Archive for October, 2010

Logging the Back .40

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Note the decimal placement. Not the “back forty.” The back “point-4-0.” As in .40 of an acre. Really, it’s half an acre, but “logging the back .40” sounds better.

We live on a double lot. It wasn’t always a double lot. In fact, when we bought our house twenty years ago, the property was .40 of an acre. My Liege, although trained as a professional forester, was, um, “blessed” with a businessman’s mind. So it always bothered him that our property was just shy of the ability to subdivide it. After about ten years, our family’s needs grew too large for the house. We looked around, but couldn’t find another neighborhood that suited us. So we built an addition. The day we began excavating (literally, THE DAY), the daughter of our elderly neighbor asked if we wanted to buy the elderly neighbor’s house. The DH was all over this. It was a huge financial challenge to buy the neighbor’s house while building an addition on our present house. Especially because the housing market tanked, and after changing the property lines to get enough extra area to take off a lot between the two houses, we couldn’t sell the neighbor’s house for the same price we bought it at. It sat empty for several months, then we finally began renting it out. Wonderful renters, too. But the house was only two bedrooms with one bathroom, so when the wife became PG with their third child, they had to move. We put the house on the market again. It didn’t sell. Then I decided to sell it myself. Don’t ask me why it sold then. Clearly, I’m uber-talented. But we got our asking price, the same price we’d bought the house at (yes, we put some work into it, too).

The biggest challenge to fell. Only a few green branches remained on this monster. The rest was as dead as the top. Note the power line. I was on the road directing traffic (essentially, swinging my arms about and jumping up and down, yelling, "Don't come any closer!")

Naturally, a year later, the housing market began climbing again and before we knew it the house was worth twice what we sold it for. That’s real estate for you. You do what you can at the time and don’t look backward.

Long story not really shortened, we’re still living in our first house (with an addition) that we bought twenty years ago and our back yard looks reaaaaaaaaaaaaaally big. But it’s actually a second lot.

Two other dead trees came down before my father tackled this one (same tree as above photo). It had grown into a dangerous angle leaning into the road.

I could go into a lengthy description of the number of trees surrounding our house twenty years ago, but it’s a pretty huge description, including an exhaustive number of Dutch elm trees that were supposed to be a hedge but the old people we bought the house from had given up and let them grow into trees. We turned them back into a hedge, realized it needed cutting every three weeks, so cut the hedge to stumps following a bad car accident that left us incapable of trimming the hedge every three weeks at the time. The next spring, A MILLION irises, lilies, tulips, daffodils, and the like sprung up in place of the hedge. I swear, I did not plant a single one. The thickness of the hedge had prevented them from blooming.

Over the years, we’ve cut down trees here and there. Two so we could add on a sundeck, two so we could add on a mud room. One because our toddler was allergic to it (birch). One because it was infested with Dutch elm disease and we learned the black bugs that had filtered down our fireplace were also getting into our neighbors’ houses. Plus, the row of evergreens between our house and the neighbor’s house slowly turned into a wood pile, because it looked weird to have our new 1/2 acre yard cut at the 9/10th mark by a row of old, skinny, scraggly trees (we kept a copse for the quail and pheasants and deer to play in/chew on).

We have a fireplace, so anything we’ve cut has been used to heat the house. A couple of weeks ago, my dad came over (retired logger), and he, My Liege, and Eldest Son went to work again. Whoever planted eight trillion Engleman spruces in our yard forty or fifty years ago must not have realized that they aren’t the prettiest trees in the world. Plus, they planted them too close together. So they grew very tall and skinny, and over the years several died—or became nearly dead. Which is dangerous. Especially when a stiff breeze might cause one of them to crash into our house or take out the power lines. This year we needed to take out the danger trees. There were 7 of them. Three skinny ones, three big ones, and one middle one. We still have five maples, an oak, another deciduous tree I love but couldn’t name, another smaller deciduous tree I love but also can’t name, a lilac bush that grew into a tree, and a heckuva lot more Engleman spruce that are still healthy.

Old Logger, a.k.a my dad, bucking off limbs that we stacked up so the chipper could come and chew them up. The remaining logs are slowly turning into next year's firewood.

For two-three weeks, our yard was a mess, while we waited for the chipper to arrive.

