Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years Giveaway Extravaganza

From Melange Books comes a humongous list of books (Keep scrolling!) that you might win:

Practical and cool storage solutions (link)

The desktop divider and cleaning products and tools ideas are great suggestions 'cause you can keep your desktop divider closed up if you're short on space--and I need a better solution for the bottles, sponges, brushes, etc. that are shoved under the kitchen sink.  The nail polish bottle container--not so much--nor the ceramic kitchen utensil container.  I keep breakable items to a minimum; our kitchen utensils are in a heavy crock.  But check out these ideas from HGTV here: 12 Stylish Storage Solutions 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Preditors & Editors poll

The Preditors & Editors poll is open now, and I have two entries this year:

I have Strike Three in the Science Fiction and Fantasy novel category:
And Cold New Planet in the Science Fiction & Fantasy short story category:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Kitchen design trends (link)

Ideas from HGTV: Gray is the new white, but there are other colors--and design ideas: Top kitchen trends

Monday, December 15, 2014

Toilets with nightlights (link)

This will light up your bathroom: Nightlight toilet seats illuminate the tank and bowl in a gentle glow (from Kohler).

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Enhance your non-working fireplace (link)

I love some of these ideas, although the creche and the wrapped gifts are limited to Christmas, but the use of tall, tapering candles instead of those squat white ones is refreshing, but forget the book clutter! See more: 8 Clever Uses for a Nonworking Fireplace

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Countertop appliances (link)

Do we really need these countertop appliances?  Hopefully you already have the ones you really need: 9 Must-Have Kitchen Countertop Appliances 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Themed Christmas trees (links)

Some of these are so lovely and colorful that I just had to share them, even though a couple look familiar.  I would love to put Jack Skellington's head on that snowman tree: 18 Ideas for a Themed Tree 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Alternative Christmas tree ideas (link)

Here are some interesting ideas for small spaces.  The stacked blue bottles on shelves were interesting, but a red--or another color--topper would be nice. The succulents and feather trees were lovely:  Small Space? Try an Alternative Tree
(Click on the Open Gallery circle.)

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Story collection and audiobook

The Doorway and Other Stories is now available in paperback too:
Here are fourteen of my favorite stories, and since my favorite genre is science fiction, they are mostly SF except for The Princess Quest, a tongue-in-cheek sword and sorcery epic, and Old Rex, a ghost story. They've all been published elsewhere, except for Royal Guardians; this is its first time in print. If you like reading about aliens, time travel, symbiotes, and humans searching for a home, family, their own bodies, etc., check it out here:

Maxwell Sweet along with two professors have been conducting secret experiments in an old Victorian mansion outside Galveston, Texas. However, the two professors have vanished and Maxwell Sweet has fallen ill. Now, it's up to Sweet's tough-as-nails niece to find out what happened to the project: a time machine.

Note: Sugar Time will be available as a book one of these days, and it will include another story in the time machine series that was published separately.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Joy V. Smith's ebooks (fiction)

Hidebound (SF) is available on: and
After Anfissa meets Ferenc, they flee to a planet where even the grass is deadly.

Pretty Pink Planet (SF) is available free on
Lori, an agent of SOESFOL, visits Prism to track down planet pirates and rescue aliens.

Hot Yellow Planet is available on:
In this Pretty Pink Planet sequel, Lori and Chiing continue their adventures,  meeting up with Chameleons, Ghosters, Splurts, and other aliens and humans.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Need gift suggestions? Books are always good!

These suggestions focus on my books, of course; I have a variety of fiction and non-fiction books waiting for readers, and here are some of them, starting with my novels:

Detour Trail is available from Amazon:  and from the publisher:
Detour Trail: Westward bound on the Oregon Trail, Lorrie Emerson is left behind and alone after her uncle is killed.  Ignoring the wagon master's advice to go home, she rounds up others needing help; they join a later wagon train and are soon slogging through dust and mud and steep mountain passes, but it's not long before she's again forging her own trail and searching for a new home and supplies as winter reaches out its icy hands.... Settling the frontier isn't easy!

