Love is in the air!

Winter is a time of blustery winds, warm blankets, and book friends to fill your heart.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year

The New Year is upon us and many people are making their New Year Resolutions. Are you one of them?

What is it you would like to change about yourself or you hope to do better in the New Year?

You say you'd like to lose weight. That is something you have some control over. It requires you to stop eating the stuff you really love, (ice cream, candy, bread products) and exercise.

I have made it my mission to help you with the exercise part. (I had thought about helping with getting rid of the ice cream and candy, too, but then I thought of the mess my postal carrier would have to deliver. Ooey gooey ice cream! Moldy bread! CANDY!!!) I digress.  

Exercise is an important part of living. When we were young we ran down the streets, we biked to our friends, we danced in basements to the latest beats. We had fun and we were fit. Then we learned to drive cars and worked at jobs that kept us stationary. It is time to get out the hula hoop and jump rope (if your bladder can handle it). If you don't currently walk, get out everyday and walk. Start with a short walk. If around the block is too far to begin with, walk to the corner and back again. Do not park in the spaces too close to the store. Park further away and walk to the doors. This will improve your health in more ways than one. You will be walking and getting some of that exercise component in and you will also be saving your blood pressure from having to deal with the others that are trying to get all the "prime" spaces.

My favorite way to lose exercise is to get up and dance. You may not want to go out clubbing every weekend, but you can dance everyday. Even at work. If you have a device which will play music, such as a smart phone of some type or ipod (sorry, I'm not up on the latest and greatest technology) you can program songs in through Pandora or record music to take with you.

You should get off your duff at least once an hour and dance. If you are at work and the work space is not conducive or dance friendly, you may have to use the break room or even the rest rooms. Get up, turn on your music and dance. You don't need to know any special steps, just move your feet, shake your booty, and wave your arms around in the air. And don't forget to jump! You don't have to be graceful or make it look pretty. You're not about to get a spot on "So You Think You Can Dance" or "Dancing With the Stars" just have fun with it. (You may want to also carry your deodorant in case you need a touch up before going back to your station.)   

Taking special dance classes may be fun, but a Zumba class or step aerobics will not get your blood flowing on an hourly basis. (When you have good blood flow to your brain, your brain will work better and you will be a better employee.)

Below I have compiled a brief list of some of my favorite dance tunes. It is a good place to start if you are wondering what music is best for you. I am always looking for more dance music, please leave me your favorites in the comment section. Also feel free to FB.

Dropkick Murphys - I'm Shipping Up to Boston
Bob Segar - Old Time Rock and Roll
Dan Seals - I Want to Bop With You Baby
Mary Chapin Carpenter - Down at the Twist and Shout
Chubby Checker - Let's Do the Twist
Freddie & the Dreamers - Do the Freddie
The Kingsmen - Louie Louie
The Ventures - Wipe Out
Billy Joel - Still Rock and Roll to Me
John Cougar - Hurts So Good
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Bad Reputation
Aerosmith - Walk This Way
Jerry Lee Lewis - Peggy Sue
Jerry Lee Lewis - Whole Lot of Shaking Going On
Jerry Lee Lewis - Great Balls of Fire
Jerry Lee Lewis - Wild One
Trace Adkins - Hot Mama
Trace Adkins - Honky Tonk Badonkadonk
Jo Dee Messina - I'm Alright
Pam Tillis - Queen of Denial
Dolly Parton - Romeo
Brooks & Dunn - Boot Scootin' Boogie
Alabama - Dixieland Delight
Dropkick Murphys - Anything by Them!!!

In the course of writing this I had hoped to be a lazy bum and not practice what I am preaching, however, I have instead decided to make this a challenge. I am not divulging my weight, but I will keep you updated on anything that drops off. I hope you will do the same.

Even if you are at your ideal weight, I am issuing the dance challenge. It will be fun to dance and get your blood flowing.

Now, please excuse me, I hear the Dropkick Murphys and Tessie calling to me.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Kindness of Strangers

In September of 1990 I had my fifth child, the baby was perfect, but my future looked bleak. My ex, became my ex the week before I gave birth. My son was my second child in two years. My hormones were going crazy.

For months my ex put me through an emotional wringer. He had promised to spend Thanksgiving Day with the children, then never called. The next day my emotions overwhelmed me. I realized I could not remain on the roller coaster ride I had allowed my ex to turn my life into.

