Sunday, March 31, 2013

Out and About on April 1

The winter, as crazy and snowy as it has been - and seemingly never-ending, is about to end.  Spring is here and Easter is upon us.  And the long awaited melt, sorry Mr. Snow Rabbit, has begun. 

Monday, April 1 - I'll be over at Stephanie's Bookshelf as part of my tour with my latest book Fatal Intent.  Stop by just to visit and be entered for a chance to win a copy of my first book From the Dust and the grand prize - the movie East of Borneo and an autographed copy of From the Dust.  Besides all that, Stephanie's Bookshelf just looks like a good place to hang out.  And I promise, no April Fool's tricks.

Happy Easter!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

And One Roof Rake On The Side

Roof rakes - if you don't know what one is then I don't know if we should talk, at least not until spring.

Spring - yes I know it's here.  Is it possible that the weather man or woman doesn't get the fact that it's spring?  Has no one spoken to Mother Nature?  The snow is not going away.  It's not budging.  In fact I believe it might be mocking me.

Okay, possibly not. 


It snowed again last night and the night before that and...Spring is a date that is out of whack with reality.  The front steps are invisible from the driveway due to a mountain of snow.  I'll have side of snow...I meant slaw.  No really I didn't ask for this!
Yardworks Roof Rake
In roof rake land - we stay young forever, oops, no I meant we have snow forever.

Roof rakes - well if you don't know what one is then I'm not sure I want to talk.  I suspect you're harbouring good weather.  I suspect... oh, never mind.  One day you'll ask me what a toboggan is and that is some fun that can't be had in good weather.  Definitely a lot more fun than a roof rake.  Did I mention my last bottle of suntan lotion dried up but I have a spare toque if anyone needs one?

Spring is here and there's nothing to see but snow

Roof rakes, I didn't know what one was either until two years ago.  Then they made an appearance, filling the shelves in the local Canadian Tire, being snapped up by tens and then hundreds and then...  Well, now you can't go on a walk in winter without seeing a roof rake in action.

They're used to get snow off roofs and are great for people that don't actually want to get on the roof.  Although there are many intrepid souls that crawl right up there and start shoveling, my DH for one.  Interestingly enough, it's only men that I see on the roof with a shovel, the occasional woman, well she's bravely manning the roof rake from the mid-rungs of a ladder.  Is it possible, that the last domain of man is the roof?

So I'm leaving now without a single answer.  But Monday, maybe I'll ponder it some more while remembering a place where there's no snow, Borneo.

Monday I'm over on another trail and taking my latest book, Fatal Intent, a romantic suspense set in the Borneo rain forest,  with me.  I'll be at Read Your Writes Book Reviews all day.  It's all part of Fatal Intent's tour.  Stop by - leave a comment and be entered to win a a copy of my book, From the Dust and also be entered for a chance to win the grand prize at the end of the tour.  And I checked it out - there's no snow at Read Your Writes!

So roof rakes on the prairies - any oddities in your part of the world?  Leave a comment or come on by to Read Your Writes on Monday - Let's talk!


Friday, March 15, 2013

Omens and Opportunities

The Ides of March is upon us.  Is that a good or bad thing?  An omen or a window of opportunity, or just another day. 

Today I'm posting over at the Romance Studio.  I picked today because it was the Ides.  Why, you ask or maybe you didn't?  Fortuitous I thought and in what context I thought that I'm not sure.  In my defense it was a few months ago when I made the decision.  But I'm glad I did.  The Romance Studio are always good people to hang out with.  So, hop on over and chat with me for a bit.  With the snow falling like soft rain outside, I'm not straying far from the house today.

It's edging close to the annual spring craft sale that I was introduced to by my intrepid sister-in-law who is the power engine behind craft sale promotion. And somewhere in all this, my dog Rourke became the poster child for craft sales, appearing in ad after ad.  I believe it was his penchant for unwrapping presents that began it all.  He unwraps every one beginning with his own.

