Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Love Libraries

Ever since I’ve been a kid, I’ve loved books. I remember going to the local library and taking out stacks of books. The building, the quiet, and all those books. I would have taken out all the books, if I could. I still would.

Nothing has changed since that long-ago time. In whatever town I’ve moved to, the first thing I did was get a library card. I’ve read lots of things. I’ve always liked fiction (real life is such a drag), but I read some non-fiction, too, mainly science books. As for the fiction, I read science fiction and fantasy for a while before I turned to romance

The first romances I read were by Barbara Cartland. I loved her books. She introduced me to historicals, and I found my home in the past. Ms. Cartland wrote in several eras and I loved all her stories, but most of her novels were set in the Regency. When I had finally overdosed on Barbara Cartland (she wrote hundreds of books), I investigated other Regency authors. One of the first I found, and one who remains one of the best, is Mary Balogh. She’s still a superstar. Then there are the other stars--Mary Jo Putney and Loretta Chase

My tastes have branched out in the past few years. I always read these three authors, but about five years ago, I went on a romance reading binge. I went to the library twice a week. I tried out author after author. Some I liked then and still like, some I’ve tired of.

Libraries are great places to vet romances. Like everyone else, I have limited time and money, and don’t want to waste either on books I don’t like. I just recently bought a loser based on the blurb and interview. Great blurbs and interviews can hide a clunker.

Here’s my system, starting at the bottom:

Level 5--After reading a few pages at the library, I decide the book isn't to my taste and return it to the shelves.

Level 4--These books' back cover blurb and excerpt interest me, so I took them home. But I didn’t like them and didn’t finish them. Back to the library.

Level 3--Books I finished but shouldn't have. I just read one like this. The novel was all right, but I’ll never read another one by that author. New author. Hey, you gotta give 'em a try.

Level 2--I'll read this author again, but only the library copy.

Level 1--How wonderful to find a Level One. With these books, I read a few pages and run to the bookstore to buy my own copy and the author’s backlist. Some Regency finds in this category are Patricia Rice, Anne Gracie and Nicola Cornick. Authors like these are the ones who make me glad I suffered through those clunkers.

Now, when I was living at the library, I didn’t know e-books existed. So how to vet them? My system won’t work with e-books because my library has only a few e-book novels. I’m sorry they don’t. There are tons of great books out there available in e-format only, mine included (Shameless Promotion here)

So, for e-books, I read blurbs and excerpts. But e-books are the future, and when my library catches up, I'll be there online, again finding new authors and books.

Thank you all,


Linda Banche

Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal

Lady of the Stars--A legend spanning time, and the man and woman caught in it--Regency time travel, available from The Wild Rose Press

Pumpkinnapper--Pumpkin thieves, a youthful love rekindled, and a jealous goose. Oh my--coming September 30, 2009 from The Wild Rose Press