That night I went to my first Al-Anon meeting. Listening to other people describe the scenarios I had lived through, I realized I was not crazy. I had thought I was totally going bonkers! I felt infinitely better, but I knew by midweek I would be buried under stress and self-doubt. I needed to re-enforce the message.

I lived in a very small, rural town. I didn’t own a car. The daily Al-Non meetings were forty-five minutes away. A woman at the meeting suggested I attend AA meetings and apply the principals of Al-Anon every time someone said "One day without a drink." I was to think "One day without a drunk."

Starting on Monday and every day, after Sesame Street, I packed the two babies into the double stroller and walked to the AA meetings. My babies and I were welcomed with open arms. I remained quiet at the meetings, absorbing the strength the program gives to those who seek it.

Christmas Eve morning, my ex was at my door. He was drunk. To get him out of the house without further upsetting the children I walked him downtown, otherwise his girlfriend would pick him up at my house.

I left him waiting for her at the bakery.

The day was sunny, with a blustery wind coming off the snow covered mountains. I was agitated, afraid I would let emotions overwhelm me, I dreaded going home. Then a man from AA stepped out of the Post Office. He looked at my face and offered me a ride home.

He reminded me there are things in life we cannot control, especially the actions of others. My job was to take care of myself and my children. My ex was responsible for his own actions. I could not help him to quit drinking nor could I make him be a good father. He asked if I planned to attend a meeting that night or on Christmas Day. He assured me he would find me a ride if I needed one.

I felt better. The people in AA had been strangers a month earlier, but now they were my friends.

I had a network of people who cared. I felt whole.

I have since relocated to another state, but I will always remember that year. It was the year that I had the worst Thanksgiving and the best Christmas ever.

Material gifts are not what matter, not even to children. It is about caring for others. The stranger who drove me home talked to me when I needed it. I gave my children a happy day instead of moping. I didn’t go to a meeting; instead I invited people who were alone to spend the day with us. Good companions warm the soul like a fire in a hearth on a winter’s day.

The holidays are trying times for many. If you know someone who might be having a difficult time dealing with the holidays, please talk to them. Let them know that they are not alone, even when a person is surrounded by family, they can feel alone. Some people hide their distress behind smiles. Look them in the eyes and you will see the truth. 

When we give the gift of compassion it is the greatest gift of all.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Writer + Editor = Good Business

It is with great sadness that I write this article tonight. I just completed the project from hell and decided to give myself a treat. So I pulled out my NOOK and read a friends self-published novel. There are many wonderful self-pubs, so I am not prejudiced against them. However, I am prejudiced against sloppy writing and editing.

Romance writers are fortunate to have groups in almost every state (courtesy of RWA) where they can go and learn about the craft of writing. Yes, there are people who are naturally adept at telling a good story, but there is so much more to putting the words down on paper than there is to relating a tale. 

Good writing is not easy. You can struggle for hours to come up with the right word, and then you strike that blasted word from your manuscript during the rewrite portion of the creation process. That is what a good writer does when there are words or phrases that don't work, no matter how much they had to struggle to get those words.

In the last few days I have read three indie books. One was a humorous romance, which left me feeling happy I had read it. One was a paranormal I wasn't sure I would enjoy. It was Book Three in a series, and I hadn't read One or Two. The story was strong and only included a line or two about past characters that were still active in Three. The author didn't bog it down with too much back story. It was a wonderfully imaginative story. It was clear both these authors had employed good editors.

The third book was a contemporary romance. It had a good story line, that got lost in bad editing. There were several times I would have thrown the book against the wall, but I was reading on my NOOK and I didn't want to damage it. The author told much more than she showed. There were homophones galore. Major repetition. And the biggest crime of all, at one point the the author used the wrong name for the heroine's son. 

Thanks to Indie publishing, every Tom, Dick, or Harriet who has ever taken an English class is setting up a shingle offering their editorial services. This is where you have to be careful and look at your perspective editor's credentials. Just because someone was an English teacher, it doesn't mean they know how to edit fiction.

Another friend of mine had hired an editor, but once my friend uploaded her book, people started contacting her about all the mistakes. She had to take the book down and correct the problems. She was so embarrassed that anyone had seen the uncorrected version. Not a good way to run a business. It's like owning a restaurant with a top notch chef and serving the food on dirty plates.

