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Take a look at the headlines on the Boston Red Sox site this morning:

Sox get bruised, battered by charging Rays

After early exit, Lackey hopes to make next start

MRI shows bursitis in Youkilis’ left hip

Beckett making progress; Bedard strains lat

and

Weiland looks to snap Boston’s three-game skid

Yikes! You have to look really hard to find any good news there. Come on guys, I know it’s been a long season but now is not the time to fall apart, not with the Yankees 2 1/2 games in front and Tampa Bay snapping at our heels for the wild card spot. You have less than 20 games left in the season, surely you can last that long.

Can’t you? Yes, you can. I know you can. You’re back at home now and that’s where you play your best baseball so please, please, snap out of it!

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I probably shouldn’t be writing about this, but I just can’t seem to help myself so here goes…all the sports news sites are talking about how the Red Sox own the Yankees this year.  My guys have won the first seven games against their arch rivals and when you throw in the last game they played against New York last season, they’ve won eight games in a row.

*fingers crossed, knocking on wood, etc.*  Boston hasn’t had a winning streak like this against the Yankees since 1912.  Yes, that’s right, 1912, before Babe Ruth entered the picture and long before the possibility of a curse reared its ugly head in the mind of Red Sox fans everywhere.

Eight straight games.  Will it last?  Probably not, but I’d be tickled pink red if it did.  I’m loving every minute of this, but my husband, the Yankees fan, well, not so much.

He keeps saying the Yankees will come back and I have to agree with him on that one, they always do.  But, and this is a big but, their starting pitching stinks this year, even with the two aces they paid a gazillion or so dollars to get in the off-season, and their bullpen sucks.  On the flip side, Boston’s starting pitchers, after a rocky start for some of them, are getting better, and our bullpen is one of the best in the league.  And of course, we’ve got Tim Wakefield.  Wake has become our go-to man, the pitcher you can always count on to go deep into a game and give the bullpen a rest if they need it.  The ace, who in his quiet, steady way gets the job done without a lot of posing and posturing, just straight-forward pitching.  Seriously, he disproves the Yogi-ism that “all pitchers are liars or crybabies.”

So, have I just jinxed my guys, especially Wake, or will this streak continue?  Back in March when my husband was gloating about how good the Yankees were going to be this year, all I would say to him is that this would be an interesting season.  So far, it has been–well, okay, more for me than him–but there are a lot of games left and if there’s one thing you can count on in baseball, it’s that the Yankees are never down for the count, or if they are, they’ll come roaring back and just like Yogi said, “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

A special note to David Ortiz:  next time a reporter says something to you about being in a slump not hitting, give them Yogi’s answer, “Slump?  I ain’t in no slump, I just ain’t hitting.”  And remember, “swing at the strikes” and don’t overthink your game because as Yogi said, “How can you think and hit at the same time?”

Go Red Sox!

That’s directed at the Red Sox.  Come on guys, do whatever you have to do to break out of this horrible slump you’re in.  You’re better than this and I, along with all your other fans, don’t like seeing you in last place in the AL East, not even this early in the season.  For cripes sake, even Toronto’s doing better than you.  Then again, they’re doing better than New York and Tampa Bay too, so I guess it’s not all bad.  Nah, forget I said that, this is bad, very bad and I sincerely hope it won’t last.

Okay, that’s it.  Just had to get that off my chest.  I know it’s not anybody’s fault but we need a win or two…or heck, let’s think big and go for a couple dozen.  I know you can do it!  Well, okay, maybe not out west because that’s never been your favorite stomping grounds, but please once you get back to Fenway, do us all a favor and give your fans something to smile about again!

The world, at least my little corner of it, will be a better place for it!

I’ve had, for the most part, a really great week.  All the reviews sites I queried about doing a review of my book asked for an ARC or PDF file and they’ve been sent–whew!–I’ve been working on the second book of my series–yay!–I’ve gotten most of my spring cleaning done–yuck!–I started a new short story, this one with a ghost as the main character–fun!–I finally went to the library and got a library card–’bout time!–and while I was there I talked to the head librarian about doing an “Afternoon with the Author” this fall after my book comes out–woo-hoo!

