Saturday, July 28, 2007


Twenty years ago the people I worked with at the time would make fun of my "countdown" to Musikfest, "America's Music Festival" held every year in Bethlehem, PA. Going for the full nine days was my big vacation for the year. I would parcel out my money so I could have enough for food tickets everyday and maybe a couple of CDs. I loved Musikfest as my vacation; it was what I could afford. But I guess to people who would go to Mexico yearly, I was to be pitied.

Times have changed. I still try to get to a performance or two at Musikfest but I no longer spend an entire week there - it's too big, too commercial and besides, now I can afford to go other places. My vacation time is too precious to spend all of it in my own backyard.

England: 4 times
New York: Christmas with Heather several years ago, RWA National
Florida: Disney World, Sea World and Discovery Cove
Alaska: Sailing today

2008: Driving down the Pacific Coast to San Francisco
2009: Returning to England

In all fairness, I also use vacation days to write - my other passion. But I want (need) to travel. I want to see and do while I still can.

Pop landed on Normandy Beach on D-Day. At the 50th anniversary I wanted to take him to England and then over to France for the ceremonies. Mom had been gone several years by then and there was no reason for him to stay home - no reason but one:
"Your mother always wanted to go to England, but I never took the girl over. Now it's too late."

I want to travel before it's "too late."

Today it's Alaska.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Major News Stories about Animals

Oscar the nursing home cat who knows when a resident is dying and sits with them until they pass.

And then there's this man:


Our animals companions should be treated with the same dignity, respect and love they give us.

Another "last" word about Harry


Thursday, July 26, 2007

My definitation invasion of privacy

Make me walk barefoot in cold floors.
Make me take out my laptop, take off my jacket, dump my pockets.
Make me put all my make-up in clear plastic bags.
I don't care if the new scans show every scar - heck, the guy or gal reading that scan has to view my droopy breasts and pouchy stomach. Do I care?
Hell - no. Check me at airport security. A TSA undercover agent can even butt in line at security like he did Wednesday. After all the flights I've been on this year, I could care less - just keep me and my fellow passengers safe.

This, to me, is not an invasion of privacy.
But listening to my phone conversations or reading my emails without a warrant... That's completely different.

I'll take a total body scan at the airport anytime.

Stupid Person News Story

Click on the title and read the actual story in the Seattle Times.

An idiot at SEATAC airport missed his plane and decided to call in a bomb threat so the plane would return to the airport.

This is a huge WTF?

My Continental flight landed as all of this was happening. I knew nothing about it until I got home. Now that's security.

"Latchkey Mom"

I've had a busy couple of days.
My last day at work before leaving for Seattle was very hectic and long. I didn't leave the office until 5:30 and then had some running around to do since I was taking a 7:45 AM bus to Newark Airport the next morning.
And of course the day I fly to Seattle is always a long one. Heather picked me up at the airport. We made a quick trip to the grocery store mostly for milk since we'll only be in Everett for another day. We got take-out for supper.
By the time we got to Heather's apartment, I crashed. Last night I was sleeping so soundly that I wasn't even snoring, Heather said, and she checked me to make sure I was breathing. Everything - the last couple of months of worrying about her surgeries and then six weeks of long work hours - everything caught up to me. Crashed is the best word.

Revived is another good word.
This morning it was as if I'd been rejuvenated. The day is sunny and breezy - not going above 75. Heather's flowers are in full bloom. I have no aches or pains. And I'm getting excited about going to Alaska.

Heather just left for work and I was given "orders" to do nothing - to rest and relax. She wanted to make sure I had everything I needed. "Call me if you need anything. I can pick it up on the way home. Here are the keys..." The roles had changed - she was leaving me "home alone" and she wanted to make sure I was okay - safe and happy.

"I have books, a full pot of coffee, JK Rowling will be on the Today Show, the computer, and sunny porch. I have all I need," I assured her.

Damn, it's nice having someone worry about me - concerned about my comforts.
That would be a vacation even if we weren't cruising to Alaska.

Taking book and coffee to porch - beginning my vacation as a latchkey mom.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Another word about the Harry Potter series

I'm getting tired of the trashing of the series and Rowling by people who:
1. haven't read more than one book in a year or their life
2. think it promotes Satanism (it promotes doing what's right and staying true to your friends and yourself)
3. have never read the book
4. read the book and then gave away the ending
5. think the series is for children - see the comment in #2 - many "adults" should learn those values.

The phenom that was (is) Potter is wonderful because for once every few years, millions of people around the world were having the same experience that was connected to one thing - a book written by a marvelous storyteller.

I've read everything from Beowulf to Nora Roberts (although Beowulf was a translation from the Old English) - and not that Roberts is on the opposite side of literary scale- she's a storyteller for her time - our time.

And so is Rowling. I flew through HP7 and didn't want to stop reading it. I had to stop several times just because my back or legs were cramping from being in one position.

Once upon a time, I carried around a 800+ page book by an upcoming author and told people, "You have to read this book. This writer is going to be famous and one day he'll be taught in schools."

The book: The Stand. Another writer with his own set of critics.

