Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween à la Maroc

One of the fun things about travelling to other countries is seeing how they celebrate holidays.  Halloween is the States has some universals.  Kids dress up, perhaps go to parties, but definitely go Trick or Treating. 

The Flamenco Dancer and the Asian Girl

Much the same here.  On Saturday, we were invited to a Halloween party at the house of one of Joe and Leila's friends.  Eight or ten kids as superheroes, chevaliers and even a Tigger.

 Later, we walked to the American Club.  They had games and very American food at the Club:  Roasted turkey legs, pumpkin soup, caramel-coated apples and cupcakes.  There were games for the kids and the parents sat and chatted in English, French and Arabic.  Even the American Ambassador and his wife attended.

At 5:00 clock, it was time for Trick or Treat.  The younger kids had first dibbs.  We left the American Club, walked down the street, turned the corner and walked past the American Embassy

and into the parking lot.  There, a number of families had decorated the trunks of their cars and kids walked from one vehicle to the next, saying Trick or Treat and gathering candy.  Some of the cars were elaborately decorated.

It was a hoot--one of the most enjoyable Halloween's ever.

Happy Halloween all!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Flight to Rabat

Friday, I boarded a plane (and just so you know, Delta is NOT Air France even if they're 'associated') to fly to Morocco.  It's always been an easy trip.  Leave Boston in the early evening, settle down and sleep 'til I arrive in Paris, hang around for a couple of hours and then fly into Rabat.

Not this time.

I figured things were going well because I was in about the only row of 3 seats with only 2 of us seated.  Until we took off.  And the kid in the row behind started crying.  Not just the whimper or whine of ear troubles taking off.  Nope.  This was full-throated, frantic wailing.  That went on.  And on.  She'd stop for about 5 minutes, then start up again.  For anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour.  Another 5 minute break and back to wailing.  Mind you, this is a 7-8 hour flight.  All plans of arriving rested flew out the window -- so to speak.

Eventually, the kid wore herself out -- or I was even more exhausted and fell asleep in spite of the racket.  In any event, I got a couple of hours sleep, max.

During the layover in Paris, I got more and more nervous as people assembled for the flight to Morocco.  Kids.  Lots of kids.  Lots of little kids.  I groaned inwardly -- and maybe not so silently.  This flight is only a couple of hours long, but I had figured I could at  least get in a nap.

As it turned out, it wasn't bad.  There were a few cries here and there, but the usual fussiness, not the frenzied crying on the previous flight.  So, I was able to get a couple of hours sleep.

When my son and lovely granddaughters ( 4 and 6) greeted me after I got through customs, I gave them big hugs.  My son asked how the trip went.  So I came to a dead stop, knelt down, beckoned the girls over and said:  "Poor Gramma had a baby in the row behind me crying all night.  Then there were kids crying on the flight here.  So, please do me a favor.  Don't cry today or I'll run out of the house and run screaming down the street, tearing my hair out." 

They are the best girls.  Not one whimper or whine out of them for the whole time since I've been here.

More about Morocco later.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

A surprising Brainstorming partner

So, Night of Turmoil really started back in December when  I was visiting No. 1 Son and his family in Morocco.  Shortly before I returned home, we began to hear about protests in Tunisia and even found some news coverage—or at least YouTube uploads.  This was of particular interest since his wife is Tunisian.

Arriving back home, I watched lots of CNN-I (because the US news wasn't covering the protests back then).  The next thing that happened was my publisher, Whispers Publishing, put out a Call for Submission to celebrate some of the less well-known holidays.  One of them was International Peace Day and they were asking for very short stories (under 10 K) set in a place in the world experiencing conflict.  I really wanted to write about the revolution in Tunisia but hesitated, never having been involved in protests—or a revolution.

Most Friday evenings, my son calls.  The next time he called, I mentioned wanting to set a story in Tunisia during the protests but said I couldn't.  I didn't know about protests.  Plus, I was back working on the sequel to Ghost of a Chance, Frank O'Malley and Aerial Bonne's story and didn't want to abandon Frank--again.  The next week when he called, he asked me when I was going to write the Tunisian story.  I repeated the list of excuses and he said he could certainly help with the setting and proceeded to brainstorm the basics of the story.  I didn’t see that coming.  Never would have guessed one of my kids would become a brainstorming partner.  He assured me I wouldn't be abandoning Frank because it was his niece, Chelsea (he picked the name) O'Malley who had come to Tunis to teach adults English as a second language and Malik (No. 1 also chose the name) would be a student of hers.  I immediately saw the conflict, since ESL teachers can't have personal relationships with their students.