Like I said, a great week, except the Red Sox have been in a bit of a slump and they’ve slipped into second place behind Tampa Bay–yes, Tampa Bay!–in the AL East.  But the Yankees are tied for last place, which is never a bad thing.  But, my boys are back at home now, and they almost always play better at Fenway.

And Manny…ah, my man Manny seems to be having the time of his life.  In fact, as he puts it, “This is a game — you’ve got to go enjoy it and have fun.”

Truer words, and all that.

The thing is…if more people would live by those words, I think the world would be a better place for all of us.  Too many people spend their life filled with hate, bitter about the way the world is treating them and doing their best to cause other people pain.  I ran up against one of those people this week and I admit, I was really pissed at this person at first.  It took a full day of agony and frustration, not to mention a lot of house work, before I realized I needed to just forget about it and get on with my life.

Or as Manny says, enjoy it and have fun.  So, that’s what I’m going to do!

Thanks Manny!  

P.S.  Congrats on number 498!  And that double play last night–oh, baby, that was a thing of beauty!  I found myself wishing I was the fan in the stands you jumped up and high-fived.  Then again, it’s probably a good thing I wasn’t because I would’ve grabbed hold and never let go!  You know how it is with us rabid fangirls! 

 

Wow, a lot of things happened while I was away on vacation!  I’ll try to keep this short, but fair warning, it may run a tad long.  Hmm, maybe I should break it down in categories…

First up, baseball.  Not feeling too happy with my boys right now, but hey, we’re only six games into the season and they have plenty of time to pull out of this hole they’ve dug themselves into–last place in the AL East.  Ugh, I hate saying that, but those are the facts and everybody knows Boston has one of the toughest schedules in the majors during April, so I’m not angsting over it–too much!  I am glad they made it back from Japan safely and truthfully, I didn’t expect them to do well following that long trip.

I’m taking comfort in the thought that after 18 days, four cities, and three countries, they had to be exhausted and the losses in the past week probably have them feeling as frustrated as the fans.  Tomorrow is opening day at Fenway and after today’s off day, I’m hoping they’ll be rested enough that they’ll be able to pull off a win against the Tigers.  Playing at home is always better and as Scarlet O’Hara said, tomorrow’s another day.  Let’s hope so!

Second, Amazon.  Grrr!  They’re flexing their considerable muscle and trying to force publishers to switch to their POD company, BookSurge, a move that has the potential to seriously hurt small press publishers and their authors.  I’m a newbie at this whole print thing–my first print book won’t be out until August–and don’t really understand all of it, but from what I’ve read the whole thing sucks.  I know my publisher is working to alleviate any worry for its authors and coming up with appropriate plans to keep our books out there, but I really don’t like Amazon right now.  Suffice it to say, they’ll get no more of my business until they stop acting like the playground bully and stop employing these kinds of scare tactics. 

And speaking of my publisher, they just sent through the link to a humorous assessment by Jock Stewart on his Morning Satirical News blog about what’s been going on with Amazon:  Nile Books Tells Publishers ‘We’re the Only Game in Town.’  Take a few minutes to read it, you’ll appreciate the humor, even if you’re not an author with a book to sell on Amazon.

They–L&L Dreamspell–also just sent their authors some good news about Barnes and Noble where our books are concerned.  It’s too complicated to go into here–and yeah, being a newbie, I don’t understand it all–so I’ll just say it’s further proof that this publisher really knows how to take care of their authors!  Thanks L&L!

Third, the world of e-publishing.  I understand the owner of New Concepts is still sending out bitchy emails about what’s going on with them.  I’m not saying they’re going down, but if I were one of their authors, I’d be busy circling the wagons against attacks from this woman and her shady unprofessional business dealings.  And please, please, if you’re an aspiring author, listen to everything that’s being said and avoid this publisher at all costs.

