Posts tagged with: books

Happy Boxing Day 2016!

Well, it’s official.  The calendar has turned to a new page, and Christmas 2016 is over.  I feel as though I hardly had time to anticipate it before it was here, and now it’s gone.

Some of you celebrate the holiday, and some of you don’t.  If you do, I hope yours was merry, and if you don’t, I hope you had a relaxing day. I hope those of you who celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa are having a happy one.

img_3655Our tree is a Fraser fir, with the same ornaments we use every year.  It looks much like very other tree I’ve posted a picture of on the blog, so I decided instead to post a photo of a favorite ornament, the little house depicted at left.  The dh and I got this in a Christmas shop on our honeymoon.

After the Great Water Disaster and subsequent floor refinishing, the living room floor is nice and smooth and shiny. The guys took extra care not to scratch it when they put the tree up.  I hope they’ll be as successful when they take it down.

We have our holiday meal on Christmas Eve, so we did that this year, too.  Yesterday morning, we got up and had coffee and explored what Santa had brought.  I got DVDs of Captain America: Civil War and Season 1 of Poldark, along with a couple of research books I’d needed, so that was all great.

Then the dh made Swedish pancakes, per his mom’s recipe, for brunch, and we opened presents.  Because we’re in no rush to open gifts, that took a while, though it went faster than in the days when everything periodically stopped while the boy played with whatever new toy he’d just opened.

img_3635Pictured at right is our candle tower.  We’ve used it for years, but this year, the dh couldn’t get candles for it.  The one place that always had them informed him they had none, that they’d stopped carrying “stick candles” because they were a fire hazard.  And tea lights just won’t cut it.

Luckily, he had enough spares from previous years to make the tower work.  We’re not sure what we’ll do next year, though the boy is confident that the proper candles can be obtained online.

And yes, those are books in the dining room. *sigh* They sort of spilled out of the main book places and had to go somewhere.

During lulls in the day, I thought about what my imaginary friends, better known as my characters, would be doing.  Griff and Val, I figured, would spend the day with his family in Macon.  After years of being without them, he wouldn’t want to miss a holiday, and Val has become part of that circle.  She has no family of her own, and those who’ve read Renegade know what happened to her guardian. Of course Griff’s sister and brother-in-law, Caroline and Rick Moore, would be with them.

Warrior_FINAL_3I have a deleted scene from Warrior I’d hoped to have up on my website but didn’t get to.  It’s a snippet from Griff and Val’s first Christmas together, his first in six years with his family.  If I can get it posted this week, I’ll update this post to include the link.

Edie and Josh are outdoorsy people, so they went to Colorado to see her family and go skiing for part of the holiday.  The rest, they’ll spend in California at his aunt’s house, with his sisters and his dad.

Stefan and Mel decided to alternate years spending Thanksgiving with her family and Christmas with his.  Right now, she’s still living in Atlanta and he’s still based in Brunswick, though that could change soon. He drove to Atlanta for the holiday, and her family came down from North Carolina to join them.

Will and Audra had a quiet holiday at the home of her mentor in Atlanta.  Tomorrow, they’re flying out to join Will’s parents in Paris.  Audra’s very excited because she has never been there.  If she knew Will was scheming to get her to the Alps and teach her to ski, she’d be a little nervous, too!

Roland met Peri’s family at Thanksgiving, and she’s meeting his this Christmas.  He knows they’ll adore her, but Peri’s anxious to make a good impression.

Kelsey Mitchell and Greg Reed aren’t together this holiday season. Work has taken a toll on their budding relationship, but I have plans for them in 2017.

the-magic-christmas-guy-finalAnd of course, Jenny Bridges and Mike McLean are currently seeing where the attraction between them can go in “The Magic Christmas Guy.”

So that was my Christmas day.  How did you spend yours?

Just to satisfy my curiosity, do you like to read deleted scene snippets?  Are you disappointed if they’re just snippets instead of a story with a beginning, middle, and end? Does your opinion depend on whether you’ve already read the book?

