Y'all come on in!

Y'all come on in!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

BLACKBERRY WINE CAKE!

In the south we keep things simple and let everyone think that they are very difficult to make. This is one of those "old family recipes" that my sister and I used to share with only a few people. But folks loved it at holiday time or for any time for that matter. It's been to more family reunions, bank parties and has served as birthday and anniversary gifts than we could ever begin to count.
 
Today you are getting one of the Gray Girls...that's what they still call us down around Tishomingo, Oklahoma...old family recipes. Enjoy and be sure to use a half teaspoon of powdered sugar to dust across your nose so folks will believe that it is definitely not easy to make.
 
Blackberry Wine Cake
 
1 white cake mix
3 eggs
1 box (Royal) Blackberry Jell-O
1 c. Blackberry Wine
You can use cherry Jell-O and cherry wine also.Flour and grease a Bundt or tube pan well.In large mixing bowl, add cake mix, Jell-O, eggs and wine. Mix until well blended, about 2 minutes.Pour into greased and sugared (not floured but plain granulated sugar) Bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until cake is done. Remove cake from oven and let it set for 5 minutes. Turn out onto cake plate and glaze while still warm, but not hot.
BLACKBERRY WINE GLAZE:
1 c. powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
Enough wine to mix
Dribble over warm cake.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

BIFOCALS!!

I am not a candidate for contacts. It takes at least a dozen very big muscular men to hold me down to put eye drops into my eyes. My ophthalmologist even agrees whole-heartedly that I should never think about contacts.

This past week I had the new eye exam where they shoot a little puff of air into the eye and they had to threaten to rope me down with zip ties. I managed to live through that part and then they took me into the room with the big E and which line can you see best and I was right at home. Then it was picking out frames and adjusting the bifocal line.

It all brought back memories of the first time I had to have bifocals. It was almost twenty years ago when they'd started making the print on those new best selling romances too small. But did my eye doctor call the publishing companies and tell them to make the print the right size? Oh, no! He said I needed bifocals.

Those things were for old women. Sure, I had gray hair and a few extra fat cells that were getting hit hard by gravity but that did not make me old. There could be another way, please, doc.

Nope! Bifocals or stop reading. So bifocals it was. Stopping reading would be worse than stopping breathing or eating.

No problem. I was a strong, well-adjusted woman who could age with dignity. And I was right in the middle of a good book so bring on the challenge of something new.

He wrote up the prescription. Pay at the desk then go pick out frames. When I got through with the pay at the desk part, I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to afford to eat for the next six months. My fat cells wept with anguish and my hair turned another shade lighter.

The place should have been draped in red velvet and had gold gilded chairs to sit upon while they brought out all the expensive frames. My check book tried to crawl out of my purse and run away when they started talking about the price of bifocals, no-line lenses and whether I might change my mind about contacts. I kept waiting for them to bring me a tray of finger foods to nibble on and maybe a bottle of wine to ease the pain of writing that check.

I came home and waited a week until they called to say my bifocals were ready. I picked them up at the pay at the desk and there wasn't wine, finger foods or even a gold and diamond case to keep the new priceless treasures inside when I wasn't wearing them.

But I was so excited because now I could read the last part of my book.

Wrong thinking there, Carolyn Brown!

How could I read when I couldn't find my hand in front of my face? There was a horizontal line that ran right across my palm. The doctor had warned me that there would be a line but that my mind would tune it out quickly.

Wrong again! My mind doesn't do anything quickly. Three weeks later I couldn't read and the important thing wasn't whether Lula Irene, the character in the romance book, was sleeping with the neighbor. Or if her husband was frolicking with the maid. I just hoped that the local police didn't pick me up for drunk walking down the sidewalk when I went from my work place to the City Drug store for a Dr Pepper.

I was complaining about bifocals in a café when a genius lady in the next booth leaned back and gave me a great piece of advice. She said to go into the bathroom and put my glasses on every morning. When I could navigate the bathroom then I was ready for the rest of the house. I tried it and it only took a month. But these days the eye doctor said about something called tri-focals. Just the mention of the word sent me straight out of his office, past the pay at the desk place, out to my car and straight home. I didn't even care about the finger foods and the pretty little frames in the next room.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

GARDEN SNAKES!

Maybe you've heard this story before but everyone needs to realize that snakes, even those little garden snakes can be very dangerous. I had heard about this incident but didn't know the whole story and I do feel like everyone should realize the potential danger in something like a garter snake. I can't vouch for the validity but even if it's only partly true, I'd say that all snakes are deadly. So just in case you haven't heard this, here it is...

GARDEN SNAKES CAN BE DANGEROUS...

Snakes also known as Garter Snakes (Thamnophissirtalis) can be dangerous Yes, grass snakes, not rattlesnakes. Here's why.

