Monday, December 22, 2008

Books, books everywhere and not a one to read


I'm looking to start a new book.
When I started writing my husband thought it would be great if I could just earn enough to pay for all the books I buy. I'm not quite there. What can I say? It's an addiction.

Not only do I buy a lot of books for myself, but I give a lot of books as gifts. This year I'm giving away copies of:

Devil May Ride (of course)
The Tales of Beedle the Bard (J.K. Rowling)
Twilight (Stephenie Meyer)
Trust Me (Brenda Novak)
When Twilight Burns (Colleen Gleason)
Unlucky (Jana DeLeon)

There are a few others but I've wrapped and mailed them so I don't remember LOL! Are you giving away books as gifts and, if so, which ones?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Done your shopping? Give a goat!

Have you finished your holiday shopping but all that buying has left you, well, unfulfilled? Try Heifer International.

On this site you can donate farm animals to impoverished families.

A flock of chicks for only $20



A trio of rabbits for $60.

Helping to stamp out poverty around the world just might make the holiday season more meaningful for you than another gadget in your home :) Do you have a favorite charity?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gift Cards

For years I resisted the urge to buy gift cards for presents. It just felt so impersonal.
However, I've slowly come around and I've found myself buying a few gift cards here and there.
Teachers get gift cards for coffee as Christmas gifts and some teens on my list will get gift cards too. I have to mail a bunch of gifts and, hey, there's no denying gift cards are cheaper to mail then, say, golf balls.

I admit a Starbucks card makes my day.

How about you? Are you on the gift card bandwagon? Do you like getting them?

Poopy Puppies

I've been busy with poop patrol. Housebreaking little Bella is a work in progress but actually she's pretty good. Of course, it's the times when you're most busy and distracted that she'll decide to have an accident. Plus, we're in the middle of a cold snap here in the Pacific Northwest and although she had only one piddle accident in the first three days, she's had a couple more recently. I think it's all about the fact that she's too busy shivering and shaking in the icy cold to actually remember why she's outside!
Speaking about bathroom habits of dogs reminds me of my very first published book, Dating Can Be Deadly. In the book I mentioned an exotic drink called a Poopy Puppy. To make one you mix together Amaretto, Butterscotch schnapps, Kahlua, Bailey's and a splash of Coke and serve it over ice.
If you've got housebreaking tips, share them in the comments.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Winner of the Spot the Book contest is:

Becky Hutchison!!

She spotted Devil May Ride at the Barnes & Noble in Annapolis MD.

Congrats Becky! Thanks to everyone who took the time to spot (and buy!!) Devil May Ride!

Today is a day where I must get a lot done so I'm making a list. Top of the list is a phone meeting with my editor and the second item is laundry. Can't write if the pile of clothes topple over and kill me lol!

What are the top two things on your To Do list today?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

This weekend was a ton of fun! I spent the weekend in Seattle and while the hubby took the kids Christmas shopping, I had my signing at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop. I love that store! Every single time I'm there I tell them I wish I could live there and I'm not joking. Give me coffee and food and I'd be content to hunker down with all those great books and never leave.

Signings are always more fun when friends drop by. My new friend Mary Buckham not only came for the signing and bought books but she also took me to lunch afterward. It was great fun to talk shop and find a kindred spirit.

Don't forget about the SPOT THE BOOK CONTEST and email or post comments about where you've seen DEVIL MAY RIDE :)

Today I'm off to do some shopping because some nitwit on the radio reminded me there is only 2 more weeks until Christmas *aaaack*!

What is keeping you busy this week?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I Spy With My Little Eye ...

The Spot the Book contest continues! So far DEVIL MAY RIDE has been spotted in:

Leominster, MA
Antioch, ca.
Annapolis MD
Books-a-million
Amazon
Los Angeles
NYC
Seattle
North Brunswick, NJ
San Francisco
North Haven (CT)
Cranston, Rhode Island
Lynnwood, WA
Davenport, IA
Auburn, ME
Baybrook, TX
Grand Forks, ND
Provo, UT
Eurgene, OR
Laurel, MS
Boulcer, CO

Can you add a location? Draw is Dec. 12th

Saturday I'll be signing books at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop. Come down and visit if you get a chance!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Today's the Day!


