Monday, November 25, 2013

My Kingdom for a Gingerbread Latte!

Wow, can you believe how fast this year went? It’s a blur to me, that’s for sure—one of those ‘I’ve enjoyed every day, but where the heck did they go?’ years. Which means that it’s almost time to Release The Tree. And by that, I mean pull out the box that houses my 6’ faux tree, which resembles nothing more than a collection of giant green pipe cleaners, massage them into a vaguely conical shape, and decorate it with a variety of cat-friendly decorations (i.e., relatively sturdy and too big to be inserted beneath any kitchen appliance).

Last year was the first in a long, long time that I had any urge to dress the house up for the winter holidays (which I contend is, in New England, as much as anything a way to gird our loins for the coming winter). And this, along with my deep pleasure at Arizona’s having installed shelves in the storage room and feeling of accomplishment at trimming our electric bill with a combination of weather stripping and fuzzy blankets, tells me that I’m home now, in a way I hadn’t even realized I wasn’t before. And, more, that I’m home for the holidays.

For some people, the holidays begin when Starbucks busts out the red cups and the gingerbread lattes, or when Coke releases the ornament-shaped bottles (which Arizona calls “Coke balls” and adores). For others, it’s when the strings of colored lights go up in the neighborhood, and the candles appear in the windows.

Then of course there is the flip-side of holiday cheer—the stuff that sets you on edge. For me, it’s when my usual radio station switches over to 24/7 carols, forcing me to go elsewhere for tunes from now until the New Year. Or when the stores start with the holiday decorations in October (Home Depot, I’m looking at you!). Oh, and the deluge of junk mail. Seriously, people, I prefer shopping local, and if I want to buy something from you, I’ll go online!

But on the up-side, there’s eggnog, fruitcake, and red-and-green M&Ms. Oh, and candy canes! I’m not a big fan, but the horses at the rescue love them.

So that’s me, I guess—thumbs up on the tree and food, thumbs down on premature decoration and noise pollution. How about you? What are your loves and hates of this time of year? 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ghosts, Phlegm, and a Book Recommendation (oh myyyy)!

Howdy, folks! Actually, if I were saying that out loud, it would sound more like 'Owbly oks' or something, because I'm fighting a sort throat, congestion sort of ick. (Seriously, autocorrect, you don't have 'ick' in your dictionary? No, I don't mean 'ice' thankyouverymuch, just leave it as 'ick'.) I blame the grocery store. Or maybe this past weekend's writers' meeting.

If I was plagued at the latter, though, it's okay--it was a really neat meeting, complete with a ghost hunter from Connecticut Ghost Investigations giving a fascinating presentation with videos and Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVPs) and everything! Way cool, and totally worth a little Creeping Crud and a steady diet of Zicam and liquids.

But I digress, because what I really wanted to tell you about today is a Very Fun contemporary romance that is releasing this week: UNEXPECTEDLY YOURS by Jeannie Moon. I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of this clever, flirty story, and wanted to share it with you!

And so ... the cover:  

The blurb:

Unexpectedly Yours

It was a win-win arrangement…until Caroline lost her heart…
Caroline Rossi needs to reinvent her life. Being a geotechnical engineer hasn’t exactly proved to be a guy magnet. She’s never really had the opportunity to let her hair down and have fun. But when a chance encounter with her big sister’s brother-in-law—millionaire Josh Campbell—leads to a night of unexpected passion, Caroline starts engineering an arrangement that will give them both what they want. She can help Josh with an important real estate project and he can school her in the art of amour. At first Josh balks—but there’s something irresistible about Caroline, something very different from the bombshells he usually dates.
Can the friends with benefits agreement really work? Or are Caroline and Josh playing a dangerous game that may end in heartbreak?

And a link to the first chapter: CLICK ME

With that, I shall wish you a wonderful week of zero crud, happy reading, and no ghosties. (Unless you're looking for ghosties, in which case I wish you ghosties!)

