Posts tagged with: Joan Kayse

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall….What the???

Ok, ok….I’ll get it over with. Today is my birthday.mirror 3

And I’m stunned.

I look at the year of my birth, calculate the time, divide by days, carry the 2 and dang gone it! How did I get to be the age of my mother??

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am blessed in SO many ways, not just chronologically. But it’s impossible for my mind (my increasingly FORGETFUL mind) to wrap around the age of …I’ll say it. I’ll say it….56!


Wha…wha…gotta stop doing that cause yanno…fractured hips.

cream 3

In the mirror I see lines and wrinkles. The veins on my hands sometimes raise up (thin skin). I won’t have it! I’ll use every cream, serum, treatment at my disposal! Oh, sure lots of “younger people” get knee replacements and I haven’t graduated to the weekly pill containers…yet but I did have to recently upgrade to an AM/PM one!

And the things that fly out of my mouth (No dentures whew). But things like “Back in the day” or “Nowadays” or “You young people.” Good Lord.

Then you find yourself talking with a friend about the best way to sleep “orthopaedic-ly” to  minimize aches, creaks and leg pain. Holy BenGay Batman.pill bottle

I just can’t correlate what I see in the mirror when inside me…inside me is still this little “whippersnapper.”

09-12-2008 09;05;42PM

Now off to take my cholesterol medicine so I can have birthday cake with my prunes :0

What about you? What was a defining moment when you realized you’d reached an age that surprised you?

PS  AARP stop finding me!


Love Letter to Ireland

I miss my homeland.

What, you might say? You miss Kentucky? The States? Your favorite McDonald’s and Diet Coke?

Nope, I’m talking about the land of 3/4 of my ancestors….Eire. Ireland. The Emerald Isle. My heart.

It’s been six years since my last visit. SIX YEARS! That is way too long, inexcusable considering I spent the first 2/3 of my life not even imagining I would ever visit. The budget is being cruel and alas, it will be a while yet before I return.

But I yearn for my ancestral home.Ireland 08 043

My first visit started out in a stunned state. We de-barked at Shannon Airport to a cold, cloudy, dreary landscape and I could only think “I spent thousands of dollars for THIS?”

Then we left the airport. Dear. God. In. Heaven. It was as if the spirit of the isle reached into my heart and soul and hugged me. As corny as it sounds, I knew I was home. It only got better from there. So here are some of the things I have been missing:

1. The earth. The sky. The rivers. The coast. The rocks. The birds. The flora, the fauna. The sheep. The sun as it breaks out over stone wall lined pastures after a soft rain. There is a richness to sol’s rays there that does NOT exist anywhere else. And the lakes! Blue is to bland a word to describe the beauty of the water. I’m not a hiker by nature but I tell you walking in the woods there? I knew…just KNEW that if I sat on a log I would become one with the earth. Ahem…I also firmly believed that if I looked under the right rhododendron bush, I’d find the King of the Fae :D

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2. The Irish spirit. Ya gotta admire a people so resilient. They meet their challenges and either beat the crap out of them or dance around them. The honor those who have gone before them, respect those who suffered and then thumb their noses at the cause. Every meal includes the potato in some form or fashion and one particular eatery in Killarney…seriously…served potaotes FIVE ways! Roasted, mashed, chips, boiled, added to pasta.

3. The history. Yeah, in the States you have to go through park gateways to see a lot of our infant past. In Ireland, you drive down the highway and past castles, cemeteries hundreds of years old, thatched cottages that invaders missed (Ha!). It’s just part of life there. Part of who and what the people, the land are. All of it right next door to a McDonald’s that serves the apple pie crusted in sugar with REAL clotted cream!

4. The people. Especially the musicians who play in the pubs. These people are transformed as they play ballads, jigs reels. They connect with another sphere of life as they play the fiddle, the bodrhan (my fav), pipes even spoons. I was only feet away watching an older guy play spoons with his eyes closed as he felt the life of the song. Oh and of course the black-haired, blue-eyed stone mason I oogled…er, watched at work on the Ring of Kerry. Momentous time that lead to the premise of my upcoming paranormal Guardian Isle series.

I could go on and on. While I can’t quite make it back right now, I always have the promise that, just like it has for an eternity, home will always be there for me.

What about you? Have you experienced anything similar in your travels? Have you been to Ireland and what do you miss?Ireland 08 014


All About Empires

Happy March! Well, I’m trying to be happy about it. As per usual Kentucky weather, we’ve had wisps of spring dangled in front of us and then bam! 8 in. of snow tonight. I’ll be knitting little sock hats for the robins, while my historical romances conquer the world.

