Author: Reflections From The Ridge

About Reflections From The Ridge

I am a novelist with many New York Times bestselling books behind me and--I hope--many more to come. I love mountains, pine trees, romance, good books, love stories, family, and animals, which led me to live on Cinnamon Ridge with husband, Sid, in the heart of Oregon's forestland. Now I have Cinnamon Ridge on the market. If I sell it, my primary residence will be at the farm.

TURNING OVER A “NEW LEAF”

First, my apologies for starting this blog and then abandoning it for ten months.  My husband and the love of my life passed away after a very long battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis on November 13th, 2014.  After that, I lived in a daze for a while, and when I snapped out of it, I had a book to write.  Needless to say, my blog lay in cyberspace, forgotten for many months.

But now I’m back to blather at you!

I always get excited when one of my books is about to be released.  I can barely wait to get feedback from readers.  Writing a book is very like being pregnant with a baby.  You spend months creating it, and then when it is finally born, you hope everyone will think it’s wonderful.

I’m particularly excited about the release of my next book, NEW LEAF!!  I had just finished the book and received my first round of revisions, which were minimal, when my long-time editor, Ellen Edwards, called to drop a bomb on me.  Penguin Random House had merged with Berkeley, and during the merge, people from both houses were being let go.  Ellen was one of them.  I loved working with Ellen, and over the years, we’d grown comfortable with each other.  We had also become great friends.  In my professional life, Ellen had become one of my anchors.  I had recently lost my beloved husband as well, so I was on emotionally rocky ground.  Losing Ellen was devastating to me.

Every writer will probably tell you that the very worst time to lose your editor is during the production of a book.  Often, along comes a new editor who has never seen “your baby,” didn’t read the original proposal for “your baby,” and could very well think, “Well, this is just about the dumbest book I’ve ever read.”  I’m not and never have been an editor, but judging by my experience in publishing, editors are much more than mere word jockeys who correct sentences and punctuation.  Much like a writer, they put a piece of their hearts into a story, they become emotionally bonded with the story, and their feelings toward it deepen from the conception of the plot idea to its completion.  Ellen had been onboard as I wrote NEW LEAF, and she’d even been involved as the title was chosen and the cover designed.  A new editor would enter into the picture cold, with no attachment to the story, the title, or the cover.

New Leaf Touch UpNew Leaf_FINAL_stepback

Ellen loves NEW LEAF, but what if my new editor detested it?  This was a very real and justifiable concern.  I felt like an orphaned child who might never find another loving parent.

Well, the people in charge at my publishing house went out of their way to find an editor for me.  Even Ellen, who felt sad about leaving, told me that Kerry Donovan was a fabulous editor and that I would probably enjoy working with her.  Well, I’m a veteran writer, so I knew that I had to roll with the career punches, so, tongue in cheek, I went to work on the light revisions of the book that Ellen had suggested.  I was not at ease during this process.  I kept thinking, “You aren’t making these changes for Ellen.  You’re making them for an editor who has never even read this story.”  That is not a good way to feel as you write.  But I did the revisions and sent the book off to Kerry.  We’d “met” over the phone, and as Ellen predicted, I really liked Kerry as a person, but would I be fond of her as an editor?

When Kerry got back to me about NEW LEAF, I expected her to suggest heaps of revisions.  Instead she absolutely loves NEW LEAF.  She had nothing but awesome things to say about it, and her line edit of the revised book was very light.

Having had two editors rave about how wonderful NEW LEAF is has filled me with confidence about the story and made me feel very eager for its release when my fans will finally get to read it.  It is my hope that a huge percentage of you will love the book as much as my two editors do!

In the meanwhile, as I await the release of the book, I’m turning over a new leaf by starting anew with Kerry Donovan as my editor.  So far, she is everything I could ask for in an editor.  I’m learning a lot from her and the publishing house about online presence.  I’m totally enjoying chatting with all of my new and old friends on Facebook.  I’m presently plotting the next book in the Mystic Creek series.  I cannot say too much about that until the proposal has been accepted, but I can assure you that you will return to the quaint town of Mystic Creek, get to read about people you’ve met and grown to love in SILVER THAW and in NEW LEAF, and that you’ll meet new and interesting characters as well.

If you aren’t already a regular on my new Facebook page, I hope you’ll hop over to say hello.  You may decide that it’s so much fun there that you’ll decide to “Like” the page and visit often!  You can find me and lots of new friends at https://www.facebook.com/catherineandersonbooks

Until next time, big hugs to all of you,

Catherine

Vote yes or no. Do I Have A Ghost?

