Photo 365 #110: Glass

Seymour has given me some lovely gifts in the time that we’ve known each other.  This is a detail photo of one of those gifts:


For our second anniversary, he bought me a beautiful glass bowl from a local shop, and its beauty never fails to impress me.  The glass contains ash from the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens, which appeals to my love of history.  It’s just a beautiful bowl, and one of the prettiest pieces of glass I’ve seen outside of a church.

I spent probably a good half hour taking pictures of this bowl back in May as we were packing up to move.  I played with angles, lighting, zooming in and out…In short, I spent way too much time photographing this bowl when I should have been packing.  Let’s face it – no one likes packing, and taking pretty pictures is much more fun.  I love the texture and color of this photograph almost as much as I love the bowl itself, and the thought that Seymour puts into gift-giving (regardless of who the recipient is).

It’s a perfect reminder of the things I treasure in life.  Do you have something like that, a reminder of things you hold precious?  Tell me all about it in the comments!

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.

Vampires and glitter don’t mix

Today’s featured book is Shades of Gray, the first book in Joleene Naylor’s Amaranthine series.  Nothing is black and white, not even vampires, and when Patrick is found dead in his apartment, Katelina is left in a vacuum of uncertainty with no leads. Then the enigmatic Jorick appears. In a single sweep he turns over the rocks of reality to reveal what hides underneath in the shadows; monsters that she thought only existed in horror movies.

Trapped in a nightmare, Katelina is forced to accept the truth of vampires; vampires who want her dead for her association with Patrick. Jorick saves the day, but what should she do when her hero turns out to be one of the monsters? Can she really trust – and even love – someone who isn’t human?

Caught between light and dark, Katelina and Jorick must travel down a path of mystery and terror as their pasts are slowly revealed and their passions ignite, in a world that smells like blood and tastes like fear.

Look for the action-packed sequel, Legacy of Ghosts!

So, what are people saying about Shades of Gray?  Well, Sharon Stogner, a reviewer for I Smell Sheep, says, “It is a different look at what it would be like to be in love with a vampire. More realistic.”  But if you’d like to see for yourself, then you’re in luck because once again, I’ve got an excerpt to share…behind the cut!

Need something new to read?

Then step right up, because all this week I’m going to be showcasing some fantastic books.  First up is Donna Yates’s book, The Lone Hero.  Escape to another world for the holidays where dragons rule and meet:

War has begun on Aberforth, the home-world of the dragons. The eternal being Einarr accepts his first mortal mission – to put an end to the warring but it will take most of his lifetime to try. In order for Einarr to have more strength than any other human, the dragon leader Zavat infuses him with some of his own strength and qualities.

Intrigued?  I know I am!  But in case that didn’t whet your appetite…

Photo 365 #109: Treasure

What do I treasure?  Well, I treasure many things, but of all the things I treasure, my family is most important:


This is from our annual summer gathering on my mother-in-law’s side of the family.  While this isn’t everyone, it is the picture in which my children were at least all looking in the direction of the camera, even if they weren’t all smiling.  I love my family, and am blessed to have married into such a wonderful one.

What do you treasure?

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #108

Well, this post is later than I’d intended. I spent the morning moving a pile of lumber from one outbuilding to another as part of a farm clean-up effort. I had two adorable little helpers, though Thumper petered out after about five minutes.

Cricket, though? He was a fantastic helper. He didn’t quit till the job was done, and what a big job it was.
We were expecting rain this afternoon, but it showed up early, just as we were getting started on our project. By the time we finished, we were all soaked to the bone. But the rain really made our one apple tree stand out, and I couldn’t help taking a picture or four. I love the way the colors pop in this picture, a bit of variety on an otherwise gray and dreary day.

(c) 2014. All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #107

reindeerbunnyBecause it’s that time of year, and because I can’t find half the kids’ winter things after moving this past spring, we bought the boys some new mittens last week.  Thumper’s mittens came with a hat.

He’s the cutest.  Reindeer.  Ever.  And no, I’m not biased.  Not in the least. 🙂

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.

Photo Friday: Babies!

frankieLast Sunday, Cricket’s godmother had her first baby, a little boy named for his father and his grandfathers.  Yesterday, we stopped by to visit on our way home from the funeral.  Baby is too cute, and looks just like his daddy.

I don’t think it’s quite registered with Cricket what this means yet.  While we were there, his godmother didn’t hold baby for more than a minute or two, up until a nurse came for baby’s check-up.  But Cricket is rather possessive of her, and when he realizes that his room at their house is no longer his but baby’s, and that he’ll have to share his godmother with someone else from now on, I wonder how he’ll take it.  I’m expecting a lot of tears, at least until he gets used to baby.

I hope he’ll surprise me.  I hope he’ll prove me wrong and be the best godsibling ever.

I had a heck of a time trying to get Seymour to let me have my turn holding the little guy.  I miss the days when my boys were that little – they were quiet, and still, and let me snuggle them as much as I wanted.  Now they’re too big and/or too intent on moving to let me snuggle them for long, unless they’re sick, as Thumper is.  Poor guy stayed home with Daddy today and got lots of good cuddle time.

What do you miss about your children’s baby days?

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.

Time for another review!

Earlier this fall, I signed up to participate in a blog tour for Glass House Press.  I volunteered to read and review a novella by Mary Fan called Tell Me My Name.  But there were a couple of glitches, because computers rock, and I didn’t get the file until the day my post was supposed to go live.

But!  I’ve finally managed to find enough spare moments to sit down and read this fantastic novella, and now I’ve got the scoop on what it’s all about.  The blurb:

In Mary Fan’s second novella for Glass House Press, a girl wakes up in an icy cell, alone and frightened. She has no memory of who she is or how she came to be there.

She does know that she must get out, at all costs. And that escape must start with remembering…

Photo 365 #106: Landscape

I love landscapes.  I think the majority of pictures I take are either of my kids or landscapes (49% landscapes, 49% kids, 2% other).  Iowa is such a beautiful place that I can’t help whipping out my camera (either of them) and capturing the glories of nature.


As previously mentioned, I also love sunsets.  The arrival of snow is seriously hindering my ability to capture them through the break in the trees that form the western borderline of our property.

I may or may not have mentioned, however, that I’m not fond of the wind farms that are springing up all over the area (seriously, I can’t remember if I’ve talked about it or not).  There’s one that stretches for a good ten miles south of where I live, and the blinking red line on the night horizon is one I find quite annoying.  Now there’s another one that mars the northern horizon on my way to work.  If this keeps up, I’ll be living in the middle of a wind farm inside of ten years.

Still, I do like the silhouettes these particular turbines made against the darkening night sky.  And I love the hint of blurriness evident near the horizon and the edges of the turbine blades; it makes the whole scene feel a bit dreamy and surreal.  When I took this picture, I was reminded of Don Quixote tilting at windmills, and I love it when nature makes me think of books.

What do your favorite landscape photos depict?

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.


Photo 365 #105: Swarm

The first time I met Seymour’s extended family was at his annual family reunion.  He has a big family.  I know people always think they have a big family (I sure thought so, even though I was including my grandma’s brother’s family in my head count), but Seymour really does – his dad was one of 13 kids.  Reunions always used to be held at a nearby state park due to the number of people who’d come and, while it seems like fewer people have come the last couple of years, there’s still quite a crowd.

So we pull into this park and start looking around.  There are people everywhere, but he can’t see anyone he recognizes, and the only people there that I know aside from him and our kids are his parents.  Finally, he turns to me and says, “Are we in the right place?”

I looked at him like, Really? You’re asking me?