Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bring it on!

We may have snow and extreme wind in Nebraska, but Huskers are staying warm dreaming of winning the Cotton Bowl tomorrow. Yes, Nebraska used to rank more highly esteemed bowl games, but we're making our way back. Unfortunately for fans, this is Zac Taylor's last year to play - our senior quarterback was a local hero this year. We've been invited to watch at freinds' tomorrow.

We have invitations for tonight, as well, but we're thinking the fire in our family room looks pretty appealing this evening. Last night we had three darlings while mommies and daddies went out, tonight we'll have only one. He'll go to bed early because he was up late last night, and the evening will be ours. Alone together. We'll toast in the new year with spinach dip and sparkling cider. Hey, we're big partiers, ya know.

I'm enjoying hearing from everyone!
Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

What's wrong with this picture?

This one is courtesy of Hazel. Kind of freaky once you see the error. I do remember seeing this in the past. Kind of makes you wonder where the proof editors were in the art department, doesn't it? Or what the artist drank with lunch.

Thank you, Hazel!


Nothing like a new drawing to get everyone together, is there? So good to hear from everybody, and I'm adding your names to the fishbowl!

Good luck!

Ring Finger in Question

Minna found this cover to share. Apparently the bride is wearing her wedding ring on her middle finger. Odd....

Thanks, Minna!

New Year's Drawing!

I'm holding a drawing the first week of January. THREE readers will soon have their very own autographed hot little advance copies of my February release THE LAWMAN'S BRIDE in their hands. As usual entry is easy. Each comment on one of my blogs is an entry. I'll try to make interesting blogs so you'll have something to respond to. Well, I usually try to make interesting blogs so you'll have something to say, but I'll try exceptionally hard to be interesting. LOL Hey, weren't the GUYS enough to make you post? Everyone must be really busy or hung over from too much Christmas turkey and ham. Couldn't have been the fudge.

You know how I love lists.

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions. They're a waste of time and leave you feeling like a loser when you blow it the second week. But I do firmly believe we all need to set goals for ourselves. Achievable steps toward larger accomplishments. For example if a beginning writer wants to set goals for the year, the goal of publishing a book is unrealistic because it's out of his control. What that writer can do is set goals to write X number of pages per week, find a critique group, study a particular book on writing and apply the techniques, contact an agent, submit to X number of editors.... You get the idea. So let's start the new year's weekend with our lists of goals for the coming year.

Yes, I'm trying to make you think. Yes, I want you to be successful.

Here are some of my goals for 2007:
* first week of January - finish novella
* January/February - work on & finish new proposals
* write 100 words for 100 days
* writing improvement (techniques I'm working on)
* register for classes and honor study time
* promotion/website update
* faithful use of desk calendar for page counts and deadlines

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Worst Covers

Some covers will go on the wall of shame with the caption, "what was the art department smoking?" There are a couple that always come to mind. Suzanne Brockmann took this cover really well, dubbing this hero The Pillsbury Dough Boy and offering a cover fix-it kit consisting of a smiley face sticker.

Another I remember had a mostly naked guy in the jungle pictured with a monkey on his shoulder. I may have kept that one somewhere. If anyone knows what that book was, please let me know so I can look for it. If you have any nominees for worst covers of all time, please post titles here and I will find them to share with everyone.

And yes, I do consider this reissue of one of my books a contestant for the wall of shame. Featuring the chubby-cheeked dork in the way-too-big ten gallon Photo-Shopped hat.

another reason to use olive oil

I have subsituted olive oil in recipes for years. It's good for skin and healthier than vegetable or canola oil or shortenings. I also keep a bottle on the counter for salads. This article confirms yet another reason to use it. Where else would you learn all this fascinating stuff if I wasn't looking out for you? LOL

Olive oil may hinder cancer process
By AMY NORTON, Reuters

NEW YORK - People who use plenty of olive oil in their diets may be helping to prevent damage to body cells that can eventually lead to cancer, new research suggests.In a study of 182 European men, researchers found evidence that olive oil can reduce oxidative damage to cells' genetic material, a process that can initiate cancer development.They say the findings may help explain why rates of several cancers are higher in Northern Europe than in Southern Europe, where olive oil is a dietary staple.

They also support advice to replace saturated fats from foods like meat and butter with vegetable fats, particularly olive oil, said study co-author Dr. Henrik E. Poulsen, of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark.He and his colleagues report the findings in The FASEB Journal, a publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.The study included healthy men between the ages of 20 and 60 from five European countries. For two weeks, the men consumed a quarter cup of olive oil throughout each day. At the end of the study, they showed an average 13 percent reduction in a substance called 8oxodG, which is a marker of oxidative damage to cells' DNA.

Such damage occurs when byproducts of metabolism called reactive oxygen species overwhelm the body's antioxidant defenses. Olive oil contains a number of compounds, called phenols, believed to act as powerful antioxidants.However, those compounds didn't seem to account for the drop in DNA oxidative damage, according to Poulsen's team. The men in the study used three different olive oils with varying levels of antioxidant phenols, and oxidative damage declined regardless of the phenol content.Instead, the researchers suspect that the monounsaturated fats in olive oil are behind the effect.The findings, they say, suggest that olive oil may be part of the reason that certain cancers, including breast, colon, ovarian and prostate cancers, are less common in Mediterranean countries than in Northern Europe.

