Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year approaches...what did you do in 2012?

As 2012 comes to a close and 2013 lurks on the horizon, what are you thinking about? Are you reflecting on your accomplishments in 2012? Are you thinking about what 2013 is going to bring? Will the New Year come in slow and steady or with bang?

What did you do in 2012 that you set your sights on accomplishing? What was on your list of goals for 2012 that you did not do? Will you carry it over to 2013? What are your goals for 2013?

Me? One of my biggest accomplishments was running a half-marathon in Ireland. Last January a friend of mine suggested I could do it and I thought he was whacked. He is, but that’s a different story. Anyway, he challenged me to do it and even sent me a link to a race in Ireland. As soon as I saw that link and that the race was in one of my favorite places, I signed up. I not only ran the half marathon in Dingle, Ireland, but I ran several other half marathons in 2012. Of course, while I was in Ireland, I went to my favorite town, Kenmare for ten gorgeous days.

On a more personal note, I went to a movie for the first time in over five years. This is a huge accomplishment for me as the fear factor was great…but I conquered it with two days to go.

As for my writing, my goal every year is to finish one new novel. I did! I finished AT FACE VALUE, which L&L Dreamspell will release in 2013. That’s a good start to a new year!

I also read many, many books! I participated in both Dewey Read-a-thons. I even entered the e-book era by buying a Kindle. Love it!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Holidays to my Engineering team!

As the holidays are upon us and the year end is near, I thought this a good time to send you a note of cheer.

Here’s a year in review of BSTAPPS:

Trips to Philip’s Tavern, The Stadium, and even the bowling alley where Steve always kicks butt on the deadwood while drinking Deadwood beer. He should give lessons.

Humor and quick quips from Tony keep us from going insane and Finn for his amazing singing or ditties (data…aggregators) to cheer up any boring team meeting.

It should not be called Dilbert. The cartoon should be called George and Dilbert as he is the one always waking us up in the morning or making us realize that there must be other companies like where we work.

Can you look that up on the Urban Dictionary? Thank you, Maria for the introduction to that new tool.

Let’s not forget…everything is on the WIKI. And if it’s not, just ask Beth, it will be.

If you’re looking for the tough guy on the team you don’t have to look any farther than Zouka. Between his foot, his leg, and his unbelievably hard head, you have a ‘typical guy’.

Has anyone seen Troy? Somebody find Troy. Oh, wait, his meeting reminder didn’t go off…again. Now it goes to his phone!

The Queen of Remedy…Margaret! Thanks to FRY, Margaret has learned far too much about Remedy and will be the new methodology trainer on the subject.

Thank you for another great year of working with a terrific team.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Share your favorite Thanksgiving recipe

Maybe the title should say family and food, but let's face it, we all look forward to the holidays because we get to enjoy foods that we only have at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

What's your favorite holiday food?

Is it the gigantic turkey sitting in the middle of a beautifully decorated table, the funky green salad that your mother has made for years, or a pie that only your grandma can make?

For my mother, it was always that green salad with cottage cheese, green jell-o mix, pineapple, and Cool Whip. That was so NOT my favorite.

When I was a kid my favorite holiday dish was always the candied yams. I mean who doesn't like sweet potatoes drowned and baked in syrup, brown sugar and butter. Sweet and yummy!

Now, I look forward to making homemade baked macaroni and cheese. I rarely eat pasta so to make and eat this dish on Thanksgiving is a real treat.

Here's my recipe for Baked Mac & Cheese:


1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 cups milk
8 ounces American cheese, cubed
8 ounces Velveeta processed cheese food, cubed
4 ounces of shredded Italian cheeses
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Butter a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni, and cook until not quite done, about 6 minutes. Drain.

2. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Blend in the flour and mustard powder. Slowly stir in the milk, beating out any lumps. Add the American and processed cheeses, and stir constantly until the sauce is thick and smooth.

3. Drain noodles, and stir them into the cheese sauce. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs  and Italian cheeses over the top.

4. Cover the dish, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until sauce is thick and bubbly.

Share your favorite Thanksgiving recipe!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tis the season to give

The holiday season is upon us and there are children that could use your help to provide for a happy one.

If you have a few dollars to spare this Christmas, please join me in helping author, Jess Haines out by sending unwrapped gifts to her to donate to underprivileged children. Let's put a smile on a child's face. It's an absolute fantastic cause for the holidays.

Please click the link below for more information. Any help you can give is appreciated. SPREAD THE CHEER and THE WORD!

Thank you for your generosity.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thank you, Veterans

November 11, 1918, during World War I, fighting ceased when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Armistice Day was a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II , the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." On June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Today, twenty-two million living Americans have donned a uniform and made sacrifices to protect this country and its people.

I, for one, am grateful to those American Armed Forces who have dedicated themselves to helping keep ussafe, keep our freedoms in place, and make America a great country to live.

There is no way to put into words the gratitude I feel for the men and women who stand tall, stand at the wall, and protect America and its people. There are no words that can express the sense of respect I feel for the men and women who put on a uniform, who every day take on a new challenge all in the name of freedom.

All I can say is, "Thank you. Thank you to all the Armed Forces, past and present, for your dedication, for your sacrifice, for your love of country. Thank you for my freedoms and for the safety of my family and yours. Thank you."

Wherever you are, stay safe and come home soon.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Running is addictive

Two years ago, I started running. Not seriously, just to run a couple of 5K races in the spring and summer. I did not train, I just ran. This past year, however, I decide to take it a little further, I decided to train.

Was I always a runner? No. Did I love running? No. Seriously, who actually loves running? Nobody I know.

Running, in my opinion, is not something you love, but something to which you become addicted.

How do you get addicted?

You get sucked in by the ‘me’ factor. The me time of training and racing. Whether you run in the morning or the evening after work, you throw on your favorite pair of running shoes, grab your iPod, or in my case, my Sony Wireless headphones that holds 4 GB of music and hit the road or treadmill. You do this all by yourself, for yourself. Me time!

During that training run, you focus on you, your breathing, your strides, and your music. With every step your mind clears of the day’s events and stress eeks out of your body little by little.

You don’t have to be the most fit person in the world to run. Heck, one of the benefits of running is that you gain a healthier body and mind.

You can wear whatever you want to run as long as you have a good pair of shoes and the right, moisture wicking socks. You can wear grubby T-shirts and cutoffs or sleek tights and colorful skin-fitting tops or anything in between. It just does not matter. What counts is comfort or silliness. (As evidenced by the photo of me in the Halfway to St. Paddy's Day 5K. Lovely kilt! Tell me that's not inspiring. HA!)

When you run a race, you’re not racing against anyone but yourself. Your goal isn’t to be the first person across the finish line, your goal is to beat your best time, to improve one race at a time.

It’s the races that keep you motivated to run more, better, faster. You against yourself, mother nature, and the flat or hilly course ahead of you.

It’s the spectators along the course that make you smile, laugh, and even run harder. Complete strangers cheering and shouting encouragement, clapping, clanging cow bells, and holding silly signs like “pain is temporary, bragging rights are forever” or “run now, beer later” will inspire you to new heights. When your feet hurt and you think you can’t take another step, other runners will egg you on, make you feel like you’re doing something special, and motivate you to jog that last little bit, to cross that finish line.

