National Novel Write Month

National Novel Write Month

Sigh! I managed to write 61,451 words this month which amounts to 2048.36 words a day. I won by passing the 50,000 word mark but didn't quite finish the story. I could have shortened and ended it prematurely. But, then the villains would have gotten away and the budding romance between the two main characters would not have gotten off the ground and ...

Doing nano has established a habit. The habit of getting up at 6:30 every morning (thank you cats) and writing after breakfast until father gets up sometime around 9:30. James gets up around 7:30 which gives me a quiet hour to myself, then after he eats, he keeps himself occupied. The rest of the day we will be getting back to our normal schedule of lessons, house cleaning, working on my online class, reading, playing, blogging, and working.

Studies have shown that it takes two weeks to form a habit. I've been at this for 4 weeks so it certainly should be a habit by now. I am going to finish the first draft without editing. I'm just going to write like my hair is on fire everyday in the morning until the story is done. I am estimating the need to write approximately 25k to 50k more words. Which will get me through the month of December. We have 3 weeks off beginning December 7th. Then and only then, will I go into edit mode.

We homeschooling moms who were part of the nanowrimo group on the Well trained mind forum have all agreed we want to continue writing and need support, so will continue the online group as Writing Like Your Hair Is On Fire. And that is the world's worst sentence, but I'll fix it later when I turn my internal editor back on.

" To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph." Mark Twain

Weekly Report #11

Weekly Wrap Up

We had a very light week lesson wise. James worked on his cursive and Math, adding three's while I worked on my story. I was bound and determined the reach the 50,000 goal which I did on Wednesday, despite multiple distractions. Now I am bound and determined to finish the book. Unless I manage to write 10,000 words tomorrow, probably not going to happen. But since I get up a couple hours earlier than every one else in the household, we'll see how far I get and leave the rest for the edit process. I'm going to make sure I incorporate writing time in my schedule everyday from now on. I have a few other ideas up my sleeve when I'm done with this one.

We took Gracie in on Tuesday to be spayed and she stayed over night. The boys, herbie and melvin wandered the house for a good long time, missing her. We picked her up Wednesday morning and she was feeling fine.

We didn't want a repeat of what had happened with Luna when we brought her home after an overnight stay at the vet. All the cats went crazy, because she smelled so different, they thought I had let a strange cat into the house.

So, we brought her in and set the cat carrier down, let them smell it and her. Then took her in the bedroom and she rubbed all over me and James giving us loves. After a few minutes, we brought in the boys and they smelled around, about, up and down. Within a few minutes they were all ready to play.

However Doctor's orders, restrict her activity and no jumping. Right, how do you keep a cat from jumping around or chasing and racing about. The pain medicine they gave her made her totally loopy and she was practically jumping up the walls. She also had the munchies big time. So Wednesday I spent trying to keep her calm and quiet, in the midst of trying to work on Nanowrimo story. Do you know how hard it is to type one handed with a squirmy, love me, rub me, giddy cat. It's fun!

Thursday we had a nice thanksgiving and we all fell into bed about 10:00 completely exhausted and tired.

Friday I spent the day working on my story because I would like to at least finish it. Father napped and took it easy. James played.

Today we set out to put up christmas lights outside. We got sidetracked by gardening and cleaning up the morning glory which had gone completely crazy. We end up doing this every year. Oh, it's time to put up the lights. Wait, we have to do this first. Thankfully, our neighbor, who is also our gardener, came over to help and we got it all done. I'm bushed and back to writing. Father is out putting up a couple strings of lights.

Tomorrow we will put up the net lights all over the front patio fence and put out Santa's reindeer. Plus, we are going to put up a few decorations next door because our neighbor went into foreclosure and abandoned the house. We have one of 'those' courts that goes crazy at christmas time, so we will have lots of people driving around. We didn't want the fact the house is empty to appear too obvious.

We discovered a relative (his mom - believe or not) has been taking items such as light fixtures from the house. She came by today and took the hose and hose reel which was in front of the house. Which we had been using to water his lawn to keep it from going to seed. That's when I noticed the outside light fixtures were gone. Father had mentioned a few days ago the house was unlocked. I went over and checked, sure enough. The back door was unlocked and several windows. I went through locked up everything including the garage door. I'm surprised the bank hasn't put a lock box on the house. Anyway, in discussion with other neighbors, we will be keeping a better eye on the house. If anybody wants to get into the house, they better have a key or else they will be in big trouble. Nudge, Nudge Wink Wink.

We have one more week of lessons before our three week christmas break. I am looking forward to it. We will be christmas shopping and having fun. I'll be working on finishing my current online class by the end of December. Father will be working and finished various electronic projects. James wants to learn photoshop.

And just maybe, the cats will let me sleep in past 6:30 a.m.

Booking Through Thursday - Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are having a small thanksgiving this year with just the three of us. The turkey is in the oven and I'll be doing the rest of the fixen's later: Homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes and a veggi of some sort. Then, of course, a pumpkin pie for desert.

