Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year

I love Christmas but I also love the fresh start of a new year. Yesterday I put a few decorations away and reclaimed my kitchen table from elves, cherubs and holly. Still I have 2 trees up, a Christmas village and a twenty-year collection of Santas.

In another week I will lovingly wrap up all these decorations and clean house. I'm looking forward to 2009 and wishing you all peace, joy, good books to read and a few to write.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Well, did y'all have a good Christmas? Santa bring you everything you wanted? Eat so much you have to let your pants out? I can't complain. I didn't over eat this year though, because I didn't cook at my house. Guess what, it makes a difference! LOL I did miss the left overs. Turkey salad sandwiches and turkey noodle soup. I did manage to bring home some pecan pie. Oh and, for the first time in my life I tried sweet potato pie. Wow, it's so much better than pumpkin.

I received this picture of my granddaughter in my Christmas stocking. The girls and I did our thing on the 23rd. We had a great time and just like I said before, they laughed and joked over the first aid kits. I spent a couple nights and of course Alivia had to sleep with grandma. She's a little bed hog but I got even by snoring.

A couple cute stories to share.

My dad smokes and I taught Alivia to do the shame shame thing with her fingers whenever she saw him smoking. The other day my daughter took her shopping and she saw a woman smoking and said shame shame to her. Michelle said she was so embarrassed but the woman just smiled.

Then, the other day we went out to Longhorn's for lunch. Before we left the restaurant I decided to go to the ladies room. We've been training Alivia to go potty on the toilet. Michelle said after I left that Alivia announced, quite loudly, that grandma's going potty on the big potty. So when I came out of the bathroom I got an applause:)

Thought you might enjoy a recent picture of my three little kitties, too. Woofy is the gray tabby, Gin Gin is the calico and Jezebel is the black one. They luv each other:)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all.

Christmas Day is so special. I was out early this morning, we have weak sunlight and it is fairly mild so I walked to Church and back again. There is something lovely about Christmas Day, when you are outside the silence wraps itself around you, which is a blessing in itself. Town was very still and peaceful, just the occasional swish of a car passing by.

The lights twinkled at peoples windows and I wondered what was happening inside their homes. Doubtless, the homes that have children are filled with lots of happy cries and the sound of crisp wrapping paper being torn asunder. Then, there are those who will be sad, perhaps shedding a tear in rememberance of a Christmas past when things were better.

I so admire those people who give up their Christmas to look after homeless people, that to me is the true spirit and essence of Christmas. Giving is far more rewarding than receiving after all, which is something we all sometimes forget.

Whatever you are doing, wherever you are Christmas Blessings to you all.

Margaret

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Traditions

With Christmas right around the corner I was just wondering, what's your family tradition? We all have them. Mine is that my daughter, niece and I always get together one night very close to Christmas. We hang out, have dinner and exchange our stockings, which are really large gift bags. Like overgrown kids we sit around the tree and take our turns pulling gifts out. Making a big deal out of the new toothbrush or floss. LOL I can just hear them now, when they pull out those first aid kits.

Of course, there's some good stuff, too. Like the snow baby I get for my daughter every year to add to her collection.

We started this about the time I divorced my first husband. My daughter was being pulled all different ways because she had two sets of grandparents, her dad and me, and Christmas for her was spent trying to make everyone happy. She spent more time on the road trying to divide her time up between us because we all wanted her with us. So, to try and be considerate of that and help ease the stress of what should be a great day we decided to do our thing before Christmas.

My niece has always been like my second daughter so it was only natural she be included.

We've been doing this about 16 years now:)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Busy, busy, busy...

...but it's all good. I imagine a lot of people are scurrying around this week, trying to get all their last-minute holiday bits and pieces done. Me? I'm one of those annoying people who had the gifts made, bought and wrapped weeks ago. Last week's ice storm and its aftermath have kept me from posting all the packages but they're addressed and waiting by the door to go out as soon as we get the chance to head out to the post office. (Something that today's predicted twelve inches of snow isn't going to encourage anytime soon!)

Still, I find myself busier than usual. I've been baking and cleaning, making phone calls to people I don't speak with often enough through the year and answering holiday notes while the inspiration is upon me.

I love this time of year. What about you? How is everything going in your world? I hope you're enjoying your December. Hope you have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Spanish Lies



Hi Everyone, Kathy will not be posting today and so asked me if I wanted to use her spot. I am doing so, as life for us all is pretty hectic at the moment. I am attaching a cover of my latest novel - Spanish Lies and also a blurb.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Remember this Christmas Tree?


Thought y'all might like a trip down memory lane. We had one when I was a kid, something like 40 years ago. Ours was decorated all in red and I can remember how beautiful and different it was. I don't remember how many years we set that tree up before it was replaced with a green tree.

Anyway, Christmas is right around the corner. Are you done with all your shopping? I just finished up this past Friday. Good lord, I spent a small fortune on stocking stuffers. I usually buy the girls, and by girls I mean my daughter and niece, the same stocking stuffers every year. They look forward to body lotions, toothbrushes, purse size hand sanitizers, nail polish and various other personal items. Of course they get candy, the good stuff, and my daughter gets a can of asparagus. She loves the stuff but it's so darn expensive. Gee, it was almost $3 a can this year.

This year I bought my son-in-law a few things for the stocking, too. He loves Red Lobster so I got him a gift card. He gets a jar of olives. I know it's weird but it's our funny tradition. Michelle has received a can of asparagus for Christmas every year for as long as I can remember:)

The girls always get a kick out of the practical gift I usually come up with. One year it was one of those car window breakers for just in case they get into an accident and end up in a lake. They can also use it for cutting the seat belt strap. Then another year I got them something that inflates tires in case they get a flat somewhere, they can at least make it somewhere safe to get it repaired.

This year I bought them first aid kits for their cars. Well...I have a little granddaughter now and my niece commutes back and forth to college every week on the turnpike. You never know when a band aid will come in handy. I also got her Triple A for peace of mind.

I'm not paranoid. I just like to be prepared. Anyway, they'll roll their eyes over the first aid kits and laugh, but it's all in fun. They expect something like that from me:)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter in the Northeast

I never post the same thing here as I do on From the Heart but today is an exception. I fear that if I don't post quickly I won't be able to post at all, so please forgive me for the double post.

We are in the middle of a monster storm. Yesterday we had ice and sleet fall all day and through the night. The roads in the county are all closed to anything but emergency vehicles but of course there's always an idiot who decides he "has" to go to work. I just saw one slide sideways past the house. It's ugly out there but also beautiful. Everything is coated in ice and sparkles. If it wasn't so treacherous underfoot I'd go out and shoot some photos but I'm staying inside, and on my feet.

I'd best go and get some work done before the power fails. We are supposed to get a foot of snow on top of the ice and that's going to make everything very interesting.

Hope you are warm and dry, and that you have a wonderful weekend!

