Welcome to my Spring Garden!

If you follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you probably know that winter just hasn't wanted to give up its hold on southern Ontario. When discussion spring with my husband, I used to insist that winter (weather wise) was over at the end of February. Well, this year taught me a lesson to NEVER say THAT again! Our last major snowfall was this month. But now . . . spring is finally here! I love the warmer temperatures, the sound of birds chirping early in the morning, critters making their presence known (even if it is that deer that keeps eating the tops of all my tulips) and everything starting to green up. 

Since I've worked hard the last few days to clean up the garden, I thought I would take you for a walk around our property to show them to you. It's nice and warm now, so you won't need a coat.

Let's start at the back of the house. Here is the little stone dog who sits in the garden just outside our back door, where we take Harley and Logan out for their walks or to play. This is the first garden we come to as we walk by our back patio. The perennials aren't visible yet. I tend to plant quite a few annuals here to give a blast of color all summer long!

This time of the year, I always have to remind Logan NOT to go running through this garden in his enthusiasm to reach the backyard first.

This is the part of our backyard where Harley and Logan like to chase their "Chuck It" balls. I'll have to get a video of Harley as he races out the back door, dancing in little circles in his excitement to play. (It's very cute!)

This is the garden near the back patio. It has stone stairs in the middle, leading down to the lower level of the backyard. 

This is the side of the same garden. This section doesn't get a lot of sun because of the mature trees nearby, so most of the plants here are shade-loving perennials.

This is the same garden from the lower level of the backyard. You can see the stone steps leading to the patio. The bottom portion of this garden gets sun for most of the day, so it's a terrific spot for all sorts of plants that prefer full sunshine. There are a number of rose bushes in this garden and low-growing perennials. It also contains lots of spring bulbs, lilies and irises, all sprouting now.

Here is a clump of daffodils . . .

. . . and the very first daffodil to bloom!

Although this picture doesn't do it justice, this is the view of the valley behind our house. It's nice to finally see all the trees start to get their leaves.

We've walked by the back of the house to the other corner. This garden contains mostly lilies and hostas.

The next pictures are of a couple of the front gardens. They're not much to look at just now, but with all the bulbs and other perennials coming up, they will be full of color soon.

Now we're at the other side of the house and back to where we started: Harley and Logan's favorite play area.

And speaking of Harley and Logan, what would one of my posts be without a picture of the boys! Here they are just after they got home from the "spa," last Wednesday. They were clean and fluffy and smelled very nice. The spa lady always puts cute bandanas on them. Aren't they handsome?

Thank you for joining me for a walk around the property. I wish you a wonderful spring!

Happy reading!

It's Not Easy Being Green . . . or My Good Deed, That Wasn't!

I was minding my own business, working on the manuscript for the fourth book in my San Diego K-9 series when something caught my attention. There was a green blob between the mosquito netting and the wind/rain curtain for our gazebo, roughly where the red circle is in the picture below.

When I got up to take a closer look, I was horrified to find a little green frog trapped between the two layers. [Editorial note: amphibian lovers, it's safe to read on.] He was flattened against the rain curtain and was completely motionless. I couldn't even see him take a breath. I feared the worst, but had to try to rescue him, in case he was alive.

I untied the mosquito netting and secured it out of the way. The poor little guy was still hanging on to the curtain, unmoving. With a small stick, I tried ever so gently to get him onto a piece of cardboard.

Imagine my joy when he actually moved of his own volition! He was alive and apparently well! My joy was short lived and followed by horror, when the little guy used the cardboard as a springboard and (all two inches of him) catapulted from approximately four feet in the air onto a patio stone.

Thankfully he survived the leap and again (no thanks to me) appeared unharmed. He didn't seem very comfortable on the flagstone so I very gently nudged him towards the garden situated about a foot away from him.

I was so happy that he was back in his element and obviously enjoying it, as evidenced by him climbing up on a plant.

Isn't he cute? In the next picture, he even looks like he's smiling, doesn't he?!

Feeling pleased that I was able to help him and more than likely saved his life, I went back to working on my manuscript. I was getting absorbed in it again, when I saw the frog hop across the patio toward another, larger garden . . . or so I had assumed.

Imagine my surprise when he stopped short at another gazebo post . . . and proceeded to start climbing up the curtain fabric.

 

Quite agile, isn't he? He kept climbing until he reached the half-way point where the curtain and netting are both tied back . . .

. . .  and then tried to find a way under the netting . . .

Whether he likes it between the two layers because it shields him from the elements or perhaps protects him from natural predators (if not from me), he seems to purposefully want to be there.

So the moral of this story is that nature is pretty darn amazing and can do quite well on its own, and a little two-inch frog might be smarter than I am in some respects!

July Releases, Sweepstakes Winner, RWA in San Diego and More!

I am thrilled to be sharing a release month with Amy Vastine, Catherine Lanigan and Karen Rock! We had great fun planning the various release-related activities for our readers. One such activity was a preorder sweepstakes.

