Y'all come on in!

Y'all come on in!

Monday, March 30, 2015

CRUISIN'!!!

I'm out on a seven day cruise and the Internet is cranky at times so my posts might be sporadic this week...pictures to come along as soon as I can get them downloaded!!
Y'all have a wonderful week and check back often.
Hugs to everyone,
Carolyn (who is getting into this cruisin' business)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

RECIPE SUNDAY!!!


I really, really like easy peazy recipes so when I went looking for a Spanish Rice Recipe to serve with tacos and pinto beans and came across this one, I fell in love with it! Since Mr. B's picante is a little on the warm side, it has a bit of a kick but if you stir it up in your beans and add a little grated cheese on the top, it cuts the fire quite a bit!
 
This week's winner of a signed book has been put on hold since I'm out of pocket most of this week. It's possible I'll be in crazy places that does not have wonderful reception so if I miss a day know that I'll be back in a few days!! Have a wonderful week!
Best Spanish Rice        

2 T. cooking oil
2 T. chopped onion
1 ½ cups of white rice
2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of salsa or picante sauce (Of course I use Mr. B’s Picante)

Saute the onion in the oil until it’s tender. This takes about 5 minutes. Add white rice and stir over medium heat until the rice starts to brown. Then add the broth and picante. Stir well, cover and let simmer until all the liquid is gone. I use a heavy cast iron skillet with a heavy matching lid. If you use something lighter you may need more liquid to get the rice really done.

 

 

 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How to Marry a Cowboy!

Sometimes folks ask me to name my favorite book! That's difficult because I have a favorite because it was my first cowboy book; a favorite because I loved the first line; a favorite because of the children in the story; a favorite because of the elderly ladies who were quite sassy. But I have to admit I did love writing about a set of twin girls who wanted a mama for their birthday in How to Marry a Cowboy! Thought I'd share some of the quotes and reviews about that book with you today!

From New York Times and USA Today-bestselling author Carolyn Brown comes a contemporary Western romance filled to the brim with sexy cowboys, gutsy heroines, and genuine down-home Texas twang.
Texas rancher Mason Harper's daughters want a new mama in the worst way, and when a beautiful woman in a tattered wedding gown appears on their doorstep, the two little girls adopt her-no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Mason isn't sure about taking in a complete stranger, but Lord knows he needs a nanny, and Annie Rose Boudreau stirs his heart in long-forgotten ways...
Annie Rose is desperate, and when a tall, sexy cowboy offers her a place to stay, she can't refuse. After all, it's just for a little while. As she settles in deeper, her heart tells her both Mason and her role as makeshift mama suit her just fine. But will Mason feel the same way once her nightmare past catches up with her?
Fans of Linda Lael Miller and Diana Palmer will thrill to this moving story of a lonely cowboy and his two little girls finding the family of their dreams.
Cowboys & Brides Series Order:
Billion Dollar Cowboy (Book 1, Cowboys & Brides)
The Cowboy's Christmas Baby (Book 2, Cowboys & Brides)
The Cowboy's Mail Order Bride (Book 3, Cowboys & Brides)
How to Marry a Cowboy (Book 4, Cowboys & Brides)
Praise for Bestselling Contemporary Western Romances by Carolyn Brown:
"Sizzling... Brown imbues her lively story with lots of heart."-Publishers Weekly
"Hilarious...a great, entertaining read."-Fresh Fiction
"Writing so expressive I could almost hear the country drawl."-Night Owl Reviewer Top Pick, 4 stars
 
My readers' favorite quotes!
 
“Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.”

“It's her privilege to say or think whatever she wants. It's mine to ignore her.”
Carolyn Brown, How to Marry a Cowboy 

“It’s this thing between us. The thing that we’ve been sidestepping all around rather than talking about it.”

“Kind of hard to talk about something that neither of us can even define.”

Annie Rose stood up, walked over to him, wrapped her arms around his neck, rolled up on her toes, and kissed him hard right on the lips. It didn’t feel strange and there was nothing but a tingling feeling in the pit of his stomach when she pulled away.

“Now we’ve talked about it,” she said. “Good night, Mason. See you at breakfast.”
Carolyn Brown, How to Marry a Cowboy  

"I said that it would be easy to fall in love with you,” he repeated.

“But would it be wise?”

He cocked his head to one side and their eyes locked in the short space between them. Slowly his chin went up and down in a nod. “I believe it might be the wisest thing I could do in this lifetime.”

“Then you have my permission.”
Carolyn Brown, How to Marry a Cowboy

 “One hand went around her shoulders and the other one tipped her chin up. For several seconds he lost himself in her blue eyes and then his lips found hers in a lingering kiss and both her arms went instinctively around his neck.“I’ve wanted to do that all morning,” he said. “I’ve wanted you to do that all morning,” she whispered. “I guess we don’t need to talk about this thing anymore now.” “I’m ready to do lots of things, Annie Rose. Talk is not anywhere on the list.” Carolyn Brown, How to Marry a Cowboy!

If you've read the book, tell me what you liked best? Did you giggle when Lily and Gabby baptized the goats?

 

Friday, March 27, 2015

COVER REVEAL!!!

Arriving at the end of December, 2015
 
SOMETIMES ALL LOVE NEEDS IS A LITTLE LUCK

Allie Logan isn't the type to land a hot hunk of cowboy. Truth is, she's given up on dating since shedding her no-good ex. But the new owner of the most ramshackle ranch in Texas might just change her mind about that. He's six-foot-plus of tall, dark, and charming-the kind of guy who could make a girl throw caution to the wind . . . or the kind of guy who could break her heart.

Blake Dawson hopes he can make Lucky Penny Ranch finally live up to its name, but the property needs a ton of work. Allie and her carpentry skills are his best shot at getting things in order. Besides the fact that her brown eyes and dangerous curves have him roped and tied. Now Blake only needs to convince her that a wild cowboy can be tamed by love-and she's just the one to do it . . .
 
It will be up for preorder on all the sites sometime next week. Wild Cowboy Ways is the first in a four book series so don't take your boots off!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gotcha!!


Not long ago, I heard about this 114 year old woman who let my neighbor in on the real fountain of youth secret. She said everyone out chasing diets and new exercise programs were crazy as outhouse rats.

The secret was simply to pour up one eighth of a cup of apple cider vinegar and drink it each day. I wasn’t going to consider taking a bath in the stuff or even drink a cup full twice a day but hey, how awful could one eighth of a cup be?

So I rustled around in the cabinet until I found the apple cider vinegar. I should have realized that it was amongst the things I brought with me when we moved into this house…36 years ago. It had a price sticker of nineteen cents on it and use by label that had had faded so badly I couldn’t even read it.

But vinegar is vinegar. Once the apple juice turns to vinegar it’s finished with the process and it stays vinegar forever, amen.

I got out my eighth cup measure and poured it full to the brim, carefully transferred that to a jelly glass and it didn’t look like so much at all. Then I filled a glass with crushed ice and water to chase it with, just like the woman said she did after drinking it each day.

It didn’t smell bad enough to set off my gag reflex so that was a step in the right direction. I grabbed the vinegar in one hand and the ice water in the other and threw back that vinegar like an old cowgirl drinking moonshine on a Saturday afternoon western.

Surprise! Surprise! I didn’t even need the ice water. It had a faint kick but there was nothing to it. If this was a better way than running ten miles a day and giving up chocolate then bring on the vinegar.

The next day Mr. B was on the way to the grocery store and asked if I needed anything. Yes, sir, I needed a half gallon of apple cider vinegar. I was going to cheat the undertaker out of a funeral for many, many years while I ate all the bacon I wanted.

That night I poured up my dosage and threw it back in a dramatic gesture. I had not even gone to the bother of making a glass of ice water. And in that moment I found out that there is such a thing as “old” vinegar.

My hair stood straight up on end. I shivered to the end of my toenails. I danced a full-fledged rain dance in my living room floor on knees that begged me to cease and desist. I tried to breathe buy my lungs were on strike. My stomach drew up so tight I couldn’t have gotten a chocolate kiss inside it.

I considered dialing 911 but my hands were trembling so badly I couldn’t punch the buttons. Any minute I was going to fall to the floor and Mr. B would find me graveyard dead when he came to see what the commotion was all about. I could picture him engraving on my tombstone, “Here lies the woman who thought she was meaner than vinegar!”

When I finally got control of my senses I had a whole new respect for vinegar and for that woman who drank it every day. If I ever have the privilege of meeting that lady I’m going to shake her hand and do my level best to stay on her good side. It’s no wonder she’s lived to be that old. There is not a germ out there that would cross a woman who could drink that every day.

Old age is even afraid of her. It probably had a meeting with her back at the 100 mark and said, “Darlin’ when you decide to be old, you just let me know. Until then I’m not messin’ with you.”

I’m convinced that anyone who could take that dose every twenty four hours could arm wrestle a constipated cougar with one arm tied behind her back…and win!!

Exercise and dieting do not look so bad after all!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Quotes from The Trouble With Texas Cowboys

Today's quotes come from The Trouble With Texas Cowboys. There's a feud going on in Burnt Boot, Texas and the two feuding families have put Jill and Sawyer right in the middle of it! What's your favorite of the ones listed or do you have a different one! I'd love to hear it!

“Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit, I'm livin' with a prophet.”
Carolyn Brown, The Trouble with Texas Cowboys

“An old black bull threw back his head and bawled when the cows behind him didn't keep up, as if telling them the breakfast buffet was about to be spread, and he wasn't waiting for grace.”
Carolyn Brown, The Trouble with Texas Cowboys

“You are full of shit, Sawyer O'Donnell. I believe that you invented the Blarney Stone instead of kissed it.”
Carolyn Brown, The Trouble with Texas Cowboys

“Are you kin to the Gallaghers or the Brennans?" Jill asked.
"Hell, no! If I was, I'd shoot myself in the head with this gun.”
Carolyn Brown, The Trouble with Texas Cowboys

 “Money is just dirty paper with dead presidents' pictures on it.”
Carolyn Brown, The Trouble with Texas Cowboys

“You aren't a nice cowboy. Are you going to break my heart so bad that I have to write a country song about it?”
Carolyn Brown, The Trouble with Texas Cowboys
 
“Be sure to get her home before midnight. She turns into a rabid coyote when the clock strikes twelve." Sawyer moved on down the bar to fill a pitcher with beer.
"That true, darlin'?" Tyrell asked.
"Got to take the bad with the good," Jill answered.”
Carolyn Brown, The Trouble with Texas Cowboys
 
“Did you ever hear of the turd theory?" she asked. He shook his head.
"It goes like this. You think if a certain obnoxious person wasn't in your life, then everything would be just peachy. Then that person is miraculously out of your life, and behold, another turd floats to the top," Jill said.”
Carolyn Brown, The Trouble with Texas Cowboys

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Quotes from The Ladies' Room

For the next few days I'm going to share some of my awesome reader's favorite quotes with all  y'all. Today's quotes come directly from The Ladies' Room! Which one is your favorite? Or is it not listed?