Strike Three is a post-apocalyptic novel: Because of the "hot virus," the devastation of WWIII is more horrible than the worse case scenario, and missiles fired in retaliation gave new meaning to "scorched earth."  Can a new world move beyond the losses, mistakes and regrets?  Strike Three is available in paperback or as an ebook.

For the print edition of Strike Three, go to Createspace:   
If you prefer eBooks, go to Smashwords:  And, of course: Amazon.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Science Fiction Consortium review

This anthology contains 10 stories by 9 authors, and they're all good (not always the case in an anthology), but I do have favorites:
Temporal Shift is a good time travel story; it incorporates history (9/11) and considers the dangers of changing the past--no matter how badly you want to.  Some of my favorite classic time travel stories do that.  I like the ending!
A Shepherd No More is good--and has a cool ending.  No peeking!
I really like The Destroyer of Syn.  I wondered how their lives would turn out--and if they would survive.  You'll have to read it to learn what obstacles our protagonists had to surmount...
The other stories vary quite a bit with their backgrounds and views of the present and future, and I enjoyed them all.  I think you'll enjoy them too, but some more than others, as I did.  Recommended--and I look forward to reading your reviews.
Note: One of the stories, Cold New Planet, is mine, but I haven't read it yet here...  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Storage suggestions (link)

Check out these storage ideas on  I know floating shelves are in, but I think they really waste space.  I prefer bookcases and cabinets.  Protecting and decorating them with adhesive liners is a great idea.  Learn how you can use these ideas in your home: Conquer Clutter: Built-In Storage on a Budget

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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cold New Planet introduction

Cold New Planet
new world
not mine
not yet
our new world
the crops grow green
for the first time
--oino sakai c9912.26

Thanks to oino sakai for letting me use his scifaiku.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Science Fiction Consortium (anthology)

Science Fiction Consortium is an anthology of short stories from nine authors, including the creator of the Science Fiction Microstory Contest, Jot Russell.
“Temporal Shift” by Jot Russell is a time travel story based around 9/11.
“The Watch Spring” by Allen H. Quintana – Where a man waits for no time.
“A Shepherd No More” by Andy McKell follows one man’s refusal to accept disaster in the depths of space.
“Vampirecratic Menace – A Case Study?” by Richard Bunning describes a dark future medical science.
“Luna-1” by James Newman is a space drama of human struggle.
“The Destroyer of Syn” by Ami Hart paints a synthetic world of youth to maturity.
“Cold New Planet” by Joy V. Smith – What mysteries will the colonists–and the consortium backing them–uncover on this slowly thawing planet?
“Darklings in the Glow” by Sterren describes birth from the ashes.
“Host” by A. L. Scott is a story of internal contact.
“Consortium” by Jot Russell – The search for intelligent life has used the method of radio and light. But somewhere within the subatomic, a universal seed has been planted that is slowly working to control us all.
Available from Amazon: Science Fiction Consortium

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cold New Planet is finally out

My short story, Cold New Planet, is available now in the anthology, Science Fiction Consortium, as an ebook.  It should be coming out soon in print from CreateSpace.  Here's the Smashwords link if you want to look at the other stories in the anthology.  (It's an interesting selection.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bathroom flooring choices (link)

There are different kinds of tiles to choose from--and various designs.  There's also vinyl and linoleum, which I'm glad to see has made a comeback.  And there's laminate--and carpet tiles, which you can pick up to dry out.  (Oh, good, one more bathroom chore.)  Check out your choices at 9 Trends in Bathroom Flooring

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tropical Storms Fay and Gonzalo

There are two tropical storms, but they continue to head away from us here in Florida.  I think Gonzalo may become a hurricane.  Category 2?  I'll have to keep an eye on it.

(Thanks, Lloyd, for the heads up.)

Update (10-12): Gonzalo is now a category 1 hurricane, and it may strengthen to a category 3.  It appears to be staying out to sea.

Update (10-14): It looks like Gonzalo may make it to a cat 4 and could be heading for Bermuda.

Update (10-15): Gonzalo has made it to cat 4.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Strike Three review from Midwest Book Review

Strike Three
Joy V. Smith
WolfSinger Publications
9781936099658, $12.95,

Because of the 'hot virus', World War III's scenario is more deadly than any nuclear-powered conflict, and the missiles fired during conflict are far more deadly than any conventional battle could have envisioned. But the message of Strike Three isn't just about altered warfare, but altered survival mechanisms honed by feisty protagonists who seek to start over, against all odds and against the backdrop of an Earth devastated on many different levels. Against this scenario are a series of vivid protagonists who battle for not just survival but a revised world - and within their efforts to rise again will be the rudiments of a new kind of humanity. Strike Three is exceptional reading for any who enjoy apocalyptic stories, and offers many twists and turns unpredictable even for avid readers of end-of-world sagas.

You can find it at: Midwest Book Review: California Bookwatch:
October 2014: The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rehab Addict (link)

Rehab Addict is one one of my favorite shows on HGTV.  Nicole Curtis often saves condemned homes and helps upgrade neighborhoods.  Here's a link to her Before and After photos of a bungalow she recently saved and renovated: 1920s bungalow restoration

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kitchen sink choices (link)

You can choose from a variety of kitchen sink styles and materials, though I'm not so sure about marble and bamboo--or the crescent prep sink: Kitchen Sinks: A Primer

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

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Color vs. Color winner and runners-up (link)

From HGTV. com: Coral was the winner, and Lemon Zest was second.  Check out the others: Color Vs. Color: The Winning Hue Is Revealed

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pantry ideas (link)

Here are some efficient pantry and storage ideas, though keeping potatoes in a wire basket is not a good idea.  Have you ever had to deal with rotten potatoes?!  Yuck--and drip, drip, drip.  And small items can slip through or tip on wire shelves.  I used placemats, among other things, to prevent that on wire shelves.  And then there are leaks!  But there are some good ideas here, including bright colors: Pantry suggestions

Monday, September 29, 2014

Strike Three review

From the Online Book Club ratings and reviews forum:

Re: What is the last book you read, and your rating?

Post Number:#3808  PostbyMichaelMcManus » 18 Sep 2014, 11:12
The last really good book I read is called “Strike Three” by Joy V. Smith. I rated it five stars without hesitation. If you like stories about surviving World War III, you will enjoy reading this book about how scattered groups of Americans reconnect and rebuild our country.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dress up your walls (link)

Interior design suggestions from HGTV:

Dress up your walls with paneling, wainscoting, etc.: Add Architectural Appeal

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Strike Three, a post-apocalyptic novel (link)

Check out Strike Three at Booklife (Publishers Weekly):

That's the earth and the moon on the front cover, and Strike Three is a reference to WWIII.  Yep, I pretty much devastate the planet--the whole planet--to make points about life, the ecology, and politics--and to rebuild the planet.  Lots of people die--that scale of destruction is not a pretty thing.  Later there's some humor; there are interesting characters who work on survival and rebuilding...  It's a post-apopolytic story, but I didn't write it to be depressing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Remodeling and entertaining

The October issue of Southern Living has a beautiful log cabin makeover, a piece on styling your coffee table--interesting, but cluttered, and decorating for fall ideas.  I love those fall colors--and the travel destinations.  And there are tips for taking care of your cast iron skillet.  (We have one somewhere; I'm not sure we've ever used it.)  The recipes include Shepherd's Pot Roast Pies; there's also advice on making grits (white or yellow).  And I know the holiday issues are upcoming...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Choosing appliances (link)

From HGTV: Whether to go for cheap or steep:

You can start with the basics--black or white--or go for the stainless steel film (peel and stick), or the real thing or go for the cooktop with a double oven and on up...

I used to think that double ovens were pretentious and a waste of space, but for holiday meals, they do come in handy; otherwise you're juggling side dishes, warming rolls, and reheating dishes that have gotten cold while you're cooking something else.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tropical Storm Edouardo

TS Edouardo may become a category 2 hurricane eventually, but it's expected to stay away from Florida and curve out to sea as many of the earlier storms have done.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Color vs. Color (link)

Choose your favorite color from these selections from Color vs. Color

My favorite is Cerise (pink for grown-ups).