Do you watch Poldark? Have you read the books (I haven’t)?

Finally, do you have books in a place where most people wouldn’t expect to find them?

Why I Love “Madame Secretary”

Thank you, CBS!

Okay, it’s not about the absolutely adorable actor Tim Daly, who plays Madame Secretary’s husband Henry Tea LeoneMcCord on the ABC drama that debuted this year.  Nor the equally delightful Téa Leone, whose acting and low husky voice I’ve always enjoyed (uh, imagine Dr. Big hanging over my shoulder as I write, saying “Yeah, man!”).  Nor is it the we’re-going-to-finish-this-story-in-forty-four-minutes attitude the drama takes, although I’m eternally grateful for shows whose story-lines are actually concluded in the one-hour time limit.

For me, it’s about the universal drama, angst, love, and politicking of family.  Yes, family.  CBS has taken the family to a level where there’s more pressure than a certain unnamed Asian dictator threatening free enterprise with a finger on the “send” button.Tim Daly

I like that Téa Leone, playing Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, is as calm and collected in her home life as she is in conducting the state business of the country.  She’s a woman who knows how to mediate in both arenas.  Seriously, don’t we all think that a cool and thoughtful attitude towards the affairs of international politics is as important a tool in the country and world as it is in the family?

We’re always hearing the phrase, “If women ruled the world … ” but I don’t think we believe it in our collective consciousness.



If women ruled the world, there’d be no more wars.

If women ruled the world, aggression and bullying would disappear.

If women ruled the world, they’d exchange recipes.

Oops, didn’t mean that, but I’m sure lots of folks do.

So what I really like about the show is that Elizabeth (Beth) has a normal home life, with a husband a lot like mine, to whom compromise and intelligent conversation are not dirty words.  Where a man or woman isn’t afraid to say, “Oops, sorry, I was wrong” or “I didn’t mean that.”  Where teenagers are brats sometimes and angels other times.  Where even high-level political leaders struggle to solve the problems in their own homes while juggling terrorist  attacks on the free world.

I know, I know, the television show is a fantasy.  But I like my fantasy grounded in reality and knowing I’ll have a solution of some sort to very complicated issues – just like the issues in the home, country, and world.MS logo 2

Right now I’m binge-watching “Friends,” and enjoying how and why the show is so iconic and relevant.  Except for those portable phones.  They’re a hoot!

What about you, readers?  Have you watched “Madame Secretary?”  Do you like it?  Do you enjoy your film and television realistic or doused with a hefty dose of make-believe?   What’s your favorite binge-television watch?  Or binge-book read?


The Darcy Factor

Hi Bandits and Bandita Buddies! Today I thought I’d talk about one of my fave historical heroes. He might be over 200 years old, but we all still sigh over Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s immortal Pride and Prejudice.

Last year, I was fascinated (and amused) when a 12-foot statue of Darcy, including nipples under his wet shirt, in his Colin Firth incarnation was placed in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, bang in the middle of London:

p and pNot bad publicity for an old guy. They don’t even do that for the latest pop star! You wonder how many current romantic heroes will pack the same punch in 2215.

As someone who writes romance (and hopefully compelling heroes) for a living, I find the world’s crush on Darcy fascinating. I wonder what he’s got that places him so high in the feminine pantheon of wonderful blokes.

I think part of it is the eternal attraction of the cool boy. Darcy’s richer than anyone else in the story, except maybe the fearsome Lady Catherine de Bourgh. And it would be a brave person who had a crush on her!

Darcy’s handsome. He has a sophisticated sense of humour. He’s impressively clever. Among the many things I love about his exchanges with Elizabeth is that those two are clearly the smartest people in the room. Even while they’re fighting fate, it’s obvious that they’re made for each other.

p and p 4Another part of his attraction is that he’s so articulate. There’s something about that historical language when it’s used to persuade and seduce that turns me to mush. How about his first, disastrous proposal to Lizzie that starts out with, “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you”? Wow!

