Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mia, the grand-dog

Saturday morning in my back yard

My first swallowtail "capture" of the season! Imagine how excited I was to see this fellow on the zinnias!

And he didn't mind having his picture taken.

These are the vines for the ornamental gourds I planted. I will have to take a photo to show you the incredible size of the leaves.

In the center is our birdbath made from old enamel basins.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I'm teasing you......

I'm so excited! I have a very special surprise for you next week! It has to do with a new release, a wonderful friend and fellow writer, AND a chance to win an autographed copy of her new book right here, simply by commenting!

Here's a sneak peek.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

You're the first to see:

A Western Winter Wonderland!

Each story includes a favorite family recipe for the Christmas holiday.

Weight Watchers Confirms Our Love for Chocolate!

"It's actually good for your heart and also good for your blood pressure," says Valentine Yanchou Njike, MD, MPH, of the Yale Griffin Prevention Research Center, who has researched cocoa's effect on blood vessel function. Researchers have also found that phytochemicals in cocoa, which is used to make chocolate, may improve blood vessel function, slow blood clotting, improve insulin resistance and have protective effects against cancer. And even though the labels say chocolate contains saturated fat, it's actually the kind of fat (called stearic acid) that has little effect on your cholesterol levels.

But experts warn against celebrating this good news with morning, noon and night chocolate bar binges. The dark delicacy still packs a hefty number of calories per ounce from its fat and sugar content. And as Karen Collins, MS, RD, nutrition advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research, points out, "We have a wide range of food—vegetable, fruits, whole grains, beans—that provides thousands of phytochemicals, and so our heart and our cancer health does not depend on eating chocolate. If you load up on chocolate for the phytochemicals, then that's going to send your weight up."

The bottom line is that you don't have to beat yourself up for craving chocolate if you enjoy it in moderation. Here are six tips for getting a guilt-free chocolate fix.

1. Keep it pure.
"If you want chocolate, have chocolate, don't have chocolate cake," says Collins. "You'll get the intense chocolate flavor, and you won't be getting the extra calories and unhealthy fats."

2. Choose wisely.
While chocolate may have some health benefits, it should still be eaten as a treat. "It's not a substitute for fruits and vegetables; it's a substitute for other discretionary calories," says Collins. So when snacking, should you pick chocolate over a pear? Probably not. How about chocolate instead of potato chips? Yes, indeed!

3. Eat what you like.
The darker the chocolate, the more phytochemicals (and usually less sugar) it contains. Its flavor is also more intense than milk chocolate. But if you don't like the bitterness of dark chocolate, don't think it's your only option, says Collins. "If what you really like is the milk chocolate, then have what you like, because you're eating this for pleasure."

4. Think bite-size.
It usually just takes a little bit of chocolate to curb a craving. That's why Collins suggests buying chocolate in small portions. "Don't buy the larger size because the unit pricing is better…you won't stop. It's human nature," she says.

5. Get a liquid fix.
Hot cocoa is another way to enjoy chocolate. Make your own low-POINTS® value version with cocoa, skim milk or water and a sugar substitute. Look for "natural" cocoa, not "Dutch-processed." The processing significantly diminishes its phytochemical content, says Collins.

6. Savor it.
If you really love chocolate, slow down and enjoy it instead of gobbling it down on the go. This way, says Collins, "You will get so much enjoyment out of a small amount that you won't need to eat a bagful."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Kraft Kitchens recipe: BBQ Sirloin Roast

Prep Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 1 hour 15 min.
Makes: 12

1 Tbsp. chili powder
1-1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 beef sirloin tip roast (3 lb.)
3/4 cup Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce, divided
6 cups coleslaw blend
1 cup Miracle Whip Dressing
12 submarine or French bread rolls, split

PREHEAT grill for indirect heat by heating one side of the grill to
medium heat; leave the burners on the other side turned off.
Combine chili powder, 1 tsp. of the pepper and the garlic powder;
rub evenly onto all sides of roast. Place on cool side of grill;
cover with lid.

