Exploring the Weird and the Wild on #SundayStills #Photography


Aerial shot of helicopter flying over power lines

Weird and Wild Photography Challenge- Sunday Stills

This week, Terri Webster Shrandt challenges to find the weird and the strange in our photos. You can join the Sunday Stills challenge here.

I’m also participating in Becky B’s July Squares challenge. You can check it out here.

I was playing with an app on Facebook and came up with this weird and wacky photo of… Me!

Hello, Miss birdy, why don’t you ever fly away?

This wild hummingbird sat and talked to us for quite a while.

Wild cloud formation

Weird and wild moss hanging off a tree near the lagoon.

Weird and wild car seen on our travels.

My weird and wonderful Mickey dog. He was a 3lb. Mexican Chihuahua with a gimpy front leg, skin that turned pink in the winter, black in summer, and a tongue Gene Simmons would be proud of.

#SundayStills- National Pet Parent Day #PetLover #ILoveMyPets


Our pets are like children to us. We treat them like our kids 🙂

Join Terri Webster Schrandt for Sunday Stills Here

Harley hiding in the bamboo
Annie keeping the kiddo company
She’s not sure about this white stuff- neither am I! lol
Mom, quit working and pay attention to me!
My girl soaking up the sunshine

What?

Annie following Dad EVERYWHERE! lol
Love you, Dad
Miss you ❤

Life’s cycle- #FlashFictionChallenge #amwriting


This week’s flash fiction prompt is a tribute to Charli Mills’ beloved friend, Bobo, now running in Heaven’s daisies.

February 6, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to the theme “a dog in the daisies.” It can be any dog, real or imagined. Push into the setting and as always, go where the prompt leads!

Bodetta Bosephine, Bobo to her friends, paused for a moment. The sun warmed her back and the meadow’s grass tickled her feet, but that’s not the reason she stopped. A faint call, one she thought she’d never hear again, made her delicate ears quiver.

“It’s time,” her brother’s voice whispered on the dew-laden breeze. “I’ve missed you, sister.”

Her heart skipped a beat. “Grenny, is that you?”

“Come,” he said. “We must go.”

Bobo glanced back to where she knew her humans waited. Could she? They loved her so, and she them. But Grenny was right- it was time.

Blame it On Romeo by @SophiaKnightly #Romance #amreading @XpressoReads


Blame it on Romeo
Sophia Knightly
(Beach Read, #2)
Publication date: April 10th 2017
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

Hi, I’m Francesca Lake, WBCG TV’s medical reporter. Privately, I am on a mission to marry a doctor. After my recent mortifying episode in the ER, it’s clear I suck at self-diagnosis. It all started when I thought I was having a heart attack. I made a cringe-worthy entrance at the hospital, but in my defense, I thought I was DYING. You can ask Harrison Taylor, my dog’s vet. He was the one who carried me into the ER.

I used to love my job reporting the social scene, but I’ve been recently drafted as the station’s medical reporter . God only knows what diseases I will have to report on. This is not a good thing for a closet hypochondriac! There’s only one upside–medical reporting means meeting lots of doctors. Surely, there will be a few eligible bachelors in the mix…

I’m trying to ignore my wild attraction to Harrison, but his forest green eyes, rugged physique and warm smile make my insides melt…not to mention other parts. My adorable dog, Romeo, is in love with Harrison, and he’s convinced Harrison is for me. But I’m looking for a “human” doctor. Harrison is an animal doctor. Do I look like an animal? Well, only on a bad hair day, but that’s beside the point.

Marrying a doctor calls for a methodical approach, and I intend to date as many as I can to meet “the one.” I have to ignore Romeo’s blatant attempts to matchmake me with Harrison. But ignoring my pounding heart when I’m around swoony Harrison is another matter entirely…

BEACH BOOK SERIES: Each book is a standalone

GRILL ME, BABY, Book 1

BLAME IT ON ROMEO, Book 2 (previously titled Paging Dr. Hot)

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

Only 99¢ for a limited time!

EXCERPT:

“HEEELP! I’m having a heart attack!” I shout.

My eyes frantically squint against the bright morning sunlight as I scour the near-empty parking lot in search of anyone who can help me. I’m about to scream again when I see my hunky neighbor, Dr. Harrison Taylor, jogging a short distance away.

“Harrison!” I wave my arms to get his attention. “Over here!”

He jogs over and is at my side in a heartbeat. “Frankie, you okay?” Harrison’s forest-green eyes give me a thorough once-over, one that would normally make my knees wobble, but not today. I am too busy panicking as my heart hammers against my chest in what feels like a heart attack.

