Monday, March 31, 2008

So Tired

Why? Because this sweet-faced Mouse decided he needed to eat every few hours last night. And he did because he has health issuses that prevent him from absorbing most nutrients. So we got up not once but twice. Which has me very tired now especially since, unlike Mouse, I had to go to work and be alert and functional all day. That's okay, I'd rather lose sleep than lose Mouse. Besides he tried to make up for it by purring up a storm when we went back to bed at 1:37 and again at 4:14. At least I could get right back to sleep with him doing that. Still it wasn't a very restful night. Hopefully this isn't the beginning of a new pattern or I'll make even less sense than I am now. Sleep well everyone. Oops, gotta go. Mouse is back, meowing for all he's worth. He hasn't eaten since I got home two hours ago and he's starved. Just ask him!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Preview

I spoke too soon yesterday. Only one of my tv's was functioning properly. I know, what does someone who rarely watches to begin with need with two? I just do. In case I have tv-watching company or something. Anyway, I called, expecting Tweedledee or Tweedledum to reappear. Instead I got Macguyver. Attached a little gizmo that had everything fixed and working perfectly within 37 seconds. Gotta love a man who knows what he's doing!

Yesterday I mentioned that I just submitted my new story, Beyond Meddling. Here's a peek at the beginning. Please keep your fingers crossed for me. I actually like this one now that it's finished which isn't something I say very often, just ask the friends I let pre-read things.


“Boy, you’re a damn fool.”
Evan Wilton sat upright in bed, scanning the room for the source of the voice that awakened him. He saw no one. Of course he wouldn’t. His grandfather, the man he thought he’d just heard was dead. He died over three months ago. It was merely a dream. He flopped onto his back and draped his arm over his eyes. His grandfather was dead. When would he just know that and not need to continually remind himself of the fact? How long would it take?
“I’m speaking to you, boy. The least you could do is pay attention.”
“Pop?” Evan asked aloud, feeling the fool for doing so as he cautiously removed his arm.
“Of course it’s me. You think after all these years you’d recognize my voice.”
“But you’re dead,” he stated.
“So? What’s your point?”
“I’m dreaming. That’s it. I have to be. It’s just because I miss the old coot so much that I think I can still hear him.”
“Old coot? Who you calling an old coot, boy?”
Evan shook his head. He rubbed his eyes and looked around the room again. This time he saw his grandfather leaning against the doorjamb. He jumped out of bed. “Pop? What the fuck?”
“Put some pants on, boy. It’s too early in the morning to be waving that around like that. And watch your mouth.”
Evan pulled on some shorts and sat on the edge of the bed. “Pop?”
“Jeez, would you get with it already, boy? You act like I’ve never visited before.”
“It’s not that, Pop. It’s just that you’re dead. I wasn’t expecting you.”
“Harrumph. You should’ve been. Someone has to knock some sense into that fool head of yours.”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“What do I mean? What. Do. I. Mean? The girl, you idiot. The girl. Be. You’re going to lose her if you don’t get your head out of your arse.”

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Back Already

Okay so it didn't take nearly as long as I'd anticipated. Sorry. I still can't tell you anything about it because it's not set in stone yet. And even when it is you'll probably sit around, scratching your heads and saying "Huh? What's the fuss about? What's wrong with her?" Simple. It's something new that I haven't done before and I'm excited.

Speaking of new things...I've recently encountered an individual that captains ships on a for hire basis. This is something I know absolutely nothing about so I'm behaving like a four-year-old asking a gazillion questions. Fortunately, he's a very patient person and is used to the fascination factor. Currently, he's piloting a freighter to a South American country with a shipment of art for a museum. Did you know they send exhibits back and forth by ship? I never really thought about how they get from place to place before so I find that very interesting. I requested pics along the way. Imagine, he won't have much time to take them for me at the really cool places! I have so many questions I don't even know where to begin, which just makes him laugh, but by the time he reaches his home port I'm determined to know all things ship-related.

A follow up, I got my Direct TV hooked the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of satelite installers. Surprisingly, it works. I have my three channels and all is well in the home entertainment facet of my life.

March Madness and the Berks Jazz Fest - Personally, I have no interest in the basketball tournament but many do and that's fine. As for the Jazz Fest, it's a great event in Reading. There are venues scattered throughout the city and always a slew of quality entertainers. Only problem, the bar on the corner. It's a cool place, upgraded several times over the years I've lived here and no longer anything like the dive it was when I moved in. Not to mention the yummy food they now serve. But they have 32 big screen tv's which makes it a very popular destination this time of year. On top of that, they've slowly increased the number of Jazz Fest events they host. Great if I want to go to one, not so great if I need to go anywhere else. How is it a corner bar that's only three row homes wide fills not only the 100+ space parking lot they recently built but also takes up every available spot on the street in a 2 block radius? No wonder there are occasional lines with people milling about, waiting to get it.