Ok, well conquer in the metaphorical sense. I’ve had a wonderful debut into Indie publishing with my Roman set historicals. I’m proud to be offering stories outside the stereotypical Roman fiction plots involving lions eating Christians and gladiators. There was so much more to the era than the obvious symbols. Everyday people being impacted by the larger Empire but still trying to live and find a happy life…and a love that endures…amid the chaos.

Thanks to you, the readers, my three Patrician series books have consistently been in the top 100 on Amazon for Ancient world romance! The Patrician and Barbarian’s Soul achieved bestseller status and man, did we celebrate! Pickled dour mouse anyone? :D No, chocolate was involved.Boxed set The Patrician's Series 3D (3)

Within the next month I will release a boxed set out and hope shortly thereafter to have a connected novella out featuring the son of Jared and Bryna.

And then I’ll be taking a sharp turn to the left. My goal for 2014 is release of the first two of a paranormal series based on an alternate Irish Mythology. I’m VERY excited about this project, the first in a nine book connected arc. I hope you will be too.

After that? Well….there are more children among the Romans who grow up and….at least two other of Bran and Bryna’s clansmen who are unaccounted for. What happened to them? Hmmmmm….I wonder.

Now in honor of the new series I give you an old-fashioned Irish blessing:

“May the road rise up to meet you May the wind be always at your back May the sun shine warm upon your face And the rain fall soft upon your fields And until we meet again May God hold you in the palm of his hand”




Another Type of Valentine Love

It started at a traffic light.

Naw….not “true love”. Nope, Prince Charming hasn’t found me yet, so I doubt he’d find his way to a cross walk :D

I’m talking about the idea for this post. I watched a young, visually impaired young lady traverse the busy street with her guide dog. Sure, I’ve seen lots and lots of animals helping out those with difficulties (heck, even saw a GREAT DANE a few days later) but it reminded me not only of the love so many of us hold for animals, but the special bond…the love and devotion these guardians have with their helpers.dogs

So the seeing eye dog has been around a long time. Dogs trained to guide their peeps around daily life. All with commands and the help of a working harness. I know the rule is not to pet or talk to the dog like…um…a dog while they are on duty but man I just want to ruff their little faces and say “good job!”

Service animals have expanded SO much. There are now dogs trained to alert deaf people to sounds such as smoke alarms, doorbells etc. Therapy animals who help with detection of illness crisis i.e. imminent seizures or sugar drops. The role of animals has blossomed in the treatment and healing of thousands of veterans suffering from PTSD and children with autism. Autism results for some have provided increased focus, socialization and general increase in contentment.

Common dog breeds according to the Google are Golden Retrievers, Collie, Labrador, German Shepherd though most sites emphasized it was more temperament than breed that led to a helper dog. A main key is training from a young age.

cat autism

And it’s not only dogs, thankyouverymuch, but many cats have proved to be there for us when we need them. While there is some debate about the trainability of cats for specific efforts (Grayson! Did you just snicker at the word “training”? Hmmm?) there is no doubt that they are attuned to their guardians and their needs. Numerous instances are cited of behavior change when somebody is about to have a seizure etc. Their purring is known to lower blood pressure, decrease cortisol levels, anxiety.

The kittehs. They know. Last August I took a spill at work, slammed my head on concrete, gashed my forehead. I was allright…even drove myself home but I didn’t need to feel alone. Once I settled in my chair I immediately had Grayson on my CHEST staring over his shoulder at me and Cricket about an inch from my face. I’m still working on teaching them to call 911 if I ever need it (they keep licking the tuna off the numbers) but it was very soothing for me and mitigated the effects of the concussion I convinced the doctors I didn’t have :D

So dogs and cats and also miniature horses who fall under the same ADA guidelines as service dogs (they pull wheelchairs) are geared to give us a hand. Oh! And monkeys! Capuchin monkeys are being trained to help quadriplegics. pony

So this Valentine’s Day love the one you’re with and love the one who is there for you–kibble and all.

What about you? Do you have a service animal that helps you out? Know somebody who does? How does your pet help you in life? (Anybody got a Husky helping them out in the snow?)

valentine kitty

Darn Sticky Notes!

Nope this isn’t a homage to office supplies though Lord, I do love me some office supplies. Instead this title reflects what happens when your sticky notes get rearranged, lost or eaten by your cat.

You forget your extra blog day until the last minute!ice

Yep, that’s what happened to me. Since its near to midnight and my brain is on auto “Work was a Bear” I’m going to resort  to the tried and true Quick Five on Winter.

