Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Four Update #2

Book Four Update  #2

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post and will use it for the next book, because 
I isn't always the bestest with my grammar. (Two mistakes were found in this sentence. Darn it, bestest is one of my favoritest, most loverly words.)

The second update.  I'm still moving forward, so that's good!  My progress has slowed a bit.  I'm trying to introduce a couple new characters.  I'm going to be out of town this coming weekend.  I get to go spend time with some of my favorite people in the entire world.  It'll be fun, but I'm going to try to sneak in some writing.  I'm bringing my iPad!

Here are the first sentences of each chapter so far.  All of this is subject to change before publication.

#1 - I was feeling claustrophobic, trapped and restless.

#2 - I was still packing when I heard a knock at my door.

#3 - I lay on my side staring at the cabin's wall. 

#4 - White was already gone from the room when I got back.

#5 - The four of us rode the elevator down to my apartment.

#6 - The next three days were almost unbearable.

#7 - The remainder of the day was easier to pass and I started getting ready a little early.

#8 - I was up before the sun and started coffee brewing before Black made his appearance.

#9 - I hadn't been back to my apartment for even fifteen minutes before a knock came on my door.

#10 - We hiked steadily until darkness fell.

#11 - My alarm went off at midnight.

#12 - We made it back to the compound late that afternoon.

#13 - The flight was uneventful but the humidity hit me hard in the face when I stepped out of the airport to pick up my car. 

#14 - “Brown informed me this is our last morning in the simulator.”   
#15 - When I woke up the next morning I was afraid to open my eyes. 

For comparison:
Color Me Grey word count: 79443
Color Me Grey chapter count: 17

Shades of Grey word count: 76304
Shades of Grey chapter count: 19

Reflections of Grey word count: 66514
Reflections of Grey chapter count: 15

Current word count: 46532 (updated Monday, June 24th)
58497 (updated Saturday, July 28th)
Current chapter count: 15

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Whatever Wednesday - Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

Tis the season for rhubarb!
I recently bought some rhubarb at our local Farmer's Market 
and made a strawberry rhubarb cobbler.  I've posted cobbler recipes here before and this is still the basic recipe with different fruits.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler


4 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb (I eyeballed this)

1 1/2 cups strawberries.  Fresh sliced strawberries would be best.  (I used a 14 oz. package of frozen strawberries)

1/2 cup sugar (The next time I make this recipe I will up this to maybe as much as 1 cup)

1 Tablespoon corn starch


1 cup flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Melt 1/4 cup butter and pour into the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish (I have no idea what size the dish I used was, but I think it's actually a casserole dish.  If you think the ingredients will fit - go for it.  However, I put a cookie sheet on the rack below the cobbler just in case it spilled over - it didn't.)

Mix together the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and corn starch.  Let this sit for a while to get a bit juicy.

Mix together the flower, baking powder, sugar and milk.  (cobbler batter)

Pour the cobbler batter over the butter.  Do not stir.  

Pour the fruit mixture over the batter.  Do not stir.

Bake for one hour or until golden brown.

I served this as is, but it would be really good with whipped cream or ice cream.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Featured Book - Goose Creek

Goose Creek
D.H. Allen


Goose Creek examines the bane of bullying and the intricacies of male friendship, prejudice, and shame. It is a story of small town lives with big town secrets and lies. The setting is rural northern Virginia, one of those massive estates you might pass on a gorgeous country road. You’re right there, among the fine things, lovely horses, and private jets. Goose Creek meanders through the forests and fields.

Everything Dare was to become happened near a small creek in rural Virginia.

Dare first meets James when their worlds are falling apart. Dare is struggling to survive bullying in school and abuse at home. James's wealthy father lies dying in the big house leaving him an orphan in the care of his uber-wealthy grandmother. Together, with a foundling dog, a down-on-her-luck small town prostitute, and an English butler—a gentleman with surprising talents—the young fellows traverse the daunting world of teenage boys to manhood.

Neither youth is aware their friendship dredges up long suppressed secrets. Secrets on such a scale it becomes a deadly game. 

About the Author

D. H. Allen calls himself a young dude trapped in an old nerd's body. A veteran, he enjoys writing, reading historic novels, swashbuckling adventure or fantasy tales, whodunit, gardening, stained glass, and traveling. He carries his camera everywhere and dabbles in amateur photography. Allen loves music, almost all genres, and dances like crazy when no one is looking. What's a movie without popcorn? He cooks without recipes and makes a mean Chesapeake chowder. Allen and his lovely wife of many, many years live in central Virginia in a cottage in the woods. And their little dog too.

After graduating high school from Fauquier County, Virginia it was either work or starve. Completing four years in the U.S. Navy, Allen returned home and was hired as an apprentice graphic designer for the Department of Defense. While working for the government Allen continued with classes and seminars at institutions in and around Washington, D.C. After leaving the government Allen went to work for a bank and worked his way to branch manager. Today Allen lives outside of Charlottesville, Virginia and is employed by one of the Mid-Atlantic region’s largest travel and tour companies.

