Posts tagged with: Jeanne Adams

ROAD TRIP!!! Part III Brunswick and Savannah…

Savannah N2 and JPA at the Subway RestaurantNow, I have to tell you, writers see cities differently than “regular” tourists.  

When you write suspense, as I do, you look for places to stage murders or have people publicly discover bodies.  This leads you to take pictures of alleyways and dark corners that most people wouldn’t dream of photographing.  

Nancy, while she also writes suspenseful books, was on a different mission this time.  She took pictures of buildings where her characters might live, or work, or set up shop.  

In addition to the alleys and parks, however, I’m going to se up the headquarters for a secret 

Brunswick Fountain 2organization, so I photographed buildings that might suit that use.  It was fun to imagine our future characters living and working in these fabulous cities.

Exactly! Visiting Brunswick, Georgia, convinced me Stefan and Mel definitely need to live there. I loved the historic neighborhoods, the lovely waterfront park, and the old buildings in the downtown shopping areas. I also like the way they treat their public spaces, with fountains, trees, and historical markers. We parked near Machen Square (which is bisected by Newcastle Street). The half on the right has this lovely fountain and seating area. 

Brunswick was wonderful! Nancy and I visited a great bookstore there (big Brunswick courthouse square queen square 17surprise!), and enjoyed a fun lunch together and even visited the local farmers market.

We talked with people on porches – it was so lovely and warm in Brunswick and Savannah! – and got great directions from local merchants.

Weren’t those people wonderful? I so enjoyed that. I was struck by this marker honoring Captain Mark Carr, Brunswick’s first settlerIsiah Davenport House from the sq.

He came in the British army but stayed to become a part of the colony. I wonder if he would’ve been relieved to die before he had to choose between the country of his birth and the one he adopted.

That must have been hard for so many of the colonists. Its odd how seeing markers like that make them real people, isn’t it?  

Much as we loved Brunswick, our next destination called, and we were off to Savannah! It’s a lovely old city, settled in the early 1700s and a thriving city from that day to this one. The port is busy, the nightlife jumping, and the history vibrant and alive.

So true! The main thing I love about Savannah is that element of history. It’s everywhere SavGa_Apr2014_Pulaskiaround you, in buildings that date back from one to three centuries, in the monuments erected in the beautiful squares, and in the huge, old live oaks swathed in Spanish moss.

This is a photo of the memorial to General Casimir Pulaski, the Polish officer who headed George Washington’s cavalry. Because of his skill and the tactics he taught, he became known as the Father of American Cavalry.

It was so elegant and beautiful in its Square, I thought.  And a fitting monument to a brave man.

As most of you would suspect by now, we did hit Colonial Park Cemetery right away on the first day, then went there AGAIN today before we left!  You were expecting that, weren’t you?  Grins.  

It was an amazing place. The massive entrance arch was gorgeous, set in place by the Daughters of the American Revolution, was a fitting entrColonial Pk Cem entranceance to a misty, ancient-feeling place. There were so many historical markers. I had so much fun reading the markers and conning out the faded epitaphs, Nancy had to remind me of the time….

It was really cool. One of the things I find most interesting in the cemetery is the wall with tombstones stacked along it. When Sherman occupied Savannah, his army camped in the cemetery. They knocked over many of the tombstones. SavGa_Apr2014_FallenTmbstnes

Unsure where the fallen stones belonged and not wanting to put them in the wrong places, the people of Savannah set them up along the wall.

I loved that too, Nancy, although I damned Sherman all over again, the right b*st*rd.  (All genealogists hate Sherman)

But I adored the city parks and squares, the fountains and the monuments.  I loved the one of Pulaski that you already mentioned, but also the one of Sgt. William Jasper, who took one hill – quite bravely – then as he raised the colors and urged on his men, was struck by a musket ball in the thigh. He died of the wound, but not before rallying his men to a Madison Sq Sgt Jasper bronzesound victory.  

Just as there’s a Fort Pulaski in Georgia, there’s also a Ft. Jasper.  Those Georgians remember their heroes.  

Another great statue was that of William Oglethorpe, one of Georgia’s first governors. We found one of our fun restaurant adventures near here, but the BEST restaurant adventure was thanks to Bandit Buddy EC Spurlock who suggested Molly MacPhersons Scottish Restaurant. (That’s us at Molly’s up at the top of the blog)  

OMGosh, I have just two words: Shepherds Pie. Oh, and four more: Guinness Battered Onion Rings. I sent my husband a picture of those to make him jealous. Bwahahahah!! Thanks for the recommendation, EC!!

Kehoe inn frontHere’s a fab pic of one of the houses I’m considering as a headquarters for my very secret, hush-hush society for a series that will probably be out in 2016. It’s Kehoe Mansion, named for a prominent family who built an ironworks and prospered in the city for a couple of centuries. It was also used as a funeral parlor at one point….bwahahaha!

(It’s now a very highly regarded Inn.)

That was a beautiful one, Jeanne. I loved taking pictures of possible locations for my characters as well.

I was looking for places some of my Mage-book characters, Tasha and Lorelei, could locate their businesses. I found several Savannah stone soldiers and 4th and damned 042good candidates, and now it’s just a matter of deciding. Lorelei’s shop was originally on River Street in Renegade, but I’ve decided to move her to new digs, maybe on Broughton Street.

Some of the other sights were just breathtaking, like the cotton exchange at night, or the riverfront, but they didn’t photograph well. The flowers and storefronts and everything else were wonderful, even in the rain.  We wrapped up this morning and headed back home, with full memory cards, fuller memories, and the scene-sets for some FABULOUS books!  :>

So what do YOU take pictures of when you travel? As you know from the swamp, birds and flowers often fill my camera!

House near Warren Sq trumpet vine closeWould you visit Savannah, Brunswick or the swamp after reading all this journeying?

Do you have a fun traveling companion? Your spouse? Sister? Friend?

(Nancy and I had a blast together, as if you couldn’t tell!)

Do you like pubs? We ate at an English Pub (Six Pence) and at a Scottish one (Molly MacPhersons) since they came recommended.

Do you research the restaurants in a town you visit, go with Trip Advisor or Yelp recommendations, or, as with books, do you rely on friends to give you recommendations?

What’s your favorite kind of food? Italian? Pub Grub? American? French? Canadian? Turkish? Grins.Savannah stone soldiers and 4th and damned 039

What do you buy as a souvenir when you travel?  Nancy and I both got magnets, and books, of course!

Road Trip! (Part 1)

Hi, everybody!  As you read this, Jeanne and I are on a research trip in coastal Georgia.  As the blog posts, we’ll be getting a good night’s sleep in preparation for our Okefenokee Swamp trip tomorrow.  After that, we’ll work our way north.  Jeanne, what’s on your agenda?

 Sleep.  Ha!  Seriously, Nancy, my plan is to take it allllll in.  I’ve passed around the edges of the swamp before, travelling through various parts of Georgia, but never IN to the Okefenokee itself.  I’m really excited about the trip.  I’m looking forward to seeing some hawks and other swamp birds, hopefully some herons and bitterns.  We’ll see who/what shows up.  I’m a real bird watcher, so it’s going to be fun to see that.  Hoping NOT to see any alligators.  Really.  They can stay far away from wherever we are.  It’s going to be fun to see some of the sights you’ve seen and posted on your website, on various blog posts about the swamp, and the way you’ve lovingly described it in your fabulous books!! 


I haven’t seen the Okefenokee in early spring, so this trip will help me when I get to the books that are set at this time of year.  It will also introduce Jeanne to the wonderfulness of the swamp! *g*  Here’s a photo I took as we headed down the Suwanee Canal early in the morning in February.