Ooh, too much rambling today. I was going to post a preview of Beyond Meddling, the new story I just submitted but that'll have to wait until tomorrow. Whatever your weekend holds, I hope you're enjoying it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Gone for a Bit

Just found out I have a HUGE but really, really cool project that needs to be done right now! Gotta get to it. Back soon as I can with complete details.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Junk Mail

With all the "Save the Environment" campaigns out there I am appalled at the amount of junk mail I still receive. Not to mention offended. I am not fickle or flighty enough to change my ISP, car insurance, credit card, phone service - both cellular and land line, or TV povider at the drop of a hat just because I've gotten a shiny envelope from some other company. As an intelligent individual, I am perfectly capable of choosing these for myself. I am also capable of doing research and switching to a different company should I become dissatisfied with my current one. I eliminated unsolicited telemarketers by registering on both the state and national Do Not Call lists. I'm sure there must be something similar for junk mail. Adding this to my list of things to look up.

With the elections approaching, my junk mail is now supplemented by political propoganda. My feeling, if a mailing doesn't contain something informative about the individual running for office then don't bother wasting trees on it. Along the same lines are political signs. Is there really a need for one in every yard? Why isn't there a law stating that they must not only be collected but also recycled within so many days after the election? It's not as if it would be difficult to figure out where to send the fine on those not retrieved.

Another thought since I'm rambling today. If we can't eliminate junk mail, we should recycle it in alternative ways. Gather up all your unwanted stuff. Remove everything with your name or address on it. Recycle those items in the traditional manner. Pull out all the prepaid return envelopes and stuff them with pages from companies other than the one they're addressed to. Mix and match. Give the poor drones who process the in-coming mail some entertainment. Who knows? If enough of us do this the original companies may become so annoyed at paying the postage to receive all that junk that they'll finally stop sending theirs out in the first place. Another possible benefit -it could serve the purpose of adding volume to the postal service and may slow the rate of increase on the cost of mailing a first-class letter.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


It's 65 and sunny with another hour of daylight. I'm on my way to see all my pretty flowers. Harry is hanging out on the porch trying to make the screen vanish by staring at it so the terroristic birds who are tormenting him will fly through the lattice. Then he'll be able to get them.

To me, this is the perfect summer day. I have two offices at work, in different buildings. Yep, kept thinking of reasons I needed to go to the other one today.

Well time to go out and play. What are you up to?

Update - I just finished Beyond Meddling. Have to read through it tomorrow to see if there are any changes to be made before I submit it but overall I'm happy with it. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Characters Need Entertainment Too

A lot of fellow authors I’ve spoken with need silence to write. Some need soothing music. With others, it’s mood music. With me, it varies. It seems as if each story takes on a life of its own with a continual theme for the entire time I’m writing. My default writing background music is Warren Zevon. He’s also the default music for my life most of the time.

The last book I wrote needed show tunes. Of course I sang along. This one requires old musicals playing on the TV as I write. I can’t tell you how many times I listened to The Happiest Millionaire since I started this story. Last week it was Summer Magic, My Fair Lady, and Disney cartoons, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, and The Aristocats. Yesterday, it was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Mary Poppins, and the Sound of Music. Now it’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and maybe later I’ll put on The King and I. By the time I play Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, State Fair, Oklahoma, and Singing in the Rain I should have this one finished. Good thing. I’m running out of choices.

I can’t wait to find out what my next group of characters needs as entertainment while they’re sharing their story with me. It’s always so much fun.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Bound Brits Winners

Just a little today.

First I want to thank all of you who entered the Bound Brits contest. I randomly assigned everyone a number and then called my friend, Neeley, who was kind enough to pick two numbers out of a range for me without asking why first. Isn't it great to have a friend like that?

The winners are:

First Prize - Glenna Day

Second Prize - Sandra Erskine

One of the authors will be in touch soon with your prizes.

Okay, back to work. My ghost likes me again today so I need to get to it. Don't want him mad at me when I'm so close to being finished. And as hoped he did have an unexpected event he threw in without warning. I love when that happens!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Mrs. Quackenbush

The Easter I was 8 a friend of my dad's brought us the sweetest little ball of yellow fluff which turned out to be a duckling. I never understood why she had to sleep in the box in the kitchen instead of in my room. I remember sneaking down the creaky wooden steps with my pillow because I didn't want her to be lonely. I'd get her out of her box and she'd nestle against my neck. I can still hear the little peeps she made since she hadn't learned to quack yet.

