Monday, September 30, 2013

It's Monday

Well, it's Monday and I have nothing exciting to report. I haven't won the lottery, I haven't been offered any writing contracts for mega bucks. No long-lost uncle passed from this veil of tears and left me his millions. Probably because if you put the collective families' financial worth together you couldn't come up with a million. Note I said financial worth. Take out the dollars and you've got pure gold.  What about you? Did you see any good movies? Finish your rough draft? Catch a great sale? Whatever you did, I hope it was wondrous.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday's Words of Wisdom

Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathanial Hawthorne

Enjoy your weekend, everyone. Tell me all about it Monday.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Christmas From The Kitchen

This year I've decided to try my hand at making my Christmas gifts. This will send my family reeling on two fronts: it's coming from the kitchen and involves alcohol.  On the kitchen front: my favorite appliance is the microwave. Need I say more? As far as alcohol, other than an occasional glass of wine the HH and I don't imbibe. Boring I know, but there it is. Plus, I partook enough in college to carry me through my lifetime;)
Anyway, to get back on track. I love my boss. This is back on track you ask? Sort of in a round about way.But I'm getting there. One of the plus sides to working for her is she makes anything and everything and is always bringing in tasty samples. The woman even makes her own vanilla extract.
I was intrigued by the make your own vanilla thing. So after inquiring, I found out it only takes two ingredients: vanilla beans and liquor. Liquor? I had no idea there was liquor in vanilla extract. You probably already knew that but it was a stunner to me.  Anyway, after a bit of consultation I decided to give it a go.
I was told I'd have to do it now to give the flavor time to develop. So we went out last night and bought the vanilla beans. Those little suckers are expensive. Then we went to the ABC store--after all these years I still have a problem with a liquor store being called an ABC store--and picked up a bottle of brandy. I asked the HH if he was going in and his reply, "I'm not supporting your drinking habit." His little joke.
When we got home, I cut my beans and stuck them in the brandy. Now, I just have to find a cool, dark spot for it and wait for Christmas.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

VBT: Stealing Fire

With us today is Susan Sloate to tell us about her new release Stealing Fire. I asked Susan how you recognize a soul mate and this was her response.
     I believe the advent of a soul mate into your life is one of life’s most extraordinary events. It is life-changing, it is marvelous and almost always, whether the soul mate remains for good or moves on (there are different kinds of soul mates, after all), your life gains something momentous as a result.
     But in almost all cases that I know, you don’t realize that the person you’ve just met is a soul mate. The meeting can be so quiet and matter-of-fact that it takes awhile before you begin to understand what’s happening to you. (I don’t care what Gershwin wrote; love doesn’t walk in as much as it sneaks in.)
     To me, the first sign you’ve met a soul mate is that you notice you have a lot in common—and they’re all little things. For instance: I met someone I considered a kind of soul mate. I learned that he just loved eating raw cookie dough. He told me no one he knew could stand it, but he never baked it. And I’ve loved raw cookie dough all my life.
     So it may be little stuff, but it could be a sign that the person you’ve just met is significant.
     There’s also something that happens to my heroine, Amanda, in STEALING FIRE (which happened to me in the relationship that’s the basis of the novel): something could happen early in your life that connects to your soul mate before you ever meet. This is the opening scene of STEALING FIRE and describes a song Amanda learns as a young child that haunts her. That song connects to Beau, my hero, in a powerful way, which is one of the factors that brings them together.
     In real life (because I had a real-life counterpart for almost every plot point in STEALING FIRE), something like it happened to me. When I was 15, I came home from babysitting one night and was too hyped up to go to sleep right away, so I turned on a late movie that was just starting. It was a wild farce with some big stars and I turned it off after a few minutes. But I never forgot it.
     Ten years later I met the man who wrote it, and remembering that moment, to me, made him more important in my eyes, because I believe the universe will give you little hints along the way—whether you’re just meeting your soul mate now or are yet to meet him or her in the future.
     Look for connections, large and small. For small things you have in common (but those don’t replace the big things: if you both love mint Oreos but Hitler tops his most-admired list, you might want to move on). But if you’re in synch on the big things and it turns out the small things you have in common keep piling up, that’s a great sign.
     You start a sentence and he finishes it. You love the same obscure movie or painting or fishing spot that he does. You both have the same places—in the same order—on your To-Visit list of exotic travel places. You have the same interests and hobbies (and the more unusual these are, the likelier that if you both love them, you’re looking at a soul mate).
     Being with a soul mate changes you for the good. You learn from a soul mate; you grow with a soul mate. You become the best person you are capable of being, and it doesn’t seem hard to do at all.
     And let’s not forget the attraction part. Sooner or later, you’ll realize that you really can’t (or don’t want to) keep your hands off this person. Attraction is NOT the deciding factor in a really important relationship—but it will certainly evolve as you become more intimate mentally and emotionally. And trust me—it will be GREAT!
     Accept no substitutes. If what you want in your life is really a soul mate, not just a casual fling, then don’t settle for less. Finding the person whose life locks into yours like a puzzle piece is an awe-inspiring change. No matter how long you wait, when he or she finally appears, you’ll realize you’d have waited even longer. That one who is meant just for you is truly worth it.
“How do you recognize your soulmate?
 In glittery 1980’s Los Angeles, Beau Kellogg is a brilliant Broadway lyricist now writing advertising jingles and yearning for one more hit to compensate for his miserable marriage and disappointing life.
 Amanda Harary, a young singer out of synch with her contemporaries, works at a small New York hotel, while she dreams of singing on Broadway.
 When they meet late at night over the hotel switchboard, what begins will bring them each unexpected success, untold joy, and piercing heartache ... until they learn that some connections, however improbable, are meant to last forever.
 STEALING FIRE is, at its heart, a story for romantics everywhere, who believe in the transformative power of love.”
 STEALING FIRE was a Quarter-Finalist (Top 5%) in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.
EXCERPT:  Six-year-old Amanda wandered over to the table and picked up the album cover. The name of the show, The Life and Times, was printed in bold letters across the top, with a pencil sketch of a black top hat and neatly folded white gloves in the middle. A splashy yellow sun, its rays streaming diagonally, filled the rest of the cover. She forgot about it, though, as the record began to play.