GRILL roast without turning for 1 hour. When internal
temperature reaches 140°F, brush roast with 1/4 cup of the
barbecue sauce. Continue grilling, covered, 10 min. or until
internal temperature reaches 150°F. Transfer roast to carving
board. Tent with foil. Let stand 10 min. or until internal
temperature reaches 160°F. Meanwhile, mix coleslaw blend,
dressing and remaining 1/2 tsp. pepper.

CUT roast across the grain into thin slices. Add to remaining
1/2 cup barbecue sauce in large bowl; toss to coat. Spoon into
rolls. Serve with the coleslaw.

Healthy Living recipe

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hersheys Double Chocolate KISSES Cupcakes

Double KISSES Chocolate Cupcakes

• About 60 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
• 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
• 1-2/3 cups sugar
• 3 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
• 1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1-1/3 cups water

1. Remove wrappers from chocolate pieces; set aside. Heat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups.

2. Combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl. Beat on high speed of mixer 3 minutes. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and baking powder; add alternately with water to butter mixture, beating just until blended. Fill prepared muffin cups about 1/2 full with batter. Place chocolate piece in center of each.

3. Bake 20 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly in center.

Remove from cups to wire rack.
Cool completely.
Frost as desired.
Place another chocolate piece on top of each cupcake.
About 2-1/2 dozen cupcakes.

Sunday's photos

I can't believe this little guy let me creep so close. He was engrossed in the red gladiola obviously - or I didn't look like a threat.

My butterfly bushes are really big this year. So far they've attracted mostly Monarchs.

3:10 to Yuma - a new western - yee haw!

WDMCuz won't go to see this one; she doesn't like Russel Crow. I'm thrilled to see a new western. Is someone finally catching on? Americans like westerns??

This is a remake of the Glen Ford movie.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Happy Meals on Wheels

Mickey D delivers? You bet. While Americans suffering from a Big Mac attack typically pull up to the drive-through window, in the developing world the fast-food chain increasingly does the driving. In traffic-choked cities from Manila to Montevideo, McDonald's deploys fleets of motor scooters to get hot food to customers fast. "I'm too lazy to go out and stand in line," confesses Nada Abou el Soud, a Cairo high school student. She says she calls in an order for a Mc- Chicken combo meal at least once a week, dropping about $4.25 each time, including a 70 cents delivery fee.

All told, McDonald's delivers in some 25 cities, with a half-dozen more on deck. The company just launched deliveries in Taipei, with 1,000 drivers, is expanding Shanghai to citywide service this summer, and is testing the concept in Beirut and Riyadh. In Egypt, where the setup was pioneered in 1995, deliveries now account for 27% of all McDonald's revenue and up to 80% at some restaurants. Globally, delivery sales are expected to total more than $110 million in 2007, up from $90 million last year, the company says. While that's spare change for the $21.6 billion giant, the business is growing by 20% to 30% annually, more than triple the chain's overall rate.

read the entire Business Week article here

Friday, July 20, 2007

On Romance by Bertrice Small

When this article came across one of my newsletter listservs this morning, I thought it was too interesting to not have more exposure than for writers only. Although Ms. Small wrote it for writers, the history will interest all romance readers.

The following article first appeared in the August 2007 issue of ShoreLines, newsletter for the Long Island Romance Writers. Permission to forward, with proper credits, granted.

A Brief History of the Romance Genre, Late 20th Century
by Bertrice Small

In February of 2008 I will have been in print 30 years. I'm astounded at how the time has gone. But I'm more amazed when I speak with many aspiring writers who want to write Romance, but have absolutely no idea of its modern beginnings. They know nothing of the Romance Revolution in which I played a part, and still continue to play a part. As I write this for ShoreLines the Romance community is mourning the loss of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss who died on July 6th. It seems impossible that some of you reading this have no idea who she is, or was, yet there are those of you who don't. Oh, you might have heard the name, but you really don't know about her great contribution.

