Saturday, October 15, 2011

Witches, Goblins, and Falling Leaves

I never thought I’d be so ready for fall. I’ve always enjoyed all the seasons, but I’m a summertime gal at heart. I love warm weather and trips to the coast and all the things that come with summer.

But after a terribly hot, dry summer, I’m really enjoying the cooler nights. I’ve been on vacation this week and have taken time to sit outside on the patio in the evenings with my coffee and watch the gorgeous moon rise. And it’s been downright chilly. The house is decorated for fall, with Halloween spooks and lots of rich fall colors. We’re looking forward to fireplace weather, and Thanksgiving. I’m pushing my hubby to help clean out the greenhouse to make ready for the potted plants.

It's fun to watch the high school kids all dressed for Friday night football. And to think about some of the planned activities we have with friends. I'm even ready for the time to change so it gets dark earlier. Okay, that's not entirely accurate. I'm looking forward to an extra hour of sleep each morning. My grankidos are planning out their Halloween costumes and the stores are full of candy. I have this unhealthy addiction to corn candy.

How about you? What is your favorite season?

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Harley and a Girl Named Gypsy . . .

Sweet Pea, who at the ripe old age of 98 dog years is the senior citizen of our family!!

Happy Friday!!

So excited for a mini-road trip to Arkansas I'm taking today with my kiddos and Daisy to meet a new family member--Gypsy!  But before I tell you who Gypsy is, you have to suffer through the back story of how this 9lb baby entered our lives . . .

The last book in my Buckhorn Ranch series, A Baby in His Stocking, is released next month.  UPS brought my author copies yesterday and I got all misty over the dedication.  (I turn in books a good six months or more before they're published, so a lot of times what the dedication is has nothing to do with my current life, but was meaningful to me when the book was turned in.)  We're a dog family, so I dedicated this story to Noodle, my parents' dachshund who lived to the grand, old age of eighteen. 

When you think about how much happens in our lives over eighteen years it's mind-boggling.  Our kids grew from infants to college, I think we've had three presidents, MTV stopped playing videos, cell phones are now postage stamps instead of bricks and TVs are flat as stamps!!  Raise your hand if you remember how exciting seeing your first big screen TV was!! 

Noodle the Wonder Wiener was there through it all, most importantly the passing of both of my grandparents and my favorite great-aunt and uncle. . . . Here I go again, making myself all weepy.

Losing Noodle was crazy hard on my mom.  I think if she'd had her way, she'd have gotten a puppy right away, but my parents do a lot of traveling and Dad put the kabash on getting another dog. 

Fast forward more than a few months and Dad is out riding his Harley--yes, you read right!!  Mom loathes it, as the helmet musses her hair, but she does have all the latest Harley fashions that she sported for Fayetteville's Bikes, Barbecue & Blues.  (I cannot keep that name straight, so sorry if I got it wrong.)  Anyway, Dad's on his bike and sees this little dog weaving out of the weeds on the side of a country road.

He was in a fairly desolate area, and since it looked like a dachshund, he got off his bike to investigate.  Sure enough, he'd found a starving, dirt-covered wiener!!  Mom reports her being skin and bones, but still wriggling and kissing in true dachshund style.  They asked all over Farmington if anyone had reported losing a dog, then took her to a vet for a check-up and to see if she had an ID chip (those weren't around when Noodle was born, either!).  With no chip and my mother already in love, the vet urged them to give the dog a new home.

Mom called to discuss names and decided the usual Heidi and Pretzel wouldn't do.  Dad refused to stand in the front yard in his robe yelling for Cupcake or Cutie so I suggested they name her something that told the story of how they found her.  A few hours later, Mom called back and made the formal announcement that our new family member shall be christened Gypsy!!

Welcome anyone to your family lately? 


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Deadline Writing - Finding the Love

My son once told me that a Chick-fil-A Biscuit would “change my life.” So, I traveled twenty miles to the nearest Chick-fil-A in time for breakfast and ordered up a chicken biscuit. It was good. Yummy, even. But it wasn’t life-changing.

Not like Candace Havens’ Fast Draft Method.

If you read my post here last month, you know I’ve hit a new stage in my writing—writing to tight deadlines. I have to admit, at first, I wasn’t all that thrilled with this new challenge. Oh, I was beyond happy with a two-book contract. I was super excited that my editor had so much faith in me. I’d already fallen in love with the characters. I knew their stories and really, really wanted to bring them to life on the page. But writing a book in two months? Ooooh, scary stuff for an author who labors over each manuscript for a minimum of half a year.
That was before I met Harlequin Blaze author Candace Havens who introduced me to her concept of Fast Draft writing.

