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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Special Delivery

A box containing thirty copies of A Rush of Light arrived at my doorstep yesterday! I opened the box immediately and caressed several books. Then I counted all of them, admired them, and I showed hubby where credit is given to Daughter #2 who made up the cover for the book. Seeing my new book in print is such a wonderful experience--even though I have a few others. After all, every book is different--sort of like children. :^)

The book, at 313 pages, is the fattest one I've written and therefore the most expensive with good, white paper--not the cheap stuff. So for anyone on a strict budget, I recommend the e-book version. Currently, it is still on sale at Awe-Struck E-Books for $4.19.

I did not get much writing in yesterday. My cousin, who is a few years younger than me, is in the hospital. Hubby and I went to visit him. He has been a paraplegic for twelve years and his wife of twenty-five years has now left him. He has severe infections in his legs. All things considered, he was doing relatively well under the circumstances, but I left the hospital feeling rather depressed.

When we returned to the house, I found a message from the state trooper! I have a friend who has a daughter who has a best friend who married a state trooper. When I decided to make the hero in my current work-in-progress a state trooper, I knew I would need some help when it came to some of the finer points of being a trooper--and it has been awesome to have a trooper willing to talk to me. While I do write fiction, I want the stories to be within the realm of possibility. That makes it more believeable.

I called the trooper and asked him about a couple of scenes. He was great and answered my questions. The conversation cheered me up. Now I can't wait to work on the book tonight!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Good and Bad

The characters in my current work-in-progress have invaded my dreams. This is good and bad. Good, because they are as real to me as they can get. Bad, because I get less sleep. Yes, instead of worrying about genuine flesh and blood people, I am apprehensive over the fate of my imaginary characters. Of course, I am the one who put them in such dire straits in the first place.

The characters are undoubtedly stuck in my brain because I made a lot of progress yesterday--when I wasn't procrastinating by dabbling with a new look for my website. Every time I hit a snag while I was writing, I would surf off and play with a different text color, link color, or font.

Still, I am roughly sixty pages from the end of the book. But my poor characters are really in trouble now.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Not Again!

This week I wound up with a UTI. The last one I had was in October. However, the one previous to that was twenty-two years ago. I want to scream!

After Daughter #2 was born, I suffered from recurring episodes of cystitis--while I was nursing my daughter. The doctor I had at that time was not much help, so I went to a urologist. After lots of nasty tests, I learned that one of my kidneys has a congenital defect. The prescription was to drink lots of water. I also read a self-help guide on cystitis which detailed other preventive measures.

After Daughter #3 was born I had one more episode of cystitis--while I was nursing her and when we had been traveling. I wasn't drinking enough water, evidently.

But that was it--until October. Menopause must have something to do with this. I'll have to drink more water. Grrr.

None of my heroines have had cystitis or a UTI. (Why do we have to make everything into an acronym nowadays? I hate that.) I wonder if I should burden them with such misery. What do you think?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Abraham Lincoln Eats Pizza


Today hubby and I visited the Newark Museum which had several special activities planned for President's Day. The American Historical Theater was presenting Abraham Lincoln--in the flesh. As we bought our tickets at the museum, I saw the tall, distinguished former president heading down the stairs.

Hubby and I had planned to eat our lunch in the cafe first. However, there was a slight glinch in today's menu--only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or macaroni and cheese were being served. I could deal with that, but hubby could not. One of the museum guides directed us to the pizza restaurant on the corner. As we were waiting for our slices, Abraham Lincoln walked in and ordered a slice, too. He stayed in character, which was quite delightful.

It was only as he walked out, that I remembered I had my camera at my side! I could have gotten a once-in-a-lifetime shot of me and Honest Abe with our pizza slices, but I missed the opportunity. :^( However, we did see his performance and it was delightful.

We also toured the Ballentine House, which is part of the museum. The Ballentines are the ones who made their fortune brewing ale and beer. I took a photo of the outside of the House. I love old houses. I find them inspiring--and I am working on a book set in exactly the time period that the Ballentine House was built. So I considered the trip part of my research. I bought a book about Ballentine House, too.

The museum has a nice collection of paintings, but the sculpture garden was disappointing.

