Saturday, January 30, 2010

Preditors and Editors poll (official results)

My interview with Hal Colebatch, which ran in the May 2009 issue of Expressions, is #4 in the nonfiction category of the Preditors & Editors poll:

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snappy bathrooms on a budget (link)

I was really impressed by the 50s style clock over the bathtub! The beach scene wrapped around the toilet--not so much. Little round mirrors as bubbles over the tub--very imaginative. For more ideas, go to this HGTV webpage: Bathrooms on a Budget: Our 10 Favorites From Rate My Space : Bathrooms : Home & Garden Television

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Decorating ideas

The February issue of Southern Living has some interesting ideas for your home. An architect didn't like the look of his shower stall so he closed it off with paneled doors to make it look like a linen closet. Hmm. I wonder if people will start hiding their showers the way they're hiding the toilets. More wasted space...

Another article has some interesting ideas from a designer who uses textiles, bright colors, and graphic patterns, along with area rugs over her neutral carpets, to enliven her home. The navy sofa with white piping and buttons/tufts stands out. Btw, there's a store in D. C. named And Beige, that specializes in neutral-toned accessories, etc.

A homeowner renovated their kitchen with wood, steel and stainless steel (for an industrial look), and red cabinets. There's a sidebar with the article on choosing the right wood. There are other home decorating ideas too. You do know that matching furniture is passe? There are also articles on sustainable design, forcing spring blooms, clematis, herbs, recipes, and more. And I have to mention the gherkin stuck with a plastic pick on top of a half sandwich. That's an attention grabber.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Joy V. Smith's books and anthologies

Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook
is out in a new edition with color photos; the ISBN number on that edition is 978-1-60749-562-8: Online Bookstore (You'll have to type the title into the search box.)

It covers the building process and what’s involved in building your home and includes diary excerpts, photos, and advice from planning to punch list and beyond. It got a rave review from The Midwest Book Review and was on the Reviewer's Choice list.

Why doesn’t anyone want to play with Kallie Kitten? Why do they jump into the pond or hide? Will anyone ever talk to her? Will this frisky little kitten learn to play their games?

Illustrator Andrea Gradidge was originally from the UK
and now resides in British Columbia, Canada.
She has illustrated various chapbooks and e-zines and also
Joy V. Smith's story "Sammy's Beautiful Tail".

Children will enjoy this colorful picture book and the cut-out critters at the end.
It is available online at Barnes & Noble:

Sugar Time is an audiobook of time travel tales with sound effects & music.
Check it out at:

Magistria: The Realm of the Sorcerer
This shared world anthology of mages and magic includes
a story by Joy V. Smith, Seedlings, in which plant mages fight alongside their sentient plant companions. [This anthology is a reprint; it's out from a new publisher, Ricasso Press.] You can buy it on amazon:

Aliens, Animals, and Adventure
is a collection of short stories (reprints). It is available from Anthology Builder:
The Doorway: Nessa stumbles into the time corridor while helping a friend.
Guard Dog: Sequel to The Doorway. Nessa travels to the time
of Earth's first contact.
Pretty Pink Planet: Heroine tracks down planet pirates; saves aliens.
Hot Yellow Planet: Sequel to PPP. Lori and Chiing continue their adventures, meeting up with Chameleons, Ghosters, Splurts, and other aliens and humans.
Flashback: Chessies’ arrival in an ice age. Companion story to
Sugar Time stories (audiobook).
Stray Cats: Cats, herps, and humans--sometimes interchangeable.
To the Last Drop: Those aliens should not have touched that coffee urn.
Pilot's Course: Terran humans in the far future settled on other planets.
Heroine plots new course.
Moovin' Up: Genetic Engineering.
The Princess Quest: Sword & Sorcery (humor).
When Danger Rules: Reesa came back to rescue the remaining members of the family she loved. Now she had to avoid being killed by her cousin, who wanted the throne, and the new ruler of the planet, who didn't want a throne,
and the ones she had come to rescue.
Home Not: When Grief's Aunt Chelsea died, his Uncle Sandro saw his chance, and Grief was at his mercy... Adventure.
The Haunted Garden: Ghosts, Native Americans, and the environment.
Lost in the Long Dark: Boy explores locked hallway in new house; finds danger.
Taking Tawny Home: Sequel to Lost in the Long Dark.
Could he take the big cat back?
You Are What You Don't Eat: Why were the Terrans invited to the feast?
Other anthologies include WomanScapes, Kings of the Night II,
The Ghost in the Gazebo, Scoundrels and Rascals

Friday, January 22, 2010

Your bathroom as a spa

For those who want to upgrade their bathroom into a spa, here's a webpage from the Kohler e-newsletter with some interesting links: KOHLER: Trends: Luxury that Lasts: Bathroom: Articles

What is an air bath anyway?! And then there's chromotherapy and bidet-function toilet seats and VibrAcoustic baths that send sound waves through the water...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Living room decorating ideas (links)

Styles include contemporary (softened, rounded corners with neutral colors combined with color that pops), cottage, traditional, and eclectic: Living Room Design Styles : Decorating : Home & Garden Television

And here's a link to help you with planning and budgeting: Maximize Your Decorating Budget : Decorating : Home & Garden Television I like the idea of starting with a wish list and then planning around it--and being practical.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Southwestern style landscaping (link)

Check out these photos of HGTV's southwestern style Dream Home 2010. Here are some striking landscape and exterior ideas: Slideshow : HGTV Dream Home 2010: Exterior and Landscape Features :

Apparently covenants in this community limit light pollution. That is a good idea, though those limitations are why I avoid developments.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Preditors and Editors poll result