“I can’t breathe! Can you drive me to the ER?” I squeak in a voice that sounds like I’ve inhaled helium. Electric shocks race from my shoulder down to my fingertips making me clutch my arm. Gape-mouthed, I stare at my upper left arm as it turns pink and puffy.

Harrison propels me into the passenger side of my Jetta, grabs the car keys out of my hand and tears out of the parking lot. With one hand on the steering wheel, he maneuvers the crowded streets of Miami while his other big hand pats my knee.

“Breathe slowly and try to calm your heart rate,” he says in the soothing veterinarian voice he uses to treat sick animals. Except I’m not a sick dog or horse, I am Francesca Lake, WBCG’s “Roving Social Diva” reporter and I was on my way to do an on-air interview with Justin Bieber, for God’s sake!

“What happened?” Harrison asks, casting a concerned look my way.

I point to my arm. “A tharp thting,” I try to explain, but my tongue feels thicker by the second and now I’m lisping.

“Did you say a sting?” He slants an odd look at me. “Never mind. Don’t talk.”

It’s getting harder and harder to breathe and my throat feels tight. I need air in my lungs or I’m not going to make it!

I grab Harrison’s arm. “Harrithon, pleath. Gimme mouth-to-mouth,” I beg.

Harrison’s foot hits the accelerator and within minutes, we arrive at Doctor’s Hospital where he picks me up and runs into the emergency room as if his pants are on fire.

“Help, I’m haffing a heart attack!” I shriek, flailing my arms at the attendant.

“Patient is in anaphylactic shock,” Harrison says in a steady voice.

A young, harried doctor runs up and gives me a quick examination. When I hear him bark out an order for an Epi, I start to panic. Did he order an epidureal? Are they going to operate? I turn to Harrison with beseeching eyes. Before I can say anything, a no-nonsense, matronly nurse materializes before me. I squirm as Harrison holds me securely against his rock-solid chest.

“Hold still. It’s gonna be okay,” Harrison says.

The nurse lifts the skirt of my coral dress and plunges a needle in my upper thigh.

“Yeouch. That hurths.” I shudder as the liquid burns inside my flesh.

Harrison gently sets me down on the gurney brought in by a young male attendant. “You’ll feel better soon. Relax and let the epinephrine do its work.”

Relax? I wish it were that easy. I hate to admit it, but I am a chicken. I wasn’t always a chicken—my motto most of my thirty years was “fear is not an option” and I rarely worried about anything. But after my mom’s recent near-fatal heart attack, I’ve been worrying—a lot—about health issues and a few other things. Every time I remember that Mom might have died if Dad hadn’t been there to call 911, my heart clenches. After hearing what she went through, I pray she’ll never, ever, have another one.

“Why aren’t they giving me an EKG or a heart monitor?” I ask. Oh good, at least I’m not lisping anymore. The shot must have kicked in. I stare into Harrison’s eyes. “I know you don’t think I had a heart attack, but what if it was? Five percent of heart attacks occur in people under forty.”

“So?” Harrison regards me with a bemused expression.

I let out an exasperated breath. “I could be one of that five percent.”

“You didn’t have a heart attack, Frankie.” He rakes a hand through his thick chestnut hair, leaving it appealingly tousled. “You had an anaphylactic reaction caused by an insect bite.”

“Anaphylactic reaction? That sounds ominous. Are you sure?” He could be mistaken. Harrison isn’t a medical doctor—he’s a veterinarian.

Harrison fixes me with a firm look. “Yes, I’m sure.”

* * *

Harrison helps me off the gurney and the feel of his large hand wrapped around mine makes me glance at him. Did he feel the spark between us? I’m tingly all over. God, he’s easy on the eyes with a tall, hard-muscled body that’s sizzling hot and a rugged face with the sexy cleft in the chin. I force my gaze away from his striking green eyes that are watching me with a bemused expression.

Even though Chloe has been trying to matchmake us since I moved down from New York to Miami, I’ve kindly told her I’m not interested. Why? I ask myself as I take in his male beauty, and then I mentally slap myself. Snap out of it! Harrison is a reckless daredevil who loves doing crazy ass stunts. With a boyfriend—or husband—like that, I’d spend too much time worrying about his safety. The last thing I need is more anxiety.

Harrison takes my elbow and leads me down the hall. The feel of his calloused fingertips is pleasantly distracting until we pass a scene that makes me stop and stare. A good-looking young doctor in scrubs checks a female patient’s IV and then leans over and kisses her. Pale-faced, the petite patient looks frightened until the doctor’s lips touch hers and she visibly relaxes. I am riveted and can’t stop staring at them.

“Come on, Frankie,” Harrison urges. “I thought you were anxious to leave.”