Me? I'm going to dig out candles and flashlights, and make a hot cup of tea before it's too late. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Be Careful of Envy

Yesterday we are off to the countryside on one of our jaunts. This one was special because we were having our Christmas lunch at a really swanky hotel. A friend was waiting at the stop for the coach and started to tell me about what she was doing on Friday. She was only flying to the Bahamas, where she was catching a cruise ship, and would spend three weeks cruising the Carribbean. Was I green with envy? Do dogs have tails?

It has been 4 below here, we have had ice on the pavements, unusual for I live by the sea, frost on sand is not a pretty sight, I don't care what anyone says. I am a sun person, why I am in this freezing hole, I mutinously thought, all the while smiling at my friend, but I was honest to admit to her that I was jealous.

On the walk through frost laden fields, over stiles and by the river, even the bright sunlight making the countryside sparkle did not lift my mood. I was so resentful that I have to be here. Laughing and joking with my friends, but it would not go away,it lay there at the pit of me in an unpleasant lump.

We struck out on the pavement and someone at the back slipped and fell really hard. We all rushed to see if we could help. It was my friend who was off to the Bahamas, she went down really hard, and with that all my envy dissipated into pity and worry that she would have to cancel. I really mean that, I felt so mean that I had envied my friend and now she had had an accident.

We walk home together, so I was able to ascertain that she was all right. Very shook up, as you are when that happens, and her wrist hurt but it was not broken. She looked as sparkly eyed as always - this lady is 71 and looks 50 without any help of a surgeon's knife! She assured me she was okay and I went into my home.

It was lovely and warm, Eddie was curled up on John's knee, I had been with friends and felt very fit from the walk. I was lucky. My cruising friend would go home, have to put on her heating and as a widow, look out for herself. I did not realise just how lucky I am.

Still...three weeks in the sun would be....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Notice to Pets

The following was found posted very low on a refrigerator door.

Dear Dogs and Cats: The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.


I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort, however. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, s tretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.


For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years - canine/feline attendance is not required.


The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go check out the other dog's or cat's you-know-what. I cannot stress this enough.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A friend sent me a picture the other day and it reminded me of when I was first introduced to a computer. I didn't post it here in case someone found it offensive. It's a cartoon and posted on my blog if you care to look.

It's only been ten years since I put my hands on a computer for the very first time. I was terrified! Sure I would do something to make it blow up or something. People, or co-workers I should say, got a good laugh at my expense every time I was introduced to something new about it. And I hated the computer classes I was signed up for because I always felt so frustrated and inadequate.

The first thing I had challenges with was the mouse and learning how to control the cursor. It seemed to have a mind of its own and trying to zero it in on what I wanted to click on was nearly impossible. But alas, I mastered the technique fairly early on.

Then challenges came with the mouse pad. It wasn't big enough. The mouse would be at the very edge of the pad but the cursor wasn't any where near I wanted it so I would have to pick up the mouse pad and move it beyond the mouse. One morning I came in to work and a co-worker, so called friend put his desk calendar, the kind that covers most of your desk, under my mouse and wrote Debbie's mouse pad on it. Ha! Ha!

Now let's move on to the CD player. Did you know that it works perfectly as a cup holder? Try it. At first I didn't know that's where you insert those little records. But wow, now it provides two services so you really get your monies worth.

Speaking of money, why are computers so expensive when they're only good for a few short years before they become slow and outdated? I'm on my second desk top and first lap top, which by the way, is the way to go. I doubt I'll ever buy another desk top.

I've learned a lot over the years and can't imagine not having a computer in my life. For sure I wouldn't be a published author.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Baking

I bake a lot all year long, but in December I bake an awful lot. My husband enjoys warm-from-the-oven cookies, so I bake up a new batch every few days. Yesterday I made very simple cream cheese cookies, one of his favorites. I thought you might enjoy making them at your house.

Do you bake more frequently during the holidays? If so, do you have a favorite cookie recipe you use? I'm very curious!

Have a great weekend. :)

Cream Cheese Cookies

1 cup butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1½ cups sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla
½ t. almond extract
1 egg
3½ cups flour
Beat butter and cream cheese
with an electric mixer until well blended.
Add sugar, baking powder,
vanilla and almond extract and continue mixing.
Add egg and flour.
Chill dough for 2 hours.

Roll dough to desired thickness
and cut with cookie cutters.
Place on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake in 375-degree oven for 10 minutes.
~

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Substitute Bride - Review




Five Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies, www.romancejunkies.com

"Margaret Blake's novel The Substitute Bride brings a unique flair to historical storylines that readers will relish. Bess and Edward don't exactly seem like an ideal couple at first, but it soon becomes obvious that they balance each other out perfectly. Bess's naivety and inner strength in the face of Edward's stringent attitude provide plenty of memorable scenes to keep you imersed in the story. I really empathised with Bess as she agonised over what Edward's reaction would be if he were ever to find out about the deception. Now if you're wondering about Beth's sister's real story, well you'll just have to pick up a copy to find out the story behind her "fear" of marriage.

Snippet
"At her older sisters insistence Elizabeth Mary agrees to take her sister's place as the Substitute Bride for Lord Hinchcliffe;. He's never seen either of the sisters so he wouldn't know he's being deceived. Lord help them all if he finds out because Edward abhors liars above all else!"

Chrissy Dionne - Romance Junkies.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Transitions

For the first time in years I'm not writing nor do I have big project in mind. I'm at a juncture and taking a break to read, read, read. Every ten years or so I have to step back and decide where I'm going with my own work.

It's frightening to not be busy but exhalirating as well -- because anything is possible. I'm inspired by writers like Ann Patchett who are so versatile. I just read Bel Canto and The Magician's Apprentice and now I'm switching from her novels to her biography, Truth and Beauty.

Soon I'll be back to work on something and I'm enjoying the process of discovering what that something is.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I LOVE MY FAMILY and cherish every moment I get to spend with them. Dad and I spent a couple days at my daughter's place where the rest of the family joined us for a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner. We had stuffed turkey, spiral ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, fruit salad and three different kinds of pie. And don't forget the eggnog! Everything was so nice and we took some family pictures which I'll share with you later.

Dad decided to fly back to NC after Thanksgiving to spend the Christmas holiday with my sister. I'm kind of glad he did that because sometimes Lois feels left out. Plus, I know he was getting lonely here being alone on the days that I had to work. My hubby happens to be gone as well, which didn't help matters. Dad needs to be around people.

Alivia, my two-year-old granddaughter came home with me for a couple days because the kids had to go back to work and her day care was closed. She was the perfect angel. We had countless tea parties, read and re-read several books, and cuddled on the sofa to watch The Polar Express. She napped like a good girl and didn't give me any trouble. Then her parents came to pick her up and my little angel turned into a little devil. Why is it that children always act up when in their parent's presence?

I just watched her and smiled.

