Friday, August 31, 2007

The Irresistable: Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock attended Washington-Lee High School where she was a cheerleader, participated in high school theater productions and dated a football player. She graduated in 1982 and enrolled in East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. During this time she worked as a waitress at a restaurant. She left school during her senior year (Spring 1986), three credits short of graduating, to pursue an acting career. She went to Manhattan to try to get auditions and supported herself with a variety of odd jobs.

Sandra Bullock later completed her coursework and was awarded a bachelor's degree from East Carolina University. She is fluent in German. When appearing on German TV shows, she prefers to speak English (the TV hosts speak German though).

While in New York, Bullock took acting classes at The Neighborhood Playhouse. She appeared in several student films and later landed a role in an Off-Broadway play No Time Flat. Director Alan J. Levi was impressed by Bullock's performance and offered her a part in the made-for-TV movie Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1989). After filming the movie, Bullock stayed in Los Angeles, California, and was cast in a series of small roles in several independent films as well as in the lead role of the short-lived NBC television version of the film Working Girl (1990). She appeared in several films such as Love Potion No. 9 (1992), The Thing Called Love (1993) and Fire on the Amazon (where she agreed to appear topless if the camera did not show that much, she covered herself with duct tape which apparently was somewhat painful to take off).

One of Bullock's first notable movie appearances was in Demolition Man (1993), which led to her breakthrough performance in Speed the following year. She became a high-level movie star in the late 1990s, carrying a string of successes, including While You Were Sleeping (she replaced actress Demi Moore, who was originally scheduled to star), Miss Congeniality and Two Weeks Notice. Bullock received 11 million dollars for Speed 2 and 17.5 million dollars for Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous.

Bullock has been selected as one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1996 and 1999, and has also been ranked #58 in Empire magazine's Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time list. She was presented with the 2002 Raul Julia Award for Excellence for her efforts, as the executive producer of the sitcom The George Lopez Show, in helping expand career openings for Hispanic talent in the media and entertainment industry.

In 2004, Bullock had a supporting role in the film Crash. She received positive reviews for her performance, with some critics suggesting that it was the best performance of her career. Bullock later appeared in The Lake House, a romantic drama also starring her Speed co-star, Keanu Reeves; it was released on June 16, 2006. Because their film characters are separated throughout the film (due to the plot revolving around time travel), Bullock and Reeves were only on set together for two weeks during filming. The same year, Bullock appeared in Infamous, playing author Harper Lee. Bullock also stars in Premonition with Julian McMahon, which was released in March of 2007.

Bullock received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 24, 2005. In January 2007, Bullock was named the 14th richest woman in entertainment by Forbes, with a net worth of $85 million.

List of Sandra's Movies:
Hangmen 1987, Lisa Edwards
Religion, Inc. 1989, Debby
Bionic Showdown:
The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman 1989, Kate Mason
Who Shot Patakango? 1989, Devlin Moran
The Preppie Murder 1989, Stacy
Lucky/Chances 1990, Maria Santangelo
Who Do I Gotta Kill? 1992, Lori
When the Party's Over 1992, Amanda
Love Potion No. 9 1992, Diane Farrow
The Vanishing 1993, Diane Shaver
The Thing Called Love 1993, Linda Lue Linden
Demolition Man 1993, Lt. Lenina Huxley
Fire on the Amazon 1993, Alyssa Rothman
Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, 1993 Elaine
Speed 1994, Annie
While You Were Sleeping 1995, Lucy Eleanor Moderatz
The Net 1995, Angela Bennett/Ruth Marx
Two if by Sea 1996, Roz
A Time to Kill 1996 ,Ellen Roark
In Love and War 1996, Agnes Von Kurowsky
Speed 2: Cruise Control 1997, Annie Porter
Hope Floats 1998, Birdee Pruitt
Practical Magic 1998, Sally Owens
The Prince of Egypt (voice) 1998, Miriam
Forces of Nature 1999, Sarah Lewis
Gun Shy 2000, Judy Tipp
28 Days 2000, Gwen Cummings
Miss Congeniality 2000, Gracie Hart/Gracie Lou Freebush
Murder by Numbers 2002, Cassie Mayweather/Jessica Marie Hudson
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood 2002, Siddalee 'Sidda' Walker
Two Weeks Notice 2002, Lucy Kelson
Crash 2004, Jean Cabot
Loverboy 2005, Mrs. Harker
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous 2005, Gracie Hart
The Lake House 2006, Kate Forster
Infamous 2006, Nelle Harper Lee
Premonition, 2007 Linda Quinn Hanson

Which are your favorites?

Which are on your list of all-time favorite movies?

You spotted the celebrity

The celebrity on the far left in the front row is Sandra Bullock.
Seven of you got her right.
I drew from the fishbowl and snagged....


Congrats, Maureen!

Just so happens I stopped at the Goodwill Wednesday morning and landed a LIKE NEW copy of Christmas Gold! I've kept my list and see your name listed as one still needing a copy. I'd love to send that to you. If by some chance, you already have it, I'll send an alternate book.

Just let me know.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Find the Celebrity


Find the celebrity in this high school photo.
Tomorrow, I'll be blogging about her.

Did you find her? Don't post the name here.
Send me an email with her name and I'll put you in a drawing for a BOOK!
Send to:

a few more ornamental gourds

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Way at the very very bottom of this page is a new poll. I put it there because I figured out how and -- well, because I can.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Beauty Pageant Word Scramble

While on the surface it may appear as though Miss South Carolina's blow dryer fried her brain this particular morning, she's actually quite articulate as well as well-versed in world geography and global education. She is in fact earning money for college by teaching public speaking and has since started a fund to buy maps for underprivileged US Americans. I decoded her reply and it's really a word scramble that only a genius could have come up with so quickly. Can you decode it without writing it down and studying the words? No? Well, then there you have it. The judges are out of their minds for not voting her number one.

ChristyJan's new granddaughter!

JanDee weighed in at 7 pounds 10 ounces
Congratulations, ChristyJan!
She's a beauty!

Healthy Travel Food Choices

You're at the airport or a convenience store gas station during a trip and you're hungry. It's always my first inclination to grab a candy bar or a bag of pretzels - or both. But if I stop to think about it, here are a few healthier items to look for. These snacks have less than 250 calories and deliver nutrients that your body needs.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif Bar 240 calories: It's candy-bar delicious-but with 5 g of fiber plus vitamins and minerals.

Ultra Slim-Fast, Dark Chocolate Fudge Flavor 11-oz drink, 220 calories: It tastes like a shake but is fortified with 5 g of fiber plus vitamins and minerals.

Dannon Yogurt Fruit on the Bottom Strawberry Low-Fat Yogurt 8-oz cup, 210 calories: Sweet and creamy-it contains 300 mg of bone-preserving calcium.

Kraft Handi Snacks Mozzarella String Cheese 1 oz, 80 calories: As much calcium as half a glass of milk, it's great paired with V8

Healthy Request V8 100 Percent Vegetable Juice 10-oz bottle, 70 calories: Richly satisfying, and you get a ton of cancer-fighting beta-carotene and lycopene.

Heinz Simple Goodness Peaches 4-oz jar, 70 calories: This baby food tastes like dessert-but has as much fiber (2 g) as a whole peach!

Werther's Original Candies 1 piece, 20 calories: There are no vitamins, but this buttery morsel takes 10 minutes to melt in your mouth.

Planters Honey-Roasted Cashews 1.5-oz bag, 230 calories: Treat your heart to monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, and tocotrienols.

TEASER: Guest Blogger Coming Soon!

Silhouette author Liz Flaherty will be visiting soon, and guess what?
Oh, you're so smart....
Yes she'll be holding a drawing for FREE BOOKS!


Silhouette Special Edition

September 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another First Day of School - Brenda's Baby

Here's Brenda's gorgeous daughter, Melissa, off to her first day as a college senior!
Thanks for sharing her with us.

BEEFCAKE FIREMAN - warning naked fireman

The Pink Heart Society does their Male on Monday, so here's ours, courtesy of Barb.

Monday in the Garden of Good & Eat-able

The romas have done extremely well. And the cukes. Our beefsteak tomatoes suffered from the extreme heat and then torrents of rain at the wrong time of the season. We've had plenty of bacon and tomato sandwiches however. I just have to cut away the tops because they split.

This is one of our new trees. It's a flowering crabapple that is supposed to flower white and attract hummingbirds. You can see we placed it in our garden and will eventually landscape around it.

Elijah and I admire pumpkin flowers every morning. They're as much fun as morning glories. *g* Okay, so you remember Frankensquash? He thinks it's so cool. I explained cross-pollination to him. See the bee in the pumpkin flower? When I told him cross-pollinataion can be accomplished with a little paintbrush, he asked if we could cross a pumpkin with an ornamental gourd and get a Frankenpumpkin. I answered I had no idea if it would work, but we could give it our best shot.

See these two flowers? Top is pumpkin, bottom is ornamental gourd. Their leaves are equally huge while their fruit is nowhere near the same size. In actuality the plants are nowhere near each other in the yard, but their pollen is soon to be mingling.

Okay, so it's not all edible, but it was a catchy blog title, no?

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I've selected four readers to recieve an ADVANCE READING COPY of A Western Winter Wonderland.

I would love it if, after you've read it, you posted your opinion on amazon .com or barnesandnoble .com or any other reader sites that you frequent. This is not a requirement. Gifts come with no strings. But if you wanted to, I would apprectiate the gesture.

The very first readers of this October release are:






because she already had Christmas Gold when her name was drawn

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention...not only have *I* signed these books, but Pam Crooks will also sign her story. I'm running over with a stack tomorrow, so she can autograph them to you personally.

I love my readers!

Send your snail mail address to me at:

One more Christmas Gold giveaway

Since Sue Mc already had a copy, I had to draw another name for the fourth book:

Christmas Gold goes to KATHLEEN!

I'm going to need a u-haul to get to the post office. LOL

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Thanks to Elizabeth who blogged with us all week and did a fantastic job! We averaged nearly a hundred hits every day, and that was SUPER!


And now, the moment -- er -- another one of the moments you've been waiting for. The names for FOUR autographed copies of THE STRANGER have been drawn from the fishbowl and will soon be in the hands of four lucky readers.

Ladies send your snail mail addresses to me at so I can forward them on to Elizabeth.

And with no further ado, the winners are.....

Sue A




Whoo hoo! Congratulations!

Remember, I have one more drawing planned - a surprise drawing, so STAYED TUNED!

GEORGIA, one last try to get your address for a previous drawing.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Whoo hoo! It's Friday! I'm so pleased to be able to do this.

Time to start drawing names from the fishbowls. (plural, this time) I'll start off with the four copies of Christmas Gold. MANY of you need these. Last time Barb and Karen W got copies.

This time the four winners of CHRISTMAS GOLD autographed by myself and Elizabeth are:


Sue Mc



Please send me your snail mail address at:

Congratulations, ladies!
Tomorrow we'll draw for copies of THE STRANGER!

Plus...I have an extra special suprise giveaway to add to the pot.....
Stayed tuned.


Second Chance:
GEORGIA, you have this weekend to send me your address, and if I don't hear from you, the copy of THE DEVIL'S WALTZ gos to the next person in line.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rain Shadow & Heaven Can Wait

Behind the Books
Today at Petticoats and Pistols I'm blogging about the story behind my first two sales.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fall TV: The Bionic Woman

Jaime Sommers is an ordinary woman whose world turns upside down when she's involved in near-fatal car accident. Her uber-scientist boyfriend uses his medical skills to save her life by giving her a bionic eye, ear, arm and legs -- but in the process he transforms her life into one filled with danger, action and adventure.
Premieres Wed., Sept. 26, 9PM ET on NBC

Will it live up to the hype? I have to say the commercials make it look really good.
Hey, if the show's a wash, British actress Michelle Ryan can always get a gig hawking sleep number beds.

Jason's First Day of School

Jason is Brenda's (Mickey's) daughter's godson. He just started kindergarten and his mom has a new baby, so he's been staying with Brenda.

Brenda, I've met Jason. You brought him to a signing a while back. He's a cutie. Thanks for sharing with us.

First Day of School for Sherri's Babies

I always encourage you to send me your pics to share with the other bloggers. It's so much fun to see each other's lives, new ovens, kids and pets. LOL here are Sherri's pics from the first day of school.

Jocelyn is a second grader and Shawn is a kindergartner. Have you stopped crying in the morning yet, Sherri?

Noah is nearly two.
They all have Sherri's eyes.

I've created a monster!


I tend to not remember everything I hear, say or do. Imagine that. Turns out I planted a squash right beside my ornamental gourds. I think I've created Frankensquash! Take a look at this elongated "acorn squash" with bumps! How funny is that? Cross pollination? I must assume so.

These are the front yard pumpkins! And the first ornamental gourds.

