No Toy Left Behind

After a computer villain launched a cyber plot to consume all my time yesterday in trying to get my guest post on the Craftie Ladies of Romance blog to render properly, I decided I’d had enough of villains for one week!

It’s Fun Friday. Time to smile! 

One thing that makes me smile every time I witness it is…

When we leave the house, we crate our eat-everything-in-sight pup, Bella. We always supply her with all her favorite toys and a chew bone.

What’s hilarious is that as soon as we let her out of the crate, she carries her toys one by one to the living room–far from view of that crate.

She’s a true marine. No toy shall be left behind!

Your turn: What made you smile this week? 

Fun Friday – My Hero… swoon

My husband is a real-life hero, and I’m not just saying that because I’m married to him and I’m a romance writer and that’s what romance writers tend to say about their hubbies. Mine really is! 

He proved it the day my daughter’s long-dreamed-of horse arrived at our home. She was older and bomb-proof…we were told. 

Well-trained, we were told. 

Gentle, we were told. 

Well, my daughter was suddenly a little shy about riding her so I volunteered to take the maiden voyage. 


Dearest hubby gave me a boost up and I held onto Dancer’s mane and urged her to walk on. 

Come to think of it, the horse’s name should’ve been the first clue that I was in trouble. 

She pranced a little jig and the next thing I knew she was bucking for joy. 

One… I bounced about a foot off her back. 

Two… I bounced a little higher. 

Three… I knew it was time to pull up my legs and bail. But I didn’t have to. Dancer sent me sailing through the air. 

Hero hubby saw it coming and caught me. Yes, caught me! Ahhh!

Is it any wonder I write romance? 

Your turn: What’s the most romantic or heroic or fun thing a guy has ever done for you? If you can’t think of one, what do you dream of “your hero” doing for you?


Have you ever noticed how people tend to watch babies?
I mean sit and stare at them, waiting for them to do something cute. I caught myself doing this to my six-month-old grand daughter this week and wondered how she felt about always being stared at.
After all if I sat in the living room and stared at my hubby or daughter that way, they’d get downright fidgety. In less than a minute, they’d be swiping at their noses, thinking they had something on their face, saying, “What? What?” 
Think about it. It’s a wonder babies don’t get a complex from how people stare at them!

But I’ve decided that baby-watching is incredibly therapeutic…watching happy babies, anyways.
The experts say that smiling and laughing are good for your health. And when a baby smiles, who can help but smile back?
And when they laugh, I mean really belly laugh at the silliest of things, I defy anyone to hold back a chuckle. 
So… when my uncooperative story has me pulling out my hair trying to figure out how to make it behave… which seems to be daily these days… I drop in on my daughter and get a baby-fix!!
Your turn: What do you do to help pick yourself up when you’re feeling out of sorts?

Fun Friday – When Truth is Stranger than Fiction

I like to watch people when I’m traveling. It’s a wonderful opportunity to gain character ideas.

I struck gold on my flight home from the ACFW conference this past Sunday.

When the plane stopped, a six foot, broad-shouldered guy sitting in the seat in front of me jumped into the narrow aisle and began tugging his carry-on luggage out of the overhead compartment.

At the same time, the woman across the aisle from him rose to retrieve her bag.

The next thing we know she’s gasping for air!

The man’s shoulder has her face pinned to the overhead compartment. I’m talking her cheek smushed against the plastic, her body shoved halfway underneath.

And he doesn’t realize it!

Neither does her husband who is still in his seat texting on his cell phone!!

My seatmate laughed so hard she cried. (After the woman was unpinned, of course. Then we were wishing we’d gotten it on video!)

This is definitely proof that broad-shouldered men do not necessarily a hero make. 😀

Your Turn: Have you witnessed an unbelievably bizarre or comedic moment?

Fun Friday – Getting into Character?

Let me start by assuring you that I DID NOT duct tape my daughter to the chair. Honest! 

And isn’t Bella a true hero–um, heroine–to try to free her? 

Before I tell you what’s going on at the whacky author’s house, I want to give all of you a chance to guess. Let’s have some creative fun. 

Your turn: What do you think is going on? 

Then…join me tomorrow at Jaunty Quills where the answer will be revealed, and one lucky commenter will receive a signed copy of Deep Cover. 

Also until Sunday, at Margaret Daley’s blog, tell me what undercover cop assignment you would find most intriguing to read about for another chance to win a copy.

