I write romantic suspense and warm, family relationship type novels, often with a touch of humor. Many of my books have featured animals as key players--dogs, cats, llamas, cockatiels, horses...even our son's pet albino corn snake, Sssssid, who appeared in my first Superromance back in 1999.

Animals have been a big part of my life since I was a child. How about you? I hope you'll become a "blog follower" here (see the right-hand column for a place to click) and will come back often. So...let's talk about our pets!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Author Christmas Home Tour Videos!

If you'd love to visit a number of author's homes, check out the following address---you can go from one author's site to the next, and see the lovely videos, photographs, and hear the Christmas messages to you, too!

You can start here:


Have fun!


Friday, December 11, 2009


The pampered horses of this era might find it a bit difficult to change places with their relatives from the past, if Verne Upmier's recollections are any indication. Verne probably rode more, trained more, and sold more horses during his seventy years in the business than anyone else in Eastern Iowa, and he probably held the records for interesting tales from the past, too.

Forty or fifty years ago, before aluminum four-horse slant goosenecks were even a twinkle in some designer's eye, trailering could be a risky proposition. Verne remembers loading up his horse Copper after an all-day trail ride and heading home after dark. "I felt a little lurch as we rounded a curve," he says, "but I didn't think much about it until we got home. I went back to unload my horse and he was gone!"

Copper had fallen out of the open top trailer. "I turned right around to go after him, and found him calmly grazing by that curve in the road. He apparently hadn't been too rattled by his sudden launch to the asphalt, because he loaded right up again for the rest of the trip home."

Most horses seemed to take the foibles of modern equipment in stride, earlier in the last century, Verne says. "It wasn't uncommon to knot a horse's tail around a length of rope, tie the rope to a small tractor or car that was stuck in the mud, and then use the horse to pull the vehicle to higher ground." Imagine that sort of use for a show tail of today!

Yours truly did something similar, but with almost disastrous results. I was about seven years old at the time, riding bareback, and had ridden under the framework of my swingset. I have no idea about what possessed me to do it, but I caught my old mare's swishing tail and knotted around the upper bar of the swing set.

Maybe Verne's horses of the past were docile about such things, but this old mare was having none of it. She fidgeted. Realized she was caught. and took off across our yard through the orchard---dragging the entire swing set behind her until she hit the hedge. She made it through but the swingset caught up in the bushes and miraculously, the knot in her long tail released without hurting her.

That--many other escapades when I was a child--have always confirmed the fact to me that I surely had a guardian angel working overtime on my behalf. Because now, as a cautious adult, I can see so many times when my foolish moves could have led to my demise!

Another Christmas Gift Idea for any writers in your life....

I love books. Step into my house, and it's obvious, because they are everywhere! And my office--oh, my! Every inch of wall not covered by windows, doors, or the huge bulletin board above my desk is filled with overflowing bookshelves. Fiction of all kinds, of course, and also evidence of my passion for books on writing. I could probably weed all of them down to a dozen favorites...though I'm always on the prowl for new titles that offer someting special. And boy, have I found some great titles lately!

I've come to realize that if James Scott Bell pens a book on writing, I want to be first in line at the store. His Plot & Structure and Revision & Self Editing are two titles that I'd pack if I knew I was going to be stranded on a desert isle. I can't recommend them highly enough. And now, he has come out with a third-- The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics and Exercises with perhaps the most unique approach ever--and packed with excellent information and advice. I love this book! And it's just the right size and price to be a perfect gift for my critique buddies. But shhhhh....don't tell!

So now, I would just love to hear about your favorites! Fiction...nonfiction....books on writing, or not....


Thursday, December 10, 2009

An excellent book on writing....

Outside the realm of "creatures great and small," but...

If any of you are writers, I've come across a wonderful new book! I've been catching up on my reading lately, and discovered an excellent book on writing. Thought I'd share this with you, because I'll definitely be buying some copies for critique friends!

It's Jeff Gerke's The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, and you can find it on Amazon. It's absolutely packed with excellent advice. Reading it was like sitting down with the author and receiving an in-depth workshop in my own home, and it gave me so many new insights on the art of writing inspirational fiction. I would recommend this book to anyone, at whatever place they might be along the spectrum from beginner to advanced!


A serial mystery --check it out!

Hey, if you have a minute and want to join in, stop at the CraftieLadies blog at http://ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com/

This blog is an interesting place to stop anyhow, as its home for a number of romantic suspense authors, and right now, the various authors are writing a serial mystery.

Start at the beginning, with Lenora Worth's first installment, then work up to the current date. None of us have a plan--we just read what the author wrote the day before, and then come up with a new installment on our own. This story is taking some wild turns!

Today, December 10th, was my turn to add an installment...and it was great fun trying to come up with something! If you stop in, be sure to leave comments, because I think all of us are using the ideas showing up in the comments, to help us figure out what to do next!