A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Blogging Tips

This is making its way around our neck of cyber space and Holly tagged me. So being the good internet citizen that I am I'm doing my part for truth, justice and the Romancelandia way.


It’s very simple. When this is passed on to you, copy the whole thing, skim the list and put a * star beside those that you like. (Check out especially the * starred ones.)

Add the next number (1. 2. 3. 4. 5., etc.) and write your own blogging tip for other bloggers. Try to make your tip general.

After that, tag 10 other people. Link love some friends!

Just think- if 10 people start this, the 10 people pass it onto another 10 people, you have 100 links already!

1. Look, read, and learn. *****

2. Be, EXCELLENT to each other. **

3. Don’t let money change ya! *

4. Always reply to your comments. ******

5. Link liberally — it keeps you and your friends afloat in the Sea of Technorati. ***

6. Don’t give up - persistance is fertile. *

7. Give link credit where credit is due. ****

8. Pictures say a thousand words and can usually add to any post.**

9. Be Brave, some of the best posts are when you step out of your comfort zone.*

10. Follow the links in posts and comments. You never know what blog gems you will find!** - http://readingadventures.blogspot.com/

11. If you're visiting a new blog for the first time, comment. You never know what kind of blogger buddy you might make because of it.*
- http://cranberrytarts.blogspot.com

12. Post it and they will come. Be yourself, let your own personality shine through and people will respond to that.

I'm supposed to tag 10 people for this, but I think Holly hit most of the people in our crowd last time out. If you're reading this and haven't done it. Go for it.

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Stay Tuned...


I called by cable provider, CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS again today to complain about the intermittent service. Seems as if they are having intermittent connection problems in my area. Well DUH folks. That's why I called. They did, however, FINALLY agree to prorate my bill for the lost days of service and inconvenience.


Beanie can't do school work, GG can't do office work and I can't post or go blog hopping. Okay, so it should be the least problem for me and I'm the most irked. I make no apologies. I will sulk and go read.

Since my service is "intermittent" I don't know when I'll get something posted. I'm working on two review posts simultaneously, but need the internet to finish them. God knows at this point when that will be.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

You know what I miss? Part III

THE EDGE OF MIDNIGHT (excerpt) by Shannon McKenna. We all know from my review last year that I'm a fan of Ms. McKenna. Sometimes McKenna females are not as well drawn or developed as they could be. However, for the most part I've enjoyed her books and look forward to each release. You know why don't you? Because the way she writes the men really rocks my boat. So sue me, they're my guilty pleasure. So you'll understand my own surprise when I read this book. I don't know if my reading bar has been raised over the past year, or just what has happened, but the hero in EOM, Sean McCloud just didn't have the same impact or have the same zippity doo-dah as McKenna's heros usually do.

The story, in a nutshell, is about a guy, Sean McCloud who cruelly dumped his sweetheart, Liv Endicott years earlier in order to protect her. He returns to his small hometown to save Liv from a stalker and solve the mystery of his twin brother's death, a supposed suicide.

Sean McCloud is the youngest of the McCloud brothers. Ms. McKenna has previously written about Connor McCloud in STANDING IN THE SHADOWS (excerpt) and Davy McCloud in OUT OF CONTROL (excerpt). Since those books came out in 2003 and 2005 respectively it's been awhile since I've read them. But I have to tell you I don't remember either Davy or Connor being as irritating as I found Sean to be.

For one thing he was just so damn immature. It's hard for me to believe that a man who supposedly has gone on security missions around the world and learned survival techniques at his daddy's knee can take so little in life seriously. While I know Ms. McKenna did intentionally write Sean to be a bit more wild and carefree than his brothers, I do feel she went a bit too far for my taste with Sean.

Since I like to read about controlled and confident men that may be part of the problem. Controlled being the operative word there. Sean McCloud isn't really either of those things. He's reckless, obnoxious and a man-whore. Of course, Sean is only a man-whore because he's a commitment phobe and has only ever loved Liv Endicott who he knows he can't have. Poor Sean has loved Liv for years and years never believing they can be together since he engineered the end of their relationship.

Anyway, when Sean returns to his small hometown Liv's bookstore has just been burned to the ground by her stalker, T-Rex. Sean decides he needs to offer unsolicited help to Liv with her stalker. Of course, you know right away these two seemingly unrelated things are really all part of the same nefarious plot.

There were a couple of scenes between Sean and Liv that had me grinding my teeth. I think they were supposed to be witty banter between the characters. They amounted to little more than "Yes, you do." "No. I don't." "Yes, you do." "No, I don't" exchanges that were a bit over the top. Sean addressing Liv as 'Princess' didn't do too much for me either. Liv also pretty much lets Sean bully her.

There is some good stuff. As always Ms. McKenna does deliver sizzling hot sex scenes. If you've liked her books before and like 'em hot, you'll probably be okay with this one as well. Although I do have to make a side note to Wendy. I don't think the sex was hot enough to save this book for you. Liv will probably give you a headache... even if you are sitting in your new deluxe lounger with a cabana boy rubbing your feet. :)

Another note to any and all who have read or will be reading the book. Please go to pages 170-171 and after you read it please drop me an email. Or, you can come back and comment here. All I want to say is that I had a "Huh?" moment and had to read those two or three pages over a couple of times. Definitely something different. If you've read it, or have read something like it elsewhere, please I'm begging you email and tell me where. Is
that even possible? Wait. Never mind. I don't want to know.

So, I know it sounds crazy, but I have to sum this book up by saying, "Well, I didn't hate it." I know myself well enough to know that I will certainly continue to buy McKenna because every once in awhile she really hits it out of the park for me. I know. I know. It's crazy, but I can't help myself. I need rehab.

Characters from other books do make appearances in this one, but I don't think enough to be a problem and you should be able to read this as a stand alone.


