Saturday, May 30, 2015


The comedy and music section of the DVD's had to be totally redone, and more books picked up yesterday including Lori Wilde and Debbie Macomber.  Cleaned the car and was eaten by ginormous mosquitoes that God had no business creating. (lol)  

I was looking through a lot of my treasures from back in the 90's and realized all of the heroes were totally gorgeous and the women were stunning.  In fact, they pretty much depicted what was on the cover.  Picking up my first novel so many years ago, I realized that I needed those lead characters to be almost perfect, along with a happily ever after.  Books truly allowed me to escape into the fantasy of pure romance or eroticism.

It wasn't until 2010 when I reviewed an historical novel entitled, A Little Bit Wild, by Victoria Dahl, that it became clear that just like in real life, the star of the book didn't really need to be good looking in the traditional sense that I had grown used to.  Jude didn't care about fitting in by dressing like every other aristocrat, his nose was broken and everything about him was large.  Soon, I was drawn to his phenomenal sense of humor, strong morals, patience and raw masculinity.  Originally Marissa, a stunning and impetuous woman, simply found Jude to be odd and different, and there was definitely no attraction. Yet, just as he did with Marissa, I soon fell head over heels in love! 

Now, as my reading tastes have evolved, I look forward to reading about that curvy heroine with a witty personality, or the Navy Seal who woos me with his intelligence and gains my respect with his confident nature.  Where I used to be drawn to the handsome hunk with dark hair and deep blue eyes, that's no longer important.

What matters more is the multilayered story that is weaved and the overall depth of the characters.  I eagerly embrace the novel that's compelling and dares to be different from the status quo.  I'm looking for the woman we see running to catch the subway, or the man buying his own groceries in the supermarket.  You know - the everyday heroes.

However, we could probably debate all day who is considered handsome or beautiful.  We'll save that fun topic for another day. (lol)

But what about you?  Do your characters need to look a certain way in order for you to get into the book?  Do you care one way or the other?

Friday, May 29, 2015


You already know that I watch Top Chef, Chopped and other cooking programs over and over.  I've watched how to fillet a fish over and over again, but how about I totally butchered the fish my husband caught in the pond the other day! (lol) After managing to salvage a few of the pieces,and getting rid of all those bones, the meal actually turned out pretty well. Thank goodness.  It's probably much safer for us to give away what gets caught in the future, and continue to purchase cut and deboned fish from the store, huh? (lol)
This is the Bass caught by Handy Hubby that ended up on the dinner table. (lol)
 Anywho, I'm pretty laid back and love to laugh, but there are a few things I'm really obsessive about.

1.  Would love for you to come over, but if you pick out a DVD for us to watch, and don't put it back in its original location, my hair starts to stand up, and there's the possibility of a hiss.  Years ago, my son wanted to watch Lord of the Rings with his friends at his apartment, which was fine.  He later told me he'd brought it back and I forgot all about it.  Once a month, however, I go through my DVDs to dust and to ensure they're in order.  Lord of the Rings was missing!! OMG!!!! I searched everywhere, then called my son in a panic. Calm down, he advised and assured me that he'd dropped it off.  As I continued to dust, I eventually found it.  Yep, out of order, right behind Transporter, starring my boyfriend Jason Statham.  Needless to say, my son got an earful. (lol)  Basically, the movies have to be in alphabetical order no matter what.

2.  Lori Foster has her own shelf, so there's no reason for anything she's written to travel over to Shayla Black's area.  Cookbooks should not be beside Toni Blake's novels, etc. David Baldacci outgrew his designated space, so my husband wanting to help, tried to make more room on the bookcase.  Uh...thanks, but no thanks. Please do not slide 2 of Mr. Baldacci's books over to Christina Dodd's area thinking that's okay, and that you've made more room. Those two can never visit. Mr. Baldacci will just hang out in a special place until I redo his shelf.   Library books can't be mixed in with the TBR pile, ever.  That's a sure way for the library police to come knocking for overdue fines.

3.  If I like a song, I play it repeatedly, and you already know I can't help myself when it comes to cooking programs.  Lately, everywhere I go, Bad Blood by Taylor Swift and Vogue by Madonna travels with me, along with a book.  - Taylor Swift Video

My son lives in another state, but if he saw me doing this, he'd tell me (and probably you, too) that "something is wrong with me", then shake his head. (lol)  

4.  Finally - shoes.  Need I say more? (lol)
Actual pair of my shoes

Another pair of shoes (lol)

What about you?  What are you obsessed with to the point of frustration for friends and family?  Books, food, people, toys, movies, stuff?

Thursday, May 28, 2015


If you've been reading this blog, you may notice that we love passing on new recipes and discussing the love of food.  You may also know of my cooking program obsession, watching them over and over and over again. Yes, it's crazy, I know. (lol)  In January, we shared a FREE cookbook from Leanne Brown called Good & Cheap, allowing everyone to save money on groceries and to make affordable meals. Over 1500 people downloaded her book from this Blog, so you can probably imagine what happened at her actual site! This book was so successful throughout the country that it landed Ms. Brown on The Top 30 Under 30 Forbes List for 2015. She's in the process of doing a new book soon, but if you missed the Free version, here's the link:

Shrimp Ceviche prepared by Chef Cherisse

Meanwhile, this Saturday, the Fuquay Varina Community Center and Community Market are offering a FREE cooking demo, along with tastings, demos and tips by Chef Cherisse Byers of Raleigh. She'll be preparing a chicken and rice dish inspired by the book.