This is my last day before returning to work tomorrow. I've had five days off which is a lot for me. But today was my day. I slept in, stayed in my jammies, drank coffee and watched sci-fi. Shoot, the last two days my TV hasn't been off the Nick channel! LOL

I've found that as I get older I enjoy my alone time. In fact I need it. I think we all do. But would I pass it up for a chance to spend it with the people I love? Absolutely!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Great Weekend for Reading



Hi all! Hope you enjoyed your holiday celebration. Now that the eating is behind us, and the shopping (for those of you who were brave enough to go out on Black Friday!), what better entertainment could we find than to settle in with a good read? Or two? Or three?

The following is an excerpt from Finally, This Season, my English Tea Rose short story. I hope you enjoy it!

Happy Saturday!


The blurb:

Alexandra can’t think of anything more annoying than being told she must choose a husband, and soon, but that’s exactly what’s happened. Her father has decided she’s of an age where marriage is appropriate—necessary, even—and has decreed she will choose her own husband this Season or he will do the choosing for her. What is a proper young woman to do in circumstances such as these? That is precisely what Alexandra is contemplating as she takes a walk in the park, and accidentally kicks a stone at a handsome stranger.

An excerpt:

Alexandra Parkington kicked random stones into the greenery beside the red-cobbled walk with the toe of a shiny black side-button shoe. The mildly violent action gave her some measure of relief from the vexing issues in her mind—although not enough.
Not nearly enough. There was no way to avoid the inevitable. Perhaps she’d have to give in and…
Accept it? Never, not while a breath remained in her, not so long as she possessed the wits to run, not even if all the powers of Heaven and—
“I say, have you some valid reason for this assault, or are you simply using me for target practice?” The words caught Alexandra unawares, and she stopped short, her sapphire blue skirts rustling as they swirled around her ankles.
The gentleman who stood before her bent to rub his shin, giving her a satisfying, albeit brief, look at his thick black curls and wide shoulders. When he straightened, she saw that his features matched his voice. Boyish good looks, dazzling smile and a sturdy physique comprised the man whom she’d had the unfortunate bad taste to mark with a stone. The offending rock lay on the ground between them, equal distance between Alexandra’s skirt and his polished shoes.
“A poor choice of weaponry on your part, if your intention was to kill me. But if it were merely to maim, then this was an excellent selection.” He pushed the stone forward a scant inch with his toe before bending to retrieve it. Tossing it into the air, and then catching it, he smiled. “So, which was it? Death or disarming? Because I assure you, Miss, I am completely disarmed by your charm, if not your projectile.”

To buy Finally, This Season clickhere .

Friday, November 28, 2008

Now what?

So we've made it through the holiday food fest. Lived past Uncle's off-color jokes. The squabbling over whose apple pie recipe is the best. The after-dinner football marathon. We've even survived the whole clean-up process which, in our house at least, includes nearly every pot, pan and appliance in the place.

Now that Thanksgiving, with its Macy's Day Parade and abundance of family, food and fun is behind us, what's left?

You guessed it. Black Friday. The day where millions flock to stores, wrangle for parking spots and sleep on their feet in the pre-dawn chilliness, waiting for their chance to shop at a discount. Ah, the thrill! The excitement! The ... sheer lunacy of it all!

Do you storm the shops on Black Friday?

Me? No, I don't. I'm not that brave!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Goodbye dear friend

First off Happy Thanksgiving to you all - all I want is a slice of pumpkin pie, so please do not forget me.

Goodbye dear friend - well that is how I feel today. When my son visited our town he was amazed to see that we still have a Woolies (Woolworths). I remember there was one in New Rochelle when I lived there, but my son told me they had gone from the States and how lucky we were to still have one.

Well today they have gone into liquidation and it is so sad. Woolies is part of my life and growing up, just as much as those American movies I loved. Living in a deprived area, Woolies was the jewel in the crown. Sitting on the corner of our main street, how us young girls loved to go there on a Saturday afternoon. It was all part of our routine. I remember the huge square, glass topped display cabinets, what a wealth of super goods they had. Outdoor girl cosmetics, tiny, plastic enclosed lipsticks, face power, the tiny phials of Californian Poppy perfume. How we loved the smell.

As well as shiny metal buckets, and pristine looking mops and brushes, there were other secrets - nylon stockingss, lying in neat piles, some black, most with a shaped heel and a seam, how we longed to be old enough to wear them and to struggle getting our seams straight.

Some of the girls that worked there we knew from school. They were ever so smart, we thought, in their red brown uniforms with the beige collar. One girl who had been, to me, a heroine at school, (I thought her more beautiful than Betty Grable) was a supervisor, she walked around the store in flat ballerina shoes, a metal belt holding bunches of keys rattling down from her waist. Oh, yes it was bliss.

Woolies in Fleetwood is much brighter and more like a supermarket, but it still sells its pristine buckets and brushes, toys and well designed children's clothes. Where will I go for video tapes now? As you are preparing to leave, the best of all - buckets of sweets - pick and mix - ah, what will I do for my Christmas candy now?

Don't tell me times change - there should always be a Woolies, if only to remind me of happy days.

Margaret.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving


I love this holiday devoted to gratitude and wanted to share a quote from Melody Beattie. "Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today; and creates a vision for tomorrow."


Have a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A sweet story I wanted to share

Anyone who has pets will really like this. You'll like it even if you don't and you may even decide you need one!Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named 'Lucky.' Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy.
Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky's other favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease....in fact , she was just sure it was fatal. She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her...what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary's dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him. The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom.

Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap. Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed. When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand what was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life. He had covered her with his love.

Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It's been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free. Lucky? He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure.

Remember....live every day to the fullest. Each minute is a blessing from God. And never forget....the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards They are the ones that care for us.If you see someone without a smile today give them one of yours! Live simply. Love seriously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends:)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Getting set for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love the way families gather close, bound by shared love and history. One of my favorite parts of the holiday happens after the meal has been eaten and the dishes cleared. We sit around the long table talking and laughing. Invariably the conversation shifts to a "Do you remember when...?" mode and we reminisce about days gone by.

Every family has a history. I love to hear about other people's family stories. As a writer I'm lucky enough to be able to create families, and histories for them. And I'm fortunate that I can put my characters in my favorite spots in history.

Proclamations, a short American Rose story I wrote a few years ago, combines my love of history, romance and Thanksgiving. It's a sweet story, and shows that while not every Thanksgiving was easy, they are all memorable in some way.

Click TWRP- Proclamations to find the story.

Here's the blurb:

The War Between the States has been raging for two long years. In Virginia in 1863 Jolene Crane misses her fiance, Nate, more than words can say. Every moment that she's not busy taking care of household chores or working at the hospital, she's consumed by her longing for the man who holds her heart.

