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

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Happy Easter to Y'all

Beautiful Easter Lilies.

Here in the South "y'all" is a common form of speech. So I hope you don't mind my southern greeting of "A Happy Easter to Y'all."

I know that Easter means different things for different people. There's Passover, Easter Sunday at church, pretty Easter dresses and bonnets, Easter baskets, coloring Easter Eggs, hunting for eggs left by the Easter Bunny, Easter candy (chocolate eggs and chocolate bunnies, yum!), Easter Lilies, memories of loved ones from Easters past, Spring Break, family, kids and grandkids.

Last year's Easter Lilies.

For many it's also memories of the Easter Rebellion in 1916 Ireland: 1916 Easter Rebellion - on Wikipedia

A little Easter history: The Easter Bunny - on Wikipedia

My favorite Easter character: Peter Rabbit - on Wikipedia

Easter is a time that's both happy and sad. I hope for y'all that this Easter is a happy one.

This spring the Easter Lilies in my yard have yet to bloom. They're running behind schedule. Go figure. But last year my Easter Lilies bloomed just in time for a beautiful Easter morning. The photo above was taken of hot-house Easter Lilies. So beautiful and with a heavy sweet fragrance.

When possible, I try to gather a list of fiction that has something to do with the post I'm writing. So I was surprised to find an assortment of reads, some happy and some sad, but all of them have something to do with Easter in one way or another. I haven't read any of these books, but they all managed to catch my eye, so I thought I'd list them for y'all.

Fiction that has something to do with Easter (in no particular order & all available as eBooks):

No Bunny But You (Holiday Series) by Carol Rose
Easter Bunny Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery) by Leslie Meier
Death of a Dumb Bunny (A Chloe Boston Mystery) by Melanie Jackson
Easter Lili by Margaret Knight
Spring Comes to Barncastle Inn by Lynette Sowell
Easter's Lily by Judy Serrano
A Baby for Easter (Love Inspired) by Lois Richer
Easter Promises (Love Inspired) by Lois Richer
Easter Blessings (Love Inspired) by Gayle Gaymer Martin & Lenora Worth
1916: A Novel of the Irish Rebellion by Morgan Llywelyn*
The Young Rebels by Morgan Llywelyn*
Easter at Tobruk by Michael O'Sullivan
The Rising Moon by William Martin
Martyrs and Traitors (A Tale of 1916) by Marina Julia Neary
An Excess of Love (Easter Rebellion) by Cathy Cash Spellman
Easter Island by Jennifer Vanderbes
Like a Lily by Victoria Pitts-Caine

*By one of my favorite historical fiction authors and on my TBR list.

On Easter Sunday I'll be taking photos of my grandkids hunting for Easter Eggs in their backyard. It'll be a family day - a time to visit and to munch on yummy food and Chocolate Easter Eggs.

A Happy Easter to Y'all.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Shades of White

White Azaleas are blooming all over my neighborhood.

Lately I have been reading a lot of historical fiction, particularly during the time of the Wars of the Roses. From 1455 to 1485 the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster were fighting to put their king on the throne of England.

Eventually, after much bloodshed, the two factions united under the Tudor King Henry VII and his White Queen, Elizabeth of York. The symbol of their rule, the Tudor Rose, was Red and White.

If you want a quick overview of that tumultuous era, check out Wars of the Roses - on Wikipedia

Reading about the Wars of the Roses gave me a new sense of color, with Red and White representing two sides of wars that seemed to go on forever. This inspired me to write today's post on Shades of White.

Flowers in assorted shades of white.

Colors have varying shades, even the color white. Here on the Florida Panhandle the flowers are in bloom. Each day brings a new display of color, but lately it's the white blooms that stand out: White Azaleas, Dogwood and other white flowers I couldn't even begin to name. So many lovely blooms in every shade of white.

In my search for historical fiction set during the Wars of the Roses, I discovered the awesome author, Philippa Gregory. Now many of you have probably been reading her wonderful books for years, but she's new to me. Believe me, I now fully intend to read every one of her books.

It just so happens that the first Philippa Gregory book I read was The White Queen. I followed that up with The Kingmaker's Daughter.  Both were awesome reads. Now I'm looking forward to reading The White Princess when it's released this July. These books are all part of Philippa Gregory's series, The Cousins' War, which is set during the Wars of the Roses.

Delicate pinkish-white flowers.