Today at Booking through Thursday the meme is about being "Thankful"

Share 7 things you are thankful for: this can be about books, sure–authors you appreciate, books you love, an ode to your public library–but also, how about other things, too? Because in times like these, with bills piling up and disaster seemingly lurking around every corner, it’s more important than ever to stop and take stock of the things we’re grateful for. Family. Friends. Good health (I hope). Coffee and tea. Turkey. Sunshine. Wagging tails. Curling up with a good book.

So, how about it? Spread a little positive thinking and tell the world what there is to be thankful for.

I am thankful for

1) My husband and son, they provide much joy, happiness and laughter in my life.

2) Our business. Surprisingly enough, the recent downturn hasn't affected us all that much. More people than ever are coming in to get their home theater equipment, speakers, amplifiers, mixers and keyboards repaired. We seem to have a consistent two week backlog.

3) We don't have any debt, except for a small house payment and we don't have to worry about finances.

4) Thankful to my four cats who provide us unconditional love and keep me warm, snuggled in my lap.

5) Thankful for a husband who doesn't complain about how many books I buy.

6) Thankful for all those wonderful authors out there who write the books that I buy.

7) Thankful to all those wonderful authors and bloggers who have inspired me to write.

I could probably come up with several more, but have to include one more.

I am thankful for you... Yes, you who took the time out of your day to visit me.

Thank you

Have a wonderful turkey day. Go hug your mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, sister, daughter, brother, son, neighbor, police officer, soldier and thank them for all they do.

"Keep your eyes open to your mercies. The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life." Robert Stevenson

National Novel Write Month - Winner

Yahoo! I reached 50,000 words.

Winter's Illusion is 75% complete and I still have a several more chapters to write. I will finish the story by Sunday, November 30th. I have 4 more days to go and hopefully it will keep raining, so I don't have to go put up Christmas lights. We are having a quiet thanksgiving here at home with just the three of us. So, if my guys will give me the space, this puppy will get done. I'm rather proud of this story and think it is better than the first one I did last year.

Book Review - The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Agatha Christie

Back Flap: Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Now, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with a drug overdose. But the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information. Unfortunately, before he could finish the letter, he was stabbed to death.

I enjoyed reading "The murder of Roger Ackroyd" and I was completely surprised who the murderer was at the end of the book. The story is narrated by Dr. James Sheppard, the town doctor. He lives with his sister, Caroline who is a big gossip. A new neighbor has justed moved in, Hercule Poirot. They enlist his help in solving the murder of Roger Ackroyd. As with all Agatha Christie novels, you have a cast of characters who all have a secret. As Dr. Sheppard and Poirot sort through the clues, there are many twists and turns to deceive you. You too will be surprised about who did it.

This is book # 3 in the Martel Harper Challenge and hosted by Dewey of Hidden Side of the Leaf

49th Birthday

I had a very nice birthday yesterday. I had a very relaxing day, spent working on my story. But James and I also did a little Friday housework clean up, vacuuming and doing laundry.

Father came home early from work and We went out to dinner at Black Angus.I had prime rib and lobster tail. It was delicious. Father had prime rib and James had a hamburger with french fries. Father bought
this for my birthday

A Kodak easyshare Z1015 Digital Camera to replace my old beat up Easyshare that has been dropped a million times. I will give the old one to James. This one is really neat with 15 x optical lens with image stabilization and fast click to capture speed of .20 speed. It also does video and works in HD. It has lots of neat features. It arrives on Monday from Amazon.

Friday evening I managed to finish "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" by Agatha Christie. Will post review of story soon.

Weekly Report #10

Weekly Wrap up

It was a very light week. The past two years we have taken off the week before and Thanksgiving week. This year I decided we'd continue with lessons and power through to our three weeks off at Christmas time. Too much time off creates the crazies in all of us.

With the best intentions

Devotions: We read Proverbs 9 Invitations of Wisdom and Folly and Discussed. I had Father and James read Proverbs 6:6-11 in his Adventure Bible.

6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!

7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,

8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?

10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest-

11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man.

In the "let's live it' section of the Adventure bible, it discusses hard work and taking an example from the ant. So they looked at our gel ant farm and discussed how hard the ants worked from the moment they were put in it.

Voyages in English: We worked on 3.5 possessive adjectives and 3.6 agreement of pronouns and verbs.

Spelling: Lesson 11 more Y as a vowel

Cursive: l, f, then review and mastery

Math: Subtracting 3's this week and in Math made easy, Place Value, more and less and Fact Families.

Chemistry: James and dad are in the last chapter of Mystery of the Periodic table. It's a long detailed chapter so taking it a little bit at a time. Will finish it up next week.

James and I read "The Doughnuts" in Homer Price.


In between trying to do lessons, life was a little hectic this week.

Monday and Tuesday were spent dealing with getting Melvin and Herbie fixed. Neutering is supposed to be an in / out in one day procedure for male cats. However Melvin, being more well endowed than some cats and emotionally sensitive, ended up spending the night at the vet. When I went to pick him up Monday afternoon, they told me he was still oozing a bit and they wanted to keep him overnight. He had been licking his incision and breaking it open.

