Monday, January 31, 2011

National Backward Day

When : Always January 31st


Backward Day is a day to do everything backwards. Use your imagination, and Backward Day can be lots of fun. It's especially popular with school aged kids.


Try writing backwards or reading backwards. Wear your shirt with the back in the front. Eat your meal, starting with dessert. Now that's what I call fun! Walk backwards, or talk backwards. Play a board game backwards, from the finish line to the start. Are you starting to get the picture!?
This day is limited only by your imagination.
Origin of Backward Day:

Our research has yet to find the creator, or the origin of this day.

I've not been able to master talking backwards, walking backwards is dangerous (for me at least - I have trouble walking forwrd) Writing backward isn't too difficult but takes some concentration.   .concentration some takes but difficult too isn't backward Writing.   Okay that wasn't even what I'd call fun.  I guess my favorite one is eating backwards. I bet the kids would love that one. It might be fun to play a game backwards.



Sunday, January 30, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Hi Everyone,
Here it is Sunday again. Boy the week passes quickly.  This week I've chosen another six lines from my book, Stranger on the Shore, which will be released March 1st at MuseItUp Publishing at: http://bit.ly/dM2bHA


Jordan winced as lightning flashed again, back-lighting the dark clouds. Darn it, she wanted to be inside cuddling by the fire not out here in a storm. For two cents, she’d turn around and go back. But something drew her forward.
A man’s body against the rocks.
Oh, Lord, please don’t let him be dead.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

National Puzzle Day

When : Always January 29th

Don't be puzzled by today. National Puzzle Day honors puzzles of all size, shape and form. Crossword puzzles are by far the most common. Sudoku, a number puzzle, is the most recent puzzle rage. There's easy puzzles, and there's puzzles for experts. They fit the needs of every person, and every skill level.
Puzzles are a favorite pastime of millions of people, young and old. So, what's with this fascination over puzzles? There's numerous reasons for it's popularity. For many, doing puzzles is fun. Some people just like the challenge of completing them, and graduating to evermore complex and difficult puzzle solving levels. For others, it is a way to kill time, and to eliminate boredom. Others still, do puzzles to keep their mind sharp, or to learn new words.

Whatever the cause for your interest, spend National Puzzle Day doing puzzles.
Origin of National Puzzle Day:

Who created this day and when remains a puzzle.

There is no evidence to suggest that this is truly a "National" day, which requires an act of congress.

Here's a puzzle I created just for you. Have fun!


Writer's wordsearch


Y B V K N Y X T B F S E N T E N C E K G

I J A R C D K F F H P W Z U W J W A V P

Z X K E K K J H E L M O R V X Y S X B D

C G K T S C J M Z T J Z P Z Z R M J J X

T Q B C F D N Q W Y N P V O S O Y U D L

R X N A E W O R G O W V N V H T I W E E

G Q V R I V I E Y Y S W L E I S S V A B

R V E A J T T H S N Q Y R B M U O P I C

L M I H C I C S Q Y G O P Q D N B Y W B

A O X C E X I I Q W L G V N W R I T E R

T P C B S E F L H P A R G A R A P M P O

O B R W R N P B C H F A G I E C Y A R K

E Q H J O I X U G A U E C O X S R O R R

Y J F M K O X P I T E C M L T A M K R R

S W U C B R K J H B L Z H E N A R A L T

O J L G H E V O O L U G R O N I D J V O

T N G E L H R O J A O Y R C L K X W K F

O L G R H A K A T G I M E P S D V A G E

W A K O O B V Y J B A K S B Y E M V A W

P B O I S W I T Q L O B F G E A H L F D





PARAGRAPH     HEROINE      NOVEL         AUTHOR


SENTENCE         BOOK          MYSTERY     WRITER

ROMANCE        HERO             PAGE            PARANORMAL

FICTION           EBOOK         STORY           PUBLISHER

CHARACTER






Friday, January 28, 2011

MuseItUp Publishing E-book Club



MuseItUp authors span worldwide and are eagerly waiting to meet you in our readers groups. Be the first to get a glimpse of their upcoming books, excerpts, author interviews, advance notice of any upcoming contests, time sensitive discount coupons to purchase our books…and have an all-around fun time!

