Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for... Zany

Z is for... Zany

I can not believe I actually finished this blogging challenge. Without skipping a day. Without cheating (much.) And without imploring a guest blogger to help me out of my predicament ;-)

How crazy is that? Zany! Absolutely Zany, I tell you!

Go, me!

This challenge has helped me with a number of issues I've been having with the whole blog-o-sphere thing... like, friending other bloggers... like, making time to comment on more than one blog post each day... like, writing posts ahead of time and scheduling them (okay, and figuring out the whole schedule-blogger-tool-thingie)... like increasing the number of followers I have for this blog (thank you all so SO much)...

Yep. Z. Now it's over. O-V-E-R.

At least until the next challenge piques my interest...

Thanks so much to Arlee Bird for starting us all off, and for his other co-hosts for keeping the ball (and blogs) rolling right along:

Jeffrey Beesler's World of the Scribe
Alex J. Cavanaugh Alex J. Cavanaugh
Jen Daiker's Unedited
Candace Ganger's The Misadventures in Candyland
Karen J Gowen at Coming Down the Mountain
Talli Roland
Stephen Tremp's Breakthrough Blogs

You guys and gals are all Zany-Awesome!

Happy Spring! and Happy Blogging to you all!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Y is for... Yesterday

Y is for... Yesterday

Yesterday my Puppy still fit under my desk...

Yesterday my daughter was starting Kindergarten,
and my sons still let me comb their hair for the first day of school...

Yesterday I was showing my kids where I went to college,
not yet thinking about their college years...

Yesterday my daughter and her cousins all loved to wear homemade dresses for the holidays...

Yesterday may be over, but the memories remain.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for... Xcaret

X is for Xcaret, a National Eco-Park in Mexico.

It's an hour south from Cancun. We visited during February vacation and would totally recommend the trip for anyone spending family vacation time in the area. There are so many things to see and do that they say it takes a few days to get the full experience.

We snorkeled through an underground river, saw a baby sea turtle hatchery with turtles of all sizes and stages of life, swam in natural lagoons, went on an underwater Sea Trek and much more. Visit to plan your own X-cursion.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for... Waves on the Water

W is for... Waves on the Water

I grew up spending summers on the Jersey Shore, and thought all ocean Waves Were pretty much the same. An ocean beach has Waves.

When We Went to Hilton Head for the first time, I realized that Wasn't always the case - not all ocean Waves are created equally, not even in the Atlantic. Then I Went to California and saw Pacific Waves - Wow. And then We visited Hawaii - and Wow! They have WAVES.

Here on the Cape, We have our share of ocean Waves, some beaches more than others. Along the National Seashore, the surfers can tell you Which beaches have the Right Waves.

In my neighborhood, my dogs think our Waves are just right.

And still, nothing beats the sunset over the open ocean.

What about you? Do you surf? Do you like Waves on your Water... or do you prefer a calm blue pool or lake? We Want to Know.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for...Vineyard

V is for... Vineyard

There are actually a few working Vineyards on Cape Cod, including Truro Vineyards, which you can see along Route 6 as you pass through Truro. Every fall, they have a festival as part of the town's annual Truro Treasures weekend. Live music, good food, wine tastings... and grape stomping. Really. I Love Lucy-style old fashioned grape stomping.

We went last fall, and my daughter couldn't wait to shuck her flipflops and squish her toes amongst the grapes...

A messy job, but someone has to do it. Let me ask, who would want to drink Vino that was made with someone else's feet?

Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for... Unfolding the Shadows

U is for... Unfolding the Shadows

UNFOLDING THE SHADOWS was my first novel. It's a romantic suspense with a paranormal bent, as my heroine is a reluctant pyschic who has hidden her "gift" from her friends, family and even her husband for many years. The path to publishing this novel was not quite a straight line...

I was busy querying agents with my first manuscript, when I took some advice to "start the next one." Which I did. I was 3/4 of the way through the new WIP when I received a particularly disheartening rejection letter. In a fit of unbridled hubris, I sent out a query to a big agent with the new (unfinished) WIP. She loved it. She asked to see the whole manuscript. Which was Unfinished.

I spent a feverish four days writing the last 30,000 words. I had my friend read it through while I did the same... and sent it off to the agent within the week. She read it and Ultimately rejected it. But now it was finished. And ready to go out...

After only two more Unsuccessful queries to agents, I sent a letter off to Ellora's Cave, to their Lotus Circle imprint. Success! I was going to be published! Signed a contract, assigned to an editor, filled out the myriad forms, rushed to set up a website and online presence... And then... after the entire editing process was complete... the publisher decided to fold Up that imprint line.