A good editor can take a good story and turn it into a superior work of art. A bad editor can take an excellent story and make it unreadable. Choose your editor like you do a new car, check out their safety records and kick the tires. Talk to other authors who have used their services. Read some of the books they have edited. Your career is at stake. There are so many good books out there and you want yours to be one of them.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Spirit

The Politicization of Christmas

This time of year I am filled with joy and good cheer. I love the brisk air, the cold nights in which to cuddle under warm blankets, and the joyful expectation of children awaiting a visit from Santa Claus.

However, there is a Grinch to throw a wrench into the works. According to many, retailers are trying to take "Christ out of Christmas" by having their employees wish everyone a "Happy Holiday" rather than say "Merry Christmas". Sorry to tell you, but big business took all religion out of Christmas over half a century ago.

Christmas did not become a federal holiday in the United States until Grant signed it into law on June 28, 1870. 

Turning Christmas into a political issue is nothing new. The Roman's were famous for adopting local Gods and turning them Roman to further ensnare the territories they claimed for the Empire. They adopted and then they adapted. 

Constantine knew the way to solidify his hold on the populace was to give them a God which would unify them, so he chose Christianity. It suited his needs.

The Roman Bishops decided on December 25th as the birth date of Jesus due to a surplus of Pagan holy days. The Church chose to place many high holy days on the same dates as Pagan holidays in order to stamp out the Pagan celebrations and to bring the Pagans into the Church. The Pagan celebrations, however, remain behind, hidden in what is now considered Christian tradition. For example: the Easter Bunny and Easter eggs replaced fertility celebrations, but bunnies and eggs were a big part of the celebration. So while the church holds sunrise masses to celebrate the Resurrection of the Christ, the people slip in their old fertility symbols. The Yule log, mistletoe, and Christmas tree are also 

A Brief History of December Celebrations

December is a month of religious celebrations. Bodhi Day, Buddha's Enlightenment Day is celebrated on December 8, Hanukkah on December 8-15, the Yule on December 21, as is the Winter Solstice, Christmas Day is December 25, Kwanzaa is December 26.

December 25th is given as as the birthdate of the following Gods: Attis of Greece c1200 BCE, Krishna of India c900 BCE, Dionysus of Greece c500 BCE, Mithra of Persia c1200 BCE, Horus of Egypt c3000 BCE, and Jesus of Nazareth c1 CE (although some sources say it should be c4 CE).

There are other Gods which share the December 25th birthdate, but I couldn't find the years for them. They include Salivahana of Bermuda, Orus of Egypt, Odin of Scandinavia, Crite of Chaldez, Thammuz of Syria, Adad of Assyria, and Beddru of Japan.


Personal Observation

To be fair to retailers, in the light of all these holy days in December, it makes sense for them to say Happy Holidays and not offend those who do not celebrate Christmas.

However, 82% of all Americans list their religious leanings as Christian. Should retailers be offending 82% of the buying public, the segment which actually does the lion's share of the buying for Christmas? It could bring repercussions the God of big business, Profit, wouldn't like.

When I hear the words Happy Holidays, I see a bunch of adults wearing evening attire and sipping drinks at a staid party. The colors are muted, as are the voices.

Merry Christmas evokes images of brightly colored packages and laughing children ripping them open, hot chocolate and joyful singing, and crowds of people happily shopping and saying nice things to each other. 

Does it really matter if the person bagging your order says "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas"? Isn't it more important that they acknowledge you, smile, and wish you well from their hearts? Anyone can mumble the words by rote. During the December holidays, more than any other, it is important to have friendly communications with others. Christmas can be the happiest of times or the saddest of times. It is important to let others know that they are not alone.

May you find peace and enlightenment. May the blessings of the Yule be upon you. Joyful Kwanzaa. Happy Hanukkah! Merry Christmas. Enjoy!

Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of Christmas Spirit.

(It's the perfect shortie holiday, sweet, and sassy all rolled into one. I loved it!  {Penelope's Romance Reviews})

Still Moments Publishing (the wonderful sponsor of The Author's Den: Christmas Blog Hop) is also running a contest. Your comment is your entry into the contest. (Gorgeous handmade jewelry.)


