Wednesday Whimsy – Snakes

I’ll state right up front that I’m scared of snakes – my biggest phobia – and become nauseous at the Reptile House at the Zoo, where I periodically make myself stare at them to confront my fear. I do have kind regards for the House Snake Daemon that my friend Amber Kallyn is raising…and that’s it LOL. Stepped over a rattlesnake once so I must be grateful to that snake for not biting me (my only experience at levitation – from the ground to the top of a six foot stone wall). On with the quotes – found some really diverse ones!

VS sez: Ewww to this one => Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel.
Leonardo da Vinci

“Tinsel is really snakes‘ mirrors.” Stephen Wright

“Look before you leap, for snakes among sweet flowers do creep” Anonymous

VS sez: Well poisonous ones in your path anyway: “If you see a snake, just kill it – don’t appoint a committee on snakes.”  Ross Perot


 From *That* Movie, you know the one =>  “Why exactly are there snakes on this plane?

VS one last time:I know snakes are necessary to the ecology, eat pests and etc. I just need them to never be anywhere near me!

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Memorial Day Story

Memorial Day is a day for especially remembering all those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, in all the wars – more than 1,000,000 according to an article I read yesterday.

Of course, this being  America, we’ve also turned it into the first long weekend of summer, a time for big sales at the stores and a variety of other things, but the solemn reason for the day remains.

I have a small Memorial Day story to share, not really so much about the military (although if you  Follow me on twitter, you know I very much Support Our Troops and Veterans and their families). When I was a little girl, we lived in upstate New York, a very rural area.  Veterans would come to our school to sell the little red crepe paper poppies (at least that’s what I remember the flowers being made of).

My Dad was a World War II Army vet and he made sure I knew the reason behind the poppies and the sacrifices so many had made to keep us all free.

But there was no local cemetery where we could go place flowers or drape small flags to show our respect for the sacrifices made by members of the Armed Forces. One year we were out hiking in the local countryside and discovered a tiny, long abandoned graveyard. The headstones were all toppled, some were defaced, and the weeds and brush had taken over the area. We found no sign of a house nearby, not even a ruin. The names were illegible for the most part but the last name appearing on so many of the stones made it clear this had been a family plot.

My Dad was active in local politics, the VFW and other organizations and he asked around but no one knew of this family. (I’m sorry to say the last name has long fled my memory – I was pretty young!) So that year, for Memorial Day, my parents, grandparents and I went back out to the cemetery. The adults mowed and weeded, straightened headstones, and put a small fence around the perimeter. We discovered another twelve graves, stretching further into the edge of the forest, before we were done. The last date we noted on any of the headstones was somewhere in the mid 1800’s.

Many of the plots were the last resting place of young children, occasionally a mother and a child, buried together. While the adults worked,  I gathered wildflowers and decorated as many of the graves as I could. Having the active imagination of a writer even then, I told myself all kinds of stories about the adventures this extended family must have had, the things they saw.

For the next few years we went back every Memorial Day and paid our respects to that long gone family by caring for their last resting place. But then my Dad was transferred to Alabama, and we never went back. I suppose the forest has completely taken over the area by now, the way nature does.

I still remember the extended family every year at this time, although sadly, not by name and not individually.

Even if you don’t personally know any members of the Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our freedom, please take a moment today to think of  the men and women  who have bravely given so much on our behalf. Thank you.

 

Six Sentence Sunday

Going back to my SFR , out on submission now, set in the same universe as my recently published WRECK of the NEBULA DREAM. Andrianda (Andi) Markriss, a planetary representative for Loxton Galactic Trading, has been spending a lazy summer with her best friend in the highly exclusive summer compound of the planet Zulaire’s ruling nobility, networking. On a day when a number of strange  and disturbing things have already happened, Captain Tom Deverane, Sectors Special Forces, unexpectedly shows up with a troop of soldiers and demands she leave with him. Immediately.

Andi doesn’t take this very well….in fact, she refuses to go. Later in the evening, all hell has broken loose, as the captain predicted.
Trying to avoid spoilers here, after certain “events”, she and the soldiers are on the run. In today’s scene, they’re camped for the night beside a lake. Deverane has the middle of the night watch and since Andi can’t sleep, they’ve been having a peaceful conversation.

In honor of Memorial Day, I picked this snippet because Deverane explains some of  why he joined the military.

“There are a lot of vivid, horrible images from the village forming a queue in my subconscious tonight but those kinds of things don’t affect soldiers, I suppose.” Leaning back, she tilted her head to look at him, eyebrows slightly raised in query.

