Saturday, July 24, 2021

Cover Model Clive Meet A New Character 70 Percent Dark Intentions by Amber Royer Great Escapes Tour

      Clive the Octopus

Have you ever been fifteen feet away from everything you ever wanted, separated from it only by a thin glass wall? And you can float in your tank and WANT all the things, but even if you squeeze your way out there’s no way you’re going to make it all the way across the floor and into the other tank before someone catches you? No? Just me then?

And yes, I know, those things have a name. The human who takes care of me calls them fish. But I just think of them as shiny, flashy food. And shiny things and food – those are my two favorites. Because, yeah, obviously. What else would an octopus want?

Actually, I though shiny, flashy food was the all-want – but then my human went away. And I realized that I miss him and want him to come back, even more. My human’s name is Mateo, and he’s traveled all over the world. From my tank, I can see his striped South American rug, and his French teapot. Even his hand-painted ceramic plates from his native Spain – which he has on display above the dining table. And if I look into the mirror behind the living room sofa, I can study the reflection of the small plush llama on the shelf next to the tank of shiny, flashy food. I catch myself changing color just thinking about how badly I want to be in that other tank. Mateo hasn’t figured out yet that I can see the fish in reflection, or he’d probably move the mirror.

But since no one’s here, don’t mind me. I’m just going to squeeze through the tiny gap left when the rock doesn’t get put on top of my tank just right. And I’m going to climb down to the floor and cross onto the striped rug to get the shiny thing off the table that’s been driving me crazy and take it with me to the shiny, flashy food tank. The shiny thing has a key on the end. I haven’t quite mastered keys. I can see how they work when Mateo locks and unlocks his box of important things. But I can’t turn them myself. So forget the key. I’m keeping the shiny, until Mateo takes it away from me.

Mateo actually wasn’t my first human. The guy at the aquarium supply store first sold me to some dude who didn’t realize how much trouble it can be to take care of an octopus. He’d leave me alone all day, and I’d get BORED, and then he’d get MAD when he’d come back and find me out of my tank. And he’d let the water go too long without cleaning it, so by the time he brought me back to the aquarium store, I was really depressed. Mateo had come into the store that day because the aquarium supply guy was a friend of his. Even though Mateo wasn’t planning on getting a room-mate, he was so outraged about how I had been treated, that he took me home with him, and watched over me until I was myself again. He’d put puzzles for me to solve in my tank, and when he left for a long time, he’d turn the TV onto this channel that played nothing buy live fish swimming around in the ocean. That’s how I know something’s wrong: he’s been gone for a long time, and the TV is still a silent, black rectangle.

Mateo has said several times in my presence that he thinks the coolest thing about octopuses is how we change colors when we dream. I had a dream about Mateo in my last-sleep. He was scribbling in his notebook, saying he knew who had started the animal trafficking ring – and that he just needed to figure out what to do about it. I know part of it was a dream – like the part when he turned into a giant clam – but I think part of it was a memory. Not that Mateo ever said who the baddie was he’d uncovered. Not that, even if I knew who it was, I could tell then new girl who has started coming by to take care of me. 

New Girl’s name is Felicity, and she is very kind – even after she caught me in the empty tank that used to contain the all-want. I can feel that she too is worried for Mateo. I listened to her conversation with the policeman. She believes Mateo has gone missing because someone might have hurt him. Felicity said that there was a murder outside her chocolate shop, and she thinks whoever committed it must have taken my human too. I don’t want to believe it. She keeps telling me she’s going to find Mateo for me, that I shouldn’t give up hope.

I want to help her. I’ve tried to figure out the details of the case, mainly by eavesdropping. I know that the young man who was killed is from out of town, and he doesn’t sound like anyone Mateo would know. I know that this may have something to do with diamonds – more shiny – always of interest to me. And I know that Felicity is in danger. I can feel it all the way to the ends of my arms.

But if she said not to give up hope, I won’t. In the meantime, do you, uh, think you could toss me a couple of shrimp from the live-food tank over in the corner? Worrying is mighty hungry-making work. 

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Character Guest Meet Carmen Avino 70 Percent Dark Intentions by Amber Royer


Carmen Avino

Hola! I’m Carmen, Felicity Koerber’s pastry chef at her bean to bar craft chocolate shop Greetings and Felicitations. The shop has a full coffee bar and a mini-bookstore in addition to selling Felicity’s chocolate bars and truffles. She just added in-house-produced cocoa powder and nibs to our inventory – and I’ve gone from occasionally adding baked goods to the coffee selection when I was a barista and general shop assistant to now regularly showing off my skills in the kitchen.

I’ve even started working on a cookbook for the shop, which will give home bakers interesting ideas on what to DO with our chocolate, other than just eat it straight. And now that we’re doing cocoa powder, it’s opened up even more options for recipe building. I’m all about taking traditional recipes and elevating them by adding in herbs and spices, or mixing ingredients from different parts of the global kitchen.