Isn’t that spooky?  We can bet the mages will be heading into a landscape much like that at some point.

The mages headquarters, the Collegium is near Brunswick, a town that dates back to the 1700s. I’d like to see some of it. There are historic houses and shops, a waterfront, a marsh (not a 400-square mile swamp, but promising anyway), and various recreational opportunities.  I suspect Stefan and Mel will end up buying a house there at some point.Here’s a link to the website.

  I’ve actually been to Brunswick, lo these many years ago, but don’t remember anything about it.  But I love new places, so I’ll enjoy catching a glimpse of life in South Georgia.  Grins. 

Sav_Riverboat_Sept2012Some of my mages also live in Savannah, and it’s a great location with its historic squares, old houses, and scenic River Street.  Two members of Griff’s team in Renegade are based there.  Lorelei has a shop on River Street, and Tasha’s headquarters for her design and remodeling business will likely be there, too.  Unless I totally fall in love with Brunswick and relocate her.

Tasha has a log cabin on the Big Satilla River, but that’s for getaway weekends, not her working  base.  Maybe she has a condo instead of a house in the city.  This trip will help me decide.

Savannah is going to be aweeeeeesome!  This is actually my part of the trip.  I’m deciding between Savannah and Richmond, VA for one series of books, and pretty much have decided to set another set of books IN Savannah itself.  These books are a couple of years off, but hey, you can never do your research too early.  

Nancy’s already agreed to be a good sport and visit some of the nice, spooky old cemeteries in Savannah proper with me.  Bwahahahaha!

The dh and I actually like visiting old cemeteries.  Many years ago, before the boy, we visited one in Savannah.

I’m taking my small backpack with digital camera, spare batteries and extra memory card, the yellow pad I’ve used to take notes on my swamp trips, and an easel, big pad and tape recorder in case we get ideas we want to develop.  Maps of Brunswick, Savannah and the swamp are also going along, as is bug repellent–very important in the Okefenokee in April.  As is sunscreen.

I’d never taken a research trip with another writer until I went to England and roamed about with Anna Sugden.  I’d be looking at what I’d come to photograph, lost in how the setting would work with the story, and then she’d nudge me and say, “You might want a photograph of those flowers.” Yes, indeed, a nice little detail I did want a photo of, for reference.  But I was so busy filtering through the story forest that I missed the tree of the lovely detail.

It’s going to be an adventure!  I’ve not taken a research trip with another writer either, Nancy.  You’re one up on me having had a good roam about with Anna S.  Still, it’ll be a fine sight better than when I took a research trip to Chicago with my husband a then-3-year-old.  Eeek!!  That wasn’t as productive as I would have liked.  Ha!  I already know this will be MUCH more the thing!  And yes, maps, camera, extra memory, the cord to upload the photos….verrrrrry important!!  I’ve only had a memory card fail once, but…  So, I upload as soon as I can.  

Nancy and I have already worked out a great place for a seafood dinner.  Rewards for our labors as working authors, don’t you know!  Slurp!!

Have you ever been to the swamp, Savannah, or the Atlantic coastal US?  Do you like seafood?  What’s your favorite?  Do you ever go to the cemeteries when YOU go sightseeing? If you were going to a place to learn about it, what would interest you most–shopping, food, history, recreation, or a combination of some of those?  What place would you choose just to explore?

We’ll check in as we get a chance along the way and catch up at night, when we’re in the hotel with its nice, free WiFi.

April Coming Attractions

Last Temptation of Dr. Dalton

March was an AMAZING month in the lair. Our fabulous Tawny Weber hit the New York Times List as a part of the Lucky 7 Bad Boys boxed set, which features her story Naughty Vegas Nights. And if that wasn’t enough, Anna Campbell won the Australian Romance Readers Award for Best Continuing Series AND was nominated for a RITA award in the historical category for A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS! 


But never fear that we’ve been too busy partying in celebration of our banditas’ successes. We have an action-packed April for you this month!

 On April 2nd, Robin Giana returns to the lair to discuss whether eyes are truly the windows to the soul.  You can see her inspiration in the cover of her latest release, The Last Temptation of Dr. Dalton.

CoverFinalLG-NewWitch new

 Our very own Thelma and Louise, Nancy Northcott and Jeanne Adams, hit the road on April 4 and 5 and will bring you their latest adventures on a research trip through coastal Georgia. Savannah, Brunswick, and (of course, since Nancy is involved) the Okefenokee are all on the itinerary, and there may be some surprises along the way. Safe travels, Nancy and Jeanne! No cliff-diving now, OK?



On 12 April, Nancy welcomes Alexis Morgan for her Lair debut.  They’ll chat about Alexis’s new release, Immortal Cowboy.

Break out the cabana boys, because Tawny’s full-length paranormal, There’s A New Witch in Town will released on April 14th!  A sexy fairy tale of a witch, a hot hero and a cursed town… and a whole lot of fun!

Cross Springs In Bloom cover2

On April 15 Trish Milburn celebrates the release of CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF LOVE the second novella collection in the Starfish Shores series from MJ Fredrick, Tanya Michaels and (of course) Trish Milburn!

April 16 – Caren Crane hosts Deb Marlowe and various others of the Red Door Reads authors to talk about their exciting new novella adventure. Be sure to Like their Facebook page before April 15 so you will be first to hear all the news!




April 17 — Elke Feuer debuts in the Lair with her book, Deadly Bloodlines, in which “A serial killer is determined to repeat a murderous pattern that started twenty years ago.”

Atlantis Dark Tide concept 2
On April 18, Lisa Tapp joins Joanie to chat about her debut novel, FINDING BETH.  

April 21 Allie Burton returns to the Lair with Atlantis Dark Tides, book 4 in her YA series, where treachery and spies determine the fate of the underwater world.

UrsulaLeCoeur_TheWillingWidow_1400px (2)[1]

April 23rd brings debut author Ursula LaCoeur to the lair.  Learn how the romance of New Orleans inspired her debut, The Willing Widow.



Suzanne Ferrell’s KIDNAPPED is FREE on Amazon, iTunes, and KOBO ebooks.

Susan Sey and Caren Crane will be participating in a huge Red Door Reads giveaway (prize is an iPad mini!) starting April 15. To keep in the know, Like the Facebook page.

Tawny Weber’s There’s A New Witch in Town will be out in the Dangerous Dozen boxed set on April 7th – for a limited time, the boxed set is specially priced for only .99 cents.

Behind the Door (AKA The Treasure Hunt!)

doorBehind this innocuous little half-door is a magical, dangerous world….

Or so I would love to have believed.  

I love attics, and basements, and other unexplored areas of the home.  Big cupboards, hidden rooms, trunks and old suitcases.  So much “Scope for Imagination” as Anne of Green Gables would say.

In this particular case, however, I thought I knew what was behind yon door.  Our teeny-tiny-attic space with a narrow strip of flooring, which was jammed with mostly useless stuff.  Ugh.  It was dusty and dirty and I suspected that there might be mice.  (Nearly 60 year old house, suburban area = possibility of mice)  I hadn’t found mousies, nor traces, but….

Anyway.  I finally decided it was time to make better use of this space.  So the DH and I contracted our handyman to floor the ENTIRE space, not just the mohawk strip down the middle.  Handyman was dubious.  He wanted to SEE said space before quoting the price.  Spring 048

I told him he was going to have to guess.

“Guess?” he said, looking surprised.

“Guess,” said I.  ”I’m only emptying that space once.  And that once is going to come on the days leading up to you putting down the floor.  I’m not emptying it just for you to look, then quote, then take another month to get to it.  Once.”  I declared this, hands on hips, very stern expression, I’m sure.  


