Monday, January 30, 2012

One Liners - 1/30




Lucius - 'I was just looking, honest!'

(And yes, that is the one lone poult that hatched from the turkey eggs we incubated.)

Y`all are encouraged to play along! Just put your one-liner for the above image down with your comments. Have fun!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Odds and Ends and Egg Shucks






Howdy bloggers! Stomp the snow off your boots and let me put a fresh pot on!


Today`s post is a little bit of everything post, since the winter humdrums have moved in. You know? It`s too cold, too grey, too snowy, too icy or just too blah to do anything outside. So, I figured I`d try to catch up on the other stuff that keeps us chugging along.

First, I have to relay the egg shuck story. For those of you who don`t speak Pennsylvania mountain dialect, an egg shuck is the same as an egg shell piece. Egg shucks are a constant source of trouble for Mister. My husband is one of those people who, if something foreign or unknown is in cake, stew, kettle of soup or any other large serving of food, it will be him that finds the foreign matter. Now, generally, if I do happen to come upon something in my food that shouldn`t be there, I discreetly spit the unknown substance into my napkin and move on with my meal. Especially if I`m eating at someone else`s house.

Not my husband.

He must remove said offending matter and dissect it, muttering about it being in his food and then complain to the food preparer, which, nine out of ten times is me. Last week I cooked up a dozen eggs for egg salad. We had about ten dozen eggs in the fridge, so, yeah, time for egg salad. I did wash the eggs off after peeling them, cross my heart. Fresh eggs are notoriously difficult to peel as many of you who have chickens know. I thought they were clean. I guess I missed some. *Rolls eyes*

That night at dinner, of course, who finds the egg shuck in his sandwich? Yep. My hubby. After a performance that should have him in contention for a ‘Best Male Lead in a Dramatic Role’ Oscar, he looked across the table and grumbled about how I should be more careful about egg shucks. Since my daughter was at the table, I could not say what I wished to say about egg shucks and where he could place them.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon. Mister decides he wants to bake a cake. I don`t ask, I just gladly accept the offer and continue writing or editing or any of the countless other things I need to do to get my book closer to publication. (We`ll touch on the book news in just a minute) He gets his cake made and in the new oven Santa brought me.

Skip ahead a few more hours to dinner. Dessert time rolls around! Oh boy, what a fine looking cake he had made! Even the icing was nicely swirled. We dive in, and what happens when he places that first forkful into his mouth?? You got it! He spits out an egg shuck. At this juncture I merely lift my eyes from my square of yellow cake and stare at him, eyebrows raised. He sheepishly mumbles something under his breath while a smile tugs at the corners of his mouth. It`s amazing how after twenty years we don`t even need to speak to get our point across.

Now that the egg shuck story is done, onto other news! A month ago we set eight turkey eggs. You may recall I pooh-poohed the idea, saying they would never amount to anything and the tom could not be fertile, etc. and etc. After candling three times, we`ve removed six of the eight eggs. Two are now out of the turner, wiggling and giggling and peeping. I figured I`d be fair and say that Mister was right and I was mistaken. There. That should placate him about the egg shuck story when he reads it later.

Book news! I am very close to submission I`m thrilled to relay! I`m now waiting on some last minute cover tweaks to be completed and then off it goes to the printer. I must confess that my nerves are starting to jangle a bit. Placing your work out there for the world to read is a huge step. I know that some folks will love it and others will hate it. I understand that and accept it. I do hope most folks enjoy it when it`s available though.

I`m still working out the details on the print version of ‘Of Gods & Goats’ and where it will be available for purchase. As soon as the kinks are worked out, I`ll let y`all know. If anyone wishes a personalized autographed copy, contact me either here, on my Facebook author page or regular Facebook page. I will be happy to sign it to you and ship it. I have yet to do the e-book conversion, but that will come along soon. I`m hoping to make it available on SmashWords, and will, of course, let everyone here in blog-land know where and when they can upload or download (whichever one does for their e-reader) their copy. I also now have an author page on Facebook that I wanted to link you guys to.

V.L. Locey Facebook Author Page

We`re doing some fun things like trivia questions, images and chat about Greek gods and goats....and there is a rumor in the air that soon a contest will be held for a free, autographed copy of my book! Do stop in, give it a ‘like’ and say howdy!

