Friday, July 29, 2011

100 Ways To Relax On A Fine Summer Day

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Our lives are filled with stress. At times, I feel I'm challenging the speed of light. My plan, today, was to list 100 ways to relax on a fine summer day, but sadly, I failed. I came up with 70. Do you have any suggestions?

1) Watch the sunrise.
2) Take five deep breaths.
3) Enjoy your morning coffee or tea with the birds.
4) Walk in the morning dew barefooted.
5) Write your thoughts in a journal.
6) Stretch. Reach for the sun and then mother earth.
7) Feed nature.

8) Pick a few wildflowers for your table.
9) Take a stroll, not a power walk.
10) Put some music on and dance.
11) Play an instrument. Don’t have one. Whistle.
12) Take a bubble bath.
13) Watch a funny movie or a show from your childhood. I love Top Cat.
14) Go for a bike ride.
15) Lounge in the baby’s pool.
16) Turn your face to the sun and breath.
17) Study the symmetry of a leaf or a flower.
18) Squirt your kids with the hose.
19) Take a power walk. Blood flow clears the mind.
20) Tell a joke. Laugh.
21) Watch the clouds drift across the sky.

22) Pluck a fresh peach or plum from the tree and take a juicy bite.
23) Get lost in a great book. I’ll suggest one of mine.
24) Sip a glass of lemonade or iced tea.
25) The hammock in the yard, use it.
26) Run through the sprinkler spray.
27) Eat a crisp salad.
28) Color your sidewalks with chalk. The kids will show you how.
29) Have lunch on a blanket.
30) Float in the pool.
31) Have some cold fruit.
32) Play ball with the dog.
33) Stick your feet in a rambling brook.
34) Fly a kite.
35) Find some mud and squish your toes in it.
36) Visit a museum.
37) No museums nearby, open an art book or site and view the works.
38) Finger paint. Make your own art.
39) Have a triple scoop ice cream cone.
40) Skip.
41) Get a safety pin, some string and a stick and go fishing.
42) Catch some lightening bugs, but please let them go.
43) Play red light with your kids.

44) Watch a ball game.
45) Make your own snow cones.
46) Write and send a card to a friend.
47) Enjoy a rootbeer float.
48) Snap some nature shots. You’ll appreciate them in January.
49) Go wine tasting. Check my last blog.
50) Close your eyes and listen to babbling water.
51) Hit a ball. Golf, baseball, kickball, tennis, soccer.
52) Chat with a friend. Laugh.
53) Pitch a tent. All you need is a sheet and a clothes line.
54) Play flashlight tag with your kids.
55) Swing.
56) Skip a rock across a pond.
57) Pet a pet or go to a petting zoo.
58) Raft down a river.
59) Take a drive with all the windows down and the music turned up.
60) Have dinner on a blanket.

61) Watch the sunset while sitting on the hood of your car.
62) Make a face and cause someone to laugh.
63) Toast a marshmallow until just perfect.
64) Enjoy the baby pool or the grownup pool or the hot tub under the stars.
65) Massage your feet and legs with scented lotion.
66) Light a candle.
67) Enjoy an icy fruit drink. Wine works for me.
68) Lie down and put your feet up above your head.
69) Stare at the stars and moon.
70) Hold someone special in your arms or heart.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wine Sippin'


Last week, my husband and I ventured up the PA Turnpike with a few friends to the Seneca Finger Lake in New York for some wine sippin’ and cherry pickin’. If you’ve never visited the region, you must. Not only for the delicious wines but also for the beauty. Here’s a picture of the lake from one of the wineries.

Our first stop is always the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop in Old Forge, PA. I didn’t get a picture of the shop because I was too busy eating a warm doughnut right off the line and wines were calling.

Our second stop was this great little family restaurant in Watkins Glen which is at the base of the lake. They serve great pancakes and awesome homemade raisin bread. The first time I went with this crew of friends I asked why were stopping to eat again. I was promptly told I needed food in my stomach with all the wine we’d be sippin’. I thought we were going to two or three wineries. HA. Try twenty something. So yes, you must have a full stomach to absorb all the wine.

This trip we took 414 up the east side of the lake first instead of going our usual route up Rt14 on the west side. The first stop was the Silver Springs Winery. I think it’s fairly new, just getting started. Not real big like some of the other established wineries, but you don’t want to miss it.This nice man poured me a glass of his Peach Paradise wine which was to die for. Of course, I purchased a bottle and on this hot July afternoon, I intend to sip it by the pool.

Then we visited a fairly new winery, J.R. Dill. My friends loaded up there on their dry wines. I’m a sweet wine drinker. Hector Wine Company was the next stop where I purchased a bottle of their pink table wine called Lake Rat. Sounds like something you’d sit on your table, huh? So good though. You need to try it.

