Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sending Cookies Overseas

My Girl Scouts have been collecting boxes of cookies to send to U.S. soldiers stationed overseas. We've heard a box of Thin Mints can really brighten someone's day.

For Thinking Day, one of our activities was to write postcards to go with the cookies. We're hoping some colorful smiles and greetings will help to brighten their days a little more.

We're also hoping for an end to the wars and conflicts which keep the soldiers away from their homes and families, making this whole community service activity unnecessary for future Thinking Days.

Those are our thoughts.

Friday, February 26, 2010

More Imaginary Sunshine

The rain never let up yesterday. I did manage to get the dogs out to the field to play with friends before the deluge started, but we avoided the beach because of high, crashing waves.

Today's Cape Cod forecast is for more of the same. Dark, bleak, cold and rainy. So I'm looking for sunshine in unexpected places.

I found a ray this morning.

I got a notification from, that retail giant, about my Author Page on their Author Central. It's now available. Want to see? Go to Find my book - Unfolding the Shadows - by entering the book title in the search bar. Click on my name, and it will take you to a page with my photograph and a short biography (which I threw together in my excitement and probably need to change at some point.)

I'm not sure why I'm so excited by it.

But I am.

Go find some sunshine of your own!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Imaginary Sunshine

Today is wet and cold and ominously dark on Cape Cod. The fog outside is as thick as the proverbial pea soup, which made driving the boys to school a real challenge.

Not in the good way.

More in the, oh-my-goodness-someone-is-going-to-hit-me-even-without-the-Toyota-acceleration-problems kind of way. Not looking forward to repeating it in a few minutes to get the girl to school in time for chorus.

So... today I'm going to write about sunshine. It's a fresh new morning in my WIP (work in progress) and it's going to be a blindingly sunny one. Today they'll find a dead body, of course, but there will be a bright orb in the sky to shine the light of day upon them.

Because if I can't have sunshine in real life, I'm damn well going to make my own.

Hope you find some sunshine of your own today ;-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One Last Cupcake Class

For the last day of Cake Art, my daughter's class made these cute spring birds in their nests.

The nests are made of chow mein noodles, the eggs are candy-coated chocolate, the birds of course are Peeps.

I'm already envisioning a tray full of brightly colored nesting birds at Easter... much easier than dogs yet just as satisfyingly messy for the helpers...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ghost Tale for Tuesday

It gets hard to write real-life ghost tales when your own spouse rolls his eyes at you. He doesn't even believe we have a ghost in the house.

I mean, really.

So he was away on Saturday. The fifteen-year-old black lab usually sleeps outside his office door, figuring that - on work days - he comes out at lunchtime (good time to step outside for "relief"), mid-afternoon (usually for our beach walk), 5:00 cocktail time (also known as dog food hour) and our dinner time (another perfect "relief" moment.) She comes down the stairs when he does. And he was away for the whole day.

On Saturdays the kids and I are in Hyannis all afternoon for guitar lessons, getting home at 5:3o. She missed her dinner time, which isn't unusual for her (she's 15, after all) but then I was at my desk and heard a whining around 7 p.m. It was totally dark outside, and totally dark upstairs. With her cataracts she can't see in the dark.

I rose to go and "rescue" her, and the whining stopped. Maybe she heard me? I climbed the staircase. She was standing in the hallway, facing the open bathroom door. The light was on in the bathroom, so she was no longer whining. She was staring toward the light...

Except I'd been upstairs before leaving the house at 2 pm, and the light hadn't been left on. I know it had been dark earlier.

Who turned on the light?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Cupcakes

My daughter and I spent the morning creating cupcakes for my son's family birthday party tomorrow. She wanted to make something special, so we pulled out her HELLO, CUPCAKE! book and let her brother choose... he chose dogs.

Two hours later...

We have a dozen dogs to take with us to share with the cousins tomorrow morning! Beagles, Dalmatians, chocolate labs, a terrier and a mutt! Not as hard as it looks - just requiring time and patience...

First, make sure to bake the cupcakes ahead of time so they are well cooled. We baked these last night.
Make sure your helper washes her hands. A lot. Things get mighty sticky. And plan to have extra bits of everything... it's far too easy to break the Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies or over-microwave the tootsie rolls. Trust me.

And make sure you keep your sense of humor handy. Frustration escalates far too quickly, if not diffused with quick praise or a redirected task. Be prepared to be finishing them off alone, while your helper goes off to soak in a bubble bath. If I was going to do this again, (who am I kidding with the "if"? I mean when!) I will definitely work on them later in the day - when wine is an appropriate accompaniment instead of coffee.

"Bone" appetit!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Winding Down the Week

School vacation week is winding down here... it feels like it's gone on forever, thanks to some extra snow days and snow delays thrown in the week before, but it's almost over. hen back to the normal routine.

Routine is a funny thing. Most of us crave a certain amount of routine, until we don't want it anymore and then we want to "break out" of our routine as if the "r" word were some kind of punishment, with the "v" word (vacation) our only hope.

We think of "routine" as humdrum, everyday, and unexciting. On our worst days, we think of routine as stifling, constricting, and soul-sucking. As in, sucks your very soul right out of your body, possibly through some small and painful orifice.

But routines can be positive as well. For example, getting the kids into the "routine" of brushing teeth and washing faces. Getting your husband into the "routine" of making dinner on the weekends, or sitting down for movie night with the family on Sundays.

Or the routine of sitting at the computer and writing. Ahh, there's an important one for writers.

Can't wait til I can get back into THAT routine. Just a few more days...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ghost Tale for Tuesday

One of my favorite things about summer camp was sitting around the campfire telling ghost stories and scary tales. Who doesn't remember feeling the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up at attention when the storyteller was nearing the climax?

Do you remember the "Thump-thump-draaaag" story about the deranged killer with one peg-leg? Or the "Bloody Hook" story about the deranged killer with a hook for an arm? Why did deranged killers always permeate the scary story vernacular?

I've found a version of the "Bloody Hook" story, retold by S.E. Shlosser, for my Ghost Tale today and thought I'd share. If it feels more natural, maybe you should turn out the lights and bring out the old camp flashlight to hold while you read this - just in case you feel someone sneaking up behind you!


The reports had been on the radio all day, though she hadn't paid much attention to them. Some crazy man had escaped from the state asylum. They were calling him the Hook Man since he had lost his right arm and had it replaced with a hook. He was a killer, and everyone in the region was warned to keep watch and report anything suspicious. But this didn't interest her. She was more worried about what to wear on her date.

After several consultation calls with friends, she chose a blue outfit in the very latest style and was ready and waiting on the porch when her boyfriend came to pick her up in his car. They went to a drive-in movie with another couple, then dropped them off and went parking in the local lover's lane. The blue outfit was a hit, and she cuddled close to her boyfriend as they kissed to the sound of romantic music on the radio.

Then the announcer came on and repeated the warning she had heard that afternoon. An insane killer with a hook in place of his right hand was loose in the area. Suddenly, the dark, moonless night didn't seem so romantic to her. The lover's lane was secluded and off the beaten track. A perfect spot for a deranged mad-man to lurk, she thought, pushing her amorous boyfriend away.

"Maybe we should get out of here," she said. "That Hook Man sounds dangerous."

"Awe, c'mon babe, it's nothing," her boyfriend said, trying to get in another kiss. She pushed him away again.

"No, really. We're all alone out here. I'm scared," she said.

They argued for a moment. Then the car shook a bit, as if something…or someone…had touched it. She gave a shriek and said: "Get us out of here now!"

"Jeeze," her boyfriend said in disgust, but he turned the key and went roaring out of the lover's lane with a screeching of his tires.

They drove home in stony silence, and when they pulled into her driveway, he refused to help her out of the car. He was being so unreasonable, she fumed to herself. She opened the door indignantly and stepped into her driveway with her chin up and her lips set. Whirling around, she slammed the door as hard as she could. And then she screamed.

Her boyfriend leapt out of the car and caught her in his arms. "What is it? What's wrong?" he shouted. Then he saw it. A bloody hook hung from the handle of the passenger-side door.

You can read more ghost stories in Spooky Campfire Tales by S.E. Schlosser.

Friday, February 12, 2010

More Valentines Day Fun

My daughter is taking an after school class titled "Cake Art." Each week they design cupcakes in new and creative ways. This week the class decorated mini cupcakes to look like a box of Valentine chocolates. Mmmm...

For more delicious ideas like these, check out the book the teacher uses - it's called "Hello Cupcake" and is available at your local bookstore or at

Cupcakes for every occasion - even Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ghost Tale for Tuesday

I recently found an interesting book on Cape Cod ghosts - it's called "Cape Encounters: Contemporary Cape Cod Ghost Stories" and is available on Amazon if you click here.

In the introduction to the book, authors Dan Gordon and Gary Joseph explain that while every culture and country and place has their own ghost stories, Cape Codders take them more in stride than most, "usually accepting their experiences as natural, positive, and even comforting, rather than eerie and spooky."

There's also another ghost story book about Cape Cod that I'm recommending, called simply "Haunted Cape Cod & the Islands," by Mark Jasper, available at Amazon by clicking here. The book is separated by section (Upper Cape, Mid Cape, etc.) and contains many stories of ghostly encounters at various inns and restaurants around Cape Cod. I'm feeling the need to go investigate some of these locations myself...