Friday, May 29, 2009

'A Rose of Midsummer '- a seasonal short story

Susan looked up from stitching the veil as her tenant entered. All men were out of place in a bridal shop, she thought sympathetically, and this one more than most. Stooping under the ceiling beams, red hair and lean features glowing in the June sunlight, Michael was hopelessly conspicuous. Quite unlike David had been. Steady David, who had taken on the old house she was now subletting to Michael.
Putting the veil down, Susan rose to her feet behind the counter of tiaras and ballet slippers. After David had died, people wondered how she could bear to keep working in a bridal shop. It was only part-time, because of the children, but it took her out each day, made her face the future in each bride's happy plans. Taking trouble for them, making their day special, was something. David would have understood, thought Susan, comforted by this reflection.
And now here was Michael, striding into the shop with that hunted air men reserve for boutiques. Steering a desperately careful course round the racks of shimmering white gowns, he stopped a metre short of the counter. Susan smiled up at him to set him at ease, her heart jolting as Michael smiled back. His artlessness always startled her, as did his sinewy body, which seemed incongruous in a university librarian, too physical.
'Is the maypole up yet?' she asked.
'Finally, yes - and the main refreshment tent.'
Today was midsummer's day and on the village green that evening there would be a mock pageant: dances round the maypole, spit-roast suckling pig and for more modern tastes, barbecued spare ribs. Stephen and Jane, her twins, were dressing up with the rest of their class as little Jack-in-the-Greens. For the adults fancy dress was not compulsory.
Michael certainly wouldn't be going in doublet and hose, reflected Susan, and the thought struck her that the jeans and checked shirt he was wearing now suited him very well. Roped in as historical researcher and general strong-arm, Michael had taken the day off work and was busy helping to erect the tents and position the stalls.
'I don't want to lose you sales, but if you're not busy right now - Join me for a goblet of mead?' A quirk of humour tugged at Michael's mouth. 'Or perhaps just a cup of tea?'
Susan glanced at the veil she was stitching, the empty shop. Then liberation took hold and for a moment she was a little alarmed, because she was glad no one was there and she could steal this time with Michael. 'I'd love to,' she said, stepping nimbly out from behind her counter of silver crowns.
The bell jangled behind Michael. Stephen and Jane stampeded in, little faces wild with glee.
'We've got the afternoon off!' bawled Stephen.
'Today in class Miss Taplin said our house is really old -' Spotting Michael, Jane stopped short. Ever since Michael had appeared on the scene to take up the tenancy, nine-year-old Jane had been smitten by him. 'Oh! Hello.'
'Mike!' Stephen cannoned against Michael, who swung the boy up towards the rafters. 'And which do you want, Stephen, tea or lemonade? I'm taking your Mum for a drink.'
'Lemonade, please,' put in Susan.
'Can we play football afterwards on the green?' Losing her initial shyness, Jane claimed her share of attention.
'Sure - if your Mum can play too.'
'Mum? But she's -' A gleam of calculation entered Jane's dark blue eyes. Glancing at Michael, then her mother, she announced: 'Mike's got a smut on his chin - aren't you going to wipe it off for him?'
'I believe Michael can do that himself,' remarked Susan, frowning at her daughter as Michael rubbed his square jawline. Every now and then, Jane tried to speed things up between her and Michael: this was another ploy. Susan sighed, wishing she could be so blatant. For the last few weeks, she and Michael had been hovering somewhere between friendship and attraction. She looked at Michael.
'Tea?' he asked her again, setting Stephen down. 'I'd like to be sure.'
Susan nodded.
As they strolled out of the shop, Michael remarked, 'Their teacher's right about the house: I've been doing some checking. By rights we should really be holding our medieval fete in your garden. The place is mentioned in a fourteenth century covenant, when it passed from the old knightly family of Montford to one Alice of Godman, for a sum of money and a rose at midsummer.'
'A rose?' Susan was intrigued. Stephen and Jane were scrambling over the green towards the big white refreshment tent: she and Michael had a few moments. She paused on the newly mown grass and looked closely at her tenant.
'A rose of midsummer,' said Michael. 'It was more than a courtesy for Alice. It was a way of agreeing to keep faith between the former owner and the new tenant, a way of showing loyalty.'
Unaccountably, Susan found herself wishing...
'May I come for you and the twins this evening?' Michael interrupted her thoughts.
'Of course!'
Michael grinned. 'I like to be sure,' he said again, and seemed on the point of saying more when Stephen and Jane shouted to them from the maypole, demanding that they look.
Later, after work, Susan dressed with some care in cream sandals and a cool cotton sundress: shell-pink to show off her tan. No jewellery except her wedding ring - David would have understood. She brushed the twins' silky black hair and sent them out of the small, two-storey cottage to play in their tree-house. Then she opened the door and stood watching for Michael, inhaling the scent of honeysuckle wafting down from the gardens.
He came with the sun at his back and a white and pink rose, half open, in his hand: Rosa Mundi, sweetly fragranced. A badge of loyalty and faith. A rose of midsummer, for her.
Smiling, Susan went out to meet him.

Happy Midsummer! Lindsay Townsend

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Escaping into Romance

Courtesy of ~ ~

For the longest time I never considered reading fiction books and romance novels to be an escape from reality. I simply read because that was my passion. I wanted to live the adventure... live the story. I wanted to feel the romance and the happy ending to my innermost core.
It wasn’t until I took literature classes in college that such reading was considered to be a form of escapism. Given the trial and tribulations of life we all go through and endure to the best of our ability, I now fully understand the need to escape into a good read. Do I ever understand!
That is also one of my joys as a writer, I get to lose myself inside the story as I create it, as it spins and spills from me like the best magic... at least, part of the time. Sometimes, it’s like pulling hen’s teeth.
Since I’m feeling that deep need to escape by penning a romantic scene I thought I would add to a scene I began and posted on the Happily Ever After blog last January 21, that would be about five months ago. Wow, the time flies... well, there must be a hole in the time continuum.

