Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bat Caper

I was reading with the TV on in the background tonight when something flew by. I looked up and thought a bird had gotten first. Then I realized that the flyer was furry, not feathery.

Of course the cats were highly excited and enthused about the sudden appearance of the bat. Snowden was thinking "supper" while Cabot was thinking "flying toy." Both followed the bat as it swooped from room to room.

At first, as long as the bat didn't swoop at me I just sat still contemplating my options. It finally dropped slightly in my direction and since it is getting close to bed time, I decided I needed to formulate a capture and release program. I turned on all the lights around the house trying to find the bat.

It had settled on a curtain rod in my bedroom. Unfortunately, Snowden was standing on the bed debating the possibility of climbing the curtains. Thankfully, he continued to consider while I went to find a step stool. I grabbed a plastic bag, but quickly realized plastic was not a good capture method. So I picked up a pillow case and climbed the step stool while talking soothingly to the frightened little bat.

I wrapped the pillow case around him, but had to pry his little claws gently from the woodwork. Then I carried him out to the front porch. Have you ever been scolded by a bat? I have. They chitter...kind of like squirrels. Once outside, I pulled back the covering and we were face to face. I quickly turned him and he flew away off into the night. Hopefully, he will eat a whole lot of mosquitoes next summer. Thus I have done my good deed for the day.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crappy weather in Iowa...again

Today was rather miserable... weather wise. Overnight we had rain, then some snow today. I worked the evening at the library and almost everyone in town showed remarkable sense...they stayed home. I think maybe 5 people came in to use the library tonight.

Oh well. I was there if I was needed. Given this dreadful economy, I'm grateful to have steady employment.

Even with the lousy weather, I'm still excited about my book's upcoming release!
30 days until release - January 7, 2009!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My book has a page!

Greetings all,
Just wanted to share...both Francesca Hawley and Protect and Defend have official homes on the new Ellora's Cave web site. To visit my author page, click here. To visit my upcoming release Protect and Defend, click here.

36 days until release - January 7, 2009!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Coming into the light - Happy Birthday to EC!

Raelene Gorlinsky posted on the Ellora's Cave Author's list a reminder that EC is celebrating it's 8th birthday! Yaaay EC.

As I considered this announcement, I started remembering my history with EC. I found EC on the web in late 2001 or early 2002. I hadn't read a romance in years but I was still an advocate for romance as a VERY poor grad student in library science. I was writing a research paper on the genre and surfed the internet for research when I stumbled over the EC web site.

I didn't have a lot of money (hey I was hoarding my diet pepsi cans to turn in when money was especially tight) but I bought EC books when I could afford it. Reading Jaid Black, Cheyenne McCray, Lora Leigh, Ann Jacobs and other fabulous authors inspired me to revisit my own writing, so I started writing a book called Crime of Passion. After I graduated I had two very lean years of job hunting (and more pop can hoarding along with visiting the food bank when needed) and then was hired as a library professional. All the while, I kept writing (and reading books from EC). I sold a short erotic romance to another publisher always dreaming I'd get to play "the big time" by selling to EC.

I pitched my finished novel, Crime of Passion, to Raelene at RWA National in 2007 and it went through the submission process after she requested I send it for review. This April 2008 I received a contract offer and next January 7, 2009 it will be release as Protect and Defend. This company has meant a lot to me during some really hard times. I'm really proud to be published by EC and look forward to what I hope will be a long relationship with this company.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Floating in a happiness bubble!

Well, I was floating after Barack Obama's election as our new President-Elect. I was just starting to come down when I received my cover art and release date from Ellora's Cave. I am officially floating again - in fact it might take some serious work to get me to come down from the stratosphere! (I'm feeling kind of like Uncle Albert - tea party on the ceiling and all!)

Protect and Defend will be released on January 7, 2009.
And I'm unveiling it here...
My cover! The cover art is by Dar Albert and it is beeeeeuuuuutiful!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President-Elect Barack Obama

Democracy worked. The USA has a new President of the United States. Here is the speech President-Elect Barack Obama delivered on November 4, 2008 in Chicago, Illlinois.

Monday, November 3, 2008

If Everyone Cared...VOTE

Sunday, November 2, 2008

VOTE on Tuesday - Some quotes on Democracy, liberty and freedom

Attributed to Benjamin Franklin:

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.

Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.

Attributed to John F. Kennedy:
We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.

Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.

The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger - but recognize the opportunity.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Opie is hotter than I thought!

