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I just got back from visiting my cousin in New York. She owns a small house in Port Washington, on Long Island, that was passed down to her by her mom. Her mom also passed down to her a wonderful, deep, laugh, that comes from way inside her and is a real belly laugh.
I love to make her laugh.
She had a wonderfully bed, I fell asleep the minute I lay in it. We went to sleep when we felt like it, and we got up late a lot.

I went to Chinatown for the very first time ever. It was very cool. Every other store was a restaurant. The Chinese herbal stores were so unique. The gift shops full of useless junk and lots of it too!
But it was fun and I love the dim sum!

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In the evening we watched her 51 inch HD plasma TV. She had all kinds of movies. And cable TV too. Yikes, TV heaven. In the morning we would drink PGtips tea and talk about family memories, good and bad. We went out to eat a lot at dinner. Her generous boyfriend treated us many times. He's in love with her. She is confused and a free spirit. Hang in there Winston, you never know what life will bring.
She has the cutest pets, two small poodle mixes and two ragdoll cats.


This is one of her doggies, so cute.
Did I mention I didn't have to cook? Or that I didn't have to do dishes, or wait on anyone. It was heavenly!
I brought warm weather with me. It never got below 42 degrees, I used a heavy sweater and there was not need for a heavy coat or gloves.
She has a hot tub too.
The best part is that we have lots of fun together. She laughs when I do, and she makes me laugh.

Alcohol CommentsOne was just huge like this kitty is!

MySpace GraphicsOf course the cats owned the place. I never saw a ragdoll cat before, they are so floppy and so cool! Both were sweet and lovable.
Did I mention that I didn't vacuum or do dishes for a week?

Did I mention the drunkin' squirrel.
Alcohol Comments
He was interesting for sure.

Free Picture of a Small Coconut and Strawberry Cake. Click Here to Get Free Images at Clipart Guide.com Did I mention that New York and Long Island have great bakeries? We only ate a couple of cannolis and they were outta this world!
Mostly we just sat around and talked and laughed. We hadn't seen each other for a couple of
years. Cool chair huh?
Creativity Comments
So I read, I watched movies, it was great. We both have the same sense of humor and we get along great! We like the same foods, except for the sushi stuff. I could just see worms growing in my body from it. Ack!
It snowed the day after I left and the temperature went down into the teens. Got out just in time!
The best part of it was spending time with a special person I miss. Love you cuz!
The only bad part is now I have to do dishes, cook, and clean again. I think I need another vacation?

Landscapes Comments
Well I'm home in sunny Florida now. It appears to be that I brought some cool weather back with me.
Oh well--There's always that sigh when the fun is over, but my dog missed me and I am not sure what Chris ate. The food is still in the refrigerator! But I know he missed me because he's been so nice.
Scary huh?

This has nothing to do with anything other than that it's cool.

Landscapes Comments
Back to the old grind. Until next time.
Happy blogging! May you all get that vacation too!


Let's celebrate !!!!!!!

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN won

BEST ROMANCE NOVEL

at Preditors & Editors Readers poll 2009


Thank you, my readers, fans and friends, for voting for
BABIES IN THE BARGAIN at the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll where about 170 books were nominated for Best Romance Novel.





BABIES IN THE BARGAIN was also chosen by reviewers as 2009 Best Romance Winner at READERS FAVORITE.

Short Synopsis:
With only one year left to complete her medical training in Neonatology, Dr. Holly Collier vows not to let anyone mess up her sacrosanct schedule. Especially not the gorgeous Dr. Marc Suarez who broke her heart seven years ago.

When a tragic accident transforms the carefree playboy into a dedicated but novice father to his nephew, Holly gives in to her maternal instincts and turns her structured life upside down for the orphaned preemie. But can she learn to trust Marc again and believe in true love?

Babies in the Bargain: at TWRP
http://www.thewildrosepress.com/babies-in-the-bargain-p-1298.html

At Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/Babies-Bargain-Mona-Risk/dp/1601545142/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246659781&sr=1-1

At Barnes and Noble:
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Babies-In-The-Bargain/Mona-Risk/e/9781601545145/?itm=1


If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with heat~

Too Hot to Handle by Robin Kay will make you want to grab Dr. Mile and be Annabelle. The Doc's sexy and a great cook. He makes cleaning look manly. Annabelle is soooo not ready to fall for any man, especially one who looks exactly like the man she loved and lost to death. Oh, and there are nude drawings and sculptures of men, Nuff said! Thank you, Sourcebooks for this wonderful fun and touching read.

Lie to Me, now that's a title to make you wonder. Would you agree to be the "fake fiance" of a man who caught you breaking into his family's home, especially if he's been in prison before and you're trying to prove his brother killed your friend? Starr Ambrose combines romance with danger and comedy to make you keep reading til the last page. Pocket books but this book out for us.

Sheriff Brody Carlton of Valentine, Texas will steal your heart and make you consider breaking the law to land in his jail. Rachel Henderson does, because she's Addicted to Love and wants to break that addiction. Which of these two wounded folks will give in to love first? You'll laugh and maybe tear up but you won't be able to put this Grand Central book down

Not done, yet, more reads to come.

Usually I take rejection letters in stride, but every now and then one comes along that makes me want to eat enough chocolate until I’m sick. Yesterday I received such a letter. I don’t know why it bothered me so much. It was just a standard rejection letter with comments like “While your writing is good, unfortunately I must pass on this project.”

So what made this one different?

I had to find an answer. Especially if I had any hope of lasting in this highly subjective business, because I must confess I became determined never to write again. For the pain burrowed deep into my soul. I had such high hopes for this manuscript. After all, the editor had requested a full after praising my initial proposal. It was book one in a series and destined to be my first major sale.

