31 January 2008

Thirteen Random Post-Operative Thoughts

1. Though I'm sure my surgeon is competent and did a good job, I miss the surgeon who worked on my other foot. He was a lot more personable and didn't make me feel like I was wasting his time by (gasp!) asking questions.

2. My dogs are heavier than I thought they were. Getting them to move once they've settled into place on my lap or stomach involves a pry bar and a crane.

3. I'm off the Oxycontin, but still need the Percoset at night. I'd hoped to be completely off all prescription painkillers by now.

4. I have an amazing family.

5. I was able to get back to some semblance of work within only 7 days of surgery. That's the beauty of working from home.

6. Talking live on radio is a lot harder than it sounds! I haven't had the guts to go back an listen to my Raven Radio podcast. My editor insists I was fine, that I sounded "genuine" (read: I babbled) and "passionate about writing" (read: I rambled).

7. J.C. Wilder is the bestest friend a girl could have.

8. The ladies at TwoLipsReviews.com are insane. And I mean that in the best possible way. [blowing smooches at Kerin]

9. I adore my Beyond the Veil blogmates. They make my job so easy. They didn't paint the BtV castle Pepto-pink while I was gone (though there is an odd smell coming from the moat). There's not one diva among them. Okay, maybe SJ has delusions of diva-ness sometimes... (kidding! love ya, SJ!)

10. Percoset doesn't work as well as it did at first - I can see why people get addicted to this stuff. You build up a resistance to it and need more to get the same effect.

11. My son PASSED all his first-semester classes! Yay!

12. Taking a shower now takes 30 minutes instead of 10. It's all the prep work involved - getting my clothes laid out, setting up everything within arm's reach of the shower, making sure all body parts are dry before getting out of the shower so I don't slip and fall on the tile floor.

13. My husband has had a nasty virus this week, which means he has been staying as far away from me as possible and wiping everything he touches with Clorox wipes so I don't pick up whatever he has. I can see him, but I miss him. :(

See more Thursday Thirteens!

29 January 2008

I'm a Guest!!

Join me Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 11 a.m. when I'll be a guest on Michelle Pillow and Mandy Roth's weekly internet radio podcast!

Click here to listen in live, ask questions in the chatroom, even call in with questions and comments. I'll be gabbing about my latest release, all things Celtic, the writing life...though with M&M, you never know what you'll get into! I'm not saying they're troublemakers, buuut...

Hope to see you there!

28 January 2008

Scotophile Monday

Welcome back to Scotophile Monday! All sources credited. Enjoy!

Mirth and Fun!
Rabbie himself may not be able to speak to us at the many events taking place at this time of year around the world, but Scotland.org has organised a most attractive alternative - actor Andy Weir reading some of Burns' great poems, giving advice on recipes and his own immortal memory. The Interactive Burns presentation is slick and amusing and will appeal to Burns fans and to those who are just discovering him. There's also a Scots language quiz and facts and information on Scotland's national bard. Well worth a look at Burns Interactive.

Number of Smokers Falls
A government survey has shown that the number of people smoking tobacco in Scotland has fallen from 45% in 1978 to 25% in 2006. Although that is a big improvement, and a decrease from 28% in 2005, Scotland still has a higher percentage of the population smoking than any other part of the UK. Smoking is now equally spread, with 25% of men and 25% of women considering themselves smokers, although women smoke fewer cigarettes a day (13 on average) than men (an average of 15 a day).

Scotland's First Community Marine Conservation Area
Lamlash Bay, on the Isle of Arran in the Firth of Clyde, is to given statutory protection as Scotland's first Community Marine Conservation Area. It came about as a result of pressure from an independent body, the Firth of Clyde Forum, which brought together representatives of the fishing industry and nature conservationists. Under the new proposals, part of the bay will become a marine reserve where fishing activity will be prohibited and the remainder will be a fisheries management area with a particular focus on scallops. It follows a campaign by conservationists who have long argued that statutory protection is needed. The moves are aimed also at providing an opportunity to showcase the area's marine environment, with the possibility of underwater cameras, so that future visitors to the island and elsewhere will be able to enjoy the fantastic marine life which Lamlash Bay has to offer.

