Sometimes my mind just doesn’t engage. And this is one of those weeks when I’m just not feeling it. So here’s a list of thirteen things I considered for my Thursday Thirteen, but just fell flat.

1. I really wanted to give you 13 reasons I hate the elections in the US. Okay, I totally came up with like 9 … mostly because I’m jealous of Canada who began their election season last month and finished it two days ago. They sooooo know how to do elections right!

2. Oh, the man and I have had one of those weeks … you know the ones. He talks. I talk. No one listens. Yeah, that sucks. I thought about writing a list of rules from the woman’s play book, but he doesn’t read it anyway … why bother?

3. Since it’s October I thought it would be fun to do a list of sexy ways to use a pumpkin. Sorry, besides this one … it just ain’t happening folks.

4. Since my latest WIP involves some bondage, I thought I’d entertain you with thirteen interesting ways to tie up your partner. But I couldn’t find enough interesting pictures. I’m thinking I need to get rid of the filter on my Google searches. 

5. Well, speaking of WIP, I could have gone the whole cowboy route, because there’s cowboys in it also. But since I do that so often I was sure you wouldn’t want to see more of this …

6. Then I researched some cute Halloween costumes. But they all expected me to be this cute little size 3 … um, yeah … I was a size 3 once … in my dreams!

7. Then I wanted to list all the reasons I find the fall so depressing. But too many of you love this season. It just seemed so wrong. And when it looks this beautiful in Maine, how can I disagree?

8. We had a little kitten show up at our door last week and I forgot how much babies need attention. I’m loving having him here, but he’s all over my keyboard and begging for me to play with him and taking time from my writing. So I thought I’d show you 13 pictures of our new baby … but then I’d actually have to take them and that is soooo not happening! (This is not a picture of our new “Oliver”, but it’s really close … and if he looks like someone you lost … forget about asking for him back… he’s found a new home!)

9. Of course giving you a list of television programs I watch no matter what would be an easy one. IF I actually had 13 programs I watched. But with limited cable in northern Maine, besides “Survivor” and “Amazing Race” there’s not much more I watch during the week.

10. Then there’s the whole cliche of 13 of my favorite types of heros. But you’re so tired of me showing pictures of men in kilts … I just couldn’t do that to you again.

11. Lots of people tell you the songs on their IPod. This would require two things. 1) That I actually listen to music while I write and 2) that I own an IPod. I don’t do either. I’m such a geek!

12. Like all mothers, my children have been driving me insane. I love them, but sometimes I’d just like to give them a list of all the reasons they’re slowly sending me to the looney bin. I just don’t think they’d appreciate it!

13. And last but not least … I saved you from the 13 ugliest dogs I happened to catch on the Sunday morning news program. You just didn’t want to be subjected to that!

Okay, the fact is, I love doing research for my stories. I’ve talked to retired FBI agents, a detective, an architect, and firefighters. I’ve visited police stations, newspaper offices, and fire stations. It’s amazing the places I get to see when I explain I’d like to use the information in a book. I love it.

Then there’s the research that takes me places. And this one took me high, high, high! If you haven’t figured out from the picture clues …

I went in a hotair balloon!


It was my maiden voyage. And I loved it! But what’s not to like? Of course I was very nervous. Not about flying (I’ve been skydiving) … but about my MS. My legs are so weak. Though I can walk, standing for any amount of time is difficult. So they put me in a balloon with seats. Yay!


Of course getting into that big old basket began the adventure. You’re supposed to do it really fast. So as the balloon fills and the basket lifts, I grab the side of the basket and push with my arms, lifting my leg as high as possible. The pilot, Wild Bill, reaches over the side, muckles onto it, pulling it over the edge while my DH lifts me up from behind, pushes on my butt and basically throws me in. All the while its lifting off the ground from its side to a standing position. Then two young ladies jump in (quite gracefully I might add) and off we go.


We had the good fortune of being the first one up so we got to see the other balloons fill and lift. Beautiful. I make jokes about living in northern Maine, but it is breathtaking here.


For an hour we floated over the landscape. No noise save for our voices and the whoosh of the blow. (What they call the push of fire to lift the balloon.) Peaceful. The pilot was a gentleman my age and of course I flirted shamelessly. He was teaching one of the young ladies how to fly so listening to him was so much fun. And it won’t surprise you when I tell you I discovered Wild Bill’s dossier because I am fascinated by people’s life stories.

The flight was wonderful. Breathtaking! Everything you would expect it to be.


Landing … um … yeah well, that was interesting. Bill told me he wanted me to go down with the basket. I’m all good. I knew I couldn’t jump out (which is what the other two passengers did!) So I settle onto the seat, curl into the corner of the basket, holding onto to one of the rope handles. We bump along the ground and the ground crew grabs the basket, the girls jump out and help the crew guide it along until it settles down. Then it tips over sideways with me still in it. One of the crew says “What do we do with her?” Bill replies “Leave her.” I just start laughing. He was right. Tucked there in the corner of the basket. I’m out of the way! LOL!


When the balloon is mostly deflated, a couple of the crew show up to help me out of the basket. But my legs had gotten really weak. So getting up was difficult. Bill, being the sweetie that he is … walked over, grabbed me by the waist, lifts me with little effort and sets me on my feet. I just giggled. He was so understanding about my disability. They were all wonderful!

Never let people tell you that you can’t do something because you’re disabled. My multiple sclerosis rarely ever slows me down! And if you ever have a chance to fly in a hotair balloon … take it. It was outrageously expensive, but we’ll eat macaroni and cheese this week … and I’ll always have the memories.

That evening they lit the balloons up …


*sigh* I love research.

Okay, I just have to say with all the flurry of activity between the swimming and the gymnastics, I have done nothing but cry. Everytime they play the national anthem and another American stands on the podium I just ball my eyes out. I’m such a sap.

So, the three sports that aren’t olympic sports.

Lacrosse – Neither men’s nor women’s lacrosse is an official Olympic sport. It was a demonstration sport in 1928, 1932, and 1948, but teams continue to petition to make an Olympic event.  

Tug of War – Though it was part of the ancient olympics they brought it back from 1900 to 1920. Two teams of eight tried to pull their opponent six feet. If after 5 minutes no one did that, it was the team that had pulled the farthest that won.

Men’s Synchronized Swimming – Yes they did this on Saturday Night Live, but the picture is actually from world competition. Though it is not an official Olympic sport, men do compete at an International level in this sport.

I also found out they had at one time Croquet (1900), and one handed weight lifting (1896, 1904, 1906)

Other interesting sports at the Olympics (but ones we don’t get to see include badminton, team archery, kayaking, mountain biking, handball (an insane sport that combines basketball and soccer), sailing, and rhythmic gymnastics.

And I leave you with this …

So my post a couple of days ago made me think of impressions and what we all imagine an author looks like. Does the romance author conjur up a certain image? Do you think mystery writers or historical authors have a certain look? How about authors of erotica? Not that they “should”, but I think it’s human nature to visualize people a certain way.

Today, I’ve suckered rounded up 13 very brave authors who’ve agreed to let me post their pictures … and I added little bios in there! (Most of the info came from their websites, but in some cases I ad libbed … forgive me authors!) So in no particular order, here they are … ENJOY!


By day, Shayla Kersten is a mild-mannered accountant. By night, she’s a writer of sexy romances. Torn between genres, Shayla writes erotic stories about hot heroes and their sexy women, as well as hot men and their passionate heroes. She writes for several publishers including Ellora’s Cave, Liquid Silver Books, and The Wild Rose Press.


Susan Vaughan is a romantic suspense author from Maine who is multi-published with Silhouette Intimate Moments. Her books have been both a Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Nominee and a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence in Mystery and Suspense in 2006! Her newest release, Primal Obsession is a fall 2008 release with The Wild Rose Press.


Marisa Chenery is a very busy mother of 4 who first started writing historical romances, but now finds herself drawn more to the paranormal romance genre. She is published with Liquid Silver Books and New Concepts Publishing. When she’s not on school field trips (like the one above) with her children you can find her at home in Canada working on her next novel.


Michelle Hoppe is one of those authors who is as old as dirt. (That’s straight from her web bio … I don’t know Michelle well enough to say she’s younger than me.) It’s true, she has grandchildren and everything. Can you believe she still wears a boa like the one in her picture? Naked sometimes even…It’s true, she does. (Again … this is not a fact I know from personal experience … it’s in her bio … really!) She’s published through Liquid Silver Books and Changeling Press.


Mima writes the sexy “Within” series, which have consistently garnered four and five star reviews. She’s multi-published with Liquid Silver Books, Loose-Id, and Samhain Publishing. (Even after hanging around Liquid Silver for 9 months and visiting her website and reading her books … like her picture, Mima remains an enigma to me.)


Rae Morgan writes sensual romantic suspense stories (translation … hawt erotic novels that’ll melt your socks off!) for Liquid Silver Books. She also has several books published under “Monette Michaels”.


Jennifer Linforth is my critique partner, my slave driver, and shoulder to cry on. Oddly enough we have shared  this parallel life that finally brought us together a couple of years ago. She writes historical fiction and historical romance. (And she had a hard time writing her first love scene … editing erotica has been an interesting exercise for her!) Her debut novel Madrigal: A novel of Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera is due out from Highland Press in fall 2008.


Shara Lanel obviously enjoys hamming it up with sexy men at writing conventions. She writes erotic stories of love and romance for Liquid Silver Books and Loose-Id. Her newest release “Finding Mr. Right Can be Murder” received a 5 star review from Just Erotic Romance!


Pam Champagne lives on 50 rural acres in Maine with her husband, two Siamese cats, a black Lab and a new addition, Percy, a dog rescued from death row in Florida. She writes romantic suspense and paranormals for The Wild Rose Press and Samhain publishing. One of her many books, Bed of Lies, won a 2008 Eppie Award.


Celia Kyle is everything her picture indicates! She’s a crazy woman with her fingers in all kinds of things. Besides writing hot stories of love and romance, she also does cover art and web design. Celia is one of the two authors who agreed to let me be part of a “shifter” anthology… yay us! Celia writes erotic romance for Liquid Silver Books, Changeling Press, and Cobblestone Press.


Michelle Libby is a Maine author whose other jobs include being a mom, wife (to a sexy cop), and working as a reporter for a local weekly paper. She writes romance for Wings E-Press and Champagne books. (Michelle was my roomie at the recent writer’s convention where we promised to keep all the naughty stories under lock and key … nuff said. )


Judi Phillips is a proud grammie and multi-published Maine author who writes paranormal stories and is published with Wings E-press. Her newest novel, Ghost of a Chance will be a fall 2008 release through The Wild Rose Press.


Lina Gardiner is a Canadian author writing dark fantasy. The first book in her Jess Vandermire vampire series, Grave Illusions, was released in 2007 through ImaJinn Books and has received many stellar reviews. The second book in the series, Beyond the Grave, will be out in late 2008.

Oh … look at that! We ran out of space. Sorry folks, there’s no room for a picture of me! This is Thursday 13 after all and it just wouldn’t do for me to take up more of your time… guess you’ll have to wait until next time to find out what I look like! Mwahahaha…

Happy TT13!!

Okay, so it’s snowing again in Maine. UGH! The world around me is cancelled. Well, except for the university where Baby Girl goes to school. What, are college kids so smart they can maneuver safely through blizzards that most sane people wouldn’t navigate? Oy Vay!

With this snow fall we should reach 13+ feet (4 meters) of snow. At the beginning of January we were having the 8th snowiest winter since records were being kept. Now, I think we’re only a foot from the record. The residents of my town are laughing and saying “bring it on”. Little Boy Blue has missed so much school he’ll be going until the end of June. (And he starts school mid-August… another blog for another time.) Poor thing will have no summer to speak of.

Since we’re on the verge of beating our all-time snowfall record I thought I would take this cold, winter day to share some interesting records I found through google.

1) HIGHEST TIGHTROPE WALK: Frenchman Michael Menin walked a 3,150 metre-high tightrope in 1989. (I can’t walk a straight line from the computer to the coffee pot…)

2) LONGEST ATTACK OF HICCUPS: Charles Osborne of the USA – 1922 to 1990. (Excuse me?)

3) FASTEST TALKER: In 1995, Canadian Sean Shannon recited Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy, 260 words, in 23.8secs. (I’m pretty sure I could give him a run for his money!)

4) MOST FEET SNIFFED: In a 15-year career, Madeline Albrecht sniffed 5,600 feet while working for footcare experts Dr Scholl in the USA. (That job stinks!)

5) MOST WATCHES EATEN: Kim Seung Do from Seoul, South Korea, ate five in 1hr 34mins in 1998. (Time to eat?)

6) LONGEST JOKE-TELLING MARATHON: In 1992, Mike Heeman of the USA cracked 12,682 in 24hrs. (That’s not even funny.)

7) MOST PEOPLE CRAMMED INTO A SMART CAR: 13 girls in Munich, Germany, in 1999. (Sneaking into the drive-in?)

8 LONGEST TIME WITH A NAIL IN THE HEAD: Robin Hanshaw of Stoke Poges, Bucks, had a one-inch rusty nail stuck between his ear and eye for 22 years. (Not tonight honey… I have a headache.)

9) MOST LIGHTNING STRIKES SURVIVED: Roy C Sullivan from Virginia, USA, was struck for the seventh time in 1977. (“Sent jolts of current to my fingers and toes” takes on new meaning.)

10) TALLEST LIVING WOMAN: Sandy Allen of the USA, at 7ft 7ins. (But even she would be buried under the snow in my back yard!)

So with those silly records and another being broken out my window… I’m off to do something productive with the rest of my day. Hope yours is peaceful and a happy one to put in the record books!

To the Emergency Room we go! Sing with me! Oh yeah!

So, the story starts (as it has for the last three weeks)… The weather was beautiful; a balmy 20 degrees F with the sun hanging in a cloudless cerulean sky, fresh snow powdering the evergreens and DH says “how about a snowmobile ride?” How could I refuse with those baby blues batting at me?

Several minutes of negotiations later we’re heading out on the marked trail to a destination even I know and oh what fun!

30 minutes in we slam through a foot and a half deep ditch someone has snowblown in a field on private property. (It’s private… they can do whatever they want.) Somehow (and neither of this can figure out how or why) my body compresses really weird and my knee turns into a flaming ball of pain. 2 seconds. The whole thing was over in two seconds! Of course DH is unscathed and for one stupid moment, as I’m standing on the side of the trail… I think, I’m  fine, let’s keep going. But as the knee gave way when I put more pressure on it we both think… nah. Home it is.

And you guessed it. Home means back on the sled and through the woods (now a 45 minute drive because he can’t go fast).

Can’t go to the ER and have someone looking at the backwoods winter wool of hair on my legs so I hobble into the shower and do a quick shave. Shampoo my hair (and yes, at this stage in the game forego the usual styling and makeup routine) and head off to the hospital.

3 1/2 hours at the ER, x-rays and lots of waiting, we find out there are no broken bones, but a severe sprain that requires a knee immobilizer for at least the next week. Which also means hobbling around the house with a walker. (Now standard equipment in my injury arsenal.)

I know. I’m sitting here thinking the same thing.

Next time… just say NO!

I’m not very shy about voicing my displeasure with Maine winters. They’re cold, messy, and loooong. But I gotta tell you. There are some days, like last Saturday that even a cynic can enjoy.

The sun was out, casting blue shadows on the pristine snow. It was practically balmy at a very comfortable 25 degrees farenheit. So daughter, hubby, and I donned our very warm winter gear and climbed on the snowmobiles (called sleds here in northern Maine) and headed out into the woods.

Now, let me explain. Where I live, winter begins somewhere around the end of September and ends about a week before Memorial Day. Winter sports are a religion here (that and basketball… but that’s a blog for another day). Snowmobile trails are highways often times maintained better than some roads. They come complete with stop signs, curve ahead markers, route numbers, and signs pointing the way to local eateries. People can go most anywhere on a sled in northern Maine. One is just as likely to pull up behind a sled at the gas pump as a vehicle.

Needless to say, the ride was fabulous. Green firs weighed down with snow and deciduous trees with the last remnants of copper leaves hanging on their branches surrounded us. I was enjoying the solitude and the beauty… until of course we got lost. Lost men on sleds aren’t any better at asking for directions than men in cars. Now, in fairness to DH, the number of gas stations with bathroom facilities and friendly service attendants (both of which I could have used) are few and far between, but still… when you know you’re lost… stop, turn around, and go back to where you lost your way. Don’t keep driving into the depths of the northern woods hoping you’ll recognize some landmark. (That’s the stuff of news headlines!) Thankfully, we happened upon a lovely woman on snowshoes walking her dog, who smiled kindly and directed us off her property and back onto the trails.

So the answer is no, I didn’t pack up Santa and my Christmas tree, but I did manage to plot Meghan’s story. You see, it’s not exactly quiet on a sled, but there’s really nothing to clutter your mind, no television, no music, no voices calling my name (not real ones anyway), just me and my characters working to tell a story. So, like the nice lady on the snowshoes, Meghan showed me where I’d taken a wrong turn, pointed out some plot holes and now I’m working to find my way back and finish up her story.

Sometimes I actually enjoy winter!