I spent some nervous time, hoping someone else would like the book enough to want to still publish it. Which they did - Cerridwen Press, another imprint of Ellora's Cave, decided to pick up my contract. Another sigh of relief...

The novel was first published as an ebook in November 2009, but where the Lotus Circle had promised a paperback release, Cerridwen Press made no such promise. My friends and family mostly held off ordering it, waiting for the elusive paperback. Then they all started getting Kindles and Nooks... and Ultimately (finally) "discovered" my book.

And then in 2010, the Cerridwen Press imprint also was folded... with most but not all of the books being folded into the newly created Ellora's Cave Blush line. Another breathless period, Until I got the word that my book would be continued with the new imprint revision to the cover art.

The bottom line is that my novel is still available. Still out there for you to discover and enjoy. That's what matters in the end. A romantic suspense, where the suspense of my publishing journey keeps putting me on the edge of my seat...

Unfolding the Shadows is available for purchase from Ellora's Cave and

P.S. Check out this wonderful poem in honor of the letter U that I found at Ocean Girl's Live High blog -

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to All! And I awake to find that although the Easter Bunny didn't leave me a prize, (but I'm sure the kids will share, right?) I did get a nice surprise - I received this Stylish Blogger award! Yea!

Big Thanks to Julie, aka Lady Dragonfly, at The World of Julie B

In order to officially accept this award, I have to play by the rules and tell you 7 things about myself and I have to give this awesome award to 5 other worthy bloggers. goes.

Seven things about me that you may or may not know:

1. I once tended bar at Boston's famed Durgin Park, where they used to encourage the staff to be "rude" to the customers. (I haven't been back in a while, and don't know if that's still the case!)

2. Even though I always blog about my Puppy, I have 3 dogs, the oldest of which is turning 16 in a few weeks. I saw her in a box of puppies at the Post Office while I was pregnant with my first child - how could I resist?

3. I LOVE watching movies - some of my favorites are Groundhog Day, Housesitter, and The Princess Bride, and I've seen each of those at least a dozen times.

4. I wrote a book report on the long version of Little Women in 5th grade and the teacher gave me an A just for reading such a long book (and my report was 3x longer than anyone else's.)

5. I spent 2 years as a media buyer for an advertising agency, and became obsessed with getting free stuff in the mail. It's taken me years to get over checking the mail obsessively for freebies and party invites! Now it's mostly bills...

6. I recently spring cleaned my car, and vacuumed enough dog hair out to make another small animal. Like a Shetland Pony.

7. I adore M&Ms but none of my kids like them. Defensive move on their part? Not sure.

Now, on to my choices for Stylish Blogger Award. Just right click on the award and save picture as. My five picks are...

1. Bluestocking Mum
2. Life of Riles
3. Emily White
4. Nic's Novel Project
5. Read. Write. Repeat.

These five are well deserved (and haven't already received this award!) Just remember to follow the fun rules. Tell us 7 things about yourself and make sure you give this award to five worthy bloggers. Thank you all!

And Have a Happy Easter!

T is for... Truffles

T is for... Truffles

My daughter got it into her head that she wanted to make a different sort of Treat for Easter this year. She spent Time in the school library, pouring Through cookbooks and came home with copies of recipes for Chocolate Truffles. Not something I've ever made before, but I was willing to Try.

I can't say it was Totally easy, but it wasn't Too hard, either. And now we have dozens of unique and Tasty Treats for Tomorrow's holiday.

If you have Time and want To Try, I've included the Truffle recipe we used. My first - and only - recipe of the A to Z challenge. Enjoy - and Happy Easter!


6 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut up
2 tablespoons margarine
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 6-ounce package of chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate)
1 tablespoon shortening

Heat semisweet chocolate in heavy 2-quart saucepan over low hear, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in margarine then cream. Refrigerate, stirring every few minutes, until just thick enough to hold a shape (10-15 minutes). Drop by teaspoonfuls onto foil-lined cookie sheet. Shape into 1 1/4 inch balls. Freeze at least 30 minutes.

Heat chocolate chips and shortening in double boiler or in bowl set over hot but not boiling water. Stir frequently until melted. Dip truffles, one at a time, into chocolate. Place on waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle some with sprinkles, sugar, cocoa or nuts as desired. You can also drizzle some with a mixture of 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of milk (white icing.)

Refrigerate until coating is set, at least 10 minutes. Makes 13-15 truffles, about half a pound.

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for... Sunsets

S is for ... Sunsets in the Summertime

Watching the Sun Set over the Ocean is one of my favorite Summertime activities. The last few Sunny Spring days have got me hankering for the warm weather to arrive...

What are your favorite things to do on a Summer evening?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for... Rest

R is for... Rest

My kids are all out of school this week for their spring break. They came home with Report cards in hand last Friday, and don't have to Return until after Easter. My oldest still has a lot of sports on his schedule, so we decided to hang out close to home.

Somehow I thought we'd get to Rest. Not.

Spring break = spring cleaning? Not so much.

And yard work? Well, it's Rained a bunch so I can't feel too badly. I have walked the dogs on the big outer beach down in Eastham a few times while we wait for track practice to be finished. They were very appreciative, and tired afterward. (Puppy got her Rest, as you can see in the picture!) I also took each boy shopping for much needed spring clothes as they are both still growing like weeds. Oh, and Removed the inch-thick layer of dog hair coating the floor of my car!

Now I'm off to pick up the de-thatcher I reserved at the Rental center, to try and whip my lawn into shape. Hoping the kids will pitch in to enjoy today's sunshine.

But Rest? I'm not sure that's what spring break is all about.

What about you? When the kids are home from school do you kick back or put them to work?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for... Quiet

Q is for... Quiet

Sometimes all we want out of the day is a little peace and Quiet.
Like the Quiet stillness of watching the sun set over a snow covered beach.

Or the Quiet beauty of a sunrise over empty chairs lined along the Caribbean's shore...

The Quiet dignity of Cape Cod before the tourists and summer people start to arrive...

The Quiet concentration of a Puppy who just wants to lick her bone in peace...

The Quiet silence of an empty neighborhood covered in fresh snow.

What's your favorite kind of Quiet?

P.S.- for a wonderously simple Quiche recipe, visit Monica at Older Mommy Still Yummy - she says you mix it all in one bowl and it forms its own crust.

P.P.S. - another great Q post is over at Mooderino's Moody Writing blog, where all Questions are being answered. Including Mood's favorite color... click here to have your Question answered

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for... Perfect Strangers

P is for... Perfect Strangers

PERFECT STRANGERS is my second Published novel, a romantic suspense filled with Passion, small town intrigue and murder, all set on Cape Cod. It's my first book available in Paperback, as Ellora's Cave hasn't yet put my novel on their Paperback list. Still waiting for that ;-)

The backcover blurb reads:

Dumped by her boyfriend in a made-for-the-tabloids bar scene, reporter Jane Peterson decides her life needs a total change. A new town, a new career path... and a new attitude toward men when she accepts her best friend's dare to kiss a perfect stranger.

Because of his famous father, Keefe Walker is no stranger to the tabloid press. He's kept a low profile for years, painting houses and drifting through life without much thought to career or future.

Until he meets Jane. She's everything that scares him. And everything he desires.

Sometimes it takes a perfect stranger to make you realize what you truly want.


Currently Available from the Publisher,, and Where the Sidewalk Ends bookstore in Chatham, MA.

ISBN: 9781456315627

Publisher: Moongypsy Press,

Length: Paperback: 302 pages; E-book: 278 pages

Price: $15.95 paperback, $7.99 E-book

Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for... Organic

O is for... Organic

Consider two bags of carrots, side by side in the supermarket. They look remarkably similar, but One bag says the carrots are "Organic" and costs more. Sometimes a lot more. What does Organic actually mean to the consumer in terms of how the vegetables were planted, grown, and handled?

My youngest sister is an Organic farmer in upstate Vermont. I chatted with her recently for an article I wrote for CapeWomenOnline magazine when I wondered why I had to pay more to get that word "Organic" On my bag of carrots. That article appears in the Environment section of the Spring 2011 Issue of CWO, which you can find by clicking this link or pasting it into your browser:

She had written an article about the importance of foods being "Local" last spring for the Environment section of the Spring 2010 Issue of CWO. You can read her thoughts by clicking this link or pasting it into your browser:

Do you choose to buy Organic produce? Do you belong to a CSA or buy at local farmer's markets? Why or why not?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for... NonCompliant

N is for... NonCompliant

My 13-year-old son is in a rock band, and has been for several years. He's the oldest one in the band... The Name of the band is NonCompliant, and they perform several gigs per year, in various locales on Cape Cod. Their Next concert will be in June at the Heritage Gardens and Museum in Sandwich, and then again in August at the annual Barnstable Kids Day in Hyannis.

They perform mostly classic rock standards, along with some more current rock tunes or updated classics. My son plays the electric guitar, and is pretty amazing for a kid, if I do say so myself. Here's a You Tube clip of the band performing at a Costume Dance at a local Middle School, playing a Ramones song...

...And here's a cover of Paranoid by Black Sabbath, with my son playing lead guitar...

Do your kids play musical instruments? If your child was/is in a rock band, what would you want the band to play at concerts?

PS- If you have time, check out the absolutely GORGEOUS N-is-for-nature photos by Canyon Girl at her Desert Canyon Living blog - BREATHTAKING.

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for... Martha's Vineyard

M is for... Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard. That quirky little island off the coast of Cape Cod that you only ever hear about in August when a President decides to vacation there.

There's actually a year-round population that lives out there, with families and kids. And sports teams. So who do their teams play against? Well... anyone who's willing to Make the 45-Minute ferry ride from Woods Hole.

On a recent cold April Sunday, My son's soccer club ventured across to the island, along with several girls' lacrosse teams from Dartmouth and a high school baseball team all the way from Newburyport. When we were in line to get on the ferry, several teams from Martha's Vineyard were exiting the ferry onto waiting buses to go to their various games on the Mainland.

My parents accompanied us on the trip, and after eating lunch at the original Black Dog Tavern (thanks, Dad) we wandered the streets of Vineyard Haven until game time. Signs of spring were everywhere, with about half of the shops open for business.

My son and his team were already on the field warming up when we finished our window shopping. I'd like to say we won the Match, but the Martha's Vineyard team played like a well-oiled Machine, defeating our club 4-1. Who says you need a large population to draw from? Maybe it's just as important to have a small group who have played together for years.

I Must say, losing Made the ferry ride home seem Much longer...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for... Lazy

L is for... Lazy

When I signed up for this blogging challenge, I didn't realize just how much time and effort it takes to blog e-v-e-r-y day.


Lots of time. Lots of effort.

Today I'm feeling as Lazy as my Puppy. So this is it.




Now, go click that "Surprise Me" button on the Left and see if someone else is feeling Less Lethargic today.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for....Kids

K is for... Kids

I tried hard to think of a different K word, but Kept coming back to this one. How can K mean something different when Kids dominate my day-to-day life?

One of the best things about having Kids of your own - or having nieces and nephews - is getting to act like a Kid yourself. You can participate in activities that are "meant" for Kids. Go Karts? Roasting marshmallows on the beach? Spending the afternoon on the Ben & Jerry's Sundae Cruise? Go to the County Fair and act silly? Kids are a great excuse to do fun things...

How about you? What activities do you "use" your Kids as an excuse to enjoy?

P.S. OMG, check out Blue Stocking Mum's K post for the day - her K word is Knickers!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for... Juggling and Jumping

J is for... Juggling and Jumping

As a mother of three, I need to Juggle on a daily basis - who needs to be where and when and what they need to bring... if you're a parent you understand. So picture three balls in the air. Most Jugglers will tell you that's the first step. Once you get that, it's fairly easy to add more. So add in three demanding dogs, three more balls... but nothing you can't handle.

Things move fast and you need to stay on top of it. Keeping all those balls in the air takes concentration and organization. Detail-oriented precision. List writing. Calendars with big chunky squares to write inside.

Writing fiction, on the other hand, is all about taking the leap, Jumping into the abyss and putting yourself out there on the page or on the screen. Or in person, when you get around to the self-promotion part of the Journey. Jumping and Juggling are not always compatible. In fact, to take the Jump you need to Juggle even harder.

I took a leap last night, when my writer's Journey took me to speak at A Book In Hand, a monthly gathering in East Dennis. Each month, two authors stand behind the podium, in front of the gathered crowd, talk about their writing Journey and read from their latest book. Last night, I was that second author talking about Perfect Strangers...

The Juggling part came into play as I picked my younger two kids up from school (Middle Child has School Band on Mondays, so needs to get a ride to and from with his instrument.) After a quick snack, my daughter and I drove to my Oldest Son's track meet (30 minute drive) which was slightly more disorganized than usual (one of the mom's I was standing with compared watching a track meet to watching paint dry; I was thinking more along the lines of herding cats...) Meanwhile, my husband was dropping my Middle Child off for his track practice (and hopefully remembering to pick him up - which he did.) I pulled Oldest Son out early (after his final event, but not the end of the meet) to zip home and change out of mommy gear into "author clothes," picked up my neighbor and zoomed 'cross Cape to East Dennis, Just making it to the speaking event with moments to spare...

The other author went first, which was good so I could catch my breath. A multi-published YA author with an agent and a very pretty new hardcover from Houghton Mifflin, her introduction was filled with awards and accomplishments. Nine books. Several languages.

She gave a polished talk and had a cast of friends help her read her passage as if it were a play...

I was Jealous with a capital neon J.

She finished to a round of applause, and then it was my turn. The introduction I had written for myself focused on my Juggling and my Journey... because in reality, I don't see myself as an author first and foremost. I don't yet have an agent, and I haven't won any awards. I'm not translated into Urdu or French. I'm a mom and wife first. My family takes priority, as evidenced by my track-meet-cold toes and dog-hair-covered black pants. I stood there, lost for a moment as I wondered why I thought I was qualified to stand behind that podium. What was I going to say to this gathered crowd?

I talked about my Journey. I smiled a lot. I rambled about Juggling career and family, and the audience laughed along with me. I read a funny passage from the fourth chapter, where I describe the Cape Cod setting, and the part when my main character Jane gets a friends-with-benefits offer which shocks her. I thought the section gave insight into Jane's character, if not into the romance or the suspense parts of the book. And the audience applauded Just as much for me as they had for the award-winning multi-published author.

When it came time for the Q&A portion of the evening - yes, after wobbling back to my seat I had to get back up there behind the podium again - I was surprised that more than half of the questions were directed at me, or at both of us. I thought for sure everyone would want to talk with the "real" author.

Then I realized - I am a real author.

For a few moments there, I really felt like I knew what I was doing, what I was talking about. It was a great feeling. A wonderful step in the Journey.

My neighbor came back to my house afterward for champagne to celebrate me not making a fool of myself... my husband and kids congratulated me as well... but our conversation quickly turned to the track meet, to our kids, to other things.

Being a "real author" is after all Just one of the balls being Juggled.

P.S. (not J) Talli Roland has the best J word I've seen today - "Jinx" - check out her post here: and follow her for more of her fab wit and humor.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for... Ice Cream

I is for... Ice Cream

I scream, You scream,
We All Scream
Ice Cream

Cape Cod is famous for our many small, local homemade Ice Cream shops. Interesting flavor combinations, Ideal locations and settings, and Incredible flavor. (Okay, I'll admit, this photo wasn't even taken on Cape Cod, but in Mexico with my good friend and Chicago comedienne extraordinaire Nancy Walker. But you have to admit it's an awesome photo...)

Given all the choices of Ice Cream available, why do my kids prefer Dairy Queen?

I remember memorizing the DQ jingle when I was 4, but it was the only Ice Cream in town. Does anyone else remember the commercials with the Peanuts gang dancing their way to DQ? "Let's all go, hand in hand, to the Dairy Queen in the scrump-dilly-ishous land... " Short, silly, and I still remember it after all these years. (we won't get into just how many years...)

My favorite Ice Cream nowadays is from Sundae School, the homemade Ice Cream shop that's a few blocks up from our house... a world away from Mexican cones or Dairy Queen jingles...

Do you have a favorite Ice Cream shop? Is it small and local with homemade Ice Cream, or a large chain with a jingle on t.v.? Or do you believe any Ice Cream is Good Ice Cream?

One more Important questions: Cone or Cup?

P.S. For those of you - any of you - who are on Cape Cod this week, I will be speaking tonight at A Book In Hand, a monthly presentation of local prose authors at the Jacob Sears Library in East Dennis. It's from 7-8:30 p.m., and will include a book signing and raffle. Come by and say hi!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for... Horseshoe Crabs

H is for Horseshoe Crabs...

Consider the Humble Horseshoe crab. A creature that's pretty much pre-Historic, any way you want to measure it. None of which matters in the least to my Puppy. She just likes to play with them...

She finds a "good one" along the beach (but believe me, they're all the same) and then teases the other dogs with it... running away, dropping it in the water, scooping it back out, tossing it in the air... you'd think it was a piece of steak the way she guards and Hoards it!

(see the other dog looking at it? and the way she grabs it, protectively?)

She tries to bring them all the way Home, but we tell her the same thing we tell the kids. "Beach things stay at the beach." Except, of course, for sea glass. (that always comes Home.)

Do you have any Horseshoe crab stories to share? Ever seen a Horseshoe crab up close? Ever find one under your dog's bed? Share!

P.S. (yeah, yeah, not H) I had mentioned in my very first A to Z post that some bloggers were going to be posting poetry for each letter of the alphabet... Check out this A to Z Blogger, Jack Edwards at