The Yarnspinners

News of anthologies by Kim Cox, Elizabeth Delisi, Chris Grover, Elaine Hopper, Maureen McMahon, and Sheryl Hames Torres--The Yarnspinners!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wednesday's Keywords of the Week

Okay, the title says it all. It's Wednesday. It's the middle of this week, nearing the end of the third of three very long and painful weeks. And it's not over, yet.

Stays....My daughter says I take in strays. I guess she's right. It seems all her friends, and most of Dusty's tend to gravitate to my house, call me Mama and eat right out of the pickle jar. My home is never quiet, rarely straight, and always full. This can be a good thing. For one, I only had to go through labor twice and I have lots of kids. And sometimes those strays will include their parents.

Bittersweet...I've spent the better part of the last three weeks worried to death and trying to provide what comfort I could to Courtney's best friend and her family. Holly's twin baby brothers were born three months early, two weeks ago tomorrow. One of them, Vincent, died the following Monday, and was buried last Tuesday. Funerals are never easy, but when it's a baby's funeral, any strength you think you have...well, you quickly learn you don't. Whatever you have left, you spend on hugs and listening. Strange tho, afterwards, you feel stronger with each smile and bit of good news. The remaining twin, whom I hope will be another of my strays someday, is holding his own quite well. He's off most of his meds, off the ventilator and breathing on his own, and taking small amounts of breast milk. Because of his bigger(2.4 lbs) brother's sacrifice, Little David (1lb 14 oz) has a very good chance.

Perspective...Two days after the funeral, my husband was rushed to the hospital in horrible pain. They couldn't tell me as I was driving like a mad woman the 30 miles to the hospital exactly what it was...could be a stroke or heart episode or a blood clot. Turned out to be kidney stones. Now, I thank God constantly that he's okay. I've never seen him in that kind of pain before...never want to see him like that again...but I did show him the difference between that smaller-than-a-bb stone and our son's watermellon head.

Blessings...Yesterday, my stepfather (hate that word...he's my mother's second husband and just our Dad) had laser eye surgery. He's without glasses for the first time in his life, yes, Dad, you're pretty. He tickles my mother by walking thru the rooms and batting his eyes at her until she tells him how beautiful he is. These are the two youngest people I know. They're always talking about how "old people bug" them. LOL My son argued me down in the floor until he was 12 because they weren't old, so they couldn't be grandparents.

Typical...Now, my edits will be done and turned in by 10 tonight...can't miss Project comedy on tv. LOL Before that, I have to pick up the kids from school, drop one off here to get the pet "stuff" ready, while Dusty and I take my 3-year old Beagle/French Charles Spaniel puppy, Auggie, to the vet. Then we come home, collect Courtney, Dargo and the "stuff" and haul it all to my sister's for the weekend. Then we come home, I make dinner...tuna Courtney with her book binding for Art, get everyone to gather what extra stuff they want to take to New Orleans. Tomorrow I spend cleaning, shopping, washing, ironing and packing.

Legacies...We're going to New Orleans. We've not been since Katrina, and on one hand, my husband is dreading the trip like a tooth ache. But we need to take care of some business for Mark's grandmother who is showing signs of Alzheimer's. Last time we went as a family, his grandfather, Felician, first generation American citizen from Madrid, had had a stroke. Shortly after that, he died. It was the first time in their married life they had spent the night apart. She refuses to move to Florida to be with Mark's brother's family, or here to GA with us. She won't leave him. She won't ever be able to sign herself out, call a taxi and go to her house for the weekend, or meet up with her girlfriends to go juking. She won't ever get to go home to Italy. But she knows she'll be buried beside the man she's loved for the better part of her life. While we're there, we're collecting the irreplacable things, the family Bibles, photo albums, scrap books, and GrandPapa's paintings, proof of the source of my kids' artistic talent. The things of our childrens' and my niece's heritage.

So, if I forget to blog next Wednesday, consider the word of the day to be...Exhaustion.

Stay Safe,

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Finding something interesting to blog about can be beyond difficult. One of my fellow bloggers suggested I write about men’s buns—unfortunately, that subject can be dealt with in one short paragraph:

All men have buns. Some men have nice buns, and some men don't.

What else is there to say about them?

Someone else suggested I should write something uplifting. After a hard day’s work, I definitely need some uplifting myself, but what does “uplifting” mean exactly? According to my Family Word Finder the verb uplift means raise, elevate, advance, better, improve, refine, upgrade, cultivate, civilize, edify, inspire. And by way of an example the book says: Listening to the sermon should uplift your thoughts.

