Friday, October 30, 2009

What's Not to Love About a Harriet Carter Catalog?

Usually my hubby gets the mail and throws away things he believes are junk. I love to look at all the little catalogs which come my way. Yesterday I managed to salvage the latest Harriet Carter catalog.

Page after page, I find all these unique things which call me to spend money. On page 3, I found a neat cell phone wallet. How neat! I can carry my cell phone and leave my purse behind for those quick trips. That really makes me want to spend $9.98. And on page 7, how about a non-stick oven liner? A reusable fiberglass mat which catches the messy drips and comes out to wipe clean. Wow! I NEED one of those.

I have sons who have a very strange sense of humor. I found a perfect gift that they would really get a kick out of. However, they wouldn't like to receive it...but they'd love to give it. They're funny that way. Anyway, on page 37, I found a "Fanny" bank. It's this cute little pair of blue pants with butt cheeks shining upward. The slot for dropping money is placed strategically. When you drop in a coin, the bank breaks wind.

Now what's not to love about browsing through such a fun catalog?

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Halloween "Tail"

My daughter makes the most fantastic Halloween costumes. A couple of years ago, when our cats were under a year old, she stopped by to ask for an afternoon to chat while working on a "tail" for the Big Bad Wolf disguised as Grandma. Daughter was going as Red Riding Hood, and her hubby as the disguised wolf. She purchased a piece of fake fur to make the wolf's tail. We were having a good time, and she was hand sewing the tail around some stuffing when suddenly Templeton decided to see what was going on.

That tail totally had him fascinated and he was bound and determined to take it away.

Enjoy the pics!

He sure was determined to have that tail!!!

And, here are the costumes.

I hope I shared a smile with you today. Please pass it on! It's catching, it's calorie free, and it's healthy!!

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, October 26, 2009

All About Zeke and Girly Books

I had an interesting converstion with one of the senior managers at my work on Friday. Everyone is aware that my last day of work is December 31. Most know that I'm a writer. But, this man, I'll call him Zeke for the sake of annonymity, seems to be fascinated with that aspect of my life.

Zeke stopped in and asked: "Have you ever written one of those girly books about falling in love?"

Me: "Sure. That's what I write. I write romance books. Actually, romantic suspense."

Zeke: "Have you written a book where the girl and guy fall in love and then they lose each other, and get back together?"

Me: "Sure."

Zeke: "My wife reads those kinds of books. So, do you base your characters on people that you know?"

Me: (Thinking if he's wondering if I've used people I work with) "No, not really. I might sometimes use pieces of someone's personality or perhaps I've seen a stranger who looks interesting and I use a bit of description based on that person."

Zeke: "That's interesting. Have you ever killed someone in a book?"

Me: "Yes."

Zeke: "Have you ever had a woman kill a man in a book?"

Me: "No, not yet anyway."

So I proceeded to tell him the premise of my first book, thinking the psychic bond between sisters who can communicate despite one being dead, might give him something to think about.

Zeke: "Where do you get your plot ideas?"

Me: "Sometimes a person, or an interaction with a person, triggers something that turns into a different scene in my head. From there I develop a plot line. It's all created in my head first before I put it on paper."

Zeke: "That's very interesting."

Luckily, the telephone rang just then.

I may have to include Zeke in my next book. **grin** But today, I believe I'll take my three books to him and ask if he'd like to buy them for his wife. **evil grin**

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 23, 2009

What's Not to Love About an Unexpected Gift

My best friend is a gift from God. We met at a local writer's group and when I learned we lived close, we began to ride together to the meetings. We became so close during those times spent in the car. Our friendship grew and soon we were sharing much more than writing. We share stories about our past, stories about family, about the things that are deep within our hearts. We support each other through email when we can't be together face to face. I love her dearly and I know the feeling is mutual. One day when we met for lunch, she handed me a bag. "This is just something that I had to give you."