When you cross that finish line, it doesn’t matter whether you do it walking or jogging, sweat dripping down your face, bloody knees, or a grin so bright it could light up a midnight sky. All that matters is you did it! You accomplished something and you did it by yourself, for yourself. Sure you may hurt from head to heel, and you may lose a toenail or three, but who cares. You finished!

It’s addictive, that feeling of accomplishment, but it’s a good, healthy addiction. It’s physically and mentally good for you and all you can think about is that next race, that next rush of adrenalin and that next personal goal. Whether a 5K, a 10K, or a half marathon, etc., it all counts and it’s all worth the pain for the gain.

For those of you who think you have to love running. You don’t. Try it, try one race, and you will be addicted. Even if you can’t run it, walk it. It’s the same sense of accomplishment. Take it from me, a woman who can’t do a full out run, so I walk-run.

Here’s hoping you get addicted and I’ll see you on the road or at the next race. Happy addiction!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Join me in the Dewey's Read-a-thon challenge

Twice a year Dewey's Read-a-thonhosts a real live read-a-thon. Bloggers read and post about what they read and encourage other participants. They arrange for cheerleaders to boost your reading and encourage you to not give up in those last 5 hours. There are mini-challenges throughout the 24 hours and even prizes.

If you don't blog, don't worry about it. Visit here and share what you have read, what is keeping you going (like Cheetos, Mountain Dew, delivered pizza), what's your goal, and what's next on your list. Go sign-up at Dewey's Read-a-thon and let me know and we will keep each other awake and motivated for the next 24 hours.

Think of it - reading, reading, and reading!

It starts Saturday, October 13 at 8AM east coast time. So, if you've got a few books that have been on your reading list, or in your to-be-read pile then pull them out, grab a comfy chair, a good lamp, and a whole lot of snack food and start reading.

Now, you don't have to stop doing everything so if you have to go out to eat with your hubby or do some laundry then do it. Just take a book with you. While your date is boring you to death you can sneak off to the ladies' room and read a page or two.

Tomorrow I will be doing the challenge via audiobooks while I drive down to visit my sister. Then my sister,my niece and my nephews will join in the challenge. Should be fun trying to keep each other awake and keep on reading.

Join in the fun!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

For Grandma's Birthday

- Grandma -

Grandma, I was thinking about you today and a smile crossed my face
You played a special part in my life and I thought you should know. . .

Apple pie reminds me of my Grandma
She always made me on one on holidays

Cakes remind me of my Grandma
She always made me one for my birthday

An aroma of love always filled her kitchen

Grandma is the backbone of our family

Her words of wisdom and wit
A determination that spoke never quit

A beautiful lady that means so much to me
You may be far away, but with me a little of you will always be

Happy birthday, Grandma!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Kenmare Ireland Walking Tour - next stop

Today's stop on the walking tour of Kenmare is Rose Cottage and Holy Cross Church.

In 1861, Rose Cottage was the temporary home for Abbess Mary O-Hagan and six nuns from the Poor County Clare Convent while the their new convent was being built.

Now, Rose Cottage is a lovely B&B.

Just around the corner from Rose Cottage is Holy Cross Church. Holy Cross church, consecrated in 1864, was built by Fr. John O’Sullivan who is buried in front of Our Lady’s altar.

It is believed that Fr. O’Sullivan topped the spire of the church with a cock to crow over the local landlord’s agent, whose office was in the Square and had refused him a site for the church.

Look at the beautiful detail of the church, the windows and the cross that greets you in the church parking lot.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Walking tour of Kenmare Ireland

I decided to do something different for my blog post on my Ireland trip. I'm going to give you a walking tour of Kenmare and wherever else I may stop on my visit.

Today, we're stopping at a Stone Circle. Just outside Kenmare town centre, a five minute walk from town is a spectacular example of a bronze age Stone Circle. Stone circles were built in the Bronze age (2200 - 500 BC) and were used for ceremonial purposes. Many studies indicate that the stone circles were orientated around certain solar and lunar events, such as the sun at the solstice.

The Kenmare Stone Circle is reputed to be the largest stone circle in south-west Ireland. The Kenmare Stone Circle is composed of fifteen heavy boulders: thirteen standing and two prostrate at the north. The Kenmare Stone Circle is special in that the circle itself is actually egg-shaped, measuring 56 ft by 49 ft.

In the center of the circle is a large stone known as a Boulder Dolmen and weighs about 7 ton. No, I did not try to lift it. I set my backpack next to it to give you an idea of how large the rock is.

Next stop...Rose Cottage.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11 - A Day to Remember

Eleven years ago today, tragedy struck our country like no other tragedy. Not because of war or famine, or disease. The tragedy that struck the United States and all its people was one of evil of the manmade kind. While this blow struck us hard and fast, we as a nation pulled together like no others.

People sacrificed their lives to save others. People they never met and never would have met if not for the mad machinations of a group of people who cared nothing for the lives of others only their misguided beliefs.

Police and Firemen rushed to the aide of the citizens they swore to protect and they did. Everyday citizens circled the wagons and helped total strangers out of the rubble of destruction.

Military personnel moved as they had been trained, to help in the aide of men, women, and children. And when given the command they struck back in our defense, hard and fast, and with one thing on their minds; protecting us, the citizens of the United States.

September 11, 2001 will live in our memories for the rest of our lives and in history. It will not go down as a day of misfortune and hatred. It will go down as a day of resurrection and joining. We, the people of the United States, joined together to resurrect our strength, power, and love for each other and our country. We fought back, we took care of our own, and we grew stronger, better.

I love this nation and the people in it, and especially those who protect it from the evils of this world.

God bless you and keep you safe!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Seeing Ireland's sea coast

is like kissing your true love for the first time. It takes your breath away.

This is the breathtaking view I saw while driving the Kerry Way yesterday. It's somewhere near Kells Bay. See how the clouds are practically kissing the hills?

I didn't intentionally set out to drive part of the Kerry Way yesterday. My intent was to go to Killarney, a forty-five minute drive from Kenmare. Thanks to my creative GPS, I ended up taking the long route. And I am forever grateful for said GPS. The forty-five minute drive took almost three hours, but why complain when I got to stop and see views like this.

There are no words to describe the beauty I saw, only the feelings that enveloped me every time I pulled over on a narrow road to stop, stand, and stare. It was as if a breath of life was breathed into me each time. The beauty that lay before me was inspiring and overwhelming.

It's sights like this that make me realize how much more there is to life and to myself. Then and now, I tear up thinking about what I had an opportunity to experience.

I'm not certain, but I think this was either Coad or Waterville.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 4 of Ireland Holiday - Dingle to Kenmare

On my last morning in Dingle i had breakfast at the Coastguard Restaurant. Worst breakfast with the best view. Then I had a post-race Swedish massage.

Holy crap! The minute the massage therapist dug in I wanted to bolt off the table. I swear I have bruises everywhere thanks to the woman's fingers and elbows. I managed to survive the massage and walk into Dingle town one more time before taking off to Kenmare.

I swear the GPS took me the scenic and long route from Dingle to Kenmare. It truly was a beautiful drive...except for the part driving past the Killarney National Park. That has to be the worst road ever to drive on. Even driving a midget car, I was deathly afraid of hitting rock or having some car coming the other way hit me. The narrowest road ever! There's even one small tunnel that can't possibly fit more than one car.

