Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Blog Blitz Winner!

I have a Blog Blitz Winner! Congratulations go out to Tami C. She is the winner of an autographed copy of Studs for Hire: Woman on Top! Tami, please e-mail me privately at with your snail mail address and I'll get your book out to you.

Thank you all for stopping by last week and posting. It was fun. Keep stopping by for more news about Eight Seconds, coming soon from Ellora's Cave, and other future releases and contests.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What Are You Thankful For?

Since Thanksgiving is now less than a week away, I thought on this final day of my Blog Blitz we’d talk about what we’re thankful for. First of all I’m thankful for all of you faithful bloggers who have taken the time to stop by this past week. Thank you. I appreciate your support.

This past year has been a rough one. After losing both of my parents in a ten-month time span, I’ve come to realize even more how precious life is. But as difficult as this loss is, I’m thankful I was blessed to have two such wonderful and caring people for parents. My mom and dad were firm but fair, and taught me to respect others and to lend a helping hand. They didn’t just give us kids everything we wanted, but instead taught us that working hard and being patient can reap great rewards. That in turn taught us four kids valuable lessons in respect and appreciation. I am forever grateful. And I miss them both terribly. My life is forever changed by their passing, but I am who I am today because of them.

I am also thankful for my wonderful, supportive husband. And yes he has many of the hero qualities we talked about yesterday—including a bit of the domestic side. He’s a great cook and if I had my way, he’d be doing the cooking seven days a week! I’m also thankful for my two beautiful children, my health, my wonderful in-laws, my brothers, and their families. I’m also thankful I live in a country where we are free, and thankful for the men and women who put on uniforms every day to keep us that way. Thank You! And God Bless You! If you have a family member or friend who has ties to the military, past or present, please also extend my thanks to them and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.

As Mama Bear in the Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin so aptly put it, “Thanksgiving isn’t about contests or prizes. It’s about giving thanks. And it seems to me we have a lot to be thankful for.” And yes we do. Even in this turbulant economic time, we still do.

So, tell me what you’re thankful for, and remember, every time you post a comment to any of my Thanksgiving posts for the week your name will go into the drawing for an autographed copy of Studs for Hire: Woman on Top. Chances to win close at midnight tonight and I will draw the winner some time this weekend. Good Luck!

Here's an old recipe my family brought over from Germany. It's a little bit of work to prepare, but it's delicious and was always a family tradition at holidays.

Big Dumpling
½ Cup of Lard or Shortening
½ Cup Sugar
1 Tsp. Salt
3 Eggs Beaten
1 Cup Milk
3 Cups Flour
2 Tsp. Baking Powder

Cream together lard, salt & sugar. Add beaten eggs. Sift flour with baking powder. Add to first mixture alternately with milk. Mix well. Pour into well greased coffee tin and cover with foil. Set tin into a larger kettle of boiling water. Cover with lid. Steam for 2 hours. Tooth pick should come out clean when tested. Serve with a fruit sauce of raisins, prunes, apricots, or cranberries.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hero Qualities

I’m thrilled to say that I’ll have a novella, Eight Seconds, coming out next year in one of the Caveman anthologies, Flavors of Ecstasy, from Ellora’s Cave. I don’t know which volume yet, or what other EC authors I’ll be paired up with, but I’ll share as soon as I hear.

Eight Seconds is the story of rancher, romance writer Taylor Westfall, and professional bull rider Devlin McCord. I love cowboys! And I loved writing this story. It was great therapy for me after losing my mom, and it was nice to immerse myself in something positive and fun. Plus, I had a deadline to meet which is always great motivation.

Eight Seconds takes place one snowy weekend before Thanksgiving. I’ve always wanted to write a holiday connected story, and although this one only mentions Thanksgiving, the time of year and the snow reiterate her loneliness and the isolation she faces on her ranch. And, she’s in much need of some sexual inspiration for her writing. She’s bound and determined not to spend another harsh winter all by herself. Cowboy Devlin McCord is sexy, hot and just what she needs to get the creative juices flowing again! Hey, I wouldn’t mind spending more than eight seconds with this guy. Too bad I can’t make my fictional characters come to life in the flesh. Oops! Don’t tell my husband I said that!