Dark Eden Press is now officially closed and I’ve heard the authors all received their rights back from the owner.  I’ve also heard some rumblings which lead me to believe this closing wasn’t really a matter of personal illness and that the owner has done a few things which give some people the impression that she’s not handling the closing as professionally as she’d like everyone to believe.  Don’t know what the truth is here and I’m reluctant to bring this up, but it has me wondering–especially after seeing a copy of an email to her authors from one of the owner’s pals (?) that said they had so many submissions to one of their lines that they decided to “give” them to another e-publisher.  WTF?  Can they do that?  And if they can, did they bother to check with the authors of those submissions first?  Because I’ve heard some rumblings about the publisher they chose to “give” them to and I don’t think if I was one of those authors, I’d be very happy about this.  Sure, it’s a chance to be published, but given the word I’ve heard on this particular publisher, I think I’d run as fast as I could in the other direction before signing with them–and I have to wonder how many new authors will know to check them out thoroughly before they sign?

Okay, that’s enough for now.  This thing is way too long so I’ll have to save the news about my vacation for a different post.  See ya’ later! 

I don’t know what made me do it, but this morning as I was eating breakfast and entertaining myself surfing the Internet, I turned on the TV and guess what I found?  Baseball!  Yep, my boys were playing their season opener again the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo.  How come I didn’t know that?  I would’ve been up at the crack of dawn if I had known ESPN was going to broadcast the game. 

And believe me, I will be tomorrow morning!

So, I came into the game late, around the eighth inning, and the Red Sox were behind.  Bummer, but I started singing Tessie as I poured another cup of coffee and it wasn’t long before Tessie worked her magic again.  In the ninth, Brandon Moss–a last minute replacement for J. D. Drew–hit his first homerun in the majors and tied the game.

Believe me, that was better than ten cups of coffee to get me going!

Then, when the game went into extra innings, I got to see my favorite player, Manny Ramirez, do his thing.  And oh boy, was it a thing of beauty!  With Julio Lugo on second base, Oakland decided to walk David Ortiz and take their chances with Manny instead.  Wrong decision on their part, but I love it when that happens, especially when it plays out like it did today!  Manny hit a double–which came close to being a homerun–Big Papi and Lugo rounded third and headed for home and the Red Sox won their first game of the season.  Woo-hoo!  

The thing is…I really don’t get it when teams intentionally walk Ortiz and take their chances with Manny.  It always makes me shake my head.  Just doesn’t make sense to me, but then, like Oakland manager, Bob Geren, said, “they’re both great hitters and you have to pick one or the other.”  And I guess, in the case of Ortiz and Manny, it sometimes seems like the classic no-win scenario.  I’m just glad they play for my team.

So, baseball’s back and with it comes the Red Sox, Manny, and unlimited hope for another winning season.  God’s in His heaven, smiling down at all us baseball fans, and at least for the moment, all’s right in my world…

play ball!

My second post of the day has to do with…baseball, of course!  Lots of things going on around Red Sox Nation and am I ever ecstatic to type that!  Woo-hoo!

Here’s the latest on my personal boys of summer:

Terry Francona and the Red Sox have agreed to a three-year contract extension, with a two-year option.  Super!  Go get ’em, Tito!

The Red Sox were at the White House last week to accept the President’s congratulations on winning the World Series.  My man Manny opted out of the appearance to stay home and meditate, which apparently has become his thing to do when he’s off.  A lot of people–mostly Yankee fans–were upset that Manny didn’t see fit to go, calling him, among other things, classless.  Hmmm…well, after catching George W.’s comments regarding Manny’s absence at the ceremony, I have to say our President behaved like a spoiled little boy denied his lollipop.  I mean, come on, how classy is it to joke about the death of a family member?  I don’t care if you are the President of the United States, you don’t make jokes like that.  Granted, some of my feelings about this one are colored because I’m a Manny fan girl, and I can’t claim to be anywhere near a fan of George Bush, but beyond that, I think what he said was tasteless and not the least bit funny.

Jonathan Papelbon is, according to the bloggers over at AOL Sports, unhappy with his salary.  Okay, I agree with him to a certain extent, he probably is underpaid, but come on, Paps, you make almost half a million dollars a year.  How many young men your age can say that?  The day will come when you’ll be paid and paid well for your skills.  In the meantime, I really don’t want to hear any whining and I don’t want to hear anymore about you rallying the other young guys around you to put the owners on notice they’re going to have to pay in the long run.  I dare say they’re well aware of that.  Oh, and Paps, one last thing, curb that arrogance, it makes you look a little too much like Roger Clemens–and you know how I feel about him!