Another heroic aspect of Darcy is that he’s willing to put himself on the line for the sake of the woman he loves. And without any expectation of reward. When he rescues Lydia from the disaster she’s got herself into with the vile Wickham, you know how it chafes at his pride to deal with his enemy. Yet, for Elizabeth’s sake, he does. Not only that, he succeeds – there’s a lot to be said for a competent hero!

We also admire that he sees beyond rank and fortune to Lizzie’s true value. We all love a Cinderella story, and Prince Charming in this particular one comes with the magnificent Pemberley as his palace.

Darcy’s generous enough to see the error of his ways by the end. We adore a self-aware hero who admits to the heroine where he went wrong. And there’s the delicious enjoyment of watching the journey as he struggles with painful change before he reaches his happy ending.

p and p 2So all round when people start talking literary heroes, I do a time slip and go back to the Regency when men wore coats, neck cloths, breeches and boots, and spoke in perfect sentences. Long Live Mr. Darcy! 201 and still going strong!

So what about you? Are you a Darcy girl? Who’s your favourite book hero, historical or contemporary? Do you think the old guys have something going for them that the current crop of whippersnappers don’t? Do you think any of today’s heroes have what it takes to last 200 years as worthy subjects of a literary crush?

Are you a book nerd? Or a book ninja?

You’ve seen them.  The quizzes that tell you which Disney Princess you are, or which 60’s Sterotype you are.  I see quizzes like this on Facebook constantly and generally do not take them.  I say it’s a matter of time but I wonder if I fear I won’t get the answer I wish.  Apparently, that is the concern of many people taking those quizzes, so I am here to say…


There is no science behind the quizzes.  They are just fun.  And the final answer you receive is likely to be a feel good, complimentary answer no matter how you score.

stack of booksSo I tried it with this quiz from Buzz Fee called “Can you quess the Famous Book from the First Line?”  While many of the other banditas are better read than I am, I do study first lines of a number of books.  I scored “book nerd.”  Not bad and probably accurate.  So I retook the quiz and purposefully chose the wrong answer (although I quessed correctly at three works that I didn’t recognize) and I scored a “book ninja.” I like that as well.  So you can’t go wrong.  Take the quiz here.

While researching quizzes like this, I saw a statement that the vast majority of people that took the quiz “What State Do You Actually Belong In?” received the answer:  Wisconsin.  So many in fact, that more people got that answer than actually live in the state!  Barbara Vey would love that.

Still working the book theme, how about this one.  Can you guess these banned books by their emojis?  Now I had to look up emoji, but it’s pretty obvious from the quiz.  An emoji is the ideogram or smiley used in Japanese electronic messages and webpages, the use of which is spreading outside Japan.  Basically, it’s this 😛  or maybe this :mrgreen: . So now that we know the terminology, do you know the books?banned

Sorry, no neat labels go with that one – just a number score.  I question, though, if all those books were truly banned books – or if they were titles that inspired easy emojis.  I swear I had a number of those books as assigned reading in high school.

And finally, just to give a smile to your day and include a little romance in the blog, we have “What Kind of Man Turns You On?”

Johnny Depp

Gotta say – they nailed me 🙂  (while I like Johnny Depp, the photo is purely for Tawny 🙂  )

Thank you Buzzfeed for the fun quizzes.  Now how did you score?  Did you try the quia a second time to see if you could get a different answer?  Did you like your ideal man?  Let’s chat!

Oh – and for any historical authors or there (or fascinated readers), I’ve started uploading my research books on fashion, etiquette, undergarments, locations, etc. to my pinterest page.  It’s an ongoing project – I have a ton of books and I’ve barely scratched the surface – so check back frequently!  🙂

Bandit Booty!!

BanditBooty We’ve got lots of Bandit Booty to give away from the old Lair “Treasure Chest” today!

