Friday, May 31, 2013

Going to the dogs!

Available in June
Do you like dogs? Do you have a dog? I'd love to feature your dog on my Facebook page. Info is at the end of this post!

I may be a crazy cat lady, but I love dogs, too. I'll be honest. I wasn't really a dog person until we adopted a Norwegian Elkhound named Chaos in 2008. We'd had dogs when I was a kid, but they were more my mom's dog not ours. But Chaos arrived, 2 1/2 years old and settled in that first night without a hiccup. It's been smooth sailing with the most perfect dog ever for us.

We now have a puppy living with us, Cato, who is Chaos' grandpup. Her daughter, Tango, gave birth to him in September. He's full of puppy and boy mischief and a lot of work, but so worth it!

Although Chaos was a champion showdog, she'd had a litter of pups, been retired from the ring and was ready for life with a family (i.e. us!) We knew nothing about the dog world, really dogs in general, so never even thought to change the AKC paperwork to our names.

In 2009, we were at a picnic put on by the Puget Sound Norwegian Elkhound Association in honor of all the dogs they rescued. At the same location, the AKC was hosting a breed day. There we met a Siberian Husky breeder who suggested my oldest look into dog 4-H. We figured 4-H was for farm kids, but we found out that the county where we live has a huge dog program for obedience and confirmation.

Mackenna with "Astra" in San Diego
My daughter, Mackenna, got hooked on dog showing. A year later, she competed in her first AKC Junior Showmanship competition and soon she was handling other people's dogs in the Breed ring. My youngest, Rose, didn't want to be left out, so last year, once she was old enough to compete, she started showing dogs, too.

Needless to say, I've spent many hours—okay, days—at dog shows. Writers find inspiration in different things, for my newest release from Harlequin Romance, THE MAN BEHIND THE PINSTRIPES, I found it in the four-footed-fur-covered cuties and dog handlers dressed in nice suits.

My heroine Becca Taylor took the blame for something she didn't do and paid a high price when she was eighteen. Now, she has put the past behind her and is focused on her goal to be a full-time dog handler. She doesn't want anything or anyone to stand in her way. But one person is messing up her plans—Caleb Fairchild. He runs his family's skin care empire and wants to put an end to his grandmother's obsession with dog showing. That means getting rid of dog handler Becca ASAP.

 Here's the actual blurb from the book cover:

His pinstripe suit is normally his armor…

Becca Taylor has worked hard to overcome her troubled past and start a new life. But when Caleb Fairchild marches into her life, the instant attraction between them is the last thing she needs!

CEO Caleb has learned the hard way not to suffer fools and to be careful of whom to trust. Why should Becca, gorgeous as she is, be any different? But he can't help but be drawn to her, to want to get close to her. So when her secrets are blown out into the open, betrayal seems inevitable. Unless the truth can start to crack the iron walls he's built around his heart.…

Do you have a dog? I'd love to feature readers' pups on my Facebook page, so if your game, please post a pic here with a brief description/story/whatever about your furbaby. I'll then take that info and put your dog on my timeline. The page is public so I'm hoping anyone can post. If not, use the contact button above, and I'll give you an email address to use.

Thanks!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Last Night

This LOLcat pic was me last night. It got so bad I called hubby and put on speakerphone so he could hear what I was dealing with. Think two teenagers with attitudes. Not a good way to start the week. For any of us!

But I'm now in possession of 2 cellphones and a Kindle Fire HD. I just need to find where they put my iPad. One will be feeding the cats each night (I get the morning shift) and the other will be doing the dishes. Usually we rotate. Oh, and the TV doesn't go on for the rest of the week.

But they asked for it!

The joys of parenting.

I'm going to try to get writing done this morning. After my oldest leaves for high school and before my two homeschoolers wake up.

Hope you have a nice day!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday, no Tuesday

This LOLcat featuring the Grumpy Cat made me smile this morning. A nice way to start my day. Tuesday. Not Monday. I'm going to have to keep reminding myself that today. I have a feeling my week will be all messed up because of the holiday!

Our Memorial Day didn't quite turn out the way we planned. We ended up missing the event we were planning to attend so we could take the youngest kidlet to Urgent Care. She was one of the sickies last week but we thought she was on her way to being 100%. Nope! But now that she's on medicine, she's feeling much better.

How was your weekend?

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Ultimate Price

On this Memorial Day, I thought I'd post a few videos I've come across this weekend. Please remember those who have sacrificed their lives and their loved ones who must live with that sacrifice so we can be free.





And finally this one (you'll see it again when my November release comes out):




Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day

With the change in the weather here (think rain, rain and more rain), being outdoors on Memorial Day might not happen. Given I also have a sick kidlet, we'll likely be hanging around home most of the next three days. But that only gives us more time to think about what Memorial Day is all about and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and for us.

This post, titled Hot Dogs and Hamburgers, on The Unknown Soldiers blog, sums it up nicely and is worth a read.

Soldiers' Angels Germany blog has some great ideas on how to Observe Memorial Day. Check out the post here.

I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Live

I found a link to this article on SOCNET, one of my daily visits on the Internet. I'm a lurker, not a member. But I enjoy reading posts there, a combo of curiosity about SOF, learning more about what my son dreams of doing someday and research for potential ideas/characters. Nothing like a dose of some sarcastic Alpha male postings to keep me from making a hero too much of a girly man!

I never know what I might find in the forum, but I'm so glad I clicked on the above link and found this video. Watching it, I had a good cry, a mix of happy and sad tears. Grab a tissue and enjoy. We can all learn something from Zach Sobiech!



RIP Zach! And thank you!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Praying for Oklahoma

Seeing the devastation coming out from the tornadoes in Oklahoma has been heartbreaking. All tornadoes are bad, but as a parent who was driving home after spending the morning at school doing one of my monthly volunteer shifts, hearing schools with students inside hit me pretty hard. I can't imagine. I don't want to imagine what those parents are going through because watching from the safety of my home in the NW corner of the country is hard enough.

I wrote about a tornado hitting a school in one of my books. But given I write sweet romance with happy endings, it happened on a weekend with no one there. The soccer fields and school were torn up, some houses damaged, but very minor, a plot-device like other natural disasters such as an earthquake I've used.

I sure wish I could rewrite the tornadoes in Oklahoma. But I can't. So I'll pray for all those affected and look for other ways to help. Here's what I've found so far:

1) Texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 sends $10 to the Disaster Relief fund. You can also donate online.
 
2) Texting the word STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation to the Salvation Army. You can also donate online.

3) Donate online to the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief fund. Click here to be taken to their site.

4) Mercury One has already arrived in Moore with trucks full of supplies. To donate to their Midwest Tornado Relief click here. 100% of proceeds go to victims.

There are also many fur-covered victims of this tragedy, too. A Facebook group has been created to help those with animals. Check out Moore Oklahoma Tornado Pets Lost & Found. There are pictures of animals missing and/or found as well as links to other places that may have animals.

If you find any other links, just post them in the comment section and I'll add it to the list. Thanks!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Figures...

Hubby out of town and two kids wake up sick. All my plans for the week must now change. Sigh...

I can so relate to these kitties today.



Hope you have a nice Monday!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cato is back!

Our puppy Cato is back home with us. He's been with the breeder since the first weekend in April. Boy, has he grown! We're hoping he can stay permanently. He had a couple issues that needed sorting out so we'll see how he does.

Unfortunately that meant sweet little Nash went back to the breeder. We miss him, especially my son. Nash is a very nice little puppy. So much smaller than Cato, but he's nearly three months younger, too. But it was great to have him for the last six weeks! I spoke with the breeder last night and he's doing fine.

So is Cato. It didn't take long (a few minutes) for him to remember the house and get very excited. He even ran to where his old cushion used to be. (Nash wet on it so it had to go away, but we'll get Cato a new one.)

Needless to say, we're all very happy and happy that our baby boy is back home!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Whole 30 Take 3

Cake on Day2? Now that's my kind of diet!

I'm on Day 25 of my third Whole 30 (did the others last year.) It's been easier this time around. I haven't missed not having cake on the diet or candy or had any real cravings. Maybe it's because I know what to expect. Maybe it's because I feel so much better. Or maybe it's because I like having my pants fit looser already!

The key to success that I learned during the second time is preparation. The first time I had a pantry and fridge full of things I could eat. I printed out recipes, figured out menus ahead of time. The second time I didn't. It was awful. I made it the thirty days but was so sick of salad and meat I set myself up for failure when it was over which is why it's taken me 8 months to try it again.

This time I wasn't as prepared as the first time, but I did better than the second. To keep me on track when it's over I ordered a sample pack of food from Pre-Made Paleo that I can heat up if I don't have time to cook as well as some Primal Pacs. My biggest problem is when hubby goes out of town (which happens a lot) since he does most of the cooking around here. I'm hoping having some ready-made-food/snacks will keep me on track after Day 30!

Hope you have a great Wednesday!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Smiling

Yesterday morning I walked downstairs and found these roses waiting for me. Aren't they pretty? I love them. So does Beauty unfortunately, but I set out a bowl of food for her in hopes she'll nibble on that instead of play with the sticks and flowers. So far so good!

The house was quiet for much of yesterday. The family was at a swim meet. I was at home. I slept in a little, played with the animals, typed in my AAs (page proofs) for my November release A Little Bit of Holiday Magic and wrote a new chapter on my current book. A very nice day.

After the family arrived home, we went to Mass then out to dinner. Our dinner plans had to change because the first place, Joe's Crab Shak, had an hour and a half wait. The second place, McGrath's Fish House, a two hour wait. So we went to our old stand-by, Red Robin, and walked right in. Hubby promised me seafood this week so I get two dinners out! Not a bad compromise!

On the way home, I told hubby to stop at Dairy Queen. He looked at me strangely. I'm currently doing Whole 30 so I can't eat dessert. I told him I couldn't get dessert, but everyone else could. So we went through the drive-thru and I had three happy kidlets and a smiling hubby!

I also got presents in addition to the roses. Workout clothes, jammies and a red fleece blanket (I'm always cold because of the a/c.) A very good Mother's Day!

While we were waiting for our dessert, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a clip I'd seen before. It just makes me smile, my family, too, so I thought that I'd share it with you! I love the smiles, the enthusiasm, the lack of embarrassment, everything about this. Enjoy!



Hope you have a great Monday!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day


Friday, May 10, 2013

Big Brothers

On Wednesday, Rose went to a friend's house for a playdate. Kids call it something else these days, but it's still a playdate. She hurt her middle finger on her left hand.

I didn't think too much about the injury. She wasn't crying. There wasn't much swelling or bruising. But she kept saying it hurt to bend it.

On Thursday morning, the finger was swollen like a sausage and black & blue. Oops. But it was state testing day so she had to do that! A good thing it wasn't her writing hand.

After lunch as we were driving home I told her we were going to Urgent Care to have her finger looked at. Rose was fine with that until...

Finn told her to say goodbye to her finger because if she couldn't bend it the doctor would chop it off. He said it so seriously and then backed it up with totally made up science as to why amputation would be necessary.

I got on him right away, but the damage was done. Rose was sure her finger was a goner. Big crocodile tears streamed from her eyes. She kept saying she didn't want to lose her finger. She wasn't going to the doctor's now.

Meanwhile Finn is laughing like a fiend.  He finally fessed up, but the damage was done.

When we finally got to Urgent Care, she had her first X-ray and yes, I had to assure her that 1) It wouldn't hurt and 2) Her finger would still be there when she was finished.

Sigh...

The joy of having a big brother.

Did you have a brother who did stuff like that to you?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Enough

I'm sure if I had never married, this is what I'd find at my doorstep. Though even though I'm married with kids, cats keep finding their way to us. Or rather people keep trying to give us more cats.

Trying because my answer went from being yes to no.  I may be a crazy cat lady, but enough is enough. I don't mind helping rescues, but I need to take a break from bringing more cats into our lives. This hiatus won't last forever, but given the ages of our oldest cats we need to put them first.

 So what does a crazy cat lady do if she can't foster or adopt more felines? She adopts and supports service members. Though hubby told me I couldn't collect soldiers like cats. So far so good!

Hope you have a good Wednesday!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Simply Amazing


This video clip from Britain's Got Talent came across Newsfeed first then again in my Soldiers' Angels group on Facebook. Both times I had the same response. All I can say is watch it. And you might what to have a tissue nearby. I needed a couple.



I'd love to hear what you think about it.

Hope you have a nice Monday!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Star Wars Day

Even as a toddler, Anakin received wise counsel.
May the Fourth be with you!

An article from the Washington Post about today.

Another article from the New York Daily News.

And one more post from geek.com.

Hope you enjoy Star Wars Day!

Friday, May 03, 2013

Books

My box of author copies for my June release THE MAN BEHIND THE PINSTRIPES arrived last week. Opening the box and seeing the book never gets old! It's such a great feeling!

This is project #25 for Harlequin if I've counted right (including two Harlequin.com e-read shorts in that.) I should probably contact my editor since you get a pin when you hit that magic number. I know authors who have written over 100 stories for Harlequin, but I'm pretty thrilled about my 25 (26 if you count my upcoming Hood Hamlet story, A Little Bit of Holiday Magic.)

They have made one change with the Harlequin Romance paperback copies. All of them will be Large Print (that's what the pink rectangle on the upper right hand side is) and priced higher due to that. It's a marketing decision we were told about earlier this year. But for those who read digital versions, the eBook price hasn't changed. I thought I'd let you know in case the Large Print version is all you find in the stores.

On Monday, I uploaded my new Facebook banner to my page. The Killion Group made this for me. Kim Killion switches out the book covers as needed. This one includes two new covers: the upcoming June release as well as the re-release of THE WEDDING LULLABY that came out in mid-April.

Enjoy your Friday and your weekend!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May!

From reddit.com
I can't believe it's already May. I know I write something like that the first day of every month, but time is speeding by so fast.

I hope it slows down so we can enjoy spring.

Isn't that a cute picture?  Of course Bambi was one of those sweet movies that ended up traumatizing me, but that's another story!

Spring continues in the Pacific Northwest. A little rain, sprinkles really. Nothing to keep the kids from playing outside or dragging out the rain slicker. The sun keep shining even if the temperatures have dropped a little. I will admit last night at Rose's soccer kickaround it was a tad chilly even with the sun out.

Yes, soccer tryouts are coming up. Rose has hers this weekend. This is her first time trying to make a competitive team. Finn will have his next week, but he's an old hand at this. Two soccer clubs merged this year so it'll be interesting to see how all the teams fallout. This will be our fourth tryout. Two have been nothing but drama. Fingers crossed this one is easy-peasy make a team. That's not always guaranteed, though I must admit my life would be easier if they played rec soccer instead.

Hope you have a lovely May Day!