The next stop was The Standing Stone Vineyards. OMG, I fell in love with their ICE wines. The woman who waited on us was very patient and offered up several sips again and again, until I finally made up my mind and decided to take home their 2008 Gewurztraminer Ice. I’m not a selfish person, but I just might keep this whole bottle hidden just for myself. Or I could make another trip to NY.

We continued up the highway and came across a cherry farm near Tickle Hill winery. Of course we stopped. The cherries were the reason my DH came along. He’s not a wine kinda’ of guy. More a beer man. Here he is picking cherries. It was fun and the cherries were so yummy.

Near the top of the lake we crossed over to the Cayuga Lake are and I’m so glad they did. We found the Swedish Hill Vineyard and I found a Glogg wine that is going to warm me up this winter. So full of spice. It will be perfect for a snowy night in front of the fire. I also fell in love with their Radical Raspberry. A good raspberry wine was the reason I came on the trip and I found it here.

We raced around the top of the lake and headed south with one winery in mind, Torrey Ridge Winery. This is a must stop for us. We love their Black Jewel and this time I picked up their Summer Delight, a strawberry wine.

We ended our day at Seneca Lake having dinner on the lake at Watkins Glen. It was so relaxing sitting next to the water, watching the boats, forgetting all the responsibilities we shoulder, and enjoying great food and ice tea with good friends. I can’t wait to go back.

What goes good with wine? A great book. Check out In The Presence Of Evil.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

To Know Him Is To Love Him

Have you ever planted a seed?

What does planting a seed have to do with writing or a story called ‘IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL’ you ask? Stay with me. I promise you’ll get it.

Planting a seed…. You take this little, tiny thing, something so small that it could be a speck of dust you normally wouldn’t even notice and carefully place it in the soil you’ve prepared and then cover it. Every day you water it and watch, waiting for the moment the seedling sprouts through the ground and turns its head toward the sun. The sense of joy you feel is hard to contain, right? Sure it is. Admit it. You what to jump up and down and shout to the world, “See what I did.” No one will think you a whuz for saying so, so go ahead and admit it.

As the sprout grows, you feed it, protect it from harm and hoe away all the nasty weeds that take away its nutrients. You watch it grow bigger and stronger until it is the prettiest thing. (Darn, I wish you could hear me say that in my mock southern twang) You can’t express how proud you feel showing off what you have created, but you show it by sticking your chest out and wearing a grin the size of the Grand Canyon. And it started all start with a tiny seed.

Writing a book mirrors the process and authors feel the same sense of pride when their books hit the cyber and hard shelves? IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL, my new release from The Wild Rose Press, started with an idea, based on an actual personal experience. I can only tell you a bit. A request for a bank wire transfer from my work somehow got intercepted and was requested to be routed to a Russian bank account. This happened after Evil’s Witness was released, so needless to say, eyes turned toward me. “Me, come on.” I laughed until the FBI entered the investigation. I’m a country girl, born Army brat, who never wanted to be rich and bleeds red, white and blue. Please believe me.

Anyway, I wondered ‘what if’ a woman stumbles into a hornet’s nest where the Mafia is laundering money by controlling wire transfers from a small private owned bank. How would she stop them and who could she ask to help her? Okay the answers to that question is easy the FBI, CIA, or police. But we can’t have easy when writing a book. Easy is the weed that takes away from a good story. What if she didn’t know what was going on, until it was too late and her life was put into danger?

Again easy. Once she found out what the bad guys were after, our heroine being the heroine we’d all aspire to be would die for her country, thus screwing the bad guys. Yeah, Gina. So I fed the story and added in a cast of secondary characters that love Gina and who she loves, including one yummy marine hero, Cole Hanson. Yup that’s him. SIGH.

I played ‘what if again’ and asked what you do if the lives of those you love were to hang on the whether you help to commit a crime? Would you do anything asked of you? Or would you try to be a hero?

Like nurturing a seed from a dominate state into something to enjoyed, a great deal of time goes into writing a story that whisks you away to another world.


Rusty’s gaze shifted beyond Cole’s shoulder and an uneasy feeling crept up his back.

He turned. A beautiful woman walked toward them.

“I thought you had to get back to the hardware store, Rusty.” Her gaze locked with Cole’s, and she stopped cold.

Cole’s heartbeat echoed in his ears like the sharp, piercing, rapid fire that had ended his career. Those eyes. He remembered them whenever loneliness slipped past his guard and grabbed him by the throat. “Gina?”

A slight, hesitant smile formed on her face.

Rusty went up on his toes. “Look who’s here.”

“Son-of-a-bitch,” Gina said.

She took the words right out of his mouth. Cole took in every inch of her, starting at the leather boots she wore which added a few inches to her five-foot-five height, and worked his way up. Gina had changed. She wasn’t the lanky sixteen year-old girl he remembered. She had the curves of a woman.

Her rust-colored dress brought out the red highlights in her mass of long curls.

Curls he knew coiled tighter when wet after a late afternoon skinny-dip in Harvey’s Lake.