I'm out to stalk book stores this morning and, yes, I'll even buy a copy of my own book. There's something about picking it up off the shelf and taking it to the counter that just adds a euphoric dimension to the writing process for me.

I'll be doing my first Devil May Ride book signing this Saturday at noon at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop.

Don't forget my SPOT THE BOOK contest. Let me know the book store & city where you spotted Devil May Ride & you’ll be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Draw date Dec. 12th.

So what are your plans for this terrific tuesday? Have you started your shopping? Finished?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Start the month off with a BANG

I can't believe December is finally here and Devil May Ride comes out tomorrow!!

To celebrate tomorrow's release I’m having a SPOT THE BOOK contest. Let me know (by commenting, emailing or shouting real loud) the book store & city where you spotted Devil May Ride. You’ll be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card to help with your holiday shopping! The winner will be chosen on December 12th.

I'm kicking off December by getting the Christmas lights up on the house and decorating that giant green air freshener in my living room. How about you? What are your plans this week?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Book Trailer



My fabulous web girl has upgraded my site for Devil May Ride!!!!!!!!!

CLICK HERE

to pop over and take a look at the trailer.

What do you think?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Winner of last week's contest is:

B.E. Sanderson!!

Email me with your snail mail addy, B.E. so I can get this package off to you :)

Did everyone have a good weekend? I had a bit of an upset tummy over the last few days. It may have had something to do with the dozen 11 year old boys who landed in my house for a birthday party lol.

Regardless of the cause, my remedy is to drink herbal tea. I'm not like Sadie Novak, protagonist in the Ghost Dusters Series. Sadie hates tea because she considers it the drink of the bereaved. Any time there's sad news, she feels people wash it down with tea.

My tea of choice for tummy trouble is Celestial Seasonings Mint Green Tea. Are you a tea drinker? If you are, what's your favorite?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Babies and Outlook

Microsoft Outlook has given me nothing but grief since I got a new computer with Vista. I hate this program. Even as a wordsmith, I have trouble finding all the nasty words I could use to describe how much I despise this program. If I could, I'd take the entire computer outside and have a massive bonfire. Anyone else have issues with this program?

On a more positive note, in just a few weeks I'm going to be having a little furry baby. I may be a little biased but I'm thinking she's just about the cutest little girl in the world :)


Don't forget, post a comment today or tomorrow and your name goes in a draw to win Ghost Dusters goodies!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just Stuff

Thanks to Stephanie Hale for posting a link to this review in the comments!

As I writer, of course, I love getting a good review. Mostly because there are so many days when the words I type feel awful. I look at what's on my screen and think at the best ... meh.

I also love getting emails from readers. Some days when I'm word wrestling at my computer an email pops into my inbox and it's someone writing to say they enjoyed my book. I've gotta say it does more for getting me to write than the triple shot latte sitting next to the keyboard :)

Remember posting a comment this week will enter you to win Ghost Duster goodies. What kind of goodies? Pens, bookmarks, postcards, t-shirts, hats ... hey, I've got stuff like you wouldn't believe LOL!

So do you usually write an author a note if you enjoyed their book? If not, why not?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Scene Sound Track

Often times when I'm writing I find that my scenes have a soundtrack. When a song clicks with the emotional content of the pages it just resonates to the point that I have to listen to it over and over.

Devil May Ride is coming out soon but I'm also working on the final perusal of the third book in the series (coming out december 2009). The song that is on repeat in my brain for this third book is Unloved by Jann Arden and Jackson Brown. Warning this song may result in a serious earworm condition LOL!

Only 15 days until the release of DEVIL MAY RIDE!

I'm mega busy setting up signings, mailing off mailings and going over updates for the new book trailer. However, I don't want to forget all the cool stuff I've got to send off :) Post a comment to the blog this week and I'll enter your name to win a collection of Ghost Duster paraphernalia!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Review!

"Ms. Roberts pens a fast-moving paranormal mystery that will keep readers rapt attention every step of the way."

Yayyy!!!

The newest review of Devil May Ride is up at Darque Reviews.

CLICK HERE to read Kimberly Swan's full review of the newest Ghost Dusters book hitting shelves in just ...

18 days!!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lest We Forget...