So why...God...why?

The reason for my sorrow soon hit me. I’d put all my eggs into one basket. While I have other manuscripts, all my hopes and dreams of selling my novel rode on this single novel. And when ‘my baby’ got rejected I was devastated.

Good thing I was sane enough to pick up the phone and call my critique partners. As usual they offered lots of encouragement, and I even managed to laugh. With words of wisdom they reminded me my novel had only been rejected by one editor at one publishing house. There were plenty more chances to sell it.

These are things I already knew. But when I opened the editor’s letter, all rational thinking left me. In its place I was left with a sick feeling in my stomach. A sense of rejection dominated my entire being.

After I calmed down, I asked myself how I could use this experience to grow as a writer? How could I use it to reinforce the things I already know? The answer is easy, keep doing what I’m doing but just work at it harder. Write consistently, flood the market with proposals and queries to agents and editors, develop my writing skills, enter contests for feedback, and stay informed on the business aspects of writing.

Everything else is out of my control.

If I see rejection as not the end, but as a sign I’m doing everything I can to achieve my dreams, I’ve won already. And odds are one day I’ll answer a telephone and an editor on the other end will say, “Hello wonderful author, I must buy your book.”

Then all this angst will have been worth it.



Terry Spear is with us today, yep the one you see everywhere these days! She is such a busy writer I had to trip her and insist she blog for us. When she agreed so I'd let her up from the floor, I asked Terry to blog about anything she chose, so here she is. Please help me welcome Terry Spear.


Which Story Am I Working On???
By Terry Spear

Even though I’m supposed to be talking about Legend of the White Wolf’s release—it’s coming Feb 1, although pre-orders are being shipped already—my mind keeps flipping back and forth from werewolf story to werewolf story.

When writing a series, there are usually a myriad of stories in progress. As I finished Wolf Fever, Book 6, due out in the Fall, I had the edits for Seduced by the Wolf, Book 5, to complete and send back in. To write Wolf Fever, which is based on characters from Destiny of the Wolf, Book 2, I had to reread that book, and make sure I didn’t make any mistakes for the new book. Of course since then, I’d already also written To Tempt the Wolf, Book 3.


Now, I’m working today on the very opening of Taming the Highland Wolf, Book 7, due out in 2011. Yet, I’m also promoting Legend of the White Wolf, Book 4’s release. Confused yet?

I am!!! Shortly, I’ll have to send a pitch on what the hero and his wolf persona will look like for Taming the Highland Wolf’s book cover. Then I’ll be working on final line edits for Seduced by the Wolf. ☺ And I’ve got to keep all these names straight.

Anyone have trouble with names in real life?

Waving hand here. I’m the world’s worst. But when I write stories, I compound the issue. *sigh* I usually get the name sort of right, but I get creative on the spelling. ☺

I love creating both new characters and taking secondaries and giving them more of a role as the primary characters or just further roles in new stories also. In a way, it’s easier just creating new characters. But on the other hand, when you already have one partly fleshed out in a previous story, it can be fun showing their character in more depth, this time from their point of view, when before it wasn’t.

In Legend of the White Wolf, the characters are all new, except for Leidolf, who was in the first 4 stories. I wanted a story that starts out with a human hero and heroine who learn what the truth is about Arctic wolves living in Maine. But I also wanted to have a story about Arctic wolves, instead of just about gray and red. Each story will hopefully be something new and different and that’s what I ultimately strive for.

Half the fun of writing the stories is researching them. From werewolf legends to real werewolf trials, I try to add some realism to my own urban fantasy romance worlds. I have to say that I was researching what a hero’s brother might wear in Scotland on a summer day. I found a guy in a muscle shirt and he’s perfect for the job! I mean the shirt is. Okay, all right, so the guy really is too. You never know where inspiration will come from next!

So what do you think? Muscle shirts a must for a summer werewolf hunk in the Highlands?

http://terry-spear.blogspot.com/2010/01/taming-highland-wolf.html

I have to admit Cameron MacPherson starts out the story in Legend of the White Wolf, wearing only a towel when he first meets Faith O’Malley. ☺

Have a super Thursday!! And remember, werewolves need loving too!
Terry Spear

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male.”
www.terryspear.com
http://www.wickedlyromantic.blogspot.com/
http://casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/
http://fierceromance.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/reqs.php#/home.php?ref=home
http://shapeshifterromance.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/legend-of-the-white-wolf-being-shipped/#comment-4502


“You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true.”
Richard Bach

A friend gave me a plague with the above quote inscribed on it some twenty-five years ago. The plague still hangs on my office wall. That quote has inspired me to take steps in my life that I might not have taken otherwise.

One path I started on was to strive to write for publication and years later, I’m finally seeing my dreams come true. My first release, OBSSESED BY WILDFIRE, hits the cyber-shelf today! I’m so excited. My stomach clenches as I wonder if anyone will dish out cash for the story. If they decided to, I don’t think they’ll be disappointed.

OBSESSED BY WILDFIRE is not my first completed novel, it’s not even my second or third. It’s my fifth. Does its ranking, among my completed works, diminish the excitement which tingles my entire soul today? HE** NO.

A funny but true story about Obsessed By Wildfire, my critique partner, Sylvie Kaye, and I were kicking around ideas for her next western. I suggested she write a story about a woman barrel racer. She knew nothing about the subject. I knew some as I used to barrel race. At her insistence, I wrote the story in a matter of three months. I submitted a query to The Wild Rose Press on a Friday morning before leaving for work, received a request for the novel an hour later, sent it to the editor at lunch and was offered a contract by the 5pm. Will that ever happen again? I can wish.