Christmas Blog Hop

Join the Still Moments Publishing team for a funChristmas Blog Hop!
When: December 3-7, 2012.
Where: In The Author’s Den -

What would Christmas be without Gifts!
Many of our participating authors will be holding a giveaway on their blog. 
Just leave a comment with your name and email, use (at) and (dot) to avoid spammers.

But wait…increase your chances to win!
Everyone who comments on our authors’ blogs will be entered in the Gift Giveaway by Still Moments Publishing. The more SMP author blogs you visit during our Christmas Blog Hop, the more entries you receive.

In the gift bag are three prizes! Each prize consists of a beautiful handmade jewelry piece and a Still Moments Publishing eBook title from our library (winner’s choice).
Draw date: December 10, 2012

SMP Participating Team Members:

December 3rd
Liv Rancourt -
Denise Moncrief -
Maggie Devine -

December 4th
Terri Rochenski -
Liberty Blake -
Olivia Devereaux -
Holly J. Margaret -

December 5th
Keri Neal -
Laura Pink -
Robbi Hess -
Darlene Fredette -

December 6th
Jennifer M. Eaton -
Janelle Lee -
Krista Ames -

December 7th
W. Lynn Chantale -
Dani-Lyn Alexander -
Linda Carroll-Brad -
Nicole Zoltack -

Gifts to be Won! 
Still Moments Publishing titles (winner's choice from our eBook library)
and Handmade Jewelry

Beaded Stone Necklace
Created and donated by Taylor's Trinkets & Treats

Hand-Crafted Jewelry Piece #1
(use as a pendent, dangling from your favourite necklace, keychain, and more)
Created and donated by MJ Gauthier
Hand-Crafted Jewelry Piece #2
(use as a pendent, dangling from your favourite necklace, keychain, and more)
Created and donated by MJ Gauthier

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Have You Considered . . .

Have You Considered . . .
The Damage Referencing Another Person’s Work Can Do To Your Story?

Yesterday I was reading a wonderful romance. It began well. I liked the way the hero and heroine met. The heroine had been abandoned by her father as a child. Her father was the best friend of the hero (the father and hero were not of the same generation; this is not a May/December romance). The hero thought her father was a great man, as did everyone else in the community. He resented her view of her father. The author handled both of their emotions well.

However, the book lost me halfway through, when the heroine proclaimed Sleepless in Seattle as the most romantic movie ever. I saw the movie once in the early 90s and I saw nothing romantic in what is essentially a training film for stalkers!

In the movie Annie (played by Meg Ryan) heard Jonah, Sam’s son; tell his father’s sad story on the radio. Then Sam took over the phone and Annie became instantly obsessed with Sam. Now I admit, Tom Hanks’ voice is fine, and he has probably had many a stalker follow him, but I doubt anyone would find those stalkers romantic. Nor do I believe he would ever allow a stalker near his child.

Why do I call Annie a stalker? After hearing Sam’s story she thinks about him while she is with her fiancĂ©, she contacts the radio station trying to get his contact information, then she hires a private detective to track him down. (Is that truly romantic or is it frightening behavior, worthy of a Law and Order: SVU episode?)

Then Annie’s equally delusional boss sent her to Seattle to track down Sam, (oops! blush) excuse me, the official line is that the boss assigned Annie to research the radio talk show industry.

While in Seattle Annie went to Sam’s house and learned he had taken his son to the beach so in true stalker style, she followed him there and watched them from a distance. Her stalking profile had not yet risen to the direct approach level.

Seriously, if you were Sam would you ever voluntarily allow this woman anywhere near your child? I would be in court getting an Order of Protection.

Annie loves the movie An Affair to Remember and equates it to her circumstances. How delusional can a woman get? In An Affair to Remember Nicky Ferrente and Terry McKay meet on board a ship heading to the United States from Europe. They had actually met and had a relationship. There was no stalking involved.

The Whole Sleepless in Seattle thing made me stop reading the book. But it had been a pretty good book up until that point and I wanted to see how the hero and heroine got together. The author had done a fine job in the first part of the book. Was it fair not to continue?

I don’t mind admitting I’m a skipper. If an author leaves an important piece of backstory hanging too long, I will jump forward until I find it. If the story is lagging or not as good as I had hoped it would be, I skip ahead to see if it gets better. In the case of a good story, I will go back and read it all the way through. I decided this story deserved a chance and I skipped ahead. Later in the book the author used the Sleepless/Affair meeting at the Empire State Building (also used to get Michael J Fox and an old girlfriend together on one Spin City Christmas show) to get the hero and heroine together, although she did use a different landmark and city. They did not have to go to NYC.

