I hated school. Hated, hated, hated it. Spent as many days home sick as possible, so I could hide in my bedroom and read, and dance, and day dream–away from annoying teachers, kids, and rules. Ironically, I grew up and became a teacher just to see if I could make school any better for students.
I have lived in Germany and South Africa, and studied in Ireland and Japan, too.
My favorite treat is a box of Peeps…or anything with marshmallow.
My 2006 novel, Flirting With Forty, was made into a Lifetime TV movie starring Heather Locklear and Robert Buckley. I have another story in pre-production now for a Hallmark movie.
My instrument in 6th grade was the drums. I loved playing drums. (Well, okay, mostly my drum pad, but still….). When I hear great music, I get my imaginary sticks going and bang the heck out of the air. I’m impressive, but my kids think I’m having a seizure. (Side note, my mom played the drums as well and now my 17 year old son started playing the drums a year ago and is in a band is actually really good. I think percussion runs in our DNA!)
My dad was mayor of my small Central California hometown when I was growing up and my bus driver, a woman named Mary, used to give me a hard time every day when I got on the bus, calling me the Mayor’s kid and asking me why I didn’t have a chauffeur. (I don’t think she understood that city government jobs like city council and the mayor are volunteer jobs…)
I studied Zulu and Afrikaans during the year I lived in South Africa. I don’t remember most of the Zulu I learned except for basic phrases like Sawubona! (Good Morning!) or Ngiyabonga (Thank you). Not surprised, though, as I studied German for 7 years, including three at UCLA and all I really remember is Who is die Toilette? (where’s the bathroom?) Sad.
I was a ballet dancer. From the time I was three until I was 16, I danced almost every day, and performed with a regional company. Ballet was one of my real loves, but it was unrequited. Ballet did not love me. With my big hips and very broad shoulders I was firmly in the back row of the corps and never once got a solo…
Today I live in one of San Clemente’s oldest homes as listed in the Historic Registry and it was built in 1926 for poet Marjorie Seiffert.
I love to collect rocks of all shapes and sizes. Whenever I travel, I bring home a rock or two. I can’t go on a hike without returning with a pocketful of rocks and pebbles.
Now that I’ve shared 10 little known facts about myself, do share a few about yourself so I can get to know you better too. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a copy of A Christmas Miracle for Daisy!
In case some of you are asking this mind-boggling question……I’m here to set the record straight. I’m the most boring person. In fact, I’m tempted to make up something to make me interesting. Like maybe I’m a billionaire’s kept mistress or a renowned scientist or I secretly work at the CIA and only posing as a writer….But nope.
1 I’m extremely shy. I hate it and always envied anyone who could talk in front of crowds with ease. I’ve always been afraid of groups and that makes promoting my books very hard. But I do whatever I have to and, over the years, it has gotten a little easier.
2. I have three sisters and one brother and I’m 4th in the pecking order. We’re all gifted in one way or another. My brother is in real estate in Houston, one older sister paints pictures, another older sister can cook like crazy and create the most beautiful cakes and my youngest sister is an author like me with a successful series in addition to writing songs and performing on stage. This picture was taken at our reunion last year. I’m standing with the pink lei around my neck.
3. I have three children and five beautiful grandchildren. My oldest granddaughter graduated suma cum laude from Texas Tech University last year.
4. My last name was made up by my husband’s grandfather who, during World War I, didn’t want anyone to know he was German. The name was originally Broka. To this day there are very few Brodays in the world. The name (with various spelling variations) has become popular in the last decade as a boy’s first name. In fact, my hero in Redemption is Brodie Yates. I thought that would be a fun thing to do.
5. I’ve never gone one day of college. When I was growing up we were extremely poor so when I graduated from high school I had to get a job to help support the family. My dad only went to the 3rd grade (and not many days of that) and my mom went to the 8th. When my parents married, my dad couldn’t read or write so my mom taught him. I’m still astounded that I could be a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author.