Most sermons I’ve heard are more depressing than uplifting, but since the flip side of depressing is happy, upbeat, and yes, uplifting, too, I started to think about what makes me feel happy+upbeat=uplifted, well…

My youngest kitty, Toby, has his basket on the extension of my desk, and when I turn in his direction, he smiles, reaches out for me with a paw, and it makes me feel great because I know I’m the most important person in his little world. And his big brother, Texas, sends me kisses by looking at me and crossing his paws. Those two always know how to make me feel good.

However, when it comes to humans that can be a whole different ballgame. Do nice things for friends and co-workers and all too often you’re repaid with a stab in the back—I’m not being cynical, just honest, it’s happened to me so many times it’s started to get boring. But do something for a total stranger and sometimes their appreciation can be overwhelming.

Back in the eighties, I was traveling in France with 3 girlfriends. We’d spent the day in Aigues-Morte, the Mediterranean port from whence the Crusaders set out on their travels to the Holy Land. To get back to Marseilles where we were staying, we needed to change trains in Avignon which is on the main line between Paris and Marseilles. As the train left the station and we settled ourselves in our compartment, we discovered the other two people in the compartment, a Dutch couple, had mistakenly boarded our southbound train, first stop Marseille, instead of the one going north to Paris that would take them home to Holland. For them it was the last straw in a vacation from hell—their trailer and car had been totaled in an accident in Spain, they didn’t speak a single word of French and now here they were, tired and stressed out, on the TGV, the French super express, traveling at 186 m.p.h. in the wrong direction

To say they were frantic is an understatement. The woman was so upset she fell down the steps when the train reached Marseille and was badly shaken up, while her husband looked to be on the verge of a heart attack. Fortunately, the husband spoke English and we all spoke French, and I knew the train they were supposed to be on wouldn’t even arrive in Marseille until after we got there, so things weren’t really as black as the couple believed. The four of us did our best to calm them down, and when we arrived in Marseille, we sent the husband off in search of an official to explain the problem, while we did what we could to comfort his wife with coffee and cognac.

The husband had no problem getting an official okay for himself and his wife to board the northbound train, but we could see they were still very shaken up, so we decided to stay with them and make sure there were no more mishaps. While we were waiting for their train, we got to talking about other things and in the course of the conversation the husband discovered we were Canadians. He stared at us for a moment, then his eyes filled with tears, and he said (I’ve forgotten the exact words), but something to the effect that he couldn’t believe how history was repeating itself--during WWII, Canadian soldiers had saved him and his family from being killed, and now all these years later, Canadians had again come to his rescue.

They didn’t tell us their names, and we didn’t tell them ours, but I guarantee they didn’t forget us anymore than we forgot them. And yes, it was a very uplifting experience. All four of us were so proud to know that by helping that couple we’d also helped to keep alive the memory of those brave Canadian soldiers who liberated Holland in 1944-5.


Sunday, August 27, 2006


I’m going to talk about menopause, so all you men out there can go: “Eeeeuw!” and run away, or maybe you can stay and learn a thing or two about what your wife or partner is experiencing, or may experience.

Prior to menopause I can’t say I was a perfect, happy-go-lucky person, but I was tough, resilient, enjoyed life, had no qualms about trying new things, could eat, drink, dance until the wee hours, was a good mother and managed my home and family well. I exercised daily, and laughed a lot.

Then peri-menopause hit…well, it didn’t really ‘hit’ as much as it ‘snuck up’… I began to notice I was feeling lethargic – apathetic. Nothing really excited me, and I found myself totally unenthusiastic. I went to a doctor who decided I must be agoraphobic and gave me antidepressants. One pill later and I was a total basket case. I had my first panic attack. It was that pill that sent my ‘apathy’ over the edge.

Who says panic attacks only affect mentally disturbed people? This first panic attack, since I had no idea what it was, sent me into a tail spin – foetal position in bed for nearly two weeks. I was lucky to have a friend who was also a counsellor for women. We began having sessions and she suggested I read a book called: “Complete Self Help For your Nerves” by Dr. Claire Weekes. That book saved my life then, and continues to do so during this unbelievably difficult transition.

Peri menopause and menopause can create such a that. It’s like a horrible tunnel of terrors. You burn with hot flashes, then you shiver with cold flashes. You can be in the middle of baking a cake and suddenly a wave of panic will flood you and you’ll descend into a fiery pit of fear. You have no idea what you’re afraid of, but your adrenals are telling you to run or to be very afraid. Along with this, you’ll have muscle spasms – tension that comes like a squeezing fist, making it feel as though your neck, shoulders, jaws, head and face are being stretched beyond endurance. Your ears begin to ring. This is frightening in itself, since you automatically assume you’re going deaf. Some days you’ll have heart palpitations (erratic heart rhythms) that lead to anxiety over heart problems. Some days you’ll have headaches – and some headaches last for weeks or longer. Exaggerated fears are rife. You will wake up mornings thinking you’ve got a brain tumor – or a heart condition. When you’re at your worst, you may believe you’re truly losing it – and end up at the ER. Inevitably you’ll be sent home with nothing truly resolved, other than reassurance you’re not physically dying.