Last but not least, a few words of wisdom (?) from Hank Steinbrenner to Red Sox Nation:  “We’re going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order.”  I gotta tell you, I had a good laugh imagining all those Yankee fans groaning over Steinbrenner’s idiocy.  Jinx!  Jinx!

But that laugh was nothing compared to the one I had when I read that Red Sox owner John Henry made Steinbrenner an honorary member of Red Sox Nation, complete with membership card and all the other perks that come with it.  Still chuckling over that little bit of foolishness!  Thanks Mr. Henry, way to come back on that one!

Outside of Red Sox Nation, Bud Selig has seen fit not to suspend Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens for the 2008 season.  Not sure how I feel about that, I guess we’ll have to wait and see whether either one of them are offered a contract.  Me, I wouldn’t be willing to take the chance with my money, I wouldn’t want them in my clubhouse simply because of their egos.  IMO, people like that hurt a team far more than they ever help it.

I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day.  Don’t know why that is, it just never meant very much to me.  I mean I love getting flowers and my husband just sent me a beautiful bouquet of red carnations–my favorite–but I’m not into chocolate and I’m against the whole card thing because hey, dead trees!  So Valentine’s Day is way down my list of preferred holidays.

I know, I know, I write romance, it should be right up there at number one, right? 

Well, this year it is, because it’s also the day pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.  You know what that means–baseball season is almost upon us and after the beating the sport–and my love of it–took yesterday, it can’t come soon enough for me.

(Fair warning I’m going to go off on a little side rant here!)

So, I wasted two hours of my life watching Roger Clemens testifying to Congress about the Mitchell Report yesterday.  If you ask me, Clemens represents everything that’s wrong with professional sports and after his repeated attestations of innocence, I found myself having to control an urge to throw the nearest hard object at my TV.  Good thing I didn’t have a baseball handy!

Can we all say overpaid arrogant jerk?  Well, I can, and let me assure you, I did.  Several times, in fact.

The thing is…I already knew I didn’t like Clemens, but after yesterday I have to tell you, I’m even more disgusted by his wife.  There’s an acronym that’s popular in the romance community right now; TSTL.  It refers to a character, most often, but certainly not limited to, the heroine of a book who is Too Stupid To Live.

And that’s exactly how I feel about Debbie Clemens.  It’s bad enough she’s married to a jerk, but now she’s letting him use her to try and clear his name…or maybe just deflect some of the suspicion away from him…or something.  I’m not really sure at this point, but IMO, her saying she let Brian McNamee inject her with HGH without her husband’s knowledge, just made me think maybe these two were meant for each other.

Why would a woman do that?  Why, if you had a husband who was being raked over the coals, would you throw yourself down there with him?  I suppose it could be love, but I think it’s more a case of protecting all those millions her husband has milked from baseball.  Or maybe she’s been living with someone who is TSTL for so long that she’s caught the disease.  Whatever.

And so, on this day for lovers, I crown her TSTL Queen of the Day.

As for Mr. Clemens, my pick for TSTL King, I’d like to ask him what kind of a man that makes him?  You remind me of the playground bully who when challenged runs home to Mommy and hides behind her skirt.

Like I said, arrogant overpaid jerk–and might I toss in, moronic, idiotic, childish, immature…well, you get the picture!

Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system, I want to wish all of you a Happy Valentine’s Spring Training Day!  The future’s so bright we have to wear shades…

Especially if you’re a Red Sox fan!  

The sun is shining here in western North Carolina–finally!–the thermometer’s pushing 70–take that Mr. Groundhog!–and I just saw on the Red Sox site that Jon Lester is in Ft. Myers already doing the Spring Training thing!  Woo-hoo!  

Now that’s exciting news for a baseball fan like me and the fact that it’s Jon Lester makes it doubly exciting!

For those of you who don’t know who Jon Lester is, I offer up this little bit of wisdom:

**Jon Lester, who came back from a cancer diagnosis in 2006 to win this year’s World Series clincher for Boston, was honored Wednesday with the Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming adversity through spirit, determination and courage.

The 23-year-old pitcher was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in August 2006. After cancer treatment during the offseason, he started the year on the disabled list. Lester was recalled in July and finished the regular season 4-0 with a 4.57 ERA.

