or remission of punishment
2. a warrant granting a postponement
3. a temporary relief from pain or harm; respite
4. (Law) the act of reprieving or the state of being reprieved
[from Old French repris (something) taken back, from reprendre to take back, from Latin reprehendere; perhaps also influenced by obsolete English repreve to reprove]

Calendar says it's the end of January. Melted snow, warm breezes and huge patches of green grass tell another story.

Oh yes, I'd call this a reprieve. And I am very grateful!

Enjoy the day!

Monday, January 23, 2012


From someone I have always admired. I've had this thought in my head for the past few days, so I thought I'd share it this Monday morning.

"Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding." --Albert Einstein

I've been puzzling over a situation in my life for a bit, trying to understand and find a peaceful refuge. So far, still working on it...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Perhaps Some Tylenol?

Oh, how can a clear head ache?

Evidently I forgot the lovely beery headache that follows a night of "ordering one's thoughts."

Yes, that's what I'm calling the little party we had here last night. I'm sticking to it, too.

Hope you have a lovely Sunday. It is brutally cold here so me, my head and the manuscript are going to curl up by the fire and not move. Really, not moving. Football's on this afternoon and tonight and I plan to be a sofa slug.

What about you? Any plans for the day?

And, would you please pass the Tylenol?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

One Life

Hi friends,

Yes, I know. It's late. Much too late for posting, right? Well...maybe yes, maybe no. This morning I didn't have much to say. Now, however, a word or two comes to mind. Figured I'd get those words out while they're fresh.

Hope you've had a great Saturday. Me? I had a nice day. Happy. Productive. Fun.

I spent this evening with a friend. One of those irreplaceable friends who is more family than friend. You know the kind I mean, don't you?

I've had a bunch of stuff swirling around in my head these past few weeks. Changes in my life that I'm not altogether sure of. Work issues that need to be attended to. Decisions to be made. Regular things, but I guess I needed to talk it all out with someone who can be trusted.

Over some beer. And chips.

Isn't it amazing how much clarity comes with beer and chips?

Let's just say I've made a few decisions concerning how I proceed with this one life I've got. It feels super to have things unswirled--and ordered--in my head.

Again, beer is just such an incredible un-swirler, don't you think? Beer, chips and a good friend. Doesn't get much better than that.

Wishing you a great Saturday night. I hope you are happy, healthy and content. Me? I've got a good friend waiting to laugh some more, so I'm going to scram. I think there's still more beer and chips...

Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Native American Wisdom

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice. -Cherokee Expression

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Man Needed...

...for inspiration for next novel. Understandable, no? How can I possibly put fingers to keyboard without some whiff of man candy to spur me on?

Impossible, I say!

Last night I watched (for the umpteenth time!) Under the Tuscan Sun. Yes, it really is one of my favorite movies. Not just for the story, either, which was one of my favorite books long before it became one of my favorite movies. No, in the film there's a little added bonus...

That's right, the man needed to inspire the character in my next book to come alive. And, just because it's oh, so cold outside and this guy sizzles I figured I'd share him with you.

Raoul Bova, a Roman hunk of inspiration if I ever saw one. Get a load of those eyes, ladies. Don't you just wonder what this guy is thinking?

Enjoy your Thursday! Me? I'll be writing...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


When I think of a warm breeze or a chilly gust, it is a quiet thought.

Really, it's just air, right? How loud should it be?

Here? The wind stirred the darkness all night long, making it sound like a train was barreling through the yard. Now that it's light, I see tree branches down and ripples on the surface of the snow. Gusts still shake power lines, sounding oh, so fierce.

Sounds like a good day to settle in beside a roaring fire. Work on the book. Drink lots of chai. Yes, that's my plan for this windy Wednesday.

What about you? What's on your agenda?

Monday, January 16, 2012


Got your attention with that title, didn't I?

I've been tweaking the latest manuscript. You know how it goes...adjusting a line here, eliminating a scene there. Jumping on repetition, dealing with continuity issues. The normal drill. So far, all is going well.

Just reached the point in the book where they share their first--you guessed it--kiss. Tension's been building, anticipation growing, relationship developing nicely. And finally, the breakthrough kiss.

Writing about kissing isn't nearly as easy as actual kissing. Think about it...when you're involved in the act itself, you don't need to describe it, do you? No, of course not! All you've got to do is pucker up and go for it. The rest comes naturally.

Or in some instances, it doesn't. But that, my friends, is a topic for another post.

When my couple's lips finally meet, it's got to be exactly right. It has to be a perfect instant, one that readers will identify with, feel in their hearts and hunger for in their own lives. The moment has to be everything that anyone would want, the realization of every reader's ultimate kiss. It's got to be...magic.

No small feat, especially when you consider the science of the kiss. What I mean is, the meeting of lips, tongue and heart all have to align. Too fast and peckish, and she'll feel like she's being kissed by her great-granny. Gross, no? And if he's one of those face-eating guys--you know the kind who seem to think your cheeks, chin, nose and eyebrows all have to fit between his lips in a single gulp--well, we all know how off-putting that can be!