If you check out my Goodreads page you'll see the other wonderful historical fiction novels I've been reading lately. This includes historical fiction by Sharon Kay Penman, Bernard Cornwell, Morgan Llywelyn and Elizabeth Chadwick, to name just a few.

I love compiling lists of books to read, so here is my latest one of books in Shades of White (fiction and non-fiction that has something to do with the color white).

Reads in Shades of White (historical fiction, contemporary romances, paranormals and more). All of these are available in eBook format. In no particular order:

Lady in White by Denise Domning*
A White So Red by K. D. Jones
White Lion's Lady by Lara Adrian
The White Dragons by Charley Ray
White Heat by Jill Shalvis*
The White Lord of Wellesbourne by Kathryn Le Veque
White Horses by Alice Hoffman**
Snow White (Enchanted Fairytales) by Cindy C. Bennett
The White Swan (Enchanted Fairytales) by Cindy C. Bennett
White Apache's Woman (Santa Fe Trilogy) by Shirl Henke
White Eagle's Touch (Blackfoot Warriors) by Karen Kay
She Only Wore White by Dorthe Binkert
White Hot by Carla Neggars
White Owl by Veronica Blake
Black and White (Life and Love in the City) by Olivia Hugo
The White Garden (A Novel of Virginia Woolf) by Stephanie Barron
White as Snow by Maleah Layne
Spirits White as Lightning (Urban Elves) by Mercedes Lackey
The White Gryphon (Mage Wars) by Mercedes Lackey
White Oleander by Janet Fitch
Silver-White (The Great North Woods Pack #1) by Shawn Underhill
White as Snow (Truly Yours) by Janice Thompson
White Pearls (Truly Yours) by Shannon Taylor Vannatter
White Heart by Sherry Jones
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
White Lies (Arcane Society) by Jayne Ann Krentz
A Corner of White (The Colors of Madeleine #1) by Jaclyn Moriarty
White Lace and Promises (Carte Blanche) by Natasha Blackthorne
The White Flower (Love Endures) by Grace Livingston Hill
White Satin by Iris Johansen
White Hot (Men in Uniform) by Nina Bruhns
The White Dragon (Dragonriders of Pern) by Anne McCaffrey
The Whites of their Eyes (Bunker Hill) by Paul Lockhart
White Witch by Trish Milburn
The White by Deborah Larsen**
In the Land of the White Cloud by Sarah Lark
White as Snow (Mysterious Ways #1) by Donna Westover Gallup*
The White Horse King (Alfred the Great) by Benjamin Merkle
White Thunder (Ella Clah) by Aimee & David Thurlo
The White Cuckoo by Annie Ireson
White Hot by Sandra Brown
White Seed by Paul Clayton*
One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
The White Album (Essays) by Joan Didion
White Heat by Brenda Novak
Little White Lies by Erin Lawless
Somewhere Between Black and White by Shelly Hickman
The White Rose Murders (Tudor Mystery #1) by Paul Doherty
A White Rose by Bekah Ferguson
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins*

White Azaleas in my yard.
*TBR on my Kindle
**Read and Recommend

I had no idea there were so many reads in Shades of White.  If I missed some of your favorites, please feel free to list them in the comments below.

When you have the time, I hope you'll check out my other color posts: Seeing Red, Passionate About Purple, Think Pink, Lovely Lavender and Yodeling for Yellow. I'll be writing more color posts from time to time.

Once again, thanks so much for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Day of Spring

My flowerpots are filled with Spring Pansies.

The First Day of Spring is very welcome. For so many, it seems that Winter has gone on much too long. Here in Florida it seems that Spring arrived weeks ago with the onslaught of Spring Breakers visiting our beaches.

For those of us who live here on the Gulf Coast of the Florida Panhandle, we're not going to complain about the weather. No snowy blizzards or ice storms for us.

The temperature most days has been ranging between the low-60s and mid-70s. Some days the sun is bright and the sky a gorgeous blue. Other days, like this morning, the sky was a cloudy gray with a chilly north wind and a temp in the low-60s. Spring? Well, it didn't look like spring this morning. On the other hand, this afternoon is bright blue skies, a sprinkling of white puffy clouds and a temp in the high-60s. It's a beautiful First Day of Spring with warmer Spring days just around the corner.

