Football! Yuck – Carolyn

For as long as I can remember—way back in the Pleistocene era—I have watched Sunday Morning on CBS while getting ready to feed the horses or getting ready for church. With the exception of the Labor Day Telethon and a few other instances of breaking news, it was there like an old friend. One never knew what would be on it, but could always count on something funny or inciteful.

This morning I discovered an entire day devoted to football. I don’t really have anything against football. I don’t watch it much unless I have a guest who can’t bear to miss Da Bears or the Vikings or someone of that ilk. I do not wear cheese on my head even in the privacy of my bedroom.

For one thing, I have a sneaking suspicion that they play the same game over and over and Photoshop the different teams and numbers in. Easy to change colors on jerseys, right? And I do not understand why it takes five hours to play a game with one hour of playing time on the clock.

I think I tune out because They Don’t Have Faces. Incredible bodies, yes. I appreciate the male body from more than an aesthetic point of view. I’m a girl, after all, no matter my age. But I do like even the most admirable specimens to have actual expressions I can see. I suspect the Romans at the gladiator games tended to cheer for the guys without those fancy helmets that covered their faces. I definitely bet the women did. Although their view of blood and mayhem was more than a little extreme, I’ll bet the gladiators who showed emotion were cut a trifle more slack.

That’s bad, of course, but if you look on the cover of this month’s romances, you may well find a great-looking guy with his shirt off. And a face. Not necessarily a conventionally handsome one either.

Abraham Lincoln once turned down a possible political appointment because he said he didn’t like the guy’s face. The man who was recommending him said, “But, Mr. President, he’s not responsible for his face.” To which Lincoln replied,
“Every man over forty is responsible for his face.” (That may not be a direct quote, but you get the gist.) Some of the great movie stars weren’t conventionally handsome, but they were able to show us who they were inside and make us believe them.

I simply want the chance to empathize. I like to watch soccer and tennis and baseball and basketball and polo. (Polo players wear helmets, but you can still see their faces.) Fans may be able mentally to divest the players of their pads and their helmets, but I don’t know what they look like in real life most of the time, so I can’t get past the equipment.

I have a friend who doesn’t like baseball because in the perfect game, absolutely NOTHING happens. Think about it.

We all have our quirks. Even if they wore basketball shorts, I might still find football more boring than cricket. It would be a short game, of course, because they’d all have concussions and broken collarbones after ten minutes, and that would be terrible. But I hope they put Sunday Morning back in its usual place next weekend.


The Trouble With Big Brothers

My big brother, Bob Robson, passed away on Saturday.

Robert Robson 1935-2015

Robert Robson

He was seventeen, working for the State of South Dakota, and hanging out with the girl he’d eventually marry when our mother broke the news that she was pregnant (with me). He went into the Army and was stationed in Germany for a time, then returned home to finish college. I don’t have a lot of memories from that time, but I do recall the cuckoo clock he brought Mom from Bavaria.

Bob moved to California when I was six. He went to work in the fledgling electronics industry in a place we now call: Silicon Valley. His work with Fairchild Semi-conductor introduced him to leaders in this field, including his good friend Gordon Moore, who went on to form Intel. In 1970, Bob started his own company, Microma, which created the first commercially sold Liquid Crystal Display watches.

I attended his wedding to Sharleen when I was five. What I remember most is my first escalator ride and Disneyland, but that’s about it.

Bob and Sharleen in 2003 at another wedding

Bob and Sharleen in 2003 at another wedding

Since Bob lived in the Bay area of California and I lived in South Dakota, we didn’t have a lot of interaction, except during summers and the occasional hunting trip. He was a big man – a giant in my little girl eyes. He was loud and a little scary. He laughed a lot and brought cool presents. I have some great memories of hunting with him, and our family still talks about the way he handled the taxi phone (and our poor, frustrated father) one Hobo Day in Brookings, SD.