The mechanics of the kiss are as important as a multitude of other manuscript issues. As a result, I've been going over this first kiss as if it were the last kiss. So far I'm satisfied with their exchange, which leads nicely onto more interesting...ah, areas.

What do you think? Am I over-analyzing this kiss? Or does kissing matter to you as much as it does to me--on the page, that is. That's what we are talking about isn't it?

Isn't it?

Hope you have a great Monday. And I hope you get at least one kiss today!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Just a Few More... from gorgeous, sunny, snow-free Mexico.

Yeah, there's a snowy, icy mess predicted for here today. Ugh!

If I close my eyes...

I can hear the waves...

and smell the lime juice.
From the margaritas, you know.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


We all have them, places we dream of seeing. Experiences we hope to have. Moments we know will steal our breath--if we ever get to experience them. I had one of my someday-maybe-hopefully-I'll-see-that dreams come true when I was in Mexico. And you know what? It was all I'd hoped it would be...and more.

Chichen Itza, which translated from Maya means "the mouth at the well of the wizard"--and if you're reading, Rafael, I remembered!

The ancient Mayan city is on the Yucatan peninsula. To get there, I boarded a tour bus and was taken nearly three hours into the dense jungle. Rafael, our tour guide, regaled us with stories about the Maya people as well as the animals roaming through the jungle outside our bus. I didn't see any jaguars but I had fun looking!

Stepping off the bus and onto the site was like moving back in time. As I said, all my expectations were met. It was actually more than I'd dreamed it might be.

Temple of Kukulkan

It reminded me how small I really am!

One of the serpent heads at the base of the pyramid.

Wouldn't want this guy to bite you, would you?

Temple of the Warriors

There are merchants on the outskirts of the area.

When I stopped to look at some carvings,

I looked up and saw a different view of Kukulkan's temple.

I was amazed and impressed.

So tell me, is there anywhere you're dreaming of going? And if so, are you taking steps to make that dream become reality?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I've got a busy day so just a few words this morning. I've got a pretty simple thought running through my head so I'll just share it and scram...

Hope. That's it. Nothing razzle-dazzley, no glitz or glitter. Just a quiet thought I'd like to share with you.

Let's be honest here. There have been times when holding on to hope has been as difficult as catching a wisp of smoke on a blustery day. Then, last year it was a concept that didn't feel applicable to my life anymore. I know, I's crappy to hear it but it's the truth.

Another truth? Hope--it's back. And it feels oh, so good.

I am hopeful that this is going to be a good year. I have faith that my days will be happy, calm, peaceful and productive. I see horizons...and on those horizons, hope.

La mariposa ha encontrado sus alas otravez. Y ella recuerda como volar.

The butterfly has found her wings. And she remembers how to fly.

Monday, January 09, 2012


Yes, it's that time of year again. We all know it as "resolution time" but why don't we call it like it is? For most of us, it's the annual get-in-shape promise we make, then pretty much break, time after time.

No need to be shy about it. Most people do make the lose-weight, get-in-shape January commitment. I know I have. And, most people break the resolution before the snow melts. That's something I've done, too.

Not this year, though. Nope, no huge resolutions for me. Not doing it. No how. No way. No spending hours at the gym. No sweating. No huffing or puffing. No...

Not unless...

Well, when I was in Mexico there was a bit more...ah, shall we say incentive to exercise. A couple of times a day, there were a group of hugely inspiring personal trainers on location. Really. Guys who knew how to make a woman's heart race. They were obviously highly trained professionals who spent years learning about physiology and had perfected the art of training professional athletes. They were incredible, and really very inspiring.

Want to see the training crew? I thought you might, so I brought some photos...

Meet the guys! Do you see how they made all those women in the pool stand up and pay attention? Do you see how they make exercise fun? Do you see...well, do you see their, ah, form?

Note that these moves are not to be attempted by just anyone. Truly, these guys are trained pros who should be watched rather than imitated. Trust me on this. I would never steer you wrong.

I'm thinking that had I stayed in Mexico, I might have made one of those yearly get-in-shape resolutions. But that's not the kind of goal I can reasonably expect to keep here in snowy upstate New York, now is it? After careful consideration and hours spent watching these Mexican athletes, I realize that the kind of dedication and serious commitment it would require to achieve such a goal could only be undertaken in a sunny location. Say, like, Cancun.

Oh, yeah, I'm sure I could get in shape watching this two or three times a day!

So, if you've gone ahead and made one of those exercising goals for 2012, don't hold yourself too strictly to the commitment. Because, really, as you can clearly see, something like that is way beyond most circumstances. Truly, if you plan on keeping your resolution, maybe you should consider hopping on a plane and heading down south to see The Guys. I know they'd be glad to help you reach your fitness goals!

And hey, even if your behind grows rather than shrinks (those margaritas do add up!) it'd be worth it...just to watch the exercise gurus at work, don't you think?