In between all this, when the anxiety, tension and/or temperature fluctuations have decided to take a few days off, you may descend into depression. Again, for no apparent reason. Depression is like a dark pit where you’re looking out at the world, instead of actually being part of the world. You feel isolated and alone…and very, very confused. Doctors will want to put you on anti-depressants, but, if you’re like me and they make things worse, you persevere by finding support. You’ll read lots of books on menopause. You’ll refuse to listen to so-called medical experts who tell you menopause doesn’t cause mood fluctuations or all the symptoms you’re having. Proof of this is a visit to the Power Surge website ( Literally thousands of women post on the message boards there and describe an enormous variety of like-symptoms as they journey through this tunnel of terrors – and they receive many messages of support from others who truly understand.

If any of you are wondering if your symptoms might be due to menopause, here is a list of the 34 signs of menopause: Keep in mind that many menopausal women will not experience all of these symptoms, but many will experience most of these and more. I developed Burning Mouth Syndrome and it took me some months of anguish to find a specialist in Melbourne who knew what it was and knew how to treat it.

I would like to add that am disgusted and appalled at the medical profession in general for being so blasé about the suffering of so many women. I feel it’s a sign that they just don’t know what to do, so they ignore it. Some say if it’s not life-threatening, then it’s not worth researching. I believe that the significant removal of at least ten years of a woman’s life is more than worthy of research and assistance. One of the most helpful things for a menopausal woman is validation – knowing that what she is experiencing is real and not ‘something in her head.’

I want to end this blog with encouragement for those who are suffering with menopause or peri menopause as I am. I want you to know that this DOES end. That one day you’ll feel better and you’ll see the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Ask a woman in her 70s and she will probably not even remember her menopausal symptoms.

Here are some books I’ve found helpful during my menopausal journey:
1. Complete Self-Help for your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes
2. The Seven Sacred Rites of Menopause by Kristi Meisenbach Boylan
3. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay
4. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
5. From Panic To Power by Lucinda Bassett

I’m sure there are many more some of you could include. Please add comments to this post if you’ve had difficult menopausal symptoms and have found relief. Or if you just want some support. And be sure to visit Power Surge – I guarantee it will help you feel less alone.

The Power! Who has it? Who doesn’t? – Just something to think about

Note: The below are only my thoughts, ramblings and opinions. Nothing more or less. It’s my turn to write here and this is what I’ve been thinking about lately.

The government has power. The media has power. The power is supposed to belong to the people since we have the ability to vote. So, who really has the power?

The government? Sometimes, yes and sometimes no. The media has the power to make or break politicians. So, I guess it comes down to who has the most power. Both are powerful.

We’ve all watched as criminal cases have been both won and lost in the media. And talking about criminal cases, are people actually innocent until proven guilty? It all comes down to who has the most evidence, whether it is the prosecution or the defense. Or is it the most one most capable to charm a jury. Remember when you didn’t think you needed a defense attorney if you were innocent. That has definitely changed over the years—at least in public thinking. It’s probably always been true that you needed a lawyer whether guilty or innocent.

Okay, the media can change popular opinion; but recently in a poll, the media came up short in believability. Although television news was the most watched out of all news sources, it was the least believed. The media can get things into the public eye that may have been covered up otherwise, but it seems most news is put out there for all to see before the details are checked or verified. How often, especially during a crisis, have they come back and reported the first report or a portion there of was wrong?

Sports figures have charm, and they are loved and even worshiped by some. But when they fall from grace, they fall fast and hard. And usually this comes from the media finding out some secret or problem the athletic person has or faces.

The people have the power? They would if they could believe what they hear and then vote accordingly. But so much is fake or made up. Rarely do politicians follow through with what they promise. Possibly they’re side-tracked or something else took their immediate attention, and sometimes they just don’t intend to follow through. It’s hard to know for sure what stops them from being totally honest. We can’t believe politicians, commercials or the media. Who can we believe? Who or what does what they say it will do?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The trouble with faraway places...

The trouble with faraway places is that the moment you've got the layout straight in your mind, some idiot comes along and changes everything...

I love to write stories set in far off places—to share with my readers the smell of exotic spices and all the other colorful sights and sounds as my characters wander through the souk in Tangiers, or maybe it’s a romantic night-time stroll along the Seine with the hero of my story, or, if the heroine is in jeopardy, a race for time through a confusing maze of back streets and narrow alleys in Moscow, Madrid or Marseilles with the hounds of hell snapping at our heels.