Remembrance Day ... Poppy Day ... Armistice Day ... Veterans Day ... Whatever you call it, in Canada it's the day we commemorate the sacrifices made by the armed forces and civilians during war.

November 11th is the anniversary of the day World War I ended in 1918. At the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month we have two minutes of silence. Two minutes. It's a pittance of time. A small price to pay to give sincere tribute to all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

Now, more than ever, let's all pray for peace.

I love this video.



Happy Remembrance Day and Veterans' Day

Monday, November 03, 2008

Feeling Not Quite Me

Do you ever have those times when you're not quite yourself? Lately, I've felt a little unlike me. Maybe it's the fact that it's November and that means the year is almost over. It could be because of daylight savings time. Even when I gain that extra hour it seems to throw me off. However, I'm guessing various stresses and the fact that I'm buried in going over Book 3 is probably the most likely culprit. The third book in the Ghost Dusters series is due December 1st and, of course, I just want it to be the best possible so I'm getting bleary-eyed looking it over.

This not-quite-me time effects my reading time too. I'm currently reading three very different books. Jodi Picoult's Keeping Faith, Candy Calvert's Mai Tai to Murder and Cody McFadyen's Shadow Man.

These books are so completely different it's like my personality has split in three separate directions.

Are you feeling like yourself? What are you reading these days?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Walmart Encounters

It's been a long time since I shopped at Walmart. Last night my daughter was mall shopping with friends putting together her Halloween costume so I killed time walking around the big box store and mostly people watching.

I swear if I'm ever at a loss for characters to put in my books I'm heading for Walmart. I don't know if it's our particular store, the fact that it's near Halloween, or that it was late evening but I saw some weird, odd and strange things. Here are just a few:

- A forty-something man was frantically running around carrying a birthday cake. I saw him 3 times in the hour I was there and each time he was bolting around like he was terribly late clutching a large white birthday cake with blue flowers. Weird.

- There were a family of mullets. What I assumed was the mom, dad and son all had mullet hair styles. Last time I saw this many mullets I was in Dallas and it was the mid-1990's. And, no, this didn't appear to be a Halloween idea gone horribly wrong they were just walking around filling their shopping cart with Doritos. Odd.

- There was a skinny, skanky looking woman in her early twenties who had a large white rat in her front pocket. Strange.

I could seriously write any one of these people as a character in a book.

I did end up making a purchase at Walmart. I bought Jodi Picoult's book Keeping Faith. Has anybody read this one yet?

What is your favorite place to people watch?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Feeling Spookified

I love Halloween!
We spent the weekend carving pumpkins and decorating the house and I hope to have some pictures this week to share.

The first decorations are up but we'll add more gruesome carnage as the week goes on. Some things we'll leave until Halloween night ... like the the body under our garage door and the one under the front tire of the car.

It's great that Halloween falls on a Friday this year. It gives parents and kids alike the chance to recover from the sugar buzz!When the kids were little we had Pooh Bears and Princesses. This year we're having Zombie Rock'n Rollers and Flesh Eating Monsters LOL.

Do you do any preparations for the great big Boo? I'm a sucker for the mini chocolate bars. Any favorite candies?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bed, Breakfast and Murder?


Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
And when she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.


If you're ever in Fall River, Massachusetts, you may want to check out Lizzie Borden Museum. Oh and if you ever want a good laugh, try and get me to say the state name Massachusetts. For some reason, it always comes out Massachewet or Massachewssis, but I digress.

For about $225 a night you can stay at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast and stay in Lizzie's room. In the morning you'll be served food that's similar to what Lizzie's mom & dad ate before she killed them. Bananas, jonny-cakes & sugar cookies - a breakfast to die for?

People are apparently willing to spend big bucks to visit the home of a murderess. Would you be willing to take a whack at it?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I've been meaning to put this up for the last couple weeks. A reminder that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Have you had that thingamaboob called a mammogram lately? I usually have mine in March around my birthday. It's not what I would call a fun present but it helps me remember to get the job done :)

Early detection is key so if you're overdue for your mammogram, please don't wait!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bouchercon

I got back from the Bouchercon conference yesterday afternoon. Overall, the conference experience was great but the travel side of things wasn't. However, this being Canadian Thanksgiving I'm going to focus on the great side of things and do any bitching and complaining later LOL!