And that it how it started.  I e-mailed both son and DIL frequently to get answers to questions.  And watched hours of YouTube videos uploaded from Tunisia.

I wrote the story in three months.  Like it was all there, held back by a dam.  Just goes to show you never know what will inspire a story—or who will help.

Chelsea O'Malley, English as a Second Language teacher in Tunis, Tunisia, is always prudent, never reckless.  Her adult ESL student Malik Bourjamaa, aspires to a career in news journalism, hoping to facilitate change in his country.  While attending a protest march during the uprising in Tunis, Malik is wounded, infuriating Chelsea and causing her to admit she desires to be more than his teacher.  Can she throw caution to the wind and speak truth to a political system out of control?  Night of Turmoil tells the story of one day during the Jasmine Revolution.

Buy:  Whispers,  Kindle

And check out the really cool trailer:  Night of Turmoil

Monday, September 5, 2011

Life has been crazy around here lately.

Between an awesome weekend at Camp Brainstorming

Taking a few minutes to watch the duck at the edge of the lake

and going to the Highland Games in Topsham, Maine.  Here's one of the people demonstrating life in the Highlands


Check out the marching men in kilts here:   http://tinyurl.com/3l4jscs

and being visited by Hurricane Irene

This is the raked-up debris that fell in my back yard
Here's a link to the video I made (there's not much else to do when the power's out for 2 days)  It's a bit long (9 minutes) but it's got something for everyone--rain, wind, firemen, hummingbirds and dogs.  http://tinyurl.com/3fm9q53

there hasn't been time for much else.


Night of Turmoil (a short, sweet story) releases on September 21.

Looking forward to taking a deep breath and getting back to writing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Today's my birthday!!

And I'm celebrating.  I love birthdays even though I another year older.  After all, it's my day and I love being a star.

First off, since it's my birthday, I'm going to give away a gift.  Everyone who comments on this blog will be entered into the contest and one person will be randomly chosen to win an electronic copy of Ghost of a Chance.  When you comment, please leave your e-mail so I can contact the winner.

 But even more important, I have a wonderful new toy.

                                             The Magic Machine
It all started when I visited No. 1 son in Morocco last year.  He had an espresso machine and shared a number of cups with me.  I had espresso machine envy.  Figured I might get one when I got home.

One thing led to another and I never got around to ordering one.  But I had a brainstorm a couple of weeks ago.  I knew my kids would be agonizing over the perfect birthday present to get me.  I figured I'd be the helpful mom and provide them with a suggestion. 

So, I e-mailed them, asking for an espresso machine.

Which lead to a hilarious exchange of e-mails concerning better suggestions:  a gun (not for me--I tend to be gun-phobic) and a crossbow apparently suggested by my 2-year-old granddaughter.  Which lead to a warning by that little girl's father reflecting his concern about mixing an over-caffeinated me and crossbows, fearing it might lead to my committing mayhem against commuters driving along the country road I live on.

Which, in turn, triggered a couple of  possible stories which will probably be amplified due to my increased intake of caffeine, thanks to the crew who gave me the Nespresso.

I received my wonderful new toy a couple of days ago, a gift from all the kiddos.

                                                    All of us last year

If you want to see my new magic machine in action, check it out at YouTube:  My New Toy

Okay, I'm off to brew another espresso and plot mayhem for the crossbow wielding hordes.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Who knew that July was National Ice Cream Month.

Not me until just the other day.  But it's a good thing, given that several days were at or near 100 around here, and there were lots of days in the 80s.  Meaning, I have practically lived on ice cream.

                       Root beer floats in my summer office.  Mmmmm!

Friendly's Fruit SwirlsTM (orange and vanilla) ice cream with crushed OreosTM. Or vanilla with crushed mint Oreos--just to have some variety.


Today, July 25, my dad would have been 96. So, I'm planning on celebrating with a little piece of cake and a big bowl of ice cream. Below is a picture of my dad, Ned Peabody, and my oldest son, when he was just a little boy.

Go forth and celebrate the little bit left of National Ice Cream Month.


Friday, July 1, 2011

I finished the d&#n book

So, I finished writing my current work-in-progress the other day, delighted to type those wonderful words, The End. 

