Friday, February 27, 2009

Off the Beaten Track

When I returned to Colorado in 2005 following my husband's death from cancer, I did it for our children. I also did it for myself, of course, as I still had very dear friends here and a support system. Some of those friends have moved on since, and new ones have come along, but that's another post for another day.

My house-hunting trip was limited to one school district, where we had lived for eleven years prior to our move to Oregon in 2001. Our oldest daughter, Barbi, graduated from high school here in 2000, and our two youngest, Bonnie and Ben, went to elementary school here. The memories we all shared of their dad's cancer and death were left out of state--as much as those memories can be left--and he actually helped us plan this move before his death. It was, of course, bittersweet for us all.

The children fell right back into their circle of friends. It was almost as if we'd never left. Ben, in particular, was welcomed with open arms by his old soccer buddies. Their parents offered me support and friendship as well, and came to stand at my side when Barbi walked down the aisle in 2006 with a grandpa on each arm instead of her father.

When we lived here the first time, we had both Dave's and my income, of course, so we were able to live on the other side of the freeway in the community of Woodmoor--a modest house in an old growth pine forest on almost an acre of land with a view of Pikes Peak. Oh, how I loved that old house!

The median home price in this school district had ballooned in the four years since our move, and I soon discovered that even with Dave's life insurance, I couldn't touch anything on that side of the freeway. So I searched in the small, historic town of Palmer Lake--and, yes, there really is a lake, as you'll see in the photo stream on this blog, and in some of the photos at this online gallery.

At first I was disappointed not to be in the same place in the woods with a view of Pikes Peak, as I'd come to think of that mountain as my rock. However, I soon realized I'm now on a mountain--Sundance Mountain. I have an incredible view from up here of where I used to live, and of city lights with a huge deck I can use in the summer.

And I've also discovered peace. This community is quiet and charming. It still has its own small definition of a downtown, and is still surrounded by a hodgepodge of both small and large historic homes. Sure, there are subdivisions with McMansions nearby, but the charm is here in the "inner town." One can't refer to this as city by any stretch. In fact, we're so small we don't even get mail delivery--we get bears.

Local businesses hang in there even during these trying economic times, and offer a personal touch never found in the city or at the big chains. One example is the local coffee shop, the Speedtrap, which offers evening entertainment three nights a week in addition to wonderful espresso and coffee. They've added Sunday morning waffles as well. It is the place for locals to hang out and share news in Palmer Lake. Every town, city, and/or neighborhood should have such a place. In fact, it's where I met my gentleman friend. Need I say more?

Sometimes we may not end up where we want to be, but often we land exactly where we need to be. Something to contemplate over my morning coffee, which isn't nearly as tasty as it is at the Speedtrap.

Happy reading!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Real Customer Service

For sometime now, I have lusted after a MacBook Air, because it weighs in at a slight three pounds, and it will run both Mac and Windows OS. However, the most powerful, fastest, etc. version of this beauty is almost $2500 new. Whew! So I started haunting the refurbished products at the Apple Store online until one of the super loaded versions became available. Note that Apple's refurbished products are sold with brand new warranties at amazing savings. I found exactly what I wanted for almost a grand less. So I scraped together the money, melted some plastic, and bought myself one for Christmas.

It had a small problem with the screen, but it ran beautifully. So I waited until after I finished THE GIFT to take it to the genius bar at my local Apple Store for them to have a look. Unfortunately, someone there dropped the ball. Even after the genius recognized that, yes, this little beauty needed a new screen, my laptop sat in the store for almost a week instead of being shipped to the depot for service. Being an anxious mother of all my electronics--writers love our gadgets and office supplies--I logged on daily to check the status. Plus, the genius had assured me I would have it back within a week.

When the status kept saying, "pending shipment," I called the store and learned about the snafu. Then I called Apple Customer Service to complain and whine--well, really, why had it sat there for almost a week? I had reached the end of my patience, though I was still extremely polite. Diplomacy is my middle name. :)

Apple is known for amazing customer service. I know this as I'm a longtime, returning customer. What I expected was an apology and expedited service. What I got shocked me. They called the manager of the store where I had taken my MacBook Air and arranged for me to pick up a brand new replacement. In fact, the new one has an even larger hard drive than the one I purchased in December!

I said, "Well, I guess I can't complain about that!"

It pays to be polite. Apple has certainly earned my loyalty, and I will be shopping for a pretty iMac to replace the old Dell PC on my desktop as soon as possible.

Now back to the proposal for what I hope will be my next book, and a possible seque to THE GIFT.

Happy reading, all!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cover Art!

I just received the initial cover art for THE GIFT (November 2009). What do you think?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Class Act

Last evening, I attended a booksigning for Linda Lael Miller at Beth Anne's Book Corner in Colorado Springs. My daughter, Bonnie, went with me. She adores Beth Anne and knew she could score a STAR TREK novel out of Mom. Beth Anne did well in finding her one with a cover featuring both Captain Kirk and Spock.

After Linda Lael Miller and I caught up a bit on how long it had been since we've seen each other--we decided it was the DC RWA conference in 2000--she signed her new release for me. Then Bonnie immediately handed her the STAR TREK novel to sign.

Linda didn't miss a beat. She looked at me with a big smile. I said, "Go for it." She signed it--what else?--Captain Kirk! Bonnie is very proud of her autographed book.

LLM is a class act. The book is a keeper, and so is Princess Bonnie.

In case you're wondering, I finished THE GIFT by deadline, so it is still scheduled for November 2009. I'll post cover art when it becomes available. Woo-hoo! And big whew....

Happy reading!