Losing, and Finding Again…

Losing, and Finding Again…

This has been a tempestuous year. Lots of travel for conferences and reader cons, lots of doubt about my writing, lots of internal worry and change, lots of hot flashes – oy.  I’ve done some editing work for friends, taken a lot of online classes, stood my ground, gave ground, and in general – lived.

Guarded Star4Good things have happened, and new connections have been made. GUARDED STAR came out this year with Boroughs Publishing Group, and STAR CROSSED is in final edits and will be making an appearance soon. RISING STAR StarCrossedwill, hopefully, make an appearance in early 2016.

Plus I’ll be going to TNEE in Atlanta in April, RWA National Conference in July, and the Emerald Coast conference in October. These will be, most likely, my only “public” appearances this coming year.


The Caine Brothers series, my paranormal romances, have been picked up by Wolfpack Publishing. I’m writing a prequel, the two (and a half) books that have already come out will be published again, and the third book (Justin’s story) will be out as well, all starting in January 2016. I have been told there are at least two more stories in this world, and maybe more, so hopefully I can get them out next year. We will see.

As well, there’s another line of books (contemporary) that I’m going to be working on, so…busy!


I’m writing this on Thanksgiving night. For years, we traveled to my parents’ house and I cooked (or they came up to us and…I cooked); or we traveled to Arizona and Tom’s family…and I cooked, ha. But…a few years ago, I handed the mantle of Thanksgiving Queen to my nephew’s lovely wife (something about – oh, brain surgery comes to mind), and they have been hosting ever since.

I won’t lie – 150+ miles, one way, is a long way to go for a turkey dinner. But a turkey dinner where my brother can sweep me up in a hug? A dinner where I get to sit on a couch for an hour or so, holding my dad’s hand, and talking possible TV series ideas with him? A dinner where I can give my great-niece the book I had promised to give her LAST Thanksgiving, but had neglected to send to her? (Her comment when I handed it to her? “At LAST.” lol…)

In between conversations, we watched two teams sportsing. One team was in some sort of white outfit, while the other team was in electric blue…and they were still sportsing, even after dinner. The electric blue team ended up sportsing better than the white team, and won…. please understand, that out of the ten people at this dinner, only three of us were female. None of my clan is overly sportsy, except for soccer and basketball.

But my favorite memory of the night? Holding my dad’s hand, and feeling the veins there, and knowing that in a few short years, my hand will look much the same.

hands at thanksgiving

Life happens, people. We lose our way, and find it again, and if we are very lucky, we have family and friends that stand with us along every step of that meandering path we’re all on.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend, my lovelies.


Thanksgiving Wine – Rose´? Sparkling?

Thanksgiving Wine – Rose´? Sparkling?

In these days of high unemployment and global financial crisis, it’s nice to relax with a bottle of wine that doesn’t break your pocketbook. This is especially true around holiday time, where you may be pouring wine for guests. I’m here to sort out the memorable from the truly awful, and each bottle is under $10 unless noted otherwise.

Cupcake Vineyards photo of Prosecco bottleCupcake Vineyards Prosecco Product of Italy Alcohol, 11% by Volume Regularly $11.99 at Vons, on sale now for $8.99

On The Label: “This bright sparkler,  made in Northern Italy from 100% Prosecco is the perfect accompaniment for any occasion. It offers a lively, fruity nose of peaches and nectarines which persist to the palate with soft, creamy citrus accents that finish with a gratifying burst. Enjoy with melon wrapped in Prosciutto, a Gorgonzola crostini, or fettucini Alfredo.”  www.cupcakevineyards.com

My Take: Very light. Lightly sweet. Not overwhelmingly bubble-y. But the price is good, the brand name may impress, and the alcohol content is low enough that it’s a good choice for pre-meal snacking.

Cupcake Vineyards brought this out very recently, for the holiday season I imagine. I have a hit or miss record with Cupcake, but I couldn’t resist trying this. Now that I have, I’m not sure I’ll rush back to pick up another bottle, but it is definitely a light sparkler that could work in many social situations.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~

Sofia Rose´ Monterey County 2011 Francis Coppola Alcohol 12.5% by Volume; price, $9.99 at Vons

On The Label: Mr. Coppola knows when to let a picture (or a wine) tell the story. There isSofia Rose wine no annoying pronouncements on the label. Thank you, Mr. Coppola!