I know, I know.  You’ll think I’m blogging this only because it’s nearly Halloween, but I’m dead serious.  Something really weird has been happening up here on Cinnamon Ridge!  I have a loved one who is ill, so I purchased some monitors–essentially baby monitors–one set that is one way, meaning I can hear the patient but the patient can’t hear me, and another set with one monitor and two parent receivers that can communicate with the monitor.  In other words, I can be anywhere in the house and hear if my loved one calls for me, and I can ask him what he needs.  It sounds like overkill, but after using the one-way monitor, I quickly determined that being able to communicate with my loved one was an absolute must.  This is a big house, and I grow weary quicker if I’m running from one end of it to another to see what my patient needs.

baby monitor

So I got all set up with the monitor systems about two weeks ago, and I’m loving how well they work.  At least I was until last night.  I was busy until late –translate that into the wee hours of morning–and was dog tired by the time I decided to call it a day.  Got into my pajamas, went through my nighttime rituals, and then tiptoed carefully around my sleeping dogs toward my bed, beside which is a nightstand.  On the nightstand is one of the parent receivers to the two-way monitor, and as I approached the bed, I heard a low, very soothing male voice coming over the air.  I did not recognize the man’s voice.  I had just checked on my patient and knew the television in there wasn’t on, either.

Who had entered our house?  Better question yet, how had someone entered our house without my knowing when I had armed the security system early in the evening?  Goose bumps rose on my skin.  I stood in the shadows, listening.  The man spoke softly, so I couldn’t make out the words.  But it was definitely someone talking.  I thought, “Get a grip.  He turned the television back on at a low volume.”  So I hurried back through the house to my patient, just to make sure he was okay  As I suspected, nobody else was in the room with him.  After a quick search, I determined that nobody who didn’t belong there was in the entire house.

I crawled into bed with a frown, partly because I had allowed my imagination to run away with me, but also because I’m not given to flights of fancy, and I had definitely heard someone talking.  Too weird.

So this morning, I mentioned it to Sid, who replied that he’d been hearing voices as well.  Sid immediately decided that the monitors were somehow picking up on another frequency, thus the voices we’d both heard.  While we were discussing this, Kate, also in the kitchen, decided to research it on one of the iPads.  She glanced up and said, “Do either of you believe in ghosts?”

ghosts ghost on stairs

I raised my hand.  I’ve always believed in ghosts–not the spooky, wailing, chain-rattling kind–but the spirits of those who have passed on.  Sid said he did not believe in ghosts.  Kate seconded him adamantly, but then she added that she does believe in spirits lingering here on earth.  Sid said he did as well.  I determined that they were both splitting hairs.  Ghosts or spirits, who cares?  Do you believe in such things or not?  Be brave; just say yes or no.  They both said that they believe in spirits.

So after we had settled on the fact that we were all on the same page about spirits, which I underline to accentuate that neither of them are silly enough to believe in ghosts, I asked Kate why she had presented the question to us.  She pushed the iPad toward me and said, “If you have close neighbors who also have baby monitors, you can sometimes tap into their frequency and hear what’s happening at their house instead of what’s happening at your own.”  She waved a hand.  “But you don’t have any close neighbors up here.”

That was an understatement.  We have no neighbors.  Well, maybe a half mile away, and I know for a fact that the two-way monitor gets out of range relatively close to our house.  Sid suggested that we were picking up radio waves.   Kate said that it might be possible, but after her quick foray on the Net, she’d seen far more references to baby monitors picking up on sounds that the human ear can’t detect.  Read that to mean the voices of spirits.

Kate noted all the paraphernalia that ghost chasers carry to haunted locales, and monitors are always included because they can detect sound frequencies that we can’t.  In other words, a monitor can make the voices of ghosts–I’m sorry–spirits–audible to us.

I sat down at the bar to read the article that she’d opened.  It started with all the technical stuff, saying in more precise and scientific ways what I just put in the above paragraph, that monitors are a medium through which ghosts can make themselves heard.  Then it went on to tell a pretty convincing story.

A young couple was expecting a baby, and like most parents, they got the nursery all ready prior to delivery date.  Inside the room, they installed a baby monitor.  In place of honor also sat a family heirloom from the woman’s side, a rocker that had belonged to one of her great-grandmothers.  I can’t remember how many greats preceded grandmother.

rocking chair

They brought the baby home, and they were very pleased with how well the monitor performed.  With perfect clarity, they could see and hear the baby.  This determined, the mother was working downstairs near the receiver and heard someone singing to the baby, but she couldn’t make out the words.  She thought her husband was in the nursery, but he wasn’t.  He heard the voice as well, along with a clicking sound, as if someone were rocking the baby in the old chair.  The mother raced up to get her baby.  She found no one in the room.  Nevertheless, she snatched the infant up into her arms and hurried back downstairs.