On the first of each month we give away one FREE ebook to one lucky member.

Why not join us today!

Mainstream group: http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/MusePub_Readers/

Erotica group: http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/MuseitHOT/


National Kazoo Day

When: Always January 28th

People young and old love Kazoos. Kazoo Day celebrates the the joy of this musical instrument.

Alabama Vest of Macon Georgia made the first Kazoo in the 1840's. Actually, he conceived the Kazoo, and had Thaddeus Von Clegg, a German clockmaster make it to his specifications.
Commercial production of the Kazoo didn't occur until many years later in 1912. Manufacturing was first started by Emil Sorg in Western New York. Sorg joined up with Michael McIntyre, a Buffalo tool and die maker. Production moved to Eden, NY where the factory museum remains today.

Kazoos are easy to play. Simply hum a tune into the kazoo, and you're an expert. Kazoos can be played solo, or in groups. It plays a great tune both ways.
What do you do on National Kazoo day? Why, play the kazoo, of course.


Origin of National Kazoo Day:

We know when the Kazoo was invented, and by whom. We know a lot about the history of the Kazoo. But, we do not know who started National Kazoo Day.....
There is no evidence to suggest that this is truly a "National" day, which requires an act of congress.


I always loved the Kazoo. It was the only instrument I ever learned to play.  I bought my grandkids Kazoos for Christmas one year just for fun.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

National Chocolate Cake Day

I've never heard of National Chocolate Cake Day, but hey, who am I to refuse anything chocolate? Chocolate cake and a tall glass of cold milk - it doesn't get any better than that.  So just exactly what is chocolate cake day? From my research, I discovered,
National Chocolate Cake Day is  always January 27th
Chocolate Cake Day is a a chocolate lovers delight, and a day to eat cake.   A day to "bake your chocolate cake....and eat it, too!"
On this day, a white or yellow cake will not do. Nor, will part chocolate, part white suffice. It must be chocolate, all chocolate. You can make milk chocolate, dark chocolate, fudge, or any other type of chocolate cake.
The only reference to Chocolate Day on the Internet is from Ecard and calendar websites. This might lead you to conclude that this as a day for(and by) the Ecard companies. But, we know better. This day is for you, and all chocolate lovers.
There are three objectives of Chocolate Cake Day: To bake a chocolate cake. To decorate a chocolate cake. And, to eat a chocolate cake. Of course, if you are to busy to bake or decorate a cake, then just eating a chocolate cake will certainly do!

Now this is a holiday worth celebrating. I love the idea. Of course I love chocolate, so maybe that's why. I don't know who instituted this day or why, but it sounds good to me. Happy Chocolate Cake Day

A friend gave me this recipe for Crazy Cake a long time ago.Her mother used to make it. It's an easy, quick cake and doesn't call for eggs.




Crazy Cake

"This cake was popular during the depression, and does not have eggs in it."

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
 3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups cold water


Directions:

1. Sift flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together into a 9 x 13 inch ungreased cake pan. Make three wells. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well. Pour cold water over all, and stir well with fork.

2. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Frost with your favorite icing or sprinkle with powder sugar.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

Okay, so far we have Six Sentence Sunday and Two Paragraph Tuesday. I've decided to share something from my work in progress, so I'm calling this Work in Progress Wednesday.


“My gracious, Meghan Shelby is that you?” Aunt Lizzie grabbed Meghan’s hands and spun her around. “Let me look at you, child. I heard you were coming back.”

Meghan smiled. Aunt Lizzie would never change. Still sounded the same, the same nasally voice, as if she had a clothespin on her nose. Still looked the same, too. Same slight build, same gray hair pulled into a bun on top of her head. Even the same wrinkles on her tanned face. Meghan stopped in front of the old woman. “Yep, it’s me, Aunt Lizzie. How are you?”