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Imaginative kids' rooms (links)

These fantastic rooms include a Lilo & Stitch theme, a castle, nursery rhymes, the jungle, and more.  Oh, I thought the cowboys' bunkhouse was really fun.  Frankly, I think you're going to want one for yourself.  Check them all out: 7 Playful Kids' Rooms

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Decorating and entertaining

The October issue of Country Living has an article about how to use pumpkins for fall decorating; I especially like the pumpkin wrapped vertically with burlap ribbons.  (I didn't even know there were burlap ribbons.)  I also enjoyed the articles on downsizing while utilizing your collections and livening up a log cabin.  The article focusing on an all-white kitchen--it doesn't have to be boring--didn't convince me.

The food section focuses on hearty fall soups, but what got my attention was the grilled cheese croutons, though the Broccoli Florentine Bisque looked interesting. (The bowl helped.)  The spotlight--Portrait of America--on the country's largest drive-in diner, The Varsity in Georgia, makes you appreciate diners.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tropical Storm Dolly

TS Dolly is heading straight west into Mexico.  We didn't even have to think about this one.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Kitchen countertop appliances (link)


The appliances include your basics: blenders, crockpot, stand mixers, a Cuisinart food processor, some coffee machines, etc.--and the latest: a soda maker.

I have a blender, a crockpot, and a toaster oven.  (I've never been on the cutting edge.)  Check these out to see what you have and what you need: 9 Must-Have Small Appliances

Monday, August 25, 2014

Decorating and entertaining

There are three imaginative ideas for kids' and tweens' rooms in the September issue of Southern Living; I love using a raspberry shade instead of pink for a girl's room.  The gardening, decorating, and travel articles are helpful, but the apple recipes are amazing, especially the apple stack cake.  Good luck with cutting that!  And check out the apple varieties.  Btw, it's sort of a double issue; the flip side focuses on Southern style.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tropical Storm Cristobal

TS Cristobal has taken a sharp turn north--it never got anywhere near us--and is moving slowly up and off the east coast; it's expected to become a category 1 hurricane in a few days before becoming sub-tropical as it moves on north:

(Thanks for the link, Lloyd.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Striking and imaginative color combos (link)

I really enjoyed some of these combinations from, and the photos just might give you the courage to try them in your home: 20 Unexpected Color Combos

Monday, August 18, 2014

Straight On Until A New Planet (link)

Today I'm the guest on Nancy Pennick's Summer Writing Series, and my topic is: World Building

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Advice on restoration from Old House Journal

The September issue of Old House Journal Classic Interiors includes some beautiful makeovers, including a bungalow that had been stripped of all character during two renovations.  (They did make some changes of their own.)  This issue focuses on bathrooms and shows the evolution of bathroom sinks and bathrooms; and it spotlights the beauty of the early colors and styles of tile.  Don't destroy the beauty and history of these homes just to "update" it with a current trend.

There's advice on repairs and restoration and how to maximize the space in small bathrooms; and there are sources for saving or restoring your old home's character.  And the Remuddling photos on the back page illustrate how people can create a travesty while attempting to be trendy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Color of the Month: Watercolor Motifs (link)

I love watercolor motifs.  My favorite sheet set was called Watercolor; though there are imitations, I've never been able to find one as good.  Anyway, here are some watercolor ideas to think about: Watercolor Motifs 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Kitchen countertop options (link)

This HGTV link takes you to quartz countertops.  If you can't move on from Photo #1--I couldn't--start with the thumbnails and continue from #1 there.  On that webpage, you'll find links to other options: Tired of Granite?

Note: I am so tired of granite!  I should have gone with quartz....

Friday, August 8, 2014

How to make your bedroom feel bigger (link)

Here are some tips from HGTV on making your bedroom feel larger.  You can minimalize distractions on your walls or display artwork to give your eyes something to focus on.  Choose cool colors--and small scale furniture--or not.   (It's good to have options.)  Emphasize high ceilings and avoid clutter.  For more ideas: Designer tricks...  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Joy's ebooks

Remodeling: Buying and Updating a Foreclosure (non-fiction) is half price now on:  with this code: FN83G
How one woman bought and remodeled a foreclosure; it didn’t even have a kitchen sink!

