Catting around?!

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Yardley on her Cat D3 8/18/2013

Here, Kitty, kitty… Feral cats have always been in my life. From the kitties we ‘rescued’ from the hay barns as kids, to the cats my mother ‘stole’ from the park during her lunch breaks at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (to have them fixed), to the abandoned cats my husband started feeding during the minus zero weather in Alaska. (Yardley, left, is now a wonderful indoor/outdoor cat).

Cats are survivors. One reason cats survive is because of sheer numbers. A female (queen) can start breeding at five months and have four litters a year.
If she has four kittens each time, that means in ten years, she’s populated the area with nearly 1.4 MILLION cats! (See the t-shirt for the math equation)

I recently helped control the local population explosion of feral cats by transporting a dozen of the offenders to the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon. These citizens of the Oakdale Cat Colony were examined, wormed if necessary, checked and treated for ear mites, spayed or neutered, then given the ‘right ear snip’ that indicated a sterilized cat. These guys and gals already have jobs waiting for them and will be re-acclimated to their new work stations as barn cats in teams of two or more.

If you’d like to help, but don’t want to adopt a cat (or even transport a dozen or so), give to your local or regional agency or even to FCCO. I know they would appreciate any monetary help. Their suggested donation is $30 per cat. (notice the snipped right ear on the name plate)

So, where did the term ‘catting around’ come from? I don’t know, but if you do, please leave a comment so all of us will know!

Why do women go after these men who seem to be ‘catting around’? REBELS, ROGUES, AND ROMANTICS is a collection of five historical novels written by bestselling and award-winning authors about these types. Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited!

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Inspiration #mgtab

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Inspiration

Spring is usually my most motivating season of the year. When the warming days chase away the chill of winter and a rainbow of blossoms brighten the world. I then want to rejuvenate everything in my life, all at the same time. From Spring cleaning the house to reorganizing my life to revitalizing my writing. This year, the energy to make all that happen seems to be trickling into me rather than coming in familiar, mountain moving bursts (LOL I say mountain moving because if you truly saw what all I want to accomplish in my heart then you’d understand.) What does Spring do for you?

Not sure why the winter blues are lingering with me, but this week three inspiring things did my heart good. So, I thought I would share them with you in case you are in the same boat I am. You know that one with the troubling leak that makes it seem as if you’re sinking no matter how hard you bail or how fast you paddle. Sound familiar?

First event, on Tuesday when a slew of ginormous storms hit my area, I didn’t huddle in my Mom-cave, wondering if I’d be swept to Oz. I went to the Georgia Ensemble Theater and saw The Million Dollar Quartet. The level of local, musical talent on the stage amazed me. There are two things in life that inspire me the most, song and story. I generally walk around with a song in my heart and a book in my head. Million Dollar Quartet delivered both song and story in spades. If you are anywhere near Roswell, Georgia go see it. If you aren’t then look up the actors online and give them a shout of encouragement. Chris Damiano as Jonny Cash, Chase Peacock as Elvis Presley, Christopher Kent as Carl Perkins, Ethan Ray Parker as Jerry Lee Lewis, and Alison Brannon Wilhoit. Bravo!

Next, the awe-inspiring Peter Hollens released Dragonborn, a music video he shared. My heart soared and my fingers itched to write a book which would capture the spirit of the song. LOL I hope to, but first have a number of other promised projects to finish. Yet, some of it may come sooner than I think. If you’ve read my Shadowmen Series, you’ll know Siruis is leader of the Pyrathian Band of warriors, who are dragon-like in their spirit forms. They breathe life into humans when evil tries to take them too soon from this world. I am currently writing book five in the series, Bewitching the Wolf. You can catch Peter and Dragonborn here and follow him to get a regular dose of inspiration:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+peter+hollens+dragonborn&view=detail&mid=3265AED17538A6AD48393265AED17538A6AD4839&FORM=VIRE

Lastly, to end out the week, my daughter kidnapped me and took me to see The Shack, a movie out based on a book by that same title. Just wow. A journey through grief and a story of forgiveness and redemption that I won’t be forgetting. See it if you can even if you’re not religious. Some elements of life and humanity transcend barriers and this one does.  Mackenzie’s story is a deep and worthy one.

What stories or songs inspire you the most? Let me know what you think of Dragonborn and The Shack, and Million Dollar Quartet.