I think that`s about if for news from here. Now, I`m off to catch up with what`s happening with my blogging buddies. Oh! Before I forget, a big yodel of welcome goes to Christie Martin! Welcome to the hillside farm, Christie!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Word of Mouth - One Woman`s Vengeance

Howdy. *Leans against saloon post, lights cheroot and pushes cowboy hat from eyes*


Did I sound like Clint Eastwood?? No? Next time I`ll make sure I have some stubble and a poncho. It`s time for another book review, and as you can tell, I`m passing along some western-flavored Word of Mouth. This round we`ll be talking about ‘One Woman`s Vengeance’ by Dennis R. Miller.






I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Miller, and having his book signed, at an author event in early December at ‘From My Shelf Books’ in Wellsboro, PA. Now I`ll be honest and admit right up front that I can count on one hand how many western novels I`ve read in my life. On my other hand, I can count how many western movies I`ve watched. Sure, Mister Yodeling has every spaghetti western Clint ever made, and can repeat the lines verbatim, but generally I peek at the screen and then return to my romance novel. I am just not a fan of the genre. Or, maybe I just haven`t discovered the right protagonist? I think that`s changed since I met Nora Hawks.

This gritty, dark novel begins when retired bounty hunter, Peter Clawson, finds himself with a woman hell bent on revenge and seeking his tutelage. Nora Hawks is a beauty, no doubt, but there is a side to this woman that Peter has never seen in any other woman. She is possessed and driven to pay back the gang of men that killed her husband, brutally raped her and then left her for dead. And boy howdy, does Nora get her revenge! There is blood enough for any fan of the western genre, make no mistake.

There is also a very subtle love story that builds slowly amid all the gun-slinging and shoot-outs though, and for me, this was one of the reasons I kept turning pages. The pace of the romance is perfect for the story. It grows naturally and isn`t overstated. We watch both Peter and Nora get to know each other as she studies diligently, honing her killing skills, until she is ready to face down the men that destroyed her hopes, home and future. Nora Hawks hands out frontier justice as well as any man in any film I have ever peeked at! She is deadly as well as amazingly strong.

Each of the characters has real depth and personality, even the creeps in Butch Wheeler`s gang of thugs, drunks, murderers and rapists. I hated the dirt-bags for what they did to Nora and I was thrilled when they finally got their just desserts! The story moves along at a nice clip, never growing dull or lagging. Nora`s voice stays strong throughout, and that is what held me so tightly as I read over my coffee and bagel in the morning. If Hollywood would give me a heroine like Nora Hawks to cheer, I just may start laying aside my romance novel when Mister slips in a movie.

If you like a good western, this book is for you. If you enjoy a good romance, then this book is for you as well. And if you wish to see a woman move into the world of men, testosterone and guns and show the guys a thing or two, then this book is a must have!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

R-E-S-P-E-C-T





Good morning all! Come on in and warm up with a fresh cuppa!

Boy, winter has come charging into the Laurel Highlands like a runaway steer! Rain and snow and wind and ice and BLECH! All this time indoors over the past few days has given me time to write (Which is good), read (Which is also good), clean (Which is an utter fabrication) and nose around on the internet reading what others have to say. This internet dallying when I should be dusting has led me to this pondering post. It started when I was on Facebook the other night and came across some comments among some of my daughter’s friends and herself.

Now I know it was all in good fun, and I`m usually one of those mom`s that all the kids think are pretty cool. At least, I try to be welcoming to my daughter`s friends both in my home and online. But this rash of comments between a couple of her male friends about her just struck me the wrong way. Don`t get me wrong, I`m no prude, but I am a mother. There are some things that gentlemen should not discuss about a young lady on a public forum, even if it is in jest. Well, long story short, I called her on it. I asked why she allowed such a conversation to be placed on Facebook. The conversation between her and I did not go well. She found my thinking rather archaic to say the least, and strongly rebelled against my saying that her male friends should treat her with more value.

“It all comes down to respect for a lady,” I informed her.

I guess being called a young lady in today`s society is a no-no. When did this occur?? When did it become acceptable for young men to discuss intimate details about a young woman where fifty million people can read it? Real gentlemen don`t kiss and tell, or not kiss and tell, whichever the case may be. I admit I was stumped by her reaction. When did respect become a bad word?

Things eventually calmed down between mother and daughter after I voiced my opinion, and life went on as it always does. A day or two later I stumbled across an article about how many young parents are teaching their kids to address adults by using their first names, as opposed to the antiquated terms of Mr., Mrs., etc. One young mother even went on to say that we, as adults, are not entitled to such titles just because we`re older.

Excuse me? Uhm, yes, I AM entitled to being addressed as Mrs. Locey, thank you very much. I am an adult. They are children. I earned that moniker of regard by living to be fifty, being married for over twenty years, learning about life and all the hard knocks it gives you, and being a mother for close to sixteen years.

