Friday, November 27, 2009

What's Not to Love About a Family Thanksgiving

Two plump turkeys, baking in my kitchen, presented mouth-watering scents wafting through the house. Downstairs my family room had been transformed into a long dining hall with two eight foot tables and nineteen chairs waiting for guests. How to fit four additional guests? The sofa pushed back under the windows would work for the four little children along with wooden tv trays. Everything waited, including me, for the arrival of our guests.

They came, one family at a time, each carrying a side dish to add to the feast. Time to pop the rolls in the oven, put the vegetables and potatoes in bowls and begin carrying down the food. With plenty of help, the long table was soon laden with two platters of turkey, a ham, sweet potato casserole, corn, green beans, macaroni & cheese, mashed potatoes, gravy, hot rolls, butter, and soft drinks for all. Everyone told what they were thankful for this year, many bringing a soft chorus of "awwww", many drawing applause amidst tears. So much to be thankful for. Last year my son-in-law had been in the hospital on Thanksgiving after having his kidney removed due to cancer. His testimony broke us all down. My mother was thankful that she isn't alone any longer. Everyone spoke from their hearts and I felt so blessed to be part of this family.

Dessert came next...pumpkin rolls, pumpkin pies, pumpkin cheesecake, cherry pie, pecan pie.

Afterward, everyone pitched in to clean and to put the house back in order. Amazing how quickly things can get cleaned up with willing hands. That's when I discovered the crock pot full of sweetened carrots, which I forgot to add to the dinner. There's always one thing that goes awry and causes laughter and "remember when" moments. Guess it'll be the carrots that get center stage for this gathering.

We are so blessed to have a warm home, family to grace it with love, plenty of food, and an abundance of love and laughter. And the cats didn't try to interfere. I was thankful for that! We don't feed them table foods, but they do try to gain attention during our dinner hour by rubbing against legs and meowing for attention. No one screamed, so I'm assuming the cats had found safe hiding spots.

What's not to love about that?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How Cats Entertain...

So what does an acrobatic cat do to entertain his brothers and sisters? The pictures below should tell the story. Enjoy!

Wilbur enjoys climbing the rafters on our deck. We don't dare turn on the fan when he's out with us or his long bushy tail would be whacked off!

From time to time he even enjoys watching television.

Wishing everyone in the US a very happy Thanksgiving! Smile, it's contagious!!

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dark Villains and Romance

It's no secret that I am addicted to reading about murder and serial killers. Where did this love of the dark, twisted minds come from? I used to read nothing but romance o the high seas or gothic romance. I suppose while the mystery and suspense were a part of these stories, I began to gravitate to the modern romance thrillers. I'm fascinated with how the psyche of these dark villains.

I suppose once being in an abusive marriage with a man who was not only paranoid schizophrenic, but also manic depressive has something to do with it. During college, my favorite courses were psychology. I loved studying about the different types of personalities. It also helped me with understanding a bit of what made my previous husband tick.

My very first book, in draft stages, began with a scene that broke my heart. But I knew it wouldn't fly in a romantic suspense book. However, it did help me to understand the villain I created and why he did the things he did...and how he felt justified in his actions. And,I enjoyed having my heroine find her soul mate, just as I did in real life.

With this passion inside me, perhaps there will be a book to come from me which will incorporate some of these insights. Not everyone likes to be frightened by what they read, but a part of me is still that little girl who liked to sit in a circle with her buddies at a pajama party telling ghost stories.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 20, 2009

What's Not to Love About My Beloved Katie

Katie had many nicknames: Doodle Dog, Katie Bug, Doodles. She didn't care. She would come at the sound of any of her names. She grew from a black and white furball into a ninety pound dog with soft flowing fur, deep brown eyes that could touch your soul, and a heart full of love. She followed me from room to room, even as she grew old and feeble. Her job was to be near me, to protect me. She'd wait patiently outside the bathroom door until I came out. She'd lay on the floor beside the bed while I slept. And when I'd sit in my office to write, she lay at my feet, her nose on her paws, her eyes watching me. I loved her.