I'd thought to do a small review of UP CLOSE AND DANGEROUS by Linda Howard. But I pretty much agree with Zeek's review almost verbatim, so I'm not going to bother. I'm glad I read it and think if it was anyone else besides Linda Howard we'd all be talking about what a good book it is. I think most romance readers hold LH to a very high standard because we love some of her older books so much.


I read two books over the weekend and both of them were quite good. I read my first Jessica Bird book (aka JR Ward) her new SSE THE BILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR. This is a lot of book for a category romance. The title doesn't do the book justice either. The Jessica Bird website needs to be updated desperately so I didn't put an excerpt in for you.

The other book I read and really enjoyed is a 2004 Silhouette Desire by Eileen Wilks called MEETING AT MIDNIGHT. MAM is part of a series about the McClain family. I read it out of series sequence and it was a good little story and stood well on its own.

I haven't decided what to read next, TIED TO THE TRACKS by Rosina Lippi or BREATHLESS by Laura Lee Guhrke. Both are waiting for me on my night stand. I can't wait!

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

You know what I miss? Part II

So I thought I was going to only have two posts. The plan being two books in each post. Well, it seems I like to blather on once I get going. It turns out I'm going to have three. What's weird is that I usually only review when the book moves me in some significant way. None of these really qualify on that score, but I felt like some book talk so here's the next review.

HEART DANCE (excerpt) by Robin D. Owens is the sixth installment of Owens' Celtan Heart Mate series. I think it was about a year ago I was hanging out at Sarah McCarty's Yahoo group and Sarah mentioned something about liking Ms. Owens' Heart Mate books. That sent me looking and I'm glad I did.

Obviously when you see the words Heart Mate you know that the books are going to have elements of the whole soul mate thing. To be sure the books do have a sort of pre-destiny to the relationships. However, the H/H in the books are seeking their Heart Mates as something to be treasured. It's not a foregone conclusion that everyone will have a Heart Mate or be able to find their Heart Mate. There are plenty of matches and marriages that are carefully made for monetary or dynastic connections.

These books are set in a future where everyone has some sort of 'flair' or innate gift like a sixth sense. What sort of flair and the degree of its power vary widely. For the most part flair is passed on genetically. So the power and degree of gifts can skip generations or be enhanced by whomever you marry and make babies with.

This isn't a bad book. Unfortunately it too was a very predictable. I found myself not caring enough about Dufleur Thyme (guess what her flair is) and the matchmaker Saille D'Willow. In fact I was impatient with Dufleur. Ms. Owens usually writes very strong women (very!) and Dufleur needed more spine in my opinion. This is also the first time I felt that one of the books relied a bit too much on the reader knowledge from previous books. I think any of the other five books could be read on their own. If you haven't read any of the other books, don't let this one be your first. Go find HEART MATE (excerpt) the first one in the series and a RITA winner.

It does help to read the books in order as the world does expand as the series goes on. However, the individual books, except for this one, are all very strong by themselves. There wasn't as strong a conflict in this book as the others. No major obstacle for the H/H to overcome in order to be together. No class, money, or illegal background that causes them to be apart. I found myself wondering what the big hold up was. Yes, DuFleur thinks she has to keep her experiments with time secret, but I never got a sense of what she had to lose if she was discovered. She didn't have much to begin with. Saille is a nice guy who is ready to marry, settle down and start a family. What's not to like? Get together already.

I do have one BIG bone to pick which Ms. Owens likely has no control or say over.

Why did this book have to be released trade sized? All the others are MM paperbacks. Now this one doesn't fit with all the other books in the series AND it was double the cost of the others.

Here's my open letter to Berkley Sensation:

Dear Berkley Sensation,
I can only think of one reason a publisher would release the sixth book in a series in trade size and that's to rob the readers who are following the series. That's right
Berkley. You are no more than a low life bandit holding us up for TWICE the price for this installment than the other books were. This book was $14 at Borders. The most expensive of the other MM paperbacks in the series was $6.99. Was this more story? A better book? Or, are you just trying to make an extra buck from the loyal readers who will suffer the price in order to buy the book? Shame on you.
Robbed Reader

One might argue that I participate in the robbery by buying the book, but c'mon that's what the publisher is 'banking' on isn't it, that the reader won't want to wait and will purchase the trade sized book at the higher price? *exhale* I get it. I do. But, I sure don't like it.

Will I be buying the next Heart Mate book? You betcha. The problems here and the slow pacing weren't enough to put me off this otherwise very good series. The books in order are: HEART MATE, HEART THIEF, HEART DUEL, HEART CHOICE, HEART QUEST and HEART DANCE.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

You know what I miss?

I miss just writing and talking about books. Thank goodness the blogging community is big enough that I can go visiting else where when I want to read and talk about books especially when I'm not doing any reviewing of my own.

I was surprised when I realized I'd read four books this week because it just doesn't feel like I'm reading very much. Go figure. So the next couple of days I'm going to do some reviews. I started out to just do lightning reviews of all four books. I like those sometimes, but I ended up having more to say about the books than I thought. So here's the first one.

IF THIS BED COULD TALK, is an anthology that Wendy brought me from Dallas. Wendy, bless her, waited in line and got it signed (to me by name) by one of the authors, Lynn LaFleur. Thanks Wendy!

The other contributers to the book are Liz Maverick and Kimberly Dean. Now, I know how contradictory this is going to sound, but I don't really buy anthologys much any more unless it's to read a favorite author or to follow a series. This is one I wanted because after reading WIRED (excerpt) I wanted to check out more of Liz Maverick's stuff.

I wish AGENT PROVOCATEUR by Liz Maverick was longer. I think her story suffered by its short length. I was intrigued and interested in the world she created, but everything just moved too fast and it felt like a lot of dessert with very little entree. I'm anxious to read secondary character Devlin's story. He's the brother of the hero Michael. Whew! Talk about messed up! I checked her website and didn't see any mention of Devlin's story coming out or already having been released. I'm sure after reading this one fans will be bugging her to write one.

