In the LAPD, Code 7 is a synonym for lunch break or an opportunity to eat. Code 7 is a time to relax, joke, and share thoughts with your fellow officers. Here is what's on my mind right now ...

NEW YEAR, NEW GARDEN, NEW GARDENER

THE ROAD TO BECOMING A GARDENER

One of the things that attracted me to our house when we bought it a few years ago was that the backyard was large and well landscaped. The man who built our home was a landscaper by trade, and he spared no expense to make the backyard a showplace. A few years after the house was built, it was sold. This was during the "great recession," and the new owners got a fabulous bargain.

So, the second owners of the home not only put in a gorgeous swimming pool but also installed twelve raised planter boxes for a vegetable garden. They also put in a variety of fruit trees.

I wasn't able to take advantage of the first planting season that we lived here. We'd moved my mother from California up here with us in Idaho. Although she was in a care facility, I spent much of my time caring for her. Sadly, my mother passed away later that same year.

LESSONS LEARNED MY FIRST YEAR

The next year (last year) when spring rolled around, I decided we had those planter boxes, I might as well make use of them. I have never been a gardener, and in fact, have quite the brown thumb. Last year I planted a garden anyway. I planted some strawberries, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, peas, and carrots. I had way too many tomatoes. I’d planted six tomato plants. No one was more surprised than me when the tomatoes started coming at a fast and furious pace. I'd planted corn, and while it was fun to watch it grow, the corn itself turned out mushy. Yuck! I wound up freezing most of my harvest of all my vegetables (but not the corn!)

First Year Strawberries    Last year's strawberry plants.  

 

First Year Corn The corn grew fast, but was mushy.

 

HOW I CHANGED THINGS UP THIS YEAR

This year, I tried to be more prudent with my planting. I planted a lot more strawberries. I only planted three tomato plants two of them are cherry tomatoes, and the other one has bigger tomatoes (I don’t remember the variety).

Second Year 2017Second Year 2017                                       

I increased my bell pepper plantings because I didn't get many last year, and I'm hoping for a big crop this year. I use bell pepper and almost everything. I repeated my planting of peas, and now know that I should put them on a trellis or some other support. Newcomers this year are the green beans. The beans were the first seeds that sprouted. I’m hoping this is a good sign. Last year's carrots were a disappointment because they were tough and not very sweet. But I'm giving them a try again this year with a different variety.

 

Strawberries 2017                                    Bell Peppers 2017

 

       This year's strawberries on the left and bell

       peppers on the right. I planted red, orange, 

       green, and yellow peppers.

The major change to my garden this year wasn't even in the planter boxes, but around the planter boxes. I put a heavy covering of chipped bark between the planter boxes. Not only does the bark help keep weeds at bay, it also is softer to walk on.

THE REAL VALUE OF GARDENING

If you had told me three years ago that I would love to go out into my garden and just walk around and look, or even better pull out those pesky weeds, I would've said you were crazy. I’ve never had an interest in growing things. But things change.

I could probably buy my produce cheaper at the store than what I've spent in planting soil, supplements, weed-killer, bug killer, etc., but that's okay. I find peace in my garden…and you can't put a price tag on that.

Do you garden? If not, tell me what hobby you do that brings you peace and contentment?

Until next time,

 

KMA 367


Mother’s Day and Fur Babies

I’m writing this post on Mother’s Day.  This is the second Mother’s Day that my mom hasn’t been with me. She passed away from Alzheimer’s disease.

At first, I thought I’d write a blog about her and what a wonderful woman she was – and she was a wonderful. Take a look:

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I didn’t want to mark every Mother’s Day, her birthday, or holiday with the fact she is no longer with me on Earth. The truth is, she is with me every day…and I talk to her every day.

I’m a mother, too. And my husband and I will be meeting with my daughter and her wonderful family later tonight for a Mother's Day dinner.

But in my day-to-day life, my children now have four legs and fur.