At the beginning of the study, men from Northern Europe had higher levels of 8oxodG than those from Southern Europe. This is consistent, according to Poulsen's team, with the expected effects of the olive-oil-rich "Mediterranean diet."However, Poulsen told Reuters Health, the diet is more than just olive oil.

Ideally, it's also rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish.Moreover, regardless of its benefits, he added, olive oil is no substitute for calorie control and regular exercise.

SOURCE: The FASEB Journal, January 2007
Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Matthew 18:20

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Caramel Pecan Cheesecake

Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 5 hr 25 min
Makes: 16 servings, 1 slice each

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
35 caramels
1/4 cup milk
1 cup chopped pecans
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 square semi-sweet baking chocolate

MIX crumbs and butter; press firmly onto bottom and 2 inches up side of 9-inch springform pan.
PLACE caramels and milk in small microwavable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 2 to 2-1/2 minutes or until caramels are completely melted when stirred, stirring after each minute. Stir in pecans. Reserve 1/2 cup of the caramel mixture for topping. Drizzle remaining caramel mixture evenly onto bottom of crust. Refrigerate 10 minutes.
BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour over caramel mixture in crust.
BAKE at 325°F for 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around side of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing side of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
TOP with reserved caramel mixture just before serving. Melt chocolate as directed on package; drizzle over cheesecake. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

Cheddar Herb Scones

A savory scone that works well for tea time, or on the side with the evening meal.

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
2/3 cup vegetable shortening (I use butter)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/3 cups milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 425F. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and dry herbs. Cut in shortening until you have coarse crumbs, then add 3/4 cup of the cheese. Lightly mix in the milk and mustard, until mixture forms a soft dough.

On a lightly floured board, knead gently 5 or 6 times and then divide. Roll each half into a 7-inch round, then cut into 4 or 5 wedges. On a greased baking sheet, place scones at least 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes, until brown on top.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holly's Contest

Go visit my friend, Holly Jacobs' website! She's giving away a very cool bookbag on New year's Day, so you still have time to enter the contest.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Cheryl's Scones

Cheryl’s Scones

This is the recipe I’ve come up with after many experimentations. Many scone recipes don’t call for an egg, but I love the texture an egg gives the dough. Heavy cream makes a scone less like a biscuit. Egg nog is an ingredient I stumbled upon, and the flavor it adds is incredible. Orange juice is another alternative. You many add or substitute ingredients- for example craisins & raisins are interchangeable. Currants are an option. Walnuts or pecans are a good addition. Guess what--some people like them plain!

I always double this recipe.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Soak 1/2 cup raisins in warm water.
In mixing bowl sift together:
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
½ cup (or less) sugar

Use pastry cutter to cut 1/3 cup butter or margarine into the flour mixture.
Add 1 beaten egg
½ cup egg nog (or heavy cream)

Stir with fork till pretty well mixed (it will be dry and crumbly), then turn out onto lightly floured surface or floured waxed paper and knead several times until a dough forms. Keep a little cup of flour at your fingertips and dust surface and hands with flour until you get a good consistency for pressing out. (If it sticks to your fingers, add more flour.)

Press dough out to about ½ in thickness. You may either
cut dough into shapes with cookie cutters or a glass…
or roll out the entire batch into a circle (2 if you double the recipe) and cut into pie-shaped wedges.

Place on lightly sprayed cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Some people brush the tops with milk. I don’t.
Optional: sprinkle with sugar or grated lemon peel
My special topping: sprinkle with lemonade mix!

Make ahead! These freeze great. Layer with waxed paper and freeze in a tightly sealed container. Thaw them out a few hours before serving.

Serve with preserves, jelly or lemon curd.

Measurements for double batch:
4 cups flour
¾ - 1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
5 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup butter/margarine
2 eggs
1 cup eggnog
1 cup raisins

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Your Christmas Gifts

Dear Friends,

Let me know your sizes. Christmas is tight this year. I've learned to make bedroom slippers out of maxi pads: You need four maxis to make a pair. Two of them get laid out flat, for the foot part. The other two wrap around the toe area to form the top. Tape or glue each side of the top pieces to the bottom of the foot part. Decorate the tops with whatever you desire, silk flowers, etc.

These slippers are soft and Hygienic; Non-slip grip strips on the soles; Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh; No more bending over to mop up spills; Disposable, biodegradable and environmentally safe. See picture.

kids say the darnedest things

A visiting minister waxed eloquent during the offertory
prayer. "Dear Lord," he began with arms extended and a
rapturous look on his upturned face, "without you we are
but dust..."

He would have continued but at that moment my very
obedient daughter (who was listening carefully for a
change!) leaned over to me and asked quite audibly in
her shrill little-girl voice, "Mom, what is butt dust?"