View of yard where 3 of the danger trees stood, after the chipping guys took away the debris. My maples are shedding leaves, so now we have to rake them and take them to my mom's compost so they can rot into fertilizer for her massive gardens next year.

I know some people will hate that we cut down ANY trees. But people who live in wood-framed houses and have wood floors and furniture made of wood and don’t recycle their computer paper really shouldn’t throw stones. 😉

Why Greek Mythology?

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

By Elisabeth Naughton

Thanks so much to Cindy for having me here today!

My second Eternal Guardian book – ENTWINED– recently hit store shelves. For those of you new to the series, the Eternal Guardians are seven warriors descended from the seven greatest heroes in all of Ancient Greece. Zander, the hero in ENTWINED, is a descendant of Achilles. He’s the oldest guardian, the one rumored to be immortal, the fiercest warrior and the only one with nothing to lose. I fell in love with Zander when I was writing MARKED – book one in the series – so I’m excited for readers to finally get their hands on his story.

People ask me all the time, why Greek mythology? I don’t have an easy answer except to say that I love the tales from Ancient Greece. Always have. Epic wars, tragic love stories, conniving gods and danger lurking around every corner. When I was researching STOLEN FURY (my 2010 double RITA nominee book), I found myself deeply immersed in the characters and narratives centered around the great culture, and I thought, “It would be really fun to develop an entire series based off these myths.” MARKED was the result, and the series grew from there. I love taking traditional myths and characters and shaping them into my world. I love the variety of people, beings and magic that can be found in the legends. I love being able to put my own spin on these classic tales and seeing where they take me.

In my series, the Eternal Guardians are battling an evil goddess who was once a hero like them but sold her soul to Hades for immortality. She’s cunning, dark and willing to do whatever she can to reach her goal. But she’s not the only villain in this series. There are many devious gods and goddesses in addition to mythological beings skulking in the shadows, waiting for their chance to shine.

And of course, there are plenty of hot guys. At least seven, to be exact. A few more who hang on the periphery and are as intriguing as the warriors themselves. So far I can guarantee at least five books in the series – hopefully more. Because I’ve switched publishers there’s a slight delay in the release of the next book. TEMPTED (book 3) will be an October 2011 release, followed closely by ENRAPTURED (early 2012). I realize this is a bit of a wait for fans, but it couldn’t be avoided. After that I’m back on a six months or less release schedule so I hope readers will understand. To tide fans over, I’ll be posting a few free reads on my website over the next few months, so if you haven’t already signed up for my newsletter do so soon so you don’t miss out!

Today I’m giving away either a copy of MARKED (book 1) or ENTWINED (book 2) to one lucky commenter (winner’s choice!). Simply tell me, what’s your favorite myth from Ancient Greece?

 Happy Reading!

 Elisabeth

 ***

Please leave a comment to enter to win a copy of ENTWINED or MARKED. If you’re reading this blog through a feed at Facebook, Goodreads or another social network, please note you need to leave your comment at www.museinterrupted.com to enter.

The back cover blurb for MARKED and ENTWINED, links to excerpts, and Elisabeth’s bio, can be found in yesterday’s promo post. Visit Elisabeth’s website to learn more about her and her books.

Elisabeth Naughton Guest Blogs Tomorrow

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Tomorrow I’ll welcome paranormal romance author Elisabeth Naughton to the blog. Elisabeth is blogging on Why Greek Mythology? and will give away the winner’s choice of either MARKED (May 2010, Book 1 in the Eternal Guardians series) or ENTWINED (August 2010, Book 2).

About ENTWINED:

ZANDER — The most feared of all the Eternal Guardians. It’s rumored he can’t be killed, and he always fights like he has nothing to lose. But as a descendant of the famed hero Achilles, he’s got to have a vulnerability… somewhere.

Forces of daemons are gathering and have broken through the barriers of the Underworld. Now more than ever the Eternal Guardians are needed to protect both their own realm and the humans’. Zander can’t afford to think about what might have been with the bewitching physician he once regarded as his soul mate. But with eternity stretching before him, he also can’t fathom spending his life without the one woman who makes him feel most alive. Perhaps he’s found his weakness, after all…

Read an excerpt

About MARKED:

THERON — “Dark haired, duty bound and deceptively deadly. He’s the leader of the Argonauts, an elite group of guardians that defends the immortal realm from threats of the Underworld. 