 She loved it instantly.

“Again, Mommy, again!” she said excitedly when the first song ended.

Her mother shook her head. “Listen to the rest first.”

Amanda sat down on her favorite soft footstool near the big brown rocker and listened. She loved it all.

There was one song especially that she liked. It was about blowing bubbles. She didn’t understand the verse, but she sang along with the chorus:

“… Bubbles bursting, bursting bubbles …
Breaking dreams with every blow.
I’ll remember each dream burst
Till the final bubbles go.”

She didn’t really understand the song, but it seemed sad to her.

As with most show scores, Amanda asked to hear the record again and again. A few months later her older sister Josie, tossing a ball carelessly around the room, smashed the record.
Amanda cried and asked her mother to please buy it again, please. Her mother explained regretfully that the show had been a `flop’ years before. There were no copies around, and Josie hadn’t meant to smash it; it was an accident. “Stop crying now, Amanda,” she said sharply.

 She listened to her mother and stopped crying. But she never forgot the song about bursting bubbles.
Susan Sloate is the author of 20 published books, including FORWARD TO CAMELOT (with Kevin Finn), an alternative history of the JFK assassination, STEALING FIRE, an autobiographical love story, and REALIZING YOU (with Ron Doades), for which she invented a new genre – the self-help novel.  FORWARD TO CAMELOT was a #6 Amazon bestseller, took honors in 3 literary competitions and was optioned for film production by a Hollywood company. STEALING FIRE was a quarter-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Susan has also written young-adult fiction and non-fiction, including RAY CHARLES: FIND ANOTHER WAY!, which won a silver medal in the 2007 Children’s Moonbeam Book Awards, AMELIA EARHART: CHALLENGING THE SKIES, a perennial Amazon bestseller, and MYSTERIES UNWRAPPED: THE SECRETS OF ALCATRAZ, which led to her appearance on a special for The History Channel in 2009, as well as books for five girls’ fiction series. As a screenwriter, she has written an informational film for McGraw-Hill Films and optioned two scripts to Hollywood production companies. As a sportswriter, she’s covered the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Mets. She’s also managed two recent political campaigns, founded the East Cooper Authors Festival (which put 18 professional authors in 17 area schools in one day) and serves on the Culture, Arts and Pride Commission of the Town of Mount Pleasant.
Susan will be awarding a notebook perfect for journaling to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. 


Monday, September 23, 2013

You Lost What?