UNREQUITED by Kimberly Dean was an interesting little story but may carry a squick factor for some people as the H/H are sort of related. He's the brother of the ex-husband and she is his unrequited love since their first meeting. No new ground here, but the story did it's job by making me aware of Ms. Dean's name and I'll certainly be looking over her other books when I see them.

Now for VICTIM OF DECEPTION by Lynn LaFleur. I've asked long time reviewers like Wendy if it's hard to write a less than favorable review when you've met or know the author. I was thinking about that again because I didn't like this story very much and I do feel bad about it since Ms. LaFleur was kind enough to autograph the book to me for Wendy. However, I don't want to lie or mislead anyone about my thoughts, so here goes.

First, I have to come clean and say the story has ghosts. As a general rule, I don't like ghosts or angels who spirit around the characters fixing things. We are to believe these particular ghosts have been around for over a century watching over their descendants and entertaining themselves by watching each other get off. They can only watch, not touch, because they've been cursed by the witch who murdered them.

Max and Karessa are the 'real' H/H and have a past. A past that involves Max being a big fat liar and Karessa leaving him because of it. In this story (big surprise) Max lies to Karessa (and others) to gain access to the house she inherited (with ghosts) in order to treasure hunt. Even though deceit and distrust was a reason for their break-up in the past this current deception is easily dismissed by Karessa at the story's end. Did it make sense? Not to me. Did I believe for one second that Max had some sort of epiphany and it will never, ever happen again? Nope.

One final confession, I don't know why, but names like Karessa, Larissa, Melissa, Marissa are just not for me. It's not like I have any sort of reasonable or intelligent reason for not liking these sorts of names, like someone named Marissa was mean to me in third grade. I just don't like them. So, when someone has an 'issa' name it's a big distraction and irritant when I read. I had a particular dislike this time for the name Karessa. Are we supposed to say it like 'ka-ress-a' or 'ker-is-sa'? Maybe it wasn't the name and it was the character I didn't like very much. I can't say for certain. At any rate it was like an annoying fly the whole time I was reading and made this story very close to a DNF.

What about all of you. It's been awhile since I did a bedside book check. What's everybody reading out there?

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Just For Today

My Dad is an alcoholic. For some people this may fall under the TMI clause. But I'm not here to talk about Dad or the trials and tribulations of loving someone who is an alcoholic. I just wanted to share something that's one of my treasures. I got it years ago at an Al-Anon meeting. Its wisdom helps me with lots of things in life besides my Dad. I have this printed on a bookmark that I have used so much it is dog eared and beat up. What with the stressing about car accidents and my worry getting into the red zone I've been reading it a lot the last few days. Since it helps center me I thought I'd share it.

Just for today I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle all my problems at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for today I will be happy. This assumes to be true what Abraham Lincoln said, that "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be."

Just for today I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my "luck" as it comes, and fit myself to it.

Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out; if anybody knows of it, it will not count. I will do at least two things I don't want to do just for exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it.

Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, keep my voice low, be courteous, criticize not one bit. I won't find fault with anything, nor try to improve or regulate anybody but myself.

Just for today I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.

Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Uh-Oh Loooo-seee!

Anne over at Let's Gab was having a squeeing fan girl moment today and talking about a couple of her favorite authors. Naturally it got me thinking about some favorites of mine.

I know we are always doing memes and answering questions, but I wondered what I would say if I was interviewed on the spot and asked about my three most favorite authors? Whose names would pop into my head? How would I answer? What would I say?

You know what's coming, right? I thought I'd pose three questions here and ask anyone who's interested to post their answers in the COMMENTS because (all together now) I'm such a Nosy Nora AND having you post them here is ever so convenient for me. :)

1. List the first three books that pop into your head by title (and author if you know it).

2. List three authors you'd like to have dinner with.

3. List three of your favorite authors.

Okay, that's it. Easy as pie. I'm going to list my answers in the comments too. That way, if you are also a Nosy Nora you'll already be there and...you know...tell me what you came up with.

Remember, don't think about it too much. Just list whatever comes into your head first.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Don't let them drive...

I got a phone call from Beanie yesterday afternoon. He was in a car accident 3 blocks from home. Another young man t-boned him while he was doing a u-turn. All parties are fine. Beanie's car, not so much. However, I'm a Mom so about the car I'm not so concerned. Of course, a 20-year old college student living frugally on a 20-hour a week minimum wage job it's a different perspective and story. Although, I think this really shook him up too. Stuff can happen and in a split second your whole life is different.

No injuries this time, but I have to tell you, this is two accidents in 4 months. Now each child has had a turn and I think it's enough. Besides, I don't think my heart can take much more. My first thought is to never let either one of them out of my sight and TO NEVER EVER, EVER let them drive again. Throw in the accident Ames was in recently and I'm completely paranoid and worried.

Okay, do I know these feelings are extreme and totally unrealistic? Yes. I'm just barely sane enough to know that, but it scares the daylights out of me to think of anything happening to my children. So I was a tad tense yesterday afternoon when everything happened.

My advice to all parents out there? DON'T LET THEM DRIVE. Yeah, I know, nobody asked me...

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pump it Up!

Do you have a favorite lotion? Something that gives you smooth and silky skin. What about a fragrance? Do you have a scent that just makes you feel better, brighter, prettier wearing it? Is there a household cleaner you just can't live without?

What do all of these have in common?

This little item...

the pump/spray nozzle and 'hose'.

Why am I talking about it today? Because every time I have to throw away a bottle with an inch or more of product still in the bottom because the sprayer hose doesn't reach the last of the product it makes me cranky. Sometimes when I can be arsed I will transfer the last of the old into a new bottle because as sure as there is little green apples the new bottle of perfume, lotion or household cleaner isn't 'full' when you buy it either.