Charles Dickens's kindly character, Bob Cratchitt toasted his miserly employer one Christmas Day as "the founder of our feast." So it is I think of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. She is indeed the founder of our feast, the Romance revival. A genteel, private Southern woman living in Minnesota, she would have never considered causing any kind of a stir much less a revolution. But cause a revolution she certainly did, proving once again that old adage that the pen is mightier than the sword.

She wrote a novel, and sent it to a New York publishing house. So it was in the summer of 1970 that an editor plucked the bulky manuscript from the slush pile, taking it home to read over a weekend. The editor returned Monday morning determined to publish the manuscript she had read, and she lobbied so hard that to shut her up, Avon agreed to publish it. Everyone except the editor in question was astounded when the manuscript was published in April of 1972 and became an overnight mega-bestseller. The book was titled, "The Flame and the Flower." Its author was Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, and the revolution had begun.

Several months later a manuscript arrived at Avon Books addressed to the editor of "The Flame and the Flower." Written by another unknown, Rosemary Rogers, this manuscript was published in January 1974, and titled, "Sweet Savage Love." It proved to be another huge bestseller. The editor of these two books, Nancy Coffey, began collecting writers to publish. There was Laurie McBain, Joyce Verrette, Patricia Gallagher, Johanna Lindsay, Shirlee Busbee, and me, Bertrice Small. We were known as the Avon Ladies. Nancy wasn't too keen on men, even with female nom de plumes, writing Romance, and so, Tom Huff, a.k.a. Jennifer Wilde, ended up writing for Warner Books. And so began the Romance Revival of the late 20th century.

Until then women, who buy most of the books, were hard pressed to find anything in the paperback racks to read other than Westerns, Mysteries, Thrillers, and Horror. Oh, there was Barbara Cartland, and Harlequin, but it was Woodiwiss and Rogers who fired our imaginations with their sexy, swashbuckling prose. And in short order we were pushing the other fiction genres to the back of the bus as Romance exploded full force onto the scene.

Now there are those who sneer at the Romance genre. They say it isn't real literature. But literature is defined by the Random House Dictionary of the English Language as: writings, in which form and expression, in connection with ideas of universal and permanent interest are characteristic or essential features as poetry, ROMANCE, history, biographies, essays, etc. You will note it doesn't say ponderous, dull, boring writing critically hailed by stuffy snobs. I suspect that the publishers would agree with my simple opinion. Literature is anything that gets people reading, gets them to recommend a title to friends, gets them coming back into the bookstores to buy more books.

And that's just what the Romance genre did. It got women into the stores and reading again. It made Romance a billion dollar baby for publishing. It was a two-headed baby to begin with: Historicals and Category. But then as women's palates grew more sophisticated, baby grew more heads. Historical and Category were joined by Western, Thriller, Paranormal, Glitz, Chick-Lit, Christian, Contemporary, and OHMYSTARS! Erotic, just to name a few. And the Historical sub-genre had sub-sub-genres. Regency. Georgian. Medieval. Tudor and Elizabethan, not to mention Stuart. Pre- and post-Colonial America. Southern. Civil War. Victorian. Gothic. And World War I. Paranormal sprouted a few noggins. Sexy vampires and wolves prowled the pages of novels along with faeries, witches, and wizards. Romance, it seems, offers something for everyone today.

Thirty-five years have past since "The Flame and the Flower" burst upon the publishing scene. I think it's a pretty safe bet to say that few, if any of you, would be publishing today if it hadn't been for Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, and the seven other Avon Ladies who followed behind her. And of those eight crusaders, five still publish. "Everlasting, " Woodiwiss's last novel, is currently scheduled to be published posthumously in October of this year. Rosemary Rogers still writes for Avon. Johanna Lindsay is with Pocket Books; Shirlee Busbee with Kensington; and me, Bertrice Small, well, I toil for NAL and HQN. I like to think of us as the survivors of the Romance wars.

