Monday, September 30, 2013


Most mornings I have a set agenda I follow--sheer habit. I roll out of bed, take early morning meds, turn on the coffee pot, boot up the computer and comb my hair. By then, enough time has passed so I can take the next set of meds and read through my e-mail. It doesn't take long to do the e-mail as I count myself fortunate if I receive three or four that aren't junk.

Then I run through any comments I received on my Facebook posts and blog. By the time I finish up with that (about ten minutes) and read my friends' posts, it's time for coffee. Then I settle down to write a blog--if I have anything I want to share. Once that's finished and posted, it's time for breakfast. Total time expended: sixty minutes--if I'm slow with the blog writing.

If I'm having a particularly muzzy-brained morning, I might play a computer game to get the old brain cells moving. After that, I write.

I share all this useless information with you so you'll understand I have no objection to using the computer and Internet. I DO confess I just don't get the fascination with spending HOURS surfing the web. I tend to have a more businesslike attitude about the computer AND the Internet.

It may be my attitude stems from the fact the computer  has always been a work tool for me. Oh, I enjoy playing a computer game. As a matter of fact, I spent some time playing one yesterday while the hunk watched football. But that's not the norm. Aside from the occasional game of Scrabble or Solitaire, most of my time is spent in the actual work of writing.

I'm a bit puzzled by folks who are caught up in the various social media. What's with that? No doubt I'm marching along to my own drummer, but once the most current information about my books is posted, once the blog is written and the website is updated, I figure folks will get in touch if they have any questions.

All the energy writers, artists, musicians expend trying to attract attention is so much noise to me. If a 'link' catches my eye--and is a subject I'm interested in--I'll read it. If it's a sales pitch, review, or political rant, I usually pass. Perhaps that's why I'm not a bestseller. Maybe my books just suck. Either way, I'm not lost in the dark hole we call the Internet.

If anyone has proof that all that busyness actually sells books--ante up. I'd be real interested in the info. As far as I've been able to discern, the Internet is 80% wasteland and 19% iffy information. The remaining 1% could be more easily accomplished via snail mail and telephone.

Oh, I forgot. No one uses the mail or phone anymore...


Friday, September 27, 2013

Bugs and Bones

It's been a busy week. I've had a persistent stomach bug that's irritated and laid me low on a couple occasions. In spite of that, I've written a few words here and there. For that, I'm grateful.

Worse than the bug is the low grade depression most folks have when they don't feel well. Often we don't acknowledge the pervasive influence of gloominess attached to illness. I confess it just pisses me off. I don't like feeling down. My friend, Amarinda Jones, accuses me of terminal perkiness. It's hard to be perky when your gut hurts.

On another front, I went to see the surgeon about my right pinkie finger. You would think a little finger couldn't be that much trouble. And you would be wrong. I was prepared for the doc to explain how he would remove the bone spurs in the last joint, thus making it feel alllll better.

I was not prepared for an entirely different scenario. My last joints on both pinkies are quite crooked. It's genetic. My children, siblings, and mother all had the same crooked joints. Apparently, thirty plus years of typing have worn away all the cartilage between the bones in that particular joint so there's nothing to cushion the ends of the bones--and thus the bone spurs. Removing them will not take care of the cartilage loss. In fact, it's likely I would be back in a couple years with more bone spurs.

So the surgeon recommends fusing the joint (straightening the finger and screwing the last two bones together). Since this involves a 'foreign object' (the screw), insurance won't pay for it unless it's performed in the hospital. Yay!!!

I just received in the mail a six page packet of instructions, pre-op physical forms, and miscellaneous directions with a list of pre-op tests that have to be performed before the surgery.

Now. Take a minute to hold up your hand and look at the last joint on your pinkie finger. See it? Take good care of it because if you don't, it will be a total pain in your behind! Oh, yeah. Between travel time, prep time, surgery, recovery, blah, blah, blah, this procedure will take about ten hours--if all goes well. The surgery isn't scheduled until the end of October so as to allow time for all that other stuff. Yippee!

So...that's been my week. I hope for a better weekend. Y'all have a nice one!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Neat and Tidy

Over the weekend my daughter got her ex-husband. I don't propose to get into the reason he is her ex, but I will say time has passed and it's a good possibility they can make a go of it this time around.