I was on a fabulous panel called, "THANK THE LORD FOR THE NIGHT TIME -Why is the supernatural so damn fun?". In the picture above I'm standing looking star struck because I am, in fact, with stars. I felt truly honored to be on such a star studded panel. Left to right in the photo is:
Heather Graham
Myself
Elena Santangelo, and
Alex Sokoloff

Missing from the picture was our fabulous moderator Cathy Pickens

The panel winners were truly the fans in the audience who asked intelligent and fun questions that kept the panel lively and informative.

I returned home to a crowded house and Thanksgiving dinner almost fully prepared thanks to my fabulous inlaws. I hardly had to even wash a dish.

Usually when I go away to a conference I can immerse myself in the writing world and enjoy the moment, however, the last four days I missed my children terribly and was glad to be back home.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Charmed to Death

Tomorrow I leave for Baltimore to attend the Bouchercon Mystery Conference. I've never been to Baltimore so it should be a treat ... if I actually ever leave the hotel room. Sometimes the conferences are sooo wonderful inside, you never actually get outside.

On Tursday I'm doing on a panel called "THANK THE LORD FOR THE NIGHT TIME - Why is the supernatural so damn fun?" Together with me are Cathy Pickens, Heather Graham, Elena Santangelo & Alex Sokoloff. Doesn't the workshop name alone sound like a hoot?

One of the best things about being on a panel like this (besides sitting next to such obvious talent) are the questions that come from the audience. If you had to ask a supernatural-type question of these panelists, what would it be?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Drumroll Please ....

The winner of an advance copy of Devil May Ride is Tetewa!

Tetewa, email me your snail addy and I'll fire off the package to you :)

If you subscribe to my mailing list look for my author news email today. If your name was drawn from that list, you'll receive a second email!

I'm busily writing away. I did not quite reach my 50 page goal last week but I'm on target for this week's pages so *yay*

What are you up to this week?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Weird...


I'm plugging along trying to get my 50 pages done this week (I've knocked off 17 of those so *yay*). Then I started referring to my research to fill a scene and got a little sidetracked. At one point I was looking for a unique tattoo that a character could have on their stomach. I forgot I had these tucked away.










The tat I'd settled for was actually one like this only smaller and just above the belly button. The key is, of course, a clue.

You can see why research can sometimes distract me and lead me down the totally wrong road LOL.

Another reminder :) ...to win an advance copy of Devil May Ride post a comment on my blog before the end of the month or join my mailing list!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Musings

Had a fun weekend. Together with friend and author Mary J. Forbes I gave a workshop at the Greater Vancouver Chapter of RWA on collaging. Lots of chatting, cutting, pasting and brainstorming. In the end a lot of great magazines gave way to some fabulous story collages. Fun!

This week I've got a ton of stuff to accomplish. Number one on the list is to write at least fifty pages of book 3. I had to pause in writing for the last few days in order to get some research done but now I'm good to go. What are your plans for the week?

Note: Remember, if you want to win an advance copy of Devil May Ride post a comment on my blog before the end of the month or join my mailing list!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Birthday To You...

Today Agatha Christie would have been 118. Although she died in 1976 her work still lives on and I aspire to have my stories still loved 32 years after my death. So go ahead and blow your diet and eat cake in Agatha`s name. Or have wine. Or raise your coffee mug in salute. She was a great storyteller who inspired many.

Who inspires you?

Don`t forget that if you want to win an advance copy of Devil May Ride? I'll be making a draw from those who post comments on my blog before the end of the month. Also, you can have a second chance to win by join my mailing list!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

You know you waaaant one :)

Want to win an advance copy of Devil May Ride? I'll be making a draw from those who post comments on my blog before the end of the month.

For a second chance to win, join my mailing list!

By the way, dontcha just LOVE my Tim Burton Tee?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thank you!

With the back to school craziness and general writing induced mind numbness, I've been remiss in my thank yous. My mom didn't raise no slouch in the manners department so I'm gonna throw a few general notes of appreciation out there...

- First of all, a big THANK YOU to Kaspersky Anti-Virus. When Norton couldn't or wouldn't do the job and Trend-Micro also failed me, Kaspersky came to my rescue. A parade of trojans invaded my pc when my naive hubby decided to download a poker program . Two weeks of running virus and spyware checks and the problems only got worse until I eliminated all my anti-virus software and installed Kaspersky. Cleanup was quick and complete so THANKS!