By the time I reached the Park Hotel Kenmare it was after two in the afternoon. Here, I met Rory O'Sullivan, the hotel manager, and the name for my next hero. Not joking. The first time I spoke with Rory and heard his voice and learned his name, I knew I had to make him a hero.

I checked in, the smoothest check-in and was escorted to my room. Most hotels just hand you a key and point you in the direction and you
get to find your own way. Not the Park Hotel Kenmare. Rory, the hotel manager, took my suitcase to the room and later he helped me get the Internet connection all set in my room.
Oh! And every evening a maid comes by to turn down the bed. The service could not be better.

After getting quickly settled in my room, the first thing I did was go in search of food. I walked past the colorful strorefronts and when I stopped in front of Davitt's I stopped. I recalled that they made the best burger.

I was not mistaken. It is the best burger! I don't know if it is the fresh beef or the blend of spices or both, but it is so delicious I want to eat the entire burger. Especially when paired with a pint of Murphy's.

Once my belly was full, I shrugged into my backpack and strolled down Henry Street, peeking into the shops on my way to the Kenmare Pier, a place I can sit at for hours and just watch, take in the view of trees, hills, and water, and relax.
My last stop in Kenmare for the day was Kenmare Ice Cream, a new shop that makes homemade ice cream. I had strawberry. It was excellent!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dingle Half Marathon - Race Day is here!

Race day has arrived! I woke up nervous as heck, jumping beans bouncing around in my stomach, but excited.

Things to note before doing a race overseas:

1. Try to know what the terrain of the race will be before the actual big day. In my defense, I did try, but theye didn't have one of those elevation maps.
2. Ireland does not wake up as early as we in the United States do. Most breakfast places don't open until 8 or 9 AM. On race day there was one place that openend at 7, but the reality is we need food three hours before the race, which was at 9 AM. Luckily, I realized this the night before so I stopped at a local bakery and picked up a muffin and some bottled water. Plus, I had my energy bars.

After taking my time getting ready for the race, I packed my backpack and hoofed it into town and to the marina. At 8 AM, that's 3 AM New England time, the place was a buzz with runners, family, friends, and spectators. There were signs displayed everywhere announcing the race. The marina parking lot was full of runners and vendors prepping for the race.

Imagine 3000 plus runners standing around talking, walking, stretching, and of course lined up to use the port-a-potties. It's amazing how when the announcer tells you that there are twenty minutes before race start a pack of runners herd to stand in line for a toilet break. In our defense, we'd have to go along the way and not make it to a rest area.

The weather was incredible for the race! I'm talking a nice breeze, some sun, but mostly overcast. The breeze would come straight at our faces and then we would turn a curve and it would be at our backs. It just could not have been better. Which is good considering the torture we had to endure.

When I say torture, that is not an exaggeration! Imagine a mountain and you have to run up it. I'm a firm believer that what goes up must come down. Wrong!

But the views were incredible. This was part of our winding coastal line. And here is a picture of the Blasket Islands.

In the case of the Dingle Half Marathon, Marathon, and Ultra Marathon, what goes up, goes up, and up, and up, and up. Not kidding! By mile 5 and a half all I did was keep my eyes glued on the pack of people ahead of me to see if they were going downhill. Nope. Never. Okay, there were two brief sections that we experienced the relief of a slight decline. It was like a starving man receiving bread and water. Unfortunately, too short-lived.

Along the route though, people spoke to each other, encouraged each other, and smiled even as their legs screamed in pain. Just when you thought your body could take no more and you relied on will power to keep you moving, the townspeople of Dingle were there to give you that added boost. Shop owners and local town folk stood on the streets cheering the runners on, handing out cups of water and orange slices. A few musicians even joined in on the fun playing traditional music and jazz.

At mile 9ish I stopped with a bunch of other runners for water and a potty break. See, I told you those port-a-potties are a savior. At mile 10, I mentally coax myself, "Hey! Only a 5K is left. You can do three miles in your sleep." I eat a pack of my sport jelly beans and keep hoofing it. Yes, my feet hurt, my toes hurt, my calves are screaming in pain, and my butt is wondering what the heck did it do to deserve this, but I keep going. Heck, even my back started to complain, but I crack my neck, stretch my arms over my head and across my chest and persevere.

Was it worth it? Was it worth the flight across the ocean and traveling to a part of Ireland I've neer visited before, to participate in a race I had never heard of until I did a search on the Internet eight months earlier?

Close your eyes and imagine crossing the finish line and realize that you just did something you never would have been able to do six months or a year ago. How does that feel?

The fact that I hurt from heel to hip and to shoulder only makes me feel the accomplishment that much more.

It was worth it!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Day 2 in Dingle Ireland

Second day in Dingle, Ireland started with a walk into town for breakfast at the Chowder Cafe. Truly fantastic scrambled eggs and Ireland does have the best bacon. One thing I can count on in Ireland is that the restaurants are not going to offer you margarine. They believe in the whole and natural kind of foods like butter for toast.

After a terrific breakfast, I walked around the marina and took in the view, the sea air, and took some pictures. Afterward, I strolled up and down the streets until I found the Dingle Brewing Company. How perfect is that for a girl who loves beer?!

The Dingle Brewing Company sits at a fork in the road in a small building that was once a creamery. It resembles more of a house than a brewery. Beneath and alongside the brewery runs a spring, the same spring water that is used in its beer called Crean's, named after Tom Crean, an explorer and a hero who died in 1938.

For six (6) Euros, you can take a self-guided tour of the quaint and very clean brewery and enjoy a pint of their beer afterwards. My beer was so fresh that I saw them roll out the keg and hook it up. Crean's is some kind of hefeweizen, which I am not usually fond of but this was fantastic!

By the time I finished my most excellent pint of beer, it was time for me to find my way to the pobal scoil (public school) to pick up the race day packet for the Dingle half-marathon.
Last part of my eventful day was a pre-race heated stone massage at the Peninsula Spa. Just what I needed to prep my calves for the long run ahead.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Day 1 of Ireland Holiday...Dingle

The flight across the ocean was uneventful and quiet. I managed to get two hours of sleep, but that's all until I crashed at the Dingle Skellig Hotel my first night.

The drive from Cork to Dingle - about two hours long, was winding and pretty. Green everywhere you looked. The closer I got to Dingle, the narrower and more curvey the roads became.

Beautiful shoreline on parts of the drive then you hit the center of town with its colorful buildings and a marina. Big rock walls edged the smooth as glass water. That's what I saw on my first visit into Dingle. That and lots of tourists. Lots of folks, about 5000 people for just the Dingle half, full, and ultra marathon. About 3500 of those were actual participants and the other 1500 were their families and friends. There were also a bunch of folks passing through on their way for the big Navy Notre Dame game in Dublin.

My first afternoon/evening in Dingle, I wandered the main streets and shops. Imagine colorful storefronts and inside are arts and crafts by and about Ireland. I walked into one jewelry store, yup, cuz I'm a girl I do things like that. I walked into John Weldon's jewelry store, a tiny little shop that can hold no more than a handful of people and what do I see? I see my Celtic knot!

Celtic knots are all over the place in Ireland, but this one is special and I have never seen the design except for the day I found it for my tattoo a year ago. Anyway, I see my knot in a necklace set in yellow gold and I have to have it, but not in yellow gold and not in a necklace. Guess who I got to meet? You bet! I met John Weldon himself who is going to make me a pair of earrings. John makes most of what is in his store. You have to love a handcraft artist. I'll be getting these earrings in about a month and it will be a sweet remembrance for a terrific trip.