 
A couple in Sweetwater, Texas, had a lot of potted plants. During a recent cold spell, the wife was bringing a lot of them indoors to protect them from a possible freeze.
It turned out that a little green garden grass snake was hidden in one of the plants. When it had warmed up, it slithered out and the wife saw it go under the sofa.
She let out a very loud scream.
The husband (who was taking a shower) ran out into the living room naked to see what the problem was. She told him there was a snake under the sofa.
He got down on the floor on his hands and knees to look for it. About that time the family dog came and cold-nosed him on the behind. He thought the snake had bitten him, so he screamed and fell over on the floor.
His wife thought he had had a heart attack, so she covered him up, told him to lie still and called an ambulance.
The attendants rushed in, would not listen to his protests, loaded him on the stretcher, and started carrying him out.
About that time, the snake came out from under the sofa and the Emergency Medical Technician saw it and dropped his end of the stretcher. That's when the man broke his leg and why he is still in the hospital.
The wife still had the problem of the snake in the house, so she called on a neighbor who volunteered to capture the snake. He armed himself with a rolled-up newspaper and began poking under the couch.. Soon he decided it was gone and told the woman, who sat down on the sofa in relief.
But while relaxing, her hand dangled in between the cushions, where she felt the snake wriggling around. She screamed and fainted, the snake rushed back under the sofa.
The neighbor man, seeing her lying there passed out, tried to use CPR to revive her.
The neighbor's wife, who had just returned from shopping at the grocery store, saw her husband's mouth on the woman's mouth and slammed her husband in the back of the head with a bag of canned goods, knocking him out and cutting his scalp to a point where it needed stitches.
The noise woke the woman from her dead faint and she saw her neighbor lying on the floor with his wife bending over him, so she assumed that the snake had bitten him. She went to the kitchen and got a small bottle of whiskey, and began pouring it down the man's throat.
By now, the police had arrived.
Breathe here...
They saw the unconscious man, smelled the whiskey, and assumed that a drunken fight had occurred. They were about to arrest them all, when the women tried to explain how it all happened over a little garden snake!
The police called an ambulance, which took away the neighbor and his sobbing wife.
Now, the little snake again crawled out from under the sofa and one of the policemen drew his gun and fired at it. He missed the snake and hit the leg of the end table. The table fell over, the lamp on it shattered and, as the bulb broke, it started a fire in the drapes.
The other policeman tried to beat out the flames, and fell through the window into the yard on top of the family dog who, startled, jumped out and raced into the street, where an oncoming car swerved to avoid it and smashed into the parked police car.
Meanwhile, neighbors saw the burning drapes and called in the fire department. The firemen had started raising the fire ladder when they were halfway down the street. The rising ladder tore out the overhead wires, put out the power, and disconnected the telephones in a ten-square city block area (but they did get the house fire out).
Time passed! Both men were discharged from the hospital, the house was repaired, the dog came home, the police acquired a new car and all was right with their world.
A while later they were watching TV and the weatherman announced a cold snap for that night. The wife asked her husband if he thought they should bring in their plants for the night.
And that's when he shot her.

Monday, May 25, 2015

How High's the Water Mama!

I do believe I brought the rain forest home with me from the cruise! It's brings back memories of that old song, "How High's the Water Mama!"

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I'll show you how high it's gotten around our part of the country. The picture right below is what the dam at Tishomingo looked like yesterday and the one on the left is what it looks like normally. There are 50 steps down to the sand bar and the dam itself is probably 30-50 feet from top to bottom. Those are the tops of trees you are seeing out past the water.






On the other side of town there is a bridge and a little foot bridge off to the side that leads over to a lovely little park where they have family reunions and picnics, it looks like this...
To the left is the foot bridge but it's under water. The road to the left is underwater, also, and you can see about how high it is if you look at that stop sign. To the left of the stop sign is a car that is sitting in water up to the window. Folks probably parked there and the next morning they were late to work because they had to get out the fishing boat. Speaking of fishing...when the water gets high the catfish will bite. This fellow was catching supper from off the Washita River Bridge going south from Tishomingo to Madill...the bridge is closed and with the rain we got today, it could easily be covered and no one will be permitted to walk out on it to fish!
The Washita River looked like this yesterday...


How high's the water, mama! I'd say it's gone above five feet high and risin'!


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mounds Brownies!

This week has gone by so fast it's a blur as I look back on it. Here it is already time for Recipe Sunday again and since it's a holiday weekend, I expect there are more than a few family reunions going on. So I thought I'd share this recipe I found...yes, ma'am, I am definitely making this next time our family is all together. And as rich as it looks, I guess I should cut it into small pieces!

Mounds Brownies
1 brownie mix (9x13 size)...mixed and baked according to box directions.

5 cups shredded coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk...

Mix the coconut and milk together.

As soon as you take the brownies from the oven, spread the coconut/milk mixture over hot brownies.
1 container chocolate frosting..microwaved just longer enough to make the frosting pourable. Pour over the brownies topped with coconut mixture. Spread to seal edges.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Penny Candy!

I'm still spending every day in the writing cave and so far I've met my goal each day. The book is coming along very well and my characters are still talking to me. This week my daughter brought me a whole zip lock bag full of banana Laffy Taffy so I'd have something to nibble on while I write.

