Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday News—The Home Stretch

This is it! This week I’m wrapping up revisions to my next book and will send it to my editor on Friday.

The tentative publication date is April 2010, and I’m still dabbling with possible titles. I think I’ve mentioned before that my working title is Halfway to the Stars from that old Frank Sinatra song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” All along I’ve known that title will not work for Harlequin’s American Romance line, so I’ve been pondering.

I had come up Wanted: One Mommy and was quite happy with it, even though it’s from the hero’s daughter’s point of view and none of the story is actually told from her point of view.

Yesterday I had one of those “ta da!” moments and I think either Wanted: One Family or Wanted: A Family will be much, much better. Those titles are from the heroine’s point of view, which makes more sense.

Even though the final decision isn’t mine, it’s nice to be able to suggest a couple of realistic possibilities.

If you have an opinion, I'd love to hear it.

On the personal front, I often get together with my good friend and critique partner, Rachel Goldsworthy, on Friday afternoons. We meet in the upstairs loft a little Irish-style pub for some writerly chat and a glass of wine. This Friday I’ll have something to celebrate!

This photograph of me and Rachel was taken a couple of Fridays ago. It's an outstandingly bad picture of me, but I’ve been promising a glimpse of my new hair cut and am finally following through.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Until next time,

Monday, July 27, 2009

This Week with the Wet Noodle Posse

This is the final week of the Posse’s Summertime and the Living Is Easy theme. To show you just how easy, the topics of this week’s posts are TBA. So sit back, take it easy, and drop by every day to find out what we’re chatting about.

Monday: Deborah Holland—TBA

Tuesday: Theresa Ragan—TBA

Wednesday: Delle Jacobs tells us “How Not to Do a Research Vacation”

Thursday: Diane Gaston—TBA

Friday: Q&A Day—“What's your favorite summer memory?”
For all you animal lovers, our August theme is Creatures Great and Small.

Until next time,

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Food for Thought—Raspberry Iced Tea

Here's a wonderfully refreshing and fruity version of classic iced tea.

Raspberry Iced Tea

4 cups of water
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons loose black tea
1 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
lemon slices and/or frozen whole raspberries for garnish (optional)
Pour 3 cups of water into a pan. Add the sugar and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Remove from stove, add the loose tea, and let it steep for 5 minutes.

Put the raspberries and the remaining 1 cup of water in another pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.

Strain the tea mixture into a pitcher. Strain the raspberries through a fine sieve into the tea mixture. Press the raspberries with the back of a spoon to remove as much juice as possible.

Cool and store in refrigerator. Serve over ice and garnish with half a lemon slice and several frozen raspberries. Enjoy!

Today is my blog day with the Harlequin American Romance Authors. Hope to see you there!

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday News—Deadlines and Distractions

I’m in writing mode this week, madly working toward my July 31 deadline. On one hand I love the final push to get a book whipped into shape. On the other, I’ll be jubilant when it’s finished.

To keep myself sane and to prevent my shoulders and neck from seizing up, I’ve been taking little breaks to do gardening and housework. Of course I also need breaks to check email, and to periodically surf the net.

Yesterday I came across a blog with a photo of a cactus chair. Its formal title is “Prickly Chair” by designer Valentina Gonzalez Wohlers.

I love the humor and whimsy and the fun color combo. And although it would not work in my space, I would be drawn to sit in it if I saw it someplace else.

Or so I thought, until I saw this close-up.

If you go back and take a closer look at the first photo, you’ll see the seat is also prickly. This chair is obviously all about design and nothing about function, and that’s okay because it works.

And now it's time for me to work and function, whether by design or not.

Until next time,

Monday, July 20, 2009

This Week with the Wet Noodle Posse

Noodlers and their guests continue to explore this month’s theme—Summertime and the Living Is Easy. Please join us!

Monday: Join guest blogger Rachel Goldsworthy for “Euterpe: Muse of Music and Queen of the Road”

Tuesday: Karen Potter—TBA

Wednesday: Diane Gaston—TBA

Thursday: Trish Milburn/Tricia Mills reminisces about “Drive-In Theaters”

Friday: Q&A Day
Have a great week!

Until next time,

Sunday, July 19, 2009

July Nature Notes

We’re well into summer, and the illustrations and journal entries in Edith Holden’s The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady have me reminiscing about childhood summers and looking at the current one with greater appreciation.