As arthritis claimed her hips and she could no longer climb up and down the stairs of our bi-level, my husband built her an elevator. The elevator consisted of a box attached to a boat winch mounted on our railing. Katie would go onto the deck, into the box and we'd winch her down to the ground. She could enjoy the backyard, do her duty and when she was ready, she'd climb back into the box for us to winch her back up.

Katie and I talked about her pain, about getting older, and about being together again one day. When she had her stroke, she understood. Her eyes held mine telling me it was time to let go. I didn't think I could bear it. But she spoke to me, telling me it was time and that she'd be waiting for me. So I held her close, hugging her and talking to her as the vet administered the meds that would ease her pain forever.

Katie's cross is in my back garden where her ashes are buried. I still cry when I remember her and how special she was. She showed me unconditional love.

What's not to love about a friend like this?

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

And the Winner is...

Tina Joyce is the winner of a free copy of HEART OF THE WITCH, by Alicia Dean.

Alicia drew the winner on Tuesday night from the names of all who commented on her Monday blog post. I had promised to include it in my blog yesterday morning and unfortunately was in such a hurry to get to work that I forgot to include it in my post.

Tina, congratulations!

I look forward to welcoming Alicia back to the blog again. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and to everyone who commented. For those who didn't win, be sure to get your copy from your local bookstore on November 24th!!

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Police Surveillance...on our Family Party!!

My family is hilarious. Everyone has such a unique and crazy sense of humor that when we get together there's bound to be one thing we'll all laugh about for years to come. Labor Day is one holiday we usually plan a big cookout at somebody's house. In 2007, my daughter hosted it since her yard was so large...and when you have a large family...

Her side yard sloped downward to a wooded area which extended behind the entire lot. So, she thought it would be funny to post a sign at the bottom of the hill that says restrooms with a sign pointing one direction for girls and one for boys. On the side of the sign she placed a roll of toilet paper. What a hoot!!!

One of my son-in-laws decided to pose for a picture after inspecting the sign. Not too funny, right. But at that time a police helicopter came by and happened to spot us. They were laughing so hard...yep, they came low enough for us to see them because the guy hung out of the helicopter and took a picture!!!


You can see the wheels turning in his mind....

Maybe he couldn't decide what he was?

A day for all to remember!!

I hope your day started with a smile. Be sure to share your smile with others!

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Meet Alicia Dean, Author of HEART OF THE WITCH

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to a fabulous woman, one who is very dear to my heart. She's the wonderful editor who helped to make my first two books good enough to receive four and five star reviews. She's also a great author. Today, she's here to talk about her upcoming release, HEART OF THE WITCH, by Dorchester. I cannot wait to purchase this book! One of you may be lucky enough to win a copy. Every comment will get that person's name in the drawing. Wednesday the winner will be announced on this blog. Good luck!

And now, please help me welcome my dear friend, Alicia Dean!

All struggling writers that I know have broken into the publishing world in various ways. My story is what I'd call a stroke of luck and part miracle. I am a member of Oklahoma Romance Writers of America and Sharon Sala is also in that chapter. A few years ago, she offered to read a book by each of the unpublished authors in our chapter. (An amazing and very giving gesture for someone of her success). She only meant to offer some general comments on how to improve our writing. There were a few of us whose books she liked well enough to help us get published, and fortunately, mine was one of them. She referred me to her agent, Meredith Bernstein. Now, Meredith wouldn't have signed me just because Sharon liked my book. She's a businesswoman and had to feel she could sell my MS. She did sign me and it took a year, but she sold my book Heart of the Witch (formerly Tin Man) to Dorchester. I will be forever grateful to Sharon, my miracle worker. I was able to skip all the queries and rejections and letdowns. I hadn't even really been submitting up to that point. Now, while Meredith was trying to sell my book, I suffered quite a few rejections, so no matter what your situation, it can and will happen if you do one thing. Never give up and explore every opportunity (Okay, maybe that's two things )

