Interesting Firefighter Info: factoid #1

I am working on a series featuring firefighters. For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting some of the interesting facts I’ve learned about these heroic men and women.

examprep

Becoming a firefighter is not easy. As many as 3000 people sometimes apply for one opening.The more experience and education an applicant has, the better.

Until next time,
Ann

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Not Quite Back from the Dead

day of dead poster

Over the weekend, I attended my first ever Day of the Dead party. What an interesting event! People decorated their faces and dressed in costumes commemorating the dead. Sounds macabre, doesn’t it? But it wasn’t. This holiday is all about remembering the dead with laughter and celebration. What better way to remember those who have passed away?

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Arnie and Becca Moreno, the party hosts in their Day of the Dead makeup and costumes.

day of dead shrine

One of several shrines, commemorating loved ones who have departed this earth. Party attendees were invited to place photos of dead loved ones and/or beloved pets here.

day of dead cake

This Day of the Dead skeleton cake was one of many on the tables and tables of food and drink. Did I mention that this was a party of laughter and celebration?

day of dead mmummy

 Just your friendly, everyday mummy, relaxing on the bed where we laid our coats!

day of dead plate

This fanciful Day of the Dead plate certainly caught my eye.

day of dead outside

What Day of the Dead party would be complete without a backyard “cemetery”?

It’s always good to try something new and different, and I thoroughly enjoyed this experience. Who knows- it must might end up in a future book. 🙂

Until next time, and wishing you new and interesting experiences,

Ann

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Pumpkins, unite!

 pumpkinfarm3

Yesterday, my family and I headed to a pumpkin farm to get our Halloween pumpkins. I love the excitement and fun of culling through the different shapes, sizes and textures of  pumpkins still in the field, choosing just the right ones and bringing them home. Then the hard work begins: cutting off the top and scooping out the guts (messy, but part of the process), sketching a face or design on the skin, and finally, turning that sketch into reality. The results are rarely exactly what we imagined, but wonderful all the same.

Sort of like writing a novel. Searching for the right story, imagining what it will look like. Slowly and patiently and often messily breathing life into it, only to find that the story I have created isn’t quite like the one I first envisioned. I’m always surprised,  but rarely disappointed.

Until Wednesday, and wishing you pumpkin-friendly day,

Ann

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Writing time, and the process ain’t easy…

firstdraft

Some writers are able to complete that first draft in record time. I want that, too. I’m impatient as the next person to get the story of my latest work-in-progress on the page.

Instead, progress is at a crawl. Writing the first draft has become a real struggle. You’d think that after some 25-odd novels, I’d have this process down cold. But ironically, the more my skills in the craft of writing grow and develop, the slower I seem to write. Which is why the above quote is perfect. I came across it at just the right time, when I was doubting myself. Now I understand that no matter how slow and arduous the journey seems, I am making definite progress in bringing this story to life. The story will be all the richer for the time taken.

Until Wednesday, and wishing you progress in whatever you do,

Ann

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Coffee, please

coffee beans

No question about it–I love coffee. The aroma, the ritual of making a pot of the stuff, the taste… What’s not to love?

For years, I’ve used this reliable Capresso coffeemaker that I bought at Costco. I have the option of grinding my own beans or using the pre-ground stuff. I can set it to make strong, medium or weak coffee. Cool, huh? I like this machine and am happy with it.

capresso

But then… When I visited Ashland, Oregon, in September, I tried something new (to me, anyway) that blew my coffee tastebuds out the water. Coffee made with the Chemex method. The barista who offered it had me sample both regular coffee and the Chemex-made coffee. The Chemex kind was smoother, richer, and superior to any coffee I’ve ever tasted.

In fact, I was so impressed that I headed for a shop that sold the pot and filters and bought the equipment.

What, you may ask, is Chemex method? It’s an old-fashioned way of brewing coffee, and yet it isn’t widely known or used.

chemex_glass_handle

The filters are odd-looking, and require a bit of folding, which isn’t so difficult to master.