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Far Away

Don't worry, I haven't gone off on another jaunt. Not yet, anyhow. No, I'm here, right smack-dab in the middle of Snowville, just where I'm supposed to be. My body is here, that is. The head? Heart? A whole different matter entirely.

The head and heart are, I regret to tell you, far, far away.

The past few hours have had me at this desk, researching for my next novel. I've been lost in underground caves, swimming in murky waters and running through a dense jungle. It's been fun. Exciting. Invigorating.

And let me tell you, none of it was here in the snowbelt.

Nope, I've been lost in another landscape entirely. It's held my attention, captivated my soul and made my heart beat just a little bit faster than it has in a long time. Isn't research grand?

Now, if I could just figure out how to do that research up close and personal, I'm sure I'd enjoy myself still more. Yeah, that's the thing...escaping in the name of research. Why not, right?

What about you? If you could run far, far away, where would you go? And why?

Thursday, January 05, 2012


Ho finito.

That's right, while I was in Cancun I finished my latest novel. I am so psyched about this book for a number of reasons, but honestly right now I am just soooo glad it's done! I came home with a complete file.

Yesterday I had a chance to skim the last chapters, the ones I finished writing on the beach, and am happy to report that despite several taste-testing evenings involving tequila, rum and a fair amount of vodka, the chapters make sense. It's a paranormal thriller, something I've never attempted before, so just seeing the ending isn't an alcoholic mess defies normal experience or scientific explanation and thrills the pants off me.

One of the things I like most about this book is where it was completed. Really, think about it. I went to Cancun with a partial, and returned with a full manuscript. That just shows me that I can write why not spend more time writing in the sunny, warm spots than in this frigid, snowy, eyeball-freezing place? It's the question I'm asking myself as I contemplate the future of this book.

Endings. I love 'em when they mean I've just laid out four hundred pages of a hopefully decent story. And what's more, the endings always lead to new beginnings. Already the idea for the next book is brewing. I caught a whiff of it while exploring Mexico, and every day the plot becomes a bit more solid.

So...endings...and beginnings. All good, don't you think?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Dating for Dummies

Correct that. One dummy. To be even more precise, me. I'm the dummy in question. Just so there's no, you know, confusion.

Since about the ten-month mark I've been getting loads of loving, well-meaning friends and family giving me the talk. You know the one, the whole you're-young-and-can't-be-alone-forever chat. According to onlookers, I am supposed to be open and receptive to any man who comes my way and might interest me.

Make no one was stupid enough to hint that I could ever, ever, ever replace my sweet man. No one even came close to alluding that I would find someone even remotely as wonderful as he was. In fact, several people went so far as to say that I should be aware that no man will ever be half the man I was married to, but I should expect that and not waste my time trying to find someone as perfect. As if they had to tell me that?

Anyhow, here I am, wondering just what the hell men actually want in a relationship. I have always been under the impression that friendship, respect, compatability and, okay, a healthy dash of sexual attraction was the foundation for something between two people. Really, it's what worked in my life all these years.

Evidently, times have changed. I hear now that I'm old-fashioned, that wanting someone to be mine alone is old school. Now, everyone does everything with everyone else and apparently no one cares. And I'm supposed to go for this?


I'm beginning to understand why there are so many unattached widows in the world.

I don't ever want to get married again (I had the best, and I'm smart enough to believe that magic won't strike twice in one lifetime) but I sure as shootin' have no intention of being anyone's Monday Night Special. Thanks, but no thanks.

Me? I've only been in the dating pool for one week and already I'm feeling seasick.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Cancun, Mexico

My holiday adventure was in Cancun, Mexico! It was the perfect getaway choice. Fabulous food, new faces and places, music and dancing, a look into the past while headed toward my future...there wasn't one thing about the holiday that I didn't love.

The Christmas tree in the hotel was huge.

I saw several nativity scenes. This one really made me smile--I love the way Baby Jesus is swaddled so well. No chilly baby here!

Maya images covered the columns in the hotel. I spent a long time perusing them, trying to uncover the stories behind the scenes. All very interesting.

And instead of snow, flowers! Everywhere, flowers. What's not to love about a place where flowers bloom on Christmas?

Monday, January 02, 2012

Beachy Holiday

I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season filled with joy and peace.

Me? I had a holiday adventure. I grabbed my passport, hopped on a plane and flew off to a place I've never seen before. I had great experiences and made new, happy memories.

It was one of the best decisions I've ever made, choosing joy rather than letting the past continue to consume me. I'm moving forward, and it feels so good.

Thought I'd share a couple of photos this morning, just to get you in a warm-ish sort of mood on this first Monday of the new year.

The view from my balcony. Every morning, a gorgeous sunrise.

The sand was powder-soft and oh, so white. Like walking on a cloud.

The sea looks turquoise. I admit, the color captivated me. I stared for hours, putting my past to rest and looking toward the horizon. Out there, beyond the beautiful blue bands, I see opportunities. I see days filled with laughter. I see hope, and it nourishes my soul.

So, where do you think I went? Any guesses?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

A New Year

Feliz Año Nuevo

Wishing you a wonderful year

filled with love, laughter

and adventure.