Author of OUTBACK LOVE a contemporary romance novel set in Australia, JETTING AWAY a short story prequel to OUTBACK LOVE, MOON OVER MADNESS a paranormal romantic comedy and BAYOU BLUES AND OTHER SORROWS a collection of short stories and poems about life and love. All are available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Diesel and Kobo. On Twitter @TeriHeyer

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Dog Days of Summer

My dog, Dude, on a hot summer day.
We have reached the middle of summer and it is hot, hot, HOT. On the weekend, the temp hit 101, which is unusually hot for the Florida Gulf Coast. Yesterday topped out at 97 degrees and then took a dive to 76 after hours of much needed rain. Ahhh! A temporary reprieve from scorching hot temps.

I grew up referring to this time of year as "the dog days of summer." Is that term still used? Or am I horribly out of date? Well, ask my dogs, Dude and Shani, and they'll tell you this truly is the dog days of summer.

As I write it's clouding up for another afternoon thunderstorm, hopefully with more of that much needed rain. Funny thing, thunderstorms here don't always bring rain. Sometimes it's hours of lightning and thunder and nary a drop of rain. Go figure. Weather never fails to amaze me.

For those of you who have been following my blog, I'm notorious for lists of great books to read. So this post is no exception. My dogs, Dude in particular, says "Ahh-rooooooo!" Dude is part Golden Retriever and part hound (???), so he "talks" like a southern hound dog. Picture Scooby Doo in a real live dog. That's Dude.
Shani enjoying the dog days of summer.

Shani, on the other hand, is an "old" lady at ten and a half. She's a Collie/Chow mix with a  heart of gold.  She half-heartedly raised Dude from the moment I brought home a wiggly, noisy, nineteen pound, three month old pup a year and a half ago. Shani did a great job of teaching Dude proper dog manners. So Dude is a well-behaved, but goofy one hundred pound dog. Oh, Shani doesn't like me to give out her weight, but she's a solid eighty-five pounds.

Okay, now back to my book list thingy that I often include in my posts. This being "dog days" and all, well, I figured I'd better list some books about dogs. Or at least some books that have great dog characters as part of the cast. Which means I'm going  to shamelessly promo my books for just a moment.

Outback Love has a lovable "ugly" dog named Elliot who enters into the novel when Priscilla and Ian reach the Outback. I'm not going to give away Elliot's part of the story, but he certainly tries to steal the show.

Moon Over Madness has a hundred pound pup named Jake who is a central character in my paranormal romantic comedy. Jake has the uncanny ability of being able to "talk" to children. Nope, he doesn't talk to adults. Imagine that!

"Old Dogs Need Love Too" is one of my short stories in Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows. It's the story of two "old" souls, a widow and an old throw-away dog, who find each other.

Now that I've plugged my books, it's time to list some other great dog reads.

My love of dog stories began before I could read. My favorite bedtime stories were those by Albert Payson Terhune. I had a collection of his dog stories and that's what I insisted my mom read to me, over and over again. He's probably best known for Lad: A Dog. I think the book I had as a child was Best Loved Dog Stores of Albert Payson Terhune, which is virtually impossible to find these days, but some libraries might still have a copy. I did notice that Amazon has three copies at an incredibly high price.

My favorite child/YA dog stories (or books with great dog characters) were:

Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
Savage Sam by Fred Gipson
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
Lassie Come Home by Eric Knight
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

As an adult, I've come across several authors (some of my favs) who include great dog characters in their books. Of course, my favorite of those is Bob, the dog in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum Series. Who wouldn't fall for lovable ol' Bob? Jennifer Crusie has some cool dogs in some of her books. Emily Carmichael also has some great books with dogs as the central characters: Finding Mr. Right, Diamond in the Rough and Gone to the Dogs (I've read and loved these).

I have three dog books on my Kindle which I'm hoping to read soon:

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Must Love Dogs by Claire Cook
An Angel With Fur by Russell Blake

In looking for dog books this morning I came across a treasure trove of dog mysteries. So here are some of the ones I found. I haven't read any of these, but most certainly plan to do so.