The HH and I went in Friday night to pick up the vacuum cleaner we'd left to get cleaned last weekend. The manager told me, he had one in the back he'd forgotten to tag and he hoped it was mine. Gosh me too. He brings it out, do I recognize it? Nope. At least not the outside. I swear, I don't remember mine having a blue strip on the bag. Now the half-filled charcoal bag on the inside looked familiar.And the HH recognized the aromatic scent of dirty carpet. That was one of the reasons we took it in, to get the bag holder cleaned. But since the carpets had been without any TLC for a week, I didn't dare leave it another week. So still with ownership in question we decided to take it. The manager changed out the beater bar, tightened the belt and we brought it home. I'm still not convinced its mine, but that baby runs like a race horse. It practically pulls me across the carpet. But enough about vacuum cleaners. How was your weekend, my friends? There's no such thing as a bad one, right?

For any interested parties, I'm having a drawing for a giveaway of Shardai at Goodreads. You can enter below.

Hope your Monday is quick and painless.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shardai by Sandra Cox


by Sandra Cox

Giveaway ends October 21, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday's Cat-ichism

The American Bobtail is one of the few cats that doesn't have a long tail to chase.
This beautiful creature is reminiscent of his wild counterpart. But unlike the bobcat these lovely creatures are people-pleasers. They love nothing better than belonging to a loving family. They are gentle which makes them good kitties for a family that has children or dogs.
This cat is known for its intelligence, adaptability and dog-like traits which include walking on a leash and playing fetch. Ladies, watch your jewelry. They love shiny objects and if an opportunity arises, they are likely to 'borrow' it. They are friendly with strangers and have no problems at all being the family's 'door greeter'.
This versatile kitty has been used to keep truck drivers company on long hauls and also as a therapy cat.
Bobtails get their name from the length of their tails which are anywhere from one to four inches long. They are a stocky-built, medium to large-sized cat. You can find bobtails that are short-haired and bobtails with medium-lengthed fur. Their coat is water resistant and on the thick side. Their feet are large and round. These kitties take two to three years to reach maturity.
The tale in the cat world is that this fascinating feline was the product of a domestic tabby, wooed by a bobcat. True or false its an interesting theory.
Don't forget, if you want to add an American Bobtail to your family, think about saving a life and adopting. Check your local rescue or

Happy Weekend.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


So I was ambling through Amazon checking stats and genres when I glimpsed this cover. All I saw was Silverhills and I thought, What the heck? There's another Silverhills out there? Then I looked closer and saw it had my name on it. I knew it was coming out in print but I didn't know there was going to be a cover change.  Which do you like best the old or the new?

Actually I found three other books with the word Silverhill in the title. One written by Phyllis Whitney. Show of hands if you remember Phyllis.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

SBB: The Last Straw

Ally Tobin left New York after one too many bad dates, determined to rebuild a stable life and career as a private investigator in Silicon Valley. But when the man she knew as one name walks into her office with another, will her curiosity once again lead her to risk her heart?

The last thing Special Agent Jared Green needs is "security risk" stamped on the resume of his latest undercover identity. Especially by the woman his job forced him to leave in New York without any explanation. She may threaten his cover, but it's his heart on the line. 

He's good at playing a part. She's good at catching a fake. Can they trust enough to give love another chance?
He sauntered through the door, a white, button- down shirt tucked into belted khakis. When his dark gaze found her, he stopped. Stared. Her throat dried and a rustling motion stirred in her abdomen.

“Hi. I’m Darren Ray.”

Keep your cool, she commanded herself, standing and reaching across the desk. His hand was rough.

She yanked her hand back and waved at the chair. “Please, have a seat.” He waited for her to sit before settling in the visitor’s chair. “So, Darren, according to this, you’re being considered for a programmer position in the IT department. Tell me about your background.”

A professional mask settled over his features. “As you can see on my résumé, I have several years of consulting experience.”

“Tell me something about your experience as a mechanic.” Working on his prized old Mustang had been a favorite hobby.

The corner of his mouth twitched. “What do you mean? That’s not in my résumé.”

“You don’t have the hands of a programmer. More of a mechanic.” Oh, his hands.

“Okay, you got me.” He was going to confess. This should be good. “When I’m not programming computers I’m working on my car.”

“And what were you doing in New York City?”

