Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What's Your Favorite Movie? Open Book Blog Hop

Want to find out more about some of your favorite authors? Each week we discuss something different. This week on the Open Book Blog Hop we're talking about movies.

I grew up in the era of drive-in movies. The folks would load us all into the station wagon on one-price-per-car nights and we'd head out. If we got there early, there was a swingset and other equipment in the playground at the base of the screen. Before the movie started, we'd stick the speaker in the window and settle in.

But the first movie that I saw in a sit-down theater is the one that made the biggest impression on me.  It was the re-release of Gone With the Wind. It was the first time that just my mom and us sisters went to a movie by ourselves. A girls' afternoon out, I suppose, back before that became a "thing."

The theater itself was one of those marvelous old buildings with ornate decorations both inside and out. Sadly, it's no longer used a theater, but the exterior of the building still bears witness to it's past glory.

It was the perfect setting to watch that glorious old movie. The velvet covered chairs and the embossed and gilded ceiling seemed to be part of the set of the movie. 

I still remember quite clearly a few of the scenes from the movie. I remember the maid helping Scarlett get tied into her corset, and when she took her wedding ring off to donate to the cause of Southern independence. I remember her tearing the curtains down to make a dress. 

I think that's when I first started my love affair with bad boys. Rhett was handsome and suave and definitely not the boy you want to take home to your mother.  But you could tell he really loved Scarlett, and that made him even more desirable. And that smile of his—it's still swoon worthy!

You can find out what other authors have to say by following the links below. Or you can start HERE with Nichole Sorrell's  entry in this week's hop. Check out her book while you're there. Isn't that a great cover? 

Tell us about your favorite movie in the comments.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Werewolves, Vampries and Witches OH MY! —Snarkology Halloween Hop


The giveaway is over and Kristi Van Howling is the winner! She'll receive a copy of Wolves' Knight when the edits are done. Congratulations, Kristi!

Werewolves, Vampires, and Witches, oh my! Welcome to another stop on the Snarkology Halloween Hop. I'll be giving away an e-book copy of Wolves' Knight to one lucky winner. Details at the end of this post.

I wanted to write y'all a short story for Halloween, but the darn thing wants to turn into a book. Instead, I'm going to share a few memories of Halloween, and I've been around for a few of them.

Living in the country, trick-or-treating was different than it was for the city kids  We might not have ended up with as much candy, but in some ways it was better. Many of the neighbors handed out two different categories of treats—normal small candy to the kids from out of the area, and the "good" stuff to the locals. Yes, they'd ask if we were from the neighborhood and all we had to do was mention our last name. That served as the key to unlock the treasure chest.

Made-from-scratch cookies were common, and one house handed out home-made caramel apples. Another made popcorn balls. That was long before the first scare of razor blades and hazardous items being placed in the treats. Some people gave us full-size candy bars instead of the small ones. 

So even though we might have ended up with fewer treats than our city friends, I think our "take" was better. Sure, we had to walk longer distances since the houses had bigger yards and there were empty lots between the houses, but we were country kinds, and that didn't faze us.

Of course, that meant we had to take into account the walking when we made our costumes. We didn't do the store bought thing, except for our masks. Ingenuity was king as we pulled together costumes from things around the house. Each year, one of my siblings managed to talk my mother out of an old sheet to make a ghost costume. Hobos were also a popular choice.

Coming from a large family, the fun didn't stop once we got home. That's when the trading began. We each had our favorite treats and the swapping rarely got out of hand. Of course, we also shared with our parents. Why should they be left out of the fun?

Now that I'm all grown up (and my kids are grown-ups too!) I'm the one handing out treats. No full-size candy bars or home-made popcorn balls, but I always give out chocolate candy. I love seeing the costumes and the smiles on the littlest kids' faces when I drop the candy in the bag. I believe I was thinking of myself when I wrote the scene in "The Marquesa's Ring where Harmony, my main character, is handing out treats on Halloween. Her bodyguard isn't happy with the idea.

And Halloween? I didn’t expect the kids to tromp up the outside steps to my place, and I enjoyed handing out candy and seeing the costumes. Normally, I wrapped up in a blanket and sat at the bottom of the stairs with a cup of hot cocoa and handed out treats from there. Mr. Grumps-A-Lot didn't like the idea at all. Heck, he was scarier in his every day long black coat than the kids in their costumes. He wouldn't stay in his van but I made him sit on the landing behind me so he wouldn't upset the youngest children too much. The teenagers escorting their younger brothers and sisters thought he was a cool prop I'd added to my minimal decorations.

You can find my books HERE.

Now for my contest. One lucky person can win a e-book copy of my next book, Wolves' Knight, before it's even finished. I'm hoping for a December release date, but that's not written in stone. Wolves' Knight is a follow-up to Wolves' Pawn, and is the second in the Free Wolves series. The winner will receive their copy once it's released. Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the hop for more fun and prizes. you can head over to Snarkology blog hop for more blogs, or follow the link at the end of this post.

The Blog Hop has a giveaway! 
Enter for a chance to win by heading to the address below
(1) $100 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card


More stops on the blog hop below:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What I'm Grateful For- Open Book Blog Hop

Hello and Welcome, however you made your way here! This week on the Open Book Blog Hop, we're talking about gratefulness. What are we grateful for?

When I think about this question, I realize the answer is "a lot!" So I decided to narrow it down to the many people who I've been privileged to know and who've made a difference in my life.

My mother is the first person who comes to mind, although my dad gets credit too. They both supported me in becoming myself—choosing my own path in life. I've run on about my mother several times in past blogs, so I'm going to skip past them and talk about some other folks.