Fun Friday – First Booksigning Today…what was I thinking?!

Unless this is your first visit to my blog, you’ve probably already figured out that I got a little exuberant when planning a blog tour to promote my debut release. Forty-five plus stops in total…but who’s counting?

Well, probably you if you’ve already seen me pop up on several of your regular blog destinations!

Today, alone, I’m on four. And if I was smart, I’d be posting something exceptionally witty to entice all the visitors popping over from them to return–hey, I can dream!

But alas, I have my first-ever book signing tonight.

A three hour long book signing!

What was I thinking?

I’ve seen the odd book signing at a store, the authors sitting there looking a tad forlorn as shoppers give them a wide berth.

For THREE hours. Ugh!

I knew there was a reason I shouldn’t have given my relatives free copies. At least I could’ve counted on them showing up, arms a little red from being twisted.

I’m thinking that my pretty face, holding up a copy of the book isn’t going to cut it. And my husband’s no help. I begged him to drive me, which he will. But then he said, what am I supposed to do for three hours?! I can only drink so much coffee. The signing is in Chapters with an adjacent Starbucks. Thank you, Lord!

So I sought encouragement from a few seasoned authors. And here are the top 5 suggestions: 

1) Have chocolate on the table, lots of it.   …Check
2) Don’t do book signings.   …Next
3) Offer a door prize     …Check
4) Cajole a really good-looking guy to sit at the table with you.     …Hmm, hubby will be in Starbucks…no, better not
5) Chocolate     …Okay, so they weren’t all that encouraging!

Then I started thinking, what if people do come? How should I sign the books?  

I was once asked by an author whose book I won how I’d like her to sign it. I immediately said, “To my best friend, Sandra, …” And she did! It’s still my favorite signed copy.

But from the practice run I had at my neighbor’s birthday party (because she’s super-sweet and gave a copy of Deep Cover to each guest as a party favor!!), only one out of ten people had a suggestion. To the rest I wrote, “Hope you enjoy the book.”

You’d think a writer could do better than that!

Your Turn: I’m appealing to you, my dear blog readers, to give me some ideas. How would you like an author to sign a copy of her book for you?

BTW: I’m at Kav’s joint-blog today Inkspirational Messages
Also on The Love Inspired Authors Blog talking about Miller’s Bay, the setting for Deep Cover
And at the ACFW blog (for writers) talking about the value of writing contests.
And at My Book Therapy because I’m a crazy woman who can’t say no!

Fun Friday – How I’m Making My Pup’s Top 7 “Menu” Items Work For Me

1) Plastic Flower Pots – Don’t ask me where my pup keeps finding these. But I’m thinking that the zigzag chew marks around the top will appeal to eclectic collectors. E-Bay auction here I come!

2) Rubber Boots – Around here rubber boots are worn to muck out the farm animals. Dog eats your boots…Someone else will have to do the mucking out. I’m thinking Win-Win. Dog’s happy. I’m happy.

3 Cucumbers – Yes, fresh from the garden, vine-and-all cucumbers. I must admit this one miffed me at first. After all, I enjoy a good cucumber. But…no half bushel of cukes means no obligation to spend hours canning relish and pickles. It works for me!

4) Sofas – Yes, what pup doesn’t like to gnaw on a good sofa? The thing is old, old, old anyway. What better excuse do we need to replace it? Word of advice: wait until pup outgrows chewing phase.

5) Miscellaneous Tools – Maybe the man in your life will start putting them away instead of leaving them lying about. A cause for celebration…okay, if he doesn’t send the dog packing first!

6) Wood – Sure that cord of wood was supposed to be for cosy fires in the dead of winter, but we can always use the bits of wood for kindling…or garden mulch!

7) Remote Control – Clearly the dog is trying to tell us that the time has come for a new T.V. The analog receiver on that old TV doesn’t work anymore, anyway. And all the shows appear as a narrow band across the middle. The pup did us a favor! Or…maybe she’s telling us we need to spend more time walking than watching!

Fridays are my days for fun posts about the “characters” in my life and at large. Lately, our young pup is the biggest character in our lives and rich fodder for blog posts!

And yes, that is something new she’s found to chew–an eavestrough end cap and down spout strap. Ugh! No wait a minute…I’m thinking scrap aluminum prices are up these days. We’re good.

Moral of this story:
Look for the silver lining in the trials of your day. And if all else fails. Laugh about it.