These butterflies and pink bramble flowers remind me of the times I spent with my grandparents when I was a child. They lived along a gravel country road and I’ll always remember the hot earthy scent of dust and pink wild roses, and the monarch or monarch-like butterflies that frequented them.

Edith’s notes:
July 3rd—There are two distinct kinds of Blackberry blossoms growing here. One with very large pink blossoms with five petals, the other white, with double the number of petals. The strawberries are very plentiful now on all the banks.
My grandmother was terrified of snakes. The sight of one in the garden would send her running for the kitchen, and for my grandfather whose job it was to dispatch the snakes. One of his favorite stories was the time my grandmother and mother abandoned me, a mere toddler, in the strawberry patch with a “big black snake,” although details of the exact size and color were long ago lost in the many retellings of this story.

Edith mentions several snakes in her July notes.
July 19—A Viper was brought in, killed near Vixon Tor today.

July 22—On the way home I saw a dead Grass Snake about two feet long hanging on a bough.
This summer we have a little garter snake living in the hedge between us and our neighbors, and I’m happy to report it is alive and thriving. The robins have been nesting in that hedge all summer, and we’re grateful that our little snake is either too small to eat robins’ eggs and babies, or doesn’t have an appetite for them.

In last month’s notes, Edith mentioned a Dartmoor pony and its foal. Her sketch of mother and baby was included in her July notes. Dartmoor ponies continue to thrive today.

July 18th—Going through the fields to Walkhampton I have constantly noticed a little wren fly out from a certain place in the wall; I thought it was seeking for insects in the crannies between the stones, but today I discovered a nest made of dried grasses, with a number of eggs. This is the latest in the season I have found.
In my neighborhood, the robins are still busy with nests and babies, and the humming birds are once again performing their aerial mating displays. Which tells me we still have a lot of summer ahead of us.

Until next time,

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Food for Thought—Two Summer Drinks

Mint juleps and Long Island iced tea sound like ideal summer drinks, don’t they? I have never tried either, so I decided to do a little research.

Both drinks are sweetened with simple syrup, made by boiling a cup of water and a cup of sugar until the sugar dissolves, then letting it cool.

Mint Julep

3 fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon simple syrup
2 ounces bourbon
1 mint sprig for garnish

Put the mint leaves in the bottom of a mixing glass, pour in the simply syrup and 1 ounce of the bourbon, and muddle the mixture to crush the mint leaves. Add the remaining 1 ounce of bourbon and let it sit for a couple of minutes to blend the flavors. Fill a cocktail glass or julep cup with crushed iced and strain the julep into it. Garnish with a spring of mint.

Long Island Iced Tea

1 ounce vodka
1 ounce tequila
1 ounce white rum
1 ounce triple sec
1 ounce gin
1.5 ounces lemon juice
2 ounces simple syrup
dash of cola
mint sprig & lemon slice for garnish

Mix all of the ingredients in tall glass filled with ice, garnish with mint and lemon, and serve.

I’m not likely to make either of these drinks at home because I don’t have most of the ingredients. I’ve never tried bourbon and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like the taste, but I’m guessing the sugar and mint would take the edge off that. And I love the look of the traditional silver or pewter julep cup. Very elegant.

Long Island iced tea—with no actual tea but five ounces of alcohol!—looks like a ready-made hangover, and I’m not sure any amount of sugar and lemon could take the edge off that combination. Although it looks deceptively refreshing, I’ll stick to real iced tea.


Until next time,


If you drink, please don't drive. If you're pregnant, please don't drink at all.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday News—This and That

Last week I said I’d post a photo of my new and very short (for me) haircut, and I will. I promise. As soon as I work up the courage to venture in front of the camera.

The Romance Writers of America’s annual conference gets underway tomorrow in Washington, DC. I will be anxiously awaiting news from the awards ceremony on Saturday evening (July 18, from 8:00 to 10:00 pm ET) because two American Romance authors—Cindi Myers and Linda Warren—have been nominated for a RITA Award!

For those like me who are not attending the conference in person, the RITA & Golden Heart winners will be posted live on the RWA website and on Twitter.

Four great summer reads from Harlequin American Romance arrive on bookshelves today. Here's what to watch for:

Bachelor CEO
by Michele Dunaway

A Father for Jesse
by Ann Roth

Last Resort: Marriage
by Pam Stone

The Daddy Audition
by Cindi Myers

Happy reading!

