Saturday, April 30, 2011

Milestone: 50 Followers!

Wow, this snuck up on me! And for some reason I still am unable to see who were the last 2-3 people who joined, although I know one for sure, but can't remember who all had been followers, so the last person to join, I just don't know, but I'll guess it might be TC McKee. Anyone what to help me out, please do.

Hopefully having 3 days off I might be able to get something done. But probably not. However, I'm going to try and make a valiant effort in getting a couple more chapters read through, tweaked or whatever needs to be done on second book. I have to continue making posts to help rev up interest over on my publisher's site, too. So, there's that to do.

And a week from this coming Monday I am going to be on Patricia's Vampire Notes blog. I'll be doing a give away, so stay tuned, tell your friends, etc. Don't worry, I will remind you.

It's windier today, but warm, however we are to get some storms later. Speaking of that, I do feel for those people down south who have been devastated by the destructive forces of the many, many tornadoes which ripped through that part of the country. My husband's cousin lives down there, right near the town that was leveled. We don't know if she and her husband and horses and dogs are okay as yet. The power, etc is out.

I do plan on a couple of posts. One I hope to do with a meteorologist student about his storm chasing, thought it would really be interesting to hear about his experience. Also, I have a Sumiko Reads to put up, and just have not had the time to work on it because of all the extra cleaning I've had to do around here when we got home. I just don't have the time. But I will work on those, or hope to have them up soon. I don't know about the storm chaser, since finals week is coming up, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Tomorrow is May 1st. Maybe we'll begin to have better weather around here soon. My husband begins his summer park job of mowing at Afton on Monday. I know he is very happy to get off the bus, and if there was some way I could afford to not drive this summer I would.

This is the kiss--they kissed twice. I missed it both times they showed it on TV. Oh well. Got the picture of it. I sure hope that they have a wonderful life. I think they prepared for this in those 8 years of getting to know one another.

On that note, have a great day everyone!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Wedding of the Century

So, the prince chose his bride, commoner, Cathrine Middleton. After an 8 year romance, they have tied the knot.

I told you I would be up to watch it from the very beginning early this morning (3 a.m.), Dennis and I were nearly glued to the TV watching it, save when we had to make our lunches, eat breakfast and just get ready. The wedding took place in Westminster Abby, a thousand year old Abby, it stands at a height of 225 feet and over five hundred feet long. It is so large that they had placed trees--possibly standing 20 foot tall--along the side as they walked in. Sort of cool seeing that.

Both Dennis and I got a little teary during the 10-12 minute cerimony in which they said "I will". You have to realize as you watched the two of them, they are in love. Watching how Kate really kept so calm, and William striving to not beam like an idiot. You could tell he was happy as could be. I know the feeling of that day (Dennis does too), it is the happiest day of your married life, until you have children. But there you are in front of everyone who matters. For Kate and Prince William, the whole thing was shown on huge screens all over London and elswhere, much like that of what is in football stadiums. In fact this was such a huge event, it nearly took down the Internet. The tweets kept mounting. It was the 6th largest Web event ever.

I compare this to if the Cubs win a world series, and a couple of other such events happening at the same time, it would just be ridiculous. People just filled the streets. The bells and cheers were deafening.

Oh, and my favorite part was the carriage ride. It didn't rain (what luck!), and they had an open carriage drawn by 6 white horses. Very romantic indeed.

Kate wore her hair down. She seems to be very much down to earth, and the dress was very lovely and not overly-anything, and the train wasn't a . . . well, a train like Princess Di had.

I understand that parties are still going on and Pubs and such will be open much later tonight, so if you're there in London, you're probably just about invisible drunk right about now.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Updates: Kitchen is Coming Along

The cabinets went in yesterday, the sink and counter top went in. I was able to wash morning dishes, this afternoon, in the kitchen for the first time in two and a half weeks! Joy! And the sinks are deeper than original. Wonderful! I can wash a crock pot out, and other such pots.

We now have 9 drawers. I once had only 3. Oh! I'll be able to fill them with different things, keeping everything in their own place. Very nice! The cupboards up and below will have more space and I'll be able to actually keep things down below the sink too. Before--yish! No way! This is an old house and the mice inhabited it quite well before we came and we figured out how to keep them down in the basement--that's all I'm saying, just in case I've got some animal activists here checking me out. Hey, it's not illegal to kill mice!

I don't have photos, but believe me, this went from something that you wouldn't let anyone see, to something we will definitely celebrate once it's all finished. Going to have a list of things we'll need, and will try and finagle a new refrigerator out of the deal. We will already get a stove, so we'll see if the fridge might be a thing we can ask for.

The other worker is a retired painter. My husband had said to him, "Figures, you retire from painting and now you'll do more painting." And he had done some patching here and there, so I know he'll be busy painting soon.

