Link of the Week – Reading Bourbon Labels

September 12, 2017

This week’s link comes from one of my favorite blogs, The Art of Manliness. And it’s a great link for anyone who likes bourbon. I, myself, went through

a spell of consuming copious amounts of Jim Beam in my youth. Good times…good times…

There are distinctions between the varying types of bourbons. This link, How to Read a Bourbon Label, gives the skinny on bourbon terminology and provides a guide for consumers when buying the next bottle of whiskey. Cheers!

Link Of The Week- Weather Watch

September 5, 2017


As writers, we often need to know things about the weather for our books. My first published one talked about an “Ice Tsunami”. I had never heard of that phenomena, but I knew I wanted to put it in.Dszpics1

This past week and a half has had weather on all of our minds with Hurricane Harvey. Jenn and I are both proud native Texans and are horrified at the loss our great state has incurred. Now, we have Hurricane Irma barreling down on islands in the Caribbean and will slam into Florida soon. After that? The models have conflicting reports.

Here’s a place for great research and current weather happenings! Stay safe.


Friday Fun Facts- What Happened??

January 27, 2017

Happy Friday, everyone! Today is January 27, 2017. Have you ever wondered if this date was special? I thought it’d be fun to check out the 27th and see how it stacks up in history. Let’s see what happened:

  1. American born sumo wrestler, Akebono Taro, was the first foreigner to be promoted to the highest rank of Yokozuna. 199320100820_qfhkkzhe
  2. Germany observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day. 1996
  3. Western Union discontinues its Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. 2006
  4. The U.S. Congress approves Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) clearing the way for forced relocation of the Eastern Indians on the “Trail of Tears”. Not our finest moment. 1825trailoftears
  5.  Lenigrad was liberated from Germany after 880 days. The loss? 600,000 killed. 1944
  6.  The US and North Vietnam come to a “cease fire” thus ending the longest US war and military draft. 1973
  7. 3 astronauts aboard the Apollo 1 die while still on the launch pad. They were practicing for a two week mission in space. 1967ap-1-fire-cover-color
  8. 60 countries signed The Outer Space treaty which stated that no country would place nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction into orbit around earth. If any country were to do this, no country would be safe again. 1967
  9. Michael Jackson’s hair caught on fire while he filmed a Pepsi commercial. 1984article-1199945-05b92f69000005dc-343_634x509
  10. The Red Army liberates Auschwitz in southern Poland. It was the largest of all the concentration camps and is believed that 1,000,000 people were killed there. 19451383280_1400073387745
  11. The US government conducts the first nuclear bomb tests in Nevada. 1951
  12. Coca Cola starts distribution in the Soviet Union. 12 years after Pepsi, I might add. 1985
  13. The first sorority is created- Kappa Alpha Theta. 1870
  14. After accepting the 15th Amendment, Virginia is readmitted to the Union. 1870
  15. Thomas Edison patents the first electric incandescent lamp. 1880thomas-edison1

Link of the Week – Daily Infographic

November 8, 2016

This is a fun site for all your infographic needs, Daily Infographic. They “scour the internet for data visualizations with the best content and design to bring our users facts and figures in the most easily consumed format.” In other words, they just want to make us smarter in an age where people love quick and easy pics. Whatever your heart desires in health, entertainment, food, surviving an apocalypse, just about anything you want or didn’t realize you needed to know. Oh, and they can help create an infographic should you need one.

Check them out.

Here’s a nifty infographic on blood stain analysis. Handy for writers and potential criminals.


Friday Fun Facts- Civil War Trivia You Might Not Know!

October 23, 2015

This period of time in America’s history was hard. Hard for everyone concerned. It’s a fascinating time to study and you won’t believe some of the nuggets I found!