My Take: I really enjoyed this wine. Fresh, crisp, clean and yet with a nice flavor, I could definitely see pairing this with turkey at Thanksgiving. Or if you wish, go ahead and serve this as a before-dinner wine with the appetizers. As a gift, it’s unusual bottle and beautiful color will definitely get you noticed. I will say, please check out pricing. Some places carry this wine for $20; others, like Total Wine and More, charge $9.85.

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ and isn’t that a pretty color?

I did an in-depth posting on sparkling wines last year, so check out this post here, from December 30th. For some more Rose´s, look here.

I hope these suggestions are helpful. Please remember, whichever wine you choose, it’s the people you gather together that make the holiday, not the beverage, or the food, or the weather. Hold family and friends close, for they are damned difficult to replace.

I’ll be doing one more posting on red wines prior to Thanksgiving. In the meantime, enjoy the moment!

As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depends upon my mood, the weather, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?

My Rating System: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!




White Wine Options for Thanksgiving

White Wine Options for Thanksgiving

In these days of high unemployment and global financial crisis, it’s nice to relax with a bottle of wine that doesn’t break your pocketbook. I’m here to sort out the memorable from the truly awful, and each bottle is under $10 unless noted otherwise.

Thanksgiving is a week away, and between now and then, a certain amount of the population will panic about which wine to offer with the meal. I’d like to say that if you’re pouring wine from the minute your guests hit your doorstep, it won’t matter what you pour with the turkey since everyone’s already a) happily sloshed or b) fighting with Strange Uncle Bob or c) stone cold sober and writing a blog post about everyone else.

However. Today I’m taking a look at three different white wines which you might choose to grace your holiday table.

Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2010  Alcohol 13.5% by Volume; $11.99 at Pavilions.

On the Label: “The rewards of patience are remarkable. For three decades, my family has nurtured coveted vineyards along California’s cool coast. Our Jackson Estates Grown 100% Chardonnay is bursting with tropical flavors such as pineapple, mango and papaya along with citrus notes that explode in your mouth. Crisp, green apple flavors and a smooth, creamy texture add even more depth. To balance this intensity, we age the wine in small oak barrells. I’m very proud of this wine. I hope you enjoy it.”
-Founder, Jess S. Jackson

My Take: This is an excellent wine. (On the label, I wrote “perfect”.)  I’m not wild about the exploding in my mouth that Mr. Jackson mentions; as a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure nothing exploded in my mouth when I drank this wine, as I have an intact set of teeth and my tongue still works. But I believe you’ll find this an excellent pairing with turkey. It’s got depth and just a hint of oak; it’s NOT a “big, buttery chardonnay”. I don’t think you can find those anymore as they have, alas, fallen out of fashion. At $11.99 it’s over my $10 a bottle price range, but that extra two bucks is totally worth it.

My Rating: ~ Very, Very Drinkable ~ Because I haven’t yet found a white wine that has earned Slut status.

Firestone Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Santa Ynez Valley, California Alcohol 13.5% by Volume  $6.99  at Pavilions.

On The Label: As Santa Ynez Valley’s first estate winery, Firestone helped pioneer viticulture in this quiet, rural area. Our 2010 Sauvignon Blanc is fresh, crisp and bright with passion fruit, lime zest, grapefruit and newly cut grass. www.firestonewine.com

My Take: I’m SO glad I didn’t read the label before drinking this wine. I don’t know about you, but I have no wish to drink wine and eat newly cut grass (oh, did I read that wrong? My bad…). That said, this is a lovely and very easy to drink wine that will cut through the heavy courses of the typical American Thanksgiving dinner. It’s bright and clean, with very little aftertaste. Though do yourself a favor and have some potatoes after your bite of cranberry sauce, and before you sip – you’ll save yourself from a terrible collision of flavors.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~

Estancia Pinot Grigio 2011 Alcohol 13% by Volume; under $10 at Pavilions

On The Label: “Simply put, Estancia Pinot Grigio is better than all the rest. The grapes grow in such bliss – warm days and cool nights on the Pacific coast – it could strike the average Pinot Grigio with envy. You’ll love it for its zesty, intense flavors and will remember it long after the recycling has gone out.”