He reached across her desk for a piece of paper, plucked a pen from its stand and scrawled something.  When she took the note their fingers brushed. Meet me for dinner at Pico’s at 7. I’ll explain everything. Can’t talk here.
Nia Simone grew up on the side of a ski slope in Squaw Valley, USA. Later, while learning the craft of story writing, she worked in nonprofit and then high-tech.
The best part of working in the computer field was meeting her husband. He took up skiing and she helped him document his computer inventions! They live in "Silicon Valley" in California where their favorite thing to do is cook together for friends. Nia’s specialties are dessert and veggies while her husband’s are entrees and sourdough bread.
 Their only pet at the moment is the sourdough starter, which lives in the fridge and requires bi-weekly feeding.
​Nia blogs every day about travel, food, writing, books, skiing and photography at (where she won the Versatile Blogger Award and Inspiring Blogger Award).​
Twitter: @niasimone4
$25 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Brrr and Anyhoo

Per my usual weekend routine: Saturday, I grabbed my coffee, computer and E Reader and headed out for the porch in my sundress. Now the majority of the female readership are probably thinking sundress? Instead of cutoffs or shorts? It's the weekend for goodness sake. You were at home. Why a dress? Well, it was Saturday. Saturday is laundry day and pickings were slim. And its a very comfortable dress. But anyhoo. I sat out there about ten minutes before I hied myself back in and put on long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. It was sixty degrees out there! First chilly day we've had since...well just let me say its been a good long while. I stayed out about an hour. The air was crisp and the breeze caused the rustling leaves to sound like rain.
Being more intrepid, Belle chose to stay out after I gave up and headed for the house and warmth.

A little aside here: I googled anyhoo to make sure I had the right spelling. This is the definition of anyhoo: 'Used by many people, usually mentally retarded, as a means of saying anywho or anyhow.'  Hmm.......

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday's Vid

Woo Hoo, It's Friday. Enjoy it...And Just Pretend It's Not The Thirteenth.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

English, Ain't It A Bitch

For inquiring minds who may or may not want to know, in particular Ms. Julia Rachel Barrett, I have finished Shardai. Done and done.
I was expecting a slam bam, thank you, ma'am, proof. But the Cox Law, similar to Murphy's Law, came into play. The Cox Law: NOTHING is ever easy. I'm in complete agreement with Richard Nordquist. 'The only fool-proof rule is that all spelling rules in English have exceptions.' Let me just paraphrase here. 'The only fool-proof rule is that all English rules have exceptions. Did typos snag me? Nope. Words left out? Nope. Capitalization? That's it, that's the one that had me swearing. I got snagged on endearments, forms of address and nicknames.  If, like me, you ever get confused about this,  here's some good advice from Grammar Girl @
"A term of endearment isn't interchangeable with a name the same way a nickname is, and terms of endearment aren't capitalized." 
A term of endearment isn’t interchangeable with a name the same way a nickname is, and terms of endearment aren’t capitalized. - See more at:

A term of endearment isn’t interchangeable with a name the same way a nickname is, and terms of endearment aren’t capitalized. - See more at:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Frankie and Durrango

The hh(and for those who wonder what hh stands for it's happy hubby) came into the house grumbling about critters. There was a young possum in the 'cat house' on the back porch and he was afraid it might bite the dog and give her rabies.

I explained that rabies in possums is a common misconception. While not impossible, possums getting infected with the rabies' virus is extremely rare. They have such low body temperature it's difficult for the virus to survive.

 In spite of those appallingly scary teeth, they're really shy little creatures.

 Our discussion reminded me of a true story that I've posted elsewhere and would like to share.  The story of Frankie, the possum and Darrango, the dog.

Among the many hats a friend of mine wears is that of wild life rehabilitator. One of the many animals, she rescued was a possum named Frankie.

 Frankie came to wildlife rehab along with her three brothers in the spring of 2008 when she was just a baby. That's where she met an Australian Shepherd - Sheltie mix named Durango. Durango had no interest in the three brothers but it was love at first sight when he saw Frankie. Durango and Frankie became fast friends. They ate together, played together, and even took naps on the couch together.

That summer when it was time to release the possums back into the wild, Frankie refused to leave. She stayed with her friend Durango. My friend tried to release her again a few months later. This time Frankie went, but every night for six months she came home to get her possum treats (cat food and yogurt) and spend time with her friend Durango where they would stand nose to nose on opposite sides of the fence and exchange doggie-possum kisses. Durango even had a special bark that was reserved only for his friend.

In March of 2009 Frankie stopped coming home.

In May of 2011, Durango passed unexpectedly. My friend buried him on the back of her property.  That evening, she glanced out her window and saw a shadow moving around Durango's grave so she went out to investigate.