Romance’s Red Ribbon ~


Light my loin’s fire,
Red is the color of my desire.
Let’s wing our love higher.
Come, take my breast, my Sire.
To ignite my most savage fire,
Taste my nipples to your desire,
Stoke my passions, take me swiftly higher...
Make them red as berries, my Princely Sire....
O, yes, I beg, tease my nether petals to a fierce needy fire
For you, bring me beneath your throbbing blade, soar us both to red’s most blistering desire...

Kyzaira sighed to the depths of her heart, and felt it flutter within her breast. She’d only meant to pen a few lines of fanciful thought. Yet, there it was, her heart and her desire spilled from her red ink pen onto parchment. Disbelievingly, she stared for a moment. How? When had she become so carried away? Some fair time ago, she had settled at her desk for the purpose of sending a message of polite regard, to be handed to the regional Prince, upon his annual arrival to their realm, as was her social duty. Instead, her folly of feeling, her romantic daydreams had won out, upon thinking of the Prince’s bold visage, often compared to the hunting ferocity of a falcon.

Drawing forth another parchment, Kyzaira poised her proper pen ~ the red ink a shade nearing the ruby glints in wine. She sighed at the dreariness of the message she was supposed to write. With her head propped up on one hand, she forced the words upon the page. It sustained her soul that she decided to continue loosing her true desires on the red-scrolled leafs of her journal. She straightened, sighing with longing and regret. About to replace her pen, a rush of wind from her balcony snatched at the two parchments, sweeping them onto the floor, out of reach.

At the same moment Bellari, her delivery dove, landed before her. Bellari cocked her sweet head with expectation and extended one creamy-colored wing, impatient to be on her way. “As you wish,” Kyzaira crooned, stroking her feathers with a single fingertip. Bending over, she swiftly recovered the parchments. Kyzaira placed them before her and plucked up the red ribbon tie. Uncurling one, she blew a breath of relief at seeing it was the correct message. With practiced ease she rolled the small piece of parchment tight. Securing it neatly with the red ribbon, she hooked it onto Bellari’s leg band.

Kyzaira cupped her palms for Bellari, then gently carried her to the flight window. After pressing a delicate kiss on the dove’s head, she launched her into the air. The natural updrafts beneath the window assisted the fleetness of her beating wings and she soared ever higher, vanishing within the rose-tinted sunbeams. Dancing her steps, Kyzairia whirled, returning to her desk. “Oh, no,” silently fell from her lips as she glimpsed the darker red ink. Rapidly, she uncurled the parchment. Her heart landed on her toes, then beat with a terrible ferocity. Somehow, her impassioned poetry flew to the Prince.


Savanna Kougar
~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Author of ~
All Shades of Blue Paradise
Red Lioness Tamed
When a Good Angel Falls
Tangerine Carnal Dreams

Murder by Hair Spray in Gardenia, New Atlantis
Black Cat Beauty

Friday, May 22, 2009

Remembering the Meaning of Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! Memorial Day weekend has become the kick-off to summer time. Vacations, bar-b-ques, beaches, pools, cold beer and hot nights. All of these words, and several more, have become synonymous with Memorial Day weekend and summer fun. However, this holiday weekend was not founded for hot dogs and potato salad. I think sometimes everyone, including myself, forgets that. This weekend we are supposed to be remembering those who have fallen and given their lives for us, for our freedom.

This weekend there are thousands of American families who have empty seats at their picnic tables and yellow ribbons around the oak trees. For many families those seats will remain empty. Those young men or women will not return home. They gave their lives in exchange for the freedom we all enjoy. For others, those seats sit empty waiting to be filled again.