By the time summer vacation rolled around, Mrs. Quackenbush was a fully grown, white as snow duck. She had her own pen outside then so every morning I'd go let her out for the day. She was the best companion a kid could have. We also had cats and dogs which were fun too but after a bit they would wander off on their own. Not Quacky. She was my shadow. My mom would send me to pick sugar peas and many times I would return with a basket full that had beak prints on them since she always tried to help. And when it was time to pick blueberries I think we ate more than we took inside. My dad would set up the little blow up pool and we'd be in it before he had it half full. At lunch, she'd traipse along inside and sit under the table at my feet, waiting for me to sneak her some of the bread from my sandwich. Well, sneak is an exaggeration. She could quack by then and wasn't at all shy. When I had to go away, she'd come running to the car to greet me as soon as I opened the door, quacking and flapping for all she was worth. Ducks may not be traditional pets but they sure are wonderful ones.

Happy Easter everyone. I hope you all have warm and fluffy memories like I do.

Reminder - Last day for the Bound Brits contest.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Saturday This & That

I did some research today and made my decision. Yep, Direct TV it is...for less than half the price. There's still not going to be anything much to watch other than the few shows I like but I'll have them plus the Hallmark channel which has an occasional good movie. It's being installed next Saturday during a time slot that is actually convenient for me.

Funny, Spring began Thursday. All winter I've been complaining about the lack of snow in Reading. You guessed it. I woke up today to big, fat, fluffy flakes. The really pretty ones. Oh, it didn't lay. It could have though. One of the worst snowstorms I remember as a kid was on an early Easter. Our car wouldn't make it up the last hill before home. No big deal. It rarely did and our wonderful neighbors never minded my dad leaving it in their driveway. That day I remember hiking the equivalent of a few blocks to our house and the snow blowing like heck, stinging my face. It was deep enough to cover the tops of my boots. As the storm was unexpected, in the days before the Weather Channel, I had on my Easter dress, no tights. Talk about cold! What made it worse was that since it was so nasty I had to leave my Easter basket from my grandmother, where we had been, in the car and all my candy froze. It's just not the same after that, or it wasn't to seven year old me.

Yesterday, in the car, I got a nice chunk of writing accomplished. I'm working on something I'm calling Beyond Meddling. I've been struggling because the grumpy ghost in it has been too busy muttering to do much narrating as he's supposed to. He's finally taken pity on me and has decided to be helpful instead of conterproductive so back to work for me.

What are you up to today?

Friday, March 21, 2008

TV or Not TV?

I called my cable company yesterday. Why? Because I sat down and thought about it and realized that I am paying $86.58/month to watch 12 hours of television during months when shows aren’t repeats. I watch Dr. Who and Torchwood on BBC America and Monk on USA. Oh I do watch other things, repeats of the Gilmore Girls, old movies and the Graham Norton Show but none are things I seek out or worry about missing if I’m busy doing something else.

Okay so back to the cable company. I called them because that’s a ridiculous amount of money for next to nothing. I reached a very pleasant woman after only 8 levels of automatic nonsense. I explained my quandary and then asked what I could eliminate to decrease the cost while keeping the two channels I watch. Her answer, nothing. To have cable at all basic service is required. Standard cable, the next level up includes USA Network. The third tier, digital preferred contains BBC America. I then asked about true ala carte service, wanting to pay only for the shows I actually watch. Nope, not available. This I think is bogus. The whole system is computerized. There is an on demand function with a gazillion movies and specials available at the touch of a button. I think it’s more likely that they’d lose too much money on people like me if they charged by the program.

This was when I listed my three options. One, I could stop paying my cable bill in protest like many people I know. I’m told it takes about three months for them to get around to disconnecting cable service. Two, I can switch to direct TV. The slightly less pleasant woman pointed out that the channels I watch may not be available. They are. I asked a friend at work who has it. Also, the alternate service in my area may not be any cheaper. It is per the same friend. Three, I can get rid of TV altogether. I spent the first two years after I purchased my home without it and I survived quite nicely. I’m sure I could again. Besides, the shows I watch are available on DVD eventually. Also I can watch them a day later on the Internet if I don’t mind my smaller computer screen. Moderately disgruntled customer service woman didn’t champion any of the above.

Yes, definitely something to consider before the next bill is due.

BTW, luncheon with my great aunt was very nice. She’s the same sweetie as always but with a cold this visit. We went to Olive Garden. Great food but overly efficient service to the point of rushing us. Our meals were brought after the second bite of soup/salad. I decided to forego my delicious creamy potato/sausage/kale soup in favor of my asiago steak with cheese filled tortellini while it was still hot. Yummy, which I did make sure to mention as I informed the manager of the excessive speed of the servers on the way out when he stopped us to ask.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Spectacular Woman

I've been assigned the task of collecting books for my great aunt. Tomorrow, my mom, my brother and I are off to visit her. She's 91 years young and absolutely amazing. Her body may be slowing down but her mind is as sharp as ever. I believe this is because she reads voraciously. She always has. I seriously think she could be the poster child for all those ads that tell you how reading helps maintain your brain.

