Monday, November 2, 2015

Am I a Blooming Idiot?

Hmm . . . maybe I don't want your opinion on that, LOL!

If you follow me on Facebook, you know a couple of things about this post already. If you don't follow me there and you'd like to, here's the link:

In early October, our bougainvillea burst into bloom. The first photo is the one I posted on Facebook. The second photo is one I took last week. It's been awesome seeing this beautiful sight all month.

In the middle of the month, our bird of paradise surprised us. We've had this plant about ten years. It's bloomed once, about six years ago. Now we have this one.

A couple of weeks later, a second flower joined it.

Now, two more buds are forming.

To top it off, our lemons are almost ready for picking.

When I went out to photograph the lemons, I noticed something else. Our elephant ears are now officially taller than our six-foot fence. A baby elephant could be hiding under there somewhere, and we'd never know.

You'd think that would be enough for one month, right?

Not exactly.

We also went on vacation. We traveled to Jacksonville for a meetup with some old friends. Lots of fun, laughter, and wine all around. On the way home, we waited out the rain in Biloxi.

I didn't plan it, but I totally unplugged for the full week. No email. No internet. No computer. No television. No Kindle. No camera. I didn't think I would ever be able to do that. But I did. And what a difference! I truly had a real vacation.

Next month, a special guest will join me at the Tiki Hut. Here's a hint: My guest isn't Santa Claus :)

See y'all on Monday, December 7.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Out of the Blue

Now that I'm blogging only once a month, I feel compelled to offer a better quality post than the quickies I often dashed off when I was blogging once a week.

As a result, I spend much more time thinking about what kind of post to share than I've done in the past. It was during this thinking time that what I'm about to share with you occurred.

I was sitting here working on my manuscript. I follow a loose plot timeline, but what occurs to my characters happens as I write it.

On this particular day, one of the characters said something that surprised me. I hadn't known exactly how he was going to extricate himself from a certain situation, but he managed just fine.

About that time, he mentions Ralph and Naomi Baxter. I stopped typing. What? Who are they? I don't have people on the character list named Ralph and Naomi Baxter.

My fingers start typing again, and I learn Ralph and Naomi are another character's grandparents. Ralph is the owner of Baxter Pharmaceutical, and they're worth a boatload of cash.

Well. I took my fingers off the keyboard.

Where did this come from? How was it exactly what I needed?

Those of you who write have probably experienced this kind of thing before. I have. I just haven't documented the incidents. However, I'm thinking that could be a good idea. I love when it happens, and I wish it happened more often.

Returning to Ralph . . . I decided to check to make sure there wasn't a company with that name. That decision began a new round of woo-woo.

The first return was for Baxter PharmaSolutions, a division of Baxter International. Close enough. I knew I needed to change the name.

Right beneath these two entries was an Wikipedia entry for Baxter International. I clicked over to see if there was any history included. You know what I wanted to see - if there had been a Ralph Baxter involved in the company's development.

I scrolled down to History. Here are the first two sentences:
Baxter International was founded in 1931 by Donald Baxter, a medical doctor, as a manufacturer and distributor of intravenous therapy solutions. Baxter's interest was bought out in 1935 by Ralph Falk, who established a research and development function.

Just for grins, I did another search, this one for a Ralph and Naomi Baxter:
NAME: Naomi L . Baxter
SPOUSE: Joseph Ralph Baxter
BIRTH: 6 Sep 1918
DEATH: 1 Dec 1994

How is this explained? Is it totally random? Do we tap into the Global Consciousness?

Or is it something more?

It's like ideas. Where does an idea come from? I have no clue. I almost said no idea. One day it's just there.

Yes, I work on plot and character and all the other elements. But I have nothing to do with the initial idea. Sometimes, I have very little to do with story. I sit down, and it comes out my fingers.

Like with Ralph and Naomi.

Who are still in the story, by the way. They just have a different last name now :)

What do you think?

See you back here on Monday, November 2.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Love: Immortal and Mortal

UPDATE #2: After posting this in the comments, I realized I should've put it up here. It's Monday...can you tell :)

I'm back...finally! What a mess. Of course it had to happen on the week I blog. We didn't get our service back until Saturday afternoon - and the cable is still strung out across our front lawn, which will probably prompt a nasty letter from the HOA. Such is life. Our provider said a different crew will come out to bury it within two weeks.

I'll be by to visit you this week. Better late than never :)

UPDATE: My wifi is out and will be until Friday at the earliest. The cable is broken under our street. I may make it to visit some of you this week, but most likely I'll be visiting most of you next week.

September? Really? I'm not ready for September, but I suppose I better hustle and get ready or it'll go on without me.

September is a great month for releasing books. I have a new one to share with you by Murees Dupe. I love this cover!

The Amaranthine
(Thelum series)
by Murees Dupé
now available

Claire is sassy, human, and an outcast of society―who only wants to know where she belongs.

Alex is arrogant, selfish, and an immortal warrior―who thinks he’s prepared for everything.

Claire knows the world of immortals is where she belongs. As her guide and guardian, Alex finds it hard to resist Claire’s subtle charm. Can the two overcome their differences and embrace their passion for each other, or will the possibility of true love be lost to both forever?

You can find it here:
Kindle * Nook * Ibooks * Kobo *Amazon (paperback)

Sending you good wishes for much success, Murees!

Now that I've shared the news about The Amaranthine, I want to give you an update on my trilogy progress. I'm about two-thirds finished drafting the second book. I hope to be done by the end of the month, or no later than mid-October if the story runs long. Then there's the third book - the ending. I love writing the ending :)

I can say for certain that I really miss chatting with all of you throughout the month. But . . . since I am a writer, I've gotta, you know, actually write.

Before I go back to drafting fiction, however, I have a story to share. A true story, as it turns out, about my totally mortal family. I'll try to make it interesting - so you don't feel as if you're chatting with your aunt's grandmother's third cousin twice removed. If there is such a thing.

I do a little bit of family tree reading because I'm curious about where I came from. While I love to do research, not so much on family. It's too time consuming.

I learned  way back when that It doesn't take but a couple of generations to produce a whole lot of people and paper. Especially when a family is prolific.

So buckle up - here we go.

You've probably heard me say that I'm mostly German and English. English on my mom's side. German and English on my dad's. There's a stray Irish lass on Dad's side and a randy Frenchman on Mom's. Plus one Viking or more way back when.

My uncles and cousins have been able to trace many of these lines back to colonial times in our country, and then my ancestors moved west. So I come from a long line of independent vagabonds.

A few weeks ago, I got a notice that the family tree was updated. So that night I went over to look, figuring someone I probably don't know either died or had a baby.

But no. A cousin had connected the dots on my paternal grandmother's side. Until the addition of this new information, we believed all of Grandma's ancestors initially arrived in Virginia.

Turns out, that's not exactly so. One happily married couple arrived in Massachusetts. Plymouth Colony, to be exact. She via the Mayflower with her parents and siblings. He on the Anne (the third ship to arrive - I think).

That's all cool and gives me fodder to chat about at gatherings. But here's something even cooler for me. The original arriving male ancestor wasn't who he said he was.

I love that!

He created a new identity for himself and no one was the wiser, until some genealogist somewhere started tracing the lines back. The person he said he was had died as a young child back in England. At this point, there's little chance of finding out who this magnificent impostor truly was.

Was he a hardened criminal? A scoundrel? A poor man who saw an opportunity to better himself? A royal without a future? Whoever he was, a drop or two of his blood runs through my veins. That's as fantastic as the drop of Viking blood from my mom's side!

More speculation . . . did this mysterious man confess his secrets to his wife? Did one or a combination of their children bear his real name? Or the names of his parents? Did he fear someone learning of his secret? Did he have a plan if they did?

I've seen movies about this kind of thing. Read books. But this is real life. And my family. Amazing!

Oh, and it turns out there's also a French Connection on Grandma's side. In this same line. One of the early female descendants of the impostor married a descendant of a documented Huguenot in Virginia.

So I am officially a teeny bit more French than I originally believed. Sadly, I did not become automatically skinny and develop an impressive fashion sense upon learning this news.

But I did suddenly crave French fries :)

p.s. - In the interest of transparency, I need to tell you that I have no idea if this family history has been verified. I'm just sharing what I read. So maybe. Or not.

See you back here on Monday, October 5.
Have a great September!

Monday, August 3, 2015

It's a Beer...It's a Sale...It's a Giveaway!

The Last Sale of Summer has arrived.

This week - August 3 through August 9 - SECRETS OF HONOR is on sale at Amazon for 99 cents. It is always available to read for free via Kindle Unlimited.

By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.

As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death--locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of her dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.

Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.

The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl--or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.

SECRETS OF HONOR is the story of a jewel thief with many talents who happens to work for the government.

All shares of the SECRETS OF HONOR sale information
with your friends is much appreciated.
Thanks to all who continue to read and purchase my books.

In other news . . . 

Here's a huge THANK YOU to Brandon and Bryan, the awesome funny guys at A BEER FOR THE SHOWER, for the Ad Blocker Plus suggestion in the comments of my July blog (scroll to the post immediately below this one if you missed it or don't remember).

I have been "What?" free for a full month!

And finally . . .

Over on T.B. Markinson's blog, Making My Mark, I'm honored to be part of her August giveaway of free ebooks - yes, the signup period lasts a full month. If you'd like to receive a free copy of IN NAME ONLY plus several others, head on over there and sign up for a Rafflecopter drawing. Sadly, I'm unable to post an entry form here - Rafflecopter refuses to acknowledge that I exist. 

That's it from my corner of Texas.

What's new with you?

I'll see you back here on Monday, September 7.