Nine days until the election. Nine nail biters left. So whatever your choice on November 4th be sure to exercise your right to vote!

I heard about this video on Keith Olbermann and had to go see it for myself. It's a lot of fun...and Ron Howard is hotter than I thought!

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Raven Scavenger Hunt

This October, I am participating in the Raven Scavenger Hunt which will take place for the full month of October and goes LIVE TODAY!!!

The hunt is hosted by Michelle Pillow and Mandy M. Roth on their Web site. So how do you play? First, visit the Web site to get started.

Once there, just follow these easy rules:

1. Copy entire list of questions provided on the site.

2. Search the author websites at the link provided.

3. *Send ALL Answers (please number them accordingly, it's not necessary to email the entire table), Name, Email and Mailing Address to: Subject: Raven Scavenger Hunt

4. Contest open the Month of October 2008 All entries due by November 1, 2008 12 AM EST.

Prizes: Winners will be drawn at random and notified of which prize they won within the first few weeks of November. Watch the Raven Blog for the official winners list.

You'll notice when you look at the list there are MANY opportunities to win! One lucky winner will receive a print copy of my book, Paranaughty published by Draumr Publishing.

I'm #21. on the list. Here's another hint just for stopping at my blog:
My writer's mission statement is located on the Bio page of my Web site!
Happy hunting and thanks for visiting my blog and Web site!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stay on Target....

Tonight, TOTALLY rocked! I got to shoot guns! I shot 8 rounds with a semi-automatic pistol like the one on the right and two shotgun shells (out of a shotgun - of course).

On the left is my target from the pistol shoot. We were told to aim for the chest and try to get our shots within the square. Five of the eight are within that square and three are damn close. I was thrilled. And yes there are five inside - that hole in the upper right has a little hole just below and to the left.

It was such a strange experience to shoot a weapon because I've never shot any kind of firearm before. None. I've used a bow for target shooting but it is completely different from what this entailed. I was expecting more kick than I experienced because I expected to have sore wrists after, but I didn't. I also didn't even notice the discharge of the shells as I was firing, even though I expected to notice that process. The interesting thing was that after the class was over, I had sore knees. I wasn't at all sore where I expected to be (wrists and shoulder).

As I fired, my hands started to shake a little bit and I think the more "wild" shots were shot later as reaction started to kick in. Sighting the weapon was pretty easy. However, they had us shooting from pretty darn close (5-7 yards), so that could be why. Their rationale for placing us close was that most shots are taken at close range, so we should learn what that's like. Also, they probably wanted us to actually hit the target and if we'd gone further back we might have missed. Still, they seemed pretty impressed with the class because I was definitely not the only one who did well.

Then they asked if we wanted to shoot the police shotgun. The three guys in the group weren't enthused because they were all hunters so it wasn't a big deal to them. Me though, I said I wanted to shoot. They loaded two shells, a buckshot shell and a slug shell.

The results were interesting. I've heard horror stories about people who've fired shotguns and them having huge bruises on their shoulders and the pain lasting for days, etc. So frankly, I was expecting to be in a world of hurt after doing it, but you know what? I wasn't. I must have done it right because the ONLY bruise I had was a couple of tiny lines from the shirt I was wearing which had a ribbed neckline. The edges where the stitching was left two slender lines on my shoulder, but other than that...nothing. My shoulder didn't even hurt.

I mean, I'd scheduled a chiropractor appointment for the next day and everything. But all for naught!

So on to target assessment. On the right is my shotgun target shoot. We shot from 10 yards out. The little holes in the middle are from the buckshot shell. Pretty damn good, even if I do say so myself! The slug shell - not so hot. Now the big hole on the right was part of the slug - the wadding. But the shell was below the target... dead center and just below the target. Basically, the perp I shot would have gotten it in the groin. I looked at that and kind of groaned to myself. It's entirely possible the officers may have groaned silently in sympathy too, but they praised my ability which was really nice of them.

Seeing where the slug went reminded me of the movie 9 to 5 where Dolly Parton tells the scummy boss that she'd change him from a rooster to a hen with one shot. This woulda done it.

Still, it was a very cool experience to shoot the weapons. The firing range instructor was knowledgable, enthusiastic, and a genuinely nice guy. I have been totally impressed with all the officers I've met. I think next week is evidence processing. CSI, here I come!!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bread Day

Greetings again!