Even with extensive research, using locations you’ve never visited can be tricky--there's bound to be a helpful reader who just has to tell you that you've got it all wrong. Using locations you think you know well can also be tricky—especially if you haven’t been to that particular spot in several years. I was born in London, England, and thought I knew it pretty well. The last time I was in the East End, once the home of the London Docks, it was full of ancient, crumbling wharves and warehouses, so, when I wrote WHERE’S MICHELLE (a romantic suspense involving the kidnap of a 9-year old girl) an old abandoned wharf seemed like the perfect place to set the opening scene. Fortunately, I’d made the exact location of the wharf very vague which was just as well because on my next visit some years later, shortly after the book was published, I discovered huge changes had occurred. There are still a few pockets of decay awaiting rejuvenation and historically significant sites have been preserved, but most of what I remember has gone. The streets are still there, but most of those old warehouses have been replaced by expensive Thameside condos.

In WITHOUT A CLUE—a romantic suspense set in Paris, I was the victim of what I can only describe as absolute and outright sabotage on the part of the French people. I’ve visited Paris many times and, since I prefer to walk rather than ride, I’m familiar with the layout and have visited all but one of the famous tourist attractions on more than one occasion. So imagine my shock the last time I was in Paris and I found an expressway running through part of the Tuileries Gardens--the exact spot where my heroine was to finally make contact with the “mystery woman” in the plot. At this point, Clue hadn’t been published, so it was simply a matter of finding a new location for the scene. I finally decided on the Palais Royal which turned out to be an even better choice because many of the boutiques in the Palais gardens have both front and back entrances and this allowed me to escalate “the chase”.

I’m currently working on SEEING CAN BE DECEIVING, the second Liz Moretti mystery. But when I started the research, once again I discovered that what I remembered is not the way it is now. In the opening scene, one of the main characters has just been released after spending 20 years in prison. The London train takes him to St. Pancras Station and, since I was in England visiting with my sister, I thought I’d go over and check it out. I hadn’t been to that part of London in at least 20 years, so I figured that would be the perfect opportunity to see it all again through Kenny’s eyes. As it turned out, we both got the shock of our lives. The St. Pancras Station we knew and loved is no more—the old brick station, black with smoke from the days of steam trains has been torn down and replaced with a brand new shiny glass and steel building to help with the increased Chunnel traffic. My character thought he’d gone to the wrong station and for a moment, so did I.

And the moral of this story is, when it comes to details, rely on what you saw this morning with your own eyes. Otherwise, be vague—very very vague.


Lost Smiles by Maureen McMahon

When do children stop being children? When do we put away our sandcastles, skipping ropes and giggles? When exactly do we change from ‘being’ a child to having an ‘inner’ child?

I remember lying in long grass, the sun warm on brown limbs, the coolness of the earth against my back, my older brother next to me as we watched in awed amazement as the cotton ball clouds changed ever so slowly into a myriad of new shapes – a dog, a bird, a ship, a fat lady…Giggling over the fat lady who became fatter and fatter, then seemed to twist herself into first a cupcake, then an elephant.

And when we got tired of watching clouds, when our energy surged, we’d be off, running full-tilt through the fields in anticipation of our next adventure, perhaps to make boats out of walnut shells, sticks and leaves to race down the trickling stream in the forest behind our house, perhaps in search of crayfish and frogs or perhaps to climb the old mulberry tree so we could look out over the beauty of our world.

There were afternoons in the summer sun gorging on wild dewberries or strawberries. Watching storm clouds gather, sensing the electricity in the air, awed by the approaching flash and rumble - waiting just that little bit longer before dashing for the security of home as the rains broke. Raking leaves in the autumn so we could leap into a huge pile and lie cradled in the brittle crispness, nostrils filled with the acrid, pungent smell. In winter, lumbering as fast as we could through knee-deep snow to the pond next door, ice-skates clutched firmly.

And when we were called to come in for dinner, we’d moan and plead, “Just a few more minutes?”

My daughter is twenty-one. When she was young, her laugh made us laugh, her smile made us smile, her giggle filled us with joy. Now she doesn’t laugh or smile very often. And her giggles are no more. I see her struggling under the heavy demands of university, work, personal demands and relationships. It saddens me to know that the child she once was is no more. She’s now an adult with all the attendant responsibilities and worries.

When does it happen? When do we “put away childish things?” And more importantly, why do we put them away?

When was the last time you built a sand castle? When was the last time you lay on the ground and watched the clouds? When was the last time you fell into pristine, sparkling snow to make an angel? When was the last time you giggled? When was the last time you woke in the morning anticipating all the fun the long day would hold?

When was the last time you looked into the mirror and smiled?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I had it all figured out and then ...

My place of employment announced what had been rumored for about six months before that it would be moving operations over seas. On Valentine’s Day of this year, we had a meeting about what they would offer us if we stayed until they closed their doors here. It all sounded pretty good to me. I would receive at least 4 weeks pay, and unemployment benefits while at the same time pursue a college degree for up to two years. That was my plan.

A couple of weeks before that, they laid off two of their long time employees. One had been with the company for about twenty years and the other for at least fourteen years. That had made us all nervous and we wondered if the rumors of one to two years were false and they would be closing very soon. Now, this was two weeks before the meeting I mentioned above. So the meeting made us all feel much better about it. It would be at least a year and six months before any major lay offs. However, shortly after the meeting my boss came to talk to me and they were letting me go that day at the end of my shift. I was floored. But I would still get the same weeks in severance and I thought I could also get the same deal about school.

While I was off, I checked into school and found out it would have to be a different program for school than I first thought, and I would have to go through the school to get it. I bought a self help Algebra book to refresh myself for the entrance exam, checked out the college website, sent for my college transcript and tried to choose a curriculum and I’m still stuck between two, but I think I’ve figured out a way to maybe get a degree in both. All I had left to do was to sign up, get the financial stuff done, take the entrance exam and go back to college.

However, they called me back within a week and a half to work from four to six weeks for someone having surgery, and then asked me to stay another six weeks for another employee who had to have surgery. That was five months ago from when I was first laid off. And I hear that they’re telling new employees that it could be anywhere between six months and two years before they move. That’s a long spread between the two. They are moving though, as they’ve been moving some machinery already. Their building overseas is finished and they’re already training the office and plant personnel.

So, how long will my job last? I have no idea, but I'll work there as long as I can. Will I go to college? Yes, but I’m still not sure which program I’ll fit into. They hired me back as temporary. I’ve already received my severance, so will I still get stay pay? I don’t know. The Human Resources manager jokingly told me that I may be there to lay him off, but we both know he’ll be one of the last ones to leave. Should I take the curriculums I chose before or should I try to find something that will guarantee me a more plausible job.

I wanted to get a degree in Business Administration and Computer Programming. But how will that help me find a job? I do want to learn more about computers, if not for a job, for myself and the clients I have that rely on me to maintain their websites. I’m pretty happy that I can go back to college, but there's a lot of fear connected with being jobless, as well as the, “What if I can’t do the school stuff?” My memory isn’t what it used to be.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Contracts and Contests

I have been absolutely snowed under lately with work, most of it NOT writing. Had to send back some contracts today, and you wouldn't believe how complicated those things are and how many pages they entail. I'm glad I'm not a lawyer and I just write fiction! At least I can understand what *I* write.

Also, I've been judging in a contest and had FIFTY books to read over the course of two months. Yup, full-length books. That's about a book a day, which is way more than I can read under normal circumstances, at least if I plan to get anything else done during the day.

There were more than the average number of great books, which made it more difficult and slower. I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night to finish them off, and mailed back the two winners today, to go on to the next round of the contest. Whew! One thing to check off my list.

So now I'm just down to about five editing jobs, four classes I'm teaching, the usual PR work, and oh yeah, finishing up the dang novella. ;-) That's next on my list!

So what do YOU do when you have too much work to do? Do a little of each task? Tackle one at a time? Do you make lists and cross things off, or work plans, or wing it? Or just close the door, lock it, and go on vacation?


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Heavenly Hijinks

My newest book, Heavenly Hijinks, was released today at Ellora's Cave

It's part of the Planetary Passions zodiac series. If you're up on the zodiac, you'll know this is Leo the Lion's time to shine.

Thus, my story is about Leo, THE Leo, The Nemean Lion of the zodiac.

In my story, Leo gets bored and comes down to earth - where he gets stuck to teach him a lesson. At 3,500 years, Leo still has some growing up to do. When he sees, and then feels guilty, that his Leo-born babies are running amuck without his heavenly guidance, he learns the value of responsibility and yearns to get back to his post.

Except for one thing...Clestie. This lovely Scorpio is the only person on Earth that can help him return to his heaven, but this delectable mortal is also the reason he wants to stay on Earth.

This is a paranormal, romantica comedy.

Midweek computer cat alien blues....

Good morning all...
I imagine this might have been posted a lot earlier if it weren't for computer cat aliens.

My problems first started last Wednesday, so I've been suffering for a week now. First, Yahoo starts bouncing all my group messages...I have about 72 groups. That's a lot of bouncing. Some aren't important; others are... Shortly before that, 350 saved emails from my main email address...ALL important...mysteriously disappeared--but only from that one email address. None of the other five addresses were bothered. Then I worked for three hours last night and another three this morning trying to get signed on to the blogger. Thank you Liz. She also worked for about thirty minutes...doing the same thing I'd done several times. She succeeded.