In her working life she was a sixth grade teacher. The town where she lives isn't all that big so she knows practically everyone. At times I go to lunch with her and her ladies. What a blast! I don't remember an outing ever when at least a handful of people didn't stop to chat with her. If it wasn't a student of hers it was a child of a student. It's now grandchildren of students. And each of them has a story that begins with "Do you remember the time..."

She was always very active in her local church up until a few years ago when she decided she'd rather just go and enjoy the calm the situation provides her. A soloist in the chior for as long as I can remember. The people who stop to say hello from that bunch always have a slightly different flavor to their stories but stories they all have.

And then there are her fellow teachers and cohorts from her youth. Talk about telling tales out of school! She's 91 and they're still talking about things she did 60, 70, 80 years ago. No matter who stops to chat, I always learn some new and interesting tidbit about that wonderful woman.

With the general state of the world today it's a nice feeling, having so many people approach her with happy memories. Well, time to get to it. It's a diffucult project because there are so many choices. Yes, my great aunt reads anything. And by that I do mean anything. She's the only person who reads everything I write. I'm sure there will be more on her later.

Reminder - Don't forget to balance your eggs today.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Tomorrow is the Vernal Equinox. The first day of Spring. This means different things to different people. What about you?

To me, it means spring flowers. I love the riot of color that seems to appear out of nowhere. There's a courtyard outside my window at work and I've been watching one of the daffodils. If it's sunny tomorrow it might just make it.

Spring also marks the beginning of migraine season. The temperature will soon be rising above 60 which is enough to make me hurt. Then it'll get humid which will make it even worse. Now isn't that something to look forward to?

One other thing about's one of the two days you can easily balance eggs on end. The other is the Autumnal Equinox. If you've never done this, give it a try. It's so cool when it works. It's also a great way to entertain your kids and amaze your friends.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I was a Bad Child

When I was a small child, either 4 or 5, my mother sent me off for a nap and decided on one for herself as well. Being me and determined, I waited for her to fall asleep and then snuck downstairs. We'd been to the grocery store earlier and brought home my cereal of the moment, Lucky Charms. I wanted to open them as soon as we got back to snitch some marshmallows. Of course the plan was vetoed.

Anyway, I found a baggy and picked all the marshmallows out of the cereal. I then put the box back in such a way that my mom wouldn't notice it had been opened. I hid the baggy in my room, to be snacked on later.

The next morning, I pretended to open the box for the first time. I poured cereal into my bowl and forced out some crocodile tears because there were no marshmallows. My mom was annoyed enough to take it back to the store and complain until they exchanged it for a brand new box. Yes, it was checked before leaving the store. You can imagine what a happy girl I was with colored sugar all over the house! Being truly shameless, I did this a second time about a year later - same results.

When I turned 30 I decided my parents were old enough to hear about some of my antics. This was the first confession I made. As you might expect, my mother was horrified.

More some other time...

Monday, March 17, 2008


I heard on the radio this morning that it's pothole season again. Gee, I didn't know it had ended. I think in Pennsylvania it's kind of like daylight savings gets longer each year.

The report went on to explain why we have so many potholes forming out of nowhere. It's partly because of the weather. Apparently the temperature drops and rises, causing road surfaces to freeze and thaw. No, really? The breakage caused by that phenomenon is aided by the salt that PennDot applies to prohibit the formation of ice. Hm, interesting. As I recall, they only salted in my area four times this year and yet it seems like there are just as many potholes as other years. Shouldn't it be more proportionate?

Something I've never understood is that surrounding states have the same weather conditions yet the roads seem so much better. Is this an illusion or did someone in PennDot annoy the powers that be, thus eliminating themselves from the good road formula sharing list?

On the upside it's soon trout season. Maybe each fisherman will be able to have his own personal fishing hole right at the end of his driveway so they won't all need to crowd together on the local creek bank.

Other news - Hello by Dakota Rebel released today. It's the first comedy offered by Total-E-Bound and, knowing Dakota, it's sure to make you laugh out loud.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why Is It?

No matter how hard I try I can only make a full kettle of soup? Seriously. I start out intending to only make half and then before I know it it's overflowing. I'm just one person, not an army. The freezer is full. My mom's freezer is full. Even the neighbors are tired of soup. But I keep making more. Granted homemade soup is the best and there's nothing better than the scent of it simmering all day but enough's enough.

Hm, anybody want to come for dinner? We're having tomato-based ham and bean with tiny bits of carrots and potatoes.

Update - My friend, Edie, was just here. Yes, I fed her some soup. But now, thanks to her, we have desert too...homemade Easter eggs!

Don't forget this is the last week for the Bound Brits contest. Click here for details.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

I've been so productive today it's scary. I started by going out in the world, something I generally avoid on Saturdays unless food, drink and laughter are involved.

I began my mission at Lowe's where I procured a new button for my doorbell. Mine's been self-destructing and one morning when someone rang it at 4:45 AM it stuck pushed in which made a horrible buzzing noise. The poor cats were extremely upset by the time I decided I'd waited long enough for whoever was outside to get bored and leave so I could open the door just far enough to unstick it.

Next stop, BJ's where I filled my gas tank. Molly brace yourself - $3.21/gallon. Inside I picked up not only the vacuum cleaner that instigated the whole journey but a new set of summer sheets, 420 thread count in celery, and a book, Skinny Bitch, which hopefully I will be able to read sooner rather than later.

My last destination - the Giant to take advantage of my free ham coupon. It'll be ham and bean soup with ham sandwiches after I do some cooking tomorrow. I also picked up a selection of salt-based foods. Hm, must have something lacking in my diet since I got that and no chocolate. Then it was time to check out. It never fails, whatever line I get in is the wrong one. Today I was behind the coupon queen of the universe. Julio, the checkout boy was actually sweating by the time he looked back through her slip to find the prices of all her buy one get one free deals. It was so bad the manager came over to try to help which only made poor Julio more nervous. And then she paid her hefty bill with a slew of partly used gift cards, many, many of them. When it was finally my turn the poor boy was pale and shaking so I smiled brightly and gave him my perkiest greeting. I chatted pleasantly the whole time he rang up my order. I even involved the woman behind me who quickly picked up on what I was doing and joined in being just as sweet as I was. When I left I thanked him, telling him I'd see him next week, and said "nice kid" to the manager as I went. It wasn't his fault the prior woman handed him her stack of coupons when he was already half way through her order and I didn't want to see him get yelled out because he really was trying to deal with it as best he could.

Once home, I stowed my groceries. My first project was to change the doorbell button. No problem! I didn't even zap myself. I then assembled the new vacuum without a hitch. I used it all over the house and was horrified at the quantity of muck in the basket, it's bagless. I really do vacuum weekly even though you wouldn't have thought so seeing the amount of debris. Yep, definitely time for this.

The last thing I did was take out the trash, including the huge box and old vacuum. While outside, I took a tour of my yard. All my bulbs are sprouting. It won't be long before there are splashes of vibrant color all over.

Whew! Now that I have all that taken care of I can finally get to what I'd originally planned for today...writing. I left my characters in a rather precarious position two days ago and it's way past time for me to get them out of it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ever Have a Pear Martini?

I just did. Incredibly sweet but not to be avoided.

My friend, Neeley - you'll be hearing lots more about her in time, is home from med school for a few days. I joined her, her sister who is also on spring break, their mom, and another friend for a girls' night out.

Great food, yummy shared desserts, posh drinks and awesome company. What more could you ask for?

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I've suspected it for some time now. Yes, I'm certain of it. There's something wrong with me. Something that has me feeling way off kilter. And I have no idea what to do about it. When I tell you you're going to shake your head at me and mutter what the?

You see, the problem is I've stopped reading. I want to. I have oddles of wonderful books just waiting for me to get over this. I even pick one up now and then. I open it or pull an ebook up on my screen. Yes, I have scads of new ebooks too. So I'm still interested. I'm just not reading anything.

Ever have this happen to you? How did you get over it? I know. You're thinking what is wrong with this ninny? Stop yammering and just read something. Not that easy and I really don't have the slightest idea why. It just isn't.

Up until about two months ago I read constantly, at least six books a week. And then, nothing. I didn't read anything bad or boring that turned me off. It's as if books aren't my friends right now and that really hurts. I feel like I've lost something vital. I've never been without books before. It's horrible, trust me.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I Can Change a Light Bulb

I was driving home from work today, pondering what in the world I might ramble on about here and having no decent ideas. I’d decided on telling you how snarky I’ve been feeling since I was sick and that it was pointed out to me. In the nicest way and by someone I can laugh about it with. Ever since I started this job I’ve been attempting to behave myself and not blurt out what I’m thinking at all inappropriate moments. This has given the impression that I’m nice. Well I am but there’s generally a healthy dose of sarcasm mixed in. Monday morning I went to work feeling absolutely horrendous and some of that sarcasm was showing for a change. Today, though I felt better, I still didn’t have the energy to be perky.