Well, I took a chance. I've always wanted to bake fresh bread on a regular basis, but I haven't been that ambitious...or dumb. Right after I got my last paycheck I ordered the crock and sourdough starter from King Arthur Flour. It finally arrived in the mail and I had today off because I work this weekend. So I got the ball started with it last night.

I've got to say, my sourdough starter isn't NEARLY that white. I hope it isn't supposed to be. The good news is that it smells like it's supposed to so I think it will be okay. The thing is...this process takes FOREVER!!!! Both of my grandmothers used to make bread from scratch and I loved the results but I never really appreciated the effort so much as I have today. Between feeding and waiting and kneading etc. I mean whoa. I'm on another rising and I still haven't got any bread to show for it.

The other thing is that the recipe from KA says to throw half of each separation away and I couldn't bring myself to do that. I think my kitchen will soon be taken over by sourdough starter! Really. I've got one four cup measuring cup full, an eight cup measuring cup full and I also have the leftover starter in the pictured crock. I could probably make bread for a week and not use this stuff up. Sigh. At least it will allow me some experimentation.

This first batch is going to be an Italian style. I fried onions to a soft brown along with some garlic and that Italian Seasoning stuff I mentioned in a past post. It smells like heaven - but now my hands smell like onions cause I just kneaded the stuff into the dough and it's gonna make two loaves. We'll see how things go - wouldn't it be nice if it looked like the picture of bread to the left? Keep your fingers crossed. And yes, I'm feeling ambitions because I'm thinking that on Sunday I'll use one of the other starter bits to create "plain" sourdough.

Hopefully all this will result in nummy goodness before my house is so filled with bubbling starter it oozes out the front door.
Note: This made some excellent bread - though it took FOREVER to bake (feeding, rising, baking!) I didn't get any plain bread made, but the onion bread was good. I'm going to try again later.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

May the Force Be With You!

Class two of Citizen's Police Academy. Now this was cool! Tonight I got to hit a cop and no charges were filed! LOL. Oh, yeah. He was WELL padded.

The word for the night was force. We learned about the assessment officer's are forced to make every time they deal with an encounter with a suspect. This is referred to as the "Use of Force Continuum."

So the theory here is that as the subject/suspect escalates his/her behavior then the force used by the officer to meet that threat must match or exceed it. The sooner a subject is under control the better, but sometimes you walk into a situation that is already in the red zone where deadly force is required.

The discussion of this was really intriguing. We started out with discussion and watched some video tape scenarios - and these were actual incidents which involved police officers. In at least one, the officer lost his life as a result of what transpired, so it's very sobering to realize that one wrong choice could result in a death, either of the suspect or the officer.

Then we got to the practical stuff. They took us down onto the mats in the gym area for some light "training." We started out with handcuffs.

They showed us two different kinds - the kind with some room (like these on the left) and hinged cuffs which will exert even more control with a struggling bad guy. Dang, these were hard to manipulate. I have little hands so getting the cuffs oriented correctly in my hands in order to slap them on someone's wrist was a bit of a challenge. I don't think I ever really got the hang of this but it was interesting.

We started with a "compliant" perp. Then moved on to passive resistant where the person is holding their hands in tight to prevent the officers from putting cuffs on them. In order to get someone to give up their hands, police use pressure points on the face and head. I volunteered for this just to find out what it was like. There's a point just along the jaw, below the ear, and one under the nose. The Lieutenant started with my jaw. On me, it didn't work. He moved to my ear - still no dice. It was the spot under the nose that got to me, but I held out for awhile. I must have a high threshold of pain.

After that we discussed the use of the night stick. Officers start with a collapsible baton before they qualify for the one you see TV beat cops wearing. This is what we used. First the Lieutenant demonstrated on a volunteer.

I thought to myself. Oh, okay, I can do this. I ended up as the second one in line. Frankly, I think everyone else took a step or two back so I ended up second but...oh well. So the first up was one of the men in the class. THEN they drop the bombshell - you have to yell at the volunteer perp to tell him to drop.

I'm thinking... Oh crap and visualizing that plump, black lady cop from the Police Academy movies. You know, the one with the whispery, prissy voice until she gets scared or pissed? I decide, well girl, you better use your SCA Herald's voice. I know how to shout, I just usually don't do it in front of people cause it makes me nervous.