The Kingdom of Dog (Golden Retriever Mysteries) by Neil S. Plakcy
Smokey Mountain Tracks (Rainy Stockton Dog Mysteries) by Donna Ball
Gone to the Dogs (Dog Lover's Mystery Series) by Susan Conant
A Shot in the Bark (A Dog Park Mystery) by Carol Ann Newsome
Never Con a Corgi (Leigh Koslow Mystery Series) by Edie Claire
Play Dead (An Allie Babcock Mystery) by Leslie O'Kane
Hounding the Pavement (A Dog Walker Mystery) by Judi McCoy
Bark M for Murder by J. A. Jance, (a collection of dog mysteries)
Magic (Dog Mysteries) by Edmund Humm
Ten Little Bloodhounds by Virginia Lanier
Pekinese Premonition by Jacqueline Vick

In my search I also came across the following dog books that look interesting:

A Dog Story (A Short Tale of Kedge) by Nancy L. Silk
Jack by Ray Braswell
One Good Dog by Susan Wilson
Rottweiller Rescue by Ellen O'Connell
The Woof in the Wedding Plans by Regina Duke
Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service by Beth Kendrick
Dog Nanny by Ann Whitaker
It's a Dog's Life by Dale Mayer
The Story of Rose: A Man and His Dog by Jon Katz

This is by no means a complete list of the great dog books out there. So here's my request to all you dog lovers. Please add your favorite dog books in the comments below. Also, don't hesitate to add dog books that you've written.

Dude says, "Ahh-rooo-rooo-rooooooo!" Shani says, "RAH!"  And I say, "Thank you!"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What Are We Reading This Summer?

My Summer Reads

What are you reading this summer? For readers, this is a very important question. Summer is supposed to be a time when we relax. Vacation time. Beach time. If nothing else, summer is a state of mind. However you chose to look at it, summer is different from the rest of the year. The weather is hotter, often scorching hot. In tropical climbs like Florida, summer brings tropical storms and dreaded hurricanes.

For those of us who live in Florida, summer is six months long (winter is two weeks at most). So what dates do I use for a Florida summer? I'll stick with the summer tourist season, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. So before I go off on another tangent, let's get down to the real reason for this post, What are we reading this summer?

Now first off I can hear my mother asking, "We? Do you have a mouse in your pocket?" She used to drive me nuts with that question as a kid.  Funny, all these many years later, she hasn't asked me that question lately. Okay, I told you, I have a tendency to go off in different directions.

What are we reading this summer? I really want to know. I, for one, have read some great books, many of them Indies and I've reread some old favorites. So I'm going to share them with you, just in case you care to know. On the other hand, I really want to know what you're reading too. Have you found some exciting/thrilling/enchanting/memorable reads?

As a writer/reader I don't have as much time to read as I'd like. Things like plugging away on my work(s) in progress, marketing my books that are already published, editing (yeah, I hate that part), blogging (I love that) and Tweeting (just plain fun). Reading fits in there somewhere. "So many books, so little time."

So now we're down to the "I'll show you mine and you show me yours." Sheesh! We're talking books silly. I'll tell you what I've been reading this summer and what I hope to read before the season is over and you'll (hopefully) do the same via the comments below. This is also a time where you can shamelessly mention your own books too (as suggested summer reads) and even include your blog addy and Twitter ID. Readers need to know what great books are out there.

Here's a list of all my reads since Memorial Day weekend. I heartily recommend every single one of them. This is the order in which I read them.

Golden Boy by R. G. Lawrence
Judgement Tramp by J. D. Currie
Eye of the Storm by Denise Moncrief (short story)
Hurricane  (A Novel of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane) by Janice Thompson
Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose & A. K. Turner
Hurricane, A Short Story by R. Narvaez
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Stay Close, Novac! by Jan Romes
Sullivan's War: Prologue - Sergeant Riley's Account by Michael K. Rose
Sullivan's War: Book 1 - All Good Men Serve the Devil by Michael K. Rose
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

I'm currently reading (almost finished) the following:

Short Stories by Michael K. Rose
Wool (Omnibus Ed.) by Hugh Howey (soon to be an awesome movie)

Whew! Now that I've listed them all, that's more books than I'd realized. I'm a night owl and have a difficult time falling asleep, so I do most of my reading at night. Though sometimes I take a break for much of a day and just read. That's how I relax and how I rejuvenate my brain.