“Gracious me, look at you, all grown up and all. Pretty young thing too. You look just like your mother”

Heat burned Meghan’s face, and she looked away. She hated when people complimented her. Didn’t like attention drawn to her. “I’d like a room for a couple of nights if you have one available.” That’s it change the subject, why people made over her she’d never know. Nothing extraordinary about her looks. Plenty of prettier girls out there than her. Probably had something to do with her red hair. Although she couldn’t see what difference that made. Okay so it was a tad redder than some she’d seen, but still.

“Sure do.” Aunt Lizzie took a key from a hook on the wall. “Number four, top of the stairs. Bath’s down the hall. You won’t have to share it since you’re the only one staying here. Come to settle the estate?”

“Thanks.” Meghan ignored the question, took the key, signed the guest register and handed Aunt Lizzie her credit card.

“Dinner’s at six like always. Unless you have other plans.” Aunt Lizzie ran the credit card and pushed the receipt toward Meghan to sign.

“Actually, I don’t. I’ll see you then.” Meghan signed the receipt, picked up her luggage and headed toward the stairs. “Oh, do you have a newspaper I can buy?”

Aunt Lizzie picked up the newspaper from behind the desk. “No charge, I read it already.”

“Thanks.” Meghan smiled and went upstairs. May as well check the classified right away. The sooner she found a job the better.

She set her bags on the luggage rack and looked around the spacious room. Nothing much different here either. Same antique furniture, same faded pink wallpaper. Unpacking could wait, finding a job held top priority. Meghan sighed and opened the paper to the classified. One ad caught her eye immediately. School Secretary – no experience necessary – good head for figures. Must love children. Apply in person – Monday 9:00 A.M to 4:00 P.M. 149 Gilmore Street Room 24. See Mr. Duncan.

Hmm, sounded like something she might like. She loved kids, was a whiz at math. Probably would have taught math if she hadn’t dropped out of college. Too bad circumstances hadn’t allowed her to finish. Not that Meghan regretted it; she’d do the same thing all over again.

Meghan circled the ad and looked at the rest. Nothing else appealed to her. Waitress, factory worker, dental receptionist, nope not for her. Though what she expected in a small town was beyond her. She’d be lucky to get any kind of job. She hadn’t really thought this out. Once letter came from Mr. Blake last month, informing her Aunt Beth had passed away and left her the family home, well there wasn’t any reason not to come back. Part of her always wanted to. All she needed was an excuse.

Meghan looked at her watch and hurried out to her car. Still time to apply.

Who knew maybe she’d run into Patrick along the way. Yeah, like that was going to happen. What was wrong with her lately? She hadn’t thought about Patrick for years. At least not until that letter came.



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Two Paragraph Tuesday

So I thought about it and decided to post paragraphs from Stranger on the Shore again. Stranger on the Shore is due out March 1st at MuseItUp Publishing http://bit.ly/dM2bHA

Oh, Lord, please don’t let him be dead. She had planned for a quiet weekend, writing. A weekend with a corpse wasn’t on her list of quiet. But she couldn’t leave him out here either.


Jordan came closer and stooped down next to him. Lifting his head out of the water, above the crashing waves, she felt for a pulse. Thank God, he’s alive. Now how to get him out of here? She grabbed his arm, rolled him over and tried to pull him from the fury of the lake. Wave after wave pounced on him, their foamy peaks trying to reclaim him. Lord, if she ever needed help, now was the time. Struggling to roll him to higher ground, she lost her breath. His long, muscular frame outweighed her slender five foot two body and felt like dead weight.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

From my book, Stranger on the Shore due out March 1st at MuseItUp Publishing   http://bit.ly/dM2bHA

Jordan jumped off the deck and raced toward the craggy shoreline.  Dark clouds hovered across the lake. Cold water splashed against her as waves crashed against the rocks like angry arms hurling water at an invisible enemy. The crash of thunder echoed across the lake. Ducking her head as lightening streaked across the sky and the air crackled with electricity, she thought she must be nuts. Probably just a bunch of old clothes washed up.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Few Things That Drive Readers Crazy by Ginger Simpson


A Few Things that Drive Reader’s Crazy
I love to find humor in every aspect of life. I truly believe medical reports that laughter reduces stress, lengthens your life, and of course, gives you a much better outlook.
I have tons of material...just based on my own life experiences, but when you factor in all the things learned in the writing and editing process, boy can I share stuff you've never even dreamed of. Like that...I just ended that sentence in a preposition...on purpose....to be defiant.

One passage in Hurricane Warning reminded me of a writing rule. A chaise lounge flying across the yard in a storm is logical, but try launching a hand or an eye. Flying body parts, "ing" words improperly used, head-hopping (isn't that a flying body part?)

When I read a passage where the hero "threw up his hands", I never pictured only that part of his body flying in the air. Nor did I think he stood over a toilet, hurled, and saw hands floating in the water. Evidently there are some who read more into that little passage, hence the new ruling.
If you read, "her eyes followed him across the room," do you actually picture two eyeballs scooting across the carpet in pursuit of a handsome man? No! But, it's okay for her gaze to follow him. Her eyes need to stay put!
How about those "ing" words that I so love to use because they smooth the flow of the sentences in some places? Editors have driven this point so hard that people are totally trying to avoid using them at all. I refuse. I just re-read what I wrote and make sure it is a sensible statement.
Here's a wrong one: "Searching for him in the darkness, her hands reached..."
If her hands are searching for him...where is the rest of her...and doing what? Better to say, "Searching for him in the darkness, she....
Now it's evident that she is searching...not just her disjointed hands. *lol* Those "ing" words get you into trouble when you forget to use a subject with them. Searching through the fog, the ground grew damp. Okay...now the ground is searching. Make sense? An easy fix but something as easy to forget.


See, these are the things that drive writers crazy.



Bio – Ginger has been writing as long as she can recall, whether it be Christmas newsletters to family to share the year’s events or creating silly poems or skits for office celebrations. Her first novel experience seemed almost like someone telling me a story, and she couldn’t wait to see how it ended. That’s when she discovered she's a pantser, not a plotter. Shje never plotted a story. Hertales are character driven and unless they talk to her, she can’t write. Luckily, she seems to have a revolving door in herbrain, because she's yet to run out of people with stories to share. Once she  has the story down, then it’s her job as the author to go back and turn it into a novel by adding all the emotions, smells, and conflict. She turns the “telling” into “showing.”


You can find out more about Ginger at
Links – http://www.gingersimpson.com/
or http://mizging.blogspot.com/


Here's an Excert from Ginger's just released book Hurricane Warning


“Batten down the hatches, folks.” The radio weatherman’s half-hearted chuckle did little to lighten the mood. His earlier forecast about an approaching storm proved true.

Linda Morrison peered through the picture window of her new Florida home and watched the whitecaps churning in Sleepy Reef’s inlet. Although the word hurricane had yet to be uttered, the sky grew darker by the minute and rain fell in torrents. Raging wind carried the spray from the crashing tide high into the air and whipped the colored flags atop the boathouse into a frantic dance. She chewed her bottom lip.

A few months ago, she’d lived in the Midwest and feared tornadoes. Moving here had simply switched one of Mother Nature’s furies for another. Why hadn’t she considered that?

She backed away from the shimmying window. If things worsened, she’d have to cover the glass panes to keep them from shattering, but she wasn’t sure she could do it alone.

This was supposed to be her new start, not a nightmare. She’d purchased the home from an older couple who wanted to move closer to their children. The real estate agent had laughed when Linda asked what the sheets of plywood in the garage were used for. After Katrina, the woman found it hard to believe anyone wasn’t versed in hurricane history.

Ginger's book is available from Muse It Up Publishing  http://tinyurl.com/2dvcfpb



Sunday, January 16, 2011

Six Line Sunday

In keeping with the trend of Six Line Sunday - here's my six lines from my novel, Stranger on the Shore.