Besides being good-looking and sexy, Devlin is honest, caring, and loyal to the bone. All qualities my heros must have, even if they don’t realize they have them. And yes, the hunk in the photo is George Strait, a true American cowboy who inspires this writer's work all the time! What are your favorite must-have hero qualities?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What's in your Autumn TBR Pile?

Hey, fellow bloggers! Sorry I’m so late getting my Wednesday entry up. It’s been one of those days. I’ve been busy getting my lap top PC all set up again after my darling daughter crashed the hard drive on it the other week. Then, our well decided to go on the fritz late last night, so we were without water for a good portion of today. Fortunately our nice repair man, Mark, made it here in good time and got us taken care of. Thanks, Mark!

While I was outside visiting with Mark, we both commented on how nice the weather was today for November 19th. I love Autumn. It’s a beautiful time of year, and here in the Midwest we can experience weather ranging from sunny days in the low to mid 70's, to below freezing temps with a mixture of freezing rain and snow to make driving life interesting. But on those days when the sun is shining and the temps are fair, it’s fun to get outside and enjoy Nature’s palette of golds and reds, hear the leaves crunching beneath your feet and listen to the few remaining crickets singing their songs. The cooler, dry days of Autumn are such a relief after the hot, humidity packed days of summer we have here, too.

Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved fall. I think it’s the beginning of a magical time of year with all the fun things we did at school, and the anticipation of the many holidays ahead of us. The vibrant colors of fall are a delight for the eyes, and the days get shorter, giving us permission to take more time to squirrel away with those books we have stacked on our TBR piles.

Speaking of which, I have more than one TBR pile. I need to get busy! Some of the books stacked in those piles for this Autumn are Julie Miller’s Brotherhood of the Badge series from Harlequin Temptation. I just picked up the fourth and final book, Kansas City Christmas, the other day, but it has to wait until I read the first three. I also have Picture of Perfection by Kristin Gabriel, Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich, and Alien Overnight by Robin L. Rotham, to name a few. I can’t wait to read all of those wonderful authors. Those books are my rewards for getting my own writing done. Who needs chocolate?! Well . . . okay, I admit it. I DO! But no books or chocolate for me until I get my work done. Right now I’m working on revisions for Eight Seconds which will be released by Ellora’s Cave next year in one of the Caveman Anthologies. I’ll share more details about Eight Seconds in tomorrow’s post. If you love cowboys, I hope you’ll like Eight Seconds.

So, tell me what titles do you have in your TBR piles for this fall and winter? I’m always on the look out for new books and authors to add to my stash!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanksgiving Movies & TV Specials

Welcome to day two of my Thanksgiving Blog Blitz! Today I thought we’d talk about our favorite Thanksgiving movies or TV specials. Although there aren’t as many centered around this holiday, there are a few. For me, one of my favorites is A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. I watched it again for the umpteenth time last night, (I splurged and bought the deluxe edition DVD three pack, for the kids, of course!) but it was the first time for my two kids to see this special. They laughed, and laughed even harder when Snoopy had his altercations with the ping pong table and the lawn chair. Classic!

But what I love so much about the Peanuts specials is that through the genius of Charles Schulz they teach the true meanings of the seasons without being preachy. I think one of the reasons the shows do this so successfully is because those lessons are shared through the innocent wisdom of children, and we all know how kids can say the most profound and amazing things without even realizing it. They don’t intentionally set out to teach us adults a lesson, but they just manage to do it. In addition, I love the brilliance of Vince Guaraldi and the music he created for Charlie Brown and his friends beginning with A Charlie Brown Christmas. You can’t listen to Vince’s music and not think of the Peanuts gang. I also love the fact they used children to voice the characters. I think those amateur, sometimes singsong voices add a core of truth and sincerity to the shows, taking me back to the innocence and wonder of my own childhood. Oh, how we so looked forward to watching all of those TV specials during the holidays. You had one shot per year to see them and you just prayed Rudolph, Charlie, Frosty, or the Grinch weren’t scheduled to air on the night of your school program. Oops! I'm dating myself.