CHEMEX fliter

Use any ground coffee, but it should be a fine ground (as opposed to a coarse ground). Follow the instructions, and voilà … Great coffee!

cappuccino

I don’t brew Chemex coffee every day. For that, I use the Capresso. But when I’m in the mood for something special that takes a little manual effort, I reach for the Chemex pot and filters.

Thanks for letting me share.

Until Wednesday, and wishing you a perfect coffee (or tea) day,

Ann

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It’s Raining Books!

This is an exiting month for me, with FOUR books for your reading pleasure.

Now available in bookstores everywhere and as an ebook:

front cover

Mr. Right-There-All-Along

Since she was a teen, there’s been one guy that restaurateur Dani Pettit can always count on—her best friend, Nick. Their relationship is purely platonic…that is until a single kiss changes everything. Now Dani is falling hard for the one man she shouldn’t fall for—the one who can truly break her heart.

Although rancher Nick Kelly knows he’s to blame for his string of failed relationships, Dani is the only woman he ever trusted. Nick doesn’t want to be just another guy who lets her down, but his new feelings for Dani are too strong to resist. Do they dare risk their lifelong friendship for a once-in-a-lifetime love?

Also available as e-book exclusives:

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Ann_MySisters300dpi1500x2400

You knew about those two, but not this one, which I just self published. It was my second book, a Special Edition, and came out in 2001.

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Entrepreneur Will Stoner was a competent executive, but when he became guardian to the son he’d never known about, Will did the only thing he could—he hired help. Dena Foster did a great job with his son. Her gentle ways took the trepidation out of parenting, and despite a bad marriage that made Will mistrust women, he warmed to Dena. Now he wanted more from this nurturing beauty—for himself.

First he had to erase the doubt he saw in Dena’s eyes about his feelings for her. Was being a successful businessman, caring father and loving husband too much to ask for?

For more information about these three ebook exclusives, visit http://www.annroth.net/ebooks.html

Until Wednesday, and wishing you happy reading,

Ann

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Come and Get It!!!!

Available now!! Remastered and available from Kindle, Nook  and iBooks.

Another Life

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Learning of her husband Stephen’s fatal heart attack is the worst thing Mary Beth Mason can imagine… Until she learns about the other family he left behind. Another wife, another daughter, another home…

For more information, click here: http://www.annroth.net/ebooks.html

My Sisters

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In some families, there is pain and loss, but there is also the unbreakable bond of love. Sisters Margaret, Rose and Quincy Lansing were never a close or loving family. When receive the tragic news that a car accident has claimed the life of their mother, they must return to their childhood home. In unraveling their mother’s secrets, they find not only revelation, but also strength, hope, sisterhood, and a chance for love…

Ann_Father300dpi1500x2400

Entrepreneur Will Stoner was a competent executive, but when he became guardian to the son he’d never known about, Will did the only thing he could—he hired help. Dena Foster did a great job with his son. Her gentle ways took the trepidation out of parenting, and despite a bad marriage that made Will mistrust women, he warmed to Dena. Now he wanted more from this nurturing beauty—for himself.

First he had to erase the doubt he saw in Dena’s eyes about his feelings for her. Was being a successful businessman, caring father and loving husband too much to ask for?

For more information, click here: http://www.annroth.net/ebooks.html

Until Wednesday, and do check out that link,

Ann

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Eek–a Jumping Spider!!!!

blckberry

Here in the Pacific Northwest, blackberries are still abundant. My favorite time for picking is late in the afternoon. I take a bowl with me and do my best to fill it.

But it’s September and spiders are also abundant.

Jumping-Spider-on-leaf1.jpg

Many of them spin webs among the blackberry bushes. I have a healthy respect for these critters, who do an admirable job of killing many kinds of pesky insects. But I also prefer to steer clear of them.

The other day, I was out, doing picking thing, and doing my best to avoid the spiders and their webs. I admit that I was distracted with a novel I’m plotting, but I was careful.  Suddenly, something whizzed up, so quickly, it was a blur, and bit the flesh just above my elbow. “Ouch!” I said.

I spotted what looked like a bee (but is actually a fly), but they can’t sting. So what was it? To my relief, the sting lasted all of 5 seconds before it faded into oblivion. No red spot or itching, either.

I returned to my picking, and figured out some cool stuff for the story. Suddenly it happened again–a blur and a sting, this time in the vee between my second and third finger. “Ouch!” Wouldn’t you know, I was so startled that I upended the bowl and I lost a good half the berries.

Then I saw it–a spider dangling from a single thread, attached to the outside bottom of my bowl. Shrieking, I spun around a couple of times, until the thread snapped.  I’m sure if anyone had seen, they would have questioned my sanity.

At which point the spider went on his or her way and I went on mine. In opposite directions. Phew!

Until Wednesday, and wishing you a spider-free day,

Ann

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Hummingbirds of a Feather…

annas_hummingbird_sim_1

In a post last week, I mentioned the hummingbird that perched on the water spray coming from my hose one summer morning. These little birds have built a nest high up in the fir tree next door. Unlike many other kinds of hummingbirds, they don’t migrate south for the winter.  This got me thinking about how little I know about them. I decided to investigate further.

In my search for information, I learned that this particular hummingbird is an Anna’s hummingbird. I found a website and learned more.

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/annas_hummingbird/id

This is what the website says about Anna’s Hummingbirds: “… are among the most common hummingbirds along the Pacific Coast, yet they’re anything but common in appearance. With their iridescent emerald feathers and sparkling rose-pink throats, they are more like flying jewelry than birds. Though no larger than a ping-pong ball and no heavier than a nickel, Anna’s Hummingbirds make a strong impression. In their thrilling courtship displays, males climb up to 130 feet into the air and then swoop to the ground with a curious burst of noise that they produce through their tail feathers.”

This photo shows just how tiny these very special creatures are.

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How do these remkarable birds survive the winter? According to http://www.wildbirdshop.com/Birding/Annas_hummers.html:

“It is thought that Anna’s Hummingbirds are able to winter so far north because their diets contain a larger proportion of insects and arachnids than most hummingbirds.  Not only do these bugs provide nutrients during the winter when there are few flowers blooming, but they also provide a slower metabolizing source of food which may help them survive the long nights.  Anna’s Hummingbirds also have a fairly large body weight for a hummingbird which may also help them.  But they do live a precarious existence in the winter and the presence of hummingbird feeders has probably also helped to encourage their northward expansion.”

Now you know. 🙂

Until Wednesday, and wishing you the pleasure of a hummingbird’s company,

Ann
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Pocket Full of … Magic

magic-hat

I believe in magic. It is everywhere–provided we open our eyes and see it. For example, not long ago, I was watering the back garden, as I often do on an early summer morning. Suddenly a hummingbird appeared and landed right on top of the spray!

Hummingbird_Aerodynamics_of_flight

He (his iridescent green color told me he was a male) wasn’t more than 3 feet from my face and looked straight at me, his amazing wings blurring with their rapid and incessant fluttering, while his feet moved as he balanced on the spray. I wanted to call out for someone to see this amazing sight. I wanted to take a photo and capture the moment. Of course, I didn’t do anything at all, just stood transfixed until he flew off. Now, that’s what I call magic! I will never forget it.

But more mundane things are also magic. The sight of the sun, glistening on water. I can almost imagine a sparkly creature floating on the surface, providing me with what-if moments of fun.

sun glinting on water

The same can be said of the sun on autumn leaves.

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Or the magical smells that come from a soft rain. I could go on and on. Instead, I’ll leave you to find your own magical moments.

Until Wednesday, and wishing you magic everywhere you look,

Ann
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