What do I mean by this? One of my duties is to sashay off to the post office as needed. I like that and have no problem taking personal mail when I’m going anyway. Today I had nothing official to take so I had the nerve to say no to someone who wanted me to mail Easter cards. Hmm, last I checked the organization that employs me doesn’t do Easter cards but maybe I missed that in my handbook. I’ll have to double check. On the upside, it annoyed the individual enough to keep her from hanging out downstairs which meant I didn’t have to stifle the impulse to tell her to use her inside voice. Yes, she’s a bit boisterous the majority of the time.

Another moment that pushed me today was when I attempted to enter one of the secure areas. There’s a buzzer that is utilized to alert the staff at the desk that someone is waiting to be admitted. Today however, the staff member inside had the intercom activated which meant the buzzer didn’t buzz. When she finally decided to acknowledge me rapping on the chamber door she actually tried to pretend she hadn’t just been involved in a lengthy personal conversation. Kind of pointless since I’d heard every word over the intercom.

The third thing that heightened my snarkiness was a blown light bulb. Now I admit I’m female. I also admit I’m not the most mechanically inclined individual in the world. I am, contrary to what one of the maintenance guys thinks, perfectly capable of changing a light bulb. I am also clever enough to pull the string on the light fixture itself just in case the last person turned it off that way instead of by using the wall switch. In all fairness to the man in question he is generally very helpful and rarely treats me like an incompetent female. So why then did he immediately pull the string and rechange the light bulb after I’d stated that I had already done both? In the end it required a whole new light socket, something I am not at all interested in wanting to do myself though I’m positive I could should I ever choose to.

Anyway, I came home feeling a tad grumpy. Then I checked my email and found a message from an old friend with whom I haven’t spoken in about six months. We’ve both tried but keep missing each other in person. Her email was just what I needed to erase the annoyances of my day. She told me of her misadventures that occurred throughout her recent vacation. Reading it I could practically hear her voice and was chuckling along with her. She ending by mentioning that her daughter visited from the third world country she is currently saving by way of Vienna which means I have Milka chocolate waiting for me the next time we see each other. Yep, it really is the little things that make all the difference.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Quandry

Why is it they can invent a gizmo to tell you when your chicken is roasted but not a way to let you know your popcorn has reached optimum readiness?

Seriously can't someone come up with something?

Yes, there is a button on my microwave specifically for popcorn. Fine only it doesn't take into account differences in bag size. The bags are no help either. Pops in 1 to 3 minutes. Could it be any more vague? How about the ones that tell you to listen for the last pop? Um, how do I know it's the last pop before the bag bursts into flames?

In case you're wondering, yes I was hungry for popcorn today. And yes, I burned it. Again. Is there anything worse than that lingering burnt popcorn smell? Oh well, time for more cold medicine.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Feeling Blah

It seems I'm stuck with the neverending illness. It's a tricky one this year. I start feeling better and think it's finally over only to have it regroup and hit me worse than before. I'm so tired of coughing I could scream only my throat hurts too much for that. I've taken to wearing multiple layers so I can strip and redress as needed because I'm having trouble figuring out if I'm hot or cold.

A little bit of advice for those of you lucky enough to not have experienced this first-hand. Avoid it at all costs! Wear surgical masks and rubber gloves. Clean suits. Live in the bubble if you have to. Trust me, you do not under any circumstances want to get this one.

Okay, going back to bed now. My cats have my spot nice and warm for me. They're so sweet. They take turns babysitting me. I think that's mainly to ensure that I'm still breathing since it's getting close to their dinner time but I'm pretending it's because they want me to stick around for reasons other than my opposable thumbs.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Princess and the Pea

Last night I was supposed to go see a young friend of mine star in her school play, The Princess and the Pea. Unfortunately the weather interfered and the event was postponed due to lack of electricity. So tonight's the night instead.

I can feel some of you rolling your eyes, thinking why on earth am I willingly subjecting myself to a middle school play when I don't have a kid of my own in it. Simple. Because I do have a kid. Technically she's not mine but I've known her her entire life and her parents are generous enough to let me borrow her whenever I ask.

This girl is a truly remarkable young lady and I'm honored to know her. I've watched over the years as she's discovered herself and let me tell you it's been fascinating. She's a very clever and creative individual. I used to work for a craft company that would occasionally offer odds and ends of inventory to employees. No matter what doodads I took, my friend always managed to transform them into something spectacular. What amazed me was how easy she made it look.

