Friday, May 10th, 2013
Most of us are time-poor these days, despite advances in technology that help us to complete tasks more quickly. In the writing world there is subtle pressure to write and publish several books each year in order to stay in front of the reader. Sometimes we feel like a hamster running on a wheel, at least I do.
We need to make a conscious effort to relax, to challenge ourselves in a way that makes us feel rested and refreshed, ready to tackle that wheel again.
Tomorrow I’m heading off on a cake decorating course. I get to learn how to decorate a cupcake. My piping skills are rudimentary, so I’m looking forward to attempting and hopefully conquering a new skill.
I’m also going to knit a pair of socks. I have a book that tells me how, and I’m hoping my socks will turn out like the pretty ones in the pictures. While I have knitting experience, I’ve never tackled socks before. An interesting assignment, and I’m hoping there won’t be any self-destruction involved!
Not only will I get time out from my normal routine, but I’ll have some interesting experience to draw on when I write my next book.
How do you refill your creative well? What hobbies and interests take you away from your normal routine?
Thursday, May 9th, 2013
Eyes give me problems. During the writing of my books, my characters change eye color regularly. Sometimes I don’t catch it, but luckily my editor is on the ball. In the book world there are lots of heroes and heroines out there with green eyes. Lots. Quite a few heroines have violet ones too. Not so common in everyday life. I’ve been thinking I should pick a color and allocate that color to all my characters. It would solve my problem!
Thirteen Interesting Facts About Eyes
1. The colored part of the eye is called the iris. It contains pigmentation that determines the color of the eye.
2. Eye colors are determined by the parents, but a child’s eyes aren’t a combination of the parents. The eye color depends on the genes and there are lots of possibilities as to the end result.
3. Most babies are born with blue eyes. A color change occurs if a brown pigment called melanin develops as the baby grows.
4. Darker colors dominate so brown beats green and green wins over blue.
5. Emotions can change the iris color and the pupil size.
6. Eye color can also change with age. This usually happens with those who have a light eye color to start with.
7. If the eye color of an adult changes dramatically it can be an indication of a disease. Check with your eye doctor!
8. The human eye blinks around 4,200,000 times a year.
9. Blinking helps keep our eyes moist.
10. Only one-sixth of the eyeball is visible.
11. The eyeball remains the same size as it was at birth.
12. Our eyes can detect 10 million color hues (not sure who counted this), but we can’t see ultraviolet or infra red light.
13. The human eye can distinguish 500 shades of gray. (not 50 as a certain book would have us believe!)
According to an online survey about eye color the most popular color is green followed by light blue. Hazel, dark blue, gray, honey, amethyst and brown came next in descending order.
My eyes are light blue.
What color are your eyes? For you writers out there, do you vary your character’s eye colors from book to book or do you tend to stick to the basic brown or blue? Readers – do you care what color eyes the characters have?
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
We’re heading into winter down this end of the world. Our spring bulbs are starting to sprout out of the earth, the broccoli is ready for harvest and the spinach is still going strong. The carrots grew well but they’re all terribly deformed. They’ve grown into very rude shapes! This is caused because the soil isn’t fine enough. The tiny clumps and stones in the soil create havoc, making the root vegetable grow sideways in order to gain nutrients. They still taste good though.
Thankfully, the lemons are almost ripe. We use lemons a lot in our cooking, and we’ve missed not having any during the last two months.
Our cyclamen plants have started to flower. They’re a pretty flower and come in shades of pink, red and white. The other day Mr. Munro popped into the garden center to buy some lettuce plants. He came out with a new cyclamen plant for me—a two tone one in pink and white. Isn’t it pretty?
Mr. Munro planted the lettuce in a container—one we put out on the deck for easy access. I was out yesterday morning. When I arrived home I thought the lettuce looked very flat and droopy. I think Bella, our puppy used it for a sun bed again. I’ve barricaded it now, so we’re hoping the lettuce will recover.
When Mr. Munro and I first married we used to have a lot of house plants. It took ages to water them, and going on holiday was a mission because we had to work out how to keep them alive or organize someone to water them.
After we came back from our overseas jaunt we didn’t replace our indoor plants. At present I have three. Two little palms that can go for a month without water and the above cyclamen. Once the cyclamen finishes flowering we’ll find a spot for it in the garden. They die off and come back each year during the winter, so this is the perfect houseplant for us.
Do you have houseplants? Are you good at keeping them healthy and alive?
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
~ Grab your current read
~ Open to a random page
~ Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
~ BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
~ Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I’m currently reading Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt. This is book five in the Maiden Lane series, one that I highly recommend to any reader who enjoys historical romance and hasn’t already discovered Ms. Hoyt. She’s my favorite historical author. Her books are set in the 1700s rather than the regency period.
This teaser is a little longer than usual. I couldn’t resist.
The night Godric St. John saw his wife for the first time since their marriage two years previously, she was aiming a pistol at his head. Lady Margaret stood beside her carriage in the filthy St. Giles street, her glossy, dark curls tumbling from the velvet hood of her cloak. Her shoulders were square, both hands firmly grasped the pistol, and a murderous gleam shone in her pretty eyes. For a split second, Godric caught his breath in admiration.
In the next moment, Lady Margaret pulled the trigger.
page 1, Lord of Darkness
WHEN STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT
He lives in the shadows. The mysterious masked avenger known as the Ghost of St. Giles, his only goal is to protect the innocent of London. Until the night he confronts a fearless lady pointing a pistol at his head—and realizes she is his wife . . .
Lady Margaret Reading has vowed to kill the Ghost of St. Giles—the man who murdered her one true love. Returning to London, and the man she hasn’t seen since their wedding day, Margaret does not recognize the man behind the mask. Fierce, commanding, and dangerous, the notorious Ghost of St. Giles is everything she feared he would be—and so much more . . .
DESIRE IS THE ULTIMATE DANGER
When passion flares these two intimate strangers can’t keep from revealing more of themselves than they had ever planned. But when Margaret learns the truth—that the Ghost is her husband, Godric St. John—the game is up and the players must surrender . . . to the temptation that could destroy them both.
Purchase Lord of Darkness
What are you reading this week?
Monday, May 6th, 2013
A lot of writers love music and use it as an inspirational source while working or fleshing out their characters. They develop playlists for their stories and listen to them in order to get into a specific mood.
When I get into the writing groove I don’t hear anything except the characters and what they’re telling me. The truth is music is wasted on me while I’m in the writing mode.
Today I’m visiting Susan at West of Mars. I’ll be at her Meet & Greet and talking about the song I think of in conjunction with One Night of Misbehavior. Pop over and say hello.
Do you listen to music while writing or reading? Do you do playlists for your books?
Saturday, May 4th, 2013
Welcome to Sneak Peek Sunday. The rules are simple.
1. Post 6 paragraphs (no more, no less) from either a WIP or a published work.
2. Open to both un-published and published authors.
3. Post the link back to Sneak Peek Sunday so that others can hop along.
4. HAVE FUN!!
My sneak peek today comes from Tea For Two, a contemporary romance published by Samhain Publishing.
“Hello, darling,” he said and he lifted her off the chair, hauling her into his arms. Before she had a chance to react, he lowered his head and kissed her. To anyone else, to the three women stalking him, it would appear like a quick peck between friends, but with this woman, something changed. Shock roared through him and he froze. He pulled back enough so he could stare down at her, trying to fathom the sense of possessiveness that had blindsided him without warning. Yes, her eyes were beautiful. Stunning. The freckles across the bridge of her nose were cute. She smelled of wildflowers, a light, natural scent that didn’t make his eyes water or bring on a sneeze.
This woman was…
No way. No how! Not possible. He wasn’t going to act on the instinct screaming through him. He’d traveled that road before. No, all he intended to do was chat, maybe dance and reassure himself that this love at first sight stuff really was a load of crap. And of course, avoid the three stooges stalking him at the same time.
He released the woman and offered her a grin, the charming type his mother and sisters accused him of using whenever he wanted something.
“Hello, I’m Sam. You don’t know it yet, but you’ve just saved my life. I can’t thank you enough.”
“If you wanted an original pickup line, you’ve found it,” she said dryly, cocking her head slightly to the side to look up at him. Her voice was low and throaty. Seductive. And her mouth. Oh, yeah. Her bottom lip glistened, the plump pink curve highlighted with a gloss of some kind. Sam wanted to touch, but curled his hands to fists to halt the impulse.
Lies and secrets have a way of returning to bite a girl in the butt…
Hayley Williams thought she was past the screwing-up stage of her life.
These days, she wears her good girl persona well—except when she moonlights as a gypsy tea leaf reader in order to earn money to buy her own home. There’s something about Sam Norville, though, that prods her inner imp back to life. A chance meeting, a margarita…okay, two…a stolen kiss, and suddenly she’s back in hot water.
Sam, a successful businessman, doesn’t believe in love at first sight. Not anymore. For him, involvement with any woman means risking a run-in with the tabloid press. But his mysterious gypsy lover keeps him coming back, keeps him prodding her for more…like the truth. Of course it’s not love. No, sir. Sam only does lust.
Hayley knows she shouldn’t want Sam, especially since she lied to him. The right thing to do? Shove that naughty imp off her shoulder and come clean. But that pesky imp just won’t budge…
Available in print and e-book
Samhain Publishing e-book | Samhain Publishing print | Amazon Kindle | Amazon Print
To read more sneak peeks follow this Sneak Peek link. Sneak Peek Sunday is sponsored by Sara Walter Ellwood.
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
Last year Mr. Munro and I spent a few days in Venice during our Mediterranean cruise. Venice is a very cool place to visit. It’s bustling and full of color and noise.
Mention Venice and people’s minds drift to gondolas, but have you ever wondered what happens to older gondolas?
Some of the old gondolas are used as traghetto. And what is a traghetto, you ask?