An Affair to Remember is a classic romance. Sleepless in Seattle would have been a better movie with Alfred Hitchcock as the director, the subject matter more his cup of tea. Nora Ephron was wrong to try to romanticize a stalker.

Stalking is a dangerous behavior that has led to the victim being murdered by the obsessed stalker. Rebecca Shaffer from the comedy show My Sister Sam was murdered by her stalker. Jodie Foster’s stalker tried to kill President Reagan.

During a twelve month period in 2005-2006 over three million, four hundred thousand people reported being stalked in the United States. One study shows that one out of every twelve women and one out of every twenty men will be stalked at some point in their lives. (Which means someone you know is in danger of being a victim.)

While we are fighting to get the Violence Against Women Act passed, should we be glorifying a movie in which a woman stalks a man. (Spend a weekend watching ID or OWN and you will have a clearer view of the evil that happens at the hands of stalkers.)

To be honest, it was touch and go on whether I would finish reading the book. There have been many times when I have chosen not to finish reading a book for less than this, but this time I did finish. Sleepless in Seattle was a plot devise to fill in for writing something original. Be careful when you use a book or movie as a reference. Your readers may not be familiar with the piece, or as in my case, may hate it.
The best way to keep your readers interested in your book is by using your own devices to move along the plot. Don’t depend on another person’s work. Shine on your own merit.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Samhain

Welcome to the Still Moments Halloween Blog Hop.

You may call October 31st Halloween, but others call it Samhain. (sow-en)

Samhain is one of the "high holy days" for Pagans and Wiccans. It is a day to celebrate the Harvest and to honor ancestors. It is a day when the veil between the world of the living and the dead is at its thinnest. It is also the Witches New Year.

The Catholic Church, in its push to defeat the "Pagans" and bring Christianity to the world decided in the 8th century (C.E.) to make November 1st All Saints Day. A day to celebrate the dead Saints and to eradicate the Pagan celebration which was already being celebrated on that day. It was originally named All Hallows, to show it was to honor the holy ones who were gone. They hoped to replace the Pagan celebration with a celebration the church sanctioned. (They did this with many Pagan holidays: Christmas was to replace the Yule celebration, Easter in exchange for Beltane.) This was a practice the Church had learned from Rome. Whenever the Empire conquered a new land, they adopted the Gods of that country into their pantheon.

Christianity was successful at establishing roots and becoming the religion of the masses, but it was never successful at eradicating Samhain. People still carved out frightening faces on gourds to frighten away evil spirits, they still wore masks to keep the spirits from recognizing them.

Nowadays, we dress our children in costumes, cute or frightening, depending on the age and taste of the child, and take them door-to-door for our friends and neighbors to fill a pillowcase with candy. It is the children's harvest.

Enjoy the fruits of autumn, but beware passing grave yards on All Hallows. Remember, it is the night the spirits walk around, looking for their loved ones.

There is a Barnes & Noble gift certificate waiting for a lucky person. Be sure to leave your comments along with your email address in the comment box.

Plus! Still Moments is holding a contest for all blog hoppers. (Details are listed below) 

Please be sure to visit all the participating blogs, to increase your chance to win. Each blog is unique. Some have fun flash fiction, personal stories, one of the blogs even has Halloween music. 

October 22, 2012 
Terri Rochenski - 
Jennifer Eaton - 
Ceri Hebert - 

October 23, 2012 
Liv Rancourt - 
Denise Moncrief - 
Dani-Lyn Alexander - 

October 24, 2012 
Mackenzie Crowne - 
Maggie Devine - 
Liberty Blake - 

October 25, 2012 
Darlene Henderson - 
Em Epe - 
Clara Waibel -

Still Moments is giving away three grand prizes.  Just leave a comment below and you'll be entered into a drawing for a beautiful handmade piece of jewelry and one of the books published by Still Moments.  Three lucky winners will be selected from ALL the comments left on ALL the blogs in the hop. Please be sure to leave your email address in your comment below, so we will know how to contact you if you win!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


As anyone in my family will tell you, housekeeping is not my thing. I heartily subscribe to everything else comes first. I hate cleaning!

