Saturday, October 10, 2015

Birthday Card for a Teenage Boy - by Cheryl Wright

Last time I showed you a card I'd made for hubby's birthday. This time around I'm showcasing one I created for my grandson's 16th birthday.

If you think it's hard making cards for men, then try making one for a teenage boy! Man, that's what I call hard work.

Using a variety of different 'splotchy' stamp sets (from Kaisercraft, Stampin' Up!, and others), this is what I came up with:

The number "16" was made using chipboard pieces from kaisercraft, and painting with acrylic paint. The cardbase was 'kraft' cardstock, so using a vintage gold for the chipboard was the best match I could get.

I hope you've enjoyed this card. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time!


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Friday, October 9, 2015

Flawed Heros and Perfect Heroines by romance author Killarney Sheffield


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People ask me all the time why I write the kind of characters I do. Well, I suppose it stems from those old Harlequins from years back. Most of the heroes were these beastly fellows whom the heroine spent the bulk of the book trying to reform. I got tired of heroes with issues! Honestly, look around you, we are all flawed people. In this day and age society has developed an acceptance of things flawed, different and even bizarre. Who are we as people, as women? We are flawed, let’s face it, we all have our quirks and we are all looking for Mr. Perfect, right? RIGHT! Of course we all know there is no such thing as perfect, but that doesn’t stop every fairy tale from insisting our Prince Charming exists now does it? And what’s wrong with striving for the perfect man? Nothing… as long as you realize you’re only going to get almost perfect and accept that. And everyone’s perception of perfect is different of course. 
I want my heroines to be flawed, quirky, maybe not think things all the way through, after all that is how all humans are. And as a reader I want my heroes to be just that, HEROES, who despite being almost perfect fall for that weird, klutzy, stubborn, wild heroine, because isn’t that what we all want, someone to love us despite all out faults? Hell yes!  Besides, if TV and social media has shown us anything it’s that perfection is only a well-crafted illusion. We are all flawed but we all share the same dream, for that perfect someone to fall hopelessly head over heels in love with us anyway. Yup, we are all Libra’s deep down inside: hopeless romantics who think life and love should be fair. We are all fools for love.
And as for the Libra thing… it was my birthday yesterday.  And my wish was to remain a romantic fool!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's FALL, Y'all! by Gail Roughton

I love Fall.  Most Southerners do. That first hint of cool(er) air after temperatures in the high 90’s with a heat index of +100’s—unless of course it’s +100 actual temperature without the heat index figured in, which happens quite frequently—ah, that first hint of Fall just lifts our spirts and gladdens our hearts.  Granted, our idea of pleasant is low 90’s with the high 80’s qualifying as cooler, and the low 80’s qualifying as downright cool, but then, all things are relative.

September’s tricky. The temperatures fluctuate, and trust me, nobody’s turned off the A/C and ceiling fans yet. But then October rolls in.  Beautiful October.  All the leaves might not have turned yet, but enough have turned to justify giving it the title of “Golden October”. And it’s corn maze season! Our favorite corn maze is put on by Daisy Adams Farm in the little town of Cochran, about 20 miles away from us. My daughter’s already put us on high alert via Facebook tag.  Corn mazes are the only reason she’ll go near a cornfield. She doesn’t trust corn fields, you see.  Says they’re full of dead baseball players and aliens and demon children.  The only thing she dislikes more than cornfields are clowns, which she deems “downright scary”. 

But corn mazes are different.  And besides, Daisy Adams Farm puts on a “total package”, complete with petting zoo, corn box, corn cannons, and hay rides. Giant checker boards with small gourds for game pieces. And oh, crowning glory! A “pick your own pumpkin” pumpkin patch.  Somebody should really tell Linus of “Charlie Brown” about that pumpkin patch, ‘cause if I were the Great Pumpkin, I’d sure rise from that pumpkin patch.  We always pick a weekend or two right before Halloween to do our Daisy Adams Farm afternoon so the pumpkins will be just right for Halloween carving. Becca buys four, of varying sizes.  One for my son-in-law, one for her, and one for each of the kids. 

Halloween’s always been a special holiday for our family.  My husband loves Halloween better’n any kid ever thought about loving it.  And as a side-note, Halloween’s our anniversary.  Yes.  For real.  No, we didn’t have a “costumed” wedding, and actually, we didn’t even pick it on purpose. We had a Courthouse wedding with none of the standard wedding paraphernalia such as bridesmaids and flowers. Neither of us were into that, and I’d seen enough family feuds over the course of my girlfriends’ big weddings to even consider it.  We just wanted to get married.  On the last Friday in the month.  Which that year just so happened to be Halloween. 