So, grumbling, he crawled up in there, bumped around, nicked his head on the nails protruding through the roofing boards, cursed.  He coughed, he sneezed, he cursed some more, then quoted.  

We said yes so fast I think he got whiplash.  Three weeks and a lot of snow days, complaining and dusty, coughing fits of our own later, we have a floored attic storage space.  Doesn’t look like the same space, does it?

Attic blog 001Oh!  But the Treasures we found!  Now some things I knew were up there because I put them there.  I feared, however, that they might have gotten damaged or bent or broken beyond repair.  

Like Barbie’s Dream House.  What a delight!  I knew it was up there.  I put it up there when I moved in.  This was one of the freakin’ coolest things I ever owned as a kid.  It had a murphy bed.  It had bookcases and bunk beds.  It had mini-Ken, Mini-Barbie and some friends for a swingin’ late seventies party!  I’m telling you, man, it was happenin’!  I loved this thing.  Attic blog 2 003

My sister had The Barbies – the real ones for whom my mother knitted sweaters like this one below, and for whom she’d made fur coats, and dresses galore.  

I had the mini-me versions, for some odd reason.  Anyway, it in no way diminished my fun.  Had to have a bit of nostalgia over that one.  

Then there was the chandelier.  

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  I had NO idea what was in the disintegrating box right up against the far wall.  It’s a crystal chandelier, complete with strands of crystal drops, and….wait for it….neatly boxed lightbulbs.  Seriously.  The lighbulbs were all intact in little cardboard boxes.  Love.  It.  No where in Attic blog 2 006this house to PUT it, but love it and am keepin’ it!  Ha!  (I also discovered it’s VERY hard to take a picture of a crystal chandelier…just sayin’!)

The sled I had known about because I’d moved the dang thing a few times, and the kidney-shaped dressing table chair for the dressing table that’s under the bed. (You can see the sled’s runners and the yellow curve of the chair in the picture above)  

The dog was UBER curious about all the goings on up in the attic.  I couldn’t catch him at it, but he would stand on the landing of the stairs and put his paws up on the attic doorframe and peer in like this, trying to figure out what Spring 006the devil we were doing in there with all that dust and yuck.

We recycled so many empty boxes!  OMGosh.  Speaker boxes.  Stereo boxes.  A box for a humidifier that looked 100 years old.  Boxes for computers, rice cookers, and flattened and preserved moving boxes.

Then, we found some things that neither I nor the DH remembered seeing, any more than we remembered that there might be a crystal chandelier lurking in the attic.  We found the 1930′s Royal Typewriter.  A gorgeous thing which still works nicely, thank you.  (And with which our boys are fascinated!)  

Last but not least we found some artwork that should NEVER have been stored up here.  UGH!!  I’m hoping my local frame shoppe can help me with it, because I want to put up the two Swedish art pieces which belonged to my DH’s Swedish Grandmother.  I have the place all picked out.  :>Attic blog 2 010

With the floor in, we carefully planned what went back in the attic, neatly and crisply fitting in between the joists in row on row of labeled, inventoried plastic bins.  It’s a miracle of organization!  

It’s brightly lit (thanks to two new light fixtures!), it smells of sawdust and new plastic, thanks to construction and new bins, and it looks like Martha Stewart might have had a hand in it.  (Although if she really had, the bins would be all one size and would match in color scheme and the labels would be printed on matching or coordinating labels rather than done by a Sharpie on stickers on a multitude of odd shaped and colored bins!)

Its useful.

It’s perfect.

It’s boring.

Attic blog 2 008The magic and mystery is gone, chased by new lighting, new bins and organization.  It’s what I wanted and needed, but I confess to a pang.  

There will be no more discoveries of typewriters and tea cups and chandeliers.  (Forgot to tell you about the teacups….)  It was the best use of the space, and man, did we need the space, but….

What about you, Bandits and Buddies?

Have you ever found treasures in an attic or basement or closet or cabinet?

Have you had, as I always did, the belief that attics were magical places full of flotsam, jetsam and treasure?

What’s the weirdest or coolest thing you’ve unearthed in clearing out a disordered space?  Gotta say, that typewriter is uber cool!!

Do you have a sled?  We’re supposed to get MORE SNOW in DC on Monday.  URG!  May have to keep the sled down from the attic for now….

Spring 045

There’s the crumbling chandelier box, and you can see the camping lantern I had hung from a joist so I could see….

And I gotta say…OH! The stories I could make up about all this stuff.  There IS still magic in that part of it, for sure!


Welcome to Speed….and Olympic Gold..

220px-Olympic-flag-VictoriaNations!  Arise!!  It’s time for the OLYMPICS!!!  WOOHOOOO!!!

Now y’all know I’m a sports junkie.  You’ve heard us joke back and forth those of us bandits who are sports mad here in the Lair.  But whether you’re a “regular” sport crazy person or not, everyone sports-fiend or not, seems to pay at least SOME attention to the Olympics.

If nothing else, the opening ceremony is something outstanding to see.  This year’s opening ceremony was no less a spectacle than any other.  Have to say that I enjoyed the 170px-Veit_Dubiel_2008-11-02Canadian/Whistler, British Columbia Winter Olympic opening ceremony to be one of the best I’ve ever seen.  I did enjoy Sochi with the red balloon and the baby carriages and all the fabulous glistening lights that filled the arena as President Putin declared the events open.  The Torch Lighting?  Yeah.  Always brings a tightness to my throat and a tear to 220px-Snowboarding1my eye.

As to what I want to watch?  Speed skating.  I wanted to do this as a child.  How fun is this, really.  Ice (cold!), speed (Yay!), and good looking men.  Grins.  I loved the sheer graceful speed of it.  The rush.

The only problem was that absolutely no one, in my younger days, taught speed skating in North Carolina.  Ah, well.  An olympic dream lost…220px-Olympic_Bobsled_Run_Lake_Placid2

I would have loved to have skated too, figure skating, of course, although I liked hockey too, even in those early days long before North Carolina embraced its Fabulous Carolina Hurricanes Hockey Team. 

Then there’s skiing.  Oh, the soft shush, the speed, the delicious flash and fun of it.  I loved it long before I learned to actually SKI.  That I didn’t learn how to do until college.  In North Carolina, you learn to ski on ice, for the most part.  And if you can ski in North Carolina, you can ski anywhere.

Now when I moved, in ninth grade, it was to a MUCH colder clime.  They tobbogganed in Cleveland every weekend from October to April.  Grins.  It ALWAYS snowed.  Every winter.  Snow.  Yep.  I loved that. 

I learned more about those “unknown” sports that you ony see in Winter Games unless you 220px-Sports_Illustrated_Miracle_on_Ice_coveractually play them…curling, biathlon, bobsled, luge. 

(As much as I love snow and cold and speed, I have to confess I have absolutely NO desire to go racketing down an ice tunnel feet first on a wire sled.  EEP!!!)

The other stuff though, I’d try it.  Bobsled?  Yep, I’d try it.  Snowboaring?  Yep, I’d go for it.  Wait…I might not go for the whole down-the-hill-fly-in-the-air-ski-jumping thing.  I can see waaaay too many opportunities for the agony of defeat on that one.  Still, most of the rest – even curling – I’d be willing to try.

What about you?  Do you love winter sports?

Do you ski, snowboard, or otherwise strap stuff on your feet and play in the snow?  Snowshoe?250px-Départ_d'un_lugeur

Ever ridden a snowmobile?  Is it really like riding a motorcycle on snow?