I have a friend who told me that when she gets stuck in her writing she does the dishes. It gives her time to work out tangled plots. When I do the dishes I don't work out plot tangles or character glitches. I don't see my character's face in a mound of soap bubbles or dried on marinara sauce. All I see is dirty dishes and how gross it is to stick your hands in with all the old food particles, germs, and bacteria. I worry about how all the   anti-bacterial detergents are leading to super bacteria. If I see anything in those darn bubbles it is a giant bacteria cell flying around in a red cape. Unfortunately, the bacteria cell does not have the face of Henry Cavill.

Are you wondering what washing dishes has to do with writing? 

Writing is a job. Even if you have a contract with a major publisher, you are still a self-employed person. The only incentive you have to finish your project is the hope of receiving a paycheck when you are done. If you are under contract and your editor likes what you have done, you will receive that paycheck. However, if you are trolling the Writer's Marketplace looking for a friendly home for your baby, you are not guaranteed a check. You must search out a home for it and hope it will be adopted by a kindly editor that will give you an advance. If you end up with a smaller company, there may not be any advance in the near future, you will have to hope for good royalties.

Money is a pleasant bonus, but it should not be your primary motivator. Unless you had oral sex with a sitting President, the chances are your advance, or even your royalties, won't be enough to buy a car or put a down payment on a house. You must write for the same reasons you pick up those nasty dishes and scrub them clean. It needs to be done. 

You write because there is a story inside you that is fighting to come out. There will be days when it is fighting with you and not coming out, but if those voices decide to take a vacation, you must find a way to work around them until they return.

Writing is a job. A job you have to work at. Even if the weather is so nice you want to spend everyday at the beach, or the snow is powder fine and you want to swoop down the slopes. Any job you work at will expect you to maintain a schedule. If you take a leave of absence or go on sabbatical, you must realize that things change while you are gone, your skills get rusty, others may have taken your place.

Don't treat your writing like a hobby, something you can pick up and put down for months at a time. Treat it like a sink full of dirty dishes. If you want nourishment, you must get your hands dirty. 

Your writing should nourish your soul as much as the food on your plate nourishes your body. It is the fuel that will keep you going through rejections and advances.

Carolyn Sullivan has written a daily horoscope just for writers. The horoscope can guide you through the rocky shoals and help you keep your Muse attentive. She has given me permission to post the horoscope for the next three days. The following is from Wisdom for Writers: Autumn 2012.

Monday, October 22:
This evening the sun enters Scorpio.
If your hero and heroine have been in conflict, no matter what genre you write, now is the time to write their love scene. You all need the relief.
Tuesday, October 23:
Others are going to oppose your plans. This is your story, tell it your way. Friends and critique partners mean well, but they don’t have the whole picture. They have only seen the parts of your story you have shared with them. You are the master of the universe (your story), and only you can decide what fits and what doesn’t.
Wednesday, October 24:
Business conflicts are brewing around you. It could be something as simple as a critique partner who doesn’t like your story or as complicated as your editor or agent not liking your story. Not all is lost however. You are about to undergo a rapid series of changes. These changes may have you feeling as if you’re wallowing round in muck. You must regain control and keep it.

Available at:


Carolyn also has a daily horoscope for everyone. It is a unique horoscope that is based on plants, not planets.

Available at:


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Penny Watson

Today I am pleased to welcome Penny Watson to the Spell Room. Penny, in your honor we are having our beverages in mustache cups. I know how you love hairy men. 

Penny Watson is an author of quirky fiction, reviewer of romance novels, and lover of dachshunds, plants, and beards. (Not necessarily in that order).

She lives outside of Boston with one fly-fishing crazed husband, two lively Filipino kids, and a wiener dog.

1. You wear many different hats, which one is your favorite?

I do wear a lot of different hats. Visors. Babushkas. A winter hat that makes me look like Adrian from the original Rocky movie. And of course my gorgeous tiara.

As far as my professional hats, I love them all! Writing my stories is a kick, reviewing novels is fun, and I love chatting about promotion and social media to writers’ groups. It’s all good!

2. A little Bulldog told me you like hairy men. How long have you had this obsession and how did it start?

I blame my hairy men obsession on Pa Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie (the book, not the TV show). Remember him? He had a big, bushy beard. In fact, the first time I watched the television show with Michael Landon, I yelled “Oh no! Why doesn’t Pa have a beard?” Hee hee. That seriously peeved me off.