Yes, Rourke you didn't quite make Fire House Dog - although they (as apparently there were four dogs playing one role) too were Irish Terriers, but you made the local craft sale circuit.

Every dog has to start somewhere!


Monday, March 11, 2013

You Won What? - The Liebster Award

Today I was considering what I would write about.  There's been a lot of gloom this year  from weather to that of the more bad news variety and just one too many funerals.  But, unfortunately, that's life.  Still, I was striving for motivation today, struggling with it actually.  I thought maybe I'd give my blog a new face and with fingers poised over the keyboard to begin that, I was waylaid when I found I'd been awarded the Liebster Award!  Now that was motivation!  The blahs slid right off like a cheap coat as I discovered my award all decked out in loveable pink.

 So thank you Murees Depree who is the face behind the fantastic blog Daily Drama of An Aspiring Writer, for awarding me with the Liebster Award.  

What is the Liebster Award?  It's an award given to up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers to show recognition and support.

The Liebster Award Rules
1. Thank the blogger who presented you with the Liebster Award, and link back to his or her blog.

2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator; list 11 random facts about yourself, and create 11 questions for your nominees.

3. Present the Liebster Award to 11 bloggers, who have blogs with 200 followers or less, whom you feel deserve to be noticed. Leave a comment on the blogs letting the owners know they have been chosen. (No tag backs.)

4. Upload the Liebster Award image to your blog.  

Congratulations and Happy Blogging!

And before I collect my award I must answer the questions that Murees provided below:

  1. What is the worst job you ever had?  In high school I had a job in the kitchen of a hospital.  It was hot, gloomy and clean up was disgusting.  I lasted a grand total of three days before throwing in the tea towel.
  2.  What is your favourite snack?  Theater popcorn - not the kind you get at the grocery store but the popcorn that can only be bought at the theater.
  3. What is your favourite TV series?  I honestly don't have one. 
  4. Who would you like to meet? (Person could be dead or alive)  My paternal grandfather
  5. If you could be any animal, which would it be?  A dog but only if I could be my dog.  I don't know if there's a more spoiled dog on the planet.
  6. What are you most grateful for?  I'm grateful for my health and for the health of everyone I care about.
  7. What do you hate?  I hate petty people.  Maybe not so much hate as dislike.
  8. Do you include exercise into your daily routine?  I walk every day and in the summer I ride my bike and sometimes roller blade.
  9. Do you like animals?  I love animals, well most animals.  I admit I'm leery of the ones that might consider me a light snack.
  10. What is your favourite season?  Summer
  11. What is your favourite food?  ice cream
Eleven random things about myself:
1.  I'm usually awake before sunrise
2.  Halloween trumps Christmas
3.  I make fantastic dog biscuits
4.  I walk at least a mile a day
5.  I love dogs
6.  I don't like rice pudding or tapioca
7.  I love a warm rain
8.  I read two or three books at once
9.  I love being on the road - whether by plane, car, etc.
10. When at a loss for what to do - I'll go to the library
11. I've never ridden on a skidoo
And here are the bloggers I've nominated for the Liebster Award:
Lisa McManus Lange -
Tiffany T Cole -
La Gradiva -
Cerian -
Amy Jo Ehman -
Rebecca J Clark -
Shelley Banks  -
Trish Jackson -
JeffO  -
Lee -
Marcia Colette -

 And the award winners questions:
1)  If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
2)  What are you reading right now?
3)  What do you love about blogging?
4)  What would you rather have, a dog or a cat?
5)  Have you ever been lost?
6)  What's your favourite colour?
7)  Coke or pepsi?
8)  How long have you been blogging?
9)  What's the worst thing a stylist has ever done to your hair?
10) Would you ever jump from a plane?
11) There's a storm coming in - which would you prefer, rain or snow?

