Snakes . . . It had to be snakes

Remember Harrison Ford’s famous line in Indiana Jones ”I hate snakes.” Yeah, well I second that. We live on property with a pond and while it’s very pretty here, it comes with critters I don’t care to have around. My Yorkie, Cocoa, loves to hunt snakes. The garter snakes that are lured here by our half-acre pond. I always know when Cocoa has found snakes. She barks like a crazy dog and attacks. I looked up garter snakes today and they can be poisonous to small animals. Cocoa, I hope you’re listening. Stay away from the snakes.

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Usually I leave the demise of the snakes to my better half. He was at work so I did it myself. I’ve always been a coward, but today when I saw that fork-tongued icky thing lunging at my Yorkie, I sliced that sucker in two. I found his buddy underneath our patio chaise lounge. And while he somewhat got away, he’s going to turn around and find out his butt is missing.

Ugh and shudder. I hate snakes!

ALL THAT YOU ARE Contest! Win Autographed Books!

To celebrate the publication of Stef Ann’s concluding story about the Moretti family, she’s giving away an autographed copy of ALL THAT YOU ARE–and ALL THE RIGHT ANGLES and ALL THAT MATTERS. Simply fill in the fields and submit. The submissions will close September 30, and a random winner will be chosen on October 1, 2009. Good luck!

October 1, 2009 – Helen L. has won the contest! (By a scientific process . . . I asked my husband to pick a random number!) Congratulations Helen!

Publisher’s Weekly – All That You Are Review

All That You Are
Publisher’s Weekly – October 2009

When the Blue Note is cited for building violations, financially strapped Dana accepts Mark’s offer of help, and their relationship unfolds through verbal jabs that turn gradually into conversations . . .

Holm’s affection for her characters and the beautiful setting lend a hint of savor to this sweet soufflé.

All That You Are Stef Ann Holm. HQN, $7.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-373-77403-6
Fans who have followed the escapades of the older Moretti brothers in All The Right Angles and All That Matters will enjoy meeting wild-child Mark, age 40 and facing a midlife crisis. While spending the summer in Ketchikan, Alaska, he’s thrown out of the Blue Note bar and into love with its beautiful proprietor, Danalee Jackson, a part-black, part-Chinese 28-year-old with a murky history, a young son and a policy against dating customers. When the Blue Note is cited for building violations, financially strapped Dana accepts Mark’s offer of help, and their relationship unfolds through verbal jabs that turn gradually into conversations . . . Holm’s affection for her characters and the beautiful setting lend a hint of savor to this sweet soufflé. (Oct.)

Funny Food Combos

The other night, my husband slathered butter on a . . . brownie. I can honestly say, I have never once seen someone put butter on a brownie. Then again, my husband puts butter on anything so I shouldn’t have been surprised.

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I put catsup on tacos. I have for as long as I can remember. I also put catsup on ox tail soup. I haven’t had it since I lived at home with the folks. That was a dish my mother made. She got me started on the catsup on tacos too. My stepdaughters think it’s weird. It probably is.

But so is butter on a brownie.

So what’s your funny food combos?

It’s Not Called Turkey Like The Thanksgiving Bird

So this past May, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a trip to Turkey, Greece and Italy. We’d been to Italy before and loved it. This year, we opted to do a Greek Isle Cruise first to kick things off. We flew from here to Istanbul, then spent the night. The fol

lowing day, we boarded our ship, The Wind Spirit. This isn’t your typical cruise ship. It’s small–like 130 passengers. Very intimate and you pretty much can meet and mingle with everyone on board.

