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Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve created a monster.  Not one composed of different parts of dead human beings but one made of a living, breathing animal. 

Hmm…perhaps I should start from the beginning.  The vet recently told me that one of my dogs, Des, is a few pounds overweight.  I don’t see it, but I figure a vet should know so I decided to start taking him on daily walks around our subdivision–my husband says I’m crazy since we have a large fenced-in backyard where the dogs can run and get plenty of exercise.  My other dog, Fletch, takes full advantage of it but Des…well, Des is a mama’s boy and he wants to be with me at all times.  That doesn’t allow for much exercise since I spend the majority of my time sitting in my office writing–with Des usually sprawled at my feet, snoring.

Daily walks seemed just the thing so I’ve abandoned the 30 minutes a day on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes of walking.  The thing is, Des loves the walks and until he gets what he wants, he won’t leave me alone so I can do other things, like finish a manuscript or edit a WIP.  He sits here by my chair and just stares at me until I get up, get his harness and leash, and take him for a walk.  After that, he’s fine and sometimes even detaches himself from my side and takes a nap in the living room or dining room instead of in my office.

But…is he losing weight?  I can’t tell and at over a hundred pounds, he’s too big for me to pick up and step on the scale with him to check.  He does look like he’s toned up a bit but then I never thought he was overweight in the first place so what do I know.  I guess we’ll find out in a couple of months when we go back to the vet for his checkup.

Even though fall doesn’t officially start until Wednesday, here in western North Carolina, we’ve been getting a teasing glimpse of autumn with cooler temps at night and apple-scented breezes wafting our way from all the apple orchards in the area.  On Saturday, I spent the day canning apple jelly and of course, I used local apples.  So sweet and juicy.  Did you know that home-made apple jelly has a lovely pink tint to it instead of the fake goldish color of store-bought apple jelly?  So much prettier!

Got a couple of promotions to pass on…first, over at the Dames of Dialogue blog, author Loretta Wheeler is guest blogging and she’s talking about blow-up dolls.  Huh?  Yep, blow-up dolls and how she uses them to enhance her writing.  Funny post!  I guarantee you’ll have a smile on your face after you read it!

Next, my hero in Storm Shadows, Marcus Tassel, is guest blogging on Stacy Juba’s 25 Years Ago Today blog.  Marc talks about the second time he saw his heroine in his visions.  We’d both like to thank Stacy for hosting us on her wonderful blog!

And that’s it from me today.  Off to label my beautiful apple jelly and maybe sit outside on the porch swing for a while and enjoy this gorgeous weather.  Hope everyone has a fabulous fall!

At times I love this blog…and at other times I hate it.  I love it because it gives me a place to promote my books, a place to talk about what’s happening in my real life, a place to talk about what’s going on with my writing, and a place to rant and rave if I want to.  But there are times when I hate it because I really don’t feel like writing about anything at all and during those times I always feel guilty because I’m not posting anything new.

Which is why when I stumbled across this post by Carolina on The Lady Bloggers Society  blog, I felt like standing up and cheering for the author!  What she said!  She expressed my feelings so exactly that I felt almost as if she were in my head and knew every thought I’d ever had about blogging.

Are you, like me, a guilty blogger?  If you are, read Carolina’s post and take heart, you’re not alone.  And I have to say, if you are like me and struggling to keep your blog going, check out the rest of The Lady Bloggers Society’s blog.  I bookmarked it because it looks like there are lots of tips and ideas for even the most reluctant blogger and I’m sure I’ll go back to it time and time again.  Heck, I may even join the society–that is, if I ever get over this funk I’m in!

In other happier news, my sister and I just topped seventy thousand words on the book we’re writing about our great aunt’s life growing up in Hot Springs, NC.  We’re to the point where Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch are “courting” which means there’s not much more to tell in this book.  Yippee!  Maybe we’ll meet our self-imposed deadline after all!

And in the strange news category, on Saturday, I was talking to John Waterman who is a co-member of one of the writing groups I belong to, the Western North Carolina Writers’ Guild.  It turns out John’s a member of the Rumbough family who lived in Hot Springs while Aunt Bessie and her family were there.  The Rumboughs were an important family in Hot Springs and at one time, or actually two times, owned the town’s famous resort.  From all my research, I’m pretty sure one of John’s uncles–or cousins, I’m horrible at keeping up with how people are related in families–a Mr. John Rumbough owned the Annex salooon and was a good friend of my great grandfather, John Daniels, the constable of the town at that time.