“When opportunity knocks, you don't leave it standing on the doorstep. You invite it in and feed it chocolate cake.”
Carolyn Brown, The Ladies Room

“Don't worry about tomorrow or let the past ruin today.”
Carolyn Brown, Ladies' Room, The    

“Because you can make decisions for yourself even if they're wrong. Mistakes can be corrected. Life is too short to have everyone else tell you how to live. Make a few mistakes, and learn from them. At least they'll be real, and you'll be living, not just existing.”
Carolyn Brown, The Ladies Room

“A true lady never lets someone know when he's riled her; otherwise she's giving away her power and her crown.”
Carolyn Brown, Ladies' Room, The    

“I can't say I've been in love with you my whole life. But I can say that I intend to be for the rest of it. I don't even know when it happened, but it did. I can't get you off my mind or out of my heart.”
Carolyn Brown, Ladies' Room, The

“God bless the woman who'd invented air-conditioning. Okay, it might have been a man, but I'll bet you dollars to earthworms that a woman nagged him into it.”
Carolyn Brown, The Ladies Room

"Men are so frustrating; sometimes I think they really do come from Mars. That's the planet where they take boy babies' souls at birth to raise them with no feminine influence of any kind. They use John Wayne as the primary role model and make them mean and tough. Then they return their souls to them when they start puberty. That's why they are so obsessed with the female species at that time. After all, they've been living on Mars, where no such things exist.”
Carolyn Brown, The Ladies Room

“My mind went back to Bambi. If there were too many deer, then hunters were given the opportunity to shoot them. Cheating husbands were also a problem in the balance of nature, and there were far too many of them. Why couldn't there be open season on cheating husbands? Deceived wives could purchase a gun, take lessons, and receive a cheating-husband hunting license complete with a big red "A" label to tie to the man's zipper after the kill. Open season could be scheduled months in advance to give the husbands a fighting chance. They could hide in refuges or stay home and take their chances at being shot through the living room window as they watched Monday Night Football.” ― Carolyn Brown, The Ladies Room 

“Don't worry about tomorrow or let the past ruin today.”
Carolyn Brown, Ladies' Room, The

Monday, March 23, 2015

SANDAL WEATHER!!!


Okay, ladies, sandal time has officially arrived.

The time has arrived to free our feet from shoes and don summer sandals. Right?

Wrong!

That makes about as much sense as freeing my body from a nice long muumuu and telling it to get ready for a bright hot pink Spandex bikini. Girlfriend, at my size and age, Spandex is not my friend. Neither are sandals. At least not in the shape my feet are in after a whole winter of neglect.

What to do? This is the question.

First, get all those creams and potions out of the bathroom cabinet and use them for a whole week. Faithfully.

At the end of the week, when you can walk across the hardwood without taking off the first layer of varnish, then you’ll be ready for the official sandal oath. It will be administered at 7 p.m. on the first day of June in the privacy of your own bedroom. Just watch the clock and when the alarm goes off raise your big toes six inches off the floor and repeat the oath.

If you are blonde, please be reassured you do not have to memorize the oath. It is perfectly okay to read the words and you can put your toes down as soon as the oath is finished.

Now repeat the following:

I will promise to always wear sandals that fit. My toes will not hang over and touch the ground. Nor will my heels spill over the back. The sides and tops of my feet will not pudge out between the straps. A note to Great Aunt Gert: Honey, you need to buy a size eight in sandals. I know you got married in a size five and swore you’d never wear anything bigger, but the time has come to be realistic.

I will go polish-free or vow to keep the polish fresh, intact and chip-free. I will not cheat and just touch up my big toe since it is the most visible.

I will sand down any mounds of skin on my heels before they turn hard and yellow. And especially before they have grooves in them big enough to hide an army tank inside.

I will not leave hairs on my big toe. Not even if it does hurt to pull them out with the tweezers.

I won’t wear pantyhose with sandals, not even if my misinformed girlfriend or sister tells me the toe seam really will stay under my toes if I tuck it in.

If a strap breaks, I promise I will not duct-tape, pin, super glue or tuck it back into place with the hopes that it will stay put. I will take my shoe to the repair shop or else toss it in the dumpster at the back of the lot. Note to Great Aunt Gert: It’s all right to throw away a pair of shoes.

I will not live in corn denial. Corns do not imply advanced aging. I will buy those little round patches to get rid of the pesky critters if the need arises.

I will resist the urge to buy those cute little jelly shoes at the Payless store for the low, low price of only $3.99. This is for the safety of myself as well as others who might be in close proximity to me. No one can walk properly when standing in a pool of sweat and I would hate to take someone down with me as I fall and break my ankle.

I will take my toe ring off toward the end of the day if my toes swell and begin to look like Vienna sausages.

I will be brutally honest with my girlfriends when they ask me if their feet are too ugly to wear sandals.

After reciting the pledge, run, don’t walk, to the nearest place for a foot make-over. Then chase on down to the shoe store for something to put on your young looking feet. Yes, Great Aunt Gert, I will pick you up at 7:15 and we will go shopping for some size eight white sandals.

 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Winner and Recipes!

It's Sunday which means it's time to draw for the winner of a signed copy of The Blue Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee!! But first I want to thank everyone who has dropped by the blog site, who has commented or joined the site, or who has read my posts and told other folks about them. You are all appreciated so much. The winner of this week's signed book is Deniese Fawcett . Please send your snail mail address to ccbrown66@att.net and I'll get that sent to you!
Next week I will be giving away a signed copy of The Red Hot Chili Cook Off!

And now for the Sunday morning recipe.

Back when my youngest child was in the Executives (the show choir for the Davis High School) the Browns provided breakfast for the choir and their families on the day they performed at the Oklahoma State Fair. The menu was usually a crockpot full of sausage gravy, hot biscuits, oven omelets and homemade cinnamon rolls. It was the oven omelets that got dozens of recipe requests so that's what I'm sharing with you this lovely Sunday morning.

OVEN OMELETS

2 Dozen eggs
1 pound of browned sausage
1 pound of grated cheese (I like Colby Jack or mild cheddar)
An assortment of toppings...chopped onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, etc.
Picante Sauce (recipe follows)

Scramble one dozen eggs and spread them out evenly into the bottom of a 9x11 cake pan.
Top that with sausage, then half the cheese, another dozen scrambled eggs and the rest of the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted.

I made several of these since we were feeding about 50 people that morning so I covered them with a slightly damp tea towel and kept them in a warm oven until time to serve another pan full.

Each person can top it off with whatever they like. Most of my family likes a spoonful of picante on top of theirs so I'll share that recipe, too!