A traghetto is used to ferry passengers back and forth across the Grand canal for a nominal fee. The locals use them all the time. We decided a romantic gondola trip was too expensive, but a traghetto was our chance to ride in a gondola.
The locals stand for the journey across the canal. All other canal traffic must give way to the traghetto. Note the uniform above – the striped shirt and black trousers. All the gondoliers wear this uniform.
I was a little concerned about this standing business, but I noticed the traghetto had a couple of seats and tourists were sitting for the crossing.
The canal can get choppy with all the traffic, and it was easy to imagine a passenger overbalancing (me) and tumbling into the water. I decided I was going to sit for the crossing.
We paid our fare and stepped aboard. Hubby, of course, decided to stand. Not to be outdone, I stood too.
And I managed to get to the other side completely dry, despite the rocking. No sweat! The traghetto wasn’t nearly as bad as the dug-out canoes in Africa, but that’s another story entirely.
Do you have good balance? Or are you the one who trips over their feet?
I’m generally pretty good, although the canal did concern me a bit. I think my big feet help with balance. They cover more ground
Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
I’d like to welcome debut author S.L. Siwik today with her book Just Good Friends. Meet the two main characters. Their relationship starts slow and they tell themselves they’re Just Good Friends, but sometimes the best plans go awry…
Name: Audrey Hoffinger
Age: 25 years old.
Height: 5’ 7”
Appearance: Red hair, green eyes (usually wears blue colored contacts), nose piercing, freckles more prominent during the summer, average weight.
About her: Audrey graduated college with a Bachelor in History and went on to receive her Master’s in Military history. After working for several grant projects through the New Jersey Historical Society, Audrey landed her dream job- preserving Civil War weapons. On the first day of her job, she was told that the project had been shut down by the state. Audrey now works as a waitress at Romeo’s Diner at night and stocks shelves at Bargain Buys overnight with her friend Calvin. She is the estranged daughter of Multimillionaire CEO Maxwell and Carol Hoffinger. At this point, it is unknown why she has cut nearly all ties with them, instead living in her mobile home instead of her parent’s sprawling estate. Audrey starts the story out looking for a friend to have casual sex with. She, however, meets Mike, a man far more than she had bargained for.
Name: Michael Kowalski
Age: 31 yo
Appearance: Blue eyes, military cut hair style, black hair. (No earring). Rarely ever smiles.
About him: Michael is a police officer for the Mercerville Police Department (the town they live in). He was in the Marines before that, but Michael is always vague on the details except that he is an expert sniper, and that he met his best friend, John while serving. He has lingering pain from his mother abandoning him, and his father’s alcoholic binges which Audrey notices nearly immediately. He’s a speed junky, loving fast vehicles. Michael had no intention of ever meeting Audrey, but was pushed into meeting Audrey by John.
Question from Shelley: Have you ever dated a friend?
I had to laugh because when hubby and I announced our engagement many years ago, his sister-in-law said, “But I thought you were just friends!”
Just Good Friends
Friends Book One
Number of pages: 180
Word Count: approx. 77,000
Juggling two jobs and mounting bills, Audrey decides she doesn’t have time for a boyfriend, but contemplates a friends plus situation. After placing a personal ad, she meets Mike, a local cop, former Marine. He’s old fashioned and overbearing, but she just can’t walk away.
Unfortunately for her, Michael is an expert marksman, and her heart never stood a chance. Their tumultuous love affair crashes to an ending neither foresaw, and Audrey is forced to make a decision that will change both their lives forever.
About the Author:
S.L. Siwik lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.
She loves going to NJ diners on the weekend for inspiration, drinks a pot of coffee a day, and loves finding new music to add to her list.
Just Good Friends is her debut book.
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
This is a shot of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, taken from the air. I remember the flight well because some of our group looked a bit green after they climbed out of the plane. I loved the flight because the views were incredible.
I’m visiting Harlie’s Books today and talking about romances with a reunited theme. There’s also a giveaway.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
· pumpkin, diced in bite-size cubes
· cumin seeds
· cooking oil
· feta cheese
· chopped red onion
· olives, black or green
· can of cooked chickpeas
· green beans, sliced
· vinaigrette dressing [balsamic is really good]
1. Sprinkle the cumin seeds and oil on the pumpkin and roast in the oven until browned and cooked. Place cooked pumpkin in a large bowl.
2. Slice the onion and add to the pumpkin.
3. Add the drained chickpeas and olives to the pumpkin.
4. Boil the green beans until cooked and add to the pumpkin.
5. Cube feta and add.
6. Dress with vinaigrette, toss lightly and serve either hot or cold.
7. Vary the quantities of each ingredient above to suit the number of diners. Use lemon juice as an alternative to vinaigrette. Balsamic vinaigrette works nicely with this salad. Serve as either a salad or a side dish.
1. Substitute some of the pumpkin for potato or kumara (sweet potato). Sometimes I also bake small onions and cloves of garlic as well, which is very tasty.
2. This is a great dish for vegetarians or it can be used as a salad or side dish for meat-eaters.