For those who love Spring and Romantic Spring Fiction (in no particular order):

Waiting for Spring (Westward Winds) by Amanda Cabot
Snow Melts in Spring (Seasons of the Tallgrass) by Deborah Vogts
Springtime of the Spirit by Maureen Lang*
A Promise for Spring by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Spring Blossom by Jill Metcalf
A Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers) by Lisa Kleypas
Spring's Fury by Denise Domning*
Come the Spring (Clayborne Brothers) by Julie Garwood
Spring Fires (Beauvisage) by Cynthia Wright
Three Weeks Last Spring by Victoria Howard*
When Comes the Spring (Canadian West) by Janette Oke
Spring's Gentle Promise (Season of the Heart) by Janette Oke
A Simple Spring (Seasons of Lancaster) by Rosaline Lauer
Spring My Love (Silver Hills Trilogy) by Ginny Aiken
Spring's Renewal (Seasons of Sugarcreek) by Shelley Shepard Gray
Lilac Spring (Wild Rose) by Ruth Axtell Morren
Betrayals of Spring (Forever Fae) by L. P. Dover
Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond
The Temporary Wife/A Promise of Spring by Mary Balogh
The Hope of Spring (Lancaster County Saga) by Wanda F. Brunstetter
It Happens Every Spring (Seasons of Marriage) by Catherine Palmer & Gary Chapman
Spring Meadow Sanctuary (The Shepherd's Heart) by Lynnette Bonner
A Timeless Romance Anthology: Spring Vacation Collection by Josi S. Kilpack, et al.
Eternal Spring Anthology by Amanda Brice, et al.*
Spring Break by Katherine Applegate
Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews
Spring Fling by Sabrina James
Spring Collection by Judith Krantz
Spring Fancy by LaVyrle Spenser

*TBR on my Kindle

I'm sure I've missed a lot of wonderful Spring Romantic Fiction, so please feel free to add others in the comments below. Thanks again for stopping by.  Happy First Day of Spring!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Arts Festival in Gulf Breeze - Part 5

"Illusions in Stained Glass" by Cathleen Farroll.

All week long I've been doing blog posts of the wonderful art and artists at last weekend's Gulf Breeze Celebrates the Arts.

At last I've reached my fifth and final arts post. Well, it's the final arts post following this particular arts festival. I happen to love art and arts festivals, so I'll be doing arts posts from time to time.

Most, if not all, of the artists in this series of posts are at Fairhope, Alabama Arts and Crafts Festival this weekend. See the link below:

Fairhope - Eastern Shore 61st Annual Arts and Crafts Festival - March 15th thru 17th

Stained Glass by Artist Cathleen Farroll.

Stained Glass Artist Cathleen Farroll was one of the artists at the festival in Gulf Breeze. I loved all her stained glass art, but my favorite pieces were the pink flamingo and the great blue heron.

Cathleen refers to her art as "Illusions in Stained Glass."

You can find her on Facebook at: Illusions in Stained Glass by Cathleen

Cathleen can also be contacted via email at:

Mosaic Artwork by Ramona Kirchgessner.

Alabama Mosaic Artist Ramona Kirchgessner was also at the festival. I loved her mosaic pots and birdhouses. She had quite as assortment of mosaic artwork.

Ramona said she also designs custom mosaic tabletops for new or old furniture.

Romona can be contacted via email at:

Wooden Surfboards and Kayak by Don Bert.

Florida Wood Artist/Craftsman Don Green was at the festival. Don designs "Green Boards" which are hollow wooden surfboards. He had two boards on display and they were absolutely beautiful. He also had a beautifully crafted wooden kayak.

Don Green can be contacted via email at:

Mermaid Windvane by Copper Artist Skip Tanner.

Gulf Breeze, Florida Copper Artist Skip Tanner had quite an assortment of his copper artwork at the festival. I particularly liked his mermaid windvane, though every piece of his artwork was beautifully crafted. Skip says he designs custom windvanes and copper works.

Be sure to check out Skip's website at: Old Salts Copper Designs

Copper Art by Skip Tanner.

If you haven't already seen my previous Arts Festival posts, please check them out. There were so many wonderful artists at the festival in Gulf Breeze.

If you live in the area of Fairhope, Alabama then the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival is the place to be this weekend.

A special thanks to the artists for agreeing to be included in this post.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Arts Festival in Gulf Breeze - Part 4

Studio Earth Art by Artist M. Gene Albritton.

