Friday, July 31, 2015

This I know for sure...

There's nothing like reading a book that's so good you don't want to put it down. One where you stay up way too late reading it and then groan in the morning when the alarm goes off and you have to drag yourself to work cursing the fact that you didn't turn the light off earlier the night before.

I've read a lot of good books lately, but not one of those good books in a while. I'm on the hunt for a page turner that'll make me want to spend every minute reading it and hating when I have to set it down.  I'm looking for suggestions -- What's the last good book you read?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): No progress this week. We have relatives from out of town visiting so revisions have taken a backseat while family is visiting.

Quote of the week: "Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction." ~ Unknown

What I'm reading: The Buried by Shelley Coriell. I've only just started this book - I'm on page 34 out 364. Even though I'm barely into the book, I'm already enjoying it and want to read it constantly. If you like romantic suspense novels, check out Ms. Coriell.

Random things:  The rose bush I bought for my mom on Mother's Day doesn't seem to be doing well. We transplanted it into the garden, but it hasn't had any blossoms other than those that were there when I bought it. Also the leaves around the bottom of the bush are turning yellow and brown. I'm going to have to do some internet searching to see if I can find out if there's anything I can do to keep it healthy.

Random Photo of the Week:

                            Dash has adopted a stuffed lamb as his new litter mate.

Friday, July 24, 2015

This I know for sure...

It dawned on me the other day that half of the year is already gone. It seems like it was just February and I was complaining that the snow and cold had lasted too long and that I was ready for spring. For me, the summer months always seem to fly by so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it's almost August already.

One of the things I try to do when the half way mark of the year comes around is to check to see how I'm doing on meeting the goals I set for the year back in January. I know without even looking that I'm behind in where I should be for a couple goals but I'm not discouraged. I'm not so far behind that I can't get to where I should be with a little extra effort.

So this weekend I'll be reviewing my goals and deciding which of them needs some extra effort and how I'll work that in.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): Still working on revisions. Submitted a chunk to my critique partner so I need to go through those pages to see what suggestions/changes she made.

Quote of the week: "Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong." ~ Og Mandino

What I'm reading:  The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn. Ms. Quinn is one of my favorite historical writers. This book is part of her The Smythe-Smith Quartet series.

Random things: My schedule ranging from work to writing to just every day stuff I do seems to be off kilter for some reason. I don't know if it's the addition to the kitten to the household and the adjustment that it can't be left home alone for the short term is the reason, but I hope to get back to a normal schedule next week.

Random Photo of the Week:

Flowers from a friend's garden. She has a number of different blossoms in spite of  the amount of rain we've received this summer. I wish I could say the same.

Monday, July 20, 2015

I Can't Exercise Today, It's...

I hate to exercise. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way. I know it's good for me in general and will help me shed the extra 25 pounds I'm currently carrying around. I can come up with excuses such as I can't walk today, it's raining...snowing...too hot...windy...  It doesn't seem to matter that I have a perfectly good treadmill that I can use on those "I can't walk outside" weather days. Although I haven't gotten as bad as a friend who called me up to cancel our scheduled mile walk around the neighborhood - She couldn't walk that day because she had a hangnail on her index finger and it was too painful to do anything but sit home and read. A year later and I still tease her about this "excuse." She laughs and blames the author of the book she was reading at the time. She says it was too good to put down.

My day job consists of working in office which means I'm sitting on my backside during those hours more than I'm not. I work in a small office so even if I am up and about, I don't have far to go (about 10 feet) to get to the photocopier/printer and the file cabinets.

When I get home I try to write for 2 hours which means I'm sitting once again. One of the main things experienced writers tell newbies is the best way to ensure you finish writing a book is to "put butt in chair and stay there" until you reach your work count or page count for that writing session. Since I'm working hard toward my goal of having two books completed and ready for submission by the end of the year, this is a perfect reason why I can't exercise. Right?

No, not really. I do want to lose the 25 pounds that I need to. My knee (that was rebuilt with pins, screws, cadaver bone and such because I'm "too young" for knee replacement) would definitely not bother me as much. So that being said, lately I've tried to incorporate some movement into my writing sessions. When I'm working on dialogue, I pace back and forth between my dining room and the living room, stopping every few minutes to type. When I'm editing, I clip the pages I'm working on to a clip board and prop it against the read out panel of the treadmill and walk while I'm revising. Though I do sometimes have to pause the machine if I need to write out something substantial instead just a few words.

Am I getting the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week? Probably not. But until school starts back up in the fall, I'm doing what I can. It'll also be easier to exercise when it's not 90 degrees and so humid you feel like you're breathing through a wad of cotton. Not to mention the best way to cool off on those days is to dive into a bowl of ice cream. ;o)

How do you fit exercise into your busy day?

Friday, July 17, 2015

This I know for sure...

I missed a Wednesday post again! It's been two weeks in a row. I always look forward to the summer months not only for the beautiful weather, but also because the daily hectic pace of life seems to slow down during this time. Maybe that's why it's called the lazy days of summer.

Unfortunately things have been anything but calm and relaxing lately. Between adopting the kitten who became ill and nursing it back to health literally, learning new duties at work, going through and packing up a huge number of books I was given, and trying to get my writing time in each day, things have been crazy lately.

While the kitten is doing better, he still requires some feeding and trips back to the vet. My day job work load should be back to normal, and I have almost all of the books packed for donation to a couple of local libraries. I'm hoping this coming week will go back to normal and I can enjoy the slow pace of the summer again.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hey, Is That Me?

(This is a post I wrote for a guest visit on another blog in April 2012. After spending the week taking care of a sick kitten, I'm afraid I didn't have time to write a new post.)

I was recently asked if I ever use real people as characters in my books.  My knee-jerk answer was, “No. Never.”  Then I started thinking about it. Do I use real people as models for some of the characters I’ve written?  No, I assured myself. I don’t do that.  I will admit I’ve taken a trait here, a quirk there, or a bad habit and wove them into a character.  But to model a character completely after someone I knew, never.

Then I started looking over previous manuscripts I’d written.  Oh my.  There on page 6 of my debut novel, Impetuous, was “Person P” in all her glory.  As I flipped through the pages looking for more scenes with the Duchess of Perth, I realized I had indeed written about someone I knew.  Not just someone I knew, but someone I was related to.  She is so like the character who insists on controlling her daughter and everyone around her, so disapproving, so…so mean spirited that to this day she doesn’t know I’ve been published because I don’t want to be a target for her maliciousness.

My heart pounding in my chest, I called a friend who writes mysteries.  “Oh my goodness, what do I do if she ever reads the book?” I asked.  “What if she thinks it’s her?  How am I going to explain that?”

My friend talked me down by saying three very smart things:
  1.) “What are the odds your relative will read your book?”  Ok, the answer to that is slim to none.  Mainly because I don’t think she’s much of a reader and she doesn’t associate with my family all that much. 
  2.)  “People seldom recognize themselves as the flawed character.  So even if she does read the book she won’t see herself in the duchess.”
  3.)  “If she does question you about it.  Lie.  How will she know?” 

Finally, my friend told me not to worry about it and that she has killed her ex-husband many times over in a number of the books she’s written. He doesn’t know and she enjoys killing him without having to go to jail.

My panic attack over, I thanked her for her sage advice and hung up the phone just as my nephew stopped by for a visit.  Vowing to be more careful about the modeling of my characters in the future, I gestured for my nephew to take a seat while I gathered up my writing notes etc. 

He handed me a pad of paper I’d scribbled a few lines of dialog on and said, “Hey, can I be in one of your books?

Given the vow I made moments ago, I started laughing.  He looked at me like I’d lost my mind.  Once I got myself under control, I told him I’d decided not to put people I knew in my books in case they didn’t like how they were portrayed.  He nodded in agreement like the wise 22 year old he is and said, “That makes sense,” but seemed disappointed. 

Maybe some people wouldn’t mind being portrayed as character in a book, but I’d rather not find out.  How about you?  Would you like to be portrayed in a novel? If you're a writer, have you ever, consciously or subconsciously, modeled a character so completely after a person you knew?

Friday, July 10, 2015

This I know for sure...

We adopted a new kitten this week. His name is Dash after Dashiell Hammett. He didn't seem to be eating so I took him to the vet. We've had to put him on kitten replacement formula and feed him with a bottle and feed every 4 to 6 hours. Yesterday was the first day he ate solid food and drank out of the water bowl. I'm happy about this for a couple of reasons, it means he's getting better and maybe I can get more than 4 hours of sleep a night. It's been almost like having a newborn in the house. :o)  (My apologies for not posting on Wednesday. I was so concerned about the kitten, I didn't even realize I didn't do my Wednesday posting until I was up for the 3:30am feeding Thursday morning.)

My older cat, Petey, has taken to the kitten very well.  Petey plays with him. The kitten likes to pounce on him and bite his ears. Petey even tries to bathe  and follows him around the house. Whenever the kitten tries to do something Petey knows he's not allowed to do, like chew cords, Petey will either nudge the kitten away from the item or slap him with his paw. He doesn't seem to hurt the kitten because he doesn't cry, but he does stop doing what he shouldn't be.

I was a bit worried about bringing another male cat into the house because I've heard males are very territorial. Maybe it's different if the males are neutered, which Petey is and so will Dash be when he's old enough to have the surgery.

Here's a picture of Dash -

Here's a picture of Dash and Petey -

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy 4th of July

My family is off on a small 3 day vacation for the holiday. I hope you and your families have a great 4th of July.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Please Welcome My Guest

Please welcome my guest, Romance Author Susabelle Kelmer.

Susabelle is a wife and mother living at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Northern Colorado. She believes in romance, second chances, and the magic of moonlight. When she isn't writing, she works with students with disabilities in the college environment. 

Susabelle's tagline is Love is Everything.

Summer is Here!

I want to thank Katherine Grey for hosting me on her blog today.  I’m so excited to talk about my debut novel with The Wild Rose Press.  Fairest of the Faire published on June 5th (more on that later).  Today, I’d love to talk to you about a Rocky Mountain Summer!

I live just east of the foothills of the Rockies in Northern Colorado.  Summer doesn’t get here until late, and it comes in slow, like someone trying to step into cold water.  First a toe goes in, then is pulled back out and we shiver.  Then another try with the toe, and maybe the whole foot.  Then back out as the chill returns.  It snows through May and sometimes into June.  The ground never really warms up the way it does in the Midwest where I come from.  Gardening is a dice game.

But then everything blooms: the tulips and daffodils, the poppies in reds and oranges, the irises of every possible color.  My dianthus always come back in a burst of color, as if they had not died down to nothing over the winter.  And then the peonies bloom.  The smell is heavenly, the huge blooms open up like triple-petaled roses.  They grow particularly well here, although the three in my yard are too young to do so.  The cemetery near my house has hundreds of them – nearly every grave has one or two planted on it.  

Up in the mountains this time of year, the wildflowers are beginning to bloom.  Columbine, purple lattice, bluebells, wild roses, Indian Paintbrush, elephant heads, and plenty more I don’t know the names of.  Open fields are crowded with yellows and whites, and ever damp space of ditch next to the mountain roads are like rainbows.  The season is short, and the flowers have to take advantage of the time they do have. It amazes me to see them.  There may be no other vegetation, especially above the tree line, but the flowers are there.  

Those precious few months of summer mean we are gardening hard, trying to get our vegetables to harvest before the hard freeze comes, before the snow.  Tomatoes and peppers can barely make it.  Cold weather veggies like kohlrabi, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, turnips, and parsnips love it and do well.  Summer squash can grow as fast as weeds because of our dry heat, but winter squash often do not produce until just before our first hard freeze.  But still, we try, because that’s what gardeners do.  Often, we say to one another, “Well, there’s always next year!”

I love all of the seasons here, even if some of them are short.  Spring comes and goes in a month, and autumn bursts out in bright yellow when our Aspen trees turn, but only lasts a couple of months.  Snow by Halloween is common.  Right now, though, I’m looking forward to summer barbecues, concerts in the park, hikes in the green valleys, bike rides on the greenways, and evenings sitting on the outside patio at one of our many local restaurants, enjoying the late sunsets.

What do you most like about summer?  Answer in the comments!

Katherine here. Check out Susabelle's new contemporary romance. The excerpt is below.

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law's Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller. 

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie's don't-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart. 

When she is threatened by her late husband's bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

“Who said anything about a relationship?” he said, standing up so he could tower over her again. “I’m just trying to have a little fun. You know, fun?”
If he’d been an animal, she was sure he’d have had hair raised on the back of his neck, he seemed so angry, and it struck her painfully. She hadn’t wanted to anger him or hurt him. She turned away from him and closed her eyes to tamp down the tears she knew would come if she let them. She crossed her arms over her chest, to hold in the pain. Being tired made her much too vulnerable.
“Yes,” she finally said. “I know about fun. Life isn’t always fun, though.”
“Princess.” His voice was soft, tender. “I won’t hurt you. It’s not in my plan.”
Despite herself, she felt the shivers of desire race down from her shoulders, down her arms and legs, and back up to that secret, soft place at her core. She bowed her head and gritted her teeth, hoping for the feeling to go away.
      “And what is your plan, Gage?”
      “It’s a simple plan. I want you to feel good. I want to feel good, too.” 

Available NOW at the following links:

You can learn more about Susabelle by following her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter or by checking out her website and blog.