This topic is apropos for most of us as we dig out from snow and bitingly cold temperatures. (Expect for Anna C., Christine and Helen…and with their centigrade system I have NO idea what their temperatures are.) But here are 5 things I think about winter.

1. Animated weather reporting. Every modern-day TV station illustrates by haphazard graphics how cold it is going to get. Never mind we understand Farenheit and/or that C one, nope we’ve got to watch playful penguins, shivering snowmen and puddle paddling ducks in Wellies.

2. My thirst for snow cones drops exponentially with the thermometer. Yeah, not so much.

3. The new crock pot gets a workout. I’ve been craving soup and hot biscuits…or cornbread….or…or..brownies.

4. There are NOT enough socks in anyone’s dryer to keep my toes warm. Or my nose. Man, my nose gets like a little ice cube and I cannot sleep! But, if I put a sock on it, I can’t breathe. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

5. Excuse to keep up the Christmas tree. The kitties have been SO good with it this year! Only a little “Tag you’re it” with an ornament or two and no climbing. Plus…if I stand close enough to the lights, my nose warms up :D

How about you? What are your top thoughts on winter? One lucky commenter will receive choice of a Kindle download of one of my books!

I’m Under Attack!

Battan down the hatches, kittehs! Lock the doors! Man the barricades. You! You BB’s there! You visitors! Get down! Go toward the moat, move in a zigzag pattern! We’re under attack by the enemy!dollar sign

What enemy? budget.

I know, kind of a melodramatic opening (the scene was FANTASTIC in my mind though). But yes…my budget is attacking me.

It wasn’t a purely sneak attack. I had clues. I had plans. But then reality stormed the bastion of my LaLa land and bang. Re-evaluation.

I’ve had to take a good, hard look at things. Trim, and snip. Flip and Flop. Strategize and count my eggs….try to resuscitate the cracked ones :)

I’ve got everything on course and feeling good about it. But one part I could use advice about: Bargain Shopping.

Specifically grocery shopping. I don’t have a huge monthly bill but admit to rarely comparing prices and buying a lot of pre-made things that cost more. I use the occasional coupon but wonder about comparison. Kroger vs. Walmart? Store brand vs. name brand? Family Dollar for tissue? Worth the trip?coupon

Is there an APP for that?

Any good meal plans out there, something that can be trimmed to one or two servings or in the words of Shelby in “Steel Magnolias” something that “freezes beautifully.”

How do you all figure out the best prices? Coupon sites you can recommend. Dates you can have a girl and her two hungry baby cats over for dinner? Tell me the secrets to your budget ;)

cat eating

BARBARIAN at the Gate!

Couldn’t pass up the  cliché  :D But yes, all our loyal fans and BB’s. Today is the OFFICIAL launch of the third in my Roman historical fiction series, BARBARIAN’S SOUL!!!

But we have to proceed cautiously. No trumpet blasts, no cymbals, no flutes….a very quiet tossing of rose petals. Why, you ask? Because Bran, the hero of BARBARIAN’S SOUL has bad nerves….so bad that they can throw him into defense mode and the cabana boys can’t take that again. Even the seasoned gladiators give him wide berth. Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00009]

He’s not a bad guy, not in the least,but sold into the arena as a gladiator, forced to kill for the pleasure of the mob has done a number on his soul. He despises Rome and all it stands far. He wants out…now. Only that small kernel of honor holds him back, first to insure his sister’s safety, then to care for three orphaned children. He’s close to accomplishing his goal but then…..things go awry:

     A shudder of knowing swept through him. Working in the garden? The girl who looked out of place. The girl in the street. Gods, he should have paid better attention to the warnings. Bran pushed past Paulin and headed for the jeweler’s house.

     Servants scrambled out of the way as Bran strode toward the garden. He pushed aside the thought of how the real thief might suffer for the crime. It was a choice they—no, he thought grimly, she—had made. That it had been an ignorant one was not his concern. What was of import to him, was keeping his money.

    He bypassed the store room with its open door and walked straight to the cluster of bushes where he’d noticed the girl. Bending down, he reached beneath the shrub and pulled out a handful of wilted flowers. He searched the surrounding dirt, his gaze snagging on the delicate imprint of a foot.

    It did not take a hunter’s skill to discern a trail and follow it to the rear of the store room building. There the crushed grass and snapped twigs beneath the lone window revealed where the thief had hidden. Raising his head, he had a clear view of the storeroom.

   “What is the meaning of this?” demanded Paulin hurrying to his side, Strabo and Menw in his wake.

   “What other entrances are here?”

