Archive for March 2012

Lucky 7 – join the fun – share the fun!

March 30, 2012

A regular commentor to my blog, Stacey Joy Netzel. She’s written a wonderful RS titled Lost In Italy. But she had time to participate in and then pass the tag on to me in something called the LUCKY 7.

Here are the rules:

  • Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP
  • Go to Line 7
  • Copy down the next seven lines/sentences and post them on your blog
  • Tag 7 authors and let them know

Good thing I’m  working on a new WF manuscript, titled More Than A Trifle. It’s the second in my Dessert Dames series, the first book Better Than Dessert is available on Amazon and has a description here.

So take a look at my 7 lines below:

“I thought you were bringing a guest,” Cassie whispered.

“To the reception, not here. I certainly don’t want him to think I’ve got any leanings in this direction,” Elaine answered, her eyes scanning who was already there as she finger waved to the Double Ds around her.

The church was nearly full when Cassie spied a full head of beautiful white hair topping off a tall, rangy-looking man walking down the aisle. He settled himself in the second pew on the groom’s side. The unfamiliar man was probably an uncle or an older cousin of Ethan’s–he couldn’t be a grandfather–and a family friend would likely be seated further back, like she and the other Double Ds were. But he was so striking with that hair…just like hers.

Here’s the 7 authors I’m tagging:

Anne Parent    a novice writer with a vision and unique style

Robie Madison    a multi-published author of paranormal and sci-fi contemporary fiction

Elle J. Rossi    ELR digital art, a blossoming writer and great artist

Leigh Morgan    Second Chances, contemporary women’s fiction set in Scotland

Patricia Yager Delagrange    Moon Over Alcatraz, contemporary women’s fiction

Virginia McCullough   multipubbed in non-fiction  I’ve used her Option Trading for background for Dessert Dames.

Ilona Fridl    Golden North, Alaskan mystery set in the 1920s

What was Grandma’s and Mom’s Secret?

March 25, 2012

Isn't that scrumptious looking?

Desserts.

I’m sure some of you may not like them at all. Maybe some of you are courageous enough to never partake of them even though it might take you enormous amounts of internal fortitude to beat off temptation.

I’ll admit it. I love desserts. At least most of them. I suspect this fondness is part of my DNA. My mother and her mother always loved desserts. If dessert was an available option, they never turned one down. However, they had an incredible ability to take the smallest portions possible. (The closest I’ve come to this element is being able to quickly turn down some dessert I don’t like, doesn’t agree with my digestive system, or just doesn’t appeal to me. Guess I’m much fussier than they were.) 🙂

My maternal grandmother would practice her dessert moderation by always saying sweetly, “Make it a very small piece.”

So I’d cut the smallest piece possible of whatever I was serving. Then I’d watch her eyes widen.

“Oh, can’t you make that smaller?”

I or whoever was serving at the time would try. Gram would nod, smile graciously, and then the dessert would be handed to her. Gram would take the first small bite. She’d close her eyes, savor it, smile again, and then tell whoever made the dessert and served it how marvelous it was.

But Gram never finished a dessert.

Just one little square at a time...

Now my mother was different. My mother loved her chocolate and if chocolate was part of the dessert, she wanted a moderate–not infinitisimal–portion. A day rarely passed that she didn’t have some  chocolate morsel. It didn’t have to be expensive chocolate but it had to be chocolate–milk, semi-sweet, dark, white. I could be combined with other favorite item, like peanuts, caramel, buttercream, fruit. You get the idea. Actually, her favorite candy were called turtles.

Each afternoon after school, she’d enjoy any dessert or a fresh-baked cookie with her afternoon coffee. I think it gave her the energy to chase after 6 children, 18 grandchildren, and 34 years of third graders. She needed those desserts to get through her days.

Right now, I’m working on revising the second in my Dessert Dames books. These books center on women’s friendships and how they support each other in the difficult and joyous times of their lives. They get their Dessert Dames name because one of their traditions is, have you figured it out?

Right. Desserts. 🙂

Lots of them: to celebrate, to grieve, to solve problems, to exist.

But as I worked on a new scene Thursday and I was putting my heroine Cassie through a very stressful day, one of her friends arrived in that scene and said something like, “I brought desserts. I know today’s been tough.”

My mind halted–desserts–turn it around after a tough day, what are you feeling?

Right. STRESSED.

Turn that around? DESSERTS.

Cookies? Great anytime...Just ask Mom.

Head slap here.

Both my mom and grandmother had major stress in their lives. They didn’t drink, overeat, or get ill. They really didn’t whine or moan about life, take pills, or act out.