Meanwhile, I've been busy with my next book. I'm reading--when I can--a chapter a night. I've had the green light from my publisher that they can take it. But my editor (Yolanda), is a tad busy (with other novels), and I told her that I'm not quite finished with it. She's doing a wonderful job with my posts, when I send them to her, over at Frogen Yozurt. She has a knack for this stuff, and it always looks good once she's done with it.

Also, I'm into Angelology. I've gotta tell you, I'm engrossed in this story. It reads to me something like what Historian did. Only Historian was far more intricately woven. However the writing is comparable. Very good. Once I'm finished I will have a little review, but I would recommend this whole heartily. If you have been thinking of buying this one, do so. I think it will not disappoint you. I'm about half way and the story is told in 3rd person, and then in another section because of the different POV, it is told in 1st person. I'm really impressed with Trussoni's writing.

Well, here I will leave you. I do have a post coming up with Sumiko's reads, but I just have not had time to work on it, so do forgive. I think I'll work it up for this weekend.

Oh, and I'll be up watching the Royal Wedding on Friday morning--since I'll be up anyway at the time the networks will be showing it at 3 a.m.

Tah for now!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

You Set Fires In The Forest Preserve?

Hi, everyone who keeps up with this blog, you might remember about a week or so back Dennis and I had to call the fire department because of a prairie burn that had somehow not gone out, and it caught in the needles of mature white pines north of the park. It was taken care of, of course. But I had promised to post some pictures and an explanation about the prairie burns, and thanks to our superintendant of DeKalb County Forest Preserve, Terry Hannan, I have pictures and the whole story.

DeKalb County Forest Preserve staff has designated forest, prairie and wetland management areas in all forest preserves. Altogether about 300 acres are managed with controlled burns. Our prairie landscape and soils were shaped by fire and fire helps preserve DeKalb County’s natural resource areas. Fire is the most efficient and economical tool available for managing natural plant communities.

Without fire, non-native plants can gain a foothold and force out native plants. Fire recycles nutrients back into the soil and makes a favorable place for the native Illinois grasses and flowers to flourish. Big bluestem, blazing star, pale purple coneflower, shooting star,sedges, prairie cord grass and hundreds of other forest, prairie and wetland plants keep their buds safely beneath the soil surface protected from fire.

Animals too are adaptive to fire, temporarily leaving areas, flying away or entering their underground burrows. Some areas are burned and other nearby areas left unburned for wildlife to move to. Spring burning ends early before birds begin nesting. E.P.A. permits are obtained and County Sheriff’s office notified, as well as neighbors close to controlled burn sites. Safety and planning before and during burns is key to successful burn management; safety preparations, firebreak establishment, humidity, wind direction and speed, smoke management, burn crew communication, plant community knowledge and burn cycles are all considered before beginning a burn.

Burns begin in March, end in April.

The picture to the right is of the wetlands that is due south of our house, you can see the barn in the background, and our house sits right behind it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I'm giving out an award today folks, so you'd better come and see if you're on this list . . . because you might be. And if you are. Pick it up here!

Last week, James Garcia Jr. (known by all as Jimmy), happened to give out an award, and I realized my name was down. I don't often get awards, and if any of you don't know, but I'm busy and so can't actually get to these things right away. I've got a house that is in a quiet chaotic state because of the I-don't-have-a-kitchen state. But generally speaking this takes me a whole lot of time from all the things I have to do in my day. Aside from having two jobs (yes, I'm part of the management team here at Afton Forest Preserve and our season has just begun and the phone is beginning to ring with people wanting shelter rentals and I also help my husband--who is #1 park manager--clean the park. A nasty job of cleaning garbage up and outhouses), I also have 2 WIP's--one is nearly done, however. I also take care of more than one blog--Muse is only one. I also have to make regular posts at Frogenyozert, and my other personal blogs which are mentioned here and one over on Word Press as well.

Added to this my own house duties which sometime accumulate on the weekends. So, obviously I have to get up pretty early to do stuff.

Now this award is called the Liebster Blog. I'm not sure who comes up with these awards, but this one was given to me. I understand that it is supposed to go to those bloggers who have less than 300 followers, and someone you feel has made some sort of contribution to blogging. Well I picked these 5 because mainly I like these chick's blogs. So without further ado, here they are, and I encourage all of you to go check these lady's blogs out because they are nice folks, and have great blogs.

J.L. Jackson

Heather McCorkle

T.C. McKee

Michele Bradford-Arkon

The Blogger Formally Known As

There you have it. I've come to know all of these ladies through their blogs. They truly have contributed to my blogging world, for sure. And I couldn't see if all were under 300 followers as I'm unable to see the follower list any more--not sure why--but I think these five ladies do deserve it.

Have a wonderful day all of you!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Something Special from My Publisher

Today, once I got home and got the morning dishes done--which is not fun in any sense of the word. I took care of a few messages for our forest preserve, and finally after getting that business over with, I got to the computer and had a message from my publisher, Copperhill Media.

