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The temperature dropped 50 degrees overnight, from 80 to 30! Wow! Talk about a shock to your system! First time in 3 years, we are having a freeze in central Florida. Ice in the birdbaths, plants looking limp and unhappy, possibly expired, even, and a roaring fire in my fireplace. I never turn on the heat, my husband’s philosophy being “I have to pay big bucks to freeze all summer. I’d like to freeze for FREE in the winter!” But I do love a good fire. Cats and dogs are fighting for couch space nearby, and I’m cozy as I pack away the last of the Christmas decorations for another year.

Funnily enough, my best garden pal, Nicki, and I were planning to visit some local nurseries this weekend to get our winter annuals (violas, petunias, pansies, and some herbs), and maybe to look for a new rose or two. However, with a freeze last night, and another one predicted for tonight, it’s unlikely the nursery will have much on display Saturday. So we’ll postpone that for another time.

I hate to see my plants, what few have survived six months of neglect, freeze, but am I complaining? Oh, no. I’ve seen the images on the news, and I know what REAL cold weather looks like. We are SO lucky down here! Well…until hurricane season, of course. But then, no place is perfect!

Stay warm, my friends, wherever you are!

Excerpt From Wake-Robin Ridge

Bookin' It

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Available on Amazon in Kindle & Print Format

Thought I’d start the new year by sharing the occasional excerpt from my book, Wake-Robin Ridge, and possibly from the draft of my newest novel, Swamp Ghosts. So, here ya go. An excerpt from the Prologue of Wake-Robin Ridge. Enjoy!

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..He found a spot behind some thick but low-growing bushes. It was a perfect place to hunker down and wait. In the gray light of early morning, he pulled out his favorite filleting knife and a small whetstone, spat on the stone, and began to slide the knife back and forth across the surface. Falling into a rhythm, eyes half closed, he continued to hone the knife, metal caressing stone again and again.

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Bookin' It

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One of 2013’s Biggest Blessings!

As the evening winds down, taking 2013 into history, I’ve been thinking about what a remarkable year it’s been for me–filled with wonderful things and not-so-wonderful things, but on balance, a much better year than I would ever have expected at this stage of my life.

In February, I was pronounced cured of cancer, a blessing that would have been enough to make it a good year all by itself, but then that was followed in fairly rapid succession by so many more good things: the birth of my first grandson, Kaelen; the publication of my first novel, Wake-Robin Ridge, the publication of my first book of poetry, Summer Magic; my daughter, her husband, and Kaelen moving from San Diego back to Florida, just a few hours’ drive from me…how can you complain about any of the less happy events when you’ve been…

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Humor At The Speed of Life by Ned Hickson

Try it, you’ll like it!

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An admittedly shameless plug for my cyber-friend, Ned Hickson’s, new book, Humor At The Speed of Life. I’ve been following Ned’s blog for about a year now, and it is one of the funniest I’ve ever read. I just ordered my copy of his book, and will be reviewing it here as as soon as it arrives, I read it, and I can stop laughing long enough to type a coherent review. (Yeah, I know, why should my review of Ned’s book be any more coherent than my others?)

In case any of you would like to check this out in the meantime, you can get it both onamazon.com, and fromPorthole Publications.I know already that it’s going to be great! Stay tuned for my REAL review!

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Christmas Quote #8 – Nursery Rhyme

It’s that time of year again, and I’m up to my eyeballs in Christmas decorations and boxes of lights. How about at your house?

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Christmas is coming,
The goose is getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you haven’t got a penny,
A ha’penny will do
If you haven’t got a ha’penny,
Then God bless you! 

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Where In The Heck Have I Been?

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Love At First Sight

I know I said I was coming back and getting caught up, but alas. Life sometimes has other plans. I developed a vision issue with my just-operated on eye, as a result of a “floater” tearing loose and parking itself directly over my pupil. It has caused me no end of problems, and in the middle of trying to ascertain just how compromised my vision was going to be (a lot, apparently, and it’s the only eye I use), my mother had a terrible fall at the nursing home. She shattered her hip and broke her wrist, and had to have hip replacement surgery. She’s nearly 90, and though the surgery itself went well, she didn’t wake up for days afterward. When she did wake up, she was just starting to make a little bit of progress when she had to undergo another procedure due to a lung problem. The bottom line is, for a month, I’ve either been away from home, at eye clinics daily, or sitting in a hospital room for long, long hours.

The good news is, my mother has been released finally, and is back in her own room at the home, surrounded by her personal art and knickknacks and stuff she loves, and surrounded also by a lot of people who care about her. She has made many friends there who spend lots of time with her, which means I don’t have to be there every day now. She will be starting at least a bit of rehab next week, though the prognosis for walking again is pretty bad. My hope is that she will be able to sit up in a wheelchair and be mobile in that way, rather than bedridden, which she is now. But she’s very weak and we will just have to wait and see. She also suffers from some mental confusion now that was not an issue before her nearly 3-week long ordeal. That may or may not be permanent, according to the doctor. 

I’m happy she’s back where she belongs, and hoping she makes a better than expected recovery, but I’m realistic, too, and know she is fragile. 

I’m adjusting to life with less than perfect vision, and telling myself it could be much worse. And I’m thinking it is time to get back to my blogs, my garden, and my family again. Yep, I’m plenty tired after all of this. It has been very stressful. But I’m not going to complain, because I’m still here, and I am surrounded by blessings galore, including those two in the picture at the top of this post. That’s my eight-year-old granddaughter, Tabitha, and my 7-month-old grandson, Kaelen, and they are just the biggest blessings of all! Now that my daughter is back in Florida, I expect to be able to enjoy Kaelen on a regular basis. And hopefully, I’ll get to see a bit more of Tabitha than usual, too. It’s just hard to work out the timing for visits when they are in school. But there’s Skype, and email, and Facebook, and I’ll be enjoying them every way I can.

Hope all of you are well, and I promise to try to get some good autumn posts up here before it’s all done and over with!

😀

 

Summer Magic FREE Today!

Hope some of you might enjoy this! It’s free! Check it out!

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Got up a bit late this morning, sorry! But for those who may have missed the earlier post, my book of poetry, Summer Magic, is free today, tomorrow and Monday. Hope some of you will take this opportunity to download it. Nothing to lose, right? And you may discover it is something you enjoy. If so, hope you’ll consider leaving a positive review on amazon. Thanks!

Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love

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Wake-Robin Ridge Free Monday & Tuesday!

Check It Out!

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Decided to run a free promo on my novel, Wake-Robin Ridge, while I’m out of town this week. If you didn’t download it before, now’s your chance! It’s a romantic suspense set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and involves a little cabin and the two women who lived there fifty years apart. Murder and spooky stuff, all built in, too! Go ahead and check it out. It’s free. What have you got to lose? 😀 And if you enjoy it, please consider leaving a review for me on amazon, to help the book move up in the ranks so people can find it more easily.

I’ll be back in a couple of days, after I get as much Granny-lovin’ in as possible on my little grandson. Hold down the fort while I’m gone, will ya? 😉 And remember, tell all your friends, WRR is free tomorrow and Tuesday, all…

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Can’t Wait!

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It’s PUMPKIN Time!

The weather is cooling…okay, maybe not cooling, really, but the heat wave is breaking. A bit. My cataract surgery is done and my eye healing well enough that I can risk dirt or debris being blown about, and the two together mean, I can start gardening again. I’m heading to Destin on Saturday (a 7 hour drive, eeek) to see my grandson, the adorable Kaelen Lake, and when I get back, I’m expecting to weed and prune like a thing possessed, and to start planting some new fall and winter goodies in my beds.

It seems like a very long time since my garden has looked good. Oh, wait. It HAS BEEN a very long time since my garden looked good. Hence the lack of posts and photos. But I’ve got both of my new books up and published on Kindle, and one nearly ready to go to print, so I’m somewhat caught up on my writing. It should be easier to find time each day to do a bit of yard work, and I’m soooo looking forward to it. Don’t you miss it when you can’t garden?

It’s nearly time for fall migrants and winter visitors to start showing up at my feeders, too, for a bit of extra color and interest. Things are happening! Life is moving on, in spite of some of the troubles in the country today. And if you look around you with an open heart and mind, you can still find the Magic in the every day world.

Magic is good. 🙂 (Almost as good as an ear kiss!)

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Dancing With Wieners Star Maksim Hotdogski, and The Phantom’s Sir Hairy Potter of Sanford
Alias Maks & Potter

Wake-Robin Ridge

Summer Magic

Summer Magic Has Gone Live!

Hope some of you will check it out.

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Exciting news here today! My little volume of verse (also called a “chapbook”) has gone live on Amazon.com today. Wow. Two books live in less than a month and a half. I’m feeling pretty good right now, for sure. 

Summer Magicis a 44-page collection of seventeen poems. Part One of the book is called Mac At Ten, and features the main male character from my novel,Wake-Robin Ridge, as a little boy, camping in his beloved Blue Ridge Mountains, where he sees the magic in all that nature has to offer. From tales around the campfire to watching the sunrise, he knows instinctively that he is in a special place, and he throws himself into the pleasure of it all, with reckless abandon.

Part Two concerns itself with a variety of topics…whatever was on my mind on any given day, pretty much. Life, death, summer and autumn, betrayal and…

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Beta Readers Needed!

Let me hear from you, if you think this would be fun!

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I’m looking for a few people who would be interested in reading my next book, chapter by chapter, as I go through the entire writing process. WithWake-Robin Ridge, I had several good folk who read the rough draft for me, as I went along, and gave me input that was invaluable in shaping my story. This is not the same thing as an Advanced Copy reading, and won’t be something everyone would be interested in. But if you think you’d enjoy being in on the ground floor and being able to offer suggestions about plot or character issues, at a time when it could influence the final outcome, please use the Contact Me button at the top of this page and email me for more details.

This second novel will be a romantic suspense set in Florida, with murder and mayhem on the wild and scenic rivers I’ve…

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FREE-ky Friday!

Only a couple left, folks! Grab it now…it’s FREE. What have you got to lose?

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FREE TODAY!

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I have decided that Friday’s need to be more than just “What Are You Reading?” Days.  My plan is to have some sort of weekly promotion or giveaway or contest, though I may have to figure out the details as I go. But to start with, for today only, the first five people to email me will receive a free download of my book, Wake-Robin Ridge. If you like romantic suspense, with not one, but two, very different love stories, a decades old murder mystery, and the triumph of good over evil, let me know, and I’ll send you a free download of my book. Just click on the Contact Me button at the top of this page, and let me hear from you. If you are one of the first five responders, you can have Wake-Robin Ridge on your Kindle, iPad, smartphone or computer…

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Waiting As Fast As I Can!

(Reblogged from Bookin’ It )

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Soon To Be The Proud Parents of McPumpkin McMuffin McDougal

(Okay, only that last part is true, but he’ll always be MY McMuffin!)

My daughter, who lives in San Diego, is in the hospital today, giving birth to her son, who is our first grandson. Oh, the agony of waiting to hear!! I will be flying out next week, probably, to meet my little McMuffin in person, and I’m so excited. It’s always exciting when grandchildren arrive, but we have had to wait longer than might be usual for ours, so we are extremely happy. My son & his wife had given up on having a baby, but after ten years, we were blessed with an adorable granddaughter. And my daughter and her husband have been waiting for seven years, thinking it might not happen for them, either. But now it has, and I will have both a granddaughter and a grandson.  How perfect is that? 

I will try to let everyone know before I take off for that long flight to California, but if I should forget in all the excitement, and seem to drop off the face of…Wordpress!…that’s where I’ve gone. And be prepared. There WILL be pictures! 

😀

Fantastic Solution for Flower Beetle Problems!

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Abraham Darby

I was outside working today when Mark asked me to come look at something and tell him whether he should rescue the critters or not. (He has learned that many insects are welcome in my garden.) Imagine my surprise when I looked into a white plastic 5-gallon container and saw about 50 dead or dying flower beetles (see earlier post) floating in 3 or 4 inches of water!  I remembered that when I was reading about them, most articles said they were attracted to pale colored flowers, and I had noticed that  seemed to be true. They were ignoring Louis Philippe, for instance, which is red. I think they saw that white bucket, thought it was the biggest white flower in the world, crawled in , and conveniently drowned!  I plan to test my theory by locating several of them throughout my rose garden until this year’s infestation is over. It beats the heck out of walking around and plucking them one by one to drown them in a butter container full of soapy water. Not that that’s hard, but it does take some time. How nice it would be to wake up each morning and find that the beetles had been thoughtful enough to commit suicide during the night!  Will let you know if it continues to work, but I am optimistic. I mean, how likely is it that the drowning beetles would have yelled out warnings to their friends to stay away from the big white flowers? I’m thinkin’ this might be the best answer, ever!

Thought I’d add this post over here, as well, for those who don’t visit Bookin’ It very often.

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One of the most familiar carols of the Christmas Season, most people don’t know the story of Longfellow’s poem.  When I first learned what lay behind it, I listened to the carol in a whole new way. 

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