The police officer who volunteered to get "whupped" had a big thick pad covering him, so he was perfectly safe. In fact, he said he barely felt anything as we were hitting him. I watch the first guy up. He yells and connects with the approximate leg location pretty well. As I'm watching, I process mentally and realize this is just a rap shot to the leg. You hold the baton up above the shoulder, a bit like a baseball bat but use only on hand. Then you hold your opposite hand in front as protection - just as if I were holding a shield in my hand. Then you whip the weapon around and aim for the outside of the thigh.

I yelled loud, "Get down." Brought the baton around and down. I nailed it pretty good. I did it twice and I enjoyed every minute of it. I finally get why SCA fighter's enjoy fighting - I just don't want to take a shot in return. Ever.

So tonight was pretty fun. Next week...guns. Watch out world, Francesca's got a gun!

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Pirate name!

My pirate name is:

My pirate name is:

Dread Pirate Bonney

Like the famous Dread Pirate Roberts, you have a keen head for how to make a profit. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Ahoy Mateys!

Each year on September 19th we can celebrate the buccaneer in us all because today is International Talk Like a Pirate day!
Back in the 1990s a couple of guys decided they'd become pirates for a day and started talking strangely. Instead of people just looking at them oddly, they started a movement.

I first heard about this special day a couple of years ago from some SCA friends of mine (like this should surprise you at all).
Since today is my last day of vacation, talking like a pirate might be a very good thing for me! On Monday, I shall return to the library renewed from goodly amounts of sleep.

In the meantime, swagger out into the day, me beauties! Drink some tasty grog, talk like a pirate and drive people crazy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hanging with the Cops

I attended my first class in the Citizen's Police Academy. It was pretty cool. Chief of Police introduced himself and welcomed us to class. Two Lieutenants were our instructors and they will be running the session. Last night was a LOT of sitting and listening, not too much activity. Looking at our schedule though, I think that's going to change RIGHT away.

Last night we toured the police department and one of the on duty officers brought his squad car to the parking lot and explained about what kinds of things were in the car etc. We may even get to DRIVE one of these puppies later on. And yes, boys and girls, run for the hills. Class three will take us to the firing range and I'm gonna shoot a gun. I don't know if I'll be brave enough to take a whack at the shotgun, but I'm definitely gonna give the revolver a shot. (Pun TOTALLY intended!)

This is going to be such GREAT research for my writing! Not only will I learn tons of stuff, but I'm going to make contacts with officers that I can call on to ask questions of later. I'll keep you posted on developments as they occur. ;-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Citizens on Patrol

Well, I'm trying again. This year the local police force WILL be holding the Citizens' Police Academy and I'm enrolled. Be afraid. Be very afraid. I'm going to learn police procedure and I think I might get to shoot a gun. Whoa. We'll see.

I'm definitely looking forward to the experience. Tonight is the first class. I'll report back tomorrow to let you know how it goes! I'm sure it will be far more organized than the movie version - I have confidence in our local officers. ;-)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Calontir's New Crown

Long Live the King!

Long Live the Queen!

Long Live Calontir!!!

On Saturday, I spent the day in the Middle Ages. Time travel was not involved, I simply drove to an SCA event being held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (aka Deodar).

I haven't been real active in the SCA for a few years, but when the knight (now King) in the picture above, won Crown Tournament this year I decided it was time to start playing again. Yes, he's cute but why else was I so inspired? Well, he was the first King I remember well after I joined the SCA slightly more than ten years ago. You always remember your first King and Queen with the greatest fondness, or so I am told, and it's definitely been true for me. Through the years I have grown better acquainted with him and have always find him to be a genuinely good guy and very gracious.

The other cool thing about Saturday is that I saw SO many people I've known and been friends with through the years that I was reminded why I had joined in the first place. It felt good to get hugs from friends and to know they had missed seeing me. So for now, they are stuck with me again. I'll do my best to get to events when I can and support the Kingdom I love and the Crown I respect.

To check out a local SCA group near you, visit then click on the link to the right that says, "Find your local group." I look forward to seeing you at an event soon!

Monday, September 8, 2008

One week and counting....

Greetings all,
One week and counting then yes, I get a vacation. Or in my case a "staycation." I'm not financially set enough to go anywhere, but my plan is to stay home, sleep in, and write...write...write.

I have a ton of ideas and I'm rarin' to go. So keep your fingers crossed that the stars align and I have a great week of writing!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Jon Stewart from The Daily Show

This was on The Daily Show last night. I'll let him speak for himself.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy Labor Day 2008!

Celebrate the working man!

Have a happy and safe Labor Day!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Barack Obama at the 2008 DNC

Okay, normally I don't get political, but in a week of super speeches (by Hillary and Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Al Gore, and John Kerry) this was the most inspiring political speech I've witnessed in my adult life. It gave me chills.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Best Moment of the Olympics

This was the most incredible thing I have EVER seen in sports. Jason Lezak's come from behind win was totally amazing. Wow!!!
Follow the link and enjoy.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

OMG, I sold!

Major Announcement. I sold. Film at 11...

Remember I told you all about going to RWA national conference last year and pitching Crime of Passion to Raelene Gorlinsky of Ellora's Cave? She liked my idea and told me to submit it for consideration.

I sent it last October. In January I received a request for a full. In April I received a contract offer. Since then I've worked with a super literary lawyer, Elaine English, to get a contract that both EC and I like. We got it. I received the new contract on Monday and mailed the signed copy to them this week. I know they received it (thank God for USPS delivery confirmation). I may be a bit premature announcing it because I'm still waiting to receive the countersigned copy from them, but I'm so excited I want to shout to the world. So I'm gonna.

I sold! I sold! I sold!!!!!

Wooo Hoooo! Well, Crime of Passion has been renamed too. Evidently, passion is an overused word as a title. Who knew? The new title is....drum roll, please.....Protect and Defend. The short description for Protect and Defend is CSI meets shapeshifters.

The long version? To whet your appetite, here is the blurb as it currently stands...

Mikaela Laughlin discovers a whole new world, and an entirely new species, when she tours the crime lab to meet Lieutenant Diarmid Redwolf while researching her next book. She's lusted after "Delicious Diarmid" from afar for a long time, but meeting him sets her body on fire. It doesn't take long for Mikaela to discover there's more to him than meets the eye. Diarmid is far more delicious up close than she ever dreamed.

Diarmid has bad guys to catch, but one look at the voluptuous writer has him wanting to catch her instead. His shapeshifter blood recognizes his True Mate and he wants her naked body arching beneath his. Now. But with a cold-blooded serial killer on the loose, Diarmid has one shot at his future and he will not fail. Because this time, the killer wants Mikaela.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Funerals and Family Weirdness

Yesterday, I attended my Uncle's interment ceremony. It was a sad family occasion, yet it was weirdly happy too. I had a chance to see cousins of my dad and uncle whom I've not seen for years.

Why is it always during the luncheon after a funeral where people dig out the camera and take pictures. Going through scrapbooks, I have more family group shots taken after funerals than any other kind of occasion.

It was good to see my own cousins, their wives and kids and my aunt. But I have a question...when did eulogies become more about a church than about the life of the deceased? Did I miss that change in trend somewhere? At both the funeral in April and the memorial service in July, the focus of the eulogy, if you can call it that, was on religious message instead of the life of my uncle. Now, I've rationalized that this may be because my uncle was a minister. So a minister's life is going to be about the church and religion. However, his wife and kids were barely mentioned at either service. It just struck me as a little weird. But, to each their own. We all choose to be remembered in our own way.

This kind of thing makes me think about my own life and how I'd like to be remembered. Who might show up for my funeral...if any body. Stuff like that. Morbid. I think I'm turning into my family. Next thing you know, I'll buy a burial plot, lay out my stone, have my name inscribed, and to top it off-have my picture taken with the stone. If I do, just shoot me. Please?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Revisiting Childhood Memories

Yesterday I stepped back into the "way-back machine" and took a little ride back to my youth. I went to Gowrie, Iowa for the 4th of July. My sister and her family were there too. What prompted this? Well, my Uncle passed away in April and on Monday his ashes will be interred. So my sister decided to come down for the weekend and I hadn't seen her in ages, so I made the 2 1/2 hour drive up to northwest Iowa to visit.

So what did we do? Well, we walked past Grandma's house. Why is this a big deal pilgrimage?

Up until I was 12 or so we went to Gowrie every year and stayed at Grandma's house. We would watch the parade and celebrate the 4th. In the park in town, there was always a carnival. The American Legion sold beefburgers and amazing baked goods as a fundraiser and we swam at the pool. That evening we always attended the fireworks display in town too. As kids, we rode all the rides and at night, we could look out the upper story windows as we laid in bed and see the lights from the rides. It was great.

Well, we didn't relive all our childhood memories, but quite a few of them bubbled to the surface. I dragged myself out of bed early enough to get to Gowrie in time for the parade. Not only that, but I...yes, little ole me...secured us prime acreage for seating right along the parade route. The parade was pretty cool. The American Legion rolls out the flags of all the veterans who have passed away. We have at least three very important flags on those floats. Our grandfather, father and great uncle. I saw my dad's flad, which was pretty cool and sad at the same time.

The whole thing was quintessential small town. Two jets did a flyover to signal the start of the parade. Then we all stood as the colorguard went by, respectful silence for the flags of the fallen vets, kids running for candy, and everyone cheering for the motorcycles as they leaped off a ramp and did wheelies. I have to admit, there was a HUGE wait in the middle of the parade because the motorcycles held everything up, but they were worth it. They were good!

After the parade, we wandered into the park to look around. The line for the Legion booth was VERY long (yep, they still do their fundraiser - even after...oh LOTS of years). So we took a walk downtown to see if any restaurants were open there. A food booth or two. The Methodist church was doing a food fundraiser. We continued our amble through town and by the time we came back, all their chicken was gone so we ended up back in the park anyway.

We hit up the Legion booth. My sister was not impressed with the food, but the beefburgers tasted the same to me and I enjoyed them. Sadly, the baked goods were not as good as I remembered. Tasty, but not melt in your mouth, to die for good, they way they used to be. Of course back when I was a kid, most of the legion wives were just in off the farm and baked as a semi-civilized form of domestic combat. Nowadays, we cook out of a box. It's just not the same.

Then we went out to the cemetary to visit the graves of our mom and dad. My sister and I had a conversation. She said she hadn't been back to Gowrie for awhile because she didn't know least not anyone alive. We both found that we knew far more people in the cemetary than we did when mixing with the populace in the park. It's just plain weird to wander a cemetary, point at a gravestone and say things like, "Oh I remember him/her. Didn't they do X?" etc. Maybe it's a sign of advancing age. Or maybe we should have visited more often.

Needless to say, it was an entertaining trip down memory lane. More on Tuesday.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Iowa Flooding

Many of you may have seen the reports of tornado and flood damage in Iowa. I feel so badly for all the individuals who have suffered from the flooding in eastern and central Iowa. But the library damage made me a little ill.

Why? I used to live in Iowa City and I grew up in eastern Iowa. I graduated from the University of Iowa and I did my library practicum at the Cedar Rapids Public Library so seeing the waters inundating UI Main and CR Public think of all the fun times I had in those places. Libraries are the heart of a community so seeing such destruction impacts not just one resident, but all of them.

Libraries aren't the only organizations hit hard. The National Czech and Slovak Museum and the African-American Museum (both in Cedar Rapids) suffered horribly. The UI campus, The Science Station in CR and so many other places in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City suffered badly. The small town of New Hartford was hit not only by flooding, but was hit by the same tornado which wiped out Parkersburg.

To help the victims of Iowa's 2008 floods, go to this article about how the American Red Cross is aiding disaster victims. To find information about contributing to damaged libraries, visit the State Library of Iowa Web site.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Erotic Romance-ups and downs...

Last week MSNBC posted a poll attached to an article about Danielle Steele asking if people read "bodice rippers." Sheesh, how 70s. Very insulting. I voted yes anyway in support of the genre. But today, things are looking up...

Visit Publisher's Weekly. There is a great article titled The New E-in Erotica. Very well written and pleasingly balanced. No salacious silliness, just interesting fact. Yaaaay Publisher's Weekly.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Well, that didn't work...

Hi all,
Yup, you guessed it. Structure didn't work for me. Go figure. I'm going to try to blog as often as I can and go back to posting about what intrigues me on a given day at a given time. We'll see how that works.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Milestone! I mowed my lawn!

Why, you may ask, is this a big deal? Because this is the lawn of my new home and this is the first lawn mowing of the year. Not only that, but I was starting from scratch. In the home I rented, someone else always mowed the grass. I barely noticed when the yard was getting shaggy.

This year I was dealing with "everyone else's lawn looks nice and mine looks awful." I also looked at the yard and dreaded mowing. The grass had gotten over long and I worried that I might kill a lawn mower.

Of course the lawn mower was an issue too. As stated, someone else has mowed my lawn for several years now. I didn't own a mower and they are not a cheap purchase. So when my stimulus package money arrived, I decided to spring for the big bucks and purchase a new lawn mower to go with the "new" house.

I searched around and decided to go to the local Thiesen's store. Boy am I glad I did. Not only did the guy there help me carry the mower out to my car, he put the small engine motor oil in it. Motor oil? In all my years of mowing (a LONG time ago) I don't remember adding engine oil. Of course, in retrospect, that might have been part of my problem with the mowers. The man at Thiesen's was really nice and explained everything I needed to know to mow my lawn without doing myself an injury. I highly recommend visiting them if one is available locally.

So, with new gas can filled with plain old regular unleaded, I headed for home to break the mower out of it's box. Mower operator manuals are not very well written. I had a motor manual and a general manual, but it was trial and error which taught me the most about running the darn thing.

Then came the task of dragging the mower up hills and over grass and around bushes and through gates that wouldn't open. But I succeeded. I mowed. I conquered my lawn. Tomorrow I visit the chiropractor. Maybe my lawn conquered me, after all.

Monday, May 5, 2008

SCA in the Life of this Librarian

Well, it's Monday, but my news is anything but Mundane, at least for me. :-)

I've been active in the SCA (Society for Creative Anacronism) since 1997. I live and play in the Kingdom of Calontir. I've enjoyed most of my experiences and I'm really happy to have made so many wonderful friends.

Recently, I'd kind of retired from active participation. I had a lot of things going on in my life and I'd focused on my writing. I still listened to gossip to keep up with the news, but didn't really travel to events unless they were close.

However an event called Crown Tournament happened over the weekend. Calontir celebrated it's 50th Crown Tourney since becoming a Kingdom and there were 25 couples (combatants and consorts) who were part of things. Fitting indeed. I knew and knew of several of the individuals who were fighting and so I was rooting for them, though I'm sure anyone of the others would have done a wonderful job.

The man who won Crown is someone I know and respect. Heaven help em all, cause I'll be coming out of my retirement a little to attend more events while he is Prince and then King. The really neat thing for me is that he was Prince/King during my first year in the SCA. Ya think it's a sign? I'm gonna take it as one.

Congratulations unto

Graf Luther Amossfaust & Mistress Maerwynn of Holme,

Calontir's newest Prince & Princess.

Long Live Their Majesties!
Long Live Their Royal Highnesses!
Long Live Calontir!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Ode to Spring

Thursday Thirteen - Ode to Spring
Thirteen things I love about spring!

1. Opening all the windows to enjoy the warm breezes.

2. The grass starts turning green.

3. No More Coats!

4. The days grow longer.

5. The weather grows warmer.

6. Sitting outside with the sun shining down on you.

7. Driving around town with the sun roof open and the radio blaring.

8. The sense of renewal as the earth starts to emerge from winter.

9. Gardening.

10. Flowers bloom and smell wonderful!

11. Butterflies!

12. Picnics.

13. Grilling out!

Happy May Day everyone!!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sugar Cookies from Grandma

Sorry for not posting yesterday - it was definitely a mundane kind of Monday. I was sick. Bleh. Not a happy experience.

For today, I want to share a recipe that I consider comfort food in a major way. My Grandma Ruby (Dad's mom) was a phenomenal cook. A virtuoso (or is that virtuosa) in the kitchen. Here is one of her best recipes for a crispy sugar cookie.

Grandma's Sugar Cookies
1 c. crisco (or other vegetable) oil
1 c. margarine
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cream of tartar
2 t. vanilla (or to taste)
dash salt
5 c. flour

Cream oil, margarine, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs. Mix. Add vanilla, soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Slowly mix in the 5 c. of flour until dough is stiff. Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour - longer is better. (Do this part with your hands) Roll balls of dough so you create small balls approximately 1 inch in diameter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press balls flat with sugared glass.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes until cookie is lightly/golden brown. Keep an eye on these if your oven runs hot.

NOTE: If you've never flattened cookies before, I find a glass (an actual GLASS cup works best - doesn't stick). I run the glass over the bowl of dough then sugar the bottom of the glass. I press a cookie flat, then resugar. You can use colored sugars, flavored sugars or whatever makes you happy. I recommend cinnamon sugar - tasty.

Word of warning. I find the biggest trick to getting cookies baked and shared with others is my desire to eat the uncooked cookie dough. It is so delish! Enjoy these cookies - baked or raw. Either way, it's a good thing. ;-)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Love Rock Stars!