I was to go to this link and if you want to you should to. This is fabulous! I never would have thought my book could get such nice attention from a publisher, but they did this for the book. I think it looks great!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mid-week updates: Floor in Kitchen is in!

Light marble or stone, in fact it looks like a stone patio. We both like it. We can't wait to see the whole thing put together. They brought in one of the cabinets, this is for the sink. I can see they will have to consider how to go about getting the pipes through it and so forth. I'm just glad I don't have to worry about it.

Last night's fare was chili out of a can. Now, let me say this so you know, my husband is a cook. He's missed his calling, he could have been a chef. If he is impressed with something that comes out of a can, then it must be good. Wolf Texas Chili. It was fabulous! A little heat, but not something you need the fire extinguisher for. We added shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream on top.

Tonight's fare is a deli herbed chicken from our local grocery store and a salad. Salas will be served in a Styrofoam bowl, but we'll eat our chicken on regular plates. Washing them in the bathroom sink is a challenge, but I have a system of how to get the job done. I just think of it as a little better than camping. I pour the dirty dishwater down the toilet. It's how you are supposed to do it if you are at a camping in a national forest that has something like a disposal area for dumping "gray" water--not on the ground!

I was told by a woman about my age who rides my bus once or twice a week that if a marriage can survive a kitchen make over, it can survive anything. I wanted to say, we've survived plenty more than that. This is nothing, really. We have been wanting this kitchen redone for too long. It's like looking at an ugly black spot on the rug and you just want it gone. Only this was a whole room.

But I digress.

I've begun reading Angelology. I like to sit under my brand new floor lamp and read after supper. It's my reading hour from 7-8p.m. I'm enjoying this book, so far. I want to say that Trussoni is an excellent writer, and I feel like I'm there with her characters. I don't want to ruin the plot or anything, but if you have not picked this book up and think you want to, I've a feeling she isn't going to let you down. But I'll get back to you on this.

I've also begun reading Dead In The Family, and this is one of Harris' more somber books. She does a good job in getting you up to speed, slowly through about two or three chapters. It was about a year ago I read the last one. I read this on my bus when time allows (while waiting for trains, or for my leave time from student center). At this book, she and Eric are a couple. She was wounded, almost died in last book. She's recouping in the beginning of this one from the Fae War, and Eric explains why he couldn't come to her rescue--because he was tied up with silver ropes by one of the head vampires. I think I'm going to like this because already Sookie wants to kill a vampire because of this, which surprises the hell out of Eric.

My third book's plot has been at a stand still so far, only because I wanted something dramatic to happen, something that puts Sabrina's life at risk, more so than it has so far in this book, because my villain realizes that Sabrina has been able to thwart her earlier efforts. So, I've been allowing my mind to turn over the things a little at a time. I don't like to rush into a scene any more and write it and decide I don't like the way it came out and have to rewrite it. I'd rather consider the possibilities and come to some understanding with my villain--what would they do, and how exactly would they do it, and what would happen if they foiled again?

I've been in contact with the superintendent of DeKalb County Forest Preserve, asking him for some information and pictures of a prairie burn. I hope to put this up for you all to see and read. If you recall, last week we had a fire out at Afton, and had to call the fire department to get it out. It started up from a burn that wasn't quite out, or something happened and it caught again. Many people wonder why we burn the dead prairie grasses, and I just wanted to post something on this for those of you who aren't familiar with controlled burns of replanted prairies. it is basically to keep invasive non-native plants to take a foot hold, and to put nutrients back. I just feel that it would be an interesting post.

I'm also looking to give out the Liebster award. I need to find two more fellow blogers with less than 300 followers. My problem is I CAN'T SEE THE FOLLOWERS! I can't even see my own followers. I'm not sure why this is happening.

But, I'll be doing that on the weekend too. It is nearly dinner time. By the time I am done with the few dishes I'll have, I'm going to be pooped. Driving a bus is stressful--even when things go well, it's still stressful and it takes a lot out of me any more. So, add to that the way we have to go about our daily routine without a kitchen. So, as I've stated, if I seem to be not around, this is why. I've got very little time when I get home and I just run out of energy, once I do get settled. Not only that, I've begun getting calls for shelter rentals and I have to call these people back and do that part of my forest preserve job (my second, or third hat I wear around here).

Tomorrow I will post Bumper Sticker of The Week. Very short and sweet, unless something monumental happens around here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Can We Talk?

I've shopped all day and came home with lots of goodies for my office, including a floor lamp and a small rug, and a mesh wire wastebasket, plus the little things like pens and notebooks and so forth. I was a mad woman going from aisle to isle grabbing things. My husband had gone off to try on jeans (Wal Mart, 'kay?), and well, he took the shopping cart. Dang it! I needed the cart. Where am I going to put the rug and that box that held the floor lamp (which I had to screw together once I got it home)? So, I had to just leave those things and with my arm filled with pens, and junk, I found him within two minutes.