When Abraham Lincoln signs a proclamation declaring the fourth Thursday in November a day to be celebrated joyfully and thankfully, Jolene is determined not to celebrate the day. After all, what has she got to be thankful for? And the only proclamations that come to mind have all to do with the losses they've suffered and little to do with celebrating.

But when a new wave of soldiers arrives at the hospital on the day before the holiday, Jolene just may find that she does, in fact, have something to celebrate.

And a short excerpt:

Virginia, 1863

The breeze held a chill as it touched her cheek.Shivering, Jolene Crane pulled the knitted cotton shawl closer around her shoulders as she rocked more vigorously on the front porch. Twilight deepened, the violet hues of the late October skyline pulling every house on the lane beneath its cloak.

If they were lucky the night sky would remain dark,free of the glare of distant gunfire. That had been the case for the past fortnight and every person in town hoped the silence would continue.
But she wasn’t thinking about any of that. No, she had different things on her mind, things of a more personal nature. Things that were more important to her than battles, gunfire, and food shortages. More important,even, than the threat that the war brought to the very existence of the only life she’d ever known.


Oh Nate, where are you tonight? What are you doing?

Where is the Army of the Potomac camped right now? If I knew the answers to those questions I’d find a way to come to you. To see you with my own eyes and to bring you home. I’d hide you in the root cellar or out in the barn—I don’t care anymore about who wins this rotten war. I just want you back here with me. Two years is such a long time to miss someone.

How much more can I bear?

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I hope it's filled with laughter and love. And I hope you make a few memories that will become part of your family's history!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mixed up

Well I had it all wrong. I was going to write about Thanksgiving after wishing you all a happy one, and to beg for some Pumpkin Pie, but I see that is not till next week. There was me believing it was the third Thursday in the month, now I am totally confused!

SO, what can I write about, up to my neck in galleys, what else is new? Cold, windy weather, but I am getting out and about. I am completely uninspired since my original blog has had to go on the back boiler. It just goes to show how that little devil confusion, coming into our lives, can strangle the muse.

Ah well - better luck next time.

Margaret.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Frost on the Strawberries


It's cold here in Florida -- 41 this morning. Many people our wearing holiday sweaters even though it's a tad early. We seldom get weather this cold in November but it is kind of fun to get out the sweathers and blankets we use so rarely.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dad's Here for the Holidays!

Never, never, never go pick someone up at the airport without calling first to make sure their flight is arriving on time. You'd think I know better. Hubby always gives me all the pertinent information and I call before I leave the house. Did I call before leaving to pick up my dad on Friday? Nooooo! I just took off, stopping to gas up, get a little cash at the bank, and a sweet ice tea at McDonald's before heading for the toll road.

I have no one to blame for what happened after that. Dad's flight was supposed to come in at 3:20 so I timed it just right, giving him a good half hour to get to his luggage and meet me at the curb. So...from 3:45 to almost 5:00 I drove circles around the darn airport! His flight ended up being delayed in Atlanta because of the weather.

By my 14th trip past the Delta arrival area I was so numb that when he finally made it to the curb I drove right past him. He literally ran out to the car to stop me. I would have parked but have you ever been to the airport? It's a maze of roads and signs and traffic is going so fast you can't read and maneuver your car in time to make any changes.

Then I felt bad for dad because I could see his day had taken a toll on him. His short flight from North Carolina turned into an all day affair. He said they were forced to sit in the airplane in Atlanta for an hour and a half because of the storms. They weren't allowed to get off because they were already on the run way. Bad news for a chain smoker. He hadn't eaten all day either.

He's here now though and making himself right at home. My sci-fi Saturday turned into gardening crap, home makeover shows and football:) But I survived! It's nice having him here.

Hope ya'll had a great weekend!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sandswept, Coming Soon!


I've got to admit I'm completely jazzed about the idea of the second story in my Chincoteague Island Mystery Series, Sandswept, releasing in just a few weeks. I love writing about the Eastern Shore and Chincoteague, so Sniffing Sand and Sandswept are very close to my heart.

Wanted to share the cover and blurb with you.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Oh, don't forget that I'm holding a new contest every week in November. All you've got to do to be entered is comment on my blog. Tomorrow I'll give away three books...have you stopped in and left a comment yet? I hope you have, or are planning to! I love having visitors. :)

Blurb:

Everyone has a secret. One they hide. Or one they run from—fast andhard, without stopping to consider the consequences of that mad dashfor sanity.

Kelley Garrett? She’s got a secret. A big one. She’s hoping to shakeits grip but even someplace as peaceful as Chincoteague Island may notbe able to shelter her.

Then again, who knows? Maybe it will. That’s a chance Kelley’s willingto gamble on—with her lif

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What's Happening?

My lovely restful holiday in Scotland is long gone. I am ready for another now. I am up to my ears in edits. Have I said before I could never be an editor, I do not have that fine, critical eye for details. I can read an MS over and over and still not pick up errors. The trouble is I get carried away with the story. However, I have found another hat that suits. That is helping new writers make their MS better. Not the technical side, heaven forbid I would tell someone else about their grammar when mine is not that great! But I can tell a new writer how to pace and plot and make their novel more saleable.

I tried this in the summer and found I liked it very much. Also had very positive feedback from the new writers on my advice. I mean you have to bring skills to this too, this MS is someone's pride and joy and you don't want size 11's stomping all over it. Perhaps it is because I have been there and done that, but I do know it is working - so if you have a friend who needs help think of me. I am only an e mail away and I am told my rates are very reasonable.

There you go - my blog today has turned into a promo...

Back to the edits!

Margaret

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Quick Hello

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. But I'm back with a new computer and some good news. On November 2 the American Association of University Women asked me to be the speaker at their annual Book and Author Luncheon.

I don't enjoy public speaking but I wrote a speech and practiced and practiced. I gave it with no major mishaps and sold 61 books. Those were the books in my guest room closet. So now I have room in the closet and some seed money for my new novel, Men of Paradise, being released on April 29th next year.

Some not so good news is that I had surgery last week but am weaning off the pain med and stitches come out next week. So hopefully I'll be back to full activities next week

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Baby!

Well, I did it! Went to the humane society after work last Wednesday. I went there with an agenda. I wanted an adult black cat, male and neutered. I was determined to adopt an adult because no one seems to want them, they all want kittens. So what did I do? I came home with a female kitten. But that's only because the four adult cats they had up for adoption didn't appeal to me.

Ebony, who I renamed Jezebel, is solid black with gold eyes and spayed so at least she's half of what I wanted. I couldn't help it! I fell in love with her. And she looked so pitiful all alone in her cage. She'd only been brought in a couple hours before I showed up and she was so scared. I just couldn't leave her. I couldn't!

I was lucky, too, because the woman who brought her in just happened to work at the place and she was able to give me Jezebel's whole history. She got all teary eyed when I told her I wanted the little black kitten and I assured her she was going to a good home.