Give me a shout out on Twitter @jenniferstgiles Also, my website was hacked and my mailing list destroyed. It would be fabulous if you popped over to jenniferstgiles.com and joined.  Get Touch a Dark Wolf and Wild Irish Ride for free. Current bargain books are Mistress of Trevelyan, Midnight Secrets, and Collateral Damage. 

Happy Reading and remember every day to Dream, Believe, Create, Inspire, Love, Heal, Succeed, and Grow and Share Wealth.

Jennifer St. Giles, aka Jennifer Saints and JL Saint.

 

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A Gypsy’s Curse — @PRosemoor #mgtab

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I’ve been a carnival junkie since I was a kid. There were a lot of them back then, and my mom was into them as much as I was, so she always took me to every school carnival in the area. I loved the rides and the games and the weird stuff.

 

Gypsy fortune tellers were nothing but fancily dressed manikins in a glass box. You put in your money and a card came out with your fortune. So to my disappointment, they weren’t real.

 

 

Mom also took me to Riverview Amusement Park, Chicago’s version of Coney Island (which I also loved when visiting relatives in New York). It was nearly a two hour haul to get to Riverview. The train downtown, the rapid transit, then a bus.

But it was as exciting as it got because they had high excitement rides like roller coasters, six of them!

(The wooden rollercoaster here is the Coney Island Cyclone)

I almost fell out of Riverview’s Silver Flash that didn’t have proper restraints for little kids. Mom caught me when I was nearly halfway off the ride. That did not squelch my enthusiasm for rollercoasters.

Riverview had a midway complete with games and barkers and kewpie dolls…and really weird stuff.  A human freak show—the four-legged girl, the armless wonder, the mule-faced woman. The one that freaked my young self out was a woman who had the bottom end of a baby coming from her stomach. I didn’t know about conjoined twins at that age. I doubt many people did.

 

What Riverview didn’t have was a live fortune teller, at least not when I was there. I had to satisfy myself with another colorfully dressed manikin in a glass box.

 

When Rebecca York and Ann Voss Peterson and I decided to write our Gypsy Magic serial novel set in the Louisiana bayou country, we wanted to start with a carnival gypsy. A real gypsy.

 

 

 

It was all over now. Her only son, her beloved son, was condemned to death. For a crime she knew he could not have committed.

She gathered her strength for what she must do. From the pocket of her long skirt the old Gypsy pulled the bandanna with the objects. The pen. The crumpled paper cup. The metal tack. None was of great value. But they held the power she needed. For each had belonged to one of the people she was going to curse tonight.

Her hand clenched the pen. “Justice is blind,” she whispered, then joined the curse with the name of Wyatt Boudreaux. “Love is death,” she intoned as she crumpled the paper cup in her hand and said the name of Garner Rousseau. Finally she picked up the tack and said, “The law is impotent,” linking those words with the name of Andrei Sobatka.

Pushing herself erect, she stood and shuffled to the edge of the bayou, smug in her satisfaction that she had evened the score.

We had a great time with the carnival background and three cursed heroes. Would they ever be able to end the curse and find happiness with the women they love?

Each of these compelling stories ends with an HEA for the hero and heroine.  But only the full set will finally get to the bottom of the murder mystery. Be sure to read them all!

Get links for major e-retailers through Pronoun.
https://books.pronoun.com/wyatt/
https://books.pronoun.com/garner/
https://books.pronoun.com/andrei/

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Marry On April Fool’s Day by @JoanReeves #mgtab

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Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day so here’s a question for you. Would you marry on April Fool’s Day? I think you’d have to possess a very good sense of humor to do that.

In light of our changing culture, perhaps the better question is, would you get married? Ever. I have a couple of friends who refuse to marry. Each lives with the man she loves, but they absolutely refuse to marry.

In today’s world where couples live together and often have children without marriage, getting married seems to have become the ultimate commitment if not the ultimate love story.Weddings are celebrated in ceremonies ranging from small, family-only events to splashy galas costing as much as a house.

Ancient People Knew What Was At Stake

It wasn’t always like this. Ancient history tells us that marriage was first a private, domestic affair.

According to Curious Customs of Sex and Marriage by George Ryley Scott (out of print but available at used book outlets), the basic function of marriage was to multiply. After all, the population was small. Disease was rampant. Under-population was the big problem. The planet needed more people. Marriages were simply a way of sponsoring procreation.Bride Cartoon

You may kiss the bride. Go forth and procreate.

