Thursday, September 30, 2010
When I was a kid, I loved horses more than anything in the world. I had ponies of my own, but dreamed of having a show horse. In the beginning, I was hooked on Saddlebreds. My grandparents had a box at the World Championship Horse Show at the Kentucky State Fair every year. I watched those horses and pictured myself riding in a show like that. My grandmother had an old Saddlebred she bought for us girls, but Daisy was no where near that quality. Still, I could dream.
Then I grew up and went to nursing school. I was pregnant with Mike when Goldie, my palomino pony, finally died. She was to be the last horse I had until we moved here to the farm twenty years ago. After building the barn and the fence, I bought a Quarter Horse gelding named Wolfbarry from one of the doctors at the hospital. He was big, bullheaded, wouldn't walk (jogged constantly), but he could fly. I took him on a trail ride with Sam the day before he got colic. Bud was on an aircraft carrier coming back from Hawaii at the time. I was home alone with two small children and a dying horse.
The vet didn't offer much hope, but he did what he could. I spent half the night out there with Wolfie, going back to the house to get blankets and such. He died the next morning while I was at the house on the phone trying to find someone who could save him.
Somewhere along the line, I got bitten by the dressage bug, and decided I wanted to breed warmbloods. These are the big beautiful horses you see competing in the Olympics. Wildly expensive, most are European breeds derived from crossing draft horses with thoroughbreds. I decided I wanted to breed an American Warmblood, for a much lower price. But to do this, I needed a mare.
I wanted a Shire/Thoroughbred cross, so I went to a sale at a Shire farm in Illinois and bought a two month old black filly. I had her shipped here when she was four months old and named her Kira. She was big and rambunctious, but I loved her to pieces. Most of my chronic aches and pains came about as a result of training her, but to this day, I've never ridden a horse that felt better beneath my saddle than she did. After I began breeding her, I pretty much quit riding her, but she was still my pride and joy. When some Amish builders were adding the foaling stall to my barn, I led her out and the old Amish man smiled. "That's a nice mare," he said.
My black filly gradually turned gray. At three, she was the prettiest thing you've ever seen; a dark dappled gray. A few years later, she was more white than black; what's called a flea-bitten gray.
Kira had four pregnancies. I remember walking up to the barn when she was in labor for the first time. She was lying down out in the field, but when she saw me, she raised her head and yelled, "HELP ME!" I got her back to the barn and together we delivered a chestnut filly I named Jadzia.
I bred her back to the same stallion a year later, but this time she had twins. Horses don't carry twins very well, and she miscarried at nine months (a horse's gestation period is 11 months). It was heartbreaking, but after that, I bred her twice more to two different Thoroughbred stallions and got Arwen and Damar.
She had a bout or two of colic in her life, but always came through it just fine. She colicked again on Monday. I had the vet out on Monday evening. He did what he could, and said her chances of survival were "fair." All I could think about was the way Wolfie died. I did not have good feelings. We gave her pain meds and pumped her full of mineral oil. Tuesday night, she seemed better, and when I saw her Wednesday morning, she was trotting into the barn. Unfortunately, it took what little strength she had left and she died at 9:10 AM.
Kira was always the matriarch. Always first in the barn and always keeping the others in line. She was my dream horse, and now she's gone. I know I don't have as much time to spend with my horses as I used to, but I'll miss her voice, her huge feet, and the way her white tail used to sparkle after I gave her a bath.
She was with me for sixteen years. I feel like I just lost one of my best friends.
That's because I did.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Sam is sleeping.
But he must be having some really good dreams!
In other news, my critique partner and INRWA chapter prez, Sandy James, has a free book to download from BookStrand! I haven't read this one yet, but I've read the first two in the series, and they're both very good! If you're looking for a new author, here's a great way to start!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Brunch Omelet Torte (serves 8)
Channel your Mrs. Robinson and make a hunk sandwich!
Prep time 1 Hr., Bakes in 30 min
- 1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
- 1/4 cup butter
- 6 red potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
- 1 onion, thinly sliced into rings
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 2 tablespoons water
- 8 ounces cooked ham, thinly sliced
- 2 cups
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). On lightly floured surface, roll each sheet of into a 12 inch square. Lay 1 sheet puff pastry into a 10 inch pie plate; set aside.
- In a 10 inch skillet, melt 1/4 cup butter until sizzling. Add potatoes, onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until potatoes are lightly browned and crisply tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
- In a new skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter until sizzling. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together all omelet ingredients except remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Pour half of omelet mixture (3/4 cup) into heated skillet. Cook over medium heat. As omelet mixture sets, lift slightly with spatula to allow uncooked portion to flow underneath. Continue cooking until set, about 2 to 3 minutes. Slide omelet onto cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining butter and omelet mixture.
- Layer ingredients into pie plate on top of puff pastry in the following order: one of the omelets, 4 ounces ham, half of fried the potatoes, 1 cup shredded cheese, remaining potatoes, ham, cheese and 2nd omelet. Top with remaining sheet of puff pastry. Press together edges of both sheets of puff pastry to form a rim; trim off excess. Crimp or flute edges. In small bowl, stir together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water; brush over puff pastry.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes; cut into wedges.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I believe you wanted a birthday yummydoodle and a delicious hunk with his natural body hair intact.
Let me check my files. . .
Hmm. . . I can't decide which is best, so I'll post them all!
Have a good one!
I've got a blog post on Wickedly Romantic today. Not nearly as much fun as this one, though!
Saturday, September 25, 2010
"Sure," Marco replied. "I've got another bottle in the cooler."
Ana scowled. "I didn't mean the tea, Marco. I meant I want you!"
Getting to his feet, Marco unzipped his jeans. "You can have that too." His grin was perfectly wicked. "Help yourself."
Ana took one look at his enormous tool, screamed, and promptly fainted.
Kneeling beside her, Marco kissed Ana on her full, sensuous lips. "Wake up, Sleeping Beauty."
He tickled her nose with his long dark hair.
Still no response.
Marco sighed, shaking his head with regret. "Happens every time."
Friday, September 24, 2010
Gotta love a guy with a puppy, though.
I got a lot done on Virgin last night, but I'll be back to work for the rest of the weekend.
Enjoy your Friday!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
That was the surprise.
No poop, no pee, not even a stray clod of dirt.
My horses had been out in the field all night. Bless their hearts, they must know that I'm buried in revisions.
Nah. Too much to hope for. The real reason was that the weather was nice and I'd sprayed them with insect repellent on Tuesday afternoon.
Damn. . . .
Hold the fort for me, Marco. I'll be back in a few days. . . .
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Not sure which looks tastier, the bread, or the hunks!
IRISH BANNOCK BREAD
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon
- 1/2 teaspoon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup
- Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cut butter into flour mixture with pastry cutter. Add buttermilk until dough is soft. Stir in currants.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth. Form dough into a 7 inch round. Place on a lightly oiled or cookie sheet. Cut 1/2 inch deep cross side to side. Score with cross 1/2 inch deep on the top.
- Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 40 minutes.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sorry I missed it yesterday. Hope it was a good one!
I've been working nonstop on Virgin trying to get through the revisions on time and probably would have forgotten my own birthday.
Thanks to a lot of help from my new critique partner, it's coming along nicely, but mostly I'm cutting superfluous stuff right now. THEN I have to decide which sex scene to delete and write a new one.
LOL! Once the book has been out for a while, maybe I'll post that deleted scene here on the CBEB.
*scratches head* I believe I was thinking about doing a week of Marco pics. Since it's Monday, we'll start with the buns!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Sweet, sweet music.
Whenever you touch me, baby
Whenever you're near. . . .
That one takes me back a few years, but it popped into my head the moment I gazed into those gorgeous brown eyes.
Can you tell the Happy Hunks are getting to me?
Must go write a story about this one. . . . Be back later. . . . .
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Go ahead and try.
Try NOT to fall in love with this one.
I can't do it, myself.
He had me at: "You want to see the rest of me? No problem! Just let me get these jeans off real quick. . . "
After that, I don't think I'd be able to get any words out. Too much drooling will render a woman speechless, you know.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I'm still slightly numb from all the emailing I did today (I'm writing this on Monday afternoon) sending the scoresheets out to the IGO contest entrants. For a while there, I thought I'd broken the server!
Never having entered a contest like this, I can only assume that waiting for your scores and critiques is a bit like waiting on revision notes from your editor. Either way, you wind up biting your nails.
Mine are getting really short. . . .
Or they were until yesterday. I finally got my editorial notes/revisions for Virgin. They've had it since July 6. Finally read it, and now they want it back with my revisions (cut 5000 words, delete one sex scene, add another, find a new HEA, add more poignancy in the early chapters, and a whole slew of little bitty things). And they want it by Sept 30. That's about 2 1/2 weeks.
I'm sure these changes will work wonders, but after you subtract the nine nights I have to work, the time it takes to go to my riding lesson, take Sam to two doctor's appointments, and go to three other appointments of my own, we're down to about five days, if that much. The Cat Master is good, but I'm not sure I'm that good. I guess we'll find out.
Forget the nails. There goes my hair. . . .
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Wait a minute. . . It is Tuesday, isn't it?
Oh, yeah. Almost forgot. . . .
Donna sent me a recipe, too. . .
Guess I'd better quit drooling and post it.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 (3 pound) chicken, cut into pieces
- 1 large onion, quartered and sliced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- 2/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken pieces until golden brown on both sides, then remove. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook until they soften and brown, about 6 minutes.
- Pour in vinegar and soy sauce, and season with garlic powder, black pepper, and bay leaf. Add the browned chicken, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes.
Monday, September 13, 2010
I'm very glad Donna sent me this one because there aren't many pics of the Monday Moons variety where the hunk in question is smiling, let alone laughing. The funny thing is, if she hadn't told me who this was, I might not have recognized him since he usually looks pretty serious in the frontal shots, too.
Don't you just love a guy with a great smile? Those smoldering glances may be the stuff of fantasy, but I'm a sucker for a sweet man with a good sense of humor and a big, wide grin. Guess that's why I've been married to Budley for 31 years. . . and counting! ;-)
I spent all day yesterday at my computer, only taking time out to post this blog at 11:30 PM. I've been polishing my short story and critiquing some of the others in the group (they're all very good and very hot!), plus I've been looking over the first few chapters of a new book written by Sandy James, our RWA chapter prez. So far, it's a keeper!
Also, I had the privilege of contacting the three Romantic Suspense finalists in the Indiana Golden Opportunity contest put on by our chapter. It was pretty cool to be the one making "the call" for once, and was definitely a perk! Betcha they were all doing a little happy dance after they hung up the phone. I know I would have!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Thankfully, his would appear to be fully functional.
I'm blogging on Wickedly Romantic today, so grab your tools and come on over!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
To those of you that don't know how men think, this may help.
A guide to man language...
"IT'S A GUY THING" Means: "There is no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical."
"CAN I HELP WITH DINNER?" Means: "Why isn't dinner already on the table?"
"UH HUH," "SURE, HONEY," OR "YES, DEAR..." Means: Absolutely nothing. It's a conditioned response.
"IT WOULD TAKE TOO LONG TO EXPLAIN" Means: "I have no idea how it works."
"I WAS LISTENING TO YOU. IT'S JUST THAT I HAVE THINGS ON MY MIND." Means: "I was wondering if that redhead over there is wearing a bra."
"TAKE A BREAK HONEY, YOU ARE WORKING TOO HARD." Means: "I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner."
"THAT'S INTERESTING, DEAR." Means: "Are you still talking?"
"YOU KNOW HOW BAD MY MEMORY IS." Means: "I remember the theme song to 'F Troop', the address of the first girl I ever kissed, and the vehicle identification numbers of every car I've ever owned, but I forgot your birthday."
"I WAS JUST THINKING ABOUT YOU, AND GOT YOU THESE ROSES." Means: "The girl selling them on the corner was a real babe."
"OH, DON'T FUSS, I JUST CUT MYSELF, IT'S NO BIG DEAL." Means: "I have actually severed a limb, but will bleed to death before I admit that I am hurt."
"HEY, I'VE GOT MY REASONS FOR WHAT I'M DOING." Means: "And I sure hope I think of some pretty good reasons soon."
"I CAN'T FIND IT." Means: "It didn't fall into my outstretched hands, so I'm completely clueless."
"WHAT DID I DO THIS TIME?" Means: "What did you catch me at?"
"I HEARD YOU." Means: "I haven't the foggiest clue what you just said, and am hoping desperately that I can fake it well enough so that you don't spend the next 3 days yelling at me."
"YOU KNOW I COULD NEVER LOVE ANYONE ELSE" Means: "I am used to the way you yell at me, and realize it could be worse."
"YOU LOOK TERRIFIC." Means: ""Please don't try on one more outfit, I'm starving."
"I'M NOT LOST. I KNOW EXACTLY WHERE WE ARE." Means: "No one will ever see us alive again."
Thursday, September 9, 2010
When we first came up with the idea for the anthology, we all figured we'd write under different pen names since it was more erotic than anything we'd done before, and I'd about decided on a new name when I remembered that I'd published another erotic short story, Three Men on a Boat, with Ravenous Romance, using the Cheryl Brooks name.
It's had respectable sales, but a few days ago I received a royalty check for my self-published book, If You Could Read My Mind, written under the pen name, Samantha R Michaels. It was pretty tiny, but at least it appears that someone is buying them.
This got me to wondering about the name thing again. The new short story is a bit hotter than the CSC series, so it might be a good idea to establish a new brand, but it's difficult to know how readers will feel about it. Many writers change names when they change genres, but I'm not convinced it's the best idea. After all, sales of the Samantha R Michaels book in no way compare to the Cheryl Brooks sales, even though it's posted on my website as being written by the same person.
What about you? If a writer with a name you know writes something different from what you're used to seeing from them, does it bother you? Would you prefer that they write under a different name to distinguish between the different types of books? Or does it matter?
Oh, and speaking of sales, I've always felt that If You Could Read My Mind would have sold better if it had something like this on the cover instead of lambs and tulips.
Or maybe this one?
What are your thoughts?
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
No, wait. I've got vinyl siding on the house and paneling in all the rooms.
Hmm. . . . perhaps he could paint the pole barn. . . .
And maybe this guy could help.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I was pretty wiped out when I got home from work Sunday morning, but before I went to bed at about 9 or so, I took a chicken out of the freezer, put it in the crockpot, doused it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then sprinkled it liberally with Lawry's Perfect Blend seasoning and rub for chicken & poultry, turned it on low, and went to bed.
When I got up at 4PM, it was perfectly done, so I turned it off until dinnertime and made some brown rice and green beans to go with it. The sauce (minus the fat) left in the bottom of the crockpot made a great addition to the rice, too.
Another tasty version is to douse the chicken with melted butter and lemon juice, and then sprinkle with salt and cinnamon. Like I said, you can put just about anything on it and it'll be good.
Sort of like this guy, who, though he appears to have been smeared with oil, really needs no seasoning at all!
Monday, September 6, 2010
Enjoy your Labor Day, Monday Moons style!
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Be sure to click on them, especially the first one. It gets LOTS bigger!
When you're done here, there are more pics of him on Wickedly Romantic.
He IS our mascot, you know!
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Appropriate name, isn't it?
I have more pics of him, but I didn't want to use them all at once.
You'll just have to wait. ;-)
Friday, September 3, 2010
First of all, here's that big sycamore tree I was telling you about. The low building on the right is my house and the one in the middle is the garage. Anyone care to guess how tall that tree is?
Nancy wanted to see more pictures of the infamous pole barn, so I took a few yesterday morning after the farrier visited to trim the horses' hooves. It's something you have to do about every six weeks or so to keep their feet in good shape. That's Kes on the right and Jadzia on the left.
Here's another shot showing the center aisle.
Here's another pic of Kes, who is a 13 yr old Quarter Horse/Paint cross. I bought her from my sister as a yearling.
That's another pic of Kes getting a drink while Peaches is looking for pieces of horse hoof to chew on. I've never had a dog yet that didn't love them!
This is Kira, a 16 yr old Shire/Thoroughbred cross. You can see into the tack room in the first pic.
The next two are of Jadzia, who is 11 years old and was Kira's first baby. Her sire was a Quarter horse.
This is where I keep my hay. I used to keep it in a stall and had to put a tarp over it to keep the condensation from dripping on it, but when I had the barn worked on a few years back, I had the main floor concreted and the roof over this area insulated. It's so much easier to stack the hay and there's a lot more room, too. I don't need quite as much now that I'm down to three horses, but that's the 125 bales of hay that I bought from Neighbor Paula, which is enough to get three chubby horses through the winter if fed judiciously. It smells really good, too! Can you see Kitty Cat up on top?
You all keep teasing me about the hunks I have hiding in the barn, but Black Cat is the only male of any species that ever comes around.
Now wait just a doggone minute! Where in the world did he come from?