Prepare to OD: Snicker Salad

1 bag of miniature Snicker bars, cut into fourths
3 bananas
1 quart of strawberries
1 large box instant vanilla pudding (make with 1/2 the milk)
1 container of Cool Whip
Slice bananas and strawberries, place in bowl.
Add snickers.
In large bowl, fold in Cool Whip and pudding mixture, then fold in banana,stawberries, and Snicker mixture.
Chill 1 hour.

same book, different countries

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bones has been all reruns, and tonight's preview advertised a new show January 24th! However, they ran back to back episodes tonight and I saw one I'd missed. Remember when shows used to premiere in September and you'd get new programs clear up until the next summer and summer was reruns?!? Now we're lucky to get five or six episodes in between which they're breaking for football and basketball, and then of course no new shows through Christmas. Gives us time to shop around for new stuff, I guess. They're now showing the 2nd season of The Closer on Tues nites on TNT.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Victorian Christmas Tea

My local writers' Christmas Tea was Saturday, and one of our members graciously offered her lovely Victorican home. The house is on the historic register, and is absolutely beautiful.

This tree is set up in the dining room. Wish I'd have remember to take a pic of the lovely array of food. We had tea with scones, lemon curd and finger sandwiches.

The member's mother-in-law hand-painted the celing in this extraordinary upstairs landing.

They've been working for 13 years to restore this house; every room is breathtaking.

Recently a car rolled down the hill and crashed into their front porch and it had to be rebuilt. What a treat it was to see this this house and celebrate a special occasion inside.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Reasons Why The English Language Is Difficult To Learn

1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
2. The farm was used to produce produce.
3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4. We must polish the Polish furniture.
5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10. I did not object to the object.
11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13. They were too close to the door to close it.
14. The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18. After a number of injections my jaw got number.
19. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
20. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
21. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

And don't forget:
22. That depends on what the meaning of the word is is.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Drawing Winner!

Ta da! It's Friday and time to draw a name from the fish bowl. Thanks for all the great recipes, guys. Don't we all love having new ideas for things to fix at the holidays? I may have to make a little booklet: Reader's Holiday Recipes. I could give them out at booksignings. I'll credit you guys if I do it. I just happen to have Christmas books coming out the next two years!

Today I got a call from my agent with an offer for the 2008 Harlequin Historical Western Anthology! I'm currently working on 2007's. Kewl huh? More info on those later, because we have important business. Drumroll please....

And the winner of the gorgeous handmade beaded ornament is....


Whoo hoo! Congrats, Mel! Will mail that off to you asap. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sue's Incredible Scones

You are going to love me for this recipe. I got it from my friend, Sue Thornton, and I love her for sharing it with me! These are the best scones ever and will be a hit on Christmas morning or at your ladies' tea.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled
3/4 to 1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup craisins
6 oz. white chocolate chips
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup coarsely broken walnuts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and distribute them over the flour mixture. With a pastry blender/cutter cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, stir together the cream, egg, and vanilla. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and knead until combined. Knead in the white chocolate, walnuts, and fruit.

With lightly floured hands, pat the dough out into a 9 inch diameter circle in the center of an ungreased baking sheet. With a serrated knife, cut circle into 8 wedges. Actually cut the wedges apart.

Another option:
Sue presses the dough onto a cookie sheet and cuts into squares.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.

Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the scones to the wire rack to cool. Re-cut into wedges if necessary. Serve warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container. To freeze, store in airtight container between layers of wax paper. Thaw out the night before you want to serve.

One recipe makes 8-10 scones.

More about the downtown sulptures

Remember the pictures I posted the day I took my mom to see the sculptures downtown? Here's another addition and some info.

The entourage of bronze horses, covered wagons and pioneers on First National Bank's downtown campus now has a captain.

Workers installed an 11-foot-tall bronze wagon master on a horse at the highest point at Pioneer Courage Park. Wearing bronzed buckskin and fringe, the mountain-man-looking figure appears as a symbol of boldness and courage, holding out his hat and motioning to other wagons to catch up.
"He's the leader, the guy with the power," said Utah-based artist Blair Buswell. "I tried to convey that strength in him, so he has a presence."

The newest addition to the sculpture park is what Brenda Dooley, president of First National Bank's buildings division, calls a signature piece because of what it embodies and where it is located.

The wagon master's horse looks eager, with a hoof in the air. The wagon master has a fearless expression, portraying the brave optimism and pioneering spirit that the park was designed to represent.

"What that character signifies is what is significant to the park," Dooley said.
The wagon master was installed at the northeast corner - and highest point - in the park, making it the most visible piece in the park for drivers exiting Interstate 480 at 14th Street.

"This is what will bring people into the park," Buswell said.
About 29 bronze pieces are planned for the Pioneer Courage sculpture, created by artists Buswell and Ed Fraughton, that is on permanent display in the park.

The installation of the wagon master marks the halfway point, Dooley said.

Other major pieces, including other wagons, pioneers and hunters, are to be installed every year until the sculpture is complete in 2009 or 2010.
The sculpture is 11 feet tall, more than 8 feet long and more than 4 feet wide It weighs about 2,000 pounds It will sit at the highest point of the park.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Foods That Are Bad For Us -- Bummer!

10 Foods that Are Health Horrors
Dietitians name their top nutritional nightmares.

By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic

Some foods are so bad for you, they qualify as a nutritionist's nightmare.

