wasps – yuckk – Carolyn

No doubt God had a good reason for creating wasps. I just have no idea what it was. Last week I finally arranged to transfer my internet service over from the one I had been using (which tended to be a disaster) to ATT. Which may or may not be a disaster—we’ll see. At any rate, when the very nice young man arrived to put in the new service, he discovered that under the edge of the roof right where he had to work was a gynormous wasps’ nest. And not any old wasps, either. The red-bellied kind. They are the nastiest, most irascible, and most active sort of wasps with a very bad sting. Although the young man looked like a warrior, he informed me that he is allergic to wasps stings. Since I had no desire to drag him down to the emergency room while he tried to breathe, I told him to go away until I could get rid of the things.

The pest control people are having a great season. It seems that everybody has wasps. I had to wait a week for them to come to my house, and then they came at seven in the morning. The pest controller sprayed and sprayed.

One of the few things I have learned about spraying for wasps is that there is always a sentry flying around outside the nest. If you can get him before he alerts his brethren, you can escape unscathed. If you don’t, he is going to sting you himself and notify his kinfolk that they are under attack.

The man swore that I was pest free. So I made another appointment to get the internet installed. A week later. It had then been two weeks since I made the original call.

Another young man came to install the service this time, only to discover that there was still a slough of wasps. He, however, was not allergic to them, or was faster, or cleverer, because he escaped unstung.

But I still had wasps. Again I called for the Killer of Wasps. This time he came at six in the morning. More spraying, more dead wasps. This time he swore we were pest free. I have not a clue whether we are or not, and since I do not have to work in that spot any longer, I have no intention of finding out. I have new internet installed, and it only took a month. I still have to call my original service and divorce myself. Then, I have to notify everyone of the change. I figure that should take—oh, maybe—six months or so.

The new flower beds in front of my house are finally in, however. I am trying desperately to remember to keep everything watered so that it won’t die, although a couple of the hostas look a bit crunkled up. Who wouldn’t, when the heat index is around a hundred and nine? Now, that is ridiculous!

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Back and Recuperating (Pat)

Sorry to be so late in posting but the last few days have been frantic.

I returned from a very good Romance Writers of America Conference only to have my Katy (Australian Shepherd) suddenly hampered by a back disk problem which grew progressively worse during the week.  She could barely move and then only with great pain.  The good news is it seems to be under control today with six different medications but I have to be with her all the time to make sure she doesn’t move suddenly.

But back to the conference.   It was great being with Tara and other friends, and I met the editor of my SuperRomance line.    She assured me that there would me more Covenant Falls tales coming in the future.   The next — the fourth — will be out in February.  In “A Seal’s Return,” horses will replace dogs as a returning vet’s best friend.

A highlight of the conference was two autographings where I signed “A Soldier’s Journey,”  It was such a pleasure hearing from readers how much they enjoyed my past books.   There’s nothing like being told someone loved my ‘babies.’

In the meantime, my backlist is doing really well.    “Twisted Shadows,” my favorite romantic suspense, was featured on Bookbub and the sales were terrific.   Come visit me at Amazon/Patricia Potter and preview the books.   There’s something for everyone: contemporary romance, Scottish historicals, Western historicals, American Revolution historicals and contemporary suspense.   There’s usually a bargain stuck in there somewhere.

Now back to nursing Katy.

Have a great week everyone!

 

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Selfie stick + new hat for Rufus = video blog

I’m back from San Diego and RWA. It was delightful. What a treat to see old friends, learn oodles of new stuff, hang out with my editor and publisher, and come home with fun goodies…like a selfie stick.

I’m giving mine to my granddaughter. Really. I am. Soon.

But when the mail arrived today and I found a box from a reader friend in Oregon, I couldn’t resist putting the selfie-stick to work just once. Brace yourself, it’s a video blog.

But seriously, thank you, Jackie. The hat’s a hoot. And when it’s not 110 outside, I might give it a try for real.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Stay cool.

