Reboot for 2024

Reboot for 2024

March is almost over, and I’m finally turning my attention to my website again. I know, it’s been rough and I haven’t been here. I apologize. Life, you know? At any rate…so much has been happening. I did a lot of travel after my book about Scott came out in September last year; San Diego, Massachussets, London…it all wore me out, and after we got  home from London, both Tom and I got very sick. So December was mostly a rest month, and the first quarter of this year has been about me reclaiming myself.

Which basically means putting relationships in the past, after acknowledging the good and the ill I received (and gave) to them. That was a very long season of help and harm during some of my worst moments over several years; now it’s done and done, and I’ve moved on. I’m eating healthier (and feeling ill when I don’t eat healthy); I’m loving Pilates, and walking the dog, and gardening again.

And I’m back to writing. I’m behind in the book of a new series, which I’m SO excited about but can’t really talk about just yet. So there’s that. I’m also figuring out the details of getting a newsletter up and running again; as soon as I do, I’ll let the world know.

I don’t know if I’ll get back to blogging about affordable wines…it seems very few are under $10 anymore, which was my top price when I first started blogging about wine. We shall see.

In the meantime, thanks for being here. I promise I’ll be showing up more. Sending you love and lots of hugs.




In the Garden – The First Tomatoes

In the Garden – The First Tomatoes

This was two years ago - an amazing amount of yummy tomatoes! July 2012.

This was two years ago – an amazing amount of yummy Roma tomatoes in my Dad’s garden. July 2012.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of eating the first ripe tomatoes of the season. It’s one of the reasons I like to buy cherry, or patio, tomatoes (not the same thing but they both ripen early).

I carried in two cherry tomatoes and gave one to my husband, and we munched. Tomato flavor burst over my tongue, titillated my taste buds, and met all my expectations. It was a total Tomato Mouthgasm. Summer is almost here, and I don’t have to buy tomatoes from the grocery store any more! Life is saWeet!

My next foray into tomatodom yesterday

What I'm looking forward to this summer!

What I’m looking forward to this summer! (This is the first bowlful from last summer.)

was tasting the first ripe Roma tomato from our bush. It was a tiny thing, but I split it into two and gave hubby the bigger half. Popped mine into my mouth. And all of a sudden, I was in Rome – I swear. And I could taste the garlic in the tomato. It had a flavor I’ve NEVER tasted in a Roma tomato, whether home grown or at the grocery store – but it had my mouth salivating for Italian food at six-something in the morning. Suddenly I understood why you should use Romas when making an Italian Gravy (or spaghetti sauce) or any Italian recipe that calls for tomatoes.

I guess you could say I had a tomato epiphany. I have seen the light when it comes to tomatoes, more so this week than any other. I am now eyeing the spot remaining, just big enough to take three more tomato plants. Romas, I think. And I’m pretty sure the hubby will agree with me.


Are you gardening this year? Let’s chat!

Betwixt and Between, or Crankypants

Betwixt and Between, or Crankypants

Or maybe I should call this post Sixes and Sevens? I’m be-bothered and out of sorts and ill-at-ease and put your catch-phrase here.

A water color from Kansas Water Color dot com.
Thanks to for the image.

(I’m somewhere there – right there, in the middle of the painting. Or maybe in the upper right side…or down left, toward the bottom…)

There’s no one reason for it, really, and a million tiny reasons for it. A bummer for me is that wine – red wine, as far as I can tell – now severely disrupts my sleep, to the point that I’m not waking at 5am to write because I’ve tossed and turned from 1am to 3am. Which means I need to cut back on my red wine intake, which in turn makes me get pouty-face – and trust me, I am not attractive in pouty-face. But…I don’t know about the wine part of the blog, which makes me even MORE pouty-face.

Then I’ve got something physical going on in my female parts – to where I feel ugly-pregnant. Annoying and irritating, especially when the doc says “well, you’re so close to menopause, you should just wait it out…” Grr. I like my doc, but grr. I go see a female gynocologist this Friday, so will know more then. But at least I had a CT scan a couple weeks ago, and all my other organs are peachy keen and in good health. (Now there was a “fun” way to lose an entire day. Sheesh.)

A photo of a CT scanner.

In case you've never had one - this is what the CT machine looks like.

Add in two boys who don’t yet have jobs, three partials I want to complete and polish up, another partial I need to finish so I can send it off to a couple agents, being stalled in my exercising, wanting to shed at LEAST 20 pounds, and having the typical crazy day at the day job I like and … well, it makes me feel betwixt and between.


On the positive side? I sent out two partials as requested to an agent on Saturday, for books that are complete, and I found I really enjoyed working with those two books. Hadn’t read them in a couple years at this point.

A week ago, we got brand new windows on the house – and it’s cooler, quieter, and more secure – I LOVE my new windows! Plus it ups the value of the house, always a good thing.

Another positive thing, my oldest son now has his driver’s license, and my younger son is now learning. (21 & 18)  Ever since they stopped teaching driver’s ed in the high schools here in California, the average teenage driver age has gone up. And up. A good thing, over all, but still – it’s nice that my kids are finally spreading their wings a bit.

BLOOD DREAMS, my short story set in the Caine Brothers world, releases on June 1st and I’ve got help with a book release promo on that day, so that’ll be fun. I’ve seen my cover for DEMON HUNT and can’t WAIT to show it to everyone – it’s fantastic! AND, I got a cover blurb for that book by NY Times Bestselling Author MAGGIE SHAYNE! So, yeah…lotsa good happening. Plus I’m working on Book 3 of the series.

Another, huge positive – Tom and I are closer than ever. That whole “you complete me” thing? It’s real. It’s more real now than it was 35 years ago, and it just keeps getting better. That, my friends, is scary-good.