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I have so many photos of the trip it’s impossible to load them all. This is the view of our “clipper” ship from Santorini. When th

e wind was just right, we could power under the sails. It was quite awsome. We visited many ports. We’d go to Turkish ports, then Greek. Very difference in customs and manners. We met a guide in Ephesus who was fabulous. He was a very somber man, but he was friendly and full of information. He told us that his country is not pronounced like our American bird. It’s called Turh-keh-yeah. I hope I got that right. Some of my favorite ports were Ephesus and Rhodes (pronounced Road-Ohs). We rented a motorcyle on this island and went to the beach. Topless. If I’d had the nerve, I would have bared it all–but I didn’t want to clear the beach.

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Here’s a silly photo of us eating at the water’s edge in Mykonos, Greece. One of our favorite couples on the cruise joined us for lunch. That’s me holding a shrimp.

Eight days at sea, good food (the Greek cheese pies . . . I’m in love!), making new friends, seeing fabulous things–it was a wonderful cruise. I’m so glad I don’t get seasick because cruising is the way to see a lot of places in a short amount of time.

Once we got of the ship in Athens, we flew to Rome, then rented a car and drove into the Tuscany region. Our last stay in Italy was on the Amalfi Coast. This time we went inland. The scenery was vastly different from the arid and warm climate we’d just come from.

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Unfortunately, it rained every day in Italy. But we took our umbrellas and ventured out. The hotel we stayed in was the home of a Marquis (who we met) and used to be a retreat for Pope John Paul. It was amazing. We stayed in a “stable” room. Really rustic and quaint. We toured the countryside, visiting old villages and shopping for artwork, wine, cheese and my favorite olives of all time.

They have beautiful public markets with fresh fruits and vegetables. I wish we has something like this here in Boise. It would be so great.

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After the Tuscan region, we went to Rome and visited a few of our favorite places from our last trip. Lunch at Leonardo’s for sure! This was a wonderful trip and I’m so blessed that we were able to go. I have a great husband who is the very best!!!

The Romance Writers of America Conference

Recently I went to the RWA conference in Washington, DC. There, I met up with 2,000 of my peers in writing. Some published, some not. Always good to see old friends and make new ones. I don’t have much to report by the way of the biz, as I didn’t attend any workshops. This was more of a mingle and see my agent and editor trip. I have the world’s best editor. She’s fun, dresses way cool, always has the best glasses. She hip, she’s trendy, and she likes my writing. What more can I ask for?

I got to see my dear friend, Amelia Gray. She and I have been friends for 20 years. She writes Regency Historicals for Sourcebooks. She’s doing great. I spent most of my time with her, but the best part of conference was shopping. I always ask Amelia for fashion advice when I shop online at Neimans. Since we don’t have one in Boise, and since Amelia lives in Florida, I’ll send her links to dresses and ask her if she thinks they’d work for me. She was the one who found my wedding dress for me and I ended up flying to L.A. to purchase it with my step-daughter to be.

Anyway, Amelia and I got to shop together at the DC Neimans and try on dresses. I got four. She got two. I don’t have a close girlfriend in Boise that I do this sort of stuff with, so this was a big deal to me to be with one of my best friends.

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The Beverage Fridge

All my life, I’ve only had one refrigerator. I am organized, I managed it. Even when holidays came around, pre-made pies, fruit salads, etc., found a spot. Beverages were put in an ice chest for the day and folks could help themselves.

Then I met my husband. I inherited six refrigerators and one meat freezer. In order, they are . . .

1 half-sized fridge built into in the kitchen poolhouse. I never really new it existed until I smelled something out there and discovered one of the kids had put Popsicles in the fridge part rather than the freezer part and they melted.

1 full-sized side-by-side in the poolhouse. Rarely anything in it. We stocked it up with halibut and salmon once we had shipped home from Alaska.

1 full-sized side-by-side in the kitchen. This is a big stainless monster. I like it. Serves me well.

1 sub-zero built-in in the kitchen. This is a great fridge for misc. beverages, fruits and vegetables. Everything stays crisp and cold.

1 mini fridge in the barn. Typically this is unused accept for fishing bait. Worms and junk are forgotten in here. I long stopped going near it.