OBSESSED BY WILDFIRE is rated HOT! I didn’t know I could write HOT. My editor thinks I could erotica. My answer to her is a topic for another blog.

The story, set in the Texas town of Wayback, is about a woman who meets a man who could stop her from her accomplishing her dreams. I love the banter Isabelle’s emotional conflict causes between her and the sexy fire marshal, Warner. The couple made me chuckle. By the end of the book, Isobel learns love can make dreams a whole lot sweeter.





Excerpt:
“Warner Keyson. You?” He folded his arms across his chest. His muscles bulged from beneath the rolled back sleeves of his white dress shirt. She’d seen bigger forearms—on a few NFL players.

“Isobel Trinidad.”

“Well, Ms. Trinidad, you could’ve caused some damage or killed someone the way you barreled in here.”

“The last time I heard, Raleigh was Wayback’s chief and you’re not one of his officers. Besides everyone’s inside.”

“There could be a couple or two in the backseat of those cars. You know, enjoying the night.”

Warner Keyson’s warm caramel gaze drifted over her and Isobel’s legs buckled a degree before she roped off her reaction. Refusing to look away, she wrestled the urge to step closer and touch the cute dark lock that curled behind Mr. Keyson’s

“Nah, not peeking.” His full lips pulled up the tiniest bit.
Looking pass him, she scanned the cars. Had he been in the backseat of one of them? Had one of the local girls already run him down and claimed him?

“So what do you have in mind with that whip?”



*******
If you’d like to read the entire story, and I hope you will, here is the link to The Wild Rose Press home page.
http://www.thewildrosepress.com/

And if you’d like to see a trailer for Obsessed BY Wildfire here is a link to that.
http://www.autumnjordon.com


For everyone commenting today, your name will be included in a drawing I'm holding at my own blog http://www.autumnjordonsnotes.blogspot.com/ The winner will be announced there on Feb 3, 2010.

Also, I'm running a special at my own blog. Winner will be announced February 14, 2010. So please stop over and check it out.

Hi everyone,
Well, I'm back from a fabulous four-day writers cruise, the Florida Romance Writers, Muse Cruise 2010. I'm deliciously exhausted, but all reved up to go. Along with around 30 writers from different parts of the country, and two incredibly wonderful editors, Adam Wilson from Mira and Eric Raab from Tor, we cruised to Cozumel and enjoyed cosy, laid-back workshops along with all that wonderful food. Kathleen Pickering, our Florida president, held an entertaining session - the creative Moshe Pit, where one person fed a first line, followed by a second and so on. It was hilarious and quite awful, but both Adam and Eric assure us they will have a bidding war for this particularly ridiculous story. Blythe Gifford had a wonderful talk on writing when you can't be there, and Traci Hall showed us how to plot using a plot board and stickies - and oh, my gosh! I finally got it. Can't promise that I'll do it, but I get the picture now! The evenings were busy too - we had late night dining, so plenty of time for gambling, kareoking, cocktail parties, nibbling on pizza or sushi, and getting to chum around with old friends and new acquaintances. Since Carnival had to cancel the Key West portion of the trip, we had two full days at sea. Our amazing Heather Graham gave an early talk on Sunday morning, followed by a two hour Floridian Idol where brave entrants offered up two page entries to be read and discussed by our two editors, who were kind, honest, and offered their wisdom and advice. They also asked to see more from several lucky authors! After breaking for lunch, Jenna Petersen gave a informative workshop on writing like you mean it, and then we heard all the negatives and positives of screenwriting with the professional screenwriter, Alexandra Sokoloff. Alex showed us how to use the screenwriting skills and adapt them to books - using the three part structure, and eight big conflict/turning moments, approximately every fifty pages, which changes the direction of the story and keeps us spellbound to discover what is going to happen next. We all do this, right? The final evening, after a prolonged and enjoyable cocktail hour, we had a Psychic hour with readings from the Tarot cards. It was all very informative, laid back, and fun, and I wish everyone who didn't go this year, will put it on their schedule for next year's conference. It's going to be a blast, and a not-to-be-missed writing conference for 2011.
Check the FRW website for more details.
Now, I must go rest!
Patrice

At two o’clock in the afternoon, the parking of St. Nicholas church bustled with activity as people gathered in front of the church or on the side lawn. While some drove their own cars, many came in groups in rented bus from Miami, Northern Florida, and a person flew in from San Salvadore. On a beautiful 75o evening in Fort Lauderdale, every one was excited about the big event of Saturday night: the visit of the Medjougorje visionary, Ivan Dragieevic.

Volunteers organized the faithful lining up outside the church for hours. Blue and white rosaries were distributed around. At four thirty pm, the ushers opened the door and admitted the parishioners. The choir chanted various canticles during the service attended by about 1500 people. Since the church could accommodate a maximum of 500 people only, most of the congregation sat outside on beach chairs or blankets. A video camera recorded the whole ceremony that was projected on a huge screen set on the loan.

Our pastor thanked Ivan for coming to St. Nicholas. At six o’clock, the whole congragation prayed the Rosary and sang the Ave Maria between the mysteries.