Picante Sauce

6 cans (15-16 oz) whole tomatoes
1 jar or can (12-15 oz) jalapenos (If you buy in bulk like we do then about 2 cups with plenty of juice)
2 onions (about the size of tennis balls)
1 ½ Tablespoons garlic powder
1 ½ Teaspoons each of salt and pepper

Blend jalapenos, juice, stems and all with the onions until smooth. Pour into a gallon container. (I use an old plastic tea pitcher just for this. Once you make picante in it, don’t try to use it for tea again!) Blend the tomatoes to the consistency that you like. Mr. B hits the pulse button about three times but if you like chunks of tomatoes blend a little less. Add that to the pepper and onion mix. Add the spices. Stir well and store in the refrigerator.  

We save jelly jars to store it in because the kids like to take  a jar home every time they come through the house. My daughter who lives a hundred miles away usually asks her dad to make a whole gallon for her and we put it in a clean gallon milk jug…travels real well that way.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

What started it all!


In high school we had an English teacher who made us read a book and do a report every six weeks. That’s six books a year. No problem for me at all since I read six books or more a month. She was of the modern persuasion that high school students could read whatever they wanted so I read romance books and did lovely multiple page reports on them. I tried so hard to make her see and feel the emotions I did when I read the books

And at the bottom of one of my reports she wrote, “Why do you read this trash?”

It didn’t break my heart for me but for her because that “trash” had so much to offer. The words in those books brought tears, laughter and anger. They expanded my world and took me to places a small town girl could never see in reality. How could she not see that?

The more I read, the more I wanted to be able to put words on paper like those authors did. In short, I wanted to be a writer!

Years went by. Marriage at a young age. Three children in less than five years. Lots of moving and shoving my manuscripts into a box to store because with raising kids, who had time to write?

Then my kids were grown so I got out a notebook, sharpened a few pencils with good erasers and started writing. Wore out several erasers and typed the chapters into a word processor at night after I’d written all day. Finally finished two manuscripts and sent a query letter (complete with return envelope) to an editor.

She wrote back in big block letters on a piece of company stationary, “My typewriter is broken. Please send both manuscripts.”

So I printed them at about a page every five minutes, packaged them exactly as I was supposed to, kissed them for good luck and sent them to her by mail...and waited. A few weeks later I got “the call” that she wanted to buy both books. That was in 1997!

Eighty one books later, I believe I have an answer for my English teacher. “I’m so very glad I read that trash because it gave me a love for telling stories and touching people’s lives, even if only to entertain them.”

So today I’m wondering what I would be if I wasn’t a writer. It’s hard to even imagine!

If you had taken a different fork in the road, what would you be?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Spring All Y'all!


The calendar has proclaimed this day as the first day of spring. And we all know that the calendar never lies!

First we have spring fever and then lazy days of summer. One begets the other. Spring fever means we run around in circles. Planting flowers. Cleaning closets and cabinets. Dragging out the summer clothes and putting away the sweaters and coats. When it’s finished we’re dog tired and ready to do nothing but be lazy during the hot days of summer.

Just before spring fever attacks, there is a week dedicated to procrastination. It’s that time of year when it’s cold and rainy one day, sunny and warm the next, then back to snow flurries and threats of ice storms. Everyone knows that it takes at least two warm days in a row to infect folks with spring fever, so the powers-that-be dubbed a whole week in March official Procrastination Week. Because everyone also knows that March can never make up its mind what to produce, so it’s a perfect time for dyed-in-the-wool procrastinators to have their moment of glory.

Those who belong to the Ancient Order of Slow Moving Turtles (the Procrastinator’s Society) have come out of their shrouded, veiled meetings to share with the rest of us their canonical creed. They only have a meeting once a year. If they proved they could plan even two meetings a year, they’d lose their official fez with a picture of a slow moving turtle emblazoned right beneath the tassel.

Long ago Mr. B’s father was crowned the King of Procrastination and given the official AOOSMT royal blue fez. Since he had three sons, they each hold the title of Prince of Procrastination (POP for short) and they wear a crimson fez. I’m not sure they will ever be in the same class as their father and earn their royal blue fez. If Mr. B does, he may find his fez in the dumpster with all that stuff I cleaned out of the refrigerator. I may even rake all the stuff that resembles guacamole into the fez before I toss it in the dumpster.

During Procrastination Week, it is a virtual sin to do anything other than breathing, eating and sleeping, and waiting. It is the week to do nothing but wait: the true procrastinator’s favorite four letter word. It is not to be confused with patience. Patience can produce results. Procrastination can not. They will not be nagged into doing something productive. They are only permitted to dust off their fez every morning and w-a-i-t.

We are very familiar with the canonical creed. We can recite most of it by rote. The creed goes something like this:

I believe that if anything is worth doing, it would have already been done.

I shall never move quickly, except to avoid more work or find excuses.

I will never rush into a job without a lifetime of consideration.

I firmly believe that tomorrow holds the possibility for new technologies, astounding discoveries, and a reprieve from my obligations.

I obey the law of excuses which says that the greater the task to be done, the more insignificant the work that must be done prior to beginning the greater task.

I know the work cycle is not plan/start/finish, but is wait/yawn/wait.

I will never put off until tomorrow, what I can forget about forever.

Spring fever follows right on the heels of Procrastination Week. That’s to keep us wives who are married to members of the ancient AOOSMT out of divorce courts. Spring fever finally bites them. They hang up their fezzes, sigh and get on with the honey-do jobs. I for one am almighty glad to see spring arrive. It’s time to clean the ‘fridge and that fez could hold a lot of garbage.

 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

WRITE don't WHINE!


Sometimes folks ask me to write an article on how to go about writing a book, how to get published or how to get an agent.

This is when I get downright serious and tell them, WRITE don’t WHINE!!

Both words have five letters. Both begin with W, end with E and have an I right in the middle. That makes them shirt tail kin but it doesn’t make them blood brothers by any means.

Someone once said that writing is about five percent inspiration and 95 percent perspiration. It’s not an easy job and it takes dedication and discipline…which are two D words that both have ten letters, start with a D and define the writing job pretty good.

