Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Drive By Visit

I missed the entire month of November.  Yikes!  Let me recap, as succinctly as I can.

We went on a week long cruise November 9-16.  It was with other dog rescuers from Legacy Boxer Rescue.  We went from Galveston to Cozumel, to Grand Cayman, and Jamaica.  It was a lot of fun and I have tons of pictures posted on my FB page.

Still, here are a couple of them:

Came back from tropical weather to the first hard freeze of the season.  Light snow, low 20's.  Picked up two dogs from my daughters, came home, unpacked, started laundry, picked up three dogs (one foster) from the boarding place.  They stunk to high heavens so, despite the freezing temps, I put them in the tub one at a time and bathed them.  Lonnie dried.

And then my washer, which we'd been nursing along, died.

Exhausted, that Monday we had to go find a new washer, and I had so much catching up to do.  That entire week it seemed like all I did was run crazy and never catch up.  We chose a washer and Lowe's delivered it.  I washed and washed and washed.

And then the next week was Thanksgiving!  I grocery shopped, and got back to writing.  That Wednesday before T-day, I cooked all dang day.  And Thursday ate. Thursday was also our 27th wedding anniversary, which we decided to celebrate the next day.  Here are a few Thanksgiving pics.

 Friday we started putting up Christmas decor. I also had a Home Visit for Legacy (where I spend an hour with an applicant who wants to adopt).   Also, my foster dog hurt his leg and I had to rush him to the vet.  He was ordered to be confined to crate rest for the entire weekend and to take medication.  Finally, Friday night we went out to dinner to celebrate 27 years (we chose PF Changs!)

Saturday, more decorating, another home visit.  Sunday, finished the decorating and did laundry.  I sent Lonnie to pick up a few things at the grocery store.

Here's my beautiful tree!

Monday, back to work.   Here it is Wednesday, and I still don't feel like I've caught up or settled back into my routine.  Hopefully soon.

Because I have to get together stuff to make a basket for the local animal shelter.  And wrap Christmas gifts (I've done all on-line shopping so far.)  And write.  And write. And write.

Before I know it, Christmas will be here.

So now we're all caught up.  I apologize (again) for my absence, but will eventually get back on the ball.  Right?  Right?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mea Culpa

Sorry, I have been absent for awhile - AGAIN.  Life has been busy, I've been feeling my way around a new story as well as everything else.

A Secret Colton Baby is doing well.  It has hit Bookscan's List of top 100 Romances for 3 weeks in a row.  It was #31 for its debut, climbed up to #23, and this week is at #66.  Pretty strong showing! That makes me happy.

I'm working on another Colton Book - this time the Colton's of Oklahoma.  I'm book 3.  It's called the Surgeon's Salvation.  It's giving me FITS.  I'm over a third done, but having to go back and rearrange stuff.  FITS, I tell you.  Today was one of those days where I feel like I can't write my way out of a paper bag.  From experience, I know it will get better.

Right now I'm going to shut it down and go have a glass of wine.  Tomorrow is another day.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Milestones and Covers

Right now I have a new book out, as you know.  A Secret Colton Baby just came out.  I love the Colton's and right now I'm working on another Colton book called The Surgeon's Salvation.  It will be out in August of next year.

I started thinking about it, and my 30th Harlequin book will be out in January 2015.  My 40th overall (I published 5 with Kensington and 5 with Dorchester previously.)  That's a pretty cool milestone.  I'm actually stunned and pretty proud of myself.  

Here's the cover of my 30th Book, Shades of the Wolf.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


I'm blogging today over at Harlequin!  Take a minute to check it out!

Monday, September 22, 2014

First Day of Autumn

I've been feeling really happy lately.  And busy.  Really busy.  I finished a book, finished revisions on a book, and started a third.  I have a new foster dog, and the temperature is winding down (Thank goodness!!)  Autumn is my absolute favorite time of the year.

I've been thinking a lot about what makes me happy.  Once upon a time, I would have included "things" in my list.  These days, I've realized things are not as important as I once thought.