Women Were Valuable–Commodities

It didn’t take men long to decide that the value of a woman–daughter, sister, or a female related in any way that gave them domination over the woman–lay in making marriage contracts that enabled them (the men) to gain more wealth and power.

Yet, marriage was a hard sell to most men. Those testosterone-fueled beings didn’t embrace the concept. They took persuading which is probably why the dowry played such a big part in landing a man who would enhance a father’s power and wealth.

Perhaps that explains why so many nations (remember, just about all society was patriarchal) experimented with Polygyny, a form of plural marriage in which a man is allowed more than one wife, and Polyandry, a form of polygamy whereby a woman takes two or more husbands at the same time. So they could have many wives and get many dowries in order to expand their power base.

Along Came Monogamy

Eventually, in most civilized nations of the world, monogamy was accepted almost universally, at least in theory, as the perfect form of marital union.

As we all know, nothing and no one is perfect, but monogamy was probably what kept the world rocking along for a couple of millennia—dragging all of the customs and superstitions created along the way into our modern world.

Customs Transform To Fit The Times

Many marriage customs continue, with some slight alterations. Although some may still practice Marriage by Capture, that’s usually performed in an altered version called Elopement.

Betrothal in Infancy and Arranged Marriages still survive as do matchmakers. Even Marriage by Purchase survives in other countries although cynics assert that Marriage by Purchase is alive and well in western civilizations too. Just look at all the wealthy sugar daddies–and a few sugar mamas–who are always looking for sexy young sugar babies. Of course, maybe they’re all just looking for love like the rest of us.

Marriage of Convenience

Another classic tradition in the wedding arena is the Marriage of Convenience in which an unwilling man or woman is forced into a marriage. Sometimes this is because of the need for protection or for economic reasons. This is one of the most popular themes in romance novels.

I explore that theme in my romantic comedy, April Fool Bride which is on sale for only 99 cents today through April 16. (Be sure the price is 99 cents before you click Buy.) You can find April Fool Bride at: Amazon * Nook * iTunes * Kobo (U.S.) * Smashwords.

Blurb

Is it a marriage of convenience or something more? Something that sizzles like steam heat between Maddie and Jake that neither can resist!

Oil heiress Madeline Quinn needs a husband by the time she turns twenty-five in order to claim her full inheritance. Mad Maddie, as the tabloids christened her, has learned the hard way that men only see dollar signs when they look at her.

Maddie decides a marriage of convenience is the only answer. She turns to the one man in the world she can trust, her housekeeper’s son who always treated her like a little sister when they were kids growing up together.

Jake Becker hasn’t seen Maddie since the night she tried to seduce him. Why should he help the woman who changed the course of his life? Simple. Revenge.

Review

This is a wonderful love story. April Fool Bride is well plotted and beautifully told. As the story came to an end I found myself wanting to read more. I read a lot of books, but I don’t read them all to the end, and I only write a review on the ones I love. I thoroughly enjoyed April Fool Bride. 5 Stars!! ~ Mary Adair, Author

A charming novella with romance, passion, humor. Maddie needs a husband by April to be able to control her inheritance. The only man she can trusts to help her without taking advantage of the situation is Jake who was her friend when they were both teenagers. His mother used to work for Maddie’s family until the night her stepmother caught Maddie in Jake’s bed and threw him and his mother out. Now Jake is a successful businessman and doesn’t need the money or the lucrative deal Maddie is offering for him to marry her on paper for a year. Yet he accepts because…[*g*] Funny and sexy is the trademark of Joan Reeves’ books, add emotion and passion. ~ Amazon Reader Review

I wish you a Happy April Fool’s Day. Play a corny prank on your kids or your spouse. This is a day made for laughter–and romance if you work it right. *g*

Joan Reeves writes sexy–often funny–Romance Novels. Her books are available at major ebook sellers with new print editions coming this year. (Audio editions available at Audible and iTunes.) All of Joan’s books have the same underlying premise: “It’s never too late to live Happily Ever After.” Joan lives her Happily Ever After with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Sign up for Joan’s Mailing List/Free NL and get a free ebook. Connect Online with Joan: Blog * Facebook * Twitter * YouTube.

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Character Development – Is there a right or wrong way?

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Several years ago, the editor working on The Greeks of Beaubien Street sent me a rather terse message. Coming to the end of the story, he still had no idea what Detroit detective Jill Zannos looked like. I was baffled because I know I’d mentioned that she was a beautiful Greek woman, in her thirties, tall and slender. What more did this guy want from me?  Exhausted to have to read to the end to find out she was a loner with no girlfriends or that her boyfriend was a jerk, he also disliked the periodic memories of Jill’s childhood, from the encounters with her odd neighbor, being picked on in elementary school because she was Greek, to the lamb’s head cooking in her grandmother’s apartment. (A memory from my own childhood.)

