Monday, March 23, 2015

My Cesar Millan Moments

I watch Cesar Millan’s shows about dogs.  I’m a fan of his and I like all the dogs, except the ones that bite.  When he says, don’t try this at home, you can be sure I usually don’t.

But when Cleo, small and fluffy with surprisingly big teeth, claimed the turkey carcass at Christmas, I had to do something.  She growled at me ferociously as I bravely put my foot on top of the garbage bag containing her treasure.

It was only when her teeth were a few inches from my toes that I remembered Cesar always wears shoes.  Not to be intimidated, I waited for her to stop.  Then I got tired.  It’s hard to stand on one leg for any length of time so I changed feet.  This seemed to give Cleo hope that I’d give up soon.

A flash from a camera told me I had an audience.  All my Christmas guests had crowded in to see me win or lose.  A minute, then two minutes, I had to change feet again.  Then suddenly Cleo sat back and I slipped my foot between her and the turkey.  Like magic she saw I’d won and quietly let me claim it.  After that she let me take anything from her when I wanted to.  Thank you, Cesar!

My second dog story takes place outdoors.  A hamburger place where dogs are welcome to sit outside with their owners.  I went with a friend, our dogs were quietly waiting in the shade under the table.  Ten feet away in a car stood a small dog with its head out the window, barking furiously.  I said to my friend, Cesar would say if we don’t speak but hold out our arms with palms towards the dog, it should know we want him to be quiet.  We tried, though we felt a bit silly as we didn't think it would work for us.  The dog squeaked to a halt!  He stared at us bug-eyed, and then slid down low on the seat to hide.  Every now and then he’d give one little bark then raise his head so he could just peep to see if we were still there, then he’d settle down again.  We ate in peace.

Cesar is the best!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Painting Class

I took a painting a class this winter.  Cheaper than therapy!
A way to survive in the frozen north.
I need to get to the beach in winter.
Wishing all your sunsets and sunrises are lovely,

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Pipeline problem solved by romance writer

I know it is not sexy but I can't keep writing about the underwear men, sometimes I must help with important problems.  Besides, if there is really a battery lasting a thousand miles, it might make the pipeline problem go away on its own before I have time to solve it.  Except you have to keep filling that battery with water.   Wonder if it will work on icicles?  What happens in the frozen north?

Never mind!  Must keep my focus and get the pipeline problem solved in three sentences.

1.  No one is allowed to pipe oil anywhere in North America.

2.  Dig it up, pump it or scoop it, I don't care, but it must be used to generate electricity right there.

3.  Use the electrical grid to move electricity around, we do it all the time.

Don't moan about your car to me.  We are being green here!  Every time we need to move an underwear man from here to there, we must use electricity.  Everyone can do it, use your imagination!  I do hope the seats are heated, wouldn't want him to catch cold.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

excerpt from Lizzie Tempest Ruins A Viscount

(This book was first published as  Every Midnight)

Lizzie gave a shudder. They were all conspiring against her, even the two maids slowly searching the luggage for her aunt’s missing shawl. They all conspired to keep her at the Folly until the Beast returned to claim it for his own.

He did not come to claim her.

She had not forgotten the horrid words he had used the last time she’d seen him. “My dearest Lizzie, I don’t covet your money or your graceless manners. Consider yourself free from any engagement to me.” He had stared with mocking sadness at her body, then leaned closer to whisper, “You could not tempt me to matrimony, not even in my wildest dreams.”

Inside the great house the Felmonts waited for him, locked in verbal duels with each other. If they had been partial to pistols at dawn, the family would have died out long ago. The only thing they all agreed on was their need for her to marry one of them to keep her fortune in the family.

Lizzie called, “I shall meet you at the gates, Aunt Tempest.”

“Don’t go by yourself!” Aunt Tempest cried, as if walking to the gates was perilous. “Wait until my shawl is found. Get in, Lizzie, I must insist.”

“Let me replace it, dear Aunt Tempest,” begged Lizzie. It was no use. She shrugged and laughed. “If you are not at the gates by the time I get there, I shall walk to Bath.”

“Fortune hunters will capture you long before you get to the village,” warned the irate lady.