My story (SF and fantasy) reprint collection,The Doorway and Other Stories, is also available on Kindle:
Hidebound (SF) is available on:  and
After Anfissa meets Ferenc, they flee to a planet where even the grass is deadly.

Pretty Pink Planet (SF) is available free on
Lori, an agent of SOESFOL, visits Prism to track down planet pirates and rescue aliens.

Hot Yellow Planet is available on:
In this Pretty Pink Planet sequel, Lori and Chiing continue their adventures.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hurricane Bertha

Tropical Storm Bertha is now a hurricane (cat 1) and will be heading NE and staying offshore.  It hasn't affected us here in central Florida much, if at all, but I believe that Puerto Rico got some much needed rain.

Update (8-5): It's now a tropical storm again.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Storage suggestions for your kids' rooms (link)

You can use bookcases, shelves, boxes, baskets, etc. to organize your kids' bedrooms.  Check out these ideas from HGTV:  Corral Kids' Clutter 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Study space for kids (link)

These ideas from HGTV are cheerful and practical.  I think they will encourage kids to sit  down and tackle their homework: 10 Ideas for a Kid-Friendly Homework Hub 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Strike Three news update

Strike Three, my post-apocalyptic novel, recently received a 5 star review from Readers' Favorite and a 4 star review on GoodReads, which is actually an excerpt from David Lee Summer's blog post on science fiction, horror, and post-apocalyptic novels:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Home and entertaining

The August issue of Southern Living has some inspiring home ideas from their 2014 Southern Living Idea House, among other things, including a few home makeovers, but the issue also includes five Southern burger recipes.  I thought the Bacon, Peach, and Basil Burger sounded especially exciting, plus there's a recipe for onion-spiked pickles that I'd love to try.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bathroom sinks (link)

Here's a Pinterest board full of bathroom sinks, mainly of that new trend: Vessel sinks, most of which are impractical.  I wouldn't want to clean them inside and out!  Link:

Speaking of bathrooms, I don't know how serious this advice from Pinterest is: Before ripping the tile off the walls and ordering an LED toilet seat that doubles as a nightlight, make a thorough plan for your bathroom renovation.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bookcase display ideas (link)

Here are some interesting ideas for spicing up your bookcases: 10 Bookshelf Styling Tips

I'm pretty happy with my bookcases, though I've been moving a few things around lately, and I don't know what to do with that big green apple!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Joy's remodeling ebook is on sale now!

Remodeling: Buying and Updating a Foreclosure is now half price with this coupon code: FN83G

How one woman bought and remodeled a foreclosure; it didn’t even have a kitchen sink! 

Get it here:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Expediting the morning routine (link)

You can bag your breakfast, box your lunch supplies, make lists and schedules (love that big board by the little table), and even set your clock ten minutes ahead. For more ideas: Get Out the Door Faster: 8 Tips

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pretty pastels (link)

Are pastels the new trend?  Do you care?  Pastels are gentle, I think, and sometimes quiet is good: Pastel ideas from HGTV.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Delicious dishes

I recently read a few Martha Stewart Living magazines that a friend gave me, and they are full of interesting articles and tempting photos of food.  No wonder the magzine is so big; those photos are beautifully displayed.

The May issue tells you how to enhance a flank steak with a marinade of olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and brown sugar...  That carmelized crust sounds good.  And then there's the Upside-Down Lemon Meringue pie.

The June issue shows a variety of olives; I didn't know there were that many!  And then there are the pies with herbs and roses.  And fancy picnic ideas, plus a home made out of barns...

The July/August issue has an interesting article on lavender with a lavender sugar scrub that's good enough to eat....  You can even add lavender to nut brittle.  And I loved that display of the different tomatoes all sliced up.  Lots to look at and enjoy.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Decorating ideas

I enjoyed all the color choices and decorating ideas--stripes are in, btw--in the July/August issue of HGTV Magazine.  They have great sources also for getting an expensive look at a cheaper price--always apprecitated 'cause I hate waste.  And you're reminded not to use regular detergent in an HE washer and not to push bits of food down your drain.

I appreciate learning things like the differences between rattan and wicker and quartz and granite.  (I knew I should have gotten quartz.)  And learning decorating terms; I knew most of them except for some of the table legs--and Euro pillows.  I'm sure that's a new one.