I am having a fun time doing this series of arts festival blog posts. There were so many fun, wonderful, awesome artists at the Gulf Breeze Celebrates the Arts last weekend. Most of those same artists will be at the arts and crafts festival in Fairhope, Alabama starting tomorrow through the weekend.

Fairhope 61st Annual Arts and Crafts Festival - March 15th thru 17th

Artist M. Gene Albritton and some of his Studio Earth Art.

One of those is North Carolina Artist Marshall Gene Albritton and his Studio Earth Art. Gene says he does all his paintings using natural pigments which he mixes himself. His art is all in luscious earth tones and most are framed with handmade rustic frames. Gene describes his art as "Adventures with Hue."

You can see more of Marshall Gene Albritton's art on his website at: Studio Earth Art

Gene can be reach via email at:

Folk Artist Morris E. "Mojo" Johnson.

One of the fun artists at the arts festival in Gulf Breeze was Florida Folk Artist Morris E. Johnson. "Mojo" does brightly colored wood art and beach paintings. His is the kind of art that will make you smile.

"Mojo" lives in St. Petersburg, Florida where he draws his inspiration from all the beautiful birds, sea life and beach scenes on the beautiful Gulf Coast.

Folk Art by Florida Artist Morris "Mojo" Johnson.

"Mojo" doesn't have a website, but you can contact him via email at:

You'll also be able to find him at the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival in addition to other Florida arts and crafts festivals.

One-of-a-Kind Gourd Art by Florida Artist Bonnie Eastwood.

I'll end today's post with the beautiful one-of-a-kind Gourd Art by Florida Artist Bonnie Eastwood. Bonnie lives in Hudson, Florida and teaches classes in Gourd Art.

Bonnie Eastwood can be reached via email at:

I've enjoyed putting together this series of arts festival posts. So many wonderful artists. Please be sure to check out my three previous posts and the final arts festival post tomorrow.

A special thanks to the artists for agreeing to be included in this post.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Arts Festival in Gulf Breeze - Part 3

Paintings by Artist Brandy Villella.

I had a wonderful time at the Arts Festival in Gulf Breeze last Sunday. I loved the wide variety of art and it was great getting to meet the artists too. That's why I decided to do a series of arts blog posts all week long. I knew the rest of the world needed to meet these artists and their work.

This is Part 3 of my series, so please be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 too. All of these artists participated in Gulf Breeze Celebrates the Arts. You can check out the link for upcoming arts festivals in Gulf Breeze.

Most, if not all, of these artists will be at the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival this weekend. See the link below for additional information.

Fairhope, Alabama - Eastern Shore 61st Annual Arts and Crafts Festival - March 15th thru 17th

More paintings by Artist Brandy Villella.

Artist Brandy Villella paints in oil and acrylics. I instantly fell in love with Brandy's unique style, as you'll see in these two photos. I asked Brandy if she wanted to be in the photos with her paintings, but she didn't want to show off her pregnant figure. Trust me, she looked great.

You can see more of Brandy's art, and a photo of Brandy, on her website at: Brandy Villella - Canvas Catastrophe

Brandy can be reached via email at:

Artist Marion Pacsuta with one of her oils.

I have to say I loved Artist Marian Pacsuta's original oil paintings too. Her oils of dancers, chefs and beach scenes are simply awesome. I could have admired her paintings for hours. I also enjoyed meeting and talking with Marian. She's so very nice.

You can see more of Marian's art on her website at: Pacsuta

Marian can also be reached via email at:

Artist Marion Pacsuta with one of her chef paintings.

I'm pretty sure Marian said she'll be at the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival this weekend. If you want to get one of Marion's gorgeous oil paintings then I suggest you get to the the festival early.

A Mermaid by Linda Devins.

Florida Artist Linda Devins is one I've admired for a long time. You see, she creates these awesome one-of-a-kind Art Dolls. Not the kind little girls play with, but dolls for us grown-up girls to collect and display in a place of honor.

I've heard from others that if you start buying Linda Devins' Art Dolls, you'll have to keep buying more. Linda was kind enough to let me take a couple photos of her Art Dolls and include them in this post.

Linda names all of her Art Dolls, but I'm sorry to say that I forgot to write down the names of the ones in these photos.

Art Dolls designed by Florida Artist Linda Devins.

Linda's unique Art Dolls, as well as her paintings and jewelry, can be seen at the Pensacola art gallery listed below.

Quayside Gallery - Pensacola, Florida

Linda can be reached via email at:

Florida Artist Tom Grow.