Also during the weekend the hunk and I watched an old episode of a TV show where the main characters struggled with the same issue--whether or not to take the chance on a second time around.

I worked on my current WIP as I pondered the possibilities of success in second chance relationships. My characters also have to jockey their complicated feelings and past hurts as they decide whether or not to take that leap.

I think we humans like everything neat and tidy in our relationships. We want the happily-ever-afters that fit in nice squared away boxes with pretty bows. Sometimes life just doesn't work out that way. People have to mature. Or make mistakes so they can learn from them. Life is messy. Not all of us are on the same schedule.

For some, the second chance never comes. For others, it's a possibility they're too afraid to try. And for a few, it glitters with promise and hope.

So, with many prayers for patience and perseverance, the hunk and I offer our congrats to J & B. May you make each other happy on this second time around.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Wrong Boots

There's nothing more...humiliating than showing up for an event dressed inappropriately. It doesn't really matter what type of event it is, but inevitably we know deep down in our little pitter-pattering hearts that we aren't wearing the correct clothing. We have on the wrong boots!

I suspect that's why so many people report having dreams where they're naked in public. Surely, that's as inappropriate as you can get. And for most of us, highly embarrassing.

When I was a child, there were distinct clothing choices depending on the activity. There were work clothes, gardening clothes, shopping clothes and then every person had a 'go to church' outfit. That one was reserved for weddings, funerals, and Sunday morning church. For ladies, a hat and white gloves, stockings and high heels was part of the outfit. Now...most churches are ecstatic if a woman shows up in slacks instead of a pair of shorts and halter top. Worship has nothing to do with how we're dressed but sometimes our clothing can be a big distraction for others.

I'm sure I've shown up more than once inappropriately dressed, but the two times I remember the most vividly it wasn't my fault. There were circumstances waaaaaay beyond my control.

The first was my grandmother's funeral. It went like this. The hunk worked in New York City--commuting every day. I worked nights in the warehouse for a big book store outfit, shipping out book orders. One night my girls finally called me at work when their dad never came home. Just as I was ready to punch out and leave, my daughter reported her dad was home, evidently delivered in a strange vehicle. And he was on crutches. I knew that couldn't be good.

He busted his ankle at work (eventually, he was sidelined a total of a year and a half.) The next day while trying to deal with locating a local doctor for him, the phone rang. My grandmother had died. She lived about twenty hours from us. After some discussion, we decided my two middle kids would go with me to the funeral. The other two would stay and take care of their dad. We packed a bare minimum in a hurry and were off.

The journey, it was one disaster after another. The radiator on the car started leaking. I slipped and fell in a puddle of radiator fluid, ruining my clothes. Eventually, twenty-two hours later we arrived an hour late for the funeral, but the family--knowing we were on the way--delayed the service for us. When I arrived, I was tired, grieving, and dressed in a grubby sweatsuit. And that's what I wore to my grandmother's funeral. The main thing I remember about that funeral was my family lined up in the hall to offer hugs and kisses of welcome because I'd arrived safely.

The other activity I showed up for in inappropriate dress was a job interview. In my defense, I'll just say I wasn't planning to have an interview. Actually, after spending the morning under my house attempting to repair a broken water pipe, I'd brushed the worst of the dirt off and raced off to school. No school attendance, no unemployment check.

When I arrived, my instructor mentioned a job opening in an office downstairs and urged me to run down and ask for an application (and I did.) After filling it in, I went back down to drop it off and thought I would demonstrate my professionalism by asking for an interview. Now I was wearing faded sweatpants with some mud smears and an old tee-shirt that had seen a lot of better days. So imagine my chagrin and shock when the receptionist informed me the Director would interview me immediately. I knew I couldn't possibly make a positive impression. But I determined I would use the interview for practice.

Oh, yes. I was hired for the job. Many years later, the director told me she figured if I could get through an interview under those circumstances, I could handle anything else that came along...

Sometimes, we have to believe we aren't the ones wearing the wrong boots.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Summer's Gone

Every year we reach this stage when inevitability strikes and we realize summer is over. Oh, there might be a last hurrah of a few stolen days, but SUMMER is finished. How do we know?