- THANKS to Tim King who tagged me with a meme and mentioned my name and Remains of the Dead on his blog. I would've gone ahead with the meme but I already did one similar a couple months back.

- THANK YOU to my kids for not minding pasta 3 nights in a row or mismatched socks in their drawers since I'm back in full writing mode.

- THANKS to Tensor for creating a fabulous elbow brace with gel inside. I damaged the tendon in my left elbow with some heavy lifting and this brace feels oh so good when I put it in the freezer for a few minutes before wearing it.

- BIG THANKS to my wonderful editor Kristen Weber for the fabulous box of Advance Reviewer Copies for Devil May Ride! Squeeee!!

Stay tuned for a contest to win an ARC in a blog contest in a few days. Now have you said your Thank Yous?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Yes!!!


Today I gave my kids big hugs and sent them off for another year of learning.

Then I high-fived the other moms in the parking lot.

When I got home I did a wooo hooo dance in front of my computer before sitting down and writing a truckload of pages.

How's your day?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Do you FB?

Facebook. It's become impossible to ignore but I feel like I'm not really getting the point.

- Friend requests ... most are not really my friends but acquaintances, writing contacts, and distant contacts of more distant friends.
- Packrat invitations... what does that even mean?!
- Green Patch requests ... patch of what?
- Wall writing ... can't I just send you an email?
- Cyber gifting ... what's the purpose?
- Hugs, events, groups ... ARGH!

I joined Facebook after pressure from all those trying to "friend" me but, truthfully, I just don't GET it!

All of you who are successfully using/enjoying/loving Facebook please enlighten me. What am I missing?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cleaning Up Beijing

After every big party some people stay to help cleanup while others go home. Did you watch the Olympics in Beijing? With the help of Tivo, I managed to catch quite a number of events including the opening and closing ceremonies. Wow!

Of course now the world turns their eyes on London as the next home for the summer Olympics. I don't know how the Brits will pull it off. It's a good thing they've got 4 years to get ready. Then again, the winter olympics will be in my own home town in just a couple years. Just. Two. Years! I feel like a hostess who just found out that her two dozen dinner guests are all arriving a day early!

Of course you can't really compare the summer and winter olympics. The Beijing games had twice as many athletes, four times as many tickets and over a $40 billion budget. The Vancouver Olympics will operate with a $2 billion budget. Beijing's Olympic green area is many times bigger than Vancouver's Stanley Park, but Vancouver will be the largest metro area ever to hold the Winter Games.

Even though my city is gorgeous in its own right, I still can't help but feel like my two dozen early-arriving dinner guests are expecting filet mignon and lobster thermador while I've got Kraft Dinner simmering on the back burner.

To relate all this to writing (and you knew I would)... with the release of Devil May Ride just a few months away, I'm beginning to feel a tiny bit queasy. I love all the complimentary emails I've received from fans but I know they'll be comparing book one with book two and, of course, I want them to love 'em both.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Got milk ... oh and a really big bottle?

Have you heard about this? A poor little ol' humpback whale calf thinks a yacht is its mother. And I think I'm confused.

What am I confused about? One of my characters is putting me through the ringer. I can't figure out whether I should make him very evil, or very good. You'd think such a decision would be easy. You're either good or bad, right? Hmmmm. Perhaps I should make him good with a tendency to do bad things.

Do you believe that most people who commit crimes are basically good?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Say it isn't so...

Just read an article on CNN that claims Chef Julia Child "served in an international spy ring managed by the Office of Strategic Services" during WWII.

Julia Child an international spy?! What did she contribute, secret German recipes like wienerschnitzel?

Can't help but wonder whose next. Maybe Mr. Rogers will be revealed as a secret agent for the CIA?

Now what if Julia Child is STILL a spy? They say she died in 2004 of kidney failure but whose to say she isn't right now operating under cover in a covert operation hunting terrorists? Hmmmm.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

ghostly travels

It's been a while since I posted a ghostly picture so I thought I'd put up a few. Of course, the fact that Europe is filled with old buildings as well as history filled with bloody battles and brutal monarchs lends itself to many ghostly tales.

Like the Tower of London ghost.