Had anyone who plays with us ever done a biathlon?  What is UP with that?  Skiing and shooting….yeah….okay….

What about the ice?  Do you skate?  Curl?  Slide?  Grins.

What’s your favorite Winter Olympic sport? Are you Watching, Avoiding, or  Ignoring?  Grins.

And last but not least, have you ever been to RUSSIA??

Welcome Bestselling Author Barbara Devlin to the Lair!

iconThe last time my dear friend Barbara Devlin was on the blog, she’d just begun her foray into publishing with ENTER THE BRETHREN.  This is a MARVELOUS book, if you haven’t read it, go now and buy!  Grins.  It introduces us to the delicious world of The Brethren of the Coast, descendents of five Templar marinars, and the ladies who will capture their hearts.

And now, scant months later MY LADY THE SPY, Book Two in the series, is setting Amazon on fire!!  It’s hit #1 on the Amazon bestseller list for Historical Fiction, is climbing the Romance charts like it was a monkey on steroids, and both MY LADY THE SPY and ENTER THE BRETHREN are #1 and #4 respectively on the Amazon HOT NEW RELEASES list!  Grins.

With that fun going on right now – and an Amazon price deal! – I thought I’d have Barbara come back and tell us a little about herself, and about the books!  WELCOME BARBARA DEVLIN!!

To get us started, here are five fun questions and Barbara’s answers!

What five words describe you?  Bold, rebellious, stubborn, forgetful, humorous.

Jeanne: I would never have said forgetful….the others?  Ohhhhh yeah.  Grins.

What was the first story you wrote? The REALLY first one…the one that will forever stay under the bed?

A horrid little mystery featuring an old-world sleuth named Herschel Biltmore.  But I was so damn proud of that goofy story.  I think the murder weapon was a fingernail file.  Seriously.

Jeanne:  Fingernail file?  Snork.  I could make that work though….*ponders*  Yes, I could Cover for Rebeccamake that work. 

What inspires you? Life.  Everyday people surviving extraordinary circumstances.  Really interesting, seemingly inconsequential moments in history.

Jeanne:  Life.  Yes, that’s one of the many reasons we’re friends.  As to the inconsquential history, I need to introduce you to our own Bandita Nancy….*ducks flung sabers*…Okay, okay, it’s NOT inconsequential!!!  Sorry, jeeeesh!

What distracts you?  Life, in general.  My husband.  Rufus, our very co-dependent Brittany.  Any song by Pink—I have to dance.

Jeanne:  Hahaha!  Having met both your husband and Rooofuuuus, the Brittany, I can so get this.  They’re both darling.

What’s your favorite story, right now, that you didn’t write?  It’s a bit obscure.  It’s the 19th Century American Gothic Hope Leslie, by Catharine Maria Sedgwick.  On the surface, it’s an unapologetic look at 17th Century New England and extermination of American Indians.  But at its core is a beautifully composed historical romance between the Indian Oneco and his “white bird” Faith, 220px-American_Brittany_standingand their subsequent inter-racial marriage, which was quite controversial given the that the book was first published in 1827.

Jeanne: Obscure, yes, but it sounds fascinating!!  I just read DB Jackson’s The Thieftaker, also set in the colonies, and it was quite engrossing.

And now, tell us about your writing…. We know about the ENTER THE BRETHREN, what else is available so far?

My current titles are the first three books in the Brethren of the Coast series:  Enter the Brethren, My Lady, The Spy, and The Most Unlikely Lady.  You can find them all on Amazon.  But that’s just the beginning.  Book 4, One-Knight Stand will be available in February 2014.  Each book is set in early 19th Century England during the Peninsular Wars. As a fun note, for the sea battle in My Lady, The Spy, I consulted an expert in 19th Century tall ships for the appropriate vernacular and strategy.

Jeanne: Having read them all…even the ones that come later!…I can assure you dear Banditas and Buddies,  a fabulous read.  And, like me, I think you’ll be impatient for MORE. 

Writing can be both fun and frustrating, as we’ve discussed many times.  What’s your favorite part? What I love most Enter the Brethrenabout fiction is an author can write from their experiences or their research, yet the reader has no idea what’s real and what’s make-believe.  Also, these stories, in particular, give me the opportunity to draw from the fun I had living in London, as an undergraduate.  The first time I toured the Naval Academy in Greenwich, I fell in love with the splendor and elegance, so my work merges two of my great loves: history and writing.

What would your characters say about you? (Be honest because we’ll be checking on this!!)  My characters would describe me as a ruthless perfectionist and bemoan the fact that every time I lose my way, they all contract the plague and die.

Jeanne: Seriously?  You must bring them back….

 Who would play your favorite character if they made a movie of their story?  Eek! I purposely avoid putting models on my covers because that ruins my ability to relate with the characters.  I want to think of them as I imagine them in my head, and that changes over time.  Call me shallow, but if I don’t find the cover models attractive, I won’t buy the book.   And I highly doubt anyone would ever consider a screen adaptation of my books, because it would cost a fortune.  In short, it would never happen.

Jeanne:  Oh, you never know!  They made Master and Commander! (swoon!)

Unlikely ladyWhat’s next for the Brethren of the Coast? 

Book 5, The Captain of Her Heart, is in the polishing stage.  It’s the story of Alex and Captain Jason Collingwood.  I had SO much fun creating their happily ever after.  The remaining Brethren books are fully plotted.  Also due to reader requests, I am going to write the stories of the five Templar Mariners, whose vignettes set the stage for each BOC novel.  I’ve really come to love those Medieval guys.  Also, I’ll be doing a short story detailing the courtship of then Lieutenant Mark Douglas and Lady Amanda Gascoigne-Lake in an upcoming anthology.

 Jeanne: And now, as promised, I’m going to get someone to “tell” on Barbara!  Since the Lair is a fairly magical place, I’ve invited Lady Rebecca Wentworth, AKA L’araignee, one of the most notorious and untraceable spies working for the Crown, to visit the Lair.  She’s come through the portal and a nearly-swooning Sven has made her comfortable.  Let’s get started.

Jeanne: Welcome to the Romance Bandits Lair, Lady Rebecca!  I’m so glad you could join us today and spring a little surprise on my friend, your author, Barbara.

Lady Rebecca: The pleasure is mine, I assure you.  This is a most…unusual place.

Jeanne (laughing): That’s an understatement, Ma’am.  Do you mind if I ask you some questions?

Lady Rebecca: Not at all.  Of course, do know that if the information is of a sensitive nature, I will not reply.

Jeanne: Understood.  Even on this end of history, we know about that sort of thing.  So, first off, which of Barbara’s fabulous books will we find YOU in?cloak

Lady Rebecca: My story is featured in the novel My Lady, The Spy. It is a historical romance, with a tad mystery and suspense, as I danced a perilous waltz through society’s ballrooms to lure a traitor to the Crown.  You see, my previous partner was murdered on the Continent, because he stole something of importance from one of General Bonaparte’s couriers.  The turncoat believed I possessed the item and therein lies the heart of the tale.  To protect me, Sir Ross Logan, the head of the Counterintelligence Corps, assigned Nautionnier Knight Dirk Randolph as my new partner in espionage, and we fell in love

Jeanne: How wonderful!  This often happens to my characters, who are usually in peril, so I do understand how it can come to pass.  Can you tell us a little about yourself?  What should we know about you?