World Monopoly Bid by Edinburgh
The makers of the popular Monopoly board game have already published special editions featuring locations in Scotland as a whole as well as others for Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee. Now the company is to launch a worldwide edition and the public is being asked to select from a list of 68 locations around the world. The most popular 22 places will appear on this edition of the well-known boardgame. Having made it onto the initial short-list, Edinburgh is hoping to be voted onto the list of winning world locations. The tourism agency VisitScotland is supporting the campaign and urging everyone to take the time to vote for their favourite city. See World Monopoly for more details.

This Week in Scottish History
January 27 1783 - Glasgow Herald newspaper first published. It is the longest continuously published daily newspaper in Britain.
January 27 1926 - First public demonstration of TV by John Logie Baird.
January 28 1829 - William Burke, murderer and body snatcher of "Burke and Hare" fame, executed.
January 29 1928 - Earl Haig, Commander in Chief of British forces 1915-18, founder of the British Legion, died.
January 30 1649 - King Charles I executed.
January 31 1761 - Lachlan MacQuarie, "Father of Australia" born Ulva.
January 31 1788 - Charles Edward Stewart, "Bonnie Prince Charlie" died in Rome.
January 31 1953 - Princess Victoria, Stranraer-Larne ferry, sank in a storm with the loss of 133 lives; 44 were rescued.
February 1 1708 - Alexander Selkirk, a sailor from Lower Largo, Fife, rescued after four years on the island of Juan Fernandez, 400 miles off the coast of Chile; his story inspired Daniel Defoe to write "Robinson Crusoe".
February 1 1865 - Highland Railway formed from the amalgamation of Inverness and Perth Junction and the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railways.
February 1 1918 - Author Muriel Spark born.
February 2 - Feast and legal Quarter Day of Candlemass.
February 2 1424 - James I married Lady Jane Beaufort, daughter of the Earl of Somerset, in London.

Aye Write!
The programme for Glasgow's third annual literary festival, Aye Right!, has been launched and it features Hollywood actress Kathleen Turner and Gerry Anderson, the creator of the TV "Thunderbirds" series. The festival aims to encourage a love and enthusiasm for reading - and the Herald newspaper arranged for its readers to get a free copy of "From Saturn to Glasgow", a new compilation of 50 of Edwin Morgan's most treasured poems. This is to be this year's "City Read" and will be the centre of a series of events, readings and workshops. It will also be used for educational purposes, before and during the festival which runs from March 7 to 15.

Burns an' a' That
The Scots Language Centre has put together links to lots of information about Burns, plus a selection of some great Burns related videos from YouTube as well as audio of Scottish actress Dawn Steele performing his poem "Tae a Louse". Then there are pointers to poems, songs and everything else you ever wanted to know about Burns from the BBC. See www.scotslanguage.com.

Alabama Celtic Association
Alabama is home to a wide variety of Celtic organizations and interests. There are several Scottish and Irish Dance schools, Pipe and Drum Bands, Scottish Highland Games, Irish Events, Celtic bands and musicians, as well as Celtic Heritage organizations and Clan Societies. The non-profit Alabama Celtic Association provides enrichment scholarships in dance and music. To help fund these prizes, it organises events which see a host of area musicians and dancers sharing their talents in a showcase format. The next such evening of music and dance takes place on 15 February at Bottletree Café in Birmingham, Alabama. For reservations, see Bottletree Café. For more on the Alabama Celtic Association, see www.celticalabama.net.

Walk Highlands
Over 340 free, detailed walk descriptions with GPS waypoints, maps and photos across the Highlands of Scotland, with over 1,200 places to stay and things to do - plus history, culture, wildlife and more... The areas covered include Fort William, Kintail and Lochalsh, Black Isle and Dingwall, Cairngorms, Glencoe, Isle of Skye and the Applecross Peninsula. See Walk Highlands.