Pensacola Beach Artists Tom and Frances Grow create the most wonderful, whimsical pottery cats you've ever seen. That's not their only art, but the cats are what caught my eye. They refer to their creations as "Four Elements Art: Using Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Electromagnetic Energy to Create Art." All I can say is, I love it!

You can see more of Tom and Frances Grow's "energized" art on their website at: Four Elements Art

Pottery Cats by Artists Tom and Frances Grow.

Tom and Frances specialize in Raku and Stoneware Pottery. Believe me, their pottery cats and other critters are the kind that will make you smile.

There were so many wonderful, awesome artists at Gulf Breeze Celebrates the Arts that I'm inspired to do blog posts about them all week long. So be sure to check out my two previous posts, Part 1 and Part 2, plus the rest of this week's posts.

A special thanks to the artists for agreeing to be included in this post.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Arts Festival in Gulf Breeze - Part 2

Paintings by Outsider Artist Doug Odom.

I absolutely love arts festivals, so the one in Gulf Breeze last weekend was a must-see. The art was so awesome I just had to share some of it with you.

I happen to love feel-good-art, so Alabama Artist Doug Odom's Outsider Art is just what the doctor ordered. Doug's brightly colored paintings can't help but make the grumpiest person smile.

Doug doesn't have a website or a computer, so you'll just have to haunt the local arts festivals to see his work.

Outsider Artist Doug Odom and some of his Outsider Art.
The next big arts festival is in Fairhope, Alabama this upcoming Friday, Saturday and Sunday. See the link below:

Fairhope - Eastern Shore 61st Annual Arts and Crafts Festival - March 15th thru 17th

If I remember correctly, Doug said he'd be at the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival this weekend.

In fact, most if not all of the artists in this post will be at Fairhope. It's an awesome festival that you won't want to miss.

Doug calls his art "Alabama Redo's" and says his paintings are on tar and in frames "hand did" with old, distressed wood. Doug Odom is an artist you don't want to miss.

Texas Artist Ross De La Garza and his clay creations.

Another of note is Texas Artist Ross De La Garza. Ross calls his art "Primordial Persuasions, unique expressions in clay." In other words, he creates whimsical fish, frogs and other critters out of clay. No two are exactly alike. So if you're looking for fun one-of-a-kind critter-art, then Ross's creations are just for you.

I enjoyed meeting and talking to Ross and I know you will too when you meet him. Ross is one of those people that you feel like you've known forever.

A close-up of Ross De La Garza's clay "phish."

A little tidbit about Ross. He's a geologist turned artist. That explains his wonderful primordial creations.

You can email Ross at:

Be sure to check out Ross's website at: Ross De La Garza - Primordial Persuasions

Ross is also on Facebook at: Primordial Persuasions

Glass Artist Frank Thompson and his awesome glass art.

Louisiana Glass Artist Frank Thompson had some beautiful pieces of glass art at the festival. If I had the money I would have bought several pieces of his gorgeous glass art. Instead, I stood there and admired every single one.

Check out Frank's website at: Frank Thompson Studio

Contemporary Artist Rafi Perez.

Contemporary Artist Rafi Perez moved from Chicago to the Florida Gulf Coast. Rafi's art is unique, just like his car which is covered with his art work. I enjoyed talking to Rafi and fell in love with his dragon painting, which I told him would look great on a book cover.

Check out Rafi's website at: Rafi Was Here Studios

You can email Rafi at:

Pensacola Artist Jeff Spade.

Pensacola Artist Jeff Spade does reverse paintings on glass. He had some beautiful art works of wine bottles with wine glasses, which I could picture in someone's gourmet kitchen or in some posh restaurant or bar.

Check out more of Jeff's art work on his website at:
Jeff Spade - ACEART Studio

There were so many wonderful artists at the Arts Festival in Gulf Breeze that I can't include them all in one post. So be sure to check out my previous post for Part 1 and then the rest of the posts as the week progresses.

Check out Gulf Breeze Celebrates the Arts for upcoming arts festivals in Gulf Breeze, Florida.

A special thanks to the artists for agreeing to be included in this post.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Arts Festival in Gulf Breeze - Part 1

Mixed media paintings by Indiana artist, Susan Kline.

This past weekend was the arts festival in Gulf Breeze, Florida. Now I love all kinds of art, so I always look forward to the arts and crafts festivals that coincide with Spring Break. I love seeing the variety of art: paintings, ceramics, pottery, mosaics, glass-art, jewelry and more. This festival had it all.

In honor of the wonderful artists I met and their work which I admired, I've decided to do a series of posts this week with photos of some of their art.

Mixed media painting by artist Susan Kline.

For those who love arts festivals, see the links below. Many of these artists will be at the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival this coming weekend.

Gulf Breeze Celebrates the Arts - March 9th & 10th

Fairhope - Eastern Shore 61st Annual Arts and Crafts Festival - March 15th to 17th

Be sure to check the Gulf Breeze link above for upcoming arts festivals.

I decided to start this post with the colorful mixed media paintings by the Indiana artist, Susan Kline. When I talked to Susan she graciously allowed me to take a couple photos of her paintings to post on this blog.

I told Susan that I love her bright, cheerful paintings which made me smile just to look at them. Susan said her art is mixed media collage with paper and paint. She forgot to mention all the love that obviously goes into each of her pieces of art.

Be sure to check out Susan Kline's Facebook Fan Page at: Susan Kline Designs - on Facebook

Paintings by Gulf Breeze artist, Holland-Doyle.

I absolutely loved the paintings by Gulf Breeze artist, Holland-Doyle. She says her paintings are acrylic and mixed media. I'll add that she's a lovely person to talk to and her Florida beach, pelicans and other sea life paintings are simply wonderful.

Holland-Doyle doesn't have a website, but you'll be able to see her paintings at the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival as well as other local arts festivals.

Ceramic Sculptor, Richard White, and his whimsical cars.

Ceramic Sculptor, Richard White, was a joy to talk to. He explained that his sculptured whimsical classical cars are named after people he met through the years. So each of his cars has a story behind it.

You'll definitely want to talk to Richard to get the scoop on his colorful, fun art.

Check out Richard's website at: Richard White - Ceramic Sculptor

A close-up of Richard White's prize whimsical Woody.

Richard had a fun story to tell about this red, green and yellow Woody. It's named after a cheerleader he admired from afar in high school.

For the rest of the story you might want to email Richard at:

There were so many great, fun, wonderful artists at the arts festival. I'd like to include them all in today's post, but there are way too many of them for one day. So please check back throughout the week for more info and photos on these awesome artists.

A special thanks to the artists for agreeing to be included in this post.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Yodeling for Yellow

Some of my potted yellow Pansies.

If I knew how to yodel that is exactly what I would be doing right now. Only I can't sing a note, so yodeling is definitely out of the question. So, you might ask, what is this yodeling all about? Well, here on the Florida Gulf Coast it's a bright sunny day and very close to spring.

It's already Spring Break here in Florida. Tourists from all over the country, and the world, head to Florida this time of year. The temperatures are mild, in the high-60s today and expected to reach the high-70s tomorrow. Before the month is out we should be in the 80s.

This is beach weather for those from colder climates. For me too? Beach weather? Well, not quite. My "old" bones need at least the 80s before I venture down to the beach and into the water. On the other hand, this is perfect weather for walking on the beach.

So what does yellow have to do with Florida and Spring Break and almost beach weather? Well, it's all about gorgeous blue skies, a bright yellow sun, the emerald/turquoise Gulf waters and sand between the toes.

I happen to love the color yellow in all its different shades, from the palest yellow hue to bright canary yellow and everything in between. I love yellow flowers, yellow clothes, yellow houses, yellow cars, well, just about yellow anything. Yellow books? Yep, those too.

My yellow floral oil painting.
Besides writing, I'm a part-time artist, which means I paint in oils or acrylics when the mood strikes me. I love to paint florals. And yellow flowers are sooooo much fun to paint.

One of my favorite floral paintings is a bouquet of yellow flowers with two red-orange Gerbera Daisies. I did that painting back in 2004 while I was recuperating from back surgery. I couldn't do much of anything for the six weeks following the surgery, but I could paint.

I think I did some of my best paintings during those six weeks. I also read a whole lot of books during those weeks, but then I'm always reading a whole lot of books.

Well, as I've mentioned in previous posts, colors represent different phases and memories in my life. A couple months back I started writing posts about colors (Seeing Red, Passionate About Purple, Think Pink and Lovely Lavender). This morning I woke up and said, "This is a yellow day."