At six forty, Ivan kneeled on the first step of the altar and we all dropped to our knees, holding our rosaries. From my place in the front side, facing the choir, I had an excellent view. I saw Ivan talking. His lips moved. He often nodded. His expression changed. At one moment, he frowned and then nodded again and smiled. I felt a divine presence, wiped my tears and prayed Our Lady, presenting my petitions. For fifteen minutes, you could hear a pin dropped as people trembled or silently cried, and prayed while Ivan conversed with his apparition. After a final nod, he made the sign of the cross and rose. We all followed suite. We crossed ourselves and sat, silently waiting and keeping in our heart what we have just witnessed. Our pastor celebrated the Mass.

After Mass, Ivan told us about the first apparition of the Virgin Mary. I wrote his words translated from Slavic to English by the interpreter:

On June 24, 1981, it was Wednesday and the feast of St. John the Baptist. Our home was a small poor village under communist regime. In those days there were five or six televisions in the whole village. My friends and I gathered to watch the football (soccer) game at the house that had a TV. After the game we walked back together. I was a shy sixteen years old. Three girls stopped to talk to us. I continued walking with another boy. My house was the last one of the village. Before we arrived, the girls and another boy came running after us and stopped us, saying, “You have to come with us. We just saw a lady up there in the hill. Our Lady, the Virgin Mary.”

At first we didn’t believe them. But they insisted and we went with them. We saw Our Lady floating on the clouds. She called us, saying, “Come my dear children. Don’t be afraid.” When I went back home, I was very scared because our regime didn’t allow us to talk about religion openly. I didn’t know about Fatima or Lourdes and asked myself: Is it possible? I locked myself in my room hoping to forget, hoping it would all go away.

The next day, many people were at our door. The other children had talked about what they saw and the villagers insisted we should go back and they came with us to the place of the apparition. Before we even reached the hill, I saw her. Our Lady holding a Baby. She called us. We came closer. It was such a beautiful moment. She was looking at us with such a beautiful smile I can’t describe. She said: My dear children, I am your Mother. I love you. I will protect you and guide you. I am the Queen of Peace. Please, please, be strong. The world and mankind are in danger and threaten to destroy themselves.

Ivan said he was not a saint .and was not converted overnight. He kept asking the apparition: “Why me? Mother, why did you choose me?” She told me: “ My dear child, I am not looking for the best ones. You need to be an instrument in my hands.” It was an enormous responsibility. But whoever received a lot, is expected to give a lot.

After each apparition Ivan said he needed a few hours to come back to reality. Our lady told him she wanted peace in the world and that it could be only accomplished by putting peace and love and prayers in the families. She kept asking for love and prayers in the families every day.

Ivan said the Virgin Mary appeared to him every day for the past twenty-nine years. EVERY DAY around seven pm wherever he is. He prays, falls on his knees and sees her. She talks to him for ten to fifteen minutes. She complains that the world has no peace and is spiritually sick, that people have abandoned prayers, that families are collapsing. People don’t have time for each other. Parents have no time for their children. She asks parents to give love to their children and pray with them. She said, she comes to us as the Mother of Hope and asks us to be strong. Ivan also said that the Lady gave him a message for ALL her dear children. All includes all race and nationalities.

On Sunday, we met Ivan at his hosts’ house. After rosary and apparition, he gave the message she told him, almost the same one again. He said he found it difficult to talk after the apparition, but he agreed to answer our questions.

Q: How does the lady looks? How old? Where do you see her?
A: Very beautiful. Between 30 and 40. She floats on a cloud.

Q: What does she wear?
A: A long grey robe and veil. On her holy days, Christmas, Easter, Assumption, …she wore a golden dress and veil

Q: Is she alone?
A: Sometimes with a baby, sometimes with three angels around her.

Q: Has the apparition changed your life?
A: Yes, it did. I was shy, but now I am strong. I have a message to give. I go around the world and give the message.

Q: How come you didn’t become a priest?
A: Our Lady didn’t ask me. Marriage is a sacrament too. My wife and two sons understand that my mission is special.

Q How about the other visionaries? Do They still see the Virgin Mary? Are they married?
A: We all have families. Three of them see the Virgin two times a month. One sees the Virgin once a month on the 25th, She gives her a message. Only one other sees the Virgin every day like me.

Q: Did you reveal everything she told you?
A: No She gave me secrets I am not allowed to reveal yet. And she gave the five other secrets too.

Q: Did you reveal them to a priest or to the Pope?”
A: No we are not allowed. We will do it when She allows us.

Q: Did you do any miracles?
A: I don’t do miracles. Our Lady does them. Thousands of people have been healed in Medjougorje but only 300 are official. There has been a lot of spiritual healing. Many vocations followed the visit to Medjougorje.

Q: The Pope and Catholic Church have not yet officially recognized the apparitions. There has been also some controversy about Medjougorje.
A: Yes, I am aware of it. The Pope needs time to carefully study the situation before officially calling Medjougorje an apparition site.

CELEBRITY WORDS TO LIVE BY

Most of the time those we call “Celebrities” don’t really have all that much to say and certainly not much we should listen t. Most of them generally come across as not having a cogent thought in their handsome heads; sometimes, however, they hit the nail on the head with those little bits of wisdom which we shouldn’t ignore. Hence, the following (and sometimes surprising) insights.

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.—Arthur Ashe

The small act of paying attention can get you a long way.—Keanu Reeves

You achieve success in your field when you don’t know whether what you’re doing is work or play.—Warren Beatty

In order for you to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.—Bill Cosby

Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.—Elvis Presley

Glory is fleeting but obscurity is forever.—Napoleon Bonaparte

Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.—Lance Armstrong

A dream doesn’t become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.—Colin Powell

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.—Erica Jong

Stay committed in your decisions but stay flexible in your approach.—Tony R0bbins

Be as smart as you can but remember that it is always better to be wise than smart.—Alan Alda

The most rewarding things you do in life are the ones that look like they cannot be done.—Arnold Palmer

…and, as Stan Lee, mentor of Marvel Comics, says: ‘Nuff said!

Irish Blessings

Posted by Beth Trissel | 11:14 PM | | 13 comments »


I’ve been collecting Irish Blessings.  If you have a favorite, please feel free to share it.  They run the gamut from touching and moving to funny.  Speaking of which, I love this one: 
“May you reach Heaven a moment before the devil knows you are dead.” ~


"May you have warm words on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill all the way to your door." ~



“May the frost never afflict your spuds. May the leaves of your cabbage always be free from worms. May the crows never pick your haystack. If you inherit a donkey, may she be in foal.”~  

“May you live as long as you want, And never want as long as you live.”~

“May the roof above us never fall in. And may the friends gathered below it never fall out.” ~

“May there be a generation of children On the children of your children.” ~

“May you live to be a hundred years, With one extra year to repent!” ~


"May your neighbors respect you,
Trouble neglect you, 
The angels protect you, 
And heaven accept you."

Probably the best known and beloved Irish blessing is this one:  

“May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. And rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.”~

*This last pic is of the Shenandoah Valley.




I would like to share with you the beautiful diploma I receivbed from READERS FAVORITE after BABIES IN THE BARGAIN won their contest for 2009 BEST ROMANCE.


READERS FAVORITE will send me a roll of gold stickers to put on the autographed copies and will celebrate the winners at a conference in Las Vegas next November


Woohooo of all the places, here is a city I can convince my husband to accompany me to.






Rx For Trust: at TWRP ebook
http://www.thewildrosepress.com/prescription-for-trust-p-3790.html

READERS FAVORITE review 5 stars

This is Mona Risk at her best. The story will bring tears both sadness and joy. The reader watches as Marc matures and as Holly’s heart thaws. One tiny baby makes a difference in both their lives. The characters are easy to relate to. The plot is excellent. Fans of romance will love this story.


To influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else’s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him.
Oscar Wilde

(ABOVE: A Southern home where peanuts are enjoyed daily)

I love peanuts! No two ways about it—roasted, parched, boiled, in salads, in soups, in candy—you name it, I probably like it. Is there another food, other than grits, which is considered more Southern? My grandfather had rows and rows of peanut fields. The plants were pulled, the nuts harvested, the plants themselves dried and baled into hay for the cows. And believe me, there was nothing better than boiling peanuts in a huge, cast-iron pot in October… In a parody of MacBeth’s three witches, my cousins and I would hover over the cauldron, watching the water bubble and the peanuts floating around. Using a hoe, we’d stir the mixture, then lift out a few to sample…then we’d sit on a nearby log and tell ghost stories while the full moon shone down on the leaping flames and the wind nipped chillingly and the peanuts cooked… Ah, memories!

The li’l ol’ peanut has a fascinating history. It’s a native of the Americas—South and Central America, that is—and is one of the gifts along with corn and tobacco that Native Americans gave to the white man. They are also known as goober peas and groundpeas. This little legume had a spot in the hearts of the natives of the Americas and there are surviving sculptures of peanuts that have been found in Peru, circa 300 AD. The peanut is unique in that it has two sets of chromosomes from two species. It’s believed that peanuts were first domesticated in Peru around 7,600 years ago. When the conquistadores came to Central America and wended their way to Mexico City, they found peanuts, called tlalcacahuatl, being sold in the markets there. The plants were taken back to Europe and from there to Africa in the 1800s, where they were re-introduced to the United States. Peanuts were taken to China in the 1600s by Portuguese traders where they were used in many dishes and sometimes boiled. So—boiled peanuts is a Chinese dish! Take that, those of you who look down on this Southern delicacy! Today, China is the largest producer of peanuts in the world, followed by India and then the US, although the US is the major exporter. In fact, most of the peanuts in the US are grown in or near Dothan, Alabama, where the Annual Peanut Festival is held each fall.

Peanuts grow best in sandy soil, with five months of warm weather, and good rainful. They riped in 120 to 150 days. There are four types of peanuts: Spanish, Virginia, Runner, and Valencia. Subgroups are Tennessee Red and Tennessee White. During the 1940s, 90% of the peanuts grown in the South were Spanish peanuts, which are small, red-skinned peanuts but today most of the varieties grown are Runners. Virginias are the kind usually called “cocktail nuts.” There are also many strains inside each group.

Thanks to George Washington Carver, who discovered so many ways to process the peanut, it is used in confections, oils, flours, as a high-protein, energy paste to stave off malnutrition, as well as in plastics, cosmetics, nitroglycerin, dyes, and paints. It has been stated that refined peanut oil can be safely consumed by people with a peanut allergy because the protein is destroyed during processing. (If you are allergic to peanuts, please verify this with your doctor or a healthcare professional before trying it, however.) Peanuts are a good source of niacin, resveratrol, CoQ10 enzyme, and antioxidants. I personally like (in order of importance) boiled peanuts, dry roasted, Snickers bars, Paydays, and peanuts used in tossed salad.

Challenging Milk’s motto, surely the peanut is Nature’s most nearly perfect food! At least to this Georgia gal, anyway!

GROUND PEA SOUP (I know it doesn’t sound appetizing but believe me, it’s GOOD!)

1 Cup diced carrots
1 Cup diced green onions or leaks
1 can chicken broth
1/4 Cup smooth peanut butter
dash of cayenne pepper
salt/pepper to taste

Combine carrots, onions, and broth in large saucepan. (Lazy me, I always microwave the vegetables first to save time.) Cook until tender. Add peanut butter and stir until well-blended. Cook until heated throughout, then serve. Makes 4 servings.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for supplying some of the information for this article.)

Our guest today is Joelle Charbonneau. Joelle lives near Chicago with her husband, two-year-old son and one cat. Although a storyteller at heart, Joelle has also performed in a variety of Operas, musical theatre and children's theatre productions. Joelle's first comedic mystery, Skating Around the Law will be released this fall by St. Martins. Joelle, what have you got for us today?

THE END IS JUST THE BEGINNING .When I first started writing, I did it for fun. I had no idea if I’d even get to THE END. Those words seemed so distant. I just focused on putting one page in front of the other and hoped that some day they would get me where I was going. Wherever that might be.

No one will ever read that first book,(and that is a really good thing), but I learned the value of getting to the end of a story. No matter how certain you are as a writer of where the journey is going, you never really know how it ends until you get there. At least, I don’t. THE END used to mean relief that I had scaled the mountain. Nowadays, the mountain is only the start of the journey. THE END is actually a beginning of sorts for me because that’s where the real fun starts.

Some writers get bored with a story once it unfolds on the page. Revisions and edits are up there with root canals and Chinese water torture. I must be a masochist. I love revising. Revising means I get to turn my story into a real book. I love looking at character development and questioning whether I’ve used the right words to describe the smell of a roller rink or the hat an ex-circus camel is wearing. It is only after I have the raw material of the full story that I can sculpt and chisel away at it and turn it into a finished product.

I just finished my most recent story this weekend. My heroine solved the murder, helped her friends and went through a lot of angst with family and her love interest. But was it the best story I could tell? Nah – but it will be. I’m going to tear my hair out analyzing sentence structure and chapter hooks and you know what – I’m going to love every agonizing moment of it. I’m nuts. That’s probably why I’m a writer. ........

EXCEPT........
"Is something wrong, Brittany?"

Brittany's black-lined eyes shifted toward the bathrooms behind us. "I think someone is
sick or something in the girl's bathroom."

I rolled my eyes. Of course someone was sick. Eating junk food and then racing around
in a circle was enough to make any hyperactive kid puke.

"Okay." I gave the girl a smile. "I'll go take a look."

I dodged a few kids zooming toward the refreshment area and pushed the girl's bathroom
door open. Except for the music, everything seemed quiet.

The bathroom smelled of Pine-Sol and hand soap. My nose didn't detect any vomit.
Hopeful that Brittany was mistaken, I braced myself for previously chewed pizza and began
pushing open the stall doors. Nothing. Next one. Nothing. I reached the handicapped stall.

Four down. So far so good.

I gave the door a nudge, peered in, and almost passed out. My knees trembled. My
stomach did a triple gainer, and I leaned against the stall door for support. On the stall floor, not
moving, was handy Mack. His arms were wrapped around the toilet tank. And his head...well I
think he put his head in and shook it all about. His face was somewhere below the water level
and he wasn't moving. Both were very bad.

I heard the door swing open behind me. The click of heels was followed by a loud "tsk."
Doreen's voice chirped, "Damn, Rebecca. This is going to kill the rink's market value for sure."
To learn more, visit Joelle at her website
www.joellecharbonneau.net.

There is an internal lanscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives.

The first line in Damage by Josephine Hart.

This book is dynamic, and was made into a movie starring Jeremy Irons. It is told in first person from the dark hero's POV.

Do magnets litter your refrigerator door? Dare I ask what kind? Yep. "What kind of magnets?"

What about post-it notes, doctor's appointment cards, or grocery lists?

If I visited your kitchen, would I find treasured crayon art masterpieces worthy of a gallery?

What do you store in your refrigerator that others find odd? I have Easter candy from last year in my freezer.

My ex stored film in our freezer. Did you know you can store film in your freezer well past the expiration date? You need to take it out hours before you load it, though.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Luanne Rice will steal your heart with The Geometry of Sisters from (Bantam, 2009). Teenager Rebecca Grace Shaw lost her father through his death and her sister who ran away the night of his death. Maggie moves her family from the town where she lived with her husband, daughters and her son. Her husband is dead and her oldest daughter has run away. Maggie and her sister are estranged because of an old secret. This wonderful story tells about love, disappointment, and the relationships of sisters and is not to be missed!

Sylvia Day will make you question your understanding of dreams and their meanings and influence on people. As paranormal romances go, it's different and will keep you turning the pages and falling in love with a dream man in more ways than one. (HOT SEX, HOTTER MEN! ) Heat of the Night is an (Avon Red, 2008)

Kasey Michaels gives new meaning to mischief in Mischief Becomes Her from HQN 2008). The three Sunshine sisters are as different as any three sisters could be, but they all want to find Teddy Sunshine's killer to prove their daddy was no murderer. Mischief personified, Jessica uses her charms to make a cop put his job at stake to help her prove her daddy's innocence. You'll love this Sunshine Girls Romantic Romp!



Senior Faery Rose editor Amanda Barnett is highly enthusiastic about my light paranormal romance, Somewhere My Lass, a unique suspenseful Scottish time travel.  It was definitely one of the most challenging and yet exciting stories I’ve ever written.   More on this upcoming release as events unfold.  Somewhere My Lass is the next story in my ‘Somewhere’ series.  Needless to say, I am vastly pleased and relieved at the happy completion of this latest work. Whew, and hoo dah!

For those of you who still haven’t read Book One, Somewhere My Love, chop chop.  :) Now that story came to me like a gift and what a gift.  I’d love to share it with everyone but can’t afford to.  Somewhere my love is available in both digital download and print at: The Wild Rose Press and all the major and some not so major online booksellers.   Your local bookseller can order it in.  So can your library.

"As I read Somewhere My Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca long ago. Using deliciously eerie elements similar to that gothic romance, Beth Trissel has captured the haunting dangers, thrilling suspense and innocent passions that evoke the same tingly anticipation and heartfelt romance I so enjoyed then, and still do now."
~ Joysann, Publishers Weekly


Rejection--

Posted by Scarlet Pumpernickel | 7:37 PM | 7 comments »

I hate rejection. It really is a bummer. Nothing can ruin you day like rejection. I came home today in a good mood, really I did. But, things turned south in a hurry. You see, we have been trying to buy a house. Well, build really, but the thing is the price the contractor has on the house certainly does not reflect a buyers market. Is it just me, or did any of you think this should be a good time to get a good deal? Well, not so, apparently this contractor wouldn't know one if it bit him on the butt! We sent in our offer two days ago and this afternoon I found out it had been rejected. The real estate agent had assured me it was a good offer and I must say, it was. Did I mention I hate rejection? Got another one today, somehow this one was more painful. You see, I sent an electronic submission to Carina Press back at the first of December and today I got a rejection. Boy, talk about having a bad day. Oh the bright side I got an email from my agent who said she liked my WIP and wanted to read more. So all isn't lost, still it's hard. After all, I really do hate rejection. What about y'all? Misery loves company tell me your rejection stories.

Joanne--Deals of the Day

Posted by Josie | 9:14 AM | 5 comments »

Hi Everyone,
There are some great deals out there today:

Borders.com 50% off Beatles T's for those Beatles fans out there. Regularly $19.99 on sale for $9.99

Victoria's Secret: Visit their website and take an additional 20% off their clearance coats and jackets. Use coupon code: VSWARM20

At select areas around the country, Target is offering a $15.00 gift card completely free just for trying the new Wii Fit Plus. Can't go wrong with this deal. If you're lucky enough to have the event running in your area, check:
http://sites.target.com/site/en/spot/page.jsp?title=wiifit&AFID=Performics&LNM=Primary

Free Bagel: Become a fan of Einstein Bros. on facebook. They'll send you a coupon for a free bagel.

Happy shopping!

"I can't afford to save any more money."--Favorite quote

Joanne--Deal of the Day

Posted by Josie | 1:13 PM | 6 comments »

Hi Everyone,
Lots of deals to be had today:

Bath and Body Works: I am posting a coupon for a free travel size item from their signature collection with a $5.00 purchase.
http://f.chtah.com/i/34/528207786/20091229_coupon.html

Yankee Candle: Truly one of the best deals right now. In stores, they are offering 2 of their large candles for $25.00 (select scents--mostly fall and Holiday)
And, here is a coupon for $10.00 off a purchase of $25.00. Final cost for 2 large candles is $15.00 compared with $50.00!
http://www.yankeecandle.com/yc/html/retail/Email_HTML/registerForCouponsWebNEWCoupon.html

Redbox is offering a free code today: RBXLUV10

Graveyardmall.com is offering a great Daily Deal-- 10 pairs of men's sunglasses for $9.99

And last, Mikasa.com has lots of clearances, prices beginning as low as under $2.00. Use coupon 9681 for free shipping.

Happy Shopping!

"I can't afford to save any more money."--favorite quote



Dear Bloggers, Readers and Friends,

One of my books, BABIES IN THE BARGAIN, a sweet and spicy contemporary romance, has been nominated for Best Book of the Year at the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll along with many others.


Would you please vote for me? If you aleady had, thank you so much.

The link is http://www.critters.org/predpoll/novelr.shtml

1-You click on the little circle next to the book name
2- Scroll down to the bottom of the page, enter your name and email in the white boxes
3- Enter the verification words in the little box,
4- Click on Submit Vote.
You will immediately receive an email from Preditors & Editors at the email address you have given them. You HAVE to click on the link they give you otherwise the vote doesn't count. It will open their site. You will see SUCCESS in green. That is their way of verifying that you have a legitimate email. And that’s all.

I would greatly appreciate your vote. Thank you so much.

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN received stellar reviews:


The Long And The Short Reviews~ 5 Books. Best Book of The Week. Ms. Risk has done an outstanding job with Babies in the Bargain and is a very talented writer who gives the reader what they are after. I highly recommend this book. This one will keep you on your toes and make you beg for more. I can't wait to read more of Ms. Risk's work in the future.



Romance Junkies~5 Ribbons. BABIES IN THE BARGAIN is one novel that pulls you into the story and holds you captive to the last page.

Reviewed by Vince on HQ blog~ 5 Hearts
“Babies in the Bargain” could serve as an object lesson on how to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’ a story. You always know exactly what the characters are feeling, indeed, for the most part you 'feel' along with them. It’s a great read.

Night Owl Romance~
BABIES IN THE BARGAIN n is a sweet and sexy medical romance that will have you cooing and awing while also shedding a few tears.

Joyfully Reviewed~ Romance blooms amidst tragedy in Babies in the Bargain. It tugs heart strings and stirs emotions.

WRDF Review~ This was a great read, romantic and at times bittersweet.Enjoyable from beginning to end, Babies in the Bargain sports believable characters, an ultra romantic story line, and a thoroughly satisfying ending.

Readers Favorite~ 5 Hearts This is Mona Risk at her best. The story will bring tears both sadness and joy. The characters are easy to relate to. The plot is excellent. Fans of romance will love this story.