It brought back all those memories of the penny candy in the grocery store when I was growing up. Each kind had it's own jar and sometimes it took quite a long time figuring out which pieces I wanted. I loved the banana bikes and the root beer barrels (because they lasted longer than the softer candy). I mentioned it on Facebook and folks began to tell me about their favorite penny candy and it brought back even more memories of how we got that candy.

It was back in the late '50's and we didn't have a home delivery postal system in Tishomingo, Oklahoma so Mama sent me to the post office several days a week to get the mail. It was also in the days when mamas could do that without fear because everyone in town looked after the children in their little community.

Now there was any number of ways to go from our house which was about half a mile from the post office. And it did not take long to figure out which route to take to find pop bottles where the idiots who didn't value two cents threw them out on the road. When you are buying penny candy, you could redeem two pop bottles for four pieces of candy. That was a root beer barrel for me, a Bit-O-Honey for Mama, Kits for my sister and a Sixlets for my brother. Not a bad day's work when I brought back the mail along with it.

So today I took a trip down memory lane, remembering searching along a little dirt road for pop bottles and using the money to buy penny candy while I carefully unwrapped Laffy Taffy and let the imitation banana flavor melt in my mouth.

In my work-in-progress Fiona is taking a trip down memory lane as she puts up the Christmas tree. Magic and miracles happen in holiday books...just like it did on those days when I found two or sometimes even three pop bottles on the way to the post office!

Do you remember penny candy? What was your favorite kind? And do you believe that magic and miracles can happen in holiday books? What's your favorite Christmas romance book?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Writing Cave!

So I got up this morning and told myself that today I was going to stay in my writing cave until I finished my word limit for the day. So I wrote a thousand words before breakfast, planted a few morning glory seeds and came back to my cave. I would have rather played outside all morning as worked but Fiona and Jud had been left in a bit of a pickle and I really needed to write them out of it or else they were going to stop talking to me. And it upsets me when my characters give me the silent treatment.

Fiona wasn't too happy that I'd left her all day Sunday and part of yesterday anyway so she flashed me the sign to the left and let me know right quick that there were other western romance writers out there and she could easily take her story to one of them. I'm not real fond of sitting in the truck so I wrote...and when the back yard began to call to me again, Jud Dawson (isn't that a sexy name?) showed me this thing on the back of a truck and I figured it was an omen for sure.

I grew weary about noon and stopped for a bite of dinner (that's the noon meal in my part of the world and supper is the night meal). That's when I found this inspirational sign and kept on going until I made it to the end of my daily goal. But since Jud and Fiona were deep in a conversation I went ahead and wrote another thousand words so they would sleep well that night.

And now I am done for this day. Tomorrow starts a brand new day with the same goal but a different set of circumstances. It's time for Fiona and Jud to put up the Christmas tree!


Monday, May 18, 2015

MONDAY!!



When the committee that makes important decisions met to which day of the week would be the “bad” day, they chose the first day of the work week. I suppose their thinking was that we might as well get it over with rather than dread a day in the middle of the week or worse yet, ruin the weekend. 

So now Monday is our day when nothing goes right and everything will definitely go wrong. Murphy’s law states that if anything can go wrong it will. Without a doubt Mr. Murphy was born on Monday, lost his first girlfriend on Monday, got his whole paycheck stolen on Monday and every other horrible thing in his life happened on Monday. 

That’s the day when the electricity was off, the alarm didn’t ring but the cell phone still works, so the in-laws call and say they will be over in ten minutes because we had a gas cook stove and they are hungry. What time is breakfast? 

It’s when the toilet paper falls into a full bathtub. Just before it sinks completely to the bottom of the tub, a fuzzy black spider crawls out from inside the roller. Can’t swat the thing in a tub of water, can’t shoot it and the thing knows how to walk on bubbles. 

When a six foot pile of dirty dishes beside the sink tumbles onto the floor and none of them break. That means picking up every dirty dish and wash them. It would have been so easy to sweep them all up into the dust pan and trash them. 

I’ve been giving Monday some serious thought and have come up with a list of tips. 

Never cook supper on Monday. It will burn and you can’t go out or order take out either. You will get botulism or some other dread disease. It’s a wonderful day to fast on bottled water and diet soda pop. 

Do not gossip on Monday. Unplug the phone and don’t answer the door. If you even listen with one ear it will backfire and by night there will be a riot that will rival the Hatfields and McCoys. And all because of a rumor someone that got started about Josie Mae’s new baby looking like a miniature Alfred Hitchcock...and everyone pointed a finger straight at you. 

Do not do housework. There are more spiders in the house on Monday than any other day and mice hid in every corner. Check the hospital records and you might find there are more heart attacks from fear on Monday than any other day of the week. Housework will wait until Tuesday when all the spiders and mice have left the house.

Remember, hang onto your sanity. After midnight things will get better. Tuesday is the ho-hum day on the calendar. Ask any retailer. Not much goes on that day.