“Darn, it’s getting cold.” Jordan shivered and zipped her sweatshirt.  She hated storms, hated thunder and lightning most of all.  Grabbing at some papers that flew across the deck as the wind picked up, a movement caught the corner of her eye. Something washed up on the shore. Something big. A body?


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hello, Larraine Wills

Semicolon, to or not to?


I am not an expert on composition, don’t pretend to be. I get confused by new styles and new trends the same as everyone. The first time I got a rejection, telling me I hadn’t used the Chicago Style of Writing, that publishers preferred, was the first time I had ever heard of any style other than I had learned in school. I thought English was English until then. The thought of learning English all over again nearly put me into a panic. I went right out to get a copy of the manual only to discover later, with my first acceptance, that not only do not all publishers prefer or use the Chicago Style, but each publisher has their own little preferences when it comes to grammar and punctuation. Confusing? Oh, yes, but semicolons rules have basically stayed the same in how they’re used, even though many publishers now prefer you not to use them at all. Before I get into that, let me give you two definitions for a semicolon usage from two sources. ‘The Elements of Style” a nice, basic reference book that has been around for ages, says, “If two or more clauses, grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction, are to form a single compound sentence, the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon.” From Purdue Online Writing Lab (resources to help you learn the Chicago Manual of Style): “You can use a semi-colon to join two independent clauses. Joining two independent clauses this way implies that the two clauses are related and/or equal, or perhaps that one restates the other.”

Though the two are a little different, the base rule is the same; you use a semicolon to separate two complete sentences without a conjunction. The first sentence in this paragraph brought up a squiggle green line from grammar check under the first comma. (I don’t know how many commas I incorrectly changed to a semicolon before I realized Word was telling me that it might need a semicolon, not that it did.) That sentence can stand as a good example of do or not. Had I written, The two are a little different; the base rule is the same, it would have required a semicolon, two independent sentences, the first relating to the other. In the first usage, Though the two are a little different is not a stand alone sentence. Another correct way to write it, Though the two are a little different, the base rule is the same, therefore you use a semicolon to separate two complete sentences without a conjunction. Now the same sentence in a style becoming more popular with many publishers who favor taking the semicolon out and making it two stand alone sentences. Though the two are a little different, the base rule is the same. You use a semicolon to separate two complete sentences without a conjunction. When in doubt, the last method is always correct.

Now just for fun, those of you who write, use find and see how many semicolons you’ve used in your last manuscript. I did that just last week on an early manuscript of mine and took out at least twenty. I’m sure it was a copy done before I realized Word was telling me maybe.

Visit me at my website: http://www.larriane.com/    I love visitors. You can check out my latest releases and get a glimpse of what’s coming next.

http://www.swimmingkangaroo.com with nine to choose from

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/ coming in May.

my links:
http://www.larriane.com/ http://larionmusing.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/people/Larriane-Wills/1535007230





Thursday, January 13, 2011

Are you stuck on your work in progress? Have writer's block?

Here's a place to brainstorm. I've found if I start writing what I'm stuck on, I often come up with ideas to further my writing.
In fact, it happened just this morning. I was replying to Ginger Simpson's blog in a comment to my comment. Actually her blog was about questions for her. I had asked if she plots or just writes. She commented back that she just writes until her character stops speaking to her. In a previous comment she gave examples of how to unblock oneself.
Since I write the same way and my characters have stopped speaking to me - This is the work that I plotted and have had trouble with for over a year. I had already used the examples she provided in her comment and still was stuck. But as I wrote and explained I was trying to find a way to keep the ex wife of my hero living in his home and thought about her breaking her leg and needing surgery and staying off of it for at least six weeks,  more ideas came to me. I figured he couldn't turn her away. She had given up her job and apartment in NY - oh and she's also pregnant, albeit from another man. She's also a spoiled little rich girl and I came up with the idea of Patrick calling her parents to come and get her. Now how did I get out of that one? Simple, they're on an extended cruise and won't be back for several months. Looks as though Patrick is stuck with her.
So what is this going to do to the relationship he just started with his new school secretary (he's a principal) who lives across the street. Not to mention his five year old daughter who took to her mother like ants on cookie crumbs as soon as she saw her. Now mind you, the five year old didn't remember her mother, she left when Emma was an infant.
There's more that I can go into, but I don't want to give the whole story away. Besides, that's not the point of this blog. 
If you have a problem with writer's block and need to brainstorm, here's the place to do it. Leave a comment about your story, where it's blocked and where you want it to go. Together and with help from others, maybe we can get you going again.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Be Good to Your Elf - by Elizabeth Coldwell


But Are Elves Erotic?

