Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Autumn in New England

There's nothing better than autumn in New England, and everything that comes with it. I love baking that first apple pie, or simmering that first pot of mulled cider. I love going to the farms and picking out pumpkins, and then enjoying a cider donut or a bit of maple sugar candy. I love watching the trees explode with color and feeling the air change. There is a certain amount of sadness in bringing the boat in for the winter and hauling the docks in, but then there's the anticipation of long, cozy evenings curled up by the fireplace with a cup of something hot and a good book. Yes, I love autumn in New England. Last weekend, we went up to Loon Mountain in Lincoln, NH to celebrate my mom's birthday. Check out this amazing cake; we called it the Alice in Wonderland cake. The kids loved it!

My mom rented a five-bedroom home in the mountains that was spectacular, and my two sisters and their families joined us there. Here's a picture of part of the family room (there's a whole other seating area that's not shown):

The cathedral family room had floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out over a birch forest, and the morning sun through the branches caused it to glow with brilliant orange and yellow. It was fabulous. We took walks in the woods, rode the gondola up to the top of the mountain, ate delicious food, poked through some of the local shops, and generally had a fun, relaxing weekend.

I didn't want the weekend to end. I loved seeing my sisters, and really loved how much all the kids enjoyed each other's company. They only see each other once or twice a year, so this weekend was a real treat for them, as well. Here's my daughter, Caitlin, with my niece, Sophie.

And here are all the kids (Colleen Caitlin, Brenna, Emma, Sophie, & Jack), with Papa sneaking up behind them in true monster style!

Here's a picture of Colleen and Caitlin, who are only a couple of months apart in age. Colleen moved to Florida seven years ago, but she's a New England girl at heart.

Just like me!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Desert Storme

Today's blog is dedicated to my dear friend, Storme, who has bravely volunteered (repeat, volunteered!) to do a six-month deployment to Iraq. She and I first met many, many moons ago when we both worked at an office on Pease AFB. I immediately liked her; she has this energy and enthusiasm and killer sense of humor that I couldn't resist. I think we've been friends for about twelve years. A lot has changed in both our lives during that time, but her passion and enthusiasm for her job hasn't changed at all.

So here she is, over there somewhere, with a former colleague and military officer, LTC Rich Hornstein. I guess it really is a small world when you can work for somebody in Massachusetts, and then run into them again halfway around the world. Doesn't she look adorable in her BDUs? Better yet, doesn't he look adorable in his BDUs??

I admire Storme so much for what's she's doing, and trust me when I say it's important work. I admire and respect our military personnel, that goes without saying, but there's something so inspiring about a civilian woman who is willing to give up her family and support system (not to mention sex and alcohol!!) and spend six months in a hostile environment, where the workdays are long and the climate is harsh, doing what she believes in.

So, Storme, this one's for you!! Come home safely!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Language of Love...

I came home from work the other day to find a package waiting for me from Harlequin. I opened it to find the German translation of Flyboy! How totally cool is that? I took German in high school and college, and even lived in Germany for five years, but as I tried to read my own story, the words were...well, totally foreign! There's a whole vocabulary out there that they didn't teach us in German class, LOL! Here's a peek at the cover...

Roughly translated, the cover reads:

3 Sinful Romances
Sultry Nights on the Beach, by Colleen Collins (English title is Shock Waves)
When Sparks Fly by Jill Monroe (English title is Share the Darkness)
Fly with me to Paradise by Karen Foley (English title is Flyboy)
I met a woman at the RWA conference last year who is a German bookseller, and this past July we ran into each other again in San Francisco. She was excited to tell me that Flyboy was being published in Germany, but I didn't realize it would happen so soon. I just think it's way cool!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My New Cover!

Coming in this is what I call a Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Subject: Ransom Bennett,
Delta Force Operator
Current status: Injured but still hot-blooded!
Mission: Regain crack military reflexes. Prove
he’s ready for active duty.
Obstacle: Hannah Hartwell. Fascinating.
Tantalizing. His new neighbor.

All Ransom wants is to get healthy enough to
return to the field. But sexy Hannah is testing his
composure. The woman is under his skin…but she’s
also fleeing a shady past. Damn! Hasn’t he learned
not to play with fire?