The winners of a signed copy of WHEN THE DUKE WAS WICKED, the first book in Lorraine Heath’s new series, and a surprise book of Lorraine’s choice are: BECKE and SALLY SCHMIDT!! CONGRATULATIONS, ladies!


The winner of a signed print copy of Jo Davis’ new Sugarland Blue series book IN HIS SIGHTS is MAUREEN!! CONGRATULATIONS!!

Please email me your snail mail addresses at suzanne AT and I’ll see both authors get you your prizes ASAP!

Saturday Quick Five – Book Fun!

Last gameHappy Saturday! There is much happiness in the Sugden household today as the English football (soccer) season kicks off for our Premier league. Doc Cambridge and I will be at Old Trafford to welcome our new manager and cheer on Manchester United, so I’ll answer comments when I get back. In the meantime, here’s a pic of the two of us at the last game of last season.

Several of our BBs reminded me that I hadn’t done any Book Fun Quick Fives lately, so I thought today would be a good day to get you all playing Book Fun. It’s very simple – as with all Quick Fives, just answer the questions to play along.

1. What are you reading at the moment?

2. What have you just finished reading and what’s up next on your TBR pile/bookshelf/mountain?

3. What’s the opening line of your current book?

4. What are the names of the main characters?

5. What’s the sentence on page 15, line 15? If there isn’t a line 15, use the closest line number to it. If you’re reading an ebook and there aren’t page numbers – choose the page at 15%

Bonus question: What’s on the cover?

To get the ball rolling, here are my answers to the questions:

TheSeventhVictim_2801. Mary Burton’s The Seventh Victim – the first in her Texas Rangers series.

2. So many to choose from! I got a stack of books for my birthday, including CS Harris, Lisa Gardner and the latest JD Robb, so possibly those. Although I did bring back some fab books from RWA in San Antonio. Decisions, decisions!

3. The man crouched by the unconscious woman lying on the dewy grass by the highway and tilted her pale, still face toward the moon.

4.Texas Ranger James Beck and Lara Church, the victim who survived.

5. He lifted his hat and smoothed his palm over his damp brow before replacing it. “Sh*t. I should have just kept driving.”

Bonus: Well, you can see the cover for yourself!

Over to you – tell us about your books.

Notes From a Virtual Tourist

It’s really quiet in the Lair.  Dismally quiet.  Roughly half of the banditas are in San Antonio at RWA.  They occasionally report in about how much fun they’re having. *sigh*

Sven, Demetrius, and Zach are rotating their guys for days off and doing basic repairs around the Lair.  Sven is polishing the silver.  I didn’t realize we had quite so much of it–platters, candlesticks, serving utensils, vases, even a soup tureen!

SAMSUNGAnd the Golden Rooster is griping because no one is paying attention to him in between his visits to our various buddies who’ve  graciously put up with, er, hosted him.

“We should have a party,” he said.  “There’s a women’s beach volleyball tournament in town.  They might want to come–”

“No,” Demetrius said flatly, popping into the kitchen after a sparring match with Marcus.  “You are not bringing women here.  We always have to stop you harassing them.”

The rooster squawked, and Demetrius’s eyes narrowed.  “Don’t push it, bird.”

So the rooster stomped off in a huff.

Meanwhile, our resident dragon, Ermingarde, is cruising the countryside and the rest of us are working on various projects.  I’m working on Will’s book, Warrior, for release this fall, and updating my website.

In between the projects, though, I’ve been traveling in the easiest, cheapest way possible, via books.  Yes, the trips are imaginary, but they’re relaxing and fun and do not involve airports, weather delays, traffic gridlock, sunblock, strange food, or odd noises from the room next door.

There are so many choices of destinations, too.  We can visit in our contemporary world or check out other places or times.  Or slightly altered versions of our world.

9781455503728_p0_v1_s260x420-250x403I enjoy visiting small towns that remind me of the one I grew up in. Only a small percentage of my reading is straight contemporary romance, but I love spending time in Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor.  The town has its share of eccentrics, but most of the people are good-hearted and look out for each other, even if things don’t always work out the way they intend.

This is the fourth book in the series, Lucky in Love.  It’s one of my favorites.  Its hero, Ty, is an Navy SEAL in town to recover from serious injuries.  He’s just passing through and not interested in getting involved.  Yet Mallory, a local ER nurse (and a member of the Chocoholics) who’s so busy looking after everyone  else that she doesn’t do much of anything just for herself, catches his eye, and one thing somehow leads to another.

They resolve not to get involved, to just have a fling, but, as the saying goes, “life is what happens while you’re making other plans.”  Sometimes love happens then, too.

Sometimes it’s fun to be in our contemporary world but spice it up with a hint of danger.  I would far rather have my danger vicarious (or virtual, when it’s an ebook) than actual.

midnightrescue-125x198I recently discovered Elle Kennedy’s Killer Instincts series.  This is the first book, Midnight Rescue.  Abby is assigned to go undercover and kill an arms dealer who also engages in human trafficking.  As so often happens, however, the operation takes a twist.  Abby must blow her cover to protect innocent victims.  Kane, an agent for a rival organization, is assigned to go in and rescue her.

The plot is gripping, the pace is fast, and the romance has both tension and heat.  I’m hooked on this series.

droppedImage_1Sometimes I want a break from our world, though.  Sometimes I want to go somewhere completely different.  Then I might reach for something like Kylie Griffin’s Light Blades series.  This is the first book, Vengeance Born.

The heroine, Annika, is the half-breed daughter of the demon king.  Scorned by the people at court, she uses her healing gift to gain access to a prisoner, Kalan, one of the feared Light Blade warriors.  Though he is reluctant to trust her, she convinces him to make a deal.  She’ll help him escape, and he’ll take her with him.

Kalan and Annika are brave, sympathetic, and reluctant to trust each other.  Yet when fate throws them together, they can’t help seeing each other’s good points.

This is a beautifully constructed world with humans, demons, and half-breeds.  War always adds an element of risk, and the story sets up future heroes and heroines.

beautybountyhunterSometimes I might stay on earth but escape to a different era.  There’s always Georgette Heyer.  I also like another series I recently discovered, Lori Austin’s Once Upon a Time in the West.  Set in the American West after the Civil War, the series is up to three books so far.  The first is Beauty and the Bounty Hunter.

On a quest to find the man who murdered her husband, Cathleen has become a well known bounty hunter, so well known, in fact, that the man she’s hunting has put a price on her head.  To stay alive, she has to return to her former lover, Alexi, a con artist and master of disguise who taught her all she knows.

Working together revives the attraction between them, but Cat can’t find peace until she avenges her husband, and Alexi carries emotional scars of his own.  The book has a dark cast to it, but it’s also a story of how these two wounded people help each other heal.

I figure readers are never bored.  We can go somewhere else, be someone else, anytime we want.  And without all the hassles of actual travel.

What are your favorite types of  book escapes, and why do you like these types?  Have you recently discovered an author to add to your favorites? 


The time between finishing one book and starting another is always odd for me.  Part of my brain wants to cling to the last book while another part wants to move on to these other people and their problems and hopes and dreams. With Sentinel out, I’m starting Warrior, Will Davis’s book, and I’m at that funny in-between stage again.  

I’ve spent two novels and two novellas with Will, so I know him pretty well, but I’m still working on getting to know his Audra.  

Northcott-RenegadeAnd then there are all these other people.  Nemesis, the next novel, is plotted. Avenger, the next novella, partly is.  And of course each book has a main couple and supporting characters, many of which overlap.  But not all.

As though they weren’t enough, Griff and Val from Renegade peer over my shoulder and say things like, “You know, we had some interesting times off-page and between books.  Maybe you should write about those.”