Lady Rebecca: I am the youngestchild and only daughter of Dawson Wentworth, fifth Earl of Calvert, and my mother was French.  My parents were killed in France, in the riots of revolution.  I joined the Counterintelligence Corps and became a spy as a means to avenge their deaths.  As you can imagine, female spies were something of a novelty, which created all manner ofdifficulty in my personal relationships, because I am intensely dedicated to duty.

sliderJeanne: I can understand that – both the difficulty and the dedication!  So just between us, what do you think of Barbara?  She’s a lot of fun, isn’t she? 

Lady Rebecca: Oh, she is quite the taskmaster. And we live in fear of writer’s block, as she infects her characters with the plague and kills the lot in a single blow. Of course, she resurrects us, but it is awfully tragic. Still, she draws on her experience as a law enforcement officer to portray the realities of such work, as well as the stress it can have on personal relationships. Men are often threatened by women who wear weapons.

Jeanne: Most are, but the best ones, the special ones, aren’t!  How do you feel about your story, MY LADY THE SPY?

Lady Rebecca: Well, if truth be told, I would rather forgo the more brutal parts, but I suppose it was necessary, in the end, to tell the whole of it. War is a nasty business. And Dirk and I endured numerous trials, which made the finale all the more sweet, so I dearly love our tale.

Jeanne: I can understand that.  Tell me, do you like being a character in a book?

600px-Claymore2-MorgesLady Rebecca:  Actually, I am terribly proud of my role in the book, as I concur with the author that it is important to convey the contributions women made to the war effort. Not much is known of the women who spied for Wellington, except for the Spanish ladies he employed to seduce French generals. Even then, little is written about female spies. When the author first conceived the story, back in 2004, we were a rarity in our genre.

Jeanne:  I remember hearing that, when, back in the very beginning, I learned from Barbara about the story she’d devised for you.  Without giving anything away - which you, of course, wouldnt! – How do you see your future?

Lady Rebecca: I should like, very much, to enjoy a long, uneventful life. And I would dearly love to start a family with Dirk. My only impediment is my ability to break free of the underworld of espionage.

Jeanne: I can truly understand that!  So, once MY LADY THE SPY is done, will we see you again?

Lady Rebecca: Oh, you will see all of the Brethren and their ladies in subsequent novels, as our world evolves with each successive tale. But I believe Dirk and I play a prominent role in Dalton’s story, though I am not at liberty to say more.dining hall

Jeanne, grinning:  That’s a very secretive smile you’re wearing!  I like it!  Thank you, Lady Rebecca, for joining us and telling us a bit about your tale, and your author’s proclivities. 

Lady Rebecca, also smiling: You are most welcome.  Perhaps I could have a tour of your interesting…Lair, did you call it?…before I go.

Jeanne: But of course!  Let me get Sven.

Well, now that I’ve sent Lady Rebecca off with our very own Sven, who will no doubt spill every secret we’ve ever had in the Lair to the most intruiguing lady, let’s get to YOU, dear Banditas and Bandita Buddies!

What five words describe YOU??

What is your favorite book – obscure or common – that you go to for “comfort” or as a re-read when you can’t find something else to read?

Have you read ENTER THE BRETHREN? James-Bond

Would you ever date a spy?

Would you ever BE a spy?  If so, who would you be most like -  James Bond, Jack Ryan, or  Maxwell Smart – and tell us why!

Barbara is giving away a free download of MY LADY THE SPY to one lucky commenter today!  You can also find her at and on Twitter and Facebook!

I can’t WAIT to hear some of these answers…. 

(Photos are Wikimedia Commons, my own, from the author, or from Photobucket with requested permissions)

A Polar Vortex? Oh, how to get warm!??

220px-IciclesBRRRRRRR!!  OMGosh it is COLD in the Eastern USA!!  

I’m thinking it’s that way in MOST of the US – barring Fairbanks, Alaska which was warmer than either DC or St. Louis  or even Raleigh today.  YIKES!! 

(Talked with a friend in St. Charles, near St. Louis…it was a raging 4 degrees there – a veritable heat wave! – and warmer than yesterday’s minus temps!  Whew!)

The weather geeks are declaiming it a Polar Vortex.  A cyclone of cold air which usually stays safely put at the icy pole, but this year decided to meander well south.  *teeth chattering* 

I don’t understand all the meterological mumbo-jumbo, but if you’re keen, here’s the listing from Wikipedia: - long and short of it is, it’s mind-numbingly, toes-mukluksfreezingly COLD.

So, debates about global warming aside – or the new ice age – I got to thinking today about ways to keep warm. 

There’s your standards, of course.  Heaters.  Fires-in-the-fireplace.  Wool socks.  Big wooly boots with fabulous furry linings. 


fat coatOh, I love coats!  I’m a coat-addict.  I love barn coats, pea coats, formal wool outerwear, parkas with furry hoods, cute crop jackets (gotta have long johns on the bottom if you wear that one tho!).  I’m not that fond of the trend for huge, quilted things.  I am big enough on my own.  Some of those big quilty things like the one at left, could make Victoria Beckham look like the Pillsbury Doughboy.  But any other kind, svelte and delicious, wooly and warm, I’m there.

I have a serious love affair with boots as well, but that would take a whole blog on it’s own. (Aren’t those red mukluks fabulous???)220px-Edmund_Dulac_-_Princess_and_pea

Of course, speaking of quilty things, I love blankets too.  Now those of you who’ve been around a while know my penchant for linens and china and all that.  I believe Cassondra and I might have had a battle about china…if not, we should have since we both love it.  I’m betting she loves quilts too. 

Big quilts, little quilts, thick and thin, I think they are combo works of art and practical utilitarian thblanket.  What’s not to love?  I have quilts my great grandmothers and grandmothers made.  I have one that my Aunt made – gorgeous thing!  I have some my DH’s mother made. 

This famous drawing of Edward Dulac’s of the Princess and the Pea is now public domain, according to Wikipedia.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  In this kind of weather, I feel like I’m UNDER those blankets, rather on top like the princess!

This kind of weather, you pile them up on the bed and get under a solid pound or two of covers and you’re set for the night.  One of the other Banditas was saying that when it got cold when she was young, it was extra socks and more quilts!  It was that way for us growing up too.  Heating oil was expensive, so the thermostat stayed as low as you could stand and you just put on another layer – on yourself or on the bed!

When it comes right down to it, though, the absolute best way to stay warm is with a partner. 220px-Native_Baby_and_Star_Quilt

It could be that it’s a lovely, balmy minus-25 where you are – like it was in Bandita Susan’s Minnesota today. 

I’m bettin’ there were people getting warm all over the Land of the (frozen) Lakes in the old fashioned way. 

I’m also betting that Bandita Suz and Joan’s fellow nurses will be delivering a wholllllle passel of babies in about nine months from now all over the USA, from Montana down to Florida, and every state in between.

Seems to go that way, doesn’t it?  Big ol’ cold snap and nine months later there’s a baby boomlet.  People should be buying coats, quilts and condoms instead of toilet paper, milk and bread when it’s gonna get cold or snow or grow icy on the trees. 

220px-Being_a_twin_means_you_always_have_a_pillow_or_blanket_handyDo they just abandon protocol, or do they do it so much to keep warm (or from sheer boredom with TV and other indoor insanity) that they actually run out of protection? Do they just not sleep??

Its a connundrum, isn’t it?  Grins. 

Seriously! Do they not have any quilts, thick socks or blankets?  I mean, c’mon people! 


Gotta love those good old fashioned tradtions. 

Cold outside?  Snowy?  Got enough toilet paper?  Okay, then, let’s get it on!

What about you, Bandits and Buddies?  If you had a choice, would it be quilts or “the old fashioned way” THEN quilts?  Grins.220px-Polarbearzoo

Do you know anyone (or are someone) who got it on during a locked-in-cold-snowy-snap and had a bundle of joy nine months later!?