Garfield says that Mondays are the lint balls in the washing machine of life. I’m inclined to believe that we should frame an award for that crazy orange cat and pull out the red carpet for him.

So since today is Monday, turn off the phones, do not do housework or cook. It’s a good day to grab a book and read all day while you sip on that diet soda pop!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Lazy Daisy Oatmeal Cake!

My mama used to make Lazy Daisy Oatmeal cake for "fancy" things. Like when the relatives came to visit or maybe Sunday dinner. She always doubled the recipe and put it in a 9x13 cake pan because with three kids in the house, plus whatever friends we dragged in, a little cake just flat out wasn't smart cookin'! They say it's better the second or third day but I couldn't vouch for that since it never made it to day two in our house.

Mama would have been 88 tomorrow so she's been on my mind lately. If she was still here, I'd make this cake and take her a great big piece of it.

LAZY DAISY OATMEAL CAKE 
1 1/4 c. boiling water
1 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
Pour boiling water over oats. Cover, let stand 20 minutes. Beat butter until creamy, gradually add sugars, beat until fluffy. Blend in vanilla and eggs. Stir in oats. Sift dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Pour into well greased and floured 9 inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. Do not remove from pan.
FROSTING:
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
3 tbsp. half & half
1/2 c. chopped nuts
3/4 c. coconut
Combine all ingredients, spread on cake. Broil until bubbly. Serve warm or cold.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Books!

For all you folks who are members of Kindle Unlimited, we are happy to announce that Mr. B's books are now all available for you to read for free. KU is a program that you pay $9.99 a month for and then you have access to more than 800,000 books that you can read. There is no limit to how many you can download into your Kindle. And there's a 30 day free trial if you want to give it a test drive before you dive right in.

He's hard at work on his sixth mystery novel and it should be ready for all y'all in September.

 


So if you are a member and you like mystery books, take a peek at what he's got available. If you aren't a member and you really enjoy reading books take a look at it! Click HERE for more information! Happy Reading!

Nearly all of my books are offered in the KU program, also! Thank you in advance to all our wonderful readers who take time to leave reviews at Amazon or other places. You are truly awesome to support us in our endeavors!
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Friday, May 15, 2015

GRADUATION!

Sighs of relief can be heard all over town tonight as the 2015 graduating senior class at Davis High School dons their red robes and hats. Mothers and fathers will be sighing in relief. Part of their frayed nerves will be glad their little devil has finished high school; the other part will weep for their little angel who is about to be thrown out into the cold, cruel world.

And seniors will be sighing because this year which has lasted almost an eternity is finally over. They will hear at the commencement ceremonies that this is the end of an era and they are going forth as tomorrow's leaders to mold the world, conquer new territories, etc., etc.

That is what the speaker at my graduation said--it was more than 40 years ago so I might be a little rusty on the terminology. I do remember thinking that he had turnips for brains because we'd already gotten that business taken care of...everyone of us had conquered new worlds. All of us had been to Texas and some of us to the surrounding states. As far as that molding stuff...no one was ever putting us bunch of radical hippies into a mold of any kind.

I remember the first thing I did upon reaching my seat was give thanks I'd made it that far and not fallen on my face in those three inch spike heels. Looking back, I imagine that's why they developed the practice of leaving so much space between the seniors. It wasn't so Billy Bob's poppa could take a picture of him as he entered the last phase of his life before he set off on a mission to save the world. It was simply because if some girl fell off her stilt-shoes the whole class wouldn't topple like a bunch of dominoes.

Most of us fidgeted in our seats that night but we did try to listen even though other things kept creeping into our minds.

Finally, the speaker gave us one last bit of advice about how we should respect our past and treasure our future. And then it was my turn to walk up the stairs, across that mile long stage and get my diploma. While I was worrying about that, I realized the superintendent of the school was saying something to each student so I added "thank you" to my list of things I had to do. Shake with the right hand, take my diploma with the left one, find a place in my jaw for the gum I was not supposed to be chewing, balance my weight on dime size steel taps, keep the swinging tassel on my mortar board from tickling my nose so I don't sneeze all over the high school superintendent. And I was supposed to do it all with sweaty palms and a wad of bubble gum stuck between my two front teeth.

That, dear hearts, was my first successful feat as an adult. I left the auditorium with my dignity intact and it was amazing in those next few weeks how much my whole class learned. Number one was how little we actually did know. Number two was how smart our parents had gotten in such a short length of time. At mid-senior year they were only slightly smarter than a box of rocks and now they actually had acquired a little bit of sense.

So hats off to the 2015 seniors and to the parents of those students for living through the whole year of senioritis. You parents should be given awards...you are survivors!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

FAMILY DAY!!

We have two holidays at our house. Of course we celebrate other holidays but twice a year we host the whole family at our house. Easter is the first one and we have a huge egg hunt in our back yard. The other one is Thanksgiving. At both, the buffet style dinner starts at noon and we feast and visit all day.