Oh, sure, folks told us we were crazy and we’d never have a “real” anniversary. We’ve always had a blast. Even before our children were born, my husband draped our front porch with sheets, donned a sheet and mask himself, and sat on the front porch to dispense candy with a spooky sound record playing on the stereo.  (Yes, a stereo, and an actual LP album, yes, we’re that old.) The kids loved it.  Most of them.  Of course, there were a few younger ones who didn’t much care for it, and then he’d take off his mask to show them he was normal (more or less) and give them their candy. Then came our kids. My husband, daughter and youngest son would walk house to house till they dropped. The best costumes always turned out to be the ones we put together ourselves, and twenty-five years later, I'm still amazed my youngest child actually let us paint his face.  Halloween spirit is the only explanation. My oldest son and middle child took after me. After a couple of houses, he went into “been there, done that”, mode.  Which suited me perfectly, because we’d go back to the car and tag along slowly behind our insatiable Halloween trio. 

These days, Halloween celebrations have shifted to my daughter’s house. She lays out a “finger food” Halloween feast for both before, after and during the night’s adventures, and while this new generation of family Halloweeners goes out on candy rounds, my husband and I are left in charge of her house to dispense candy.  Her house has the most wonderful front porch for sitting and watching the approaching trick-or-treaters.  Randy’s swapped out his sheets for a new costume.  Nowadays, he’s the Grim Reaper. And his mask has glowing red eyes that really glow. And yes, there’s still the occasional younger child he scares the mess out of (and now and then, one or two of the mothers), and of course when that happens, the mask comes off and mostly, the child accepts their candy. Or makes their mothers do it for them.

War-N-Wit, Inc. - Boxed Set
After all, that’s what Halloween is. A mix of light-hearted fun with an occasional twinge of sheer terror.  I love both faces of Halloween. And I’ve got you covered, whichever face you might prefer. For your lighter side, might I suggest the adventures of Chad and Ariel Garrett, the Warlock and Witch of War-N-Wit, Inc.?

my name be Cain...and my color be Se'ben
And should your dark side be the one stirring, well, let me introduce to someone.  His name be Cain...and his color be se'ben.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

This Day in History ~ October 5 ~ by Jamie Hill

It's October, and everyone's thoughts immediately go to Halloween, especially if you're a kid of 'trick or treating' age. For the rest of us, October means different things. Fall weather, the World Series in baseball, football season, pumpkins, sweatshirts, and the holidays just around the corner.  

But what does October 5 mean? What happened this day in history? If you were born today, then that's obviously the highlight. Here are a few other tidbits.

1877 Chief Joseph surrendered to the U.S. Army.

1910 King Manuel II was overthrown in a revolution and Portugal became a republic.

1921 The World Series was broadcast on the radio for the first time.

1930 Great Britons largest dirigible the R-101 Airship crashes in Beauvais, France, killing all on board. 
1933 Machine Gun Kelly has pleaded not guilty to charges of a being a co conspirator in the Urschel kidnapping. 

1947 In the first televised White House address, President Truman urged Americans to refrain from eating meat on Tuesdays and poultry on Sundays to help starving people in other countries.

1953 Earl Warren was sworn in as the 14th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

1962 The Beatles released their first hit, "Love Me Do," in Britain.

1969  Monty Python's Flying Circus makes its debut on BBC Television, there were only 45 episodes aired over four seasons featuring the zany comedy sketches with John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Eric Idle.

1990 Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center and its director were acquitted of obscenity charges resulting from an exhibit of Robert Mapplethorpe's photographs.

2001 Barry Bonds broke Mark McGwire's record of 71 home runs in one season when he hit his 71st and 72nd homers.  

2011 Visionary co-founder of Apple Computers, Steve Jobs, died after battling pancreatic cancer for several years. The 56-year-old former CEO had resigned prior to his death leading to speculation that his health had made a turn for the worse. Fans of him and his company immediately set up memorials and tributes at Apple stores and on the internet upon hearing the news.  

And just because they're interesting, here are two Oct. 2 facts: Elvis Presley performed only once on Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry stage, on Oct. 2, 1954.

The first “Peanuts” comic strip written by Charles Schulz was published on Oct. 2, 1950.

Some general trivia:  University of Chicago researchers have found that people born in the fall have the highest chance of living to be 100 years old.

And finally, according to a national survey done by the US Social Security Administration of 12,000 Americans the most common date of birth was Oct. 5.

There, now doesn't that make today feel so much more special?