Getting out of Newark wasn't easy. The one-way streets are bad enough, but there are so many no-left turn signs it makes driving frustrating. Nevertheless, the Newark Museum is a great place to see.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Show of Shows

Hubby is a member of the Happy Days String Band.Yesterday, we boarded a bus with the rest of the band to go to Atlantic City to see the "Show of Shows." Every year, all the top string bands that win in the New Year's Day competition in Philadelphia are featured in a show in February. We saw the show six years ago, and much has changed in the last six years as far as string bands go.

The bands have gotten more elaborate. They have more props--many of which are quite large. There are fewer band members wearing the large back pieces--it seemed only the captains had that honor. (However, there were still plenty of feathers on the floor of afterwards.) All of the bands are choreographed now--nobody really just struts anymore. It was much like a Broadway production--but still string band style with TONS of sequined costumes to dazzle the eyes.

Every band had a theme and the music went along with it. They played medleys--snatches of everything from church hymns to Disney, but with that classic string band sound. The show was three hours long. Fortunately, I had bought hubby a cup of coffee at Starbucks on the Boardwalk before the show.

Afterwards, we received a coupon for eight dollars off the price of the buffet at the Hilton and $16 in cash to play in the casino. The price of the buffet was $18.95--and there was a lot of food. Hubby really enjoys buffets. I enjoyed chatting with the other string band members.

Hubby and I don't gamble much. The last time I used a slot machine it ate real quarters. Now the machines eat five dollar bills. Hubby put a five into one machine and won $12.50. He quit. I put in one five and lost it. I put in another five and eventually won $9.50--so I decided to quit before I lost anymore.

Neither of us could stand the cigarette smoke in the casino. We went outside for a while, but it was bitterly cold on the Boardwalk. So we wandered around the Hilton for a while. There are no chairs inside the casino--except for those in front of the slot machines.

Eventually, we went back to the hotel's bus terminal--where there are chairs. We found most of the weary band members already there. We arrived back home at 10 pm. It was a long day.

Friday, February 17, 2006

KISS OF BLARNEY now up for sale!

My novella, Kiss of Blarney is now available at New Concepts Publishing!

Here's the blurb from NCP's newletter:

Penelope Marzec's imagination runs wild with this Irish tale of
forbidden love.... Kiss of Blarney by Penelope Marzec (Paranormal
Romance)It has been foretold that one day her true love will come
for the Irish princess, Ula, a prince with dark eyes. Princess Ula
waits as she must, but when her companion is stolen away, Ula is
forced to leave the safety of her secret cottage in the marsh. Even
knowing the man who comes to her aid can not possibly be the one
foretold, for his eyes are blue, Princess Ula finds herself falling
desperately in love with the man who rescues her. Sensuality: SPICY


Check it out. You can read the first chapter online here

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Naked Beach

There is a clothing-optional beach at Sandy Hook. I have never been there in the summertime. However, I figured it would be safe to check it out at this time of the year. A few weeks ago on a very mild day, hubby and I visited the "naked" beach. There is a big warning sign on the beach and another sign that divides the beach into the clothed and unclothed side. We thought it was rather funny. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me. Hubby decided we ought to visit the same beach after a snowstorm--so he could snap a photo of me by the sign with all my clothes on, of course.

So the day after our big snowstorm, hubby and I drove out to Sandy Hook. Nobody was in the parking lot--and nobody was on the beach either--that's because the beach was totally inundated with water. There's a wooden board walk that leads out to the beach, but some of that was floating in the water and the sign we wanted to photograph was too far out for us to wade to it. If you peer very closely at the photo, you can see a sign, but you really cannot read it. Sigh.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Valentine Recipe

Here's a special recipe! It makes wonderful cinnamon-scented ornaments. (Do not eat!)

In a bowl, mix:

3/4 cup cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

Add:

1 cup applesauce

Pour in:

1 1/2 tablespoons white glue

Mix well until the mixture is stiff.

Between two sheets of waxed paper, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the ornaments. Using a drinking straw, poke a hole in each one for hanging. Allow several days to dry at room temperature. When dry, insert a ribbon in the hole in each heart. Hang anyplace you wish to fill with the spicy aroma of cinnamon.

Enjoy!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Snowstorm '06

Here's the view of our backyard. We have had a relatively mild winter--until now. There is a lot of snow on the ground here in NJ. When I woke up this morning, it did not look too bad. Hubby got out the snowblower and cleared the driveway. Today was my first scheduled assignment as a eucharistic minister at Mass--so we figured I ought to show up--snow or no snow. Catholic churches do not close due to snowstorms--at least none that I have ever belonged to. The day I was confirmed there was a foot of snow on the ground, but the confirmation went on as scheduled. Of course, that was a long, long time ago. :^)

We took the Jeep to church which is less than a mile away. Even with four-wheel drive, we slid here and there. Fortunately, there were very few other drivers on the road. There were also very few people who came to church. Coffee and doughnuts were cancelled. Hubby was disappointed.