 My Take: Pinot Grigio, to my taste buds, is a cozier wine than Sauvignon Blanc, even though both are clean and crisp. They both pair with food beautifully and are light on the palate, so it really depends on your personal taste preference.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ 

 So there you have it, three possibilities for white wines at your Thanksgiving Table. I’ll be hitting up on the Rose and Red Wines next week, so be sure to come back and check it out!

Which wine do YOU like to serve at Thanksgiving?

As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depend upon my mood, the weather, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?

My Rating System: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!

Two Rose´s For Thanksgiving

Two Rose´s For Thanksgiving

Unemployment is still high, the politicians are still wrangling, and Friday comes as we all breathe a sigh of relief. I’m here to talk about wines – the good, the bad, the truly awful – and better yet, they’re affordable. Most are under $10 and can be found in your local grocery store.

With Thanksgiving coming up, and a weekend of wine tasting under my belt (that’s another post…), I’ve got a couple of Rose´s to discuss. It was a hot topic at the wineries, with many wineries featured a Rose´ to my surprise, because those same wineries didn’t have the Rose´s out in March. So between now and Thanksgiving, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Rose´s both from the grocery store, and from the wineries. Because it’s never too early to plan the wine for the meal.

Cypher Pistil Paso Robles, 2010, $17.60 at the winery Alcohol 14.8% by volume – pre-released only for club members due to limited production (I’m a Freak Club Member)

On the Label: “Eclectic Rose Wine Produced & Bottled by Cypher Winery Paso Robles, CA cypherwinery.com

My Take: I loved this wine this past weekend, when I visted the winery. And maybe a tiny part of me bought it because my hubby likes Rose´ and he wasn’t with me.  OR, maybe I bought it because it was the first of only two wineries on Sunday, and I was still drunk from the day and night before. Whatever….

The bottle is cool; the front “label” is on the inside, pink snakeskin with the word CYPHER down the middle (what you see in the picture above is the back label).  The color of the wine is a pale pink – the blush of a fair-skinned bride, or the color of dawn on a cold winter morning. The scent – is vaguely flowery and alcoholic. The taste? Um…like a steel-casked Chardonnay. Kind of. Maybe.

We had it with turkey-sage meatloafettes and smashed potatoes. The hubby raved about the potatoes, liked the meatloafettes, and didn’t comment on the wine until I asked him. And he said it did its job – cleaned his palate between bites, but otherwise kind of bland. And I couldn’t disagree. Maybe it’s the high alcohol content that is overpowering the delicacy of this wine? I don’t know.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ Such a disappointment overall. I don’t believe Rose´ improves with age (but I don’t know that for a fact); if I head out to Cypher next spring, I’ll definitely give it another taste, since I have a pre-release bottle.  If I’d been totally aware of that, I’d have suggested to hubby that we wait to open this bottle. But then again, life’s too short to save the good wine.

Penrosa Tempranillo Rose´2009,  product of Spain. Fresh and Easy, on closeout at $3.99. Alcohol 11.5% by volume.

On the Label: “Spain is producing some of the finest rose´wines in the world due to their beautifully ripe grapes and new modern winemaking practices. This rose has been made to be the perfect al fresco refresher on long hot summer days.”

My Take: I’m a fan of this wine, and yet – having it side by side with the Cypher, I have to admit that this is a juvenile wine. Young, bursting with fruit, flirty, it is unpretentious and – as advertised – perfect on a hot summer day when you’re sitting by the pool. It makes the Cypher taste much more sophisticated, but some days you just want to sip strawberries in a glass, you know? The low alcohol content is nice, too.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~

Um…it just dawned on me that I might have reviewed this wine earlier. If so, well then…there you go!

All in all, I don’t think either of these is a good wine for Turkey Day. I much prefer white to start with as I cook, and then switching to a good Pinot Noir – my comfort wine, if you will – to sip with the meal.

But luckily there are a few weeks to go before that all important Thanksgiving meal. I’ll fling some more choices your way as we go along.

As usual, this is just my honest opinion and will totally depend upon my mood, the songs hubby is playing on the guitar as I write, and what bills I’ve just paid. Your taste buds will differ.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul is available for the Kindle and the Nook! Get your copy today!