Reflecting on the type of stories I’ve read, generally I’m satisfied with a short description of a person’s physical attributes, and then my imagination fills in the blanks. In my books, I might say someone’s a blond or brunette, that they have big breasts or are overweight. Violet, the daughter of Pam’s ex-husband in Save the Date, is morbidly obese at the beginning of the story but after two books, she’s lost weight and although still overweight by conventional standards, is healthy and happy. I felt it was important for several aspects of the story to define her weight, her hygiene, negative attributes of her personality, but little else. As the story grew, we discovered that Violet was intelligent; completing her master’s thesis, shy, quick witted and creative

I might emphasize weight gain or loss as an attribute of their mental health; “she was so upset she couldn’t eat a thing,” or “in a moment of despair, she stuffed a donut in her mouth.”

Last night, I began reading a new series the name of which I won’t mention because I don’t want my critique to be taken the wrong way by any perspective readers. Suffice to say, in spite of some rather detailed character descriptions, I’m getting used to the writer’s style and hope I’ll finish the first volume. In the first chapter, he’s introduced the main characters and I know an exhaustive list of their physical characteristics, their history, what they did in their youth, what subjects they majored in in college, and what their personalities are like, including quirks and limitations. Although it seems a little draggy to me, I can see that I’m being led someplace where this information might be necessary. I’ll let you know.

As my characters develop, I’m just learning about them. I don’t have all of the answers at the beginning of a book so I am unable to tell you everything about them right from the start; it will be revealed later, as the story grows. I love to send out hints here and there, and careful readers tell me they love it that I force them to read between the lines sometimes. Unlike my fellow author of the new series mentioned above, I tend to piecemeal out to the reader the history of the character through reflection or interaction with other characters. However, not everyone likes my method.

It’s just my way, not the right way I’m sure, as my encounter with the editor confirmed.

For more information about the Greektown Detroit Detective Stories, go here.

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Grounding Research Is Vital for the Paranormal

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Writing paranormal romantic suspense gives me a lot of leeway. I can make up all sorts of things like dragon shifters who come from another planet or werewolf shifters who have to intone an ancient chant to change from man to wolf.

But the only way to make the fantastic parts of my writing believable is to ground the rest of the story in reality. And that means research.

Take my novella Wyatt, for example. It’s part of a three-book serial that Patricia Rosemoor, Ann Voss Peterson and I have on preorder right now at most eretailers.  In our stories, an old gypsy woman has cursed three young men because their fathers helped convict her son of a crime she knows he didn’t commit.

My story is the first one in the set. For police detective hero, Wyatt Boudreaux, the gypsy psychic chose blindness as his punishment.  And after she leveled the curse, he was shot in the head in the line of duty.

I thought it would be cool having a blind hero trying to discover whether the gypsy woman’s son was really guilty—and at the same time winning back the woman he lost because the old gypsy crone was her guardian.

But how was I going to make you believe the reality of my hero’s situation?  Luckily for me, the National Federation of the Blind is in Baltimore, and I was able to contact them for information. They have a series of booklets written by blind people, telling about their lives. And the details helped me understand how Wyatt would function. Also, I was also able to interview a blind married couple and see how they managed in their own home.

Something as simple as keeping the house neat and putting everything in its place is important, so they don’t trip over anything.  I had my hero do this—and also use their cooking methods.  To chop vegetables, he uses a tray to keep pieces from escaping. His stove has special markings on the dials, so he can tell the temperature. Cans have Braille labels. For trips outside the house, he folds his money in different ways to tell which bill is which. And because he lives in a small town, he has to get around using the services of an unreliable taxi driver.

An important point he mentions in the story—if you’re blind, you can’t know if someone is looking at you, which kept him from sneaking into the heroine’s bedroom at night when guests are in the house.

One other thing I also decided with a blind hero or heroine. I’m never going to try to write a person who was blind from birth. In Wyatt, I needed my hero to remember what things looked like—so he could recall them and give me visual touchstones to add detail to the story.

For example, he hasn’t seen the woman he loves in five years because the whole gypsy community hates him for his father’s role in the murder conviction. But he’s able to vividly recall her features.

