New Submission Call! #amwriting #romance

New submission call for our upcoming anthology! We did a call for “forbidden” stories and received so many professor/student submissions that we decided to dedicate a full anthology to the theme.

The Craving Chronicles

It's Back! (3)

New anthology theme announcement: Craving Teacher.

Crave Publishing, a division of Limitless Publishing, is accepting short stories for the contemporary romance anthology Craving: TEACHER. Completed stories should be 10,000 words (7,500 minimum, 12,000 maximum, with 10,000 as the ideal length).

There’s always that one teacher or professor, the one who’s a little too hot or looks at you a little too often. And there’s always that one student, who is as precocious in the bedroom as in the classroom. And we love those steamy, sexy, forbidden stories about how the rules don’t stand a chance against chemistry.

Your story should involve a setting of college or graduate school, with a student and a professor, thesis advisor, or other similar position. The student must be over 18. You might have a male student and female teacher/instructor, or female student and male teacher. High “heat” levels are encouraged, but please don’t…

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Summer Knitting, Having a Blast…

I’ve been a terribly negligent blogger lately! Life has been a little crazy, with eye and dental appointments, guests, outings…and an upcoming series of dental appointments that will take most of the summer to complete.

But I have been knitting! Time to catch you up on what I’ve done and what’s on the needles now.

I’ve finally completed the Holden shawl, using Dream Smooshy With Cashmere in “mermaid shoes,” which I got from The Salty Sheep Yarn Shop. I love this. It’s so soft and light! Check out the slideshow for all four gorgeous images!

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This is how I’ll probably wear it, though.

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Currently on the needles is the Close to You shawl, again using the Dream Smooshy With Cashmere, this time in the Burr colorway. I’m hoping this one is a little smaller and maybe can even be worn in the summer in the south.

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I still have two cakes of amazing yarn from The Wicked Knittah in “cottage shed,” and lots of patterns piled up, and I still want to learn cables. But I’d probably cable in a heavier yarn, and I’m really enjoying the indulgence of the luxury yarns right now.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer knitting projects!

I Know You’re Only Here For The Dog Pictures

Yesterday was “Direwolves to the groomer day.” This comes along about every eight weeks, because Oliver is a poodle and there’s no way in blue hell I’m tackling that jobdoginatub myself.

When we still had Brody (Pyr) and Darwin (heavy-coated golden), they also had to visit the groomer, because attempting to get that undercoat out at home would’ve resulted in two very unkempt, pissed-off dogs and me in traction because my back would be contorted like a Crazy Straw. But Mozzie is a smallish, light-coated golden, so he only visits Jill’s Pet Resort for a nail trim, then we bathe him at home while Oliver is getting re-poodle-ized at Jill’s.

Grooming day is always chaotic, because the boys are 19 and 21 months old, energetic and strong, and a lot to handle. Thankfully, we now schedule this on Tom’s day off so he can help wrangle them, since the time they both almost got away from me in the parking lot.

There was some additional chaos yesterday, when we arrived and Jill came out to quietly tell me they didn’t have us on the schedule. I had the email, though, and she was super nice and they quickly rearranged some things so he could still be groomed, for which I was grateful since we have people coming over on Sunday, and I’d rather he not look like Post-Apocalyptic-Poodle. Everyone at Jill’s is always so great, and even though we’d just thrown their schedule out the window, we weren’t made to feel rushed or like an inconvenience.

I’ve always favored a shaved face when Oliver is groomed, or at least very short compared to the rest of his body.

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But Tom prefers a longer, more doodle-ish face, and yesterday I relented and let Kate (Oliver’s groomer) leave it more natural. He’s adorable no matter what, and other than his mouth-fur getting icky from food and dog-slobber, I’m okay with it. We try to leave his butt region with some coverage, but the way he sits means he tends to mat, so clipping is usually required…leaving Giant Poodle Testicles on full display. I’m considering inventing a Poodle Butt Toupee for those pet-parents who have intact male dogs but would rather not view their goodies all day.

Now on to the reason you’re really reading this post…the pictures! Mozzie, being a golden, looks pretty much the same. He is, however, super soft and so silky I can hardly stand it, and he smells a lot better. Bonus, his toenails aren’t ripping my legs to shreds.

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And here’s Oliver with his “natural” (more or less) face and 100% natural tail…

Tom picked Oliver up for me yesterday, which I really appreciated. It was supposed to be simple, but ended up being a pain in the ass. He didn’t complain, but I won’t try to guilt him into doing it again. I just really hate to drive.