So how can an elf be sexy? Aren’t you more likely to come across as silly? That’s what Maddie, the heroine of my MuseItHOT! story Be Good To Your Elf, thought when she first pulled on the costume she was expected to wear in Santa’s Grotto. The tights might be flattering to a girl (or a guy) with good legs, but the hat with the bell on it?

It’s true that if you were choosing a costume to wear for a spot of sexy roleplaying, one of Santa’s elves might not come too high on your list. High fantasy elves are a different matter. The films in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy presented them as athletic, armour-clad warriors fighting against unimaginable evil. Casting Orlando Bloom as Legolas the elf provided eye candy for female viewers who might not otherwise be persuaded to sit through several hours of epic battles, Hobbits in peril and talking trees. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if a character like that persuaded you to unleash your inner elf.

Santa’s elves, however, don’t usually come with heroic overtones. We’ve become much more used to them as comic relief in a story, sitting at an assembly line in Santa’s Workshop putting together Christmas toys. Look at Dudley Moore, who helped to define the concept of the comedy elf in our minds when he played Patch in Santa Claus. Or, more recently, Will Ferrell as Buddy, the human raised by elves at the North Pole in Elf. Not exactly handsome or heroic characters, you might think. But in real life, Dudley Moore often described himself as a ‘sex thimble’, in reference to his diminutive stature, and attracted a string of beautiful wives with his looks, wit and charm (and possibly his bank balance). And good-natured Buddy may initially come across as a loser, but he wins the heart of Zooey Deschanel – who, it has to be said, looks pretty saucy in her elf attire. Looking at it in that light, slipping into tights and a tunic doesn’t necessarily mean you’re no longer going to be regarded as a potential bedmate.

Maddie initially manages to overcome her selfconsciousness about dressing as an elf because she reckons she won’t bump into anyone she knows, all her friends having gone home for the holidays. It also helps that she very quickly meeets Tyler, a divorced dad who’s also working at the grotto and who is all man beneath his brightly coloured costume. And when she relaxes, immersing herself in the magic of Christmas, it no longer matters how she’s dressed. She and Tyler make an erotic connection, and soon fate is presenting her with the opportunity to spend the holidays in his loving arms.

So while vampires may seem more mysterious, pirates more dashing and Vikings more dominant, don’t overlook the charm of the humble elf. After all, wouldn’t you want to spend time with someone who hands out all the best presents?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Six line Sunday

In keeping with the trend of Six Line Sunday - here's my six lines from my novel, Double the Trouble.
Kate Wesley is working in her new florist shop. Her first customer, Emma, a bride, left a short time before and left her car keys. Kate ran after her when she discovered them, but Emma was gone.

“Where’s Emma?” The tall, blond, muscular man yelled, before Kate had a chance to ask if she could help him.


Kate didn’t like his tone or the deep scowl that caused his eyebrows to almost meet above his icy blue eyes. “Excuse me.” Who did he think he was stomping in here like this? She took a step toward him.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Welcome, Lindsay Below

Fairytales enchant the mind as they are read or told. They promise a sense of magic, of adventure, and of satisfaction when the hero wins the day. In the romance genre, the fairytale structure is especially coveted, for when it comes to romance, who doesn’t want to read of a happily ever after?




Unveiling His Princess, out now from Liquid Silver Books, is what I like to call a true fairytale romance. For one, it’s set in a fictional past where magic and fairytales do exist. For another, it’s based on the Brothers Grimm tale “Princess Mouseskin”. While Natalia’s troubles differ somewhat from the original tale, in essence she has the same problem. Her stepsister steals the man she is betrothed to marry -- but Bennett is completely unaware that the “Natalia” introduced to him is not the same from his arranged marriage.

What is Natalia to do? Fortunately, she has the help of her fairy godmother and the assurance that she alone can arrest the prince’s attentions.

Here’s the blurb to the book:

When Natalia’s horrid stepsister locks in her a closet, steals her identity, and sets out to marry Prince Bennett in her place, Natalia nearly gives up hope. Luckily, she has a fairy godmother willing to guide her steps. Dressed in nothing but a mouse-skin pelt and assured that Bennett will recognize her even though they’ve never met; she sets out for his palace.

Prince Bennett knows that he must marry his princess, but when he meets her, something seems amiss. He cannot reconcile the lively, veiled beauty he consorts with at night with the waspish princess he meets during the day. And to make matters worse, he can barely fight off his attraction to a fur-clad scullery maid. Whatever will he do?

Excerpt from Unveiling His Princess:

“Antonia is gone.”

Natalia’s gaze flittered over his tall, red-garbed form and then retreated to her sturdy shoes. “I know, Father,” she whispered.

“She left a note, stating her intentions. And--Natalia, she took with her your lady’s maids, your jewelry, your clothes, even every last one of your handkerchiefs.”

Natalia let out her breath slowly. She had expected as much. It would not do for Natalia to turn up with some form of proof that she was the rightful princess. She stifled a smile. At least she had one form of revenge; Antonia was much too stork-like in structure to be able to comfortably wear her garments. Although Claudette, her (former) lady’s maid, would be able to make the alterations, it would take at least a day for her to cut Natalia’s dresses down to size.

Lifting her head, she asked, “What would you have me do, Father?”

He stroked his goatee as he studied her, finally nodding to himself as he made a decision. “You must follow her.”

“But, Father, I will have no proof of my identity--”

“You will not need proof.” As Natalia stared, her breath seemed to freeze in her chest. Whatever could he mean? “You will not be going as yourself, Natalia.”

Her mouth dropped open in affront. “Surely you do not expect me to attend as Antonia?”

“Indeed not. You will attend as a common peasant.”

The moments lengthened. Natalia’s ears rung. She could not possibly have heard right. “I beg your pardon?”

“You will attend as a peasant,” he announced. “You will present yourself to Prince Bennett barefoot, in nothing more than a mouse-skin pelt. You will wear no adornments in your hair, on your fingers, or around your neck. You will wear your hair loose, and you will not powder or perfume your skin. You will, by all means, make yourself as ordinary as possible.”

Shaking her head, Natalia protested, “Father, I cannot! It is not befitting of a princess--”

Besides, she would be competing with Antonia’s beauty. If she could not hope to compare while dressed in her finery, how could she aspire to gain Prince Bennett’s interest while dressed in rags?

Again, her conscience nagged, did she want to? The prince might be a hideous, hunchbacked hog. From what she could recall from the one portrait he had sent along, he was handsome enough, but it could have been a false likeness.

“A princess,” her father boomed, “is more than the clothes you wear, Natalia, more than the jewels which adorn your fingers. It is an attitude, a manner of speech and of bearing. Antonia will never understand that. You will present yourself to Prince Bennett in nothing more than a mouse-skin, and he will know you for who you truly are.”

As she struggled to maintain her composure, Natalia began to quiver. “But, Father,” she whispered. “Prince Bennett has never even seen me. How is he to know who I am?”

He wouldn’t. And once he saw Antonia, how could she hope to compare? Natalia was comely, but she didn’t approach Antonia’s cold beauty. If not for her stepsister’s cruel heart, Natalia might have been willing to concede that Antonia was more a princess than she was. The king had always said Natalia’s kindness was her crowning glory--but how was she to show it without her usual raiment? Prince Bennett would glance once at Antonia, see her beauty, and wed her before Natalia had any say in the matter at all.