I watch the couple from over my shoulder as Harrison tugs me along. The doctor gives the woman another tender kiss and then steps into the hall. I hear him say to another physician, “Take good care of my wife. She gets nervous in hospitals.”

Light bulb flash. Why didn’t I consider this before, I wonder as a life-altering epiphany slaps me upside the head. I need to marry a doctor ASAP.

Until now, I loved my job reporting on South Florida’s fine arts and social scene. I kept busy, too busy to even think about being single at thirty. Okay, I did think about it sometimes, but it wasn’t always on my mind. I had other important things to do, like help my mom get her heart disease under control. With all the changes that occurred last year, I wasn’t exactly good company in a relationship. I found that out when my ex-boyfriend, Todd, dumped me because I was being too moody, which translated to my lack of desire because I was worried about Mom. Good thing I found out he wasn’t the “I’ll love you through thick and thin” type of boyfriend.

After witnessing that scene between the good-looking young doc and his wife/patient, all I can think of is I want to marry a doctor like him who can assuage my medical fears. Marry a doctor. I love the sound of that—it equals no more worrying, which equals getting back to my once carefree self. Most doctors are in their profession to heal and that makes them natural nurturers. I could use some of that nurturing—it sure would be great to feel normal again.

Harrison’s hand settles on the base of my spine as he gives me a gentle nudge. “Let’s go, hon.”

His bold touch sends my thoughts skittering in a different direction. A warm glow suffuses me, and I can’t budge. Did he just call me “hon”? In Harrison’s deep voice, it sounds delicious.

I touch his forearm and gaze into his forest-green eyes. “Uh…Harrison. Thanks for saving my life.”

“You’re welcome.” Harrison gives me a smile so hot it could melt the whole North Pole. I tell myself that he might have a killer grin, but we don’t have anything in common that I know of, except for a love of animals. He craves extreme sports and I can barely hit a ball with a tennis racket. He gets an adrenaline fix from playing with assassin sharks and I have to watch out for bees.

It’s a real shame he won’t do, I think, looking away from those amazing green eyes. After today’s scare, I’m turning my efforts toward my new goal.


Author Bio:

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author, Sophia Knightly cooks up hot romance and delicious humor in her sexy contemporary romances that pair hot, alpha heroes with strong, smart women and throw them on an exciting emotional journey. Traditionally published by St. Martin’s Press, Kensington, and Samhain Publishing, her popular Tropical Heat Series and Heartthrob Series have consistently been on multiple best selling lists.

Sophia loves writing books that end with a sigh and a smile. In addition to traveling, foodie adventures, and the arts in all forms, one of her favorite pastimes is simply watching people–especially those in love!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

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Enjoying a Rare #SnowDay #VictoriaBC


After a rough week where we had to say goodbye to our sweet baby dog, Annie, Mother Nature gifted us with a rare snow event here on Vancouver Island.

It’s a good thing we’re enjoying the RV life because a snow squall hit overnight with 90 km winds that knocked out power to 28000 on the south island alone.

Luckily, we have propane heat and a generator to keep the power going, so we’re better off than most. It’s been hard on the birds and plants. I worry about the poor hummingbirds- we had -16 with the wind chill last night.

This giant cedar fell across the road to Fisgard Lighthouse and Esquimalt Lagoon.

We took Annie to the beach a couple of times, but she hated the water. Not even for DH, would she go near it, lol.

We’re going to miss her for a very long while ❤

Cooking up Memories-Cousin Jack Pasties #Recipe #Familyfirst


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This post started out one way, but took a different turn after a distressing end to my week. Let me explain.

As a child I was what’s known as a tomboy. I’m sure I disappointed my mom, who liked to place my long, wavy brown hair in braids or barrettes and dress me in pretty dresses I couldn’t wait to get out of. While she dreamed of a daughter to do crafts like crochet or paper toíle with, I was outside playing marbles or catching bugs with the neighborhood boys.

One thing that I did have in common with my mom is a love of animals. We didn’t have a lot of extra money growing up, but she always made room for the strays I routinely brought home.

Which brings me to this week:

Eight years ago, DH (Darling Hubby) brought home a six month old pup. His workmate was going to have her put down because she was the runt of the litter, didn’t have the markings people looked for, and was horribly thin and skittish. We had just lost a dog a couple of months earlier that was precious to us and had decided not to take in any more for a while, but this pup needed help, so…

DH stayed in the backyard with her for hours until she got brave enough to come and check him out. You should have seen it–the most amazing connection happened between man and dog. She crawled on her belly to where he lay under the lilac tree, her sides heaving with stress, but so, so wanting to trust this human who waited with such patience.