Yesterday I came to the bottom of my favorite perfumed lotion that is about $15 a bottle. No, not a fortune by any means, but not cheap either. Every time I either give up and throw that last little bit away, which is about two full body applications worth, or go through the laborious process of transferring it to the new bottle it irritates the crap out of me.

I had a boss once who traded in his Mercedes sedan after about a year. He'd paid cash for it and his wife loved driving it but he traded it in and they bought an SUV. He said he got really irked every time he had the car serviced. It seems the cost of service and repairs on a Mercedes is very expensive. He said it's not enough to be able to afford the car, but you have to be able to afford to take care of it. He said he could afford it, but he just resented the hell out of it, so he got rid of the car.

Guess I better change perfume, lotion and cleaner. Because it sure bugs me to throw the unused away.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Do you have a story to tell?

I actually saw a blurb commercial about this at YouTube. Consequently I decided to click over to the site and check it out. It's a great idea and an interesting one. If you don't have your own story to tell maybe you want to link and share a story that you've read elsewhere from out there in the world. The explanation of a sharing story is available on the web site.

The great thing about this story sharing is that COUNTRY CROCK is donating meals** to
America's Second Harvest for each story shared. They have a goal of collecting one million stories by Thanksgiving. So let's see if we can help them out. Is there a story in your archives that will work? A story you know and have read out there somewhere? Go post it and help feed some families in need.

Do you know how many children right here in America are going to bed tonight with empty bellies? Too many. You can read more about hunger in America here. You're blogging and writing already so go on...check it out. Share a story.

**Meals are used for illustrative purposes only. For every dollar donated, America's Second Harvest
secures and distributes 20 pounds of food and grocery products, such as cereal, fruit, bath soap and
diapers. According to the USDA Thrifty Food Plan, an average meal is 1.28 pounds of food.
Country Crock® will match donations to provide up to one million meals.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Meeting

As you know from my recent posts some of us SoCal blogger types decided to try and meet up. Yesterday Nikki, from Romance Book Crazy and Wendy from The Misadventures of Super Librarian and I met for lunch and much discussion about books, RWA, blogging and our fab online community. There were no gaps or pauses, and speaking for myself, I barely took a breath. There was just so much to talk about. We didn't come close to exhausting our topics and bounced back and forth and picked up threads over and over again.

While I'd met with Wendy a couple of times it was just great getting to meet Nikki. Kristie was so right in her posts about RWA when she spoke of the instant rapport and joy you share with another passionate reader and fan of Romance. If you've been thinking about meeting with other readers and people who blog in your area, I highly recommend it.

Since Wendy is a seasoned pro and has attended RWA a few times we were able to quiz her and get some great advice and suggestions for RWA in San Francisco. Both Nikki and I plan to attend.

Then Wendy suggested we go to her car to do our book swap. There in the trunk of her car were TWO BOXES of books she brought to share. Nikki brought a very nice assortment (several!) of recent releases in her book bag. Since I'd recently been to the UBS with five bags of books I only had two measly books to offer up. I managed to force myself to take a few books from the bountiful offering of each of these ladies. :)

It was a great afternoon and I'm looking forward to meeting with both of them again. Hopefully we can do something in the Fall. We are looking at September. There are conflicts with the first weekend (Labor Day) and the second weekend as well now. So tentatively we are looking at Saturday, September 22nd. Check your calendars and see if you can make it. The where is still to be decided because, Southern California is a big place and we want to make it as convenient as we can for the most people.

Oh, and did I mention there was cheesecake? Really, really good cheesecake I might add. Interesting and stimulating conversation, great company, BOOKS, and cheesecake? That's what I call living.


Saturday, July 21, 2007


Can't wait for the main event tomorrow. It is the perfect topping on a pretty big week here at NOBODY ASKED ME...

I'm on my way Nikki, Wendy and Holly.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Call Me Mrs. WHINER!

I promise this won't take long but I'm so AGGRAVATED with CHARTER that I want to sock someone. Why can't I keep an internet connection for more than 10 minutes at a time? Huh? I've called AGAIN and there's basically no explanation. They assure me that the construction in the area has NOTHING to do with the drops. Yeah, uh-huh. Then what's up with your lousy service?

Tonight was agony trying to catch up on posts, comments and writing. Generally speaking my blog hopping is a great source of relaxation and entertainment for me...much more so than TV. Not tonight. I want to pull my hair out in great gobs and handfuls.

My apologies for the lost and DOA emails. If I owe you one you better re-send. I told GG tonight that I want wireless now. Whose got good wireless service. Anybody? Someone you just love? Good service... Who are they? Any good recs out there for me?

There is some better news. I picked up Linda Howard's latest UP CLOSE AND DANGEROUS this afternoon. I'm almost scared to read it. I don't want to be disappointed. Which has nothing to do with my desire to meet her and thank her for countless hours of great reading in the past, just some (not all) of the more recent books haven't been as fab as the older ones, imho.

Oh, I also scored a copy of BREATHLESS by Laura Lee Guhrke at the UBS. It's one of the two I had jotted down as books by her I should read. Can't remember who rec'd it. Wendy? Tara Marie? Anyway, I haven't decided whether or not to read it first or the LH book. What to do, what to do. What would you read first?

Okay I've copied and pasted this post into Blogger. Now to see if I can get it published before the service drops...

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Thursday, July 19, 2007


Since I've started this blog Thursdays have always been a high traffic day. Keep in mind high traffic here means 50 to 60 people stop by. My average is more like 35. I'm grateful and delighted with each and every guest too. I'm far from worrying about being high profile (yikes!) or about increasing traffic, but I do like to have people stop by. Discussion and interaction are part of the reason I started ye old blog in the first place. That and sharing my opinion that NOBODY ASKED ME about.