WebMD asked several registered dietitians and other food experts to nominate their favorite "food horrors". Their submissions ranged from empty-calorie foods masquerading as nutritious, to outlandish concoctions that tip the scales with obscene amounts of fat and calories. Have any of them ever lurked around your plate?

1. Frightful Fried Foods
From a nutritional standpoint, some of the scariest foods are the deep-fat fried concoctions you can find at carnivals and state fairs.

Americans have tossed everything from turkeys to Twinkies in the fryer, but have you ever heard of deep-fried cola? Debuting at the Texas state fair -- and winning the creativity honor at the Big Tex Choice Awards contest -- was this deep-fried, Coca-Cola flavored batter, drizzled with cola fountain syrup, and topped with whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and a cherry.

2. Scary Steakhouse Specialty
Nutritional nightmares are readily available at many of your favorite neighborhood restaurants. Christine Palumbo, RD, nominated the deep-fried onion appetizer popular at some chain steakhouses.

One such appetizer, Outback Steakhouse's Bloomin' Onion, has more than 800 calories, 58 grams of fat and 22 grams of saturated fat, plus 1,520 milligrams of sodium. These numbers don't include the dipping sauce, which is also loaded with fat, calories, and sodium.

3. Monstrously Misleading
Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, a New York University nutrition professor and author of What to Eat, takes issue with not-very-nutritious foods that are labeled or advertised with healthy-sounding terms. She nominates "kids' fruit snacks that have no fruit whatsoever and are basically candy in disguise" as one potentially misleading food.

4. Big, Bigger, Biggest Burgers
There appears to be no end to the amount of calories and fat you can fit onto a bun.
Hardee's has the Monster Thickburger, boasting 1,420 calories, 107 grams (g) of fat, 45 g of saturated fat, and 2,740 milligrams (mg) of sodium. Carl's Jr. takes it a step further with the Double Six Burger, featuring two burger patties and three slices of cheese -- weighing in at 1,520 calories, 111 g fat, 47 g saturated fat, and 2,760 mg sodium.

Burger King is not far behind with its BK Stacker, loaded with four burgers, four slices of cheese, and 8 strips of bacon, coming in at 1,000 calories, 30 g saturated fat, and 1,800 mg sodium.

And the list doesn't end at fast-food chains. Ever hear of the "Hamdog"? This culinary creation from the former Mulligan's Tavern near Atlanta starts with a hot dog padded with cheese and half pound of ground beef. That's dropped in the fryer, then loaded onto a hoagie roll and topped with chili, bacon, onions and a fried egg. Mulligan's was also famous as the home of the "Luther Burger," a giant bacon cheeseburger with a Krispy Kreme doughnut for a bun.
Someone call the food police!

Of course, "most people know when they order one of these that it is not good for them," says Jayne Hurley, RD, senior nutritionist for the watchdog group, Center for Science in the Public Interest.

If you are thinking of your health, try ordering a plain burger with sauce on the side, along with a side salad.

The bottom line is that we should eat no more than 20 grams of saturated fat per day. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day (equal to about 1 teaspoon). If you're salt-sensitive (that is, if your blood pressure is highly affected by salt), the number drops to 1,500 mg.

5. Appalling Appetizers
Dietitian Cynthia Sass, RD, nominated TGI Friday's "sizzling triple meat fundido -- a combination of cheese, pepperoni, bacon, and sausage served with breadsticks." While nutritional information for this appetizer was not available on the restaurant's web site, the fat-laden ingredients ensure that the fundido is a nutritional no-no.

6. Calorie-Laden Cakes
As if cheesecake were not high enough in fat and calories, the Cheesecake Factory adds chocolate candy, cookies, mousse, ganache, flourless chocolate cake crust, and other equally caloric extras to the rich dessert, says Jayne Hurley, RD. Even if you're just ordering a plain slice, cheesecake will set you back 630 calories.

Looking for a little nosh with your coffee? Starbucks Old Fashioned Crumb cake looks innocent enough, but that little square packs 670 calories.

7. Diet-Demolishing Drinks
The real problem with high-calorie drinks is that they go down easily, and don't tend to fill you up.

"Coffee drinks and smoothies don't set off bells and whistles to alert you to the calorie load," says Hurley. "Starbucks' white chocolate mocha is a Quarter-Pounder in a cup; any Frappuccino Blended Crème has 490-580 calories; and a venti Java Chip Frappuccino has the equivalent of 11 creamers and 20 packets of sugar.

To reduce the calories in your favorite coffee drink, order a small size, make it "skinny" (with low fat milk), and skip the whipped cream.

8. Mammoth Mall Munchies
Most people know when they order a gigantic burger that it is not good for them. But what really scares Hurley are the not-so-obviously fattening foods that people snack on at the mall.

"The highly aromatic cinnamon used in a Cinnabon (810 calories) or the smell of Mrs. Field's milk chocolate macadamia cookie (320 calories) tempts mall goers into thinking nothing of eating a snack that has half a day's calories or fat," she says.

Bring along a 100-calorie pack of crackers, some trail mix, or raw veggies to help you resist the tantalizing aromas of such high-calorie mall treats.