A few years ago we went to see the Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall. Have you seen it? Everyone should at least once in their lives. Anyway, my friend was hooked. She switched from wanting to be an artist to being an actress. Since then we've gone to see numerous performances both in New York and locally. Yes, I'm encouraging her by exposing her to a wide variety of shows. Not to mention how much fun we always have!

Her credits to date include Cats and Cooks, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the Diary of Anne Frank just to name a few. It never matters whether her role is big or small, she always throws herself into it and gives it her all, surprising for one so young. So yes, I am honestly looking forward to tonight's middle school rendition of the Princess and the Pea because I know the princess personally and am one of her biggest fans.

Update - I just got home from the perfomance and my friend was a spectacular princess!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Dancing in the Street

When I received the email informing me that my first submission was being forwarded to the publisher's acqusitions editor I went out and danced in the street in celebration. A new tradition was born that day. Ever since I've done the same when any good book-related event occurred from contracts to hot covers to awesome reviews.

Today is an awesome review dance day.

Melissa Kammer of Novel Talk says:

Six fabulous authors combined to create this lushly erotic collection. I admit that I am new to reading BDSM, and honestly I was surprised by these stories. Each author’s offering sparked my interest, and held me spellbound to the end. Every tale flowed with adventure and romance. BOUND BRITS is a thrilling, highly arousing book and an overall spanking good read.

Click here to read the specifics for each of the stories.

I'm so proud of us!

One thing I've noticed about this tradition that may or may not become a concern - it seems to bring rain. Lots and lots of rain. Yep, every time I've had some news and gone out to dance the rain followed. Hm, perhaps I should go visit Amarinda Jones next time I anticipate something good book-wise. Australia's still in a major drought. If I write my fingers off and enough people like it maybe I could help with that.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I went to the dentist today...

And had a blast! No, I don’t have some weird fetish. I just have a great dentist with an awesome staff.

First there’s the receptionist. She’s known me since I was maybe 5. When the dentist from back then sold his practice she seems to have been part of the deal. Since I’ve known her forever we caught up when I walked in which included talk of the job I got since I was there last. Can’t go into details on that one but believe me, it left her shaking her head. And of course I handed over my newest bookmark. Yep, the whole office knows all about my writing and they’ve been supportive and interested from the beginning. Kind of amusing since my mother goes to the same dentist. I think they know more about my books than she does!

Then there’s the dental assistant. She’s done some amazing things in her life and I always look forward to chatting with her. I introduced her to the whole ebook thing and I’m happy to report that she is building quite a library. I think my books are included.

Next is the hygienist and her massaging chair. Mm, anyone else ever have trouble staying awake while having your teeth cleaned? She hugged me when I answered her query about how the new book was going. We have had some truly interesting discussions over the years. I thought there’d be another today only the dentist stole me right out of her chair and cleaned my teeth himself. I have no idea why. Does your dentist ever do that? Conversations with him generally include a report of books we recently read and Broadway shows we either saw or have tickets for. Today was no exception. We also talked about my car situation since last time I was there mine broke down as I got there and wouldn’t start afterwards. Can you believe he remembered?

Before I left I set up my next appointment with the hygienist who expressed her disappointment at missing our chat. Actually, I was a bit disappointed too. I had some questions to follow up on what she’d told me six months ago and now I’ll have to remember for another six months.

As I was on my way out the receptionist noticed my new Crocs, Mary Janes in lavender with an Eeyore charm. That got us back into our ongoing discussion of the merits of Crocs.

So that was my visit to the dentist today. Now do you understand why I eagerly anticipate these appointments instead of dreading them?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Calm down and keep reading. I’m not going to step up on a soapbox and spout my views on any candidates, past, present, or future. My opinions on that are rarely divulged. So what am I climbing up on this soapbox for?


This is something I feel strongly about. So strongly, in fact, that if you didn’t vote when the current administration was being elected, you’re not welcome to complain about it in my house. Yes, I really have asked individuals to leave when they’ve failed to grasp that I am entirely serious about this one. As I see it, not voting is irresponsible. It’s voluntarily forfeiting one of your rights. Why anyone would ever do that willingly, I’ll never understand.

Think for a minute. You turn 18, you fill out a form. And then you’re all set. Even with local elections included it’s not like it takes up very much of your life to go vote. I’m certain each of you has spent some of your time on things far less important over the years.

Here’s what I propose. If you’re not already registered, do so now. You still have time before November’s election. On Election Day, abandon your computer for half an hour, go to your assigned polling center and vote. Generally the pollsters will tell you what number you are. Afterwards, post a comment here and let me know what number you were and what time you voted.

Before you start making excuses, don’t bother. One vote really does count when added to all the other one votes. Just think, yours might be the one that makes the difference and tips the election the other way. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you when the election gets closer. For now, do as you’re told and register.