And was at loose ends.  Couldn't settle down to do anything, even though there was plenty I could do--inside the house, outside in the yard.  Didn't even check out the books in my TBR pile.  Instead, I wandered around my house thinking, hmmm, I should do this or that.  And didn't.

Fortunately, I had to meet with some of my critique partners that night and now I'm refocused.  I have another story that only has one scene left to write--interrupted that story to write Two Moons Rising that I just sold to Crescent Moon Press.

So, yesterday, to reward myself, I bought a new fancy trellis to hang my hummingbird feeder on, and next year I can plant some flowers to climb it.  Check out the pic.

What do you do to celebrate finishing a manuscript?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's the first day of summer

June is almost over even though it's the first day of summer.

So, my book, The Love Genie: Barbary Coast comes out Friday, June 24th, and I thought I'd see what else was going on in the month of June. 

Guess what?  It's Aquarium Month.

Now, there's a reason I didn't know this.  When my kids were little, I thought it would be fun to have an aquarium.  I had fond memories of my two goldfish when I was young.  They lived for years.  What could be so hard?

So I bought a big aquarium, got the pump, plants, water testing kid, some very cool fish and food.  All went well for about a week.

The algae and snails thrived.  The fish?  Not so much.

Especially because Tom-Tom, the cat, was fascinated by them.
(This is not an actual picture of Tom-Tom, but you get the idea.)

I gave up after a few months.  Years later, I walked into the local pharmacy and at the checkout lane, they had these mini aquariums in a 6 or 8 inch cube, all set up with fish and everything.  I couldn't resist and got one for my desk at the office.  Those were fish of a different kind.  They were hardy little buggers and I had them for several years.

So what does this have to do with my newest book?  Not much except that the story is set on a fantasy sailing ship.  Although I doubt Chris and Meaghan spare many thoughts about fish.

When Scott Eugene Anderson inherits his aunt's motel in the foothills of the White Mountains, he decides to turn it into a motel for anonymous sexual fantasies and advertises himself as The Love Genie.

Meaghan Rowe, who doesn't wait for anything, has a sexual itch and she turns to The Love Genie to get it scratched.  Chris Baxter has a treasure chest full of lovemaking expertise, but can't do commitment.  The two are matched and separately choose The Barbary Coast fantasy aboard a pirate ship.

Given Chris's expertise and Meaghan's impatience, will this relationship walk the plank or will they sail off into the sunset?

The Love Genie -- sexual fantasies with a touch of magic.

The Love Genie:  Barbary Coast will be available June 24th from Whispers Publishing.

Link to the Whispers Publishing:  http://whispershome.com/ 

Link to my web page:  http://peppergoodrich.com/ 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

At Last!!!!

The sun finally came out yesterday after over a week of rainy and cloudy days.  I even had to light the fireplace a couple of times since I've turned off the heat.

Sorta looks like winter, doesn't it?  Well that's what
it felt like.


A long time ago I realized I was solar powered and it was abundantly clear this past week.  Yes, yes, I know the rain is good for the garden, but it makes the grass grow and now I'll have to mow the lawn.

To recharge myself, I spent the day on my deck.  Without the distractions of e-mail and TweetDeck, I got to do lots of writing and editing.  And sitting and enjoying the wonderful weather. 

The dogs got to play outside all day.

The birds were chirping and flying around and I even got this picture of a hummingbird at the feeder.

If you look closely, you can see him just to the left of the feeder

And today is going to be a repeat of yesterday.  Yeah!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer has exploded around here.

April was chilly and damp around here.  I spent the first three weeks of May in Albuquerque visiting my son and his family.  Nice and warm and sunny out there.  I finally got warm down to my bones.

We visited the Botanical Garden on Mother's Day

Really cool plants, so different from Maine.

And here's daddy and his little girl.

We also visited the art and history museum

 Very cool Westward Ho sculpture

We went up to Santa Fe for a couple of days while No. 2 son and his wife rode in the Santa Fe 100 mile bike ride.  Being the smart one, I got to play with my granddaughter.

 Here she is, indignantly chasing the pigeons off the grass (like her dad does with the pigeons in his garden in the back yard)

Sleepy-time girl

Came back home to cold and rain.  Until last week.  Now it's hot and mostly sunny.  I've planted my "garden"

The dogs are enjoying being outdoors, too. 

Here they are, grazin' in the grass.