Oh! The other store I located in town was the local bookshop. Well, duh, you knew I had to go there! Another shop the size of a snack box, but neat and tidy with a friendly owner who helped me locate a book that the receptionist at the Dingle Skellig Hotel recommended about running.

By the time I finished enjoying the fresh air and the beautiful town, I returned to the hotel and ate at the Blaskets Bar. I ordered the hot and spicy wings and of course...a Guinness. My first beer in Ireland in 2012! My friend Steve would have loved the wings. They were actually hot and spicy. I even ate almost all of them.

Then I crashed!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Quote and Question of the Day

I kept this proverb from a Chinese cookie one time and saw it just the other day. It's an inspiring proverb or quote and thought I would share with you.

"Passion is in all great searches and is necessary to all creative endeavors."

What are you passionate about? What are you searching for?

Me? I'm passionate about life and the fact that it is meant to be lived, experienced, and enjoyed. Without that, all we would do is work, pay bills, and sleep. That's not living. That's existing.

Live! Chase your passion and enjoy the rocky, winding, and sometimes smooth road that you will have to traverse to take you to where you want to go.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Do heroes wear pajamas?

I’ve been contemplating this topic for a couple of days now and decided it was time to write about it. Do heroes wear pajamas?

Don’t laugh. This is a very serious question. When you’re writing or reading about a hero do you want to see your hero in a plaid, flannel night clothes? How about pj’s with horses or their favorite football team on the shirt and pants? Do you dream about crawling into bed with a man who wears silk top and pants to bed?

Okay, so forgive me if I put my spin on this, but no. No only no, but hell no. First of all, silk is slippery so if you wrap your arms around the man wearing silk they would just slide back off. And flannel, while sexy on a strong lumberjack chopping wood for a cozy mountain fire, is not sexy in bed. Any guy who wears his sports team logo on his pajamas is still a child inside and your heroine should not be sleeping with him.

Can you imagine sitting up in bed, all sex-kittenish and waiting for the man of your dreams to walk out of the bathroom and in he walks wearing a button down shirt and pants that say “Wanna go for a test drive?” written on it in a very strategic place?

Ladies…run! Run as fast as you can, as far as you can.

What if the hero just wears the pajama bottoms to bed?

Hmm. This could be moderately better. At least you can touch some skin. Reach that hand around and run it along his six-pack abs, because every hero has the perfect abs and not some hangover belly. Maybe grab on to one of his strong pecs and give it a good squeeze, feeling those muscles flex underneath your palm. No man boobs on our hero. Maybe the heroine twirls her fingers in the hero’s chest hair. Okay, that’s the heroine fantasy, guys tend to get a little nervous that women will tweak it and pull. Ouch!

Wouldn’t it be cute if the hero wore the bottoms and the heroine wore the top of the pajamas? GAG!

That is just too icky sweet for words. You remember those horse costumes where one person was the front end and the other was the back end? Yeah, that’s what that reminds me of.

And what does the hero wear under those pajama bottoms? Same kind of question for men in kilts right? Only, the kilt idea is kind of sexy because you’re seeing those rugged, hairy legs and you're fantasizing about what he's wearing or not wearing underneath.

Underwear under pajama bottoms? That’s just too many clothes to remove in the middle of the night when you want to roll over, hop on, and take your cowboy for a ride.

So, when you’re curled up reading a good book, or you fantasize about your hero, should he wear pajamas?

What should he wear to bed?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Countdown to Ireland and Irish Cream

Only twenty-three days before I leave for Ireland and twenty-five days until my half-marathon in Dingle.

I was speaking with a friend of mine this morning who brews his own beer from the hops he grows himself and he was telling me how he also makes his own Irish Cream.

It sounds so yummy, I had to share it with you.

Irish Cream Recipe:

1 cup heavy cream ( you can go healthier with light cream, half and half or even milk but….)

1 2/3 cup Jameson’s (or to your liking)
14oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons instant coffee (or shot of espresso if you can)
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon Almond extract

Blend it up real good and store in fridge in a sealed container. Shake it up and serve. WOW!!!

Thanks, Mike for the recipe!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Protect yourself against Internet scams

After I helped a friend of mine deal with an Internet scam this weekend, I felt compelled to write a brief blog and make others aware.

This friend was doing some work on his computer and all the sudden this message came up on his screen that said he had been blocked from his PC for "at least one of the reasons specified below". It also stated that in order to unblock the PC he needed to pay a $200 fine through MoneyPak within the next 72 hours.

This is a scam!

Now, in defense of my friend he does have virus software installed. However, let’s face it folks, the virus checking software and malware is only as good as its updates. And they will ALWAYS be behind the Internet scam artist and hacker. Plus, if you don’t have the software scanning every second something is bound to get through.

How can you prevent things like this?

I’m not certain you can prevent everything. Heck! I am probably more cautious than a great many people are and I got a malware on my PC about six months ago.

One thing we did on my friend’s PC is to download a second malware software package. That actually found even more issues that we cleaned up. Thank goodness!

We installed the latest security patches for his operating system and applications. We also changed his Internet security settings.

I suggested that they password protect everything with a strong password and explained that a strong password is at least 8 characters long with a combination of letters and numbers and even funny characters, and to NEVER use a word that can be pound in the dictionary or anything to do with their families names or birthdates. Never use the same password for everything.

These are just a few of the things we did to improve his chances of not getting another malware software on the computer.

But, this is not enough. You have to be aware of the sites you are visiting on the Internet. There are some sites that are links to sites that download software to your machine without you even knowing. Even software that doesn’t do damage to your computer, but tracks sites you visit and the information you type in.

NEVER, I can’t say this enough, NEVER click on a link in an email unless it is from someone you know. And even then beware. If a friend of yours send you links to jokes on a regular basis, do they usually send a quick note in the email? If they do and all the sudden you get an email with just a link and now words. DO NOT click it!

Your bank will NEVER send you an email! You will NEVER be the beneficiary of some great fortune via email! The FBI will NEVER contact you via email!

If your computer monitor starts flashing at you and screaming that you need to buy some software right away to get rid of some virus or send money to get yourself all fixed up again, it’s a SCAM! These malware places want your information. They want to steal your money, they want to steal your identity.

Hint: If you get an email from a company you do not know, it’s probably fake. If the email is misspelled, it is probably fake. If the message does not have your name in it, but calls you Sir or Mr. So and So, then this is NOT real. It’s a scam!

If the email says you need to hurry and click the link to clear up some issue with your account, it is NOT real. It’s a scam!

Please, even companies like Yahoo get hacked, like they did last week. A great many people had accounts compromised due to this lack of security at Yahoo.

Change your passwords, make them a strong password, and do not use the same one for every account. Whatever you do, do not save that account information on your computer. Once some malware has the chance, it will take that information and pass it along to the Internet scammer or hacker.

Take care, be smart and cautious! If you have any doubts, DO NOT click it!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Celebrating National Ice Cream Day and Month

In 1984, President Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day.

Seriously! Look it up.

Today, being Sunday, July 15, 2012 and the third Sunday of July, is National Ice Cream Day.

What does that mean?

It means, “Let them eat ice cream!”