All the above are from RampantScotland.com

Wind Farm in Doubt on Divided Island
Words of support come to the "Wind Farm Man" as Gaelic whispers. As the local face behind the controversial plan to erect 176 colossal wind turbines on the protected peatlands of Lewis, Kevin Murray cannot expect bouquets and has endured no few brickbats.
But occasionally people sidle up to him in the pub or at the shops in Stornoway and say quietly: "Cum a' dol – tha sinn feumach air an obair." The translation: "Keep going – we need the work." Read more by Stephen McGinty

Edinburgh Dungeon Rated in Scotland's Top 10
Edinburgh Dungeon is a relatively new addition to the city's tourist attractions, and joins similar exhibitions in London, York and Hamburg. Focussing on some of the less savoury aspects of Edinburgh's past, the tour takes you on a journey taking in famous bodysnatchers Burke & Hare, who dug up graves to provide bodies for experimentation, an exhibition dedicated to torture and disease and one dealing with notorious Leith cannibal and troglodyte, Sawney Bean. Another charming exhibit describes how Auld Reekie used to be when it really was reekie; sewage being thrown out of upper windows with the cry of 'gardyloo' and carts touring the streets collecting dead bodies. There are also displays of torture equipment and early sugery - and the heart of Robert the Bruce. Read more

Bagpipes a Threat to the Environment
THEY were once outlawed for being used as seditious weapons of war. Now, bagpipes have been blasted as an environmental menace. Over-intensive logging means that the African wood used to make Scotland's national instrument faces being wiped out. Conservation groups are letting out skirls of protest, urging musicians and instrument manufacturers to make sure their pipes come from eco-friendly sources. As part of the campaign, Scots are being asked to fund the planting of "bagpipe trees" in a bid to atone for the environmental damage. Traditionally the chanter on the bottom of Highland pipes, which is used to create the melody, was made from native woods such as bog oak. But Scottish mariners who travelled to Africa in the 18th century returned with supplies of African Blackwood, which proved to be far more resilient and produced a sweeter sound. Since then the species, known as Mpingo in Swahili, has been a staple component of most quality pipes. Conservation group Fauna & Flora International (FFI) said urgent action is needed to prevent the species being lost. Read more by Marc Horne

Web Page of the Week
Scottish And Celtic Music Discussion Forum

24 January 2008

Haggis Ban An Offal Burden?

I just had to pass this along from Reuters News Service:

LONDON (Reuters) - Scotland is considering lobbying the United States to lift a ban on haggis, hoping to boost sales of the sheep-stomach-based national dish.

The U.S. banned imports of Scottish haggis after Britain's outbreak of mad cow disease, which is linked to the human brain illness Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Scotland's government insist its haggis -- which usually contains the heart, liver and lungs wrapped inside a sheep's stomach lining -- is safe and wants the ban lifted.

"The Scottish government will consider engaging the U.S. government on its haggis import ban ... It is safe or we wouldn't eat it here," said a spokeswoman. "We think there is a large market for it amongst expatriate Scots there."

She cited growing sales of tartans and the prevalence of Scottish clubs as evidence that Americans were taking greater interest in their Scottish heritage.

Haggis, a globally recognized symbol of Scotland alongside bagpipes, kilts and Scotch whisky, is an essential part of Burns night celebrations, which commemorate national poet Robert Burns and fall on January 25.

Burns was the author of "Ode to a Haggis."

(Reporting by Peter Apps; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

So what say you, readers? Should we march on Washington? :)

22 January 2008

Guest blogging today!

I'm guest blogging today over at Rose Marie Wolf's blog. Come over and gimme a holler!

21 January 2008

Scotophile Monday

Welcome back to Scotophile Monday! All sources credited. Enjoy!

Homecoming Scotland 2009
Next year marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland's national poet and cultural icon Robert Burns, whose message of friendship and 'Auld Lang Syne' lives on. And Burns is the inspiration behind a year long celebration of some of Scotland's great contributions to the world. The Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond formally launched the "Scottish Homecoming" project this week. This is a programme of events which will run throughout 2009, complementing the vast range of world-class attractions already offered in Scotland. From the world's biggest ever Clan Gathering in Edinburgh to Celtic Connections in Glasgow and from the Open Championship at Turnberry to the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, there's something special for everyone. For more details (though it's early days yet and the programme is still evolving) see Scottish Homecoming.