  1. In 2009, a woman visited a museum in Richmond Virginia to show the experts something that had been in her family since the Civil War. They had never seen ANYTHING like it. It was made out of brass, approximately 1″ in length and looked very much like an acorn. There were no marking or inscriptions and the museum was stumped! The woman explained that her family’s history passed down the story of a Confederate soldier using it to smuggle secret notes across enemy lines. It was….smuggled in his bum. She said it was called a “Rectal Acorn”. She did not donate the item.9b72ef738ab64823149881dc40af99e2
  2. In 1862, a Virginian farmer gave Robert E. Lee a flock of chickens. Unfortunately, another general’s men ate them all except for one. She had made her roost up in a tree and they missed her when they were preparing dinner. Robert E. Lee took a real liking to her and left the flap of his tent up so she could come and go as she pleased. Over time, she started leaving him fresh eggs under his bed every morning. On the eve of a large battle, the General invited all of his generals to a dinner. The only problem was there wasn’t enough food. (You see where this is going.) His slave cook, even though he hated to lose her, stuffed her and cooked her as part of the meal. He said it was the only time in 4 years the general scolded him. “The general don’t like seein’ nothin’ get killed- not his soldiers and especially not his chicken.”Poltava_chicken_breed_female
  3. There were many rules for women at this time in history, right down to how they were to mourn for their loved ones. If a woman lost her child, she was in mourning for 1 year, a brother, 6 months, and a husband for 2 1/2 years. That time was broken into heavy, full, and half mourning- mostly shown in how they dressed. Mary Todd Lincoln stayed in heavy mourning after the loss of her son, Willie. She dressed in black veils, black crepe and even black jewelry. A confederate wife stayed in heavy mourning for 59 years after her husband was shot! Men were only expected to mourn for 3 months and could signal that by a simple black arm band or a black strap on their hat.1860'S CIVIL WAR MOURNING DRESS, VEIL, BONNET & ORIGINAL HOOP
  4. There were 2 General Jefferson Davis! What?!? Yes. One for each side of the war. This didn’t really cause too many problems except for this one time…During the battle of Chickamauga, night approached and darkness fell. A group of soldiers from Ohio saw another group approaching but they couldn’t tell if they were friend or foe. (That’s a problem!) They called out, “What troops are you?” They all answered as a group. “Jeff Davis’s troops.” The guys from Ohio relaxed, believing it was their Jeff Davis. Wrong! The group belonged to the Confederate Jeff Davis.

    I couldn't find a picture of the Union general.

    I couldn’t find a picture of the Union general.

  5. Did you know they had glow-in-the-dark wounds? I kid you not. After the bloody battle at Shiloh, over 16,000 men were wounded. It was overwhelming to both sides. Soldiers layed in the mud for 2 rainy days or more and noticed that many of them had glowing wounds. In fact, it seemed that the ones that glowed fared better! It wasn’t until two teenagers, working on their science fair project in 2001, solved the mystery. The wounded became hypothermic, and their lowered body temperatures made ideal conditions for a bio-luminescent bacterium called Photorhabdus luminescens, which inhibits pathogens.battle-of-shiloh_5
  6. After President Abraham Lincoln was killed. His wallet was found to contain a $5 Confederate bill with the Confederate President Jefferson Davis printed on it. Hmmmmmmconfedstofamer1864-5o

Friday Fun Facts- Druids- Tree Lovers?

October 2, 2015

For me, this season conjures up the idea of mystical beings, times forgotten, and magical realms. Call me fanciful, but as the weather cools and dead leaves swirl close to the ground, I truly feel there’s something…more.