Yes, that’s exactly what it means. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you should do your part in this national day and go eat ice cream.

What kind of ice cream will you eat? Hard-packed or soft-serve?

What’s your favorite flavor? Vanilla, chocolate, Chunky Monkey, or one of my favorites…Moose Tracks?

Will you eat the ice cream in a cup or on a cone? What kind of cone? Sugar or waffle?

Do you get sprinkles, jimmies, or dipped?

Single scoop, double, or do you go for the big dippers and get an ice cream sundae or ice cream split?

Me? I do believe I will have to do my share in celebrating this national day and eat ice cream.

I will go down to one of my local ice cream shoppes and get a kid-size, hard-packed, chocolate in a cup. Yummy!!

What kind of ice cream will you eat to celebrate today being National Ice Cream Day?

Enjoy and watch out for brain freeze!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Training for half-marathon and I stumbled along the way

I've been training for a half-marathon since January and I seemed to have stumbled into a small problem.

Recently I was diagnosed with kidney issues. Particularly what happens is I get dehydrated and my lowers legs and feet swell…even after drinking six to eight bottles of water. Can you believe that?! I couldn’t.


My kidneys are not fully functioning. After several tests, the doctor (a wonderful physician whom I trust) discovered that my kidneys are losing too much protein and not taking enough in. Without the protein my kidneys do not function to full capacity.

Kidneys are supposed to get rid of waste and toxins and share the good stuff, in this case, water to the other cells in the body. Well, my kidneys aren’t able to send the water to my cells so it sends it as far away from the heart as possible, which ends up being my legs and feet. They have swollen to the point that during three races my left foot went numb and I thought pins and needles were sticking up from the bottom of my feet. Talk about pain.

How does this happen?

Various reasons, but in my case it appears to be, according to my wonderful physician, malnutrition. No, I don’t eat junk food or garbage, but basically I don’t take in enough food, enough good foods (in this case protein). Basically, I workout too much and eat too little.

Of course, my trainer has been telling me the same thing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have been trying to eat better, more. I did this, however, by faking it. I drank two protein shakes a day and thought that covered me. Boy was I wrong!!

My doctor asked me, “Do you have an aversion to meat?”

The answer is, “No.” I do not, however, enjoy cooking it. I actually very much hate the smell.

I no longer have a choice. Yours truly has a goal of a half-marathon in Dingle, Ireland on September 1st and I will not get to do this if I do not eat protein and get my hydration back to normal.

How much protein do I need?

A minimum of 60 grams a day…from unprocessed/fake sources.

Where does protein come from?

Meat! One of the best sources of protein is meat; beef, chicken, and fish. Almost across the board for every ounce of meat you eat you intake 7 grams of protein.

Eggs are another fantastic source. An egg has 6 grams of protein.

Dairy is another good source, but watch out for the fat. A slice of American cheese has 6 grams of protein. Greek yogurt is my favorite source of dairy protein. Chobani makes this kids’ yogurt that is mixed berry and it is delicious! It’s a small container so I don’t have to eat a large amount to get 8 grams of protein. I usually save this for dessert after dinner.

Beans and nuts (almonds/walnuts) are other great sources of protein.

In my case, I have been ordered to eat meat and eggs. All the others are a bonus.

In addition to my lack of protein, I have to stay hydrated. In this case, water is not the only or best solution.

How do I deal with the hydration?

This one is way simpler for me. Eat fruits and vegetables! Ah, but they have to be fruits and vegetables high in water content. Believe me, this works!

I have been eating watermelon, cantaloupe, green beans, lettuce, or tomatoes at practically every meal. Broccoli, grapefruit, and plums are other great water fruits and vegetables. There are more, but I don’t like them. I have one cup of fruit or vegetables at every meal or for snacks.

Notice that most of the foods I mentioned are not processed. This is key. Natural foods have less sodium. Sodium is very bad for me because it aids in the bad fluid being retained in my body.

Because I am a nut and I wish to be better sooner than later, I have also endeavored to identify a few other things to help with my kidney issues. I am trying IsoPure water, which is a protein water drink. Just drank two of them this morning. Not bad…but I mixed it with cranberry juice as cranberry juice is good for kidney function.

This afternoon, after I eat my chicken Caesar wrap for lunch (35 grams of protein), I am going to try a protein gelatin. It’s something similar to the water I just mentioned only in jello form.

I am not counting these supplements in the 60 grams of natural protein that I have to intake each day. I’m counting these supplements as bonuses or a hopeful boost.

Wish me luck in getting my kidneys back on track and making my half-marathon!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bringing your characters to life - Lesson 1

I recently did a workshop at the Maine Romance Writer's of America Retreat and thought why not share some of the workshop with you all.

I thought I'd break this down into a couple of posts to give you an opportunity to build your characters along the way. By the end of this workshop you will know your characters and be able to pull their personalities into your story and have them jumping off the page.

Characters. . .characters through the writing of your story must come to life, become “real”, and move your story forward. As a reader you sympathize with the characters of a novel, love or hate them, feel their anger and fear, and every emotion in between. Before the end of a really good book, you as the reader practically know what a character will say or do before you read it.

In order to bring your characters to life for your readers you as a writer have to know your hero, heroine, and even your villain.

How do you go about that?

One way is to picture your characters and ask your hero/heroine/villain:

  • What’s your name? (first and last)
  • Physical appearance (age, looks, clothing)?
  • Marital status (married, divorced, children)?
  • Family (parents, siblings, other influential family member)?
  • History/Backstory (education, job, where from)?
  • Characteristics (verbal expressions, habits, objects carried)?

My new heroine:

Dakota Donovan James

She's 5 feet 6 inches, 28 years old, has hair the color of sunshine, eyes are summer sky blue.
Dakota likes to wear jeans and her dead father's cowboy hat.
Dakota is not married and has never had a long-term relationship.
Both of her parents are dead. Her Irish mother died when she was sixteen and her father died when Dakota was twenty-one. Her father was a huge influence in her life. He taught her to ride horses and to shoot. Because of her Saturday trips with her father, she became a marksman at age fifteen.
Dakota is from Sweetwater, Texas. She has been to other countries due to her job, a job most people don't know she had.
Due to Dakota's job, she has learned to school her reactions...mostly. Besides earing her dead father's cowboy hat, she carries a small wolf sculpture made out of pink quartz.

Monday, May 28, 2012

My first ever Boston Red Sox game

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. The way to this girl's heart is through her sports.

I've been a baseball fan since I was knee-high to my father. I remember as a kid listening to games on my little handheld pink radio. I'd play at the local park and sit on the merry-go-round and listen to the announcer give play-by-play information on whatever game was on.

Sometimes I'd sit and listen with my dad while we sat in lawn chairs and enjoyed the weather. As I got older, we'd watch the games on television together. And when I was even older, we went to see the games at the stadium. It didnt matter whether it was professional, triple-A, or a local farm team playing under the lights on a hot summer night. All that mattered was that I was watching the great American sport of baseball.

I've seen the Minnesota Twins play in person. At one point, I even had an autographed ball by several of the players. Today I have no clue where that ball is. I'm sure it was lost in the many shuffles of moving I've done in my lifetime. When I lived in Virginia I went to see the Orioles play.

