Friday, May 30, 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
|Aberglasney Gardens, © Leigh Verrill-Rhys|
|Pentre Ifan Cromlech, Penfro, Cymru|
Monday, May 26, 2014
Today is Memorial Day and along with the solemn celebrations to remember those who have served our country, we use this holiday to mark the beginning of summer. That’s not the purpose of the holiday, but over the years, it seems to have morphed into that meaning. Ads lure us to buy beach chairs and swimsuits, hotdogs and chips, and anything else that will make our weekend enjoyable. There’s nothing wrong with that, but in the excitement of enjoying the outdoors, don’t forget the meaning of the Memorial Day, a day to honor the veterans who gave their lives while serving our country.
I hope to find time to visit the National Cemetery. Because Dad served during WWII, both he and Mom are buried there. The quiet beauty of the acres of land with its rows and rows of simple tombstones will be magnified with thousands of small American flags by each marker. It’s an awesome, emotional sight to experience.
The first time I visited a National Cemetery was in Hamm, Luxembourg, when my husband and I lived in Germany during one of his tours with the Air Force. Here the tombstones were simple concrete crosses. We found the grave for General George Patton. He wanted to be buried among his men who died at the Battle of the Bulge, and his grave looks no different from the others, very simple, very touching.
As you’re enjoying the beginning of summer today, I hope you have time to experience one of the ceremonies to mark the remembrance of Memorial Day.
It’s the beginning of summer, but it’s also something much, much more meaningful.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Friday, May 23, 2014
|My Cat Maggie Supervising|
Make Good Companions for Writers
|Helpful cats (Photo: Godserv: morguefile)|
|Who Wrote the Book? ( ML Photo: Morguefile)|
Cats and Literature
Cats in Mysteries: Don’t Kill the Cat
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
We arrived at the skydiving locale on a sunny afternoon and spent two hours learning what to expect and what we'd be expected to do. Then, we met our instructors (who would tandem dive with us) and put on our gear. We wore jumpsuits with headsets and mics so our instructors could converse with us and give us last-minute directions. At first glance, my instructor was a little intimidating. Picture Woody Harrelson as he looked in such movies as "Seven Psychopaths," "Zombieland," or "Natural Born Killers." Now, scrape his throat raw to darken his voice and toss in a Texas twang. That was my guy. A former Boeing employee, he had more than 10,000 jumps under his belt, and after spending a lot of time together, I discovered he was also a sweetheart beneath that scary exterior. Once our instructors felt we were ready, they assisted us on to the plane that would take us 14,000 feet up for our moment of temporary insanity.
Sounds crazy? Maybe. But it was an event I'll never forget. Just standing at the open doorway, waiting to push off into oblivion, is terrifying and yet, oddly, thrilling at the same time. All too soon, the sound of "Go!" hit my ears. My toes left the edge, and we were out. The wind slapped my cheeks with so much force, I heard my skin flapping. The view as the earth hurtled into focus evoked a sense of wonder. The altimeter on my wrist, which I'd been directed to keep an eye on, marked our descent. And just when I thought I'd panic from the realization of what I'd done, we hit the right altitude. I pulled the cord, the parachute opened, and with a quick jerk, our speed slowed to a gentle waft. By pulling on the handles on either side of my 'chute, I was able to control which direction the wind took us. For the next several minutes, we drifted through the clear blue sky to the green grass far below. It's beautifully peaceful as you coast to land again, your heartbeat slowing to a more normal rhythm, the world growing bigger and bigger beneath you.
Once on the ground, I understood my instructor's passion for the sport. Skydiving is an exhilarating experience, and I highly recommend, if you don't have a phobia about heights (or plummeting), you try it...at least once. You gotta have a story to tell, right?
And by the way, the Fates stopped messing with me after that.
Gina Ardito is the award-winning international author of more
than twenty romances, a legendary singer in confined spaces (her car, the
shower, her office cubicle), and a killer of houseplants. She
hosts fun, informative workshops for writers around the country. In 2012, Gina
was named a Woman of Outstanding Leadership by the International Women’s
Leadership Association, but to her friends, she’s still just a shenanigator. A
native of Long Island, New York, she lives with her husband, two children, a
bionic dog, and their two cat overlords. For more info on Gina and her books,
you can visit her website at ginaardito.com, follow Gina on Facebook
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Showing up is exactly what Sandra Carey Cody, Jayne Ormerod, and I did at this year's Malice Domestic conference a couple of weeks ago in Bethesda, Maryland. The three of us are former Avalon novelists who met online but never before in person. What fun to meet at the conference and discuss our writing experiences. We didn't have nearly enough time to visit with each other, but there's always next year.
This was my third Malice, I've been to several Bouchercons, a Left Coast Crime, Cluefest, and many MWA Southwest Chapter conferences. I'd love to attend more conferences, but the full-time job gets in my way. For those of you who haven't taken advantage of attending conferences, there are huge benefits to showing up. You can meet online friends and fellow authors in person, make new friends, meet editors and agents. At the fan conferences, you can visit with readers who have enjoyed your books, or you can go as a fan and meet the authors who wrote the books you love to read.
Just SHOW UP - I did, and I've found that showing up is well worth my time and fun to boot.
Mystery author Kay Finch is currently writing her new Bad Luck Cat Mystery series set in the Texas Hill Country to be published by Berkley beginning in 2015. Her Klutter Killer mystery, Relative Chaos, features a professional organizer who finds a dead body in a hoarder's garage. Kay lives in a Houston, Texas suburb with her husband, two rescue dogs and a cat. Visit her web site at www.kayfinch.com.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Friday, May 16, 2014
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
"No one should have to face a morning with decaf."
by Gina Ardito, Reunion in October, contemporary romance
Rachel tried not to flinch when Tony’s fingertips caressed the side of her neck.”
by Sandy Cody, The Cruelest Lie, cozy mystery work-in-progress
"She didn't intend to sound as if she was begging but was there any other way?"
by Shirley Kiger Connolly, Not Quite an Angel, historical inspirational romance, Desert Breeze Publishing, November 1, 2014
“Look out, Paradox Lake. The Donnelly brothers are back in town.”
by Jean C. Gordon, Winning the Teacher's Heart (working title), Love Inspired Romance, June 2015
"It is a universally accepted fact that newly married couples want to share their joy and misery with all their single relations, thus Jane Bingley plans her first ball with great anticipation."
by Carol Hutchens, Jane's Ball (working title), historial romantic mystery work-in-progress
The command was redundant, as the sound of a gunshot had been a sufficient catalyst to get me gallumping down the dark paneled hallway faster than a speeding bullet. That was my plan, anyway."
by Jayne Ormerod, Blond Faith (sequel to The Blond Leading the Blond), cozy mystery, coming soon
"Rikka McAllister hung up the phone and closed her eyes; she never read the fine print."
by Kathryn Quick, Ineligible Bachelor, sweet contemporary romance
"Not the standing room only lurches of the outbound bus on California Street, nor the fact she was late from the office, nor Dr. Gordon’s dismissal of her symptoms, kept Emily from dancing along the sidewalk and making a grand jeté up the steps of Kelleher Memorial Hall to her Thursday night dance class."
by Leigh Verrill-Rhys, Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls, Eres Books, March 2014
Do you have a favorite first-line from a book--any book--you’ve read? Share it with us in the comments.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Monday, May 12, 2014
Gee: "Shall we have a little tipple then?”
Thursday, May 8, 2014
“Friendship- my definition- is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don't have trust, the friendship will crumble.”
― Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
|On the hi-line|
On my recent trip to NY, my orange Dooney & Bourke bag was photographed all over the city. If a picture is worth a thousand words then the bag is proof that we were all over the city.
|On the Brooklyn Bridge|
Although it may seem the Dooney and I were alone on this trip, that's not true. My sister, my husband, and a good friend were there too.
However, my sister and friend, Rochelle have a strong aversion to any form of social media. I was forbidden to post any photos of them. At first I tried to argue the point - to explain how much friends and family would enjoy seeing us all together, having fun. My argument was in vain and I respected their decision to remain unplugged. This is where the Dooney came in. She became the substitute in my pictures for my sister and Rochelle.
|Hiding behind a sign|
There was on brief moment in Coney Island when Rochelle and another friend allowed me to post a photo where only their fingers and legs were visible.
Believe me, this was a big concession on their part.
FB friends started following my posts, curious as to where the Dooney would show up next. Many of them asked about my sister and Rochelle. When I explained their privacy issue they were very accepting. If you want to find out more about the Dooney's trip to NY visit www.lovebychocolate.blogspot.com