Bob was a brilliant, forward-thinking entrepreneur for most of his life. He sold Microma and bought a thousand-acre cattle ranch in the Central Valley of California. When the price of beef dropped, he replaced the ornery beasts with pistachio trees, which continue to flourish, making Buchanan Hollow Nut company a big player in a huge industry.featured-imageAs an adult, married and with kids of my own, I moved to California, which gave me a chance to spend more time with my brother…when he wasn’t traveling around the world, fishing in Alaska or hanging out with his friends, the Moores, in Hawaii. Was he an easy man to love? Not always, but he was a husband to Sharleen for 50-plus years, a father to four, grandfather, brand new great-grandfather, uncle, friend to many, and, of course, brother. And, darn it, we’re all going to miss him.

Deb (who will have a much happier post to share next week when my new book launches)


Release Day! (Tara Taylor Quinn)

OnceUponAMarriage It’s out tomorrow!!! The sequel to tnOnceUponAFriendship Once Upon A Marriage:  Marie Bustamante does not trust or love easily. Growing up with a philandering father and an overprotective mother, she comes by her reservations honestly. So after only three months, how can she be falling for her best friend’s bodyguard? This isn’t like her at all. But Elliott Tanner is strong, gorgeous and…trustworthy. At least he seems to be. Of course, some things about him remain a mystery. Protecting the privacy of his clients is Elliott’s job. That doesn’t mean he’s hiding anything from her.  Does it?

To win an eBook copy of the first book in the series, Once Upon a Friendship, leave a comment here, today!


It’s Us – Carolyn

I have recently had an upsetting epiphany as a writer. I read at least one mystery a day—which is why I don’t get nearly enough done on the farm or the computer. Now that Amazon has started putting out old mysteries written anywhere from the 1880s on up through what is termed the golden age, I have been catching up on some classics I never knew existed. I find an author with whom I am unfamiliar say from the 1930s, read one book, and if I like it and the author, read everything I can download from the same author simply by poking my finger on the ‘buy this’ key. Talk about ‘get thee behind me satan’! Ebooks of all kinds have become my drug of choice.

I also read new authors, of course, and keep books on tape going in my car. I live out in the country and must drive an average of fifteen miles any time I need to run an errand. So I am essentially surrounded by books.

The epiphany is this: we all write the same book over and over. From best sellers to mid-list, new and old, no matter how different our books seem on the surface, deep down they deal with the same issues.

There are some issues that I cannot write about. I cannot torture or kill a child or an animal. I’m not even certain I could kidnap a child. I’d rather not try. I suspect that has something to do with being a mother and an animal owner. Too much empathy. I generally can’t even read a book in which a child or animal is killed. I did not go to see War Horse. I know the horse survives, but his buddy doesn’t, and I couldn’t sit through the scene in which his father sends the boy’s beloved horse off to war without making an idiot of myself by sobbing noisily in the theater. I don’t see how writers like Mary Higgins Clark do it, and I have enormous respect for them that they can. It’s obviously my failure, not theirs.

We discussed this at my critique group and decided that all of us have our own personal hot button issues that inform our plots and characters. I don’t want to use names because I might annoy my friends, but one of my writer friends always has issues of trust. Another always centers the plots on some form of bullying. Mine tend to be survival despite self-doubt. A best-seller I am reading right now is from an author who always has a character who is running and hiding from someone who intends to kill her.

The great mysteries have always been character driven. I love locked room mysteries and their ilk, but in the final analysis it’s the characters that keep me interested. Case in point—Clark Johnson’s Longmire series. I care about those people in a way that I never cared for Dr. Fell.

So, we must simply realize that we are all dealing with our personal demons through our characters. If we do it right, maybe both they and we will be the better for it—certainly better entertained.


The Star Series (Pat)

My Scottish/American series  (also named The Scottish Star Series) is now available in e book format, and I wanted to tell you about this trio of books.

The Sutherland clan is the ink but they are very different.   The first — Starcatcher – is all Scotland, the second  — Starfinder — is part Scotland and part Colonial America, and the third — Starkeeper – is the American Revolution.

Spanning more than one hundred years. from seventeenth-century Scotland through the American Revolution, the Scottish Star series brings together generaions of a proud, courageous family.

The first is Starcatcher, the story of two feuding clans.   Promised in wedlock to his childhood friend,  Patrick  Sutherland goes off to war.   When he returns to Scotland a decade later, he is an outlaw with a price on his head and Marsali Gunn is about to marry another man.   I promise you many twists and turns, and a bit of humor as well..