Today is all about the chill. Yesterday was busy, and the weekend will be too. I’m going to work on my shawl, which is only about six or seven (long) rows from being done. I need to look up how to do the picot bind-off and practice so I don’t ruin the shawl I’ve been working on for three weeks…so wish me luck!

Nostalgia Tastes Like Pizza

Tom and I were born, raised, met, married, and had our son in Marshall County, West Virginia, in the northern panhandle of the state, the “upper Ohio Valley,” though we haven’t lived there since 1984.

For those who grew up in the area, one thing is deeply ingrained in our culinary culture.  DiCarlo’s Pizza. This small local chain was a staple of date nights, before or after sporting events and dances, weekend parties, or anywhere hungry people happened to be.

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It’s hard to explain to non-natives. It’s simple, plain, and doesn’t appear to be anything special. If you feed it to a friend, they’re likely to reply, “Yeah, it’s okay. Um…it’s pizza.” They just don’t understand why we rhapsodize over this no-frills delight.

Though the hometown restaurants and the franchise locations now starting to pop up outside the Valley have seating and various menu options, I’m not kidding when I say the DiCarlo’s of the 1970s and 80s was no-frills. The building in Glen Dale, the location we frequented, looked like this. This photo is a different location (couldn’t find the original Glen Dale building…it’s since moved to a slightly larger brick building next door to the old location), but this is what it looked like.

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Cement block and metal siding, narrow customer counter across the whole width, no seating, most of the work space taken up with the wall ovens and tables for cutting the huge trays of pizza into squares. On a Saturday night, the front of the store was packed solid with people waiting for the next tray to come out of the oven.

And forget having a wide variety of toppings from which to choose. Aside from sauce and cheese, there were a total of two options. Pepperoni…or no pepperoni. Easy-peasy. Back in the day, it was 35 cents a slice, meaning a guy and his date could easily fill up for under $4, which was critical, because you definitely didn’t want to cut into your beer budget too much.

Now, this is the part where we lose most outsiders. This pizza is made “Ohio Valley style.” The crust and sauce are baked–without the cheese on it. When the piping hot trays come out of the oven, they’re placed on the work table and the cheese is scattered over the whole thing, and pepperoni added after. Your chosen number of slices are put in the cardboard boxes, and by the time you get to your car or home or other designated pizza-eating location, the cheese has mostly melted and the pepperoni is warm.

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That is DiCarlo’s.

So, why is this delicious nostalgia on my mind today? Well, a franchise recently opened in Myrtle Beach, by an Ohio Valley ex-pat, and Tom was down that way visiting family on Friday, and he brought home two trays.

Let me be clear. He brought home the baked crust and sauce slices, and separate bags containing the signature cheese blend and pepperoni. Any other way would be blasphemy. Whenever his parents come to visit, they almost always bring us a tray or two in a cooler, but since this new location is not too far from his brother’s house, whenever he goes to see them, he can detour and get it for us himself.

Yesterday we had pizza, beer, and era-appropriate movie day. At first, I couldn’t figure out why he kept telling me “not yet” whenever I went to put the pizza in the oven, but it turned out it was because he bought beer, and didn’t want to start beer-fest too early in the afternoon.

He posted this picture, saying we were being 17 again. Yes, at 17 in West Virginia in the early 1980s, beer was most definitely part of the picture. I make no apologies. 😉

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So, I made the pizza, and it was perfect. We had beer. I forgot how much work it is to drink beer, being more a mixed-drink-with-kick person. You have to drink…a lot of it. And this results in frequent bathroom visits, which makes me think how much time I must have spent peeing in the bushes in my youth.

We started the movie portion of the day with The Jerk. Then, in honor of the royal wedding, moved on to King Ralph, and wrapped up with Shaun of the Dead, which isn’t exactly the right era, but neither was King Ralph, and it’s too funny not to watch when you have beer.

It was a great way to spend a rainy Saturday. Though if we wanted to be 100% authentic, we should’ve probably headed out and had the beer and pizza parked on a dirt road somewhere.

Do you have a hometown food that makes you feel like a kid again every time you have it?

WIP Weekend

I know it’s Mother’s Day weekend here in the U.S., but that’s never been a “holiday” to me, despite Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day, being an ancestral cousin. My mom passed away on May 14, 1984, the day after Mother’s Day…which happened to be my first. My son was only seven weeks old. We spent that day, her last Mother’s Day, apart, as she was in the hospital over an hour away awaiting surgery she did not survive.