Lizzie stepped resolutely onto the lawn. She had a dozen outriders waiting outside the gates to protect her.

The cool caress of wet grass felt like silk at her ankles. The sun played about her coal-scuttle bonnet and dark traveling dress. Anyone searching for the possessor of the Tempest fortune would never suspect her. Inheriting her father’s fortune had been both a blessing and a curse. Life was full of blessings and curses. Her widowed mother marrying Viscount Felmont had truly been a curse, but the blessing was his gothic stone mansion. The great house called as she skirted the edge of the lake. For one last time she turned to admire its golden beauty, to love its towers and turrets with all her heart.

She might even visit the Folly again, when the Beast was laid in his grave. Not that she wished him ill, but it was impossible to save any Felmont from debauchery. So many of them had died from that awful disease! Her duty to the Felmont family was over, though she’d reinstate their pensions if she could. Even the new viscount would not be refused financial aid, if he approached her soberly. She hurried across the lawn towards the distant gates. If the new Viscount Felmont wanted to ask her for money or thank her for saving the Folly, she’d prefer it done by letter.

Not that she feared him now. How young and foolish she had been. Time had cured her of loathing the Beast. She had not thought of him much for many a year. She’d been too busy trying to keep emotions at bay, to not weep and feel each death so dreadfully.

Calling him Beast in her thoughts was wrong, a childhood habit, and not useful at all.

A quarter of a mile away the gates opened. Thunder rolled low in the distance.

Not thunder. Horsemen raced down the drive, their mounts lathered. She watched them tear up the lawn as they spread out and galloped towards the Folly. She could clearly see Lord Felmont riding in front of his wolf pack.

Her heart began a thunder of its own.

If he thought she lingered waiting for him, she meant to disabuse him of the notion. Lizzie drew a shaky breath, gathering her dignity against his arrogance, against his disdain for her.

Now was not the time to let childish fears surface. At almost twenty-two, she was long past girlish palpitations. Let him say his worst in that affected drawl the family used for their insults. Nothing he said or did could be worse than what she had heard and seen in the last few years
And what was the point of her leaving the outriders outside the park, if he meant to ruin the drive and lawn with his pack of inebriated friends. Some of them could hardly stay in the saddle. No doubt the new Viscount Felmont couldn’t wait to begin his beastly debaucheries. Carriages full of whores likely followed him at a more sedate pace.

He dismounted and was momentarily lost to view in a noisy crowd of horses and men. His voice, a low rumble, drifted over the lawn. Raucous laughter greeted his words. He emerged near her berline to wrench open the door. Poor Aunt Tempest gave a cry of fright, which brought a cheer from Felmont’s drunken companions.

Drat the man! What had happened to his manners?

Aunt Tempest’s hand pointed in her direction from the carriage window.

Lizzie’s legs froze.

Lord Felmont turned towards her. One man hurried after him. She forced air into her lungs and waited for them to approach. She wasn’t afraid of him! Long gone were the days when she had struggled to not show her fear, or worse, faint at his feet. To her shame, she had done just that the day the Felmonts had celebrated her betrothal to him. Even her mother had found it vastly amusing, but those days were long gone.

He was hatless, an almost certain sign he was foxed. He moved with his odd loose-limbed grace, his long legs covering more ground than his companion. They left a silver trail in the morning dew coating the lawn. Even the way Felmont walked towards her seemed insulting. She willed herself to be calm. He could only want to thank her for repairing the Folly.

He stopped. Close enough to touch.

His long dark brown hair had been bleached at the ends by a foreign sun, showing a strange reddish color, as if he had been singed in hell’s fire and spat out. Maybe Satan had no use for him either.

He had a handsome face if the Felmont likeness could be overlooked, not that Lizzie intended to try. It was said the Felmonts got their long noses and high cheekbones from the first Viscount Felmont’s gypsy wife, but then men always blamed women for everything
She had always admired the Beast’s mouth, wide and finely sculpted. No one had ever admired the Felmont nose.

His skin ran tight around his jaw, which had not seen a razor this day. His deep blue eyes looked down the length of his long nose at her. No, not really at her. He looked around her, to the side of her, and for a moment he studied her wet hem. One side of his mouth drew down in a quirk of disgust.

