Friday, October 23, 2009
I fell in love with pirates as a child. Perhaps it was a blend of Peter Pan and Robin Hood, but I always had a soft spot for those ne’er-do- wells. Sea fiction like Patrick O’Brian’s classics inspired me to create a story about a pirate turned hero, THE PRIVATEER, published by Awestruck Publishing in the spring of 2009.
My first year in Georgia I noticed interesting habits about the folks living a stone’s throw from my new house. In late spring, they brought out queer duds: long skirts, overcoats, hats with feathers, and swords. My neighbor explained it was time for the Renaissance Festival. Ah, I said. From my back porch, I listened to strange sounds echo from their basement all summer long.
That fall I watched amazed, as week by week a life-sized ship grew up in the driveway next door. Attached to the house, it had a long deck with masts, and yes, sails. A few peeks through the trees and I realized the ship was filled with skeletons and treasure chests. Good Lord, I thought. They might be pirates…
As October blew in so did a cemetery, not to mention, a pumpkin patch and a mausoleum. The pirate ship shined nightly with a soft yellow glow--just enough to see the cannons. I often wondered what kind of neighborhood I had moved into.
It’s been two years since I mysteriously discovered the perfect home to settle down in. Now I find myself wondering if the house did not choose me. Or at least perhaps my neighbors (in some mystical voodoo way). They are enthusiastic and supportive of my piratical interests, and I am in awe of their swashbuckling lifestyle.
A sea-loving historical writer could not ask for better companions living next door. They mind their own buccaneering business, and only fire their cannons one night a year (at the hundreds of visitors who come to tour their shipyard).
Who needs a fence to look over? A pirate ship works just fine for me.
Happy Halloween Holidays--
Find out more about my pirates next door at their haunted website:
Find more about my historical, THE PRIVATEER, and my other books at:
Friday, October 09, 2009
It’s pumpkin time, and with that comes stories and folktales that run a shiver down your spine. Celtic tradition claims that today’s Jack-o-lanterns began as carved gourds that invited deceased loved ones in and kept ghosts out. Then later, there is the old Irish tale of Jack, who tricked the devil and was banned from Heaven and Hell. Poor Jack had nothing but a burning lump of coal to light a pumpkin with as he wandered the Earth.
Halloween pumpkin carving has been around since the pilgrims settled in the Americas and found the perfect medium. American pumpkins were easier than gourds, and tasty, too! Anyone who celebrates Halloween knows there is nothing like the sweet smell of burning pumpkin on a cool Halloween night.
I love this fall tradition. It invokes happy memories of my childhood, especially that rite of passage when I was old enough to handle a butcher knife and carve my own jack-o-lantern. It was the one time touching something cold and slimy was cool! Plus, it was an opportunity to delve into my creative side.
Today, pumpkin carving is changing with the times. While traditional patterns still resonate with the young, artistic patterns that play with light and shadow have made carving quite the art. Though I still love a fresh pumpkin, the rubber and foam craft pumpkins now available have become my personal favorites. They keep well in storage year after year, so I’m able to “grow” my own collection.
I hope you enjoy a couple pictures from my “pumpkin patch” in today’s blog post. Every October if I’m not writing, you can find me out of the office with a pumpkin on my lap, a happy smile on my face, and no ghosties about! I’m sure my jack-o-lanterns chase them all away.
Author of THE PRIVATEER and TURTLE SOUP
Historical and Contemporary Sweet Romance
Find out more about Me!
Friday, October 02, 2009
Being as I have to balance a budget as well as my life, I attended a class recently about clipping coupons. Sounds rather elementary, I suppose. Clip a few coupons for breakfast cereal and save a few cents, right? Wrong!
Coupon clipping has become a fine art in this electronic day and age, and some of the coupon experts out there are putting scrapbookers to shame. My instructor had a stack of three large notebooks filled with page protectors and hundreds upon hundreds of slips of paper. There were even store receipts for proof. Shockingly, a pro coupon clipper can actually save more money than is spent, and in some cases get money back!
One of the most interesting things I learned was that it’s possible to use two coupons for one item, as long as one is a manufacturer’s coupon and the other is a store coupon. If that item is on sale, you can sometimes save so much money they have to give you a few pennies back. Crazy stuff!
I decided to give this a go. Luckily, there are a few stores who still double coupons, so I tackled one popular chain first, targeting their weekly Buy One Get One Free list with my coupons. I saved a lot of money, but still spent more than I wanted. Interestingly enough, the groceries lasted me two weeks. The draw back: There was a lot of high calorie junk food and frozen foods.
Week 2 I did much better at popular fancy chain’s Buy One Get One. I spent $58 and saved $58. However, I still had to go to another store where I buy my meats and produce.
It’s coming along. I’m now a devout printer of internet coupons. Even though they can’t be doubled, everyone takes them, so why not? I have found the best sites to be Coupons.com and Southernsavers.com. I clip everything out of my newspaper and have now started clipping coupons on mailings and the back of my store receipts. Who would have thought holding a pair of scissors could be so addicting?
As the economic atmosphere in our country turns toward frugality, I’m thankful I attended a simple evening class about saving. I thought I was pretty thrifty, but you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. I look forward to finding more ways to make life easier. Now, if I could only find more ways to save time!