Gina crossed the short distance between them, holding his stare until she looked at Rusty. “You didn’t tell me Cole was coming.”

His name carried a quiver.

“I wanted to surprise you.” It was evident Rusty was enjoying the scene. The guy was practically hoppin’ in place.

“Well, you did that.”

Cole saw the rise of her breasts with an intake of air. Then, with the stark determination he remembered she met his gaze head on.

“So what brings you back to Mountain Pine? I know small town is not your lifestyle of choice.”

“That’s true. Rusty invited me for the holidays.”

Gina’s dark lashes did little to hide a flash of the storm seething inside her, and he wondered why she thought she had the right to be angry.

“Is that how you greet an old friend? Go ahead, hug the guy.” Rusty grabbed her elbow and urged her closer.

“Right.” She took a step and stuck out her hand. “It’s been a long time.”

From behind, Rusty gave her a swift nudge, and Gina fell against him.

Cole stiffened and fought to keep his breathing normal. At one time, they’d been friends. Close friends. First-time lovers.

“I’m going to kill him.”

Her warm whisper tickled Cole’s cheek. His eyes drifted shut as he leaned into her, wrapping her in his arms. Her hair smelled the same as it did years ago, like a summer field of wildflowers. Her body fit perfectly against his, just as it always had, and he felt the years slip away.

If you’d like to learn more about Autumn Jordon and her novels, visit

Monday, July 4, 2011

RWA11 New York, NY Was Amazing


Starting spreading the news. I am home today. I was part of it. New York, New York…

Oh, please imagine Frank singing those mock lines, not me. I can’t carry a tune to save my dog’s life much less my own.

Happy Fourth of July everyone. I hope you all are having a wonderful, safe holiday weekend. New York was wonderful. My roommate, Kathy Kulig, and I spent the few extra dollars and snapped up a Times Square view room. The view was so worth it. We
turned the comfy chairs towards the window and in the early morning had our coffee and tea while watching New York hit its stride. We could see the cast of Good Morning America set up on the corner below us. At night, ( I mean very late at night-hours pass a country girl’s bedtime) we watched the hundreds of people still walking the square while we shared the accountants of each other’s day. It was very relaxing.

The very best thing about my trip however was getting together with my on-line friends, some I’ve never met. I’ll share some pictures. More are up on my Facebook Fan Page.

My Ruby sisters of course. We spent hours together. We had dinner together after the literacy book signing, which raised nearly $47,000.00, (Yeah RWA authors), we went to a Broadway play and we just chilled and watched the crowds. I met Carla Cassidy that way.

(Daryanda Jones -'First Grave On The Right' and I at the literacy signing)

Ruby Slipperhood Sisters at 'Jersey Boys'

Ruby Sisters; Liz Bemis, Rita Hueben, Me and Carla Cassidy. I just love Carla's work.

I also ran into to other friends like, sweet Mary from the Pink Fuzzy Slippers several times and each time I got hugs. I love hugs.

And fellow Wild Rose authors Silver James and Riley Quinn. Both wonderful ladies and we had fun chats. This is Riley.

I had the most yummy dinner with Fellow Wild Rose authors Anne Carole and Tess Quinn.

Anne is flanked by friends.

I just love Tess. Such a sweetie.

I ran into Liz Selvig who won the 2010 Golden Heart for Single Title Contemporary. We were in Margie Lawson’s class together years ago and remained on-line buddies.
After years, we finally met. I think we liked each other a lot.

I also ran into Margie once, but never saw her again. You can go a whole conference and not met up with someone. Like for me, I never found online buddy and queen of high heels Michele Miles and I wanted to catch up with Sandy James so bad. Conflict kept me from sitting in on her workshop. Another reason why I need to buy RWA11 CDS.

The workshops were fantastic. I really enjoyed listening to Harlen Coben and Lisa Jackson. They really should go on the road together. They played off each perfectly and in the process managed to teach us a lot.

And Roxanne St. Claire’s workshop , ‘How To Mend A Broken Scene’, was awesome! If you get a chance to take this workshop, do! I studied my handout last night, again.

The Ruby workshop, 'Road To Novel Completion', which I was a part of, was a great success. The feedback has been awesome. I was so nervous as this was my first time speaking at a conference and I'm so glad my Ruby sisters, Anne, Tamara, Jenn, Vanessa and Liz were a part of it. We had a great time, as you can see. I couldn't believe the number of people who were in the audience. I learned later Stacy Boyd, senior editor at HQ was one.

Writers, if you ever get a chance to go to Nationals, go. It is so worth the expense. And readers, if ever you hear the National RWA is going to be close to you, head out to the signing. It’s a great way to meet your favorite authors and to help a great cause.

I could go on for hours but we all have lives to get to. I'm heading on another excursion this week with DH, so next week, probably Tuesday, I’ll shared more pictures and more news. Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe and remember to jump over to my website and join my newsletter. Shortly, I’m going to post another contest for members only. WINK

(((HUGS))) AJ