9. Dining-Out Diet Disasters
"Fifteen years ago, when I first started evaluating restaurant food, I was blown away by the 1,500 calories in a serving of Fettuccine Alfredo, but the trend has gotten worse, not better," says Hurley.

Fried macaroni and cheese and cheese fries were other nominees in the category of frightening foods found on restaurant menus.

10. Stupendous Servings
It's not just fast-food meals that have been super-sized in the last couple of decades.

"Muffins, bagels, salads, sandwiches, pasta servings -- almost everything is much larger today than it used to be or needs to be," says Hurley. "You can expect most restaurant appetizers, entrees, and desserts to each weigh in around 1,000 calories."

Here's a sure-fire way to start your day off on the wrong dietary foot: the enormous omelet sandwich at Burger King. This fork-free meal is loaded with two slices of cheese, three slices of bacon, two eggs, and a sausage patty on a giant bun, totaling 730 calories and 47 g fat.

Do Food Horrors Really Matter?
Yes, dietitians say, there are some truly frightening foods out there. But do they really matter to the average American's diet?

Michelle May, MD, author of Am I Hungry? What to Do When Diets Don't Work, thinks that once a person indulges in a decadent dessert or monster burger, it triggers the "'I've already blown my diet, so why bother?" mentality.

Beyond that, May believes, the real horror may be the American mind-set about food.
"We were raised to clean our plates so we could be rewarded with dessert, which further enhances our desire to eat sweets and eat meals without recognition of fullness," she says.

Further, consider that many of the most frighteningly fattening foods are sold in restaurants. Americans now spend 48% of their food dollars in restaurants, according to the USDA Economic Research Service. And the most popular restaurant food eaten by both men and women is the hamburger, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm.

Hurley thinks most people would think twice about ordering food and drinks that they realize are "hideously high in fat and calories." She'd like to see nutrition information about restaurant foods become more readily available, and believes this would encourage restaurateurs to offer more healthful options.

"Let's give consumers the choice and educate them with the nutritional information of restaurant foods at the point of purchase, not the web site," she recommends.
Published Oct. 27, 2006.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Try this Christmas Recipe

I am so totally not a drinker, but I got this from Charlene Sands and it cracked me up. Reminds me of Lucy and her VitaMeataVegamin commercial.

Jose Cuervo Christmas Cookies

1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Jose Cuervo Tequila

Sample the Cuervo to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the Cuervo again, to be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.

Turn on the electric mixer... Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.

Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it's best to make sure the Cuervo is still OK, try another cup.....just in case.

Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit, Pick the fruit off the floor..

Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the Cuervo to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Check the Jose Cuervo. Now shift the lemon juice and strain. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find. Greash the oven.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don't forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the Cose Juervo and make sure to put the stove in the dishwasher.

Cherry Mistmas!

Good for a laugh

Even if your not a Gray's Anatomy fan, you'll get a blast from the past watching this silly video.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

This is going to be so much fun! This drawing is for a gorgeous -- I mean bee-u-tee-ful hand-made beaded ornament for your Christmas tree. Who wouldn't love one of these? I have a couple myself and they are the stars of the tree each time I decorate with them.

(remember you can click to enlarge the picture)
In order to be entered in the drawing, post one of your favorite tried-and-true Christmas recipes. So that the winner will have time to enjoy the ornament on their tree, I'll draw a name on December 8th. That gives you eight days from today to post a recipe -- or more than one -- in the comments are of this blog post. As usual, each post/recipe is an entry.

I had help coming up with this idea, so many thanks to the silent contributor. I can't wait to read and try your favorite holiday recipes.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Life is the Coffee

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and in life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said:
"If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.
"What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups and were eyeing each other's cups.
Now consider this: Life is the coffee. Jobs, money and position in society are the cups. Those things are just tools to hold and contain life, and do not change the quality of life. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided."
So, don't let the cups drive you ... enjoy the coffee instead.

myspace codes

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Gift Suggestion #1

I'm here to help you with your Christmas gift buying! Who wouldn't want their very own marshmallow shooter? C'mon, think aout it. You know someone who'd love it, right? LOL

hmmmm...I think I want one! Seriously? Seriously.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Winner: Seth Paxton

You guys gave me so many great choices, it made the decision really difficult. I had to go with my gut instinct and actually insert the names I liked into the synopsis and then read it over using them.

wdmcuz came up with Seth Paxton, so the signed copy of Victoria Alexander's HER HIGHNESS, HIS WIFE, the china cup and saucer and cookie dough candle are her reward. Thanks, cuz!

As I write the story and fill in with secondary characters, I'll fall back on the list for names from my blogger buddies, so you may still see your idea in the book somewhere.

Putting up the outside lights! We're getting in the spirit!
Is that Santa again?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Gotta Love the Movies!

40 Things That Only Happen in Movies

1. It is always possible to find a parking spot directly outside or opposite the building you are visiting.

2. When paying for a taxi, don't look at your wallet as you take out a note. Just grab one out at random and hand it over. It will always be the exact fare.

3. Television news bulletins usually contain a story that affects you personally at the precise moment it's aired.

4. Creepy music (or satanic chanting) coming from a graveyard should always be closely investigated.

5. Any lock can be picked with a credit card or paperclip in seconds. UNLESS it's the door to a burning building with a child inside.

6. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you bump into will know all the steps.

7. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red digital displays so you know exactly when they are going to explode.

8. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to learn to speak German. Simply speaking English with a German accent will do. Similarly, when they are alone, all German soldiers prefer to speak English to each other.

9. Once applied, lipstick will never rub off. Even while scuba diving.

10. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window of any building in Paris.

11. Any police officer about to retire from the force will more often than not die on their last day (especially if their family have planned a party). (Caveat: Detectives can only solve a case after they have been suspended from duty).

12. Getaway cars never start first go. But all cop cars do. (They will also slide to a dramatic stop in the midst of a crime scene).

13. If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises wearing their most revealing underwear.

14. On a police stake-out, the action will only ever take place when food is being consumed and scalding hot coffees are perched precariously on the dashboard . . .

15. All grocery shopping involves the purchase of French loaves which will be placed in open brown paper bags (Caveat: when said bags break, only fruit will spill out).

16. Cars never need fuel (unless they're involved in a pursuit).

17. If you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts, your opponents will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around you in a threatening manner until you have defeated their predecessor.

18. If a microphone is turned on it will immediately feedback.

19. Guns are like disposable razors. If you run out of bullets, just throw the gun away. you will always find another one.

20. All single women have a cat.

21. Cars will explode instantly when struck by a single bullet.

22. No matter how savagely a spaceship is attacked, its internal gravity system is never damaged.

23. If being chased through a city you can usually take cover in a passing St Patrick's Day parade - at any time of the year.

24. The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. Nobody will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building undetected.

25. You will survive any battle in any war UNLESS you show someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.

26. Prostitutes always look like Julia Roberts or Jamie Lee Curtis. They have expensive clothes and nice apartments but no pimps. They are friendly with the shopkeepers in their neighbourhood who don't mind at all what the girl does for a living.

27. A single match is usually sufficient to light up a room the size of a football stadium.

28. It is not necessary to say "Hello" or "Goodbye" when beginning a telephone conversation. A disconnected call can always be restored by frantically beating the cradle and saying "Hello? Hello?" repeatedly.

29. One man shooting at 20 men has a better chance of killing them all than 20 men firing at once (it's called Stallone's Law).

30. When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in you room will still be visible, just slightly bluish.

31. Plain or even ugly girls can become movie star pretty simply by removing their glasses and rearranging their hair.

32. Rather than wasting bullets, megalomaniacs prefer to kill their enemies with complicated devices incorporating fuses, pulleys, deadly gases, lasers and man-eating sharks.

33. All beds have special L-shaped sheets that reach to armpit level on a woman but only up to the waist of the man lying beside her.

34. Anyone can land a 747 as long as there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.

35. During all police investigations it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.

36. You can always find a chainsaw when you need one.

37. Most musical instruments (especially wind instruments and accordions) can be played without moving your fingers.

38. In Middle America, all gas station attendants have red handkerchiefs hanging out of their back pockets.

39. All teen house parties have one of every stereotypical subculture present (even people who aren't liked and would never get invited to parties).

40. Trucks use their horns at random (no hang on, that happens in real life too!).

Friday, November 24, 2006

Good News for Historicals

Romantic Times Magazine Says:
And speaking of historicals... we predict that a comeback is on the horizon. With authors like Karen Robards, Judith McNaught and now Julie Garwood returning to the much-beloved genre, it won't be long before all publishers will jump on the bandwagon to cash in on this returning trend. Add to that the recent news that suspense authors Tess Gerritsen and (of all people) Dennis Lehane will have historicals out in the next two years and you can see the trend is already in motion. If you're an author, dust off those historicals and get them ready for submission and if you're a fan of historicals, rejoice in the knowledge that authors and/or publishers have heard your pleas! Let's hope the new historicals live up to what fans want: lush, historically accurate detail, strong, independent heroines, heroes to die for, palpable sexual tension with tender sensuality and books overflowing with old-fashioned romance!

FYI: Keep in mind that when these historicals hit stores it will be up to you (and your buying power) to determine how long the trend lasts. That means you MUST show your support for historicals by purchasing them new and not buying them on sites like or used. "New" book sales is the only measure publishers use to determine if they will continue to publish more historicals.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Is that Santa Claus I'm kissing?

RockYou PhotoFX
Some of you asked for pictures of me and my mom. Yesterday I took her to lunch at the Hollywood diner. These are diners owned by a local entrepreneur who purchased a million dollar plus collection of movie memorabilia and is buying, placing and decorating these diners to display the treasures. The food is 50s style, gigantic malts, burgers, etc. There's a soda fountain, too. So far we have two and another is on its way. Here we are ordering reubens.

This is the outside of this diner near the airport. The other one is closer to my house, but we were having an adventure.

Who wouldn't love a malt like this? And this is a half! We shared one, so they put it in 2 containers!

Our downtown area has been a huge ongoing project to attract business and visitors. We have a huge auditorium, many historic buildings renovated into upscale aparrtments, and an Old Market area with brick streets, horse-drawn carriages trendy shopping, art stores, etc.. Since this used to be the prairie, much of the art is focused on the westward movement. Behind is the World Herald Newspaper building. The next stage of the project will be reflected in the glass on the side of that building.