This year we were gone on Easter so we postponed it until the Saturday before Mother's Day and had a soup day. Six kinds of soup, breads, desserts...the works. That was last Saturday and it rained!! That meant no Easter egg hunt and every one had to stay in the house...all 37 of us. We all loved the time we had even though it was a noisy zoo. Today, since it is throw-back-Thursday, I'm only throwing back less than a week with the pictures. My house was clean before they all arrived and it was clean when the left, but in between...you can see for yourself!

 







Wednesday, May 13, 2015

GRACE!


I understand that moments after a baby is born the great spirits come around with baskets filled with wonderful things to pass out to them. That’s why some folks have a nice smile and others have big, kind hearts.

No one told me that there were less wonderful things in that basket so I was eager to get what I could. I didn’t ask enough questions before I dipped my hands into the basket and thought cellulites had to be something with a chocolate coating so I dipped both my fat little hands in and got all I could hold.

Then one of those great spirits told me what I’d just gotten and I was a lot more careful with the second basket. I reached in with two fingers and barely got a pinch and wouldn’t you know it, that one contained grace.

I’m that person who can’t walk within forty feet of a mud puddle without some of it reaching out and grabbing hold of my skirt tail. I’m that person who can trip over a thin layer of air if it gets transferred from one the living room to the bedroom. Mr. B says I’m almost as graceful as a double herniated hippopotamus on ice and he’s being nice when he says that. I’m really much worse.

People like me are the reason there are wider aisles in the supermarkets and why there are pyramids of toilet paper and paper towels in wider aisles instead of glass bottles of maple syrup.

The worst place this clumsy business got ahead of me wasn’t in the grocery store but rather in a clothing store. I was looking through a sales rack when I caught a lady in my peripheral vision about a foot from me. She was one of those impeccably dressed size three gals with her hair and nails done perfectly. I cut my eyes around to see if her toe nails were chipped and couldn’t tell because she was wearing four inch high heels. I could see that she had really long lashes but I really wanted a closer look to see if they were fake.

So I quickly turned around to speak to the lady. Gracelessness and quickness do not in any stretch of the imagination make for anything other than an immediate disaster.

I ran right into Miss Perfect and sent her face down onto the floor. I started apologizing and trying up help the poor thing up while visions of law suits danced through my head. Does anyone out there have a policy with a section covering clumsy?

Then I realized the lady wasn’t breathing and rigor mortis had already set in. That horrible word—homicide—flashed across my brain. Would the children bring the grandkids to see me in solitary confinement if the jury didn’t decide to render mercy and declare it an accident?

There I was with tears running down my face, apologizing and begging the woman to breathe when I put my fingers on her neck, just like they do in the cop shows, and realized I was touching a mannequin. It didn’t take me long to get her upright and smiling at the world in her size three expensive suit. One fake lash hung down the side of her nose but I didn’t fix it.

Heck, no! Maybe it would keep the next clumsy person from doing what I did. I made a hasty retreat out into the mall. Thank goodness the clerk was talking to her boyfriend on the phone and the other two ladies in the store at that time were in dressing rooms. Not a single soul saw what happened…my pride was saved!

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

2014 Finalists!

I'm always excited when one of my books is chosen as a finalist in a contest! I'm so honored to announce that not one but two of my 2014 books have been chosen as finalists for the National
Reader's Choice Award. This contest is judged by readers only and means a lot to us as authors. Without our readers, we wouldn't have a job and it is simply awesome for them to take time from their busy schedules to read our books and judge them. So to all you readers who volunteered to judge this year: HATS OFF TO YOU!!!

How to Marry a Cowboy and Long, Hot Texas Summer are the two books in my 2014 list that were chosen as finalists. Y'all keep your fingers crossed for me.
                                                  The competition is stiff as you can see.

CONTEMPORARY SINGLE TITLE
♦~~♦~~♦~~♦~~♦~~♦~~♦~~♦~~
Roxanne St. Claire /  Barefoot in Lace
Jennifer Bernard /  The Night Belongs to Fireman
Carolyn Brown /  How to Marry a Cowboy
Kylie Gilmore /  The Opposite of Wild
Carolyn Brown /  Long, Hot Texas Summer
Crista McHugh /  A Seductive Melody
Terri Osburn /  Home to Stay
 
Wishing every single finalist good luck. For a complete list of all the categories click right HERE!!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

GOSSIP!


Last week this lady was telling me all about how the folks in Davis, America, know everything about everyone.

She was telling the absolute gospel truth. In a small town being nosy is not a sin and that’s the first step in gathering good gossip. We live in one of those hears all, knows all, tells all places that can spread gossip faster than a snow cone melting at the front gates of hell.

It’s the very thing that makes us check to be sure that we’ve got on clean underwear before we drive seven blocks to the grocery store. Most accidents happen within a mile of home and heaven forbid if we were taken to the hospital with underwear that were faded in a blotchy shade of blue because Mr. B washed them with his jeans.

And the gossip! Lord, love a duck…it would be horrible…Dotty’s Granny was a saint on earth and they can’t even let poor old Dotty look at the Pearly Gates. I’m not even sure Dotty was her granddaughter. Not if she didn’t have enough sense to bleach those under britches before she wore them. (This is said with a hand over the gossiping lady’s mouth) I wonder if her mama had an affair with that boy who had a pony tail and hung around the café where she worked back before she married the woman’s daddy. It’s beginning to look more and more like a possibility.

By morning, it’s all over town that Dotty does not have the same DNA as the man listed as her father on her birth certificate. She has the same color hair that that boy did who hung around the café forty years ago. And she wears it in a pony tail so there’s proof positive.

It’s been said that the three main ways of communication are telephone, television and tell-a-woman. For the life of me, I’ve never understood why they classified television with the other two. By the time television got all their anchor men and women together, decided who had the prettiest hair and the nicest voice, plus had their makeup just right and got all their equipment in the van, telephone and tell-a-woman would have joined forces. Whatever television had to say would be colder than last night’s macaroni and cheese.

Back before good romance novels, soap operas, R-rated movies and even before the telephone perfected the art of good gossip, there was always the need to tell someone a secret. We all know the only way for two people to keep a secret is if one of them is dead.

So here sits two folks with strong hearts and only slightly elevated blood pressure. Neither one is ready to visit the undertaker but they both have itchy tongues.

So they go out and tell just one person to ease that heavy feeling in their chest and lower that blood pressure. “You’ll never believe what I just heard. You can’t breathe a word of it because I promised it would never leave my lips but I know I can trust you.”

At dawn the next morning everyone knows the story. Only it’s not that the story that the first itching tongue whispered. It’s been reformed, remodeled, added to, subtracted from, multiplied, divided three times and embellished upon. It is now worth of a contract for a new television series that should never have to worry about being discontinued.

The dictionary says that gossip has something to do with folks meddling in other peoples affairs. I’ve heard it called small town politics. Whatever it’s called it’s the same old BS. And in a small town like Davis, America, everyone knows whatever everyone else is doing, when they did it, who they did it with and whether it was before or after breakfast.
 
And we all read the local newspaper to see who got caught!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

JUST IN TIME FOR MOTHER'S DAY!!

If your idea of a wonderful Mother's Day is a day with nothing to do but read a good book then this is just in time for your Mother's Day...more than a dozen of my books are on sale as part of the Kindle Big Deal event going on right now!
 
An Old Love's Shadow and Honky Tonk Christmas are priced at only
99 cents...the rest are ONLY $1.99!!!
 
Click HERE to go to my Amazon Author's Page where more than a dozen of my books are included in the Big Kindle Deal!
 
Emma's Folly is the debut book in the Oklahoma Land Rush Series!

From Thin Air comes to you from the Black Swan Historical Series! Set in southern Arkansas right at the end of World War I, it's a time of rebuilding a nation and hearts.



Absolution, Chances and Promises are part of the Love's Valley Series, set right at the end of the Civil War when Yankees and Rebels weren't supposed to fall in love with each other...but they did!

Willow, Velvet, Gypsy, Garnet and Augusta is the entire historical Promised Land Series...100 mail order brides going from Missouri to the gold mines in California. Five sisters are on that wagon train.

An Old Love's Shadow, The Wager and Honky Tonk Angel are all contemporary single title books!

Happy Ever After in historical series or contemporary single title...your choice!
HAPPY READING and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Only a Mother can...take two!


Yesterday I talked about things only a mother can do and after I hit the post button, I thought of lots more so today is episode two. Take two…did you hear the snap of that thingamabob that producers use?

Only a mother can…

Go from dead sleep to jogging in thirty seconds to put her hand on an infant’s back to make sure he’s still breathing.

Read “Dr. Suess’s ABC Book” (Camel on the ceiling…C…C…C) twice a night for six years and still read it “one more time” without losing her mind.

Can teach a son to cook a daughter to fire a pistol.

Is limber enough to wrestle a fitted sheet onto the top bunk bed without needing to visit the chiropractor the next morning.

Invests fifty dollars she was saving for a new outfit for herself to buy stale macaroons to help send the French Club, the cheerleaders or the basketball team to camp.

Will attempt to grow hydroponic tomatoes in one night for a last minute science project that her child has known about for six months.

Has a bathtub filled with little yellow duckies and doesn’t ever bring up the days when she had time for a real bubble bath instead of at two minute shower.

Knows the location of every bathroom from home to the east coast.

Can get comfortable in the front seat of a car with a red and white cooler at her feet so when the children in the backseat get hungry she can whip up a bologna or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for them.

And one more in memory of my own mother…

Who will gather up every kid between her house and the local swimming hole in Tishomingo and take them swimming every single day in the summer. Who doesn’t care that she’s a large woman but wears her bathing suit with pride and who still remembered “those good times” up until the last week of her life.

Hats off to all the mothers, to the memories we’ve shared with them and to the example they’ve given us.

 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Only a mother can...


For those who’ve just tuned in to the blog we are talking about mothers this week. We could talk about them for a month and not cover how awesome they are. The absolute greatest folks on the earth, they don’t need diamonds or new cars on their special day. They are happy with construction paper cards made of glitter and white paste or even a small black and white cat trinket.

