Monday, June 30, 2008

The Cowboy Takes a Bride by Debra Clopton

Steeple Hill Love Inspired
Jul 2008
ISBN: 9780373874903

Sugar Rae Lenox is famous…in Mule Hollow. For wanting her name in lights on a Hollywood marquee. For wanting to leave. And for thinking the local matchmakers are mighty mistaken! Why applaud the attraction between her and a too-handsome cowboy with boots of lead? Ross Denton lives on the outskirts of town on some dusty ranch. And the only place he wants to see his name is on a marriage certificate. So why isn't she singing and dancing away from that ranch? She can't possibly want a starring role in Ross's life as his bride…can she?



Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cactus Flowers

here they are. The blooms only last one day - so I watch and hope for good light on one of the two days that they're all blooming. Don't get poked whatever you do!

Summer Afternoon

Saturday, June 28, 2008


These are the pics I took from my backyard the evebing those homes were hit a couple of miles away. Scroll down to see the houses.

Friday, June 27, 2008

a couple?

David Cook and Kimberly Caldwell are said to be dating. David won the seventh season of American Idol, and Kimberly was a contestant during the second year.

$40,600. Goodwill Donation

I've dropped off a lot of stuff at the Goodwill, but never anything like this!

An old painting dropped off at a rural Maryland Goodwill store turned out to be a work by a French impressionist. And now, thanks to the sharp eye of a store employee, the charitable organization is $40,000 richer.

The Parisian street scene, left at the store in March along with daily donations of pots, pans, old clock radios and other items, turned out to be a work by Edouard-Leon Cortes, probably from the early 20th century.

The painting -- called "Marche aux fleurs" or "Flower Market" -- was sold for $40,600 at a Sotheby's auction a few weeks ago.

"It could have very easily ended up put in a pile, marked for $20," says Ursula Villar, marketing and development director for Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake Inc.

Store manager Terri Tonelli said employees asked her to look at the donated painting because they suspected it was valuable. She found the artist's name on Google and discovered that Cortes was a notable French Impressionist whose work had sold at auction for prices near $60,000.

If the owner of the painting wants the money, he or she may be out of luck. Goodwill says it doesn't keep track of donors. Donations, meanwhile, are gifts that are considered legal and final transactions.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I you haven't already, you only have three days left to enter the STETSONS AND SPURS contest at Wildflowere Junction. Mosey on over and get your name in the cowboy hat!

The Most Recognizable Baby Face in the World

The name behind the face has long been something of a mystery. People polled throughout the United States have guessed that the Gerber Baby grew up to be Humphrey Bogart, Elizabeth Taylor and even Bob Dole. I read that the Futurama version has the baby being Richard Nixon. LOL But Ann Turner Cook, mystery novelist and retired English teacher, knows the real answer. She was the subject of a simple charcoal sketch by Dorothy Hope Smith, an artist who specialized in drawing children.

In 1928, Gerber was seeking a baby face for the ad campaign introducing its newly developed baby food. Smith submitted her drawing amid elaborate oil paintings and said that she could finish the sketch if it was accepted. The Gerber execs were so taken with it that they claimed it as it was, and the Gerber Baby made her debut. The illustration soon became so popular that Gerber adopted it as its official trademark in 1931. Since then, the Gerber Baby has appeared on all Gerber packaging and in every Gerber advertisement, making her the world's best-known baby.

In December 1996, Ann Turner Cook herself was present at the unveiling of Gerber's first new label in more than 40 years. And while Gerber Baby Foods are sporting a new look, Mrs. Cook's young face is still a part of the Gerber image, a fact she finds "especially gratifying."

Is there anyone who doesn't have a few baby food jars holding items in their house or garage?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Rebel and the Lady

Victoria Torrez must fight for the land that has been in her family for generations. Two weeks before the eventful day at the Alamo in San Antonio de Béxar, her land on the Rio Grande is overrun by the Mexican army. She heads north to warn the Texians unaware that the very person who has helped her escape is now using her to spy on the Alamo's defenses.

Jake Dumont is good with a gun, but he doesn't care one whit about the fight for freedom happening in the Texas territory. He just wants to find his foolish brother and haul him back home. Yet when he meets the beautiful señorita, Victoria, and steals a kiss, he realizes she has bewitched him. Is she a traitor and with the Santanistas or is she loyal to the Texians and their hopeless cause? How can he leave when protecting her suddenly means more to him than protecting his heart?

This is a September book! Argh! What torture!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dody Goodman dies at age 93

Dody Goodman, the delightfully daffy comedian known for her television appearances on Jack Paar's late-night talk show and as the mother on the soap-opera parody "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," has died at 93. She's probably best known for her role as Blanche in Grease.