These huge statues of pioneers are incredible. Beautiful down to the last detail. Up close you can see the movement of the horses and even the pioneers' clothing. On another corner are the buffalo.

Remember,you can click on a picture to see it better.

Monday, November 20, 2006

keep at it!

You guys rock! Smoooch!

I need a hero!

I need a name for my hero in this western Christmas novella for 2007. I can't move forward until I know his name. He's a man who has sacrificed much for the love of his family. He's younger than the heroine. oooooooooooh, aaaaaaaaaaaah. He's a young father. He's ready to do something for himself when he meets Marvel Anne.

If you come up with something I love, I have a special gift for you. Please offer suggestions!

Ideas that aren't singing to me:
Brody Calhoun
Booth Scanlon
Kane Farrington

See, I do need help. This gift package will be my thank you:
An autographed copy of Victorica Alexander's Her Highness, His Wife, a china cup and saucer from my personal collection and a cookie dough-scented jar candle.

Friday, November 17, 2006


I ran out for my copy of People Magazine first thing this morning. (Okay, call me shallow.) It's chock full with 200 of the sexiest guys of the year and what's my favorite picture? This ad with my favorite McCouple. LOL

Drawing at the HH authirs site!

Margaret Moore is giving away copies of a Christmas anthology with Jo Beverly. Go take a shot at winning one!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

100 Sexy Guys!

Watch 100 Sexy Guys in a one minute video if your heart can take it.

Friday is the day to run out and get your People Magazinbe featuring the Sexiest Man Alive. Once again this year, their pick is George Clooney. Dr. McDreamy is on that list somewhere -- and of course Johnny Depp. Who do you think deserved to win?

Winner of Every Waking Moment by Brenda Novak

The winner of an autographed copy of EVERY WAKING MOMENT by Brenda Novak is....

Lucky Lou!

Congrats, Lou! Your book is on the way.

Thanks to all who participated yet again.
I love my blog buddies!

Cher :-)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ding Dong The Book is Done!

Almost 5 AM - The Preacher's Daughter is finished! And wouldn't you know it, my CD burner crapped out just as I was trying to make the accompanying CD! Took me another hour to give up and save to a floppy. ARGH!!!!!!!!

I will get (maybe) 2 hours of sleep before I need to get The Boy up for school. And then off to the post office. Whoo hoo!

I will be mailing all of your books today, winners, just so you know. This is the real celebration day!

Monday, November 13, 2006


I've been tagged by fellow author and good friend Charlene Sands to post Five Things You Might Not Know About Me. I in turn tag Margaret Moore and Lucy Monroe.

Here goes:

1. I eat a hard-boiled egg and a V-8 for breakfast every day.

2. I like to do the laundry.

3. Even though it's neccessary, I think sleeping is a waste of time.

4. My last "real" job was as a merchandising artist.

5. I hate to do live interviews.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Good-bye to a Cowboy

Oscar-winner Jack Palance dies at 87
By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES - Oscar-winning actor Jack Palance, one of Hollywood's best-known screen villains who personified evil as a cold-blooded gunslinger in the classic western "Shane," died on Friday at the age of 87, his spokesman said.

Palance, who later won an Oscar for the comedy "City Slickers" and famously brought down the house by performing one-armed push-ups on the stage, died of natural causes, spokesman Dick Guttman said.

Though he had dozens of film and TV parts, Palance's gaunt features, raspy voice and squinty eyes were perfect for menacing roles and he often played dangerous characters.

He was nominated for Oscars as the beady-eyed hired gun who is shot down by Alan Ladd's title character in "Shane" and for 1952's "Sudden Fear," in which he starred opposite Joan Crawford as a man plotting to kill his wife.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1919, Palance was a professional boxer who injured his throat in a fight, leaving him with his signature raspy voice, before serving in World War Two. The son of Ukrainian immigrants, his birth name was Vladimir Palahnuik, variously spelled as Palahniuk or Palaniuk.

After the war Palance moved to New York and served as Marlon Brando's understudy for the classic Broadway production of "A Streetcar Named Desire." He made his screen debut in the 1950 Elia Kazan film "Panic in the Streets."

"Shane," with its beautiful cinematography of bleak landscapes and themes of good versus evil, is considered one of Hollywood's greatest westerns.

Ladd stars as a vaguely mysterious former gunslinger who tries to settle down with a homesteading family but is forced into a showdown with the hired gun played by Palance.

George Stevens Jr., the son of "Shane" director George Stevens, said he remembered Palance arriving on the set weeks before his scenes were to be shot.

"(He would) get on his gray horse and then ride off and we'd see him stop and practice getting on and off the horse," Stevens said. "He was from New York and didn't know how to do that. And he also worked with the fast draw guy to practice drawing his gun. At the end, the gunslinger instructor was very impressed."

Palance's chilling, scene-stealing acting in "Shane" landed him leading roles in the 1950s but he was best suited as the bad guy, both in film and on television.

His career had a resurgence with his role in "City Slickers," playing aging but still tough-as-nails cowboy Curly Washburn, who quietly inspires a group of businessmen during a western cattle drive.