Or the dancing ghost of France.




And of course Rome has a few of its own.



However, my favorite ghost-like photo was this one featuring a hand reaching out to grab me through the Colliseum.

The shot was actually taken by my son through a bus window. Because of the flash, his hand reflected in the window. Not a real ghostly pic but I still found it pretty cool!

Off to write about more ghostly stuff. What are you haunting today?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sherlock Holmes

When I was in London I visited the Sherlock Holmes museum on Baker Street.

Sherlock Holmes (in case you've lived under a rock) is a fictional detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and, as far as I know, Sherlock is the only fictional character in the world to have a museum dedicated to him. One of the most fascinating things about this museum is the mail box. Sherlock Holmes still receives letters from people asking him to help them solve their mysteries.

Have you ever read any of the Holmes mysteries? I think my personal favorite was The Hound of the Baskervilles.

I'm not a Holmes addict like some and certainly not a member of either the Sherlock Holmes Society, in London, or the Baker Street Irregulars in New York. However, I aspire to create the kind of characters that receive their own mail! Oh to create characters that outlive the author - wow!! It inspires me to write deeper, more genuine characters. I'd love my Sadie Novak to receive letters asking her to help in mysteries!

Well off to breathe life into my own mystery ... the game's afoot!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Promo Shmo Mo

For a while now I've been working on my promotional ideas for Devil May Ride, the second book in the Ghost Dusters series. Have you ever noticed that there is a cagillion things on the market that you can put your name on?!

So I'm wondering, as readers, writers, and all-round knowledgeable and fun people :) what kind of items do you actually pick up and keep?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

There's just something about a fun pen...

I've mentioned before on this blog that shopping is not my favorite thing to do. While in Europe I had to be flexible about this because souvenirs needed to be purchased. And apparantly kids think they need something *anything* from every single place you go to. As a rule, I'm usually the one outside the shop holding the bags. However, there is one exception to that rule. I love a fun pen.

So while the kids were scanning the shelves for things too large for our suitcase, I'd walk to the front of the store and glance at the jar of pens that would inevitably be for sale next to the cash register. Mostly the selection was disappointing but I did find the above pictured syringe pen at the Sherlock Holmes museum in London. I also found a darling pen in London where the clicker is the head of a London guard. Very cute!

Pens hold endless possibilities. Hidden inside their tiny pools of liquid ink are love letters, lists and murder plots. To hide all that inside something fun, weird, or fanciful just makes me giggle.

So how about you? Are you a suvenir shopper? Do you fill your suitcase with collector spoons, thimbles and t-shirts, or do you prefer all your memories on kodak paper?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm Ba-a-a-ack!

Got in yesterday and the jet lag isn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Good thing because my final page proofs for Devil May Ride were waiting for me :)

I've made good progress already on the edits even though my brain is still in Europe.

By the way our itinerary was: Paris, London, Gibraltar, Cannes, Pisa, Rome, Cagliari, Seville, Lisbon, Vigo and then back to London.

Things that feel good after being away for 25 days:

- first and foremost reliable internet! I would've blogged regularly if only I didn't fall asleep just waiting for a connection.
- my own huge bed in my own big bedroom
- driving
- opening a fridge and not having to pay an arm and a leg for a can of pop
- clean air (after London I feel like I need to squeeze the smog from my bronchial passages)
- saying, "I'm hungry." and not having to follow that up with a detail examination of a map

Things that I already miss:

- accents and the melodic sounds of Spanish, Italian and French
- not having to wash the dishes/cook/clean
- waking up and wondering briefly what city or country I'm in
- all the quirky, wonderful people (and animals) we met along the way, like the one-footed pigeon who entertained us in a Paris train station (we called her Peggy) and the tour guide in Rome who was a tiny older woman with a voice bigger than the colliseum
- the plumbing novelties (we counted 15 different flushing techniques!)

What was I saying earlier about jet lag?....Zzzzzzz

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gibraltar and the Case of the Missing Purse

Gibraltar is a tiny U.K. peninsula at the bottom of Spain. It's only 3 miles long and 1 mile wide but that is plenty big enough to search if you lose your purse including the passports for 6 people.