I love paint color names, such as Blue Peacock (Sherwin-Williams), Citrus Zest (Behr), and Rosemary Green (Benjamin Moore).  Wait!!  That does not look like rosemary!  And I enjoyed the porch and home makeover ideas.  Always a fun learning experience.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Strike Three discount deadine: July 15

Strike Three is a post-apocalyptic novel:

Because of the "hot virus," the devastation of WWIII is more horrible than the worse case scenario, and missiles fired in retaliation gave new meaning to "scorched earth."

Strike Three is available in paperback or as an ebook.
For the print edition of Strike Three, go to Createspace:   With this discount code: TGERED9J  , you'll save 25% of the cover price of $12.95; the discount is good through July 15.

If you prefer eBooks, go to Smashwords:   The discount code: WB38B will save you 25% off the cover price of $4.95.  Again, this discount is only good through  July 15.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Top Ten Summer Colors (link)

Check out these color choices, including Flirty Pink, Seaworthy Coral, Water's Edge Blue, and Crisp White, from HGTV to see if they could work in your home: Top 10 Summer Colors.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Useful storage products (link)

There are some cool storage ideas collected here by HGTV; I'm not sure about the wine racks hanging on the wall; I'd prefer something sturdier, but there are some useful products for use in the garage too: 14 Nifty Storage + Organization Products

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pet safety tips for the Fourth

Dog Do's and Don'ts for the 4th of July

We all love to include our dogs in our celebrations with family and friends. But the 4th of July, in all its loud, blasting, fiery glory, is one party your dog would rather not be invited to. 

Do use sunscreen on any area of your dog that is thin-skinned and not covered by hair—the little tips of pale noses, for example. 

Don't apply anything that isn't labeled specifically for use on animals. 

If your dog accidentally eats or licks sunscreen products, he or she may suffer from drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy. Insect repellent with DEET, a common insecticide, can lead to neurological issues. 

Do give your dog his or her own special dinner or treats made just for pets, like doggie ice cream. 

Don't let your dog eat scraps from the grill or buffet. 

Changes in diet can cause severe indigestion and diarrhea, especially in older dogs. These foods are potentially toxic to animals: avocado, chocolate, coffee, grapes and raisins, onions, salt, and yeast dough. 

Do provide your dog with plenty of fresh water in a few locations at your backyard cookout. 

Don't leave alcoholic beverages unattended where dogs can get to them. 

Any alcoholic drink is potentially poisonous to dogs. They could become intoxicated and weak, depressed, or even comatose. In severe cases, death from respiratory failure is a possibility. 

Do invite your dog to your cookout if it's just a few people and you can supervise him or her closely.

Don't leave matches or lighter fluid where your dog could chew or eat them. 

Your dog could suffer damaged blood cells and even kidney disease from the chlorates in some matches. And if your dog ingests lighter fluid or licks an insect coil, he or she could suffer gastrointestinal irritation or central nervous system damage. A good sniff of lighter fluid or a citronella candle can cause aspiration pneumonia or other breathing problems. 

Do make your dog a part of your festivities with a red, white, and blue bandanna.

Don't let your him or her wear or play with glow jewelry. 

It's not highly toxic, but the luminescent stuff inside these tubes can still cause excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation. And if your dog swallows a large piece of the plastic, it could even cause a blocked intestine. 

Do keep your dog indoors in a quiet, sheltered, escape-proof area at home where firecracker sounds from outside can't be heard. 

Don't take your dog along to a loud, crowded venue where there will be fireworks.

Many types of fireworks contain potentially toxic substances like potassium nitrate, arsenic, and other heavy metals. Lit fireworks can result in burns or trauma to curious noses and paws. 

Be a best friend this summer and don't bring your dog to see the fireworks. Instead, find some togetherness time playing and relaxing. You'll both be happier for it. 


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Living room design (link)

I enjoy looking at rooms styled and decorated in different ways. Here's the same living room with different color combinations: One Living Room, Three Ways

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Stenciling primer (link)

This how-to article from HGTV--with photos--covers the basics, though it's focused on stencilling the ceiling--something I wouldn't attempt--if ever--unless I'd had some practice: Step by Step: Add Pattern with Stencils.