Any way, each week when I peek at my stats I see that Thursday is still the champ and wonder why. I also vow each Sunday evening when I tend to look at stat stuff, that this week will be the week that I remember all those people are going to be visiting and I need to wipe down the baseboards, change the bathroom towels, and clean the hall bathroom. Which is Rosie-speak for write and be brilliant dahling, be brilliant.

If one were so inclined, and believe me it's not worth it, and looked back at my posting history there are many Thursdays that I've obviously forgotten all about being brilliant. In fact there's many a Thursday that I've written nothing at all. So why so many visitors? Honestly, I really don't know. All I can be sure of is that it doesn't have any correlation to my writing or content.

So, huh, why Thursdays then? My theory goes something like this. Fridays people are distracted with the end of the week and weekend plans. Saturday and Sunday are the weekend and if you look at a blog it's only your favorites and not for long. You're busy with real life and have weekend type stuff to do. Mondays are...well, Monday. Back to work, and whose interested in really blog hopping when it's only the beginning of a long work week? Tuesdays, you are getting back into the swing of things. Wednesdays you catch up on blog hopping and write a review or post. Which means on Thursday you are caught up and reading people's blogs before the weekend comes again.

Reasonable, don't you think? Works for me anyway. I had to come up with something. Otherwise I have to keep wondering about stuff like this when I'm stuck at a red light. Oh, and still not brilliant either. Who knows, there's always next Thursday and a bolt of inspiration could strike at any time.

BTW, my reading is still crawling along. If I could just squeeze a couple more hours into the day...

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Stuff I've been thinking about...

I'm excited about a few things. Don't you love it when you have something fabulous to look forward to? This Saturday I'm going to meet with some of the SoCal bloggers from our little corner of Romancelandia. Well a couple of them anyway. On Saturday Wendy, the mighty and wonderful Super Librarian and Holly of Book Binge and What Were You Expecting will be meeting me to talk books, blogging and cheesecake. Not necessarily in that order and not necessarily the cheesecake you eat. :P

BTW, is Rowena joining us? Anybody know? Nikki, you get the all clear yet? Let me know ladies. The more the merrier I say. Email me at RnG1180@aol.com and I'll send you the details.

Since this gathering is in the interest of grilling (maybe that's not the best word choice there) Wendy about RWA it is sort of short notice. So we are planning another gathering in the Fall sometime. Everyone in SoCal interested in joining us keep it in mind. We will brain storm a bit and chat about it on Saturday and see what sort of consensus we come up with.

Besides the excitement of meeting up with people on Saturday, I've been thinking quite a bit about RWA next year in San Francisco. Primarily because I've been looking at the hotel site and day dreaming about making the trip. Has it deflated any of you reader/blogger types at all about attending the RWA next year in San Francisco in light of comments by some writers and RWA members who may be uncomfortable with reader/reviewer/bloggers being there? Frankly, before this was even mentioned online yesterday, I was wondering if the authors were feeling a bit stifled by non-writers being there.

I'm not a writer. I don't profess to be one. I am not an aspiring writer either. I'm also not an editor, an agent or work for a publisher.
I'm not a librarian, and I don't have a blog or review site with huge numbers or traffic. I'm just one person who has been reading romance novels for almost 30 years. That's a lot of book purchases and a lot of reading. Even so, do I belong at RWA? I sure hope so because I have every intention of going. The timing is right, it's in my home state and I don't know if I will ever make it to another convention, but I sure want to go to this one.

What do you other readers think? Even if the RWA membership doesn't mind or care if we are there, should we be? Is there a place for the fan/blogger/reader/reviewer at RWA?

In the meantime...San Francisco here I come.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

In This Crazy Life...

In keeping with yesterday's post I felt compelled to post this song and video. It's not just for GG, but all the special people in my life. My cup runneth over. Yeah corny, AND sentimental. All the more reason to love the people in my life who put up with me.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

A Thinking Problem and Nora Roberts

I have loved reading for what seems like forever. I can remember Weekly Reader when I was in grade school and being able to order books. I'll never forget being handed my very own copy of the latest Encyclopedia Brown or Beezus and Ramona. Being a military brat and moving often we didn't accumulate books. There was always a weight restriction (still is) when you move in the military. And, books, well books add weight. It wasn't a travesty as a kid. We moved, with very few exceptions, our books didn't. But you never forget the feelings. The joy of ownership.

One good thing was always the library. I always found good books at the library. That and X-Men and Spiderman comics. Yeah, my brothers liked Superman and Batman. Me? I was all about X-Men. X-Men had girls. Girls with powers. Spidey had MJ. She was no clueless Lois Lane who couldn't figure out who Superman was. Peter Parker didn't think his girl was too fragile to handle his super hero life. MJ was a woman to be reckoned with.

Anyway, all my early reading and frankly most of my reading now is and was to escape. An adventure, a new place. In a book anything is possible, any world, any circumstance. Escape from the mundane, the difficult, the real.

All of which is off topic from what I set out to write about tonight. I wanted to come here and talk about a new twist in my reading. Books aren't just means to escape the reality of life with all it's ups and downs. Reading , when I have a good book in my hands, has become a journey that lets me see different people and perspectives of life. Books don't just make me look at my own life differently. The best ones make me think. Think of things I've never thought about before. Think on a grander and broader scale than the me I was before I read the book. Megan Hart's books have done that recently. So has Maureen McKade and Deborah Smith.

Tonight it was Nora Roberts. As I was finishing HIGH NOON (excerpt) I really wanted to sit down with a drink and have a conversation with her, the grand Nora Roberts. I wanted to talk to her about being a woman with responsibilities. About meeting men. About commitment. I'd like to tell her how amazing it was to feel my own burdens in life lightened by something one of her characters said. I have new thoughts to mull over because of this book. Thoughts about family and responsibilities.