A year ago, on a Monday like today, I saw my mother alive for the last time.  It's hard to believe a year has passed.  It's really hard to believe I had to go through her "things", her "stuff" and realize all the possessions she thought were so important, so valuable, actually weren't.  I think of my mom at odd moments, and will visit the cemetery on the 27th, the anniversary of her passing.  But I remember the black crane that attended her service and flew off at the end of it.  Knowing that some cultures consider cranes symbolic of a soul rising to the next level of existence, gives me great peace.
Volunteering and rescuing dogs makes me happy.  Drinking coffee on the back porch in the morning with my husband also gives me joy.  Being with my dogs, starting a new book, listening to a new album by one of my favorite artists, all make me content.  Even exercising makes me feel good. I'm looking forward to cooler weather, to fires in the fireplace, soups and stews and homemade bread. Snow.  I love snow.

At 53, I think this is the best part of my life in many aspects.  Sure, I don't have as much money as I once did.  I don't get a new car every couple of years, or expensive boots and shoes.  But none of those things matter.  My family, my friends, dog rescue, music, and my writing matter.

As I struggle to come to terms with mortality - brought into sharp focus with my mother's passing, taking care of my elderly father, keeping an eye on my husband's health - I realize more and more how everyone is responsible for finding their own happiness within.  And right now, I am at peace with that.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Shower Reno - Finally Done

I promised I'd post pictures once the shower renovation got finished.  It took awhile and last night the glass guy finally installed the glass.  Starting tomorrow, we can use that shower!  Yay!!

So here are the pics.  Here in the beginning, you can see the dry rot / water damage went all the way through the insulation.  They had to remove it and replace that too.

The entire shower was gutted and rebuilt.

A new cement bottom was made

And here are the boxes of tiles we chose.

Tile going in.

I had them do around the tub too.

 Tile in, but not yet grouted.

And here's the grout.  Looking really good!

Finally, the glass!   We went with frameless.  I think it looks beautiful!

And done!  Finally!  The actual work on the shower took one week.  Then it took about two weeks to get the glass in (not sure why it took so long, but it did.)  But we're very pleased!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


The shower reno is still ongoing.  We had the shower made larger too.  Today they are *finally* putting up tile.  It's going to be beautiful!

Since I don't want to post pics until the shower is done, I'm going to talk about last Friday and the wonderful Sushi dinner we had with my friend Denice and her husband Ron.

At first, Lonnie didn't want to go.  He's never had Sushi and didn't want to try. But he finally agreed.  I've only had it a couple of times and wasn't that impressed.

But this place was Oh So Good!  Maybe it was the company and the experienced way they ordered the rolls.  Either way, it was all fresh, tasted wonderful, and the texture was good.  I'd definitely go back.

Here are a few pics.

Tower of (can't remember the name)

 Vegetarian Roll

Tuna roll and shrimp roll

We were stuffed!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday, Monday Monday.

Here I am again, about to get back to work on The Rancher's Return.  I read a quote somewhere - and didn't get who said it - but the quote was something like "Work gets done when your fear of not doing it exceeds your fear of sucking at it."  I feel like that sometimes, especially when working on revisions.   I'm always afraid I'm not going to do them right.

This weekend was busy for me - I volunteer for Legacy Boxer Rescue.  On Saturday, I went to one of our Approved Adopters and met a foster mama there with her puppy.  And my adopter is giving little Blizzard her forever home!  (Blizzard's name will probably change!)

My second visit on Saturday was a Home Visit to qualify or disqualify someone who wants to adopt a Boxer from Legacy.  Since the people didn't have a dog, another foster home met me there with their foster dog, Monroe.

Monroe is an older gentleman, and what a love bug.  The young couple we visited loved him.

And then after the last home visit, I came home and Lonnie and I went to both Home Depot and Lowe's to look at fixtures for our shower.  And then I got groceries.  We planned to swim but a sudden rainstorm came up and nixed that idea.

Sunday, I met my fellow rescuer Denice at 9am to do a Home Visit.  We brought a lovely dog named Dolce with us and the young family LOVED her too. (Fingers crossed)

And the last Home Visit of the day was for someone who wants to be a volunteer with Legacy.  We met him and his fiancee and their three dogs.

Whew.  Then I did laundry and collapsed.  We had more rain.

This morning the shower reno has started.  I am back to work. The weekend went buy in a flash.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mitchell Thomas

As most of you realize by now, I'm a dog person.  I volunteer with Legacy Boxer Rescue and do what I can to help my favorite breed.

But before there were Boxers, I had Miniature Schnauzers.  Years ago, my first Schnauzer was named Skipper Doodle Dandy (poor guy).  He died from Hemolytic Anemia 13 years ago at the age of 8.  My second Schnauzer Daisy Mae, died 3 years ago from Cushings Disease at the age of 11.

My last remaining Schnauzer Mitchell Thomas aka Bitsy Buddy will turn 13 tomorrow.  He's been a healthy little guy until recently.  As he's aged, he's lost his hearing, and his eyesight is a bit weak, and he wobbles when he walks.  Oh, and he has a bit of dog dementia.  But we still adore him and carry him up and down the stairs so he won't miss anything.

He used to love to swim, but his hind legs no longer work right so the only time he can go in the pool anymore is if we carry him.  Which we do, holding him in the water which makes him happy.

In the thirteen years he's been with us, he's been a vital and important part of our lives.  He's slowed down a lot now and mostly spends his days sleeping, and we have to hand feed him a lot as he doesn't want to eat, but he still likes to do dog stuff and his quality of life is still good.

Happy Birthday, Bitsy Buddy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Almost There

It has been a hectic 6 days since I last posted.  My wonderful editor emailed me and asked me to send her whatever chapters I have completed on Shade of the Wolf.  Since my method is to finish the book and then go back and edit the chapters and I wasn't done, I panicked.  The first day I sent her the first four chapters, edited by me.  Each day I'd send her 3-4 chapters as I went through and edited them.  I had two left on Friday, one of which (Chapter 19) wasn't finished.  Yes, I still had to write The End.

This past weekend, I finished editing Chapter 18 and sent it to her on Monday.  Monday morning, I had to help my daughter move into her new classroom in her new school in her new district.  After all the boxes were in the room, I started unpacking.  Then I saw an email from my editor asking for the end of the book!

Yikes!  I rushed home, sat down, and started writing.  Luckily, I knew the ending.  I just had to put the words on paper (and chose the right words!)  In one afternoon, I wrote nearly 3000 words, emailing it to my editor right around 4pm my time (5 hers).

She edited it right then and there, put it in the system, and emailed me the line edits today.  I have 2 days to do them, but they're light.  Thank goodness.

So that's what I'm working on now.  On a side note, I really like this book!  It's different and my editor said the twist surprised even her - and she said she didn't surprise easily these day!  She also said it was a powerful and emotional story!  Yay!

Anyway, I must get back to it.  After the AA's are done, I have to get really busy on the next revisions.
No rest for the wicked, apparently!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


I'm always amazed at how quickly time goes by now that I'm working at home at a job I love.  School starts again in a three weeks and so far our summer has been mild, which makes me a happy girl.

I'm wrapping up Shade of the Wolf and sending 4 chapters at a time to my editor, because it needs to go into production.  I like the books.  It's been a fun story to write.

So I'm busy, but happy.

This year has been the year of expensive home repairs for us.  It started in January when we decided it was time to totally redo our pool.  The pool is 19 years old.  We had it gutted, new tile, coping and plaster put in. That was supposed to be our only home improvement project this year.  We like to do one a year.  We can afford one a year.

And then spring came and our lawn died.  We had dirt.  With rain and dogs, that equals mud.  Lonnie had the old lawn scraped off, new dirt brought in, and the yard entirely re-sodded.  Ka-ching. $$$

Ok, that's cool.  In May, once my long term foster dog Katniss got adopted, we decided to finally head out to our lake place and our camper.  It had been over a year since we'd been there.  If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know what happened next.  Yes, the camper had a leak and we had mold and mushrooms inside.  Said camper is now at at repair place for extensive - and expensive work.

And yes, I'd put a deposit down on a cruise in November with my Boxer rescue friends.

Then I needed two fillings and - gasp - a root canal.  I don't have dental insurance.  I was quite shocked to learn how much a root canal - and a crown - cost, never mind two fillings.  That little escapade left me $2500 poorer.

Then - yes, it continues - our master bath shower got invaded with ants.  Lonnie sprayed, and since we had some mold issues, decided to regrout the entire shower.  Tiles fell off, there's dry rot and mold (and ants) and we need a complete shower overhaul.  I am STUNNED at how much this is going to cost.  Estimates are still coming in.