Still, Ransom can’t help exposing her secrets…and
a lot more! Then it’s on to his post-injury mission.
The highly clandestine operation will involve
delicate negotiations, complex maneuvers and
fiery explosions.

And that’s just in Hannah’s bed!

Uniformly Hot! The Few. The Proud.
The Sexy as Hell!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

How 'bout them Red Sox?

I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to last night's Red Sox game against the Anaheim Angels, and boy, was it a game. This was my first Red Sox game (that time I had box seats at Fenway doesn't count, since we only stayed for two innings and never actually watched the game). The Angels stadium is beautiful...gorgeous rock structures with tumbling waterfalls behind the outfield, comfortable seating and everything was spotlessly clean. We had great seats, in the lower section, right behind the left field foul pole. This picture looks like we're far away, but we could see the players clearly.
Here we are, walking into the stadium:

We were right next to the warm-up cage, and at one point, I was so close to Jason Varitek that I could have reached out and touched up, if it weren't for the six foot chain-link fence, the concrete retaining wall, and the four security officers standing nearby. I couldn't get my camera out of my itty-bitty pocketbook in time to snap his picture, but did get one of Dice-K warming up:

Here we are, in our seats...we were fortunate to have a number of Red Sox fans all around us, which didn't make the Angels fans in the row behind us very happy. They left in the sixth inning to find friendlier territory.

The game was amazing, with an opening inning that saw four Red Sox runs. The Angels came back over the next six innings and tied the game 5-5 until the top of the ninth, when the Red Sox banged in two more runs, and the Angels were all done. I've never heard a crowd so loud...they were absolutely deafening. Here's a look at Big Pappy on the scoreboard...

And a look at the scoreboard at the end of the was completely satisfying!

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Santa Ana Blues

I'm currently in Santa Ana for the next ten days as part of a 17-member review team, associated with my day job. I've only been to California once before, and that was when I went to San Francisco in July for the RWA National Conference. So while I wasn't thrilled about the long flight out to the west coast, my boss assured me that he'd take me to see the sights, and we'd eat some fabulous, authentic Mexican food.

I love Mexican food.

You can tell me we're going to Hell, but if you tell me there'll be homemade tortilla chips, spicy salsa, and a salty Margarita waiting for me when I get there, I'll be the first one to sign up for the trip.

So tonight, we worked late and didn't head out to dinner until about 7:30. I hadn't eaten anything since 6:00 that morning. I was so hungry I would have foregone Mexican food just for something--anything!--to fill my stomach. The hotel recommended an authentic Mexican restaurant called Las Brisas. The office we were visiting also recommended this restaurant, so we figured it was probably a safe bet. I envisioned soft lighting, salsa music, maybe a man dressed in traditional Mexican dress, playing guitar and serenading us while we sipped on margaritas or sangria. Here's a picture of the Las Brisas restaurant at Laguna Beach:

This is not where we ate. After following some misguided GPS directions, the seven of us who had ventured out, ended up in a disgusting strip mall where the sidewalk was covered with old chewing gum and the public phone had been ripped out of the wall. A homeless man shuffled past the doorways which, by the way, were protected by steel bars. Neon lights flashed in the garishly lit windows and we all agreed we must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. But no, there was the sign...Las Brisas. It looked more like this:
Inside was no better...Formica covered tables under flourescent lighting, and a walk-up counter where you placed your order. There were seven of us, and after laughing hysterically for ten minutes at the thought of eating here, we decided we'd do it. The menus were all in Spanish so I ordered the only thing that I recognized...Chilis of my favorites back in Massachusetts at our favorite Mexican restaurant, The Border Cafe. We sat at a table near the jukebox, and drank a beer while we waited for our food to arrive. On a table behind us sat the congealed remnants of a meal that had never been cleared. When our food arrived, it all looked the same...runny, gray beans, some dried yellow rice, and the main entree. I had taken just two bites of mine, when something got wrapped around my tongue that I couldn't swallow...a long, black hair, twisted around my chili rellenos...I was so grossed out that I couldn't eat any more, and I didn't dare send it back. To me, the food might as well have looked like this:
So while we all laughed, I noticed that none of us finished our meals, and instead concentrated on swilling our bottled beers. So this weekend, we're determined to locate a Mexican restaurant that will, hopefully, erase tonight's traumatic events and leave us with a more pleasant memory instead. Stay tuned...