So they sent him home with a cone.

We picked him up Tuesday morning, when we dropped of Herbie. Herbie was ready to come home by 2:00, steadfastly refused to wear the cone and was actually good about leaving his incision alone.

Herbie was slightly groggy, but no worse for wear. Tuesdays are my work days and poor father was quite exhausted by the time I got home from dealing with the vet, the boys and James, plus trying to work on a microphone project.

As long as we kept the cone on Melvin, he was fine. If we left the thing off for even a few minutes, he'd start licking himself and start bleeding again.

Wednesday, he managed to get the cone off, lick himself raw again and I wasn't aware of it for a few minutes. He wasn't too terrible thrilled with me when I had to do something about that, if you know what I mean.

Thursday, Father and James neglected lessons in order to go out to the store and buy me a birthday present. So, I really can't complain about that.

Which brings us to today and I am a wonderfully, fabulous, fantastic 49 years old.

Happy Birthday to me!

As Mark Twain once said "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

You are as young as you feel, right?

My parents sent me a very generous check which they told me to spend all on myself. Hmmm! Of course, I just had to go over to Barnes and Noble and pick up a few books. Perhaps I should be buying a couple nice bookshelves to place those books in, instead.

I'm also waffling between getting myself one of these

Or one of these

What do you think?

Happy Birthday to Me

My wish list just got shorter and my TBR piled bigger

Consider the fact that I have been really, really good for the past two weeks and avoided the books stores. I just made up for it in one week.

James gave me my birthday presents this morning and I received

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie

Magyk: Septimus Heap Book one by Angie Sage

Hot Mahogany by Stuart Woods

My finds (birthday presents to myself) are 2nd reads of authors

Split Second by David Balducci

Unspeakable by Sandra Brown

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs. Book 2 in Mercy Thompson Series

Hero Under Cover by Suzanne Brockman

For Her Eyes Only by Cait London. Book 3 in the psychic triplets series

And 1st reads of authors of paranormal or suspense romance novels. Will probably save these for 2009 Romance Challenge

Destiny Kills by Keri Arthur.

To Catch a Thief by Christina Skye.

The Wild Sight by Loucinda McGary

Now I really, really, really need to get back to working on my nanowrimo book. I'm up to 34,000 words and it's clipping along.

"She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain."
Louisa May Alcott

Booking Through Thursday - Honesy


Suggested by JM:

I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.

Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?

I've only received one book to review so don't have a lot of experience with unhappy authors. Speaking for myself, if I wrote a book or sent a book to someone to review, I would want their honest opinion. I don't think reviewers should feel obligated to write a good review if they really didn't care for the story. I think the problem may occur when a sensitive author may feel denigrated by a reviewer. I learned the value of constructive criticism years ago. For some people, the ability to accept constructive criticism is easy. For others, not so much.

If you are going to put yourself out there in the public eye, then you better be prepared for the truth. You can't please 100% of the people 100% of the time. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes in regards to books. So, of course, the same book is going to receiving glowing and not so glowing reviews, depending on the individual.

Speaking from the reader's standpoint. I appreciate the reviews because they help me decide whether the book is something I would want to read. I don't know if I would make a good professional reviewer, because I have too many pet peeves when it comes to books. I don't like first person perspective and have a hard time wrapping my brain around it. I can't sink into the story and visualize it as much as with the third person or omniscient perspective. It also depends on the the writer's style, too. There are a few writers who have managed to capture my attention using first person perspective, which either means I' m getting more open minded or they are excellent writers.

So, my answer is no. Reviewers should lie, nor should author expect 100% good reviews.

Wordless Wednesday

Early Morning Fog

Conehead Cat

And Wall-e

What does your Wednesday look like?

Novel Challenge - 2009 Romance Reading Challenge

One more Challenge

Naida over at the Bookworm is hosting the 2009 Romance Reading Challenge

The Rules are: 1. Now, "Romance" isn't limited to steamy Harlequin novels. There is a huge selection of books in this category such as contemporary romance, historical romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance to name a few. As long as the story has romantic love between the two main characters your selection will fit this challenge. The novels do not need to have a happy ending either, there can also be unrequited love.

2.Choose at least 5 novels read them between Jan 1st though Dec 31st 2009. You can change your choices at any time. Crossovers between other challenges are fine.

3. Read them at your own pace in 2009 then go back to the Bookworm and post the link to your review(s).

If you want to join in the challenge, head on over to Naida's to sign up.

The books I will be reading are:

  1. Hero Under Cover by Suzanne Brockmann
  2. Last Look (1) by Mariah Stewart
  3. Last Words (2) by Mariah Stewart
  4. Last Breath (3) by Mariah Stewart
  5. Night Fall by Cherry Adair
  6. Servant: The Awakening by L.L. Foster
  7. Servant: The Acceptance by L.L. Foster
  8. To Catch A Thief by Christiana Skye
  9. Wild Sight by Lucinda McGary

2009 100+ Reading Challenge

2009 100+ Reading Challenge

J.Kaye of J.Kaye's Book Blog is hosting the 100+ reading challenge once again for 2009.