Inside were two desk ornaments. Both have a beautiful 3-D rose embedded inside, deep red against dark green leaves in clear acryllic. One piece is a heart shaped paperweight. Beside the rose are the words: "My Friend. Of all God's gifts, great and small, our friendship is the best of all!" The other piece is like an open book that stands upright. One side has two roses identical to the one in the paperweight. The opposite side says: "Special Friends. There's a warmth and joy that never ends between the hearts of special friends."

I realize these are material things. But when I see them I feel her love reaching out to me, reminding me that I'm special to her. She's a part of my heart.

What's not to love about having a special friend who gives the unexpected gift of friendship?

May your life be blessed by special friends.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


My husband is known as paa-paa to our grandchildren. He has deep-set dark brown eyes and a deep voice. Add that he's as hairy as an ape and you have a frightening picture to a little child. It's amusing to watch little ones we don't know when they catch a glimpse of my big teddy-bear man. They stare openly, turning their head when he looks at them, but eventually they have to grin back at him. I guess his warm heart can be viewed from inside that big barrel chest in the eyes of a child.

I'm enclosing one of my favorite pics taken during a Sunday afternoon gathering when the little ones were playing in the backyard kiddy pool. Our three year old grand-daughter had climbed up on Paa-Paa's lap, wet suit and all.

Now take that smile and share it with someone else today!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Book covers, ebooks, and more!!

With the changes in the economy and in technology, the future is uncertain for many writers. There is evidence that times are changing in the publishing world. Publishers are scaling back staff; that's a fact. New authors are having a difficult time getting their manuscripts into the hands of an accepting agent or editor. Many new ebook publishers are opening doors of opportunity for new authors to break into the publishing world.

In a roundtable discussion at a recent Central Ohio Fiction Writers meeting, Sue Grimshaw mentioned the only thing holding back the explosion of ebooks is a "universal" reader. Personally I have a reader and it's a bit clunky in comparison with the newest Sony and Kindle ereaders. I'd love to own a new reader because of the ease of carrying multiple books, and opening a page whenever the opportunity arises. I love reading books, whether they are printed or ebook. What I don't like about ebooks with Kindle is the mentality that I must purchase through Amazon. Each reader takes a particular "format" in order for the book to appear seamlessly.

Another thing that surprised me about book buyers is the importance put on the cover of the book. I asked the question "On what factors do you base your decision when purchasing a debut author's book?" The answer surprised me: book cover, author quotes, and voice. Sue shared several cover flats with us and discussed what's hot and what's not in romance book covers. Since authors have such little voice in what their covers will look like, it's horrifying to me that a cover could make or break sales! Evidently, established and best-selling authors have a small amount of power when it comes to changing book covers. She also said that "yellow" covers do not sell well. Wow! So, yellow isn't appealing to the reader's eye?

Lots of interesting tidbits to consider.

Here are my questions to you:

As a reader, what types of covers are you drawn to? (What tempts you to pick a book from the shelf to peruse it?

Do you own an ereader? If so, does this limit the amount of shopping you do in a bookstore?

Looking forward to seeing some discussion. Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. For a chance to win a free ebook, and a grand prize of lots more, check out the following link: White Roses in Bloom Blog

Friday, October 16, 2009

What's Not to Love About Garth Brooks?

Garth may be one of the most talked about music artists of the day. He's made mistakes. He's owned up to them. And he continues to sell records, even after his retirement in 2000. He's not one of my favorite country artists as far as his music goes, but he's got terrific marketing skills AND he's a man of conviction.

He retired to spend more time with his children and said he wouldn't come out of retirement until they were grown. It appears he's cut a deal to appear in Las Vegas fifteen weeks out of the year, mostly on Friday through Sunday. He won't be putting on a huge stage show like his tours. Instead, it will be Garth, his guitar, and occasionally a guest or so. The deal includes a private jet which will allow Garth to fly to and from his gigs to enable him to still spend a lot of time with his girls. It appears the entire family has agreed, his current wife, Trisha Yearwood, his ex-wife Sandy Mahl, and his three girls.

What's not to love about a man who made a commitment to step out of the limelight when he was at the top of the billboard charts? When his private life went up for public scrutiny he stepped aside so that he could spend quality time with the family he wanted to protect and support. He kept his word and he has spent the last nine years immersing himself in his children's lives. I admire him for that. He's built a strong family framework and continued to market himself with occasional public appearances and record releases. Each was a stroke of marketing genius, no matter the controversy.