“Maybe I shouldn’t,” I tell them.  “Don’t get carried away because you’re in the free stories on my website.  It’s someone else’s turn now.”

They aren’t pouty, but they are persistent.  So is Mel from Guardian, who likes to remind me that Stefan, her mage physician fiancé, is supposed to see if he can help her mom.  This is by way of suggesting maybe I should write that.  You know, NOW.

And then there’s Tasha, the heroine of Nemesis, who keeps muttering things like “I can’t believe you’re matching me up with that guy.  He hates me.  I return the favor. It’s never going to work.  You’ll see.”  

Mixed into all that are various plot ideas for Avenger, which pop up at odd and inopportune moments.  To get anything done (like, oh, the first draft of Warrior), I have to bring order out of this chaotic swirl of ideas.

BillysIsland_Jan2014So I’m dealing with this clamor in my head in three ways.  First, I’m doing the research for Will and Audra’s book.  Warrior centers on an archaeological dig, so I have to learn about the procedures for that as well as the cultures they’d be uncovering (although, this being fiction, I can taken considerable liberties with the history).  

When I’m into my research, I get ideas.  Which help shut all those other books out of my brain for a while so I can home in on the couple who currently belong front and center.

Second, I’m writing in non-linear order.  As a scene comes to me, I write the bare bones of it, no matter which book it belongs to.  I figure that will not only keep me from losing it but stop it from popping up again.  This is a new thing for me, but it’s working well so far.  I’m  still doing my usual scenes-in-proper-order thing with the beginning, too, but I’m also hopping around.

fargoneThird, I’m reading.  Escape also narrows the focus.  It’s as though my subconscious works out my plot or character problems while the main part of my brain cruises through a story that’s not my responsibility.  

I just finished Laura Griffin’s new release, Far Gone.  I’ve enjoyed her Tracers series.  Though I’m not sure whether this book is actually part of it, I liked Far Gone a lot.  It’s about a detective trying to get her brother out of trouble while her career hangs in the balance, an FBI agent trying to nail a mass murderer and stop his next attack, and the case that brings them together.    

One of my favorites of the Tracers series, 2013 RITA winner Scorched, was recently back in stores.  I have the ebook, but I grabbed a print copy.  I like it that much.  The Tracers work in an advanced forensics lab, and Scorched features a forensic anthropologist and a Navy SEAL.

NotoriousA_200As my focus narrows in on Warrior, I’ll read less new material.  Books I haven’t read before will be saved for rewards at various writing or research milestones, and I’ll fall back on familiar favorites like my picks from the In Death series or maybe Nora Roberts’ The Search (a serial killer book but it has dogs and, at least in the beginning, comic relief) her Chesapeake Quartet, or Patricia Rice’s Mystic Isle or Rebellious Sons series.

When you finish a big project, do you ever have trouble letting go and moving on?  If so, how do you handle it?  If you reward yourself at the end of a project or along the way, what’s your reward system?  Have you recently read a book you’d recommend as an escape or a reward?


Lovable Eccentrics

11CCFHi everyone! Today I decided I’d talk about some of my favourite characters in fiction–those eccentrics we all love.

Quirky, unexpected, and sometimes downright crazy, eccentrics are essentially people who are completely themselves and do not care what anyone else thinks.

In the classic, COLD COMFORT FARM, Flora Poste the 1920s socialite, visits a farm full of eccentrics, including the old lady who saw “something nasty in the wood shed”. That’s a catch phrase in our household to this day. Flora sets the entire family to rights, making them less eccentric than they were before, which is a bit of a pity, really. I think one of the best qualities of the English is their high tolerance for people who are a bit odd.

11FIThen there’s Jenny Crusie’s wonderful FAKING IT, where the heroine’s sister has a split personality. Eve is the good girl by day. Louise is the bad girl who dresses up and sings at her gay ex-husband’s club by night. 