The guidelines are the challenge starts January 1, 2009 and runs through the end of the year. You can join anytime as long as you don't start listing books prior to 2009. All books count whether fiction, non-fiction, children or adult books, etc.

I can do this!

I know I read over 100 books in the past year. So this seems like the perfect way to keep track of how many actually read. I'll keep track of the books in this post and place a link in my sidebar in January.

  1. Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb
  2. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  3. If There Be Dragons by Kay Hooper
  4. Love By Design (2 classic Novels) by Nora Roberts
  5. Fire Dancer by Colleen Coble
  6. Five in a Row by Jan Coffey

Novel Challenges

Novel Challenges

I have one book left to read for the Fall Reading Challenge which is Nora Robert's Pagan Stone. It's being released on November 25th and once I finished that. Voila, I will be done with the Challenge. So now I'm looking ahead to 2009 and the various challenges coming up.

I have decided to do the following challenges:

Read and Review Challenge hosted by MizB which is basically everything you read, you review.

Christian Readers Challenge also hosted by MizB which runs from Jan through April.

Pub Challenge hosted by One More Chapter in which you read books published in 2009. These books will apply to the other challenges.

Romance Reading Challenge hosted by Bookworm in which you read at least 5 books in the romance genre. I'll be posting more about this one later.

Martel Harper Challenge which runs perpetually and hosted by Dewey at Hidden Side of the Leaf.

100+ Reading Challenge hosted by J.Kaye's Book Blog. I know I have read more than 100 books this year, so sure will complete at least that many next year. Will be creating a post about this one later in order to list and track the number of books read.

Along the way, I'll probably find other challenges to join. I'm considering a personal nonfiction challenge since I bought several non fiction books and they have been sitting neglected in the bottom of my night stand. If I list them, then I have to read them, don't I?

"The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries." Rene Descartes

Book Review - Seventh Day

A.D. Chronicles

Seventh Day


Bodie and Brock Thoene

Rating: ***** Excellent

Seventh Day is book # 7 in the A.D. Chronicles following the life of Jesus and his followers. The Thoenes have personalized the characters of the bible, writing about their everyday lives; how they interact with Yeshua, and how their lives are affected by him. From what happens to Peniel, the blind beggar boy, when he is healed to Marcus, the Roman Centurion who walks in both the worlds of Yeshua and the Romans.

Back Flap: "Stories of miracles abound. Could Yeshua be the long-awaited messiah? Eve, the widow of Absalom the scribe, has one thing to live for--her only son, Abel. She grieves over his every rasping breath. She's heard of a great Healer who walks the earth. Could the rumors be true? Could there be a miracle for Abel? While rifling through the archives under the Temple Mount, religious leader Ra'nabel Ben Dives discovers startling information about a child who escaped the slaughter of Herod the Great's soldiers. If King Herod, Antipas and High Priest Caiaphas don't know, ben Dives schemes, perhaps I can turn this news to my own advantage... Meanwhile in Bethany, El'azar, a close friend of Yeshua's grows seriously ill. Miryam and Marta, his sisters, quickly send word to Yeshua, but Yeshua delays. Why does he not come? the sisters wonder. Does he not care?"

Books in the series are:

First Light
Second Touch
Third Watch
Fourth Dawn
Fifth Seal
Sixth Covenant
Seventh Day
Eighth Shephard
Ninth Witness

I have read the first seven and will plan on reading the last two for the 2009 Christian Fiction Challenge. The A.D. Chronicles is a wonderful series that realy brings the people of the bible to life and makes you think. Remember the story of King Solomon and the two woman who came before him, both claiming one baby belonged to them. The once blind beggar, Peniel is visited by an 'exhalted wanderer' who shows him through a dream, what happens when the two woman go before the king.

Excerpt: pg 104
I asked, 'Everything means something. How did Solomon know both women wouldn't agree to divide the baby?' I turned to Chesed, who smiled at me and led me back to my bed.

HaShem's truth and HaShem's Mercy and HaShem's Love are One

"And what can such a story mean today?"

The sword of HaShem's judgement is raised. Israel is the baby before the throne of the almighty. Satan cries that the nation is his, and he demands death and division as justice. Chesed stepped away from me. Yeshua is EMet*, and he pleads mercy and life for every child of the covenant. His heart, warmed with compassion, does not insist upon His rights."

The words echoed in the room as I lay down. Thunder like an approaching army rumbled in the distance. I fell into a deep sleep."

*EMet - means truth.

I had never really stopped to think what the parable meant and it was an Wow moment when I read this. There are many wow moments in these books that really brings home to you the lives in the bible. It is worth reading every single one.

Musing Mondays - What are you reading?

