Monday, May 18, 2015

PRACTICAL PASSION Now Available

Practical Passion Large

Come check out my latest from Amber Quill Press, PRACTICAL PASSION.
http://www.amberquill.com/sto…/p/2188-Practical-Passion.aspx

Here’s the blurb:

Julie Preston worked hard raising her younger sister Emily after their parents died, and creating a career. She gave up simple pleasures like love and relationships. So when a friend drags her to a singles bar, Julie’s ready for anything. She meets a gorgeous guy and they spend several passionate hours together. There’s real chemistry there, but Julie regretfully sticks to her promise: a one-night stand, no strings.

When Julie hires a tutor to help Emily pass English, she’s shocked to find he’s the man from the bar. Seeing him in her house makes it hard to keep her hands off him, but he isn’t looking for a long-term relationship since he’s a singles bar patron. Right?

How many miles can Julie jog before she gives in and jumps him?

Available now from Amber Quill Press in their Amber Heat imprint: http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/2188-Practical-Passion.aspx 

I hope you’ll check it out!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sale!!!

LADY OF THE TWO LANDS, my time-travel romance set in ancient Egypt, is on sale for 99 cents for the next couple of weeks. Now’s your chance to snag a copy! Go here for more info:

http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/136-Lady-Of-The-Two-Lands.aspx

Friday, May 01, 2015

A-Z Reflections Post

This year is my very first time doing the A-Z Blog Challenge. It’s been a true challenge to come up with a blog topic for each letter of the alphabet, then write something for the chosen topic. I’m proud of myself that I didn’t miss a letter!

What did I get out of it? I stretched my mind, I pulled out my hair, I blogged on a regular basis, I connected with some lovely people who visited my blog, and met others through visiting their blogs.

Also, I find the regular writing of anything, any topic, helps to firm up my previous more random schedule. I hope it will allow me to do lots more writing.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zilch

In trying to find something to write about for Z, the final entry in this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I came across lots of interesting words. I was amazed to find there were lots more “common” words than I expected, given my experience two days ago with X. ;-)

What surprised me the most was the several words meaning “Nothing” that started with Z. For instance, there’s “Zero,” “Zip,” and “Zilch.”

Zero is an easy one as it expresses the concept of “Nothing” in mathematical language.

Zip is a little more difficult to determine why it means “Nothing.” Zip can mean fasten a zipper…which is named for the sound it makes when closing it. Zip can mean fast, which also implies a zipping sound as the fast creature dashes past. Zip can also mean Zest (another Z word), zipping up your world.

The origin of “zip” meaning “zero” is unknown, but probably first used around 1900. How it came to represent such a different thing from the definitions above is a mystery.

Zero and Zip are used in this scene in The Three Amigos, one of my favorite movies:

As an aside, if you’ve never seen “The Three Amigos,” do yourself a favor and watch it. It’ll keep you laughing out loud for the entire movie. One of my top ten favorites!

Okay, back to Z. The words Zip and Zero are all well and good, but there’s a more colorful synonym for “Nothing”: Zilch.

I love the sound of that word. It sounds like something Tim Curry would say.

I remember the first time I heard the word Zilch. It was the title of a song on the Monkees’ album, Headquarters. Check it out here:

So the next time you find yourself tempted to use one of those Z words, don’t go for the boring ones. Use Zilch, say it like Tim Curry, and amaze your friends!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Yarn

Finding a “Y” word was simple. I love to knit, and crochet, so what else could Y be but Yarn?

If you read my entry for “Q,” you’ll already have some idea of the wild things yarn can be made from. Different fibers have different qualities: soft, scratchy, smooth, fuzzy, brightly dyed, natural color, thick, thin, bumpy, warm, cool, hand wash only, machine wash. Those are off the top of my head; I’m sure there are more.

In order to choose the proper yarn, you need to choose your project first. You can make almost anything, including sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves, baby clothes, stuffed animals, shawls, mittens, socks, cowls, fingerless mitts, iPod or Kindle covers, afghans. If you can imagine it, you can knit it!