In Starfinder,  Ian Sutherland is convicted of treason against the English King.   He is spared the gallows but shipped to the colonies and sold as an indentured servant of a Maryland farmer.   Embittered, he is determined to escape and return to Scotland where is young sister has disappeared.   But when his master dies, leaving a  young widow, he finds himself torn between protecting her or finding his lost sister in Scotland.

In Starcatcher, John Patrick Sutherland is a fervent rebel during the American Revolution.   As captain of a legendary privateer, he has been very successful at attacking  British ships and seizing  their cargo.   A battle at sea leaves him wounded in British territory and at the mercy of a loyalist beauty who has her own reasons for hating the rebels.

Each of the trio received four plus ratings from Romantic Times and were alternate selections with the Doubeday Book  Club.

You can find all three at Amazon/Patricia Potter.Potter-StarcatcherPotter-StarfinderPotter-StarKeeper


Get your zip on!

My company has arrived and we are off on our Gold Rush country adventure today. One of our first stops is at Moaning Caverns in Calaveras County where some of us will be zipping.


Show of hands. How many of you have done a Zip Line? Did it look anything like this one?

I’ve zipped twice and I found the experience thrilling and a major attitude adjustment. Embracing your fear to look at the world in a new way is very liberating.

The hero of my upcoming release MONTANA ROGUE is building a zip line near Marietta, Montana. He’s the rogue.


I can’t wait for you to meet Tucker Montgomery, definitely one of the most…umm…unique characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing. A Hot Shot firefighter, along with his two best buddies, Flynn Bensen (MONTANA HERO) and Justin Oberman (MONTANA REBEL), Tucker’s off-season job is a dancer/performer with American Male, Inc.–a Magic Mike sort of burlesque show.


Tucker loves his life, but the physical demands of both jobs have taken a toll, so he’s looking ahead, and Montana called to him. He’s invested everything he’s got–and then some–to build Mountie’s Marvelous Montana Zip Line and Enduro Course.

Here’s a sneak peek from the zip he makes with his summer “roomate-with-benefits,” Amanda Heller:

The morning air couldn’t have been more perfect, Tucker thought the next day. Cool with a hint of the heat to come.

July, he’d been told, was a favorite month for sporting enthusiasts. From online conversations he’d had with other zip line owners around the country, the weather could make you or break you in this business. One place in California kept rain gear on hand for the winter months. Tucker would have to stock up for the spring, but he planned to close the gate and hit the dance circuit at the end of September. Or mid-October at the very latest.

At least, that was the plan. Justin had other ideas.

“Cross-country skiing, man,” Justin said, as he helped Amanda into her harness.

“I’ve heard snowshoeing is popular, too,” Amanda added.

“Great. Who’s going to build the lodge? Cold-weather sports need a place to warm up. The tent won’t work,” Tucker said, stepping into his harness. He pulled it up snug and leaned over to work his shoulders through the top straps like a pair of suspenders.

Glancing to his right, he saw Justin apply the locking carabiner to the two attachment loops at Amanda’s chest. “Get out of the way. Let me do that.”

Justin rolled his eyes. “Picky.”


Amanda snickered, obviously beginning to loosen up. She’d offered a slew of excuses to avoid testing out the zip line this morning, but Tucker remained adamant that she needed to experience the thrill in order to sell the thrill.

Mountie’s Marvelous Montana Zip Line was set to open in twenty-four hours. Most of that time would be devoted to zipping the guides so they could get down every safety measure, but the business side of things was equally important.

That’s where Amanda came in. His website looked great and seemed to be running smoothly. Since Ryker Bensen was still on his honeymoon, Amanda had hired Ryker’s photographer friend to take still shots to plaster around the Internet. And she had a professional videographer lined up to film testimonials from guests as soon as the lines were operational.

“Did I tell you Mountie’s Marvelous website already has had more than a 100K visits and zips are being booked at a phenomenal rate considering we don’t have any reviews posted yet?”

“Yes, you did,” Amanda said. “Did I tell you Bailey Zabrinski and Kat Robinson are bringing a carload of kids to test it out–and talk it up–this afternoon?”


But the morning belonged to Tucker and Amanda.

“Sit into the harness and lift up your feet so I can make sure it’s snug enough,” he told her.

He made a couple of adjustments, his fingers lingering on the sun-kissed skin of her upper thighs. “How’s that feel?”


He noticed Justin watching so he quickly made the same adjustments to his own harness. “I haven’t done this since Mexico. Fell completely in love with the idea of affordable cheap thrills.”

“Isn’t that redundant?” Justin asked.

“You’re redundant.”

Amanda stepped between them. “Welcome to Testosterone City,” she said with a laugh. “Are we going to do this or not? My mother is coming, remember?”

She’d broken the news that morning.

“My mother is making an unplanned site inspection,” she’d told him, with such a flat, dispassionate tone she had to have practiced the delivery. “She also plans to attend Molly’s competency hearing.”

Tucker wasn’t completely surprised, since June’s lawyers were the ones who’d initiated the petition to have Molly declared incompetent.

“Are we ready?” Justin asked, taking charge of the zip. “You’re going to make a lateral practice run first. Nice and easy.” He looked at Tucker. “Do you want to go first?”

“You bet.”

“Wait,” Amanda said, her hand settling with familiarity and a certain amount of concern on his bare forearm. “Are you sure your doctor cleared this?”

“Yep,” Tucker fibbed. He hadn’t asked his ortho doc specifically if it was safe to zip, but the man had given him the okay to resume normal activities. Jumping around was normal for Tucker. He’d wrapped his ankle just in case and he’d chosen to wear hiking boots that laced to the mid-shin. The boots had protected his ankles through some of the most difficult terrain on the planet. A little zip was not going to be a problem.

As per protocol, one of their newly trained guides, a college girl named Kelly, went through the step-by-step safety instructions. “Feet extended, sit back in the harness and let gravity do its job. Squeeze to brake with a four-to-six-foot lead. Ease to a stop.”

He caught most of her words, even though his gaze remained on Amanda, who appeared to be having a serious conversation with Justin. What are they talking about? Me? The business? The grand opening? The possibilities were endless, and he had no reason to be jealous. Absolutely zero.

So, why was he?

He recognized the emotion, even though he went out of his way to avoid feeling enough of an attachment to anyone or anything to ever be jealous.

“Are we good?” Kelly asked.

“Yes.” He regretted his testy tone when she frowned and looked a little hurt. Hurting the feelings of cute girls was so not his style, but he was too preoccupied at the moment to care. He turned toward his destination pole, pushed off and picked up his feet.

Did his ankle twinge a tiny bit? Maybe, but nothing to worry about. This was a piece of cake.

Except for the fact he completely misjudged his braking distance and wound up dangling like a dufus fifteen feet from the landing pole. Justin’s bark of laughter carried across the pure mountain air. Proof, of course, that Tucker’s focus was shot.

With a little help from the guide who had been braced to prevent his collision with the padded pole, Tucker managed to make it to the platform. His guide disconnected the line and directed him to a safe spot to watch the next zipper. Amanda. Considerably lighter–and with a great deal more grace–she zipped right to the platform, braking like a pro.

Tucker barely noticed. All he could see was the light of joy in her face, the unguarded pleasure in her eyes and the smile that lassoed his heart and squeezed the air out of his lungs.

Oh, good God, he thought. It’s finally happened. I’m in freakin’ love.

Next week, I’ll share some more pics from our travels. In the meantime, have a great weekend!






Honoring Those Who Teach Us (Tara Taylor Quinn

One of the things I value most in the world is friendship.  The concept.  And the reality.  As I look back at my collective work of books, I see friendships playing key parts in so many of them.  There’s something so special about that bond between woman – a trust and nurturing that is present even when friends don’t see each other.  It’s sacred.  And in some ways unsurpassable.

Today, I’m realizing why I hold this magnificent gift in such high esteem.  From before I was ever even more than a possible dream in my mother’s mind about her someday future, I had an example of true friendship.  Mom and her best friend Jac.  It’s a friendship that started their freshman year of high school.  Bonded them through some of life’s most tragic possibilities.  The death of a child.  Of a spouse.  Whether they lived across the country from each other, or only a few hours away, they were together.  For sixty-three years this friendship remained the same.  Solid.  Sure.  Nurturing.  Strengthening.