Some say it's when they pack away the shorts and tee-shirts. At my house I wear them all year round--at least indoors. So that's not a reliable sign for me.

Others say summer is over when the kids go back to school. I have no children that age. And anyway, some schools start in August (and surely, that's still summer!) There are even school districts that go all year long.

Then there are the adherents who say summer is over when the leaves start to change. Or when a certain day on the calendar rolls around. Or when the ice cream stand closes.

I think for me, it's when the temps are below fifty when I wake up in the morning. I don't get up at the crack of dawn anymore. So if the temperature is below fifty when I finally roll out of bed, then summer is definitely over. That means I have to search out a jacket to wear to the pool over my bathing suit. And there's something just wrong about the combination of jackets and swim suits. That's when summer is finally, inevitably over.

Why, before we know it, I'll have to break out my mammoth Crocs to keep my feet warm...


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday Ponders

Things I wonder about:

Why does time pass so much faster as we age? Shouldn't it go slower when your time is running out? Back when I was in my teens it seemed like the days took forever.

Why do foods that are bad for you taste better than foods that are good for you? Wouldn't we all do better if the bad foods tasted bad?

Been watching all these end-of-the-world trailers for new TV shows. So...if there's no 'power' (electricity), how do those folks end up with pristine clothes? And where are they getting water? (No power, no water pumps.) And how do they find out about what's going on in the outer world? How do they know it's not just their local area? And another thing...why are all these shows set in the country? An urban scenario would probably scare the crap out of everyone...

How far could most folks walk if they had to escape from a catastrophic event?

Am I the only one to think it's strange that so many characters in British TV shows own horses? I thought horses were expensive to feed/care for/own. Is it cheaper in the UK to own a horse?

Bright hair colors seem to be all the rage in the author set. So does pink or purple hair help sell books? Or is another color better? How often does it have to be touched up?

Would life on this planet be different if no one wore pants? What if everyone wore skirts/kilts/robes? Would our cultures have evolved differently? What if fashion dictated all men had to wear corsets?

Who do you suppose invented the first comb? And why?

And what person looked at a crab or shrimp and thought, 'that looks like something good to eat?'

Who was the fashion forward idiot who invented high heeled shoes? Why?

That's it for today...


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Believe

I believe in...

Peace on Earth. Some days it's harder to keep the faith than others, but I still believe.

Family. The people in our families are not necessarily biological. As a matter of fact, they're usually members through the heart link--friends so close they'll always be family.

Possibilities. No matter what comes down the pike, there are always possibilities. When we cease to open our minds and hearts to the possibilities around us, life stops.

Dreams. Dreams are possibilities waiting to be seized. Not all dreams come true. But they're out there, waiting.

Imagination. There is no creativity without imagination. This is the 'what if' of life. Some folks share their imagination through words and music and art. Others never do because of fear...fear that others will not appreciate what they have to offer. I choose to share.

Sex after sixty. When I was eighteen and newly married, the hunk and I went to visit my grandparents. Naturally, the hunk was more interested in dragging me off to the bedroom than visiting with the elders. I was mortally embarrassed. My grandmother told me I should be proud--not embarrassed. After all, wasn't that one of the main reasons we got married? Then she chuckled and shared a secret with me--she and Grandpa had sex as often as they could. Now I'm in my sixties. And there are a lot of hours in a day...


Friday, September 13, 2013


Friday the 13th. A double gift if you believe in luck as Friday is considered lucky in many cultures and thirteen is seen as a lucky number in several others. So you might say Friday the 13th is a two-fer.

The negative connotations attached to this day are of recent onset--in effect, they're 'modern'. So that's a puzzle, isn't it? In an era mostly past superstitious beliefs, there are still folks who fear Friday the 13th. Friggatriskaidekaphobia (that's what they call fear of Friday the 13th).

Why would anyone fear a day that randomly arrives? humans we need SOMETHING to blame for all the bad things that happen. And if that's the case, then Friday the 13th is perfect. It's random. It's not anyone's fault. You can see it coming--and therefore it isn't a surprise. And it's of short duration and soon over. Actually, none of those are bad things, are they?

Viva Friday the 13th!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Ah, romance. Many women dream of it. Men scorn the very idea of reading about it. Kids gag at the thought of it. But what exactly is it?

If you stopped the next twenty people--or even a hundred--on the street and asked them to define romance, the answers would number as many as the participants. Everyone has a hazy idea of what romance is (or isn't), but there doesn't seem to be an agreed upon definition.

Is it kissing? Ewwww, say the little kids. Is it sex? A relationship? Lighted candles, flowers and perfume? How do we know romance when we find it?

And where do we go in search of it? Do we find it in a bar? Or church? Or in the midst of war and chaos? How do we know for sure we've found true romance instead of a one night stand?

Is longevity the test? What about the second-time-arounds?

I think we spend so much time and effort dreaming about romance that we miss the real thing. Maybe we even lose out on our best opportunity because we're chasing attractiveness or wealth or sex. Romance touches the heart. All that other stuff is fluffy icing on the cake.

Without love, there is no romance. It's just sugar and fat...and maybe a little food coloring and artificial flavor.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tears and Laughter

I wrote this post three years ago, but it seems to me to still be relevant. Today my daughter turns 40. That's normally a birthday associated with all sorts of celebrations and teasing. Grief has its place. But so does joy and laughter.~~Anny

Many, many words will be written today commemorating the events of nine years ago. And that is as it should be. The house hunk was actually working in New York City that day only a few blocks from the towers. He didn't get home for three days.

The village we lived in was a bedroom community where many of the firemen and policemen that died that day had homes. We had many orphans in our village from 9/11.

But other things did happen on September 11th, though the events of that day overshadow them and will continue to do so for many years. Thirty seven years ago today, my daughter was born. In 2001 she was supposed to be on an airplane flying into Newark Airport so she could be home for her birthday. Thankfully, her flight was scheduled later in the day so she was safely on the ground when all hell broke loose.

Over the years, her birthday--and those of all the others born this day--somehow get lost in the remembrances for those who died. We talked about this phenomenon one time. She said, "You're probably one of the few who truly understands what it's like." And now I imagine you, the reader wonder why that would be.

The day I turned fourteen, John F. Kennedy was shot. It was as great a shock to the country back then as 9/11 was to the country some forty years later. Every year there were solemn ceremonies and news coverage. And it seemed somehow disrespectful to celebrate something so mundane as a birthday.

Yet--I say yet! Life does go on. Others among us pass away. Lovers dare to marry. New babies are born. And the little celebrations we observe to mark our lives are just as important as the big ones. Soon--within days or a week or two--my daughter will give birth to another precious son. For him, 9/11 will be ancient history, much as Kennedy's assassination is ancient history to most of our current population.

On this day of remembrance let us also observe the celebrations of life as well as death.

Happy Birthday, Julie! May you have a wonderful day. May you live long and celebrate many more. I love you.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Reprise--Burnt Oatmeal

Originally published 2/27/08.

Yesterday morning I burned the oatmeal. This is not a new occurrence. Rather it is the norm. My friend Jane and the house hunk don't even find it a subject worth discussing as I always burn the oatmeal. You might ask why make oatmeal if you always burn it? Because I need to eat oatmeal. There's always enough unburned oatmeal to satisfy my needs.

Why does it burn? Mostly because I have too many things going on at one time. I set the timer and then immerse my concentration on some other project to the extent that I don't hear the timer. It burns. I scrape off the top layer and put the pot in the sink to soak. And move on.

Life is pretty full of burnt oatmeal. All those wrong turns and bad choices we make in life have consequences. How we handle the inevitable consequences determines what our life is like. We can wail and gnash our teeth and cry over our burnt oatmeal. We can beat ourselves up or blame some one else for calling us on the phone while our oatmeal was cooking. But the truth is that none of those things really address the fact that we still have burnt oatmeal.

Or we can salvage what we can, put the pan to soak, and move on. There will likely be a lot of pans of burnt oatmeal in our lives. If I waste time obsessing about the burnt oatmeal, that's time I've lost forever. Time I could have put to more constructive use. Oh yeah, and while I'm moaning and groaning the salvaged oatmeal is getting cold. Who wants to eat cold oatmeal?

There are things I can do to "pretty up" my oatmeal. I can add nuts, raisens, peanut butter, brown sugar, nutella, or cream. All of those make the oatmeal more palatable. And unless I tell someone, they'll never know that I burned the oatmeal. See? Life is what you make it--even burnt oatmeal.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saturday Snippet

While the snow continued to fall, he kept a wary eye on the raiders, collecting as much information from his observations as possible. Each ship carried around eighty men, yielding an approximate total well over a thousand men. With the exception of two scouting patrols of eight men each, the rest remained on the beach. From that, he deduced they were most probably unaware of a human presence on the island.
One patrol turned toward the far end of the island, well away from the caves where the women were hiding. The other group headed directly across the plateau in a line that would bring them close to the beach where the ship wrecked earlier that morning. That group passed very near to where he lay hidden. He held his breath as they trod past. With his recent knowledge of the trees and standing stones in the immediate area, he was able to calculate an approximate comparison and arrive at a height estimate. Ten feet. They were true giants with corresponding strengths and abilities.
Shadow wondered how they coped with the nasty weather, dressed only in their skimpy fur cloaks, rough knee length tunics and thigh high boots. Wild unkempt dark hair streamed down their backs and when one man laughed heartily at something another had said, Shadow caught a glimpse of a startling double array of pointed teeth.
After the two patrols returned and gave every appearance of settling in, he used his scope to satisfy his remaining questions about the raiders. The gray light of day was waning rapidly, but in the flaring glow of the fires he focused on one man’s face, absently watching the raider vigorously gnawing on an animal’s leg bone. At least he hoped it was an animal. Shadow’s stomach cramped as he recalled Ani’s report of them being cannibals. He should have been put off by the two rows of crooked teeth the man displayed as he tore another hunk of meat from the bone, but hunger could gloss over many unpleasantries. 
Besides, the raiders’ eating habits weren’t Shadow’s primary interest. All afternoon he’d puzzled over the odd headgear the raiders wore. Now through the narrow lens, he realized their helmets were actually some sort of feathery, furry hats shaped like lizards. Most were green, but there was a smattering of other colors that apparently denoted rank. 
Then, as he focused on the strange helmet on the man’s head, its golden eyes blinked.

© Dragon's Cauldron by Anny Cook 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

School Days

Awwww. Summer's over. School's started in most places. The rush is on. Schedules change. Homework and sports fill the afternoons.

Post-teens march off to college and university. It seems like the whole world is centered around school schedules. Football begins. Yes, fall is here!

When I talk to current-day students about school, their descriptions of school bear absolutely no resemblance to my own memories. Have I just forgotten the reality of it? Or is the experience that changed?

I recall a time when academic excellence was more important than the latest hairdo or celebrity. I wonder if my memories are correct?


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Alpheli Solution

In the rush of a new book release, every author looks forward to reviews and recommends from their readers and friends. Then things quiet down--and eventually pretty much fade away.

So it's always an unexpected thrill when a review is posted long after the book was released! A couple days ago, Fran Lee, Examiner columnist out of Utah, sent me an e-mail and link for her review of Alpheli Solution. I'm still smiling. I've linked to her review HERE.

And just in case you're wondering if it's something you'd be interested in reading, here's the blurb:

When Danamara Higgins is attacked by a vampire, her life turns upside down. Vampire Bootcamp class seems to be the answer to her prayers. In her wildest dreams, she doesn’t consider meeting not just one, but two hunky vampires who take her—in the car, in the shower, in the living room, in the hot tub, in hand—as they teach her everything she’ll need to know about her new vampire life.

For centuries, Pierre has loved and pursued Julian with no success. After a hostile takeover of Julian’s financial assets, Pierre is positive Julian will have nowhere else to turn. Julian, though, chooses to teach the Vampire Bootcamp class rather than surrender to Pierre on unequal terms. When one of Julian’s students approaches him for help identifying her sire, Julian is stunned that she is his alpheli—an extremely rare mate whose blood will allow him to subsist on real food. What will that mean to his love-hate relationship with Pierre?

There are just one or two problems. Danamara is descended from Pierre’s bloodline. And she’s on someone’s hit list. Julian and Pierre find unexpected erotic rewards and eternal love when they join together in a brutal war to protect their alpheli’s life.

Want more? BUY IT HERE