Well, almost anything. Anyone remember Lurch, from the Addams Family? He loved to play the harpsichord. On one episode, the harpsichord was taken away for some reason. Morticia tried to distract him by teaching him how to knit. She said, “Lurch what would you like to knit first?” Lurch said, “A harpsichord.” No, I don’t think you could knit THAT.

If you’re lucky enough to be a knitter, you know how seductive a new skein of yarn, new needles, or a new pattern can be. Here are a few of my finished projects.

CIMG0674

IMAG0170

IMG_0082

IMG_0061

For anyone who does knit or crochet, if you haven’t already, go to www.ravelry.com  and sign up. You’ll have access to patterns, forums, designers, yarns, books…it’s knitting nirvana. Look me up as delisi . See you there!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xerus

There aren’t many words that start with X. Lots of words SOUND like they start with X, but really, they start with EX. Nevertheless, I’m determined to find an X word!

Unfortunately, a lot of them are things like this:

Xylan, noun.

1. the pentosan occurring in woody tissue that hydrolyzes to xylose: used as a source of furfural.

Got that? <eye roll>

So my first consideration is that the X word start with X, not EX, and the second consideration is that the word be understandable by the average person.

The third consideration was to avoid the most common X words, like xylophone.

Finally, I came across something that fit my “rules,” that made me pause and then do a Google search. The new X word had the biggest cuteness factor of any X word, and the only one I’d want to see in person!

Xerus:

An African ground squirrel of the genus Xerus, having spiny fur, very short ears, and a long tail, and including the species X. rutilus of northeastern Africa and X. erythropus of western and central Africa.

Sooooo cute! So that’s my new X word, Xerus.

You all can go with Xylan if you want; just don’t expect me to explain the definition to you.

Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Write, Write, Write

Many people imagine the life of a writer is glamorous, well paid, and easy. Reality is pretty far from these ideas.

Glamorous? Well, maybe if I sat down to the computer every morning wearing a ball gown. Or if people mobbed me when I went out, clamoring for my autograph. But I don’t see that happening any time soon. I will say, though, that one of the bank clerks knows me by name when I walk in. Hey, that’s something, right?

As to being well paid…perhaps if I were Stephen King. But for me, an average royalty check is between $3-7. Might buy me a cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. Maybe a donut, too! Hah.

What I want to know is, why does the bank clerk know my name? Are they all laughing at my teeny checks when I’m not listening?

As for being easy: show of hands here. When you were in high school and your teacher said, “I want you to write a paper,” how many of you jumped up and down in excitement? Hands? Anyone?

That’s what I thought. Writing is hard work. First, you have to have a topic (for non-fiction) or a plot line (for fiction). You need to do research and figure out how you want things to progress.

Next, you sit down with your idea and start writing. In addition to using your creativity until your brain starts smoking, you also need to have excellent spelling and grammar skills. It used to be a publisher would shepherd a writer along, fixing mistakes and problems. Now, there are a million would-be writers for every editor. (Do you like my 100% accurate figures?) So your manuscript has to be as perfect as possible BEFORE you turn it in.

Once you’re done with a first draft, you go through it word by word and fix what you did wrong, close holes in the plot, make sure there is continuity (like, is your hero called Dave in chapter one and Dan in chapter two?) When you think it’s perfect, you go through it again. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have a first reader or critique partner, you redo it based on the suggestions of your writing buddy.

Next comes researching the markets, finding out which publishers would be a good fit for your manuscript. Once you’ve chosen the most appropriate ones, you find out their submission  requirements and submit your manuscript.

Then you wait. And wait. And wait. Fortunately, in this electronic age, you don’t wait as long as with the snail mail era. But every day seems like an eternity.

If you’re accepted, you go through more editing, cover art, checking the proof, then getting the final book in your hot little hands. I confess, THIS part is really fun!

Then comes marketing. I’m not a social animal…most writers aren’t. So marketing can be agonizing, but it must be done. I actually did several book signings, and while they are stressful, it’s also interesting to see who wants to read what you write.