So the next time you sit down to write; or you stop at your favorite bookstore to browse, and buy, I hope you will think of us. We are your past. We are the present. And while I suspect the four of us intend being around for a while longer, you are going to be the future of Romance. We've laid a solid foundation for you. Make Kathleen and rest of us proud!

Bertrice Small lives to write and writes to live. She is the author of 43 novels encompassing Historical Romance, Fantasy Romance and Erotic Romance. She lives on the North Fork of the East End of Long Island with her hero, George, 3 cats, 2 fish and a cockatiel who whistles the NY METS charge call.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Winona on Vogue

Is she gorgeous or what? My favorite Winona Ryder movie is Little Women (and don't tell anyone, but my other favorites are Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands).

Do you have a favorite?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chocolate Decadence - still Hersheys month!

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

3 ounces HERSHEY’S Chocolate, melted

1 ¼ cups brown sugar

4 ounces butter

3 eggs

1 cup sour cream

2 ¼ cups flour

½ tablespoon & ½ teaspoon Baking Soda

Vanilla, to taste

1 cup hot water (add late)


· Mix all but hot water together.

· Mix very well. The mixture is very moist.

· Add hot water (last).

· Bake in a 10-inch round greased and floured pan.

· Bake at 350 degrees until firm.

Chocolate Icing Ingredients:

4 squares HERSHEY’S Semisweet Chocolate

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

6 tablespoons milk


· In heavy 1-quart saucepan over low heat, melt HERSHEY’S Chocolate and butter.

· Remove from heat.

· With wire whip, beat in confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth and spreads easily.

· After cake cools, cut into 2 equal layers and ice.

· To serve, garnish the slices with HERSHEY'S chocolate syrup, whipping cream, and HERSHEY'S KISSES.

Yield: Makes enough to ice one 9-inch single layer cake

Chocolate Decadence
Prepared by Charlie Gipe, Executive Chef at HERSHEY Entertainment Complex

I have resisted taking any pokes, and I've done really well, haven't I?

But I just couldn't let this one go.

Heirhead Paris Hilton told British newspaper The Sunday Times,

"There's nobody in the world like me. I think every generation has an iconic blonde, like Marilyn Monroe or Princess Diana, and right now I'm that icon."

Money sure buys a big head, doesn't it?

Baby Man

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

HERSHEY’S Chocolate Waffle Cookies

HERSHEY’S Chocolate Waffle Cookies
Prepared by Bill Justus Executive Chef at HERSHEY LODGE


2 ounce HERSHEY’S Special Dark chips
1/3 cup butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar


· Preheat and grease waffle iron.
· In saucepan combine the HERSHEY’S chocolate chips and butter. Cook over medium low heat and stir until smooth.
· In stainless steel bowl mix together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until fluffy.
· Stir into chocolate mixture and then fold in the flour. Mix until smooth.
· Drop batter on to the waffle iron. Close and cook for 60 to 90 seconds or until firm.
· Remove from the iron, cool slight and dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Our First Cukes!

Look! Jay went out and discovered these in the bucket I had surrounding the cucumber plant. It must have flowered in there first and they grew in the bucket. How funny is that? He pulled out a ton of pumpkin vines that I just let grow as volunteers from last year. They were trying to choke the cukes. Guess what we're having for lunch?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Brenda's veggies and new oven!

Wow, Brenda, you had your garden in earlier than I did -- or you used Super Miracle Grow or something!

And this oven is just to drool over!

Thanks for sharing with us!!!

Surprise Drawing Winner!

I'm drawing a name from the recent blog comments to win a double whammy.

Once again they are RITA nominees for this year, both by Lisa Kleypas:
Devil in WInter and Scandal in Spring

Thanks for blogging during the dog days of summer!

And the winner is........


Krunchy KISSES Cookies

Krunchy KISSES Cookies

• 36 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
• 1/2 cup light corn syrup
• 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 cups crisp rice cereal
• 1 cup slightly crushed corn flakes
1. Remove wrappers from chocolate pieces.

2. Stir together corn syrup and brown sugar in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full boil. Remove from heat; stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Add cereals; stir until well coated.

2. Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Loosely shape into balls; gently press chocolate piece in center of each ball, shaping ball gently into cookie shape. Store in covered container at room temperature. About 3 dozen cookies.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Almond KISSed Cookies

Almond KISSed Cookies

• 1 cup sliced almonds, divided
• 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
• 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel
• 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 cup HERSHEY'S MINI KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1. Grind 1/2 cup almonds in food processor or blender. Stir together flour, ground almonds and baking soda; set aside.

2. Beat butter and powdered sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg, orange peel and almond extract; beat on low speed until blended. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed until blended. Shape dough into two logs, about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. (Refrigerate dough about 15 minutes, if necessary, before shaping). Wrap each roll separately in wax paper or plastic wrap; refrigerate until well chilled, at least two hours.

3. Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Slice dough into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

4. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Immediately place 3 chocolates and 3 almond slices on top of each cookie, pressing down lightly. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 3-1/2 dozen cookies

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies for Brenda

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour

Hershey's Kisses
Cream sugar, peanut butter and shortening. Beat in eggs. Sift baking soda, salt and flour. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Chill for 1 hour or overnight.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Do not flatten.

Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven. Immediately press one unwrapped Hershey's Kiss in the center of each cookie. Gently lift from cookie sheet with a spatula and let cool on a wire rack.

Mr. and Mrs. Finch

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Hershey's Kisses!

Hoosters! We almost missed another important holiday! Hersheys is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its iconic chocolate Kisses. Kisses are made at the Pennsylvania factory in much the same way as they have since 1907. Today, the chocolates that were hand-wrapped in the early years are now wrapped by machine at about 1,300 Kisses a minute. The paper strip to open the Kiss is called a plume.

Click here to sign up for a year of free recipes via email from Hershey's! I signed up.

Also, click here for free Hershey recipes that will print as cards.

For the rest of the week I'll post a Hershey's recipe to celebrate!

Here's the first, courtesy of Hershey:

• 1 package (8 oz.) refrigerated quick crescent dinner rolls
• 24 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates or HERSHEY'S HUGS Brand Chocolates
• Powdered sugar
1. Heat oven to 375 F. Separate dough into 8 triangles. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

2. Place 2 chocolates at wide end of each triangle; place an additional chocolate on top of other two pieces. Starting at wide end, roll to opposite point; pinch edges to seal. Place rolls, pointed side down, on ungreased cookie sheet. Curve into crescent shape.

3. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; sift with powdered sugar. Serve warm. 8 crescents.

Note: Leftover crescents can be reheated in microwave for a few seconds.

Where have all the bloggers gone?

It's RWA national week in Dallas, so I know where all the writers have gone, but where are all the readers??

I'm growing ornamental gourds this year for the first time, so I just researched online to see what all I've done wrong so far. LOL I thought I would trellis them, but when they didnt seem inclined to go for the trellises I rethunk the situation. Seems they can go either way, ground or trellis, so I'll just let them find their own way. I don't have fruit yet or even flowers; mine are still sending out tendrils and growing vines. I read they love the summer heat, so they ought to do great!

No, I did not take this second picture. I found it so I could project. LOL

Sunday, July 08, 2007



I took these pictures at 9 PM tonight, believe it or not, the flash went off -- the blooms are beautiful! This is my second year planting them, but the first that they actually came up and bloomed! You can see the incredible size compared to the black-eyed susans.

Ipomoea alba, otherwise known as Moonflowers are so called because they bloom in the evening. They have large 4 to 6 inch fragrant, white or pink flowers on twining vines. The flowers open quickly in the evening and last through the night, remaining open until touched by the morning Sun.

Moonflowers grow to a height of about 15 feet. The leaves are rather large which allows the plant to be used as an annual in a northern garden. Propagation is usually by seed. The seed should be nicked with a file and then soaked overnight before planting. Moonflowers should be planted when the Moon is new or increasing in light!

The moonflower is a vigorous twining vine that is very fast growing in really hot weather. It is a tender tropical perennial but is now seeing popular use as an annual vine in colder areas. This close relative of the morning glory has similar heart shaped leaves that are a rich green and 4-8 (10-20 cm) inches long. They provide a beautiful backdrop for the spectacular moonflowers. This vine also known as the evening glory as its buds open in late afternoon and last only until morning's light transforms them into a limp shriveled mass. Moonflower makes up for the brief lifespans of individual flowers by producing quantities of the big blossoms throughout the summer. These are held on a stem that bears several buds simultaneously, not all of which bloom the same night. The long 4 in (10 cm) buds are also very attractive especially in the hours just before the flower opens.

And what a fabulous flower the moon vine (as it is also called) produces! They are fluted funnels sculpted in purest alabaster white. About the diameter of a saucer measuring 5-6 (12.7-15 cm) inches across. As if the moonflower was not already enchanting enough, it also has a delightful fragrance to complement its beauty and perfume warm summer nights.

Leaves and flower stems are adjacent and on the same side of the stem. The flowers are followed by rough husks that are filled with seed which can be harvested when the covering turns dry and black. The large white seeds resemble dried garbanzo beans and are about the same size.

Kathleen Woodiwiss June 3, 1939 - July 6, 2007

Do you have a copy of this book on your shelf?
The romance pioneer has died. Is there a romance reader out there who has never read Kathleen's Woodiwiss's The Wolf and the Dove or The Flame and the Flower? Kathleen's son, Heath reported her death from cancer as well as news that the family and her publisher are working to bring her last book to print. Here's what Wikipedia says about Kathleen.....

Kathleen Erin Hogg was born on June 3, 1939 in Alexandria, Louisiana, the youngest of eight children of Charles Wingrove Hogg, a disabled World War I veteran, and his wife. As a child, Woodiwiss relished creating her own stories, and by age six was telling herself stories at night to help herself fall asleep. Her father died suddenly when Woodiwiss was only twelve, leaving her to be raised by her mother and older sisters. Woodiwiss would later remark that, "every single one of us had minds of our own even then; I was no exception. I suppose that carried over into my creations of heroines who weren't weak-willed."

At age 16, she met U.S. Air Force Second Lieutenant Ross Woodiwiss at a dance, and they married the following year. His military career led them to live in Japan, where Woodiwiss worked part-time as a fashion model for an American-owned modeling agency. After three and a half years in Japan, the family moved to Topeka, Kansas. During these years, Woodiwiss attempted to begin a novel several times, but each time stopped in frustration at the slow pace of writing a novel longhand. After buying her husband an electric typewriter for a Christmas present, Woodiwiss appropriated the machine to begin her novel in earnest.

Her debut novel, The Flame and the Flower, was rejected by agents and hardcover publishers as being too long at 600 pages. Rather than follow the advice of the rejection letters and rewrite the novel, Woodiwiss instead submitted it to paperback publishers. The first publisher on her list, Avon, quickly purchased the novel and arranged an initial 500,000 print run. The Flame and the Flower, was revolutionary, featuring an epic historical romance with a strong heroine and actual sex scenes. This novel, published in 1972, sold over 2.3 million copies in its first four years of publication and is credited with spawning the modern romance genre, becoming the first romance novel "to [follow] the principals into the bedroom."

The success of this novel prompted a new style of writing romance, concentrating primarily on historical fiction tracking the monogamous relationship between a helpless heroines and the hero who rescued her, even if he had been the one to place her in danger. The romance novels which followed in her example featured longer plots, more controversial situations and characters, and more intimate and steamy sex scenes.

Many modern romance novelists cite Woodiwiss as their inspiration. Julia Quinn remarked that "Woodiwiss made women want to read. She gave them an alternative to Westerns and hard-boiled police procedurals. When I was growing up, I saw my mother and grandmother reading and enjoying romances, and when I was old enough to read them myself, I felt as if I had been admitted into a special sisterhood of reading women."

Woodiwiss has since published twelve best-selling romance novels, of which over thirty-six million copies are in print. Woodiwiss is known for the quality of her novels rather than the quantity of works which she publishes. She often takes 4-5 years to write a single novel. In some cases, Woodiwiss attributes the lag in publication time to personal and health issues, while in others she confesses to having suffered burnout and needing a rest to recover her interest in writing.

All of her novels are historical romances, set in varied backgrounds, including the American Civil War, 18th-century England, or Saxony in the time of William the Conqueror. The heroines of the novels are strong-willed young women with "a spark of life and determination." Woodiwiss describes her novels as "fairy tales. They are an escape for the reader, like an Errol Flynn movie."

Woodiwiss is an avid horseman who at one time lived in a large home on 55 acres in Minnesota. After her husband's death, she moved her permanent residence to Louisiana. She has three sons, Sean, Dorren, and Heath, and numerous grandchildren. Her next book, Everlasting is set for release in late October of 2007.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

almost missed an important holiday!

We almost missed this one, but it's 10:20 pm here so the day's not over yet. I've been out of town for a July 7 wedding (like half the country), and got home to see Sue let me know it's national chocolate day! Who knew?? The holiday, started by the National Confectioners Association, falls on July 7 every year.

Whew! I did have M&Ms and chocolate cake at the wedding, so I observed, even thugh I didn't know. LOL

In light of Chocolate Day, I want to know - what’s your favorite chocolate indulgence?

IDK my BFF Jill - Jack Sparrow style!

Everyone is talking about the Singulair commercial where the mother is getting after the daughter for text messaging and the daughter replies in letters. Here is the commercial Pirates of the Carribean style.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Is there anyone else besides me who can't WAIT to see this new 60's musical? Think Grease, think Bye-Bye Birdie, think John Travolta as a WOMAN!?? LOL I can't wait!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

So how was your 4th of July?

We woke up to a rather warm house. I checked the thermostat and it read 80 degrees. Not a good sign for 6 in the morning. Outside, the air conditioning unit was humming too loudly. We switched off the AC. So, my philosophy on being hot is this: I can stand to be hot if I'm outdoors working. It's supposed to be hot outdoors, and I'm getting something done and keeping busy. So I worked outside all day. I sanded the picnic table on which Jay just replaced the wood, then painted it Midnight Clover. (green) I had more to paint, but that was enough. I weeded and watered.

Jay tolerates the heat better than I do. We had evening plans for dinner and a birthday party, so we ran in and showered. Jay pulled the car out of the garage and had the air on as I got dressed. LOL Yes, I AM a wimp in the heat! We drove to LeighAnn's a nice ride out of town. Note the typical Nebraska scenery above. I took it through the window, I wasn't about to roll it down and let any precious cool air escape!

LeighAnn had prepared Mexican cuisine. Yummy! I took two cheesecakes I'd make earlier in the week and frozen. Erin loves cheesecake. So this weekend, she will officially turn eighteen. That's 18. She'll be a senior in the fall.

I finally got to see Guitar Hero, and I refused to play. I know I'm not that coordinated! I got a little motion sick from the conveyor belt notes that scroll down the screen. (It was the heat I suffered all day - that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

We came home at dark -- I can't stand to watch my own kids light off fireworks -- and watched the neighborhood displays that get better every year. I think our neighbors are competing with their fireworks displays, and one of them actually coordinates with colors and rhythm like a professional. They gather quite a crowd of cars on their circle, but we only have to sit at the end of our driveway.

So today at 7:45AM the heating and cooling people answered their phones. Dare I hope they could squeeze us in? The nice heaven-sent man was here at 10:15 and restored cool air! YES! Now I can function again. Tonight I will sleep like a baby. A cool baby.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Mission: Bird Seed

Bet you didn't know the screenplay for Mission Impossible was originally written for squirrels.