I still tear up when I think of that moment.

For a while now, Annie (our Shepherd) has been suffering from degenerative hip disease. Friday she fell down the stairs because her hip let go and her mobility hasn’t improved. DH is carrying her in and out to do her business, but she weighs over one hundred pounds– he can’t continue to do this for long.

We can take her to the vet, of course, but her age is against her and hip replacement surgery is astronomical in price. Needless to say, we’re heartbroken. She’s our baby, quite literally because she is still that scared little pup on the inside and doesn’t trust anyone except us- her family.

She’s not in pain and is still eating, so I guess we’ll play the waiting game for now. One thing I have found that helps, is Absorbine Junior. She doesn’t like the coldness against her skin, but it seems to give some relief. All we can do is hope and pray for a few more years with our girl.

Do you have a favorite pet or a home remedy you can suggest? I’d love to hear from you and thanks in advance.

Cousin Jack Pasties the way Grandma made Them

This is a favorite in our family and brings fond memories of afternoons spent with my grandma and mom over a flour-covered kitchen table. I hope you give them a try.

3-4 white or russet potatoes, cleaned, peeled and cut in small bite-sized pieces. (On the small side is best)

1 chuck or round steak, cut into bite-sized pieces (on the small side is best)

1 large onion, cleaned and cut into small bite-sized pieces.

Salt

Pepper

Mix all except spices in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir and set aside.

If you’re good at pie pastry you can make your own (like Grandma did 🙂 ) or you can buy frozen large pastry shells (like I would do, lol)

Add approx two tablespoons of mix to shell and then run a finger wetted down with water around the edge and pinch closed.

Cook for 35-40 minutes in 350 oven until crust is a nice golden brown. (Hint: a light egg white wash over the top will give a nice sheen to the crust)

Enjoy!

FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS


This week I thought I’d talk about pets. We own a cat, a calico named Harley, and a German Shepherd named Annie. If any of you have ever owned a Shepherd you’ll know they are fiercely loyal, loving, and mild tempered animals. They also SHED. I’m talking, we could make a quilt, kind of shedding.

Much as this drives me crazy, I hate to think how much we ingest, yuck, I still love her very much. She’s family.

phone pic's 056

Harley joined our family a year ago, and it wasn’t long before the two became inseparable. We took them on walks to the amusement of our neighbors. A seventy-five pound dog and a little kitten, most often the kitten leading us all, 🙂

In my WIP I’ve added a German Shepherd, and like our lives, he’ll be an integral part of my characters lives as well. Jake, the Shepherd in my book, has recently returned from Afghanistan where he worked as a service dog searching villages for IED’s. When one explodes too close for comfort, Jake and his handler, Nick, are injured and return home to a hero’s welcome. Needing space from all the hoopla, they use the excuse of therapy to escape to the small mountain town of, Tidal Falls, Washington, where they hope to be left in peace.

Sara Sheridan is also looking for peace. She’s on the run from an abusive marriage and just wants anonymity. Her and her daughter cross the country searching for the perfect place to disappear, until they come across Tidal Falls. The town welcomes them, and after a while they happily settle into small town life.

Then Sara’s landlady, a matchmaker and a true romantic, hires one of her new tenants, Nick, to do some repairs on Sara’s house, and the sparks begin to fly.

Can these two work through their emotional issues and find a life together? Or will Sara’s ex-husband catch up to her and destroy everything she’s built?

I’ve had a hard couple of days. The chapter I sent in for critiquing came back with a lot of harsh comments I couldn’t help but take personally. I know you need to pick yourself up, dust off your pants, and keep writing, but sometimes I second guess myself. Maybe I’m not good enough to write a book. Maybe I don’t have the talent to get my thoughts across properly. Maybe I should give up.

Added to this, my DH took Annie, our Shepherd, with him when he left for work this time. She has an issue with other dogs. She doesn’t play well, or at all, actually.

2012 111

The park we’re staying in has strict rules about dogs, behave or get out. So, he decided to take her with him and set her loose with some other dogs her size, in the hope she would learn to play. If not, he’ll find her another home.

A bad week, as I said.

After a nice breakfast with my biggest fan this morning, my mother, I’ve decided to tackle the book, again. I’ll try to take the best of those critics advice, and discard the rest. I won’t let a few harsh words defeat me.

While I’m working on that, my baby dog is going to be doing the same. Learning to adjust, take the good, get rid of the bad.

We’ll both succeed, we aren’t quitters. 🙂

Have any of you received harsh critiques or reviews? What did you do to overcome them? Any advice on teaching a dog manners? I’d appreciate feedback on both topics. Hopefully next week turns out better.