MizB at Should Be Reading asks:





I am currently reading Seventh Day by christian authors, Bodie and Brock Thoene. It is book # 7 in the A.D. Chronicles. The Thoenes have taken the stories in the bible and written a fictional version of the life of the people during the time of Christ.

I just finished Dead Heat by Joel Rosenberg. The link to the review can be found in my sidebar or just scroll down two or three posts. Dead Heat was the last book in a christian fictional political series about the 'end of days'. It was very well done and had quite a few twists and turns that surprised me. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I'm not sure what I'm going to read next. Seventh day is the last book on my Fall Reading Challenge list. I was determined to finish those books first and didn't even look at the rest of my tbr pile. Now the pile on the night stand is calling my name, so. Whatever book I chose will depend entirely on my mood.

Holiday themed books? If I happen to run across one that strikes my fancy, then by all means.

Now, I must get back to writing for nanowrimo. When I reach my goal for the day, I'll be free to peruse the other thoughtful meanderings of Monday Musing's participants.

The pages are still blank, but there is the miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. Vladamir Nabakov

Book Review - Isle of Fire



Wayne Thomas Batson

Rating: **** Awesome

I discovered Wayne Batson while perusing the young adult books at Berean's Christian bookstore. I first read his Door Within Trilogy which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Isle of Fire is the continuing adventure of Cat from the 1st book of the pirate adventure Isle of Swords.

Front Flap: As Cat's memory returns, he realizes that he has lived two very different lives: One as the son of the ruthless Bartholomew Thorne; the other as the recipient of friendship and the crew of the Robert Bruce. Now Cat must choose either to return to his ways of his notorious father and join the evil Merchant, or defy the Merchant and risk his life to save his friends.

Excellent pirate adventure story about faith, trust, life, evil and loyalty.

Book Review - Dead Heat

Dead Heat


Joel Rosenberg

Rating: ***** Excellent

Spoiler Alert: If you don't want to know what happens, don't read any further.

Dead Heat is the 5th book in Rosenberg's Christian Political Series. The series begins with the The Last Jihad and continues through The Last Days, The Ezekiel Option, The Copper Scroll and ends with the Final Heat.

Back Flap: "The stage is set for war. Oil Prices are surging to record highs; a new dictator is rising in Iraq; China is threatening Taiwan; North Korean forces are ready to strike south; and Israel is feverishly trying to complete the Third Temple.

And in the midst of a world ready to explode, American president James MacPherson's second term is ending. The battle to succeed him is heating up into the most fiercely contested presidential election in American history. Who will lead a bitterly divided country over the next four years? And what role--if any--does the U.S. play in history's last days? As the presidential campaign narrows into a dead heat, the Secret Service learns of a catastrophic terrorist plot to assassinate one of the candidates--but which one? Who do they want dead? And can U.S. forces stop the terrorists before millions lose their lives."

The United States is thrown into disarray when the President of the United States, along with most of the Republican party and the Republican Candidate are killed at the Republican Convention in Los Angeles when the city is hit by a nuclear bomb. At the same time, a nuclear bomb hits Washington D.C., New York, and Seattle.

The white house, the supreme court and all white house agencies have been wiped out. Only the democratic congressman who had been traveling outside of Washington D.C. survived.

New york is hit by a nuclear bomb that detonates in times square. Every thing is destroyed from the theatre district, the financial district and beyond. The united nations building along with the security council and the general assembly are dead.

Seattle, Washington is hit in Pike Place Market vaporizing everything from the Space Needle to main office to Safeco Field.

The vice president is whisked away to safety and quickly sworn in a President. He has to deal with picking up the pieces and rebuilding the government, while trying to determine who is responsible for attacking the United States and stopping them from further attacks.

Great book about the end of days with many surprises. You never know who is going to die next or just simply disappear.

Highly recommended but suggest you start with the Last Jihad.

Not So Wordless Wednesday

Last year when we were in New York, Father took a million street scene pictures of buildings, things, and people. We were taken by the shot of this woman and her girls. We come back to it time and again when looking at our pictures. One daughter racing ahead, another lagging behind and the littlest looking like she wants to go in another direction.

Is she a tourist or a new yorker going about her day?

What does the look on her face say to you?

Determination, acceptance, just another day, off in a fog or something else.

Veterans Day - Thank a vet

Thank you, Dad!

My Dad, a retired colonel in the air force will be the the guest speaker at the dedication of the Arizona Medal of Honor Memorial located Arizona's Veterans Memorial Park in Bull Head City, Arizona on the Colorado River. The memorial will feature names of the 20 Medal of Honor recipients from Arizona, from the Indian Wars to the Vietnam War. Six Roman pillars will sit on top of a 14-ton concrete structure, surrounding a six-sided center stand that will hold a perpetual flame. My parents, along with a few other organizations donated the funds to help with the project.

In his blog today, he gives a brief history about how Veteran's day came into being. Please check it out. I'm also hoping we will be able to talk him into posting his speech.

Dad was a recipient of the Luke Award last year for all his work in helping forward needed supplies to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. When I was at their house last month, they showed me a letter and a flag sent to them by one of the soldiers currently in Iraq. It was very touching.

Thank you to all our men and women in uniform serving in the armed forces for your sacrifice, dedication, bravery and service for our country.

Teaser Tuesdays - Isle of Fire

MizB at Should Be Reading says to:

Grab your current read

Let the book fall open to a random page

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. But no spoilers

Blake banged into several dignitaries. White wigs flew and spitting mad faces turned to Blake. But the commodore paid them no mind. His rage, fueled by betrayal, gave him the volume he needed. "I MUST BE HEARD!!!"

Pg 157

Before Ross could stop him, Jaques drew his sword, grabbed a rope, and swung down to the pier. Merciful heavens, thought Ross. St. Pierre's going to kill the man before he can fix our boat.

Pg 179 of Isle of Fire by Wayne Thomas Batson

Musing Mondays - giving and keeping books

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS is about the giving & keeping of books!

If you keep your books, where do you keep them? And, if you give them away, who do you give them to? Do you participate in Bookcrossing, BookMooch, PaperbackSwap, or the like? Do you give your old books to family & friends, or donate them? Are any of your books in storage due to not having enough space for them all? Or, are you one of the lucky ones who has their own “library”? Feel free to share pictures, if you have them!

Where do we keep our books. Well here

This is a picture of our bedroom with the books lining one wall. Yes, they are double shelved and triple stacked. Plus I have several boxes of books from my apartment days that are in the closet, but I won't show you those. It's kind of a mess in there. We simply do not have enough room in our little house for all of them. I don't know how many times I've said this, but we plan on having a library room in our next house.

Hubby is getting slightly sick of the growing pile you see in the right side of the room. I have started turning them into the used bookstore for store credit. Which only means I'm replacing them with more books. Because who can resist buying nearly new books for $3 to $4 dollars. When I can walk out with a stack of 6 books in which I've only spent $14.00 versus buying two new books for the same amount -- Well, you get the picture.

My son's bookshelf is also overflowing, but his room is a mess right now, so no pictures. I do have a nice pair of bookshelves in the living room which is kept nice and neat - most of the time.

Yes, that is part of a treadmill you see in the bottom of the picture.

I don't participate in bookmooch, bookcrossing or anything else. Perhaps I should start. I probably should start doing some book giveaways on my blog as well. Let's make that a goal for next year, shall we.

Check out the other participants answers and links over at Should Be Reading.

Book Review - Foundation: The Collegium Chronicles

Foundation: The Collegium Chronicles

Mercedes Lackey

340 Pages

Published October 7 2008

Rating: **** Awesome

Foundation is the newest novel by Mercedes Lackey in the Valdemar Series.

Amazon: A thirteen year- old orphan named Magpie escapes a life of slavery in the gem mines when he is chosen by one of the magical Companion horses of Valdemar to be trained as a Herald. Thrust into the center of a legend in the making, Magpie discovers talents he never knew he had—and witnesses the founding of the great Heralds’ Collegium.

Back Flap: Mags knew nothing of the world beyond the mine, and was unaware of how unusual his paltry existence was. Then some strangers on huge white horses forced their way past the Pieters family and carried him away to Haven to become a Herald Trainee. Suddenly the whole world opened up for Mags. He was warm and well fed for the first time in his life, and he had Dallen, his companion, who seemed more miraculous than an angel. But the world of the Collegium was not all heavenly. There was political upheavel in Valdemar's capital, for the ancient way of trianing Heralds - the system of one-on-one mentoring that had been successful for centuries--was failing. Many veteran Heralds had died in the wars, and there were too many Trainees to go around. A Herald's Collegium was being built, and many thought it was wrong to train Heralds, in classrooms the same way the Bardic and Healer Trainees were schooled. But dissent among the Heralds was not the only discord in Haven, for the court had been infiltrated by foreign 'diplomats,' who seemed to be more interested in seeding disontent than in actual diplomacy...and Mags seemed to be the only one who'd noticed...."

The first book I ever read of Mercedes Lackey was Arrow of the Queen published in 1987. I fell in love with the characters, the writing and the fictional world of the heralds of Valdemar. In Lackey's latest novel, Mag has been slaving in the gem mines for as long as he can remember. It is a life of toil, drudgery and misery. Dallen decides to choose him and rescues him. For the first time in his life, someone cares about him. Dallen teaches him all about Valdemar and what it means to be a herald. The story is well done and enjoyable.

Weekly Report #9

Weekly Wrap up

We had a good week.

Devotions: We covered such things as "Are some things absolutely right or wrong, Does God accept people no matter what?, How can I be respectful, yet still stay true to God and Do my reactions to others matter to God. Powerful stuff. We also read Proverbs 4 Wisdom is supreme and discussed.

Voyages in English: We are covering Pronouns for the next couple weeks. Learned about what pronouns are, plus subject, object and possessive pronouns. This is giving Father and I a great refresher. James already learned pronouns from First Language Lessons last year, but now we going into more detail.

Spelling Workout: Y as a vowel.

Handwriting without tears Cursive: did h, t, p, and e. James writing is beautiful (most of the time)

Math: Working on subtracting 2's. Also started doing DK's Math Made Easy and worked on counting by 2's, 10's, recognizing odd and even numbers.

History. In This Country of Ours, skipped over the a couple chapters about all the fighting between spanish, french and indians. and read Chapter XI. Adventures of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, an english explorer and their forays into North America.

Of course, with the election, we explained all about democracy and how history was made with the election of the first african american president. Don't you just love it, when we are living actual historical moments.

Chemistry: Father and James read Ch 14 The Shocking Mr. Davy and Ch 15 Guy-Lussac and Avogadro to the Rescue in The Mystery of the Periodic Table. They are enjoying the heck out of this book and Father is learning the history behind Chemistry. More so that he ever did in School.

Reading: James and I are reading Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. We read the first two chapters - Ch 1 The case of the sensational scent and Ch 2The case of the Cosmic Comic. In chapter 1 Homer trains a skunk and captures some robbers and in Ch 2 the kids get to learn all about movie super heroes and how they are real people after all.

James is loving the fact that I am allowing him to use the computer for a couple hours in the mornings, while I am working on writing for the nanowrimo challenge. Father isn't loving his attitude so much, when I let him play one of his games too long, but we are working on that. So, I've started having more quiet times in the afternoon for an hour or so, in which we go to our rooms and nap or whatever. It seems to help.

I reached 10,898 words today and the story seems to be flowing along. It is evolving as I go. I had a written outline to help, but seem to be deviating from that somewhat. As I write, something new will occur to me and that is the direction it will take. I do go back the next day and expand on the last chapter I wrote, which is sort of editing (ssshhh - don't tell anyone) but it also increases my word count and gets me in the flow of writing. The goal for today is to reach 11,669. Will I be able to eke out 771 more words today. Don't know, but I'll try.

Found a marvelous quote today:

"There is no certainty; there is only adventure." by Robert Assagioli

So, off to continue my adventure.

Wordless Wednesday

Perfect Balance

Election - History in the Making!

History in the making!

Last night was a truly historical moment for the United States. The first African Americam was elected President of the United States. I did not have the chance to watch his speech, but read the entire transcript. I am very impressed and moved by his words. He is a very eloquent speaker. He is not quite the youngest president ever. Theodore Roosevelt was 42 when he was elected and John F. Kennedy was 43.

Personally I am glad the whole thing is over and we don't have to listen to anymore campaign speeches, political rhetoric or multiple commercials endorsing this, that and the other. After two years, it had gotten quite old. Life can return to normal as we know it, until the next time.

It will be interesting see how Barack Obama will operate as the President and what direction he will lead us in. Only time and experience will tell. He has taken on one of the toughest jobs in the nation. Its always amazing what the candidates promise during their campaigns. But when they finally get to the white house and take on the role of Commander in Chief, they soon discover what they can or can not do.

We wish him all the luck in the world and will keep him in our prayers.

For those of us who homeschool, this has been a truly educational moment.

This is mytwoblessings and I approved this message. :)

Michael Crichton - May he rest in peace

Michael Crichton

October 1942 to November 2008

Michael Crichton, best selling author of The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, The Great Train Robbery, Congo and many others died Tuesday of cancer. He will be missed.

Election Time

Did you Vote?

Your California polling place is open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

In general, all polling places throughout the United States are open until at least 8:00 p.m. There is really no excuse for saying you did not have the time, whether before work or after. And if you have a nice employer, he or she may let you have an hour or so off to do your civic duty.

And if you choose not to vote, then you don't have the right to complain.

We all have a say in the process, so let your voice be heard.

Don't let the press con you into believing it's already over. Don't let the media pundits rush to declare a winner stop you from voting.

It's not over, til the fat lady sings

Book Review - Snow Blind

Snow Blind


Lori G. Armstrong

Rating: **** Awesome

Back Cover Excerpt: The frigid Winter months are mighty slow in the PI biz for Julie Collins and her partner, Kevin Wells--until the duo is hired by a young woman to investigate problems at her grandfather's assisted living facility, where they encounter lax security, unqualified healthcare personnel, and a shady senior volunteer organization.

Julie barely has time to delve deeper into the puzzling case before she reluctantly finds herself in an isolated cattle shelter on the Collins ranch with her father during a raging blizzard. There is no escape from her father or from the biting cold and bitter memories.

A missing hired ranch hand found dead on the ranch only complicates matters further. In trying to uncover the truth about the man's death, Julie is forced to wrestle with issues that make her question old wounds and new family loyalties.

Kevin's reckless involvement with their new client tests the bounds of professionalism, and Julie's relationship with Tony Martinez is strained, as he deals with power struggles within the Hombres organization, putting them both in jeopardy.

When the bodies and the snow piles up, Julie seems at odds with everyone, leaving her to wonder if she's being blinded to the cold, hard truths in her life by love...or by hate.