Actually, the official results aren't in, but right now my Hal Colebatch interview is #6 in the Nonfiction category:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

How organized are you? (quiz link)

I think the choices are too limited for each question. You have to pick the answer closest to your house, but it's fun. Link: HGTV Quiz: What's Your Organizational Personality?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cats & dogs together in your home (link)

Help from the Pedigree website:

"Those of us raised on cartoons have stereotyped ideas about dog-cat relations—and usually they involve images of frightened cats running at light-speed from an angry, onrushing dog. Like most ingrained notions of animal behavior, this one is hard to put behind you. But once you know the truth about canine-feline relationships, you’ll start to see both animals in a new light." There is some intelligent and useful info here: Pedigree

I want to add that our family has had cats and dogs as companions for years. It helps if they're raised together, of course--from kittens and puppies. And sometimes a cat has to teach a puppy manners... As in most cases of introducing interaction, be there! Btw, my German Shepherd, Frosty, got along with our cats beautifully, but she took off after strange cats and chased them as far as she could.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Pinehills (master-planned community)

The Pinehills, located near Plymouth, Massachusetts, is a village-style community. It has a preserve, trails, golf courses, cottage-style homes, etc., and won the National Home Builders Association award for Best Master-Planned Community; and this is where HGTV is building its green home for 2010. For more info and photos: Slideshow : HGTV Green Home 2010: Planning and Site Prep :

For more links and photos, including some of Plymouth, go to: Building HGTV Green Home 2010 :

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another freeze!

Snow and sleet were predicted the other day along with more freezes. I didn't see any snow this time, but I did a long time ago, and it stayed on the ground for a while. Our dogs are restless too 'cause I don't want to go out there unless I have to. At night I usually put on my jacket, open the back door, and then let Xena out the screen door; then I run back inside and watch for her ears. A friend said that she's wearing more clothes to bed than she does during the day; she wonders if she's really in Florida or if Michigan moved south. We've got the well tank and pump boxes wrapped in blankets and rugs, and I turn a faucet on when the back porch sensor hits 34 degrees. (It's at 35 right now; I'm keeping an eye on it.) The pump guys who came to replace the pressure gauge, which we discovered spewing water after an earlier freeze, said that a drip isn't enough.

The citrus and strawberry growers and tropical fish farmers are really hurting though; the fish farmers can see the damage sooner 'cause the fish are dead except for those that were moved inside. The fruit growers will have to wait and see. In the grocery store today I grabbed the last container of strawberries and bought some frozen strawberries too...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Solar heating systems update

I saw an article in today's paper (by Chris Kahn, Associated Press) about new ways to afford solar power. There's leasing and buying in bulk (residents of the same town). As I sit feeling really chilly (the back porch sensor says it's 31 degrees outside), solar heating sounds like a good idea. We're expected to be in the low to mid 20s tonight, which is not something you expect in central Florida. And the freeze watch is supposed to continue through Monday morning. We covered the well tank and pump boxes with a couple blankets today, and when the temp hit 34 tonight, I started the kitchen faucet running. I don't want the pressure gauge to blow like it did a couple days ago after the last freeze. (The pump guys told me that dripping isn't enough.) We do have heat, but I need a blanket too! Stay warm, folks!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Home ideas from Country Living

The February issue of Country Living focuses on bargain hunting (there are 50 fun products under $50) and money-saving ideas, along with looks at Pendleton blankets, America's best-selling desks (the Thomasville executive desk is the most impressive--and expensive), Valentines, and Girl Scout collectibles. There're also recipes, etc.

The Real Estate Sampler shows us historic homes under $100,000. And I learned that Sir Isaac Newton not only discovered and defined the law of gravity, but invented the first known kitty door. There was a section (advertising) devoted to HGTV's 2010 southwestern style dream home. And a visit to Micanopy, Florida. Plus home makeovers and decorating ideas on a budget; and one couple built a home from a kit.

Sparkle note: If you drag a treat from the box, and click on it again, Sparkle will jump up and catch it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Solar backup power source

I'm really focused on a backup power source, especially now during this rare longterm cold spell in Florida. (Usually the cold only lasts up for a few days, then warms up until the next cold front.) But this one has lasted about a week and is going to last for several more days; we've been in the 30s at night, but last night we were in the 20s, and I left a faucet dripping all night so the pipes wouldn't freeze. The frost was thicker than usual, the grass is brown (how come some weeds are still green?), and plants are lying on the ground and turning mushy. Right now the temp is 45 degrees, according to the back porch sensor. (The temp is always colder in the sheds--by at least six degrees, depending on which shed.) Anyway, since we're thinking of moving to north Florida, I really would like a wood stove (most fireplaces aren't practical), but this solar powered system sounds good, though expensive. Link: BACKUP POWER SOURCE SOLAR STANDBY POWER SYSTEM : Marketplace HGTV Pro - Browse Products Available Just for You

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

De-clutter to-do list (link)

There are some excellent suggestions here: Focus, make a checklist, make decisions, etc. And devoting one hour to a room is a good idea so you don't bog down. (You can go back later after you've made some decisions.) Link: Step-by-step tips for clearing clutter-Home Made Simple

Friday, January 1, 2010

Joy's short stories (online and in print)

My short story, Mooving Out, is upcoming (January 15) in Every Day Fiction: Every Day Fiction - The once a day flash fiction magazine.

It's in the same world as my humorous short story, Moovin' Up, which you can read at Twilight Times: Moovin' Up

Some of my other published short stories can be read in my story collection: Aliens, Animals, and Adventure, which is available at: AnthologyBuilder: create your ideal anthology