Today I honor that friendship.  I honor the two women who taught me the most important things I’ll ever need to know.  Loyalty is real.  And love lasts forever.

Mom & Jac 1955 2Mom & Jac again Mom & Jac Mom & Jackie


Grand Finale (Tara Taylor Quinn)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Shelter Valley Stories
By Tara Taylor Quinn

If you missed any of these stops, go back and get to know Shelter Valley and the stories found there…

Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Shelter Valley Guest Post

I want to introduce you to Shelter Valley. It’s a fictitious town in Arizona, but one that has stood the test of time. While the scenery is spectacular and the weather divine, the backbone of Shelter Valley, what keeps people coming back for, are her people. In Shelter Valley they believe in second chances. If you are kind to others, you’re welcome to stop by. And if they take you in, you’ll have friends and champions for life.

Mythical Books – My Sister, Myself Guest Post

On this particular visit to Shelter Valley, you’re going to meet Tory Evans. She’s only twenty-six but circumstances, experience and a sharp intelligence make her more aware of some things than she’d like to be. You’ll get to know Tory from the very beginning of this story—but only you and one other person in Shelter Valley know that she’s Tory Evans; everyone else believes she’s her older sister, Christine. . .

Mel’s Shelves – Becca’s Baby Excerpt

The stick had turned blue. Another mistake in a day that seemed to be full of them. The stupid thing wasn’t supposed to turn blue.

At forty-two, Rebecca Parsons had firmly believed she was on her way into early menopause. A welcome relief from the monthly inconvenience she’d endured for thirty years. For many, many of those months, the inconvenience had been accompanied by bitter disappointment – not pregnant – until she’d eventually given up hope.

Teatime and Books – White Picket Fences Guest Post

Now, here are two interesting people. They’re both attractive, successful, honest and hardworking—and they’re both living at home at a time when they should be starting families. Because underneath all the smiles they have scars no one else can see. They touched me, I think, because they’re like a lot of us who put on our smiles to face the world when deep inside there’s pain most people never know about. . .

deal sharing aunt – My Sister, Myself Excerpt

“This is incredible,” Phyllis said. She took hold of Tory’s shoulders, turning Tory to face her.

“They think you’re dead, that you’ve been cremated.”

Tory nodded wearily, her eyes overflowing with tears. “The death certificate I have is my own.”

underneath the covers – White Picket Fences Excerpt

Maybe she needed a fence.


Looking around the perimeter of her front yard, noticing how it ran right off to the sidewalk without so much as a by-your-leave, she nodded. That was it. When she was growing up, she’d always had this image of a home with a picket fence. Probably got it from watching too many reruns of The Donna Reed Show or Leave It to Beaver.

Heaving a sigh of relief, Randi slid off her boulder and went back inside. Thank goodness that was settled. She probably didn’t have time this break to install a fence, which was fine with her; she could go to Phoenix and play as good a round of golf as she was still capable of playing.

But come spring break, she’d get this done.

All her life needed was a white picket fence.

The Written Adventure – Friendship in Shelter Valley Guest Post

And if you want to be friends…I’ve started a Friendship board on Pinterest. It’s an open board. Anyone can follow to post. The only caveat – it’s only about friendship. No sales. No causes – no matter how worthy. It’s just a feel good place for a friendship fix. We post personal pictures of us with our friends, pictures of celebrity friends, and lots and lots of friendship quotes. Sometimes we post good morning hugs. We’ve got over 1200 pinners – adding an average of 300 a month – and thousands of pins. That’s a lot of friendship. We’d love to have you join us at:

Zerina Blossom’s Books – Shelter Valley Stories Guest Post

I think women are the strongest creatures on earth. It takes a lot more internal strength to open yourself up to nurturing those with whom you come in contact – because of the risk of being hurt – than it does to plow over anything in your path. Or to disregard everyone in your way. And women, overall, are nurturers.

Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin’ – Review

Holy smokes what an amazing book!!! Not what I expected, but yet wasn’t too sure what to expect. On the edge page turner no doubt!