Goodman died Sunday at Englewood N.J. Hospital and Medical Center. The actress had been ill for some time.

Alvin & the Chipmunks - Miss Miller - Alvin & the Chipmunks Meet the Wolf Man (2000)
Alvin & the Chipmunks (1983) - Miss Beatrice Miller (1986-1990)
Texas - Mavis Cobb (1982)
The Mary Tyler Moore Hour (1979) - Ruby Bell
Forever Fernwood (1977) - Martha Shumway
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976) - Martha Shumway
One Life to Live (1968) - Molly McDermott
The Jack Paar Tonight Show - Regular Performer (1957-1958)
Grease 2 (1982) - Blanche
The Chipmunk Adventure (1987) - Rebecca Miller (voice)
Private Resort (1985) - Mrs. Rawlings
Splash (1984) - Allen Bauer's secretary, Mrs. Stimler
Grease (1978) - Blanche
Search for Tomorrow - Althea Franklin (1968)

The Redemption of Jake Scully by Elaine Barbieri

Saloon owner Jake Scully knew his rough frontier town was no place for a delicate lady like Lacey Stewart. Once, he'd sheltered her from harm. Ten years later, Lacey was no longer a frightened girl, but a woman grown. She deserved a respectable man, not a jaded rogue like Jake.

And Jake's "delicate lady" had a mind of her own — with ideas that included introducing Jake to a life of love and faith, no matter how hard he tried to keep his distance. But when danger began stalking her again, Jake realized the only safe place for Lacey was by his side.



Monday, June 23, 2008

You pick a winner?

This review site is taking votes for which novella should win the RITA! Now this makes me nervous!



Sybil at THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UNREAD has posted my piece about my upcoming anthology!

Cactus Flowers

Cacti bloom only once, and all within a couple of short days, so I watch for the blooms to open, the light to be good, and I grab my camera. They were gorgeous this year.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Favorite Blogs

There are a few sites I visit every day: Petticoats and Pistols is one of them, of course. I subscribe to a few friends like Rebecca Ryan and Coolest Mommy and a photography blog called Wine on the Keyboard. I also visit Wendy the Super Librarian and The Good The Bad and The Unread often. Others I check every few days or once a week are Michelle Styles, Margaret Moore, *lizzie starr, Vicki Bylin, Cookie Madness, Harlequin Historical Authors and Mary Connealy. About once a week or so I click through to a few from someone's sidebar just to see what's out there.So, which are your favorite blogs, the ones you visit all the time?

RITA Trash Talk Video

Friday, June 20, 2008

What is my critique group having tonight?


1 20 oz can crushed pineapple with juice
8 eggs separated
1 cup sugar
1 small package lemon jello

Beat egg yolks and add 1 cup sugar. In a heavy saucepan, cook until thick. Add jello and cool. Be patient - I put it in the fridge. ---> cooling

32 graham crackers
1 cup melted buttr or margarine (I use margarine)
1 cup sugar

While the pineapple pudding mixture is cooling, crush the graham crackers.

The age old question--what is one graham cracker? Is it the whole rectangle? Or the square, which is really a half? I don't know the answer. I like a LOT of graham cracker crumbs, so I go for the gusto.

Melt the margarine and stir into the crumbs, Press half to 2/3 of the mixture into a glass 9 x 13 pan. Reserve for the rest for the topping.

Here's the secret to perfect meringue, which is what you're going to make next:

Place the DEEP GLASS bowl and the beaters in the refridgerator (or the freezer if you don't have much time). I set the whites in the glass bowl in the fridge and the beaters beside it. Make sure your bowl and beaters are clean and dry.

Once the pudding mixture is cool, it's time to beat the whites. HIGH speed with your mixture, stirring occasionally. It won't take long if your beaters and bowl are cold. Keep at it until the whites form peaks. Add the last cup of sugar a little at a time and keep stirring.

Now you're ready to mix the meringue mixture and pudding mixture together! Fun!

Blend well.

Yes, I can use the mixer with my left hand and take pictures with my right.
Where else do you get step-by-step instructions like this?

Top with the rest of the crumbs, cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate to set.

Once it's set, cut and serve.

cooling in the fridge -------->

That's what the dishwasher's for!

Just Do It - no not Nike

Apparently there's a 100 days club for members who've gone 100 or more days without getting physical. Who knew? I sure didn't. Well, I just read about Douglas and Annie Brown who did the exact opposite and decided to have sex for 100 days straight. My local RWA chapter has done 100 day challenge to write for 100 days consecutively. I've never made it yet. Sex for 100 days? I don't know.

