Saturday, February 13, 2010

Early Valentines

I'm about to leave for my vacation and will not return until the 22nd. I needed to clear up some details, like posting the winners of the Great Love Letters Valentine Contest. They have been chosen and notified, but the news will not be posted until tomorrow -- as promised. I had a difficult task choosing the winners and some entrants sent in more than one letter. One entry was in the form of a sonnet. I had so much fun with this contest I will likely set up a few more with different prizes and maybe even copies of my Chicken Soup and Cup of Comfort anthologies, appropriately signed of course.

What surprised me most was that several men entered the contest and one gentleman was a soldier in Iraq who is now safely home in New Jersey. That's the thing about people, you never know just what they will do or how they will surprise you, and I was very surprised at the depth of emotion and humor shared.

As for me, I'm taking my humor and depths to a cozy little Victorian B&B for nine days and will not be posting during that time. I'll have Internet access, but I'm taking this time to relax, read, write and write some more. I'll check email, but only the really important messages will be answered. The rest will have to wait until I return. Have a great Valentine's Day and don't forget to tell the people that matter and make a difference in your lives how much they mean to you. You only have today. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

That is all. Disperse.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

News and Reviews

Bread was in the oven and filling the house with the aroma of yeast and goodness when I got the word. The review of Past Imperfect has been posted at Authorlink and it was worth waiting for.

Diana Palmer is a woman with a plan. Fixing up her plane in the hangar, wearing her grease-stained overalls, a voice comes from behind her; a voice that still, after all these years, gives her goose bumps and releases the butterflies in her stomach. Turning around, she meets Adrian Cahill’s familiar gaze. This is the moment Diana has waited for and, immediately, she goes into her “act” with the man she once loved with all her heart.

Adrian Cahill lost his soul mate a long time ago. Lynn was the woman who inspired him and intrigued him, but he’d made the ultimate mistake when he told her that she simply wasn’t the “one.” Upon his heart-breaking declaration, Lynn had raced out of his life and into a fatal-car accident. Adrian has never forgiven himself for the words he spoke to Lynn all those years ago, but upon meeting Diana in the hangar, the feeling of the “one” comes over him in a rush. Perhaps he’d been right all those years ago, because Diana Palmer, in her grease-stained overalls, with her strong no-nonsense attitude makes his heart beat out of his chest.

What Adrian doesn’t know is that the woman he shunned years before is, in fact, the goddess who stands before him. Lynn has changed her appearance - needing reconstructive surgery after her horrible accident. While recuperating, Lynn had bought a cabin in Pennsylvania where a local handyman by the name of John Logan came into her life and brought his friendship into her otherwise empty world. Over time, Lynn became Diana, taking on the identity that would give her the ability to re-connect with Adrian Cahill, and get the marriage proposal that she richly deserves.

With wit, drama, and just the right amount of mystery, Diana/Lynn reconciles with Adrian and takes him on the ride of his life. The author not only delivers the “game” with precision and humor, but also offers a twist at the end that no reader will be expecting.

Fun, sassy, and mysterious…this is one of those books that you won’t put down until you find out exactly who is playing who.

Reviewer: Amy Lignor

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Telemarketers, zombies and spiders

What's the deal with retailers and vendors these days? Everyone emails and calls for reviews and ratings. Here's a hint, folks, if I buy from you again or buy the same thing again, I liked it. If I didn't return it and didn't call to complain to you, I liked it. I do enough writing every day that I shouldn't have to be hounded at home when I'm relaxing with demands for ratings. Keep it up and I'll give you a rating you won't like.

It's like telemarketers calling at the most inopportune moments. Once upon a time I couldn't listen to the phone ring and ring and ring. I can now. Telemarketers have taught me how to live with the ringing. I also turn the ringer off on occasion when I really don't want to be bothered. Yes, I have Caller ID, but I don't always use it. When I'm too busy to answer the phone I let it ring and the voice mail pick up. If you want to get hold of me, leave me a message. I so can't wait for vacation. I need to get away from here.

Yes, I'm cranky this morning. You would be as well if every time you fell asleep and got into a really good dream it ended up with zombies trying to eat you and some wacko woman determined to get her philandering husband by infiltrating his organization and infecting them with arachnid-based parasites that bond to the host when wearing a silver jumpsuit. The things I saw. Luckily, I was in the bathroom when everyone was listening to the motivational speeches and putting on their silver jumpsuits. I snuck outside only to be tracked by some massive automated turn screw that I thought was sighting in on me and wasn't. I tiptoed over the huge tubes sending some kind of gas into the building and headed to my car to wake up. After the second dream, I decided it was time to get up and stay up. The bathroom was my cue to wake up and empty the reservoir. I so need a vacation.

The thing is that I've been in some of these places before back when things were nice and it was fun to go see a show in Vegas or go shopping for beds, but something twisted them way out of shape and into nightmares. Couldn't be something I drank since I only drank water before I went to bed . . . unless the city is now putting hallucinogens in the water. Great! Just great!

I hadn't planned to write anything so cranky, but there you have it. Lack of sleep and invading nightmares will do it every time, turn my usually pleasant dreams into the stuff of Tales from the Darkside. Yeah. I'd go back to bed if I didn't think the zombies and arachnid parasites would follow me. They probably would. It's going to be that kind of day.

That is all. Disperse.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Going off the grid

About time for another hot cocoa, probably with caramel. It's cold. It's winter; it's supposed to be cold. However, being forced by a full bladder from a warm bed into the cold is a shock to the system. The heart flutters and shudders and then beats furiously to maintain the warmth, pulling all resources to the center, to the core, leaving arms and legs, fingers and toes chilled and slowly turned to ice unless more heat is applied. Even with socks and a warm robe, the cold battles with the warmth until the body is left a shivering battleground. It's morning. Again.

I tried to prolong the inevitable by diving back under the covers and into the latest Rachel Morgan adventure in the ever-after (code name for hell), but nature won and here I am with an empty cocoa-rimed cup getting colder even with the heat struggling to keep up. It's too bad this place isn't as cool in the summer, but it's a hot box that I feel frequently to get to the cooler air outside under the molten brass of the sun. Strange how that works.

Except for the rushing tink of the furnace jacked up to 70 blowing cold air down on me, it's quiet. The snow plows aren't out yet and the darkness curdles before the turn toward the sun that probably won't be able to make it through the heavy clouds that turned even the darkness to an eerie red-tinged white all night long. I don't like it when I can't see the stars. Even I look forward to the first flush of spring and expectantly scan the naked straggling branches for the first sign of green leprous buds spreading along the brown ready to burst with yellow flags of forsythia in bloom. I'd look for crocuses and tulips if I had planted any or if I could see them in the dense rattling foliage of last year's spent honeysuckle and foxglove. Even the danger red flush of green that wound around and through the lilac hedges is gone, killed by the sparkling crystalline creep of frost and snow. Yes, I'm ready for spring. NOW!

It's not so bad, though. It's Tuesday and I'll be off on vacation as soon as the sun goes down on Friday. Nine days of doing nothing but reading, writing, lounging and wallowing in a huge bubbling tub of water and bath salts and oil under dimmed lights with a glass of wine ready to hand and soft music whispering in the background. No trash to take out. No dishes to wash. No vacuuming or sitting at the work computer huddling over the keys in a drafty office where spiders busily spin their sticky silken webs and drafts finger through the cracks around the big picture window while melting snow drip drip drips down the window and from nail holes in the plywood ceiling into plastic buckets and containers. Far from the madding world and into the warm caress of feather beds and crackling wood fires and four poster beds that look out on castles and fairy lands of new scenery. I can hardly wait.

Until then, I need to finish reading all the entries in the contest, choose three winners, and write and date the post so it will go live while I am far away from here. I'll have my computer and there will likely be Internet connection, so I have been assured, but I don't plan to use my laptop for anything other than reading and writing and a little bit of editing. I'll check email on Wednesday next to see if anyone remembered my birthday, but otherwise, I'm off the grid.

That sounds so good: off the grid. I will have to do that more often just for the lack of mechanical whispering, rushing and clinks. I prefer the crackle and whoosh of burning logs falling to ash in the grate (that I don't have to clean out) and the hushed quiet of measured breathing (mine) and ecstatic sighs.

Don't you?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Long distance relationships are the best.

High on hot chocolate and shivering under a faux fur lap robe, it's hard to think of anything to write. It suddenly got cold, me wearing heavy robe, socks, guzzling hot chocolate and jacking up the thermostat cold. I'm half tempted to turn the oven on and get some real heat in here.

It's snowing outside, a granular, salting of tiny crystals kind of snow that hits the ground with a weak sizzle since it hasn't been that warm all week. We've had a heat wave with the temps in the low to mid 40s, barely above freezing, but it hasn't been bad and my thermostat hasn't been over 65; I've been comfortable -- until today. Good thing I moved my herbs into the bathroom where there's more light and heat and the occasional whiff of steam from the shower. The only thing I don't like about winter is how much it dries out me and everything else. I can almost hear the atmosphere sucking up moisture through a straw.

John Of Arabia asked about my relatives. As I told him, I have them, but I'm keeping my whereabouts a secret lest they come and visit me, bringing an eastern seaboard blizzard with them that would trap us all in my little cottage (and I do mean little) for so long it would make the Donner party except with French sauces and cheese. I have lots of cheese. Since I prefer healthy food, I'd have to toss Mom to the wolves, crows and ravens because I don't eat junk food. No, hot chocolate, or rather cocoa, is not junk food, especially when made with whole goat's milk and 65% cacao, organic, of course. Hoity Toity would have enough fat on her to make eating her stringy flesh almost worthwhile as long as I marinated her for a few days in vinegar. Not too much vinegar, since she's pretty vinegary already. Beanie would barely make an hors d'oeuvre and I wouldn't eat her anyway. I would have to knock her out with a handful of Mom's narcotics and feed her myself since she would probably rather starve than eat her relatives, at least until she got hungry enough or I managed to convince her the gumbo was pork and smoked sausage. The aroma should be enough to make her mouth water. She's always complaining she can't get good gumbo since I moved away. Well, I can't get oatmeal cake since I moved away either, but at least I can bake it myself. (Note to self: get organic coconut and walnuts for oatmeal cake.) The Mushroom wouldn't come so that would be all right, especially since it would take too long to de-hair him to find out what meat is available. Beanie sent me a picture and I'm still not sure it was him under all that hair. He looks like Grizzly Adams, except not as neatly groomed. I told him all he needs now is sackcloth, ashes, and a cave to be a real hermit. Why do you think we call him the Mushroom?

Do you know how some mushrooms are cultivated? In manure in the dark.

Speaking of which, a friend asked if I'd seen Brad Pitt lately. I had to admit to watching Troy (I was avoiding work) because I liked the naked Brad Pitt shots. Yes, I was looking for dangling bits. It's been a while since I've seen any up close and personal. (Note to self: must get male in compromising position while naked.) She said I wouldn't want to see him now. He's gained some weight (not necessarily a bad thing, I like something to hang onto while I'm riding), sporting a scraggly, unkempt beard (that must be where the Mushroom got the idea that women like it) and people say he smells. Also, not a bad thing. "He smells bad." Okay, definitely a bad thing. Angelina, she said, looks like a plucked chicken, a really stringy, skinny plucked chicken. I'll bet her nose is white, too, unless she's stopped riding the white line or smoking the glass pipe and has moved into the main line.

What is wrong with people, especially people who have it all? If they're not running to the plastic surgeon for Botox, collagen and knife work, they're dragged out on drugs. I still remember the horrific story of Bobby Brown disimpacting Whitney Houston's brown load because she was so out of it she was constipated. No, that's not love, that's insanity. No one is worth that, especially if they're not senile or suffering from Alzheimer's. Gag me with a pitchfork.

Seen in the light of Brangelina and Bobby and Whitney, maybe my family isn't so bad. Okay, the Mushroom needs to come out of the cyber closet and trim the beard or cut it off, get his hair trimmed and meet real people in real time, Hoity Toity needs to stop complaining about her boobs touching the sides of her arms and Beanie needs to make me an oatmeal cake and deliver it personally, but they're my family. We won't even talk about Mom. She's not my mother. I have proof. They left me off my father's obituary, which is a blessing in disguise. Every time Hoity Toity and Beanie call to talking about what new irritating thing MY mom did, I can now say, "She not MY mom. I wasn't listed on Dad's obituary and she was his wife." Works out really good for all concerned.

Okay, it works out really good for me. I don't care about the rest of them. That's why I have an unlisted number and refuse to tell them where I live now. It's safer.

I've found that some relationships work better when they're long distance. Now, if only I can get their mother to move to Pluto, everything would improve.

That is all. Disperse.