Could the ancient priests called Druids have some of the answers? These men carried out religious rituals in The Iron Age in Britain and France, but left no written account of their beliefs and practices. We know of their existence left in accounts by conquering Romans and Greeks. There were a few stories told by actors and artists scattered throughout the land. Our main body of knowledge of this group can be found in Irish medieval writers’ works.druids_stonehenge

  1. Druids may be female or male.
  2. Some Druids recite or sing prayers in Gaelic or other Celtic languages.
  3. By 1933, there were 1.5 million adherents. This number has dwindled.
  4. Druids may practice alone or in a Grove, the term used for a congregation.
  5. The ideal ritual space will have a tree, water of some sort, and a fire. Sometimes a ring of rocks is used, but a ring of trees is very sacred! Occasionally, one very old large tree will be used as an especially sacred area.
  6. They will, most likely, wear a ritual robe, Celtic garb or a kilt when worshiping.tumblr_static_crqmihcvnh4ccwwk0os48cw84
  7. Greek and Roman writers wrote about the Druids practicing human sacrifices. It seemed they were mostly criminals, but innocents were also used. Mass graves have been found in a ritual context at different archaeological sites.
  8. The first known text that describes the druids is Julius Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico, book VI, written in the 50s or 40s BCE.
  9. Most Druids have a profound respect for and a great love of the law, telling the truth, artistic endeavors, history and justice for all.
  10. they have no dietary restrictions unless they are under a geas, a magical prohibition.druids

Friday Fun Facts- It’s Fall Y’all

September 25, 2015

I love this time of year. Leaves begin to change, there’s a bit less humidity here in the South, pumpkins are everywhere and the smell of yummy baking permeates my house! There just might be a few things you didn’t know about this time of year. Care to find out?fallishere-1

  • Autumn has been called the “hectic beauty of death”.
  • The term “equinox” if from Latin meaning “equal night”. This is because on day it officially becomes fall, there are 12 hours of sun and 12 hours of night.
  • Scientific research has shown that during cooler months men are more likely to snuggle with their loves to watch romantic comedies than any other time of the year. Apparently, feeling chilly triggers the desire to be warm with others.
  • Levels of testosterone in men and women are higher in the fall. This could be a throwback to ancient mating rituals?CRW_5632
  • Autumn babies- those born between September and November- are more likely to live to be 100 than those born any other time of the year. Yay me!
  • Males are sexually primed by food which made harvest time and ideal time to find a mate and reproduce. A mix of pumpkin pie and donuts increase penile flow by 20%. Pumpkin pie and lavender increase it by 40%. What I want to know is how in the world do they study this?!?!?!
  • People who live on or near the equator never experience fall.1223689926Ah14Kb
  • Americans typically use the term “fall” while the British use “autumn”. Both terms showed up in the 16th century, but before that, it was called “harvest”.
  • Facebook also notes changes during this time. It seems more people change their status to “in a relationship” or “engaged” during this time. Summer shows a big spike in the “single” status because breakups are way more common then.119678432011gl3u




Friday Fun Facts- Klu Klux Klan

April 10, 2015


I’m not sure I would classify these facts as “fun”, but they were interesting to learn. Since I grew up overseas, I had a limited knowledge of this group. My research for this blog post has led me to some interesting places with even more interesting people. Unfortunately, this is not just a historical lesson because the KKK is still alive and well in 41 states and has between 5-8000 members. They call themselves the “Invisible Empire” and are still intolerant of many things. Articles I read state that some of the groups shy away from cross burnings and violence these days, but that element is still evident in many of the chapters. Sigh.

While it’s not a happy topic, it may be a great topic to add to a book. These facts could apply to historicals as well as contemporary novels.

Here goes:

– Dan Burros who was a member of both the American Nazi Party and the KKK committed suicide after he learned his Jewish background was made public. A New York Times article lambasted him as a hypocrite since his heritage was not pure and he spouted such hate. The dilemma then was whether to classify it as suicide or a hate crime.

– Timing is everything. In 1957, a college in Alabama had recently integrated and was in the middle of finals week. The KKK set up a cross burning on campus but didn’t take into account all the students would be in the dorms studying. The kids took up bats, golf clubs and whatever else they had on hand as a makeshift weapon and forced the KKK to retreat!