In the meantime, I'll satisfy my ghostly curiosity with my own ghost who seems to come and go around the house. He hasn't made his presence felt in a few weeks. Maybe it's just too cold, even for a ghost.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Happy Valentines Week!

In addition to selling cookies, Girl Scouts like to do crafts! My troop recently made Valentine wreaths - we even made a few extras for the librarians who are so kind as to put up with our meetings. We used recycled coat hangers, leftover pipecleaners and Christmas garlands (and some of those sticky foam hearts) to create glittery Valentine fun. Perfect for moms, teachers, and my own front door!

What are you planning for Valentines Day? Will you break out the hot glue gun, or just whip up some culinary excellence for your sweetie? Flowers, chocolates, or heart-print pajamas? Dinner out or dinner in? So many questions! So many options!

A special day to celebrate love and heart-felt friendship. Why do we only celebrate this once a year? And why only for a day? All that pressure and emotion concentrated into one little day!

Better start planning now!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Check Out the Winter Issue of CapeWomenOnline

Winter 2010 Issue

The Winter Issue is online and waiting for you to discover it! We've put together another great issue, with some fresh voices as well as our regular contributors.

Caitlin Doggart, co-owner of Where the Sidewalk Ends bookstore in Chatham, recommends five great new books to get you through the cold months of winter.

Ready to add a little Ooh-La-La to your life? Jamie Cat Callan, author of French Women Don't Sleep Alone, has written an article with 10 tips for making your love life heat up in 2010.

Author Kristen Magnacca explains how the process of setting goals is important in actually achieving them! Now that my New Years resolutions have fallen by the wayside, I'm ready to try another tack!

Are you surfing the web from work, sick of your job? Time to find something new? In this issue, we meet a number of women who have started new businesses and love what they do for a living. Whether it's working with the disabled, giving new life to old coats, selling environmentally-friendly cleaning products, visiting hospice patients, or helping Girl Scouting reach out to new members, these Cape Cod women LOVE their jobs and are happy to get up and go to work in the morning.

I'm also happy to announce that we've hired Judith Underwood to be our Advertising Director, and am so excited that she'll be getting our advertising contracts under control any day now! Her contact info will be on our About Us page very soon - feel free to contact her to place your ad for future issues!

As editor, I'm really proud of this issue, and proud of the new voices we've continued to attract. Cape women really do rock! If you enjoy the magazine, please send us a note - we love to hear from our readers. And thank you for supporting CapeWomenOnline!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Another Great Review!

My book was just reviewed at the BOOKS BOOKS AND MORE BOOKS website by Ruth Schaller. She gave me 4 out of 5 skulls... again, she only reviews paranormal-type books, so skulls are a Good Thing, just like the 4 out of 5 tombstones in my review at Bitten By Books!

You can read the whole review by clicking this link here.

She says in part:
"I loved the plot, a young woman trying to make changes in her life for the better and to really accept who she really is - the part that she's been hiding for far too long. She really grew as the story moved along, even with all of the hardships and crazy husband. I could really relate to her in that respect. And her children were the most important in her life. Great morals for a character to have. The story moved right along and it was an easy read. With the mixture of real life drama, the paranormal and powers of the mind, it made for a great book!"
Thanks so much, Ruth! You made my day!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Scattered Pieces

Monday mornings sneak up on me. The weekend either seems very long or very short, and trying to get back into the routine of the week is never easy. Today is no exception.

Monday mornings always feel like they start as the bits of shell scattered along the shoreline, messy and unconnected from each other or anything larger. Mondays job is to collect up the bits and fit them back together in a coherent fashion. Or at least sweep them all under the rug to deal with later in the week.

Making this particular Monday worse is the fact that I imbibed too much wine last night at an After-Gig Band Party, and don't feel like doing much of anything today.

The Band in question was my son's rock band, NonCompliant. Six kids between the ages of 9-11, with a boatload of musical talent. They rocked Mode 4's 2 p.m. show in Hyannis yesterday, with a four-song set that included Van Halen's version of "You Really Got Me," Green Day's "Know Your Enemy," "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath, and "Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf. My son had a kick-a** solo in Iron Man, and had a bunch of solo riffs in the other songs. I think the teenaged bands were a bit intimidated ;-) It should all be on YouTube soon - look for Mode4Music and NonCompliant in your search bar. The new lead singer really shines!

The bass player's family hosted everyone back at their house for the first-ever "band party" with pizza, soda and celebrating. There was wine and beer for the adults, and a cheesecake that was to die for. Honestly. I'd kill to have that recipe.

All in all, a great Sunday afternoon and evening. And a longer and slower Monday morning.