Nothing compares to going to see the Boston Red Sox play baseball. That's not to say that the baseball is not as good, but the whole experience is different. Picture a kid sitting in the back seat of the car as you drive by the stadium and he or she sees the sign for Fenway Park for the first time. That was me yesterday!

My mouth dropped open in awe. Flies could have landed on my tongue and it wouldn't have bothered me one bit. Here I was, driving by a stadium that's been around for 100 years. It's beautiful!

We parked just a block away, but that entire block there was an energy that radiated off every person walking by, heading in the same direction as us. . .to Fenway. Banners hang from the side of the stadium lettered with names and dates of some baseball greats like Wade Boggs and Babe Ruth just to name two.

Then we walked down Lansdowne Street. Here is huge difference that any other game I have ever attended. This street is partially closed off to visitors who don't have a game ticket. Lansdowne Street is a smorgasbord of game day vendors.

There are souvenir stands, baseball stores, food carts, food stands, beer, even a three-piece band played music in the middle of the road. There was a caricature artist drawing his heart out and a line of fans waiting their turn. Another vendor was a balloon artist making funny things out of balloons including a baseball hat for a kid on his birthday yesterday.

We had the opportunity to meet a beautiful 67-year old woman who wore a funny hat with fake hair on top of a Red Sox visor. The same hat the friends I was with were wearing. She asked if the guys would take a picture with her. Of course! It was only her second time at the stadium and she was there with her family to celebrate her husband's birthday.

Everywhere you turned you saw a Red Sox t-shirt on someone old or young, big or small. Hats were worn or carried in hands, but just about everyone had one.

I can honestly say that I did not stop gawking or smiling until the game was over and we were on the highway headed home. Okay, honestly, I have not stopped smiling at all.

Going to a Red Sox baseball game is not just going to a game, it's part of an adventure that you will remember for life. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend that every person experience it at least once and if you're lucky, more than once.

I promise you, you will feel like a kid in a candy store and just won't know where to look first, and you will want to look at everything. You will want to tuck every little thing in your pocket and take it home with you.

When the game is on. . . all eyes are on the field and the enthusiasm is electrifying and catchy. From the vendors hailing and selling their lemonade, hotdogs, and peanuts, to the fans making a wave go around the stadium, you will feel a part of this day like no other. Lots of oooo's, ahhhh's, and clapping.

Every time a foul ball is hit, you will wish the ball came your way. You will find yourself hollering at players trying to get their attention, trying to get just a smile, a tip of a hat, or maybe even a handshake.

When a homerun is hit, you will high-five the complete stranger standing next to you. It doesn't matter that he's a fan for the other team. Everyone is excited that the ball hit the back wall.

When the sun shifts and shadows encroach on the field and the game is at a close, you will feel a sadness in your heart that such a day has come to an end. But -- you will relive this day, the game, the fans, and the energy over and over again in your dreams.

To all you baseball fans, if you want to experience a game day like no other, I recommend you go see the Red Sox play. Oh! And take me with!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Secrets to a successful and long marriage - from my parents

Today is the wedding anniversary of my parents. They have been happily married now for forty-seven years. This evening when I called mom and dad to wish them a happy anniversary, I decided it was a good time to find out what was their secret for a lasting and happy marriage.

First, let me tell you the story of how they got together. The first time they met, my father asked my mother out. On that first date, he asked her out for another and so it went. The story goes that they dated for about two months before dad proposed to mom.

Where did dad propose?

Now that's an interesting story. Apparently, a friend of my father had always teased him that he would never marry. So when he proposed he proposed in front of that friend as a witness. Where did Keith Goodman propose to Mary Cohoon? Inside the JCPenney store in Spencer, Iowa.

Yup. You read that correctly. Dad got down on bended knee in front of their friend and proposed to mom right there in the middle of JCPenney. Now, if you are like me you ask yourself or in my case I asked them, "What department did you do this in?"

It was in fact as I had predicted. In the ladies' lingerie department. HA! How romantic is that?!

Way to go dad! Three months later, Keith and Mary tied the knot and became husband and wife.

I asked my parents if they still loved each other as much now as they did then and they both said that the love was stronger.

I asked mom and dad if they still had romance in their marriage. Mom jumped in and said, "Absolutely!"
Dad answered, "Every day."

When asked 'What is the secret to a happy marriage?' my parents had this to say. "Patience, tolerance, talking and most important, listening. The love is there and will continue to grow as long as you remember those keys."

'How does one keep a marriage going after forty-seven years?' "Support and working together," was their collective response. "At various times one of you will have to support the other and then it will be the other person's turn the next time, but if you work together you can accomplish anything and it will be much better because you did it as a team, a couple."

When I asked Keith and Mary 'If you could change on thing about your marriage, what would it be?' They both responded, "Not move so much." I for one can tell you that I agree with that assessment. We moved a lot of places for my dad's job. All for good, but it does take a toll. The fact that my parents are still together is a testament that in spite of those hardships, if they work together they can make it happen and be happy.

On the humorous side, I asked my parents, "If you were on a deserted island and could only take one person with you, who would it be and why?" Not surprising from this happy couple was that they would take the other. Mom would take dad because he could kill the food. Dad would take mom because she is a good cook.

How perfect is that? Two people who complete each other, each bringing to the table something the other person doesn't have.

To my wonderful and loving parents, Keith and Mary Goodman...Happy Anniversary!

Love you!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why do social media sites constantly change their faces?

I woke up this morning and was going to write something about stopping to smell the roses. Then I logged in to Blogger and completely changed my mind. The dang sit has changed!

Seriously folks, why do social media sites like Blogger, Twitter, and Facebook feel the need to change their faces?

While change is good, constant change is disruptive and unproductive.

I get the fact that they want to offer more functionality and features. That's great!
I get theat they want to out do their competition. That's half the game.

BUT when they make these changes by changing the face of the application they aren't just offering something new that every user will want. They aren't just beating out their competition. They are pissing off the end users who made them what they are today.

I, like many users, do not like being taken by surprise with a new interface and then having to spend time trying to re-learn what I already knew how to do.

Why not just add another menu option or a button instead of changing the entire look and feel? Why not consider usability when you are redesigning a social media site? Any other software company does!

Did they bother to do a beta test with end users to see if they liked the new look and feel? Did they bother to get any other person's opinion to the change other than the dud sitting behind the computer screen all day long who probably doesn't even understand the word social?

Well, to all you social media sites out there. . .Get a clue!

We, the end users, do not particularly like having to re-learn a tool every time you get a bug up your behind and decide to add some cool feature. And to be honest. The new features aren't all that useful. And if they were, they would be just as useful if you left the old interface.

As a software development manager and an end user, I humbly suggest you pull your head out of your you know what and start paying attention to the end user and cut the proverbial crap. We want to be able to use the site, not be afraid that everything will have changed or that we will have to learn something new every time we log in.

Just my opinion.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fun with Lists and Embarrassing Moments

This is going to be a good one! Write about your most embarrassing moments.

When I was just a kid I used to go to stock car races with my father. One time I went to use the girls' room and my sister was supposed to guard the door while I used the potty. As I'm squatting there at about the age of ten, someone jerks the door open and a flash goes off. Thanks to my sister, the worst door guard in the world, somebody got a very indelicate picture of me.