Tropical Storm Arthur

TS Arthur is sitting--it's stationary--off the east coast of Florida, but is expected to move north and then east, probably becoming a category 1 hurricane along the way.  So far all those rotating rain bands have missed us.

Update (7-2): TS Arthur is moving north now and still expected to turn east, though it may move closer to the coast.  And we got some rain today from a couple rain bands.

Update (7-3): While I wasn't looking, Arthur became a category 2 huricane and is moving up the east coast, while we're still getting rain from trailing rain bands moving in from the Gulf.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Strike Three has just been released!!

After a lot of editing of the text and back cover (the front cover was already done), Strike Three, my post-apocalyptic novel, is now out.  (Thank you, Carol, for your hard work and patience!)

For the print edition of Strike Three, go to Createspace:   With  this discount code: TGERED9J ,
you'll save 25% of the cover price of $12.95; the discount is good through July 15.

If you prefer eBooks, go to Smashwords:   The discount code: WB38B
will save you 25% off the cover price of $4.95.  Again, this discount is only good through  July 15.

Yes, it's also available through Amazon, ..., but without a discount.  Sorry.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Suggestions for small bathrooms (link)

From Kohler:

Here are ideas for smaller toilets, vanities, and even faucets: 9 tips for small bathrooms .

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Decorating and entertaining ideas

From the July/August issue of Country Living:
Color tips: Use dark green on furniture pieces, such as a chair or kitchen island, then use blue and white to make the room more inviting.  And layer blue and white on a bed.  Use touches of a light color, such as pink, to keep your eyes moving around a space.  See the issue for more ideas for focal points.
Entertaining: For buffets using paper plates, punch a hole in the edge of the paper plate, and tie a cord around the plastic utensils and napkins and put it through the hole.  Tie it tight.  And don't miss the festive flowers made from drink umbrellas.
Recipes include a fig crostata.  (Looks sort of like a pizza.)  And the S'more cookies look tasty.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

My SF/fantasy reprint collection is on sale!

My reprint collection, The Doorway and Other Stories, which includes 14 SF and fantasy adventures, is on sale for 99 cents now on Kindle:  (I know it says 11 stories in the book description, but that's because I can't figure out how to change it since I added three more stories.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Colorful videos (link)

These videos from HGTV show how to use color in your home: Colors we love.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bathroom storage solutions (link)

These are good ideas for bathroom storage, but the bathrooms are not small: Bathroom storage

Monday, June 16, 2014

Decorating and makeover ideas

There are home, barn, kitchen, and porch makeovers in  the July issue of This Old House with spotlights on American pottery pitchers (love those shapes), hardware stores, and the Fourth of July.  Don't put the burgers on the charcoal grill too soon; check the coals first.  (They have pictures.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Nursery color schemes and ideas (link)

It is refreshing to move beyond the generic pink and blue rooms, but white?!  I think babies need a little color stimulation; and I have no idea what they'll think of those looming city skylines...  Check out these ideas for yourselves: Think beyond pink and blue

Friday, June 6, 2014

Window treatments (link)

Jewel tones are in, along with metallics, layered sheers, and--stainless steel?  See more suggestions here: window treatment trends

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Are dual sinks necessary? (link)

Now this is a good question.  I've always thought it's a good idea for two people using the bathroom at the same time, but I see that it might also be wise to keep your spaces separate--both for space and to keep the blame game down.  What have you done with my tweezer or...?  Check out the discussion and photos here:

Friday, May 30, 2014

Joy's Galaxy of Fun: An Anthology

Featured Anthology – Joy’s Galaxy of fun

JOY’S GALAXY OF FUN -edited by Joy V. Smith
A delightful 242 page collection of fun and imaginative stories including spoofs and puns.
Some stories abounding in humor, some sci-fi  and some of intrigue;
…    Perhaps you recall that Emperor Charlemagne had his majestic sword “Joyeuse” and King Arthur, a spectacular singing sword, called “Excalibur.” But then there is the weapon James carries. It is but a small throwing dagger, intriguingly accurate, as described in “Blade of the Bunny.”
…    Larry had just finished a delicious sweet and sour pork dinner with an astronomer seated beside him at the China Cafe` in London. Both warily looked at the cracked-open fortune cookie. Larry couldn’t possibly be prepared for a fortune stating, “A meteor will kill you in five minutes,” but would his dinner companion have any helpful advice?
…    A crescendo of jeers and cheers greeted the sergeant as he stepped out onto the sidewalk, yet in his heart Gus felt an unbounded joy.
…    These three stories and many, many more!
Originally published at

