Archive for January 2012

Little Treasures

January 29, 2012

See what the waves created? Icy waves

This week has been an incredibly busy one. And often very frustrating. But then when I least expected something special to happen, it did–actually several times.

These little sparks of joy allowed my gratitude to overwhelm my frustration.

First of all, I received an email from a dear friend that her newest grandchild, a baby girl, was born and after a bit of a scary entrance into this world is now thriving. Nothing perks most people up more than the healthy delivery of a healthy baby, especially when that event is anticipated with love and joy. So welcome to this world, little Ella Clementine. Isn’t that a delightful name?

Then twice this week, what started out a grey dreary days morphed into magnificent sunny hours of daylight. The lake which has been shrouded in fog and mist provided yet another landscape that filled all my windows. The winter shoreline is very much different than the other seasons. This winter with its unusually mild temperatures overall has kept it from creating the huge and dramatic ice caves and icebergs of other years. However, when the sun shines the intensity of the white against the blue of the lake thrills me every time I glance at it.

Just a glimpse of what was to come

Also a productive of this mild winter has meant that the migrating birds heading south have lingered. I guess they thought they were already in their southern homes for the winter. Not so, but we’ve had enormous flocks of geese and ducks still hear and at night? Well, all they do is gossip. You get a few thousand of them on the lake where any sound carries carrying on about the latest in fowl hijinks or where the best field is to grab a bite to eat and I can guarantee it could keep me up. Because it’s so incredibly amazing

This morning we had a bit of snow and all those gossiping birds were riding the gentle waves and snow covered their backs. And then when the sun began to peak from the clouds, they lifted and started flying away. Thousands of them.

I thought it beautiful and not what we usually see around here. In the past we’d have to travel to Horicon Marsh to see and hear such sights and sounds.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my most recent book was released. And my last little treasures for this past week concerns that book. Before a book release, publishers send out ARCs (advance reading copies) to garner book reviews. Hopefully, those reviews are good and will prompt sales.

Friday evening I got my first one. It was a five star one which is the best a writer can hope for. Here’s a link to it. Of course, I’m overjoyed.  🙂  Thank you, Romance Writers Reviews.

And today I got an email notice that a blogger Lorna, who sometimes comments on my posts, mentioned me and my latest book on her blog. Here’s a link. And let me tell you, this woman is a delightfully funny, intelligent  writer, and her blog posts have a point and several laughs.

Finally, my last mention goes to a PR project I worked on to promote my books. Since doing projects like this is NOT my forte, I really didn’t know how it would turn it. The process also contained several very frustrating hours when I couldn’t get things the way I wanted them or wasn’t sure at all how the end product in my hands would look.

All my book covers--in a collage.

Well, the PR project’s finished product arrived in the mail this week. It’s my last little treasure to share. Because the final project has gotten many “oohs” and “ahhs” and “Wow, how greats!”

And I guess that’s my point for this week for us to ponder. Life can be very frustrating at times. Our work may seem to never get completed or be full of frustrations. Life may actually suck.

However, if we keep our eyes, hearts, and minds open, we will unexpectedly encounter, accept, and appreciate those little treasures that will keep us going no matter the quagmire of whatever we’re involved in.


Fill The Bucket

January 22, 2012

Na Pali Coastline is gorgeous

Yesterday afternoon as I was caring for our youngest son who is severely disabled, I received a phone call from my oldest son. At the moment he’s in Kauai Hawaii instead of Alaska. (Wise choice, I’d say, considering the winter Alaska has had so far. 🙂  )

Anyway, our conversation wasn’t overly long. He was on his way to see yet another part of that beautiful and lovely warm–79 degrees–he mentioned, but he wanted to check in to see if all was well with us back here since we got a serious taste of winter over the past week. (And yes, we’ve been spoiled this season which only made the week more miserable.)

But after we finished our conversation and I was sure both my oldest was in good shape, I thought about the trip my hubby and I made to that same island to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary. Now you might be wondering why the odd number?