From the moment he walked into the club, Casey knew this guy was different. Men like that just didn’t exist in real life—silky shoulder-length hair, chest impossibly broad, and a predatory manner that just screamed dark and dangerous. He was looking for something. Her. 

She was the one. She had the mark. Casey had to die so his kind could live, and it was Theron’s duty to bring her in. But even as a 200-year-old descendant of Hercules, he wasn’t strong enough to resist the pull in her fathomless eyes, to tear himself away from the heat of her body. As war with the Underworld nears, someone will have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Read an excerpt

About Elisabeth:

A previous junior-high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton now writes sexy romantic adventure and paranormal novels full time from her home in western Oregon where she lives with her husband and three children. Her debut release, STOLEN FURY, heralded by Publisher’s Weekly as “A rock-solid debut,” was recently nominated for two prestigious RITA® awards by Romance Writers of America in the Best First Book category and the Best Romantic Suspense category. When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ball park or dreaming up new and exciting adventures.

Learn more about Elisabeth and her books at www.elisabethnaughton.com.

Gimme an E!

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

I’m slowly updating my website. As part of those updates, I’ve included an article previously published on Shebytches on my Q&A page. Rest assured, I didn’t just post the column out of laziness. People are always asking me why I’m obsessed with the spelling of my last name. Yes, they email me at least twice a decade about this. So it made sense to include the post on my website.

Short Answer: Because it’s my name and I want it spelled right!

Long Answer: Can be read here.

Is your name constantly misspelled? Does it drive you nuts? Do you go to extra effort not to misspell someone else’s name, because you know how it feels? Or, like me, are you guilty of misspelling others’ names, too? (Granted, names that are a lot harder to spell than Procter. Like Damschroder).

Something to Spawn About

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

There’s a spawning river a couple hours’ drive from my house. It’s currently experiencing the largest spawn since 1913, so they say. No idea why the salmon are returning in droves this year to spawn. It’s a 100 Year Spawn, I guess. Thanksgiving Sunday (not two days ago, but last weekend) we dragged ourselves out of bed at six a.m. to drive there and “beat the crowds.” There were 4 tour buses already there! Plus organized parking (at $3 a vehicle—in a provincial park, no less), concessions, etc.

We skipped all that and headed for the trails with Allie McBeagle in tow on a leash fashioned out of clothesline, which My Liege just happened to have in his pick-up’s dry box (it’s a mystery). I’d forgotten her real leash, you see. My bad.

Eldest Son and his gf came along. Aside from the overcast sky, we had a lovely time.

The fish turn bright red with green heads as they return from the Pacific Ocean to the spawning grounds. Salmon always return to the creek bed in which they were born. Trust me, we're hundreds of miles from the Pacific Ocean. This is one long journey! The females "lay," I guess, the eggs, then a male fertilizes them. Then they both die. Where they were born.

The males can get nasty! We witnessed a lot of snapping and biting at each other, in their rush to get to the eggs. A lot of water flapping about.

The dead and dying salmon along with those still spawning. If you look real close in the lower right corner, you might be able to see some eggs. Bears come at night and chow down on the dead salmon.

My husband, a forester by training, caught sight of this tree on the path back to the parking area. The rest of us just strolled past, thinking it had fallen in a storm or some-such. Nope. Can you guess how it came to fall? If you look closely, you can see the teeth marks.

My province’s slogan is “Super, Natural British Columbia.” And they got that right. Every time I go away, I’m still amazed by the natural beauty of my province when I come home.

All About Kate–And Allie’s Birthday

Monday, October 18th, 2010

My buddy, my pal, my life-long friend, Kate St. James, has an interview up at the Red Sage Authors blog today. Feel free to go read it. You never know what info you might glean! If you’re so inclined, you can even ask her a question. She promises she might answer. But only if you’re nice.

In other news, my puppy, my girl, my doggie, Allie McBeagle, turns 9 today! She wants a small Dairy Queen ice cream cone. She really wants a “baby burger,” but she needs to wait until she’s ten.

Happy birthday, Allie!

Allie McBeagle with E.S., about to fall asleep. She's really still 8 here, but that's okay.

Baby Allie, December 2001. About 8 weeks. Beagles change coloring as they age. Six months later, her face and ears where you see black were brown. Her muzzle started to turn white at 4. Isn't she cuuuuuuuuuuuttttte?