I'd tell her this isn't about reviewing the book. Don't get me wrong. HIGH NOON is a good book. No, this is more than that. This is about reading a story that gives you a fresh perspective on your own life. Makes the bitter medicine of life a little easier to swallow. I'd ask her if she doesn't sometimes feel like life is an endless 'To Do' list. Always with the chores and the responsibilities. Responsibilities are okay they come with life. That simple, that easy. A character in HIGH NOON, Duncan Swift reminded me about that. Responsibilities go with life, with relationships. Reading what Duncan said got me thinking. Gave me a new perspective on how lucky I am to have some of those responsibilities. They mean I have special people and love in my life.

I'd tell Nora that I'm not anything like police Lieutenant Phoebe McNamara. No big past traumas in my life. No resemblance to her or my life at all. But I'd also tell her that Phoebe's story made me think about things as monumental as not giving up, and the importance of persevering through adversity to something as mundane as making an effort to exercise more. That's pretty amazing. You know what else? It makes things a little lighter to carry. When a book does that, makes you think and feel those things. That's true empowerment. That's joy. That's grace. That's a good book.

So that's what I'd tell Nora. That, and thank you. I'd even pick up the bar tab.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Reading, Working and RWA

Okay this whole working thing is totally interfering with my reading. More importantly it's messing with my ability to keep up with all things RWA. Other than that I got no complaints.

BTW, have you been reading the updates from Jane and Smart Bitches Candy and Sarah? Jane's one liners are just fab-u-lous dah-ling. Of course there is also the occasional post from Kristie and Wendy when they aren't too busy living it up. Color me green...

Crikeys, I can't believe how much stuff they've done and how many authors they've met and what a great time they seem to be having. Man, oh man. Linda Howard! Damn you Jane! Judith McNaught. (Jane again!) Lunch with Lisa Kleypas (see Kristie's post it made me cry). Sybil had a one on one with JR Ward. I'd have loved to be a fly on the wall for that convo.

I used to fantasize about going to the RT or RWA conventions when I was younger and couldn't afford it. Then when I could afford it I didn't want to just take off by myself. What's the point of gushing and acting like a stalking fan girl over your fave authors without somebody to snap the pictures and witness your dorky geek love?

Anyway it seems the stars and planets are finally in alignment because thanks to all the cool chicks I've met online I don't have to go and feel like I'm alone and don't know anybody. Conveniently, the next RWA just happens to be in San Francisco. Woo Hoo! This is a do-able distance since I'll have a limited amount of time off from aforementioned new job. So...who else out there is going to meet me in SF?

As far as the reading goes, well it's a darn good thing it's the weekend. I've been enjoying Jane Graves latest but have been disciplining myself to go to bed and not read. Which means I haven't read a whole book this week. Yeah, I can't believe it either. Since being on time to work is sort of a big deal at the fire department, I haven't pushed my luck by staying up into the wee hours reading. So my reading has suffered terribly this week. Hopefully things will slow down to the normal frantic pace and give me a little breathing room. Maybe I'll get a book or two read over the weekend. One can hope.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Zeek & The Enchilada Casserole Caper

Zeek, one rockin' girl her own damn self, nominated me as a Rockin' Girl Blogger. She nominated me just because I have the good taste to read her blog frequently and post. Which to be honest, since she has a very cool and eclectic blog is a total win/win for me. So thanks muchly Zeek. This is waaaay cool and I will definitely let it go to my head and make me unbearable to be around. Girl power promise.

Ummm...so I'm supposed to nominate some other Rockin' Girl bloggers now except I don't want to single anyone out. I dig all the places I visit each day and all your stories, reviews, insights and fun. So, I'm not going to nominate anyone. Okay? Because, really, I just can't pick. I can't. Does that make me a wimp? Nah!

So a couple of you brave souls wanted my enchilada casserole recipe. Here's the thing. I'm more than happy to post it here, however, I do have a disclaimer. While I don't mean to be vague, this recipe is sort of a hybrid of a couple of recipes I've gotten over the years that works for us. In fact, it started as straight enchiladas, but I was always failing miserably at getting them to roll and set right that when I saw a similar casserole at a church potluck and I stole her idea with my ingredients.

So here goes:

Regular (fresh) corn tortillas. The package of 24 is more than enough.

About 4-6 cups grated cheese. I use a combination of sharp cheddar and the mexican four-cheeses. I've done it both ways and purchased it grated and grated my own. It's whatever I have on hand frankly. I say 4-6 cups depending on how cheesy you want it. Be sure to leave some plain cheese aside (1 cup?) to cover the top. I'm guessing I use 4 cups in mixture and 1 to 1 1/2 cups plain on top.

Diced onion. I use approximately 3/4 of a regular sized onion, but this is a personal taste preference. Diced small.

1 lg can 28 oz. enchilada sauce. Now enchilada sauce comes in green or red. Green (I believe) is hotter. I use the red sauce medium hotness. The link is to Las Palmas which is the brand I use. My sister uses the green sauce because that's what her family prefers. So if you know you like it hot. Go for it.

Optional: 1 lg or 2 small plainly cooked chicken breasts diced small. I sometimes add chicken to the mix usually when we have it left over. This last time it was even bbq chicken breast and it worked fine.

I use a 13x9 glass pyrex dish to put the casserole in. I spray the dish with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the enchilada sauce into a small mixing bowl. Add about 1/3 can water to sauce. Set aside. I have also purchased two small cans (13 1/2 oz each) and used them full strength. Adding the water cuts the fat and hot. Again, personal preference. The water also stretches the sauce.

In larger mixing bowl put cheese (4 cups), onion, and chicken and mix together.

Take approximately 18 corn tortillas out of packaging. Start with 6.

Dip tortilla into enchilada sauce and place in 13x9 pan. You will use appx 6 to line the bottom of the dish. Don't cut them to fit just let them overlap.