Believe me when I say that, for an author, this method will “change your life.” And I’m not the only one who feels that way. My good friend, Roxanne St. Claire, experienced true epiphany when Candace spoke to our local RWA chapter last month. The author of thirty books, Roxanne put the Fast Draft method to work for her. Much better than I ever could, she talked about the experience yesterday on Murder She Writes.

If you write and are looking for a way to do it better, faster, check Roxanne's column at: out

Monday, October 10, 2011

Password Pandemonium

Password Pandemonium
The digital age is truly a wonderful thing, I love the way I can communicate with people around the world by email and skype (although I haven’t yet ventured into tweeting). I love being able to Google just about anything and find the answer. We’re presently contemplating a move to the UK from Australia. Being able to look at properties online and then take Mr.Google (I’m not sure if this is his real name) for a walk down the street the property is on and see if we like the neighborhood as much as the house is an incredible facility. I can keep up with friends on Facebook, view their latest albums and whatever wonderful things are happening in their lives and share ours with them.As one of our children lives overseas, we can keep in touch by email, skype and Facebook. We can share in her life, exchange ideas, take a walk around her new London flat with skype and feel almost as if she’s in the same room as us.Said daughter is marrying in England later this month. A few years ago, organizing a wedding from 12,000 miles away would’ve been impossible, but through the wonders of internet I’ve been able to search venues, then pop an email off to them and have an answer waiting in my inbox the next morning. We’ve been able view the galleries of venues, florists, photographers, cake makers, caterers, bridal boutiques and accommodation. Within a month of the engagement, everything was booked and invitations issued. Three months later, we’re about to board our flights from Australia to England, all courtesy of the Net. We’ve viewed and chosen our plane seats, chosen the meals we’d like to eat during the flights, booked transport to and from the airports, rented a car, a holiday flat in London and B&B’s throughout England. It’s truly marvelous!

BUTAnd yes, there has to be a BUT…While I love the internet and spend way too many hours trawling websites for any number of things, I absolutely HATE the whole password thing. Yes, I know it’s supposed to protect me, but if I can’t remember my password, or indeed which of the three email addresses I registered with, then it becomes all rather vexed. And useless. And sometimes downright nasty!One site I use a lot asks me for a number. If I don’t put that number in correctly and the password (the one I can’t remember) it gets very snippy at me. And then if I mess things up three times, it completely shuts down on me saying dire things about “failure” and “banning” access!And I know you’re going to say I should write down all my passwords somewhere, and I did, the only problem is, instead of calling the file something sensible like, oh… Passwords! I decided that would be a bit silly if I lost my laptop, so I’ve called it something else altogether. AND I’ve made it password protected…I’m on semi-friendly terms with sites that ask me politely, “forgotten your password?” and provide a link to security questions. Except on one of these sites, I’d accidentally mis-spelled my mother’s name in the security question. Took me months to work out where I’d gone wrong (and I have to confess I only discovered it when I retyped my mother’s name incorrectly) Of course I have no idea how to change the spelling in the original question. Other sites’ security questions are completely useless. One demanded I provide the name of my favorite sports team. I don’t have a favorite sports team, so I made it up. Now I can’t remember the name of that fictional sports team.It’s all very stressful when you really need to access one of these sites and are denied simply because you’re too silly to remember your password, or too lazy to write it down somewhere you’ll remember.However, I do remember my first ever telephone number (it’s only three digits, so not so hard, but it’s something I’m proud of and never get wrong!)So if I manage to post this blog, then you know I’ve successfully remembered my password and/or login name.What do you love and hate about the digital age? Do you have trouble with passwords, or do you have some helpful tips about them?

Till next month – and if I can manage to navigate my pictures album and upload a few photos of my daughter’s wedding in next month’s blog – did I tell you she’s getting married in a castle? (because she’s a princess of course) - I will. And if I can’t remember the password, then I won’t.CC!

Sunday, October 09, 2011


I’ve blogged a lot about the drought here in Texas. Not today. It’s raining. A slow steady rain is tap-tapping against my window screen as I type. Wonderful. I went outside to smell it. There's not a more pleasing scent than fresh much-needed rain. I hope it keeps drizzling on into the night. It’s going to take many, many more days of this to repair all the damage that has happened in the last few months with wildfires and lakes and ponds drying up. But it’s fall and a new season is here. No more 110 degree days. Our mornings have been in the low 50s. That’s a blessing because that hot sun was scorching everything. Our green lawn has taken a big hit. We water and water, but it’s not the same as God’s water. So let it rain. Let it rain!

I love to write in this type of weather. I love to read in this weather too. What type of weather gets your creative juices flowing?

Let it rain.

The Texan’s Bride – Oct ‘11