So this weekend when you raise a glass, take a moment to remember. Remember how lucky you are to have your loved ones with you. Remember those who are fighting far away for you and for me. Pray that they come home soon and give their families the best Happily Ever After of all.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Writing a story and Writing a Damn Good Story

What’s the difference? I suppose most of us have a gut feeling and know when we’ve done mediocre work and when we’ve exceeded our expectations.

Well, it really doesn’t matter what we think of our writing or what our critique group, family and friends think of it, does it, you ask. It’s what the acquisition editors think that counts, isn’t it – you ask.

It’s all very subjective. If a rejection comes, we try another – we know someone will like it. But…is it really ready for that step?

What we learn in reading various guidelines for various publishers is about all the same. Isn’t it? But are they the same? Yeah, sure there may be differences in formatting, differences in genre preferences or even the call for submissions, but what is that they really want. What?

Ok, so they want well edited and proofread-to-death-and-beyond manuscripts. Ha – considering most editors and proofreaders, who are being paid to catch things, miss as much as the rest of us do – why should we be so diligent? Good question.

There is no such thing as the perfect manuscript, but you must take the time to perfect your manuscript. It needs to be better than the one read before it and what comes after. The competition is fierce. If you write contemporary like I do. I want my work better than yours and you should want your work better than mine – don’t think you’re work is better and ready – know that it is. Take the time.

Question yourself. Is it the best you can do? If you think “it’s the best I can do”, then you need to go through it again. If there’s one niggling doubt that you missed something because you were tired or not feeling well when you went through a section, then you need to go back through it.

Why? Well, other than the fact that your name is going to be on the book, you want it to be something you feel good about. Another thing, anything a reviewer or a reader finds wrong will determine if they purchase or read another one of your stories.

And, your manuscript might find itself in a pickle as it heads up the line to be read. The publisher could ask that the editor become more selective in the genre you’re writing. They could be overloaded and need to balance out by acquiring more of other genres. You may still have a chance if you’re story is clean and grabs the editor right off the bat. This begins with a great intro in the body of your query. It must also be spotless and engaging.

Publishers want stories coming in and going out to customers. They want a product to sell. The editors in charge of making this happen want manuscripts as error free as possible. Their job is not to clean up your spelling, misused words, punctuation and most of all, not there to teach you when to mark a change of point of view or notice when you slipped into a different one during a scene – it’s your job to catch all those things. Their job is to find stories with fresh guts – yes, smelly raw meat – they want a fresh grabber even if it’s a new twist on an old line, something you’ll remember when the last page is turned. If the work is riddled with so many issues they should never see, they aren’t going to see the guts, much less enjoy it.

Take your time. Yes, we’re all excited to finish a story and can’t wait to turn it in to someone who’s surely going to love it as much as you do, but a first draft, a fleshing out stage and a proofread may not be enough. If you’re not positive it’s 99.4% perfect, go through it again. Otherwise, you won’t be happy to find the editor isn’t willing to offer a contract.

Your story won’t have a happily ever after until certain criteria are met.

Thanks for reading. Even though I have trouble letting go, this pep talk was for me every bit as much as for you all.

Contemporary romance with sizzling sensuality
A Psychic Hitch Available Now
Last Glass of Wine Available Now
Servin' It Up - Print Collection Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble


Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm Shameless...

I remember the first time I heard the Garth Brooks song, still gives me goosebumps. However, I'm going to do a little shameless promo here-not give you my rendition of his song. You don't want to hear that, believe me. lol

Last Glass of Wine is the second story in my Servin' It Up series, but it's more than just a story. It was inspired from a real life incident that shook me up. Till this day, I have no idea why. I've lost co-workers before. In the food service business, they come and go like ants who weren't invited to the picnic.

It went through many revisions to remove the real-life things that I felt were too telling, not only about the people I worked with , but myself. Still much came through. The realism of the work place, the atmosphere and most of all - human nature and how it twists your emotions and mind into knots.

I've had many wonderful reviews on this book. This latest review is very precious to me and not because I was given a wonderful rating, but because it was an unsolicited review. And yes, it came from a man. This always puts a silly grin on my face. I've heard from several men who've read my books and loved them - but I never get tired of hearing from another one.