Monday, November 11, 2013

How Not To Train A Cat

Although Arizona and I will sometimes comment in passing to Lucy T. Cat and MegaPixel (formerly Pixel T. Kitten) that they really ought to get jobs and contribute to the family's crunchy budget, we don't really ask that much of our pets. 

In exchange for them using the litter boxes, staying off the counter, and providing companionship when it suits them, we offer free-choice dry food, evening wet food (with narration provided by Arizona: "Is it squishy time? Who wants squishies? How does shrimp and cod sound tonight? No? Ocean whitefish? We can do that"), a variety of treats and toys, and all the warm-soft things (including laps and the center of the mattress) they could want. Oh, and in Lucy's case, a doorman (me).

You see, while Pixel is perfectly happy being an indoor kitty (seeing as how the last time she was outside she got thrown from a car onto the highway, she isn't exactly jonesing to return to the Big Scary World), Lucy lived for quite some time as a barn cat until the day she presented herself at the back door  of my then-house to be let in. And I, having an opening for a house cat, obliged. Which in hindsight perhaps created a bad precedent: she meows at a door, and I open it. And when I don't open it, she howls. A lot.

Mind you, Arizona and I refuse to be cowed by ten pounds of tabby, and thus have weaponized our bedroom with (insert dum-dum-DUMMMM music) the Squirty Bottle. It is large. It is powerful. And, because we've been piling on the blankets rather than heating the bedroom, its liquid contents are cold. Think Supersoaker in the fridge cold (because we've all done that, right?).

Which brings us to this morning. When, at o'dark-thirty, Lucy T. Cat decides she has to Go Out, Right MEOW. 

Now this is a clever cat, capable of higher-level strategizing. Knowing that we are armed, she performs a strafing run worthy of the Red Baron, darting into the bedroom for a couple of good howls, then bugging out again when there's movement from the bed. 

But I am a higher mammal, which means that I am also capable of making a plan. So this morning I stealthily reached down and retrieved the Squirty Bottle when she wasn't in the room, and kept it beside me, knowing there would be another attack soon. 

Wait for it ... wait for it ...


I whipped my gun hand around, aimed, and let rip with three blasts of cold water in rapid succession: SQUIRT, SQUIRT, SQUIRT! 

Directly into my own face. 

Yeah. I had the Squirty Bottle pointed the wrong way. 


So how about you? Any bad pet training moments you care to share? Or unpleasant awakenings? Make me feel better!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Books we love: The Perfect Match

Just a quick (oops, just wrote that as 'squick' which totally wasn't where I was going with this ...) note today, as I'm finishing up revisions on Krista's book (Mustang Ridge #3, Harvest at Mustang Ridge, coming to you next August!) and need to Get My Butt In Gear. But I figured, hey, what are friends for, if not to make sure you knew about this really awesome book that just came out?

Et voila:

And did I mention that:

... a portion of pre-order and first week sales of THE PERFECT MATCH will benefit Fisher House Foundation, which provides a home away from home for military families to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury. 
Photo: A reminder that a portion of pre-order and first week sales of THE PERFECT MATCH will benefit Fisher House Foundation, which provides a home away from home for military families to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury. <3


What's that you say? You want the blurb? I can do that!

What if the perfect match is a perfect surprise? 

Honor Holland has just been unceremoniously rejected by her lifelong crush. And now—a mere three weeks later—Mr. Perfect is engaged to her best friend. But resilient, reliable Honor is going to pick herself up, dust herself off and get back out there…or she would if dating in Manningsport, New York, population 715, wasn't easier said than done. 

Charming, handsome British professor Tom Barlow just wants to do right by his unofficial stepson, Charlie, but his visa is about to expire. Now Tom must either get a green card or leave the States—and leave Charlie behind. 

In a moment of impulsiveness, Honor agrees to help Tom with a marriage of convenience—and make her ex jealous in the process. But juggling a fiancĂ©, hiding out from her former best friend and managing her job at the family vineyard isn't easy. And as sparks start to fly between Honor and Tom, they might discover that their pretend relationship is far too perfect to be anything but true love….


Hugs, and see you next week. Jesse