Your turn: Got a story to share?

Fun Friday – Tea Anyone?

I’ve spent the last, oh, three weeks answering (or ignoring) every imaginable question you could think to ask a debut author in a blog interview. At least, that’s what I thought until Kav threw some wildly creative ones at me, to which my turned-to-mush brain couldn’t whip up a single pithy reply.
For example: If you could host a tea party with four book characters, who would you invite?
Now, I don’t know about you, but I read so many books that after awhile the characters start losing their identities. Sure I remember Rhett Butler, but I don’t want him for tea. 
My kids would probably name Lord of the Rings or Narnia characters, but I don’t read fantasy. Although, having Aslan for tea would be cool. Lots of questions I could ask him.
Of course, thinking of books that my kids read reminded me of my all-time favorite character—Lovable Furry Old Grover from The Monster at the End of this Book. But…I’m thinking, he’s not a tea drinker.
I tried to call up my ever-witty brainstorming buddy, who also happens to be part of a book club. She would’ve been able to give me some eccentric answer that would have been quite impressive, I’m sure.
But alas, she was out living it up with real people, while I wracked my brain over make-believe people to invite to my make-believe tea party.
So I decided to hold auditions.
That’s right you get to convince me who to invite: I’ll even make it a little easier. If you could host a party (any kind of party) with one or more book characters, what kind of party would you host and who would you invite?
(And Kav, I know you’re out there…I want to hear your answer, too!)

The Fragrance of Life

Scent is a powerful thing. The slightest whiff of a particular scent can rouse memories you haven’t thought about in years, evoking unexpected emotions. The fragrance of my mom’s favorite hand lotion will bring memories of her flooding back to me. For others the smell of oil might take them back to their first car, or a day spent with their dad working on the old jalopey. The smell of leather might remind you of that cool guy you dated in twelfth grade.
Since I write romantic suspense, you’re probably thinking–fragrances…romance…I know where she’s going with this. Trust me when I say…probably not.

Do you have Japanese beetles where you live?
They’re quite attractive, with shiny green and bronze shield-like backs. But destructive! Think plague of locusts.
I knew we had to take action when the leaves on my linden turned to lacy skeletons and began falling in mid-June, a full three months too soon. 
When the beetles, migrated to my bean plants, we declared all out war. 
We discovered a nifty way to catch these beetles without using pesticides. You hang a plastic bag, like the one in the picture, upwind from the infestation and place a pouch of female beetle pheromones inside.
Instantly, hundreds of beetles lifted from our bean plants, and swarmed to the source of the scent.
Wow, that was one powerful fragrance.
It reminded me of the verse in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?
A humbling thought, isn’t it? 
When I catch myself acting not so fragrant, I think of that swarm of beetles and how very much I want to be the fragrance of life to those around me. How about you?
Today’s smile:
You remember Bella, my connoisseur-of-hubcaps pup?
Well, she felt sorry for all those Japanese beetles doped up on pheromones. After all dogs have an acute sense of smell. So… she liberated them!
Yup, it’s true. As my daughter told my husband, “You had to know that was going to happen.”
Have a fragrant weekend! 

We’re Talking Character

Okay, so this blog is about characters… And I have a real one in my house. 
The dog. 
She’s graduated from ripping apart rubber boots to gnawing on my hubcaps! 
Now, in fairness to the poor puppy, it’s not as if she ripped them off my car. 
If she had I’d be signing her up for the next movie spoof on street crime in Harlem.
No, she snatched them from the garage. But really…what was my son thinking not putting them back on the car when he changed out the snow tires?
We’re talking puppy here. And well…hubcaps they look like giant Frisbees. Don’t you think?
She apparently thinks they’re the greatest thing since—well—rubber boots.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Hubcaps are metal. How much damage could one little puppy do? I mean she’s so sweet she flops over dead if you so much as say bang— unless you don’t have a visible treat, then she moans a lot on the way down. Come to think of it, maybe the movies is where she really needs to be…
But back to my hubcaps. Did you know hubcaps have these little plastic tabs that hold them in place. Plastic! What teething pup could resist plastic?
I must say to her credit that as soon as you tell her not to chew something, she stops and won’t do it again. She has lots of perfectly sound chew toys to prove it. My mistake was in only telling her not to chew hubcap number one!
Your turn: What’s the funniest, cutest or most annoying thing your pet has ever done? Click on “Comments” to share.