He continued to gaze across the rippling water and said nothing for a long minute. When he did speak, his voice was low and measured. “I went into the military because the abuse and slaughter of innocent civilians does bother me and at least in the service, I can make a difference, can do something to prevent the enemy from committing atrocities. Or pay them back.”

I LOVE and appreciate your comments….

Go to http://sixsunday.com/ to find all the other great excerpts!

Guilty Pleasures – Earrings!

Haven’t talked earrings lately but I’ve been a naughty girl – been adding to my collection!  I have a bad tendency to go onto eBay and start clicking through the “Vintage Clip Earrings” category, which usually runs more than 2000 entries over 668 pages, so I never run out of things to look at and potentially spend my pennies on.

I wear earrings ALL the time. (Well not to bed LOL) Some women can’t go out without makeup – I co-ordinate earrings to my jeans and T shirts before heading to the grocery store! And I’ve mentioned before I’m known for my earrings at work, to the point where one entire department had a bet going one year how long it would be before they saw the same pair of earrings twice. Having decided a long time ago that earrings would be my fashion idiosyncrasy and signature, I get away with wearing some over the top stuff to the office.

But back to eBay, I don’t really care if the earrings are vintage or not, I just find a lot of interesting and quirky stuff in that category. And while I can convert almost anything to clip style, it’s easier to start with clips. (Never had my ears pierced – my mother was old fashioned enough to feel that was fast and by the time I grew up, I didn’t care. My daughters had theirs pierced though.)

If you want me to look at your eBay listing for earrings, be sure to use the word huge, large or bold in the headline. And the word runway will attract me like a moth to the flame. But then the item better BE large. I don’t deal in small, you won’t tempt me with 1” by 1” earrings. Unless they involve swans or dragons – then maybe!  No green – nothing against green but I almost never wear that color.

And NO fur. Ewww. The quirkiest pair I ever saw listed was “Unique fly fishing mouse fur earrings.” Frankly, I didn’t care HOW long or anything else those were. Not going on MY ears.

I don’t spend much on this hobby – I’m looking for the interesting, cheap pair of earrings. Occasionally I’ll think a pair is cute and then check the price and discover it’s $1000.00 – real gold or some designer name – not for me! I do make exceptions for Lunch at the Ritz earrings every once in a great while and go higher on them than my normal $10.00 limit BUT nowhere near $1000.00. I have bills to pay!

But even I have a limit on size (remember we’re only talking earrings here LOL). Check out the fabulous goldtone and purple earrings in the photo. The listing said bold and probably runway and when they came, they were gorgeous…and HUGE. No, I mean really huge. Too big even for me.  My daughter said I’d look like Princess Jasmine from Aladdin. Flattering but not even I can carry that off at the day job and it’s a bit much for the grocery store!

What’s your guilty pleasure on eBay or etsy or similar alluring website?

Wednesday Quotes – For Memorial Day Next Week May 28th

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.

A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.
George William Curtis

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. -Joseph Campbell

If we mean to have heroes, statesmen and philosophers, we should have learned women.
Abigail Adams

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me. -Lee Greenwood

(VS sez: Remember the brave men and women!)

Meet the Author – Laura Sheehan DANCING WITH DANGER

It’s my pleasure to have Laura Sheehan here today as my guest, to tell us a little more about her own backstory and her debut novel DANCING WITH DANGER. Let the Q&A begin!

1. Please tell us a little about yourself:

My name is Laura Sheehan, and I was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV.  I now live in Los Angeles with my husband, a thoroughly spoiled cat, and a handful of fish that keep my thoroughly spoiled cat entertained.  When not working at my office day job, I can usually be found in a dance studio, on a softball field, writing at my computer, snuggling with my amazing husband, or eating milk chocolate. Sometimes I can be found doing more than one of these at a time, although when doing so I have to be careful not to get chocolate on the computer keyboard (or on the amazing husband… although now that I think about it, that might not be such a bad thing).

My debut novel, DANCING WITH DANGER, is a contemporary romantic suspense set in Los Angeles.  Lily Brookstone, the daughter of a workaholic United States Senator, defies her father’s wishes by moving to Los Angeles in pursuit of a dancing career. But the tough town hasn’t been easy on her, and after two years she finds herself disowned by her father, dropped by her agent, recovering from a dance injury, and working three jobs to make ends meet. Oh, and she’s somehow picked up a stalker.  Yeah, Los Angeles has not been kind. Then she meets Marc, an LAPD officer with an uncanny knack for reading people. Can she overcome her untrusting nature and allow him to protect both her life and her heart?