Oscar host Billy Crystal, who starred alongside Palance in "Slickers," turned his one-handed push-ups into a running gag.

Guttman said Palance, who is survived by his wife and two daughters, died at his home in Montecito, California, surrounded by members of his family.

(Additional reporting by Arthur Spiegelman)
Copyright 2006 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Copyright © 2006 ABC News Internet Ventures

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Last Chance Cafe

Linda lael Miller's book The last Chance Cafe has been made into a Lifetime Movie starring Kevin Sorbo and Kate Vernon

Synopsis: After uncovering evidence that her stepdad was murdered by her DA ex-hubby and a ring of corrupt cops, a young woman is forced to flee with her daughter. She winds up hiding in a small, rural town. Things take a turn for the better when she falls head over heels for a local ranch owner, but is danger still hot on her tail? Stay tuned!

It will premiere on the Lifetime cable channel on Monday, November 13 at 9 p.m. ET, with an additional airing on Sunday, November 19 at 6 p.m..

Thursday, November 09, 2006

WINNER: Rain Shadow from Katrina

Still McThursday, so I had to add McDreamy.

My helper drew a name tonight! The winner of Katrina's generously offered copy of RAIN SHADOW is........

Maureen E. !! Congrats, Maureen!

McThursday on TV

The networks did some serious shifting this season, pitting their heavy hitters against each other. Thus Gray's Anatomy and Demented Housewives shifted from their hot Sunday night slots to Thursday. Gray's Anatomy is obviously holding its own. Don't know about DH 'cause I can't stomach that show.

This week's GA was amusing with the male doctors all taking a fishing trip--and how the heck did the bartender get included? (Anyone remember him as My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance? I loved that disgusting show--one of the few reality shows I've ever watched.) Back to the show: the couple with the stillborn baby was the moment of drama that made the viewer's heart stop.

After all the slicing and dicing I did last year about ER, no one is happier than I to say they made a comeback this year with some decent plotlines and roles for the characters. Of course we all wanted Kovic and Abby back together. Sam was just too flaky. Strangely enough since her abduction by the ex- she's less of a cry baby. Glad she dumped Luka and he got the right woman. Of course, since I'm a writer and a plotter I know the best thing/worst thing that could happen now is something threatening Abby and Baby Joe. You see Dr. Kovic's wife and children died during the war in Croatia and he tried to make a choice between saving the last living child and his wife. They both died. Great angst for a backstory.

He screwed every nurse, female doctor and patient's mother at the hospital in his rebellious "grief" -- I think the only women he hasn't slept with is Carrie, of course she's now gay, so he's not her type -- but anyway now that he has his life on track the perfect situation for his conflict would be to make him choose between saving Abby or the baby. They had that opportunity during the shootout in the Er and her early labor and the preemie baby and her hysterectomy, but they didn't play that card. Will it show up now?

ER writers, if you're out there, I'm available!

Love John Stamos, thank you for bringing him to the cast -- not sure if Neela is the one for him, there's really no conflict going there. She's a widow, he's single and a family-type man, kind of too convenient, you know. Surely he has a deep dark secret.

I like the recent guest star (can't think of his name) but I just don't care whether or not he sues Kovic -- but I do see the wisdom of setting him up to threaten Abby.

Now! Please, please, PLEASE, writers, bring back the multiple personality guy and Archie. What incredible acting! Now there's drama! You hate him, you love him, you hate him, you love him. Could we see him in therapy? Could we see Archie get a little credit?

And now back to my own not-so regularly scheduled storyline....

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Big Sky Brides goes to Katrina -- and Kathleen

Katrina was the first to respond for Big Sky Brides.

I hope you enjoy it, Katrina!

Kathleen posted second, and I do have a previously signed well-used copy for you. It was my dad's.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Drawing! Winners!

The book isn't in the mail, but I figured a postitive affirmation couldn't hurt, so we're celebrating early. Elijah drew the names from the fish bowl for you.

Good job, buddy!

The winners are:
Land of Dreams - Jennifer Y
The Doctor's Wife - Carol
The Gunslinger's Bride - Kim W
Charlie's Angels - Meljprincess
The Magnificent Seven - Karen W

Elijah had so much fun drawing names and reading the posts that I let him draw a couple more.

He drew Minna's name next so I found a copy of Land of Dreams that belonged to my dad. It's already autographed, and well-read, but still readable.

Last but not least he drew Joye's name, so I found another Gunslinger's Bride. Signed to my dad, but not abused.

Now all the names go back in the pot for Every Waking Moment. I'll keep adding all the post entries. You don't need to designate a book any more.

I'll go to the post office later in the week. I need to buy some mailing envelopes! I've been mailing a lot of books.
I need addresses from Karen W, Kim W and Joye. Send to:

Congratulations and thanks to ALL who participated!

One last thing:
I discovered I have an extra copy of Big Sky Brides anthology, too (Isabelle) so the first person to email me that they need that one will get it:

Rain Shadow drawing!

Katrina ordered an extra copy of Rain Shadow just for one of you who needs one! Katrina, you are SO SWEET, thank you!

So...if you don't have a copy of RS, send me an email ASAP and I'll draw a name this week. Katrina will mail it out to you.

send email: