Thursday, March 12, 2015

Another Munchkin doll from Oz

I've come to believe if we keep our eyes peeled and heart open, the most wonderful things will appear. I'm finding that to be true. At least in my quest of adding to my doll collection with the cast of characters from The Wizard of Oz.

You remember I found Dorothy and her dog, Toto, Then found the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow, and Wicked Witch of the west. Brrrr, she's so mean...and green too. Her adorable light green face has made the little girl my favorite. Well...almost.

Until I stumbled across The Lollipop Kid last weekend.


Can't you just hear him singing and shaking his shoulders with his trio- I assume were his brothers- thus, the Lollipop Kids.



Madame Alexander Dolls

In 1923 Madame Beatrice Alexander founded the Alexander Doll Company.  When I found out this talented lady was the one behind the beautiful dolls included with McDonald's happy meals my outlook on the convenient drive-thru improved considerably. Everything in moderation, right? 

So, back to the dolls. Here's another munchkin, not sure who. Or if in fact, she is from Munchkin Land, but with the colorful array of dancing folks residing there, I feel pretty confident she has at least passed through.
 Look at the details on her
little braids. I wore my hair like
that for years!





I just love being a Thingfinder. You never know what's right around the corner....

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Coming Soon- Letters From Inside...


What scares you?       




As a teenager, my highlight of summer was weekend movies. Classics such as The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes. I sat surrounded by darkness unable to look away from the gore-fest or the blood-curdling screams.


Years later, I moved miles from town into a rustic old farmhouse. I loved the quiet, the privacy and when hubby left for a week long trip, I looked forward to the solitude. It was dusk and I was coming home from town in no particular hurry. After all... there was absolutely no one expecting me.


And then HE came along, driving a dirty gold Pontiac and pulled right out in front of me, tires squealing when they hit the paved road and burning rubber for several hundred feet.He had dark windblown hair from the open car window, shaggy. A tanned, muscular tattooed arm hung from the window, his hand drumming the side of his car to the beat of his music. Our cars passed in an instant and my gaze flew to the rear-view mirror, thankful not to have to been killed. But my relief turned to panic when the guy did a U-turn in the road, zooming up behind me as if our bumpers were magnetic.
He passed me and turned onto the dirt road, sped up, did a doughnut and headed right toward me.

By now, my heart was an enormous lump in my throat which undoubtedly interfered with the oxygen leading to my brain. It's my only excuse because without thinking, I pulled my car over to the side of the road and got out, yelling, “Do you have a problem or what?”

At least one functioning brain cell prevented me from approaching his car, where he'd parked on the edge of the road, his engine idling loud and burning oil, the muffler rumbling like something from a Grinder-House horror flick. He crushed an empty beer can and tossed it to the ground. Without saying a word, the guy gave a goofy grin, a wave, and sped off.


Thankfully, my house was only a few mailboxes down and I quickly turned into the drive and hurried inside. But darkness fell, so black it seemed as if I'd been swallowed up. I crept around the empty house, peeking out every window, praying he didn't come back.



I never saw him again. But the seed was planted and a novel came forth.



Letters From Inside.  A single mother trying to live quietly in her rural ancestral home with no idea her rebellious daughter has opened a door to danger.  




Thursday, February 5, 2015

Why do we fall in love?



Most of you know I write romance novels about two people falling in love.
Boy meets girl,
Boy kisses girl,
Boy gets girl.

The End......

Not even close. Forget about the many lovely faces boy had to research- sowing wild oats, they call it- before his eyes meet the perfect one and the sparks fly. An attraction so fierce he can't even close his eyes without picturing her in his head. Remembering every word of conversation they shared, her laughter, her smell, the way she walks... Geesh, talk about love....

What I want to know is why?   What is it that makes us fall in love with one person rather than the other? And how do we choose who to fall in love with?

I have some ideas and I'm hoping maybe you'll help me out by adding more.

What I've discovered is this:

 1.  You are ready to fall it love.  Johnny Lee's song "Looking for Love" sums it up nicely. We are designed to have a partner and therefor set ourselves up with an expectation that someday we'll find the one who makes us happy. We feel good when we're together. The main reason behind going out on the weekends when we're young is the hope of finding that special someone we're attracted to or destined even to spend our lives with.


2.   Let's get physical.  Yeah,,,and then there's that. The physical attraction that has us sweating, blushing and heart pounding sensations just being close to that person. Feels so right...for real. Powerful brain circuits are triggered, like the chemical dopamine, which produces a feeling of euphoria, energy and even sleeplessness. We go out of our way to make it so by using makeup, clothes, even fancy cars to get noticed and hopefully- get lucky.


3 .  There is a desire to be needed or helpful.  I smile when dear hubby claims he'd never find another like me. Whether its true of not, it's a sweet sentiment. Who doesn't want to be needed? A big part of love is being there for each other. The feeling of security you get from a long term partner can certainly evolve into a deep emotional commitment, and help couples stay together to see their families raised

4. Little things mean a lot.  I love it when hubby washes my car and fills it with gas. Or the way his face lights up when he comes home tired from work to find I've made his favorite dish. And later, promise to massage his sore muscles with a five minute rub-down.


Actions speak louder than words. What kind of gestures make you fall in love? Or at least get your attention?
             


                                               




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.



Instructions:
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....




Blurb:

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.”