Bertie Wooster might be more an example of a certain sort of gentleman of leisure of that time than a true eccentric, but to us his mad exploits seem distinctly loony. Plus, he’s surrounded by crazy aunts and uncles and cronies with more hair than sense and too much time and money on their hands. Lucky he has good old Jeeves to save the day!

11JeevesEccentrics are terrific fun in fiction but what about real life? Some days I think I’m the only sane one in my immediate vicinity. And then I start to wonder if it’s me or them!

Who’s your favourite eccentric in fiction? Do you live with any eccentrics?

Giving Thanks

Happy-Thanksgiving(((Psst, I’m in the kitchen!!)))

You know, it’s Thanksgiving today here in the US. So while you’re taking part of your morning off to check out the antics here in the Lair, I’m in my kitchen cooking. Actually, I’ve been in it most of the week, since our family dinner takes me days to prepare. So, at the moment I’m probably making Oyster stuffing for my turkey, a requirement in this household and I thought I’d tell y’all a few things I’m thankful for.

1. Bad Plumbing.

Yep, bad plumbing. Our house is nearly 50 years old and that means major plumbing issues that we’re saving $$ to repair, but in the meantime we have learned to work around it. In particular the drainpipes from the washing machine to the outside. See, the washing machine functions just fine, until it drains. Then I have to make a mad dash from whatever spot in the house I’m at to stop the washer before the water backs up into the house and all over the laundry room floor. Then I have to wait at least one full minute, two are better, turn it on , watch for the water, turn it off and repeat at least once more. Then we wait through the rinse cycle and repeat the on and off process until it kicks into the final spin.Bad_plumbing_medium

What a major PIA that is! How can I possibly be thankful for it?

Well, I’ve taken this up as extra reading time. See, I’ve set a chair near the laundry room door, and I have a book on it that I read during each time I wash a load of clothes. Of course, those 1-2 minutes wait times seem to be more like 5-10 minutes or 1-2 pages. 🙂 But, I don’t feel guilty about reading during the time I should be writing, because I can’t write when the washer is going anyways!

So, yes, I’m thankful for bad plumbing.

2. Bacon.

Let me say that again. I’m thankful for BACON.

baconAbout five years ago my dear hubby, we’ll call him the Jazzman, went on a restrictive diet of his own making. One of the things he deemed not worth consumption, (along with shrimp, lobster, bread, and anything processed) was pork products. Now, I make a killer pork roast and wonderful ham. I’ve mastered porkchops that aren’t dried out and sausage in various forms, but when bacon went on the do not serve or cook or eat list, I nearly died.

But I was patient. Ordered bacon on food when I went out, occasionally cooked it when he wasn’t home, and waited. 

This past spring, Jazzman was doing some more reading, (always a scary thing around here), and he came to the conclusion that bacon, especially organic bacon, might be okay for us to consume.


So, yes, I’m thankful for apple smoked organic bacon grilled outside and the pleasure of having it several days a week!

3. A slightly too small dining table.

Actually if you’ve seen my dining room table, (Joanie has), it’s huge, solid cherry-wood with big thick legs. I LOVE this table! It seats 8 comfortably. The problem is when the whole clan is here it gets a little crowded. 8 adults and 5 growing kids. I did the math the other day, and I think I’m gonna be one chair short. I probably should make a kids table this year, but a couple of those little ones still need to sit with parents in order to see that they eat and no mischief occurs. Well, no mischief that their dads and the Jazzman don’t start! 🙂

I love having this big clan and all the little people here for the holidays. I love the passing of the food, the conversations, the laughter, even the adults wetting the tops of their crystal glasses and making humming sounds with their fingers, (the Jazzman taught them this when they were kids!) 🙂 And at my house, they drink different amounts from their glasses to make harmonious chords in their rim-ringing!

Yes, I’m thankful for the slightly too small table and all the chaos at holidays and family meals!

