Autumn Sunrise

imageIt was a gorgeous morning coming into work today.

I took a slightly different route than usual, and so I was on a stretch of road that allowed me to see the sun peeping over the edge of the horizon like a panoramic postcard.

imageThe rest of the ride was filled with similarly gorgeous sights, as the golden rays lit up the orange, russet, and yellow leaves of the trees across the field…

imageOr next to the road…

imageI love the dark line, showing that the sun hasn’t quite gotten high enough to clear the edge of the hill and beam its light on the entire vista.

imageAnd then as I pulled into the school’s parking lot, I was greeted with even more beauty. These trees and the playing field are also visible from my classroom windows, up on the third floor of the building.

Today was one of those days reminding me how blessed I am to live where I do.

Have a great Friday, everyone!

Weekend Enjoyments

imageIt was a great weekend, weather-wise, in Upstate New York (at least for me, since I enjoy chilly, sunny weather…add the colors of the foliage, and I’m a happy gal).

Some of the enjoyments included…

imageSpending some outdoor time with our English shepherd, Cassie. Because we live in “city” limits (and there is no dog park), she has to be on a leash, but when I can I try to bring her to places where she can run without it and play with some other dog “friends”.

imageWhen we’re inside, she’s partial to lounging on her dog bed, in a nice, cozy corner of the kitchen. She keeps me company and is often my “shadow” around the house when I’m there.

imageShe’s a loveable girl, five years old, and if there is a stick in the vicinity, she’ll find it and try to run with it (even if it’s larger than she is!) 🙂

imageAnother enjoyment this weekend was the rare opportunity (because of time constraints) to go to our local market co-op for an hour with my younger daughter. It has all sorts of organic goods, fresh produce – even an art gallery and handmade wares. And there is a coffee shop, featuring their own roasted coffee beans, teas, and a selection of baked goods. My daughter got a hot chocolate, but I opted for the house specialty – an “Adirondack” latte, with the shop-roasted coffee and a splash of real maple syrup. It was delicious! Our snacks were a scone and a croissant (which was still warm).

We did some autumn decorating around the house…but I’ll do a separate post about that. ❤

How was your weekend?

Apple Picking at the Homestead

imageI went home to visit my mother at the old Homestead the first weekend in October, picking her up to come to a concert with us near where we live, and then bringing her home two nights later. I bought her some mums on an earlier visit, and this time we added a pumpkin to the old well cover for a little more autumn flair. 🙂image

Before I had to leave to go home myself this time, we decided to pick some apples from the two trees my father and she had planted more than two decades ago. We both love to bake/make pies, and several of my sisters still live in the area and might use some of the apples too.

imageWhen we drove up the driveway, several deer had made their way out of the woods in the back to sample the fruits as well. It was a beautiful sight, watching them. imageAll the wildlife that makes its way through the yard – deer, turkey, rabbits, the crows…even skunks (the babies are adorable) and a few times a fox – is one of the reasons my father loved this home he made for us all.

imageThe tree he planted in the back yard, where the deer were sampling, is a Macintosh , but the one in the front is a mystery. Based on the color, crispness, and flavor of the apples, we’re thinking Cortland or something similar. They’re never sprayed, which is great as far as I’m concerned. I’d rather deal with a few spots than to have pesticides all over the apples.

imageThe trees were loaded with apples this year, so 30 minutes of picking (some with the trusty apple picker on a pole) yielded multiple bags of apples.

It was a beautiful day, crisp and sunny, made all the more wonderful for sharing it with my beloved Ma and having the fun of apple-picking with her too!

imageThe end result was a pan of salted caramel apple bars…and a nice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown-sugar laced apple pie! 🙂

In An Autumn Mood…

imageThis post is a mish-mash of several different images and topics, all related to autumn.

First (and not surprisingly, considering my last two posts, I suppose!) is the food. As the weather cools down a bit, the “hibernating” instinct kicks in, and all ideas for all sorts of hearty foods and meals start to nag at me (in a very pleasant way).

imageHere is last night’s homemade creation: Boneless pork loin chops seasoned with garlic and thyme and smothered in apples and onion, scalloped potatoes (no cheese in mine…I prefer the classic onion, butter, and cream, with plenty of salt and pepper and a little garlic), and sweet peas.

imageDessert was homemade apple pie, from the apples yielded by the two apple trees in my parent’s yard at the old Homestead (another post on that soon).

imageSecond, is the scenery. It’s getting to peak color here in Upstate New York. Every day is a new treat for the senses.

I love driving to and from work, because it’s the equivalent of taking a “country drive” every day!

imageEven on cloudy days, the gray sky  highlights the brilliant leaves, making them almost glow.

imageAs we creep ever closer to Halloween, certain images lend a pensive or even spooky tone to the vistas. While I always love crows, since I associate my father with them, I also think that their appearance in October is perfect for this season in particular. These two handsome fellows were just hanging out in the upper branches when I pulled over on my way to work to take their picture. 🙂

Is it autumn where you live, or another season altogether (like in Australia)? Regardless of where you are, what does it look like around you? Please share in the comments!