Deb

 

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Summeertime – yuck – Carolyn

The last of July and all of August should simply be expunged. The horses stand in the barn under the fan and don’t go out until dusk. We don’t drive. I don’t ride. Even the cats are lazy—well, lazier than usual—and they are inside under the air conditioning.

My new landscaping is about half finished. Now that the big hollies are in the burn pile, it’s amazing how much bigger the house looks. My landscaper took the tractor and dug deep into the manure pile out the back door of the barn and dumped several loads of well-rotted horse manure into the beds to be dug in before planting. It’s marvelous stuff. One of George’s colleagues used to get a truckload for his mother’s garden every year as a Mother’s Day gift. It’s what she wanted. Having benefited over the years from her extra produce, I can say that the manure worked.

But I don’t think we can plant the new stuff until the weather breaks. The heat index yesterday was around a hundred and five degrees. It’s supposed to hover around a hundred and ten for most of next week with only the occasional thunderstorm to move the air.

I am getting ready to do a training session at the main library in a couple of weeks on mystery. Pat Potter and I did one last week on romance. Whenever the library calls and asks us to do a session for their staff, we invariably say yes. Where would we be without librarians? I generally handle the historical background. Pat handles what’s happening today. In the session in August, Phyllis, who writes mystery dinner theatre, will handle the current state, while I’ll do the history again. With so many long out of print books now available on Kindle, those of us who read little else but mystery, expand our knowledge by reading all the great books from what is called The Golden Age of Mystery—the twenties and thirties. Everyone knows Dorothy Sayers and Peter Whimsey, but many of us do not know Gladys Mitchell, who wrote fifty some odd mysteries. Good ones, too.

Most of the arcane knowledge I have accrued comes from mysteries. Someone asked me last week who my first favorite writer was. Nancy Drew, of course. I graduated to Raymond Chandler when I was about twelve. And fell madly in love with Lord Peter Whimsey.

The thing about detectives is that they are competent. And they care about truth. Even if they are generally drunk, when push comes to shove they help put the world back into order. If you want to read a selection of short good stuff, I suggest you look at Martin Edwards’s compilations of short stories. And there’s always Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen magazines for the best short detective fiction today.

I intend to spend as much of the next six weeks as I can curled up under the air conditioning running up my Amazon bill. At least I shouldn’t be faced with heat stroke.

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San Diego & RWA–what a great combination!

Hi, All,

I’m a bit late posting today because I’m in San Diego for #RWA16, along with a whole bunch of writer friends, business professionals and publishers.

Normally, I’m inside the conference hotel for the entire time–unless we’re in NYC where we splurge on Broadway musicals. ;-) But this is beautiful, amazing, inviting San Diego with its perfect weather, blue skies, bustling harbor and gorgeous skyline. If I’m not attending some interesting workshop or eating–the food!!!–I’m sitting on my 20th floor balcony gazing at the view.

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San Diego view from day Deb Salonen

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Parked out back you’ll find a few yachts. I’m going to have to sell an awful lot of books to afford one of these.

yachts Deb Salonen

Our hotel is in the background.

Our hotel is in the background.

But the best part of any conference is re-connecting with old friends, like Jeannie Watt and Roz Fox

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Roz Fox signing

And yesterday at the luncheon we were treated to an insightful and moving keynote speech from Beverly Jenkins.

Beverly Jenkins RWA

One of my favorite quotes from her speech: “Karma is only a bitch if you are.”

There’s a lot going on at all times, and I’m going to be glad when it’s over so I can slink back to my quiet writer’s cave, but tomorrow I will get to hang out with TTQ and Pat Potter for a bit. And I’m looking forward to the RITAs where my amazing friend C.J. Carmichael is up for an award.