I can never find this man when I'm in Wal Mart just like that. Well, he knew where I was, and was angling my way, so it worked out.

After this we went to lunch. Good burgers at Culvers. I only stole about ten of his fries because I'm a good girl. Iced tea, sweetened with Splenda.

Then, on we went to Kohl's. Dennis needed slippers and handkerchiefs. We walked around and around trying to find someone to help us. It's Monday. It might have been lunch time. I don't know. Finally some guy with a beer gut showed up and found the hankies but said that slippers were a Christmas item.

I found my crew socks, so I was happy with that. The hankies were too expensive (we found affordable brand at Target).

We headed for Target. I remembered a few things I hadn't grabbed at Wally World, and grabbed those things, like a package of 4 highlighters--not a huge package of like 18 at Wally World. I don't need all those damned colors I just need the basics! And the wire mesh waste basket came from Target too. I was tempted to buy a bunch of other things, but didn't. I still had the bookstore to get to and find the books I wanted.

It was something after noon by the time we came out with a couple of bags of things. Actually found a place for them in the back of the pickup--extra cab is handy.

We drove over to Barns & Nobel, just down the way. I get into this place and I can't find a thing. I'm not used to their system (I was a Borders shopper). So, after trying to find the books and not finding them, I get the attention of one of the ladies in the area that can look up books for you.

I told her, one by one the books I wanted. Yes, she had "Angelology" right down an aisle I had been down, if I'd looked a little further down, I might have seen it! The Evanovich book was a sale one. And They had Charlaine Harris' "Dead In The Family" too. I can't even remember, but the second gal knew where it was in the back and like magic she had it. She told me that Charlaine was doing a signing nearby this coming weekend, and she was going to it. She went on to tell me she'd met various authors, including Laurel K. Hamilton. "She and her husband are really wonderful," she said.

I took that opportunity to say "Well, you've just met another author." I introduced myself and told her what my book's title was.

"Is it an eBook?"

"Oh, yesssss!"

By this time I'm dead and I'd forgotten I still had something on a gift card for B&N, but oh well, I'll use it another time, I guess.

We did swing by Big Lots to check out their chairs and other things. I grabbed a couple things, just because I needed them and the price was right.

We head home under gray skies. Buck, our supervisor of the county forest preserve is still at the house. We greet him. I shout, "Honey, I'm home!" and he laughs.

We have a meeting with him about things. The floor will be going in first, this week. It has to be warmed up. It's presently in a tight roll out in a shed. Goooood luck on that. He tells us his plans on the cupboards, and so forth. I ask about the window for over the sink. He answers this and now that question is answered.

So, I'm pooped. I do have an award to tell you about, and give away, but I'm going to do this another night. I just wanted to give you all an up date on my day and what I bought. Here's the books. I'm so happy to have finally bought "Angelology", and the other two books, as well. These have been on my "to read list" for a while.

Good night and tomorrow I'm back to the grind.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Saturday So Far

As I nibble on cheese and swill--I mean--sip my wine, the wind outside is ferocious. It batters the very foundation of this old house. But we are safe, be asured, gentle readers. My Saturday is going by like most. There was the trip to the bank because this was payday, and then we went to the grocery store. No biggie. But then you've never had to reconsider how to cook/prepare a meal without a kitchen. Or, if you have, you know what I mean. There is no counter or sink at all. What a dilemma. ~*~ However, at least as things stand, we do have the oven/stove to use. My husband chose two strip steaks, a large potato to bake in the oven, and sounds like corn on the side. Yum! I will have to wash the dishes used, but he tells me the pan he is frying them on is going out the door after. ~*~ Nice. Wish I could just toss the dishes as well. But we're not feasting on even Chinet's tonight, it will be real plates. My second royalty check came in mail today and I couldn't be more pleased of its timing or the amount. Seems I've already spent it (if you read from my Vampire Writer's Retreat, you'll see what I mean). We are taking Monday off to go shopping. Shop until we drop, or run out of money, whichever comes first. I plan on buying some sort of book. Perhaps two. We will have to stay out all day, hoping that something further is done on the kitchen while we are out. Lunch will be taken somewhere. ~*~ The weather is not predicted to be great. Possibly rain. We don't know. We had planned on going out of town, but I don't know as yet. I hope to go to the bookstore, wherever we are. Work on my third book is going along slowly. I'm a layering type of writer. Takes me a while to really get into the swing of the whole thing, and I might think of things I wanted to put in, and so go back and re-read (and make corrections) as I go. I'm very unorthodox in my writing habits. But then that's me. ~*~ I'm thinking about buying Angelology by Danielle Trussoni mainly because it really sounds like a good book and ever since it came out I've wanted to read it. Now there's talk it will be made into a movie. Well, I don't want to do the backward thing and read it after I see the movie, like I did with the Harry Potter books--the first 3 or 4. So, I'm going to see about this book first. She's on my facebook, but doesn't mean we're friends in real life. She lives in Italy, I think? If you visit her site you will learn she is working on her next novel and is "unavailable" for anything. ~*~ Nice. Wish I could be "unavailable" while working on my WIP. Well, I'm going to go off line, now, so that I will be "unavailable" for comment or anything else for the rest of the evening. ~*~ Have a pleasant one.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Bumper Stickers Suck

Who hasn't been stuck in traffic and with nothing better to do you look at the bumper of the car or truck in front of you? Hopefully there's some reading material, because for me my day gets really tedious driving this bus around and around for 7 hours a day.