Both parents were mystified, and the father decided to try a little experiment.  They had purchased a monitor that was equipped with a visual monitor screen.  The parents took the baby back upstairs and put it to bed.  Dad turned the camera toward the rocker.  Then both he and his wife went back downstairs to stare at the monitor screen, their ears straining for any odd sounds coming from the room.

Well, the rocker never moved.  But soon they heard a woman singing.  She had a definite Scottish accent.  The mother freaked out, as most of us would, and charged back upstairs to get her baby.  A few minutes later, the woman’s father arrived with a box of gifts for the baby, and on top of everything lay an ancient book of Scottish lullabies.  It had been passed down through the family by the ancestor who had originally owned the heirloom rocking chair.

So, everyone, what is your vote?  Did I hear the voice of a ghost last night, speaking to my ill loved one?  Or was the sound produced by some wayward radio frequency coming in over our monitor?  You can share what you think in the poll below.  If there is a poll.  If so, I can’t see it when I preview this.  But the text stuff shows in this version.

WHY SHOULD EVERY MAN READ ROMANCE?

Preface:  Hurrah.  I figured out how to put pictures in this post!

Blog:  Well, I have to confess that it took me a while to gather the courage to post to my new blog again, titled Reflections from Cinnamon Ridge.  I named my blog this because most of the blogs I’ve read are meandering things that are sometimes very entertaining–and other times not.  I won’t get into specifics.  Suffice it to say, I’m out of there if I’m yawning.  So reflections seemed appropriate, and I live on Cinnamon Ridge.  You can connect those dots.

As I set up my blog, I naturally wanted it to be read by as many of my friends as possible, so I connected to every social site I recognized.

social media icons

Well, hmm–okay, I have to be honest.  Aside from Google and Pinterest, I recognized only two of the social media sites, Facebook and Twitter, and since my FB page is already linked to Twitter, I connected this blog with only Facebook.  I don’t know what I imagined that would do.  In my mind’s eye, I envisioned a Blog button on my Facebook page, something little that you could click on if you wished to go read my blog.  Same for Twitter.  Tasteful, low profile, barely noticeable.

blog icon

I thought my blog would be seen by only my dear girlfriends on Facebook, along with Chris Peck, the only guy I know, aside from my husband, who is confident enough in his masculinity that he dares to read romance.  And he even outclasses Sid by posting publicly on my site about my books and sometimes other romances that he’s read.  Big applause for Chris Peck!  He’s blazing a trail for all the wimpy guys who are afraid to jeopardize their tough-guy images by reading love stories.  When most men read romances, they try to hide it!

man hiding cover

I know you read the title of this blog, and I’ll get to the point in a moment.  First I have to tell you about my first self-publishing blog disaster.  I happily blogged my heart out, saying whatever crossed my mind, some of which I NEVER would have said if I had known what would happen when I clicked on “PUBLISH.” Envision me smiling as I clicked that button, feeling very proud of myself.  I was getting it.  I could do this darned social media stuff.  What fool ever said an older (note I did not say old) dog can’t learn new tricks?  It was a piece of cake!

After closing up here at Word Press, I jumped over to my Facebook page to post my great news.  “I HAVE A BLOG!  YOU CAN READ IT IF YOU WANT.  JUST CLICK ON THE LITTLE BUTTON THING AND YOU’LL BE THERE!!”  To my immense dismay–translate that to horror–the first thing I saw was a huge post already on Facebook, not only on my page but also on my news feed!  Well, I may need to read Social Media Savvy for Dummies, but even I knew what that meant.  I couldn’t have been more embarrassed or upset if I had just published:

headline

My blog had gone everywhere, even to Twitter.  And I’d talked about taking doctor-ordered pictures of my body parts, complete with a metric ruler, and how those photos might have gone to Instagram, and–well, I wanted to open this gigantic bottle of wine, drink every last drop all by myself, and hope I could find my way to bed afterward.

A gag gift from my son!  Talk about a jug big enough to drown myself in!

I’m not sure how much this bottle holds because I haven’t bothered to look.  I’m sure it is in liters.  I’ve never bothered to learn the metric system because I’m a feminist, and a man developed it.  How do I know this for certain without researching it first?  Well, think about it.  When a guy is bragging about how long “it” is, which sounds more impressive, 6 inches or 152.4 milliliters?  Nuff said.

it was this long

“Hey, babe, it’s this long!”