To stay with that theme, let me tell you about my airline incident. It was a late night flight from the West coast to the East coast. i got up to use the restroom. I'm there, sitting on the potty and you know it. The door is yanked open. I went white faced then blushed, and the guy who stood there apologized profusely before shutting the door again. Apparently, I forgot to lock the door that indicates the bathroom is occupied.

Next up is probably my most embarrassing moment. I was teaching a software development class and had to use the ladies' room. Do you see a pattern here?

At the time, I worked at a place that required women to wear dresses or skirts and stockings. All you women can see where this is going.

I finished up in the bathroom adn walked back to my classroom. Mind you, the bathroom was in the hall outside our offices and then my classroom was close to the end of our office. Class starts back up after the break and I turn to write something on the whiteboard.

Yes! That is when I learn, thanks to a very nice student, that my skirt was tucked into my panty hose. And yes, I have just 'bared' all for the world to see from one end of the building to the other and no one, not a single person bothered to tell me until I turned around and shared a very nice visual to a class filled with fifteen men.

Needless to say, I got the best teaching scores ever!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fun with Lists and Place to Visit

Tell us about all the places you would like to visit. Local or far away!

Scotland (The area where my ancestors came from)
Guinness brewery (Just because I like the beer)
New Zealand
Block Island, Rhode Island (This summer! Where the first Cohoon (ancestor) helped found.)
Quantico Behavioral Science Unit
Navy SEAL training facility
DARPA (To see what else they are doing research on that we don't know about.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Last book shut on another Dewey 24-hr Read-a-thon

I did it!

Almost twenty-four hours have passed and I managed to stay awake. Well, I may have nodded a few times here and there, but that's why they invented caffeine...Just for all-nighters.

I enjoyed every single book!

Thank you to the cheerleaders who sent out tweets or shot blog messages of encouragement. Much appreciated! See you next time!!

Now what I need is more caffeine. GASP! Yup, I know it sounds so terrible, but I am not a girl who can sleep once the sun comes up. So I am headed out for my Sunday morning Mountain Dew and Panera cinnamon roll. I'm sure I look like something the cat dragged in but, nothing that a baggy sweatshirt and a baseball hat won't hide.

And while I'm at it, I may actually write a little in my new novel. Nothing like a lot of reading to inspire a little writing.

I hope this Dewey 24-hr Read-a-thon has inspired you in some way. I hope it has helped spread the idea of more people should read and not just while they are on their summer vacation or on the toilet in the morning. Rading is good. It opens the mind and the heart, and let's you go places you haven't even imagined or learn something you may never have heard about.

Reading is fun!

My last book was another of Linda Lael Miller's McKettrick stories. This one was MecKettrick Lucky.

A little about the book: A classic tale of a new generation of cowboys staking claims to their land—and the women they love…

Like his celebrated ancestors, who tamed the wilds of Arizona, Jesse McKettrick's Indian Rock ties run deep. The Triple M Ranch is in his blood, along with the thrill of risk. But with his land at stake, this world-class poker player won't be dealt into Cheyenne Bridges's gamble—despite the temptation she brings.

Cheyenne grew up in Indian Rock and left its painful memories behind to become a self-made woman. Now her job is to convince Jesse to sell his property. Jesse's not the kind of man Cheyenne could ever forget, but he's too wild and dangerous for a woman committed to playing it safe. Yet sparks of attraction fly, tempting Cheyenne to lay it all on the line for the passion she sees in Jesse's eyes.

Home stretch of the Dewey 24-hr Read-a-thon

Are you reading from the inside of your eyelids yet? Did you have to use toothpicks to prop the eyelids open?

I don't know about you, but I found my friend, Mr. Coke was very handy to have around the last couple of hours. However, there is nothing that fixes this numbness in my backside. One would think that I'd have enough cushion back there and numbness would not be a problem. Where's one of those blow up donut rings when you need one?!

Well, we're almost there and doing good.

In the last few hours I've change up my reading, going for shorter books. Helps keep me focused.

I've read Letters to Kelly by Suzanne Brockmann, Amber of Night by Sharon Sala, and The Groom Who (Almost) Got Away by Carla Neggers.

Here's a little about each book.

Letters to Kelly: Falsely imprisoned on trumped up charged in Central America, Jax Winchester's memory of Kelly O'Brien is the only thing that keeps him going. Released after two years, Jax is determined to claim her as his own. Original.

Amber of Night: AMELIA BY DAY
From nine to five, she was Amelia Beauchamp, typical small-town librarian. But when the sun went down, she was miniskirt-clad cocktail waitress Amber Champion. And she'd caught the eye of the town's biggest rake, Tyler Savage. The name said it all -- and this was one Savage, "Amber" knew, who would never be interested in her if he knew who she really was. She had to keep playing the game . . .


Or did she? Tyler, it turned out, was well aware that proper Amelia and flirtatious Amber were one and the same -- and he was having a fine old time playing along. And as for romantic dinners and long, moonlit nights together, really, they were all part of the game. One which he had every intention of turning into reality . . .

The Groom Who (Almost) Got Away: Completely got away is more like it. Max Slade just up and left Calley Hastings without a word. But now, three little Slades suddenly send for her….

What she learns:

1) Max left her to raise his orphaned brothers on their Wyoming ranch.

2) The boys figured Max would smile more if Calley came to marry him.

3) Max still isn't smiling.

Now, Calley's in love with four Slade cowboys. And the tall, good-looking one in the Stetson isn't getting away again…

See you at the end!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dewey 24-hr Read-a-thon moves past twelve hours

We've moved into the twelve hour mark of the twenty-four hour read-a-thon. Hope you're enjoying your books.

Where are you doing your reading? In a bookstore? At home in your living room? In a restaurant between innings of a baseball game?

I'm moving around. I was on my deck for a while. Then I curled up on the couch. Now, I'm stretched out comfortably on my chaise lounge in the bedroom with my Kindle Fire. Ready to read book five.

I just finished reading The McKettrick Way by Linda Lael Miller and A Creed in Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller.

Here's a little about the books.

The McKettrick Way: She wanted his baby… and he wanted her!
Meg McKettrick longs for a baby—husband optional. Perfect father material is gorgeous Brad O'Ballivan, old flame and new owner of his family's ranch in Stone Creek. But Meg—as strong, proud and stubborn as her ancestors on Indian Rock's Triple M ranch—wants to do things her way…the McKettrick way. And Brad feels just as strongly about the O'Ballivan way…

Love, marriage, babies and a lifetime to share—that's what Brad wants. Not a single night of pasion, an unexpected pregnancy and a woman who won't budge. For a rugged rodeo cowboy who never gives up, it's a battle of wills he intends to win…and nothing matters more than claiming Meg's wild McKettrick heart.

A Creed in Stone Creek: When single attorney Steven Creed becomes guardian of an orphaned five-year-old boy, he trades his big-city law firm for a ranch near his McKettrick kin in the close-knit community of Stone Creek, Arizona. Taking care of little Matt and fixing up his run-down ranch house with its old barn loosens something tightly wound inside him. But when Steven takes on the pro bono defense of a local teen, he meets his match in the opposing counsel—beautiful, by-the-book county prosecutor Melissa O'Ballivan. It'll take one grieving little boy, a sweet adopted dog and a woman who never expected to win any man's heart to make this Creed in Stone Creek know he's truly found home.

Dewey 24-hr Read-a-thon first six hours

Hello all you readers! I hope you are enjoying a beautiful day to sit outside and read. I know I am.