Congratulations to Stephanie Craig for being our winner!

Currently, we have a joint blog tour underway with TLC Blog Tours. We have 31 exciting stops, with giveaways. You can find the full schedule of stops here.

But that's not all! On July 20th, we will be holding a Facebook party, with special author guests Brenda Novak, Elizabeth Heiter and Roz Denny Fox.

If you haven't registered already, you can do so here. We'd love to see you at the party. Of course, we'll have fun events and lots of giveaways! The prize packs I will be giving away are shown in the picture below...and each author will have their own giveaways, too!

Next, I would like to share some pictures from the RWA 2016 conference in San Diego. It was wonderful seeing good friends and making new ones. A highlight of the event each year is the Harlequin party, and this year didn't disappoint.

Despite the full schedule of events and workshops, we were able to find some time to relax and enjoy beautiful San Diego.

The picture on the bottom right is of an inscription on the window of the roof-top lounge at the Hyatt. Isn't it appropriate for Heartwarming authors?!

Those of you who have read any of the books in my K-9 trilogy know that they are set in San Diego. In fact, many of the scenes in When I Found You, my July release, are set at the San Diego airport. Although the airport in the book is fictionalized, I couldn't resist taking some pictures of the actual airport when I arrived.

Perhaps these pictures will help you better visualize some of the settings in the story!


On the topic of When I Found You, I am currently on tour with Prism Book Tours. Although the tour is well underway, you can still visit any of the stops. The schedule of stops can be found here. This is the prize pack up for grabs:

In case you are wondering what Harley and Logan were up to while I was in San Diego, they had a blast at their "country club," and made some new friends in the process.

Best wishes and happy reading!
 

We Have a Title!

Thank you, again, to everyone, who took the time to submit their suggestions for the title of the third book in my K-9 trilogy. We now have a probable title: WHEN I FOUND YOU.

The reason I say probable is because there’s still a chance that it might change as it works its way through the final steps of the process. I apologize for the delay in announcing the outcome, but the selection took a little longer than we anticipated.

We had narrowed in on a couple of suggested titles, and most particularly WHEN LOVE TAKES FLIGHT. I liked the meaning and the connection to the airport setting through the reference to flight. I also appreciated that this title was suggested by four individuals!

The process is a collaborative one between author and publisher for good reason. I thought WHEN LOVE TAKES FLIGHT might be the chosen title until my publisher pointed out something that hadn’t occurred to me. We know that Heartwarming books always have a happy-ever-after ending, and it was suggested that “taking flight” could be interpreted to mean someone is running away from lovea less than happy outcome. :-(

As such, my editor and I considered a number of other options and came up with I FOUND YOU.

WHEN LOVE TAKES FLIGHT was an excellent contender and because I am truly appreciative of the time people took to offer their suggestions, I will declare the four people suggesting it as “winners,” and they will each receive all three books in the trilogy and be mentioned in the acknowledgments section of WHEN I FOUND YOU.

So, without further delay, here are the four winners:  

  • Summer Halls,
  • Laurie Iglesias,
  • June Smalls, and
  • Jill Weatherholt.

Summer, Laurie, June and Jill, I have contacted you by e-mail.

Thank you, again, for everyone who took the time to submit a suggestion.

Best wishes for the holiday season!

We Need a Title!

UPDATE - December 11th

Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit their suggestion(s) for the title for the third book in my K-9 trilogy. I haven't heard back from my publisher yet about the outcome, but I hope to by early next week.

I apologize for the delay and appreciate your patience. Please check back the week of December 14th.

We Need a Title!

My editor and I want the perfect title for the third book in my K-9 trilogy, and we would like your help!

Here's the context...

When the Right One Comes Along is the first book in the trilogy. It was released on October 1st. It’s the story of trauma surgeon Jessica Hansen, San Diego Police Department search and rescue officer Cal Palmer, and Cal's search and rescue dog, Scout. Here's the back cover blurb:

Brought together by disaster. Kept together by love. 

In the aftermath of a deadly earthquake, it's chaos for trauma surgeon Jessica Hansen. Among the many victims, one patient stands out—San Diego Police K-9 search and rescue officer Cal Palmer.

Cal vows to help Kayla, a child orphaned by the disaster. But he needs Jessica's help. Will their shared concern for Kayla and for Cal’s canine partner, Scout, allow them to put aside their personal torments and discover the difference love can make?

The second book in the trilogy, When Love Matters Most, is available for preorder and will be released on January 1st. This book tells the story of SDPD K-9 unit sergeant Rick Vasquez, veterinarian Madison Long, and Rick’s narcotics detection dogs Sniff and Nitro. Here's the back cover blurb:

Keeping her safe

Could their backgrounds be any more different? Rick Vasquez, a K-9 unit sergeant with the San Diego Police Department, fled drug-related violence in Mexico as a boy. Madison Long, who recently became primary veterinarian to the SDPD’s canines, is the privileged daughter of a judge.

A product of his upbringing, Rick’s dedicated his life to curtailing cross-border drug trafficking and preventing other young boys from being drawn into the dark world of the cartels. But all that Rick and Madison value, including the growing love between them, is threatened by the dangers of Rick’s job, and the risks he’s determined to take…

 

Now for the third book in the trilogy, and how you can help . . . 

Book three is planned for release on July 1, 2016. It’s the story of K-9 unit captain Logan O’Connor and San Diego International Airport chief of security, Ariana Atkins. When these two come together, their interaction promises to be explosive!

Enter your title suggestion in the comment box below. If your title is chosen by me and my publisher, it will be my pleasure to send you signed copies of all three books in the trilogy, and mention your contribution in the acknowledgements for the third book. Here are the guidelines:

  • To stay consistent with the first two books, please have the title start with "When."
  • Keep it fairly short, so it's not ungainly.
  • Please avoid generic–sounding or clichéd titles.
  • If the title can have a connection to the hero's and/or heroine's professions or the primary setting, an airport, that would be a plus. 

Please enter your suggestion below. You can enter as often as you like. I will accept entries until midnight EST, Tuesday, December 1st. Please check back here on December 11th for the outcome.

Name *
Name


Thank you for taking the time to send me your suggestion and good luck!

Happy reading.

Kate

Purchase When the Right One Comes Along

Harlequin (e-book and paperback)

Amazon - Barnes & Noble  - iTunes - Chapters (Kobo)

Purchase When Love Matters Most:

Harlequin (paperback and eBook)

 Amazon - iTunes - Barnes and Noble - Chapters (Kobo)

 

When the Right One Comes Along Blog Tour

My October 1st release, When the Right One Comes Along, has been on tour with Prism Book Tours since September 28th. It's been an exciting tour with many fun stops. The tour is now officially over. If you've missed any of the stops along the way, you can still visit them. The links to all the stops are available at Prism Book Tours.  It is now my great pleasure to announce the winners of the prize packs!

Grand Prize: Spa Gift Basket and a print copy of When the Right One Comes Along

Congratulations: Heather Burgess

2nd Prize: $50 Amazon gift card and a print copy of When the Right One Comes Along

Congratulations: Lynn Brooks

3 – 3rd Prizes: print copy of When the Right One Comes Along

Congratulations: Karen Mikusak, Julie Lundstrom and C.J. Schindler

A Bevy of Bunnnies

. . . or how prolific rabbits really are!

Living on the edge of Ontario's beautiful Oak Ridges Moraine conservation area has many benefits: the views, the serenity and the wildlife among them. The latter can create certain challenges though. For example, we would never let our dogs out unaccompanied because of the coyotes in the forest. This year, we're experiencing a new challenge: our property has become home to an overabundance of bunnies. Oh, we’ve had the occasional rabbit or two in past years, but this year they seem to want to demonstrate that rabbits really are as prolific as reputed.

We started out with one bunny this spring…

. . .or so we thought. Clearly, there had to have been at least two, because the next thing we knew, we had eight. 

In just over a month, we saw another bunch of adorable tiny bunnies and the month after there was a new litter again.

As cute as they are, there are two negative consequences of having so many rabbits. First, our gardens provide an all-you-can-eat buffet, and they seem to favor the healthiest of our perennials. 

If the rabbits sense danger, their initial defense mechanism is to stay motionless and hope the danger passes. We have two dogs, and this works relatively well as long as the rabbit is not too close. Rabbits must not have a pronounced odor, because the dogs don’t realize they're there unless they are almost upon them or the bunnies move. If the bunnies bolt, the chase is on! The bunnies are faster than the dogs, and smaller so that they can squeeze under fences and other obstructions to escape. Fortunately, it's only our gardens that occasionally fall victim to their game of chase. 

On the plus side, the bunnies from the most recent litter seem to favor eating weeds over flowering plants. 

The little guy pictured below has demonstrated a definite preference for weeds. I pulled a couple of weeds from the garden and before I could dispose of them, he came to claim them and ate every single one!

I understand that rabbits are trainable; wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could harness our bounty of bunnies and train them to be selective and eat only the weeds? It seemed like a great idea, until the little guy in the above pictures made it clear that the weeds didn't have the same appeal if they weren't pulled first. It might be a way to get rid of the weeds, but I would still have to do most of the work!

Seeing how quickly the bunnies seem to be multiplying, I did some research on how prolific rabbits actually are. The answer is staggering! A rabbit’s gestation period is less than a month and mother rabbits can be impregnated again within minutes of giving birth, potentially resulting in a litter per month. According to this article by Dr. Dana Krempels, Ph.D., one mama bunny and her female descendants could produce 184,597,433,860 rabbits in seven years. (That’s over 184 billion bunnies!)

I better consider planting more gardens (or find a way to curtail our bunny population)!

They really are cute though . . .

Has Mother Nature created any challenges for you in or around your home?