Book Signing Gulliver Books Hays KS

And then, before you know it, it’s time to start all over again with the next book.

Are we having fun yet?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Vase

When you see a floral arrangement, what do you see? What catches your attention? No doubt it’s the color of the flowers, the size of the flowers, the scent of the flowers.

Image result for floral arrangement clip art

Not the vase.

And how many times have you heard someone say “lips like a rose” or “as simple as a daisy” or “heavenly scent of a gardenia”?

But nothing about the vase.

Let’s think about it, though. How  would you create that lovely display, if not with the vase? How long would the flowers last without the water-filled vase? How would the flowers manage to stand upright and beautiful without the vase?

Like a loving parent, the vase cradles the flowers, holding them up, nourishing them, allowing them to enjoy every last minute of their beauty. The vase exists without the flowers, but the flowers don’t last long without the vase.

Why then would you be the flower?

Image result for vase

I’ll be the vase. :-)

Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Uh-Oh

When you hear someone say “Uh-oh,” you look around to see what went wrong. Because “Uh-oh” is a kind of admission of guilt, that the speaker did something wrong and everyone else is about to find out about it.

Generally right after you say “uh-oh,” you look like this:

Depending on how serious the infraction is, how likely it is to cause anger or get you a lecture, you may look like this:

There are other words or phrases that can be used to express the same general situation, such as:

Oops

Oh my gosh

Geez

or the ever popular, Crap.

So what does this have to do with me today?

Oops, I’ve mislaid my notebook and I really need it. Where could it be?

Oh my gosh, I’ve looked everywhere and I can’t find it. Did someone break in and steal it?

Geez, after a wasted half hour, here it is right next to my computer, where I’d have to be blind to not see it.

Crap, my brain is on vacation and went without leaving a forwarding address!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for Throwback Thursday

I’m on a busy schedule today, so I thought I’d post something from the Wayback Machine for Throwback Thursday. Here’s a blog post I wrote back in May of 2013, about how I became a writer. Enjoy!

MY PATH TO BECOMING A WRITER

By Elizabeth Delisi

Like many authors, my path to becoming a writer began with my mother reading to me and my sister every night. We looked forward to it so much—it was one of our favorite times of day. Mom read us longer books as we got old enough, like “Black Beauty” and “Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates.”

So by the time I was in first grade, I was already primed. One day, a little girl in my class decided to write a story instead of doing her spelling assignment. The teacher praised her effort and read her story to the class. Intrigued, I raised my hand and said I wanted to write a story instead of doing my spelling, too. Unfortunately, my teacher said, “No.” Undeterred, I wrote a story anyway; but I also did my spelling assignment.

Fast-forward to middle school. With a burgeoning interest in boys, I decided to write a book about a girl and her boyfriend. Wish fulfillment, I guess. I actually wrote forty or fifty pages before giving up. I don’t know what happened to my first attempt at a novel; perhaps lost in a move. I’m sure it was tedious, but it would be nice to have it!

In high school, when one of my teachers would say, “I’d like you to write a paper,” everyone groaned. Everyone except me, that is. I was delighted, as I knew not only was writing fun, but also I knew I’d get a good grade. A win-win situation!

One of my high school English teachers praised my writing and urged me to consider it as a career. Up till then, I’d enjoyed writing and known I was good at it, but hadn’t considered it as a potential job. She put that thought in my head, and it’s never left.

College brought a lot more writing. In particular, I remember enjoying very much two papers I wrote: one about the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten, and the other about the American religious group, the Shakers. I even made a “Shaker Pie” from an original Shaker recipe to go with that paper. Who says writing isn’t fun?

In my twenties, I focused mainly on writing short stories. I was working full-time and married, and didn’t have much time to write. I figured it was better to write something I could finish in one or two sessions, rather than a story that would take ages to complete. That’s also when I started submitting for publication, garnering an impressive number of polite rejection letters.