Now here's my wish list of the books I hope/plan to read by summer's end (not necessarily in the following order):

Tales from the Spanish Mustang by Benjamin X. Wretlind
Summer with Fidel by R. G. Lawrence
Sullivan's War: The Complete Adventure by Michael K. Rose
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (read previously in my college years)
Mark of the Loon by Molly Greene
Treasure Me by Christine Nolfi
Bluewater Vengeance by C. L. R. Dougherty
Land of the Noonday Sun by Carmen DeSousa
Haunting Refrain by Ellis Vidler
Kiss Me by Jan Romes
The River Between (The River Series, Bk 1) by Jacquelyn Cook (I have the whole series)
Bradbury Stories by Ray Bradbury (may take me all year to read the 100 short stories)

Note - This is just my short-list for summer reading and is bound to change with the addition of other books I discover along the way. Reading, after all, is a wonderful journey of exploration and enjoyment. I'm always asking myself, "What should I read next?" That's the joy of it, not knowing which path you'll take next.

I'm now the proud owner of two Kindles: my old Kindle Keyboard (still running after 2+ years) and my new Kindle Fire (a birthday present last week from my husband). I have more eBooks than I can count on my Kindles and archived in the cloud. With the exception of the Ray Bradbury books, all I'm reading these days are Indie books on my Kindles. Once again I attest that "Indies Rock!"

Please take a few moments of your time to comment below. What enjoyable/notable books have you read so far this summer? What do you hope to read before summer is out? Do you have a book(s) of your own you'd like to recommend for a summer read? We readers want to know these things, so please jump in with the books you think we'd love to read this summer. Thanks so much! I'm looking forward to your summer reads.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blue Angels Air Show at Pensacola Beach

 Blue Angels Air Show over Pensacola Beach on July 12th.
Today was the practice run for the Blue Angels Air Show at Pensacola Beach.   As always, it was an incredible show. Simply breathtaking!

Yesterday at 8:00 am was the first practice run for some of the maneuvers over the beach. Today it was a full practice run for the Blues at 2:00 pm. Tomorrow, Friday the 13th, is a full dress-rehearsal at 2:00 pm.

The big Air Show is Saturday, starting with the pre-show at noon followed by the Blues, with the show ending around 2:00 pm. If you have any plans to attend the air show on Saturday, be sure to get there early in the morning. Otherwise you could be stuck on one of the bridges for hours in bumper to bumper traffic.

My husband and I never go to the Saturday show.  Too many people, too much traffic. Today, on the other hand, was just perfect. The parking lots were full. We had to park in the sand, which is okay when you have 4WD. Some people made the mistake of parking their cars in the sand and the vehicles were buried up to the axles. Pensacola Beach is huge, so in spite of the crowds there was plenty of room to spread out.
Fat Albert heading for the clouds.
Well, it couldn't have been a prettier day for a beach air show. Cerulean blue skies dotted with white puffy clouds. Off to the north dark clouds were building for a storm, but over the beach it was perfect.

The show opened with Fat Albert, a C-130 Hercules, flying just over the top of the pier. Awesome! After a couple passes, Fat Albert climbed almost straight up toward the clouds.

The Blue Angels, F/A-18 Hornets, came screaming in minutes later. They did more complicated aerobatic maneuvers than I've ever seen before. A full hour of jets going every direction, including straight up and straight down and then pulling out at the last second.

Blue Angels performing the cobra.
Unfortunately, my digital camera isn't the best when it comes to taking pics of the Blue Angels. The shutter speed isn't quite fast enough, but I still managed to get a few good pics. When two Angels did the cobra, they were going slow enough that my pic turned out great.

My husband took much better pictures with his digital movie camera. He plans to put some of the clips on YouTube. In the meantime, my pics will have to do.