Allen blogs about his life and interests in writing, reading, amateur photography, and travel at

Connect with the Author:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book Four Update

I hesitate to post this because...  No!  This is just an update.  I WISH the book was completed and I had a release date.

I just wanted to update all of you lovely folks who have supported me through all of this.  If I'm absent, it's because I'm DETERMINED to get this book done and I have to focus on one thing at a time.  Right now it's time to focus on the writing.  I am working on it, I promise.  I've been slightly absent from Facebook and have been neglecting my blog and email.  If I missed any posts, comments or emails, I apologize.  I am finding it very hard, if not impossible, for me to focus on writing and keep up with it all.

Thank you all so much for being so supportive and fun!  I will be around, just not as much as usual.  My hopes are high and so is my enthusiasm.

I will keep you all up to date on my progress - keep me honest and working!  Maybe I'll have a big surprise one of these days.

For comparison:
Color Me Grey word count: 79443
Color Me Grey chapter count: 17

Shades of Grey word count: 76304
Shades of Grey chapter count: 19

Reflections of Grey word count: 66514
Reflections of Grey chapter count: 15

Current word count: 40602
Current chapter count: 12

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend Fun!

I know I'm a little late with this one.
But, I'm trying to fill my blog with fun things as I write.
Yes, I plan to be writing when this post pops up for you all to read.

My family took a mini-vacation over Memorial Day Weekend.
We camped for a night and then did a little fishing and played tourist the next day.

I feel very fortunate to live where I do.
I hope these pictures capture the 
beauty around me, how I see it.

One of the views from our campite.

We have Elk in them thar hills!

Moss on the hill right by our campsite.

I love creek pictures.

This downed tree was beautiful, even if it sucks that it had fallen.

The creek (Castle Creek).

Same spot as the last picture, just a different view.

I made my hubby stand in the picture for  perspective.
The rock slide was huge.

The hubby and I went for a walk the next morning.
The kids were all still snoring in the tent.
It was chilly and foggy.

Obviously, the rock slides grabbed my attention.

There were lots of downed trees along the road.

What's around the bend?
I don't have a pic on here, so I'll tell you.
It was a bridge and a little clearing.

Heading back to camp.

The fog and mist was beautiful, if a little cold.

The dreary day actually brought out a lot of the greens.

I can just imagine all kinds of creatures hanging out in the mist.

Another Elk in them thar hills!

Pactola lake.
I think this is one of the most beautiful lakes in the hills.

A garden at Reptile Gardens.
Look at the cute turtles.

A bee on the flowers.
I need to figure out what kind of tree this is.

I think this tree is so neat.

Orchids at Reptile Gardens.



More orchids.

AND MORE orchids!

This is a cool statue.

A BANANA tree in South Dakota.
How cool is that?
VERY cool!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Adieu Sweet Lilacs

One of my favorite things about spring - LILACS

I took these pictures right at dusk and in the dark.
The sky was almost the exact color of the lilacs for a brief moment and it was irresistible.  

Now, the blossoms are gone.  
At least I still have the pictures until next year.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Four Hour Landscaping Project

For those of you who follow me on Facebook you might have already seen most of these pictures - but I'm still pretty proud of our accomplishment so I thought I'd create a blog post.

My husband and I created this little walkway area in four hours!

The first three pictures are the before pictures.

My mother and I put this together more than ten years ago.
It's an old ladder and an old bench that we didn't want to throw away,
but didn't know what to use them for.
This is the front view.  I have a grape on the left side,
a clematis and a small rose on the right side.

This is the view from the side with the clematis and rose.
We planted two bigger rose bushes near the back side earlier this spring.

This is the back side.
I had pots all around it that I'd fill with flowers like petunias.
You can see the new roses a little better from this view.

These next set of pictures are the steps we took.

This is how I landscape.
My hubby is doing all that hard work.
He's getting rid of all the excess dirt for our design.

This is after we've put in the base for design.
Under the dirt we've got a layer of weed resistent paper.
Then we put in the rock and dirt that goes under the pavers.

Here is my hubby trying to decide on a pattern.
We didn't have enough pavers to do what we initially planned.
Fine by me - I like this pattern even better.

The pattern is complete and the mulch is in.

One of the last things - add the pea gravel.
I rubbed it down in with my hands and
the hubby got to sweep it around afterward.

This is what we did to the area.
This view is from the side with the grape.
We added a small water fountain, a lily and a delphinium to this side.

This is the front view.
It is still its crooked old self, but I think it looks a lot better.
You can see the delphinium and lilies on either side and I'm considering adding in more.

This is the side with the clematis.
I've added in two more clematis in hopes they will fill out the trellis in short order.
They are already starting to bloom.
I also added another lily and delphinium to this side.

This is our four hour project that I'm very proud of.  I've never done anything like this before and it is extremely fulfilling to be able to see such a huge change in our yard centerpiece.  I'm considering putting up some full hanging baskets from the middle of the structure.  However, the vegetable garden needs a little attention, now.