 There beside the grave of his ole pal was Frankie.

When my friend called Frankie by name, Frankie 'purred' to her as she always did when my friend talked to her. Frankie lingered that evening at the final resting place of her friend before she finally headed back into the woods.

My friend hasn't seen Frankie since but there's no doubt in her mind or mine that someday, in some world, Frankie and Durango will be reunited and once again they'll eat, sleep and play....together.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

BB: Verity's Lie

Verity’s Lie by Grace Elliot
Charles Huntley, Lord Ryevale, infamous rogue…and government agent.
In unsettled times, with England at war with France, Ryevale is assigned to covertly protect a politician’s daughter, Miss Verity Verrinder. To keep Verity under his watchful eye, Ryevale plots a campaign of seduction that no woman can resist– except it seems, Miss Verrinder. In order to gain her trust Ryevale enters Verity’s world of charity meetings and bookshops…where the unexpected happens and he falls in love with his charge.
When Lord Ryevale turns his bone-melting charms on her, Verity questions his lordship’s motivation. But with her controlling father abroad, Verity wishes to explore London and reluctantly accepts Ryevale’s companionship. As the compelling attraction between them strengthens, Verity is shattered to learn her instincts are correct after all – and Ryevale is not what he seems. If Lord Ryevale can lie, then so can she…but with disastrous consequences.
Verity closed the library door and wilted.  With toe-curling embarrassment she recalled her prudish disapproval and cringed afresh.  Why couldn't she have appeared worldly and calm, instead of behaving like a stuttering, prissy schoolgirl.  And why Lord Ryevale, of all people?  If she hadn't been distracted by plans to confront her father, then she wouldn't have been caught so off guard.  Verity took comfort in that it was unlikely their paths would cross again.
            Clutching Cicero against her chest like a shield, Verity composed her thoughts before facing her father, then made for the garden.  The root of her discomfort lay in noticing Lord Ryevale earlier that evening.  When he arrived, the atmosphere had changed tangibly; women became more vivacious and men bristled defensively.  He moved with the self-assurance of a pack leader and, when he passed close by, a wicked smile quirked across his intriguing lips—and Verity didn't usually notice mouths.  But more alarming still were his eyes—nut brown and intense—and when he had glanced in her direction, she felt as if he could read her mind.  Shaken, she wondered if she had inherited her mother's weakness for the opposite sex, a sobering thought that worried her.
            From his wide chest and broad shoulders, to the square jaw and strong cheekbones, Ryevale filled her mind; so when she had received her father's note to fetch his copy of Cicero, she had welcomed the excuse to leave the ball and calm her wits.  That was, until she opened the library door to find the man she was running from in a compromising position with another man's wife.
            After three laps of the garden, her cheeks had cooled and her mind felt more ordered.
            Tonight she would seize the moment; before her father left on business, she would appeal for more freedom.  Her speech planned out, she was ready to face him.
            Verity hurried along the corridor, pausing outside the study door to straighten her hair. This was it: now or never.  She knocked and, at a gruff acknowledgment from the other side, entered.
            Between the gloomy room and being a little nearsighted, it took Verity a moment to assimilate three men were present: her father, the prime minister and a figure in the shadows.
            "Father.  Lord Liverpool."  She squinted, trying to identify their guest.  As Ryevale stepped forward, her pulse hit a crescendo.  Alarm fluttered in her breast, threatening her ability to breathe.  "My lord."  How her voice held steady, she had no idea.
            "Good evening."
            He stood at ease, which irritated her.  Why did her wits scatter like pigeons before a cat when he smiled in that bone-melting way?  Annoyed at herself, she answered his smile with a glare before turning to her father.  "Your book, Father."
            "Ah, Verity.  Thank you."
            Her father took a cursory glance at the spine then set the Cicero aside.
            Verity longed to escape, to be able to breathe and to release the tension swelling in her chest.
            "If that's all, I won't intrude further."  She felt Ryevale's gaze, hot against her skin, and some unnamed sensation coiled and tightened inside.
            "Ah, Verity, let me introduce my guest."
            "We've already met," she replied tartly.
Author bio and links
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is passionate about history, romance and cats! She is housekeeping staff to five cats, two sons, one husband and a bearded dragon (not necessarily listed in order of importance). “Verity’s Lie” is Grace’s fourth novel.
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Grace’s blog ‘Fall in Love With History’
Grace on Twitter: @Grace_Elliot