No wonder the hotel owner jumped at the chance to purchase a private jet for Garth Brooks. He will get his money back many times over. Garth is back.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Three Generations...I Dare You Not to Smile!!

Recently we attended my granddaughter's ninth birthday. We always have a great time at these family gatherings. What fun to watch the little ones--cousins, brothers, sisters--laugh and share joy. There's nothing like it.

This year, my daughter purchased party favors of silly teeth for the kids to enjoy. But...being the kind of family we are...some adults just had to join in the fun.

The picture below is me, my daughter, and my mother! Aren't we cute?

Smile and have a wonderful day!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Introducing Author Margaret Brownley

This morning it is my pleasure to host Margaret Brownley on my blog. Margaret's newest book, A LADY LIKE SARAH, is coming out in December 2009. She's a dear friend, an inspiration, and a wealth of information. Comments and questions are welcomed.


She’s an outlaw: he’s a preacher. Both are in need of a miracle.

Preacher JUSTIN WELLS leaves Boston in disgrace, heading out alone on the dusty trail to Texas. But when the once-respected clergyman encounters a feisty redhead in handcuffs with a dying U.S. Marshal at her side, his journey takes a dramatic turn. When he promises the injured lawman to take his prisoner to Texas, Justin has no idea the trouble that lies ahead. The slightly-built prisoner turns out to be SARAH PRESCOTT—sister of the notorious Prescott brothers—and she’s determined to miss the hanging party waiting for her in Texas.

But escaping proves to be tougher than she thought. Justin doesn’t own a gun and hasn’t the foggiest idea how to survive the wilderness. How can she leave him alone with the injured marshal?

Nothing is more sacred to Justin than a promise made to a dying man, but how can he turn the blue-eyed beauty over to the hangmen? She’s tough as leather, but there’s something about her that is pure and good.

Justin can’t bear to lose her, but how can a simple preacher fight an entire town? And how can either one of them know that miracles come in many guises—including love?


It’s been said that knowledge is power, but sometimes ignorance can be a writer’s best friend. For example, I didn’t realize until after selling a story to Proctor & Gamble that “everybody knows” it’s near impossible for freelancers to sell to daytime soaps.

It all started with the Romance Writers of America conference which my dear friend Lee Duran and I planned to attend. Since we were both fans of As The World Turns, we figured it would be fun to visit the set while we were in New York.

Our husbands laughed. Our children laughed. Everyone laughed. Undaunted, I called CBS and told them that two romance writers who were lifelong fans of ATWT were going to be in NY and wanted to visit the set. The switchboard operator didn’t laugh. I took this as a good sign.

Two days later, I got a call from an ATWT producer and we were in.

As we left the hotel for the studio we bumped into our agent and, without thinking, I invited her to join us. While Lee and I toured the set and acted like crazy fans (yep, we met all the stars who are much cuter in real life than on TV), our agent was busy making nice with producers and collecting business cards.

Shortly after the conference, Lee and I came up with a good soapy story idea and decided to pitch it to ATWT. Fagettabout it, everybody said. Crazy idea. Impervious to good advice, we plowed ahead and, for once, luck was on our side. My agent contacted one of the producers who agreed to hear our pitch. A date was set for a conference call. Since Lee lived in Colorado and I lived in California, we decided to get together to work on our story. With this in mind, we did what any self-respecting soon-to-be soap writers would do; we booked passages on a cruise ship to Mexico dragging our husbands along, poor things.

Every morning without fail, we sacrificed ourselves by sitting in Lee’s cabin and working on our story for four solid hours while our husbands lounged on deck, waited on hand and foot.

Then came P day—the great PITCH--and we were ready. Early that morning Lee and I spoke on the phone and rehearsed our parts. We decided we would take turns reading alternating paragraphs of our synopsis. We even added some tag lines like “Here’s the Friday cliffhanger” and “This is what happens during Sweeps week.” We figured that would prove we knew what we were doing.