Here's a couple pictures of her. She has a very sweet disposition. She purrs all the time! I'm keeping her in the spare bathroom during the days when I'm at work. She and Woofy have already bonded but Gin Gin is still unsure of her. I want to take precautions until I know everyone is happy.

It's funny but I held her for about an hour Wednesday night after we got home and they were all very curious of each other. However, Jezebel looked so comical hissing and showing her tiny teeth at Woofy. All he wanted to do was play.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Exciting news!

No, not really. Just wanted to write the words. Why? Because I was just sitting here, going over my to-do list for the day when I realized a lot of the things on my list are...well...um, I hesitate to use the word boring (just not a favorite word of mine) so I'll say dull. Definitely not exciting. Some items are downright tedious.

And you thought I lived such an exciting life, didn't you? Now the truth is out; I definitely do not live a jet-setting, whirlwind existence.

*sigh*

No, I'm not complaining. We all have days where we've got laundry to do, floors to mop and carrots to harvest. Yes, that's precisely what I've got in store for today. If I have time this afternoon I'm going to try a new recipe for fig cookies--but that's only if I've finished my household bits and pieces. I think I should. I hope I will. But, as we all know, one can never tell about these things. I've been known to leave a table undusted, a floor unswept. Haven't we all?

So that's my Friday plan. Chores first. Baking second. Then, if there's any time left in the day, I'll work on my NaNo novel. I've got my characters right where I want them so I don't dare leave them on their own for too long. Who knows what mischief they'll get up to if I don't keep herding them in the right direction? I shudder to think about it!

What's on your agenda for the day? Anything you'd care to share?

Whatever you do, wherever you are, I hope your day is a good one. :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Scotland




I had a lovely time in Scotland. We actually had snow - snow in October? Generally unheard of, but it was beautiful. Fortunately it did not linger in town but was there on the hills, it was beautiful snow too, so white and crisp and sparkling in the sun.

Hope you enjoy seeing these photos. The photo of the River Tay is at Birnham, those lovers of Shakespeare will recall how Birnham wood features in Macbeth.

Slainte!

Monday, November 3, 2008

First Review in for "WICKED DESIRE"!


And I'm thrilled! Below is some of what Dark Angel Reviews had to say. You can read the complete review at: https://www.darkangelreviews.com/Wicked_Desire.html

...Tory Richards weaves a compelling tale of love lost and found between a woman who has every reason to fear men and their emotions and a man whose heart has been too terribly burnt.

Maggie and Matt could have walked away from their encounters...Fortunately for both of them Ms. Richards writes them as strong characters who have the good sense to recognize the possibilities of love and eventually act on them to form a relationship.

...the course of true love never runs smoothly and many unforeseen circumstances and people interfere. Eventually though love wins out and multiplies Maggie and Matt's joy in life.

Reviewed by Frost

www.whiskeycreekpresstorrid.com

VOTE on Tuesday!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!


It's the last day of October and you know what that means, don't you? Besides Halloween, I mean. Tomorrow National Novel Writing Month begins. I'm so excited!

If you're still on the fence about taking the challenge, why not consider signing on? I've done it a couple of times and loved every one of them. It's a great way to have some fun before the pre-holiday madness begins in earnest.

The title of my November novel is A Morning Glory Christmas and that's pretty much all I've got at the moment. I'm hopeful that tomorrow morning all sorts of ideas will fill my head. Yeah, I'm hoping the muse doesn't have a prior engagement or is--horrible thought!--on holiday for November. We'll see... I'll keep you updated so you can watch me flounder through the month!

Really.... Any NaNo participants lurking out there? There's still time to sign on! And I'd be happy to cheer you along. Think about it, all right?

Hope you have a happy weekend. Me? I'll be waiting for the muse's arrival. I hope she brings cookies; it's going to be a long month!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sharing the snow!

Margaret's in Scotland this week (lucky her!!) so I thought I'd stop by on her Thursday and share some photos. This is the scene from our backyard. Yes, the snow came early this year!







Have a nice day! And hurry back, Margaret. We miss you! :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween...

...is almost here! I thought it might be interesting to blog about the history of it.



Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Amazing Video!

Someone sent me this at work. If you haven't seen this, it's worth the time to go to the site....I guarantee you will watch spell-bound until the last drop of paint is put in place. Make sure your sound is turned up and be prepared to catch your breath in awe.

www.youtube.com/v/QZFkZiwMLZ4

Friday, October 24, 2008

Itchy fingers

It may be cold and dark outside but here at my desk, all's sunny and warm. Why? Because I'm finally beginning to feel more like myself and less like something that crawled out of a swamp. Life here is getting back to normal, and we are grateful. Very grateful.

The reason I know for certain that I'm truly on the mend is that yesterday I missed writing. I haven't written a single, solitary manuscript word since I took ill but suddenly the yearning is back, and I am so glad! I'm antsy to put fingers to keyboard, even if only for short bursts for now, but I've got a problem. The morning I got sick I finished my work in progress. So...I'm project-less.

National Novel Writing Month begins on November 1 and I've signed on to do it so I don't want to begin a novel now that I'll have to put aside until December. But a short story? Now that has possibilities! Yes, it sounds just about right...

So now you know what I'll be doing this weekend. What about you? Any plans you'd like to share? Whatever you do, wherever you are, I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

This is the cover of my latest British published novel - in hardback and available at http://www.halebooks.com/ as well, from the 30th October, at http://www.amazon.com/

The novel has a Florida setting and curiously, with all that is going on in your country at the moment, we have a lot of documentaries about the States. My favourite has been one presented by the charming Stephen Fry. I can tell you that Debbie will have loved him visiting Maine. I did too. It is a quirky journey through all the States and he finds such unusual thing.

However, what has this to do with my book, I hear you ask. Well last week he went to Florida. John and I were beside ourselves with excitment - but what a let down. He decided to go just to Miami, oh sure he showed us a brief scene of him travelling the Everglades, but it was brief. His main thesis was on Miami. HELLO - I screamed, is London typical of England? Of course not - my area is a million miles away in style from London, so why concentrate on Miami. Florida is wonderful, it is not all theme parks and, to drive home a point, big cities. Go to the centre, see the ranches - the fruit farms, the wonderful, glorious countryside. Visit the wildlife - the birds - Sands Cranes - Ospreys, Eagles.

That is why my book is sitting up there, not merely as a plug but because I like to think it is about the Florida so many British people don't get to see. I am lucky. My family show me all Florida and I love it! So come on Stephen, re-visit, you could have a treat in store!

I am not here next week, I am off to bonny Scotland and I will try and get some photographs for you all to see. I adore Scotland, well I had a Scottish Granny so come on, I have to like it, don't I?

While here, can I tempt you to visit a review for The Substitute Bride - go to http://www.reviewyourbook.com/ - now that is a pleasant review to read before I go over the border!

Cheers,

Margaret.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Computer Troubles

Sorry I haven't been able to post much. My computer -- though only three years old -- is failing and freezes after a few minutes of use. Though I've ordered a new one, it won't be here until the end of the month.