Think about it. Only a mother…

Can listen to the same knock-knock joke 500 times without losing her temper, pulling out her hair and yelling, “Nobody is home. Nobody is ever going to be home so don’t knock on my door again.”

Will be a Scrabble partner with someone who spells “cookie” with a K.

Will unwind 50 feet of toilet paper so her little darling can have the empty roll to make a Mother’s Day present. (And who saves the toilet paper to wind on the next empty roll so it isn’t wasted.)

Will try to hide a leafy green vegetable in a cookie.

Knows the secret to happy grocery shopping with a child. Visit the baker aisle first and buy him a donut. He’s too busy eating to whine about wanting everything he sees. (And there are wet wipes in her purse to clean his sticky hands before they leave.) 

Can listen to the 1000th bleating of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” from a budding violinist. Or who can maintain her sanity when her fifth child brings home a trumpet to practice with every single day. 

Knows all the verses to “This Old Man,” and sings along with her kids on trips. 

Can give out emergency lunch money from the dryer lint filter. And she knows how to take the agitator from the washing machine because there’s always at least a couple of quarters under it. 

Can smile when she sees her last pair of panty hose hitching a wagon to a tricycle…and think it’s cute.

Can sit up all night with a four year old sick daughter, holding her hair back as she upchucks hotdogs and orange soda pop and say, “It’s okay baby, Mommy is here.” 

It’s been said that mothers are 90 percent common sense and 10 percent magic. Combined they can do miracles! I know because my mama could and I still miss her every day…especially at this time of year.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

NEWS FLASH!

Kindle Romance Deal of the Day....99 cents TODAY ONLY!!

One fight ended it all…

And now Tracey has a secret, and bittersweet memories that she keeps close to her heart. Maybe a brand new start in a brand new town would help erase the memories. It was worth a try.

Building a new life…

Is what Austin is planning when he takes the position at Oklahoma State University. He planned on forgetting the past not rekindling an old love with Tracey Walker. But maybe a person has to put an end to the past to move on to the future.

He loved her Red River deep, but with their shattered past and present responsibilities it won’t be easy for either of them to learn to trust and love again, but miracles do happen.

If you liked Carolyn Brown’s Broken Road series: To Trust, To Believe, To Commit, To Hope and To Dream, you'll love Red River Deep.

Mother's Day!

Mother's Day is Sunday so I thought I'd devote the rest of this week to that special day. Today is Wednesday, which we refer to as hump day, since we've climbed up the work mountain from Monday and now we can slide down the backside and have two days of rest, relaxation and fun.

But for a mother, there is no hump day because her weekends involve laundry, housecleaning, yard work, taxi service to and from dance, ball
games and a million other things.

So let's hear it for the mothers, who work at a dozen jobs when you consider how much they do. Mercy! Wouldn't you hate to see an itemized list and have to add up the paycheck for even a week's worth of what they do?

Today I'm posting quotes from some folks you might recognize about mothers and how much we appreciate them.

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.
~George Cooper


Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs... since the payment is pure love. ~Mildred B. Vermont

 The sweetest sounds to mortals given
Are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven.
~William Goldsmith Brown

 If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been. ~Robert Brault


 A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after. ~Peter De Vries

 If the whole world were put into one scale, and my mother in the other, the whole world would kick the beam. ~Lord Langdale (Henry Bickersteth)

 Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. ~Author Unknown

 The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh

 All mothers are working mothers. ~Author Unknown

 When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty

 
Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible. ~Marion C. Garretty, quoted in A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul

 Mother — that was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries. ~T. DeWitt Talmage

 A mother is a mother still,
The holiest thing alive.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men — from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers. ~Jewish Proverb

 A mother understands what a child does not say. ~Author Unknown

 I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. ~Abraham Lincoln

 It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge. ~Phyllis Diller

 Woman in the home has not yet lost her dignity, in spite of Mother’s Day, with its offensive implication that our love needs an annual nudging, like our enthusiasm for the battle of Bunker Hill. ~John Erskine

 Women’s Liberation is just a lot of foolishness. It’s the men who are discriminated against. They can’t bear children. And no one’s likely to do anything about that. ~Golda Meir
 

A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb

 Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories. ~John Wilmot

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Garage Sale!


The notice in the paper said “Multi-family garage sale.”  We tried that a few years ago.

Great Aunt Molly called all the family to tell us she was having a garage sale and that we should get things ready to join in. It would be a great day for visiting while we sold all our white elephants. She’d have cinnamon rolls ready at five ... that was a.m., not p.m. ... and anything we ate before daylight didn’t have calories or fat grams. I moaned a bit but she told me quite sternly I was being like my lazy father and that she wouldn’t tolerate such an attitude.

“You’ve got a whole week to get your spring cleaning done, price the junk and you’ll be here with the rest of the family to sell it on Friday morning at five a.m. The sunrise won’t blind you. I’m living proof. Uncle Moe has been making me get up at five for nigh onto a hundred years it hasn’t killed me yet, and I can still see right well.”