The Blue Angels were awesome!

If you're within driving distance of Pensacola Beach, then you ought to head on down to see the air show on Friday or Saturday.  The traffic shouldn't be too bad for Friday's show, but be sure get there early in the morning for the Saturday show.

I've seen the Blue Angels fly over Pensacola Beach more times than I can remember. But I still head to the beach to see them perform every chance I get. I have to say, today's show was awesome.
A beautiful day for an air show.
The Gulf couldn't be more beautiful today. Gentle surf at the perfect temp. Lots of people, but plenty of room to spread out.

No swimming was allowed while the show was going on, but the minute it ended nearly everyone headed for the water.

Note: Yes, I did swim today. No, I don't wear a bikini, heaven forbid at my age (old, but not too old).  No, my husband and I are not in any of these pictures.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award!

The Versatile Blogger Award!

I received The Versatile Blogger Award (VBA) from the very awesome reader/blogger, Marilou George.

Here is the link to Marilou's blog, Confessions of a Reader:

According to my esteemed sponsor, Marilou George, here is what VBA is all about: Versatile Blogger Award (VBA)What is it?

Marilou says: "As far as I can tell — details are rather sketchy and only the creator knows for sure — this lofty-sounding award is basically a mutual admiration society where bloggers recognize their peers for writing quality blogs that touched them in some way. The VBAs honor the blogger rather than specific posts. It’s a chance for bloggers to pat themselves on the back like the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does with the Oscars. Until someone starts giving out Blogscars, the VBAs will have to suffice."

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded The Versatile Blogger Award. I nominated 6 outstanding bloggers below. Congratulations!

Thank you, Marilou! This award is so cool. I'm thrilled to receive this award from a fellow blogger, particularly one I think is awesome. 

Please include a link to their blog. That way all of us "cool" bloggers get linked together. At least that's the general idea.

Link to Marilou's blog, Confessions of a Reader:

Next, select (up to) 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. (Pick out the awesome blogs that you love!)

The envelope, please…

Nominate those (up to) 15 bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award — (send out a Tweet and let them know they've been nominated for this awesome/cool award. Don't forget to include a link to your blog post about the award.)

And the nominees/winners are (in no particular order):

1) Benjamin X. Wretlind, Drippings from the Mind of Me

2) Michael K. Rose, Myriad Spheres

3) Arabella Stokes, Hot Time in the Haute Ton

4) J. L. Campbell, Award Winning Jamaican Author

5) Daniel Chamberlain, danielchamberlaindotcom

6) David Cranmer, The Education of a Pulp Writer

Congratulations, winners!

NOTE: Winners, I know you all are super busy and there's always a shortage of time. So if you don't have time to do a post and nominate some other winners, I'll certainly understand. I just want you all to know that I really enjoy your blogs and think you deserve The Versatile Blogger Award.

Now for the last part of receiving the award, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself. So here goes:

1) I have three adorable young grandkids.

2) I'm addicted to books - can't get enough of them.

3) I'm a leftie.

4) I'm an artist and paint in oils and acrylics (when I have the time).

5) I love dogs and would have a dozen if my husband didn't set a limit. 

6) I love football and watch the games during football season.

7) I live in Florida too. 

This is really cool. So thanks again to Marilou George for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger Award.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July from Pensacola Beach!

Happy 4th of July from Pensacola Beach!
The 4th of July along the Gulf Coast is all about the beach, in my case, Pensacola Beach. Since this is a tourist destination the beach is packed. So here are a few pics of a very crowded beach.

Those not on the beach are most likely having a family gathering somewhere. Perhaps at a park, a campground, or just at home. This is a big day for barbecues, which is what we have planned. My husband is the chef at our house. The menu: Texas style barbecued ribs, to-die-for potato salad, corn on the cob and ranch style beans. Yum!

For many this is a day of family gatherings and nighttime fireworks. For others it's a quiet day at home, at least it's quiet until the neighborhood fireworks get started.