So I'll pop in when I can.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Excited to Announce...

I'VE BEEN OFFERED A CONTRACT FOR "THE COWBOY WAY"! MY FIRST COWBOY ROMANCE AND MY THIRD EROTIC ROMANCE WITH WHISKEY CREEK PRESS TORRID. WOO HOO!

Blurb:

Artist Lacey Owens comes home to her father’s ranch for a long over due visit, and to get a little work done on her next project. She’s not prepared for becoming the means for revenge against her father by an old enemy. Getting involved with her father’s ranch foreman and partner Chase Saunders isn’t in her plans either. But as unexplained incidences occur and Lacey’s life becomes threatened, fate throws her and Chase together when he’s determined to keep her safe. Her independent nature rebels against his arrogant methods and tempers ignite, but it soon becomes apparent that their animosity is only a ruse for the intense sexual longing stirring in their blood.

Though I haven't been given a date for release yet I imagine it will be sometime next year. My goal is to have at least one release a year so I'm thrilled to have 2009 taken care of! LOL

Down for the count?

No! Not down for the count! Merely thrown to the mat and stomped on--repeatedly!

Or at least that's how it feels.

First off, I want to apologize to all for missing my Friday visit. I honestly lost track of the days of the week. Sounds like I'm losing my mind, doesn't it? Well, although I can't completely discount the mind-losing theory, I'm going to admit that this weekday-loss bungle was due to illness rather than insanity. At least...I think it was. No guarantees, I suppose. On anything, apparently! Anyhow, I am sorry for not showing up here last Friday. Please overlook my rudeness.

Just to fill you in a bit...

(Don't worry. I'm not going to give so many gory details you'll want to run and hide. I promise.)

A week ago last Friday we learned I have a much more drastic allergy to something that is very common in this world than we'd previously believed. So when I came in contact with said allergen things took a downward turn very, very quickly.

Ten days later I'm still feeling kind of under the weather but at least I know what day it is! And I'm sure I'm not down for the count! Yay!

So I hope you've all had a nice weekend. And again, I am sorry for missing my posting day. One of my favorite things about Fridays is visiting here with all of you.

Have a happy Sunday!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

His Other Wife


Oops, I almost forgot to post to day. I am so sorry I wanted to post a review too, but blogger decided not to allow it, for some weird reason or other. Suffice to say that Mystery Fiction. net had very positive things to say - an example -
Talented author Margaret Blake, tells an interesting tale of two people from diverse backgrounds trying to work out their problems.
"A tale with warmth, laughter and shared pain that the reader will definitely experience.
I am pleased to recommend this tale to any romance fan. Enjoy. I did."
The full review by Anne can be seen at http://www.mysteryfiction.net/ or very soon on my website. http://www.margaretblake.co.uk/
Margaret

Monday, October 13, 2008

Well, here I go again folks. Put my house on the market a couple days ago. I swore the last time we moved it would be the last time for me. Well, thanks to the rise in gas prices and living so far away from work, we've decided to move closer to my job.

Unfortunately now isn't the greatest time to sell your house. We bought a sign with a plastic holder for flyer's and I put ten of them out there the other day. Couldn't believe when I got home from work the darn thing was empty! On top of that, we got a call from someone who wants to see the house.

Wouldn't it be funny if we sold it this soon? The last time we had a house on the market it took two years! Keep your fingers crossed the people coming over like what they see, don't quibble over the price, write us out a check and give us 60 days to find a new place.

Don't want much, do I?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Saturday Surprise!

I just love Google Alerts! This morning I got a lovely surprise; a new review for Bay Leaves and Bundles from The Romance Studio.

Five Hearts!

"...This is such a great story of sibling rivalry which Ms. Leone builds just right. If their pillows weren't made of cornhusks I could easily see these two marriageable young women having a pillow fight as they argue about the benefits inherent in their respective choice for a spouse... This is a lot of fun. Without the tri-corn hats, the bundle board, bay leaves and need to ask the father before courting this could be any two sisters in any century. With those things there are probably a lot more smiles as you read!"

Read the whole review here.

Purchase Bay Leaves and Bundles here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Contradictions

I love the contradictions of fall. Chilly evenings, sunny days. Apples side-by-side with watermelons and late strawberries at roadside stands. Even here in our yard I can find a few contradictions. I thought I'd share a couple with you this morning.

The wall of wood is stacked, ready for the fires that will chase away Old Man Winter's shivers.

These weird little gourds are all picked and while Piglet hasn't figured precisely what they are yet she's still thinking.

Obviously the rose bush near the greenhouse hasn't gotten the memo that summer is over. It's still blooming beautifully.

I found a huge clump of cosmos blooming beneath a maple tree whose leaves are completely turned gold and red. Still...the flower retains its snow-white magic.

I hope you're enjoying the season as much as we are! Happy Friday!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Reflections

Yesterday we experienced a glorious warm sunny day, reminiscent of summer, more than autumn. Fortunately, I was out on one of my walks to Cartmel. This is a glorious old village on the edge of the Lake District. We set off from Grange over Sands and climbed and experienced wonderful views for our trouble. Below the silver sands of Morecambe Bay stretched as far as the eye could see - out on the rich green marshes were the lambs. These are said to be the tastiest lamb you can eat because they eat on the salt marshes. They are considered a delicacy. Sorry you vegetarians!

The sands shift and the tides are treacherous, the lambs must know when to move off - they probably know more than we humans. The Queen has a Morecambe Bay guide, his name is Cyril and he lives in a glorious cottage that we walked by. He will take groups of people across these treacherous sands and he knows the way, just as the sheep do, and knows how to avoid the quicksands and the deep gulleys where sea water will lodge.

I have done this walk before and often have met with Cyril in his garden. Wonderfully we were able to help him. He asked where we were from and when we told him the Blackpool area he asked us to hang on while he brought out his diary. He had a speaking engagement in the town and wanted to know exactly where it was, and how could he avoid the actual town of Blackpool. In Blackpool at the moment they have the illuminations, a brilliant show of electric lights and it is popular, so lots of traffic. One of our crew had actually lived in the area Cyril wanted to go to and was able to tell him exactly how to get there avoiding the "light traffic"

It got me thinking how it is you can help people who usually do not need help at all. That even experts are glad of information and a true expert is never afraid to ask for help either.

I ask my writer friends what they think of some things I have written and they ask me. Not that I am expert in any way, but asking for help quite often is a hard thing to do. So my little plea this week is, if you are in trouble or in doubt, ask, you might be surprised at who can give you the answer you need.


Cheers, Margaret - who wishes she had not forgotten to take her camera!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Quiet Ones

I belong to The Lady Bug Book Club. It's a night out to drink coffee, eat cake and talk about books. Last night we discussed Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is a book I would never have preserved through if it hadn't been required. And I'm glad I read it because in the middle of the book I started liking it.