Anyway, I didn’t open the wine and by morning I felt better, largely due to my wonderful friends on Facebook.  Okay, one lady got caught by surprise while reading that blog post and choked on her Pepsi, spewing it all over her keyboard, but she didn’t blame me and was very sweet about it.  I could only hope that the pop didn’t dry between her keys overnight and make them dysfunctional.

woman choking on Pepsi

I‘m joking.  My friend didn’t really get the hiney-lick maneuver.

I was still worrying about my blog when my wonderful nephew Dustin came to visit us on Saturday, bringing along his son, Thomas.  Dustin is the nephew who first convinced me that I absolutely had to have an Instagram account.  He said something like, “It’s what’s happenin’, Aunt Cac.  It’s the bomb.”  Having Dustin and John around is good for me.  (By listening to them, I learn how to talk cool.) Later that night, while playing with Instagram, I saw a pic and asked Dustin, “What are peeps?”  I’d just read it in a Robyn Carr book, which just goes to show that Robyn is not only a fabulous writer, but she hangs out with younger people and already knows how to talk cool.  I was amazed to learn that peeps are people.  Dustin grinned and said, “You and the Unc are my peeps.  I come from really good peeps.”  Thanks to Dust, I’m now almost as smart as Robyn Carr.  Yay!

20141025_122503

This is a pic of Dustin and Thomas right after they got here.  Excuse the grocery sack and eggs on the counter.  He brought coop-fresh eggs and stopped by a store for milk because his uncle was fresh out.  The eggs were from John’s coop, not Fort Knox.  Because of my hand surgery, I haven’t been going to see The Girls as often as I’d like, and our chickens are in molt, which means they aren’t laying as many eggs.  John’s chickens are first-year babies and aren’t doing molt this year, so he’s got eggs coming out his ears.

eggs coming out ears

This isn’t my son John, of course.  But you get the picture.

Over the course of his visit, Dustin showed me how to log into my Instagram account.  Wow!  I didn’t know I could do that.

instagram

Not really my pics.  I take shots of interesting things, like Sid’s remote.

Come to find out, the only picture I’d ever added to my Instagram was of a remote control.  Don’t ask me why I took that fascinating photo.  To make you yawn in a blog, possibly?  Nope, I’m not that cruel.  What I am is mystified.  How come do I have Instagram followers when I’ve never posted anything but a remote control?  I’ve got it!  All my followers are guys!

me running

Me, running, with a bunch of guys following me.  You just can’t see them.  And if you believe that’s me, I’m selling the Golden Gate Bridge for a really cheap price, free delivery.

knew it it had to be guys following me on Instagram from the start, and now I get it.  What man can resist a remote control, especially when he knows it belongs to some other guy?  He’s gotta have that pic and compare that remote control to the half dozen that he has.  It’s the equivalent of the tool comparisons that take place at urinals in men’s restrooms across the world.  This male quirk begins when little boys are about four, and it follows them to the grave.  Is his tool bigger than mine?  The eyes of teenage boys get stuck in a sideways position while trying to see how they measure up.

eyes stuck sideways

Then they suddenly realize that it isn’t okay to look at other guys.  This is when they develop what I call the “stare only at the wall” syndrome.

staring at the wall

But looking at a wall IS no fun.  So all guys eventually develop the remote control fetish.

man with too many remotes

Is his remote control better than mine?  These stink!  I need to throw them away and buy decent ones!

Mystery solved.  Until a few days ago, all my Instagram followers had to have been male remote control addicts because I posted a picture similar to this.

The Infamous Remote

Sid’s Sony Remote.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll take an Instagram pic of his living room remote, which looks like it belongs in a space ship.  That’ll give my guy followers a thrill.

Anyway, now that I’ve determined beyond a shadow of doubt that I never sexted half of the world’s population, I’m over my fear of blogging.  If I make you yawn, tell me.  I’ll try to liven it up with my next installment.  I’m going to plaster this one all over the Net.  I’m going where angels fear to tread.  I am woman; hear me roar.  (I presently have this site disconnected from all social networks.)

Now onward to this blog’s title, “Why Should All Men Read Romance?”

Man Reading Romance

“What is it that my wife really wants?  Maybe Lori Copeland can give me a clue.”

Don’t you just love this picture?  Here’s a really masculine man reading a romance in a public diner, bold as brass.  And look at the expression on his face. He’s finally understanding what Ethel wants from him.  Ethel has always refused to tell him, of course, so all his life, he has walked around scratching his head, wondering why she expects him to be a mind reader.  Who can understand women?  Well, this man finally knows the answer to that question!  Another woman!

So news flash, you guys; understanding women, as Sherlock would say, is elementary.  Between the covers of romance novels lie the mysteries of what women really want in a man and what they yearn to experience in a relationship.

If you hit the nightspots and strike out with women, stop wondering what’s wrong with you and start reading romances!  If you know some skinny nerd with horn-rimmed spectacles who attracts girls like an overripe banana does fruit flies, stop wondering what females like about him and read a romance!  You can start with this one!

Silver Thaw Cover 3

To be released January 6th, 2015

Order it now and forget about buying those little blue pills from online pharmacies in Canada.  If you never make it to first base, you won’t need them, anyway.

Okay, okay.  I plugged my own upcoming release.  So, sue me.  I’m not implying that guys can learn everything they need to know by reading this one book.  But since I’m the one telling them how to learn to be successful with women, they should at least read one of my offerings.  Don’t you agree?

Read romances, guys!  Why is your girlfriend snuggling in the corner of the sofa with a book instead of snuggling with you?  Well, hello, look at that dreamy smile on her face.  She’s reading about something that she finds very appealing.  The minute she finishes the story, steal it and read it from the front page to the last. Don’t ignore the parts you feel are unimportant!  Bad mistake.  Your lady absorbs every nuance of every scene, wishing she could experience that kind of romance in real life.

Legal Disclaimer:  If you’re a lady who reads paranormal romance and your honey jumps out at you from a dark corner wearing a rented wolf costume and vampire teeth, I am not responsible if he bites you.

Off I go until I get brave enough to do another installment.

Catherine

How Did I Get Here???

Hello, World!  Five years ago when I first heard the word “blog,” I had no clue what it meant.  And though I’ve read a couple of blogs, I still can’t honestly say that I have a clear idea what’s expected of me in my own blog.  Mostly in the blogs I’ve read, people talk about a whole bunch of nothing.  Since I’m a writer by profession and blather on all day on my computer, I guess I can do that–talk about a whole bunch of nothing, I mean. First of all, let me explain how I got here.  My publisher, one of the big five in the US, merged with another publisher in the big five, and about two weeks ago, maybe less, I got a letter.  Well, actually it was an analysis of my online presence and effectiveness, and my online presence wasn’t big enough to suit the social media experts.  I needed to be more visible, whatever that means.  Well, I thought I was pretty visible.  I’m active on Facebook.  I joined Pinterest and then couldn’t figure out how the heck to use it.  Then my nephew convinced me that I absolutely had to have an Instagram account, so I signed up.  I can’t recall taking a picture and sending it out, but maybe I did.  All I know is that I began getting messages that people were following me on Instagram.  All I could do was wonder what they were following because I never sent anything.  Picture me studying my old iPhone, wondering if every picture I took was going out into the public world somewhere without my knowing it. Well, that was a horrifying thought.  I am a melanoma survivor (so far, anyway) and my surgeon told me that if I noticed any peculiar looking spots (my melanoma was atypical and looked like broken capillaries) I should put a metric ruler by it for visible measurement and take a picture of it once a month.  Well, hello?  Peculiar spots never show up on polite places like your face!  At least mine don’t.  My melanoma was on my chest, right above–well, to coin a historical term that was absurdly prudish–right above my upper feminine protrusions.  So every once in a while, I’d undo my blouse and take a selfie of them.  I kept my bra on, of course.  But what if I’d been sending boob shots all over the place?  This was an unsettling thought, especially since I get peculiar looking spots in lots of different areas of my body.  Click.  Snap.  Uh, oh, how can I twist enough to get a picture of that one while also holding a metric ruler beside it?  I only have two hands. You can imagine my thought processes.  I joined this thing-dee-bob that sends out pictures instantaneously, and I keep getting notices of new followers.  Why?  What am I sending that’s so blooming interesting?  Two words bounced around in my head.  Boob shots.  And a few rump or thigh shots.  And then there was that red blotch between my–well, never mind, I don’t want to go there, and I sure as heck didn’t want people on Instagram to go there.  And we can’t forget the ruler, folks.  Are a bunch of guys following me to see if any of my body parts grow or shrink? That would cure most women of ever dabbling with any form of social media again.  But I’m a brave soul, and my publisher has asked me to connect, connect, connect.  So that is how I got here.  I’m connecting with you. Aren’t you blessed?  Now you can wait with bated breath for my next installment. Bye for now.  If you do Instagram and have seen me sexting people, please send me an email with URGENT in the subject line. Catherine