CJ RITA 2016

Signing off from beautiful downtown San Diego,

Deb

 

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75th Book Week Long Party – Giveaways (Tara Taylor Quinn)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Cyber Party to celebrate 75 books for
The Promise He Made Her
By Tara Taylor Quinn

We’re thrilled to be celebrating with TTQ on her 75th book release as readers
share about these two characters with so much to losea love worth fighting for…

Tour Schedule
July 10th:Launch
July 11th:
Harlequin Junkie
Cu’s eBook Giveaways
Book Reviews & More by Kathy
Books & Spoons
Maya’s Musings
July 12th:
Beck Valley Books
underneath the covers
Becky on Books
Ali Williams
July 13th:
EskieMama Reads
Lady Amber’s Reviews
deal sharing aunt
July 14th:
Thoughts of a Blonde
Harlie’s Books
Brooke Blogs
July 15th:Grand Finale

The Promise He Made Her, My 75th Book

Welcome to a very special Celebration!! Not only is this a book tour – it’s a birthday party! This month sees the release ofThe Promise He Made Her– my75thbook. I can hardly believe I’m the author of that many books! I sit down every day to write words. Paragraphs. Pages. I don’t sit down to write books. Let alone 75 of them! I still feel like a baby author! And, as my editor said when she wrote a congratulatory card, we have 75 and beyond more to come!

While we’re here on tour together this week, I’m also doing physical book signings and attending parties to celebrate this accomplishment with my publisher in San Diego! So pick up a glass, toast with us, and come to the party! We’ll be here all week! I mean that! My editor will be out here with us so keep an eye out for her! And I’ll be posting real time pictures in comment sections of blogs! We have a book trailer, a Kindle Fire giveaway, books and gift card giveaways, and Harlequin My Rewards points worth a ton of free books of your choice! There will also be some special San Diego swag, including handmade bookmarks!

—TTQ

The Promise He Made Her
(Where Secrets are Safe #9)
by Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
July 1st 2016 by Harlequin Superromance

A man of his word

Dr. Bloom Freelander thought it was safe to breathe again when Detective Sam Larson put her abusive ex away for good. She’s been moving on, running a private practice and providing psychiatry services to The Lemonade Stand women’s shelter. But now that her ex is a free man, she’s in danger once again.

Forced into protective custody, Bloom can’t help but fall for her protector. But she has every reason to doubt the handsome detective’s word. Sam broke his promise to her once. Who says he won’t break it again—along with her heart this time?

Other Books in the Series

Love by Association His First Choice (Where Secrets are Safe)

About the Author

The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages,Tara Taylor Quinnis a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. A 2015 RITA finalist Tara appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists, and multiple showings on the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller list. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning.

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.

Are you a blogger and would like to join a future
Six Months of Heart Stopping Tara Taylor Quinn tour event?
Find out more and sign up HERE!

Heart Stopping Tara Taylor Quinn Giveaways


THE PROMISE HE MADE HER TOUR GIVEAWAY75th Book Celebration Prize Pack (US only): Print book from the Where Secrets Are Safe Series, 75th Book Celebration US Tours swag, handmade bookmark (shown in image), and other goodies.
$10 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)
Ends July 20th

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TTQ PRE-ORDER/PURCHASE KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY

ENTER HERE

Kindle Fire with Six Pre-loaded TTQ Books (books 1-6 fromWhere Secrets are Safe series)
US only
Ends August 31st

To Enter: Submit your receipt online for your pre-order or purchase of any of Tara Taylor Quinn’s six releases being promoted on her Heart Stopping Tour (Love By Association, His First Choice, The Promise He Made Her, Strangers in Paradise: Sheltered In His Arms, Sheltered In His Arms Audiobook, and For Love Or Money). Enter as many times as you purchase. One book purchase equals one entry (one receipt per entry and must be uploaded at time of entry).

TTQ HARLEQUIN MY REWARDS POINTS GIVEAWAY

1st Place:25,000 Harlequin My Rewards Points – equivalent of 5 free books, reader’s choice of any book published by Harlequin/MIRA/Carina Press.
2nd Place:15,000 Harlequin My Rewards Points – equivalent of 3 free books, reader’s choice
3rd Place:10,000 Harlequin My Rewards Points – equivalent of 2 free books, readers choice
Open internationally
Ends August 31st

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landscaping – Carolyn

Saturday while I was at my Malice in Memphis mystery writers meeting, the landscape fairies came to my house to start work on my front yard. It has been a disaster. Since I have a notorious black thumb (I can kill philodendron), and absolutely hate gardening, I wanted professionals to do whatever could be done to make it look better out there. They started by using my big John Deere tractor to pull out the Burfordi hollies that have grown unchecked since we moved in here thirty-some-odd years ago. The only way to try to cut them to a decent size required wearing welders’ gloves up to the elbow. Like Charlie Brown’s kite-eating tree, these were definitely flesh eating shrubs that stood as high as my head.

The only time that they have ever been taken down to a reasonable size was in the years when we fostered Benjamin, my trainer’s miniature Nubian goat. There was nothing miniature about his size or his bad temper. He ate those thorny things down to two feet tall. The thorns never bothered him. But then Benjamin was the prototypical omnivorous goat. My husband never forgave him for eating the tractor manual right off the hood of the tractor while he was trying to figure out how to change a hose on the front loader. I eventually suggested that my trainer find another home for him with a whole herd of miniature goats. That happened after Benjamin managed to turn on the hot water in the barn and flood it twice in one day. He waited in the barn every morning not only to be fed, but to waylay whoever was feeding by butting the feeder right behind the knees. He was a male and had not only substantial horns but a skull that I think was constructed of marble instead of bone.

So anyway, tonight I do not have all those hollies in front of the house. They have been pulled out and moved to my burn pile in the pasture. Now all I have to do is find somebody capable of burning the pile without setting west Tennessee on fire. I am not about to do it. I think I am going to offer our local volunteer fire department a sizeable donation to come use my burn pile as their training exercise.

The Malice meeting was fascinating. Our speaker was a detective (female) from the Bartlett police department who has a couple of masters’ degrees in criminal justice and profiling. She was giving us chapter and verse on serial killers. Now, I, for one, am pretty tired of books about serial killers. I did not, however, know how much I did not know about them, the way they think, the way they operate, and the ways in which law enforcement hunts them down. It is estimated that a hundred or so serial killers are operating in the US at any given time. Law enforcement only knows about thirty or so of them. Now that is scary. One of the more interesting facts about them is that invariably they do revisit the scene of the crime, sometimes over and over. I always thought that was a stupid cliché. Not so. Let’s be careful out there.

 

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Watermelon on the Fourth – Carolyn

Today is the third of July, and as happens every year, I am worrying that we’ll never get this country off the ground. We watch 1776, and I wish John Adams would watch his mouth.

Every year on the Fourth, my children and I get together for a picnic of fried chicken, cucumber sandwiches, and watermelon. My mother firmly believed that it was tacky to eat watermelon before the fourth of July. I have no idea why. That rule was right up there with wearing white cotton gloves to church in the summer and kid gloves in the winter. Or never wearing white shoes or a straw hat before Easter Sunday. Or after Labor Day. Let’s see…

Never wear velvet after Valentine’s Day. Never wear diamonds before seven in the evening and not before you are twenty-one years old. No full length mink coats before you are twenty-one either, although fingertip length was okay if you could afford it. (Which we couldn’t, of course. Not diamonds either, come to that.)

Before I moved to Germany after graduate school I had never, ever seen a woman at a church service wearing slacks. Even in the days of no air conditioning, we all struggled into stockings and panti-hose and high heels on Sunday morning. Going bare-legged? Never. As an Episcopalian, I wore a hat to church every Sunday. That apparently changed while I was living in Europe as well, because when I came home hats were long gone. I can’t say I miss them.