Yup. Me, a cold beer, and a good book all sitting on my deck beneath the umbrella.

I'm working on finishing Invasion of Privacy by Perri O'Shaughnessy. A great read!

A little about the book: Twelve years ago, a young girl disappeared. Now a filmmaker has made a movie about it. The girl's parents call it invasion of privacy. A woman lawyer calls it murder.

The bloodstains on the courtroom floor belong to attorney Nina Reilly. Months earlier she'd been shot during a heated murder trial. She should have died that day. Instead, Nina has returned to the same Lake Tahoe court. Her only concession to her lingering fear is to give up criminal law. She figures an invasion of privacy lawsuit is a nice, safe civil action that will help her support her young son and pay the bills for her one-woman law office. She figures wrong.

Nina's client is Terry London, a filmmaker whose documentary about a missing girl is raising disturbing questions. The girl's distraught parents believe the film invades their privacy. But Terry's brutal murder changes everything. Breaking her promise to herself, Nina decides to defend Terry's accused murderer, a man she'd known years before and hoped never to see again. Suddenly the secrets of Nina's past are beginning to surface in a murder case that gets more dangerous every day. The evidence against her client is shocking and ironclad--a video of Terry's dying words. The only chance Nina has to save the man may be illegal. And if it fails, Nina may lose the case, her practice...and even her life.

Next up is a free Kindle read by Jayne Ann Krentz. If you read her Arcane Society novels then you have to get this novella.

About the book: Chilling paranormal suspense in a small California town—by the New York Times bestselling author of the Arcane Society novels!

As the director at Jones & Jones, a psychical investigation agency, Fallon Jones solves crimes of a different nature. Jones’s latest case involves a body found in the basement vault of a local bookstore, and scratchings on the inside of the door that seem to be a coded message, in this novella by Jayne Ann Krentz, New York Times bestselling author of In Too Deep and the Arcane Society novels.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dewey 24-hr Read-a-thon this Saturday!

Twice a year Dewey's Read-a-thon hosts a real live read-a-thon. Bloggers read and post about what they read and encourage other participants. They arrange for cheerleaders to boost your reading and encourage you to not give up in those last 5 hours. There are mini-challenges throught the 24 hours and even prizes.

If you don't blog, don't worry about it. Visit here and share what you have read, what is keeping you going (like Cheetos, Mountain Dew, delivered pizza), what's your goal, and what's next on your list. Go sign-up at Dewey's Read-a-thon and let me know and we will keep each other awake and motivated for the next 24 hours.

Think of it - reading, reading, and reading!

It starts Saturday, April 21 at 8AM east coast time. So, if you've got a few books that have been on your reading list, or in your to-be-read pile then pull them out, grab a comfy chair, a good lamp, and a whole lot of snack food and start reading.

Now, you don't have to stop doing everything so if you have to go out to eat with your hubby or do some laundry then do it. Just take a book with you. While your date is boring you to death you can sneak off to the ladies' room and read a page or two. OH! E-books would be a great way to deal with that pesky date. Just set it on your seat while he chatters on about his work or his manliness.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fun with Lists and Winning the Lottery

What would you do if you won the lottery?

List the things you would do.

Quit my day job (Anyone who says otherwise is crazy.)
Become a full-time writer
Hire a book publicist (Let's face it, I'm a writer, not a marketing person.)
Go to Scotland (Visit my ancestral home of the Clan Colquhoun)
Open a beach bar in Florida (Right on the water! Every evening drink a margarita while watching the sunset.)
Buy a cottage in Ireland (Yup, the green grounds, the mild climate, and of course, the pubs...who wouldn't want a vacation home in Ireland.)

I'm certain there are way more things I would like to do!

What about you? What would you do if you won the lottery?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Writing Prompt Wednesday

Got a little writer's block? Need a little inspiration for your writing or just to kick off your day? Try a writing prompt.

Start with the beginning of the sentence below and just have fun with it. Let your mind go and write as much or as little as comes to you.

Feel free to share what you write back here. Have fun!

Writing prompt: She turned the key in the ignition. . .

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fun with Lists and Guilty Pleasures

Last weekend I was in a bookstore. GASP! Can't imagine that, can you?

While at the bookstore I found this cool book about your life in lists. It wasn't anything fancy, just a little notebook that asks you to make different lists.

That listography book gave me an idea that we could have some fun with lists.

Today's List: List your guilty pleasures

My guilty pleasures:

Ice cream with hot fudge AND caramel sauce
Chick Flicks
Books!! (Did I need to mention that?)
Sexy underwear (Okay, what female does not like this? I, however, bought one new pair for the 14 days for my upcoming Irish vacation.)
Flowers (I go crazy in the summer. I plant new flowers every weekend and order an outrageous number of bulbs. I look for any bare spot in the garden to fill. I'm obsessed!)
Margarita (Not just any margarita...The perfect margarita! I savor every sip, salt lick, and drop of tequila.)
Veuve Cliquot champagne (When I sell a novel, I celebrate with champagne.)

I'm certain I have more, but some may be a tad risque to share here. [WINK]

What are your guilty pleasures?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Writing Prompt Thursday

So you need a little writing creativity boost? A writing prompt is a good way to kick those creative juices into gear.

I'll give you the beginning of a sentence and all you have to do is let your mind go, your fingers free, and finish that sentence. Write as much as a paragraph, a page, or as little as the sentence.

Have fun with it!

Writing prompt: She walked into the pub. . .

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Everyone is a book winner!

Well, I finally did it. I wrote THE END on my latest novel. Yea me!

The best part is that now I get to give away a copy of PHISH NET STALKINGS.

Lori, who left a post on my Facebook page had the closest guess. She guessed Saturday, March 31 at 3:37 PM.

The actual date and time that I wrote those wonderful words, THE END, was Saturday, March 31 at 10:52 PM.

Congratulations, Lori for a great guess!

Now for some more good news! I decided to giveaway several copies of PHISH NET STALKINGS.

For all my friends who left a guess on my post at All it takes is a guess to get a book you will receive a copy of PHISH NET STALKINGS.

I'll be sending you and email this week to get your mailing address so I can ship the book.

Congratulations to everyone! And don't forget to let me know what you think of the book.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Phish NET Stalking on tour

Good morning everyone!

I wanted to let you know that me and my latest novel, Phish NET Stalkings are going on a book blog tour for the next month.

Would love for you to stop in and visit, say hi, and maybe even get a free book along the way.

You'll find more information here: Pump Up Your Book

The schedule is listed below.

Monday, April 2

Book spotlighted at Book Marketing Buzz

Tuesday, April 3

Guest Blogging at Readaholic

Wednesday, April 4

Guest Blogging at Motherhoot

Thursday, April 5

Interview at Divine Caroline

Friday, April 6

Interview at Blogcritics

Monday, April 9

Interview & Book Giveaway at Workaday Reads

Tuesday, April 10

Interview at Review From Here

Wednesday, April 11

Interview at Between the Covers

Thursday, April 12

Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Friday, April 13

Interview at The Character Connection

Monday, April 16

Interview at Examiner

Tuesday, April 17

Interview & Book Giveaway at Literarily Speaking

Wednesday, April 18

Interview at The Writer’s Life

Thursday, April 19

Interview at Beyond the Books

Friday, April 20

Guest Blogging at The Book Boost

May stops announced soon!

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