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... 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.

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 as well, from the 30th October, at

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 - now that is a pleasant review to read before I go over the border!



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...



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 or very soon on my website.

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


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


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.


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 ( 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.