I’ve got some conchas about to come out of the oven that I’ve added an interesting dynamic to by adding cayenne and rosemary to the chocolate topping. Did you ever have an Atomic Fireball candy when you were a kid? No se why, but the topping mixture I came up with reminds me a little of that flavor. Please, try one with un cafecito.

I’m formally trained as a pastry chef, so I’m sure Felicity wondered why I applied for a barista job in the first place. Truth is, I’ve had some trouble in the past, where things that went badly in a previous job got blamed on me – even though they weren’t my fault. I’ve tried extra hard at my job at Felicitations, because I want to prove that I was worth a second chance, although I’ve since learned that Felicity wasn’t even aware of what had gone wrong. She’s a trusting individual. Too trusting, in my opinion.

She’s also a bit too eager to get involved in righting wrongs and looking for justice in things that aren’t really her business. Because she’s gotten caught up investigating not one but two murders. This annoying blogger, Ash, called Felicity a, “Murder magnet,” because both deaths happened here at the shop. But just because people were unfortunately killed here, that doesn’t mean it was her responsibility to go do something about it.

And still – I can’t help but like her need to see people get justice, and to help the grieving families left behind. That probably comes from the fact that she’s lost somebody herself, so she knows what grief feels like.

I like having a boss with empathy. She’s the kind of person who will give me the morning off from my job on days when the waves are good – which is especially rare here in Galveston. She knows surfing is one of my true loves. I have thought occasionally about moving to where the waves are better, but I moved to Houston for culinary school and now it feels like Galveston is my beach. I’m not sure I’m ready to start over somewhere new.

I have family in Austin and in El Paso, and even though we aren’t on the best of terms, the thought of moving even farther away from them breaks my heart a little. And I have a boyfriend here now, and I think he really could be the one.

Besides, I’ve started to feel like I really belong at Greetings and Felicitations. Felicity listens to my ideas, and lets me try whatever I want in the kitchen. I do wind up taking up the slack when she and Logan – the guy Felicity protests far too much that she’s NOT in love with – drop everything to follow up some clue or interview a possible murderer. But honestly – I don’t mind. It is more of a chance to prove I’m responsible, and truly an asset to the company.

While you’re in town, make sure you check out the rest of the Strand. There are so many little cute shops. And take some time to visit Moody Gardens. I just found out Felicity used to work there, back when she was in college. I’d never been before – it seemed waaaay too touristy for my taste — but I was curious after she’d talked about it, and their aquarium is actually really cool. They also have river otters. Otters are my favorite animals. They’re like cats that swim. Water cats. I could just watch them swim all da

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Happy Homemaker in Texas

 Hello and Welcome to my Saturday feature Happy Homemaker in Texas

This is the day I write my post for Sandra's party.  

Here are Sandra's prompts and a few of my own. 

The weather . . .

It's summer time in Texas.  Here in Galveston it is expected to hit 90.  It is always cool and breezy in the morning and the evening. 

Amazingly the beach was almost to deserted last night. 

On the breakfast plate . . . 

Sausage and Eggs maybe an Omelette we have Mushrooms and we really like Mushrooms and Cheese in an Omelette!  

What I am wearing . . .

Well it is Same'ole.  Same 'ole.  Shorts and a tank.  

But lookie lookie at the new bag I got for a mere 7.00 at Walmart.  

Love it! Look at those Pom Poms! 

I am stylin'

On the To Do List . . . 

Go to library

Take down July quilt lt.  Hang 

Souder Amazing Grace 

Finish reboxing fabric and organizing sitting music room 

Play with plants and dirt 

 My Ta Da moment . . .

I had a self imposed budget to spent 10.00 on potting soil and a few plants.  

I found soil 3.00 a bag.  And top soil .50.

Planning on mixing the two for beds.

I found an over grown Begonia handing basket for 5.00. 

I will seperate into several pots. 

Ta Da  

Goal this week 

Keep up with washing and putting away dishes so I can get my counter cleaned off so I can see it! 

On the menu 


Cajun Sausage (found on sale) 

Hash Brown Casserole  and  Oven Roasted Cabbage


White Chicken Chili and Cornbread


Trying a new Pizza place. Thier sale is on Wednesday 


Fried Cod, French Fries, Cole Slaw 


Spaghetti, Salad and Bread 

Fun on the blogs . . .

The second annual!   Yeah!  Even better than before!  Lots of Dog love! 

Save the date!

August 23 to 27

In the craft room . . .

I am making a dog theme Junk Journal that I will feature here along with D.I.Y.

Also finishing my December Daily to feature here for the end of Christmas in July

Fun to do this week . . . 

I read about a new dog park.  Can't wait to go! 

Visit an Antique shop.

Try a new restaurant.  I am hoping to go here . . .

I have been wanting to go for awhile.  Maybe we will make this week. 

Visit Kempner Park 

From the camera
There is a cow in the middle well sorta on a main street in downtown. 
A convenience store, Tacaria (so) and liquor store.  It is amazingly clean.  Caters to the Cruise Ships. 

Last night we drive by and the Cowboy said ... "Look they are watering be the cow!"


I think I want this as my new theme photo!  

Enjoy your week!  Thanks for stopping in! 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Meet The Author Sand Trapped A Cozy Mystery Great Escapes Tour



Hello! Thank you for taking a moment to chat! -- *Thank you!*

I am happy to meet you through the Great Escapes Tour.

Have you toured with Great Escapes before?


I really enjoy the interviews. What is your favorite part of tours?

I’m always amazed at the different bloggers and how they approach the topic of books. Some are very structured, some less so. Some only like one type or genre, and others are very eclectic.

If we could meet and chat a bit over lunch maybe where would you suggest we go and eat?

We’d definitely go to Guanabana’s. It’s on the Intracoastal in Jupiter, Florida, so as we wait for our food we could watch boats and kayaks pull up. The owners spent a fortune doing the landscaping, making it incredibly peaceful and scenic. It’s a delightful spot.

I noticed the books in the series are really diverse in theme.

That’s a good description of me as a person. Diverse in theme. I like all sorts of stuff.

Which book was the easiest to write?

I can’t remember! I think it’s like childbirth. After you hold the baby, you forget about the pain. Honestly, I know that sounds silly but it’s true.

Which book required more or extra research?

Definitely this book. I’m not a golfer, so Sand Trapped required all sorts of details I didn’t know. I pestered my family and friends with bunches of questions.

Was there one that started flowing and then maybe "kicked your ___ a bit?

Probably The Friday Night Mystery Club, the new book I have coming out on Amazon’s Vella. I wrote it 30+ years ago, and then I set it aside. I simply wasn’t confident enough to believe it could get published. I went back to it this year and discovered it didn’t really need as much work as I thought. Most surprising were all the things from the 80s that I’d totally forgotten about. That was an eye-opener.

Can you tell us a little about your writing schedule. Do you write every day. Do you plan or schedule time? Do you have a furry partner or assistant?

I write every day. Sometimes I take weekends off. I work from 9-6 or so. That’s my schedule. If I have errands to run, I group them together so I don’t waste time. I often dictate portions of books while I’m in my car and driving. That’s very helpful for getting a lot of words down at once.

I have a couple of human assistants—Stacey Ducker and Christina Higgins—as well as a furry boss named Jax. He’s really my best pal, although Stacey and Christina are definitely terrific, too.

When you take a break from writing, what is your little guilty pleasure? I like to listen to audio books and do Zentangle, an easy-to-learn art form developed by Rick Roberts and Maria Rogers.

When Cara has solved the crime and all is well and you've written “The End,” how do you celebrate?
How does Cara celebrate?

I celebrate by standing up. Often my butt is sore from sitting! If the end is in sight, I won’t quit writing until I get there. Cara celebrates by drinking Champagne with her friends. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it? I need more Cara in my life.

If you visit my blog you'll see my reading adventures began with Trixie Belden. How about you?

I remember Trixie! I haven’t heard that name in years. I had a lot of Nancy Drew books, but I have to admit I quickly graduated to adult mysteries like Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

Thank you so much for chatting!  

Best Wishes on the Great Escapes Tour!  And with the new book! 

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Foodie Friday-The Rustic Dinner Plate & The Sunflower Cafe Galveston

 Hello and Welcome!  Today's a special day.  

I am starting a new feature called Eat in Galveston!  

But first . . .

I didn't get alot of pics this week
But we enjoyed a new recipe . . . 

I saw a recipe for a Salad with Chick Peas on Pinterest.  I made my own version by combining several.  

Chick Peas, Red Onion, Cucumber, Tomato and Crotons.  
I splashed on Italian Dressing.  

In my book it was a keeper. 

The Cowboy not so much! 

Of course he did like his Mussels wit Spaghetti and Garlic Butter Sauce! 

We had Chili . . . 

For lunch the next day I had leftovers just like Daddy ate it in his Chili Bowl

I planned to go to our favorite Mexican Restaurant on Saturday.

The Cowboy had a better idea . . . 

I had Chicken Flaunts . . .

The Cowboys plate.  I wished the Tamale was bigger.  He gave me a bite. 

And the Cowboy got Menudo to go for the next day.  

Then on Thursday night we had Steak and Fries.  The Cowboy enjoyed an appetizer . . . 

Look at the size of those Oysters!

We had some great meals on the Rustic Dinner Plate.  

I love to cook!  But I like eating out even better. 

I want to go here . . . 

512 14th St, Galveston, TX 77550 
And I want to eat this . . . 


Look at those gorgeous Eggs! 

Lunch looks so good too!  And they have . . . 

The Sunflower Cafe is definitely on my list of eateries to try in Galveston!  

Thanks for stopping in!  I hope you'll come back soon and stroll around Galveston with me  finding great places to eat, shop and play! 

Enjoying island life! 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Menu Monday


Good Morning.  I hope your morning has started Sparkly! 

It's Monday and that means time for  . . . 

I realized this morning I don't have a photo for Menu Monday so I played around a bit.  This is a work in progress.  But I kind of like it.
What do you think? 

And now on with
The Menu

Did you know it was National Macaroni and Cheese 🧀 Day last week? 
I have been craving a pot of homemade M&C ever since!  

Mac and Cheese and left over Chick Pea Garden Salad from last night. 

It's that day! You know it!  Time for Taco's!  
Ours might turn into a Taco Bell Mexican Pizza. Not sure I have any Lettuce.  We'll see.  Either way it will be good! 

Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes with Cream Gravy of course this is Texas ya know  and some good ole Green Beans. 

Catch of the day straight from the boat 
And complimenting  fresh veggies

Spaghetti and a big ole Salad and yummy Garlic Bread.
I'll pick up Salad makings, Fresh Garlic and a loaf of French Bread when we are out at the store on Thursday. 

That's enough cooking for the week.
Don't you think?  
We will probably go and eat this . . . 

 A yummy meal they call the summer in plate.  It is 7.00 and we split it!  Cheap date! 

We enjoy it  over here . . . 

I like to keep it simple. 
Maybe BLT's oh that sounds good.
A pot of Beans 
Whit Chicken Chili 

Hmm sounds like great plans.  

I wonder how many I'll get to check off this time? 

Come over for Foodie Friday and see the Rustic pics!  

Have a super yummy week! 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Sunday Crafting

 Welcome.  Today I am in my crafting space creating.

I am going to try and make this a weekly feature. 

For along time I have just kept Sunday as a day to share a verse and that is all.  Trying to keep this day Reverent.  And giving me a day of rest. 

But I have realized doing what I enjoy is a day of rest for me. 

I hope you enjoy 

Sharing today the planner method I started this month.

I am using a free local magazine that I am altering . . .

I loved this cover with horses.  There are alot of galleries and art events on the island.  This issue featured art. 

I began by tearing out pages so that when I added paper the spine would not be stressed. 
For each week I left a 2 page spread for Bible Journaling.  
I add verses that speak to me from my studies and Journaling . . .

I used wax paper and cut a heart to cover the word.  

Each week I write in my menu plans and things to do . . .

I left some of the print if it had interesting or pretty in pictures. 

I loved this article  about backyard Chickens.  I have always wanted Chickens.  Maybe some day. 

I also use the calendar spread to record memories and things we do each day. 

Another spread for verses . . .

I do a little simple decorating to leave room for verses

My spread for this week.  I used washi and taped a post card memory.  I received the post card from Europe.  It is handmade.  It is hard to see but there is a red boat.  We see red boats out in the ocean so it was perfect to include. 

Today I gathered the supplies for my next SWAP . . . 

I am loving this collection and can't wait to begin creating . . . 

I have collected paper, lace and trim, children's book pictures, photos from a decorating book, tickets and even playing cards! 

A book page that I stamped with red hearts.  And a napkin with birds and Cherries.

Trims, fabric a big red flower and one of the decorating book pages.  
The photo with the Red Adirondack Chair was my starting off point for the theme I want to create. 

The book page is fun.   I have been hoarding it.  I think it is time to use it and let someone else enjoy. 

I am still thinking about how I will create the page.   I will get started soon maybe even later today. 
I want to finish and get it mailed on Thursday or Friday. 

Last month the page SWAP theme was Monochromatic. This is what I received . . .
There are lots of places to tuck tags.
I like fibers used as the string on tag. This blue fiber is pretty. 

Lots of different pieces of paper are also tucked in.  I will be able to use all these pieces of paper either in my own Journals and Planners.  Or in things I create and SWAP or give as gifts. 

A decorated tag it was tucked into an envelope that is glued to the page.  It is used as a Flip out.

More tags and a clean white space to for Journaling

A close up of tags.  Butterflies  and Birds are favorites be to use in a Junk Journal. 

And on the back a small sack is glued.  The bottom is folded up and glued to make a pocket. 

One of my favorite things us making things for SWAPs and receiving beautifully created art. 

I hope you've enjoyed this first visit to my crafting table. 

Have a great week!  And come by and visit!  Leave me a comment! 

Have a Sparkly be week!