Well, he was a widower who’d been married 10 years when his first wife died tragically. I was a divorced woman who’d stayed 10 years in a marriage before I had the sense and gumption to end it.

Let's celebrate! He's almost done...

So, we both knew we could easily make 10, but 11? Well, if we accomplished that, we deserved to celebrate. We chose a place we’d both always wanted to see but had never been: perfect choice for a couple who had marital baggage.

Plus, a trip like this was on our individual bucket lists. (See, my title does fit. 🙂  )

Now, since I’ve been fighting a nagging headache all week, my brain cells have been flitting around faster than dragonflies during a mosquito infestation. So what thought popped into my head?

The comment my hubby made sometime in the last few months (repeated several times since) about having all the items on his bucket list checked off but one and he wasn’t at all sure he’d ever get to do that. What?

The first time he said that, after I picked my multiple chins up from the floor, I asked if he was telling me he was terminal or planning on kicking the bucket which contained his lists sooner than I wanted. He said no but was proud of the fact that he’d done what he wanted with his life.

Well, darn…I’m not that much younger than he is but my list keeps growing and I’ve still got items on it from years ago! So, what’s wrong with this picture, folks? I need some serious help here.

Suggestions please.

Or maybe I need to figure out how I can live to be 150, but look and feel like a healthy, energetic 55 year-old woman. Or maybe…

Do you have any ideas? Help me fill my bucket, please.

A Birthday, A Bottle of Wine, and Snow

January 15, 2012

Birthday Sunrise

Today, I’ll be guest blogging on Stacey Joy Netzel’s website for her Sunday Share. She asked me to talk about my book Fireweed. She is reading it now and has lots of questions for me to respond to. And as you all know, I love to talk. J And I think you might enjoy reading about how this book came about. Plus I’ll be available to answer questions my answers might inspire. And if that doesn’t entice you, I’ll be giving away a digital version of Fireweed to some lucky commenter who stops by and chats before Wednesday. At least I think that’s the day Stacey set up.

So take a minute and click over to visit me at Stacey’s cyber home today.

This was a busy week. We got our first measurable snowfall of this winter season–really late for Wisconsin. But I can’t complain since my Alaska son and all Alaskans residents are REALLY dealing with snow. When I talked with him on Wednesday night he said they were expecting another minimum 18 inches of the white stuff on top of the already 90 inches on the ground.

Winter patio

Now that’s some snow!

Another reason this was a big week was another birthday for me to chalk up. It was a great one even though it was very low-key. At this point, birthdays to me mean I’ve survived another year and all its experiences and hopefully have grown wise as a result.

Oh, and besides a great meal that my hubby made he also made his famous key lime pie. And we had a very special bottle of wine. It was a spectacular wine: delicious and brought back memories of the perfect day we spent in the Paso Robles area of CA with my brother and his wife doing wine tours. And of course, days and trips such as that one also helped me gather background information for my recent book Seasons of Wine and Love.

Here’s a linkto the boutique winery where we bought this particular bottle of Nadeau Syrah 1997. The vintner even autographed it for us. He also took us into the ageing cellars where he pulled samples of wines not quite ready to move on to the next stage of his life. He gave us a sample of the wine we had for my birthday and when we bought a few bottles because we loved it, he told us to take it home and lay it down for a few years.

What a grand Syrah

Well, I’ll tell you this. He was so right.

So this bottle of wine is significant for many reasons and I’m keeping it forever.

Thanks for stopping by today.

An Island No More

January 8, 2012

Available January 27, 2012, Romantic Suspense

As many of you know, I am a writer. After all, I blog every Sunday, right?

However, that’s not all I do. Squeezed in between everyday chores such as occasional dusting, baking, ever-demanding loads of laundry and ironing, I also write novels. And get them published. 🙂 And for those of you who aren’t writers, that’s much more difficult than depicted in movies and on TV.

While I enjoy Castle on Monday nights, especially for the great characters of his daughter Alexis and his flamboyant mother, his life as a writer is really a fantasy. Trust me on this. Our lives should be so exciting and with enough time left over write, revise, and promote best sellers while never worrying about if you can do all this between loads of laundry and fighting crime in NYC.

But I love what I do as a writer so this week during a lunch with friends when I was asked when my next book would be available. That answer prompted additional questions which I also answered because I love to talk about my writing life as much as I love writing. However, my friends were very surprised at just how much time and effort is involved with writing a book which isn’t related to the actual writing.

The next day I heard from three of them saying they didn’t think they would ever want to work that hard. Which is exactly why they love reading books but not writing them. And thank goodness for that! 🙂 Because if we didn’t have readers, an important element of being a writer wouldn’t happen.

What is that element?

Hearing what readers have to say about our stories. What they liked and additional questions they have. Writers love it when a reader comments on certain characters and why they appealed to that particular reader. Those comments feed a writer’s soul. These comments inspire me anyway to keep at all this hard work. And it is work. But I love it.

That leads me to another exciting moment which happened last week. I heard from my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, that my author copy of my next book, An Island No More, is available. On January 27th, it will be available in their online store, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Print copies and digital copies will be available.

I love this romantic suspense for many reasons. Maggie, my heroine, is a college professor who’s determined to keep her life the way she wants it to be. But life has a way of interfering with expectations and goals. Maggie has to learn that what she’s worked so hard to achieve may not happen. But other options will, and they might be better.

My hope is this book will appeal to my readers as much as it called to me to write and polish it. It was a book that insisted I get it done, no matter what might be going on in my personal life. No matter how many loads of laundry demanded to be done.

I am a writer; read my book.

2012: A Better Year?

January 1, 2012

London New Year's Eve 2011

New Years Day. If you believe the Mayan calendar, it will be the last one. So enjoy it.

Maybe sleeping in–if you partied too late or too hard last night.

Or perhaps, you got up early to watch the sunrise. Winter sunrises where I live can be spectacular. But that kind of spectacular event didn’t happen today.

New Year’s Day isn’t just about the birth of a new year. It’s the day when babies are born, especially those special ones we read about every year on January 2nd or late news on January 1st. You know, those first babies of the year.

To Nancy

I have a dear friend who was one of those special babies–or a few years ago–who’s celebrating her birthday today. Knowing her she’s probably hoping the Packers win their last regular season game.  My birthday wish for her is to have a good year, a healthy year, a relatively stress-free daily life.

That would be the best gift other than my forever friendship that I could give her.

New Year’s Day is also a day when people make resolutions. You know those goals or changes individuals write out. Usually those goals relate to becoming better or more successful, either in their personal, professional, emotional, intellectual, family, or spiritual lives. Some people write out goals for all those spheres.

Many of them are never achieved or even remembered after the first week of January. I have my theories about why this happens. But that’s the topic for another blog.

Anyway, I have a few goals for this year. One of them is to identify and write out what’s on my bucket list. I think I’ve reached that time in life where I should really think about doing this. But I’ll have two of them. One will be a bucket list of things to do if my life changes drastically.

The other one will be what I want to achieve if the parameters of my life conditions remain stable. I hope these become the items I achieve. For the most part I like my life and those who are part of it.

So here’s my point–if I have one today. Resolutions, goals, bucket lists–all of them are helpful to reinforce motivation. They provide the framework from which we can direct our daily, weekly, monthly yearly goals and accomplishments occur.

But the unexpected will happen and significantly change a person’s direction in life. Those who are successful realize this and work with it.

Same Time, Next Year?

My wish for all of you is that this coming year sees you all with the energy and verve to achieve your resolutions or goals–and if you’re faced with major changes, you see the opportunity and challenge and use the circumstances to grow and see the implications for creating unexpected adventures in your lives.

Happy New Year.