We calmly hung up and waited for our respective phones to ring. That’s when panic set in. I called Lee and screamed “I can’t do this.”

She screamed back. We were a mess but somehow managed to calm each other down.
Then came the CALL. The producer was very nice and told us to relax. He sounded like my gynecologist which did nothing for my nerves.

For one whole torturous hour, we pitched our story. We didn't know you were supposed to pitch a story in 3 minutes or less. “Friday cliffhanger,“ I yelled into the phone. “Sweeps Week,” Lee yelled back.

We were glorious. We did everything but stand on our heads. During the entire time we rambled on, we never heard a peep from the producer. Nada. My mind imagined the worse. I was convinced he’d either hung up or had fallen to the floor, probably dead.

When we finished, there was stone silence. Finally, the producer cleared his throat and said, “I never heard a pitch like that.” I was pretty sure he didn’t mean it as a compliment. He sounded shell-shocked

Although he was very nice, he rejected our story and that was that. We were disappointed, of course, but at least we got a cruise out of the deal. That’s way more than you get from most rejections.

Then an idea occurred to me. Lee and I both had a book coming out and I decided that a little bit of publicity wouldn’t hurt. I wrote up a press release that basically said two romance writers were this close to selling to their favorite soap. Apparently, no one had ever seen a press release on a rejection so it was picked up everywhere. I hadn’t just made lemonade out of lemons, I created a whole media blitz.

Then much to our surprise, the producer called to say that he changed his mind. He decided to purchase our story, after all. Naturally we were ecstatic. Now we could legitimately say that watching soaps was work. Of course, now I had the embarrassment of having to retract my press release, which we titled When Is A Rejection Not A Rejection?

Our soap writing days were short lived. Now that we know the rules, our chances of selling another story to the soaps really is near impossible. You can only plead ignorance once and Lee and I are already way past our quota. On the other hand, if one of us gets another “good idea” …

Margaret Brownley has published more than 20 novels and has written for Harlequin, St.Martin’s Press and Penguin. She is currently writing historical novels for Thomas Nelson. Her next book, A Lady Like Sarah will be in bookstores December 2009, followed by A Suitor For Jenny June 2010.

Visit Margaret’s
For laughs you won’t want to miss A Lady Like Sarah Presents Stagecoach Etiquette:

Lee Duran has published more than 30 books writing both as Ruth Jean Dale and Lee Duran. A former newspaper reporter, she has written for Harlequin, St. Martin’s Press and Time Warner. She is currently working on a new historical series.

Friday, October 09, 2009

What's Not to Love About Having Your Own Space?

As I sit here in my home office, I realize how lucky I am to have a space to call my own. Here I can escape from the rest of the world and hide away to make up stories! That's a writer's dream. That's what we do. We pretend, just like when we were little, and make those pretend things come to life on the page. We need a place to do that.

When I was a little girl, m parents and I lived with my grandparents. In the back yard was an old chicken coup. The structure was long and at one end there was a room, segregated from the rest of the building. The door was an outside entrance. My father allowed me to clean that area, which had small screened windows, and use it for my hideaway. I had a cot inside and a bevy of books. I could escape there and read without interruption, escaping into wonderful, exciting worlds. Many summer afternoons I traveled with Jason and the Argonauts, met the Cyclops, Medusa, and other frightening characters. But, Jason always prevailed. Perhaps that's where my first love of overcoming obstacles came to fruition.

How I loved that little, dusty room.

We all need a space to call our own. Not everyone can have an entire room, but we all carve out special places where we can get away to think, to cry, to just be alone. I hope you have a special place of your own.

What's not to love about that?

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Three brothers, ready to be transformed into....

Two spiders and a fly!!!

It's October, my favorite month of the year. Over the years, I always looked forward to seeing my grandkids in their Halloween costumes. The transformations are fabulous. I especially like the home made costumes. I still smile when I look back at these pictures. I thought I'd share these to (hopefully) add a smile to your face today. Remember, smiling is a wonderful thing. It's free, calorie-free, and it feels great. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by! Remember to share that smile with others today!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

At Setback or a Warning

I don't normally blog on Tuesdays, but I feel compelled to write my thoughts this morning.

I woke up at 5:20AM and wondered why the furnace was running and I was so hot. I turned on the downstairs hallway light and the further down the stairs I walked the colder the air felt. I headed to the thermostat and immediately saw the problem. The basement door was wide open and the screen door was also propped open! I immediately thought hubby must have been painting in the basement and forgot to shut the doors. But then I knew that I would have felt the cold the night before and I had been in the basement to do laundry and everything was locked and secure. As I walked back toward the family room, I saw pictures on the floor and thought the cats must have done it...probably spooked by something. No! Our flat screen TV was missing. I quickly scouted the area and noticed nothing else that seemed to be missing. My office was intact; my purse intact and all my computer stuff...fine. I hurried upstairs and woke up hubby and told him we'd been robbed. We came downstairs and couldn't figure out how anyone could have come in through the door. It had two slide bolts as well as a regular lock. Nothing was disturbed. The door hadn't been removed from the hinges.

I went upstairs and saw the entry point. Someone had come on our deck, removed a bug screen from one half of the window (inside the deck), and then had gone outside, used our ladder and climbed up to lift the window screen and the window. They came in through that half window area and went downstairs to get the TV. As we investigated the path, we realized they had snipped the alarm wire on the door they used to exit. Not too smart of a crook, because if we had actually set the alarm before retiring, that would have broken the circuit and set off the alarm.

Anyway, we are out one 42" flat screen television, but no one in our home was injured. Nothing else was taken.

I truly believe God was watching over us. It could have been so much worse. In today's world, we might have been killed. If we had woken up and caught them in the act, who knows what might have happened.

I also believe God is giving us a wake-up call. We have safety measures on our windows to keep them from opening. We have locks, and the kitchen window was unlocked. We have an alarm system and we hadn't set it. From now on, we are utilizing all our safety measures, and we are thanking God for the blessing in the violation.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Free books and more!!

Have you checked out the White Roses in Bloom Blog yet? This is week four in our seven week giveaway. Each week you have a chance to win a free e-book by one of our fabulous authors.

How? By joining our scavenger hunt. Each Saturday two to three new author’s web-sites will be added to this blog. What your job is to locate the WHITE ROSE PUBLISHING cup hiding somewhere on their site. Jot down the author’s name and what color cup is on their web page and e-mail the correct answers to (Please place in the subject line WRiB Contest) Each Saturday, starting September 19th, a winner’s name will be drawn and your prize will be awarded.

But that’s not all, each time that you send in an entry—regardless if you win that week or not--your name goes into a larger kitty for the grand prize drawing October 31st! (That prize consists of: seven e-books, a box of White Rose Organic tea, your very own beautiful White Rose mug, and a little basket of Arbonne skin care products.)

What are you waiting for?

Go here to play:

Friday, October 02, 2009

What's Not to Love About October?

October begins my favorite season of the year. It's time for the hot, sticky summer days to mellow into cooler, brisker weather. Leaves turn from green to beautiful neon yellow and orange, painting a breathtaking view everywhere I look. I love to walk outdoors and feel the cool air against my face, tingling my cheeks as they blush from the kiss of autumn.

October is the month before the frantic rush of the holiday season, when people get caught up in cooking, cleaning, and frenzy purchases.

October is the month of Halloween. Many people are skeptical about Halloween and many are prejudiced. But, me? I love Halloween.

c. Carol Ann Erhardt

Halloween is called a scary night,
Where ghosts and goblins give a fright!
When witches ride on magic brooms,
And mummies rise from darkened tombs!

Black cats howl throughout the night,
And monster eyes watch glowing bright!
Bats fly low and pumpkins roll,
The headless horseman in control.

But this is just a myth I swear,
There’s nothing that you need beware.
Beneath those costumes, children smile,
Gathering candy all the while.

Soft and cuddly, black silk fur,
Is the cat you see, who loves to purr.
I know there’s nothing bad to be seen,
For I was born on Halloween!

Now what's not to love about that?

Thanks for stopping by!