There is a funny scene around page 200 where the narrator a garrulous, charismatic type wishes she could have been 'a quiet girl.' I just hooted because no one wants to be the quiet one. It is never esteemed -- believe me I've been there. I was voted the quietest girl in my high school class and it didn't feel like a compliment.

But funny what a difference some maturity gives you. This book made me realize quiet can be a good thing and give a person an air of mystery. She says that as a talker she always assumed her ideas were more important than others and she regrets all the times she's interrupted other people. Quiet people she feels are respectful and spiritual. I don't know about it but we are good listeners. That can be a termendous service.

So today I say Hooray for the quiet ones and thank you Elizabeth.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Thought it was about time I showed off my new book cover for "WICKED DESIRE". Release date October 15th with Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Maggie Myers returns home to rebuild her life and to escape her stalking ex-husband. To local small town sheriff Matt Dillon she’s more trouble than he needs. But the lady has enough sass and curves to tempt a saint. Well, he never claimed to be a saint, and Maggie is about to find out she’s been teasing the wrong man.


Have a great Monday everyone!

Friday, October 3, 2008

That time again!

We haven't had optimum weather for foliage watching but I snapped a few photos yesterday to share with you. It was overcast and foggy but our backyard is beginning to sparkle. I love this time of year, when the earth pops before it settles in for a long, chilly slumber.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!



The hill is starting to color up.


I especially like the shades of pink and red.

Even fairly ordinary things, like these olive leaves,
take on a whole new color.


There's still a whole lot of green in the hills!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Substitute Bride

I hope you do not think I am being lazy by putting the back cover blurb here instead of typing it
but I thought the colours so wonderful that I wanted to share them.

Margaret

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fall Shopping

Had some very minor surgery last week that turned out to be a bigger deal than I expected. Isn't that always the way? But I wasn't so sick that I couldn't toddle over to Whiskey Creek Press (www.whiskeycreekpress.com) and pick up a couple of great books -- they were on sale too.

I bought Margaret Blake's The Substitute Bride and Sarita Leone's Legal Tender. Now I'm going to load them on my Alpha Smart and head back to bed. It's going to be a fun day of delicious reading.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Little Tattle Tail

Well, to piggy back on Sarita's post I got to spend some time with my daughter and her family this week! That's always my special time. I actually went over so the big kids could spend a night out together without the baby. I got to stay with the baby:)

Every time I see Alivia I can't believe how smart she is and how fast she's growing. Michelle took her to the doctor for her checkup and the doctor said she's the perfect size for a three year old. She just turned two! She's very tall for her age, thanks to mommy and daddy. She towers over the other two year olds in her school.

After Alivia's mommy and daddy took off Alivia and I had lots of fun. We took a nap together, read books, played on the air bed that I sleep on in her room when I stay over. Alivia always sleeps with me when I spend the night. She was so proud of herself for helping mommy blow it up.

Then I noticed there was no fish aquarium in the living room. Michelle had fixed a small one for Alivia a couple days before and told me they bought five little gold fish. Where was it? So I looked at Alivia and said, "Baby, where's your fishy?" Being the smart child that she is I could see her mind working as she looked back and forth from where it had been, to me. "Where's your fishy?" I ask her again.

Then she motions for me to follow her. We walk down the hallway toward her parent's room and I think, oh, they must have put it in there. I stop in the doorway and glance around, but little Alivia continues into the bathroom. I watch her walk directly to the toilet, where she points down into the water.

I laughed so hard! She didn't say a word but I knew immediately what Michelle had done. Later when they came home I told them Alivia had tattle tailed on them. Michelle couldn't believe it but explained that all the fish had died and Alivia had helped flush them down the toilet.

It doesn't matter what's going wrong in the world. Spending time with my little granddaughter makes everything all right. She's such a joy!


By the way, Michelle took the picture of me and Alivia napping. I didn't even know she took it until she sent it to me in email.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cave dwelling

Whew, the week's really flown by! I feel like I've been dwelling in a cave--in the deep, dark, solitary corner--and am just peeking my head out for a well-needed, albeit short, visit with friends. I'm sure you've had weeks like that, when you've been engrossed and working hard on something? Honestly, I've come out a few times to make it to appointments but otherwise, I've been in the cave.

You know, the cave...it's pretty cozy. Writers all go to the cave from time to time so I think we're comfortable there. We create the world inside the space, make the characters think, feel, speak. Yes, the cave is a friendly place indeed.

Between writing bursts I've had time to begin buttoning up around here. We're readying for winter, getting wood stacked and tanks topped. Putting away yard tools and testing snowblowers and generators. Life's been busy. And good.

How about you? What have you been up to this past week? I'm curious!

Hope you have a lovely weekend. As for me, I am headed back to the writing cave... ;-)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Substitute Bride

I have a new historical romance out next week - Whiskey Creek Press - or rather is it? I was caught napping when my Publisher e mailed me and asked, is it just a romance, Margaret, or is it something more? With all that goes on with specific genre it had me thinking, well was it? Fortunately Debbie gave me a clue, isn't it also mystery or suspense? Well yes, when I came to think about it it was quite suspenseful. How come I the writer missed that? Well you do so easily miss things. You start out writing a romance set in the middle ages and then pow, it takes off down dark and dangerous passageways and you aren't noticing it. I owe a huge thank you to Debbie and Steve Womack for pointing that out - so thank you folks!

As to the The Substitute Bride, more next week - but I will tell you it is a Medieval romance-suspense and the tale of two sisters who exchange places. The younger is sent in the older sister's place to marry the mysterious Lord Hinchcliffe; neither girls have met the man, it was all arranged by their father. Bess expects an old dodderer whom she can manipulate and oh boy is she is for a shock!

Ta ta for now...


Margaret

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Falling for Fall

Though I'm knee-deep in galleys and neck-deep in medical appointments, I'm still enjoying Fall. Things are getting cooler here in Florida. Two days ago some refreshing breezes arrived, and we are loving be able to enjoy the outdoors again.

How do you enjoy autumn? I love fragrant pumpkin candles and the smell of apple pie. Today I bought some Rome apples -- probably grown in Sarita's area. It'd a bit harder to celebrate the changing seasons in Florida. Nothing like the flaming trees we enjoyed in Connecticut. But there are subtle changes and every season has its own beauty.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Grannnie's Home Remedies


A friend sent this to me and I thought it was worth sharing. Who knows when one might come in handy?


1. If You're Choking On An Ice Cube, Simply Pour A Cup Of Boiling Water Down Your Throat. Presto! The Blockage Will Instantly Remove Itself.


2. Avoid Cutting Yourself When Slicing Vegetables By Getting Someone Else To Hold The Vegetables While You Chop.


3. Avoid Arguments With The Females About Lifting The Toilet Seat By Using The Sink.


4. For High Blood Pressure Sufferers ~ Simply Cut Yourself And Bleed For A Few Minutes, Thus Reducing The Pressure On Your Veins. Remember To Use A Timer.