3. Does Marcus Anderson, your Lumberjack In Love, wear boxers or briefs?

He wears boxer briefs. There’s a fun scene in the book where Ami discovers this fine fact. :^)

4. What do you find sexy about flannel shirts?

Flannel is soft, warm, cuddly and snuggly. Just like a big hairy, muscular teddy bear of a lumberjack.

Lumberjack + Flannel Shirt = Heaven On Earth!

(If the flannel shirt is plaid, then it’s even better)

5. We make a lot of concoctions in the Spell Room and you are notorious for creating special libations. Did you bring a special little drinky poo for moi? 

In honor of my LUMBERJACK IN LOVE book, here’s a recipe for JACK ME OFF (a cocktail). Hee hee!


1 and ½ oz. Applejack brandy
½ oz. Midori melon liqueur
3 oz.7-Up or Sprite

Put brandy, melon liqueur and ice into a shaker and shake it up good, baby! Then strain into a glass and add the soda. You could serve it with small twigs as stirrers if you’d like. Enjoy!

Thanks so much, Liberty, for the fun interview!


Thank you for visiting the Spell Room, Penny. It's been fun.

Penny is graciously giving away a copy of her new book Lumberjack In Love. A wonderful book which will lift your spirits on a gray day and make you laugh. Just tell us who has the best beard you have ever seen. The contest is open until October 15th. 

Penny's 2 main links…

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Last Night was Mabon, the celebration of the Autumnal Equinox. From now on there is going to be more starlight than sunlight.

How do you intend to spend your dark hours? Reading? Television? Dancing? Sleeping?

The next big celebration is Samhain, Halloween, the night when the veil between the world of the living and realm of the spirits is at its thinnest. What are your plans?

Come see the spirits at play in my new story Spirit Board, due for release on NOOK, Kindle, and Smashwords on October 11th.

More details soon!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Meet Darlene

I'm scrambling to make a deadline and my dear friend Darlene Henderson has stepped forward with a blog for me. The sweet tea is ready and because the kids went apple picking today I have warm apple turnovers to go with it. Enjoy the refreshments and meet Darlene. 

Dog Day Afternoons

Since I've been writing, I think the question I've been asked the most is where do I get my ideas.  Rather than saying, the voices in my head of course, I tell them the ideas come from everywhere.  My story Always a Bride started with a billboard for a bridal fair.  My next story, Dog Day Afternoons wasn't quite so easy in coming to mind.  I'd long thought about writing a story about a heroine who meets her teen idol and they fall in love.  My publisher sent out a call for stories with dogs.  How oh how was I going to work a dog into the story I had.  My friend Jillian Chantal suggested an errant dog bringing them together.  One thing led to another and my story was born.  It was a fabulous story to write.  I was so in love with my hero it was like dating someone new.  Well that story was over and I was needing something new to write and had a few things started but not the right thing.  (See me really saying "I have ADD and am easily distracted and like new and shiny and don't finish things).  And the people from Dog Days kept hanging out in my head.  So where next?  Off to Scotland for the wedding.  So now I have a whole new former Scottish rock star to crush on while I write.  So where do I get my ideas?  From billboards, from friends, from the last story, from everywhere.


Since I began serving refreshments, I've had several requests for the recipes. Here is the recipe I use for Apple Turnovers. I use Pillsbury Crescent Rolls Dough. (My pastry dough leaves a lot to be desired, like edibility for one thing.) However, if you are a good pastry baker, you may want to substitute your own dough.

Apple Turnovers

2 C peeled, finely-chopped apples
1/3 C natural sugar
2 TBSP flour (coconut flour if you have it)
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
Dash nutmeg 
Two cans refrigerated Pillsbury crescent rolls (They work much better than the store brand.)

1/2 C powdered sugar
2 to 3 tsp water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together first 5 ingredients; make sure apples are well-coated. Separate dough into 16 triangles. Spoon about 1 rounded TBSP of apple mixture into the center of each. Fold 3 corners of dough over the filling, and pinch together. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min. Remove from pans to cool. Combine glaze ingredients and mix till smooth. Drizzle over warm rolls. 

If you don't want to glaze them, just shake some powdered sugar over the top or a cinnamon & sugar mix.