Great storytelling is great storytelling.

So to all of JKR's and HP's detractors.
Give it up - read the series and fall into a different world - maybe even a better world.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

One word after finishing the last HP...


My Forbidden Forest has just one tree

I started reading as soon as I got up this morning - Heather was at page 300 and something-something by yesterday afternoon. I want to call her later and chat about the book - but she'll be finished.
I'm on my patio listening to the morning sounds of doves, sitting next to the ivy that threatens to take over a wall and staring at a huge pine tree that separates the little yard in front of my apartment and the busy road. Earlier I could pretend I was in the Forbidden Forest, maybe making my way to Hagrid's cottage, listening for the calls of baby dragons - wait! I hear some now - drat, no - just squirrels chattering. Now the increasing sounds of traffic threaten my daydream.
Going back to Potter and dreaming - traffic not withstanding.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry was late....

......but he got here finally and I'm reading and reading and reading - will probably fall asleep reading it. I want to finish it before Wednesday. As much as I love the book, I really don't want to take almost 800 pages on the plane. So if necessary, I will read Monday and Tuesday at lunch - while my boss, the president of our company, tries to get me to divulge the plot and who dies.

I've come to one death already - hated to see that character die.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fox Mulder said it...

"If you are afraid of what the people around you are doing, you are distracted from what the people above you are doing."

New Addiction

Several days a week I get up early enough to get my shower and turn on TNT by 5 AM. I no longer watch Anderson Cooper 360 those days - I've had enough of "the real world" - I'd much rather be with Fox and Scully.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Never Sit on Bales of Dried Straw

Because in that straw is lurking dried leaves of this noxious weed: Poison Ivy
Of course I was sitting on straw bales at the Gettysburg reenactment a week ago - of course I have poison. I'm now on prednisone - still itchy - but not nearly as bad.
Each night while you're sleepin'
Poison Ivy comes a creepin'

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tired and Cranky

Cannot take the heat. I feel and look like this. (Image is from an old Roman bust, sculptor long dead who cannot sue me for copyright infringement - so there!)

Back and forth to Seattle and not for a good thing, although being with Heather is always a good thing, but I was worried. Coming back and immediately falling into work problems with long, long days and the attitude of some male coworkers that they dictate and women scuttle (quickly, please).

I was able to go to Gettysburg for things MITZI wanted to do - good for me! And Heather and I will be going to Alaska in less than two weeks - good for us! We both deserve it.

But back to the heat - can't take it. Even air conditioning doesn't help, unless I can stay inside for a couple of months. I can't take going in and out of air conditioning and heat - wears me out.

On the other hand, Seattle was having a heat wave - up to 90 one day. Looking better and better.

Friday, July 13, 2007

RWA Publisher Eligibility? Don't Go Breaking My Heart.

Image from

RWA's new standards for publishing eligibility (able to take part in National, take appointments, have a special presentation, etc) is now lumping publishers whose primary means of selling books is the publisher's website in with vanity presses. That's a big old WTF? Ellora's Cave, the epublisher who brought erotica for women into the mainstream and coined the phrase "romantica", is a vanity press? I don't THINK so.

Yes, I have a horse in this race (actually two). My mystery with paranormal and romantic elements was requested by a Samhain editor after winning a first line competition. I'm currently working on a submission for Cerridwen, an Ellora's Cave imprint. Did I think about them as potential houses because they WERE (operative word) RWA recognized? I'll be honest and say, "Yes." But if any other royalty-paying, non RWA recognized house wanted one of my manuscripts, I would be just as happy. Will I pull my work because both epubs are no longer recognized. Not on your life. In fact, if they don't like either one of those books, I got a couple of others for them.

What's the draw? Could it be a 40% royalty - which I would gladly take instead of the paltry advances many print houses offer (and who knows if you will sell through the advance and ever get another book published).

I would rather be published by Cerridwen than a house that gives me a $1000 "advance" and nothing else. Sorry- don't want to offend anyone. But I don't just want to see my name on a "real" book, I want to make money, honey!

When I first read the change for publisher "eligibility" I thought they had maybe (hopefully) not written it clearly - I'd hope that they were not lumping large epubs into the vanity press definition. Guess I was wrong. No - amend that - THEY are wrong.

Those epub companies have developed relationships with print pub houses - and that was done because the epubs are a force. RWA has GOT to come into the 21st century. We have got to break the hold on the huge corporate face of publishing and push for a writer's RIGHT to earn a living - no matter what the manner of publishing. Epubs are on the cutting edge of publishing and to have RWA not recognize that is absurd.

We have got to break the hold the box bookstores (including Walmart) have on what they put on the shelves - an indirect form of censorship. I can get any book I want online - whether it's on Amazon or on a publisher's website. That's the wave of the future. I just wish RWA would see that.

I'm a big girl - I don't need to have my professional organization protect me from big bad publishers - I need them to inform me - not limit my choices. Give me the information and let me make my own decision if a certain publisher is good for my career or not.

RWA, help me build a writing career that can support me -not a career of $1000 advances with an RWA eligible publisher.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Book Dedication

I've been thinking about this recently - my dedication page.