Okay, enough of the sad memories. That’s why the “holiday” is low-key here. I don’t care if The Boy remembers it or not. Tom brought shrimp and scallops from the local seafood market, and that will be dinner tomorrow. Easy-peasy, and I adore fresh scallops.

This week, I finished and blocked my first knitted shawl, and I’m pretty happy with it. It’s the On The Wings of a Prayer shawl, using Knit Picks Chroma in Drawing Room. It’s a bit warm for my climate, but I have a home picked out for it.

I’ve been working on a new shawl in sock-weight yarn, Dream Smooshy With Cashmere in Mermaid Shoes. I love this yarn so much! It’s soft and works up beautifully. I’m making this Holden shawl with a slightly larger needle to improve the drape and to make the lacy parts–when I get to them–lacier. I’m still on the body of the shawl, but I’m loving the yarn and the gorgeous colorway.

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Five-inch ruler for scale.

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Though I have two more balls of Dream Smooshy With Cashmere in different colorway, Burr, I couldn’t resist another yarn I saw on Facebook. I saw it several days ago, almost bought it, somehow resisted (this is unusual behavior for sure), but after a few days, I was still thinking about it, so I ordered two hanks (to be rolled into cakes for me) from The Wicked Knittah.

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It’s an 80/10/10 superwash merino/cashmere/nylon sock weight, and I love the colors. It’s called Cottage Shed, and it reminds me of the verdigris on a copper pot, or weathering on a tin roof of a rustic garden shed. Can’t wait to get it!

I finished a first round edit on the upcoming Mafia Prince by Bella J. yesterday–and you should totally check out book 1 in her Royal Mafia series, Mafia Princess–so I have time to hang with the Direwolves, watch Stitchers on Amazon (only one season left to go, boooo!) and knit.

If you “do” Mother’s Day, hope you have a great one! Wishing a very happy, peaceful, love-filled day to my big sister, Linda, who stepped in when we lost our mom and served as a surrogate mother and grandmother to me and the little one when we needed her most. Love you, Sister!

Neighbors Again

It’s going to be a long summer.

I’ve blogged a few times about the new neighbors in the small rental house across the street. As best I can tell, there seem to be parents and a couple of teen boys who actually live there, but since the menagerie of children changes hourly, I can’t be entirely sure. There are bigs and littles, girls and boys, elementary, middle school, toddlers…

And I’m not a kid person. I don’t hate them, exactly. The old saying is children should be seen and not heard, but I sort of prefer they be neither seen nor heard.

There’s the basketball hoop monopolizing the street, the ball spending more time in our yard due to the slope than on the actual “court,” and the piles of worn plastic toys. There is a hobby horse that looks alarmingly like one I had when I was a kid…and I was born in the 1960s. Pretty sure there’s some sort of consumer safety issue there.

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Now I’ve been treated to bald, shirtless, paunchy guy hanging out in the yard–the father, I’m assuming.

Then a four-person tent appeared in the front yard. Not the side yard, of which there is roughly a half acre, or the back yard. Right in front. Presumably to accommodate kid-overflow. I think the mother does daycare, but who the hell knows?

Now we have a new sight to behold. The other morning I heard an engine and thought, “Yay, they’re mowing their yard.” But it kept going. For a long time. I peeked through the blinds, and thought it was a strange way to mow, going all over the place. Oh, and up and down the street too.

Huh. It’s not a lawnmower at all. Not anymore. Now it is a former lawnmower with the mowing bits removed, serving as an ATV, and kids are driving it around. Which I’m fairly sure isn’t especially safe.

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The giant blue tent would be just out of frame to the right.

The only thing I’m clinging to at this point is they do not have a dog. Because if they had a dog tied in the yard or roaming at large, Steps Would Be Taken.

The summer may be long, but I’m hoping their lease is short.

One Off The Needles, New One On

I’ve been a terrible blogger, not posting in so long. In my defense, I had what was (for me) a very hectic, draining week, but I’ll try to do better.

For now, the news is I finally finished the On The Wings of a Prayer shawl, using Knit Picks Chroma superwash in “drawing room.”

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The colors are actually softer than in the photo. I needed a flash in the dim room where it’s blocking.

Next up is a lighter shawl, the Holden shawl by Mindy Wilkes, a paid pattern on Ravelry. I am using Dream In Color Smooshy With Cashmere, in “mermaid shoes,” which is so soft and beautiful I can hardly stand it. I’ll be making it in the medium size.

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Barely started, but every project starts somewhere. I had to learn to pick up and knit on vertical and cast-on edges for this one, but the rest will be similar to the stockingette sections of the last shawl, and the fan and feather edging will be like scarves I’ve done.