When I was a kid I always dreamed about having a yellow farmhouse. I wanted it to be two stories with white shutters and a huge painted-white wrap-around porch. I wanted that farmhouse to be right in the middle of acres and acres of land, with horses, cows, pigs, chickens, cats, dogs and any other critters I could think of. Well, that yellow farmhouse is still a dream, but maybe someday ... you just never know.

When I was sixteen my parents bought a bright yellow Corvette Stingray. Wow! That was an awesome car. I wanted so badly to be allowed to drive it, but I had to wait until the following year. One day, when I was a freshman in college, my dad finally relented and said I could drive the Corvette to pick him up at work. Was he crazy? Allowing a seventeen year old to drive a Corvette? And on a rainy day too?

Well, I took the turn onto the freeway on ramp (in So-Cal) at too high a speed and did a 360 and then some.  I remember thinking that I'd better die in the crash, because if I didn't my dad was going to kill me. I must have had a guardian angel looking out for me that day, as the vet came to a stop about a foot away from a concrete embankment. I breathed a sigh of relief, my heart still pounding, looked up and there was Forest Lawn Cemetery right before my eyes. That was an instant reminder of where I could have been. By the way, I learned to be a very careful driver after that.

My parents never heard that story. When I picked my dad up from work he asked how the drive went. I think I said something like, "Just fine." Dad had a twinkle in his eye, so maybe he sensed that I drove the vet much too fast that day. Now my mom, who is probably hearing this story for the first time as she reads this post, is saying "You did what?" Hey, what can I say?

Years later my husband and I bought a canary yellow Jeep Wrangler with a black removable top. It pretty much looked like a giant bumble-bee, but boy was it fun to drive. We had that yellow Jeep for several years until we traded it in for a big white truck.  A truck? White? What were we thinking? But that's another story, another post.

I remember a bright yellow mini-dress that I wore to a high school dance. I wore it with yellow fishnet stockings, purple shoes, a purple headband and purple sunglasses. Hey, those were the late sixties and mod-dress meant bright colors. So yes, my dress was a hit. And I did wear those sunglasses while I danced in my fishnet stockings in the gym.

I remember another bright yellow dress, so many years later. My husband and I were on a mini-vacation in Jamaica. We were staying at Wyndham Rose Hall outside of Montego Bay. I spotted this gorgeous yellow and white striped dress and I just had to buy it. The skirt was cut in overlapping triangles of solid yellow and then yellow and white striped. I wore that dress off and on for many years and it always brought back memories of Jamaica, the warm Caribbean waters, Jamaica Delights (a tropical drink with pineapple juice, coconut milk and three different kinds of rum), balmy temps and reggae music (and yes, I can reggae).

Well, I could go on and on talking about the color yellow in my life, but then this post would be way too long. So to wind things up I'll add a few yellow books. It's not surprising that one of my favorite yellow books is John D. MacDonald's One Fearful Yellow Eye (Travis McGee Series #8). I've read every one of the colorful books in the series and plan to read all of them over again. Yes, I'm in love with Travis McGee, but don't tell my husband.

Another favorite yellow book is Patricia Falvey's The Yellow House. This novel is awesome! I have a hardback copy which graces my bookshelves. Some books stay in your memory and this is one of them, a book to read over and over again.

A yellow book I'm looking forward to reading is Louis L'Amour's Showdown at Yellow Butte. I have just about all of Louis L'Amour's books in paperback (all keepers) and have already read over half of them. I love every one, so I'm sure to love this one too.

In most of my posts I include a list of books. So in this case it's a list of Yellow Fiction. I haven't read any of the books listed below, but they all sound like great reads. Some of them have already been added to my Kindles (my old Kindle Keyboard and my newer Kindle Fire).

Yellow Fiction (that's fiction with yellow in the title, in no particular order):

Yellow Crocus: A Novel by Laila Irahim*
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris
Tapestry: Strands of Blue and Yellow by Cady Elizabeth Arnold
Yellowstone Heart Song (Yellowstone Romance #1) by Peggy L. Henderson*
Yellowstone Redemption (Yellowstone Romance #2) by Peggy L. Henderson*
The Yellow Palace (Inner Seas Kingdom) by Jeffrey Quyle
Secret Past (Yellow Creek Novel #1) by Anna Sugg
Ghost Thunder (Yellow Creek Novel #2) by Anna Sugg
The Yellow Rose of Texas by Shannon Richardson
Yellow Rose Bride (Historical Romance) by Lori Copeland
The Yellow Birds: A Novel by Kevin Powers
Strawberry Yellow (A Mas Arai Mystery) by Naomi Hirahara
The Yellow Rose (Lone Star Legacy) by Gilbert Morris
Pushing Up Bluebonnets (Yellow Rose Mystery) by Leann Sweeney
The Yellow Packard by Ace Collins
In a Yellow Wood by Gore Vidal
Chrome Yellow and Other Works by Aldous Huxley
The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Gilman Perkins
Another of my oil paintings with yellow flowers.
*On my Kindles

I had a fun time putting together this list of yellow fiction. Please feel free to add more in the comments below. Thanks again for stopping by.