Until next time,

Monday, July 13, 2009

This Week with the Wet Noodle Posse

This week it’s still Summertime and the Living Is Easy. Here’s what the Wet Noodle Posse is chatting about this week:

Monday: Maureen Hardegree gives us the “Top Five Things NOT to Do This Summer”

Tuesday: “Blueberries—The Easy Summer Berry” posted by Maureen Hardegree

Wednesday: Join guest blogger Dianna McCabe

Thursday: MJ Fredrick takes us to the movies with “Summer Movies”

Friday: Q&A Day—What’s Your Favorite Song that Evokes Summer?
Until next time,

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Fun—An Evening at the Theatre

Last night my husband and I attended a production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. I’m a big fan of Shakespeare’s work and Twelfth Night happens to be my favorite. I love romantic comedy, and this is rom com at its best, filled with deceit and misunderstandings and, eventually, love.

I do not reviews. I only blog about things I like and I liked this production a lot. Starting with the outdoor theatre, which is a perfect summer venue. The audience settled into the seating area, a gently sloping bit of ground, with lawn chairs and blankets and picnic lunches.

Sitting next to us was a young couple on their first date. On our other side was a young couple eating sushi. They were pregnant, so not a first date.

The main stage was shaded by big old oak trees, and the sparse set allowed lots of room for the sometimes boisterous and slapstick antics of the cast. The white tent beyond the tree was one of the backstage areas.

A nearby outcrop of rock did double duty as the ship that wrecked at the beginning of Act I, Scene II.

The director, Barbara Poggemiller, took some minor liberties with the cast, replacing Valentine and Curio with a pair of Valentinas who attended the Duke and very effectively doubled as sailors, police officers and members of the chorus line.

The cast was varied in both experience and ability. Several of the most prominent and comedic roles were played by well-seasoned pros, and the fledgling actors working with them will surely benefit from their experience.

I was especially taken with the performances of Feste (Wes Borg), a Sir Toby Belch (Chris Harris), and Malvolio (Eric Grace). I didn’t take many photos during the performance, but couldn’t resist snapping a picture of a yellow-stockinged cross-gartered Malvolio.

Here he is, beseeching a stunned Olivia while a most devious Maria looks on. Easily my favorite scene.

As the evening progressed, stage lights replaced sunlight, and then a couple of thunder clouds rolled over the Olympic Mountains and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The audience pulled on their jackets or wrapped themselves in blankets while nature added a few special effects of her own.

By curtain call, the sky was dark and the temperature had dropped considerably. I’m sure the cast was ready to take their leave, especially Olivia in her strapless wedding dress, but not before receiving the audience’s enthusiastic applause.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest or plan to visit this summer, treat yourself to the Victoria Shakespeare Society’s Shakespeare in the Summer Festival. They’re also presenting Julius Caesar, and we wouldn’t miss it!

Until next time,



Oh my goodness! Michael Glover, the festival's artistic director, sent me the follow photos and captions. All photos courtesy of Arial Rubin Photography.

[from the left to the right] Wes Borg, as Feste, mocks Eric Grace's Malvolio as he attempts to council the grieving Christina Penhale, as Olivia.


Chris Harris [top], as Sir Toby Belch, posses above a horrified John Green [left, bottom], as Sir Andrew Aguecheek who is being terrified by the lovely Alyson Culbert's [Right, bottom], Maria.


Christina Penhale, as Olivia, has a spark of love in her eye for the dashing young man who, unfortunately for Olivia, is not a man. Marina Lagrace's Viola seems blissfully unaware of this development.


Orsino, Duke of Illyria as played by Stefan Jonsson [centre] seems weary as only the man who has everything can, by the pool and waited on by the lovely Alina Maris [left] and Christine Mooney [right].

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Food for Thought—Lemonade

I love lemonade. It makes me think sunshine and picnics and, of course, little kids selling glasses of the stuff from their front yards. Who can resist that? Not me, that's for sure!

In my first book, The Man for Maggie, Maggie served old-fashioned homemade lemonade to the guys who were renovating the house she inherited from her aunt. At my book launch, I served lemonade made from Maggie’s recipe for Luscious Lemonade Concentrate, which you’ll find on my website. I love this recipe because the concentrate that can be stored in the refrigerator and mixed as needed.

On that same page you’ll also find instructions for making Aunt Margaret’s Gin Gimlets.


Until next time,

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesday News—Of Deadlines and Makeovers

When I sat down to write this Tuesday’s news, I realized I really only have one thing to report, and it’s a biggie. After a long hiatus, I am once again back on deadline and feverishly revising a manuscript that has been in the works far too long. My deadline is July 31 and the tentative release date is April 2010.

As is typical for me and the writing process, the working title of this book has changed. Initially I called it Halfway to the Stars, from that charming old song about San Francisco and its cable cars. I knew that title wouldn’t work for American Romance, but I needed a title back when I still didn’t know the characters all that well.

Now that the story is written and I have a clear picture of what’s important to these characters, it’s changed to Wanted: One Mommy. I’m not sure that will work, either, but I think it’s a much better fit for both my story and the line.

My first book, The Man for Maggie, was much the same. It started out as Maggie’s Makeovers, then changed to Fixing Mr. Fix-It. In the end, my editor chose The Man for Maggie.

On the non-writing front, this morning I am going to be a hair model for a student who is doing her final exam at a hair dressing school. And let me tell you, after a lifetime spent with fine, straight hair, this is something I never thought I’d be saying! Check back next Tuesday for all the details. If I’m feeling really brave, I might even post a photograph.

Until next time,

Monday, July 6, 2009

This Week with the Wet Noodle Posse

It’s Summertime and the Living Is Easy with the Wet Noodle Posse.

Monday: Merrillee Whren takes us to The Beach
Tuesday: Terry McLaughlin—Swimming
Wednesday: Maureen Hardegree shares a Mojito Recipe
Thursday: Pam Payne on The Work/Vacation Combo
Friday: Q&A—What Story Came Easiest to You as a Writer?
Until next time,

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday Fun—Beyond Hideous

Yesterday I was searching an online buy-and-sell website, looking for a vintage coffee table and end table for my living room. The phrase “coffee table” led me to this.

My daughter and I had a good laugh. She said it's probably from the Darth Maul Collection, and then explained that Darth Maul is a Star Wars character, described by George Lucas as "a figure from your worst nightmare."

The resemblance? Unmistakable.

The price? $2500.

I have no idea who is trying to sell this furniture, although I can imagine why. It was likely purchased by a young guy who has since asked a young gal to marry him.

Her answer: Get rid of that furniture, and then we’ll talk.

Until next time,

Saturday, July 4, 2009

We Have Winners!

I’m delighted to announce that everyone who posted a comment yesterday has won a pass to a tea tasting at Silk Road.

Congratulations to:
Jodie Esch
Happy Fourth of July to everyone!

Until next time,

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Food for Thought—The Best Iced Tea Ever!

Imagine sipping a delicious cup of tea or drinking a glass of your favorite wine. Now consider combining the best of both worlds into one refreshing summer drink, and what do you have?

Iced tea sangria.

If you’ve never considered turning your favorite tea into an exotic cocktail, think again. The results are quite unbelievable and the possibilities are endless. While I haven’t done a lot of experimenting with this, iced tea sangria is easily my favorite so far. Here’s the recipe:

Iced Tea Sangria

2 teaspoons loose herbal tea
1 cup boiling water
1 cup chilled white grape juice
2 cups chilled Gewurztraminer wine
fruit for garnish (see below)

I use an herbal tea, a refreshing blend of lemongrass, citrus peel, rosehips and lavender blossoms called Philosopher’s Brew. It’s from my favorite tea shop and spa, Silk Road, and it's available through their mail order service.

Pour the boiling water over the loose tea and steep for 10 minutes. Strain and chill.

Combine the chilled tea, white grape juice and wine in a pitcher. Stir.

To serve:

Fill glasses, goblets or flutes with ice and pieces of fruit (i.e., sliced lemons and limes, thinly sliced seedless grapes, strawberries, raspberries, etc.), pour in the sangria, and enjoy a light and refreshing summer drink. Nothing could be simpler, and yet your guests will be so impressed.

For more intoxicating recipes, all developed in-house, visit Silk Road’s website.

For my readers who live on Vancouver Island or those who plan to visit this summer, I’m giving away two free passes to a summer tea tasting at Silk Road, any day of your choice between now and Labor Day.

To be eligible to win a free tea-tasting pass, generously provided by Silk Road, simply leave a comment on today’s blog topic and mention tea tasting. I'll announce the two lucky winners tomorrow.

Until next time,

Thursday, July 2, 2009

How Do You Dress a Hot Dog?

I’m blogging today with the Wet Noodle Posse and that’s the topic of my post.

Swing by and tell us about your favorite hot dog condiments!

Until next time,