Another positive is the garden. Tom’s worked so hard – and so have the boys. We have five original veggie planting beds, and Tom’s added nine more. We’ve decided using the back yard for growing stuff is more interesting than having grass (because our grass is mostly weeds). 

We’re growing: cucumber, watermelon, potatoes, zucchini, crook-neck squash, beets, bell peppers, tons of onions, garlic, spinach, cilantro, 5 different kinds of basil, sunflowers,  sage (both green and white), italian flat-leaf parsley and curly parsley, thyme, red lettuce from seed, dark green lettuce from seed (not yet seedlings), corn from seed, peas from seed; 3 different kinds of strawberries, black berries and boysenberries; on the bank, we’ve got 11 artichoke plants (6 of which are bearing artichokes this year; the other 5 are too young), two lime trees, two meyer lemon trees, two different orange trees,  an apple tree, and pots of tomatoes? Glad you asked! We’ve got 8 pots of tomatoes, plus 4 heirloom tomatoes in the ground. Oh, and two pomegranate trees that aren’t big enough to have fruit on them yet (they’re barely 2 feet tall). Of the seeds not yet planted, bush snow peas, and celery, and I still have some sunflower seeds to plant…

Wow. Big grin. Mentally feeling much better – what a lovely garden (in it’s raggedy way)! I must post pictures. The really fun part of the new beds? Tom carted out this huge, terrific metal doorway that was a prop in a store I used to work for. I got to keep it…and now it’s solid in our garden, with jasmine growing up the sides and a hanging pot of petunias and alyssum in the center…when the jasmine grows up and over, it’ll be pure heaven!

Physically? I still feel blech. But at least, when I get home I’ll be able to sit in the garden with hubby, drink some bland and boring sparkling water,  and enjoy all the growing things around me. Maybe I’ll even take pictures.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you’re having a wonderful un-crankypants day!

In the Garden

Today was the perfect gardening day. We headed out about 3pm, a bag of 65 bulbs in hand and trowels at the ready. Within 3 minutes, we realized we had a bigger problem – weeds.

Weeds, and the I-can’t-believe-I-planted-it-because-it-takes-over-the-whole-yard morning glory. The twice-damned vine was EVERYWHERE. In the apple tree. Twining around the berry bushes. Hiding behind the tomato pots in the weeds, and making plans for taking over the center of the yard. (Some of my tomato plants have wintered over…I ate a cherry tomato yesterday, fresh from the vine and bursting with flavor. Yum!)

Anyway – back to the weeds. Being the enterprising couple that we are, we roused our boys from their hermit-like hiding in their rooms, and put them to work. We have two “official” garden cans, and two cans we use to put the leftovers that we can’t stuff into the official cans. The boys (young men?) pitched in and filled both sets of cans while weeding out empty planting beds, and taking care of the weeds trying to hide the artichoke plants. (We’re up to six on artichoke plants, if anyone is keeping track.)

While waiting for the opportunity to plant, and to stay out of the guys’ way, I got the big clippers out and de-branched the christmas tree. The trunk now waits for one of the kids to saw it up, and the branches await the fireplace. Plus, the yard is a little bit cleaner.

Once the weeds were taken care of, we could plant. Out of the 65 bulbs, hubby planted probably 35. Don’t ask me what they were – I know he planted 10 purple Echinacea, but I don’t remember the other two…and of course, two of the three weren’t bulbs, they were rhizomes. The third was definitely a bulb, however.  So all of the rhizomes got planted – but we’ve got 30 of the bulbs to still scatter. I’ll do my best to get them in the ground in the front this coming week…

The air was crisp, cool but not cold. The sky was impossibly blue, and the sun gentle on my face. Doing the work – weeding, planting, getting my fingers deep into the soil (which I did!) – was somehow life-affirming. Rejuvenating. Not to mention, damned good exercise. I didn’t get the writing done that I had wanted, but the time outside in the sunshine was very well spent.

SPEAKING OF WINE…(weren’t we?)

The other thing I did this weekend was to taste some Rieslings. I’ve got one more to go, but to my surprise I’m enjoying them. I thought they would be too sweet for me – but for sipping wine, they are spot on. I look forward to the discussion on them this week!

Another wine note – a winery contacted me and asked me if I’d like to taste and review a bottle of wine they’re just putting out – a new blend. After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I answered back but of course! And they have sent me a bottle of the wine, without me paying a dime. Very cool, what? Unfortunately I haven’t had time to taste it, what with this weekend being dedicated to tasting Riesling (thanks to Kathy Bennett, lol). However, I got to taste another wine on Friday that will go well review-wise with the donated bottle, so I look forward to bringing those thoughts to you.

Now, its almost time for dinner. The NY and San Francisco game is 17 to 17 with 30 seconds left in the game. JoePa has died. Hubby is gearing up for another week on Christian Slater’s new show, BREAKING IN, which also stars Megan Mullaly.

May your coming week hold love and laughter, and – as a dear friend of mine always says – “seek joy, y’all”.  Seek joy, indeed!

~ Demon Soul is available for the Kindle and the Nook! Have you read it yet? ~

Blogging Out and About

Just wanted to let you know – I’ll be at Rochelle Weber’s website all this week. As well, tomorrow I’ll be over at Castles and Guns with another interview.

Plus…I’m finally getting the blog up to speed, based upon a class I took in Blogging by Kristen Lamb (now, don’t laugh! Some of us need more help than normal, lol!). In a week or two I plan to be blogging at least twice a week – Gardening and Cooking on Mondays, and All About Affordable Wines on Fridays.

Hope you come back soon and check it out!