Title of Book: Last Glass of Wine
Author: Bekki Lynn
Publisher: Siren Publishing
ISBN: 1-60601-050-6
Length: 102 pages
Heat Level: Scorching
Rating: 4 Roses

Last Glass of Wine by Bekki Lynn is a pleasure to read. This erotic romance is twisted around Lana, a server at Rogan's Steakhouse, and her boss Cole. Though being a good team at their workplace, everything seems to get extremely complicated the moment things start to get emotional between them. And isn't that just like in real life?

The thing that is quite unique about Last Glass of Wine is its realism. During the evolving love story of the two main characters the reader also gets an in-depth look into the restaurant business. And this realism draws the reader right into the story, right into Rogan's Steakhouse to witness the emotions and the intimacy between Lana and Cole taking place while taking orders and getting out the food.

What didn't feel right with me when reading this book were some of the scenes were Lana and Cole got into a fight with each other. I was sometimes thinking that it just isn't possible that he or she has misunderstood that or that he or she is acting that stupid, sometimes to the point where it became frustrating to read on.

Altogether Last Glass of Wine is a well balanced erotic romance with refreshingly natural characters and some very hot sex scenes. And you might even learn a thing two about the restaurant business. ( )
shoganrea Apr 12, 2009

Here's a little excerpt:

She reached up to fuss, and the stretch tightened her slacks, pronouncing the path to the place he wanted to thrust his hard cock into. She came down a step, and his eyes met hers in the mirror. For a few seconds she didn’t move and he didn’t speak. He realized it was the first time they’d seen one another since he’d followed her home. His eyebrows rose. He wondered if she was still pissed at him.
Lana stepped down onto the floor and came toward him. “Thank you.” She took the box from him and opened it.
He remained near the door, not trusting himself to be near her. It would be so easy to pull the door shut and ravish her. But he couldn’t. He’d be gone in ten days and didn’t want to deal with the attitude she’d give him. “Is there anything else you need?” The lid on the box stopped in mid-removal as her eyes closed. “Lana.”
She set the lid aside and stared down at the carnations as she spoke to him. “I need the box of mini vases from the office.”
“What about the buffet table? Do you want it set up now or when you come back?”
“It can wait until I return. I want time to shower and change into a cocktail outfit.”
The look of regret on her face said she didn’t meant to give him the image of her naked, wet and hot, but he didn’t need help. He shoved his hands in his pockets. “Tell me what you need done, and I’ll see it’s done. It’ll give you plenty of time to…a… get ready.”
“No, this is something I need to do myself.” She faced him with a red carnation in her hand. He’d always wondered what she’d look like in red. It was beautiful against her fair skin.
“I’ve known the Switzers all my life and have been doing their reunions since I turned twenty-one.”
Her voice softened, as it always did when she felt comfortable with a topic. To him, it only drew him closer. She lifted her face when he stopped in front of her.
“They’re very appreciative of the extra time I put in and tip over and above—”
“Lana, you’re rambling,” he whispered. Her eyes moved over his, and he balled his hands up. “There are reasons we can’t fool around.”
“Yes. I have work to do, and you need to get the vases for me.”
Before he consciously thought of the movement, he reached out and ran his finger along her jaw line and over her lips. “No. Yes, I’ll get them, but I don’t want you to get hurt—and you will.”
“I would have thought with two days off, you would have completely forgotten…what I’d said…did.” She turned away from him and laid the flower down on the table.
Forgotten how she felt in his arms—not hardly. “I’ll be back with the vases.”
It’d only taken a few minutes to walk back to get the box. When he returned to the banquet room, her ass stuck in the air as she bent to retrieve some greenery from the floor. “Damn it, Lana!”

Mark at Book Cove Reviews once said that what he likes about my books is the unexpected turn of events. Just when you think you know what's going to happen and how it's going to end -- I twist it. Ok, so I was paraphrasing. Mark is a wonderful man and I wish he'd hurry up with his book. Hint, hint.

I'm not afraid to admit the story does have a sappy happy ending. I'm sitting here with watery eyes and a silly grin on my face just thinking about it. When I'd come to a roadblock as far ending the story, completing the union between them, I had to step back and watch them lay it out.

You know how new relationships are on fire and then, bam, things seem to settle and life mellows and you're both on the same path, together. That's what happened. They fell into place and gave me a tear-jerker of an epilog.

Last Glass of Wine is available at most venues, but here's the link for purchase at the publisher - Siren Publishing .

Thanks for reading.



Thursday, May 14, 2009

Release Day for "The Amoveo Legacy"

The Amoveo Legacy
Author, Sara Taney Humphreys
ISBN: 978-1-55487-ARC
Cover art by Angela Waters
Published by Devine Destinies

Excerpt: The Amoveo Legacy

Suddenly, Sam got the eerie feeling of being watched and knew she was no longer alone in her revelries. She froze and clutched her robe closed. She swallowed hard, afraid to open her eyes. Sam cursed silently at her silliness and slowly cracked one eye open. There was no one in her room, the door was still closed. I’m being ridiculous. Just as she let out a sigh of relief, she heard a clicking noise behind her. She slowly turned around and her body froze at the sight before her. Perched on her window sill was the exact same bird she’d seen in her dream and identical to the one she’d drawn on her canvas. Samantha stood there with wide eyes, uncertain what to do.

“Holy crap,” she whispered.

The giant bird puffed up, bronze feathers glinting in the light. It shook its head as though displeased with her response.

“Sorry. Nice, birdie,” she said through a strained, almost hysterical giggle.

The giant creature didn’t move.

It just sat there staring at her, silently watching her with glowing yellow eyes. Sam didn’t know what to do so she stared back. Eventually her artist’s eye began to study the specimen before her. Her fear soon became replaced by curiosity. It was a mammoth bird of prey, an eagle, she thought, but reminded herself she’d have to look it up later. Its feathers shone with bright streaks in varying hues of browns and bronzes. They glinted brightly in golden flashes with even the slightest movement. She eyed its large taloned feet and sharp, hooked beak. Sam shuddered at the damage they could likely do.

The eyes were the same piercing yellow she remembered from her dream. They didn’t move from her face. As she stared into the eyes of her feathered visitor, she got the oddest sense of familiarity. She felt like it was intentionally sitting there so she could study it, like some kind of bizarre introduction. Feeling an unusual bravery, Sam slowly reached out to touch it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Netbooks - The Verdict

A few months ago, my husband bought me a Dell mini laptop for $245.00 when Sam's Club had them on sale. I'd mentioned to him a few times that I'd love to have one. How it'd be great to have one small enough to carry anywhere and use at will. He spoils me, but I never expected him to do this anytime soon, maybe for Christmas.

It's an adorable little machine. Small enough to fit inside a large purse to eliminate a briefcase and handbag when you go out. A few weeks later, he bought himself and Acer Aspire netbook at Walmart for $258.00. Slightly larger than the Dell, more memory and so on. He suggested we trade since he'd only use his for work and I had all of my work requiring more space. I hesitated only because mine was red and his blue. And he'd bought it specifically in a color I loved. However, I agreed.

The biggest concern we had was not only it's functionability, but how can you possibly type on such a small machine. Easy. It's no different. You do have a few keys in different places, but it took me no time to catch on to the places.

The hardest thing for me to learn was Office 2007 - someone's brain child meant to torment those of use who have phobia's to change.

For the last week, I've been using it exclusively. I've had a few issues with the mouse having a mind of it's own, despite the adjustments of his speed of movement. You have to keep an eye on it or it will close down the document or browser you're working in, open up new pages while you're typing an email. Such annoyance. I'm hoping it's just my machine and not others. My husband has no complaints about the Dell, though we haven't had the opportunity to test the battery.

The Acer came with a 3-cell battery which means it should last 3 hours. It lasts barely an hour, so we have to contact the manufacturer. There are 3, 6, and 9 cell batteries. The 9-cell are new and pricy. The 6-cell, is no pocket change, $129 via Walmart's website. I checked the store I frequent and they don't carry the spare batteries in store. We were amused that the website said the Acer was not available in stores -- it is. We've seen them in every one we've been in.

As for travel, you can purchase an AC adpater for the vehicle cigarette lighter. You can get them at Walmart for $20 or Best Buy for $55 and up - some have mulitple jacks for multiple machines or a jack to plug your phone into as well.