Now, I can sit here wondering why my computer account likes her better, or I can blame it on alien computer cats. Don't laugh. If you've never seen one, you can't be sure they don't exist. Granted, I'm not a big in-the-house-pet lover. I am a firm supporter of DOG houses, CAT houses (the kind that house actual cats.) If they came up with nice ones, I'd be out there buying TEENAGER houses, and there are times I'd be checking into HUSBAND HOUSES (like when he mows down the lantana because it "looked like a weed to me!"). Unfortunate, I'm the minority in my home.

Now, the dog, Auggie, feels the same way I do about the cat. The dog by the way is the ONLY creature in this house the Dargo actually likes. I get constant "Why???" looks from our poor canine. Until the addition of the cat to our family, I only tolerated that poor dog. Now I buy him huge bones at the butcher. I figure he needs it...and I'm hoping someday he'll just bonk that little furry demon over the more irritation and we'll have a nice little catskin rug.

Over the weekend, my son and I watched a couple documentaries on widespread alien sightings in Mexico. The commentator noted that Mexican residents reported computers, cell phones, and several electrical systems in cars going down for several minutes at a time, along with flicker of lights, and blinks in radio and television service.

Monday the children started their second full week of school. After I let the cat out of his kennel on Monday morning, the problems started. Cable and lights flickering during a storm...a mild one...Yahoo bouncing...etc. Now all those things corrected themselves, but I've had to chase that cat out from behind the TV center about 10 times, and even more from under my computer desk. I've refilled the spray bottle about five times this morning and I'm on my second fly swatter. (the first one is behind the freezer) And now, this blogger thing.

Does anyone know how to say, "Leave my computer alone, you fur-coved alien!" in Mexican?

Until next week, take care. Dargo's in her kennel. I'm off to the butcher for a big bone for Auggie...and a huge chunk of chocolate for Mama!
Stay safe!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

When I was a little girl...

Although it’s my day to blog, I haven’t a clue what to blog about.

I guess I could tell you a story about when I was a little girl growing up in England and I thought Snow White was a real person. I really wanted her to come and live near me and bring the dwarfs and the prince. But I didn’t know her address or phone number and no one I knew did, either—come to think of it that was way before ordinary people even had phones, at least they didn’t in England. Anyway there were no empty houses for them to live in, so I got myself an imaginary friend instead—a panda bear (I’ve always loved black and white and still do—I have two black and white Persians). The village school I attended had this big old beech tree in the playground and in the bottom of the tree was a hollowed out space like a small cave. I told my mom the baby panda bear lived in there and all the kids took it in turn to bring it bamboo shoots to eat. Where one would find bamboo shoots in England, I cannot imagine, but my mom, bless her heart, just swallowed it all whole and said, “Really, lovie. Isn’t that nice.”

Needless to say, the panda bear thing soon lost its appeal since I couldn’t take it out and show it around to my friends. So that’s when I took up with kitty cats—a neighbor’s cats to be precise: Martha, a pretty tortoiseshell, and her husband (I was a very moral child), Basil. Basil and Martha had kittens and I was ecstatic when I was allowed first choice. I chose a black and white female and named her Mischief. What happened to her siblings, I dread to think—getting pets neutered was unheard of even if the pet owner could afford it. Anyway, I lived in a country village where farming was the main industry and the life and death of animals accepted as the natural order of things. A bucket of water and a lid was the usual form of cat population control back then.

Unfortunately, the next winter, poor little Missy, as I called her, had a nasty encounter with a rat and became terribly sick. I remember my aunt wrapped her in blankets and put her in a basket so I could take her to see the vet. But that day, we had one of the worst snowstorms England has ever seen. It was 7 miles to the vet’s office and the busses had stopped running, and since there was no way I could make the journey through the snow drifts on foot, I returned home. Like all kids, I thought all I had to do was say my prayers, tell Missy how much I loved her, and in the morning all would be well. The next morning, Missy was dead and I cried for days.

Over the next few years, I had an assortment of cats. I loved them all, but none of them made up for Missy. When we came to Canada, then were so many rules about apartments and no pets, we didn’t bother—until the day I discovered Chinchilla Persians who are the most beautiful cats in the world: turquoise eyes, pink noses, and long white fur that looks as if it’s been stroked with a sooty hand.

We got our first chinchilla when we lived in Montreal, and we called him Moustique. But Mouki died of kidney failure when he was six and literally broke my heart. Then we had a shaded silver, Dondi, another chinchilla, Raja, a black Persian named Koko who liked to wrap himself around dh’s head once he was in bed, then Furrari—a cream Persian who we bought as a male and turned out to be a female. Currently, we have two black and white Persians: Texas aged 12 who was born in Fort Lauderdale, lived in Dallas for a few months, then flew to Canada on American Airlines; and my baby, Toby, who is 4 this Saturday and the most affectionate, cuddly little guy I’ve ever had.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for letting me ramble on about my babies, but now it’s time for me to wind up this little cat-tail and go do some real writing.