I am holding a contest between my book's release date (November 24th) and the end of the year. The information isn't yet posted on my website, but will be soon. In the book, one of the character's names is a scrambled version of someone connected to the original Wizard of Oz movies. On January 1st, 2010, I'll draw one name out of all the correct guesses that are emailed to me. The winner will receive a 70th anniversary edition of the Wizard of Oz DVD, a $30 Amazon gift card, and a signed copy of Heart of the Witch. Check out my website for more details: (NOTE: My web site has been under construction, hopefully, it's up and running now.) If not, email me with any questions at You can also use that email to enter the contest, but the subject line must say 'Name Scramble Contest'

Thanks for stopping by...I can't tell you how thrilled I am that my dream of publication finally came true and my 'baby' will be out there in the world in a matter of days.

There is a monster on the loose, a serial killer murdering young women near Oklahoma City. On each corpse he writes his name in blood:


But while the villain claims to be heartless, he’s not beyond making a mistake. This time he left his prey alive, and ex-homicide detective Nick Lassiter plans to use her to crack the case wide open. Yet, Ravyn Skyler is nothing like he expects. She remembers little of the crime, and for a victim, she has a deep reserve of quiet strength. In her eyes he sees both helpless waif and merciless vigilante, and in her kiss he tastes both passion and power. With a tale of a tin man, it only seems fair that there’s a witch. And this witch guards a secret that threatens not only their lives, but their souls.


“You’re not making any sense,” Ravyn snapped. “I’d
give anything to find and stop this maniac. I don’t
know what you’re accusing me of, or why. Why?”

Nick sighed and shook his head. “Damn it, I don’t
know. I don’t know.”

She put a hand on his arm. “I’m sorry, Nick.”

He gave her a small, humorless smile. “Sorry for
what? Are you sorry Kayne is a dangerous fanatic? Or
are you sorry that I can’t stop thinking about you, can’t
stop wanting you? Sorry that my desire for you is stronger
than it ever was for my dead wife?” He grabbed
her once more and pulled her to him. “Do you have
any idea how crazy that is? How it makes me feel? I
want you every second of every day. Even with people
dying around me, even with the frustration and guilt
of not being able to stop this murdering psychopath,
I still want you. It’s . . . it’s like I’m under some sort of

Visit Alicia Dean at her website:

Friday, November 13, 2009

What's Not to Love About Getting Up Late?

Wow. I overslept this morning. I feel much more rested after staying up way too late on Wednesday night.

Ah, what a wonderful feeling...even if it is too late to compose a blog this morning.


Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have wonderful Friday and an even better weekend.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mork--Do You Remember?

God blessed me with eight children. Believe me, as they were growing up, we never had a dull moment in our house. Especially at Christmas. I was perusing through some pictures preparing for a Christmas present I'm working on when I ran across the pictures below. I remember this Christmas like it was yesterday. Many of you probably don't remember the TV Show, "Mork" with Robin Williams. He played an alien from the planet Ork, who was trapped on earth. My kids loved the show. Mork wore suspenders and he would always sit on the sofa upside down.

This particular Christmas my kids purchased a pair of Mork suspenders for my husband. They were a bit nicer to me. I received a nightgown.

Wow, don't we look young there! Look at my hubby's hair!! I have to laugh everytime I see old pictures of us like this. But I diverse. The suspenders were a big hit. My husband never missed a chance to wear them when he had to take the kids somewhere. He'd wear them inside stores and make sure that all the sales clerks saw them...much to our kids' embarrassment.

He always took great delight in embarrassing them. Little did they know that their gift would haunt them for years to come. Today, they still laugh about it when start playing remember when.

That Christmas, after opening his gift, he promptly put those suspenders on and...well the following picture will tell it all.

I sure hope this started your day with a smile! It did mine.

Do you have a Christmas story to share? Please leave a comment with your unusual gift stories.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Call...Luck? Timing? Skill?