We took a small day trip a few weeks ago and it worked well. I was very pleased, however, to use in your laptop, it's best to have pillow to sit it on on only because it's so much smaller than a full size laptop. The pillow will bring it up more eye level.

The bottom, like typical laptops does get rather warm. There are cooling pads you can purchase very reasonable. They come in different sizes, different number of fan units inside it. We have six fan units and I use it even though it's only turned on when the weather is rather warm, making me hot. The pad keeps the bottom of the machine off my thighs. I work on the couch, so it's super to have the pad. It plugs into your USB port and has a little switch on it to turn it off and on.

The specs on the Acer:
Intel Atom processor N270
1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 512 KB L2 cache
8.9" WSVGA high-brightness Acer CrystalBrite TFT LCD
Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
1024MB DDR 533MHz Dual Channel Memory
Use multiple applications without a decrease in performance
160GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
Store large video files, music, photos, documents and more on this expansive drive
Additional Features
Windows XP Home
Acer Crystal Eye Webcam 3-cell Li-ion (2200 mAh) Battery
3 - USB 2.0 Ports AC Power Adapter
Multi-in-1 Card Reader AC Power Cord
USB External Mouse
Acer InviLink 802.11b/g Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Modem Cable
3-cell Li-ion (2200 mAh) Battery

Specs on the Dell: Intel Atom Z520 (1.33GHz/533MHz FSB/512K Cache)
Genuine Windows® XP Home with SP3
1GB DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500 integrated graphics
160GB Hard Drive
3-in-1 Media Card Reader
Wide Screen 10.1" display (1024x576)
10/100 Ethernet
Wireless Mini-Card (802.11g)
Integrated Audio
Built-in 1.3MP webcam
3-Cell Lithium Ion Battery (24 WHr)
1-Year Return to Depot and 24x7 Technical Support
Microsoft® Works
Norton Internet Security 2009 (30-day Trial)

There are many, many brands out there with many reviews.

Contemporary romance with sizzling sensuality

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Romance of the Tame Prairie

One of the reasons I absolutely love living on my tame prairie or in midwest cattle country ~ is because I see the abundance of wildlife each day.
Now, I’m certain what I currently observe is nothing compared to the wildlife that used to live in the area before it was settled by the west-moving pioneers. Still, it’s like a little paradise for me.
Of course, there are lots of winging, singing birds... cardinals, blue jays, wrens, one of the titmouse species... I hear the raucous call of crows at times. The geese get into screaming battles with each other as they chase each other overhead.
Recently, when I returned from my mailbox, which is a ways from the house, a young hen turkey crossed right in front of me. It was a breathtaking exhilarating moment. Occasionally, I’ll see the flocks of wild turkeys that live in the area. I find them truly inspiring birds and nothing like domesticated turkeys.
Yes, I’ve seen adorable bunnies and a huge buck rabbit. The squirrels have finally decided my doggies aren’t a threat unless they fall out of their trees at the wrong time. Then, it’s likely to be goodbye squirrel, hello lunch. I’ve discovered Squirrels are much noisier and more aggressive than I realized, and what they can do with those tails... the signals are amazing. I watched one fellow sit on his hind end and angrily, loudly chatter proclaiming to one and all this was his tree. This went on for, at least, ten minutes.
Then there are the large canine paw prints we see in the snow. The large piles of poo on the gravel drive.
Yep, there are growing packs of coyotes around here. How do I know? I hear them more often and there are more of them. It’s chilling and utterly fascinating to listen to the coyotes during the night hours, howling and yipping in the surrounding fields. Their voices are so close to the way my doggies sound when they decide to howl, I often have to concentrate to tell the difference. No, my baby dogs aren’t kept outside, in case, anyone thought that. But, they do have their own room for the night since I do most of my writing then, and need to concentrate. Or, if mom and I are outside for too long and not in the fenced off area, they howl.
A couple of times now, I’ve seen coyotes in the distance when I’m traveling back and forth to go shopping, etc. I am always enthralled.
Today, and the reason I’m penning this bloggie... I saw a wild critter I thought I’d never see around here. As I was driving home and on the gravel road close to my house, I saw some smallish critter ahead of me on the road, just moving on down the road at a leisurely pace. I slowed the van because, gosh, I don’t want to accidently hit whatever it is. And I was curious. Creeping closer, I think it’s someone’s cat out for a fun time in the wilds of nature... at first. Actually, I haven’t seen that many cats in the area.
Not twenty feet away, the cat turns to the side... it’s a tawny color with some kind of darker markings...AND! It has a bobtail. Well, my first thought is that it’s a Manx cat. Where I used to live there was a group of feral Manx cats, so I’m familiar with what they look like and their gait. This feline, while large for a Manx, also didn’t move like that breed and didn’t have the characteristic high hindquarters.
Bobcat... a cub... that was my next thought as my wild critter leisurely trotted into the pasture, then halted and gave me and the van a long look before trotting on, not in a frightened manner, just a cautious one.
So, of course, once I got online I searched Bobcat cub pics. The above is what I saw, except, I think my bobcat was younger than this cub and was more tawny in color. Now, I wasn’t close enough to see the ear tips, however the shape of its face looked like the pic above.
There, my miracle baby Bobcat. I have to say, though, I have no clue if it was really a wild one, or someone’s escaped pet.
And, just in case, it’s a shamanic message... this is a snippet from Judith at ~ ~ Bobcat is often associated with new lessons and with growth in spirituality.
New lessons, yep, everyday. Hopefully, I am growing in spirituality everyday... yet, without the trials and tribulations... yeah, right... dream on...
Still, I am incredibly grateful for seeing a bobcat on the tame prairie.


Savanna Kougar

~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Author of ~

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Some of us have blogged about our pets. So, today I'm blogging on ducks.

Why ducks? They're beautiful birds, and they're also large enough to see. As spectacular as many songbirds are, they're small. Even the bright red cardinal, unless he's perched on your feeder, is hard to identify.

Not that I have a pet duck. Much as I love ducks, they, like all birds, splat all over everything. Better that they stay in the pond and keep their tails, and my yard, clean.

But I go to the waterways to visit them. I can usually find the most common duck in the northern hemisphere, the mallard. Because they're so abundant, we tend to take them for granted, but these largest of the wild ducks are striking birds.

Eastern North America, where I live, is home to one of the most spectacular ducks in the world, the North American Wood Duck. Wood Ducks do not often appear in the open like mallards do, but I can usually find them in wood-shaded ponds, which they prefer.

The two gorgeous specimens are males, or drakes. In most species of duck, the drake is the more colorful of the pair. And in the species where the male is colorful, there are usually more drakes than hens. So, the drab hens can pick and choose among these avian hunks. Lucky duckies.

I don't just watch ducks, I collect them, too. Not real ones, but everything else. I went duck happy, with my husband aiding and abetting me.

I have porcelain ducks of all sizes, wooden ducks of all sizes, pewter ducks, a duck mirror, duck clothes hooks, duck clothes hangers, lots of duck stuffed toys, duck plates, duck towels, duck bath mats, a duck show curtain, two stuffed ducks (a mallard and a wood duck) that my husband found somewhere, duck prints, duck paintings, duck cups, duck decorative plates, but not ones you can eat off, a Duck Crossing sign, duck soap, duck candles, a duck blanket, a duck bedspread, duck return address labels, duck books, duck postcards and duck postage stamps.

I also buy a US Federal Duck Stamp every year.

A century ago, the North American Wood duck was hunted almost to extinction for its feathers, which were used to adorn women's hats. Thanks to government protection and habitat protection, the Wood Duck has made a spectacular comeback. Great Meadows, the National Wildlife Refuge in Concord, Massachusetts, not too far from where I live, was instrumental in saving the wood ducks by providing a safe breeding area.

The Duck Stamps fund the National Wildlife Refuges. 98% of the money from the sale of duck stamps goes directly to protect wetlands, like Great Meadows.

My duck stamp purchase helps to insure that my friends, the ducks, will always grace the waterways of America.

Ducks should have a Happily Ever After, too.

Thank you, all

Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal

Lady of the Stars--A legend spanning time, and the man and woman caught in it--Regency time travel, available from The Wild Rose Press

Pumpkinnapper--Pumpkin thieves, a youthful love rekindled, and a jealous goose. Oh my--coming September 30, 2009 from The Wild Rose Press