Six degrees of separation, you say?  Yep, I agree and ever since my sister and I started writing and researching this book, I’m constantly amazed at what a small world it really is!

We got four inches of rain yesterday and although it’s not raining today–thank goodness!–my husband and I woke this morning to a broken water pipe which means we have no water and that–horror of horrors!–means I haven’t had my morning gallon of coffee.  Not a good day so far, but the plumber is here now and hopefully I’ll have water–and coffee!–soon. 

A few things on my mind today:

1.  Last week was a bad week for writers.  Don’t know if it was something in air or what, but we lost two of the best, Robert B. Parker, author of the Spenser series, and Erich Segal, author of Love Story.  Mr. Parker was sitting at his desk working when he died and I couldn’t help but think that’s the way every author would want to go.

2.  Last Tuesday was Edgar Allen Poe’s 200th birthday and though he’s been gone for a long time there’s still a mystery surrounding him.  Every year for the past 60 years, an unknown person visited Poe’s gravesite on his birthday and left three roses and a half-full bottle of cognac on the grave.  Seems fitting somehow for Poe to have a mysterious visitor but this year, the mystery person failed to appear.  Since no one knew who the person was, no one knows why they didn’t show this year.  Just another mysterious day in the Poe neighborhood.

3.  Congrats to the Colts and the Saints for making it to the Super Bowl.  Should be a good game even though I can’t decide who to root for.

4.  Interesting and fun post on Monday Dialogue with Guest today.  Linda Bulger is talking about knitting.  I’m a sometimes knitter and I learned a few things.  Check it out at the Dames of Dialogue blog!

5.  I spent most of yesterday organizing my Word files and I’m still not finished.  Amazing how many files I have.  I did delete a few but not enough to make a difference so it looks like I’ll be back at it again this afternoon–that is, if I can get my eyes uncrossed and my brain unfried.

6.  Also spent quite a bit of time researching the Melungeons.  Interesting people and they play a big part in the WIP I’m working on with my sister about my great aunt’s life.  Did you know Virginia passed a Racial Purity Act in 1924 and the Supreme Court upheld it in 1927, which led to 30 more states passing the same type of law?  What is it about humans that they always have to have someone to persecute?  

And that’s it for this non-rainy day and Monday.  Time to go check on the plumber and see how that water thing’s coming along…

Herbie, a huge elm tree believed to be around 240 years old, stood sentinel on the corner of East Main Street and Yankee Drive in Yarmouth, Maine.  I was lucky enough to see Herbie when my husband and I lived in Maine and I hate knowing that he finally lost his battle with Dutch elm disease.  RIP Herbie!

–Less than a month to go until the pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.  Yippee and yahoo!  Will the Red Sox go to the series this year?  Hard to say, I’m thinking…nope, not gonna happen, not this year…but honestly, right now, I don’t care if they do or not.  I just want to see some baseball!

–Why do my dogs prefer their blue chew toys over the orange ones?  Are they, like my husband, color blind?  Turns out they are…to a degree.  Check out this cool chart if you want to know how your dog sees colors–it also answers the question of why my husband once picked up a pink t-shirt and started to buy it.  I almost fainted because I knew he hated the color pink–don’t ask me how he determined that when he can’t even see it!–and wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything pink. 

–Yikes!  Saw an article the other day about the so-called “plus-size” models Glamour magazine has started using and it said any model who wears a size 8 or 10 is considered plus-size.  Oh really?  I’m 5’7 1/2″ tall, I weigh around 125 pounds, and I wear a size 8  or 10 which, I suppose, means I qualify as a “plus-size” woman.  So how come everybody’s always asking me how I stay so thin?  And take a look at this picture:  

lara-stone-vogueThat’s Lara Stone.  Ms. Stone is a model who according to another article on Lemondrop, wears a size 4, and she says people often tell her she’s fat.  WTF?  Seriously, somebody needs to take a horsewhip to whoever decided the “perfect” woman is a size 2 or less.  Sheesh!

And while we’re on the subject of size, she looks more like a size 6 or maybe even an 8 to me.  Do designer sizes run larger than…what do they call them?  Off -the rack- clothes…that doesn’t sound right but my brain’s about meandered out so I hope you get what I’m saying.  She’s a size 4 and she looks about the same size as me but I wear a size 8 or 10.  Do those designers fudge with the sizes so they can sell more clothes to the rich and vain?  Does that really matter to women?  I’d be more inclined to fork over my money if they shaved a few numbers off the price instead of the size!

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams