Find Your Dream

Edownton abbeyver since I was a little kid in snowy Kentucky, I watched the Rose Parade on TV and vowed one day I would live in sunny California and see the parade.

Two and a half years ago, I made part of that dream happen when we moved to southern California. Two years ago, we saw the Rose Parade from the bleachers. That wasn’t enough. It’s hard to really see the floats from the side of the road.dragon

Today, we got to walk right up to the floats and admire the amazingly creative artistry involved in building them. What is even more astonishing is that California has been in a drought for four years, and flowers are in short supply. The designers had to use dry grasses, leaves, bark, and any other natural substance at hand to create the floats.

dragons neckWe took a million pictures, minimum! Here’s a detail of the dragon float. I know the bands and the costumed characters are a wonderful, exciting part of the parade–but it’s the flowers and sunshine that lit my dark childhood days. I wish I lived closer so I could be part of the wonder of creating these marvelous floats!

me

Are you creating dreams to work toward? Tell me!

Honey, They Shrank My Icons!

catcomputerI finally downloaded Win 10 on my new Lenovo laptop that came with the despised Win 8.1.  The new program is very pretty and probably quite nice once I finish riddling the computer with bullet holes. Remember my telling you how I proudly installed my Black Friday huge monitor in my sunny living room by hooking it up to my laptop? It was so lovely to see entire Excel documents and be able to read Word documents side-by-side!

Well, Win 10 shrank everything. It’s basic setting is for tablets at some ridiculous .9 setting that I couldn’t read even if I was a teenager, which I’m not. AND IT WON’T LET ME CHANGE IT!  I’ve followed the instructions. They’ve made it impossible to increase all the elements at once. I have to patiently go through and check them off, then wait five minutes for them to reset, only to have the whole thing shrink up again later. My e-mail looks like ant tracks.

Even my IT husband gave up. Anyone have a gun? Or maybe I should just let the cat fix it. Am I the only one who jinxes computers this way?

Fashion Magic

Coeds_with_Hoes_(3332955265)Today’s trivial pursuit: how do you wear your shirts over jeans?

 

In my family pre-Thanksgiving shopping expedition, I found a bargain on a fabulous soft cardigan I thought I could wear around the house with jeans. Once I wore it at home, though, I realized I wear all my shirts outside my jeans, and this sweater is too short to cover the shirts. I’d have to tuck in my tops, which looks a bit odd jeans_(196025365)since I can only wear low slung jeans. So, do you tuck? Wear really long cardigans? What’s the solution? (and go naked isn’t the answer!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Historical Romance - Christmas Promotion #1

To show our gratitude to our fabulous readers this holiday season, I’ve teamed up with over 50 fantastic romance authors, including Claudia Dane, Grace Burrowes, Jennifer Ashley, and Jo Beverley to give away more than 35 historical holiday romances, and a $100 gift card to one lucky winner!

I’m entering five copies of Christmas Enchantment as well as several other anthologies.

Enter the contest by clicking here: http://bit.ly/XmasRomance

Tasmanian Devils

koalaI just spent the last few weeks in Australia—another check off my bucket list! We met our son there and spent a big part of our time touring Tasmania. We visited a wildlife sanctuary where we could feed kangaroos and visit with koalas and gorgeous cockatoos (one was a hundred years old!). To our dismay, as we continued our journey, we learned many of the animals—including the kangaroos and kangarootasmanian devilTasmanian Devils—in the sanctuary are basically roadkill in the countryside.

But we also visited with Anne Gracie  (Hi, Anne!), traveled anneandmepart of the Great Ocean Road on the mainland, and saw koalas hanging from the trees in the wild.

If you could, what country would you visit?

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To show our gratitude to our fabulous readers this holiday season, we’ve teamed up with over 50 fantastic romance authors, including Claudia Dane, Grace Burrowes, and Jennifer Ashley to give away more than 35 historical holiday romances, and a $100 gift card to one lucky winner.

Enter the contest by clicking here: http://bit.ly/XmasRomance

 

Magic Time

calendarMaybe the reason I add magic/odd/psychic elements to my book is because in my search for escapism, I’m hoping to warp time–must try that some day! But in writing historical romance, time is still relevant, unfortunately. I have just written myself into a nasty corner on this Magical Malcolm trilogy I’m drafting. The final book ends on a particular day in history and even my powerful characters can’t take back time. Which means I must go back through the whole book and figure out what they’re doing on which day of the week. Really, when will I learn organization?

Fall at the Beach

palmWhile everyone else is raking lovely autumn leaves, here at the beach we’re dodging palm fronds. Don’t let those dainty frills against blue skies fool you. They’re attached to the tree with wood as solid as any pine branch. And the trees don’t just drop the pretty fronds–they drop the entire branch. On roofs, heads, anything that happens by at the wrong time. The ones at the beach will wash away, but the ones all the driveway have to be cut up with saws and hauled off. The Santa Ana winds are blowing off the desert this weekend, so they’re crashing everywhere. Along with the full moon tide, we’re ready for Halloween!

Historical World Building

Because I’ve been out playing this weekend–finally saw Lion King live with the family among other things–I played hooky from the computer. It’s hard to come back from the Magic man 640awesomeness of that music to words that must be pulled from my cranium. So today, I refer you to my Word Wench post on historical world building. Do you have favorite book worlds that you visit?

Vintage London

One of my many frustrations in researching Regency England is the difficulty of picturing 1812 against what I can see in the 21st century. The photo is of Big Ben in 2015. For the fun of it, here are some montages of London in the early years of BigBenphotography. Those of you who are familiar with today’s London will see a lot that’s familiar. Do these kind of images help you picture what we write about in our novels?

Street life in Victorian London https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlNzeoyAokE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoSBUY6Msb4

 

Nature at Work

I live in Southern California and walk the beach or harbor almost daily. (I had to wait for my husband to retire to accomplish this life-long goal!) One of the fascinating things about coastline is how it changes daily. With the abnormal weather we’ve been surfexperiencing, it can change in a few hours. We had no summer this year–just months of cool, gloom. Now it’s October and we suddenly have heat waves and crashing surf–and humidity! I feel as if I’m back in St Louis.

The photo to my right was taken today. This summer, that was all beach out there past those rocks. Today, the rocks and sand were over the sidewalk and parking lot–the surf was that high.

erosionAnd at the far end of our beach, the tide rose so high and the surf hit so hard that it took out the sand beneath a sidewalk that’s been there for decades. It’s hard to see in this photo, but where that palm tree is used to be someone’s yard. Before long, they won’t have a deck. No storm, no hurricane, simply rising tide.

Have you noticed any unusual weather patterns in your area?