Looking west on Pensacola Beach.
My dogs, Shani and Dude, aren't all that crazy about fireworks, but they don't freak out. Shani will go off to the most soundproof part of the house, a bathroom. Dude will stomp around, huff and puff, and "Ahh-rooooo!" his complaints now and then.

When I was a kid growing up in a small southern California town, the 4th of July was a big deal. The whole town turned out for a parade followed by a family oriented gathering at the park. It was a day of baseball games, cotton candy and a carnival atmosphere. At night we'd spread out big blankets, stretch out and watch the fireworks directly overhead. "Oooos and ahhhhs" would be voiced by all.

Looking east on Pensacola Beach.
One year, when I was nine, I got to ride on a float.  I was a 4th runner-up for writing an essay "What the American Flag Means to Me." That essay won me a spot on the float. Alas, the essay is nowhere to be found, but the memories are still there.

As I sat there on the float, looking out at the crowds, I dreamed of someday becoming a real writer. Some dreams are slow to fruition, but heck, I'm getting there. I'm an author and people are reading my books. I guess it doesn't get much better than that.

The holiday beach crowds.

As for me, I'm not all that keen on crowds these days. So I'll be watching my fireworks on the TV.

Best wishes to all of you for a great, fun, happy 4th of July!

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Ferris Wheel on Pensacola Beach?

New ferris wheel, Pensacola Beach, July 2nd
A lot of controversy has surrounded the latest addition to Pensacola Beach. An 18 story (200 ft.) tall "360 Pensacola Beach" ferris wheel pretty much sprang up over night.

We started hearing about this monstrosity a few months back, after all the proper authorities had already approved it being built on our beach. That's when the drawings appeared in our local newspapers and on our local news.

A week ago, when Tropical Storm Debby was bearing down on the Gulf Coast, I went to Pensacola Beach to take some pictures.  I didn't see any sign of the ferris wheel at that time. Apparently, after the storm left the area, the assembly began.

It's been said that "It looks like something built out of a giant Erector Set." It's already drawing a great deal of attention. I'm sure the lines will be long. Tourists, and most likely some locals too, are already clamoring to be the first to ride.

Personally, I think beaches should be left in their natural state, but that's just me. However, no one asked me. U.S. beaches, as are probably most of the beautiful beaches world wide, are primarily for tourists. Apparantly tourists want a Coney Island feel? So that's the new goal for Pensacola Beach. In the works, are plans for a water park, which will probably come on line by next year's tourist season.

Don't get me wrong about Coney Island. I've been there and it has a fun, carnival air. It's a cool place to visit, but I don't want that on our beach. For me, Pensacola Beach is all about the sugar-white sand and turquoise waters of the Gulf. I don't think of it as a place to ride a giant ferris wheel.
View of the new ferris wheel from the Sound.

I have to confess I wanted to see this thing up close and personal. So I went to the beach this morning with the sole purpose of snapping some pictures of our new tourist attraction. The kid in me thinks it's really cool. The adult in me looks at it with a sense of impending doom. "Oh, no, not on my beach."

It was a hazy summer morning, so the photos show skies more gray than blue. By the time I was ready to leave the beach the sun was starting to burn through the haze.

It was one of those hot, hot, HOT beach days. So hot the sand burns the feet. Even the water felt warm. I didn't go swimming, just walked along the edge of the surf.

View from the beach.
This was a family day at the beach, so no "hunks" on the beach as far as I could see. Well, I'll photograph more hunks another day.

A few tidbits of information about ferris wheels. The first ferris wheel, built for the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, was 264 ft. tall. The "London Eye" in London is 443 ft. (135 meters) tall. The "Singapore Flyer" in Singapore, built in 2008, is currently the tallest ferris wheel in the world at 541 ft. (165 meters).  In the U.S., the ferris wheel at the Texas State Fair in Dallas is 212 ft. tall. In Myrtle Beach, S.C., the "Sky Wheel" is 200 ft. tall, the same as ours on Pensacola Beach.

If you're a ferris wheel afficianado, then I guess you'd better hurry on down to Pensacola Beach to ride on our new ferris wheel. If I was still a kid, I know I'd be excited too.