If you want to see some pics of The Boys go to

Writing, Blogging - Not For The Faint of Heart by Maureen McMahon

Blog, blog, blog…Okay, so sue me, I’m not all that crazy about blogs. Who knows whose going to read them? What if your blog attracts a cult of crazed mass-murderers? Or suicide prone individuals who need just that one word to push them over the edge? It’s dangerous, in my opinion. That said, I’ll do my best… and with determination not to encourage murder or personal mutilation.

It’s not easy being a writer. People seem to think if you get paid to write, you’re the luckiest person alive. But it’s not easy. Of course we have our days when it just flows – when the words just tumble out one on top of the other and it becomes like a stream then a river and you simply can’t stop. But those days are most often surrounded by days when the words just won’t come and we have to pry them one by one from the dark, tight recesses of our creative minds. And then they don’t often fit properly. A hodge-podge of words that just don’t work together the way we want them to. “But,” we say, “never mind. Tomorrow might be better.” It rarely is.

Then of course we have editors waiting and tapping their feet. Will we have the story finished in time? Will it be any good? So on top of our own pressure to perform, we have the added responsibility of a deadline. After all, it’s not just our story anymore, it’s meant to bring income to a great many people. No dilly-dallying! Evolving creativity can’t hold a candle to the push and shove of the giant publishing machine.

But, okay, let’s face it, making money from our thoughts is one of the best ego-trips around. If you make money, that is. Gone are the days when publishing a novel will put you on Easy Street. Publishing a novel every six months might make life a little more comfortable, but it’s not a ticket to the limo or prime seats at the opera.

This is not meant to put anyone off writing. On the contrary, if anything it’s meant to encourage writers to follow their hearts. Don’t get caught up in the glamour or glitz you may think goes along with writing. Stick to your personal voice and style. Keep learning. Like what you write. When those days come along where the words simply don’t want to come, keep writing anyway and know it’s natural. And if your work is accepted by a publisher, enjoy it, but don’t lose track of the real reason you started writing in the first place. Most of you will realize in the end that you write because you love it. It’s part of you. And without it, you simply wouldn’t be the same.

And if you’re a mass murderer, or suicide prone, please take up knitting instead of reading blogs. G’day.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Liz's Intro

Now that I've introduced The Yarnspinners, and the other authors have posted an intro, I should do so too. I'm Elizabeth Delisi, and I write paranormal romance, mystery, and suspense in novel form, and have also done paranormals and contemporary romance in novella-length. I edit for a couple of small publishers and teach writing for Writer's Digest. Keeps me busy.

I'm a wife, mother of three grown children, and grandmother of two little ones. We also have a dog and cat, and live in beautiful New Hampshire. We just moved here last fall, and I can't wait for fall to roll around again, to see the gorgeous colors. But heck, I love every season here. Even the long as I don't have to drive too much in it. ;-)

We're all looking forward to interacting with you, and giving you the latest news on our anthologies: ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS, which will come out in November from Cerridwen Press; SHIVERS AND SCREAMS, VISIONS AND DREAMS, which will come out in October from DiskUs Publishing; and an as-yet-unnamed third anthology just in the planning stages. And after that, who knows? The sky's the limit! So check back often and visit with us!


Kim's Introduction Finally

Sorry it has taken me so much longer than the others to post my introduction, but I've had my grandson this past week. And man, if you're not used to having an eight-year-old boy around, it will wear you out. Can't help but love him though.

Okay, on with my introctuction. My name is Kim Cox if you haven't already guessed by the Title of this blog. and I live in Asheville, NC near the Blue Ridge Parkway. I can actually see my house from one spot in late fall, early winter. After that, you don't want to go up there as the roads can be icy or covered with snow. I've never lived anywhere else besides North Carolina, although I now live four hours from where I'm originally from a small town called Rockingham. Maybe you're familiar with The Rock Motor Speedway--now closed.

I've been married for 20 years to a wonderful man, Lee Cox who is a chain saw artist by day and runs a knitting machine in a textile plant at night. If you're interested, you can check out his art at I have two grown sons (Brandon and Travis), one grandson (Patrick), a cat (Chelsea) and a dog (Lucky). You've seen dogs chase cats, well my cat chases stray dogs out of the yard. Why not? Lucky doesn't. He's very passive and the closest he'll come to attacking anyone is to lick them to death. Now, he does playful bite at times. He loves everyone.

I've been writing for almost as long as I've been married. I have one full length novel at It's a romantic suspense set in Boston, Massachusetts. Other than that, I have sold short stories, articles and have contributed to two anthologies.