4. Bad Weather.

Stormy-WeatherNot traumatic weather. I would never wish hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis or earthquakes on anyone, let’s be clear on that. But I do like it when there’s snow or rain in the forecast, the skies are cloudy, grey or dark. I seem to get a lot of writing done during these kind of days. Something about the charged atmosphere seems to lend to my brain’s functioning in a writing sort of way. Of course, due to the dark skies and cold weather I usually require a nap, but hey my subconscious can work out a problem with the books while my eyes rest. Right?

Hehehe, yeah, I don’t really buy that one, either!

Another reason to like cold or stormy weather. I have an excuse to make a big pot of soup. I love making soups. Chopping up a boatload of veggies, searing meat or chicken and tossing it all into the slow cooker with stock and letting it cook for hours and having a hearty meal at the end of the day is wonderful. What’s not to like about a meal that virtually cooks itself? And luckily for me Jazzman loves soups and leftovers! He’ll eat them for lunch for days.

See…bad weather, the sort I like, is another thing to be thankful for.

5. A mother who loved to read.

The four previous reasons were all sort of making the best of bad things, but not this one. 

write-web-copy-your-customers-will-love-reading11I grew up watching my mom take time from her day to read. She read each and every day. Maybe only a page or two, often half a book, but she always read. She taught me my letters and letter sounds and to read simple words before I even hit Kindergarten. When I started reading in school, she let me read to her. My books were Dick & Jane readers with simple 1-2-3 word sentences. But she listened and helped me sound out each and every word. Because of this I was always in the advanced reading classes. She took us to the library and even though there was a four-book limit for kids my age, Mom would always talk the librarian into letting me get seven or eight books, assuring her I’d read them all before I had to return them.

As I grew, I started to read chapter books. When I’d run out of them, I’d find a simple romance novel lying around. Usually a Barbara Cartland. Then I moved into bigger romances, Woodiwiss, Joanna Lindsey, Patricia Matthews. If Mom left it lying around it was fair game. Even after I married and moved out. Whenever I came home I’d see what books Mom had finished, then I’d usually take 5 or 6 of them home with me. She’s yet to forgive me for taking THE GIFT by Julie Garwood home BEFORE she read it. That was the first of Julie’s books I read. Immediately I went to the books store to get her backlist!

Because Mom and I love a lot of the same writers we exchange books and often have long conversations about books, stories and writers. She’s also my biggest supporter.

So, THANKS, MOM! I’m very grateful to have had a mother who reads!

6. Readers, including all our wonderful Bandit buddies.

I’m so thankful for readers. Y’all are wonderful! You keep us charged with the desire to produce more books. You tell us what you like, what you don’t. You challenge us to write tighter, bigger, deeper. (Uhm, let’s not go the erotic route on that last line, okay?)

a3b9af4e55b598b98cebe89a6827a400Here in the Lair we’ve come to know y’all so well. Many of you are our biggest fans. You help us welcome our friends/guests and buy many of the books we introduce to you. When the last of the Banditas launched our first books and fledgling careers we already had fans. YOU GUYS! 

Publishing, and indie publishing in particular, is a very scary step into the unknown. But like Indiana Jones in the third movie, we took a step of faith that looked like a huge chasm leading to our death, but instead, there was this nearly invisible bridge…our Bandit Buddies…to keep us from falling to our doom. The smiling faces we know popping up to chat with us on other blogs so we wouldn’t be Nellie-no-friends. You were the ones who bought our books and chatted them up to your friends, both in person and on line to notch up our sales. You are the ones who read our books and left honest reviews for them at Amazon, B&N and Goodreads. You are the ones who retweet our goofy tweets and sales or like and share our FB posts to all your friends.


 So, what are you thankful for today? Have you ever seen the bright side of something like bad plumbing? Are you thankful for bacon? Tell us a great Thanksgiving story or a story that made you thankful for something that surprised you! I’m cleaning out my office and have a bag of books from RWA National this year I think I’ll give to one reader today in thanks for being here.

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