With that in mind, whining gets nothing done. You can do it all day and at the end of the day you’ve got a blank page and a frustrated feeling that even chocolate won’t cure. Whereas if you spend the day writing, it might not be perfect, but hey, you’ve got something on that page that you can rework. And who knows it could be the next New York Time’s best seller when you finish the story. The great Nora Roberts said in a conference I attended that you can’t fix anything on a blank page but if you write every day, you will have some raw material to work with.

Put aside how to get published or how to get an agent. If you don’t have a finished book, you might as well be whistlin’ “Dixie” in the wind. Finish that book. Then it’s time to think about publishers and/or agents.

I agree with that person who said that about inspiration and perspiration but I’ll go a step further and say, “It’s five percent inspiration and 95 percent ‘sit your butt in the chair and don’t let anything distract you,’ and that is where those two D words come into play.”

So I get up every morning and look at the woman in the bathroom mirror and remind myself that today I will not whine, today I will write. It’s called practicing what I preach and preaching what I practice.

It’s tough love that I give to myself and to those who ask me my advice. But at the end of the day, when I’ve got words on the computer screen, it’s a heck of a lot more profitable than whining.

So go write, my aspiring friends.

Which brings me to a story. I’ll make it short. Several years ago I received a letter from a group who was trying to start a writer’s club. I was so excited that they recognized me as an author until I looked closely at the heading on the letter: TO ALL EXPIRING AUTHORS!

I asked Mr. B exactly how dead I had to be to join the club.

My advice is write, don’t whine, and when you finish that book, be sure to spell check it before you hand it off to someone for consideration!!

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Everything I learned about life I learned from having a sister!

Not so many years ago we were introduced to a little booklet that told us that all we ever needed to know about life we learned in kindergarten. Since I didn't go to kindergarten, I must have missed out on what I needed to know to make me a proper adult. I was so disappointed!

Then I read an article that declared all we need to know about life we could learn from reading T-shirts. I read lots of them. Like ...  If they don’t have chocolate in Heaven, then I ain’t going. At my age, I've seen it all, done it all, heard it all, I just can't remember it all.  My mother is a travel agent for guilt trips.

I could surely relate to most of them, especially that part about “can’t remember it all.”

But I couldn’t read every tee shirt in the world so I must not know everything about life after all. Then I realized that maybe I’d learned my lessons another way. I knew those who went to kindergarten or those who create tee shirts don’t have a thing on me. Because I learned everything I needed to know about life from having a sister.


She’s been gone now for more than a year but I still value all those life lessons I learned from having her in my life for sixty years!

In our younger days my sister and I learned such things as tolerance ... that would be how to hold my temper in check and not kill her graveyard dead for cutting up my brand new Playtex Living Girdle. We learned that group therapy can be beneficial ... that’s when the two of us ganged up on our brother and made him wish he was graveyard dead.

Yep, Sister and I shared a lot of lessons along the life’s journey.

Such as:

A good long talk can cure almost anything. A good long visit with Sister could cure anything from baby blues to insomnia. Baby blues is that horrid feeling right after a child is born, right after they go to school the first time, when they loose their first tooth or when they graduate from high school. Insomnia can be the result of menopause, PMS or empty nest syndrome or just plain needing to talk a while after reading the best romance novel in the whole world.

Listening is just as important as talking. Sister could cook supper, fold the laundry, clean up the grandkid’s messy face and wash the dishes with the telephone hung on her shoulder as she listens. When it’s over she’ll say, “I know just how you feel, honey.” And the tone of her voice is sincere.

A sister is better than a therapist and cheaper, too! She knew about the time I skipped church and used the offering money to buy gasoline to drag Main. She didn't judge me but more importantly she didn't tell Mama or Aunt Ruth, who already thought I was an abomination unto the Lord for my mini skirts!

Sisters are like wine ... they get better with age. We endured all the problems of teenage marriages, children, grandchildren, every diet every created, wars and rumors of wars, high school reunions, shopping for a bathing suit. Yep, I’d say she was every bit as good as one of those fancy French wines with a faded label.

Great minds think alike, especially when they are sisters! My sister and I could finish each other’s sentences. Most of the time we don’t even need to talk. A flick of the hand, a raising of the eyebrow and suddenly everything was funny, or else we’d burst into tears at the memories we’d just evoked about the day our Granny went to heaven.

Everyone needs someone with whom to share their secrets. We never wanted to talk to either of us about those pills that make you tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We’d have had to bite our tongues off and I’m not sure they would grow back.

Calories don’t’ count when you are having lunch (or any food) with your sister. That is the absolute, guaranteed gospel. Just go to lunch with your sister, order up a double order of fries, a chocolate malt and giggle about everything that’s happened the last six weeks. You won’t weigh a pound more the next day. Do not try this with your husband/boyfriend/fiancĂ©. For one thing, they wouldn’t be interested listening to anything that makes you giggle. If you don’t giggle all the fat grams goes straight to your thighs.

You can never have too many shoes. Only a Sister or maybe a best girlfriend could understand this statement. How could a mere person of the male gender ever understand the way it feels to open a closet door and find shoe boxes stacked to the ceiling. There’s just something that warms the soul in knowing that no matter what life throws at us we will be able to choose a pair of shoes and keep on walking.

Gems may be precious, but a sister’s friendship is priceless. And I miss my sister every single day!

 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Press One game!

Don’t you hate it when you are pressed for time but you make the phone call anyway and the recording answers? Thank you for calling our office. Press one for English. (Then there’s a string of what sounds like my Granny would wash my mouth out with soap for saying next and then the mechanical voice goes on.) We appreciate your call but all our personnel is busy at this time. Press two if you would like to talk to a representative. Don't hang up if you do. Your wait time is presently only three days past eternity. Press three to leave a message and we will return your call.

If they can do that to us then we should be able to return the favor, right? With that in mind, I counted the numbers on the phone and thought how nice it would be to program my answering machine to give them a taste of their own medicine when they finished eating those doughnuts and called me back.