The pool chlorinator went.  We have a salt water pool.  We ordered a new one (nearly $900) and NOW... NOW.... the damn POOL PUMP is spewing water.  Lonnie is working on it to see if he can fix it.

I cancelled the cruise.  Then decided not to.  We deserve a cruise after all this.

There are still 4.5 months left this year.  Pray for me that nothing else happens.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

San Antonio Part 2

Sorry I didn't finish up my post yesterday - it was crazy here at home.  Unfortunately, we learned we need to get our master bath shower completely redone.  Dry rot, mold, blah blah.  That will take the place of several things, first and foremost the cruise I'd put a deposit down on in November.  Sigh.

Anyway, Thursday night we finished up early and were back in the hotel room and in bed by 10 or 10:30.  I had a breakfast meeting set up with Anne Leslie Tuttle, Senior Editor of Harlequin Nocturne.  There were several other authors there and I wish I'd taken pictures.  I don't think I was awake enough.  And I'm horrible with names.  Some of the authors I knew, like Elle James.  But I met tons of new people.  Next to me was a woman who worked as a Hospice Nurse (aka Angel on Earth).  She had fascinating stories.  And I also met (going to Twitter to look up her name) Laura Kaye.  She had suffered a traumatic brain injury and when she recovered, she discovered she wanted to write (she'd never had the slightest interest before).  She became a bestselling author!  AND AND - it that's not enough - she decided she wanted to lose weight to help her migraines.  So she started eating clean and doing a workout video once a day.  Since April 1st, she's lost 31 pounds!  What an inspiration.  And she was so nice.  If she didn't live in Maryland, I'd hang out with her all the time!

And then I had a few hours to kill before a lunch meeting with Patience Smith, my editor and the Senior Editor for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.  I spent that time drinking coffee to given myself energy for the rest of what would be a very long day.

The lunch was at Boudro's (that's ok, have I mentioned I LOVE that place?).  Due to my overindulgence the night before, I opted for a healthy salmon and salad.

And here's a photo of me and Patience.  (I wish I'd thought to get one of me and AnneLeslie)

So, after that lunch I went back to the hotel.  Despite the coffee, I really needed a nap.  Really should have taken one.  But I didn't.  I changed and Lonnie and I walked around in the heat some more and had a beer.
We decided to go to the Rivercenter Mall (airconditioning!) and stopped at Hooters (I know, I know).  The pigeons were bold and obnoxious there. 

You could shoo them off, but they'd keep coming right back.  I started to think they'd been extras in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Birds.

Once back in the room, I got dressed for the big event - the Harlequin Party.

That night I met my friend and Harlequin Superromance Author Stephanie Doyle for dinner.  I haven't seen her (she lives in NJ) since the conference in 2009 and we had LOTS of catching up to do.

We went to Luciano's and had wonderful Italian food.  I had my favorite - Mussels Marinara.

And then it was on to the party.  Walking, in heels.  

But all was good.  The party was in full swing when we arrived.  There were desserts, a chocolate fountain, and of course the open bar.  People were dancing.  I had to have a couple of drinks to dance, but I did.

It was fun and amazing. Harlequin had jars of new footy socks for us to wear to dance so we didn't have to dance in heels or bare feet, even though some people went with the bare feet (not me, socks all the way!) Sorry for the dim photos, but the light was muted.

The dessert buffet.


The jars of footy socks.

More dancing.

It's Raining Men (always always played every year!)

I had SO much fun (and too much to drink).  This year, I didn't go to the hotel bar like I used to do in years past.  I went back to the hotel and got in around 1 am.  My Jawbone Up showed I'd walked over 22,000 steps that day!  (more actually, but after midnight the next 3300 rolled over to the next day).

Whew.  I slept in until nine a.m and reluctantly got up as I had one last meeting - an early lunch with my agent of 12 years, Lucienne Diver.  She chose Luciano's (the really good restaurants keep popping up!)

Here are the two of us posing in Luciano's.  

After that, we checked out early and headed home.  The hotel was lovely and was able to rent our room, so they credited me back for the night.  I was thrilled.  And exhausted.  Did I mention exhausted?  

It took me two full days to recover from all that.  

And then I learned about the shower.  2014 is the year of the home renovations, sadly.  We redid our pool early on, then our yard, and then our camper (remember those nasty mushrooms?  It's still in the shop).  And now our shower.  Sigh.