On or about age thirty, I decided to try writing a romance novel. I started out thinking it would be easy, but boy, was I wrong. It took a lot of effort, planning, writing and rewriting. Oh, and there was no computer back then…I was writing on a typewriter, so rewriting usually meant retyping, at a minimum, all the pages to the end of the chapter. No “delete” button!

When I was working on my romance, the rest of the world disappeared. I’d look up and find hours had passed without me noticing. I’m sorry to say, I even forgot to pick up my kids from school one day until they called and said, “Mom? Are you coming to get us?”

Oops.

From there, my story becomes more mundane…read, read, read. Write, write, write. Submit, submit, submit. Until one day, oh joy of joys…an acceptance letter! (Well, in a sign of the times, it was an acceptance e-mail.) And the rest, as they say, is history.

Writing will never make me rich, but it’s been a wonderful part of my life since childhood, and I’d never want to give it up. It gives me great joy to do, and even more, hearing from readers that they liked my stories. And that’s what counts, right?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for SINCE ALL IS PASSING

The letter S gives me an opportunity to tell you about another book of mine, SINCE ALL IS PASSING. It’s a little different from my other books in that it’s more a suspense with a little romance, than romance with something else. ;-)

SincePassing

Blurb:

When Marie Kenning witnesses the kidnapping of a child, she relives the horror of the death of her own child and husband.

Officer Chris Whitley takes on the case—and an interest in Marie—but evidence quickly indicates the child is dead.

Days later, Marie stumbles across the kidnapper and his very-much-alive victim. Unable to convince the man she loves of the truth, Marie sets out alone on a dangerous cross-country mission to save the child.

Excerpt:

…All the windows in the motel were dark except for the room right across from hers. Shadows played on the curtain; one large, one small. Marie wondered if they, too, were having trouble sleeping.

The light went out in the room across the way. Disappointed, Marie was about to let the curtains fall back into place when the door to the room opened. A man emerged, carrying a small child in his arms. The child appeared to be struggling, but he held her in a firm grip.

The man walked to a dark car and opened the passenger door. He turned to shove the youngster inside and as he did, Marie caught a glimpse of the little girl’s face, revealed by the pale moonlight. Her mouth dropped open in shock. It was Rebecca!

Marie’s mind stumbled, trying to make sense of what her eyes were telling her. Could it really be Rebecca? It had been five long days since the kidnapping, and she’d imagined the child’s face before. Was this just another bad dream? Pinching her cheek, she stared at the car. It was hard to tell in the watery moonlight, but it appeared to be a dark-colored Mustang.

The man strode around to the driver’s side. He opened the door and Marie was galvanized into action. She couldn’t let him get away again! She had to stop him, and do it right this time.

Not bothering to grab her robe, she unbolted the door and jerked it open. Tripping over the well-worn welcome mat, she staggered toward the car.

Receding red taillights mocked her. “Stop!” Marie cried, her bare feet slapping the wet pavement as she pursued the Mustang already shrinking into the distance. “Come back!”

It was too late. Rebecca was gone again...

***

For more information, to read reviews, and to order your own copy of SINCE ALL IS PASSING, please visit Amber Quill Press here: http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/209-Since-All-Is-Passing.aspx

Here’s hoping you enjoy it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Raining Cats and Dogs

Raining cats and dogs is what it was doing yesterday, and all night long. The rain made me think of the expression, which made me wonder where the phrase came from originally.

After doing a little research, I find no one know for sure; but the best guess is in 17th century England, if the rain were heavy enough, it would flow down the filthy streets, carrying along dead animals. Eeuwww.

That in turn made me wonder where other colorful phrases came from. So I did a little more research and found these:

Beat Around the Bush: This most probably evolved from hunts where there were men specifically employed to beat the bushes with a stick, thus flushing out the birds for others to shoot. Thus the bush-beaters never get to the actual point of the hunt: killing the birds.

Under the Weather: This one is tougher. But it might come from travel by ship, when stormy weather made passengers seasick. They would head below decks where the rocking sensation wasn’t as strong. Thus, they were forced under (the deck by) the weather.