As much as I love dressing comfortably, I miss the line of demarcation that clothes can make. I don’t care what other people wear (well, most of the time), but I am not going to the theatre in jeans and a t-shirt. Clothes can create a sense of occasion, especially to those of us who live in the country and wear jeans and shorts all year round. When you spend your life wearing muck boots, there is something about putting on heels and an actual skirt and earrings that improves your mood. Unfortunately, I loathe walking in heels at my age. And wearing those stilts? Lord! I tried on a pair at DSW and had to grab the edge of the shelf to keep from falling on my face. Even my ballroom dancing shoes have Cuban heels. After I retired to the farm and gave up wearing heels to work every day, I had to spend two years exercising and stretching my Achilles tendons out so that I could lower my heels in my stirrups.

Most of our clothes rules no longer apply. Mostly that’s a good thing. Nobody notices nor cares what I wear, and deliver me from cotton gloves in August! Still, I can hear my mother’s voice when I try to figure out what to wear to the ballet. “For heaven’s sake! Fix yourself up. You look downright tacky.”

 

 

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A Happy Fourth!

I apologize for missing the last few weeks, but they have been full ones, especially this past weekend.   My great niece, Mary, was married, and relatives from five states turned the occasion into a three day non-stop party.

It was a lovely evening wedding, and it was wonderful to see out-of-state relatives and friends.   The bride was beautiful, the groom handsome and there was even a junior love affair between the four-year-old ring bearer and three-and-a-half year old flower girl.  The latter two charmed everyone by dancing and holding hands until late in the night.   A romance in the making!    Can’t wait to see what happens in twenty years.

Weddings always inspire romance writers.   I couldn’t wait to get home to revise my last chapter in Jubal’s Return, a Harlequin SuperRomance scheduled for next January.   It will be the fourth in my Covenant Falls series.   I’m starting the fifth.in the series Tuesday.    I have fallen in love with the town of Covenant Falls and the veterans who heal there.   The last Covenant Falls book, “A Soldier’s Journey,” did extremely well, and I thank all of you who supported it.

But I particularly want to wish everyone a wonderful Fourth of July.  It has always been my favorite holiday, surpassing Christmas and Thanksgiving.   I always watch “1776,”, a broadway musical made into a film.   It’s a witty but also moving story about the writing of the Declaration of Independence.   And then I watch the the Fourth of July concert In Washington D.C.  and Boston.    I think about the courage of those patriots who confronted a mighty army and prevailed with a courage and fortitude that carried the country through a civil war, two world wars and other wars.

The Covenant Falls series honors our veterans and that’s the reason I’ve enjoyed writing the books so much.   I am so grateful to all who served and who continue to bear the physical and emotional scars from that service.   We owe so much to them.

I hope you enjoy the day and pause to say a silent thank you to all those who fought for this country from Colonial times until today.

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Oh, Canada!

Happy Canada Day!

Canadian Flag

According to Wikipedia, Canada Day celebrates the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the Constitution Act, which united three colonies into a single country. Originally called Dominion Day, the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada Act was passed. Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as among Canadians internationally.

How wonderful that we North American neighbors celebrate our independence in such close proximity! I’d like to wish my many Canadian friends and readers a beautiful and happy Canada Day!

And, with July 4th coming up–and many people hitting the roads today–let me wish everyone in the good ol’ USA, a Happy 4th of July. Be safe, if you’re traveling. Happy barbecuing, if you’re sticking close to home–like me.

Here’s a recipe I plan to try. Sounds delish and it’s delightful to look at.

blueberry caprese salad

Blueberry Caprese Salad

YIELD: 4-6 side servings

TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes

ingredients:

  • 12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • 6 ounces (1 cup) fresh blueberries
  • 8 ounces mozzarella balls (ciliegine or bocconcini), halved or cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn if large
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

directions:

  1. Combine tomatoes, blueberries, and mozzarella balls in a bowl. Toss with basil leaves, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made a few hours ahead of time, just cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.)