Okay, putting my soapbox away for now. Here’s the explanation of my shampoo bottle, reposted from my MySpace blog, just for you Amarinda.

I was standing in the shower this morning and ended up reading my shampoo bottle. I have no idea what possessed me to do that. I just did. And then I laughed. Good thing the windows were closed or my neighbors would be wondering again.

Have you ever read your shampoo bottle? You should. Apparently mine wants to be my friend. It’s chatty and chummy. I guess that’s a good thing since after all, it is in the shower with me. You see, the label’s written in first person, like the bottle is communicating directly and specifically with me. It reads “use me, hurry” and tells me to repeat because that’s “twice as nice.” It also claims that it will give me “a sense of weightlessness” and leave my hair “flowing naturally”. Quite a feat considering my hair is all of two inches long and curls however it wants to. Once dry, only the strongest wind can rearrange it. If I walk past a mirror today I’ll have to remember to check to see how it’s flowing.

One more fascinating thing I discovered on my shampoo bottle. It has herbalhead games. Never knew you could play trivia while showering, did you? The question was how many dreams does the average person have in a year. The answer, 1460. Hmm, wonder how they came up with that. Even more I wonder if I’ll have a different question tomorrow. Now that would be truly amazing.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Enter the Bound Brits Contest and Some Random Thoughts

First things first...the contest.

Where are the Brits Bound?

Celebrate the release of Total-E-Bound's new anthology Bound Brits with our "Where are the Brits Bound?" contest. Bound Brits offers six sizzling bondage stories set in various spots in the United Kingdom. To win a free copy of the anthology, plus a gift certificate from the woman-friendly adult toy store, all that you need to do is figure out where each story takes place. Second prize is a gift certificate from Total-E-Bound.

It's easy. The map shows six locations, numbered and labeled. Below are links to each author's website or blog. You'll find information on the setting of that author's story somewhere on the linked page. Once you've discovered where the Brits are bound, send an email with the subject "Bound Brits Contest" to listing each location with the appropriate author's name. On March 23rd, we'll randomly draw a winner from among all the correct entries.

That's all there is to it! Good luck!

Author Links
Now for other stuff.

For those of you who read my recent MySpace blog I can report that the trivia question on my shampoo bottle has not changed. Kind of disappointing, that. I was really liking the idea of interactive quizes in the shower.

When I turned on my computer tonight I found an offline message from my good friend and fellow Bound Brits author, Dakota Rebel, congratulating me. Had no clue why so I checked the Total-E-Bound site as instructed. Have you already visited her blog? Do you know what I found? If not, I'll tell you. There is a best-seller list on the home page...and Bound Brits is on it. How cool is that! According to the very wise and talented Ms. Rebel we are now entitled to use the label Best-Selling Author. Congrats ladies. I'm honored to share the title with you.

What happened to my winter? I love winter. I keep hearing about it everywhere else. So far however, it hasn't made it to Reading. It used to snow here. Really it did. I'm not delusional. And when it did, kids actually went to school. All day. I suppose pointing that out qualifies me as old but at least I haven't said that I had to walk six miles to school in a blizzard up hill both ways yet.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Welcome to my Blog

Ever have a day where you just don’t seem to fit anywhere? I’ve been feeling that way a lot lately, even more so than I normally do. Why? Who knows? There’s never any tangible reason. Maybe I’m imagining it but I really don’t think so. Maybe it’s just how I am. That wouldn’t surprise me at all.

In college I ended up with a degree in cultural anthropology without actually planning to. I loved the courses so much I kept taking more and more until I only needed the final two for the degree. Which means I am literally a trained observer. Could that perhaps be why I feel like I’m always on the fringes, watching the action even when in actuality I’m in the thick of it? Could “observer” be my true nature?

I won’t deny that being invisible has its advantages. It gives the impression that I’m harmless, a non-entity. I’m someone people talk to without ever consciously deciding to. I’ve been fed so many interesting tidbits by some you can’t even begin to imagine. Do I then turn around and divulge this information? On the whole, no. But you must keep in mind that I am a writer. Much of my life ends up in my books in one form or another. That includes those whose lives have touched mine as well. Take a deep breath and relax now please. Don’t want any of you to hyperventilate on me. I don’t name names or state things in a way that makes it possible for the general public to decipher identities and specifics. If I do ever use something that’s been inadvertently revealed to me it’s done in such a way that only the individual involved will know exactly what I’m referring to. Whether you choose to boast about being immortalized is a different matter entirely.

So here we are. At an event together, the launch of my new blog. Make yourself at home. Leave comments as you wish. They don’t necessarily have to be related to the topic I’ve chosen. Speak your mind. Talk to me. After all, your secrets are safe with me.