Who Are We?

The NovelFriends are four writers who met through Wisconsin Romance Writers and initially became bonded by our love of books. That connection has expanded, grown, and deepened into true friendship over the years. We look forward to sharing our experiences with you, so follow the blog and join in the fun - we're always happy to have more NovelFriends!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween!

HALLOWEEN—without question my favorite day of the year. I love everything about this ghoulish holiday, from the gloomy autumn weather, to carving pumpkins (and roasting the seeds!), to making caramel apples. I love watching the special Halloween episodes of all my favorite TV shows...and yes, I still watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown every year and I’m not afraid to admit it. I especially love watching all those classic horror movies from the 70s and 80s, like The Omen, The Changeling, The Exorcist, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and of course John Carpenter's Halloween starring Jamie Lee Curtis. I do love Rob Zombie’s remake, but for me there's nothing like the original.

I also love helping my girls pick out their costumes each year. I always push for something scary, though I don't always get my way…

Okay, Okay, so they were a little too young yet to appreciate the importance of vampires, witches, and ghosts. Thankfully, my girls have since inherited their mother's love of the dark side...and horror movies. The younger one has a fascination with shark movies, while her sister loves a good ghost story.  Dad prefers slashers, particularly with a cabin-in-the-woods setting. And Mom simply loves them all. J

Of course, the highlight for all kids on Halloween is trick or treating. Just as it was for us back in the day. Though times have changed since I was a kid. For one thing, we never had a set time limit. We’d rush home from school, toss on our costumes, and race out the door on a quest to hit every single house in our neighborhood, gathering as much candy as humanly possible. And we didn’t call it a night until people quit answering their doors…LOL

So what does adult Donna love most about Halloween? Putting up my decorations! They're not exactly news worthy (someday…), but I do love to watch the heads turn as cars drive past my house. I have a cemetery scene I put up each year complete with ghouls, witches, flashing peeper lights, and zombies crawling out from their graves. I also have ghosts, grim reapers, a werewolf, a scarecrow, and even a grave digger. And I have a few new toys this year as well…wanna take a peek?

Thank you for indulging me on this special day. I sure hope you enjoyed my musings, pictures, and my creepy little video of my newest toy, The Harvester.

Anyone have any Halloween traditions they’d like to share?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

And Donna Makes Four...

I’m excited to share my very first post on the NovelFriends blog.  I’ve always shied away from blogging, probably because I’m terrible at it…LOL  But I figured maybe I’d get better with practice, and who better to learn from than my very best friends?

While searching thru old photo albums for a baby picture I could use for the blog, I found so many others I hadn’t seen in years, and I would love to share some of these cherished memories with you.  This first picture is of my maternal grandparents and brings a huge smile to my face.  One of the many picnics we shared over the years.  Doesn’t it look like an old KFC ad from the 70s? 

The house on Lisa Lane.  Lived there from the age of four to eighteen, so it holds a very special place in my heart.  So many wonderful memories…and of course, some I’d just as soon forget…LOL  When I realized this picture featured both my little red tricycle and my grandpa’s beloved old Chevy Impala, I got a little misty.

Me and my grandpa…you may have guessed by now that I’m a bit of a grandpa’s girl.  As his first grandchild and only granddaughter, we've always shared a special bond.  He took me to Disney World when I was a five years old...just me and grandpa.  I still have vivid memories of that trip, believe it or not. J

I thought all pictures of my Tiger-Louie had been lost, so I can’t even describe how excited I was to come across this one.  Awww, look at that beautiful little fluffy face…without a doubt the coolest cat I ever owned. 

My mommy...Dig those groovy pants. LOL  I lost her almost two years ago, yet some days it still takes me by surprise.  I miss picking up the phone and hearing, “How’s my little author today?”

This last picture reminded me of exactly where I inherited my love of romance novels, so I simply had to share it.  By the time stamp I know this was taken on vacation in Florida.  While my brothers were having fun with the camera [that's Danny on the bed, and Darrin flexing], my mom – as usual – had her nose buried in a book.  And in case you’re wondering, the book is Dawn Of Desire by Joyce Verrette.

Thank you for reading my very first NovelFriends post and indulging me in my walk down memory lane.  Please check back next Tuesday for our very first book review.  See you next time!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tales From the Mist - a book review

First off, let me make a confession, I don't usually read short stories or E-books.  The E-book thing is purely a matter of preference, I don't have a reader, so I have to use my laptop, which is a beautiful machine (I named it Shiny) but not something I want to read a book on.  I tend to get distracted by the many other things Shiny can do and it takes forever for me to finish reading something.  I've also taken a couple E-book readers for a spin and just haven't found the experience worth buying one, I guess I'm a traditionalist at heart.  As for short stories, I avoid them because they tend to make me feel... unfulfilled I guess you'd call it.  They tend to leave me wanting more rather than being satisfied.

I'm happy to say though, that Tales From the Mist not only kept me glued to Shiny from page one to the very end, but afterwards, I felt like I'd just finished a literary Thanksgiving dinner, I was stuffed, but knew I'd be thrilled to go back for leftovers the next day.

Tales From the Mist is an anthology of short paranormal stories that cover just about any facet of horror from ghosts, haunted houses, shape-shifters, a vampire rat story and the scariest of all, a persons mind.   Usually, when reading an anthology, there are some stories you love, some not so much, but I can easily say this was not the case in this book, each story was great in its own unique way.  Though you're not supposed to have favorites, I have to say that Haste by Catie Rhodes struck me both in my sense of justice and her ending twist appealed to my warped sense of humor (those without my warpedness will probably find it terrifying), either way, I loved it.