1 meat freezer in the garage. The last of “Roast” and “Beef” our two cows we raised, are stored in here. Along with a lamb we had butchered. My husband’s many Schwann’s sugar-free Popsicles also reside in here. This fridge is going to have to have a major clean out and organization due to the six lambs we currently have grazing in our pasture . . . and whose final home will be in this freezer.

1 full-sized side-by-side in the garage. The Beverage Fridge. I never thought I’d actually have a beverage fridge. This one houses water, beer and pop. I really don’t need it because I don’t drink beer or pop. But I like water. The freezer section is where I keep leftovers. This fridge is on the fritz and not keeping things as cold as they should be. But do I dare request another fridge? I think one of the other fridges should be moved here and we get rid of one of the others.

Does anyone else have a beverage fridge?

A Huge Fan

My job is interesting. I write books. I have fans write me letters and e-mails. It’s a cool thing. So when I’m a fan of someone, I hope they think that’s a cool thing, too.

I recently started watching a show called BREAKING BAD. It’s on AMC. Thank goodne

ss they’ve optioned it for a Season 3. I’ve watched Season 1 and 2. I was hooked after the first episode. It stars Bryan Cranston–Hal from Malcolm in the Middle fame (and almost completely unrecognizable.) And Aaron Paul. I’ve never see his work before and I don&#82

17;t know why not. This actor is amazing. He plays Jesse Pinkman.

A summary about the series storyline. High school chemistry teacher, Walter White, is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He has a teenage son at home with cerebral palsy (played with such w

armth and determination by RJ Mitte) and a lovely wife who has an “oops” pregnancy later in life. Walter can’t accept the fact he’ll leave them without financial soundness. On a ride-along with his DEA agent brother-in-law, Hank, Walter recognizes a former student turned meth dealer–Jesse Pinkman. The two, through a series of mishaps, hook up and scheme to cook the best meth New Mexico has seen.

When I told a friend about this plotline, she wasn’t interested. She said drugs are bad and she doesn’t want them glorified. Yes, they’re bad. Yes, meth is horrible. But the show takes meth and makes it a character of its own. I can’t really describe it, but Walter White’s obsession with making money for his family treads over the real evils of meth use. It’s in later episodes that the viewer pans closer to the “meth” character with all its ugliness . . . and by now, Walter wants out. But he’s told so many lies upon lies, he can’t keep anything straight.

One of the reasons I was hooked into this show was Aaron Paul’s incredible acting. He plays the character so seamlessly, that I believe him to be the two-bit dealer he is. He may talk tough, act tough, but deep down, his heart is big and his fears are real. The background the show’s creators have given the character are broad, thought-out and realistic.

As I often do when I’m interested in a show, I dig deeper and want to know more about it. In researching other films/shows Aaron Paul has played in, I discovered something totally great. He’s from Idaho! Emmett to be exact. That’s like 30 minutes from my house. I thought that was the greatest thing. His real name is Aaron Paul Sturtevant. I’m not divulging private information–I found this on the Internet. Anyway, from what I real he now lives in Hollywood. He started in Idaho and is California. I started in California and am now in Idaho.

Anyway, if anyone is looking for a GREAT show to watch–get BREAKING BAD. You will NOT be disappointed. And if anyone has found this blog by looking for Aaron Paul, and if you are Aaron Paul : ”Yo, hit me up in an e-mail.” I’d love to say hi.

Jesse Pinkman played by Aaron Paul

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Bragging about my daughter!

I have a 20 year old daughter who works at Sephora. She’s fabulous with make-up, and she’s also a cosmetologist who does my hair. She holds down two jobs, pays her bills on time, is responsible and is–if I may say–gorgeous. So she just called to say she’s made it to the next round of Pro Beauty–an in-house competition within Sephora over who their top in-store make-up artist will be!!!! I am so proud of her! She’ll be going to San Francisco to compete in the next round. I’ll be cheering her on!

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