Hello, this is the Brown residence. We appreciate you returning our call. Before we answer the phone we would like for you to listen to the following menu. At any time you can hang up and call back if you forget what I said last. When you press the right button I will answer or if you hear a beep that means I’m not available after all and you can leave a message.

Press One if you are calling about the return process on the order I made last week for a dress that had enough X’s in the size that it should have fit someone other than a size three teenager.

Press two if you ate breakfast this morning.

Press three if you are eating or have chocolate within three feet of your hand.

Press four if it is raining in your world today.

Press five if you have shopped for a bathing suit in the last five years.

Press seven if your husband is outside flirting with the neighbor while you listen to this message.

Press eight if your windows have been washed in the past two years.

Press nine if you have a gallon of milk going sour in the refrigerator. 

Do not press the O for operator or your phone will disintegrate in your hands and the FBI, CSI, NCIS and maybe even the DGAD (that would be the Don’t Give a Damn people) will show up at your door and take away your phones, Internet service and all technical devices from your home. 

Thank you for calling. You can expect our return call within thirty days. If you have not heard from me in forty five days, please know that I have joined the DGAD. Have a nice day now and be sure to sniff that milk before you taste it. Oh, and I was joking about your husband and the neighbor so I hope you didn't break a leg running from the living room to the kitchen window to check on him. But it might be a smart idea to wash those windows so you can keep an eye on that hussy next door because she did shop for a bathing suit and she bought a bikini.
 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Taxes! 'Nuff Said!


Dear Mr. I.R.S.

This is a notice that I have sent in my 2015 Federal Taxes and all forms that you requested with it. So Happy Early Birthday to You!
If you would cancel any and all subscriptions that you have in my name I would appreciate it greatly. I'm not sure my checking account, my heart or my tear ducts can take much more of this.

I sincerely hope that I have filled out said Form 1040 correctly and that line 38 meets with your approval. It took two boxes of tissues to clean up the tears I shed as I wrote the number in line 79. I was wise enough to take two heart attack pills before I got to that line. If you find fault with any of this form please lay the blame on Uncle Jasper who over sampled the moonshine on the day he was helping me tally up all the figures.

We would like to ask that next year you put in an extra space or two for folks who no longer have exemptions in the way of children. Check here for each tom cat, dog, hamster or guinea pig or any other pet that requires food. And also a space to mark for a deduction if the grandkids eat at our house more than once a month.

I have mortgaged my two tom cats for the money to send this check to you. Don’t worry though. If the bank comes to repossess either of them, I reckon they’ll find themselves in the emergency room for stitches since the boys don't take much to strangers.

I hope your birthday is a happy one. The size of this check might not reduce the national debt by much but it should provide at least more than one steak dinner at your favorite restaurant for you and Miss Self Employment Tax. Insist that she buy the dessert every single time. With that sizable lump I sent her you can even order the extra large double chocolate fudge cheese cake.

Sincerely,

Carolyn L. Brown
 
 

 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Winner & Pumpkin Bread


Recipe Sunday is here!
And the winner of this week's contest
is in the house!!


First the winner of this week's contest. Miz Jessica Laas please step right up and tell me if you want a B&N or an Amazon Gift Card. Congratulations and enjoy the card.

I know that most people think about Thanksgiving when pumpkin bread is mentioned. But in the Brown family we don't save it for the holidays. It might be in some of our marriage vows...I will love, honor, respect and bake pumpkin bread once a month until death do us part.
Pumpkin Bread


½ cup butter or soft marjarine
½ cup shortening
(NOTE: I use all butter or even oil if I’m out of shortening)
2 2/3 cups of sugar
4 eggs
2 c. canned pumpkin (one 15-16 ounce can)
3 ½ cups flour
  teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons soda
1 c. pecans (this is optional. I don’t use them very often)
2/3 cup of cold strong black coffee
Cream first four ingredients. Add sweet potatoes. Add dry ingredients alternately with coffee.
This makes 2 loaves and 8 muffins. Or it makes one bundt cake.
Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour for loaves or bundt cake, 25 minutes for muffins, or until they test done in the center.
Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.
I have made this into a 9x13 pan and used the rest for muffins. Then I put a Harvest Moon Frosting on the cake.
Harvest Moon Frosting: Combine in double boiler 3 eggs whites, 1 ½ cups of brown sugar, dash of salt and 6 T. water. Cook 7 minutes, beating the whole time with electric mixer, over the boiling water. It will stand in peaks when done. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until thick enough to spread.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

TOP 100 Best sellers!

Excitement is bouncing off the walls today in southern Oklahoma! Five of my contemporary romance books are listed in the Top 100 Best Selling Contemporary Romances at Amazon!!

Secrets told in the church ladies' room are supposed to stay in the ladies' room. But that doesn't mean that what Trudy overhears there during her great-aunt Gertrude's funeral won't change the rest of her life.
Trudy has a daughter in the middle of a major rebellion, a two-timing husband who has been cheating for their entire married life, and a mother with Alzheimer's residing in the local nursing home. She doesn't really need a crumbling old house about to fall into nothing but a pile of memories and broken knickknacks.
Billy Lee Tucker, resident oddball in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, lived next door to Gert, and in her will she leaves him the funds to help Trudy remodel the old house. That's fine with Billy Lee, because he's been in love with Trudy since before they started school. And just spending time with her is something he'd never ever allowed himself to dream about.
A beautiful home rises up from the old house on Broadway, and right along with it rises up a relationship. But is Trudy too scarred from what she heard in the ladies' room to see a lovely future with Billy Lee?

Kim Brewster’s ill-fated marriage was annulled so quickly that she thought she could keep the whole thing a secret…until she found out she was pregnant. But before her confession can blow a hole in the seemingly perfect lives of the Brewster women, her great-grandmother, Hannah, drops a bomb of her own. She’s selling her hotel and moving to a farm in Oklahoma—and all the Brewsters are coming with her. Kim is sure her grandmother, Karen, and mother, Sue, won’t go along with the plan, but Hannah can be very convincing. Soon the women are working the farm, selling their wares from a roadside stand, and finally feeling like a family.And as the Brewster women’s lives take shape in ways they never expected, Kim may have found another shot at love. Luke thought he’d washed his hands of women, but when he stops by the vegetable stand and meets Kim, he’s instantly smitten. To find love, though, they’ll both have to dig past their hidden secrets.

All’s fair in love and war, and Sophie is determined to win the battle for her aunt Maud’s cattle ranch—even if it means fighting Elijah, a rude ex-military man. But it seems that even from the grave Aunt Maud is still matchmaking; her will states that both Sophie and Elijah must share the ranch evenly, and neither wants to give up a share. But Sophie’s main focus is on the ranch, not romance; she just put her life back together after being betrayed in her previous marriage.As the two work side by side, their feelings begin to change. But before they can find their happily ever after, Elijah must see through Sophie’s hard armor to the sweet soul beneath, and Sophie must help Elijah overcome his wartime nightmares of fallen friends. In Life After Wife, second chances and true love are strong, triumphing amid heartache and despair.

After her divorce, best-selling romance author, Mary Jane Marsh Simmons decided to move all seven of her girls out of the big city and back home to her hometown, Nacona, Texas. So when the last remaining relative of Miz Raven died and the Paradise was put on the market, she bought it, an old house that had been a brothel during the cattle trial days in Spanish Fort, Texas.
Joe Clay Carter had just retired from twenty years in the Marines, Special Forces. He'd lived through wars and rumors of wars and decided to go home to Nacona to do nothing but play poker, draw his retirement check and enjoy life. Two weeks later he was bored stiff, his motel room closing in on him, and he was seriously thinking of reenlisting until high old high school crush, Mary Jane, came to his door asking him to remodel her new house.
As teenagers Mary Jane never gave Joe Clay a second glance, so he was surprised by her offer. Immediately they shook on the deal and he moved into her house to get started. Much to his surprise, the house came filled to the roof with little girls, good food, and crazy conversation, all wrapped up in a house that needed a minor miracle to fix by Christmas. He wasn't sure if he could get it done in time but he was willing to try. If only Mary Jane was willing to give him a chance too.

Dixie Nelson arrived in Florida with a mad spell sitting on her shoulders. Her two friends Faith and Jill could flirt with the tanned and gorgeous men on the beaches all they wanted. She wasn't going to do anything but try to get over her anger and enjoy a perfect summer... one with no men allowed in her heart. Not even the good looking T-shirt painter who employed her right after he accused her of shop lifting.
Boone Callahan spent all his summers in Florida, painting and selling T-shirts to the tourists. How was he supposed to know the woman running out of his shop with three tee shirts tucked under her arm wasn't trying to steal them? Or that when he hired her as part-time help she would wind up stealing his heart?
Dixie and her friends, all school teachers from Arkansas, have endured wars and rumors of wars, true PMS, men problems, school problems, and shared the joys and sorrows of life for five years. Nothing could possibly destroy their friendship. But during the wonderfully hot summer, the very roots of the Sisterhood are shaken. Will it survive? Can Dixie and Boone find a future together? Is "happily ever after" a myth or does it really happen?


Friday, March 13, 2015

Giving the cat a pill!


The cat was ailing. Poor little helpless thing can barely hold his furry head up. He looks up with the most forlorn expression begging, just simply begging for help. A quick run to the vet’s office and back home with a bunch of pills, and the little darling is still lifeless.

Do what the instructions say and the poor little darlin' will hop right up and play with the catnip mouse. He will be forever indebted to me for saving his life. He will come when I yell, “Kitty, kitty,” instead of pretending to be deaf. All those crazy people who made the comment about folks owning dogs and feeding cats will be eating their words.

The instructions on the pill box said to pick up the cat, cradling it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

Nothing to giving the cat a simple little pill. Anyone could do that standing on their head and cross-eyed. I picked up the lifeless cat and did just what they said. It did not work.

The following instructions were not written on the box.

Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

Take the cat into the bathroom so the space is smaller. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm, holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

Retrieve pill from potty and cat from top of refrigerator. How he got out that door is a mystery. Call spouse from garden.

Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees while holding its front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Remember this is a house pet not a hungry lion. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

Retrieve cat from curtain rail and get another pill from foil wrap.  Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from dry sink and set to one side for gluing later.

Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with a pencil and blow down drinking straw.

It said blow, not suck on straw. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans. Drink two glasses of milk for an antidote and a liter of Dr. Pepper to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Get another pill. Open another Dr. Pepper ... just in case. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing.  Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with rubber band.

Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges.  Drink Dr. Pepper. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw bloody and tattered tee shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

Ring the fire department to retrieve the miserable cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into a fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil-wrap.

Tie the little devil’s front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table. Find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.

Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room. Sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.

Take the miserable wild cat to the animal shelter. Pay them 50 bucks to keep him. Give them the instructions for the pills. See if they have a nice dog.

Ask for instructions on how to give a dog a pill. It says: How to Give A Dog A Pill:  Wrap it in bacon. Practice in the animal shelter before you leave. It works just fine. Fill out adoption papers which say in fine print at the bottom: you now own a dog and you never did own a cat to begin with.

 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

They call it mid-life!


When I was fifteen, fifty-something year old women were absolutely ancient. They were grandmothers with funny looking glasses and baggy house dresses. I declared I would never look like that, not even when I was ninety-something.

When I was thirty, fifty-something year old women were kind of old. They were mothers with no nonsense attitudes and awful taste in shoes. I might have a no nonsense attitude but never would I wear those orthopedic shoes with a silk suit.

When I was forty, fifty-something year old women were my older cousins. Gosh, women were getting younger every generation.

Now, I’m sixty-something. I’m not ancient even if I do have funny looking glasses, wear baggy clothes and orthopedic shoes. At least I’m still full of spit and vinegar and have taken this mid-life crisis by the horns, looked it right in the face and spit in its eye.