I'm always excited when I hear of an author securing a contract, especially if it's a really sweet deal. With talk in the publishing world about cutbacks, huge slush piles, and book stores folding, it's hard to keep an upbeat attitude toward the one thing we writers do...write and hope for publication. It's a tough road. We battle demons of self-doubt, pressures from friends and family who don't understand the sweat and tears that go into the books we write, and fear of failure.

Writers write. We crank out book after book and wait for "the call." We do need skill. Not everyone can write a book, although many believe differently. It does take a bit of luck in landing your manuscript on the right desk. And at the right time. There is no secret formula that will lead to instant success.

The one constant though is perseverance and developing a thick skin. What is it that makes an editor or publishing house sit up and take notice? Voice. Pure and simple. It's the all important first sentence. The hook. Voice is unique to each person. It's the way you write. You may not know what your voice is, but the editor or agent can spot a voice they like immediately. Likewise, they can spot one they don't like. Editors and agents make mistakes. Occasionally, books will be turned down by many agents and snapped up to instant success by another. Check out this story:

So the one thing that every writer should remember is to remain true to their voice and to never, ever give up. Success might be just a phone call away.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 06, 2009

What's Not to Love about Counting Down the Days...

On December 31, I will be leaving my full-time day job. That's only 55 more days! And only eight more Mondays! I don't like Mondays.

However, it does get harder and harder to make myself go into work each day.

I'm counting down...but the countdown is soooo slow, and yet so exciting.

A new phase of my life. Something unknown. Adventure awaits...and hopefully, new books to write.

Have a wonderful Friday!

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Furry Thief....

As we draw closer to the Christmas season, I've been looking at the ads for Christmas trees. Yeah, hard to believe since I'm the one who refuses to think Christmas until after Thanksgiving. But, we really need a new tree. I'd like to get a real tree because it would be much easier to withstand the torture tactics of our furry thief.

The first year we decorated our artificial tree with beautiful red and gold ornaments, our cats totally destroyed it. They dive bombed through the branches bringing down the red cardinals, the poinsettias, and the red satin balls. Once they knocked it completely down. We kept putting things back on, higher and higher, and the bottom half of the tree was bare. I was so happy to take the tree down after Christmas.

Knowing that cats love red and can see red better than most colors, I decided the next year to decorate with a light blue color. Surely, that would deter the cats. Not!

We had just finished putting the lights and garland on the tree. I'd put a beautiful bird in the top branches and hung a few of the non-breakable balls on the tree, when hubby told me dinner was ready. (Side note: we were having warmed up chili--the only thing he ever cooks!) Only a few bites into the chili, we heard a tell-tale rattle and thump. I knew. I just knew. My tree had been attacked.

Sure enough, the beautiful bird was on the floor along with several ornaments. Now how does a cat see six feet into the air, buried among branches, a bird nearly the same color as the tree?

Yet, sure enough. The damage was done. **sigh** I hadn't even finished decorating before they began to destroy. The culprit? Nowhere to be found. But wait...yes...there he is!

I don't know what we'll do for Christmas tree this year, but I'm sure it will not be without mishaps. I hope I shared a smile with you today.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Free Autographed Book!!

I'm holding a contest on my website. You can win an autographed book, and it's very easy to do. Check it out on my "contest" page at

Mondays I write about...writing. But for the past few days, I haven't been writing, so I haven't been inspired to write a blog today on...writing.

I've been drawing a blank because Saturday was my birthday and my daughter gave me a new book. We both are fans of Iris Johansen, so she gifted me with "Blood Game." The heroine is my favorite Iris Johansen character...Eve Duncan. I keep following her, hoping that in the next book Eve will be able to bring her "Bonnie" home.

I started the book Saturday afternoon, and I'm already half-way through. *sigh* I love to read and I can't put good books down. The problem is...when I reach "the end," I'm a bit depressed because it's over.

How do you feel when you read "the end?"