Harlie’s Books – Review

I highly recommend My Sister, Myself. Powerful, poignant and beautifully written. Slow building romance can be a downer for some readers but with Ben and Christine, it makes sense. In fact, the sweetest of it just reminds me what romance is all about. The friendship, the courtship and then the declaration.

For a Limited Time! Grab all three books on sale!

Becca's BabyBecca’s Baby
(Shelter Valley Stories, #1)
by Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 297 pages
February 15th 2002 by Harlequin Books

Meet Will and Becca Parsons, who ve lived in Shelter Valley, Arizona, all their lives. Shelter Valley means everything to them. Home. Family. Security. Love. Everything that matters is right there in that town.

Will and Becca have been married for 20 years. It s a good marriage a contented marriage marred by only one disappointment: their inability to have children. But their dream of a baby has gradually been replaced by other interests, other goals.

In any case, Will and Becca are in their 40s now.

It s too late for babies.

Except it s not. Because Becca s pregnant. And that reality throws their carefully ordered lives into complete disarray.

A baby after all these years.

My Sister, Myself
(Shelter Valley Stories, #2)
by Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Contemporary Romance, Suspense
Paperback & ebook, 304 pages
May 31st 2002 by Harlequin Books

She’s not who she says she is! Tory Evans is living her sister’s life. Christine is dead, murdered by Tory’s vengeful ex-husband, and now – for her own survival – Tory has taken on Christine’s identity. Her name, her job, her new home in Shelter Valley, Arizona.

He’s reinventing his life. Ben Sanders is a divorced father who’s come to Shelter Valley to resume the education that was interrupted years before. He’s intrigued by one of his professors, the woman he knows as Christine Evans. She’s smart, she’s beautiful – and she’s hiding something. She’s also off-limits.

Despite that, despite the secrecy and the danger, Tory and Ben are drawn to each other. Second chances really do exist. Especially in a place like Shelter Valley…

White Picket FencesWhite Picket Fences
(Shelter Valley Stories, #3)
by Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 298 pages
June 21st 2002 by Harlequin Books

What’s missing in Miranda Parson’s life? Nothing, she thinks–until she meets handsome, caring veterinarian Zack Foster and discovers an intense desire that shakes her safe and familiar world. Trouble is, a heart-weary Zack prefers his romances short and sweet and isn’t looking for commitment to any woman. Yet the longing that ignited between them couldn’t be resisted for long. But for true love there needs to be true risk–so will Zack and Miranda’s quiet lives ever be the same again…?

The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. She is known for delivering deeply emotional and psychologically astute novels of suspense and romance. Tara is a recipient of the Reader’s Choice Award, a five time finalist for the RWA Rita Award, the Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Bookseller’s Best Award and appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists. Tara is the past-president of Romance Writers of America and served eight years on that board of directors. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning and is a frequent guest speaker. In her spare time Tara likes to travel, climb Arizona mountains, and inline skate.

Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.

Tour Giveaway

GRAND PRIZE (to one winner):  An eBook set of books 5 through 14 of the Shelter Valley Stories (Just Around the Corner, Born In the Valley, Sheriff of Shelter Valley, Nothing Sacred, Somebody’s Baby, Sophie’s Secret, Full Contact, It’s Never Too Late, Second Time’s the Charm, and The Moment of Truth) – INT
Print books of the last three books in the Shelter Valley Stories (The Shelter Valley Scholarship books: It’s Never Too Late, Second Time’s the Charm, and The Moment of Truth) – US only to one winner
e-book set of Born in the Valley and Sheriff of Shelter Valley – INT to one winner
Ends September 25th

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Tax time – oh, joy! Carolyn

For those of us who are sluggards, tax time is upon us. I know, I know. I should have done them long since, but I didn’t. Because I hate getting all the stuff ready to take to my accountant. I call myself organized, but that’s sheer unreality. I keep all the paperwork. I file all the paperwork. I simply can’t find all the paperwork again when I want it.

At this point my den looks like the Collyer brothers on their worst day. They hoarded newspapers and magazines and heaven knows what all until they had to wend their way through their large house through narrow paths between ceiling high stacks. Eventually, they stacks began to implode and killed them. I’m not that bad yet, but sometimes I feel as though the paperwork is reaching out to strangle me.