Available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

2. What prompted you to start writing?

Like most authors, I was always (and still am) and avid reader.  I love stories (whether on the page or on the screen), and occasionally I get in the mood to read or hear or watch a story that doesn’t exist yet.  When that happened a few years ago, I decided to sit down at the computer and tell the story that was floating around in my head.  The process was sometimes hellish, other times heavenly, but most definitely worth it in the end.  There’s nothing quite like that moment when a story starts telling itself, when you, as the author, begin to feel more like a channel for the story, rather than the inventor.  I *love* it when my characters do something I didn’t expect them to do, or when the plot veers in a direction I wasn’t anticipating.

 3. What’s your writing process? Where do you write?

I’ve tried writing longhand (paper and pencil) and it drives me nuts!  I type extremely fast, but even when typing I can’t always keep up with my thoughts, so slowing down enough to hand-write a story is torturous. I usually prefer to sit at my PC, with either music or silence (no TV!), and hopefully get lost in the storytelling process.  Good writing sessions are the ones that fly by, when hours can whiz by without me noticing (until my butt cheeks fall asleep).

 4. Do you do a lot of research for your books?

Yes, but probably not as much as I ought to.  Lily, the heroine of DANCING WITH DANGER, is a professional dancer, which was much easier to write about than Marc’s profession as an L.A.P.D. officer.  For Marc, I did some online research, consulted with my husband on firearms questions (he used to be a machine-gunner in the Marine Corps), and also spoke with a fellow romantic suspense author, Kathy Bennett, who is a retired L.A.P.D. officer.  (Check out her books: A DOZEN DEADLY ROSES, and A DEADLY BLESSING!)

 5. Have you ever used an incident from real life in one of your books?

Hell yeah.  I often get inspiration for characters from people I know in real life (although the book characters don’t usually end up being much like the original real-life inspirations). Many of Marc’s more charming lines came right from the mouth of my husband.

 6. Quickfire:

Tea or coffee:  Hot chocolate.

Boxers or Briefs:  Boxer briefs!

Sweet or spicy: Sweet, definitely sweet. Preferably milk-chocolatey sweet.

Morning person or evening person: HA! Unless 2:00am counts as “morning,” I’m most definitely a night person!

Favorite food: I love Italian food, milk chocolate and pretzels, chips & salsa, and Amy’s pesto pizza.

7. What are you working on next?

I’m currently writing a fantasy romance, which is taking a lot more time to prepare than I anticipated!  The nice thing about DANCING WITH DANGER is that it is set in Los Angeles, in current times, and the heroine is a dancer, all three thing which I am quite familiar with!  But this fantasy story is set in a completely different world, a world where some people have paranormal abilities, where gunpowder hasn’t been invented yet, and the normal “rules” don’t apply.  Creating believable characters and intriguing story lines is hard enough, but creating an entire world (from the general geography down to weather patterns) for those characters to live in and for their story to play out sometimes feels like herculean task!

8. What one question do you want to ask your Readers today?

Oooh, this is a tough one.  Only one question? Well, I guess since I’m focusing on promotion nowadays, I’d love to hear what readers look for when deciding on their next book. Do you look at covers? Categories? Plot summaries? Reviews? What about a book makes you click that buy button? OK, that looks like multiple questions, but it’s really just one, I swear!

9. Where can your Readers find you online?

My website/blog can be found at www.ReadLaura.com. I’m also active on Facebook (LauraSheehan), Twitter (TimesNewLaura), and Google Plus (LauraSheehan).

Buy Links for book:

You can purchase an e-book of DANCING WITH DANGER on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at the Red Sage website.

Six Sentence Sunday

Going back to my SFR , out on submission now, set in the same universe as my recently published WRECK of the NEBULA DREAM. Andrianda (Andi) Markriss, a planetary representative for Loxton Galactic Trading, has been spending a lazy summer with her best friend in the highly exclusive summer compound of the planet Zulaire’s ruling nobility, networking. On a day when a number of strange  and disturbing things have already happened, Captain Tom Deverane, Sectors Special Forces, unexpectedly shows up with a troop of soldiers and demands she leave with him. Immediately.

Andi doesn’t take this very well….in fact, she refuses to go. Later in the evening, all hell has broken loose, as the captain predicted.
Trying to avoid spoilers here, after certain “events”, she and the soldiers are on the run. In today’s scene, they’re camped for the night beside a lake. Deverane has the middle of the night watch and since Andi can’t sleep, they’ve been having a peaceful conversation. Deverane is speaking as the snippet starts:

“Special Forces duty burns you out but I’m not interested in a rear echelon desk job on some cushy planet.”

Andi laughed, then clapped her hand across her mouth, mindful of how sound carried at night. “No, I can’t see you sitting behind a desk, not at all.”

Tipping out the remnants of his coffee, he said, “I could retire, try ranching on a frontier planet maybe, I don’t know. “

Wow, is he kidding himself if he thinks he’d be any happier farming than at a desk job. Guess I was right, here’s a guy who has to stay in constant motion – why does that disappoint me so much?

I LOVE and appreciate your comments….

Go to http://sixsunday.com/ to find all the other great excerpts!



Wednesday Whimsy – Eyes

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
Mark Twain

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
Audrey Hepburn
The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.
Alfred Hitchcock
Those things that nature denied to human sight, she revealed to the eyes of the soul.
Ovid

My Most Favorite Comic Book Characters!

Growing up, I loved comic books. All this talk about the AVENGERS reminds me of those days when I couldn’t wait for Thursday, which is when our grocery store put out the new issues. A big chunk of my weekly allowance went to supporting this habit. I did like THOR but I was pretty much a DC comics girl – Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Justice League – but several of my three most favorite comics weren’t DC. (Or Marvel.)

MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER was just terrific – loved the science fiction world he lived in and the fact that pretty much he alone saw the threat the robots could pose, although of course his mentor was the famous 1A robot. Every issue he saved the world from some new robotic problem, usually rescuing Leeja,  his girlfriend in the process.

BROTHERS OF THE SPEAR was the backup story in the Tarzan comics and truthfully, I only bought Tarzan to read the adventures of Dan-El, Natongo and their girlfriends/wives  Tavane and Zulena. I could never get enough of these characters, their friends and families, and their endless challenges ruling neighboring lost kingdoms deep in the heart of Africa. I always used to keep my fingers crossed that they’d never be found by our civilization!  Yup, I got really invested in them. It was also frustrating to me that I couldn’t find all the adventures – for some reason there were gaps in my collection and I hated missing any of their plot twists and turns.

I also loved the LEGION OF SUPER HEROES, which was a DC comic. Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl were the founders of this organization and Superboy used to go forward in time to fight villains with them, as I recall. I don’t remember this series as well as I do the other two. Things kept changing in the DC Superman universe, which would affect this Legion and I think I kinda wandered away from them one day and never went back.

I don’t have my comics collection any more. My mother never approved of them (although to me, I was reading and I was using my imagination and it was all good). Not sure what she objected to exactly but when we moved from New York to Alabama she saw a chance to divest her household of a lot of stuff and my comics went out the door and not onto the moving van. Don’t remind me what they were probably worth!

At one point as an adult I did track down some of my favorite issues but I really didn’t have the time, money and endurance to find them all, so I decided to reacquire a couple TARZAN/BROTHERS OF THE SPEAR  comics, put them in my cedar chest and be content.  If I ever win the lotto though LOOK OUT! I’ll be a comics buying fiend, scouring the world for my lost treasures.

Which comics were your favorites? (Or maybe still are!)

 

Six Sentence Sunday – Ancient Egypt

This week in honor of Mother’s Day, I’m leaving my science fiction romance to jump back into my Ancient Egyptian paranormal and the birth of my Pharoah Nat-re-Akhte’s son. The Queen’s labor was long and difficult and at the last minute a mysterious new midwife shows up to take charge.  She doesn’t linger for thanks after the delivery:

            “Your son will be much blessed, Pharoah,” said the young midwife, placing the crying , swaddled newborn in his outstretched arms. Making the sign of the ankh over the baby, she added, “He’ll live to see many grandsons and preside over an Egypt filled with peace and plenty.”  Beaming, she gathered up the crumpled linens, walking out the doorway with a merry laugh.

“Who was that woman,” asked the exhausted queen, taking the baby herself and putting him to nurse.

             His nostrils were full of the scent of the blue river lotus, which did not grow within hundreds of miles of this mountain plateau. “I don’t know,” he said, “But she saved your life, and the baby’s.”

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

I LOVE and appreciate your comments….

Go to http://sixsunday.com/ to find all the other great excerpts!