Got Romance! ~ 4 Diamonds This story is both heart warming and heart wrenching. Ms Risk has created beautifully written, well rounded, realistic characters.

http://www.monarisk.com/
Mona Risk

Joanne--Deals of the Day

Posted by Josie | 1:56 PM | 4 comments »

Hi Everyone,
As always, I have some great deals to share today:

LNT.com has bed in a bags on a sale, with a great variety of sizes and styles and colors. Use code BED20 for an extra 20% off. If you spend $75.00, shipping is free.

Amazon.com has a Gold Box Deal today for the special man in your life. Gorgeous Invictus Men's Russian Diver Collection #4338 black watches are on sale for $69.99 with free shipping, regularly $575.00. Just above where it says in stock, click on special offer available to also receive a free sizing tool.

Go online at Domino and order 2 medium, 2 topping pizzas. To add free Cinnamon stix to eh order, add code EBCS. This deal should cost under $15.00. Please note this may not be available in all areas.

Happy Shopping!

Favorite quote: "I can't afford to save any more money."



SNOWFLAKES

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

















Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.














Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals the grief it feels.






















This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.





Let it snow!
Let it snow!
Let it snow!






Hey readers!

Making messes is my specialty . I start with the best of intentions. They don't last long!

I begin each year with plans to organize my life.

"Start with small projects," folks say. There are NO small projects, only large projects masquerading as small ones.

I start filing bills and suddenly I find other things in my bill pile. I don't know how they got there. I pull out three things to file and four replace them while my back is turned. On New Year's Eve I actually swept my little dining bay table. Really! I swept everything onto the floor. It took three sweeps but I left only glass pencil holders on the table. I'm no idiot. I didn't fancy picking up dozens of pens and pencils. I really didn't want to pick up glass and I love my little Dollar Store pencil vases and bowls.

You'd think I'd have cleared the floor, wouldn't you? I started, but then I got a call to go to a movie. I never go alone and seldom go at all, so I left the stuff on the floor and enjoyed the movie.

I'm still grabbing a few things at a time but now there are stacks on the table again. I filled a garbage bag and found a missing necklace. The only food I found was wrapped candy. I filled a cup with paper clips and bobby pins. Oh, yes, there were three lip pencils I lost and 2 lipsticks, three eye shadows, too.

I'm still making the pile on my kitchen floor smaller, but yesterday I had to detour to a cabinet when I found sticky drink cans. I was emptying new 12 packs of Pepsi One and noticed something sticky. That meant pulling everything from that cabinet and cleaning up sticky mess.

I stopped to tutor, mess up my upstairs thermostat, and write this blog!

So, are you an organized person?

Are you a hoarder like I am?

Cleansing body and soul

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 12:14 PM | , , | 11 comments »

Hi everybody,
Now that the holidays are over, it is time to get rid of all the excesses and toxins from our bodies, and renew our body and spirits. I found a very good article in the paper and would like to share a tip or two. Not only have we probably put on a pound of two but we also have accumulated toxins that leave us bloated, lethargic, cranky, with our cells aging, clamouring for a good detox. The cleansing will chase away the blues, remember I wrote about them!, and lethargy, clarify the mind, restore the skin's glow, ease insomnia and rev up energy.
A week of clean foods should get you back on the road to good health. Start with a cup of ginseng tea each morning. Take a brisk walk to jumpstart your circulation. Eat four to five small meals a day to help your metabolism.
The purifying foods are:
fruits - apples, apricots, coconut, grapefruit, bananas, oranges, nuts, plums, watermelon
vegetables - broccoli, celery, cabbage, corn, lentils, cucumber, lettuce, potatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, zucchini, pumpkin
protein - fish, tofu, lean pork
grains - brown rice, wild rice, sunflower seeds, soybeans or edamame.

This advice comes from Fernanda Beccaglia, a Palm Beach staff writer, so I give her the credit.
Hope this helps, and let me know what you do to purify your body after your guests have disappeared and the last of the turkey has been consumed. I want to hear from you!
Patrice

WITCHYS WIKKED GRAPHIX

Yes, you're right this graphic has nothing to do with the weather, I just thought it was cool!

So last night I put the heat on 63 degrees, and it came on several times in the night. I was afraid it wouldn't work because I hadn't turned it on in years.
I did a pre test. Immediately Junior began his barking. Now this is a big dog and when he barks it goes right through you and part of it settles inside you. The dust was burning off the coils and he musta thought there was a fire!
I am hoping the cool weather sticks around awhile. I love to sleep with a cold nose. Yup, it's been a few three dog nights in a row!

Yesterday I covered my Ming tree and all the other delicate sub-tropicals I could, with every sheet I have. It will be awhile before I know if they are all right.

WITCHYS WIKKED GRAPHIX

So I could read one of the many books I have obtained and relax in my chair.

WITCHYS WIKKED GRAPHIX

Or maybe if I could get motivated, I will get my butt in the chair and write.

WITCHYS WIKKED GRAPHIX

Yes, since it's much too cold for me to sit by the pool. I think I'll write.

WITCHYS WIKKED GRAPHIX

Here I go! You all have a great day. Be happy. Write, you never know when that next book will make it to the Best Sellers list.

Because publishing a book gave me the best feelings about myself, that I have ever had. For the first time in my life I am successful at something. Now ain't that great!

WITCHYS WIKKED GRAPHIX

Just a snapshot of me celebrating with a friend.


WITCHYS WIKKED GRAPHIX

This I just think is hysterical!


My last picture is to make you feel good today, I hope it works!

WITCHYS WIKKED GRAPHIX

I wish you a gift from the right hero!!

Have a great day.