I've known these talented yarnspinners for a while, a few of them for ten years--ever since I bought my first PC. Sher and I believe we may share a brain as we can often finish each others sentences. I have to say I'm the opposite from Elaine in that I'm the worst multi-tasker. I don't like to IM with more than one person at a time, because I can't keep up with it. If there's two, I may forget to IM one. I do have about 5 books in the works, but I only work on one at a time. I have a one track mind and if I'm working on something, I'll either not hear you talking to me (unless you call my name first) or if you ask me a question, you'll think I don't know because it takes my mind a few minutes to switch gears, especially if I'm really into what I'm doing. But I guarantee that whatever I'm working on gets my best and full attention.

I love to read, write and watch television--mostly movies involving the paranormal, forensics, murder and mystery, and it's the same with the programs I watch. In my day job, I do clerical scheduling in a textile plant.

Thanks for listening to me go on and on. I hope you stop by often and let us know what you like to read.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Maureen's Intro from Oz

Hi! I'm Maureen McMahon...The Yarnspinners' member from Downunder. I lived in Michigan most of my life, but visited Australia some 23 years ago and met the man of my dreams - Peter. I've stayed here ever since.

We have two children, James and KatyAnne - both in their 20's and super kids. We live on a 5 acre farmlet about ten minutes from the ocean. It's a great place to be, though I do sometimes miss my Michigan roots.

I write mysteries that contain both romance and paranormal. I started writing at the age of eight and decided to write my first novel at the age of twelve. It will never see the light of day, but was the catalyst that started me on my writing journey.

I enjoy fishing, games of all sorts and travel. We have a labarador, four cats and a few 'chooks' (Aussie for chickens.)

I hope you all come visit this blog often. If you're interested, check out my books by visiting my website at

Hey y'all.

I'm Elaine Hopper and I also write as Ashley Ladd, so I've got a split personality. I'm Elaine here.

I'm from Ohio, live in Florida now, and inbetween we've lived in Nebraska and Mississippi courtesy of the USAF.

I'm the ADHD girl and always working 2 or 3 jobs and have several mile-high projects going. Currently, I work full-time for a charity, write contemporary, paranormal, futuristic, and comedy romance, sweet and romantica, and I sell Mary Kay.

I'm a camo belt in taekwondo and hope to earn my black belt before the end of 2007. I also like to swim a lot at the gym and swear I will start working out with the weights upstairs - SOON!

I'm married to Dave. We have 5 children (3 boys, 2 girls), one grandson, and one granddaughter on the way. We also have 4 cats and 2 dogs, so basically, our house is a zoo.

I'm always working on several stories simultaneously. My thoughts run 5000 thoughts a minute, and I bless computers for helping me to stay organized. I'm the ultimate multi-tasker.

Now, before my EC editor lashes her whips and chains all over me, I have to get back to my edit. Ask Sher to tell you how much I LOVE editing.

Checking in

Testing. Testing....Hi! Sher Hames Torres here. First let me say, I'm not a blogger. I'm the most computer stupid human on the face of the earth. The Geek Squad and I are all on first name basis. Just took them cookies yesterday. :-) But Liz assures me that I can do this, and I'm taking her at her word. Poor thing, you should have seen her trying to teach me how to use this thing. LOL Prayers welcome.
I write basically romance...romance everything. Young teen? Romance. Suspence? Romance. SciFi/Paranormal? Yep, romance. And never just one at a time, so you'll never know what you're going to see me doing. I'm happily married to a cuddly hairy Spaniard, and we have two teenaged rodents, and two 4-legged pests. We live in Northeast GA quite near my parents and five of my six siblings. They're quite liable to recognize bits of themselves in my stories from time to time. They have to deal with it. LOL
Okay, here goes nothing. See y'all soon!
Stay safe.

I'm Chris Grover. I write romantic mystery/suspense and paranormal romance. I'm originally from England, but now live in the Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada, with my husband and our two persian cats, Texas and Toby.

I've written three full length novels, and have contributed to three anthologies with a fourth in the works.

I love to read, write, think up new story ideas, and cook for my husband and our friends. In my real life I work as a paralegal for a corporate lawyer--but just part-time now as writing takes up most of my time.


The Yarnspinners

Let me introduce to you...The Yarnspinners! A.K.A. authors Kim Cox, Elizabeth Delisi, Chris Grover, Elaine Hopper, Maureen McMahon, and Sheryl Hames Torres. Since we've teamed up to produce two anthologies, with more in the works, we thought it would be nice to have a blog where we can take turns posting, and keep you all updated on our doings. So, here it is! If any of you have comments on what you'd like to see here, feel free to send them on. That's all for now. Bye!