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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

In the Poconos

Hubby and I spent a few days in the Poconos. The trip was supposed to be his Father's Day gift, but I had a good time, too. It was especially nice to have someone else do the cooking.

We visited Grey Towers in Milford, Pennsylvania, the summer home of the Pinchot family which is a National Historic Landmark. It was well worth the visit. I love to see old mansions.

The next day we visited the Asa Packer Mansion in Jim Thorpe, Pennyslvania. It is another National Historic Landmark. Unfortunately, it is not air conditioned and it was a very hot day. Nevertheless, it is an amazing home and our tour guide was very entertaining.

We also visited some antique shops. Hubby enjoys searching for old accordions or old toy trains. He saw a few accordions but he did not bring any home. :^)

Friday, June 24, 2005

My Old Computer

I took my Mac Performa to the recycling center today. I hated to leave it there. That computer opened up the world of publishing to me. I wrote Sea Of Hope, Irons In The Fire, and lots of short stories on that machine. It still works, but nobody wants it. The technology is too old. Nobody needs a machine with limited capabilities--especially on the web.

But it was almost like a friend. I am sure that the hard drive is imbued with my emotions.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Deer Enjoy Daylilies

Yesterday morning I stepped outside and discovered my daylily blooms had vanished in the night. Upon closer inspection, I noticed a rather ragged edge on the remaining stems. Evidently, the local deer decided to make a midnight snack of my daylilies. I am getting really annoyed with those pests. Recently, the deer in this neighborhood have become annoyingly bold. The deer population has increased and my backyard has become their feeding ground. It makes me want to start eating venison burgers.

Last year, we found a dead deer on our property. It must have ventured out into the road and been hit by a car. I called up the munipical office to tell them about the dead deer and ask that they remove it. The woman on the other end of the line insisted that if it was in my yard, it was my responsibility to remove it. The truth was that it had expired on the small strip of grass between the sidewalk and the road--which technically belongs to the town. I explained this to her. She asked if it was obstructing the sidewalk. Naturally, I insisted that it was definitely a problem to life and limb--although only one hoof lay on the sidewalk.

Fortunately, someone came to remove the dead carcass. If any other deer decides to take his or her last breath in my yard again, I will drag that animal to the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, I have tried cayenne pepper and horrible smelling anti-deer products to protect my garden, but the deer do not seemed fazzed by the spice or the chemicals. There are certain plants they do not eat. I guess I'll just have to plant more of those.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Father's Day

For the past several years, I have been grilling up burgers for Father's Day. This year, hubby and I took the hedgeclippers and chain saw to my parents' house. Things are getting rather overgrown there.

It was the perfect day for yardwork--a little cool. My husband took down several small trees while I decimated some bushes (my specialty). With the power tools, the work did not take long. Then we all went out to eat. I enjoyed the day--so did my mother. I think the guys had good time, too.

Hubby is getting a few days in the Poconos for his Father's Day present from me. :^)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tired Fingers

The chat at Romance Junkies last night was great. I had a good time, but my poor fingers were exhausted after an hour of chatting. I had to type faster to keep up with the running dialogue. I enjoy the chats at Romance Junkies because they are moderated. Having a moderator makes everything run more smoothly.

I gave away a t-shirt with the cover of Prince of the Mist on it. I'll be giving away another one on Labor Day to one of the lucky people entering the contest at my website. It's fun to give things away because I know what it is like to win. I enjoy the idea of making someone else happy--even if it's just for a little while.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Chat at Romance Junkies

I'll be chatting at Romance Junkies on Wednesday, June 15th, at 9 pm (Eastern). Please stop in for a visit. It should be fun!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Long Island Luncheon

I drove to Jericho, Long Island, today for the Long Island Romance Writers' Luncheon. Ethan Ellenberg was the keynote speaker, but there were plenty of editors there from a number of publishing houses.

It took me an hour and forty-five minutes to drive there. There was absolutely NO traffic on the Belt Parkway, or the LIE. I just sailed through and got to the luncheon an hour ahead of time because I assumed there would be tie-ups. After all, it's Friday, it's hot, and everyone wants to go to the beach. Right? Well, not quite.

The luncheon was wonderful. It was much smaller than I expected, allowing everyone the opportunity to schmooze with the editors. I sat at a table with two editors, one from Crown Books and one from Avalon. Talking with the other writers was interesting, too. A whole contingent of New Jersey Romance Writers came, but there were three writers from Connecticut as well.

We all received a copy of Bertrice Small's book, LARA. She attended the luncheon and signed the copies. :^)

Some of the news:

Kensington will no longer publish Regencies. However, Signet will continue publishing them.
Historicals are on the decline. Paranormals on the upswing.
Men's fiction is dwindling.
Everyone wants Chick-Lit. Erotica is popular, too.
Harlequin is branching out. They will be releasing thrillers.

At least, that's some of what I heard.

Then I drove home. It took me four hours. The traffic barely crawled all the way from JFK to the Verrazano Bridge. Was everyone on the way to the beach? Or was the traffic due to the thunderstorm? I have no idea, but for the first time in history I actually got tired of listening to my Juice Newton CD.

However, I got back in time to join hubby and daughter #1 for pizza.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Bay Day and Dabbling

Hubby and I traveled down to Port Norris to join daughter #1 in experiencing Bay Day, an annual festival. You can read about it here.

Along with vendors, food, tours of NJ's tall ship, and shuttle bus rides to the East Point Lighthouse, several easels had been set up along the pier above the marsh for children and adults to paint watercolor scenes of the view. I have never been very good at watercolor painting, though I am quite proficient with oils, but I felt tempted to dabble with the watercolor paints that day.

Way back when I first started taking art courses, I had one watercolor teacher who sent the whole class off once a week at 8 a.m. to some part of town to do paintings from life. I enjoyed those expeditions, even if my paintings were less than stellar. Painting a landscape from life is a different experience than painting from a photograph, which is what I've been doing for quite a while now.

True, the white paper can be scary. Plus you know you will have people looking at your work as you paint it. Creating under those circumstances can be intimidating, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and paint anyway while daughter #1 and hubby walked all the way out to the end of the pier.

I had a nice time. The brushes were way too big--I'm used to working with much smaller ones when I use my oils, but I granted myself permission to mess up. Allowing myself that freedom made it more like play. A dab here, a dab there.

The painting is not very good, but I took it home anyway. I can unroll it and practically smell the salt marsh. I can feel the sun on my arms and see the fiddler crabs scuttling for cover. It's more of an evocative memory than a photographic representation. I felt daring and brave and more like an artist than I've felt in a long, long time.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Second Hand Books

My hubby had heard about a gigantic used bookstore from his friend. So this week we traveled to Cranbury, NJ, to visit the Book Worm, an old house on Main Street stuffed with second hand books. We found paperbacks as well as leather bound classics--with everything in between. It is sad to see all those lonely books on the shelves waiting for someone to pick them up.

I'm on a Celtic history binge and I found three hardcovers on that topic--which cost me all of $17. It was easy to find the historical books because some of the books in the store have been sorted, but those in the front are the new acquisitions and have yet to be properly placed. By the way, the store does take donations, but only on certain days.

There are tons of fiction books, of course. At home, I tend to hold onto the non-fiction books, but my "keepers" shelf for fiction is small. There really is not enough room--which reminds me of one of the best reason for e-books--they don't take up any space and when you don't want them anymore, it is a simple matter to delete them.

I also wondered why authors are not paid a percentage when the book is sold the second time around in this country. It seems only fair that they should collect a bit more money on their work. There ought to be a law concerning the matter.