Monthly Archives: November 2011


With the release date for For Baby’s Sake scheduled for November 30th, I’ve been working with the graphic artist who will be designing the cover (nothing like leaving it until the last minute, hmm?).  Wanting to cross all of my t’s and dot all of my i’s, I did some checking on Google and Amazon, just to make sure I was good to go with my title.

So imagine my dismay when I found a book with the same title

Can we say panic?!

Talk about a frenetic brainstorming session!  Lists all over the place.  Character names, key words, anything that might help me come up with an alternative I liked as well as the first one.

Then I started wondering about the title for the second book in the series and, sure enough, it was taken, too.  Not cool since that one will be out in February.

Now I needed two new titles?

Needless to say my morning was not even remotely close to relaxing.  However, the title issues are now resolved, and the artist is set to do her magic.

So what title did I decide to go with?

The problem is going to be to actually remember it.  My kids will likely think I’ve lost my mind…well, they already think that…but I may have to tack up a few notes around the house to remind myself that it’s changed.   Just kidding.  Maybe.  I’m thinking not.  I’ll be doing the note thing…

So what do you think of the new title?  What about the cover?  I wasn’t sure I was going to like it at first, but the more I look at it, the more I really like it.  (Shh…it’s okay if you don’t.  I’m not easily offended)

Thought I’d share this video because there is a baby in The Daddy Pact (obviously)…and I enjoy this daddy making his babies laugh.

***Because of the hold up over the new title, the paperback version won’t be available until mid-December.  And the Kindle version might be a day late.



Filed under Romance

To Travel, or not to Travel, That is the Question…

When we think of romantic places for honeymoons what destinations come immediately to mind?  Hawaii, Tahiti, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Acapulco…  Warm, sunny places with oceans, beaches and palm trees.  No matter which state we live in, we always want to travel to faraway locations.

But why?

That’s what I asked myself when I saw a commercial for Michigan today…

Okay, yeah, the song is a little much, but as you can see, there are so many beautiful places here that I just can’t fathom spending a fortune to travel thousands of miles in search of the perfect romantic spot.

In fact, a long time ago I came up with a perfect honeymoon:  Athens, Paris, Norway, Holland, Moscow, Hamburg, and Greenland.  Yes, they are all cities, villages, townships and unincorporated communities in Michigan, but how much fun would it be to tell everyone you know where you’re going on your honeymoon?  Especially if you finished it all off by going to Hell.  Especially in the winter when Hell freezes over.  Okay, okay!  It’s a city…honest!

If you want to see celebrities, Michigan has concerts everywhere, in addition to  Jeff Daniels’ Purple Rose Theatre, and our very own…Da Yoopers!   With the holidays upon us, check out one of their Christmas videos (the actual song starts at 1:06):


The metal detector in the beginning of the video is because Michigan’s Upper Peninsula gets a LOT of snow…and he’s trying to find his car.

So…  I admit that this suggestion is more for laughs, but doesn’t ‘romantic’ also include having fun?  I think so.

My point is…if Michigan offers a wide variety of destinations, from romantic, to silly, to…well, okay, Da Yoopers are kind of weird (but still fun), doesn’t every state offer similar things?  A weekend trip to a bed and breakfast five miles from home would do it for me.

I guess I just don’t get why a romantic getaway has to be expensive and elaborate.  It’s not where you go, it’s who you’re with.  With the right person, even a tent in the woods would be perfect.  Not for me, of course (remember my blog about mosquitoes?), but it would work for a lot of people.

In this song, even an empty bar is a romantic setting.  Throw Brad Paisley in there and yeah…I’ll just bet it is! 

So why do you think people like to travel to exotic locations for a honeymoon?  Maybe I’m just weird (okay, yeah…I am), but I just don’t see me being very interested in sightseeing if I were on my honeymoon.


Filed under Romance

To Brave the Black Friday Crowds…or Hide

Now that it’s over, I hope everyone enjoyed a Thanksgiving filled with lots of good food, scores of family and friends, and an ample supply of disposable dishes, silverware and aluminum pans…so that you weren’t stuck at the sink for too long afterward.

My family spent the afternoon at my sister’s, which means I’ll be putting my own bird in the oven tomorrow (so my daughter can eat the coveted leftovers for three days).   Anyway…my sister is a very good cook, and we had a very nice time.  But watching my nephew go back for seconds and thirds (and I’m fairly sure I saw a ‘fourths’ in there somewhere), plus dessert, I truly wished I had the metabolism that young man possesses.  Instead, my stomach was a little queasy simply imagining it that full of food.

The information on YouTube says this is from the 1960’s.  How cute!

But now the holiday is over and, for many people, the most anticipated even of the year is nearly here.

Yes, folks, Black Friday is finally upon us…(cue ominous background music)

I guess I’m a freak of nature because, except for Hallmark and book stores, I’ve never really enjoyed shopping.  Especially when I know there will be larger than usual crowds.  The only exception would be the day after Christmas sales, and that’s limited to once every two or three years in order to stock up on gift wrapping supplies, cards and decorations at half price.  Right now I’m good to go until December 26, 2013.

For others though, Black Friday is to women what the Superbowl is to men.  More exciting than any holiday there is – or ever could be.  They will map their shopping route based on which stores have the best sales, trying to anticipate availability of the items on their wish lists.

When they talk about it, their eyes seem to glaze over, like they’re off in shopping heaven.  A place that’s full of piped in Christmas music and hoards of other shoppers, with visions of the warm and fuzzy feelings they’ll get as they empty their checking account, or run up charge card bills they’ll be paying off for the next year.

My daughter is such a Justin Bieber fan I just had to use this video.  Besides, it’s helping to promote a good cause-The Make a Wish Foundation.

So to all of you who will be braving the traffic, and tens of thousands of people who also live for this special day, be safe, save lots…and have a ball!

Only 30 shopping days until Christmas.

So let’s have a head count.  Who will be heading out with the masses and what time will you get started?  And who is like me and will avoid the stores and sales like the plague?


Filed under Romance

Tis the Season to be Coughing, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

As I sit here suffering the ill effects of yet another holiday cold, I’m wondering about all of the people who wonder about me.  Yes, I have family and friends who think I’m just a little weird when I get sick.  Why?  Because I don’t rush right out to the pharmacy to stock up on medicine.

Nope, my first line of defense against nasty bugs is always going to be a more natural route.  One that doesn’t involve possible side effects or allergic reactions.    One that is guaranteed to net me some strange looks and less than complimentary comments.  Not because I use things like bat wings, squirrel hearts, and the fungus that grows on rotting tree trunks that are lying on the on the southwest side of a northeast facing mountain range.

Uh-uh.  I get the looks and comments because I take a truckload of vitamin C, garlic and acidophilus.  And sometime during the past year or so, I’ve added ‘tomato tea’ to my arsenal.

No, I did not add alcohol to my tea. My camera just needs charged.

Tomato tea?!  Ewwww!

Yeah.  That was my first reaction, too.  But desperate times call for desperate measures and I broke down and tried it one night.  Know what?  It’s actually pretty darned good.  At least when compared to nighttime cough medicine.  And even when it’s not.  No, it’s nothing I’d drink when I didn’t need it, but when I do, I make very sure I’ve got all the ingredients on hand to make it.

Know what?  Colds in my house don’t last as long as colds in others.  They’re also not as bad either.  So if you are sick of being sick, and have an aversion to bottled syrups that make you shudder from head to toe when you toss it down, here’s my recipe for ‘tomato tea.’

4 cups of V8 Juice

1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate

1-2 tablespoons garlic powder (or a couple of minced cloves)

1-2 tablespoon cayenne pepper

Combine all in small saucepan over medium heat.  When tea begins to steam, set heat on low and sip this stuff until gone (from a cup, not the pan).  Make sure you only use about half a cup at a time because you don’t want it to cool down much.

I promise, you can’t really taste the orange juice.  The overall flavor puts me in mind of a spicy chili (minus the meat and beans, of course).

Another plus, in my opinion, is that everything in the tea is good for you.  And for helping to fight off a cold.  It also is fantastic for a sore throat, although the first few sips might be a bit uncomfortable.

So there it is.  If you have a cold, give the tea  try.  If you don’t, get the ingredients on hand because the odds are good you’ll have one at some point this winter.

And until Friday…have a safe and very Happy Thanksgiving! (and let’s forget all about my delirium-induced junk mail post, okay?)


Filed under Romance

Take That Mail and…Stuff it!

I am getting really tired of companies that feel free to waste my time. Phone calls, particularly recorded calls, are the most annoying. But even junk mail is getting on my nerves more and more these days. And I think I’ve come up with a solution for that problem.

Can’t really do much about the calls because, even with my name on the ‘Do Not Call’ list, too many of them still come through. All I can do is hang up after I’ve run from the kitchen to my office…because I usually forget and leave the phone in there. It’s moments like that when I miss the old fashioned phones. You know, the kind where you could slam the receiver down. That was a whole lot more satisfying than just pushing the off button as hard as you can with your thumb.

But the junk mail? This is a stroke of genius, even if I do say so myself. The best thing about it is, we can all do it. Yup. And it will benefit us all in a few ways. One, we can work out some frustration. Two, we can have a lot of fun. And three, we’ll stop filling our waste baskets with letters and offers we never wanted in the first place.

Okay, so this is how it will work…

Designate a small space in your house for every piece of junk mail delivered to your box. Every piece. When you have a good sized stack, on a day when you have a little time to kill, open all of the envelopes (but don’t touch the flyers, ads, etc… yet).

Many packets of junk mail come with a postage paid envelope stuffed inside. This is your first mission. Take out every one of those envelopes and stack them directly in front of you.

Now, as an example, start with the envelope for the credit card company…and stuff it with the garbage that was inside the envelope for the furniture store. Make sure you fold the edge of the envelope that the furniture ads were mailed in so it will fit nicely in the postage paid one from the credit card company, and jam that in there, too.

Continue to do the same thing with all of the postage paid envelopes, filling them with the ads and letters from other companies. When you’re finished, fold everything else that’s left in the stack and divide it all amongst the envelopes you’ve already filled.

Finally, seal all of them and place the stack wherever you put your outgoing mail, sit back, relax…and grin. Because in a week or so all of those companies that sent you mail you didn’t want is going to be receiving your version of junk mail.

There.  Isn’t that more satisfying than just pitching all of that stuff in the trash?  I don’t know about you but it gives me those same warm, fuzzy feelings that slamming an old fashioned phone down did.


Filed under Romance

A Secret Crush (well…it was until now!)

This post was actually scheduled for this past Friday but, after Thursday’s sad subject, I thought I needed something a little more lighthearted.  So I’m putting it up today.  It still kind of fits the romance theme…

I’ve had a crush on Keifer Sutherland for years.  From the first time I saw an old movie called Flatliners (which, frankly, scared the heck out of me).  Then the Three Musketeers.    And, finally, had to love Jack Bauer in 24.

Oops.  Let’s not forget the voice on the other end of the line in Phone Booth, which was a fantastic movie…if you could get past the excessive foul language used by Colin Farrell.  I highly recommend it…but only if you can watch it on a network where they do some serious audio editing.

But yeah, I love Mr. Sutherland.  I think he’s sexy…and I could listen to him talk forever.  He also appears to be a very good sport in this, another favorite video of mine…

And now for the mash up.  Here are my favorite blogs from last week:

Shelly Immel has a great website called The Big Life Project.  There she challenges us to ‘focus on leading a richer, more meaningful life.’  This week she offers a video interview with Cynthia Morris,  a writer, creativity coach and mentor who shares with us some suggestions for living a happier life (even if you’re not a writer).

A new favorite blog is ‘Jenny Beans, the madcap adventures of a single woman who went to the bank to become a mommy.’  I read this post and giggled about Grandma and the 911 calls for days!

Debra Kristi came through with flying colors in her post about Edward Cullen, Sparkling Prince or Creepy Stalker.  She even has a couple of fun polls at the end.  Being a Twilight series lover (yes, I’ll probably have to locate a recovering Twilaholics group somewhere), this was definitely one of my favorites this week.

And, finally, Karen Pokras Toz shares with us that emails aren’t always what they seem.  Or that you shouldn’t judge them by the few words that show up when you get one, because what might seem like a less than complimentary email could be a really good one in disguise.

One final thought today…  Remember, only 33 shopping days until Christmas.  Time to mortgage the house!  Time to have a rummage sale! (brr!!!)  Time to find that genie in a bottle or win the lottery!  🙂


Filed under Romance

Poisoned Cats and Liquid Charcoal

With the holidays fast approaching, I’ve been lamenting the fact that I haven’t been able to have a Poinsettia plant in my house for almost a decade.  With a few cats in the house, it’s just not worth the potential problems.  Problems I have firsthand knowledge of.  This incident just happened to occur in the spring, rather than at Christmas.

A few years ago I bought my first-and only­-Easter Lily to give to my mom when she came over for supper the next day.  Around midnight my daughter came out to my office and said she caught Sophie, our diva cat, munching on the plant.  Did she ruin it?  Nope.  She didn’t eat much.  Whew!

Meet Sophie. I would not find this position comfortable, but apparently she does!

A little while later my daughter came out of her room and said she got a little worried and Googled ‘cats and Easter Lilies’…to find they were even more toxic than Poinsettias.  Great.  Just great.  No one ever told me that lilies could hurt cats.  So then we both Googled madly to see what we should do about this.

Take her to a vet right away.

Yeah, right, it’s one o’clock Easter morning.  The only option was an emergency animal clinic, located on a college campus, about thirty miles away.  So off we go.  Oh happy day.

Long story short, fifteen hundred dollars for a three day stay wasn’t in my budget, so we were sent home with a bottle of liquid charcoal and told to give it to Sophie three times a day.  Just use the syringe and shoot it down the back of her throat if she wouldn’t take it in food.

Um…okay…us and what army?  I wasn’t born yesterday.  This had catastrophe written all over it.  Probably the sort that involves a whole lot of stitches.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of shooting charcoal, just know that you’re going to have to get really skilled at it in a big hurry…because there’s no way an animal is going to eat any food with that stuff mixed in.  You’re also going to need to recruit at least two other people to help because wrapping the cat in towels and doing it yourself is pretty much impossible.  In fact, it doesn’t work all that well even with help.

So in case you ever need to know, these are the required steps…

Everyone involved  needs to put on clothes they don’t mind throwing away. Liquid charcoal stains really bad and I ruined a nice shirt learning this particular lesson.  One person quickly wraps the cat in a couple of old, thick towels, the second will, even more quickly, hold the cat’s head stationary while trying to pry its mouth open (that job really sucks…I suggest wearing glass-cutters gloves), and the third, with the syringe prepared ahead of time, shoves it in the cat’s mouth and squeezes fast.

After the cat spews half of it back out on your throw-away clothes and towels, you have to do it again because clearly she didn’t get the full dose.  You’ll try to convince yourself that the other half made all the way to her stomach, except you can’t be entirely certain.  Liquid charcoal, splattered all over three people…and the floor…looks like an awful lot of charcoal.  (should have mentioned that you might want to use some sort of drop cloth…it will come off a tiled floor eventually but if it gets on carpet, you’ll be sorry)

Now the real fun begins, because this time it takes at least two people to rewrap the cat.  She’s not stupid.  In fact, she knows exactly why you’re wrapping her up this time…and she will resist.  With unparallelled determination.


Before the second person removes their hands from the towels to grab hold of the head again, everyone will need to take a deep, relaxing breath.  It helps to picture Clark Kent or Edward Cullen moving at the speed of light as you repeat the process.  Twice as fast as you did it the first time.

Don’t worry about the charcoal shower.  Your clothes are already trashed so this deluge isn’t going to ruin them anymore than they’re already ruined.


Now that you know the proper technique for charcoal shooting, remember it.  You’ll be repeating this twice more the first day, then three times a day for the next two days.  Hopefully you were wise enough to just set your newly blackened clothes aside to slip into for each session or you may need to replace your wardrobe.  Nine outfits will empty nearly everyone’s closets and drawers.

And don’t worry about the cat.  It may take a couple of weeks, but eventually she’ll stop trying to claw you to shreds anytime you get within twenty feet of her.  Just make sure you keep all towels out of her sight for awhile.


Filed under Romance