Friday, January 30, 2015

How do you make your coffee?

How many of you  have used this kind of coffee pot, or at least remember seeing one like it on the back of the kitchen stove? Maybe your grandmother had one? Or an aunt? My mom had a huge one. I think it held about twelve cups, and the bottom was a bit scorched  (she loved to set the flame on the gas burners high.) Since I'm being totally honest here, it was also a tad greasy from the the cast iron skillet splattering oil as she fried bacon and eggs for our breakfast.

But time marches on and eventually, she changed to a shiny electric percolator for awhile and then onto the fast making Mr. Coffee. Recently, now that her family size decreased, she purchased the ever popular Keurig- single cup coffee maker.

Which is nice, don't get me wrong. I have one and it's great for that afternoon pick-me-up when all you need is a little jolt of caffeine. But have you ever woke to find the electricity off due to a power outage? And nothing will give you that steaming cup of java unless you've got a jar of instant and a gas stove.

Awhile back I came across this at the Goodwill and didn't hesitate to grab it up for the piddly amount of 1.99. Seriously! At home, I replaced my tea kettle in favor of keeping this coffee pot on the stove instead. Makes me feel- I don't know, like Olivia Walton or something, and any minute my family will come tromping downstairs for breakfast.

And I'll be ready.

1/4 cup ground coffee in the basket per four cups of water. Place over medium heat until it begins to perk, watching carefully so it doesn't boil over. Allow to perk for 5- 10 minutes depending on the strength you're after.

The aroma alone will leave you with a sigh of contentment.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Courage to write...where do you find yours?

Where do you get your courage?       



I’ll admit it, I’m a coward. I carry around a fear that sometimes paralyzes me and sends me running away from my WIP rather than putting butt in chair and face it. Instead, I find myself doing the most awful, mundane chores imaginable. Remember last summer when I cleaned behind all of the electrical faceplates in the house? Seriously! Armed with my spray bottle of 409 and a screwdriver I managed to waste an entire day on the pretense of keeping my family healthy wiping away the germs and avoiding embarrassment from friends who might notice the smudgy fingerprints on my wall outlets.

And God forbid we should suffer from the hidden bacteria contaminating the can-opener!

See the pattern? I will do anything NOT to write.


But…it seems I am not alone.


In my quest to avoid yet another day of staring at a blank screen, or worse, examine my characters GMC (Goal-Motivation-Conflict), I picked up this book I honestly can’t remember when I bought it, and started to read. “The Courage to Write” by Ralph Keyes.


And there, staring me right in the face was the answer. It was like attending an AA meeting with fellows writers confessing their fears of writing.


E.B.White- gave us not only ‘Charlottes Web’ and ‘Stuart Little’ but he also revised a handy booklet present on most everyone’s desk titled, ‘The Elements of Style’ by the late William Strunk Jr. Named Elwyn Brooks White, he claimed because his mother ran out of names, was a procrastinator who managed most days to avoid the trauma of writing altogether by squandering valuable writing time puttering around on his farm in Maine. He told a friend once that he considered himself “the second most inactive writer living, and the 3rd most discouraged.”


Seems I’m in good company, huh?


Okay, so I could go on with many wonderful and encouraging phrases in this book but instead, I’ll gather my courage, my tools, and go to work on the novel I’m writing. After all, I’ve got characters waiting for me to suck it up and continue on. 


How about you? What are your reasons for not writing?




Thursday, January 15, 2015

Nothing to do...

So, I had foot surgery in December and have been house-bound for four weeks. And I've  got eight more weeks to go. Ugh!

What am I doing to keep myself entertained?

Let's see....

I'm watching the final season of Big Valley and falling more in love with tales of the Old West. It's so beautiful! I'm also up to season four of Little House On the Praire and have just started watching a comedy series from the 70's called Soap. This is one funny show centered around two families, the Campbells and the Tates.

Currently I am reading the latest Johanna Lindsey novel titled, Stormy Persuasion- A Malory family novel.
This series started in 1985 with "Love Only Once" and follows handsome Captain James Malory, many dashing pirates and rakes. Not to mention the daughters born over the course as they come of age. 

On somedays I even pull out my current WIP and work on that. I know, I'd promised myself I'd get this written but here I am, fiddling around doing NOTHING! And despite the fact the last chapter written is really fun- it unfortunately has me re-directing what happens next.

Somewhere between chapters six and eight. Not sure.

   The patrolman shoved his ticket pad deeper into his back pocket. He reached over and grabbed Dot pulling her arms behind her.

   “I may not have the right to go through your bag but I can search and seize any incriminating evidence I find on your person.” With that, he grabbed her wrists and spun her around, yanking both arms behind her while he dangled the handcuffs.

    “You can’t do that!”

    “I can and I will,” the patrolman muttered as the cuffs clicked into place.    

    Despite the fact her hands were locked behind her back, she still managed to dodge the officer for several more minutes as he made every attempt to pat her down. The moment he hands actually touched her body Dot let him have it with a mighty blow from her knee.

    Crack! The patrolman fell over backwards cupping his family jewels and knocking her off balance in the process. He wailed loudly. "You're going to regret that," he growed as he lunged at her.
    Dot was almost on her feet when the officer’s hand caught her ankle, tripping her to the ground.

    “Earl! I could use some help, here!”

Although I usually write in order, this chapter has jumped sequence and will have to go on a back burner for a bit.

Foolish me. I really thought I'd enjoy having nothing to do all day but watch tv or read. Until dinner time rolls around and I realize, crippled or not, I've still got to eat. And hubs is much happier if I've cooked something. And I miss going upstairs to my room and soaking in the whirlpool tub. I miss trying on clothes, I've worn nothing but stretch pants since the Dec. And I miss visiting with my mom even though I have managed to go once a week if hubby's not too tired after work to drive me. It takes quite a bit of manuvering to get the wheelchair or scooter outside, plus me, in this snow.  I've been using muscles I didn't know I had.

Enough complaining. Really am glad to be mending so nicely.

Soon, I'll be back on both feet and shopping for new shoes!!!

Until then....

Friday, December 19, 2014

Because Christmas never goes out of style

Here it is, less than a week before Christmas and I'm just getting the last of my gifts wrapped and more importantly, unwrapping a

 new cover on a brand new book! The Season For Miracles is a story I wrote years ago for a holiday party our writing group was having. I read this short tale as part of our Christmas presentation with the rest of my group, Annette Briggs, Jeanette Fletter, Edward Knapp and his wife JoAnne. I'll never forget the warmth of the day and how wonderful to spend part of the season with such awesome writers and dear friends.

Without further ado....


One snowy Christmas Eve Victoria and her little dog spend hours wandering the chilly streets selling ribbons and peering through store glass windows at the grand gifts designed to fill boys and girls
Christmas wishes everywhere.
But Victoria has a wish of her own. A yearning for something she wants more than anything else in the world. And perhaps this year Father Christmas will find her and make all her dreams come true.

When a withered old storekeeper and his gentle wife find themselves in her company, they are at a loss. The couple has long forgotten the joys of Christmas spent with a child and the magic sure to follow when they open their home and their hearts to... The Season for Miracles.

I'm sure by now you know this is not my usual romance but a children's story. And despite the fact it is a Christmas story, I don't think it'll be available until after Christmas. But no matter because its a heartwarming tale that can be read anytime of year. In fact, I've read it at least twenty times myself just this week!  I hope you have a wonderful holiday with all those you hold dear!

Come inside for a sneek peek...




The Season for Miracles



          London, 1875

         Victoria followed the vender’s cart for several blocks trailing the scent of roasted chestnuts as it rolled along Brick lane before a bitter gust of wind and snow carried the wondrous smell away. The peddler stopped at the snow covered crossing.  “Tis frozen, I am,” he said, rubbing his hands together quickly. “Think I’ll be callin’ it a night, wee one.”

         “See ye’ in the morning, then.”  The little girl said, waving goodbye as he turned down the deserted street corner.  “I’ve got a few ribbons left. I’ll see if the old store keep has a need of ‘em.” 

         “Good’night, then,” the peddler replied, wobbling off beneath the twilight sky and into a dusty mist of snow.

        Victoria shivered inside her coat as she climbed the wide snow covered steps to Cranstoun’s shop and pushed open the heavy door. Buoyant snow swooped in after her until the door slapped shut, cutting off the fierce wind and a flurry of scattered snow.

        A gray haired man stood behind the counter, peering over his spectacles at her, notably at the small dog trailing at her heels.

      “See here now, I don’t allow animals in the store.”  The old man’s voice was laced with annoyance, his mustache dancing like a wooly mammoth above his mouth.  He absently wiped the counter with a damp rag.  When she didn’t move, he leaned down closer.  “What’s the matter, hard of hearing?”  This time he said the words slowly, “No…pets…in…the…store,” he enunciated, then reared back to his full height, which wasn’t very tall, the bend in his back prevented him from towering.  “Heard me that time, didn’t you?”

         “Are you Mr. Cranstoun?”

         “I am.” He puffed up a bit. “I own this store…and every thing in it.” He’d grown accustomed to the street urchins rushing into his store, grabbing what little they could and scrambling out before he could catch them.  He’d learned their type, dirty and homeless, hardened to the core, and not a trustworthy one in the lot. “What business do you have with me?”

         Her lower lip drew up slightly and began to tremble as she fidgeted with the bottom of her shoddy coat, draped loosely around her and held together with a single button.

        “I come to sell ye some ribbons,” she said in a squeaky voice, her tiny shoulders sagging in defeat.  She held out a handful of silk, a bountiful array of scarlet, emerald and blue ribbons that dangled wet in her palm.  Her golden locks of hair hung in a drenched mass of tangled strings as well, while the melting snow clinging to her shoes created a watery puddle on the floor.

         “I got ribbons,” he bellowed.  “Bolts of them.” 

         Her eye’s swelled with tears. 

        “Oh, for the love of Pete….” He muttered and hurried around the counter.

         “Did you say something, Cilas?”  A voice called from the backroom.  The sound was soft and warm, drawing the child’s gaze to the rear of the store.

         The dog let out a warning bark when Cilas squatted in front of the girl. 

         “Do I hear a dog?”  The woman entered the room through a curtained doorway. “Why, it is a dog!” she exclaimed.  “And a little girl too.”

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Kindle Countdown .99 cent sale!!

Hurry! Grab the Man of Her Dreams for under a buck!! 
Excerpt from Man of Her Dreams. 


Stepping into the store was like passing a threshold to another era. The wood screen door slapped softly behind her and the smell of licorice drifted from a glass bin beneath the counter. Dark walnut shelves made up the aisles and were filled with incense, candles, soaps and handmade figurines. Each corner she turned yielded a wicker basket brimming with peanut brittle, pistachios, and cashews. 

Her gaze flew from one wall to another covered with velvet paintings of unicorns, Jesus, and Elvis. Multi-colored whirligigs dangled from the ceiling, spinning wildly despite the fact there was no breeze. The floor squeaked whenever she stepped on a loose board. 
“Awful late to be out driving.” 
The voice came from behind, low and smooth and Leslie eased around to get a glimpse of the owner. Who-la-la… She’d swallowed a gush of air. Tall, dark and handsome didn’t begin to describe the guy standing a few feet away. Her breathing returned, soft, but shaky, and with a tad more control than the gulping fish-mouth a minute ago.
His dark, brooding eyes surveyed her, a slight cleft chin tilted upward a notch. When he smiled, a dimple appeared on the right side of his cheek. It required enormous effort to drag her gaze from the lean, muscular body to look at her watch. 

“Depends on what you call late,” she said, the words sounding suggestive even to her ears as she glanced at her watch. It was only 10:30 p.m. He carried an armload of canned vegetables to a display stand. 
“We usually roll up the sidewalks after supper. And by ten, most hard working folks are in bed.”
             Since she was ogling him, she may as well enjoy the whole package. Broad shoulders, tanned forearms, and strong hands so perfect she nearly stumbled. “Are you Jay?” she murmured.
“I am.”
“Hi. My name’s Leslie. The guy out there said you might have takeout or something?” 

“That right?” He chuckled and she wondered what she’d said that was so funny. Her heart thundered when he stepped around the tower of corn and peas and continued placing one can carefully on top of another.  “If Harvey sold take out it’d probably be cornbread and Northern Beans.”

The image of plump white beans swimming in broth and golden cornbread smothered with butter made her mouth water.  “That sounds good.”
“You’re serious?”
“Just hungry.”
           “I’d be glad to make you a sandwich.”

The sensation of homemade bean soup warming her empty belly quickly zapped and her heart sank. “No white beans or warm bread?”
He shook his head. “Hate to disappoint you.”
A sandwich would have to do. “Turkey?”
“I’ll pass,” she laughed. “Thanks just the same.” She wandered slowly around the store increasingly aware of his gaze upon her. Not the kind of surveillance to see if she was shop lifting gaze. But the one of a guy who’s interested in a woman kind of look. Her insides fluttered. The throbbing in her head returned and she reached for a bottle of aspirin. This was so weird. One minute she was planning a wedding and the next, a single woman on a mission, determined to forget the last few hours and start fresh. But first, she needed to get through tonight. Uncle Bob had been divorced five times and claimed the only warmth he needed came from a small bottle of Old Crow he kept stuffed in his hip pocket.  
Leslie grabbed a couple bags of chips, some beef jerky and orange juice then carried the armload to the counter. “I didn’t see any wine. Where—”
“Sorry. You’ll have to wait until Reams opens in the morning.” When he nodded toward the window, threads of black hair spilled onto his forehead. “Down the road and on the right. Has everything you’ll need from bologna and cheese to soap and tissue.”

“Tomorrow?” she said, becoming more frustrated by the minute. All she wanted to do was find the cabin, put on her bathrobe and have a glass of wine. Was that too much to ask?
“At nine.” 
A small carton of novelty bottles sat near the cash register. A variety pack of vodka, whiskey and rum. 
“This’ll do in a pinch,” she said and scooped up a handful. 
A dream catcher suspended from the ceiling twirled gently. Soft turquoise, pink, and gray downy feathers woven around a circle and laced with white leather. The effect was mesmerizing and signified a belief in possibilities, the promise of hope. “Is that for sale?”
“Looking for a little magic?”
Even though he spoke softly, she saw the judgmental attitude behind the casual remark. Seems Mr. Handsome was just like every other man she’d run across, hung up on appearances. Go figure. Would anyone care or remember that tonight Leslie had been knocked flat on her face by a no-good, two-timing cheat? Or that her prince charming turned out to be a toad? If magic could be found in this tiny bottle, she was all for it.

Pasting on her best smile she said, “Isn’t everybody?”


I just love sales and I'm super excited to announce my upcoming- less than a buck countdown
that starts this Thursday, Dec. 4th.

If you've ever needed a dose of magic, the kind best friends deliver, then you're definitely going to want one! Thanks much! Oh, and don't forget to add your own two cents by leaving a review!

Check out a what others have been saying about Man of Her Dreams....

Format:Kindle Edition
The small, rural town of Sleepy Falls is a perfect place to get away from your problems.

Fun and sexy July 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Teresa Blue's contemporary romance is a fun and sexy romp bringing together a hero and heroine from very different walks of life.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Raise a cup to salute our Veterans of America!

I love cups, bottles and jars, especially ones with history. This particular cup most likely is filled to the brim with many such stories shared around a campfire from a tired and war-weary soldier after a long day and many miles covered on foot.

Some tins were manufactored by Jacob Bromwell, government issued and kept tucked inside a Haversack. Those marked US were post war. This cup may have been crafted by Otter Creek Tinware or S&S Sutter of Gettysburg and possibly used for many months in the field. It would be months or years even before the soldier could hope to return home to the luxury of porcelain and stoneware.
The list below gives us some kind of idea what the solider of yesterday required. Some of the items were issued or purchased with allotment money.
On this Veterans day I wanted to take a moment to thank all Veterans-past and present- for the sacrifice so that I may live free. God bless you.



This website has so many items used during war time, you’ll want to check it out.



Made of tin, the rim and handle should be wired. Do not buy the cup stamped "U.S." This is post war. Also be mindful to stay away from stainless steel products. Tin cups were produced in a variety of different styles. The tin cups were not an issued item and the soldiers were required to supply their own. In addition to, or in substitution for the tin cup, many soldiers also use old tin cans. The tin cans of the period were smooth sided, unlike the can of today which have ridges around their sides. And with the addition of an improvised wire handle on the top, the tin can would make a good coffee boiler.


 All of this information and much more can be found on this website.  

