Monthly Archives: December 2012

Dear friends. . .

I have not been a good blogger.  Last week I was sick and didn’t even realize what day it was.  This week I didn’t get much productive done.  I DID write a few pages on the fourth Butternut Creek book which has the exciting title of The Construction Crew of Butternut Creek, in the hope I’ll just in case I get another contract.    I also worked on promo and cleaned house and . . . well, other stuff that wans’t a lot of fun.  

However, next week I’ll be awake and well and, perhaps, even bright.  Both my teams–University of Louisville and Kansas State–are in MAJOR bowl games so I’ll be watching a lot of football.

Tuesday will be CRAFT TUESDAY.  After that, I’m going to blog on what I DID buy George for Christmas and I’m a little embarrassed about that.

Wishing you all the happiest of holidays and all the best in the new year!    

How do they live with this?

I cannot know or even guess what the parents who lost their children in Newtown must feel.    How can they put away the gifts bought for their children for Hanukkah?    Or those packages, unopened under the tree?  How do they face the closets filled with clothes their babies will no longer wear or the toys they played with only days earlier?

And those children who faced the horror of hearing other children being shot or who witnessed the murder of their teacher or ran past bodies as they escaped from that building full of death?  How do they live with those memories?

How can those who survived believe in safety?  How do they trust?  How do they react when they hear the Twenty-third Psalm:  Though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil when they felt the breath of  evil?

We can discuss and attempt to find solutions so this will never happen again–but why didn’t we do that earlier?    And if they are told this horror was God’s plan, how can those who mourn turn to the God who planned these deaths? 

I don’t know.   I truly believe they are with God and that thought comforts but what are we doing to heal these families and make sure this is the last school shooting?   

If you have thoughts to share, please do.   Perhaps this prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer will help us all.

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.

Help me to pray

And to concentrate my thoughts on you;

I am restless, but with you there is peace.

I cannot do this alone.

In me there is darkness,

But with you there is light;

I am lonely, but you do not leave me;

I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;

I am restless but with you there is peace;

In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience. . .

What should I get George?

I have probably the best, wittiest, and most intelligent husband in the world.  I would say “sexiest” but I write the sweet books and don’t want to shock  anyone with that word.  ANYWAY, he is also, as I mentioned in my last post, wonderful at choosing gifts that I’d never have thought I needed.  He’s also creative, choosing gifts I’d never have guessed what they were before I opened the package.  For example, one Christmas he gave me a stuffed animal–a cocker spaniel because we had several live ones as pets-with a radio in its tummy.

But I’m terrible at thinking of great gifts for him.   He has plenty of T-shirts and has told me to buy him no more University of Louisville or Houston Texans shirts.  We’re retired so his supply of ties from  when he was a minister is sufficient to last until at least 2050, should we–and the earth–still be around.   He orders and reads whatever books he wants on his Kindle.   He’s not a smoker or a drinker and has plenty of Bibles and commentaries and meditations.    He refuses to wear those onesies retired men wear and prefers sweatpants.    He plays games on his computer and hates puzzles and does make stuff.  Keep in mind we live in an apartment and have little space.

He does like chocolate but there’s a  limit to how much I can get him.  The one present I give every year is food.  I go to a store with a nice display of gourmet foods and get him cheese and pickled treats and sardines.  He has mentioned he’d like a new mattress but that’s not very Christmas-y and it’s hard to wrap.

Time is getting short.  Please help me or George may find no packages for him under our tree!

The Perfect Christmas Present

George comes up with the best ideas for presents.  Many years ago, he gave me a microwave oven when I didn’t really want one.  He knew me well enough to know I’d use it ten times a day.   He’s also much more romantic than I.  For our anniversary many years ago he gave me a pair of peach-faced lovebirds.  Beautiful creatures.  Sadly, they hated each other–that’s another story–but the idea was lovely.

In late November, he told me he’d ordered a present, a perfect gift, for me and not to open any packages that came by UPS.

First, however, I must explain that I am a TiVo addict.  I record programs to watch later so I can fast forward through commercials or rewind to see a great basketball play.   I do record programs at the time they start but wait twenty minutes to watch them.   Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of wandering off, putting the remote down, and not being able to find it again, a tragedy when one is as dependent upon one’s remote as I am.  I’ve considered having it surgical implanted in my arm.

A few weeks ago,  a package arrived.   I  checked the label to see if it was addressed to George or to me.  When I did, I also saw the return address.  It came from a company with the name “Where’s the remote?”  That really ruined every bit of surprise.   He had me go ahead and open it.  Together, we attached the receiver to the back of my remote.  It’s about the size and shape as the remote that unlocks your car. 

I used it once or twice to find the remote when it fell off the end table or found its way under the cushions.  One day when I couldn’t find it, I picked up the transmitter.  The remote beeped from my purse.  On my own, I wouldn’t have found it until I left the house days later. 

Thank you, George.  As usual, the perfect present.   

On Thursday, I need all of you to help me think of the perfect present for George.  Please–I’m really bad at this.


Glenfinnan: Alexa Bourne takes us on a tour in Scotland!

My absolute favorite place in the entire world is Scotland. If I could move tomorrow and have a way to support myself, I would go without looking back. Sadly, I haven’t been able to move there yet, but I have been fortunate enough to travel there on more than one occasion. In doing so, I found the perfect setting for my very first book.

Glenfinnan is a tiny village in the Highlands of Scotland, home to few people and occasional travelers. I first heard of this place in the 1986 movie Highlander. Fascinated with the story, I can’t tell you how many times I watched it. But it wasn’t just the story that drew my attention. It was the historical aspect of Scotland- kilts, clans, Scottish brogues and the most stunning scenery I’d ever seen. When I made plans to visit my family in northern England, I decided to take a trip up to Glenfinnan as well.

I took the train from Edinburgh, a several hour trip through cities, towns and eventually, mountains. When I got to the start of the mountains along the route, my heart expanded and I could almost hear the bagpipes playing in my head. Even with the drizzling rain and dark clouds, the mountains and green hills held such beauty.

Arriving in Glenfinnan, I was treated to a glorious view of the Glenfinnan Monument and Loch Shiel. Green hills with puffy white clouds dusting their tips, full trees blowing with the wind, and waters sparkling like diamonds took my breath away. Indeed, the train actually slowed down so the travelers could take pictures.

While there, I stayed at the Glenfinnan House Hotel (, which was situated several yards back from the loch. The hotel was big and comfortable, with a fireplace right in the lobby that had crackling flames the day I arrived. With a fancy dining room, a lounge with games and books, and its very own pub, there was truly a room for everyone. Each of these rooms had giant windows overlooking the loch. The second floor held the guest rooms and I was a bit surprised and uncomfortable when I realized they had no locks on the doors. How could I trust my possessions would be safe without a lock for the door? But the way of life in this Highland village was much different than my American city, and soon, leaving my door unlocked felt more like the norm rather than the exception.

I spent quite a bit of time writing, going from room to room with my notebook and pen. I even sat in a comfortable chair in the lobby being warmed by the fire as I detailed my surroundings so I could use them in the book. I treated myself to a homemade scone and afternoon tea while I plotted my Highland love story. After dinner, I listened to locals in the pub with faint Scottish music playing in the background, and soon I too exchanged stories with the staff.

Sadly, I could only stay two nights. I had planned to take a boat ride on the loch, but the rain and cold weather (forcing me to wear my flannel pajamas in June!) prevented me from doing that. I did get a chance to walk down to the Glenfinnan Monument and to shop in its visitors’ center, but I chose to spend most of my time writing in the hotel. I had to find a way to share this place with my future readers.

As I stood waiting for the train back to Edinburgh, my heart squeezed a bit. The sun was shining, a slight breeze blew my hair, and tears stung the corners of my eyes. It may seem silly, but from the moment I first stepped off the train, I felt I had a connection to this Highland village with kind locals and gorgeous scenery. And you know what? I think a part of my heart stayed behind as the train chugged along the tracks, back toward the big city.

As soon as I returned home, I transformed my thirty handwritten pages of notes and scenes into my typed, organized romantic suspense story, Her Highland Champion. It took me a couple more years to revise it and find a home for it, but now I can share my “happy place” with readers everywhere. And someday I’ll make it back to Glenfinnan for that ride on the loch!

Here’s Alexa’s latest book, available in December.  

Tomorrow: Alexa Bourne

Tomorrow I’ll be guesting one of the truly nicest people I know, Alexa Bourne.  She’s also a terrific writer with a love of travel.   Teacher by day and a romantic suspense writer by night, she also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She now writers for  Decadent Publishing which gives her  the chance to share her love of Great Britain with readers everywhere.  Her three published books are:

SIMPLE TREASURES, available in December
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When she’s not concocting sinister plots or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV and thinking about exercising. She loves to interact with readers, so visit her web page, hang out at her blog, follow her on Twitter or drop her a note at!
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Fractured Paradise Book Blurb:
Technical analyst Rachel Grant arrives in Sunderland intent on tidying up her grandmother’s cottage, but the disaster she discovers requires more than a gentle sweep of a dust rag. Determined to please the most important person in her life, she trades her computer keyboard for a hammer and nails to make the repairs. She doesn’t count on the chilly reception from the locals who want to claim Nan’s home as their own.
Tour guide Aidan Camden wants to buy the cottage. He’s determined to acquire the property no matter how attractive he finds the current occupant. However, when tragedy strikes, throwing them both into a tailspin, he discovers he wants more than the house. He longs for the sexy American as well. Can Aidan put his own ghosts to rest in time to save the woman who’s claimed his heart?
Alexa Bourne~~~~

Twenty-five things (more or less) I’ve learned about life: #2 and #3

I really hate it when people use sports as a metaphor for life so I’m not going to do that.  Instead, I’m going to talk about two tough young men and what I have learned from them.   They just both HAPPEN to be football players, both quarterbacks for the University of Louisville.

Will Stein is a senior who started for the Cardinals at the beginning of last season.  He came to UofL as a walk-on and had to earn both a scholarship and a position as a starter.   When he was injured last season, freshman Teddy Bridgewater took over and Will didn’t get another start–until Thursday, November 29, against Rutgers.   He started only because Teddy had a broken wrist on his throwing hand and a sprained ankle.   Now, I’m not one of those football fans who believe players should shake off injuries and play through pain, but Teddy’s injuries weren’t life  threatening.   He just couldn’t move or use take a snap under center–both challenges for a quarterback. 

However, Will wasn’t getting the job done so Teddy came in.   The most impressive play was when the Cardinals were close to the end zone.  Teddy looked ahead and had a wide-open path to the end zone but he couldn’t run.  I could read the yearning in his posture.  He hobbled a few steps forward then shuffled the ball ahead to a player who made that final and winning touchdown.     What did I learn?  To  recognize your weaknesses and find another way to do the job.

But I learned an even greater lessons from Will.   He was pulled but when the Cardinals had a third down, he was called in because Teddy couldn’t run.  Seven times, Will took the snap, rolled out to the right, and made the first down.  Then he trotted off the field and left the glory for Teddy.

Will is known for his positive attitude.  He’s called Sunny Will.  Early in the game, Will took the ball on third down, ran for the first but misjudged and slid before he reached the marker.   The coach called a time out, furious.   After listening to the coach, Will smiled and said, “It’s okay,”  At least, I assume that’s what he said as he patted the coach’s shoulder.  Then Will went back in the game, and–on fourth down–made that final yard to keep the drive going.

What did I learn from Will?  Keep smiling, stay calm, and do the job.

Thanks, gentlemen.