How cold was it where you were today? 

If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, I SO don’t want to know that it was 95 farenheit where you were.  Really.  Just keep that smug “it was so warm today!” to yourself this time.  :>  We had a balmy high of 17 here in DC, which hasn’t happened for about 20 years.

Read any good books about getting snowbound?  Read any good books today while you were snowbound?  Grins

The polar bear at the DC National Zoo didn’t even want to stay out in the cold today, she’s become so acclimated to our area and our “cold” – usually no lower than the low 20′s on a “bad” day – that it was even too cold for her.  On an up note, one area town’s parking meters froze, giving 250px-Naplesbeachfree parking to most of the commuters.  Yay!

If it doesn’t ever get cold where you are, would you like to experience it?

If you’re in one of those “a-yup, we get a mite of winter” kind of minus-temps-are-regular states or provinces – Canada, Maine, North Dakota, Minnesota and such – where would you rather be today?  Tahiti? Palm Springs? Bali?

Let’s get WARM!!

(All photos are Wikimedia commons, Yahoo Free Photos, or my own work)

The Stuffing Wars: A Cassondra and Jeanne Food Fight

Cassondra: I make these really awesome dressing balls. 

Jeanne Did you say balls?

Cassondra: Dressing balls.  Like made out of stuffing.  Stuffing that isn’t stuffed.Professional portrait - JPA 2012

Jeanne: Snork!  Dressing balls.  Seriously?  And I hate stuffing.  Stuffing is wrong.  Just…wrong.

Cassondra: Hey!  I’m telling a story here.

Ahem…When I was a little girl, at Thanksgiving and Christmas, we always had turkey.  Never ham.  And along with the turkey, we had dressing balls.

It’s  basically light bread stuffing, but you roll it into balls—they’re about the size of large meatballs, and line them up on a baking sheet, bake them in the oven for almost an hour. 

They’re crunchy and crispy on the outside, hot and soft and steamy inside.  Yummm! 

Jeanne: *distracted by the thought of this potential goodness* Okay…so those sound good, but…having a hard time imagining them.

Cassondra: I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of my balls, but– 

Jeanne:  SNORK! Well, one doesn’t usually photograph one’s balls.  BWAHAHAHAHAH!

Stuffing_BallsCassondra:  Ahem.  As I was about to say…That picture over on the left?  That looks similar to my dressing balls, but it’s not exactly right. Mine are…fluffier.  Less like candy and more like bread.

 I learned from my mom, and I carry on the tradition now, and make this every time I roast a turkey.

And here’s the thing.  If it’s not my ball dressing, it has to be stuffing.  NO other dressing is any good.

Jeanne:  You’ve got to be kidding me.  You won’t eat dressing?   Just stuffing?  You are SO my Twin in so many ways, but…anything that is stuffed in a turkey’s nether regions isn’t fit for eatin’.  I’m just sayin’.

Cassondra:  Will you quit makin’ me picture turkey nether regions and stay on topic?  I’ve had a lot of dressing baked in pans.  I don’t like it.

Jeanne: Bwahahah!  Now c’mon.  You mean to tell me you’d rather have balls ‘o dressing, or something that’s been stuffed stuffingin a turkey’s bum—

Cassondra:  WHAT?  How can you not like stuffing?

What’s wrong with stuffing?

Jeanne: Nothing if you don’t object to sloppy, gloopy nether-region breadcrumbs.  Grins. 

I can’t believe you, of all people, would rather have THAT than a good, yummy cornbread dressing all crumbled up and onion-y and sage-y.   Or oyster dressing?  Or cranberry and orange dressing with pecans?  SERIOUSLY???

Cassondra:  OMG!  Oyster dressing?  Blech! BLEHHHHH. RETCH!

Jeanne Hahah!  You sound like Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes when faced with eggplant casserole.  You don’t like oysters?  How did I miss this?  I thought you liked oysters??

Cassondra:  I love oysters!  Fresh ones.  Raw even.  But canned oysters?  And it’s always canned, by the way, if you’re putting them IN anything.  I live in a landlocked state.  Canned ones mixed in with…well…anything…and cooked…well..any way….GROOOOOOOSSSSSSSS!

Jeanne: Hahahah!  Okay, I concede that they aren’t pretty.  My former (as in first husband’s) Mother-in-Law and family ALWAYS made dressing with oysters.  Much as I like oysters, I must confess, I didn’t love the oysters in dressing either. 

Cornbread dressing Cassondra:  Okay, I feel better.  So…my sweetheart Mother-In-Law used to make the holiday meal.  She made amazing cornbread dressing.  Pans of it.  Everybody loved it.

*hangs head* I didn’t like it.

I ate some, always.  But not much. 

Jeanne:  Yep, you gotta eat it – at least a little.  You are not country if you don’t like cornbread.

Cassondra:  I LOVE cornbread.  But not made into some kind of mush to be spooned out and dumped alongside the turkey!

Jeanne:  Okay, I agree with you there.  No mush.  Bleeech.  Ixnay on the ush-may.  My dressing isn’t mushy and it isn’t balled or burlapped or spooned out of a turkey gullet.

Cassondra: (ignoring Jeanne) Here’s the thing.  The stuffing I make is really simple. It’s basically just a foil to absorb all the yummy turkey juices.  All steamy hot, it’s fantastic. 

I like dark meat turkey too. Just sayin’.

Jeanne:  Whew!  I’m so glad you confirmed that we ARE Twins, I was beginning to wonder.  (I love dark meat cornbread dressing2too!)

Cassondra: Bottom line?  I like stuffing.   And I’ve never had dressing cooked in a pan that I like.  My dressing balls are crunchy and crispy and sage-ey and..yummm..

 And I only have to make one kind.  The same thing that goes in the turkey for stuffing, gets rolled into balls for the dressing balls. *grin*  Easy.

Jeanne:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Balls-schmalls.  Whether you get the bread out of a bag, toast it yourself, make it with cornbread or not (or dress it up with oyyyyyyysters), dressing is just…saner.  Slap that bread in a pan, stir up some onions, celery, oysters, add some turkey juice or chicken boullion, and so on.  Yummy.  Cut it into squares and plunk it on the plate…SLURP!!!  Yes, it DOES soak up the yummy juices, but hey…so do the mashed potatoes.  (Now I’m really hungry)

What about you, Bandits and buddies?

Which side of the Stuffing War will you join?Stuffing mix

Do you have a special stuffing/dressing recipe that’s always in demand for the holidays.

Is it stuffing—as in stuffed inside the turkey to roast with the bird?

Or is it “dressing”—cooked in a pan as a side dish?

And what kind? Cornbread? Regular bread?  Apple, raisin or rice?

Cassondra: What stuffs your turkey?

Jeanne:  *smack* What GOES with your turkey?

And if you don’t serve turkey for Christmas or Thanksgiving, what’s your “can’t-do-without side dish?

What about oysters? Are they “the thing” for your dressing or are they anathema?

Cassondra:  Anathema? Don’t you mean afishema?  Blech.

Changing the subject, Have y’all ever had dressing balls?

Jeanne: You said balls…bwaahahahaha!!

Seriously Bandits and Buddies…where do you fall in The Stuffing Wars?

 OH!  Yeah.  The Bandit 12 Days of Christmas is still happening. This is THE LAST DAY for the regular cool ornament!  Comment to be in the drawing.

Beefcake for my Birthday

November and Birthday 033Don’t you love getting exactly what you want for your birthday?  Isn’t that the best thing? Grins.

