World Book Night 2013

Back in April ~ I can’t believe how time has flown ~ I participated in the World Book Night giveaway. I requested one of the children’s or YA titles, but those seem to be very popular, so I was given a romance novel, Montana Sky, by Nora Roberts to distribute. Of course, I read it first and now I’m a new Nora Roberts fan! I am definitely not stuck in one genre for the books I read. Here I am picking up my books at Kids Ink Bookstore in Indianapolis:

 

 

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And delivering them to Coburn Place Safe Haven, a medium-term residence for battered women and their families.

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I imagine that the women who live at Coburn Place and the women of the staff of the residence would enjoy a good romance novel now and then!

Here’s what’s on my Kindle, iPad, Audible and bedside table at the moment. I just finished The Light Between Oceans by ML Steadman (heartbreaking, but beautiful) and am reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson which I’m only a few chapters into, but so far I love it. In YA I’m listening to The Diviner’s by Libba Bray(just started it, but it’s good so far) and just finished Seraphina by Rachel Hartman – I stayed up until 2am reading and then had to read the end so I could go to bed. I guess you could say I loved it. I’ve also read several Nora Roberts paranormal romances too! So many books…sigh. What are you reading?

Running Against The Wind

Saturday was a pretty nice day and I decided to go out for a run through my neighborhood. Well, actually, it’s more like a run for a few minutes and then walk for a few minutes. Little did I know that the Sam Costa mini-marathon was being held that same morning. As I turned the corner onto the path that goes past a pond and over a bridge, I encountered a stream of runners – going the opposite direction! So there I was, not even close to being a half marathoner, running by myself past dozens of serious runners. I even saw two of my neighbors who encouraged me to join up. I smiled and waved them on. At the end of my run/walk I was running in the same direction as the half-marathoners. As I passed the last check point, a group of teenagers was positioned to cheer the runners on, so I got them to cheer me on the last leg of my run. I won! 🙂

Mentoring with Brianna

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Here I am with the awesome, smart, funny and cute young lady that I mentor at Westminster Neighborhood Ministries after school program ~ Brianna Hazel! We have fun playing cards, Sorry and just talking. She never needs any of my help with homework. 🙂 Lucky me! I try to go once a week to see her (I’m not always successful with my schedule). WNM is builing a new facility soon, as well. I definately get more out of it than Brianna does.

The Red Mountains of Sedona

The first week of February found me and my husband in Arizona. I had some business in Phoenix and then we headed up to Sedona. I had been there as a child ( 37 years ago!) but my husband has never been. We were completely awed by the beautiful red rock formations and countryside. We hiked everyday and the weather was in the 60’s during the day and cold at night. Chris asked “I wonder what it’s like here in the winter?” “It is winter!” I replied. It was that nice. Sedona is also renouned for having spiritual energy vortexes on many of the rock formations. We could definately feel it.

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This is Coffee Pot Rock. Right behind our hotel.

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We walked around Bell Rock and Court House Rock which took about 2 1/2 hours.

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Guess what this is? You can probably figure it out, but I wasn’t sure at first. A stool, perhaps? They are ‘cairns’ to mark the hiking paths.

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This is Cathedral Rock. Both Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock are energy Vortex sites.

Then we traveled to the Grand Canyon by way of Flagstaff. We loved the fun and funky vibe of Flagstaff. It is at the foothills of the San Francisco mountains. Great skiing!

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The Grand Canyon really needs no explanation. My dinky little camera can’t do it justice, but it is awesome! We hiked along the rim. No hiking down into the canyon for us, although we did talk about doing a rafting trip down the Colorado River someday.

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We stayed in the El Tovar lodge which is the original hotel on the south rim. Its close to 100 years old. Very western and ‘lodge-like!’ After a day of hiking we sat by the fireplace in the lobby. A great vacation!

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Cover of THE FIELD

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I’m so excited about the cover for my YA novel, THE FIELD coming out this Fall! It’s exactly how I envisioned it thanks to my son, Alex Katsaropoulos, who designed it. I hope that it’s intriguing and makes you want to read the book.

Here’s a quote from Laurie Gray, author of MAYBE I WILL (Luminis Books 3/15/2013) and SUMMER SANCTUARY (Luminis Books 5/2010) ~ “The idea behind THE FIELD is a brilliant blend of soccer, science and fiction. True-to-life characters, contemporaty environmental issues, and engaging metaphysical principals skirt the edges of science fiction and magical realism in this modern coming-of-age novel.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Alex is a talented artist and musician. Check out his website for Air Tight to listen to music he’s written, performed and recorded. It’s amazing! And I’m not just saying that because he’s my son. I’ve listened to it thousands of times (and I do mean thousands of times) as he created it in my basement, and if it wasn’t fantastic, I think I would have gone crazy. You can download it from iTunes, too. He’s working on a promotional deal with an agent as I write this post.