She stared at him as if bored by the sight.

“Miss Tempest, I am sorry to see you have not managed to escape your fate.” His voice swirled around her like honey. She felt the sound of his words long before she made sense of them.

The breeze brought the scent of him to her nose. He had washed not long ago and changed his clothes. He smelled of soap from the Priory, as he always did. Of jasmine almost hidden by the low note of musk.

His hand reached out.

Lizzie retreated with dignity. She didn’t want to be touched by anyone.

He had obviously called at the Priory to fortify himself with brandy, a scent that made her take a further step away from him. Not that a drunken Felmont was anything new to her.

“Allow me to introduce my friend, Rackham.” He turned to the gentleman standing several yards away. “Miss Elizabeth Tempest, the woman who ruined me. The woman who has pretended to be engaged to me for these last six years so she could do as she pleased with the Folly.”

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Excerpt from Lord Jasper's Angel

Clouds lowered, bringing mist to cloak her.

Visibility was down to a few yards when Eleanor heard the thud of hooves. They were coming towards her. She moved off the path to hide near one of the gritstone boulders.

A man shouted, “He must have headed back.”

She stroked Grizelle’s ears to keep her quiet.

“Damn this weather,” someone answered. “Never find anyone in this.”

“Bet he’s warming his arse while we search like bloody fools.”

“Which way is back? I’ve lost all sense of direction.”

“Follow me. I’m on the path.”

“Jasper never wanted to meet that ugly female Lancelot is trying to marry off. Probably had to dose himself at the thought of it.”

Wicked laughter greeted his insult to her looks.

She silently consigned the Halyton Horde to everlasting torment as they filed past her hiding place.

“I am going to flirt with the poor old thing. I mean, how ugly can she be?” Groans and hoots served for an answer. It mingled with the sound of their mounts breathing heavily, as if they’d been ridden hard.

“Lancelot said she was sedate. He didn’t say she was ugly.”

“Damn him for inviting us!”

“Do you think Jasper really couldn’t bring himself to meet her?”

“Jasper? Talk to a respectable virgin? Not unless they were discussing her price!”

Their laughter faded into the distance.

Sedate! It was worse than being thought ugly.

Eleanor regained the path with hatred in her heart for all Halytons. Grizelle trotted along, intent on her stable. The mist was no barrier to a mare who wanted to go home.

Did Lancelot Benedict expect her to attract one of those licentious, depraved noblemen? They were all careless sinners tainted by their rank.

Rain began to clear some of the mist. Cold water trickled down her neck.


Eleanor didn’t expect a Halyton to show any interest in her at all. The idea of marrying one of them was laughable. The nobility lived by different rules and married within their own set, or to women of staggering fortune.


The rain cooled her cheeks.

Why not accuse her of being an old maid, of being left on the shelf? Just because she hid her desires, didn’t mean a lazy afternoon on a warm languid summer day could not turn her thoughts to yearnings as hot as any rakehell’s. Only the details were missing from her daydreams.

Sedate! She’d show them sedate, if she ever had one of them in her power. She’d scorn him, and refuse him, and tell him he was ugly. Debauched wretches, all of them!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Trying to find a tag line for my books

Quirky characters fall in love in odd ways. Against all common sense, but then when did common sense have anything to do with love.

Weirdly engaging ones meet their doomWhich is how they might see their fate, the doom bit. I mean no one thinks they are weird, do they?  As for engaging, there is no pleasing everyone.

Some find love, others trip over it. Sometimes they are forced to marry because I made them do it. That’s right, blame the author, everyone does.

Some run away from love, others wish they had. Never mind! I can fix them, either way.

You might not love him at the start of the book. Let’s face it, you might not love him at the end, but the heroine will. Even if it is against her better judgment. She might have been trapped by pleasure, but only if I wrote the love scenes right. Please don’t tell me if I erred, I am shy and write them with my eyes closed. Maybe it is autocorrect that you should blame.

Still working on a tag line, have not got it right yet, at least I hope not.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lord Jasper's Angel

Historical Romance
set in the Regency

Lord Jasper likes the idea that he gets a title on the cover and it isn't simply Jasper's Angel, as it was when this was first published.  He is desperately trying to convince Eleanor to marry him, but heroines are always picky, especially about men they find on the moor out of their minds.

It wouldn't be difficult if he is pleasant company when he is normal, but he is so sure he ravished her that he thinks she hates him, but he must marry her.  Eleanor only likes him insane when he adores her as his angel, and she can do anything she likes with him.  No, don't ask, I am not allowed to write it here!

Available at your favorite ebook retailer

Friday, April 19, 2013

Lizzie Tempest Ruins A Viscount

Lizzie Tempest wanted a title with her name on it.  She was tired of the old titles, Every Midnight and Every Midnight's Sin, and decided that ruining her Viscount was the best thing she ever did accidentally.  Of course, it does take a while before she feels that way but the journey is lots of fun.  Even Lizzie laughs sometimes.

Available at most ebook retailers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Perfect Obedience A Bride's Vow

I decided to change the cover.  I thought a dreamy Bodiam castle might fit well
with my heroine, who is thinking about that awful vow and wondering how soon she is going to burn in hell for not keeping it.
My author edition is up at Amazon and other sites.
Medieval Romance
Lord Jarrad steals his bride from her home using lies and the lure of a safe haven. His bride’s vow of perfect obedience is the priest’s idea, a way to keep her docile.
Need I say it doesn't work?

Available at your favorite ebook retailer

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fur Ball Fever reviewed

I might be banned from Amazon because I reviewed this book and mentioned the underwear men and my water fetish, and it was all the hero's fault. Or it might have been the author's!  They are reviewing my review and I am sure I am not allowed to say fetish or underwear in a review. Only I couldn't resist.

Buy Fur Ball Fever

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Neanderthal mystery solved by romance writer

What? You think academics should be the ones to solve the mystery of why the Neanderthals died out? They can’t even work out that no man, ancient or modern, is going to walk over glaciers to inhabit North America when he can sail down the coast. Would you walk? No, you'd follow the seals, a movable feast, a source of food and warm skins.

Let’s get back to the Neanderthals. The only people on earth who don’t have Neanderthal DNA are people who never left Africa. All the rest, everyone outside of Africa is part Neanderthal as the latest DNA results show. And even this knowledge doesn’t help an academic solve the puzzle of what happened. Why did the Neanderthals die out?

Out we came from Africa, taking the shorter route across the Strait of Gibraltar, because my ancestors could sail even if yours preferred to get all hot and sweaty walking. We end up in what would become Spain. Who do we find there? Javier B. Neanderthal and he looks mighty fine. Sloping forehead and brow ridge look good on him. He has slightly less chin than Javier Bardem but the beard disguises that. He has freshly killed a mammoth creature with the help of his brother Antonio B. Neanderthal. They invite us to dinner. Where we shall leave them all for a moment to digest, while I digress.

What makes modern humans modern? Some say it is trade, because when we appeared trade suddenly expanded. But what facilitated trade? Early modern humans were very friendly. We still like to travel, have a good meal, and get friendly. While I told you this part of the puzzle, Javier B. and Antonio B. Neanderthal were finding out just how friendly we could be. Notice how I skipped over the heavy breathing bit to protect the modesty of our ancestors. By the time we parted ways, friendliness had added Neanderthal DNA to our heritage.

That is where the academics leave us. We have now between 2 and 4 % Neanderthal DNA, which means we met and got friendly as soon as we left Africa. But that leaves out of the equation the gorgeous Penelope C. Neanderthal, who was every bit as attractive as the men. And she brought her sisters to the party with her. So when we parted ways, we had diluted the Neanderthal DNA as much as they had diluted ours.

What happened to the Neanderthals? We befriended them to death. Maybe there were a few never lucky enough to be befriended, who managed to linger on until 20,000 years ago to give themselves a bad name as failures. The rest we were friendly with, until we couldn’t tell them from us.

The next time you see Javier Barden, if he is not wearing his No Country For Old Men face, imagine him with slightly less chin and you being friendly. It works for me.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Vampire Morgue

paranormal novella

The eternal being tries to kill himself in the freezer.

Calista is in the vampire morgue unable to move or speak.

How did it all go so horribly wrong?

They had me as the author.

Available at all the usual places

Thursday, June 2, 2011

honeymoon snakes

We had just arrived in Greece on our honeymoon, and we were listening to a talk about the resort. Did not expect to hear a warning about snakes. As in, be careful when you walk about at night in case there are snakes on the paths. Half the audience freaked out, some got up and screamed in panic.

No, no, don’t worry, they are only in the hills, she lied.

The next day, I was sunbathing completely covered up, trying to keep the wasps away from me. I don’t know about you, but wasps and nakedness do not go together for me. At this moment in time I was only worried about the wasps. The earth had not moved yet.

I looked at the sea, admired a stand of tall ornamental grass, and cooed over the cute kitten playing nearby. It suddenly pounced into the tall grass, to emerge with a snake in its mouth. Which it ate head first, with snake wriggling until the cat was halfway down it. Then cute cat put the rest of the snake on the steps to our cabin.

There were snakes in the grass, and rats everywhere else. Mostly, the rats were squished on the roads. I stopped counting after a hundred, there were thousands on the road to the town. The hotel dog had some of his dinner stolen by a rat as I watched. A bowl of food was placed in front of the dog. A large rat bounded along, grabbed a piece of meat and ran off with it. The dog didn’t even bother complaining.

Then, that night, or the next one, memory is a blur from checking under the bed numerous times to make sure we were alone. The earth moved. It sounded like a train approaching, getting louder and louder. Then the shaking began. We clung to one another, and I hoped my mother wouldn’t have to claim me like that, looking debauched and dead, and squished like the rats on the road from the falling roof.

Roof stayed on. In the morning, the resort manager said not to worry because those metal rods sticking up through the roof were to keep it on in earthquakes. Not that metal thingies had calmed the Greek guests, who had all rushed outside in various states of undress.

Not us. We were waiting for the tsunami, and I was silently promising to never have sex again (in Greece) if I survived.

What can I say, I lied. And then there was another earthquake and that was it for me.

Except, I forgot to tell you about the forest fires. Fire crept down the hillside behind the resort after the first earthquake. We lounged on our chairs and watched the water bombers scoop up seawater to put it out. Not a good day for swimming, so we just watched the planes and the cute cat catching snakes for dinner.

Monday, May 30, 2011

the earth moved

The earth moved on my honeymoon. You would think that would help when writing love scenes.

In my first manuscript, I kept the the hero and heroine waiting to consummate their passion. Someone was reluctant to go there and it wasn’t them. When I finally released the hero (after we’d made a pact in which he could do as he liked, as long as I could keep my eyes closed) he went on for forty pages. Do not expect to read it. It is hidden in a drawer, from which moans break out in the dead of night.

To be honest, the mechanics of A, B, and C are much the same for everyone, aren’t they? And if that isn’t right, don’t tell me about your X, Y, and Zs. I don’t want to know--not wanting to raise expectations in my readers, or my husband.

Rule number one of writing love scenes is don’t let your characters shed their characterization along with their clothes.

Rule number two is take Angela Knight’s workshop on writing love scenes and don’t ask me for any more rules.

I always write love scenes with my eyes closed and I have no idea what anyone is actually doing, unless they fall off the bed or trip when getting out the bathtub. That is my story and I am sticking to it, just in case my mother is reading this. Some of my favorite books have no sex in them at all. But I didn’t write any of those.

The earth moved on my honeymoon. Yes, I’m going to let it all hang out here. The earth moved literally. It was appropriate at the time, but scary as hell. We had earthquakes, forest fires, and snakes on our honeymoon. But the earthquakes were weird, as if someone was watching. It happened twice! And after the first time, I was leery of going to bed again. When we got home, a long way from earthquake prone Greece, there was an earthquake early the next morning. Whoever is in charge of earthquakes has a sense of humor, and I wish he’d stop watching me. Paranoid? Me? I hope the earth moves for you and then you’d have more sympathy.

Monday, May 23, 2011

dancing back to the Regency

Not that my historical characters were happy to see me.  They are moaning all over the place, complaining about the time I have taken to write Vampire Morgue.  I said, I was sorry to keep them waiting.  But even the heroine is complaining about the love scenes.  No neck biting allowed.  Hero must suffer unrequited passion more than she does.  No time or space travel.  Well, of course, I had to agree.  Hero must be more naked than she is.  Her list goes on.  I said, she can have it all as long as I can keep my eyes shut.

Hero is now complaining I type too slowly.  Don't ask.  All my heroes complain about that.  I think they have organized a union.  Next, they will be picketing my desk.  I hope they wear clothes, or I won't get anything done.

Monday, May 16, 2011

seven things about me you will wish you didn't know

Hmm, mind is a blank.  That's One.

Space aliens have never really talked to me, but maybe that is a good thing.  What if they were foodies, doing an Eat-Around-the-Galaxy tour.  Do not want the last word I hear to be, Delicious!  Two.

I do not think about naked men all the time.  Why do people always think romance writers do that?  I mean, who could, all the time?  Ridiculous!  Just because I find time in my busy day to visit the men's underwear department, now and then, does not mean I do it all the time.  Three.

Men do not think about sex all the time, they lied when they answered that question.  But romance writers do have to think about it.  Nothing wrong with that.  Sometimes, afterwards, I smile and think that went well.  More often, I complain and say, why do I have to do all the work, why can't you two think of something to do that no one has done before!  Sometimes, I sit pensively and wonder if there is another word for that, what were they actually doing, and if they are as exhausted and sweaty as me.  Oops, forgot that horses sweat, men perspire and ladies glow--not sure where that leaves me.  Four.

I ride a bicycle but it can be embarrassing because I tend to breathe heavily on the uphill bits, like a woman glowing with passion.  I have startled men, who wonder what is happening as I peddle furiously up a slope, sounding like half of that old French heavy breathing sexy song.   I have taken to singing it as I go, an attempt at heavy breathing disguise, so anyone listening will think I want to sound like that.  The song got banned in many countries, and went to the top in Britain, which only goes to show something but I'm not sure what.  Five.  (No I'm not going to give a link, you must corrupt your own morals.  I get in enough trouble singing it.)

Only two more to go.  I hope you aren't glowing with anticipation.  It can only go downhill from here.

Mind is a blank again.  Must be recovering from Four and Five.  Can I call this Six or is that cheating?

Seven!  At last!  If this went on any longer I'd run out of things to tell you.  Writing isn't easy because characters will never do what I tell them to do.  Sometimes, they sulk and refuse to go there and do that.  Sometimes, they have a brilliant idea, and I wish I'd thought of it.  Sometimes, they wander around naked.  I tell her, Go put some clothes on!  When she has gone, I talk to him.  Just talk!  Remember, the sweaty glowing bit was in Four.

Melanie Robertson-King awarded me the Versatile Blogger award, which is where I got the idea for telling you seven things about me.  But let's not blame Melanie for any of the above.  I daren't even claim my award. 

She has a fun blog called Celtic Connections.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Donald Trump, another vomit story

Why don’t I own real estate like Donald Trump?  I was too cheap to buy another how-to-get-rich autobiography by him.  The Art of the Deal was fascinating enough, even though I never got to read it all.  My son was very small and he wasn’t feeling well.  Thought it would be a good idea to show him the picture of Donald when he was little.

Oops!  Vomit all over the book.  That explains why certain tall buildings are called Trump Towers, not Maggie Spires, which is much better name and not boring at all.  If I decide to write murder mysteries, I might use it for a pen name.

Monday, May 2, 2011

stealing fries

This is an embarrassing story.  I was at the best hamburger joint in town.  Alone.  There was a man in front of me in the line, waiting for something.  I gave my order, hamburger and fries.  The fries were put in front of me and I did something very bad.  I ate one.  Then I ate another.  It was only then that I noticed the man beside me was breathing weird.

What I should have done was apologize, but he fled with his fries before I could get a word out.  I should have bought him another portion, but I was afraid if I approached him again, he’d think I was after another.  Now I always sing this to myself, whenever I go there.

To the tune of The Gambler, sung by Kenny Rogers.

You never eat your fries
when you’re standing at the counter
because for all that you know
they might belong to him

There’ll be time enough for eating
when you’re sure they're yours