– The KKK hates Westboro Baptist Church. What?? Don’t they have similar hate points? Why yes they do, except for how they feel about the military. On Memorial Day 2011, members of the Westboro church showed up at a military funeral spouting “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and members of the KKK showed up handing out American flags. Westboro denounced them for having no moral authority because they were racist and the KKK denounced the church group by saying many soldiers had died for their right to protest. Another big sigh.KKK2

– KKK members claim that cross burnings are symbols of their “Christian” faith. How did it get started? Believe it, or not, Sir Walter Scott began the tradition with his poem The Lady of the Lake which refers to an old Scottish tradition of burning a cross to call a meeting of the clans. This was most popular in the South probably because there was such a large number of people of Scotch- Irish descent. Sir Walter Scott’s vivid imagery was especially appealing to the novelist Thomas Dixon, who was an avid supporter of the KKK. He added a cross burning scene in his pro-Klan novel, The Clansman, even though that had never been done. In 1905, the novel was turned into the movie, The Birth of a Nation, and it inspired the founder of the second Klan to kick off the 1915 revival with the first cross burning service in KKK history.

– Unity barbecues and some casual gatherings are called Klonvocations.

– Literary figures played into creating a part of the Klan’s history with cross burnings, it also had a hand in humiliating it. Superman often fought villains such as Lex Luther, Brainiac and Doomsday. Did you know he also fought the KKK in a serial called Clan of the Fiery Cross? Instead of the typical bad guys as the enemy of the Man of Steel, this time he battled racism in 1946. The real-life man behind the story infiltrated the KKK and tried to take all he learned to the cops. Either they were too afraid or were a part of the KKK, but nothing was done with his information. So he took it to the producers of the radio show. When the facts of this particular group kept getting played on national radio, the group switched codes etc., but to no avail. They never did figure out how the show knew their secrets!

– We cherish our rights here in America, but those rights extend to people we disagree with as well. The KKK applied, in 1994, to adopt a section of highway in Missouri. The state didn’t want the KKK’s sign on their highways so they turned them down. The KKK sued and won. After the large sign announcing the KKK adopted that stretch of highway went up, the state congress renamed that highway as “Rosa Parks Highway” after the famous civil rights activist. The KKK eventually lost interest in keeping that stretch of road clean and stopped picking up the trash. This allowed the state to take down the sign.





Friday Fun Facts- Slip Into My Dreams

October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Since this is the time of dreams…and nightmares, I thought we’d take a look at things you may not know about when you sleep.Dreams18-1

– The people in your dreams are people you’ve actually seen. Our brains can do some amazing things, but it can’t create the image of people. So it calls on the huge cast of characters you’ve bumped into throughout your life to invent the people of your dreams.

– Every single one of us dreams. (Unless you have an EXTREME psychological disorder.) A study was done where each subject was woken up at the beginning of each dream, but allowed to sleep for a full 8 hours. the next day they were cranky, couldn’t concentrate, some had hallucinations and even had signs of psychosis after 3 days!

– You might be able to upload your dreams to YouTube soon.What?!?! The science can be found at U.C. Berkeley- go look it up.

– I don’t think you’ll be shocked by this. The origin of the term “pipe dream” was coined to describe the ideas people came up with while they smoked opium.

– “lucid dreaming” is a technique where you can control your dreams. This is most often used to turn nightmares into something better.

– When you dream, your body is paralyzed.

– Sex. Females dream about it as often as males. They may think about it more while awake, but we catch up at night. 🙂

– Salvador Dali would force himself awake just as he had a dream in order to capture the surreal moments. He’d sit in a chair with a metal plate on the floor. He’d hold a spoon over the plate and relaxed. As he’d drop off to sleep, he’d drop the spoon and the noise would awaken him to paint.


Sweet dreams tonight! Don’t let the goblins get you.



Link Of The Week- It’s A Good Day To Die

September 16, 2014

Friday Fun Facts spawned today’s Link Of The Week! After all those weird medical tidbits, I was inspired to find really unique ways to kill people. Mwahahahaha! Seriously, you have to read this list to believe it…may it inspire your writing!