More specifically I love Nickelback. I got hooked right after they released How You Remind Me. I loved the song and the video was really hot. They have great voices, excellent lyrics and a driving rock beat. Not only that, they have an amazing sense of humor! For proof, check out this video from their YouTube channel NickelbackMusicTV.
The song is, I Wanna Be a Rock Star.

Is that great or what? I also think Chad is definitely hot. He got a great voice and he's cute. Who could ask for more?

Visit their MySpace page too.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Left at the Altar

Prompt from The Writer's Block by Jason Rekulak:
Write about a wedding during which a bride or groom changes their mind.


"Where is Lori?"

Damia looked at their mother and rolled her eyes. Lori had tried to tell mother last night she didn't want this dynastic handfasting but when Carol Raven doesn't wish to hear bad news... Well, ignorance is bliss.

"You know as well as I do mother, she didn't want this. She told you and told you. But you wouldn't let her out of it."

"She ran?"

"Wouldn't you?"

Carol looked her up and down. "You wouldn't have."

"But I wasn't given the option. Was I?"

Damia glanced toward the altar where Trevor Falcon paced. Periodically, he glanced over at his mother who was actually biting her spectacular claws. Anyone who went to the expense of having her nails manicured really should chew on something else when they were the furniture.

With a sigh, Damia settled into one of the chairs near the beautifully ornamented altar. For some reason the Falcons were adamant that one of their own must commit to a Raven. Today. She didn't know what the issue was, but if the scowl on Trev's face was any indication, it was big. The Goddess knew she would have accepted Trev in an instant but he'd taken one look at Lori and decided she was the one. Men were such idiots.

"You know where she is. I'm sure of it."

She jumped,looking from her clenched hands to Trev's angry amber eyes. "I don't."

"She's your sister. You must have some idea."

"Why aren't you grilling my mother?"

"Because she wouldn't know a clue if it walked up and introduced itself."

"Well really!" Carol hissed. "And you would? She's been your fiancee for three months. Surely you've had at least one conversation. Didn't you realize she was unhappy?"

Trev tightened his jaw so hard, Damia expected to hear his teeth grind. Why on heaven or earth he wanted to marry into their clan she had no idea, but she was glad his attention moved away from her.

"No, Carol. I did not." He turned to look at his mother, raising his eyebrows. She shrugged, nodded her head in Damia's direction. He sighed, then reluctantly nodded. He turned to Damia. "You'll have to do."

"Do what?"

"I need a mate and you're it. If we can't find your sister, it's your duty to fulfill this contract."

"Now wait just a minute buster..."

He grabbed her hand, dragging her to the altar and the High Priest standing there. "We're ready."

The High Priest frowned at Trev then turned gravely to Damia. "Are you willing to complete this handfasting ceremony in your sister's absence?"

"As her proxy, you mean?"

"No, as the bride."

Damia's jaw dropped, turning to look up at Trev. "You're joking right?"

"I'm not joking, Damia."

Damia laughed.

"This is no laughing matter."

"I'm well aware of that, Trev. Why me? Just wait for Lori to come back and make up with her."

"I need a Raven bride before sundown and you're the only marriagable Raven woman here so I'll marry you."

"This is insane."

"The contract specifies a Raven bride. It doesn't name Lori."

"But you picked Lori."

"Now, I'm picking you."

"Trev, you are such a jerk."

"I know. We only need to stay handfasted for a year and a day."

"I can stay here?"

"No, we must live together. It's...required."


"It just is." He finally met her gaze, running his large hand through his thick black hair. "Look, I'm sorry. But I have to do this."

"Live together? Is that all?"

He looked away. "If that's all you want."

"It is. I'm not going to be your substitute for Lori." She laughed bitterly. "Goddess knows I bear no resemblance to her."

Lori was tall, willowy and blond. Gorgeous. The worst part was that not only was her sister a beauty on the outside, but on the inside too. Sensitive. Sweet. Damia had never been able to compete on any level.

"No, you don't look like her and I'm not asking you to be her."

Damia met his gaze again. She had to be the stupidest woman on the planet, but at least the Ravens and the Falcons lived in different cities. Different states. She could do this. She should. She'd just gotten "downsized" at work and she hadn't told her mother yet. Now she wouldn't have to.

"All right. For a year and a day. No more. And we have separate bedrooms."


Damia's lips twisted. Yeah, he was probably thrilled about that particular condition. But no way was she going to be a duty screw. She turned to face the High Priest and held out her hand.

"Okay, tie us up and get this thing done."