Indulge in a fall splurge- all four of my Blame Game books in one boxed set for a low price. Find them at your favorite online retailer or our Books We Love store where you can use Paypal and purchase in your choice of formats:  

Until next time, have a great October!


Sunday, October 4, 2015

NASA & Apollo 11 by Katherine Pym

The Eagle has landed

 In 1965, my dad started work at NASA in Houston. Of course, the area wasn’t Houston at the start of the space program, just a flat plain with a few trees loaded with Spanish moss. It was a backwater near Clear Lake almost on the Galveston County line. Most of the streets weren’t even paved.

My dad said the site was constructed like a college campus. If the space program failed, it would rise from the ashes as an accredited university.

I don’t know the politics behind the selection of the site for NASA (Some say the land was owned by Lady Bird Johnson & her husband was vice president at the time.) but it transformed the area into a bustling group of suburbs where everyone was smart, even the children—brain wise and street wise. I learned a lot when there. My parents would be shocked.

My family is not Texan. We are from Milwaukee. The most south I’d ever been was St. Louis. While still in grade school, a friend informed me she and her family were going to Texas on vacation. I stood on the playground and envisioned a flat landscape with steer skulls and Saguaro cacti all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. When she returned from her vacation, I asked her how it was. She said, “It was hot and the tops of my feet got sunburned. I didn’t see any water or lakes, but everyone has a boat in their driveway." She couldn't have been near Houston where there is a lot of water.

When the airplane door opened at Hobby Airport, the heat and humidity rushed in, taking my breath away. Once in the car, the top and trunk loaded with our luggage, all the windows opened because we didn’t have air conditioning, we headed to our new home in Clear Lake City. While driving down the freeway lined with palm trees, I knew my life would never be the same. I was in a new land and had entered a new culture.

Back in Wisconsin I had watched John Glenn’s earth orbits but that was nothing compared to meeting the astronauts in the grocery store or lunching in the school cafeteria with their kids.

The LEM on the moon's surface
My dad was an electrical engineer who worked on a couple of panels (Nos 16 & 32, I think) in the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM). It was the unit that released from the Service Module and landed on the moon. It’s the same unit where the Apollo 13 astronauts took refuge after the explosion that compromised their Service Module.

At the time of Apollo 11, the toggle switches in the LEM were not protected by metal bracings. When Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were fitted into their spacesuits ready to drop down to the lunar surface, one of their backpacks swiped along some panels and knocked off several toggle switches. Some of them came off my dad’s panels.

Toggle Switch
While everyone sat before their TV’s glued to the drama of the lunar landing, my dad got a phone call to come in immediately to the space center. Sitting around a table, the engineers and scientists conferred on what to do. Those toggles were important for the LEM to reignite and take the guys off the moon. 

Several looked at my dad. The astronauts had pencils up there because they had to follow the instructions, make notes in the procedures. They needed pencils to calculate numbers for processes. My dad said, “Have them insert a pencil tip into the hole and use it as the toggle.”

Problem solved. It was after this, though, that metal braces were installed on each side of the toggle switches.

Up until the space program, no one really knew what our world looked like from space. I mean, have you ever seen those 1950's Sci-Fi B-movies? Producers and directors had no idea. They never consulted aeronautical scientists, either.

Apollo 11
After the Command Module splashdown in the Pacific, the astronauts were shuttled off to a quarantine chamber. For everyone else it was time to party. After tense days and nights, people of all ages, the news media, and anyone else who could, descended onto an area only a few square miles. NASA Boulevard was gridlocked, everyone cheering, honking their horns. Every motel and hotel was packed. Alcohol flowed freely. No one checked ID. Minors got all they could drink. In one hotel, women threw their room keys into the pool. Men dived in and whichever key they got, they also got that woman.

There was a newsmen duo who appeared on NBC every week night at 5:30 PM. Apparently they enjoyed the splashdown parties to the fullest. Within a year, they were both retired. Now, I am not suggesting the splashdown parties brought this on, but I found it peculiar they were gone from the news scene so quickly.

As everyone rode high on the success of Apollo 11; 12 proceeded forward and was also successful, but by 13 fanfare had waned. We were deeper into the Vietnam War, and a tired President Johnson refused to run for another term. People looked elsewhere for excitement. I was in high school and had a boyfriend. Life moved on. 

Here are some links for better viewing, but more than like copyrighted. Check this one out. And this one.  



Short Story - Maude, There's A Body - Janet Lane Walters

I began my career writing short stories but I don't write them any more. This is the last one I wrote and it took me more than two...