And my writing career is sort of exploding, too.  Pepper has a book coming out on June 24th. 

And Judi has a contract for Two Moons Rising with Crescent Moon Press.  No cover or release date yet.

Night of Turmoil is at one of my publishers for consideration. 

And Pepper is hard at work on another Love Genie story.

Okay, back to my regularly scheduled writing.

Have a great June.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Check out the cute guy who's come to live with me.

But a word of advice.  If your hairdresser calls unexpectedly, out of the blue, you might consider not answering.  I answered, and got a new puppy.

As many of you know, I lost my little Min Pin, Jake, a year ago.  Because I missed him, and because Sassie, my little girl Yorkie missed him, too, I got another Yorkie, Mishka.

But when  my hairdresser heard Gizmo was available, she knew I loved Min Pins and offered him to me first.  How can you refuse an adorable guy like this?

Sassie has adjusted very well to being the bossy big sister.  And loves to nap with him, too, right beside my desk.

In the evening, when I sit down to watch TV, more often than not, the three of them draped all over me. 

But it's great to have Min Pin shenanigans in the house again.

Hey, wait a minute.  That's my chair.  Where's a girl find room to sit down to write?

How about you?  Who helps you get your work done?  Or maybe help isn't the right word.

Anyway, enjoy your furry friends


Saturday, January 15, 2011

I’m Home

Okay, I’ve been back in Maine a week.  It’s COLD.  I grew up in Maine.  I lived in Minnesota for 30 years.  I’ve been back in Maine 10 years.  Who knew that in 5 weeks I’d get acclimated to being warm.

It’s snowed a foot and a half since I came home.  My poor puppies are relegated to running down a tunnel of snow from the deck to the maple trees.

One bright spot is that I brought home a tajine (a kind of stove-top oven) for cooking tajine (basically a Moroccan stew).  The day after I arrived, I rummaged through my refrigerator and found chicken (in the freezer), some sketchy potatoes and a winter squash.  I ‘refreshed’ the chicken in some cold water while it thawed, peeled the veggies, added a spice that I from one of the three packets of mixes I bought in Rabat with my DIL’s help (can’t remember what’s in them and can’t read Arabic), added chicken broth and a hint of white wine (definitely not in a Moroccan recipe) and Voilà! a tasty dinner with savory smells filling my house, reminding me of North Africa and my beautiful granddaughters.

 So, what’s your favorite food or recipe for cold winter days?

Très FROID au Maine

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Goals for 2011

Sadly, this will be my last blog from Morocco.  I leave for home first thing in the morning tomorrow.

So, I decided to that this opportunity to post my goals rather than penciling them on a scrap of paper that I promptly lose.  So here they are.

Be content with where I am and who I am

Finish Two Moons Rising
Finish revisions on Through All Time
Finish Mirror, Mirror
Find  home for Afternoon Delights
Find a home for Two Moons Rising
Find a home for Whispers in the Heart
Work on Second Chances (Aerial's story)
Set up and maintain a regular writing schedule
Search for a part-time job
Figure out blogging/self-promotions

Remember, I always have enough time because I am always doing what I choose to do.

And for everyone who's been commenting that there are no pictures of me, here I am on the Barbary Coast of pirate fame, looking toward Rabat with Salé in the background 

Hoping everyone has a wonderful 2011


Monday, January 3, 2011

The Road to Marrakech

So right after Christmas, we spent four days in Marrakech in La Palmeraie--actually a palm grove that's an oasis.


Here's the patio of the apartment we stayed in.

And the orange tree just beside it.

Tuesday we went to the souks in the medina.  Marrakech is much more of a tourist destination than Rabat so there are lots of random offerings by guys of stuff to buy--and they're fairly persistently.

Wednesday we drove to the foothills of the Atlas Mountains to Terres d'Amanar, an adventure park--no rides but with adventuring activities for all ages, ranging from a zip cord traversing from one hillside to another across a valley several hundred feet below, to a kid's playground with similar activities that the girls loved.


The reception was housed in a reproduction of a Berber tent.

And there was a sheppard tending his flock on the grounds.

 The scenery was spectacular.  Here's No. 1 son.  You can barely see the snow-topped mountain peeking out between the hills in the foreground, the bit of blue mist merging into the sky.

At the end of they day, they light a fire to keep away the chill of the desert evening.

 As you might guess, the seeds of a story are planted and growing.

Wishing you une nouvelle année joyeous