Terry Fator Won America's Got Talent

Here's his encore performance: Roy Orbison

Monday, August 20, 2007


Elizabeth Lane is a Westerner by birth and upbringing. A descendant of pioneers who settled the West, she grew up in a small town, in a family of people who loved the outdoors. Western romance is a natural for her. Let's see what she has to share with us:

What an honor to be Cheryl’s guest this week! She’s a fabulous lady and author who knows how to keep her readers coming back for more!

It’s also an honor to be writing and publishing historical romance novels. My love affair with the past started decades ago, when, as a teenager, I discovered Anya Seton’s Catherine and books by such great writers as Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Nora Lofts and Phyllis Whitney. This July at the national Romance Writers of America convention, one speaker mentioned that Phyllis Whitney is still living—she’s 102 and is working on her autobiography! I only wish she’d been there in person to see that huge gathering break into wild cheers for the woman who inspired so many of us.

My early books—the first was published in 1980—were historical epics. I could have kept writing them forever, but the market changed to books that were more romance than history. After some hard knocks, I realized I had to change with it. When Harlequin opened up its new historical line and bought my Western, Wind River, I found a new home. Since then I’ve written 25 books and novellas for Harlequin, including three contemporaries.

Writing westerns comes naturally to me—most likely because I’m a westerner by birth and upbringing. My July 2008 Western, The Stranger, is one of my favorite books ever. Caleb, my hero (take a look at him on that gorgeous cover), is just seventeen when the story begins—too young to prevent his older half brothers from destroying the life of Laura, a tender young bride. Caleb is forcibly dragged away, leaving the pregnant Laura widowed and disfigured. But he never forgets her. Five years later, out of prison and determined to go straight, he returns to the scene of the tragedy to find her living alone with her little boy. Caleb has become a man—a man who loves Laura and will do anything to help her. Laura needs him, but there’s something familiar about the dark stranger. Something she can’t quite place....

I hope you’ll read and enjoy The Stranger. To help that wish along, I’m offering four autographed copies as contest prizes. The winners will be drawn from readers who add their comments to this post. If you’ve already read The Stranger, I’d be happy to substitute one of my other recent books. You can see them all on my web site at

Who were some of your favorite early authors? What historical period is your favorite, and why? Which books do you wish had been made into movies, and who would you cast as the hero and heroine? My inquiring mind wants to know.
Looking forward to hearing from you.

To order THE STRANGER from amazon CLICK HERE

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday's Beauty

Many weekdays I work from the sofa, so I see the front yard. This afternoon, Jay had the good spot. He notified me of all the visitors.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Remember I told you I was cooking up something for my lovelies? She's going to be with us on MONDAY! ELIZABETH LANE is my guest blogger. I'm so excited because Elizabeth has generously sent me FOUR spankin' new copies of CHRISTMAS GOLD that she AUTOGRAPHED.

If you're new here, you should know that the Christmas anthology CHRISTMAS GOLD is as hard to get a hold of as a last minute ticket for the Super Bowl. Last time I managed to squeeze two out of nowhere for my readers. This time FOUR and each will be signed by both Elizabeth and myself. How cool is that?

Here's the deal, if you posted last time that you needed a copy, your entry is still good. If you post again this time, you're entered again. So comment on THIS BLOG and I'll add your name to the fishbowl. Perhaps for the second time.

It gets better, Elizabeth is giving away more books at the end of the week! Stay tuned to see how you can get one of those in your little hands.

Pooch Pampering Extremes

Americans now spend $41 billion a year on their pets—more than the gross domestic product of all but 64 countries in the world. That's double the amount shelled out on pets a decade ago, with annual spending expected to hit $52 billion in the next two years. That puts the yearly cost of buying, feeding, and caring for pets in excess of what Americans spend on the movies ($10.8 billion), playing video games ($11.6 billion), and listening to recorded music ($10.6 billion) combined.

"People are no longer satisfied to reward their pet in pet terms," argues Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Manufacturers Assn. (APPMA). "They want to reward their pet in human terms." That means hotels instead of kennels, braces to fix crooked teeth, and frilly canine ball gowns.

