Exciting news. DEFENDING GLORY, first of the Piedmont Island Trilogy, continues to move up the ranks at Amazon.ca. Yesterday it reached #26, and I could not be happier or more proud.
I also received an email from Katherine Kane, author and blogger at City Pet Books. She's recommending FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL, first book of the Muriel Reeves Mysteries, to anyone who loves dogs. "I love mysteries, so was delighted to get your book," she said. On her blog she wrote, "Although Big Boy is not the star of the show, he is a lovable, slobbery, “big galoot” of a dog that bounds through this Christmas mystery with wonderful energy." For the entire article, as well as a great list of other books that feature pets to read, visit City Pet Books.
The story of FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL, first of the Muriel Reeves Mysteries series, takes place the week before Christmas when the stress of the holiday is enough to frazzle any one's nerves. Add an eccentric sixty-year-old aunt who is determined to do a bake-a-thon based on the 12 Days of Christmas in only six days and the fun begins.
The gingerbread recipe below is a favorite at Muriel's house.
-2 1/2 cups sifted flour
-1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup shortening
-1/2 cup boiling water
-1 cup molasses
Sift dry ingredients together. Melt shortening in boiling water. Add molasses. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix well. Place in greased (8-inch) baking pan and bake in moderate oven (350F) 30-40 minutes.
Please visit these other VHP author links for more exciting recipes.
Authors strive to create memorable characters because memorable characters walk off the page. They can be lovable or eccentric people we'd be honored to call our friends, or they can be psychotic villains we love to hate.
Characters become real people when they show us who they are through their actions. They either play nice with others. Or they don't.
Their word choice also reveals who they are. A pet word or phrase gives credence to their personality flaws or traits.
Want to create an annoying character? Have them use a word or phrase that a recent US poll determined was the most irritating in the English language.
What is irritating to today's readers, however, may not be irritating three or even thirty years from now. But body language, facial expression, and tone of voice can be included to relay the delivery and thus the real meaning of what is being said, and thereby remain relevant.
The holiday season means family, friends, and of course, scrumptious food. I'm excited and thrilled because this year it also means books. This will be my first Christmas ever as a published author.
On Friday, December 17th I'm taking part in the Vanilla Heart Publishing Author Dine-A-Round blog event.
It's fun, informative, and even better, it will feature holiday recipes from our books. Check out all of the stops along the Dine-A-Round author sites and by the end you'll have a complete holiday menu. Everything from appetisers to entrees to desserts and even beverages.
To make the celebration even better, Vanilla Heart Publishing is offering SUPER SPECIALS on Dine-Around-Titles - including my book, FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL, first of the Muriel Reeves Mysteries.
We've all heard the door to a person's soul is their eyes. Artists, authors and lovers have long believed the truth of who we truly are is there for all to see. If only we take the time to look.
Leonardo da Vinci understood that. And yet, one of his greatest accomplishments is the technique he used to create Mona Lisa's smile. Painted more than five hundred years ago, the Mona Lisa is one of the world's most recognized portraits. Her smile, art historians and critics claim, tell us a great deal about the mystery woman.
Silvano Vinceti, an Italian researcher, however, insists everything we need to know is still found in her eyes. Literally. He's examined them with high resolution images.
"Invisible to the naked eye and painted in black on green-brown are the letters LV in her right pupil, obviously Leonardo's initials, but it is what is in her left pupil that is far more interesting," said Vinceti. He believes the initials painted on her left pupil is a clue to her identify, and he will announce his conclusions in January.
Will that change anything now that we may know exactly who the lovely lady really is? Not really. But when I finally march inside the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa for myself (and I will because it's on my bucket list), I'll not only admire her smile. I plan to gaze deep into her eyes.
Are you shopping for the holidays online more this year than in previous years? Me, too. It's quick, easy, and convenient. As an added bonus, I'm often able to find just the right gift for that hard-to-buy-for-pain, um, I mean that 'special' person on my list.
Whispers of the Muse is an online site "designed for the creative heart. It is a place for writers to write, aspiring writers to learn and be nurtured, readers to enjoy and artists to display their talent."
Living up to their mission statement, they've just released an online literary shopping guide filled with gift suggestions of more than 155 books by 73 published authors...including yours truly!
Women are becoming their own employers and running their own companies in record numbers...and they're doin it at home.
For Indianapolis-based writer, Emily Suess, it began through necessity. “In my case, my home writing business began because I simply needed the money to make ends meet.” She also understands the motivation for such a move. “In tough economic times, people become increasingly resourceful about how they market their talents and skills.”
Not a writer? No problem. Other in demand home-based opportunities include catering services, event planners, virtual assistants, and online retailers.
December is here. The countdown has begun. The holiday is literally just around the corner, and I for one am nowhere near ready.
A Japanese aquarium just south of Tokyo, however, has embraced the season. And as they've done for the past five years, they're doing it in a very unique way. They use the energy generated by their electric eel to light up a Christmas tree.
This year they went one step further, and have made it interactive. Visitors stomp on a pad and use their muscles, much like the eel uses his (or her) muscles to generate power, to get a lifesized Santa to move.
Fun and educational for the entire family, whether fish or human!
I'm always on the lookout for a new diet. One that miraculously sheds pounds with zero to little effort on my part. I'll admit that's sad, unrealistic and just plain wrong, but hey, at least I'm being honest.
The latest, an all potato diet, where it's spuds for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with potato snacks in between, sounds a bit dramatic, right? And it is. This is a protest diet. One conceived to make a point, rather than reduce waistlines.
Chris Voigt, 45, Head of the Washington State Potato Commission, began his spuds-only regimen two months ago to protest a U.S. Department of Agriculture rule barring low-income recipients of food vouchers under the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program from using their benefits to purchase white potatoes.
Having just ended his diet, Voigt does not recommend it as a "healthy sustainable" weight-loss plan, but admits it did help him lower his blood sugar, cut his total cholesterol by over a third, and reduced his weight from 197 to 176 pounds.
Impressive, but I'm still gonna pass. Although I have to hand it to him in terms of creativity. His all potato version of turkey, something he dubbed "tur-tato", sounds like pure fiction. Don't be surprised if one of my characters in the Muriel Reeves Mysteries steals that idea. Tur-tato sounds like fun!