Started off at Gibraltar where everyone with 4 kids would start; at Pizza Hut. After a quick bite we snagged a tour van to take us to the rock. The rock of Gibraltar is a small mountain with extremely narrow roads allowing one vehicle to angle and writhe its way to the top. Once at the top, I noticed I had the backpack containing everyone's spare sweaters, water bottles, the cameras but *yikes* my purse was gone!

There was no way to return to the bottom of the Rock from this point, we had no choice but to push on with the rest of our group for the remaining 90 minute ride.

On the Rock of Gibraltar you can visit famous caves, tunnels and catch a glimpse of the Barbary Apes. The apes are cute but they're thieves who will quickly relieve you of your belongings. Had they stolen my purse?

Luckily, we had Peter. A tour guide who loved a challenge. Every time we stopped for a photo opp, he called around and used his resources to try and track down my bag. However, by the time we reached the end of our route we had no choice but to make our way to the police station (that looked a lot like a small drive thru). The police had good news, a cabby had found my purse and called it in! He'd discovered my purse at Pizza Hut. The bad news, this cabby was notoriously known to be difficult to get hold of and going off on his own as he was a retired cop who only worked part-time.

Although the Gibraltar police had given up doing more thank taking my statement and moving on, the wonderful Peter was on the case and he used all his connections to track down the cabby/ex-cop and arranged for him to meet us. All in all, everything turned out wonderfully thanks to Peter and St. Anthony (patron saint of lost things who received many prayers).

Onward to Cannes then Italy.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I left my DNA on the Champs Elysees

Ahhh Paris! I was so impressed with the outside view of the Arc de Triomphe that my jaw dropped and my gum left my mouth to plop on the famous street. I did pick up the gum and put it in the trash but I like to think there remains a small trace of me :)

We have left Paris for London and enjoyed a tour of the Tower of London where we got to see various torture devices as well as the crown jewels.

Random things I've learned during my travels so far:

- there are many MANY ways to flush a toilet.
- New York drivers are nuth'n compared to those in Paris
- no matter how little you think you've packed, you packed too much
- St. Joseph bottled water in Paris is closest to ours at home
- Paying a lot for a meal doesn't mean your kids will eat it
- never under estimate the value of comfortable shoes

More tidbits to come! How are things with all of you?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Hitting the Road...um...Skies


Well the bags are packed...almost.
My word documents are uploaded on my laptop...well...practically.
The kids have enough stuff to amuse them for a dozen hours travelling...nearly.

I'm jetting off tomorrow. I have a new laptop and a new camera. If the stars align perfectly I may be able to upload pics in a few days.

In the meantime, are you a member of my newsletter list? If yes *YAY*!! If no, what are you waiting for? I'm going to have some amazing contests for my newsletter members upon my return. You can sign up for my mailing list through my website here.

In the meantime ... goodbye ... au revoir ... ciao ... adiĆ³s ... tchau

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Cataclysmic Events

I love that word, cataclysmic. There are just not enough times in our life when we can use it.

A cataclysmic event is defined as a violent upheaval that causes great destruction or brings about a fundamental change. Kind of like the picture above where the skies of Chile became an incredible brew when a volcanic eruption combined with a lightning storm.

My own cataclysmic event was discovering a new character while writing book 3. Usually I receive drips and drops of a character and I need to mold and coax them to fit my needs. This character came to me fully formed and ready to save the scene. As I wrote her into the book I actually got chills. Sort of like when my 12 year old son vacuumed without being asked or threatened.

I think I'll make it my goal to use cataclysmic more often in my every day vocabulary. It'll spice things up!

Anything cataclysmic happening with you these days?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Self-matching Socks Would Change My Life

A family of six creates a lot of laundry. Heaping tons of undies, t-shirts and *shudder* socks. I swear the absolute worst time of the week is sock time. That moment when there is no hiding from mountain of mismatched foot covers and my young boys are whining, "I've got no socks."

Nobody wants to deal with the mound of hosiery. I beg and cajole the kids into taking a stack and attempting to find partners for each sock. Together we must spend hours at this chore. Each week I find myself daydreaming of tossing out the works and just buying new. Socks are one of the main reasons I must kill people on paper.

Forget sending people to live on Mars. Forget discovering a new efficient fuel source. If someone invents self folding socks now THAT would change my life.

How about you? Are you waiting for an invention to save you hours of frustration?