The rising status of pets has started an unprecedented wave of entrepreneurship in an industry once epitomized by felt mice and rubber balls. There are now $430 indoor potties, $30-an-ounce perfume, and $225 trench coats aimed solely at four-footed consumers and their wallet-toting companions. Even those who shun animal couture are increasingly willing to spend thousands on drugs for depression or anxiety in pets, as well as psychotherapy, high-tech cancer surgery, cosmetic procedures, and end-of-life care. About 77% of dogs and 52% of cats have been medicated in the past year, according to APPMA, an increase of about 20 percentage points from 1996.

And for some pet lovers, no medical procedure is too extreme. Plastic surgeons offer rhinoplasty, eye lifts, and other cosmetic procedures to help tone down certain doggy features, from droopy eyes to puggish noses. Root canals, braces, and even crowns for chipped teeth are also becoming more popular.


Friday, August 17, 2007


Here's Erin smiling for mom on her first morning as a senior!

More First Days

Eric's first day of 3rd grade

Adam's first day of 6th grade

Ryan's first day of 8th grade

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Chocolate Bread Pudding
Prepared by Bill Justus
Executive Chef at HERSHEY LODGE


1 ¾ cups whipping cream
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup whole milk
1 ¼ cups HERSHEY’S Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounce French bread with crust, cut into one-inch cubes (4 cups)


· Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
· Bring cream, ½ cup sugar and milk to simmer in heavy medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves.
· Remove from heat.
· Add 1 cup HERSHEY’S Semisweet Chocolate Chips and whisk until melted and smooth.
· Whisk egg and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot chocolate mixture.
· Cool chocolate custard 10 minutes, stirring often.
· Add bread cubes and remaining ½ cup HERSHEY’S Semisweet Chocolate Chips to custard and toss to coat.
· Transfer to 1 ½ quart capacity shallow oval baking dish.
· Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over mixture.
· Bake until custard thickens and center is set, approximately 50 minutes.
· Serve warm.

Yield: 6 servings
DISCLAIMER: I have not tried this.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

First Day of School Part 2

Alexis - first day of 4th grade

Jared - first day of 2nd grade

AT LAST: Terry Fator's Got Talent

If you haven't seen Terry fator on America's Got talent, I want to show you his incredible ability. Not only can he sing like wwho knows how many fantastic singers--and do it well--he can make his puppet sing and never look like he's done it! Here's his first performance. I'll show you more because he's in the top 4.



Terry Fator as Tony Bennet and Dean Martin


Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Wendy and Sybil, this will be a giveaway for you - I think - so this teaser is for those who will wrack their brains to figure out who this hunky cowboy belongs to.

Next week our guest author will be giving away AUTOGRAPHED BOOKS, so don't miss it!

Be still my heart....

Tuesday's Pics

I took of picture of my front yard pumpkin for Barb. Here's the story:
Each year we make a fall display in our front yard, pumpkins, scarecrow, old wagon, pitchfork, bales of hay, whatever, and it's always different. But it usually involved pumpkins if we've grown any.

Jay said "no pumpkins" this year. They take over and he has to mow around them. Okay.

This spring as we were preparing the flowerbeds, there were a couple of volunteer pumpkins. If a pumpkin rots in good ground, a couple seeds are bound to grow. So, being the vine lover that I am, I let them grow. Jay noticed finally - hey they do get BIG - and said "when are you going to cut those things?"

I said, "If it's bothering you, go ahead." Thereby putting all the responsibility of murdering my plants upon his head. He left them. As the vine in the front yard grew out of the berm area, he mowed around it. They flowered. Ah, lovely orange flowers. He says, "We'd better cut that thing, it's taking over the yard."

Now, consider: It's been a really bad lawn year. We've sprayed for grubs and fungus and insects and weeds, and what's growing the best are the pumpkins. What's the harm? It is OUR yard.

So I answer, "Go ahead if it's bothering you."
Result: We have four gigantic pumpkins growing in our front yard! LOL

I told Barb I'd go out and take a picture for her; she stops by every day - and while I was out front, I met this other fellow shown in the picture. Isn't he lovely? We've had so many of these lately! Usually I only see the black swallowtails, but this is a yellow tiger swallowtail. His body is an ivory color. There are also yellow swallowtails with a black body. It's extremely difficult to snap these creatures from the side because they feed with their wings spread wide open, unlike a monarch which always perches with its wings together.

I sit on my living room sofa and look out on the butterfly bushes right on the other side of the windows as I write on my Alpha Smart. See my front window in the background? Of course I end up grabbing my camera and taking pictures. I call it inspiration. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.