Blog Tour Alert - Today's Monday and I'm out visiting again.  My blog tour with Fatal Intent continues with a stop today, Monday, March 11 at Wicked Readings by Tawania.   I'd love to see you there, the more the merrier.  The prizes continue and every stop leads up to the grand prize at the tour's end.   So stop by and leave a comment.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Time Travel As Winter Sputters

I was thinking that winter is finally yanking in the reins and while snow and cold hasn't let up I can see the start of a sputter.  And that sputter reminded me of a trip, a trip full of characters.  Yes, it's nostalgia time.  Hold back the sighs, darn it as we reel back a few years:

One thing that still holds true - The fun thing about travel is tripping on the unexpected, the unfamiliar and the best way to do that is meet the locals. That holds true anywhere.  No matter how short a distance you travel.

Footprints in the snow
A jaunt to Minneapolis in these days of ultra security makes a winter trip between two cold regions a challenge.    I'm used to packing much lighter but it's a trick to figuring out how to go lighter.  Boots, coats, mitts all take room and all need to be divested in security lines and stowed in tight plane seating.  Taking less is an option but winter storms are unpredictable.  By our 9:30 a.m. arrival in the U.S. it felt like evening, I was having serious empathy for parents with toddlers, although my ears were still ringing from the toddler who cried and screamed the entire flight.  That same little boy was now smiling sweetly a passenger or two ahead of me.

While I was writing this post I stumbled on an incident at a border crossing that only emphasized that some jobs may just be ideal for a writer.  Fiction often falls out of real life and at a border crossing there's no busier intersection of lives.  Click here for more.

But I digress, I finally made it through the immigration line - having as usual chosen the wrong line.  The slowest one with an immigration officer who bellowed angry orders to frustrated travelers at regular intervals.  When it was finally my turn, it was like I was facing a different man.  A man wearing a smile and with the parting words; "Have a good trip hon".

Hon?   Not a term you'll hear casually thrown out north of the U.S. border at least where I come from.  But soon it's also not the only time I hear hon.  I assume that this is part of the local lingo except I never hear the term again after leaving the airport.  Is it possible that the airport is a culture unto itself?  Or I just don't look like hon anymore?

It was before leaving the airport that we met a true lover of winter.  A woman at the shuttle desk told us how other travelers had questioned her sanity for remaining in such a cold climate.  Then she asked us how we liked Saskatchewan winter and then preceded to tell us about all her winter adventures in Minnesota from ice fishing to ski dooing.  She glowed as she told us about them.  I
A Farm in Minnesota
have to admit, I kind of admired her adventurous winter spirit for despite my place of origin, winter just isn't my thing.  Since leaving my toboggan days as a child, those chilly little flakes haven't held much appeal.  I mean snow is pretty, for about twenty-four hours or until you get stuck driving your car to the local convenience, take your pick.  On the upside, as my mother says, it keeps crime down - why? see, I knew you'd bite - too cold to go outside and all the criminals stay indoors.  That's her
theory.  I believe she's also been known to say that it keeps tempers at a minimum - no one's blood can heat up in sub zero temperatures.  And if you believe that I'll give you a hotline to more Momisms.

We're in Laura Ingalls Wilder territory now at least during her time On the Banks of Plum Creek - from  Little House on the Prairie fame and not the Michael Landon TV version, for those of you who didn't devour the original series as children.  Laura really had a knack of making winter look romantic.  Sorry Laura, not even for you.

So fast forward to the hotel where there's a shuttle to the Mall of America.  But from my hotel window I could see Macy's, an anchor store, across the parking lot.  Now I'm puzzled, why the need for a shuttle except maybe for the old or infirm. So we inquire about bus times and mall access, thinking that one might have to walk around the gigantic structure to enter and thus the necessity for a shuttle.  And when hearing that's not the case inquire if there was an undetected reason for us using the shuttle. "No, ma'am (another term not much heard north of the border), it depends where you come from and what kind of cold you're used to.  Some of our guests take the shuttle because it's too cold or to bring their shopping back," he replied in his easy southern drawl.  I bit back my questions that begin with where he might be from as there was no hint of Minnesota in that accent and assured him that we would walk across the parking lot.

But it was on our departure from that hotel when things got interesting.  A conversation began with the inevitable question, "Where are you from?"  This time there was no need to tag Canada to the long enough already Saskatchewan.  This time I heard for the first time; "Oh, I've been there."  But it was his next comment that really made the conversation interesting,  "Drove from Regina to Saskatoon - expected to see more road kill.  I was surprised I didn't see any at all.  Was it the wrong time of year?

Rewind - what?  Road kill?

For a moment I was at a loss.  For one, I'm a city girl and for two, I'm an animal lover.  Road kill just isn't in my reality.  But a comment like that definitely had to be explored.  So here's the scoop:

According to this local hotel manager, the roads of Minnesota are littered with dead animals in hunting season.  Not shot but run over, and lots of them.  I think he expected, because Saskatchewan is less populated and a similar prairie landscape, that we'd have the same or more.  I assured him that even in hunting season there wasn't a lot of road kill.  And it usually takes a much longer trip to see wild life of any kind - usually live.  A coyote or two, some antelope or deer - all still breathing and usually loping in the distant fields, and maybe as far as road kill, on a busy day, a lone squashed skunk or deer was about all you were going to see and often, thank goodness, not even that.   So after a discussion about live versus squashed viewing, we went on our separate ways.
Winter Highway, Saskatchewan

Somehow I don't think road kill is going to make it to the list of things to see and do in either Minnesota or Saskatchewan.  Although I should never say never.  And for those of you with a more macabre bent or a slightly twisted sense of humour, check out Road Kill Recipes.

The world is a big place and it's littered with interesting characters.

Any characters in your recent travels both near and afar?  Or do you have another take on road kill?  And please, not another recipe. 


Monday, March 4, 2013

Escape It All

Well, last night we were hit with a winter storm.  Highways were closed after a spate of vehicles hitting the ditch.  This morning I woke to a world whose blanket of snow just settled a few inches deeper.  Winter isn't ready to give up its stranglehold on the prairies just yet.  So, I was kind of anxious to leave the snow world behind to go visiting.  I'm on tour today with Fatal Intent.  So if you're in the mood to escape the weather, or anything else in your life - or maybe you just want to talk books, come on over to Lisa Haselton's blog where I'm spending the day.  Visit, hang out and get entered to win a prize or two. 

In the meantime let's head somewhere warm and without snow, deep in the pages of Fatal Intent
Somewhere in the Borneo jungle:

Aidan moved vines back, exposing his face.  They only had to look in his direction.

He was so close he could have reached out and touched her.  She was delicate, out of place here in the midst of this wilderness.  Her skin, even beneath the sweat and exertion-stained flush, was fair.  She wasn't built to be here, she was too slight to survive, too weak, too...

She glanced up.  A frown immediately seared her face.

"Who the hell are you?" she snarled.

He bit back a smile.  She should have screamed.  She hadn't.  All tiny limbs and fragile beauty, and yet she attacked first.

He let his gaze rove over the group, refusing to be corralled by her attack.  

One of the men looked panicked, the others seriously stressed.  He shifted his spear to his other hand and waited, taking the warrior advantage of time and observation.  The silent often learned much about the enemy.

"Put that down."  She gestured to his spear.

His fingers loosened for a millisecond before gripping the spear tighter.  Was she out of her mind?  Green, innocent, and totally forest-illiterate, but she was feisty.

Feisty?  She was seething, hot, absolutely pissed--about what, he wasn't sure.  Her anger didn't make much sense.  Nothing about this afternoon made much sense.

Hope you enjoyed that little diversion from the real world.
Now I'm off to dig a path in a snowbank or two.   

And you - any snowbanks standing in your way?