I am, however, blessed with a good accountant who never hollers at me—well, almost never—when I dump the stuff on him. He even reminds me when we’re getting down to crunch time. And it’s not as though I have complicated taxes.

This year has been a bruiser. I’m not certain why everything seems to break at the same time, but I suspect it seems that way for everyone. One of my dear friends sold her house and moved to independent living (which, so far as I can tell, isn’t really very independent at all. Too many rules.) She actually gave her dog to some friends. She housesits for them, so she sees him frequently, but I don’t think I could have done that. That being said, when I look at all the maintenance that needs to be done on my house and on the house I own in which my daughter and son-in-law live, I do wish I had some house angel who came in and fixed everything. Unfortunately, my previous house angel, who lives just across the street from me, recently retired. I hesitate to infest my property with total strangers. As a matter of fact, out here in the country, if I don’t expect you, you’re going to be met by me and a .357 magnum when you ring the doorbell. I know that sounds draconian, but it’s a good way to guarantee that people call ahead.

I have started a running list of everything that needs to be done around here. I need the pastures cut once more before the first frost. My friend and I drove Zoe yesterday, and found a dozen deer nests in the back pasture deep in the tall grass. Deer are very neat about their nests, but they are unmistakable. Then I have to bring in a dozen round bales of hay for the winter. Zoe and her buddy Frieda are NOT neat. If given the chance, they would strew all ten bales around at one time. So they only have access to one at a time. And I have fences that need to be mended and fence lines that need to be trimmed, and stalls that should be stripped and rebedded and… That’s just the outside. I haven’t even started on the house yet.

So far, however, I prefer not to live under someone else’s house rules, even if that means they cut the grass for me.

There’s just something about looking out my den window and seeing a couple of contentedly munching horses and the occasional deer that makes me hope I can continue to schlep fifty pound bags of oats to my girls for a while yet.



Odds and Ends (Pat)

I’m still working on my never ending book.    Last Saturday, I thought I was almost through.   So much for thinking.

The problem is I’m a  tinkerer.   Yes, that is a word.  I just looked it up in the dictionary because I wasn’t quite sure.

I’m a world class tinkerer.   I keep thinking of ways to make a sentence, a paragraph, a page, a chapter just a wee bit better.  I can’t stop until I absolutely must, until I have stretched a deadline to its breaking point.

So this will be short to enable me to return to tinkering.

But I do have a topic.   I’m on Linked-In, a web site that primarily connects employers with prospective employes but it also connects people in various occupations.   I’m in the writer group.  Some one posted a question about prologues and added that they had heard editors and agents did not like prologues.  There were hundreds of posts then, some in favor and some opposed.   One editor said prologues were only for rookies.    I took a mighty offense to it and shot back a not very polite reply which is remarkably rare for me.   I usually believe in civility.

I heard the same thing when I started writing.   No prologues.   Okay.  I’ve always hated being told I couldn’t do something.    I also heard a bunch of other rules, and they violated the writing of a lot of books I love and cherished.   One specifically said never change point of view in a paragraph or give an animal a point of view.   At that time, I read a Nora Roberts book which violated every rule I heard.

The moral of this post is if you do something well, you can get away with breaking arbitrary rules by people who may not do it well.

To me, so-called writing rules do have a purpose.   They are a caution sign: there could be road blocks ahead.   Do this well or don’t do it.   What I really resent is someone telling me “just don’t do it.”

In this case, the editor (not sure who she edits for)  commented that prologues are only for rookies.   Having written prologues for nearly half of my sixty books or so, I took offense.  So did the majority of the other writers which amounted to hundreds of responses.    They recited numerous prologues from classic books.

I do think you have to be careful with prologues.   They must have a very distinct and vital purpose.  I usually use mine for scenes that take place well in advance of the actual story but which drives the story.  Often it is far more effective as a real time scene rather than being told in back story.    I have never had an editor or agent asking me to remove one.

My one and only writing rule is “Never say never.” with a subtitle:  “Anything works if it’s done well and is effective.”

Now that I have that off my chest, I’m going back to tinkering