“Yes ma’am,” I said, not about to upset Aunt Molly. But she hadn’t convinced me about that sunrise business. Not by a long shot. I got my will in order and made sure my sunglasses were in the console of the pick-up truck.

I started with the kitchen cabinets. I didn’t find a single white elephant but there was a spider or two and lots of junk. Midway through the job I called Aunt Molly to ask her if I could just bring all my stuff over the night before and give whatever profit I made to her teenage granddaughter.

“You’ll be here at five o’clock sharp, young lady. You aren’t giving a dime to Georganna. She’d just spend it on candy and that would make more pimples on her face. Get busy,” she ordered.

I finished the cabinets, boxed the merchandise and opened the closet doors. Those cinnamon rolls were getting more expensive by the minute.

By Friday I had the pick-up truck loaded and ready to go. I set the alarm for 4:30 a.m. and I’m sure the mechanism inside about went into acute shock. It had never had to ring its little buzzer at that time.

When it did buzz, I thought I was dreaming about fire sirens and covered my head up with the pillow. Husband shook me a couple of times, reminded me of my obligations and then kicked me out of bed. I made a cup of instant coffee to drink on the way across town. I donned my sunglasses on the way ... just in case.

Of course I was the last one there. Everyone else was already eating cinnamon rolls with one hand and using the other to fill tables set up all over her front yard.

“What’re you doing in sunglasses before daylight?” One of the cousins asked.

“I’m not taking any chances on the sunlight killin’ me graveyard dead at this time of the morning. Why are you selling that ugly lamp? Aunt Clairee will have a hissy if she sees it in a garage sale. She gave it to you for a wedding present and Aunt Molly said she’d be one of the first ones to get here. Did you forget?” I was aghast.

“Good grief,” the cousin grabbed the lamp and shoved it back in the box from whence it came. “Whew, that would have been a disaster.”

The news got around the circle of tables that we’d better be careful what we were selling or else face the wrath of Aunt Molly. And wasn’t a one of us up to that feat. We’d proven it when we were setting up a garage sale in the middle of the night.

She’d advertised that there would be no sales before eight a.m. and signed her name to the ad. Evidently no one else in town wanted to face her wrath either because there wasn’t a single car waiting on the curb for the sale to begin when we finished getting things set up.

We had two hours before the sale began. We used our trusty flash lights to check out each table. Great Aunt Molly was selling those cute little doilies Granny Jemimah made when she was waiting for Grandpa to come home from the war. I bought them. Cousin Hortense bought my fruit jars. Aunt Mathilda bought her flower vases. At eight o’clock the first customers arrived on the scene to find us taking the tables down. We’d managed to sell everything we had ... and buy everything every one else had.

The multi-family garage sale had turned into a multi-family swap meet and we went home with more stuff to find a place for. When Aunt Molly called the next time and said we were doing another garage sale, Cousin Hortense planned a root canal. Aunt Mathilda had a hip replaced. Several other family members were off on vacation, and I was in the middle of s a double deadline on my books.

We don’t do multi-family garage sales anymore. Besides I lost my sunglasses!

 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Chocolate Chip Strawberry Shortcakes!

Family is coming home next weekend for a day of feasting and visiting. As I look forward to the noise and fun on the day before Mother's Day, my mama has been on my mind. One of the things she made when I was a little girl was strawberry shortcakes. We  had a cow which meant all the real cream we wanted to use. Strawberries came fresh from the garden and Mama had a wonderful recipe for shortcakes. I went looking for a recipe for "real strawberry shortcakes" and found one that matched hers perfectly...except it added chocolate chips. I'm sure if she'd have thought of adding the chips she would have done so.

So Mama, this one is for you and please know that I still miss you, your cooking, your positive attitude and all the love you showered on us.
 
CHOCOLATE CHIP STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES

  • 3 cups fresh sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbsp. cold butter
  • 2/3 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Whipping Cream
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 16 minutes

  • Total Time: 36 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 strawberry shortcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine sliced strawberries with 3 Tbsp. sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, remaining 3 Tbsp. of sugar and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs. Make a well in the center. Add half and half. Mix with a fork until a dough forms. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Turn out dough onto a lightly-floured surface. Knead a few times with your hands. Pat dough into a large circle, 3/4-inch thick. Use a 3" biscuit cutter to cut dough into circles. Place on a baking sheet. Bake 12-16 minutes, until shortcakes are golden.
While shortcakes are cooling, make whipped cream: Beat heavy cream and powdered sugar in a glass or stainless steel bowl until soft peaks form. Slice chocolate chip shortcakes in half. Spoon some of the strawberries onto half of the sliced biscuits. Top with whipped cream, then top with the remaining biscuit halves.

Serve strawberry shortcakes immediately.

 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Have a wonderful weekend!


And there you have it...whether you are cuddled up with your cat or sitting on the beach, have a wonderful weekend. I'll see you tomorrow for Recipe Mother's Day!