Archive for April, 2009

25
Apr
09

Full House!

Greenhouse

Greenhouse

I thought I was going to have all this space …

 

 

Last spring my husband built me a greenhouse for Mother’s Day. Or I should say, he started to build me a greenhouse on Mother’s Day. If you’re like us, time and money don’t always allow you to complete projects in as timely a manner as you would like. The greenhouse was finished in October. Too late for last season’s planting, and I have looked forward to using it for six long months. Having limited window space in the house, and pets who like to dig in my plants, I usually only start three or four trays of annuals a year, as many as will fit on the table in my sun porch. This year, I went hog wild, buying all of my usual favorites along with some exotic new plants and flowers I’ve been wanting to try. I foolishly started them in early March. (What made me think the nights would be warm enough for seedlings in an unheated greenhouse in New York State in early April?) In no time at all they had taken over not only the sun porch, but every available window in my house. After five weeks of juggling not three, but THIRTY trays of seedlings, in from the porch every night , and back out every morning, I finally moved them down to my greenhouse today. It’s a mighty tight fit, but I got them all in. Hooray! The best part? The sun porch is empty. Wonder if I should start a few tomatoes? 

full house

full house

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09
Apr
09

We’re Watching You!

A writer’s eyes are everywhere, ever vigilant, watching, wondering, waiting for someone or something of interest that will spark a story idea. If you’re one of these inquisitive creatures, I’m sure you will agree that your major characters are usually based on people you know very well (carefully disguised, of course.) Maybe the kindly old lady who helps your heroine is really your aunt Sophie, and the hateful villain is that boss you just could not please no matter how hard you tried.

Your minor characters, though, those who appear briefly for a scene or two, are a different matter. For me, they spring from snippets of life; those unexpected glimpses of human nature that sometimes fall in my lap like gifts when I wasn’t even necessarily looking for them.

Take yesterday. I was sitting in the parking lot at the high school, waiting for my son, when a woman came barreling out of the primary school next door, dragging a small boy behind her. I watched as he struggled to keep up with her as she hurried toward her mini van. It was a beautiful, sunny day, but the storm clouds on that woman’s face nearly made me shiver.

“Come on,” she barked. “Will you hurry UP already?”

Halfway across the lot, the boy dropped his artwork. I saw the bright pink construction paper and the glittery hearts and ovals and knew it must be an Easter card. The woman snapped it up and shoved it beneath her arm.

“Come on, come on, will you come ON?”

Maybe the poor woman was just having a bad day. Maybe she normally has the patience of a saint. Any number of things could have happened that day to push her to the end of her rope. No matter. Somewhere, sometime, she is destined to appear in one of my stories as a monster mom.

Kind of makes you want to be careful, eh?

A writer’s eyes are everywhere. Watching. Wondering. Waiting…

02
Apr
09

Long and Short Reviews — Shadow Lake

Just got my second review for Shadow Lake from The Long and The Short of It:

 

 Shadow Lake by M. Jean Pike

Publisher: Black Lyon Publishing

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Short (146 pages)

Heat: Sweet

Rating: 4 books

Reviewed by Camellia

They weren’t looking for love. So love found them.

Sexy campground owner Shane Lucy needs summer help. Divorced and raising a teenage son alone, the idea of finding love is the last thing on his mind. Yet there’s something sincere and kind about lovely Emma, something genuine unlike anything he’s encountered before. Emma Beckman is trying to pick up the threads of her unraveled life. Recently widowed, she ventures into Shadow Lake for the prospect of tranquility and a new summer job. Her new boss is a prospect all his own—a magical, beautiful prospect … of love on the lake.

Widowed, “broke”, with no apparent marketable skills, and only a few miserable job experiences, Emma Beckmam struggles with life while her self-esteems plummets. Finding her niche in life proves difficult even though she is a willing worker with a “heart of gold” and “will of iron”. Shane Lucy, divorced and bitter, owns the campground where Emma seeks work. Their association with each other gets off to a rocky start, jarring both of them into a new awareness about themselves and their individual situations. Long hours of hard work have not helped Shane come to terms with his ex-wife’s rejection nor has it made him a better father to his teenage son.

Even though the plot of Shadow Lake is predictable, Ms. Pike touches on some relevant issues of modern society such as the sub-culture of teenagers, the often fragile psyche of teenagers along with guilt issues a widowed spouse has especially if the death is a suicide. Some of the secondary characters add much to the story. Mick’s growing pains touch the heart while Dusty’s battle with despair and loneliness makes one long to help him in his fight. The self-absorbed Blair is so clearly drawn by Ms. Pike as is Skye Blue who brings a humor to the happenings that makes one smile.

Shadow Lake, a story about letting go of the past and moving on with life, leaves the reader with a keen awareness of how one person’s actions can influence another’s life—either positively or negatively. Of course, the good feeling that comes when love wins against tremendous odds slips in and makes a rainy day turn bright and shiny.

01
Apr
09

Shadow Lake Released Today!

Shadow Lake

Shadow Lake

My new contemporary romance, SHADOW LAKE, was released today from Black Lyon Publishing!

www.blacklyonpublishing.com

 Author: M. Jean Pike

 ISBN: 978-1-934912-14-0

Price: $11.95 paperback

Price: $6.00 Ebook (PDF format)

Pages: 144 paperback

Description:

They weren’t looking for love. So love found them.

Sexy campground owner Shane Lucy needs summer help. Divorced and raising a teenage son alone, the idea of finding love is the last thing on his mind. Yet there’s something sincere and kind about lovely Emma, something genuine unlike anything he’s encountered before. Emma Beckman is trying to pick up the threads of her unraveled life. Recently widowed, she ventures into Shadow Lake for the prospect of tranquility and a new summer job. Her new boss is a prospect all his own—a magical, beautiful prospect … of love on the lake.