Clothing allowance for a 5-year enlistment (Regulations of 1857)

  • 1 great coat (1 per 5 years)
  • 2 blankets (1 per 1.5 years)
  • 11 pairs flannel drawers (1 per 5.5 months)
  • 13 pairs trousers (1 per 4.5 months)
  • 15 flannel shirts (1 per four months)
  • 20 pairs bootees (1 per 3 months)
·         20 pairs stockings (1 per 3 months)
·           2 leather stocks (1 per 2.5 years)
  •   2 pompons (1 per 2.5 years)
  •   2 eagles and rings (1 per 2.5 years)
  •   5 cap covers (1 per year)
  •   7 dress caps (1 per 8.5 months)
  •   8 frock coats (1 per 7.5 months)

Clothing allowance for a 5-year enlistment (revised Regulations of 1861 and GO 95). (Prices are from “The Company Clerk” 1863):

  • 1 great coat (1 per 5 years) $9.50
  • 2 blankets (1 per 2.5 years) $3.60
  • 5 forage caps (1 per year)  $0.56 (cover $0.18)
  • 10 sack fatigue coats (1 per 6 months) lined $3.14, unlined $2.40
  • 11 pair flannel drawers (1 per 5.5 months) $0.95
  • 13 pairs of trousers (1 per 4.5 months) $3.55
  • 15 flannel shirts (1 per four months) $1.46
  • 20 pairs of bootees (1 per 3 months) sewed $2.05, pegged $1.48
  • 20 pairs of stockings (1 per 3 months) $0.32
Dress uniforms
  • 5 dress hats with trimmings  (1 per year) total $2.04  (hat $1.68; feather .15; cord and tassel .14; eagle .02; bugle .03; letter .01; number .01)
  • 5 frock coats (1 per year) $7.21
  • 2 leather stocks (1 per 2.5 years) $0.10 


Some really neat bottles.

Below is an old metal bottle cap. Its rusty so I haven't tried to secure it by pushing down the tab. I have no idea how old this is.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Keeping the romance to write alive...despite the rejections

Keeping the romance alive~

                                Despite the rejection(s)




I want to be a writer.  And yet, it has been a daunting uphill battle faced with much heartache, rejection and even the loss of every word I’d written to a house fire. But still, I really want to see my name on the cover of book. So I trudge on. I read somewhere that the apprenticeship before one could expect to sell is 10,000 hours of writing, learning the craft and developing the techniques. So, in my case, writing one hour a day, seven days a week that would be twenty-seven years. Do I have what it takes to wait that long? You can see why the romance of writing evaporates. Maybe I should try gardening.



I’m always happy when I read some lucky pre-published author whose manuscript gets picked from the slush pile, read over the weekend and notified by a very excited editor screaming “I loooove this book.” Or, the rare occurrence of a manuscript creating a NY buzz in an auction, going for six or seven figures and launching a star search for filming. These wonderful antidotes help to keep me going during the lull. 


Halfway through my apprenticeship I deciphered the best way for me to keep the romance for writing alive, to find the courage to submit, and face the possibility it may never happen. And here’s what I discovered:


  1. I love writing. No matter how many rejections the mailman brings, or the email letdowns I find early a.m. (I’ve learned that’s when editors send rejections) I usually put those in a file to be re-evaluated later, when I’m calm and am more likely to absorb and possibly agree with the editor’s reason and comments for the rejection.


  1. Despite how disheartening all these setbacks are, it’s important to remember the reasons you chose to write at all. What propelled you to sit down, pen in hand and put your thoughts on paper? Remember the excitement discovering how much you loved the process. 


  1. Surround yourself in writing luxury. I’m not talking millions of dollars here, but the simple tools you need to work with. Things that tickle your muse or stimulate the urge to jot stuff down, freeing up and wrestling writers block. Pens and journals, crisp paper with a smooth flowing felt-tip pen. Susan Wiggs is said to write all of her first drafts with purple ink in a spiral notebook. I received a letter from her once and I swear it smelled just like grapes! How fun is that!


Use whatever stimulus that trigger an emotional level. Since writing demands emotions, you want all the advantages, right?


  1. I read someone’s response on a blog as to why they chose to write.  I only have her user name, Smartygirl. Her explanation. ‘I started writing as a kid, not to be a great author. I just wanted to be inside the pages of Anne of Green Gables. So I wrote myself there.’  I love that. Remember when you were small and the motto was I can do anything. Go for it!