                                    May 30:  10am - 12pm
                        820 S. Main Street, Fuquay Varina, NC

There will be door prizes and other goodies to take home and it's all FREE!  

It's important to register by calling the Community Center at :  919-552-1430.

Cherisse Byers was born and raised in Durham, NC and she obtained a degree in Finance and Economics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  Her love of food inspired her to go back to school to receive formal training in Culinary Arts at the Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham.  

Cherisse has taught cooking classes for Williams Sonoma, Wake Technical Community College Continuing Education,  Whisk Quality Kitchenware of Cary, Wake County Public School System Lifelong Learning Division and UNC Wellness.  She also gives back to the community in various ways that include chairing the International Focus of Raleigh.

If you enjoy cooking, or want to learn some new tricks, sign up BELOW:

Tuesdays June 16th-July 28th 6:30-9:30pm
Reedy Creek Middle School $100
BakeShop Fun

Week 1-Introduction/Course Policies/Kitchen Tour
Week 2-Cookies & Brownies
Week 3-Cakes & Icings
Week 4-Pies & Tarts
Week 5-Quick Breads
Week 5-Custards, Creams and Sauces
Week 7-International Sweets
Week 8-Bake Shop Cocktail Party Bites!

To register:

Thursday July 23rd 6:30-9:30pm  Sanderson High School
Summer Dinner
Summer is on the way and with that comes entertaining!  We will prepare dishes that highlight the season's best offerings.  Menu: Parmesan Biscuits with slow roasted tomatoes and basil mayo, garlic grilled chicken with rhubarb barbecue sauce, jicama summer slaw, and raspberry almond tart. 
$55 (food and materials provided)

To register:

If you're interested in booking a class with Chef Cherisse, please contact her at:


The lovely and accomplished Chef Cherisse

Mini Muffaletta Sandwiches Prepared by Chef Cherisse

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Charles Dickens compulsively walked 12-20 miles per day.

Hotel Hackspett in Sweden is the smallest in the world, and climbing a rope ladder about 40 feet up is the only way to get there. The room may be tiny, but the price sure isn't at $400-$550 a night! For your money, you'll get a double bed, kitchenette, plenty of books for reading, a bathroom and a veranda. The lucky guests have food delivered via a pulley.

The Abraj Kudai located in Mecca, will cost about $3.6 billion dollars when it's finished in 2017, and will include 10,000 bedrooms, 70 restaurants, four helipads and a shopping mall. There will also be 5 floors reserved solely for the Saudi royal family, according to the Guardian. However, most people are unaware that if you're thinking of visiting to brag about staying in the world's largest hotel, don't even think about it, unless you are Muslim.  

Check this out! The King of Hearts is the only king without a moustache on a standard playing card. It's also a 1967 movie.
Until the nineteenth century, solid blocks of tea were used as money in Siberia!

Try this for yourself, and you'll see it's true! No piece of square dry paper can be be folded more than 7 times in half.

Now - on to the Stupid Chicken recipe. You won't believe how simple this is to make and it only uses 5 ingredients!. If you have plans and need to leave the house, this is the perfect recipe to just throw in the crockpot and go.  It gets its name because it's such an easy recipe, but the taste is really good.
Serves: 4
Cooking Time: 8 hr
  • 4 Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Italian-seasoned or spicy diced tomatoes
  • 1 Envelope Herb and Garlic Recipe soup mix (Lipton or similar)
  • Hot Cooked Rice or Pasta
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated
  1. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Mix chicken, tomatoes and soup mix together, then pour into your crockpot or slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  3. Serve over rice or bow tie pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
If you need to make this faster, cook it in an oven in an oven-browning bag for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Thanks to

Monday, May 25, 2015


In case you didn't know, my name isn't real.  Well, it's sort of real, in that RO is a shortened version of my actual name.  When people greet me for the first time, they want to add more to those two letters, but I just laugh and change the subject in most instances.

As a kid who happened to be a tomboy and a nerd, I hated my name.  It wasn't until I joined the Air Force that I embraced the romance of it with drastic and sometimes funny results.  Eventually, to avoid the total butchering of my name, and to make it easier, I just took the liberty of shortening it.  I think my name suits my personality and my height - short. (lol)

In the book world, we see names all the time.  We see writers who use their real names for some books and pseudonyms for others.  Some writers just use initials, or initials and a last name. As readers we've grown attached to characters with over the top names, scary names, simple names, memorable names or names that may not make much sense until we delve a little deeper into their stories.  No novel comes without someone who doesn't become personal to us or someone we can talk about with others.