So, today’s my birthday and my boys – the DH, Eldest and Youngest Sons – did their best to make a weekend of it.  It started Friday night when I got to go out with some girlfriends.  (Their idea of “time-off for Mom”)  This was indeed fun, but the REAL fun was yesterday.

On Saturday, I got a FABULOUS present.  I got this on Saturday – the day before my birthday – because we’re supposed to get a major Winter Weather Event on my actual birthday.  This is, of course, fine with me, since I’m the Winter Queen, but it does tend to curtail activity since no one ’round here can drive in chris-hems-sexy-port2_zps6424e208messy weather.  (This includes rain, by the way.  Although DC drivers seem to be able to create havoc without any help from the weather!)

Back to the point, however, what, you might ask, did I get?


220px-Thor_-_The_Dark_World_posterYes, you read that correctly.  My boys gave me something any gal would want.  Delicious, beefy, yummy, wonderful-looking MEN!!!  Bwahahahah!

Most of the day was fairly typical for a Saturday, including errands and kid stuff.  However, after all that regular stuff we went to see THOR, THE DARK WORLD.  Ohhhhh!  The deliciousness of beefcake in THAT movie is just….just….yeah.  First, of course, there is Chris Hemsworth.  Total Hottie McHottie.  That, however, doesn’t negate the sheer mesmerizing creative fabulousness of Tom Hiddleston, as the villain-turned-possible-hero-or-is-he?, playing Thor’s adopted brother Loki.  Loki was the villain of the initial Thor movie and in The Avengers as well, seeking not only the throne of Asgard, but dominion over Earth as well.

400px-Tom_Hiddleston_by_Gage_SkidmoreTom Hiddleston is brilliant in all these films.  Sly.  Creative.  Devilishly attractive, even for a bad guy.  Grins.

One of my favorite heroes also made a brief appearance – Captain America played by the most delicious Chris Evans.  Triple delight.  Hemsworth, Hiddleston and Evans.  Oh, my!! (Photo of Tom is by Gage Skidmore for Wikimedia Commons)000syz26

Then after our wonderful fun of the movie, Hubby and I dropped the boys with the babysitter we had arranged and went out to dinner.  Where did I wish to go? my darling husband asked.  Buffalo Wild Wings to watch football.  I got an enormous grin from my darling hubby.  He knows me well.  

So, with great delight, we ate sticky BBQ wings and watched football.  After the incredibly high-scoring Auburn/Missouri game (WILD!) we watched simultaneous broadcasts of the Duke/Florida State game, and the Ohio State/Michigan game.  Now those of you who are regulars know that I am a football fan.  Actually that should be capitalized as FOOTBALL FAN.  I lived in Ohio for a while and one of my brothers is an Ohio 170px-Duke_Blue_Devil_mascot_croppedState grad.  Then again, Banditas Suz and Donna are HUGE OSU fans.  So I was keenly interested in that one. 

Love me some Duke, but usually am rooting for them in basketball.  This year – an historic year for Duke – they won, and won, and won…in FOOTBALL!!  Amazing.  Now, have to confess that they got stomped in the ACC Championship game with Florida State (probably revenge for how often Duke kicks their collective bums in basketball!)  However, they played hard, and GOT THERE.  Amazing for Duke.  Proud of my team.  Go Blue Devils!!220px-Karl_Urban_2012

It’s been a great few years for movies coming out on my birthday and that has led to some ASTOUNDING Beefcake for My Birthday.  Grins.  I have been watching two fabulous shows on TV recently, one of which features a major piece of said beefcake in the person of Karl Urban.  Karl played both Eomer, a Rider of Rohan in the Lord of the Rings movies – Yumbo! – but he also played Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in the reboot of the Star Trek series.  DOUBLE YUM!  And, although I had hoped HE – Karl Urban – would have been chosen for Thor, he’s fabulous as Bones, as well as in the new TV show, Almost Human.  (Check THAT one out for some serious beefcake! Oh and Tom Mison in Sleepy Hollow as well….slurp!!)

260px-Armitage_New_York_December_2012All the LOTR movies came out at the holidays, and oh, my, was that fun.  That’s Legolas, Aragorn, Boromir, Eomer….yeah.  Beefcake.  This year, the second HOBBIT movie is going to be out, featuring our perennial Lair favorite, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakinshield.  Got to see his yummy self in the previews tonight since Hobbit comes out in a few days.  That got us talking about The Avengers (Richard was in Captain America) and we got to see the trailer for Captain America, The Winter Soldier.  MORE Beefcake!  MORE Chris Evans!!  Oooooooh!!!  Scrumptious!!  And of course, Avengers was a total beefcake movie – Downey Jr., Evans, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye….nummy.Captain_America_The_Winter_Soldier

We recently also saw Rise of the Guardians.  Now this is an animated movie, but Chris Pine (beefcake), Jude Law (more beefcake), and the ultimate beefcake, Hugh Jackman.  Siiiggggh!  This has been out for a couple of years, but it’s total fun.  Their voices are enough…mostly…for me.  Grins.

So, it’s already been a good birthday and its hardly started.  Weather permitting, we’re going to have a nice meal with friends and see another movie, FROZEN.  This one too is animated – taking the kids! – and is evidently hot at the box office.  Alas, no beefcake (not even in the voices on this one) but it should be fun!

So Banditas and Buddies, what’s the Holiday Movie Release you most looked forward to?  LOTR? The new Hunger Games movie, Chasing Fire? 

Do you have a “new favorite” holiday movie – something like Frozen or Rise of the Guardians? 220px-Rise_of_the_Guardians_poster

What’s your old favorite Holiday Movie?  (Mine’s White Christmas, must confess…)

Who’s your favorite beefcake?  Someone listed or someone else?  Grins.200px-Shemar_Moore_Cannes_2012

Have you ever had Beefcake for your birthday? 

Are you a fan of all the SuperHero movies?   They’ll be introducing Falcon next.  

Eldest Son and I are rooting for the Black Panther to be the next SuperHero to be introduced.  I want Shemar Moore to play him…..ooooooh, plllllleeeeeeeaseeeeee!…..  Grins.  (And saying that gave me the perfect excuse to post a photo of him….ohhhh, yeah!)

Who’s your Beefcake?

Tell all!!

Tis the Season for…..Sayings?

best_friends_card-r65e9e45a168a461889778a2be37ebf3a_xvuak_8byvr_325Y’know, I was reading Caren’s post from the other day and laughing to myself about the Acorn Catalog. (  I LOVE catalogs and delight in dreaming over the delicious furnishings and food and cool clothes.  I often see things and think, “Oh, my friend so-and-so would LOVE That!!”  When I win the lottery, I swear, I’m going to ACT on all those impulses!  Snork!  People will be sick of getting weird stuff in the mail from me that reminds me of them.  Hahah!

Of course, I also spend time laughing my bahootie off at all the great t-shirts with fabulous sayings, like the one Caren mentioned in her post. 

“Silently Correcting Your Grammar!”  Grins. 

I then realized that this year, there are MORE of the pithy or wise sayings showing up in the catalogs – pillows, wall art, and the inevitable tee shirts.  And in this season of giving, what better thing to give a writer than a shirt or pillow with….you guessed it….HP2201

MORE WORDS!!  Grins.

Of course, there are seasonal greetings like “Give Thanks” or “BOOO!” or one of my personal favs from the latest Pottery Barn Catalog “Its The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”  Grins.  LOVE that.  Of course, like the fabulous and famous Staples Commercial, I start singing that one in August, when the kids go back to school and I get a schedule again!  Hahahah!! (

But I started laughing over and thinking about what kind of shirt-with-a-saying would I get for my Bandita Sisters?  It didn’t take long to realize I could think of a saying for pretty much EVERY Bandita. 