Even with all my bravado, I have figured out a few things about mid-life. Hey, don’t laugh. Sixty-something is mid-life if one intends on living to be over a hundred. Strange things happen at this stage in today’s sixty-something women.

Mid-life can bring out the angry, bitter side in a woman. You look at your latte-swilling, beeper-wearing know-it-all teenage granddaughter with a tattoo of a Celtic love symbol on her ankle and a gold ring in her belly button and you think, “For this? For this I gave birth to her mother and I still have stretch marks?”

It’s when our necks begin to look like they’re made from the same material as a rubber chicken. If they would put all that knowledge they use to launch rockets into making some kind of control top turtle neck sweater that gives the appearance of a youthful neck, I would definitely order one in every color.

It’s when women no longer have upper arms, they have wingspans. We are no longer women in sleeveless shirts, we are flying squirrels in drag. Forget Julia Robert’s smile or Faith Hill’s legs, just give me upper arms with no droopy, baggy bat wings.

It’s when we sit, waiting for the mammogram, along with a room full of other women who easily fit into the mid-life category. After no one needs one of those done yearly before they reach mid-life. It’s realizing that this will be the only time someone will ever ask any of us to appear topless in a film again.

Mid-life brings with it the wisdom that life throws us curves and we’re now sitting on our biggest ones. It’s when you finally get the courage to stand before the floor length mirror after a shower, drop the towel and open your eyes, and you can see your fanny. Only you didn’t turn around. Gravity has grabbed it and it’s sagging as bad as the upper arms.

It’s when you want to grab every firm young lovely in a tube top, shake her soundly and scream, “Honey, even the Roman Empire fell, and those things will, too?”

It’s when we shave our legs less. Which is good because we have more time to devote to taking care of our newly acquired mustache.

It’s when your memory really starts to go and the only thing you retain is water.

You know you’ve crossed the mid-life threshold when your Body-by-Jake now includes Legs-by-Rand McNally (more red and blue lines than the map of the state of Texas.)

You start pondering the “big” questions: what is life, why am I here and how much Healthy Choice ice cream can I eat before it’s no longer a healthy choice?

The good news about this time of life is that the glass is still half-full. Or course, the bad news is that it won’t be long before your teeth are floating in it.

Now tell me ladies, what is it about mid-life that has you draping all the mirrors in the house to preserve your sanity and your vanity?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tankinis

I wasn’t shopping for a bathing suit. I don't even take a bathing suit to the beach. I'm quite content to sit on the sandbar in my caftan or capris and watch the waves come in and go out. Besides, After the last time I tried on bathing suits, I had vowed I’d have my toenails pulled out with rusty pliers before I put my body through that ordeal again. I was just waiting for a dressing room so I could try on the newest muumuu designed by Omar the Tentmaker when I overheard the conversation.

“Please show me a bathing suit designed for a grandmother.” The lady said with a giggle.

“Oh, honey, grandmothers this year are wearing tankinis. Every color imaginable. You’ll simply love the design. Here let me bring in several for you to try on,” the sales lady said.

So I am a grandmother. The designers could have come up with an innovative new idea to make us feel less like a dinosaur and more like a cute little model. I meandered over to the bathing suit aisle ... just to look, mind you. Not to carry one of the tankinis back to the dressing room. Definitely not to try the thing on.

There they were, displayed in all their radiant glory. Tankinis. The top looks like a shortened tank top and the bottom like a bikini. The designers truly had come up with an ingenious new style. I picked up six of them and marched back to the dressing room. It was just a matter of deciding which color I wanted.

Life was good. Someone had finally listened to the wants and needs of women who exceeded a size five junior petite.

“Oh, this is wonderful. Just what I need to play in the pool with my little granddaughter. Do they make them in children’s sizes? I’d like her to have one to match mine.” I overheard the granny in the next dressing stall exclaiming.

It sounded promising. Daringly, I chose the green and black striped suit and commenced to putting it upon my chubby little body. Tankinis. Made for grandmothers but stylish enough for teenagers and even children. Maybe I’d just buy it in two or three colors.

I tugged the top over my head. The straps fit just fine. No sag. No slipping off the shoulders. I kept tugging until I got the rest of the top down to just above my navel. The stripes were stretched out so far that I looked like a Tyrannosaurs Rex dressed up in camouflage.

But hey, the bottoms would complete the outfit and make me look like I was a size five. I didn’t have to buy the stripes. I could buy it in blaze orange or lime green instead. I wasn’t going to give up until I saw the whole tankini. Miracles did still happen sometimes! I pulled the bottoms up and stood back to look in the three way mirror.


Oops! Where did my chest go? Guess I didn’t get everything lined up inside the thing. When I began the lift and shift method, I found nothing but a flesh colored stretchy lining inside the tankini top. And this thing was made for a granny? Someone evidently got their signals crossed. Granny’s are plagued by the gravity-itis. The inside of a bathing suit for a real Granny has to have some kind of wires and corset like gizmo to keep everything from sagging and bagging. It had to be built to withstand forces greater than a hurricane or even a tornado.

I held my breath and fought gravity for just a minute to see if I attached a corset underneath it if perhaps it would work. I checked the reflection in the mirror.

I was turning blue and there was still something hanging out in the inch and a half space between the bottom of the top and the top of the bottoms. A nice little roll of pure old unadulterated fat cells. I exhaled and what was staring back at me resembled a overstuffed Cabbage Patch doll in a Barbie doll bathing suit.

At the checkout counter I got behind the granny who had been in the dressing room next to me. I overheard her talking to her friend about being a grandmother at 25. Seems the lady married a man twenty years older than she was and in doing so became an instant grandmother.

She paid for her tankini and left.

I paid for my brand new set of pliers which I put in my purse. Next time I get a wild notion to try on a bathing suit, I will take them out and attach them to my big toe nail and pull. We’ll see just how badly I want to try another tankini on.