   “What difference does that make?”

     Bran leveled a hard glare at the Roman then turned his back on him. He barely registered the bluster coming from Paulin as he circled the bush and found a trail of flattened grass. There was no distinct pattern of steps which indicated the thief had abandoned stealth for a swift escape. His gaze followed the path to an overturned basket wedged against the back garden wall. The basket was still wobbling.

     Bran sprinted to the wall, hoisted himself up on the flat top with his arms and looked down into a pair of startled amethyst eyes.

     For a moment he felt as stunned as she looked. The memory of her beauty was nothing compared to the face that looked up at him now. It was symmetrical like the facets of a well cut jewel, with high cheekbones, a straight nose and a sharp little chin raised in defiance. Her complexion was soft and unblemished, an olive tone the perfect complement to the wisps of ebony curls that escaped the thick plait hanging down her back. Brows of the same color arched delicately over her eyes, the surprise he’d seen in them moments ago replaced by wariness, the emotions seeming to enhance the violet shade with sparks of light.

    But it was her mouth that held his attention. Generous, full, rose tinted lips that needed kissing and the desire to do just that slammed into his gut. That need spiked and his breath caught when she bit the bottom one and tugged on it with small, white teeth before…she stuck her tongue out at him.

   Anger evaporated Bran’s lust at the utter gall of the little witch. He set his jaw against the urge to roar his outrage. Instead, he narrowed his eyes and held her gaze, daring her to move as he climbed onto the top of the wall.

   As he lifted one leg over the edge, the girl stumbled backwards and dropped the tattered woolen bag in her hands. The sack opened, spilling the silver and amethyst jewelry into the dirt at her feet.

   Bran raised his other leg, took his time. Where would she go? She was outmatched and trapped, boxed in by Rome’s endless stone buildings. The mounting look of horror on her delicate features gave him perverse satisfaction. He was not someone to be mocked as many of his opponents in the arena had discovered—just before they’d died at the end of his blade. And he did not take well to being robbed of his money or being accused of a crime he had not committed. That Paulin’s suspicions would have landed on him solely because he was a barbarian did not matter—the girl would pay the price.

   He was sitting on the ledge now. One small leap and he would be towering over the girl. A slow, satisfied smile curved his lips as his intense perusal caused her breathing to increase. For a split moment, his gaze drifted to her breasts, pressed snug against the worn wool of her tunic, the full, rounded mounds rising with each anxious breath. A fleeting thought went through his mind that they would fill his cupped hands.

   Then his vision caught up with his fantasies.

   The girl had taken advantage of his momentary distraction and was frantically scooping up the jewelry into her sack. Bran  let out his battle cry and leapt to the ground. The girl spared him one, wide-eyed look before she sprinted off down the street, running like a red deer set in a hunter’s sights.

Will Adria’s bold decision lead to her end or……her heart’s desire? :D

It’s so satisfying bringing the last of my trio to the readers. These guys have been with me a long while. Still, there were other clansmen captured along with Bran and all three heroes DO have children…hmmmm :D

Demetrius and Lucien have broken out the sangria the Goddess donated…..1200 BCE…a good year. We have Tim Tams, corn dogs, and dormouse dip. What offering do you bring to honor the heroes of Rome?

In celebration of this momentous occasion I’m offering a complete print set of the series to one lucky commenter.

Let the festivities begin!

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Ramblings from Joanie

I couldn’t really decide on a single topic for today’s post so thought I’d offer a potpourri of observations and reports about how my summer has gone so far.

The highlight, of course, was attending RWA’s National Conference in Atlanta. 5 spectacular days with my Bandits and many BB’s. Enjoyed rooming with Susan and Caren (Shhh…what happens in room 2511, STAYS in room 2511). Spent quality time with Suz and Jeanne and Christie and tried to catch the ships passing in the night (Tawny, Beth, Anna S. Trish, Kate, Donna and Nancy). Lots of great workshops, standard lunch chicken and exciting awards ceremony where I got to cheer on two finalists from Louisville.


One of the most exciting moments came when I participated in my first booksigning! RWA hosted a Indie booksigning on Thursday afternoon. It was a thrill to see the beautiful covers of my books draw someone’s attention. My cover artist, Lyndsey Lewellen is brilliant. Many people were intrigued and eager to read a historical set in a non-traditional time setting. I handed out all of my books. Was touched when PJ and Andrea from the Romance Dish came by, my roomies who gave me the fangirl treatment and BB Louisa who actually asked to have her picture taken with me! My first fan pic! :D 

Yes, had fun and learned and have completed some of my homework (Suz Ferrell is a stern taskmaster). I’m launching a newsletter this month. Go to my website at and sign up to receive the latest news on the upcoming release of BARBARIAN’S SOUL , the Romans and other writing projects.