5. A Mouse Trap Placed On Top Of Your Alarm Clock Will Prevent You From Rolling Over And Going Back To Sleep After You Hit The Snooze Button.


6. If You Have A Bad Cough, Take A Large Dose Of Laxatives. Then You'll Be Afraid To Cough.


7. You Only Need Two Tools In Life - Wd-40 And Duct Tape. If It Doesn't Move And Should, Use The Wd-40. If It Shouldn't Move And Does, Use The Duct Tape.


8. Remember - Everyone Seems Normal Until You Get To Know Them.


9. If You Can't Fix It With A Hammer, You've Got An Electrical Problem. Daily Thought: Some People Are Like Slinkies - Not Really Good For Anything But They Bring A Smile To Your Face When Pushed Down The Stairs.

Friday, September 19, 2008

From the farm

Hard to believe it's Friday already. Since we've been eyeball deep in pulling out the gardens, I thought I'd share some "around the farm" photos with you. I hope they brighten your day and give a glimpse of this Green Acres existence I live. *G*

Hope you have a great weekend. I'm off to can tomatoes...make relish...and pickles...oh, and let's not forget the ketchup. We've got so many tomatoes this year that I'm actually making ketchup.

Insane...I must be insane...

Happy Friday!


I wonder how many bears are getting set to settle in for their long winter's naps?

Chamomile. The tea will be sweet come winter.

I love morning glories.
Not just for the flowers but for the romantic leaves, too.

Summer's end.
Baskets of tomatoes rescued from the frost.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Loren and I


I am enclosing a picture this week of Loren Teague and I in Scotland. You will remember how I told you of our wonderful trip there. It was marvellous to get together with Loren, who lives in New Zealand. She has always been an inspiration to me, and indeed was the one person who encouraged me to start writing again when I had given up.


Anyone who would like to visit her website will find it an interesting and moving experience. Loren has had breast cancer and yet, in spite of all the trauma, managed to make it back to her homeland of Scotland. The pictures on her website prove how successful that trip was for her.www.lorenteague.co.nz will get you to her web site, do visit. Have a look too at her latest novel "True Deception" it is a humdinger of a novel, really exciting. Travel to New Zealand with her and have excitement with her motorbike driving heroine. You will not be disappointed.


Cheers, Margaret.



loren

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

All Will Be Well. Won't It?

This week could make you jittery. Galveston, Texas, the city Glen Cambell sang about, is all but destroyed by a hurricane. Some of our giant financial institutions are tottering and our political campaign is not the lofty exchange of ideas that we hoped for.

What do we Americans do? I was at the library yesterday and noticed that a lot of us turn to reading mysteries when our external world makes no sense. There we can see order restored and the guilty brought to justice. The world makes sense again.

But that's not all we do. A lot of us belong to organizations that try to make our communities better. Yesterday at a Kiwanis luncheon, I saw the group's president give a very nice check to the migrant mission. Sad truth is that the people who harvest our food barely make enough to feed themselves. So local organizations have raised money for food, books, medical care and summer camp for the children. One of the women's groups I belong to raises money for scholarships for mature women; another brings classes and reading materials for women in prison.

At these service groups we come together for food and fellowship but mostly we come together so our world makes sense again. As long as we all keep chugging along trying to make our communities better for everyone, I can't help but think it's going to be okay.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Been sick the last couple of days so I haven't been on the computer. Will try to play catch up soon. Sorry I missed my Monday post.

Be back soon:)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Scrambling

No, not scrambling eggs. Just scrambling. You know...scrambling.

Surely you've scrambled? A time or two? Or three? Please, tell me you've scrambled. I need to hear it!

Okay, good. Thank you for that. Now I can breathe easier knowing I'm not the only scrambler in the group.

Today's the day I scramble to get everything on this week's To Do list crossed off. Why? So I can begin a new list for next week. No, really, that's not true. I just need to finish what's on the list. I've got most of it but...

*sigh*

There's lots of list left. Yeah, it's going to be a scramble to get it all done.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Poisoned Legacy


I too received my new cover for my next romantic suspense, out on the 30th October 2008.


I worked with the artist but I let him decide which of three schemes to go for so it was a suprise to me when I got the picture. I just love it!


This will be my first novel set in Florida - it will also be my thirteenth novel for Robert Hale...unlucky for some? We will just have to wait and see.


Cheers, Margaret.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Cover Came!


Yesterday I got my cover for Men of Paradise. It was created by the talented Nicola Martinez and I love it.

Am sharing an excerpt where my heroine, Lauren, learns that her neighbor's will indicates she must share custody of Dudley, the deceased woman's dog, with a man named Yuma Hawk.

“What was Ina thinking?” Lauren said to the equally outraged dog. “This isn’t good for you; it’s terrible for David, and uncomfortable for me.” She eased into a plastic lawn chair and had just stretched out when a grey Chevy Blazer breezed into the driveway.

“You can bite him,” she whispered to Dud as an athletic looking man in jeans, faded blue shirt, and black sport coat approached the porch. His skin was bronze and his hair long and silky. Lauren was sure she had seen someone this good looking before == maybe on the big screen in a chilly movie theater. In her experience guys with GQ looks like his were always morons.

He opened the screen door and crooned, “Hey, baby! How are you doing?”

“Doing all right,” Lauren answered before realizing he was talking to the dog. She blushed and folded her hands behind her back.

Dudley, the traitor, inched forward to sniff the stranger’s cowboy boots. Yuma Hawk whipped out a bone as big as a bow tie. The dog snared it, then gulped it down.

Already he is outspending me on dog treats. Lauren stood frozen while Hawk switched the high-beam smile from the dog to her, and advanced with an extended hand. “Good to finally meet you, Lauren. You’re a bit younger than I expected.”

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Here fishy fishy...

I knew there was a reason I don't like going into the ocean past my ankles! Do you suppose this was his last wave? The water's pretty though, huh? A nice clear blue. How would you like to be the photographer? What do you think was going through his mind at the time? What a great shot! National Geographic is going to pay me big bucks for this fantastic picture. I'll be famous.


Hopefully the great white had a big snack before coming upon these two unsuspecting divers.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Details

Here on the farm there are a lot of things to remind me that when I write I should include details. Yes, details. A simple thing, right? But is it, really?


How many times have you read "the sky was blue"?



Is a sky ever really just blue?

What about those lovely slashes of white?


Is a leaf ever only green?

Oh, sure, sometimes...

but doesn't a splotch bring the leaf to life?


Hmm...

not just a sunflower, here.

The purple coneflower is pretty on its own.
But with a little butterfly perched atop?

And this...
now, is it a Swallowtail on a mallow?
Or a mallow embellished by a Swallowtail?
A hard call, no?
Hope you have a lovely weekend!