I cannot imagine going into any home as a child and walking up to my friend`s parents and saying, ‘Hey, Tim! Howdy Greta!’ My mother would have flayed me alive for such disrespect of someone older than me when she heard about it. And make no mistake, she would have heard about it. What the heck is going on? Can someone please explain this trend to me? I am so lost I need a GPS and Les Stroud to get me back home. When did addressing your elders with the respect due to them because they have lived and learned for fifty, sixty, seventy or more years become old hat? When did treating a young woman like a lady become something to shudder or scoff at?

Maybe it`s just me. Maybe I really AM getting old and frumpy and grouchy. Well, I`ve always been frumpy and grouchy at times, but still, the point remains! Perhaps I AM out of touch with the times, but make no mistake, when a youngster calls my home or appears at my door, they had darn well call hubby and I Mister and Mrs. Locey. That`s just showing consideration for someone who knows a whole HELL of a lot more than the young teen speaking to us. So, now that I have that off my chest, I`m going to go listen to Aretha telling it like it is. Hmm, maybe some of these teens and young parents should listen to Ms. Franklin? It would be a HUGE step up from Justin Beiber and maybe, just maybe, they`d learn something.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

One-Liners 1-15






Calliope - "It`s so chilly even my wattles are frosty!"


As always, y`all are encouraged to play along. Just put your one-liner down in the comments box!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Word of Mouth - Blood Bound

Hey there all! Time to nosh about another book! I sure am glad to be back in my reading groove. I really miss my books when I can`t get to them. This time around, we`ll be chatting about the first novel in a new series by Rachel Vincent titled ‘Blood Bound.’





I readily admit to being a big fan of Ms. Vincent`s ever since I picked up book one of her ‘Shifter’ series. So I was very excited to get my hands on this latest novel. ‘Blood Bound’ is a new heroine and hero in a new world. A world that is very different from most. In this world, there are people who are known as ‘Skilled’. They possess the power to track by the scent of blood, find you by your name, bind you to contracts or walk through the shadows from one place to another. You know that dark space under your bed? That creepy inkiness that scared you as a kid when you would peek downward? In the world of Olivia Warren, you make sure you have that space well lit or you just may find someone crawling out from under your mattress.

Liv Warren is another wonderful character brought to us by Ms. Vincent. She is tough, makes her own rules and has learned over the years not to trust anyone. Liv is a paranormal tracker. She can find you with just one drop of blood over great distances. Things get complicated quickly when the daughter of one of her childhood friends goes missing. Liv is compelled to help thanks to an oath made when she was young. She cannot rest until the child is found. And this throws her right into the path of her former lover Cam Caballero, a man who is forbidden to her for reasons even he isn`t aware of. Cam also is skilled. He is a name-tracker and in the employ of the underworld boss that is in competition with the man Liv is bound to. Yeah, star-crossed doesn`t even begin to describe these two!

The two find themselves racing to save the child from two warring syndicates that rule this dark world. Liv and Cam have to move through lies, secrets, danger, drama and traumas, hopefully figuring out what dark secrets surround this missing girl before more blood begins to flow.

As with the ‘Shifter’ series, I found myself growing attached to Liv and Cam rapidly. The action and suspense are top-notch. The pace is perfect throughout. It is really hard for an author to give us a new world, but Ms. Vincent does an excellent job of introducing us to the skilled people who move throughout the book. She doesn`t rush or push, she simply lets the story revolve around Liv and you soon find yourself cheering for this woman. And of course, let us not forget to touch upon the bed-play! It is hot, tender and well-suited for the tale. There isn`t a ton of sex, but what we get is superbly written.

The only thing I could find fault with in this novel is the switching between Liv and Cam. Most books that I`ve read that are in first-person stay with one character. This one goes back and forth. It was really confusing for me at first, and I had to stop reading and try to figure out what was happening. Once I got into the groove, then it was fine, and added a nice touch to be able to get inside Cam`s head as well as Liv`s.

If you`re a fan of the paranormal realm, then I recommend ‘Blood Bound’ by Rachel Vincent. And just to be certain, make sure you have the closet light on when you go to sleep.

Word of Mouth - Blood Bound

Hey there all! Time to nosh about another book! I sure am glad to be back in my reading groove. I really miss my books when I can`t get to them. This time around, we`ll be chatting about the first novel in a new series by Rachel Vincent titled ‘Blood Bound.’

I readily admit to being a big fan of Ms. Vincent`s ever since I picked up book one of her ‘Shifter’ series. So I was very excited to get my hands on this latest novel. ‘Blood Bound’ is a new heroine and hero in a new world. A world that is very different from most. In this world, there are people who are known as ‘Skilled’. They possess the power to track by the scent of blood, find you by your name, bind you to contracts or walk through the shadows from one place to another. You know that dark space under your bed? That creepy inkiness that scared you as a kid when you would peek downward? In the world of Olivia Warren, you make sure you have that space well lit or you just may find someone crawling out from under your mattress.

Liv Warren is another wonderful character brought to us by Ms. Vincent. She is tough, makes her own rules and has learned over the years not to trust anyone. Liv is a paranormal tracker. She can find you with just one drop of blood over great distances. Things get complicated quickly when the daughter of one of her childhood friends goes missing. Liv is compelled to help thanks to an oath made when she was young. She cannot rest until the child is found. And this throws her right into the path of her former lover Cam Caballero, a man who is forbidden to her for reasons even he isn`t aware of. Cam also is skilled. He is a name-tracker and in the employ of the underworld boss that is in competition with the man Liv is bound to. Yeah, star-crossed doesn`t even begin to describe these two!

The two find themselves racing to save the child from two warring syndicates that rule this dark world. Liv and Cam have to move through lies, secrets, danger, drama and traumas, hopefully figuring out what dark secrets surround this missing girl before more blood begins to flow.

As with the ‘Shifter’ series, I found myself growing attached to Liv and Cam rapidly. The action and suspense are top-notch. The pace is perfect throughout. It is really hard for an author to give us a new world, but Ms. Vincent does an excellent job of introducing us to the skilled people who move throughout the book. She doesn`t rush or push, she simply lets the story revolve around Liv and you soon find yourself cheering for this woman. And of course, let us not forget to touch upon the bed-play! It is hot, tender and well-suited for the tale. There isn`t a ton of sex, but what we get is superbly written. The only thing I could find fault with in this novel is the switching between Liv and Cam. Most books that I`ve read that are in first-person stay with one character. This one goes back and forth. It was really confusing for me at first, and I had to stop reading and try to figure out what was happening. Once I got into the groove, then it was fine, and added a nice touch to be able to get inside Cam`s head as well as Liv`s.

If you`re a fan of the paranormal realm, then I recommend ‘Blood Bound’ by Rachel Vincent. And just to be certain, make sure you have the closet light on when you go to sleep.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Fifty Degree Day in Early January?!

I`ll take every single one of them I can get! Come on in gang, kick off your Muck boots and grab a mug!

What a glorious day it is here in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania! The sun is shining, the breeze is soft and I even have a few windows open. Thank you Mother Nature! After a couple days of brutal cold this respite is much appreciated. Aside from the weather, things here are running about as they usually do. We still have a turkey that thinks it`s April. Mister plans on candling his eggs in the incubator tonight, so I`ll let y`all know if any are fertile or not. The goats are just hanging out, gestating. We`re due to kid out in late March/early April so I have a long time to go until I get to hug and smooch new kids. I`m getting twitchy already!

Speaking of the goats, I went down with a baggie full of animal crackers the other day, in hopes of getting a good snapshot of myself for my author image. That little picture that appears on the back cover of a novel, sometimes with a short bio, was the last thing I had to get together before I submit my manuscript to the publisher. Mister came along as official photographer. Sure, I could have hired a professional, but I wanted the image to be homespun and natural, to reflect the books heroine, the cover art and its author. I just can`t picture me, on the back of my book, looking like a fashion model with poofed-up hair and clad in an evening gown, can you? Here are a few of the out-takes of the photo session. Those girls LOVE their animal
crackers and they don`t mind nipping fingers to get them!







So, what else? Last Sunday my beloved dryer moved to the appliance resting grounds. I cannot fault the old girl. She served me faithfully for over ten years, drying up to ten loads a week. We made a quick run to Beiter`s and carted home a new dryer. This one even has a light inside! Now, I am back in the game. Yippee she typed sarcastically. I swear if I had the money, I would pay someone to do my laundry for me and grocery shop. I hate grocery shopping! Put it in the cart, take it out of the cart to pay, bag it up and put it back in the cart. Take it out of the cart and put it in the truck, take it out of the truck and put it in the house. Take it out of the bags and put it in the cupboards, freezer, fridge or bathroom. Repeat next week! Blech I say!

Wow, I got off on a tangent there. I`ll try to stay on track. Since it was such a nice day today, Miss Yodeling and I went with my MIL over to Wally-World this morning. Mom-in-Law needed some stuff and I guess the money my child got for the holidays was burning a hole in her pocket, so we rode over. I didn`t need anything really, but as usual, I came home with some goodies. I found some new dishtowels with roosters on them, some batteries for Mister and a new green blanket for our bed. Last year Mister gifted me with a bedspread. It was white as fresh snow when I un-wrapped it. Yeah, a year later and you know what that white bedspread looks like now. With two cats and three dogs that have mud radar it wasn`t as white as it had been. I did look for different colors, such as Pennsylvania clay-mud brown, Poe the yellow Lab safflower or Trinity the black Lab ebony, but Wal-Mart doesn`t carry those hues. It was white, light blue or green. I picked green. Let`s hope that it stays neater than the white one did. I guess that`s about all the excitement here on the hillside farm!

Now, I suppose, I`ll go visit with my blogging buddies, finish my laundry and perhaps do a wee bit of writing on the second book in my ‘Gods & Goats’ series. Or maybe I`ll just slip on back and play some X-Box! Or read! Or nap! Or have another cuppa! The day is so full of possibilities!

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

One Liners - 1/4







Lucius - "The box really IS the best part of the gift!"


As always, y`all are encouraged to play along! Just leave your one-liner for the above photo in the comments section.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Word of Mouth - Gas Drilling and the Fracking of a Marriage

Happy 2012! *Tosses confetti into air*

I thought the best way to start off a new year was with a book review. What better way to ring in 2012 than with a new book to chat about?! I`ve finally gotten back into my reading rhythm since all the edits I`m going to do for now on ‘Of Gods & Goats’ are done and the holidays are behind us. This time around we`ll be sipping coffee and noshing about ‘Gas Drilling and the Fracking of a Marriage’ by Stephanie C. Hamel.



I have two confessions to make pertaining to this book. One is that I am SO bummed that I missed my chance to meet and talk to the author when she was having a book-event at our local indie bookstore, From my Shelf Books. I was deeply into NaNoWriMo mode and totally missed her appearance. Shame on me. Secondly, I must confess to doing what no reader should do. I judged the book by the cover before I read it. Shame on me twice. When I stopped into Kasey`s bookstore to pick up my copy, I had this niggling thought that this book would be dry, and filled with geological terminology that I would never grasp. BUT, the inclusion of the word ‘marriage’ placated my doubting Thomas nature. I can now say that Ms. Hamel`s book is anything but dry and filled with scientific jargon that left me bored. Learn from my mistakes people.

Ms. Hamel`s accounting of her struggle with the temptation of leasing her land to the natural gas companies is compelling, brutally honest and moving. The story takes place right in my neck of the woods, where gas drilling and ‘fracking’ (which is fracturing the shale beneath the surface) is in full swing. You cannot go anywhere in North-central Pennsylvania without seeing signs of natural gas drilling. Our once quiet roads are now crammed with tanker trucks carrying ‘fracking liquids’ (whatever they are). The hotels and motels and any rental house in the area are filled with out-of-state gas workers, and the pastoral acres that once had cattle and sheep meandering peacefully now have brightly lit towers instead of farm animals. It has been an economic boon to our poor county, and to the folks who signed the gas leases, myself and my hubby included. But at what cost to the environment?

Those questions, and countless more, are looked at with an amazingly honest eye in Ms. Hamel`s book. She does not shy away from showing us just how this heated topic tore into her marriage. She was firmly against signing the gas lease; her husband was strongly for signing. She didn`t wish to see the idyllic farmland she had spent summers playing on as a child turned into a drilling site. Her husband was looking at their financial future, and the very shaky job he had. Both had very good points. There is no right or wrong in this I learned when my husband and I sat down and talked about signing that gas lease a few years ago.

Since Ms. Hamel has a PhD in environmental health sciences, she was even more torn by the quandary. She couldn`t ignore the possible effects of gas drilling, but, she also had two young boys at home. The signing bonuses and royalties began to really erode her strong convictions, as it would anyone. She takes us through the journey in a book that is laid out in a journal form, as she speaks with friends, neighbors, professors, officials and family. She explores how taxing she was on her husband, and he her, as they grappled with this tempting, and possibly ecologically damaging, situation.

I was compelled to read and witness this one family`s tussle with very tough questions. It is a heartfelt and honest book. It will make you think about our role as stewards of the earth. What we are handing to our children? How much do our ideals mean when faced with going up against a large industry that has state law giving them the right to collect gas from under our property via a neighbors well, even if we don`t sign the lease, which would leave us sitting there without a dime while our neighbors rake in cash hand over fist? Ms. Hamel doesn`t have all the answers but she does pose some very thought-provoking questions that anyone, be they surrounded by natural gas drilling or not, will ponder over for quite a long time.