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fireplaces and firepits (link)

Here are some cool fireplaces and firepits.  I don't have room here or I'd have one!        
(I miss my old firepit, but I have good memories of toasting marshmallows with visiting family.)  From HGTV: Fireplaces and firepits

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Closet door ideas (link)

Some interesting closet door ideas from HGTV--and I love that bathroom closet!  Check out these closet door designs.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Renovating mistakes (link)

Don't skip the prep work!  It's often harder than the painting or whatever, but it's  important.  And measuring is so important.  Remember: measure twice and cut once.  Do not gut the house until you're sure about what you're going to do.  Oh, and be prepared for chaos.  Learn more before you start: Top 25 Biggest Renovating Mistakes

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Home and entertaining ideas

The June issue of Country Living has an interesting article on collecting; it recommends getting even more stuff!  And how to display it.  There are more articles on decorating (I love the light gray from Glidden: Silver Birch); combining a home and business on site the old-fashioned way; and entertaining by making your own treats with ice cream, gelato, or frozen yogurt.  Love the cones and scoops.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Inviting and relaxing bedrooms (link)

Here are some lovely beds and bedrooms in a variety of colors and styles:
HGTV Remodels/Inspired Ideas

These bedrooms are so bright and roomy that you really want to walk right into them--and sretch out on those inviting beds--after you get rid of all those pillows.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Color advice column (link)

Color expert David Bromstad and HGTV Magazine solve your color conundrums: Color Q-and-A

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Color: Orange Sherbet (link)

Orange Sherbet might be a little pale, but maybe you just want a little color: HGTV/Design

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Habitat for Humanity post

Check out this great post about the Habitat for Humanity Restore from one of the A to Z blogging challenge posts: Houserevivals

[I've donated old and new items to Habitat for Humanity when we were building and remodeling.]

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ten tips for tiny rooms

Here are ten suggestions from HGTV for making the most of your tiny rooms; they include curves in a boxy room, a light area rug, and curtains instead of blinds: decorating tips

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Stairway ideas (link)

Here are different suggestions for decorating your staircase and for utilizing the space underneath from the DIY network.  We had a big closet under the stairs when I was kid, but you can use shelving, bookcases, etc.: DIY blog

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dual sinks. Are they necessary? (link)

In my opinion, a couple needs two sinks, but check out the pros and cons on this HGTV webpage: HGTVremodels blog

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Home and garden ideas

Learn about the Southern tradition of "porching" and check out the lovely screened porches in the May issue of Southern Living.  The gardening section showcases some beautiful coleus varieties; I love the colors of Royal Glissade, the touch of frost look of Marooned, and the delicate leaves of Velvet Mocha.  The food section includes ideas for jam and biscuits.  I never thought of making croutons from biscuits!  And be sure to read the inspiring story of Pretty Girl...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

More color

I love the columns in  HGTV Magazine; the May issue's What's the Difference column had some basics, about half of which I knew, but I appreciated them pointing out the difference between cement and concrete.  (No one ever listens to me.)  The How bad is it column is always helpful.  (I told you not to spray a non-stick pan!)  Lots more helpful info and DIY projects; I enjoyed the photo essay about using food photos by using them as a clock or as an apron collage.  Plus they have home and furniture makeovers and color suggestions.  It's a very colorful magazine--and highly recommended.

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

Friday, April 11, 2014

Color of the Month: Magnolia (link)

You'd think that the color would be green (the leaves) or white (the most common magnolia blossom color), but it's a lovely pale pastel pink.  'Course there are other magnolia blossom colors too, but check this delicate color out:{4E6771C7-C8B2-491F-8AC7-73EFF9F12E8E}