Happiness on a Cool Autumn Morning

As I’ve shared before, I love autumn in Upstate New York. It’s been my favorite time of year for as long as I can remember.

imageToday, “Happiness” is the cooler morning air and the chance to use the cinnamon and clove stuffed teacup rest my mother gave me as a gift, to hold my oversized autumn mug filled with a double dose of steaming, honey-sweetened “Pumpkin Spice Chai” Tazo Tea.image

The simple pleasures mean so much in a busy, time-driven life, and this is one of my favorite ways to just stop for a minute and breathe. ❤

What are some of yours? Please share in the comments (I’m always looking for new ways to decompress for a few minutes!)

Happy Friday, everyone!

Spring Signs

imageGeese are flying north again…

I captured these pictures as I drove into work, with the geese flying in their distinctive lines above one of the Amish homes and barn along the way. The snow is slowly melting (from the valleys at least. Our home, which is in a community at a much higher elevation, still has so much snow the grass isn’t showing yet).image

I love these signs of springtime! 🙂

Keeping a Balance

rains-poursThis feeling can sometimes overwhelm (for those of you who’ve read Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven, Pa called it the “black cloud” in the final letter of the book, in the Epilogue).

 

 

 

8a382-every-cloud-have-a-silver-liningBut I try to remember this sentiment, also, that my dear mother has always told me.

Sometimes easier said than done.

Can anyone else relate?

PS: I love how the color schemes of these two pictures reflect the moods of their messages (I’m holding on to the fact that blue is my favorite color). 🙂

“Writerly” Perks

signing twoedited

First Moose Tracks book signing, 2/21/15, with a few of my older titles off to the side

One of the perks of being a published author – for me at least – has always been book signings.

I know it’s kind of a dying form; large, multi-author signings are still popular at annual writing/readers conferences and the like, but there are less and less bookstores to host individual signings. Also, I know many authors who dislike them (and I must admit I’ve had a few “interesting” experiences as well –  I remember one notable occasion at a Barnes & Noble many years ago, where the only person to stop at the table and chat was someone who wanted directions to the rest room!)  🙂

But I generally enjoy them because it gives me a chance to meet people and talk about books – and not always my books, either, but books in general. Sometimes people who stop by want to know about writing itself, or how to do it, or they want tips for how to get published. I try my best to address all questions and inquiries to the best of my ability – and I’ve met some really interesting people along the way.

Because Moose Tracks isn’t put out by a traditional publisher, the opportunities for book signings this time around will likely be limited. Chain bookstores won’t carry print copies of it, and only independent book stores who have a reason to carry it would likely go through the process to order (if they have an account with Baker and Taylor, I understand they can get copies through the print publisher, Create Space).

mysteries on main streetI was happy to have a signing last weekend, therefore, in nearby bookstore: a great little shop called Mysteries on Main Street.  It was a lot of fun and I met some new readers, in addition to getting to chat and visit with some I already knew. A photographer from the local paper even stopped by and snapped a few pics.

booksigning oneedited

Signing a book for a friend who stopped by while the news photographer sets up shot

I think if I hadn’t been an English teacher and writer, I would have/should have been a bookstore owner, employee, or a librarian. I love books! I love being around them. And the two hours I spent at this signing flew by, not only because of the activity of people coming in to buy and have me sign a book, but also because the atmosphere of the bookstore just soothes and delights me.

If you’re an author, how do you feel about book signings?  If you’re a reader, have you ever been to one – or would you ever attend one?  Why or why not?

Moose Tracks Makes a List!

Although my re-published historical romance novels Secret Vows and The Templar’s Seduction have made sales lists recently at amazon.com US (in the “Medieval” or “Scottish” categories), my newest release, the Women’s Fiction novel Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven, has not done so in the US as of yet. But as of this morning, the same can’t be said of amazon.com Australia, LOL!

Moose Tracks listing in Australia

Moose Tracks listing in Australia!

 

 

 

Take a look at this screen shot from this morning.

 

Pretty cool.

imageWho would have thought?  I’ve been international with many of my historical romances for quite a few years (they’ve been published – with really neat and very different covers – in Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, German, French, Slovakian, Dutch, etc.), as you can see here.

But making an international sales list is a first for Moose Tracks.  Many thanks to readers in Australia for this happy little perk to my day! 🙂

Going Out On a Limb

heartI’ve had a few limbs break off behind me. I’m still pumping my wings like mad to keep from hitting the ground, though every now and again, an updraft helps lift me up.

Sometimes it’s an unexpected, nice comment or even a review of one of my books. Sometimes it’s a hug, or seeing something beautiful out in nature or the world. Sometimes it’s a piece of music that seems to pierce in a wonderful way to my inner soul. Sometimes it’s a cup of tea and a quiet night in, with the wind howling around the house while I’m snug inside.

What are your little updrafts, when you’re pumping your wings to stay afloat? 🙂