Well Doug and Annie had sex every day for 101 days and wrote a book so the whole world would know. Did the idea for the book present itself first--or after they were into this for 30 or 40 days? Inquiring minds want to know. On how many of those occasions, did one of them say to the other, "Well, I guess we have to do this or we'll lose the book deal?"

Quote from the book: "You couldn't do this the rest of your life. It was exhausting."

Yeah, I guess. And apparently, even though it was her suggestion, it's his name on the book. Wait, didn't they do it together? (No pun intended. Well, okay, pun intended.)

Don't I just find the most interesting and unusual things for you? Nobody ever said I don't love my blogger buddies!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

how my week's going

thought for the day

Dream what you want to dream;
Go where you want to go;
Be what you want to be,
Because you have only one life
And one chance to do all the things
You want to do.

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet,
Enough trials to make you strong,
Enough sorrow to keep you human and
Enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily
Have the best of everything;
They just make the most of
Everything that comes along their way.

The brightest future will always
Be based on a forgotten past;
You can't go forward in life until
You let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying
And everyone around you was smiling
Live your life so at the end
You're the one who is smiling and everyone
Around you is crying.

- Anonymous

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Family For Christmas

To rate or comment, view full size.   |   or make your own.


I'm going to show you all the novellas that are finalists in the anthology category for the RITA this year - and you'll see just how tough the competition is! In the past when I've been nominated, I've tried to read all the others, but so far--with this deadline--I just haven't had the time.

“Angel and the Hellraiser” in Demon’s Delight by Vickie Taylor
Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation
Cindy Hwang, editor

National bestselling author Vickie Taylor throws a hell-bent man into the arms of a beautiful dark angel who is driven by ethereal desires of her own.

Vickie Taylor wrote her first novel in 1997. Upon completion, she was too chicken to give the manuscript to anyone she knew to read, so she sent her baby off to a few contests to get some anonymous feedback instead. Little did she know how her life was about to change: a few months later, she had won all four of the Romance Writers of America chapter contests she’d entered, was a Golden Heart finalist and had sold the book to Silhouette Intimate Moments!

Since then, Vickie has written numerous romantic suspense novels for Silhouette Books and Berkley Sensation, garnering such recognition as the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence in Romantic Suspense, a four-and-a-half star “Top Pick” review in Romantic Times, and a coveted RWA Rita nomination for her work.

In 2006, Vickie continues her acclaimed paranormal series featuring Les Gargouillen (the Gargoyles) FLESH AND STONE, the sequel to the smashing debut CARVED IN STONE, to be released in February. The third book in the series, LEGACY OF STONE, will also be released later this year.

Vickie lives in a small town in north Texas dubbed “The Heart of Horse Country” where she rounds out her writing days raising horses, volunteering with the local Humane Society, and serving on a K-9 search and rescue team


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Destination: Marriage

The Jinxed Bride _ Jill Marie Landis

Talk about bad bridal juju. Carrie Evans is in Hawaii for a dream getaway wedding—with rain, a missing dress and absent guests. Is there enough Hawaiian magic to turn these nightmarish nuptials into the best day of her life?

The Accidental Bride - Jo Leigh

Aspiring journalist Trish Avalon has just won a fantasy wedding in Manhattan. But there's a small problem: Trish isn't engaged. Getting to New York is her dream, though, so she'll convince her high school sweetheart to be her groom…just for the week!

And the Reluctant Bride - Jackie Braun

Dayle Alexander is about to get married, so why isn't she jumping in the aisle? After all, her fiancé is stable…unlike her unsettlingly hot business partner, Max Kinnick. But when business takes them to Venice, Dayle realizes she can't have the perfect wedding until Max becomes her perfect groom!


Friday, June 13, 2008


I promised you rhubarb recipes, so here's the first one. I just took this from the oven. My critique group will be here tonight.

Mix together:
8 cups chopped rhubarb
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar

Place rhubarb in a big Tupperware bowl, pour dry ingredients over and shake until coated. Spread in sprayed 9x12 glass dish.

Pour 1 cup of hot water over the top. (I boil it because my rhubarb is frozen.)

Mix together:
1 cup flour
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
2 tsp baking powder
2 pinches salt
2 tsp vanilla
Cut 1/2 to 1 cup butter into that and/or 1 egg. Mix until crumbly.

Sprinkle evenly over top of rhubarb.
Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Storm clouds

I took these photos from my backyard the evening those homes were hit a couple of miles away. Scroll down to see the houses.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


We all know (I assume) that exercise and developing muscles is good for us.

Muscle building improves posture, gives us strong bones and--the best bonus of all-muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. (Looks better too.) I've tried all sorts of ways of creating muscles from holding soup cans as I do aerobics to going to the local gym. For years now, I've gone to Curves. It's easy, quick and relatively painless. It's become a habit, which means I have it mentally programmed into my life. And that's a good thing.

Which brings me to creativity. We hear lots about the two sides of the brain-the logical left side, the creative right side. People often tell me they are strongly left-sided and hence could never write a book.

Well, let me tell you about being left brained. In my previous life, I was super-organized, multi-tasking mother of 14. I was so left brained you could hear the sound of a computer running when I was working.

So being able to compose and write stories surprises me as much as anyone.

How does that happen? And what does it have to do with exercise? Well, I can say from experience that creativity is a muscle that can be developed. It can go from flabby to strong with exercise. I know there are those who are going to argue but I insist it's true. I'm pretty sure you have a creativity muscle though you might not use it
for creating stories but perhaps you knit, paint handmade cards, set a charming table, invent recipes or create stunning school lessons for children. And I'm guessing that the more you do it, the better you become. So go ahead, build your creativity muscle using whatever avenue you choose. Have fun doing it.

Here are some 'exercises' for developing that muscle.

1. Write vignettes-little word pictures of something about you, perhaps the weather, or the people in the next booth at the coffee shop. Look for fresh detail. Or create a scenario.

2. Listen to conversations and record the difference in syntax and rhythm. Try writing a short scene using 2 or 3 or more different 'voices'.

3. Describe a scene as if you had observed it blind or deaf.

4. Write down a short scene of something you did recently. Now write it again from another point of view, say from a child observing you.

5. Collect clichés and practice rewriting them in a fresh way.

6. Practice writing in different settings-outdoors at a park, at a coffee shop, in the library, in a crowded store.

7. Randomly pick a word and write about it. Don't try and control what you write. Let it flow. I'm convinced we know more about things than we know we know. Surprise yourself.

8. Collect words that you hear or read that catch your attention. Practice using them in a sentence. Push a little and create a scene using the new word. Or using an old word in a new way.

9. Practice describing sensory details in fresh ways-the smell of coffee,for instance. And then go deeper. Get in touch with how the smell makes you feel. This takes practice but practice leads to improvement. Listen deeply to what is inside you. Is it fear, anticipation, nostalgia? How does it feel physically? Write that down.

10. Learn to use creative techniques such as mind mapping. Draw a circle in the middle of your page. Put in a word-one you want to examine or pick one randomly. Now create a spider-web of ideas and thoughts flowing from that word. For instance, write down writing. Now start adding ideas and thoughts that come to mind. Don't stop to
analyze. Perhaps you'll come up with story,grammar, conferences, reading. Now take each of those and continue spider-webbing out. From story, you might have threads such as craft, magic,characters, plot, and crisis. You might want to connect the story circle to grammar and conference. Keep it going. When you think you've reached the end, go one step further. And then one more. by the time you finish, you should have the basic premise and outline for a newsletter article.

Most of all, use your creative muscles and see them grow.

The Journey Home
August 2008
Love Inspired Historical

What unseen hand guided Kody Douglas’s horse to that bleak, windswept South Dakota farmhouse? The "half-breed" cowboy—a man of two worlds, at home in neither—would never know. But when he finds a lovely, vulnerable young woman there, abandoned in the darkest hours of the Depression, he cannot simply ride away and leave her.

Charlotte Porter reluctantly follows this hard, embittered yet compelling man to his family’s homestead. But the more she learns about him, and the secret child who haunts his memories, the more she aches to comfort him and make him her own. Can two outcasts—brought together by hard times and shared faith—truly find love in so cold and heartless a world?

The Road to Love
May 2008
Love Inspired Historical
The road that led to Kate Bradshaw’s door sometimes seemed the loneliest in the world. In the depths of the Depression, the young widow was struggling to hold on to the family farm and raise two small children. And she had only her faith to sustain her—until the day Hatcher Jones came walking up that long, lonely road.

The handsome, mysterious drifter was clearly haunted by some terrible secret from his past. But the simple acts of kindness he showed Kate and her children spoke of a good heart and strong values. And she longed to make him see that there could be redemption for anyone, even him—and that all his wandering had brought him home at last.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Masked by Moonlight by Allie Pleiter

Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical
ISBN: 9780373827893
June 2008
Allie Pleiter

When night fell on the lawless streets of old San Francisco, Matthew Covington--seemingly just another wealthy society idler--became the mysterious crime-fighter known as the Black Bandit. Nothing could tempt him to reveal his secret identity, until the English gentleman met Georgia Waterhouse, whose pseudonymous newspaper accounts had made his daring exploits famous. He was coming to care deeply for this woman, who shared his passionate devotion to justice--and the Lord--but she could never know he was her shadow-shrouded hero. What would become of their growing love if he revealed the truth that lay behind the mask…?