“He will know,” the king said sternly.

L. K. Below writes romance and speculative fiction. Under her full name, Lindsay Below, she publishes young adult novels. Visit her online at www.lbelow.net.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Winter Doldrums


Just what are the winter doldrums? According to Dictionary.com - a doldrum is – a noun ( used with a plural verb )

1. a state of inactivity or stagnation, as in business or art: August is a time of doldrums for many enterprises.
2. the doldrums,
a. a belt of calms and light baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
b. the weather prevailing in this area.
3. a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits.
And according to World English Dictionary - a doldrum is:doldrums (ˈdɒldrəmz) — n
1. a depressed or bored state of mind
2. a state of inactivity or stagnation
3. a. a belt of light winds or calms along the equator
b. the weather conditions experienced in this belt, formerly a hazard to sailing vessels

January, of course, qualifies for one of the months in which the doldrums sets in. I've read where many people suffer from the winter doldrums, some very severely. Maybe it's the lack of sunshine (we're talking about the north, where the colder climates prevail, by the way. I know the sun shines all the time in the south, in the warmer climates).

 I used to suffer from the winter doldrums sometimes. I mean seriously, let's face it. Christmas is over, the tree is down, the warm glow of cheery lights has been removed and all that's left are dreary days and snow. Lots and lots of snow.

Okay, so far this January we've been lucky. Here it is the 5th and besides being cold (only 27 for a high today), we've not had much snow. I have a feeling that’s going to be remedied very soon. Right now we’re getting flurries and there’s even a light coating on the ground. In fact, the sun is out. Yay! We’ve actually had several sunny days so far this year. And the end of December was unseasonably mild going up to almost 60 degrees. That’s unheard of for December around here.

I’ve noticed the last couple of years, I’ve not suffered from the winter doldrums. Maybe it’s my age and the fact I no longer have to go out in the cold and snowy weather if I don’t want to. I can stay in my nice warm house and write or sleep or do whatever I want.

That’s a nice place to be in life. And although I look forward to Spring and the warmer temperatures so I can go out and walk, I’m content to stay inside for now and watch it snow. Life is good.



Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The fourth of January - already?


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Well here it is, the fourth of January, already. I haven't the slightest idea where the other days have gone. Right after Christmas, my husband decided to build a model railroad.  Why? I have no idea. But since he's retired, he spends the better part of the day on his computer and the latter part watching TV, seldom getting out of his chair. So, I figured this would be a good hobby for him, get him moving. He was into photography, but since he developed emphysema, he can't go out and take pictures much anymore. Not that he did all that much to begin with - mostly (after spending a lot of money on camera equipment) he  read about it. I do have to admit the pictures he did take were excellent.

Anyway, he found some websites, found a layout he liked and I encouraged him to order it. While we were waiting for the track to be delivered, we found some hobbyshops and train shops in the area. So, off we went to the store and he bought a train. It wasn't in either of our plans to buy a train, he just wanted to check out the shop. But, it was on sale and he couldn't pass up the deal.
Of course once we got it home, we discovered it wasn't the scale he wanted. The track he purchased was for HO scale and the train was O scale. Much larger. It was, as I said, an excellent deal because the carton was crushed and marked down considerably. So now, we had a decision to make - take it back or cancel the track. Upon further research, we discovered the O scale accessories were very expensive. Not that HO was cheap by any means, but a lot less expensive. So I suggested we take it back.
But like every young boy (I know he's a grown man), my husband had fallen in love with this set and said he can have two scales. Of course he was right. I've seen several layouts with two scales. So we kept the train. Sunday, my son came over and took him to the Home Depot to purchase plywood and other wood to build the train table. Today is Tuesday and he still hasn't started it. So far he's been doing a lot of reading. Today the track arrived and I thought it might motivate him. Well, with the track came a book and yep, he's still reading. I'm beginning to think I should have just got him some books. It certainly would have been cheaper.
I guess he'll get to it one of these days, but gees, we're not getting any younger. You'd think he'd want it finished in his lifetime.