For instance, in the Signals Catalog, ( there’s a shirt I need to get for Anna Campbell.  It says:

7 Days Without a Pun Makes One Weak. 

haiku(Or, as an alternative….

“I feel Pithy, Oh, so Pithy!)


For Caren, who actually will be seen with me in public, the one above, about Best Friends, works well, or perhaps, since she is the Mistress of Haiku, she should have this one to the left.

If I were to get one for Bandita Nancy, it would be one with a photo of her favorite Stargate character, Teal’c and his favorite saying, “Indeed.”

Or for Jo and Nancy, who love to really DIG into history…. 

“History Buff: I’d Find You More Interesting if You Were Dead” 

Or even better, for Nancy, aHN5791

“Richard the Third – He put the KING in ParKING!”

(Or the one about him being a Hide and Seek Champion….)  *Ducks flying fruit*

And if y’all didn’t see Trish’s fabulous posts on her Facebook Page back in August with #30DaysofGeekGirlTees about her many amazing DragonCon and geek-girl shirts, you should go over there right now and check them out.  They are hysterical!! 

(I’d obviously have to get Trish a Supernatural tee, or something deliciously geeky which could appear in next year’s round up!  Maybe something from Firefly or The Walking Dead…)

I’d have to buy some for me, of course.  I couldn’t resist.  Having the macabre sense of humor that I do, a good one might be:

“Let’s Eat Grandma.  Let’s Eat, Grandma. – Commas Save Lives.” 

Grins.  Oh, what a different experience the lowly comma can provide! 

HN5801Or for both Cassondra and for me, the one with a leg bone and the saying, “I Find This Humerus”  Snork.  

Then there were the LIFE IS GOOD Halloween shirts… ) a witch hat with “Be Witching”  Or a picture of a zombie and the saying, “You Only Live Twice.”  Or the other zombie shirt, “I Like You For Your Brains.”

I’d probably also have to go for: “Being a Good Writer is 5% Talent and 95% Not Being Distracted by the Internet.”

For Jo, Anna S, Nancy, and Donna and all the Banditas who are English Majors, teachers/former Teachers, and/or Grammar Police, I’d have to get:

“The Past, The Present and the Future Walked into a bar…It was Tense…” 

Or “I Before E…Except when Eight Feisty Neighbors Seize a Surfeit of Weighty Heifers”  Snork!! 

Or even better, for all the Bandits…. “Keep Clam and Proofread!” 

Or maybe,choked-on-the-irony-funny-picture-2523

“There.  Their.  They’re NOT the same!”

Since all of us are book lovers, I could fall back on the perennial favorite,

“Next to a dog, a book is man’s best friend.  Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.” 

Or the always popular: “So Many Books, So Little Time.”

For Kate, I was laughing over wine shirts – In Vino, Veritas! -  but decided since her Brooklyn Wainwright is always caught up with the irony of the situation, I would have to get at least two shirts going for that…. 

One, which features a photo of an enormous grizzly bear and says:

“I Ate a Guy Wearing a PETA Shirt Yesterday, and Nearly Choked on the Irony.” 

I know, I know, it’s verging on politically incorrect, but it reminded me of the irreverence of Brooklyn’s family.  Grins. 

Or another one, which I might have to get for both Kate and Susan because they always crack me up, which says:

HN9931“Irony.  The Opposite of Wrinkly.” 

For my Evil Twin Cassondra, and for myself, I should probably order

“I Drink Coffee for YOUR Protection…”

For Cassondra, I’d probably also have to order a shirt that says something hysterically funny and relatively inappropriate about secret squirrel organizations, or perhaps C4.  SNORK!!

For the Golden Rooster, I REALLY have to get the t-shirt that says:

“I dream of a society where a Chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned” 

Frankly, for OUR bird, I question anything he gets up to, including his motives for crossing ANYTHING!  Ha!! 

For the somewhat hapless Paolo, I might have to get

“If you Can’t Stand the Heat, Don’t Tickle the Dragon!”img25r

Or “Do Not Meddle in the Affairs of Dragons…For You are Crunchy and Good with Ketchup”

For Suz, given her murderous proclivities, and medical knowledge, I would have to get a shirt written in Latin:

“Quondo Omni Flunkus Mortati!” (When All Else Fails, Play Dead!) 

if_the_shoes_fit_funny_halloween_long_sleeve_t_tshirt-ra49d91d0c36a49abba9c14ebefe01f56_8n2j7_324(She’d probably have to get an equally inappropriate but hysterically fun secret squirrel organization shirt, or something about labor and delivery and the general naughtiness preceding it!)

For Tawny and Anna S, I saw a shirt that said

“A New Pair of Shoes Can Change Your Life – Cinderella” 

That one would be a must-buy.  Grins.  Again, here, there were SO Many choices…Johnny Depp, Shoes, Hockey….yeah, I could send these two Bandita’s a box of shirts a month and not run out of funny things to send them…

I know Donna already has the “Be Careful, Or You’ll End Up in my Novel” shirt, but I saw one that made me LOL and think of her:doc in chg

“Everyone Remain Calm, I’m an Accountant.”  And there was this one with a peacock, but the saying on it was NOT g-rated.  SNORK. 

For Joan, who is as you know loves her kittehs, but is also a nurse, there were so many choices!  OMGosh….

“Do you want to talk to the Doctor in charge, or the Nurse who knows what’s going on?”  SNORK!!  Since I also have a sister who’s a nurse,  and our Bandita Suz is a nurse, I love that one.

Joan would also have to get a fabulous shirt about Sacking Rome as well as something about the cats….  I could do the funny-cat-shirt for Joan, Christie, il_570xN_483204511_d3h1Caren, Cassondra, and Donna.  Grins.  (So many funny cat shirts, so little space on the blog…)

For Christie, Christina,  and our other historical authors, I think I’d get

“Sorry Mr. Grey, I’m Sticking With Mr. Darcy” 

(Take THAT, Christian Grey!)  Christie would have this one I saw about Lord Baltimore too.  Grins.  And I saw so many about handbags, Christina, which would suit us both that I just ran out of time!  Bwahahahah!  (Christina,  it’s an addiction, I tell you!)  Oh, and Christina, there were two about being the mother of all boys (MOABs) which were beyond funny.

For Susan, whose wit is sharp as a rapier, I think I’d have to go for the Downton Abbey shirt, “Vulgarity is No Substitute for Wit.”   Or this one:

“A GOOD friend will bail you out of jail.  Your BEST friend will be sitting next to you saying, “DAMN, that was fun!”"  Grins.alot_t_shirt_2-r4fc442b5c51b46c3b54beb610ab43a48_804gy_324

And, given that it’s the holidays, I think I’d have to get everyone one of my Bandita Sisters some Holiday pillows or shirts, like

“Define Naughty…”

And “Santa, I’ve been good! Really, Really Good!”  Grins.  (Take that however you’d like…)

So what are some of your favorites? 

Do you have a favorite shirt-with-a-saying that you wear? 

Is there one you’ve seen and laughed over?

 Do you watch Downton Abbey?  Would you wear a shirt saying “Do as the Dowager Countess Says”?  Grins

What about other shows?  Do you have a shirt or sweatshirt from Star Trek, Star Wars, True Blood or other popular shows or movies?

beakerWhat T-Shirt would you get for the Golden Rooster?  For other various Lair inhabitants? For Yourself?

(The I Care About this Alot is from  and is fab!  ALL Allie’s stuff is great! Also check out for some great wall art with words, and other items!( )

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