While we were in church, another six inches of snow fell. We went home, slipping and sliding here and there. It is still snowing. It looks rather lovely, but it is not a good day to drive anywhere even if you have a four-wheel drive vehicle. It's a good day to stay in and drink hot chocolate.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Chocolate Lovers Weekend

This afternoon, hubby and I took our friends T&E to Ocean Grove for the Chocolate Lovers Weekend. Quite a few of the Bed & Breakfast Inns were open for tours and they also served all kinds of goodies. It was E's birthday and though she is on a diet, she loves old houses as much as I do. Hubby and T love to eat. It was the perfect activity for all of us.

The Albatross Inn was the first place we visited. They had a milk chocolate fountain and a dark chocolate fountain. An assortment of sliced fruit, cookies, and pretzels were available to dip into the chocolate. Once hubby and T had sampled a little of everything we walked to the Manchester Inn which had soup and chocolate pasta in addition to other sweets. As it was a cold, raw day with the threat of a blizzard in the forecast, we all went for the soup. It was so tasty that E asked the cook for the recipe which involved heavy cream, cheddar, Swiss cheese, and Edam along with cauliflower, broccoli, and squash.

From there we went to the Laingdon Hotel--very posh, the Angel Nook Inn--where you can attend tea parties all year long, and last we visited the Melrose which has a resident ghost, Susan. We did not see Susan, but we enjoyed hearing the stories about her.

By then, the snow had started to come down heavily and so we all went home, but you can bet that we will visit Ocean Grove again next year for the Chocolate Lovers Weekend.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A RUSH OF LIGHT now at Fictionwise!

Check it out at A Rush of Light. If you have not tried an e-book yet, you should know that they are very inexpensive. My book has 93,000 words in it--so you get a big bargain when you buy the e-book edition. Another outstanding plus is that e-books don't take up any shelf space. :^)

Don't forget to enter my contest for a t-shirt with the cover of A Rush of Light on it. The drawing will be on February 14th--Valentine's Day--NEXT TUESDAY!!! Hurry off right now to my website and click on the contest link.

Monday, February 06, 2006

If I were a princess...

HASH(0x8bf0514)
The Traditional Princess

You are generous, graceful, and practical with both

feet planted firmly on the ground. You tend

to be a little on the old-fashioned side. You

value home, hearth, and family life and love

to be of service to others.

Role Models: Snow White, Maid Marian

You are most likely to: Discover a hidden talent

for spinning straw into gold.


What Kind of Princess are You? - Beautiful Artwork (Original Music is BACK!!!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Editing

Yesterday, I found the edited galley of Kiss of Blarney in my email. So I've got to check through it and send it back to my editor, which means I won't be making any progress on my current work-in-progress.

My Awe-Struck editor sent me a message to let me know that the corrections I asked for in the print version of A Rush of Light are complete and that book is good to go.

I talked to our local librarian on Friday and I'll be doing a reading there during the last week of March. The librarian thought she'd make it a brunch as well. I thought that was an excellent idea. People will show up if food is available. I'm looking forward to it. :^)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Is It Spring Yet?

Leenda and Speedy, Daughter #3's guinea pigs, are looking forward to laying around in the sun. It is absolutely gorgeous outside today--so warm and sunny it truly feels like spring. Yet the groundhog says we will have six more weeks of winter. Leenda and Speedy have given no indication as to what their prediction is. They only want more hay. I'm sure they won't be surprised if we get socked with a blizzard this month.

Hubby and I refer to Leenda and Speedy as the grandpigs. We are taking care of them until Daughter #3 finishes college. Last semester, the pigs lived secretly in her dorm room. Pets are not allowed there although some students do have them. Daughter #1 went to the same college and told me that someone had a pet alligator under their bed when she was there. This semester, Daughter #3 decided not to take any risks as far as housing goes, so the pigs are on an extended vacation here at home. They are well-mannered most of the time. They do squeak loudly when they know we are eating, probably due to the fact that hubby often feeds them the end pieces of his tomatoes.