You see a variety of stickers, they might be political, like old signs from an election campaign. Sport teams are a popular one. Sometimes they spout off religious or belief systems. You have your fish people and you have your Darwin people, of course that aren't really bumper stickers but permanent. There was a bumper sticker I saw the other day that proclaimed: “Planned Parenthood Is Really Planned Barrenhood”. I'm not sure what the point was of that one, if they are trying to make people mad at them who don't agree or what.

However there are the usual ones that don't offend, and get you to chuckling. There are the risque ones as well. I'm not sure what the little boy with the mean face peeing is all about, but that one really annoys me.

There's even those stick people in the windows of vans and such where you can see how many kids and pets they have. Those are fun.

My favorite one of the week goes to the blond chick in a yellow Jeep. She had other stickers, but this one was fresh:

“Silly Boy, Jeeps Are For Girls”

Do you have a favorite one? Share it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mid-week Updates--the kitchen, the contest, Fire at Afton Forest Preserve . . .

The winner of my ebook is Laura H. I have already notified her, and she was very excited indeed. Congratulations to Larua. I sure did have fun doing this and will do it again soon. I thank everyone who participated & left some wonderful comments. So, we find that they have put in the wood for the flooring, today, and began a tongue-in-groove wooden slats for wall--we are not sure if this is how they plan on doing the whole thing. But so far it is a big improvement, once the yucky wall of sheet rock is covered. I'm not sure how they plan on doing the rest. Also there is supposed to be a new north window--whenever that's done I have no idea. We just go away and come back and something new is added. Last night about 7 pm we had a voice male from someone who had been out in the park that we take care of, saying that he knew that they'd had a burn for the prairie--they burn off the old prairie to help the growth, and get rid of unwanted species--and somehow they'd missed a hot spot and it had sparked over under mature white pine trees. Well, we went out and checked along the south-east border, and sure enough there was some good flames going along the fence line. My husband called 911--the very first time we've ever done anything remotely like this--and the dispatch took the information. In about 5-10 minutes engines from the small, but close by towns of Waterman and Hinckely were there on our road and my husband tried to tell them how they might be able to access the area. There's a creek that runs across the park and the engines wouldn't have been able to get across the small bridges which can only take a pickup truck at best. The sun was setting, and by the time things got rolling it had set. Dennis had me stay in the house and he drove out into the park and called me later to give me the up-date that the fire was out. It basically caught on to the pine needles, and once it reached the field, which was plowed under, it had no place to go. But hooray for these guys who came out and took care of the fire! So, needless to say tonight is a dinner out night. No desire to have to heat things up. Have someone wait on us instead.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kitchen Down to bare floor and walls

Weellll, When you come home and see that ugly cabinets, counters etc. are gone forever, you feel a sense of relief. Of course, now we are down to using the disposable dishes and so forth, but you still have to use something to cook in, thus I will be doing dishes (just a few things) in the bathroom. This is like camping in your own house . . . only you still have running water, a bathroom, and privacy. This house is over 100 years old, and a portion of the kitchen was an addition--way before we ever set foot out this way. Possibly before we were born, in fact. Dennis and I have grown up in old houses where our parents renovated. We know what it's like. We will get through this. At least tonight it wasn't too bad. We didn't rearrange furniture like we did last night (because the way we had it just wasn't working). We don't know what the new cabinets will look like as yet. Maybe it would be a pleasant surprise to just wait and see it in the kitchen. I will look forward to a floor I can wash (remember I said the other was a rug--yish!) I recall when my father had renovated the kitchen and the rest of the rooms downstairs. Uh, his house was built in something like 1865. The kitchen being the oldest part--and there was some interesting configurations in the construction . . . but no old money hidden. Darn! Meanwhile the contest over on Fangtastic Books is over. I will announce the winner tomorrow here. I have just told her about it and have contacted my publisher to send her the eBook. We're having pretty good weather for April here, today and tomorrow 60's, but after that it sounds yish! I'm working on the third book, allowing the second one to just sit before I do a final read through. Now, if Publisher's Clearing House would just leave me alone . . . I might get something done tonight!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Upheaval - Kitchen Renovations & Reminder for Contest TOMORROW

Earlier this morning, we got things moved from the kitchen into the other rooms. The refrigerator, freezer and small table all are moved and we've rearranged living room to accommodate the way we will have to live for the weeks coming up, since starting this coming Monday will begin the tearing/ripping out of the cabinets and so forth. What a mess that will be. Fortunately we won't be here while that happens. We'll be at work. Dennis, the king of organization, planned out how we would have to move the tables and so forth to where we would best utilize them. The microwave and coffee maker will be in the living room. Various food items are placed in--of all things--ice chests (which are easy to open and keep the food inside from getting anything on them, and out of the way). And a little bit of spring cleaning sort of went along with it in certain areas. But we didn't get too overly wild on this, as whatever the mess will create in as far as dust will get all over everything.