Another Thanksgiving movie I’d love to see is The Thanksgiving Treasure starring Jason Robards and Lisa Lucas. I absolutely loved The House Without a Christmas Tree and have always wanted to see the other three movies in the series. Have you seen The Thanksgiving Treasure? If so, did you like it? And do you have a favorite Thanksgiving movie or TV show you'd like to share?

Remember, every time you post a comment to my blog this week, your name will go into the drawing for an autographed copy of Studs for Hire: Woman on Top. Even if you already own a copy, Christmas is coming and autographed books make great gifts, so get entered!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving Blog Blitz Starts Today!

Okay, readers. It’s time to get my Thanksgiving Blog Blitz rolling! I’m not only celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday, but the recent sale of my fourth book! Yee-Haw! Eight Seconds is a novella and will be released in 2009 in one of the Ellora’s Cave, Flavors of Ecstasy anthologies. I’m not sure which volume yet, but I’ll keep you posted. Eight Seconds does take place in November and mentions Thanksgiving, so I’ll be blogging about it later in the week. Here we go!

Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday season, and since I love history, I’m starting the week with some Turkey Day Trivia. See how much you remember from history class.

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621.

But, it wasn’t declared an official holiday until 1789 by President George Washington.

Many states observed Thanksgiving, but not all, and on different days. President Abraham Lincoln, faced with the trials and tribulations of the Civil War, was looking for a way to unite the nation and gave his Thanksgiving proclamation in October 1863. Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November would be observed as a day of Thanksgiving.

During the midst of WWII, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, looking for a way to give a boost to the shopping season, moved the holiday to the third Thursday for the years 1939, 1940, and 1941. The idea didn’t go over so well and Congress passed a resolution in 1941 decreeing Thanksgiving would always fall on the fourth Thursday.

So, ever since then our nation has been setting aside a day for us to give thanks by indulging in way too much food, taking a nap, and watching football on a weekday afternoon. Sounds like a perfect day. Well, maybe. For most women it means even more stress, work in the kitchen, a house full of relatives, and a mountain of dishes. Oh, how many Thanksgivings my dear mom worked to put a magnificent meal on the table. Bless her. She did so in style by not only preparing mouth-watering food, but by adding touches of the Autumn season with candles and fall silks to decorate the house and table.

One of my fondest memories of Thanksgiving is of my mom and her festive holiday apron. She’d get up bright and early that morning and with the apron officially tied in place, she’d get that bird in the oven. For the day, whether it matched or not, that handsewn apron, with its horse and sleigh print, was a part of her outfit. And you know, that trusted, well-worn kitchen helper wouldn’t leave her waist until the last dish had been washed and put away that evening. Did she complain? Nope. She did it out of a profound love for her family. Seeing her hustle around the kitchen with that faded, old apron is one thing I will miss big time this year. What I wouldn’t give for one more day. Maybe it’s time for me to pull that apron out of the drawer and carry on the tradition. By golly, I think I’ll do that. For mom.

So, what fond memories do you have of Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear them. Remember, every time you post a comment to my blog this week, your name will go into the drawing for an autographed copy of Studs for Hire: Woman on Top! Good Luck!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thanksgiving Blog Blitz Contest Coming Soon!

Hey! Sorry I'm a little slower than I anticipated in posting about the contest I promised. Where does the time go? Anyway, I'll be hosting a five day Thanksgiving Blog Blitz November 17 - 21. Stop by and leave a comment to one of my daily Thanksgiving posts during those five days and you'll be entered in the drawing for an autographed copy of Studs for Hire: Woman on Top! Each time you comment during those five days, I'll throw your name into the drawing, so visit every day and comment every day. Heck, comment twice a day or more if you're feeling the Thanksgiving spirit. Get ready for virtual turkey and pumpkin pie!