They dealt with life and with stress. With dessert.

They were strong women. I’ve been told that I am also. If that’s true, it’s because I had such incredible role models.

I’m sure dessert helped them deal with lives. That, their faith, and saying more than a few rosaries.

But that’s for another post and another day.

They each had their favorites. Mom’s was chocolate, especially hot fudge sundaes. Gram loved pies, just about any kind. (But she hated ice cream and that’s yet another story.)

So in honor of my gram, my mom, and my fictional friends, this week’s question is: what is your favorite dessert?

My favorite. Maybe I'm like Gram.

Early Spring: A Weather Gift

March 18, 2012

Thank you for the lovely lily in this bouquet.

Spring doesn’t officially arrive until this coming Tuesday. However, here on the western shore of Lake Michigan we’re been blessed with incredible weather. Incredible because March in this region generally offers us weather to test our patience. Giving us brief glimpses of what might soon be spring to the worst of winter weather.

What makes most of us get through March is that maybe, if we’re very lucky, we’ll not get continued winter blasts into April, or even worse, May.

Yes, I said May. Several years ago when I was still teaching, hubby and I planned a trip to Hawaii to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We planned to leave the day after the semester ended, May 11th, I believe it was. You guessed it. The night before we left we got 10 inches of snow!

Even though we worried about getting to the airport which took longer than usual because of the roads and the flight was long, we were very glad to be in that warm, snow-free island paradise. Of course, when we returned home three weeks later, Wisconsin had totally skipped spring and gone immediately into hot summer. 😦

And aren't these cheery?

In other words, Wisconsin doesn’t get real spring very often. We basically get winter, summer and lovely falls.

So I intend to enjoy this lovely weather.

Each early morning when I awake and let the dog outside, I hear songbirds. I’m pretty sure our waxwings have returned as I hear their chirps. I saw the first of blue heron sightings so they’re returning. The squirrels are chasing each other like crazy in love teenagers. I’m seriously considering planting a few frost-resistant pansies.

After all it is Wisconsin…

We have already broken the record for the warmest March here. Our daily highs have been what we usually have in mid June. Nights cool down for great sleeping. Along the lake as we are our nights often come with a generous dollop of fog as the air is warmer than the lake.

Storm coming in last week

I love having my office windows open to hear the waves lapping against the shore and those birdy noises.

Yesterday I saw 2 fishing boats out on the lake. Not the commercial fishing boats or the sports fishing ones but those open, personal fishing, aluminum boats with 2 – 3 people in them. Maybe today I’ll see the first adventurous sailboat.

Yes, I’ll take this lovely gift. Remember it during future Marches when we have more normal weather.

How about you? Are you pleased with this spring or feeling the downside of it? Like no more winter sports or bundling up in layers of clothing? Or being forced to admit it’s time to start a serious diet to lose those five pounds still hanging around since Christmas?

Or worrying about really bad thunderstorms or tornadoes? Or worse getting hit with disastrous spring weather like Michigan did last week?

I’d sure like to her your thoughts.

Birthdays: About a Brother

March 11, 2012

Grandpa Dieter, Jerry and me.

My brother Jerry was born exactly 14 months after I was.

Because my dad was in the South Pacific fighting in WWII, he didn’t know immediately that Jerry had arrived. He received the letter about it, not from my mother–that never arrived–but from his sister. That letter arrived in mid-summer–4-5 months later!

Nothing like these days with emails, Skype, and cell phones…

Because Dad was gone in our first years of life, Mom took many photos to send to him. A few of them survive. But not my parents or Jerry.

I miss my brother often, but especially on his birthday. Why? Because we’d always be in touch that day. One of the few times we missed was when he was onboard ship while he served as a Marine. My card arrived when they reached a port and mail call was held.

Because he was the oldest boy and I was the oldest girl, we grew up feeling a strong sense of responsibility for our younger siblings. One of the stories Jerry loved to tell (always with great embellishment) was the time I threw a knife at him. Almost killed him, he would conclude his story.

Jerry is the one to the right of me in the dark jumper. My dad’s parents’ home and their grandchildren.

Now he knew he’d irritate me with that last because it wasn’t true. But he loved to tease me with a good story.

But here’s the real story.

Jerry was he was out with his teenage buddies, and I was taking care of my younger sisters. Mom and Dad had gone out on a Saturday night which didn’t happen often. I can’t remember where my two other brothers were. But no matter.

My sisters had finally gone to sleep, and I was settling in to read a book when I heard noises from outside. It was well after ten at night and dark.

I looked out the windows but didn’t see anything. Then I heard more noise and what sounded like scratching at the back door. A low light flickered in the back hall when I checked out the sound. I didn’t go down the stairs because I saw the back door handle move. I heard rattling and some rustling noises.

My protectiveness kicked in.I was alone and my sisters were sleeping. Dad and Mom had left me to care for them.

Only a lightweight chain lock held the old door, and since I had been reading a mystery, my mind flipped to burglers. Or worse. (Okay, I admit–I was a drama queen back then)

So I crept to the kitchen to find something to protect my sisters and me–just in case. I found a small paring knife. I would have taken a broom, but I’d have had to pass that back door and go into the basement to get one.

I crept back from the kitchen, my ears alert to any other unusual sounds.

Still nothing except the scraping and rustling outside the back door. Then I heard voices.

“Jerry, is that you?” I asked thinking he really should be home by now. Since we didn’t have housekeys (who needed such things back then?), he wouldn’t be able to get in with the back door chained.

No answer–just more scraping. Then I heard the muttering of several voices. All deep, guttural, male.

“Jerry, is that you?” (And how stupid was that on my part? A burglar or worse would say yes, right?) But I was getting irritated.

Jerry a few years before he died.

Still no response. But the back door eased open more slowly than water boils when you’re watching it.

“Jerry, is that you? Answer me or you’ll be sorry. So help me you will.”

A black-gloved hand slipped through the doorway opened now the width of the chain.

Then hand slid up toward the chain and started yanking at it.

You guessed it. I threw the knife. It landed on the floor–at least 2 feet from the door.

Laughing erupted from outside the door.

You guessed it. It was Jerry and his friends–all very satisfied that they’d gotten the best of me.

Mom and Dad never heard that story until long after Jerry and I were both adults and out of the house. Naturally, they heard it from Jerry who each time he told it, I had drawn more blood. Practically killed him, he told them with a wink.

He loved to tease, Jerry did, and I was a perfect target. But we loved each other dearly.

He wasn’t a perfect man–who is? He believed in family and loved big family gatherings. He had a generous heart which sometimes got him into trouble. I wish he could be here today with us–to see the little grandson of his who looks so much like Jerry’s photos at that age–the ones Mom took to send to the South Pacific for Dad.

He’d love to spoil and to tease his beautiful granddaughters just as he did his daughter, his little sisters, me.

He’d burst with pride at the wee grandson who was born shortly before last Christmas–a holiday he loved.

My brother Jerry. The story teller long before I thought I could weave stories for others. The son who loved his parents. The brother who always wanted to protect unless he was busy teasing.

Happy Birthday, Jerry. I hope you, Eric, John and Jimbo, Mom and Dad and all the others we’ve loved and lost are enjoying the most heavenly day — and for you, Jerry, here’s a cherry pie, too. 🙂

Early March sunrise

Attention: Here’s The Latest Update

March 8, 2012

I Need your vote.

My recent Wild Rose Press book, An Island No More received a fantastic 5 star review last week. It was also selected by the review site The Romance Studio as a candidate for their 5 Heart Sweetheart Vote. The voting began last night and will end on Sunday, March 11.

If Island No More wins the vote, it will be featured on their review website for the following week. That means the cover, a buy link, and the review will be placed on their main page for the following week. The review site will also promote on all their social media outlets.

I don’t have to tell you that this should definitely help me in my promotion and name recognition. Plus this book is fantastic. (Of course, I’m a bit prejudiced.)

I hope you will find the time to help me and my book.

Here’s the link to vote:http://www.theromancestudio.com/5heart_form.php

Print and digital versions available

If you click on Casey Clifford and the book where it’s listed the review will come up if you want to view it. The form is simple to use. When you finish, hit the submit button at the bottom of the form.

Feel free to forward this message to anyone you think might take a minute to vote for me.

Thanks. I’ll be doing my regular post again on Sunday. See you then.



Tankers & Sunday Share

March 4, 2012

Tanker offshore Saturday Morning

Yesterday morning when I work up I saw these two tankers very close to shore. They left sometimes very late last night. It’s a sure sign that spring must be near. We’ve seen lots of tankers this week.

Today I’m guest blogging at Stacey Joy Netzel’s Sunday Share. I’m talking about my recent RS release An Island No More. I’m also giving away a digital copy of An Island No More to one lucky commenter. Please drop by, read my thoughts about writing along with a short excerpt from the book. Here’s the linkhttp://staceyjoynetzel.blogspot.com/

Hope to see you there and I’ll be back here next Sunday–like always. 🙂

Second tanker offshore just to the south of first one