Finally! I’m BACK!

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Coral Honeysuckle in Full Bloom, and Carolina Wren in Residence in the Old Birdhouse

I know I’ve said it before, but honestly, you have no idea how much time writing and publishing a book can eat up. I’m spending at least 60 hours a DAY on it, so you know I’m in Time Deficit Mode, here! 😀 But. I’m trying to find ways to manage my crowded days better, so I can get back to my blogs again. I’ve already gotten Bookin’ It back to speed, and I can’t leave Who’s Your Granny just abandoned and lonely, now can I?

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View from My Patio Table

So…here’s the scoop. My sad and neglected garden is undergoing a metamorphosis as I try to get it cleaned up, replanted, and looking good before the heat becomes unbearable.

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First Don Juan rose of the season. Reddest & most perfect rose, ever! (Ignore all the photos
on my inspiration board. This is my writing desk, and you never know who or what might
be displayed! 😀

I dug my pathetic looking roses, which do not like my soil, and potted them in huge containers last month, and they are already leafed out and starting to bloom. They LOVE the richer potting soil, and the extra TLC.

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I’ve raised and released six monarchs already this season, which is pretty good, given that I don’t have as much milkweed available for them to lay their eggs on as I usually do. It’s on my shopping list.

Found a decent source of good terra cotta and glazed pots at my local Wal-Mart. Much better prices than Home Depot, and certainly better than most garden centers. So I’m collecting pots and moving a lot of things out of the ground and into containers. Easier to care for, and I have more control over the growing medium. I’m trying to do more xeriscaping for the inground stuff…native plants and low maintenance things. And annuals, which I’d have to replace every year, anyway. Thinking of broadcasting some wildflower seeds, if it isn’t already too late here.

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Mama Cardinal on my Jasmine vine, just outside my screen porch. Can you see her? (Look for her orange beak.)

We’ve been having 90 degree days regularly for several weeks, so summer is upon us already. Stay tuned for more frequent updates! And please let me hear from you, those of you who are still with me. I’ve missed chatting with my fellow gardeners and friends.

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Featured Author Today!

So excited to be a Featured Author today on Evelyn Cullet’s blog!

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Evelyn Cullet has a very nice post up today, featuring me as her guest author of the week. It even includes some excerpts from both Wake-Robin Ridge, and Swamp Ghosts. Please check it out, and don’t forget to leave a comment.  Evey’s Writers Blog

Thank you, Evelyn, for the opportunity to share my work with you and your readers!

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Bookin’ It News!

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My Dancing Ladies orchid is blooming! No, that’s not really the news I want to talk about, but I’d figured I’d share it, too, just because it’s so beautiful this year. I couldn’t resist.

But what I really want to talk about is the direction this blog it about to take. Yes, I am still going to do book reviews, but due to the fact that writing has taken over such a large portion of my life, I don’t get to read quite as many books as I used to. So I’m planning to branch out a bit, just to give you guys some new and interesting things to look forward to, when I don’t have reviews to offer.

For instance, tomorrow, I will be doing a review combined with a week-long give-away. Those of you who enjoy YA urban fantasy will be interested to know that Aimee Easterling, author…

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And It’s A Wrap!

Woohooo! Big excitement at my house. And now you know where I’ve been for six months! 🙂

Bookin' It

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It’s official! I have finished my second novel. The last chapter of Swamp Ghostsis edited and done, and next week, I’ll be formatting the book for Kindle. And if all goes well, the print version will follow just a few weeks after that. I’m so excited, I can hardly stand it!

Now that I’ve gotten this done, I’m planning to spend some time catching up on my blogs, and a few other things. Coming soon, a couple of author interviews with writers I’ve met over the months, and of course, more book reviews. I’ll also be keeping you guys updated on what’s going on with my books, as well. Of course. 🙂

But for right now, I think I’m just going to relax for the WHOLE WEEKEND. I can’t remember when I did that last! I think I still remember how. Maybe. 😀

You guys have a wonderful weekend…

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Humor at the Speed of Life by Ned Hickson

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars 

I’ve been following Ned Hickson’s wonderfulblogfor quite a while now, and if you don’t, you really should. It is one of the funniest blogs out there, if you ask me.  Okay, you didn’t ask me, but I’m volunteering this information, free of charge. Ned Hickson is a funny man. Guess that’s why he also writes a humor column for the Siuslaw News, an Oregon newspaper. If you don’t believe me when I tell you how funny his blog is, check it out for yourself. Or better yet, check out both his blog and his new book, Humor at the Speed of Life, a collection of some of his funniest work.

I love this book! I’ve practically worn it out, reading and reading my favorite columns. I’ve chased my husband around the house and into the garage, reading aloud to him. By…

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Wake-Robin Ridge on Sale!

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For the next five days, Wake-Robin Ridge will be on sale for $1.99. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, don’t miss out! Love and murder in the Blue Ridge Mountains! You’ll want to get to know Sarah and Mac, and find out what secret has kept MacKenzie Cole alone on his mountaintop, with only his Irish wolfhound, Rosheen, for company. Read how, together, they unravel the mystery of what happened to Ruth Winn, who lived in Sarah’s cabin before her.  Romantic Suspense with a touch of spooky. Get your copy today–you know you want to! 

Writers Digest says Ruthie is a strong and interesting character, Lloyd is compelling and psychotic, and Sarah and Mac’s relationship is adorable. 

“What a wonderful story! Funny, sad uplifting,could not put it down.” 5 Stars

“The author has a wonderful command of language.You feel you have been whisked away to the Blue Ridge Mountains.” 5 Stars

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No Shorts Today!

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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

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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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Gardening Weather Is Here!

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Belinda’s Dream Is The Only Thing Blooming in My Yard Right Now
(Photo taken last spring)

Wooohooooo…the best thing about living in Florida is being able to garden all winter. The worst thing is NOT being able to garden all summer! (At least I can’t, that’s for sure.) I have a ton of clean-up still to do, due to having neglected my yard for over 6 months. What a mess! Everything that isn’t dead is leggy, scrawny, and in dire need of TLC. Part of my plan for 2014 includes gardening a certain number of hours every week, until it all looks good again. I miss my retreat!

What’s happening in your part of the country? Still buried under snow? Weather warming any? Or is the worst still ahead? We often get hard freezes in January & February that last a day or possibly two, but as long as I plant winter hardy annuals like pansies, violas, and petunias, they’ll make it through. I won’t set out anything too tropical until later in the spring.

Those of you who live in the still-frozen areas…are you planning your gardens yet? Making up lists of seeds or new plants? Diagramming your beds? Or do you wait for the weather to warm and wing it?

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?

Bookin' It

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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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