Put half of the cheese, onion, chicken mix on top of tortillas.

Ladle enchilada sauce on top of mixture. Don't get it too wet (so it looks like it's pooling) but cover the whole layer.

Dip 6 more tortillas into sauce and layer on top of mixture.

Add second half of cheese mixture.

Ladle enchilada sauce on top. Be sure to go along edges. BE SURE TO LEAVE ENOUGH ENCHILADA SAUCE FOR FINAL 6 TORTILLAS.

Dip final 6 tortillas into sauce and put on top of mixture. If any sauce is left wet the tortillas a little bit more.

Top with plain grated cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes. I usually leave the foil on for 30 minutes. Check the casserole and see if it needs more cooking. Sometimes when I use coarser and heavier grated cheese it takes longer for the top to melt. When the top is melted you know the casserole is done.

Let stand for about 5 minutes so the cheese can set up. Then cut in squares and serve with spatula. Easy peasy.

Good luck with it. If I've forgotten anything obvious, let me know. I'm so used to making it and don't have a written recipe, so some of my measurements are approximates.

If you try it, let me know how it goes.


Is this useable as a recipe? If it's too horrible let me know and I'll try to type it looking like a "real" recipe.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Too Pooped to Post

That's me! Too pooped to post. The new job is great. The people in my department are all very nice and welcoming. I'm working at one of our area fire protection districts in the Fire Prevention department. It's an admin support job, but our offices are attached to one of the larger and fully operational fire stations. Yes, it's way cool and already looks like it will be a fun and interesting place to work.

Since I'm only working part-time the job isn't what has me dragging my bootie. My nephew is staying with us for the week while his parents are on a cruise. See these beautiful tan and happy people? I know them. They are related to me. This is what they looked like BEFORE the cruise. Imagine how happy they will be when they come home.

So the nevvie isn't the reason I'm tired because he is, after all, 14 and doesn't require a lot of hands-on care. Nope, I made enchilada casserole last night and BAKED IT which means I turned on my oven when it was over 100 degrees outside and humid as all get out. The end result is that I feel like I was in a sauna for the entire time the casserole baked. Why would I do that one might ask. Well, for one thing my nephew really, really wanted enchiladas. For another I was parked in the kitchen for most of the cooking time prepping stuff for today's dinner and cleaning and slicing fresh fruit for last night's meal. Nephew lurved the enchiladas so except for me sweating off a couple of pounds and frying myself it's all good even if I did end up pooped.

Reading is good too when I get a chance to do some. I recently finished WIRED by Liz Maverick. Innovative and different. I liked it and will checking out more books in the Shomi line in the months ahead. Right now I'm reading HOT WHEELS AND HIGH HEELS by Jane Graves. I'm enjoying it, but am only a few pages into it. I've got so many books and no time to read right now. I'm sure I'll get into some sort of rhythm once I get going in the new job, but for now I seem to be running full tilt and the summer is just speeding by.

Harry Potter movie comes out tomorrow. I don't think we will be able to see it until the weekend. We've always gone to the HP movies as a family and want to do so again...probably with the boys' girlfriends too. However, when that many people are involved who all work it becomes challenging. So we'll see what happens. I can't wait to see it.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

New Job!

Well kiddies while some of our pals like Kristie, Wendy, Sybil and Jane are all off to Dallas to have loads of fun at RWA I'm starting my new job tomorrow. It's my plan to squirrel enough money away so that next year I will be attending the RWA in San Francisco.

In the meantime, I think it would be a hoot for all the SoCal blogger buddies to try and meet sometime soon. For one thing we can bribe a certain Super Librarian with cheesecake and get the low down about RWA in Dallas this year. We also have the added bonus of getting to meet one another. So what do you think? Dates? Places? Ideas?

Drop me a note in comments or send me an email at Rosemont at gmail.com.

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Monday, July 09, 2007


Achtung! Attention!

So as I mentioned before Steadman is going to
Germany soon for business. Most of her time will be spent in Hamburg which is in northern Germany. She asked me to do a post about stuff I remembered about it to give her some tips and an idea of what Germany is like. I lived in Germany for almost two years in the late 70s. I imagine it's changed some since then. Consequently I don't know how much light I can really shed on this subject. However, if the pictures (above) are anything to go by Hamburg is a pretty nice looking city.

The things I remember most? Germany was one of the cleanest places I've ever lived or visited. You'd see people and shop keepers washing down their sidewalks and store fronts every day. It seemed like everyone had lots of flowers too.

Also, the German people were very friendly at least that was my experience. Whether I was trying to find my way around or just asking for a suggestion for a good place to eat, the people were always kind and helpful.
Almost every where I went in Germany people spoke English very well. Which begs the question why more Americans don't learn a second language. One friend of mine was fluent reading, writing and speaking German, French and English. With younger university students this wasn't at all unusual.

The pubs were great. Most serve food along with beer, wine and schnapps. Yeah, shots of schnapps and beer...don't do it. Not that I know anything about it first hand, 'cuz I don't. Really, I don't, but I had a boyfriend... Anyway, I don't remember any hard liquor in the pubs. There were some dance clubs I went to (yes, I was young once) and they served drinks, but I was there to dance so I don't know what's a popular mixed drink in Germany. BTW, the dance clubs were loud, bright, noisy, filled with people and a lot of fun. They loved disco in Germany and as far as I know, still do.

One other thing I remember from living in my little attic apartment in Sembach village is that most
people shopped for their food daily in small neighborhood shops. This isn't unusual in Europe because when we were in Paris a few years ago people still seemed to do this.