YOooooDoooOOLeeeeng YeeEELLooooOOO ... (that's me trying to yodel).

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lovely Lavender

Lavender Azaleas in my yard.

I live in Florida, so this time of year my yard is a floral rainbow of color. The most recent to bloom are lovely lavender azaleas with fuchsia colored centers. Each bloom has the exquisite look of an orchid. Of all the azaleas in my yard, I think these are my favorite.

I enjoy painting. A favorite subject of mine is florals. I love the challenge of mixing my oils to get just the right shades of color. Lavender appears in my florals, seascapes, sunsets and landscapes. Yes, I love painting in shades of lavender.

More of my Azaleas, in a lovely shade of lavender-pink.
These lavender azaleas bring to mind my growing-up years in Southern California. Now how is that? Well, I've noticed that every phase of my life is represented in one color or another. My childhood just happened to be highlighted in lavender. My bedroom, from the time I was a small child through my teen years, was all in lavender with a touch of turquoise here and there.

Lavender? You see, my mom decorated my room with a lavender shag carpet, a lavender bedspread on my twin bed, and a lavender swag lamp over my bed. I don't recall if my mom ever asked me if I wanted a lavender room. It's just the color she chose for me and so it became a part of my life for all my early years. All I can say, it's a good thing I happen to like the color lavender.

For those who follow my blog, I write color posts from time to time: "Seeing Red" (1/24/13 post), "Passionate About Purple" (2/16/13 post) and "Think Pink" (2/20/13 post). So if you happen to have a passion for colors, please stop by from time to time to see what colors I write about next.

I also happen to be passionate about books. So this is the perfect time to provide a list of Lavender Fiction. My favorite lavender book is The Long Lavender Look  (Travis McGee Series, #12) by John D. MacDonald. See my 11/1/12 post, "Florida is a State of Mind," for a list of all the Travis McGee books in order of publication. I've read through the whole Travis McGee series and am looking forward to reading them all again. I still think every one of these books would make a great movie. Anyway, it seems to me that lavender reads would be just as exquisite as my lovely lavender azaleas.

Lavender Fiction (in no particular order):

The Mystery at Azalea Plantation (Lavender Series) by Lavender Lace
On Lavender Lane (A Shelter Bay Novel) by JoAnn Ross*
Lavender Vows (Medieval Herb Garden Series) by Colleen Gleason**
Lavender Morning (Edilean) by Jude Deveraux
Loving Lily Lavender by DeAnna Kinney
A Sprig of Lavender by Susan Ralph
Lavender Lies (China Bayles Mystery) by Susan Wittig Albert
The Lavender Principal (Reid Devron Mystery) by Julie Baythorpe
Lavender Fields by Marie O'Byrne
Lavender Skies by Tony Ivers
Lady Lavender (Harlequin Historical) by Lynna Banning
Lavender Aurora - Destiny of Life by J. F. Ellington
The Lavender Maze (Walcott Manor) by Florrie Boleyn
Lavender Love by A. J. Estes
Lavender by Annemarieke Tazelaar
The Lavender Field by Jeanette Baker
Lavender Lady by Carola Dunn
Lavender Secrets by Sandra Barret
Lavender Road by Helen Carey

*I have this book in paperback, but haven't read it yet.
**I have this one on my Kindle Fire, but haven't read it yet.

Please feel free to add any of your favorite lavender books in the comments below.

Before I forget, I happen to love the fragrance of lavender. I remember lavender sachets from when I was a kid, in addition to baskets of dried lavender at the county fair. When I lived in Las Vegas, I grew lavender in my garden and loved the fragrance in the warm desert air. Come to think of it, lovely lavender has always been a part of my life.

Note - If you love azaleas, please see my 1/30/13 post, "In Florida it's all about the Flowers," for more of my azalea photos.