My daughter, Heather, who always believed in me.
My friend, Juilene McKnight, who taught me to recognize the fire in the belly.
My sister, Pattie, and fellow Pocono/Lehigh Romance Writers who kept me honest.

And finally, to Mark, who dumped me, allowing me to harness all the energy I wasted in a relationship with him and channel it into my writing. Note to self: not all guys are as honest as Detective Dan Reno.

THE Lady in Pink

"Have some tea, my dear, while we talk about your behavior."

Monday, July 09, 2007

Some Good News

Last month I entered a "Best First Line" Contest at Samhain Publishing's blog site (go to Each week I was still in the running and each week we got to add another line.

I was one of ten entries (out of 300) picked by an editor. Lindsey McGurk chose Elizabeth Peacock and the Body on Abbey because of my first few lines. W0000-hooo! I get to send her the full manuscript.

So off my baby went tonight - requested yet again by another editor.

I just want someone to find an almost fifty widow, the bossy daughter who supports her, her conman father, her ride: Harry the Hearse, her job at Rosenblatt and Romano Mortuary and the paranormal town of Braybury, PA interesting enough to give me a contract.

Still waiting on the other editor/agent requests. So glad I developed patience in my dotage.

I have my ticket for Wednesday!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Civil War Couple

General Reynolds Fell Here

A great loss to the Union Army was the death of John Fulton Reynolds on the first day of the Battle.
Many historians believe that Reynolds had been offered the command of the Army of the Potomac days before Gettysburg but turned it down. Meade was then ordered to take command.
A consumate soldier, Reynolds was at the head of his men urging them onward when he was hit by a Confederate shot. He had been on the field less than half an hour.

General Chico

I had to include this picture of Chico. He was sitting outside the Petite Puppy on Chambersburg Road in Gettysburg. He was a great marketing tool - I immediately went inside (after taking several pictures of the little general) and spent money.

Chico's mom told me that he likes the "General Grant" outfit more than his "General Lee" outfit, even though he was born in South Carolina. I guess no one told Chico that General Meade was the successful general at Gettysburg, not Grant, who was busy in another "burg", Vicksburg.- But lots of humans get that wrong, let alone a puppy.

'Ten HUT!

The Daniel Lady Farm

One of the farms (land, barn and house) that saw the hell of the Battle of Gettysburg was saved from a bulldozer by the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association -

The lovely lady in the parlor is Kathy Coddington, a friend who's a member of a company of living historians who helped with the preservation of the farm.

The farm changed hands from Union to Confederate during the Battle. After those three horrible days in July 1863, the Lady family returned to find their home virtually destroyed, windows smashed, doors removed and blood, bodies and body parts everywhere. As if that wasn't enough, a shell had collapsed the second floor.
Saving these farms, houses, battlefields across the country is important for us and for future generations to understand and value our history.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I gotta quit....

....before I look like this.

Nursing drains you - emotionally, physically and creatively.

If it weren't for my daughter, my cats, my family, my friends and my writing (oh, bless my writing), I would be a mess. All those things bring me joy - my job no longer does.

We just finished a huge project so we can continue to bill for our tube feedings. We now need accreditation in order to do something we've done for years. We've had outside auditors reviewing us, OSHA, the Department of Health, Life Safety, Utilization Review, and any other governing body - now add one more.

I've worked 10 to 12 hour days since I returned from Seattle.
Leaving again today for Gettysburg - hoping that I get no phone calls about problems.

I need to win the lottery so I can still have some stamina to enjoy the rest of my life.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Farnsworth House Inn attic orb

I've always wanted to stay at the Farnsworth House Inn, supposedly one of the most haunted inns or hotels in the US.

I stayed in the Eisenhower Room, named in honor of Mamie. Nothing untoward happened the two nights I was there, but I did get an orb - small and moving, making a right angle (you can see it on the left of this picture) - in the inn's attic.

During the Battle of Gettysburg Confederate sharpshooters were in the inn's attic, firing at the Union soldiers on Cemetery Hill. It's believed that one of these sharpshooters accidently killed the only civilian to die in the Battle - Jennie Wade, a young woman who was staying with her sister in a small house between this house and the Cemetery.

This was the attic door and it refused to close for the tour guide.
The orb(s) does not appear in the first picture I took moments before this one.

Who knows what it could be. I do know that so much energy was expended in that town, the houses and the land, during those three days 144 years ago, that something must remain. And every so often, we're lucky enough to see a glimpse of whatever it is.

I'm still around!

Since I returned from Seattle and Heather's last surgery, I've been working on a project for work. Last Friday I escaped to Gettysburg for the Rupp House History Center lectures on the Battle of Gettysburg and found myself sitting on the Rupp House's large front porch (see picture), talking to my boss about a work issue.

Even 1863 is not far enough for me to leave work behind. I was busy with work issues for much of the time I was in Seattle - but still burned my saved sick days.

Well, I'm trying it again this weekend. I'll be attending the Gettysburg reenactment Friday and Saturday. Maybe I'll leave my cellphone in the car.