U.S. Library Reverses Decision on Scottish Literature
Last month, the US Library of Congress announced that 700 years of Scottish literary output was to be reclassified as a subsection of English literature. So the classic novel "The Thirty Nine Steps" by Scottish author John Buchan and Robert Louis Stevenson's "Kidnapped" would be listed under "Adventure Stories - English." Even Robert Burns would have been classified as "Poetry - English." Quite apart from the impact in America, there were concerns that the US library's decision would influence other libraries around the world. A strenuous campaign has been mounted and in what has been described as "a victory for common sense" the US Library of Congress has reversed the decision.

Tay Salmon Season
Heavy rain and melting snow meant that the river Tay was running high and strong this week as the salmon fishing season got under way. The traditional opening ceremonies took place at Killin and Kenmore, with the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band leading the procession to the river bank. The new season will see new conservation methods being introduced. Between 15 January and 31 May, the first salmon caught each day by each individual angler should be released and anglers should then have the option of keeping one subsequent fish only, per day. From 1 June to the end of the season all female fish should be released as well as at least 50% of male fish, particularly those over 15 lbs. On the other hand, the Tay Board Hatchery has three million salmon eggs on the hatching trays to replenish stocks - but many will not return from the ocean.

Glasgow Clipper Reaches Indonesia
The round-the-world racing clipper with the cumbersome name of "Glasgow: Scotland with Style" is part of an international Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race. When the yacht left Fremantle in Western Australia on New Year's Day, it was lying in overall second place. But a mistake off the coast of Singapore forced the Glasgow team to double back as the headed towards Batam in Indonesia on the fifth leg of the race. So they arrived in sixth place on this section, which will mean they are likely to slip down the overall table.

WWII Submarine Found
The First World War German submarine U12 sank in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland at Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders in 1915. It had been attacking cargo ships off the British coast but was hunted down and rammed by a Royal Navy warship. The precise location of the vessel - the first to have an aeroplane carried on its deck - has always been a mystery. But after five years of work by two amateur Scottish divers it has been found - 25 miles off the coast. The site has been reported to the German authorities as 19 sailors died in the attack (ten survivors escaped). It has been declared an official war grave and it will remain untouched.

This Week in Scottish History
January 20 1937 - Benny Lynch crowned world flyweight champion.
January 21 1290 - Sweetheart Abbey, near Dumfries, founded by Devorguilla, mother of John Balliol.
January 22 1788 - Poet George Gordon Byron (later Lord Byron) born. He moved to Aberdeen at the age of four and attended Aberdeen Grammar School. The title was inherited from an uncle.
January 23 1570 - James Stewart, the Regent Moray on the abdication of Mary Queen of Scots, murdered in Linlithgow, triggering civil war.
January 24 76 - Birth of Publius Aelius Hadrianus, who built Hadrian's Wall to cut off Scotland from the rest of Britain.
January 24 1890 - First train over Forth Rail Bridge.
January 25 1759 - Robert Burns born Alloway.
January 26 1861 - "One o'clock gun" fired for the first time from Edinburgh Castle.
January 26 1908 - The 1st Glasgow Scout troop was registered, the first to be formed.

Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner
This is the tenth such event being held at Floata Chinese Restaurant, Keefer St. Vancouver, British Columbia. Something special is created each year with traditional and contemporary performances featuring everything in-between and beyond! Food is described as a "quirky fusion/mix/buffet of Scottish Canadian and Chinese Canadian culture 10 course Chinese banquet dinner". Whew! The Gung Haggis Won-Ton included haggis served with plum or sweet and sour sauces in 2004 and in 2005 it was haggis lettuce wrap... More surprises are promised for 2008! See www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com.

Scottish Natural Heritage Information Service
The Scottish Natural Heritage Information Service - SNHi - has sections which help you to find out about species and habitats around Scotland, sites designated for their natural heritage value across Scotland, what's happening to Scotland's environment, facts and statistics about SNH's work, data on Scotland's countryside and all about the National Nature Reserves (NNR). THere's also information for teachers on sites suitable for outdoor learning. See Scottish Natural Heritage Information Service.

All of the above are from RampantScotland.com.

Burns Night Radio Broadcast
It's Burns night on Friday. Get into the mood by listening to Burns and Gow, featuring singer Michael Marra, on Radio Scotland from 15.30 or on demand later. Read more

Web Pages of the Week
Celtic Connections 2008
Greener Scotland

Blog of the Week
Stromness Dragon

Pledge to Reclaim Scottish History for Children
Scottish history is to be restored to its position at the heart of the school curriculum to combat young people's "ignorance" of their nation's past, the education secretary promises. Read more by Fiona MacLeod

Shining Tribute to Scottish Culture
A new exhibition reveals what happens when Scotland's top silversmiths and some of its most famous names work together. Read more by Rosalind Gibb

I'm singin' on the train, just singin' on the train...
FOUR Hearts fans who were arrested for singing football songs on board a train have been fined. They were returning to Edinburgh after watching their team reach a goalless draw with Inverness Caledonian Thistle at their opponent's home ground. Their antics caused fellow passengers to leave the carriage during the journey and a steward complained to police, Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told. Ian Taylor, 34, Steven Duffy, 31, Paul Girdwood, 25, and Ian McKenzie, 38, pleaded guilty to causing a breach of the peace on board the train between Inverness and Edinburgh on November 25, 2006. Read more

Most Treasured Place in Scotland
A disused Victorian coal mine has been named the most treasured place in Scotland, in a poll of iconic images. Lady Victoria Colliery in Newtongrange, Midlothian, won the survey, which drew more than 20,000 votes. Respondents were asked to choose from a shortlist of ten archive images of places around the country to find the nation's favourite spot. The colliery - which now houses the Scottish Mining Museum - came in ahead of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art and Skara Brae, the prehistoric village on Orkney. It also beat Rossyln Chapel, which featured in Dan Brown's best-seller The Da Vinci Code,and the Falkirk Wheel. Read more

Have a good week!

10 January 2008

Thirteen Things That Don't Suck About Surgery

If it is Thursday, 1/10/08 and you're reading this, I'm probably under the knife.

I'm a veteran of several surgeries, including (but not limited to) two hip replacements and two procedures on my right foot. I now set off airport alarms with regularity.

It's now time to get the left foot fixed up. So if I'm scarce for the next 7-10 days, that's why. :) I'm not looking forward to it, but there is always a bright side (hence the Monty Python-style foot graphic)!

1. If you have it close to Thanksgiving (Which I've done. Twice.) you get an automatic free pass on any holiday activity you find annoying/cumbersome/fattening. This includes holiday baking. Honestly, no one missed it.

2. If you're lucky, your Mom comes to take care of you for a few weeks.

3. If you're not, you're at the mercy of your hubby and kids. And dogs. On the upside, they appreciate you more when they see how much slack they have to take up around the house.

4. Cuddling dogs 24/7.

5. Help with one's bath.

6. Help getting dressed and undressed. There's something to be said for the sight of your loved one kneeling at your feet, putting on your socks.

7. No one bugging you to get off the laptop and get out of the chair. Because if you get up and move around, someone has to be there to spot you. You're better off in one place.

8. Someone else cooks.

9. Your food is brought to you on a tray.

10. No one complains that you watch TV all day, because until the need for painkillers passes, that's literally all you can do.

11. Mmmmm. Painkillers. Yes, must mention the good drugs. No, there's no danger I'll get addicted - most of them make me violently ill unless I take an anti-nausea drug with it.

12. Back massages.

13. Knowing that in 6 weeks the pins will be out and my feet will match for the first time in 3 years.

View more Thursday Thirteens!

04 January 2008

It's HERE!!!

My paranormal romance Beaudry's Ghost is now available for sale!

Click here for blurb and an excerpt!

Want to chat live with me tonight (Jan. 4) about my books? I'll be in the Raven Happy Hour chat room from 9-10 p.m. One lucky chatter will win a free download! Hope to see you there!

03 January 2008

Annual Preditors & Editors Poll!

Vote your faves!

And please vote for "Love & Lore" in the anthology category! :)