Many years ago, I read a book by Jennifer Blake called Southern Rapture, that was published in 1987.  The hero of the story was called Ransom.  Oh my goodness - everything about him oozed sexiness, strength and sensitivity. His name fit him perfectly and totally rocked. He was all I could talk about for months!    I ended up writing a letter raving about that novel, telling Ms. Blake that I wanted my son to have that cool name! (lol)   We weren't sending e-mails back then, so imagine my surprise when she wrote me back 2 weeks later thanking me and sharing cool tidbits about her life.
Even though he is internationally known, we're used to reading about "E. L." Doctorow, the guy who wrote Billy Bathgate. not Edgar Lawrence. 

When we think about the classic Lady Chatterly's Lover, D.H. Lawrence comes to mind.  Who in the heck is David Herbert Richards Lawrence?

Jessica Rowley Pell Bird is nowhere on our radar when reading all about the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  To us, she's just J.R. Ward.

Romance authors definitely have neat names that suit the nature of their books, and that's really fun.

Something about a person's name is important to me.  Even if it isn't real.  I think it says something about you.

But what about you?  Do you love your name?  Does it reflect who you are as a person?  Do you care about the names of your characters in a novel?  Does it matter that your favorite author may be using a make believe name?

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Spring and summer bring bugs, cookouts, picnics and pool parties. Yay!  I can do without the bugs, but I can't do without my amusement parks! As a kid living on the East Coast, I was a frequent visitor of Hershey's Park and King's Dominion as soon as the weather turned warm.  The food was yummy, my friends were great, but I totally lived for the exciting roller coaster. I remember standing in line over and over again for the fastest and most creative ride, then screaming and laughing like a crazy person once I got on.  Then I'd do it all over again! My only complaint, and to the frustration of my friends...I had to carry a book with me. (lol)
Now my hangout is Carowinds in Charlotte North Carolina and the fun continues.
If you're a mini thrill seeker or love amusement parks, below are some neat facts.
 According to Wikipedia, some think that the very 1st roller coaster originated in Russia at the Russian Mountains and others believe it was created by the French in 1817.

   Tallest Roller Coasters
Top Thrill DragsterCedar PointIntaminOperatingMay 4, 2003420 feet (130 m)
Kingda KaSix Flags Great AdventureIntaminOperatingMay 21, 2005456 feet (139 m)
Fury 325CarowindsBolliger & MabillardOperatingMarch 25, 2015[17]325 feet (99 m)
Millennium ForceCedar PointIntaminOperatingMay 13, 2000310 feet (94 m)
Steel Dragon 2000Nagashima Spa LandMorganOperatingAugust 1, 2000318 feet (97 m)
Intimidator 305Kings DominionIntaminOperatingApril 2, 2010305 feet (93 m)
LeviathanCanada's WonderlandBolliger & MabillardOperatingMay 6, 2012306 feet (93 m)

Fastest Steel Roller Coasters
RankNameParkCountrySpeedManufacturerRecord held
1Formula RossaFerrari WorldUnited Arab Emirates149 mph (240 km/h)IntaminNovember 2010 – present
2Kingda KaSix Flags Great AdventureUnited States128 mph (206 km/h)IntaminMay 2005 – November 2010
3Top Thrill DragsterCedar PointUnited States120 mph (190 km/h)IntaminMay 2003 – May 2005
4DodonpaFuji-Q HighlandJapan107 mph (172 km/h)S&S WorldwideDecember 2001 – May 2003
5Superman: Escape from Krypton[nb 1]Six Flags Magic MountainUnited States100 mph (160 km/h)IntaminMarch 1997 – December 2001
Tower of Terror II[nb 1]DreamworldAustralia100 mph (160 km/h)IntaminJanuary 1997 – December 2001
*ring°racerNürburgringGermany99.4 mph (160.0 km/h)S&S WorldwideN/A
6Steel Dragon 2000Nagashima Spa LandJapan95 mph (153 km/h)D. H. Morgan ManufacturingN/A
Fury 325CarowindsUnited States95 mph (153 km/h)Bolliger & MabillardN/A
7Millennium ForceCedar PointUnited States93 mph (150 km/h)IntaminN/A
8LeviathanCanada's WonderlandCanada92 mph (148 km/h)Bolliger & MabillardN/A
9Intimidator 305Kings DominionUnited States90 mph (140 km/h)IntaminN/A


My son thinks I'm out of my mind because there is no roller coaster I won't try.  Unless it's a ride at a fair or carnival.  If a ride has been created in just one day, that's a pass, so that's the only time I stick to the kiddie rides. (lol)

But what about you?  Are you game for a roller coaster ride for the thrill of your life?

Whew!  After thinking about these rides, it's time to relax a little for my Stress-Free Sunday with a really good book and a cheeseburger.  Hugs...

Friday, May 22, 2015


Enter once per day through July 5, for the chance to win 1 of 115 Grocery Gift Cards being offered as prizes. Entering is super easy - just click on this link: Avocados from Mexico Summer Grilling 

Good Luck!

Celebrate Dad in a big way this Father's Day, by entering to win with Busch Gardens® and Bad Boy Mowers®, who have teamed up to give you the chance to win one of two huge prizes: