Saturday, December 27, 2008

Free e-books from Random House

This holiday season Random House is generously offering free copies of selected e-books from their catalog. Titles include:

Murder List by Julie Garwood

The Whiskey Rebels: A Novel by David Liss

The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death by Laurie Notaro

Free-Range Chickens by Simon Rich

A Dangerous Man by Charles Huston

Caught Stealing by Charles Huston

Prague by Arthur Phillips

Six Bad Things by Charles Huston

The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst

The books are available for the Amazon Kindle at the following e-tailers:

eReader


Fictionwise

Sony Reader

If you've never read an e-book, this is a good opportunity to experiment. Enjoy!

Linda

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

e-Books Making Inroads?

(Note: Link repaired 12-25-08, 9:45AM)

The New York Times published an article on Dec. 23, 2008 entitled Turning Page, E-Books Start to Take Hold. Authors Brad Stone and Motoko Rich did a good job of summarizing the situation.

The item that struck me the most was the fact that 20% of Amazon's sales of “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” are Kindle sales. That's very encouraging to us e-book authors.

The only thing I'd quibble with is the authors description of Harlequin as "the Toronto-based publisher of bodice-ripping romances". (emphasis mine) Ugh, will that old meme ever go away? Romances have changed so much since that description was first used back in the 1970's.

I'll try to get my monthly astrology post up soon, but in the mean time, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all!

Linda

Monday, December 8, 2008

Win a Kindle For Christmas!

A group of AuthorIsland.com authors, including moi, have banded together to offer one lucky winner an Amazon Kindle. Click on the graphic below for details:




I've had my Kindle for over a year now and I'm still loving it. My acupuncturist lusts after mine, esp. since I showed him how to search the Kindle store from the exam room and we discovered that the Shanghai Daily is now available to Kindle users, along with 27 other newspapers, 18 magazines and 2 dozen or so blogs. And that's in addition to the almost 200,000 books Amazon claims is available for the Kindle.

Another thing lots of people don't realize is that the Kindle can read unsecured Mobipocket,. which adds lots of small press books into the mix. Most of my novellas and short stories are available in Mobipocket (.PRC) format. Click here for more on the Kindle.

The only problem is that since Oprah declared the Amazon Kindle one of her favorite things, people wanting to buy the device are having to sait 2-3 weeks to get one, just like I did last year.

Other e-reading options include the Sony Reader which is sold at Borders and Target, as well as online, and the eBookwise.com, currently on sale for for the holidays.

Please forgive the commercial, but I'm a committed e-book reader.

Linda / Lyndi

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fire Update

Now that the fire situation is improving, I thought I'd post an update.

Apparently the Tea Fire in Montecito was accidentally started after students lit a bonfire during the night. (Must have been Wed. night.) They left thinking they'd put it out, but when the winds kicked up, they blew up some smoldering embers, and before it was all over, 210 homes had been destroyed. Apparently there was no malicious intent, just carelessness. Lighting a fire, for any reason, in in our dry So. Calif. hills is seldom a good idea. (Note I incorrectly referred to this as the Tea Light Fire in comments to my previous post.)

The Sayre fire in Sylmar is not about 85% contained after it blackened over 11,000 acres and destroyed more than 600 structures, including 480 mobile homes in one park. App. 10,000 had to be evacuated at one time and one civilian was injured. At this time, the cause of the fire has not been determined.

Now for the local fire, which I thought was the Triangle Complex Fire, but is sometimes called the Freeway Complex Fire... (The word complex refers to multiple fires in close proximity and the other two descriptive words come from the fact that most of the fire was contained in a triangle formed by the 91 Freeway on the south, the 57 Freeway on the west, and the 71 freeway on the east. The latter two roads run diagonally and almost meet at the 60, created a rough triangle.)*

The fire is now completely contained after destroying 187 homes and damaging 130 more. Over 30,000 acres in four counties were burned, making this the largest of the three fires by far. Fourteen minor injuries were reported by fire fighters. The cause of the fire is still undetermined, though there's some speculation that it could have been started by a catalytic-converter. Arson is unlikely since the fire started so close to a well-traveled freeway. One of my friends saw the fire in its early stages and I'll post her comments if she gives me permission.

It's a great relief to know the fires are contained, or nearly so, but I'm sure that's little comfort to those who lost their homes.

Linda

* Slate Magazine has a great article explaining How Wildfires Get Their Names, written by Daniel Engber.

My friend, Dr. Debra Holland, posted her fire experiences on her website. Look under News.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Town Monday: On Fire

UPDATE AND CORRECTION, 6:15PM: The name of the Orange County fire is the Triangle Complex Fire, not the Freeway Triangle Fire. My mistake. At this time, the winds are somewhat quieter and mandatory evacuation orders have been listed. A lot of damage has already been done, however. On a personal note, my DH and I are not near the fire areas, though a good friend of mine is entirely too close for comfort.

As I'm sure you're all aware, Southern California has been on fire since Thursday night when the first big one occurred in Montecito, south of Santa Barbara. Next came the Sayre fire in Sylmar and Newhall Pass in LA County. Then it was Orange County's turn. The fire, now being called the Freeway Triangle Fire, started in Corona in Riverside County but quickly moved westward along the 91 Freeway into Yorba Linda before jumping the freeway into Anaheim Hills. Another fire broke out in Brea which is now spreading north into Diamond Bar. At this point six-seven communities and four counties are involved. I know this is confusing to people in other areas, but the Orange County Register has a great fire map to show the extent of the disaster.

Everything seemed fine at 9:30AM on Saturday morning when I went to my readers group meeting, but when we got out at 11:00, the winds had kicked up and we could smell smoke was in the air. By early afternoon, air quality had dramatically changed with the smoke casting an orange pall over everything. These two photos were taken about 1:30PM.

Though California is known for earthquakes, our annual fires are more destructive. Fall is when we get the dreaded Santa Ana winds, dry winds that sweep out of the desert, through the canyons and into Southern California. Sometimes they're hot, as they are now, and sometimes cold, but always extremely dry and dangerous. The origin of the word is uncertain but according to the Los Angeles Almanac via Wikipedia the derivation may come from "the Spanish vientos de Satán ("winds of Satan") otherwise known as devil winds. Once the Santa Anas start, humidity plunges into the 5-10% range and it only takes a spark to set our chaparral-covered hills on fire.

Governor Schwarzeneggar came to visit Sunday morning and led a press conference. Over 10,000 acres have burned, a number that is sure to rise. Anaheim Mayor Pringle spoke and said that my city alone had lost over 100 residential units already, including condos and apartments, another number that may rise. The city of Yorba Linda has lost over 70 homes. 1,260 firefighters, 15 helicopters and 10 air tankers have been fighting the fire, with seven minor injuries.

The only good news is that the winds should change in the next couple of days, usually accompanied by a rise in humidity. I hope the firefighters can get a handle on the fire soon and that no one else loses their home. My heart goes out to those who already have.

Linda

Click here for Yahoo's slide of fire pictures.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday, Scorpio

Scorpio was a recent Urban Word of the Day, which reminded me I'm late with my monthly astrology post. Here's the Urban Dictionarydefinition of the word:

Scorpios are sensual, sexy and mesmerizing. they're loyal and sweet to the very end. they're highly intelligent have a quick wit. All the Scorpios I know are adventurous, curious and very loving.

damn that wendy girl is hot! she must be a scorpio!

In astrological circles, Scorpio definitely has a reputation as one of the sexier signs. Scorpio's passion is legendary, and not just in matters of the heart. Your average Scorpio will throw himself into whatever interests him with abandon. (Like her or not, after this year's primary election, I doubt anyone will dispute Scorpio Hillary Clinton's passion for politics.) Scorpio intensity can be either intimidating or mesmerizing and can be used for good or ill. Consider the fact that Billy Graham, Leon Trotsky and Senator Joseph McCarthy were all Scorpios. One used his powers of persuasion to bring people to God, one to foment revolution and the latter conducted a modern-day witch hunt. All were forces to be reckoned with.

Other famous Scorpios
include Sarah Bernhardt, Charles Atlas, Johnny Carson, Kevin Kline, Pablo Picasso, Jaclyn Smith, Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, Jonas Salk, John Cleese, Bill Gates, Richard Dreyfuss, Winona Ryder, Kate Jackson, Truman Capote, Henry Winkler, Harry Hamlin, Dan Rather, Steven Crane, Larry Flint, Marie Antoinette, Burt Lancaster, Pat Buchanan, sex researcher Shere Hite, Roseanne Arnold, Will Rogers, Loretta Swit, Vivian Leight, Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon, Tatum O'Neal, Sally Field, Maria Shriver, Marie Curie, Albert Camus, Bill Graham, Katherine Hepburn, Bonnie Raitt, Hedy Lamarr, Richard Burton, General George Patton, Kurt Vonegut, Demi Moore, Grace Kelly, Whoopi Goldberg, Prince Charles, Ed Asner, Rock Hudson, Martin Scorsese, Martin Luther, Indira Gandhi, Ted Turner, Jody Foster, Robert F. Kennedy and Presidents James K Polk, James Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt, and Warren G. Harding.

My apologies to my Scorpio friends for being late with this post and to all my blogger friends for not visiting their blogs as often. I hope to get back to regular blogging some day soon. The back is improving, but it's a slow process.

Linda

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tricks, Not Treats, in Anaheim

I've lived in the same house for 22 years and my husband has lived here nearly 30 years. We seldom give out candy on Halloween night, and we've never had any repercussions - until last night.

About 7:40PM last evening, we heard something hit the house. By the time we got to the door, no one was in sight, but the house had been egged. In the morning we found a printed sign that read "Give out candy next time, Ass-hole". We saw other signs up and down the street, but don't know if anyone else's house was egged or not. This makes me a lot less inclined to give out candy next time. I won't be blackmailed by a bunch of punks!

Hope your Halloween was more fun than ours.

Linda

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What's Your Halloween Horoscope?

Aargh, I just realized I'm late posting my monthly astrology blog, so I'll try to do that tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a little Halloween quiz.


Halloween Horoscope for Aries



You're a total candy hound who will do anything for a sugar fix.

And to get the most candy, you'll wear the wildest costume possible.

Costume suggestions: A superhero or famous rock star

Signature Halloween candy: Mini Snickers bars

Scary movie you should celebrate Halloween with: Shaun of the Dead


LOL, this is so me, esp. the candy hound part. As a child, my favorite Halloween costumes were Little Red Riding Hood and Witch. I've never seen Shaun of the Dead, since I'm really not into horror movies. I'm afraid my favorite horror movies are comedies: Young Frankenstein and Love At First Bite. I did love the Dracula movie starring Frank Langella, though, if anyone remembers that one. OMG, he was gorgeous and mesmerizing in the part.

What's your Halloween horoscope, fave costume, fave horror movie, etc.?

Linda

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Win a Halloween Pumpkin Basket


It's that time again, for my annual Halloween Pumpkin giveaway. Details including a photo of the prize are at the contest page of my website:

http://www.lyndilamont.com/contest.html


The prize includes books, assorted promo items and Halloween candy and goodies. The winner will be chosen on October 31. If you'd like to be considered, send an email to lyndilamont@yahoo.com. Subject line must read: Pumpkin Giveaway. Please include your mailing address.

Entrants will be invited to join my Yahoo Announcement Group.

And FWIW, I'm happy to report that my back is somewhat better. Thank heaven for acupuncture! I love it.

Linda / Lyndi

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What A Difference. . .

. . . a couple of days can make.

Our weather has done a one-eighty from the weekend fog. It's bright and sunny, if a bit hazy over the ocean, (yes, there's an ocean out there) with temps already into the 80's. Who knows how high they'll go? We often get these Santa Ana type conditions in the fall. The only good part is that the humidity is down into the 20 degree range, and at least it'll cool off over night.

A few days of rest seems to have helped my back, too, though I'm still having to take it easy. I got a little cocky yesterday and overdid things and ended up back in bed.

My thanks to everyone who made comments on my last post. Hope you're all having a good week.

Linda

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Town Monday: A Foggy Day in San Clemente

In some parts of the country autumn means brilliant colors as the leaves change, but in Southern California, autumn at the beach means foggy mornings and sometimes foggy afternoons. This is the view from our house at about 10AM Sunday morning. Still, I'll take a cool, foggy day over a hot sunny one anytime, so don't think this is a complaint.


This will be an exceptionally short My Town Monday. My sciatica is still bothering me, so my online time will be limited this week. I apologize to my blogger friends in advance for not visiting as often as usual, but it hurts to sit for too long. I've set up the laptop on a chest of drawers so I can type standing up, but it's not connected to the internet.

Hope your week is going better than mine.

Linda

My Town Monday is the brilliant brain child of writer/blogger Travis Erwin, http://traviserwin.blogspot.com/. Thanks, Travis! Go to his blog to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Fun Quiz: What Kind of Sandwich Are You?

It's been a nervous week here in the US, what with the talk of economic meltdown, a massive bailout, and uncertainty over the presidential debate, so I thought a little comfort food was in order.


You Are a Ham Sandwich

You are quiet, understated, and a great comfort to all of your friends.

Over time, you have proven yourself as loyal and steadfast.

And you are by no means boring. You do well in any situation - from fancy to laid back.


Your best friend: The Turkey Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Grilled Cheese Sandwich


I love sandwiches and ham is my favorite, but I don't have anything against grilled cheese. Honest. ;)




Linda

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Libra!

I can't believe it has been a year since I started doing my monthly astrology blogs, but here we are, a year later. The sun enters Libra at the Autumnal Equinox when the days and nights are of equal length. Libra's symbol is the Scales, the only inanimate object to represent a sign.

Note: Most signs are represented by animals, but two are human: Virgo the Virgin and Aquarius, the Water Bearer. Sagittarius, the Archer, is reprsented by the Centaur, a mythical being.

Libra, the seventh sign of the Zodiac, represents balance and harmony. In the natal chart, the seventh house is the sign for matrimony. However, as we all know, balance in life, or marimony, is never static but something to strive for. Venus rules the sign of Libra, as well as the sign of Taurus. Though Venus energy is typically seen as feminine, Libra is a "masculine" sign in the zodiacal system. Personally, I don't give much credence to the masculine/feminine designations for the signs, but traditionally this is what's done.

Libras have a reputation for indecisiveness as they weigh the pros and cons of everything, alway seeking the balance and harmony in life. Libras value fairness, justice and beauty; they dislike conflict and vulgarity. On the positive side, they can be diplomatic, idealistic, trusting, romantic, charming, and sensitive. On the negative side, they can also be manipulative or gullible, unreliable, or frivolous. In romance, they are supposed to be most compatible with the other air signs of Gemini and Aquarius, and with the fire signs, Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.

For more on Libra, go to http://www.astrology-online.com/libra.htm.

Is there a Libra in your life?

Linda

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Town Monday: Worst Tree In The World?

Autumn is my favorite time of year, everywhere except here in Anaheim, that is. Where other parts of the country have trees with leaves changing colors, we have Chinese elms shedding yellow crud all over everything. These trees are a pet peeve of mine. :( I'm currently suffering through an attack of sciatica, so that's not helping my mood any. It hurts just to sit.

According to Wikipedia, the Chinese elm, scientific name Ulmus parvifolia, are native to China, Japan, North Korea and Vietnam. They're described as "a small to medium-sized deciduous, semi-deciduous (rarely semi-evergreen) tree growing to 10-18 m tall with a slender trunk and crown, and has been described as "one of the most splendid elms". I looked it up and 10-18 meters is a range of 32 to 59 feet, which sounds pretty big to me, but what I know about trees can be scribbled on the back of a postage stamp. Some may find the trees "splendid", but to me they're just messy.

To continue: "The flowers are produced in early autumn, small and inconspicuous,.." To whom, pray tell?

"... with the seed maturing rapidly and dispersing by late autumn." Around here, the yellow flowers and appear and drop off within a couple of weeks, followed by reddish leaves that drop off later in the season. The green leaves finally turn brown and die around December. So the trees basically shed something or other from Sept. through the end of the year, blanketing the sidewalk, the yard, not to mention any cars parked anywhere nearby.

"The Chinese Elm is highly resistant, but not immune, to Dutch elm disease... The tree is arguably the most ubiquitous of the elms, now found in all the continents except Antarctica. It was introduced to Europe at the end of the 18th century as an ornamental, and is found in many botanical gardens and arboreta. In the United States, it appeared in the middle of the 19th century, and has proved very popular in recent years as a replacement for American Elms killed by Dutch elm disease."

Will someone send me some Dutch elm disease, please?

"The tree can become invasive, notably in southern Africa, and is known as one of the 'Nasty Nine' in Namibia, where it was planted as a street tree in Windhoek. The Chinese Elm has also shown invasive species tendencies in some gardens in North America."

Not to mention some yards in Anaheim. We have several baby elms trying to grow in the middle of our hedge, the Bird of Paradise, the hibiscus bushes. (Yes, we need a professional gardener and the sooner the better.)

What do you think? Is the Chinese elm the worst tree in the world? Or at least the messiest?

Linda

My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin, http://traviserwin.blogspot.com/. Thanks, Travis! Click on his site to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Fun Quiz: What Power Element Are You?

This has been a busy week and I haven't blogged since Sunday. I did get some writing done, so that makes me happy.

I took this quiz twice, a couple of weeks apart and got two different answers: Earth and Metal. Both are at least partially true, so I'm posting both of them.


Your Power Element is Earth

Your power color: yellow

Your energy: balancing

Your season: changing of seasons

Dedicated and responsible, you are a rock to your friends.

You are skilled at working out even the most difficult problems.

Low key and calm, you are happiest when you are around loved ones.

Ambitious and goal oriented, you have long term plans to be successful.


Low key and calm fits me, most of the time, and I think I'm responsible. Not so ambitious, though, and my goals tend to be flexible and fluctuating.



Your Power Element is Metal


Your power colors: white, gold, and silver

Your energy: contracting

Your season: fall

You are persistent (and maybe even a little bit stubborn).

If you see something you want, you go for it.

You have a lot of strength, and it's difficult to get you down.

Very logical, you tend to analyze everything going on in your life.


Fall is my favorite season and I'll admit to being a little stubborn at times, and I do tend to over-analyze things. I wish I could say it's difficult to get me down, but my moods can swing wildly, sometimes in the space of a few hours. (Maybe that's just the hypoglycemia. A little protein always helps balance me out.)




Have a good weekend.

Linda

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Town Monday: A Local Tragedy

I'm sure by now you have all heard of the catastrophic wreck on Friday, Sep. 12, of a Metrolink train and a freight train in Chatsworth, Calif. Chatsworth isn't really close to Anaheim, but since all of Southern California shares a large media market, it seems local. I know people who live in that area; thankfully none of them lost a loved one on the train. This kind of tragedy is a sobering reminder of how fragile and precarious life can be and how dangerous modern technology sometimes is.

Currently the death toll is at 25, but there are still patients in critical condition so it may rise again. Out of app. 222 Metrolink passengers and crew plus 3 people on the freight train, 135 were injured, 81 in serious or critical condition. It could have been even worse, since each double-decker car holds 150 people sitting down and passengers are allowed to stand in the aisle. This train was apparently only half full. There are no seat belts on the Metrolink trains and people were thrown around, resulting in head, chest and leg injuries. Motor vehicle-style seatbelts might have prevented some of the injuries, particularly in the second and third cars which remained upright. No amount of safety measures could have helped the people in the first car which was rammed by the train's locomotive. We still don't know how fast either train was traveling, but the force of the collision had to be enormous. This is the worst US train wreck in fifteen years since an Amtrak train ran into a bayou near Mobile, Alabama in 1993, killing 47.

All Friday evening, television helicopters hovered over the scene, capturing the horror of the wreck and showing the rescue efforts. Firefighters in yellow safety suits, policemen in dark blue and sheriff's deputies in khaki worked together to carry people from the wreck to a triage area where they were assessed by paramedics before being transported to area hospitals by ambulance or helicopter. It was heartbreaking to watch, but the old cliche about not being able to look away from a train wreck is all too true.

As I write this, it now appears that the wreck may have been caused by human error. Metrolink has issued a statement saying that their engineer, who worked for a private subcontractor, failed to stop at a red light. He didn't survive the crash, so we won't be able to hear what he has to say. We're now hearing rumors that he may have been text messaging a few minutes before the collision. But we shouldn't rush to judgment. I'm sure safety engineers are checking the signal lights to see that they're working properly. It's common in California for commuter trains to share single stretches of track with freight trains. The Metrolink train missed a red light that should have sent it onto a siding to wait for the freight train to pass. But no matter how many safeguards are in place, there's no way to prevent human error. The NTSB is conducting a thorough investigation, but it may take a year for them to issue their report.

My heart goes out to the victims and their family members and to the emergency responders who did such a phenomenal job of rescuing the injured, and worked through the night under dangerous conditions. Special recognition goes to the firemen who had to cut their way into the first car. Fire Captain Steve Ruda "said his firefighters had never seen such carnage". There's no way to be sufficiently trained or psychologically prepared for what they must have witnessed. Coming a day after the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11 didn't make it any easier to watch.

I'll update this post as more information becomes available.

Linda

I forgot to mention that My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin. Thanks, Travis! Check out his site to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.

Scheduled posts

This is a test to see if this post gets automatically posted later today.

Linda

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Fun Quiz: What Modern Bombshell Are You?

Fridays tend to be busy days for me, so I decided to make them quiz days. There are lots of fun quizzes out there. This one is for my female friends.




You Are Most Like Liv Tyler



“I don't want to spend so much time obsessing about myself.”



Have a good weekend!

Linda

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Palin Book Banning Update

Palin Book Banning Update

A few days ago I wrote a post asking if Governor Sarah Palin tried to ban books from the local public library when she was mayor of Wasilla. The wonderful factcheck.org has come through with an article debunking some of the rumors flying about the mayor. You can find the full article by clicking on the title of the blog. You have to scroll down to find the book banning section.

According to factcheck.org:

"One false rumor accuses then-Mayor Palin of threatening to fire Wasilla’s librarian for refusing to ban books from the town library. Some versions of the rumor come complete with a list of the books that Palin allegedly attempted to ban. The story is false on several fronts: Palin never asked that books be banned; the librarian continued to serve in that position; no books were actually banned; and many of the books on the list that Palin supposedly wanted to censor weren't even in print at the time, proving that the list is a fabrication.

"It’s true that Palin did raise the issue with Mary Ellen Emmons, Wasilla’s librarian, on at least two occasions. Emmons flatly stated her opposition both times. But, as the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman (Wasilla’s local paper) reported at the time, Palin asked general questions about what Emmons would say if Palin requested that a book be banned. According to Emmons, Palin "was asking me how I would deal with her saying a book can't be in the library." Emmons reported that Palin pressed the issue, asking whether Emmons' position would change if residents were picketing the library. Wasilla resident Anne Kilkenny, who was at the meeting, corroborates Emmons' story, telling the Chicago Tribune that "Sarah said to Mary Ellen, 'What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection?'

"Palin characterized the exchange differently, initially volunteering the episode as an example of discussions with city employees about following her administration's agenda. Palin described her questions to Emmons as “rhetorical,” noting that her questions "were asked in the context of professionalism regarding the library policy that is in place in our city."... We can't read minds, so it is impossible for us to know whether or not Palin may actually have wanted to ban books from the library or whether she simply wanted to know how her new employees would respond to an instruction from their boss. It is worth noting that, in an update, the Frontiersman points out that no book was ever banned from the library’s shelves."

I'm glad to learn that no books were banned from the library, probably because of the librarian's strong stand against doing so, however the impulse to ban may have been there.

I apologize for passing along inaccurate information.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My Town Monday: Dormont Memories

Though I was born at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, I grew up just outside the city in the little borough of Dormont. Incorporated in 1909, it was the first independent municipality in Greater Pittsburgh's South Hills area. The name is a play on the French mont d'or meaning gold mountain. At less than one square mile, Dormont is compact and walkable, if you don't mind the hills. There's also good bus and light rail service. In 2000 the population was 9,305. Can you say densely populated?

I don't know if it was that densely populated when I was growing up there back in the 1950's and early 60's, but many of the houses were duplexes, so it might have been. As a child I didn't pay attention to statistics. Though small and urban, Dormont in that period wasn't all concrete. There was a large wooded area near Kelton Elementary School, complete with a swinging rope hanging from a large tree for the more daring kids.

On the other side of town is Dormont Park, a lovely, green park. The Fourth of July was a big day in Dormont. In the morning my dad would drive me to Dormont Pool, located in the park, where every child was given a grab bag full of little toys, candy and lots of peanuts in the shell. My dad always ate most of my peanuts. Then there was a local parade along West Liberty Avenue. In the evening, we'd head back to the park, where we sat on a blanket in the park to watch the annual fireworks display and was it spectacular!

Dormont Pool is the oldest (1923) municipal swimming pool in Pennsylvania as well as one of the largest at >60,000 square feet. I spent many a hot summer day at the pool, getting cooled off, only to walk home uphill and end up as sweaty as I'd started out. Apparently the pool is now in need of major repairs and locals are pitching in to save it. Details are at http://www.savedormontpool.com/.

The church we attended, Dormont Presbyterian, is now over 100 years old and has been designated as a historic place by the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.

(A view of downtown Pittsburgh from Biltmore Avenue in Dormont.)

Dormont offers the best of two worlds in its small town atmosphere and its proximity to a big city. I remember riding the streetcar into Pittsburgh with my mom to shop at Joseph Horne's or one of the other big department stores. In the 1920's and 30's Dormont was touted for its clean air, South Hills being relatively free of the smoke and pollution in Pittsburgh. By the 1950's, the area had switched from coal to natural gas and the air was much cleaner everywhere. As a child, I thought most of the buildings in downtown where made of black stone. Then one day I saw a building being sandblasted and realized they were all covered with coal soot!

Famous Dormonters include comedian Dennis Miller and Republican Congresman Ron Paul who ran for president this year and, of course, me. (Just kidding.)

Dormont was a great place to grow up, and to judge by this article at popcitymedia.com, it still is. Maybe one of these days I'll even get to visit again. It was fun getting re-acquainted with my home town again, and I was happy to learn that's it's still a nice place to live.

Linda

My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin. Thanks, Travis! Click on his site to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Did Palin Try to Ban Books?

UPDATE: The list of books at the end of this post is inaccurate and we know now that no books were banned from the Wasilla Library. - LM, 9-9-08 8:15AM

As a librarian, any mention of book banning catches my attention, and that was one of the tidbits mentioned as the press explored John McCain's new running mate. Reporters flocked to Alaska in the last week to visit Palin's home town of Wasilla. Time Magazine has posted an article on their website entitled: Mayor Palin: A Rough Record.

The article starts by quoting John McCain as saying, "I found someone with an outstanding reputation for standing up to special interests and entrenched bureaucracies,"... Does "entrenched bureaucracies" include the local library?

The article goes on to interview, Joe Stein, the town's former mayor who, in all fairness, was defeated by Palin for the position. Here's what Stein had to say:

Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.


People have tried to ban books for "inappropriate language" for years now. In some cases, like The Catcher in the Rye, it's because of the use of profanities, esp. the "F" word. And then there's the politically correct crowd that wanted to ban Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for using the "N" word. And sometimes the objections come from the author "taking the Lord's name in vain". No matter the reason, it's still censorship and a violation of the First Amendment, or so we librarians tend to think.

So what books did Palin want to ban? There are lists making their way around the internet and via email, which may or may not be accurate. Both lists I saw (one sent to me by email, the other at librarian.net) start with A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle. Say what? This is a children's science fiction classic. I've read the book twice, once as a pre-teen and again a few years ago. I know there's no "inappropriate language" in that book. All I can figure is the book's world view isn't sufficiently Christian for the social conservative mindset.

A list of the books Palin supposedly wanted to ban:

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer
Confession, by Jean Jacques Rousseau
Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller
Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman
Little Red Riding Hood, by the Grimm Brothers
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
Lysistrata, by Aristophanes
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mocking Bird, by Harper Lee
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
Pigman, by Paul Zindel

Plus:

Anything by Stephen King, everything by J.K. Rowling, just about everything by Roald Dahl, both of Mark Twain's major works, most of Judy Blume, most of William
Shakespeare, and (this is truly mind-boggling) Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff.


Some of these come as no surprise, but others have me scratching my head. Little Red Riding Hood??? Webster's Ninth? Can this be for real? And if it is, do we really want this woman as vice-president? I just hope they don't let her anywhere near the Library of Congress.

Linda

Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Town Monday: My Union Roots

This is a special Labor Day post. I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which used to be a blue collar, union city. Both of my parents were union members as were many of their friends.

After finishing high school, my mom went to work at the Armstrong Cork Factory, located not far from where she lived in the Strip. She knew how to type so she started in the offices, but soon switched to the factory. The pay was better and you didn't have to dress up. When the US entered World War II, Armstrong Cork became part of the war effort and my mom made jeep parts, kind of like Rosie the Riveter, only without the rivets. The feds came in to fingerprint everyone but couldn't get a complete set of prints from my mom because the machine she operated had rubbed the pads of two of her fingers smooth. I don't remember exactly which union she belonged to, but I think it was part of the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) which merged with the AFL in 1955.

My dad, a truck driver, was pretty much a lifelong member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. One of his jobs was to deliver meat to grocery stores and meat markets. This was in the days when every market had it's own butcher, so that meant my dad and his co-workers had to take a meat hook and carry big chunks of meat from the truck to the freezer, including hind quarters of beef. At about 5'7, my dad wasn't a big guy, but he was strong for his size. Driving in Pittsburgh was no picnic either, between the bad weather, narrow streets (at the time many still paved with bricks) and the surrounding hills. He used to cuss the "goat paths" that passed for streets in the area. Being a Teamster in those days was hard work. Still is, I'm sure, but maybe not quite as much.

When times got tough, the Teamsters ran a list at the union hall. Any member needing a job, signed onto a list every day. When temporary workers were needed, the guys at the top of the list got the job. If you missed a day, your name dropped to the bottom of the list. This was a problem the winter of 1963 when we had a bad snowstorm and temperatures of 18 degrees below zero. My dad was determined to report in at the union hall, but the car wouldn't start. He waited an hour for a streetcar to show up so he could make his way downtown. By the time he got home that night, his ear was frostbitten. That was an important day in my life, because it was what pushed my dad into deciding to move the family to California. Three days after school ended, we were on the road headed west.

We ended up in Azusa and my dad found a job as a warehouseman at the GEMCO store in San Gabriel. He stayed with GEMCO until he retired and was promoted to receiving clerk. Once a month he drove into LA to attend the monthly union meeting. When he retired, the only pension he received was from the union. Over the years, no matter how much scandal plagued the Teamsters, he always defended the union and Jimmy Hoffa because they took care of their members.

Unions aren't as pervasive an influence in American life these days, and I think that's bad. During the 20th century, the union movement helped build a vibrant and prosperous middle class and I think that's a good thing for democracy. What do you think?

Linda

My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin. Thanks, Travis! Click out his site to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ilona's Wolf video trailer

I finally finished and uploaded the video trailer for my latest release, Ilona's Wolf. (Yes, I know the idea for a trailer is to build up demand before the books is released, but I just couldn't manage it this time.)

I managed to get this one into exactly 60 seconds, so I'm making progress here. My first trailers were 3-4 minutes long, which is way too long. I've noticed it's harder to find royalty-free music I like that's short, but I can usually find something I love by Kevin McLeod at incompetech.com.

Here's the new trailer. Hope you like it.



For more information and an excerpt, go to http://www.amberquill.com/AmberHeat/IlonasWolf.html.

Linda / Lyndi

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Town Monday Meme: Anaheim

Travis Erwin suggested this My Town Monday meme, so I'm giving it a whirl today.

HOMETOWN: Anaheim, California

POPULATION -- 345,556 as of 2007. Anaheim is the 10th largest city in California and the 54th largest in the United States.

YOU SHOULD THINK OF MY TOWN WHEN ... you think of Disneyland. We're the only town in Orange County with our very own (fake) mountain. The park dominates the town in more ways than one.

ONE MUST SEE IF YOU VISIT -- Disney's California Adventure. There are other Magic Kingdom's around the world, but only one California Adventure.

ONE PLACE YOU SHOULD AVOID -- any filling station near the Disneyland Resort. Drive a few miles away into a residential area and you'll find cheaper gasoline.

FAMOUS RESIDENT -- Mickey Mouse who now lives in Toon Town. In the slightly-less-famous-but-real category, actor Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli on Heroes) was born in Anahim.



RENOWNED ATHLETE -- pitcher Nolan Ryan of the Anaheim Angels, among other team players. Ryan threw four of seven no-hitters while he was with the Angels in the 1970's.

I couldn't think of anything in the "WITHOUT MY TOWN, THE WORLD WOULD NOT HAVE" category, so I'm substituting:

BIGGEST DISASTER... The Palm Lane Fire of 1982.

The fire started when high winds from a Santa Ana condition downed electrical lines. The flames spread, spread by the dry winds, and destroyed an entire block of apartment houses plus some other homes. Most of them had wood shake roofs which were banned afterwards because of their flammability. The fire started early in the day, just a few blocks from the home I now share with my husband. At the time, he lived there with his brother. Neither of them went to work that day. They stayed home, hosing the roof with water and watching the smoke. The fire got to within a block or two of our house before it was put out. We now have a class A roof instead of the wood shake.

I LIVE IN MY TOWN BECAUSE ... my husband already lived here when we married.

I MIGHT LEAVE ON DAY BECAUSE ... the neighborhood is changing and not for the better.

Linda

My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin. Thanks, Travis! Click out his site to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Virgo!

Virgo is the sign of the virgin, but in these modern times, don't take that too literally. The sign is generally symbolized by a young woman in a toga, sometimes with a sheaf of wheat in her arms. Virgo is sometimes associated with Persephone, daughter of Demeter, goddess of the harvest. Persephone was kidnapped by Hades where she spent part of the year as Queen of the Underworld.

Ruled by Mercury, Virgo is thoughtful, practical, analytical and often serious, but with Mercurial charm and wit. Bob Newhart is probably the quintessential Virgo comedian with his sly, dry wit and understated persona. On the negative side, the sign can be "fussy, prissy and dogmatic", as Linda Goodman puts it. But lest anyone think Virgos can't be sexy, consider this list of actors and actresses born under the sign: Lauren Bacall, Anne Bancroft, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Greta Garbo, Richard Gere, Mark Harmon, Sophia Loren, Cliff Robertson, Charlie Sheen and Raquel Welch!

Virgo is an Earth sign, hence the practicality, but since it's also a mutable sign, Virgos are more adaptable than their fellow earth signs, Taurus and Capricorn. As the sixth sign, Virgo rules over sixth house matters, specifically health and medicine. Virgo colors are green and brown, fitting for an earth sign. Virgo's gemstone (or starstone) is variously given as the sapphire or sardonyx.

Other famous Virgos include Agatha Christie, Elvis Costello, Queen Elizabeth I (the Virgin Queen), Gloria Estefan, Goethe, O. Henry, Buddy Holly, Ivan the Terrible, Michael Jackson, King Louis XIV, President Lyndon Johnson, the Marquis de Lafayette, D. H. Lawrence, H. L. Mencken, Margaret Sanger, Peter Sellers, President William Howard Taft, and Mother Teresa.

Is there a Virgo in your life?

Linda

Links to articles on Virgo:

http://www.astrology-online.com/virgo.htm

http://www.astrologycom.com/virgo.html

http://www.astrology-insight.com/virgo.htm

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What Olympic Sport Are You?

I saw this on another blog and thought it was cute, but figured I'd better post it now before the Olympics end.

Apparently, I am Badminton, not a bad choice as it was one of the few sports I didn't hate back in high school. The description is surprisingly accurate, though I'm not sure about the "focused" part. I'm far too easily distracted.




You Are Badminton



You are quite talented but not very appreciated.

You are detail oriented, very focused, and agile.

You are happy to forsake glory for success in something you truly love.



Linda

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Two Line Tuesday: Writing Description

I discovered a book called The Physician's Tale last week, downloaded a sample for my Kindle and liked it so I bought a copy and I've been reading it at every opportunity. (I don't have as much reading time as I used to.)

The Physician's Tale defies easy categorization. It's part medical thriller, part historical novel and part science fiction dystopia. There are two physicians, both fighting separate plagues: one in the 14th century and the other in an unspecified time in the 21st c. Janie, the modern doctor, is aware of Alejandro, the 14th c. man, because of finding his diary.

Benson immediately hooked me with her first two sentences:

"It was the first spring after the long, hard winter that marked the second coming of the called DR SAM. The sun was April bright, but the wind seemed stuck in March; it roared down the mountainside with the ferocity of a lion, blowing ripples on the surface of the river's fast-moving waters."


My first thought was, "my, this woman can write"!

It turns out this is the last book of a series, but it stands well alone. The plot is too complicated to explain here, but I'm finding it all quite engrossing. The first book in the serious is, apparently, The Plague Tales: A Novel. I've reserved a copy from the public library since it's not available electronically.

Now for two lines I've written, this time from my Regency romance, Lady Elinor's Escape.

"Lady Elinor Ashworth stared out the window of her bedchamber at acres of farmland sprouting new growth. Spring green brightened the vista, taunting her with the promise of freedom."


Writing good description is tough and something I continually work on. Does good description come easily to you or is it something you struggle with, too?

Linda / Lyndi

Monday, August 18, 2008

No My Town Monday Today

I wasn't able to get my act together this weekend, so no My Town Monday post from me today. I'll try to get a post up tomorrow, but I have to work on my writing this afternoon.

As always, check Travis Erwin's blog to read his interesting post and find other My Town Monday blogs.

Linda

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Two Sentence Tuesday: Magic

I'm trying to get back to a regular schedule of writing and blogging, so here's a quick two-sentence Tuesday post.

I'm currently reading A Distant Magic by Mary Jo Putney, one of my favorite writers. She started out with Regency and historical romances, and is now writing fantasy historical novels. Here are the two opening sentences in her latest book:

"The two foreign gentlemen strolling through Valletta's market square looked like they had pockets worth picking. Nikolai quietly shadowed them through the crowds, knowing they would never notice a boy his size in the noisy throng."


Nikolai's encounter with the foreign gents is the first step in a remarkable journey that plunges him into slavery and forges his lifelong quest to free as many slaves as possible. A Distant Magic is a departure from Putney's usual with a more serious theme and the added element of time travel. I like her books a lot.

Now for the first two lines from my most recent release, Ilona's Wolf. I don't often use omniscient viewpoint (at least not purposely), but in this case I couldn't resist the fairy tale opening.

"Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Velosia, magic was more precious than gold. The few who possessed it were highly prized, for not everyone could learn to wield the magic, only those who were sorcerers born."


The Two Sentence Tuesday post idea comes to us from
http://www.womenofmystery.net.

Linda / Lyndi

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Out-of-Town Monday: Fisherman's Wharf

Recently I spent the better part of a week in San Francisco and one of the highlights of the trip was a visit to Fisherman's Wharf. My roommate, Catherine Snodgrass, and I took the F Market streetcar from Market Street and discovered Fronnie Lewis, another romance writer from Southern California, on the tram and asked her to join us. It was late afternoon and lots of people were getting off work and boarding the streetcar, which made it very crowded. The locals were friendly and helped us watch out for our stop at Pier 39.

After a quick visit to the Bare Escentuals store for a makeup fix, we decided to pass up Bubba Gump's in favor of the Pier Market Restaurant. (Nothing against Bubba Gump's, but there's one in Anaheim now plus I'd checked out the menus ahead of time and knew they don't offer the Clam Chowder Sourdough Bread Bowl I knew Cathy wanted. Fortunately, the Pier Market did serve the bread bowl and she enjoyed it. My salmon with herb butter was delicious, not to mention being a huge chunk of fish! I couldn't resist washing it down witha glass of Anchor Steam beer, a delicious local brew Fronnie worked her way through a huge helping of crab so everyone was happy with the meal. We had a seat by the window with a great view of San Francisco Bay, some of the resident sea lions and of Forbes Island (pictured at top right), which Frommer's guidebook describes as "a wonderfully ridiculous floating restaurant disguised as an island (complete with lighthouse and real 40-ft. palm trees)". Only in California.

Fisherman's Wharf used to be the commercial fishing district for San Francisco, but is now mainly a tourist mecca. It stretches over a number of wharfs covered with shops and restaurants. Some of the restaurants have been around for decades. There's also a chapel dedicated to the memory of the "lost fishermen" of Northern California at nearby Pier 45.

After dinner, we wandered through Chocolate Heaven, a sinfully irresistible candy shop. Much of the merchandise is from the local Ghirardelli chocolate factory. Fronnie and I found the truffles area and had to sample several of them. The hazelnut truffle was especially delicious, but I love anything with hazelnut flavor. Too bad we didn't have time to hit Ghirardelli Square. On the other hand, given my addiction to chocolate, it's probably just as well.

Here's a slideshow of my Fisherman's Wharf photos, courtesy of Picasa:



Linda

My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin. Thanks, Travis! Click on his site to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

RWA Conference Report

Last week I attended the RWA National Conference for the first time since 2002. I'm still tired and a little brain dead after catching cold during the week, but I'll try to make some coherent comments.

This year's location was superb: San Francisco, California. I hadn't been to the city in a long time and I'd forgotten how much fun it is. (More about that on Monday.) The conference took place at the San Francisco Marriott, and as always, RWA filled up their room quota and had to book spillover space at another Marriott nearby. My roommate, Catherine Snodgrass, and I were lucky to get a room on the seventh floor. We didn't have much of a view, but the lower floors had their own set of elevators, so we didn't have to waste a lot of time waiting for an elevator. On Wednesday I attended the Historical Romance Writers' Conference and I'll do a separate post about that another time, as it was a good day.

The national conference started on Thursday with an opening session featuring an Australian musician and motivational speaker. I enjoyed her piano playing. I thought she was quite good (I took lessons for years) and I recognized most of the tunes. The last one was a parody of "I Write The Songs" only it was "I Write the Books" and practically the whole audience was singing. This was my least favorite part, and my roomie said later that it smacked of a "revival meeting". Neither of us are RWA true believers any more. We've been stung by RWA's policies one too many times for that.

That afternoon I went to the PAN Retreat to hear Gail Blanke, a self-help writer and life coach. She was very good and I bought her book Between Trapezes. She talked about defining moments and "Six Steps for Thriving On Change" which you can find at her website.