Alex’s art has been exhibited in the Evan Lurie Gallery in Carmel and at SoHo Cafe & Gallery. He’s studying music business at Columbia College Chicago which is such an incredible place for creative minds. I want to enroll!! The really sad thing, though, is how many people tell us that our children should study something in college that they can use to get a ‘real job.’ What does that even mean? A job in a cubicle? Or something that person understands? I imagine that they would tell me that I could never write a book or start my own publishing company.  I’m glad we don’t listen to them. 🙂

Painting Class

Artistic talent runs in my family. My mother was a talented painter and wordsmith, my dad is excelling at watercolors and my children draw and paint and do graphic design and attend college at Columbia College Chicago for music and photography. While I’ve always had a certain affinity for textiles, part of me has always wanted to paint. Specifically, I want to paint luscious landscapes with oils. I figured that I first had to learn the basics, so I signed up for a painting class at Magdalena Gallery of Arts in the Carmel Arts and Design District. What an lovely place! I am having so much fun. Two of the other artists are my age and are very talented, but they swear that they started off just like me. The other student is a young lady who is benefitting from hearing all the ‘women’s talk.’ Got me to thinking about the book The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and how as women we should consider it our sacred role to share with the younger generation what it means to be a woman. But I digress!!

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I was secretly very pleased when Magdalena told me that I was very good at drawing!! I couldn’t do an exact drawing, so I aimed for the ‘feel’ of the flowers. In the second week I started painting the flowers, and although they arn’t terrible, they don’t look the way I imagine it in my head. Of course, I’m not finished with the painting, yet.

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What is really the best part of painting is not the finished product, but the ‘flow.’ My personal initiative for 2013 is to be in The Flow whenever possible, whatever I’m doing. I want to be so engrossed, and thus fulfilled, by what I’m doing that I lose myself in the activity and get in The Flow. Of course, what I really want is for my rose to look like this.

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Maybe someday I will be able to paint the cover image for one of my books! I just have to keep reminding myself to enjoy the process, because we are never finished.

Thai Green Curry

I love watching Food Network, or as my husband calls it, Food Porn. I think cooking is a creative activity and I like getting ideas for new dishes, how to use spices and seeing the fabulous kitchens and gadgets they use. My favorites are Ina Garten also know as The Barefoot Contessa, Ree Drummond (the Pioneer Woman), and Giada Di Laurentiis (my husband likes her, too, which may be due entirely to her clevage. This also contributes to the ‘food porn’ remark, I think!)

The problem with cooking at my house is that we are a thoroughly modern family in our eating habits. When the kids are home we have two vegetarians, a meat and potatoes lover and a no-carb eater. So when I make a meal, I have to be able to serve it multiple ways to avoid making three different things. I’m actually considering a cookbook on the matter – someday in my spare time, ha!

The other night I made Thai Green Curry. I soooo love Thai green curry that I could probably just drink the curry sauce on its own. I’m sure it is because of the full-fat coconut milk – which is actually on the no-carb diet!

These are the ingredients.

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I know this picture is out of focus, but I don’t have a very good camera. At least that’s my excuse. When I actually do work on the cookbook, I’ll have my daughter, the professional photographer, take the pictures.

This is the finished dish for the vegetarians. Lots of brown rice, but no pork!

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This is the no-carb version for me! No brown rice, but roasted califlower instead, and lots of pork. Yum!

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I don’t have a picture of the meat and carb version for my son as he was working late at The Butcher Shop!!!

Here are tentative titles for my cookbook – “Feeding the Modern Family – Carnivore, Omnivore, Vegetarian and sometimes Vegan”, or “Cooking for the Modern Family….” What do you think? Would you buy it?

Winking at the Moon

Last fall I went to a public star gaze with the Indiana Astronomical Society to do research on my novel, THE FIELD. Eric, my protagonist, goes to a public star gaze and I wanted to get a feel for what it would be like. It was a wonderful night! The amature astronomers were so generous in sharing their telescopes and pointing out celestial objects. Neil Armstong had recently passed away and his family requested that people ‘Wink at the Moon’ to honor him the next time they saw the moon. Here are my friend Susan and I winking at the moon with members of the Indiana Astronomical Society. Godspeed Neil!

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A Walk in the Woods

Last weekend my husband and I went on a hike through Eagle Creek park on the Eagle Creek reservior. It had warmed up considerably and melted all the snow we’d gotten over the holidays, so it was very muddy and wet. There was actually standing water on some of the trails and it was drizzily outside. Not many other hikers were out, but there were a few runners and we saw several deer.
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This stream was quietly serene and beautiful.

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The raindrops gathered prettily on the branches.

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This little waterfall made lovely music.

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And these gentle deer watched us curiously while they foraged for food.

 

Dog in the Compost Pile

Here’s a story from last summer.

Guess what I found in the compost pile? Ernie The Dog! I was in the kitchen getting dinner ready and I heard a quiet ‘woof’. I didn’t see Ernie anywhere, but then I heard the ‘woof’ again. I checked outside and this is what I found.

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Ernie loves corn-on-the-cob. We had eaten Indiana sweet corn for dinner that night and put the cobs in the compost pile. Hungering after this delectible treat, Ernie jumped into the compost pile, but then he couldn’t get out! Silly dog. 🙂