I’ve always loved learning details that make my stories more authentic for readers.

What makes a story feel real for you?

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Tourists Prayer (funny)

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Sharing a tourist prayer with those of you who are planing your next vacation:

Heavenly Father, look down on us your humble obedient tourist servants, who are doomed to travel this earth, taking photographs, mailing postcards, buying souvenirs and walking around in drip-dry underwear.

Give us this day divine guidance in the selection of our hotels, that we may find our reservations honored, our rooms made, and hot water running in the faucets.

We pray that the phones work and that the receptionists speak our tongue.

Lead us, dear Lord, to good, inexpensive restaurants where the food is superb, the waiters friendly and the wine included in the price.

Give us the wisdom to tip correctly in currencies we do not understand. Forgive us for undertipping out of ignorance or overtipping out of fear. Make the natives love us for what we are and nor what we can contribute to their worldly goods.

Grant us the strength to visit the museums, the cathedrals , the palaces and castles listed as ‘musts’ in the guidebooks.

And if perchance we skip a historic monument to take a nap after lunch, have mercy on us for our flesh is week.

For Husbands Only
Dear God, keep our wives from shopping sprees and protect them from ‘bargains’ they don’t need or can’t afford. Lead them not into temptation for they know not what they do.

For Wives Only
Almighty Father, keep our husbands from looking at foreign women and comparing them to us. Save them from making fools of themselves in cafes and nightclubs. Above all do not forgive them their trespasses for they know exactly what they do.

Available at Amazon

The perfect fiancé is a cheater and the fabulous Christmas wedding is off. But the would-be honeymoon cruise may fulfill the dreams of Julia and her unexpected companion.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk published more than twenty books, some translated in German and French.
She received an Outstanding Achiever Award at Affaire de Coeur Magazine and is a
Best Romance Novel winner at Preditors & Editors Readers Poll;
Two-Time winner of Best Contemporary Romance Novel at Readers Favorite;
EPIC’s Ebook Award Finalist; and Kindle Top 100 Bestselling Author

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Springtime is for roses

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Rainbow Sorbet grown exclusively in water with goldfish

Springtime! Time for fresh roses!
But also for late frosts or snow… What a bummer, having to wait to plant bare root roses because of fickle weather patterns.
But wait! I found a solution!

I plant my bare root roses in water. This may not work in all areas of the world, but it’s a real winner in Alaska where summers (at least around Anchorage) seldom get over 80 degrees. Your best bet for success is using a higher grade rose, at least grade one and a half, so it has a good root system.

There is a problem with ‘planting’ in 5 gallon buckets (or similar sized containers), though. Mosquitoes. Those little bloodsuckers love standing water, the perfect incubating area for their eggs and larvae.
Goldfish to the rescue! You can buy feeder goldfish at pet stores or larger Wal-marts for about ten cents each. I put a couple in each bucket of water and let them eat any mosquito larva that appear.

Queen Elizabeth grandflora rose grown in water with goldfish

There is an added bonus to the goldfish. Not only does their swimming keep the water from becoming stagnant, the by-product of their feasting (fish poop) is an ideal fertilizer. My Queen Elizabeth roses were nearly seven inches across one year!

Also, it’s fairly simple to move the containers inside if the forecast is for freezing temperatures. This works on both ends of the growing season. You can also ‘chase the sun’ if their once sunny spot becomes too shady later in the season. Note: all roses need at least six hours of sunlight.
Be aware, though. This method only works for one season. You are essentially forcing the roses to grow and there isn’t enough nutrition in the water to replenish the plant for a second season. If you’d like, you can plant the roses in the garden anytime, but at least six weeks before the first hard freezes. It takes at least that long for soil-feeding roots to become established. If your winters are mild, you will probably have success. However, if you have six months or more of sub-freezing temperatures, I recommend just tossing the plant in the dumpster. The stems and thorns are too tough to compost.
The blooms you get from growing your own roses may not be as fancy as the ones from the florist, but if you’ve chosen well, they’ll most certainly smell better.
More pictures and detailed ‘planting’ information at www.growalaska.net and www.chilloutroses.com. Note: emails and phone numbers are not correct. These are old sites for reference purposes only. I no longer sell roses, either.

Here’s a pretty bunch of roses for you! Yours for only #99cents!

Kiss Me, Thrill Me: As Only You Can. Seven great stories by USA Today and NY Times best selling authors. Available exclusively on Amazon (and for a limited time).

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