In spite of having a favorite, I can also say I enjoyed each story for what it brought to the table, each so different, yet equally enjoyable, again, much like that Thanksgiving dinner, I love the mashed potatoes just as much as the stuffing, and smush them all together with the turkey and it's to die for, much like this book.  (get it, "to die for" and it's a horror book???  :p  I crack myself up)

To bring some extra spooky joy to your Halloween season, you can get Tales From the Mist at Amazon.  Enjoy...and leave the lights on.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Where I Came From

Hello! For my first post here with my NovelFriends, I'd like to share some pictures I came across while looking for my baby picture to put on the About Us page. Did you look at that page yet? Go ahead, I'll wait.

....[insert Jeopardy music]...

Aren't we cute? A few of us more so than others--and I don't mean me!

I come from a big family. Four kids on my mom's side, nine on my dad's and so many first, second and third cousins that I can't remember all the names at our family reunions. I learned long ago not everyone remembers me, either, so I usually just introduce myself as "Butch and Judy's daughter, Stacey." That's if my dear dad hasn't already put me on the spot with "Do you know who this is?"

Anyway, as usual, when pulling out photo albums, it's so much fun to look at the old pictures and hear the inevitable "Remember when we did 'this'?" or  "So that's where Becky got her taste for beer." (she was draining the empties off the picnic table and back then apparently parents didn't rush to take the bottles away, they snapped a photo) and "Oh, my God, look at my hair!"

My kids giggled at the boy's cut my mom gave me so she didn't have to comb all the snarls out each day. By her third girl, she didn't have time to be combing hair for an hour and a half each day. (Which is why I don't make my daughter cut her hair even though it sometimes takes me twenty to thirty minutes to remove the tangles before school.)

But again, I digress. I'd intended to share some cool pictures of my parents, not meander down memory lane. In the midst of looking through these pictures, my mom pulled out an album of old portrait studio pictures. It'd been so long since we'd seen them, it was like discovering hidden treasure.

So here we are at the reason for this post. I thought these pictures of my mom and dad were so cool that I just had to share them with the world and show where I came from.


Mom's all glamorous and beautiful; Dad's handsome as can be with those bright blue eyes.

Actually, I just realized there's a better reason for this post. When was the last time you sat down with your kids, your parents, your siblings, or maybe your grand children, and looked at your old family photo albums? If it's been awhile, then I suggest you do it. For my dad's 70th birthday a couple years ago, our immediate family all got together and had a slide show. We're planning to do the same for my mom's 70th in a couple weeks. Everyone from age 9 to 72 has a great time - boy haircut pictures and all!

There are stories behind your family pictures that need to be told and remembered and passed on to future generations. For that matter, print some of those digital pictures and put them in an album, too. (I'm guilty of not doing this and need to.) Digital is great, but there's something to be said for having a hard copy back up.

And now I'm done before I start rambling again.

Have a great day and go enjoy your pictures as you create new memories while remembering the old.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Fall Things

My favorite time of year has arrived. I am in love with autumn. The temperatures have recently cooled quite a bit making me anxious to start enjoying some of my favorite things.

The sights… I soak up the vivid rusty-colored leaves grasping tree branches and covering yards, pumpkins, gourds, hay bales and cornstalks dressing up porches. A final burst of color before the snow falls.

The sounds… I relax to the harmony of crunching, crackling leaves on the sidewalk and the thumps and bumps of chestnuts falling onto the roof outside our bedroom window.  A soundtrack of the season.

The tastes…oh, the foods of fall - spiced apple cider, warm apple kuchen, hearty soups, fresh-baked bread and of course a handful (or two!) of candy corn. Mmmmm.

The smells… for me the mingled scents of decaying leaves, crisp wind-washed air, the smell of wood burning in bonfires, rooms filled with a blend of apples, pumpkins and spices. Ahhhh.

The feel… what could possibly make this symphony of sensations any better? Only a warm snuggly sweater, a soft cozy blanket, the comforting weight of a book in one hand and a warm mug of cider in the other. Sigh.

Now, consider that it is the one time of year when baseball and football seasons overlap and there are ridiculous amounts of school supplies available and on sale. It’s just the whipped cream on my pumpkin pie.

What are your favorite season and your favorite thing about it?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Welcome to my life

One day, a friend was telling me about an old girlfriend.  He looked at me and said, "she was even more Laura Ingalls than you are."  I guess I give off a prairie kind of vibe.  I think it has something to do with my insisting on trying to make everything at least once.  I've made my own soap (we had to evacuate the house due to a toxic chemical reaction the Amish recipe did NOT warn me about), I make my own bread (the dog literally took my first bread making effort and buried it somewhere in the yard), I've made homemade bagels (don't bother-more work than they're worth) and raise my own chickens for meat and eggs.  So yeah, I guess I am a bit Laura Ingalls.  But, later in my friend's Laura Ingalls discussion, he told me of the persistent case of crabs he had that he eventually tracked down to being caused by his Laura Ingalls girlfriend.  She passed them on to him after catching them from sleeping with her drug dealer - so things aren't always what they seem.

So yeah, while I haven't passed on any STD's from sleeping with drug dealers (mine or someone else's), there is more to me than what  you may assume at first glance.  I am a bit of a Laura Ingalls, but it's mixed with an equal amount of Erma Bombeck.

Now you've met me, one of the four novelists and long-time friends who've gotten together to share our lives and work with you.  Along with life anecdotes, we'll share some writing previews, maybe a story or two, book reviews and anything else that strikes our fancy at the moment.  Tune in the first 4 Tuesdays of every  month to find out what new and exciting thing we've got to share with you.