Off Your Rocker: This seems to have come from the days of electric trolleys, and the difficulty the motorman would have getting the contact wheel reconnected with the overhead wire when it had come disconnected, since once it was disconnected, it would no longer function.

Take It With a Grain of Salt: It’s possible this phrase goes all the way back to Pliny the Elder, who recommended taking a grain of salt as an antidote for poison.

What other expressions or idioms can you think of, and how did they originate? A fun avenue of research when you need a pleasant break.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Q is for Qiviut

How many of you know what Qiviug (singular) or Qiviut (plural) is? Show of hands. Without looking it up on the Internet, mind you!

If you’d asked me before we moved to New Hampshire, I would have had no clue. And if were asked that question and I were not a knitter, I wouldn’t know, either. But because I am a New Hampshire knitter, I know that Qiviut refers to wool gathered from the soft inner layer of the muskox’s coat.

Qiviut is soft and warm, and unlike wool, it doesn’t shrink in water. However, yarn made with qiviut is awfully expensive. Why? I’m not sure, but I’d say because would YOU want to look at the fellow above and say, “Just hold still now, I’m going to comb out your fur”?

What do I mean by expensive? Let’s say $110 for a 218-yard skein of 100% Qiviut yarn. Since the price for a similar length of, let’s say 100% alpaca (my favorite knitting fiber) would run about $25, you can see it’s more than eight times the price.

Thus, qiviut is often mixed with other fibers to bring down the cost (and of course to achieve different effects when knitting). For instance, yarn with a 50% qiviut and 50% merino wool content per 218-yard skein runs about $85; whereas yarn with an 80% merino, 15% qiviut,and 5% silk content goes for $40 per 218-yard skein..

I’ve never knitted with qiviut yarn. I just can’t bring myself to spend so much on yarn when I know good and well I’ll never wear what I make with it, for fear of damaging such an expensive item! But if any of you have tried it, I’d love to know what you think.

And even if you don’t knit, you can always use “qiviut” in your Scrabble games. :-D

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for Polite

The world seems to be going to hell in a hand-basket. Shootings, explosions, vitriolic political sniping, domestic violence. What the heck is going on?

When I was a child, one of the things my parents drummed into me is “Be polite.” I’ll never forget how I learned to watch my tongue before rudeness erupted from it.

I was five years old. My dad worked for the Boy Scouts, so we had to spend a chunk of the summer in Boy Scout Camp. You can imagine how exciting that was for a five year old girl! Not to mention for my mom, who had to try to keep me occupied.

One day, the wife of one of the other Boy Scout executives came to visit with her baby. Poor baby wasn’t happy, and began to cry. Nothing seemed to soothe him. His mother said, “I’m so sorry he’s crying. I don’t know what’s wrong.”

I said, “Maybe you should take him home, then.”

While my mother stared at me in horror, the woman said, “Maybe I should,” and she packed him up and left.

Boy, did I get scolded! But the worst part was, my mother told me I had to go over to the woman’s cabin and apologize for being rude. Naturally, I wandered out to play and in short order, managed to forget I was supposed to apologize.

Evening came, dinner was over, I was in my pajamas. Mom asked me, “Did you go over to apologize?”

I’m sure I went white. I mumbled, “No, I didn’t.” She wouldn’t make me go in the dark, would she?

“You’ll have to go now, then,” she said firmly, in that voice that meant there would be no argument allowed.

So, bundled up in my bathrobe and slippers, I slunk over to the nearby cabin and knocked on the door. The woman came to the door and when I saw her, I started to cry. I was crying so hard, I could barely get out the words: “I’m…sob!…sorry…gasp!…I was…honk!…rude today.”

She and her husband were amazingly nice, bringing me into their cabin for a cup of cocoa and assuring me all was fine. It was quite an ordeal, but I survived it. BUT you better believe I learned my lesson and never, ever was that rude again.

So what does this have to do with the sorry state of the world?

I’m convinced if everyone used their best manners, was polite when dealing with friends and strangers alike, the world would be a much nicer, friendlier, safer place. So everyone, please dust off those manners and let’s make the world the way it ought to be: beautiful.