The other thing that pops in my head is the brochen or brötchen. Yum! Crusty roll on the outside and soft bread on the inside. Breaks apart like a dream. I'd eat one for breakfast...just plain with coffee. Also they are so good with bratwurst. Everyone knows what bratwurst is. Cooked on an open grill on a street corner and slapped into a brötchen with some brown mustard, I could swoon thinking about it. There were white and red bratwurst. Spices and meat slightly different. Sometimes you can order a bratwurst in a restaurant with potatoes and sauerkraut. Lots of different kraut and wurst in Germany. I didn't meet any I didn't like.

I liked the beer. That's saying something because I'm not usually a beer drinker. But the German beer I liked. It's not served cold for one thing. Which makes it even more weird because on the rare occasion I do drink beer it's usually a swig of GG's and it is ALWAYS cold. So yeah, odd that I liked the beer.

Oh yeah, there is some great German wine. Some of it is a bit sweet for me, but to this day I love a good Riesling. I toured Alsace-Lorraine
which is a part of France now I think but was once part of Germany. Great wines are made there. Now that was a great trip and I learned a lot about wine. Beautiful valley.

Stuff I remember about Germany like fasching which is the German equivalent of our Mardi Gras doesn't really apply for Steadman's trip. Not to mention where I lived, Sembach, is near Frankfurt in the south and not near Hamburg, so I don't even know if they celebrate fasching there. All of which is moot because Lent is over and that ship has sailed, but if you are ever in Germany on Fat Tuesday...well, The Big Easy isn't the only place that knows how to celebrate is all I'm sayin'.

Wow! I guess most of my German memories center around food, drink and making merry. Ummm...do you think that's significant in any way? Did I mention I was young? Could be worse. I could be talking about the totally depressing assortment of grunt jobs I had to support myself. All of which I'm grateful for, sucky as they were, because I got to live in freakin' Germany for crikeys sakes.

So, anybody else out there been to Germany? Better yet is there anyone reading this who lives in Germany or Hamburg specifically and can give Steadman some info? When I looked up places to see in Hamburg it only listed the port and warehouse district. Yeah, that doesn't sound too promising does it? However, I haven't a clue what's near there that might be fun or interesting. I know there's some beautiful green countryside just about every where in Germany so taking a drive is always an option. Just be careful on those speedy autobahns, okay?

So, auf Wiedersehen Steadman! Have a great trip and come home and tell us all about it. Oh, and don't forget the pictures.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007


Major big surprise. I got dragged to see TRANSFORMERS last night not expecting at all to like it and was very pleasantly surprised. Auto-bots, Decepticons, ... who knew?

Hey, it's not deep but the special effects are incredible and even if it's a sort of predictable good versus evil type flick the action and effects make the time fly. Shia LaBeouf is engaging as the protagonist and earthly contact of Earth's protectors the Auto-Bots. Oh and that cutie Josh Duhamel is in it too. Don't take my word for it though...go see it!

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

All About Me by The Guy I Live With

A. Each player gets a loved one to list 8 facts/habits about the player from the loved ones point of view.

B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.

C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog. (I won't tag anyone because I want ALL of you to do this. (If you want to.) Nosy Nora wants to see what your loved ones think about you.)

So with a pained look on his face and lots of eye rolling here's what my beloved gave me.

1. You like to be reassured about decisions and choices we make about our boys.

2. You like to know what's going on in your brothers and sisters lives and being a part of it.

3. You are deadly with a 'To Do' list.

4. You are a very sexual being but you don't like most of the world to know that. (This falls under TMI and I really wanted to tell him to delete it and write something else, but I stuck with the @#$% rules, so too late now!!)

5. You like social settings and being involved with what's happening.

6. You love all things electronic at least when you can get your hands on them.

7. No matter how much he aggravates or annoys you, you are very much in love with your dorky husband.

8. You still wish for the white picket fence. (I actually have my white picket fence, this is my Pollyanna wish for everyone to have a HEA.)

There you go Zeek! So what are you all waiting for? Go, go on now, have that loved one do your list.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Where to begin...

The trip to my sister's was great. I love seeing her kids. They are so entertaining. The 4th BBQ was great. Lots of good food. That's code for I ate too much. Lots of good left overs too though. OTOH, reading is going slow, not because I'm in a funk but because we are just summer time busy. Vacation has been nice and relaxing. GG still makes me laugh and that's good because he equally drives me nuts. Good thing I like him.

It's taken me the better part of a day, off and on, to catch up with everything. As marvey as Google Reader is it doesn't help me read and comment any quicker on all your blogs. I've come to the conclusion that you all are some pretty amazing and wonderful people. Really.

Good news I received that I won a drawing at Marjorie Liu's Web Petals site. New cool stuff is always awesome. So are her books, btw.

Ummm...Steadman called me this afternoon. I have to work on a post for her about Germany. She's going on a business trip to Hambourg, Germany and wants me to dredge up from my memory banks stuff I know about Germany. So hey, you people out there in the world. Any info you can add or help out please make it known in the comments. Steadman and I will both be forever grateful.

The place that didn't hire me for the full time job called and asked if I wanted a part time job. They offered it to me today and I said yes. Sure it's half the hourly pay and half the hours, but it's the place I want to work, so there you have it. Besides they seem fairly certain it will be full time within a year, so who knows. New windows are open and all that. I start next Tuesday.

Zeek, I haven't forgotten about your tag. It's just that getting a "loved one" to list 8 traits or habits turned out to be problematic for the combined grey matter of the men I live with. Oy! You would not believe the conversation that ensued.

Beanie: Trait? What exactly do you mean by a trait?

Me: You're in college. Do you really not know what a trait is?

Beanie: You mean like how you have an eagle eye when it comes to cleaning?

Me: *sigh* Yeah.

Beanie: What? That's not a trait?

Me: Yes, but ...never mind. It's supposed to be in your words, so just never mind.

Beanie: That was in my own words.

Me: I know

GG: Can't you say something nice about your Mother?

Me: Babe...

GG: She likes to read books.

::head desk::

Me: Thanks babe. We'll just do this later.

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