 

 

So, in celebration of being the “mother” to our four-legged children, I wanted to let you know about a website called Dog Food Advisor.

This website lists many many dog foods both wet and dry and provides ratings and nutritional info (pros and cons)

for each one.

I was pleased to see that the food we feed our dogs was one of the top-rated brands, but also surprised to see it was a 4 Star rated food. We thought we were giving our dogs the best food available. At this time we’ve opted not to change their food, but that could change if they ever indicate they’d like a change. (Not likely, they’re Labs and will eat anything!)

Not only that, on Dog Food Advisor, you can sign up for email notifications when a dog food is recalled. I’m surprised at the number of recalls there are on dog foods. I don’t find the emails to be a bother at all.

We feed our cats the same brand of food (except it’s their cat products) as we do our dogs. I looked to see if there was a Cat Food Advisor website and I’m happy to say they’re working on it. There is a link, Cat Food Advisor, so maybe by the time you’re reading this the site will be up and working.

If you’ve got dogs (and soon it will be available for cats) check out Dog Food Advisor. They have some good articles and information on there. (I don't receive a thing from Dog Food Advisor or Cat Food Advisor – when I like something, I tell people about it.)

And did you see what I did? I slipped in a tribute to my mom into this blog. She was an animal lover, so I guess it’s fitting.

Until next time,

KMA367


The One Who Caught Your Eye

Many people are on my team to create my books. One of the most important team members is the person who creates my book covers. When it comes to book covers, the old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words,” it’s true.

All my book covers (except for the German language version of A Deadly Blessing) were created by a woman named Donna Casey, who went by the web name of Digital Donna. I’ve recently learned that Donna passed away.

images

I first "met" Donna at the beginning of my career in 2011. After looking at a list of book cover designers, checking out her website, and then perusing her portfolio, I determined she would be a good fit for me. When I asked her to create a cover for my first book, A Dozen Deadly Roses, I gave Donna a particular idea that I wanted for that cover. After a few days of her working on the cover, she emailed me saying: I just can't find the right graphics. But she also said, I've created something that you might like. And when I saw her design I knew that I should've left the designing of my book cover up to her. In my opinion, it was the perfect cover for that book. And that book quickly became a bestselling e-book.

Another interesting fact about my covers is that the entity that owned the rights to the LAPD badge would not let me use a graphic of the "official" badge for my covers. Donna created her own version of a badge which I've used on all of my books. That's one of the things I loved about her. She always went the extra mile for me.

homecover-roses

When it came time for a cover for my second book and the first book in the LAPD Detective Maddie Divine series, once again, I called on Donna. Because I’m a gal who can’t refrain from offering her two cents, I gave Donna the design idea I wanted for my first book in my Maddie Divine series, A Deadly Blessing. I got a great cover, and this was just as I imagined it would look. 

A Deadly Blessing Book1

I often wonder if I had let her come up with the ideas on her own, how would the cover look?  For each book in the series, A Deadly Justice, A Deadly Denial, and A Deadly Beauty, she took the image I had in my mind and created it.

Image 5     Denial cover 60 x 900     DeadlyBeauty_ebookcover

Here is the cover she did for A Deadly Second Chance, a short story that I'm currently offering to folks who sign up for my newsletter.

Image

It was probably 2013 or maybe 2014 when I learned that Donna was ill. The disease that had taken hold of Donna’s life scared me. As time went on, I quickly realized that Donna was a fighter and a professional and she’d serve her clients as long as she was able. Every time I had a request or needed help with resizing my covers she was there for me. There was no request too large or too small that Donna would not handle. And unlike many people in business today, she'd get me what I needed quickly and usually without any further charge.

I'm deeply saddened by the loss of my friend Donna. She was my first professional contact in my writing career. Without her beautiful and eye-catching book covers my career never would've taken off as it did. So, thank you, Donna. Thank you. Please rest in peace, and know you are missed. 

And thank you for all those eyes you caught!

Which one of Donna's covers is your favorite?

 

Until next time,

KMA 367

 


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