Babies. Another fun happening was the opportunity I had to babysit my goddaughter’s little girl. A is adorable and while it only lasted an hour, she has my heart firmly in her little hand. Amazing to be listening to Mom instructions from the same little girl I used to cuddle. To see a 10 mo. old push on a cell phone screen with her finger…like she KNOWS how to use it (I had her add a couple of APPS for me :0). The toys are even new and updated. A ring of plastic keys? It now has a fob with buttons on it that make car opening beeps! But there is still hope. For all the advanced playthings she had, she opted to play with the straw in my drink….just like my kitties.Aria4

Corn. I bring this up because this time of year here in Kentucky is harvesting time for yummy things like corn. Went to a local family farm/restaurant named Huber’s today. Bought homegrown tomatoes and ate and bought the sweetest white corn. YUM. There’s nothing like it. I even bought a zucchini…..not sure what to do with it, but since I’m trying to eat better…will do something. If all else fails, I’ll roll it in butter.


The State Fair. It starts this week and I can already hear the corndogs calling…er, I mean the healthy zucchini. :D  I’m really excited. I have tickets to go see the Duck Dynasty cast! Have NO clue what they will do but “Hey, Jack!” Uncle Si will be there….with squirrel corn dogs :D




That’s it for now. I’ve got lots more rambling thoughts but don’t want to hog the blog. :D What about you? What fun things have you all been up to? 


It Started with a Tapdancing Monkey


No, it was NOT during the last Lair party that got out of hand. Ahem, that was a giraffe and the vet says he’ll be just fine…just a little case of whiplash.

Nope, I thought I’d talk a bit about dreams. I am a vivid dreamer. I dream in color, I feel sensation, emotions. I OFTEN remember what I dream and some of it can be pretty weird. Oh sure, I experience the usual ones: naked, can’t find clothes. Most often that version is I’m shoeless going into work at the hospital, or looking through my closet and finding favorite clothes from my childhood.

I have the loose teeth one that seems to go on forever. It’s like I’m sprouting tons of teeth only to spit! I have a recurring tornado one since we had one when I was in 10th grade. And yes, since I became Cricket and Grayson’s Mom I have a LOT of cat/kitten dreams. If I kept every cat I’d rescued in those dreams? Sheesh, I’d really be a Crazy Cat Lady!

And then there is that one, wonderful dream involving Keith Urban. In that one…….cats1



I wish I were one of those writers who dreams about her stories. Sigh, what I wouldn’t give to have my Irish warriors show up. Instead? I get one where Regis Philbin is my long lost grandfather!

So what about you? Do you dream? What is the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?

A random dreamer will win a Kindle or Nook download of THE PATRICIAN’S FORTUNE.

Five Foods of Summer

So, it’s pretty obvious in the years since we started the blog that people like to talk about food. The topic came to mind as I write this on the 4th of July….a day celebrating not only America’s independence, but great cookouts and the foods that say in one mouthful– SUMMER!

So here are my top 5:

1. Ice cream. Not just any old pre-formed Eskimo pie but hand dipped in a cone. My favorite flavor is chocolate chip. I’ve recently discovered a little Mom and Pop place less than a mile from my house that has THE best! My taste buds are leaping but my thighs…not so cream

2. Hot dogs. I don’t care what goes into them (and please, I don’t need to know) but there is nothing like a grilled, juicy hot dog on a bun. I’m a plain kind of gal so the most I might put on it would be a slice of cheese. Since it’s a monsoon around here today, I’ll be hitting up the Sonic for my holiday dinner.hotdog

3. Potato or macaroni salad. Man, my Mom made THE best! I can replicate the macaroni salad but the potato salad eludes me by THIS much! I can eat bowls of either….another challenge for my hips.

potato salad










4. Corn on the Cob. I have been craving, sweet, white corn on the cob, slathered in butter, salt and pepper. Messy as all get out to eat but so worth it. Summer wouldn’t be the same without it.        corn on cob

5. BLT’s. The reason I included this is a good BLT will only rank with summer ripe tomatoes. NOTHING compares to homegrown, beefsteak tomatoes layered with bacon, lettuce and ALWAYS Miracle Whip. No, mayonnaise will NOT do. Again, a juicy summer delight but that’s why you can eat it outside over a paper plate….and then run through the sprinkler to clean off :D



What about you all? What foods say summertime to you? What is your favorite?

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