The thing is…I saw him pitch with the Portland Seadogs in Maine before he was diagnosed with cancer, was devastated when I heard the diagnosis, and thrilled beyond belief when he returned last season after going through chemo-therapy.  And the fact that he won the Tony Conigliaro Award last year means he’s a winner in my book–forever!–because, well, you know how I feel about Tony C!

And judging by Lester’s early appearance in camp, he’s just as anxious as I am to get this season started!

So, am I ready for some baseball–yes!  Yes!  Hell, YES!  Bring it on! 

 **Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press–here’s the full story:  http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3132061

Okay, in between talking baseball with my fellow Red Sox fans–of which there aren’t many down here in NC–and watching the World Series games–Go Sox!  Three down, only one more to go!–I’ve been spending my time immersed in Cherokee legends and myths while I research the second book in my Eternal Shadows series–the first book, Snow Shadows, is now under contract with L&L Dreamspell and is scheduled to come out in print and ebook next year!  Woo-hoo!

Sorry, it’s difficult to curb my enthusiasm over that one!

So anyway, amid all the sites on the Internet which deal with the history of the Cherokee, I’ve found one that originates from Indiana.  Indiana?  Yep, there’s a branch of Cherokee Indians in Indiana called the Lone Wolf Band, and they have an interesting history of their own.  Here’s the link if you want to check it out: 

http://www.skyenet.net/~myersdk/toc.html

I clicked on the site originally because it came up when I searched for “Cherokee Religious Beliefs.”  That page on their site was interesting so I clicked over to their main page.  And well, wow!  There are a number of pages, dealing with everything from history to spiritual beliefs, and I took the time to read them all.  As a result, I’m even more enthralled with my ancestors than I was before. 

As I was reading my way through the many different pages, the one titled “Are you Cherokee?” kept catching my eye, but I resisted clicking on it.  Why?  Well, my great aunt always said, “one drop of Cherokee blood is enough to make you Cherokee,” but there are many who don’t feel that way.  A lot of tribe members today consider only those who can prove their heritage with documentation true members of the Cherokee tribe.  My family can’t do that, we have no legal documentation that my great-great-great grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee.  So I avoid pages like that.  I know I’m Cherokee and I don’t want–or need–anybody telling me I’m not.

But the rest of the site was so engrossing that I overcame my deep-seated resistance, braced myself and clicked on that dreaded page anyway.  And I hate to repeat myself, but well, wow!  The page begins with a prophecy from our ancestors that the new century  (my first thought was the 20th, but on another page this site says it’s the 21st) “would bring forth many people of Cherokee blood that want to rejoin the heritage that had been hidden from them.”  The prophecy is told in detail on the “Return of the Buffalo” page and it’s fascinating reading.  A little like the predicitons of Nostradamus, far-seeing and eerily accurate.

The thing is, it goes on to offer an explanation as to why my family doesn’t have the “legal documentation” so many say we need if we want to claim to be a part of the Cherokee tribe.  The page says:    

“During and after the removal of the people, times became very hard. So the government devised yet another way to assist in the extermination of the Indians. The government offered those Indian people their own plots of land and also gave them up to $5000.00 in cash so that they could live and farm their own lands. They even offered them slaves. But this was not without a catch. To do this the government required these families to denounce their Indian heritage and to never speak of it again. The government wanted these Indians to live as whites and because times were so hard for these people, many accepted.”

That little historical tidbit is something my great aunt never told me and I never found in all my research, and I’ll be honest, it feels incredible to know that Aunt Bessie was right; even with that one drop of Cherokee blood that flows through my veins, I am Cherokee.

That speaks to my soul and warms my heart.  Enough so that when I read the part about the so-called Cherokee “experts” who refer to people like me as a “Wannabe,” or even more derogatory,  a “Twinkie,” I laughed. 

Me, a Twinkie.  Who’d’ve thought?  I just might have a t-shirt printed up!

So thanks to the Lone Wolf Band of Cherokee Indians in Indiana.  You’ve confirmed–in my mind and heart!–my heritage, given me a few ideas to be included in my next book, and lifted my spirits all at the same time!

Wa-do!  (Thank you in Cherokee)

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams