Sunday, June 29, 2008

Busy Saturday

Saturday is a blur to me. By the time I got home that night I was exhausted. Barely enough energy left to get a much needed shower and collapse on the sofa for some TV before bed. Luckily we stopped for a Big Mac, two for $3.00, for dinner. Now, that's a cheap meal:)

I missed sci-fi Saturday but got to spend the day with three of my favorite people. My daughter, niece and granddaughter. We met at my dad's house to pack up the things he wants to take to North Carolina with him, and have a yard sale of the things he doesn't want to take. Kind of killed two birds with one stone. We spent the whole day there. And we took in more money than we expected, which he can use for the move.

My dad is moving to North Caroline to live with my sister and her husband. He can no longer live alone and for the last month has been staying with long time friends in another part of North Carolina. He loves it there and I can tell when we talk on the phone that the change has been very good for him. He's gone fishing again, something he loves but hasn't been able to do in the last few years, taking care of my mom.

Apparently his friends of forty years live in a nice area where there's mountain views, lakes and lots of mother nature. Dad said they've made him feel very welcomed and comfortable and they've generously offered for him to stay with them. Only problem is, my sister has built an addition onto her home, so sometime in July he'll move on to her place.

I can hear it in his tone that he'd like to stay with his friends. They're his age and have a lot more in common. I told him to think about staying with them a few months out of the year, with Lois and Russ a few months and then come back to Florida during the winter and stay with me. It's a thought. One that might make everyone happy.

The main thing is for dad to be happy and to begin living again. Getting him out of the house he and my mom shared for so long was a start. In July she'll have been gone a year. It was a hard decision but one we had to make.

Saturday was a lot of work but when the three of us girls get together we always have a good time no matter what we're doing. Little Alivia couldn't do much but she was so cute trying. I'm still tired, my back aches, but I feel satisfied that we accomplished what we set out to do.

I'm looking forward to seeing dad when he returns in July.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Saturday!

I've had a cheery start to my Saturday. I just got up and found a fun email in my box.

This week Vineyard Mambo was reviewed by The Long and the Short of It.

It was a really nice review which said in part "...combines the best of the cozy mystery genre with romance..."

Yeah, I smiled. Who wouldn't? :)

Anyhow, they're letting visitors choose which title reviewed in the prior week they'd most like to read. Vineyard Mambo is on the list since it was reviewed just a couple of days ago.

If you'd like to take a peek at their poll, the link is Book of the Week.

Me? I've already read Mambo but there are a couple of others that look pretty good...

Hope you're all gearing up for a relaxing weekend. Around here we're going to lay low. Hubby is a little under the weather so we're going to hang out in the gazebo, read and carve and probably take a nap. Or two. Like I said, really quiet...

What are you up to this gorgeous weekend? Whatever you're doing, I hope you have a great weekend!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Series reading...and writing

In a few days my new book, Sniffing Sand, will be out. I am beyond excited over this one for a couple of reasons. First, it's set on Chincoteague Island, one of my most favorite places in the world. I love Chincoteague, so to write a romantic suspense set there is a dream come true for me. And as if that's not thrilling enough, Sniffing Sand is the first story in a series. That's right, a series! How cool is that?

That means that I get to revisit some of the characters in Sniffing Sand, as well as glorious Chincoteague Island, again. And again. Who knows? Maybe even again. :)

I've got to say I'm having a blast with this whole series. I feel like I'm hanging out with old friends when I sit down to work on the subsequent stories. Of course they all won't feature Nina and Maxx--or the corpse of Nina's husband's girlfriend!--but Nina and Maxx will make an appearance, along with some other familiar faces, again.

As a reader I've always loved series. I mean, I fell for Nancy Drew when I was very young. And Trixie Belden, she was another early heroine who had a series. As an adult I'm still drawn to series reading.

Now that I've had a taste of writing a series I've got to admit I like it. A lot.

I hope readers will enjoy the Chincoteague Island stories, too. Who knows? Maybe I'll encourage a surge of visitors to the perfect little island.

The backcover blurb from Sniffing Sand:

Building the perfect house on idyllic Chincoteague Island is a dream come true—or so Nina thinks. But when her marriage ends just as the finishing touches are put on her beachfront home, Nina’s pleasure turns to pain. To further complicate things, a body washes up just outside her back door. Not just any body, either. Facedown and seaweed-covered, the corpse is her ex’s new lover. Now that presents its own share of problems!

Maxx Tallman, Chincoteague’s Chief of Police, is smart, handsome and fast on the trail of the murderer. He just might be the man to help Nina free herself from the web of intrigue that ensnares her. Who knows? He might be the one to help fill her lonely nights, too.
But first they’ve got to catch a killer. Fast—before the tide pushes any more bodies onto the sand.

Funny thing? I just realized I'm reading a book that's part of a series! Wild Hunt, by Lori's a Silhouette Nocturne and is the third book in her series. I'm really enjoying this one, although I haven't read the first two.

What about you? Do you enjoy books in a series or do you favor stand-alone stories?

Hope you all have a nice weekend!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Cover

Hi, Thought you might like to see the new cover for my book out in August. Jinger Heaston has designed it and it is up to Jinger's impecable standard. I told Jinger, I don't know how she does it but I had that very beach in mind!

Life is still hectic, hence the "cop" out this week. Sorry no "real" blog. I won't be here next week either. I'd like to share why - my son who is an American is flying in to Dublin, Ireland, on business, he is bringing the whole family and has sent me an air line ticket to join them. I fly out Monday to Kerry in the far West of Ireland. I am SO excited, I am meeting myself coming back!

Amazingly, and even more amazing with the country's closeness to ours, I have never been to Ireland. You know what it is like, when a country is close you always say, I am going to go there but there's plenty of time. Even more reason to go is that my Grandmother, whose name I used to write under, Ellen Noone, was from there. I never knew my Irish Granny as she died years before I was born. She had a very hard life and I always carry her in my heart. I will be looking out for Noone's while I am there!

So bye for now and I will tell you all about next time I post.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Reading

All of the woman's magazines are including lists of hot books for hot weather. My reading tastes are quirky and I don't always enjoy these books. But I did just read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and loved it. I'm amazed the way she so realistically created the circus world of 1931. I especially liked the book because I'm just miles away from the Ringling Museum in Sarasota and feel nostaglic for the days of the big tents.

I also just read Debbie Macomber's new book, Twenty Wishes. Debbie was signing her books at Wegman's grocery store in Buffalo so my nephew bought me one. I'm amazed she can write three good books a year and still promote the way she does. It's both awesome and humbling.

What are you all reading?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ageing with a little bit of grace...or not

Getting older isn't what it's cracked up to be. Does anyone really age gracefully? Most of my life I've heard references to "gravity". Well, I figured out what that meant at the age of thirteen when I had to start buying D-cup bras with the wide straps. It started there but one day I was looking in the mirror after my shower and to my dismay discovered my butt had fallen. No one told me that would happen!

As each year passes I notice more things "falling" on my body. My face has definitely changed as those lines of wisdom have pulled my mouth downward. For the first time in my life I have a double chin, which I suspect used to be part of my face. The flesh on my upper arms have fallen. My belly is in my lap. If the madness doesn't stop I won't be able to see my feet!

To add insult to injury I need glasses to find my glasses. Speaking of glasses, some of you can relate to this. I have a pair in my purse, a pair at my desk at work, a pair next to my computer and a pair next to my chair in the living room. I used to laugh at my hubby for that but now I see the wisdom of it.

I move slower, too, and seem to be a little less graceful. Just in the last couple of months I've fallen twice. Okay, it wasn't my fault I didn't see the hole when I stepped out of the car. It was covered with grass for goodness sake! The second time was because the side walk was uneven. Wouldn't you know I hurt the same darn foot twice!

This morning my hands were stiff and ached. I don't know why, I exercise them on the keyboard every day. Is that a sign of arthritis? I'm too young for that!

Lately I've taken to napping on my days off. I never did that when I was younger. And in the evenings when I turn in I can't sleep. What's up with that? Is that fair? Sometimes I take a PM Tylenol to help me get to sleep and then spend the next half a day in a groggy state trying to wake up. It doesn't make sense!

All in all I'm enjoying life and have much to be thankful for. I'm really not that old, but I guess having a much older hubby makes me feel his age more than mine at times. I'll certainly be prepared when I reach his age:)

Don't feel sorry for us ageing folks. You'll be in the club some day, too.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Friday!

Sorry to dash! Am running out the door, hoping I haven't forgotten anything. An unexpected adventure for the day...goodnes, but it puts the kabosh to my thoughts about today's blog.
I guess one has to go where the breeze blows, don't you think? Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Different Hat

At the moment I am up to my ears in exam papers. I mark these every year and quite enjoy it.
There's a lot to be said for doing something different. One of the advantages is that it keeps me up to date with the language kids are using these days. I am always more aware of youthful trends after doing this task.

I often think about the kids too. Hot days in an overly warm exam room, seeing the paper for the first time and wondering what the heck...I don't remember ever learning that. Of course once they settle down they do remember, but I've been there as have most of you. I can still remember the panic.

The thing that gets me down is when the results come out. You get all these "smart" people saying the exams are too easy, they have been dumbed down. How soul destroying for the kids when they get their results to have this baying crowd of miseries in the background.

I think the exams are a lot different from those I did, but hey so was life. These exams reflect the now and not the past so who is to say whether they are not as testing as the ones we did.
I certainly know that they are more interesting!

Ah well back to the grindstone - nice talking to you.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back to Work

Yesterday I had trouble tugging my mail out of the box. That was because it contained a huge envelope with my novel in it. My editor had mailed me her edits. I wasn't expecting that because I'm used to working by e-mail. But it was a fantastic surprise.

Her hand-written comments had an immediacy that the e-mail version, though convenient, lacks. She has written squiggles, arrows and smiley faces. I love it. I can see her changing moods, and know what delighted her and where she felt confued or cheated. It got me to thinking this was probably exactly how Maxwell Perkins communicated with Faulkner and Fitzgerald.

We writers are so dependant on good and demanding editors. My editor at Wild Rose Press, Kathy Cottrell, knows my strengths and weaknesses. And she's not shy about letting me know what sections felt rushed or 'too told.' I'm so grateful. Did I mention that I have a lot of work to do? Yup, there was something to change, expand or elaborate on in nearly every page. So I'm back to work and loving every minute of it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Gift from Mother Nature


It's amazing what Mother Nature gives us, without expecting anything in return. But if you don't stop to really look at what you're seeing, you don't know what you're missing. Look closely at this picture and tell me what you see. It's far more than a peaceful scene of a couple standing beneath a tree while gazing at a calm lake. It's truly a gift from Mother Nature, giving us a glimpse of something unexpected, yet spectacular in its design.

What do you see?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sniffing Sand on Saturday?

Happy Saturday, everyone! I hope you're all having a great weekend. I thought I'd share my new cover with you. :)

Jinger Heaston designed this cover and it's as if she's read the book because this is just what I've always seen in my heart as a cover for this story. She's perfectly captured the mood and details of the novel. The body on the beach? Oh, I've seen this body before -- but only in my mind's eye. What a delight to see everything I've imagined come together on one perfect cover!

Sniffing Sand releases from Whiskey Creek Press in July. It's the first in a series of stories set on Chincoteague Island so I'm pretty jazzed about the whole project. Sandswept, the second book, is set to release in December.

For now, the cover and blurb...and a multitude of thanks to the talented lady whose vision so closely matches mine. Thank you Jinger! :)

Building the perfect house on idyllic Chincoteague Island is a dream come true—or so Nina thinks. But when her marriage ends just as the finishing touches are put on her beachfront home, Nina’s pleasure turns to pain. To further complicate things, a body washes up just outside her back door. Not just any body, either. Facedown and seaweed-covered, the corpse is her ex’s new lover. Now that presents its own share of problems!

Maxx Tallman, Chincoteague’s Chief of Police, is smart, handsome and fast on the trail of the murderer. He just might be the man to help Nina free herself from the web of intrigue that ensnares her. Who knows? He might be the one to help fill her lonely nights, too.

But first they’ve got to catch a killer. Fast—before the tide pushes any more bodies onto the sand.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Dream a little dream...

I'm a New Yorker, born and bred. I love it here, have lived in this state all my life and have no plans to move anywhere else. Um, not unless we inherit some wonderful old villa in the hills of Tuscany. Then I might consider moving but let's just say it's a safe bet to believe I'll be hanging around the Empire State for a long time to come.

Now that I've made the case for being a full-blooded New Yorker, I can get to my real point. Or my half-a-point, depending on how much stock you put in the whole list thing. Really, some people don't give a hoot about lists but me, I take this one pretty seriously. I do.

Oh? The list! Right, sorry about that. I guess I got off on a tangent. Again.

The list.

Of course it's the New York Times Bestseller list, paperback version for this week. Do you see the lovely books on the list? I've read some of them, and enjoyed them. But I ask you, do you think all these authors are New Yorkers? Hmm?

What? Excuse me? They, um, don't have to be from New York? You're sure about that? Really?

Huh. Go figure.

So being from New York doesn't give you a leg up onto the list, then? And you're sure about that, too?

Huh. That's good to know.

Well, then, I guess I shouldn't feel too awfully terrible about not making this week's New York Times Bestseller list, should I? After all, there's always next week...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Proofs and more proofs

Sorry I cannot post a blog tomorrow. I now working on my third lot of proofs. I cannot believe that all these things have come at once. I tell you, I am feeling like a wet dishcloth!


Satisfying Sequels

It's so exciting to read a great book and then discover there are more in the series. I just finished The Monk Downstairs and found out there is a Monk Upstairs which I am enjoying immensely.

What I especially like about these Tim Harrington books is that the characters grow and change their life circumstances. They battle their demons and end up a whole lot happier. With most series that doesn't happen. I know Janet Evanovitch's Stephanie Plum will probably never marry Joe or Ranger or cure her addiction to doughnuts. I don't see Lee Child's Jack Reacher settling down either. I read these books because I'm fond of these characters. It's kind of like getting together with an old friend. But sometimes I wish they could have a little more out of life -- A spouse, a home, children, and pets. Though it is kind of hard to picture Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch walking the dog and pushing the stroller. He would probably trying to read the murder book at the same time.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Paget's Disease

This week I thought I'd post about a health warning a friend sent to me.

New kind of Breast Cancer -

A lady developed a rash on her breast, similar to that of young mothers who are nursing. Because her mammogram had been clear, the doctor treated her with antibiotics for infections. After 2 rounds, it continued to get worse, so her doctor sent her for another mammogram. This time it showed a mass.

A biopsy found a fast growing malignancy. Chemo was started in order to shrink the growth; then a mastectomy was performed; then a full round of Chemo; then radiation. After about 9 months of intense treatment, she was given a clean bill of health.

She had one year of living each day to its fullest. Then the cancer returned to the liver area. She took 4 treatments and decided that she wanted quality of life, not the after effects of Chemo. She had 5 great months and she planned each detail of the final days. After a few days of needing morphine, she died. She left this message to be delivered to women everywhere: Women, PLEASE be alert to anything that is not normal, and be persistent in getting help as soon as possible.

Paget's Disease : This is a rare form of breast cancer, and is on the outside of the breast, on the nipple and aureole It appeared as a rash, which later became a lesion with a crusty outer edge. I would not have ever suspected it to be breast cancer but it was. My nipple never seemed any different to me, but the rash bothered me, so I went to the doctor for that. Sometimes, it itched and was sore, but other than that it didn't bother me. It was just ugly and a nuisance, and could not be cleared up with all the creams prescribed by my doctor and dermatologist for the dermatitis on my eyes just prior to this outbreak. They seemed a little concerned but did not warn me it could be cancerous.

Now, I suspect not many women out there know a lesion or rash on the nipple or aureole can be breast cancer. (Mine started out as a single red pimple on the aureole. One of the biggest problems with Paget's disease of the nipple is that the symptoms appear to be harmless. It is frequently thought to be a skin inflammation or infection, leading to unfortunate delays in detection and care.)

What are the symptoms?

1. A persistent redness, oozing, and crusting of your nipple causing it to itch and burn (As I stated, mine did not itch or burn much, and had no oozing I was aware of, but it did have a crust along the outer edge on one side.)

2. A sore on your nipple that will not heal. (Mine was on the aureole area with a whitish thick looking area in center of nipple).

3. Usually only one nipple is effected. How is it diagnosed? Your doctor will do a physical exam and should suggest having a mammogram of both breasts, done immediately. Even though the redness, oozing and crusting closely resemble dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), your doctor should suspect cancer if the sore is only on one breast. Your doctor should order a biopsy of your sore to confirm what is going on.

This message should be taken seriously and passed on to as many of your relatives and friends as possible; it could save someone's life. My breast cancer has spread and metastasized to my bones after receiving mega doses of chemotherapy, 28 treatments of radiation and taking Tamaxofin. If this had been diagnosed as breast cancer in the beginning, perhaps it would not have spread....

Friday, June 6, 2008


Ooh, June's only a few days old and already it's busy, busy, busy! I feel like the White Rabbit sometimes, juggling so many things, wondering what I've forgotten and thinking of what I've yet to do. All while I'm still trying to be mindful of the fact that I'm slowing down. Really. Uh huh. Slowing. Down.

Can't you tell?

It's funny because I imagine you're sitting there shaking your head. You're thinking, "Sure, she's slowing down. In a pig's eye, she's slowing down. She'll slow down when I slow down. Uh huh. That's right...when I slow down."

You didn't think I knew you that well, did you?

It's a plain fact of living today that we're all overloaded. We try and squash as much as we can into every day of our lives. I can't help but wonder what drives us to do it. Is it because we're afraid we'll miss out on something if we're not moving at warp speed? That life will end and we'll not have done all we thought we wanted to do, all we dreamed of doing?

Who knows, really. My thoughts, tucked in between the whirlwind that is my morning, are of learning still another skill. One that our grandparents, and great-grandparents, knew. What is it? The art of slowing down. Taking it easy. Stopping to smell the roses. I'm not very good at it, but I'm going to try and work on acquiring that skill. I know, I've said it before and I haven't been able to manage it but I'm going to keep trying. Try, try again...right? I'll figure out the art of slowing down, one way or another. I'll keep at it until I get it right. I'll do it, I know I will.

Tomorrow. I'll work on slowing down tomorrow. Today? I've got edits to do, title sheets to fill out, eggplants to get in the ground, flowers to mist in the greenhouse and recipes to try. So tomorrow? Going to work on that whole slowing down gig. Today? Not so much.

By the way, if you haven't checked my blog page called From the Kitchen recently, I think you may be pleasantly surprised--especially if you like to cook! I'm having a summertime recipe blowout of sorts, posting a favorite summer recipe each day. There are some old family favorites to be shared, as well as some new ones we're experimenting with. I hope you'll try a few in your own kitchen. After all, it's warm weather time, a time when the living is slow and easy...right? ;-)

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

New Photos

Hi, I am sorry I have very little to blog about today. My husband is still in the hospital, I have edits to do and am running around and meeting myself coming back!

However, I thought it would be nice to post some photos - these were taken in the Yorkshire Dales, and for all you James Herriot lovers, may bring back memories of that excellent programme. For those of a romantic frame of mind, can you not just see Heathcliffe looking for his beloved Cathy! I know I can.

Bye for now, Margaret.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Lost Indian Tribe in Brazil

Announcement - Due to the schedule change at my "real job" I am now back to working 5 days a week. I will be posting Sunday evenings for Monday.
You might have seen this on the news the other day but I thought I'd post it anyway. It fascinates me whenever a story like this comes out. It's hard to believe there are still isolated areas out there living like this.

Men from an isolated tribe point arrows toward the sky from their home in Brazil's Amazon jungle as a small plane snaps photos from above. The tribe is among the last on Earth that has had no contact with the outside world, Brazil's National Indian Foundation, or Funai, said.

The photos, taken earlier this month, show "strong and healthy" warriors, six huts and a large planted area. The tribe's camp is in a protected area along the Envira River, near the Peruvian border.

The foundation does not make contact with such tribes but seeks to protect them. "We did the overflight to show their houses, to show they are there, to show they exist," said Jose Carlos Meirelles Jr., an expert in uncontacted tribes for Funai.

Illegal logging is pushing the tribe from its homeland and threatening its way of life, said Survival International, a group that advocates for the rights of indigenous people. Of the more than 100 uncontacted tribes in existence globally, about half live in the Amazon in Peru or Brazil.

"The world needs to wake up to this, and ensure that their territory is protected in accordance with international law. Otherwise, they will soon be made extinct," Survivor International Director Stephen Corry warned.