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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

My Halloween costume this year was a combination of two former costumes. I looked completely ridiculous, which is okay. I'd rather go for something funny than something ghoulish.

The kiddies knew what I was--a clown queen. However, one of my coworkers thought I looked like a cross between Burger King, Bozo, and something from the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Hubby decided I was Dracu-Bozo, Queen of the Vampire Clowns. :^)

The difficult part of this costume was the nose. If I ever put on that nose again, I will use duct tape to keep it in place.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

How They Grew

Over the years, we measured our daughters' heights on the door jam of the downstairs hall closet. There were pencil marks, names, and measurements taken at sporadic intervals. Today, hubby painted over the measurements. I took a few photos before he applied the brush.

Sigh.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Four Stars!

A Rush of Light received a four star review in Romantic Times Book Review magazine. I have no idea what the review says because I am not a subscriber and will not get a copy of the magazine until it arrives at my local bookstore. However, you can watch this space and sooner or later you, too, can read the entire review. :^)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Our World Travelers

Daughters #1 & #2 took a vacation together. For their first trip abroad, they went to the Netherlands to visit their cousin and her family who now live there. They had a very nice time and came home loaded with licorice--evidently a favorite of the Dutch.

Daughter #2 showed us her photos of the teeny, tiny cars she saw. She also had photos of Dutch jack o'lanterns which are somewhat different from the ones we carve over here. First of all, the Dutch don't call them jack o' lanterns. They call them Halloweens. :^)

I had a little pumpkin on the kitchen table and Daughter #2 was inspired to create her own Dutch-style Halloween.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wonderful E-Books!

I got my batch of e-books to judge for the EPPIE contest so I'll be doing more reading than usual for a while--not that I mind. :^)

Every year, the EPPIE Awards are presented to the best e-books. Two of my books won in the inspirational category, Sea of Hope in 2002 and Heaven's Blue in 2005. Winning was such a thrill!

It is a great contest.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Flea Market

I joined hubby for a trip to one of the flea markets today. The weather was clear and cool--just perfect for walking around outdoors. I found a bargain on my favorite soap, I got twelve pairs of crew socks for $8, and I got three hardcover books. Plus I got some exercise. :^)

The piles and piles of STUFF at the flea market always amaze me. Many people have way more than they need. Our own house is cluttered. We tried the flea market a few times to get rid of our excess, but we did not do well. We tried a few garage sales, but again we did not get rid of everything.

Lately, if I really want to get rid of something I put it out on the corner near the road with a big sign on it that says FREE. This seems to be the most effective method to eliminate clutter. We got rid of several large items this way--an extension ladder, a dollhouse, a broken lawnmower, and an old bicycle. In anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, whatever I put out was whisked away.

Now I'm beginning to think that someone who has a table at one of the flea markets probably took my stuff and added it to their huge assortment of items for sale. But it's okay. At least, I don't have to trip over those pieces of clutter anymore.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lighthouses

I would love to have the image of a lighthouse on the cover of THE KEEPER'S PROMISE when it is released. Awe-Struck's editors have allowed me the freedom to design my own bookcovers. Daughter #2, a graphic designer, has implemented my ideas to create two of my covers. For HEAVEN'S BLUE she used a detail from the right hand side of a painting I had done of a beach. So I am hoping to do another painting which would be the basis of a cover for THE KEEPER'S PROMISE.

I already have a painting of Barnegat Light, which I did a few years ago. However, Old Barney is too tall and would not fit into a neat 5 x7 format for a bookcover--unless I only use the top of the painting.

Sunday, hubby and I visited Sandy Hook Lighthouse and I took several photos. Then Monday, we visited the Absecon Lighthouse. Sandy Hook's Lighthouse is not near the water--anymore. The sand shifted. The Absecon Lighthouse is not near the water either and it is surrounded by houses.

For my bookcover, I want a short--though not too short--lighthouse next to the water. I decided I could use the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, but paint in different scenery. You can see my idea in the rough sketch here. I thought it would be a good idea to leave a lot of space for the title. :^)

Of course, it will take me a while to do a complete painting because I tend to put in every blade of grass. Plus my Awe-Struck editor does have to approve the design. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to this project. It's going to be exciting and fun!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Another Fantastic Conference!

On Friday and Saturday I attended the annual New Jersey Romance Writers' Conference. I sat around with other authors in the PAN Retreats, drank wine, ate chocolate cookies, and discussed the business of writing. I heard of obstacles that have prevented some of the authors from reaching the top. "We all want to be stars," said Shirley Hailstock.

That is so true.

Saturday's speakers and workshops were wonderful. Carla Neggers gave out tips for writing a breakout novel. Victoria Alexander explained the way she looks at life from a writer's viewpoint.

As always, I made sure to sit in on the editors' panel. Last year, all the editors wanted erotica. This year paranormal was the number one request. I have been writing seriously for a long, long time and I have seen the pendulum swing back and forth so often I simply sigh when a "new" trend is announced.

Next year, those editors will all be craving something else.

I received six FREE books and I sold a few of my books at the bookfair.

There are some New Jersey Romance Writers who have left our fair state, but who returned for the conference. It was so nice to see them.

Now I can't wait for next year's conference. :^)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A New Contract!

Awe-Struck E-Books has offered me a contract for THE KEEPER'S PROMISE. It is another inspirational romance and will be my fourth inspirational published by Awe-Struck. I do not have a publication date as yet, but it should be in the spring of 2008. I can hardly wait!

I would love to have a lighthouse on the cover of the book. :^)

Here's a short excerpt from the end of Chapter Three:

Slowly, she swung the door open. Shining the flashlight all around, she found herself in what would have been a living room. It was empty, though there were a few beer cans in one corner. Throwing her shoulders back, she stamped loudly on the floor as she headed toward the next room. She figured if any animals inhabited the place, they would hear her coming and run away. The old kitchen had a dusty table in one corner, a refrigerator with no door, and a sink full of beer cans.

“Okay, the only animals that have been here are party animals,” she muttered to herself.

Feeling less afraid, she walked into the next room. There she found a filthy mattress on the floor and right next to the mattress, she saw Jack’s flashlight. Dizzy, with a cold sweat breaking out on her forehead, she sank down beside the flashlight and stared at it.

Yes, it was his. It was one she had bought him for his birthday a few years ago. It still had a nick in the side where it had hit the steps when he had thrown it in one of his angry rages.

She glanced at the mattress. Was this where he met up with the seventeen year old?

She closed her eyes. Lord, where did Jack go from here?

Then she heard the creak of a floorboard behind her. Alarmed, she turned, only to find herself suddenly blinded by a bright lantern. She cried out and lifted her arm as a shield.

A cold, contemptuous voice ground out the question. “Is this where it happened? Is this where you killed him?”

Monday, October 02, 2006

Birthdays

We celebrated four birthdays this weekend. Daughter #1, Daughter #2, my father, and I all share the same birthday week. There's 196 years between us. That's way too many candles for one small cake. I simply used all twenty candles that came in the box.

We had a great time just gabbing and eating.