Snow Blind is the 4th Julie Collins mystery and she is busy trying to sort life out, while trying to keep from freezing during the cold South Dakota Winter. You never know what Julie Collins is going to step into when she walks out the door. She smokes, drinks, swears a lot and gets into bar fights. She is one tough lady, or appears to be.

She and Martinez seem to be fighting all the time, he keeps having her followed and won't tell her why. Is she in danger? Tony isn't talking. Plus she is being drawn into the Hombre's business and Tony doesn't like it. Julie and Kevin are hired to find out if a client's grandfather is being neglected in the nursing home. While trying to solve that mystery, another mystery occurs when a body is found on her father's ranch. Did he do it or did some other person just drop the body off in a random place. Julie's relationship with Brittney, her step sister, is tested and found wanting throughout the ordeal. Is Brittney really want a relationship with Julie or is she just like her father.

Julie Collins Series

#1 - Blood Ties
#2 - Hallowed Ground
#3 - Shallow Grave
#4 - Snow Blind

I highly recommend any book by Lori Armstrong. She blogs over at First Offenders along with Jeff Shelby, Bryon Quertermous, Alison Gaylin and Karen Olson. A witty and engaging group of authors.

Available at and other fine stores.

Book Review - Dead Series

Dead Series By Mariah Stewart

Rating **** Awesome

Remember the old 1950's Alfred Hitchcock movie "Strangers on the Train" in which the two men offer to exchange murders. The Dead Series follows that premise with 3 convicts. In the beginning of Dead Wrong, three criminals are transported to the courthouse for different proceedings. A fourth convict escapes and they are locked together for a few hours in a holding room while deputies search for the escapee. They get to talking and one hypothetically supposes "What would happen if we took care of 3 people in the other person's life. No one would be the wiser."

I don't want to give away any spoilers, so wont go into detail.
Very well done and interesting series. I highly recommend it.

Halloween and Nano

NaNoWriMo Goal for Today: 1666 words. Completed 1953

It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring! Our first rain of the year started last night. Yep, during halloween trick or treating. Fortunately, we had already hit most of the houses and heading for home, when it started to rain.

James as Darth Vader

The humidity in the air kept causing the eye pieces in his helmet to fog up. James didn't say a word. Just held on to my hand and kept walking. I looked down at one point and see this. Silly kid. Made him remove the helmet while in motion, until getting to door of a house. One of my neighbors told him he had to say more than "trick or treat" to be convincing as Darth Vader. So, at every house, he said

"Trick or Treat. Where are the plans to my Death Star?" in a deep voice. He also had a portable little breathing machine for authenticity. Everyone thought he was adorable. We were out about 45 minutes before returning home. We got about 4 kids at our door after that. I have so much candy left over that going to take it to the office and put it on the counter for customers.

After all the work I went to carving pumpkins and hardly anyone got to see them. I got creative this year with one. Glad I only did two of the four. My pour aching arm.

I've completed 1953 words today, so far for nanowrimo. Fortunately, father is at work today which is one less distraction. Of course, I've had to contend with the distraction of 4 cats who can't decide whether they want to be inside or outside, while its raining, plus James wanting to discuss every aspect of his lego batman game as he plays it. But, I persevered while contending with whiny cats who want the door to remain open so they can come and go as they please. Contend with stopping to clean said cats muddy paws evertime they reentered. Contend with making sure James gets the proper accolades for completing a level.

Plus, my inner editor is yelling at me. No, go back. Say it another way. Does that sound right? So I am, figuratively, shoving it into a tiny little box where it will reside for the remainder of the month. My motto is "just write, get it out, get it on paper and fix it later." I think it is working! I can do this!

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov

National Novel Write Month 2008

Ready!!! Set!!!! Go!!!!!

It's November 1st and the beginning of National Novel Write Month (NaNoWriMo for short). The goal is to write one 50,000 word novel from scratch in 30 days. How you accomplish that is by turning off your internal editor and and simply writing. Yep, that's right - no editing. I did this last year and finished with more than 50,000 words but my story contained a lot of scripture. I am currently working on the 2nd or is it the 3rd draft. It will go on the side burner until the end of the month. I am going to attempt to write a suspense, mystery type of story. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

Working title: Winter's Illusion

Synopsis: Dr. Winter Eliza Scott is a psychologist who has been hired to work at a private coed boarding and day high school. Her boss and co-worker Dr. Brent Blake seems the slimy sort and something is going on at the school. Female teachers are disappearing, 2 professors tell her the exact same dream in graphic detail, students are acting fishy and something is going on in the middle of night in either the computer lab or the auto shop. And they thought she wouldn't notice. What happens when they realize she's more observant and smarter than they thought. Is her life in danger? What will she do? Who will she tell? Will she get away?

So, I'm turning off my internal editor (shh - go away) and promising not to go on the internet and blog, browse, or anything else until my word quota is reached for the day.

If you want to challenge yourself, head on over to NaNoWriMo and join in.

**Photo courtesy Kay Brooks