So, if you don't hear from me in a while--after tomorrow that is--don't panic. I'll be around and try and do a few things in here. But otherwise I'll have to probably deal with the mess and clean up. We went and bought paper plates and plastic cups and so forth so that when we don't have a sink to use, we'll be able to at least eat on something and throw it all out. Well, I never liked doing dishes anyway. But, once I have a new kitchen cooking and cleaning will really be less of a chore. I'll actually have a floor I can wash! That old carpet that was put down was ugly to begin with and got uglier as time went by, and just not the type of place I wanted to invite guests in. I just hope that the job is done right. The forest preserve is using their own people to do the work to save labor costs. Which is fine, as long as we get a kitchen and some doors and such put in as well. I have no way of posting a before and after picture, but that's okay. I, at least know what it looked like. But I will take a cell phone picture just to be able to look back at it.

But all of you who want to join in the fun tomorrow on Fangtastic Books for the give-away, stop by. I will post the link or something here so that you can hop over there, leave a comment and try and win an eBook.

Good luck to you all, Roxanne will pick the winner for me and I will be contacted by her about the winner. I'm not sure how long the contest will be up for, so you'll want to get there early.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Vampire Writer's Retreat: Something from my 3rd novel

Vampire Writer's Retreat: Something from my 3rd novel: "(apologies ahead of time, this begins and ends abruptly--but enjoy) The sound of equipage approach made us turn toward the front gates agai..."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Review by Tony Martin, Northern Star Columnest

Okay so, I'd been waiting basically at least since autumn when I first approached Tony Martin about my book. Tony, I've learned, is an NIU student, rides my bus and is also an English Major.

When I first told him about it, he seemed okay with the idea. I think it took a little prodding from me, and encouragement a few times about buying the book before Borders closed its doors in DeKalb for the last time.

He definitely bought the book (I had my spies at Borders), and told me that it would beat reading Shakespeare for a change.

I knew that he was going to read it over break because he told me this. So, I waited. Spring break had come and gone and I was picking Tony up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with nary a word from him except a very friendly hello, and thank you at the end of his ride.

Then, Monday when he got on he asked me if I only drove the #2 route. I said yes, and that I'd been driving for about 12 years now--basically 11 & 1/2--and he said it was "for the article".

Okay, sure I was a bit apprehensive about this, because I've been reading Tony's articles. His column is called "Tony Martin Reviews Your Life". He reviews bands, music and whatever suits him. I think this might have been his first book review. He doesn't give everyone a 5-star rating. So, I had to wonder what I would get. I had to wonder what he would say about it. I mean, this is not only a guy, but a frigging ENGLISH MAJOR.

So, last night I was getting off my bus for the last time and there he was smoking a cigarette, waiting to get on the bus. He said "I've just handed in the article to my editor; it should be in the paper in the next few days."

"Okay, so, it's good, right?" I asked.

He slid me an unreadable look, taking a drag on his cigarette. He said, "I won't spoil the surprise for you."

Okay. Now I'll just have a sleepless night thinking about that, were my thoughts.

Well, I actually did have a sleepless night, thinking about everything, including a description of the second book, which I just had to get up and turn on lights and write that down. Once I do this, folks, there's no hope of real sleep--until two hours before I need to get up. So, I was not firing all pistons this morning, and I completely forgot about checking the Northern Star until my husband picked it up for all the sensational headlines on the front cover about a shooting. Well, I said never mind all that, where's my article?

Here it is, if you'd like to read it, click HERE.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sumkio's Reads ~Karen Moning Fever Series are "Fevercrack"

I just finished the Fever Books by Karen Moning. As the friend who recommended them to me said - they are crack. Fevercrack.

I bought the sample of the first book: Darkfever - on my kindle and read it and immediately downloaded the book. Let's see . . . that would have been on Thursday, and I finished the last book late last night. Yes, just like that. Although, given that I read them all on my kindle I'm really not sure how long they are. The five books are really all one book - which is why reading it in one big gulp is so easy. Each book from 1-4 ends on a giant and evil cliffhanger. So you get that urgency to read the next one right away. Friend described them as "dark urban fantasy" - dark because bad things happen. And they do. I cried a lot during the 4th book. Of course, that could just be my general emotional state but I cried and I read and kept going. So, Mac Lane is a sweet southern girl. She grew up in a small town in Georgia and never had any ambitions to leave but her older sister Alina was more ambitions and when she got into Temple University in Dublin she left for the great big world and was murdered. Mac is not convinced that the local authorities really did all they could to find her killers so she goes to Dublin and gets embroiled in things that she never imagined existed. The five books are about her figuring out who she really is, what the truth really is - and all the fallout from that.

The books are: Darkfever:

MacKayla Lane's life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words she's your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman.

Or so she thinks... until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death-a cryptic message on Mac's cell phone—Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister's killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed—a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae .. .


Mackayla Lane's ordinary life underwent a complete makeover when she landed on Ireland's shores and was plunged into a dark, deadly realm unlike any she ever imagined. In her fight to stay alive, Mac must find the Sinsar Dubh—a million-year old book of the blackest magic imaginable that holds the key to power over both the worlds of Fae and Man. Pursued by Fae assassins, surrounded by two deadly and irresistible men:V'lane, the insatiable Fae, who can turn sensual arousal into an obsession for any woman; and the very-inscrutable Jericho Barrons, a man as alluring as he is mysterious.


When MacKayla Lane receives a torn page from her dead sister's journal, she is stunned by Alina's desperate words. And now MacKayla knows that her sister's killer is close. But evil is closer. And Suddenly the sidhe-seer is on the hunt: For answers. For revenge. And for an ancient book of dark magic so evil, it corrupts anyone who touches it.

Mac's quest for the Sinsar Dubh takes her into the mean, shape-shifting streets of Dublin, with a suspicious cop on her tail. Forced into a dangerous triangle of alliance with V'lane, an insatiable Fae prince of lethally erotic tastes, and Jericho Barrons a man of primal desires and untold secrets, Mac is soon locked in a battle for her body, mind and soul.


MacKayla Lane lies naked on the cold stone floor of a church, at the mercy of the erotic Fae master she once swore to kill. Far from home, unable to control her sexual hungers, MacKayla is now fully under the Lord Master's spell. In the New York Times bestselling author Kare Marie Moning's stunning new novel, the walls between human and Fae worlds have come crashing down. And as Mac fights for survival on Dublin's battle-scarred streets, she will embark on the darkest-and most erotically charged-adventure of her life.


MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.

Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister's murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals that have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief, while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh—a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King that contains the power to create and destroy worlds.

Author's website: Karen Moning

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mutterings and Musings

What a difference a day makes! Some days are cherries, and some days are the pits. Well, yesterday was the pits. It was cloudy, gloomy, I was aching everywhere. Not in the mood to be driving a bus, I'll tell you that. But I got through it. We both did. My husband's bus broke down on his very last run. He turned the corner and smelled smoke. The wind was blowing it back into the bus. He stopped and realized the smoke was coming from his bus! He opened the doors and evacuated the bus.

No. This time his bus was not on fire. Although, that has happened once, or twice. Anyway, there was some hose that just blew and I mean it blew, and all the—whatever the heck it was—went all over the engine and that's where the smoke came from. The whole episode put us back several minutes getting back to base. And then, to top it all off, I miss-placed our keys. I thought I'd handed them to my husband.

Nope. I didn't. Where were they? They weren't in my purse—which is where I always keep them (why does he have me carry them? Duh, I've got the big honking purse, of course). Well, after checking everywhere, I pull off my coat and find they were in the pocket of my sweatshirt. Talk about having a senior moment!

So, yesterday ended like that. But today, the sun was out. The sun always makes you happy in the Spring. The temperature was going to be in the 50's and no rain!

I had been reading a Tony Hillerman book I'd bought in 2001. I began reading it and didn't remember it. I have several of his books, and I remembered each one, but not this one. I may not have read it. I finished it last night and it had me thinking about the southwest and while driving to the student center to begin my day I superimposed places I've been in the southwest, like Gallop N.M., over the drab DeKalb, Illinois town. It sort of had me pulled away for a short while. Like I was there.

Hillerman's novels of police procedural mysteries on the Navajo Reservations was always interesting to me. Helps me get reacquainted with Native American thought a little bit. I have other non-fiction books on this too. But this was a good start.

So, this was the beginning of my week. I hope to get through the rest without too much mishap.

Speaking of which, here is my line up for the week here on my blog.

Sumiko's Reads is a new one, and I think will be very interesting. She's actually found a series more addictive than candy. She has discovered Karen Moning novels, which she calls “Fevercrack”. Tune in tomorrow to find out why this series pulled her in. I also plan on posting each of these dark fantasy book's description along with the book covers. Should be good, a post you won't want to miss!

Meanwhile, I'm awaiting an article in the NIU paper, the Northern Star to come out. Have been for months, actually. Tony Martin, an English major, has been my passenger for the whole year, and when I learned that he wrote for the Star, I had to approach him about my book. He was enthusiast. So enthusiast, he bought my book, telling me he would read it over Spring Break. I know that the article will be out soon, because he asked me a question on Monday for it. This is not going to be an interview, but a review. Tony reviews mostly bands, or albums for the paper. He is quite honest. He has not told me if he liked my book or not. I'm a bit nervous. Hopefully I'll at least have 4 stars from his review. I will post this when it comes out, or at least the link to it, of course.

And, just in case you have not heard, I will be on Fangtastic Books blog on April 10th. There is going to be a contest for an eBook of Vampire Ascending, so if you are up for this, you will want to come by. I will have the link posted on the tenth.

Well, that's all for now. Thanks for stopping by and listening to me muttering to myself. Hope you all have a great week, and stop by throughout the week for more updates, and fun stuff.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fire Side Chat

Dennis, my husband, told me we'd be going out to breakfast at this place that opened not long ago. Last time we were there taking advantage of a great meal at an early bird price, the waitress handed us a plastic egg. You know the kind that you put out for Easter and put some little goodies in? She told us to bring it in next time in April, said we might win a meal, a drink, or . . . even a lap top computer. That would be too cool if I won that.

April showers will bring the expected flowers. Going to get into 60's and maybe 70's down south of here. Thunderstorms later. But finally, next week I see no 30's, no mention of snow, just rain. A typical April. We have not had enough rain lately, so, we need it to green things up. Grass isn't looking green enough. My husband's summer job is mowing, and Robins need the worms, so everyone will be happy.

Here are the dates to watch for in order to grab a chance to win an eBook or a softbound copy of Vampire Ascending, ( I will be re posting when it happens including the links to these blogs), APRIL 10th--that's next Sunday, folks!--I'll be a guest on Fang-tastic Books courtesy of Roxanne Rhodes (hope I spelled that right). This is for an eBook copy only. But come by and check it out. MAY 9th -- a month from now, I'll be featured on Patricia's Vampire Notes. This willl be for both the eBook and softbound, courtesy of my publisher, Copperhill Media. I will post the links when they are up, so be sure and check back here. If you're not a follower, and want to have a chance to win, you might want to click the follow button so that you can stay informed about these contests.

We brought our egg to Flippin' Eggs. We got 20% off our meal. Another couple who we know swung by after they were finished and said they'd had 40% off theirs. Maybe next year I'll win that lap top. Or, maybe I'll just buy one. And the desk of my dreams. Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Anti-Cruelty To Vampries: The Newby's Guid to Being a Vampire's Date

Okay, so you've met your hot vampire, and have made plans for him/her to come home with you after a date. You're nervous. You're wondering how the night will go, and what you need to know about vampires in general.

Well, there's a few things that you must be aware of, and also to prepare for your special night-time visitor. After all, you've got a vampire, and they are a bit different from the regular folk you're used to dating.

First of all make sure you have put all religious symbols away—including not wearing a crucifixes yourself. Doing so might just insult or infuriate them. You don't want them to vanish, after all, you've gone to so much trouble, and have taken the first steps, so make sure your house is vampire friendly.

No need to put away or cover any mirrors, however. Vampires do have a reflection, and don't mind them at all.

Also, please know ahead of time if you plan on being their blood host or not. If not, you'd better have a bottle or two of their favorite drink around for your guest, and can be purchased at Tremayne's Outlets and on-line. Warm the bottle in the microwave. Thirty seconds usually is best. A nice way to present it is a wine glass and the bottle on a tray. Allow the vampire to choose if they want to drink from the bottle, or have it in the glass. Be aware, however that if you pour it for them, it shows them that you are fully prepared to be a willing host, and thus your pouring the blood for them, indicates you intend to go “all the way” with them.

If the visit is merely social, do not shake the vampire's hand, or he/she will assume that this is all about touchy-feely. Again, don't presume that the vampire is not going to give in to his nature, simply because he/she acts quite charming and docile. A vampire can put a whammy on you faster than you can count their fangs. Make sure you know the rules of vampire etiquette before hand. Looking straight into a vampire's eyes will invite them to put a thrall on you. So, unless this is more than a social visit, and you fully plan on giving yourself to your vampire, make sure and lower your eyes to some other point on their face, don't touch them, and also don't allow them to walk behind you. Allowing a vampire to walk behind you would be the third indication that you don't mind being hunted.

Remember that vampires were once human too. And they usually have memories of that life before. If they feel comfortable with talking about their human life, then allow them to talk about it, but whatever you do, don't push them into explaining how they had been turned. Unless they bring it up themselves, that is.

If you plan on having your vampire guest stay the night, make sure he/she will have a dark place to stay during the day while you are out. Most vampires do need to sleep—some more than others—and you will need to prepare a room that either is windowless, or where you have thoroughly blocked out all light and especially sunlight from coming through. And yes, they prefer sleeping in beds.

So, good luck and have fun. Remember to be a responsible vampire host!

Chickens lay eggs, and so do Turtles

For those of you who don't know my husband is park ranger and one of his main jobs is mowing. He has a large deck (72") Toro Zero T...