I had wonderful teachers in high school, who opened my eyes to fresh ideas and different ways of thinking. This was a Catholic high school, but was anything but conservative in its structure. The entire way classes were offered was an experiment in allowing the students to pick the level of learning they were comfortable with. With smaller sized classes, and attentive instructors, students could learn at their own pace and pick subjects that interested them. By my senior year, half my classes were independent study. Not your normal setup for a high school, but I thrived on it. So thank you, Sister Lois, Sister Mary Andrew, Sister Regina, Father Santor, Father Rarick and Father Weibel.  (and others!) I'm grateful for the extra effort you put into helping me develop intellectually. 

College was a journey for me, through several schools and several majors. Again, I got lucky along the way, with professors who recognized my love of learning and were happy to encourage me. I wasn't the traditional college student, but it didn't matter to them. Or perhaps that was the reason they were willing to put the extra effort in to help me. But that help is why I have the job I do today, and I'm grateful.

I've met a lot on interesting and marvelous people along the way. From the landlady who became a friend ( I miss you, Lois. I hope heaven is enjoying your company) to co-workers and bosses,(here's looking at you, Scott!) to the many folks that writing has put me in contact with. (Hey Mary Jean!) Each has made an impression on me that helped shape me. And I think I've turned out pretty well, so I'm grateful. (A special shout-out to Patti Fiala, who organizes this blog hop on a weekly basis.) 

Of course, I can't forget the most special person in my life,
my dearly beloved husband, Al. It was love at first sight, and here we are many years later, still together and still in love. I love you, and I'm grateful you're in my life. You've been my best friend and biggest fan, and I don't know what I did to deserve you.

To find out what Lela Markham has to say, check out her blog HERE.   Don't forget to check out her books while you're there. You can also find them on Amazon. Lela on Amazon. And you can find out what other folks have to say on the subject by following the links below.

If you want, you can share what you're grateful for in the comments.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Family Inheritance—Open Book Blog Hop

Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop, where a bunch of authors get together to discuss various topics. This week we're discussing mother-daughter relationships.

I'm lucky. Really lucky. I have a great mother. I've written about her in previous posts. No matter how hard it was, she always supported her children's efforts. Growing up, I could talk to her about almost anything. (There are always things you don't want to share with your mother.) She taught me everything I needed to know about kindness and caring, as well as sharing with me her love of reading.

It took me a long time to see it, but people always said I looked like my mother.I had to grow into it, but It turns out that I do. And I'll take it as a compliment because she's a beautiful lady. (that's her to the left, me below.)

Once I became a mother myself, our relationship changed. I can't say for the better, it was just different. But maybe that's because we had a whole new range of topics to discuss. Lots of people are scared when they realize what taking care of a baby means, but not me. I had a great example to follow. Besides, I'd helped babysit my younger brothers and sisters, so I knew about changing diapers and washing bottles.

Although I worry about it, I think I've been a good mother. My kids are grown-ups now, and within the past year, I became a grandmother.Never expected it for a variety of reasons, but I'm glad it happened. And I think I can see the relationship between my daughter and myself changing as a result. For the better, of course.

And my daughter looks a lot like me. More importantly, I see in her the same kind of love and caring that I see in my mother. Hopefully, I had a hand in passing that on to her. She's already proving herself to be a great mother.

Feel free to share your stories about your mothers in the comments. To find out what other authors had to say, check out the links below.You can start with Kelly Williams. Here's a link to her blog. K. Williams. And don't forget to check out her books while you're there. 

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Getting Ready for Winter

What do you do to prepare your home or garden or yard for winter?

We no longer have much in the way of a garden. Between the altitude, latitude and semi-desert conditions, it's tough to grow much. I've taken to putting most of my flowers into pots so that I can put them in the garage for the last freezes or afternoon spring hailstorms. That makes winter preparations a breeze. Most of the flowers are annuals, and I allow them to follow the natural rhythms of nature. In the spring, I'll empty out the old dirt from the pots and start over again.

With one exception. I've got one geranium that I've managed to keep alive for five years now. I bring it inside each fall and baby it through the long winter. Between the limited natural sunlight of short days and the artificial sunlight from a specialty bulb, the geranium may not thrive but it survives. That month after I bring it in, however, while it's still in full bloom, is enough of a reward for the extra effort.

I normally put in one tomato plant each year. Because I don't start to get tomatoes until September, it doesn't make sense to to put in more. As it is, before the first frost, I end up harvesting all the tomatoes with even a hint of red color, wrapping them in newspaper and putting them in a dark place. That allows most of them to ripen (over several weeks) to a point where they can be enjoyed. (If you've never done this, the trick is to check the tomatoes every few day and catch them before they are fully ripened. You can finish them up on a windowsill if you have one. You want to make sure and use them before they start to rot,)

Depending upon the year and the weather, I might need to mow the yard one more time. I've been told it's a good idea to put down some weed-n-feed after the first snowfall, but I haven't tried it. Maybe this year.

Luckily, there's not much I need to do to get the house itself ready for the winter. And winters can get cold here. Our windows are double-pane glass, so no need to put up storm windows and take down screens. I make sure I have a supply of salt for the sidewalk and steps, and know where my snow shovel is. I'll drain the hoses, roll them up, and store them away in the garage. If I'm in the mood, I'll wash the windows one final time. It's nice to be able to watch the first gentle snowfalls through clean windows.

Sp what do you do to get ready for winter? Tell us in the comments.

And if you want to find out what are other authors have to say, check out the links below. I'm eager to find out what Lela Markham has to say. You can find her post at Lela Markham. You can check out her books while you're there, or catch them on Amazon. Lela on Amazon

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