On Friday afternoon, I went to Julia Hunter's Behind the Badge workshop. She's a federal law enforcement officer who writes romantic suspense. I found it interesting and she has a great website http://julia-hunter.com/ with a page of links to all sorts of federal agencies.

Late in the afternoon I participated in the panel on "The Romance of Alternative Lifestyles". We had no idea what to expect, but we had about 40 people show up, only one walked out on us, and most seemed receptive to what we had to say. Walking around with a Speaker ribbon gets attention and lots of people asked me what I was talking about. Some were taken aback when I told them about writing male/male erotic romance, but no one was rude. In general, the atmosphere at this RWA conference was so much more open and accepting than what Cathy and I experienced back in 2002 when there was so much animosity about e-publishing. I'm glad I went back.

This is getting a little long, so I will continue on another day.

Linda

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ilona's Wolf released

Ilona's Wolf, part of the Howling At The Moon... Again AmberPax, was released by Amber Heat over the weekend while I was at the RWA Conference in San Francisco. This is my first werewolf story and the first with a Medieval-style fantasy setting. World building can be a challenge, but it can also be a lot of fun. In this story, I created a kingdom called Velosia in which magic is openly practiced, the old Roman gods and goddesses are still worshipped and werewolves fight to conceal their existence.

My muse didn't lead me in the expected route where the werewolves cycles are tied to the phases of the moon and he's a victim of his biology. In Velosia, werewolves are born with the ability to shapeshift at will. Except for my hero Rolf who starts the story trapped in wolf form. The beginning is a twist on the old fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, only in this version, Red is saved from the woodsman by the wolf.

While picking herbs in the woods, Princess Ilona is rescued from a woodsman by a wolf. When the creature licks her wounds, it is suddenly transformed into a man. A very handsome, very naked man who makes passionate love to her in a glade.

Cursed by an evil wizard, Rolf was trapped in wolf form until he tasted the blood of a royal. Now he must escort the princess on a hazardous journey back to the castle to stop an ill-fated wedding.

Passion flares between them, but both know there is no future for Ilona and her werewolf. Or is there? In a world where magic and passion combine, anything may be possible.


Click here to read an excerpt from Ilona's Wolf.

In the next couple of days I'll get my San Francisco pictures uploaded. It's taking longer to catch up than I expected after the trip to San Francisco.

Linda / Lyndi

Monday, July 28, 2008

San Francisco, Here I Come!

I leave tomorrow morning for the RWA National Conference in San Francisco and I'll be traveling sans computer, so this will be the only blog post for the week.

It has been a very long time since I've been to the fabled City by the Bay and I'm looking forward to the visit, though I'll have little time to sightsee. Most of the week will be spent at the Marriott attending conference activities. But a friend and I are planning a visit to Fisherman's Wharf for tomorrow night, for shopping and seafood. I should have some of my own pictures to post next week.

My first trip to San Francisco was way back in 1965, two years after my folks and I moved to Southern California. We drove up Highway 101 to the city, stayed in an older hotel and had a ball sightseeing. My dad unwisely agreed to drive down Lombard Street (pictured here), supposedly the crookedest street in the world. We started at the top of the street and drove down in my dad's 1965 Chevelle, a stick shift with no power steering. By the time we got to the end of the street, my dad said his arms felt like they were about to fall off!

My Town Monday: Orange County will return in mid-August. In the meantime, check Travis Erwin's blog for a list of My Town Monday posts.

Linda / Lyndi

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Leo (July 23 - August 22)


Leo is one of my favorite signs, probably because my Moon is in Leo, so I usually get along well with people born under this sign. (The one exception being my only first cousin but that's not a story I want to get into here.)

A fire sign ruled by the Sun, Leo is represented by the Lion and is known for his warmth and flamboyance, his ego and his temper. After all, the lion is king of the jungle and loves being the center of attention. Consider the reports that Bill Clinton, a Leo, stole the stage from his Scorpio wife while she was running for the Democratic nomination for president. He couldn't help it; he's a Leo. People born under this sign are natural leaders with a flair for the dramatic. Leos are warm, generous and friendly, but they can also be arrogant and self-centered.

It's rare, though not impossible, to find an introverted Leo, but chances are he secretly dreams of being king. As always, a lot depends on the individual chart. Leo is a fixed sign, so Leos can get a bit set in their ways or even authoritarian. The sign rules the heart, both literally and figuratively. In the natal chart, the fifth house rules love and romance, but on a more serious note, Leos can be susceptible to heart disease.

Given Leo's flair for drama and penchant for the limelight, it's no surprise to find a lot of familiar show biz names in any list of famous Leos, including Gracie Allen, Lucille Ball, Ethel Barrymore, Bill "Count" Basie, Clara Bow, Walter Brennan, Arlene Dahl, Eddie Fisher, Olympic skating champions Peggie Fleming and Dorothy Hamill, director Alfred Hitchcock, rockers Jerry Garcia and Mick Jagger, Peter O'Toole, Arnold Schwarzenegger, playwright George Bernard Shaw, Martin Sheen, Wesley Snipes, Robert Taylor and the marvelous Mae West, who provides a quintessential archetype for the lioness.

Other famous people born under this sign include emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, poets Robert Burns and Ogden Nash, dictators Fidel Castro and Benito Mussolini, pioneering pilot Amelia Earhart, authors Emily Bronte, John Galsworthy, Aldous Huxley, Dorothy Parker, Sir Walter Scott and Percy Bysse Shelley, pioneering psychiatrist Carl Jung, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Princess Margaret, and Sydney Omarr, astrologer to the Hollywood stars.

You can find a list of more famous Leos http://www.ecentral.com/astra/fleo.html here and more information about the sign at http://www.cafeastrology.com/zodiacleo.html Cafe Astrology .com

Is there a Leo in your life?

Linda

Monday, July 21, 2008

Two new reviews and a contest

I finally came up for air after finishing my next Lyndi Lamont story, Ilona's Wolf, on Sunday. I'm horrifically late and it's being rushed into production for an August 3 release from Amber Heat. And it didn't help that the DSL was down all morning. Now I'm trying to catch up on other things like blogging and promo, so there will be no My Town Monday post from me this week. As always, check Travis Erwin's blog for his post and list of other My Town Mondays.

Last week I was thrilled to receive my first review for Alliance: Cosmic Scandal and another one for Alliance: Clandestine Desire.

ALLIANCE: COSMIC SCANDAL received a 4 Nymph review from Literary Nymphs:
"Cosmic Scandal is another delightful episode in the Alliance series. For the first time, Myrek desires to follow his heart rather than his duty but Khira knows their love is doomed. Lyndi Lamont continues this fabulous saga of two planets struggle to come together with Myrek older brother to Rulik, who was introduced in the first book Diplomatic Relations. This is a very enjoyable series; I look forward to the next installment. " - Chocolate Minx,
Literary Nymphs


Joyfully Reviewed had this to say about ALLIANCE: CLANDESTINE DESIRE:

"The blossoming relationship between these men is amazing, and just when they find each other a life altering choice must be made. Clandestine Desire is the start of what promises to be an adventure in life and love for these two men. Lyndi Lamont did an incredible job of creating another worldly reading experience, and I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next segment to release to see what happens and where it leads Berhin and Tai." - Raine, Joyfully Reviewed

I'm running my Erotica Stay-At-Home Conference giveaway with books and promo I've collected from conferences and trade shows. Details are at my website. Must be 18 to enter.

Linda / Lyndi

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Going Green for a Week Update

We turned in the Prius on Sunday after filling up the tank. I a week, we'd driven about 275 miles on half a tank, 165 miles of it high-speed freeway driving. When my DH figured out our mileage, he was surprised and pleased to find we'd gotten 45 mpg on the half tank. Not bad considering more than half of it was freeway driving.

In a comment Rhonda asked if a large man would fit in the Prius and I'd say yes. My DH is 6'1" with very long legs and he had no problems at all. In fact, the car is higher than our Acura TL, with excellent head room. Overall, it was surprisingly roomy inside. The hardest thing to get used to is the "snub nose" front as Rhonda put it in a comment. You can get the idea from this photo which I took out the front window while parked. The hood of the car is nowhere in sight!

Would I consider buying one? You bet. Gasoline prices may be down a bit, but I doubt we'll ever see $1.00 a gallon gas again anytime soon. But first we may have to rent a Toyota Camry and see if we like it better.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Going Green For A Week


On Sunday, my hubby and I rented a Toyota Prius for a week to see how we like it. He drove it the first part of the week and now it's my turn, though I did get a chance to drive it a bit on Sunday and again yesterday. I'd been intrigued by the idea of the hybrid engine for some time, and since the price of gasoline started going up, he's quit fighting me on the idea.

My husband drove it first, and the thing that impressed him most was that you can't see the front of the car from the driver's seat. The hood slopes off dramatically, as you can see it. It takes a little getting used to. I discovered today that it helps to turn on the headlights, even during the day, as you can see them reflected in things like walls, garage doors, the bumper of the car in front of you... Very useful. :)

The controls take a little getting used to, also. Instead of a standard automatic transmission control, there's a Power button you push to start the engine but it only works if you have your foot on the break, and another button for Park. The display is fun to watch. It shows whether or not the gasoline engine is engaged (like you can't tell by the sound of it). The electric motor is very quiet.

It's smaller but higher than out Acura TL. We don't have kids or grandkids to haul around, so a sedan works nicely for us, even a small one. My DH said to ask myself as I drove the Prius, "would you want to drive this car across the country?" I'm not sure about the answer, but I'd happily drive it to northern California or Arizona. Don't know if we'll buy one or not. I'll report in again on Sunday about final impressions in between my writing, which has gone pretty well this week. The next few days are going to be busy ones though.

How's your week going?

Linda

Monday, July 7, 2008

Blogging Hiatus / Obamaisms

I'm taking a blogging hiatus for a few days in hopes of actually getting some writing done these next few days, so no My Town Monday post from me today. As usual, Travis Erwin has a MTM Monday post about Amarillo area plus a list of other MTM posts at his blog, One Word, One Rung, One Day.

I'll re-post the Obamamania widget, so there's something fun here.

Have a good week!

Linda / Lyndi




Update:

Note to my blogging friends: please forgive me if I don't stop by to comment for a few days. I'll be back when I can.

Linda

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Philadelphia: Birthplace of Liberty


In 1987 I had the opportunity to spend a week in Philadelphia on a tour run by the travel company I was working for. We stayed at a hotel right in the historic district, within walking distance of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Continental Congress met to decide whether America would be part of the United Kingdom or a free nation. We also took day trips to Valley Forge and the little town of Washington Crossing where, you guessed it, Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware to attack the Hessians in Trenton.

I've always been a history buff and it didn't take long for me to fall in love with Philadelphia's historic areas. I loved the stately Georgian architecture of Independence Hall and the tiny but delightful Elfreth's Alley where you can visit the house where Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag.


At the time I was just starting to think about writing, and the trip to Philly had spawned an idea for a historical romance set during the Revolution. The trip gave me a chance to visit the places my novel would take place and to pick up research material along the way. Alas, that book, Divided Loyalties, would never see the light of day, but I did manage to salvage one character, Sally Young, Rebel spy, for Seducing The Enemy, one of my Lyndi Lamont erotic short stories.

I still like the idea of a romance set during the Revolution, but it has been a long while since that time period was popular. My theory is that the US has been going through a conservative period in our history, and stories set in the Revolution are somehow politically incorrect. Don't let anyone kid you. Our Founding Fathers were revolutionaries, with radical ideas for their time. "All men are created equal..." Say what? In a century where monarchy was the norm, Jefferson's ideas were radical indeed.

So, in between the barbeques and fireworks, I hope you'll give some thought to our Founding Fathers and the birthplace of liberty.

Happy Fourth of July!

Linda

Note: Stock photos from "Art Explosiong 300,000 Premium Image Collection" on CD.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Two Sentence Tuesday

My blogger friend Travis Erwin turned me on to Two Sentence Tuesdays, so I thought I'd give it a try. The idea was originated by the Women of Mystery blog and the idea is to quote two lines of a book (or whatever) you're reading followed by two lines you've written.

Since George Carlin passed away recently, I thought it appropriate to start off with my favorite quote of his:

"When you're born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front row seat. "

Alas, all too true. If you want to read more of Carlin's sayings, click here.

Now it's my turn. In honor of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, here are two lines from Seducing The Enemy by Lyndi Lamont, historical erotica set in Philadelphia in 1777. The POV is that of the hero, British Major Jack Tyrell. The British have just occupied the capital of the fledgling United States and this is Jack's impression of the city:

"He was impressed with the city of Philadelphia, a prosperous town laid out in neat squares, unlike the warren of goat paths they called streets in Boston. And so far, the citizens of the colonial capital had been far more friendly and welcoming than the taciturn New Englanders."

Linda / Lyndi

More Two Line Tuesday posts can be found here:

http://www.womenofmystery.net

http://traviserwin.blogspot.com/

http://www.pretzelplace.net/

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Town Monday: Camp Pendleton

San Clemente is just north of the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton and the Marine Corps flag flies below the U.S. Flag on the pier. There's even a park dedicated to the Corps near the pier (picture taken by yours truly) and a lot of retired military live in the area. So I thought it might be interesting to learn a little more about the base.

Camp Pendleton, the major West Coast base of the USMC, was named after Marine General Joseph Henry Pendleton, who advocated establishing a training center on the West Coast. It was started in 1942 and stretches between the cities of Oceanside, in San Diego County, and San Clemente, the southernmost city in Orange County. The area was originally Rancho Santa Margarita y Los Flores, so designated in 1769 by Spanish captain Gaspar de Portola, who led an expeditionary force looking for sites for the famed California Missions. The closest mission is San Luis Rey, just south of the base. The original ranch house, still used as the home for the Commanding General of the First Marine Expeditionary Force, is a National Historic Site.


Today the base serves as the Corps prime amphibious training base and has been home of the 1st Marine Division since 1946. We often hear the Marines shelling San Clemente Island, an almost daily reminder that the Marines are on the job, and I'm glad they are.

Sunday, as I was leaving Wal-Mart, I saw an older gentleman with a cane who was taking collections for the children of men and women killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was happy to make a donation for such a worthy cause. I just hope our soldiers and Marines can all come home soon.

Linda

additional source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Pendleton

My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin. Thanks, Travis! Click out his site to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.