6. From the time I was old enough to know anything I wanted to be a writer. I made up stories in my head long before I learned to write. I was always a fanciful child. Reading books was my favorite thing to do and still is. The very first story I ever wrote was for school. It was about an ant colony that played football in the family’s sugar bowl. I remember getting an A on that. My next story was about some squirrels. Ha, insects and rodents seemed to have fascinated me! Somehow I graduated to romance……
7. My biggest adventure was a Caribbean Cruise I took four years ago. I toured some Mayan ruins and that was a chance of a lifetime for me. Such a thrill to see what I’d previously only known in pictures. A huge difference! I loved seeing where those ancient people once lived, worked and raised a family. I’d love to go back sometime. But dear Lord, it was hot!! I learned a tropical heat is way hotter than here in Texas.
8. I recently played a part (okay it was a very small scene) in the short movie called THE EIGHTH FLOOR. One of my granddaughters wrote a short story by the same title and movie director Michael Crabtree read it and decided to make it into a movie. I learned one thing very quickly…I am not cut out to be an actor. I hated the constant retakes and having to repeat the same lines and actions over and over and over. Each scene took forever to film. But I was happy to have had the experience. (Click on the image to make it readable.)
9. In addition to being a member of Romance Writers of America, I’m program director for a writing group here called the Panhandle Professional Writers. It’s one of the oldest continuously run writing groups of its kind in the U.S. I’m tasked with finding program speakers. So anyone out there….contact me for a speaking opportunity.
10. The only place I write my stories is here in my office. From the first time I saw this house three years ago, I knew I could write some good stories in here in this room. A feeling that’s hard to describe came over me. And it was true. I wrote the entire Bachelors of Battle Creek series and now Books 1 & 2 of my upcoming Men of Legend series and deep into Book 3. I think this house is blessed. Please don’t look at the mess.
11. In another chapter of my life, my husband and I owned a bowling alley and that was lots of fun. It was a lot of long hours though. Oddly enough, I never was a good bowler…even with all the practice…and darn it, I never figured out how to cheat! But I loved watching all the people who came in.
12. The book that directly influenced me to write western historical romance was Angel by Johanna Lindsey. That book was soooo good. How clever to have a gunslinger carry the name of Angel!
Okay, I’m going to stop here. I hear you snoring.
I’m having a drawing for a $15 Amazon Gift Card. To enter, just tell me one thing about your life. I’ll announce the winner on Saturday.
It’s time for some more Filly Fun Facts. Are you ready???? Here we go…
Top 10 Things You Might Not Know About Me
I live next door to my in-laws . . . and LOVE it! From built-in day care for the kids when they were smaller to easy family meals together, to shared grills and shared newspaper subscriptions, having my husband’s family move in next door a decade ago was an unexpected blessing.
I once lost the diamond out of my wedding ring only to find it a day later (after searching everywhere at home and at work) when I pulled a tissue out of my bathroom tissue box. Somehow the stone had fallen into the box and when I pulled out a new tissue, I heard a tinkling sound and found the diamond on the counter. Never have I thanked God more for a runny nose!
My oldest child (my only daughter) is graduating from high school this year and she graduates on my 45th birthday. No, I won’t be feeling old or anything. I’ll be too proud of her as she gives her valedictorian speech. Smart and sassy, just the way I like my heroines.
Whenever I have free time (a very RARE commodity), I love to cross stitch. Here’s a set of simple cameo silhouettes I made for my editors a couple years ago for Christmas.
After 13 years of carrying around the extra pounds I gained with my last baby, I finally lost n 27 pounds last year, and so far have kept it off. Even with my frequent forays into the bowl of dark chocolate that resides in my living room.
I’ve ridden a mule in Bryce Canyon, swum with sea turtles in Maui, and when I was young and stupid, held a 13 pound boa constrictor around my neck. I recommend the first two but not the third.
I was a band nerd all through junior high and high school but switched to choir in college because of the boy I was dating. Ended up marrying that fella, and now we have our own harmonizing quintet on the church pew every Sunday. Love it! (Though, I’m raising band nerds at the same time. My daughter plays my old flute, my older son plays the French horn, and my youngest plays the trumpet.)
I don’t drink coffee. Ever. I know, I know. It’s shameful. Coffee’s supposed to be the elixir of life, right? Especially for writers. But I never developed a taste for it. I prefer a simple cup of Lipton hot tea sweetened with honey. Mmmmm.
I have a black thumb. Well, not literally. In respect to plants. I have a tendency to kill the majority of plants that have had the misfortune to come home with me. A few hearty ones have survived, like the aloe vera plant in the kitchen window that continues to survive despite my best efforts to do it in. And the roses on the side of the house have managed to pull through despite a run in with some sort of blight last year. I should post a sign on my back door that says, “If you contain chlorophyll, enter at your own risk.”
Even though I write historical romance, I hated history classes in school. Math was more my style. Maybe it was because my teachers always seemed to be coaches that got stuck in the history classroom, or maybe it was because all the textbooks emphasized wars and politics. Boring. Yet I loved historical novels. Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, THAT was the history I feel in love with. So when you read one of my novels today, you won’t find a plot that centers around war or political intrigue or even key historical events. No, my books are focused on people and the lesser known, yet meaningful aspects of life in 19th century that shaped their lives and their loves.
In fact, I’m giving one of those books away today. This story incorporates a lot of true facts from history, from the opening scene where the hero finds himself on a real-from-history steamboat that exploded in New Orleans to the epilogue where the hero and heroine honeymoon in England with a trip to the Great Exhibition where they make another real-life discovery. Mixing among these facts is a healthy dose of pirate lore, romance, and author imagination.
For a chance to win an autographed copy of Full Steam Ahead simply leave a comment and tell me which item from my top ten list surprised you the most. (Winner will be announced at the end of the week. US residents only.)
I’m thrilled to be the one to start our Filly Fun Facts special event! Don’t forget to leave a comment…it’s a giveaway-day, too, my duet “Sisters.” (All winners for this week will be posted on SATURDAY.)
1. I had a very happy childhood with two brothers in suburban Los Angeles and now live on California’s central coast about a mile from the beach, in a nice little cul-de-sac surrounded by strawberry fields.
2. I’m married to a firefighter, have a son and daughter, two darling grandsons AND am getting a baby granddaughter in August! This is the cake my daughter and son in law cut in front of all of us…nobody knew the gender…and it was PINK inside.
3. I taught English forever at the local Catholic school and now enjoy traveling with Hubs and volunteering at the local horse rescue.
4. We’ve recently visited the Canadian Rockies (rode up a glacier on a giant snow coach) and America’s South (oh, NOLA, Beaufort SC, Jekyll Island and Savannah GA rocked it!), but the Hawaiian islands are our go-to place. We are blessed to have family in Oahu. The pic below, though, is a black sand beach on the Big Island where we found ourselves last October.
5. Hubs and I went to high school together but were not sweethearts. In fact, he was Football Team Captain/Boyfriend of the Homecoming Queen/Head Cheerleader. I was a Dork.
6. When we re-met at a Christmas party right after college, I picked “Deliverance” for our first date. He married me anyway. Sheesh.
7. I am a Disney freak. My favorite is Frozen. Hubs and I went to Disneyland for our honeymoon and now get season passes for the fam and go all the time. Check out my Mirror on the Wall board at Pinterest..a tribute to Snow White, which is my daughter’s favorite. (We are anticipating a Snow White nursery…)
8. I have a pathological terror of stepping on a down escalator without somebody in front of me. (Charlene will attest to this!) I am also obsessed with blackbirds and took this picture on a cold winter’s day at our neighborhood park.
9. I have a fantasy football team named Wild Thang. My favorite college team is the USC Trojans.
10. Louisa May Alcott is my favorite author of all time. Visiting her home, Orchard House, in Concord MA was awesome!
11. I live near the beach and go there a lot. Can you find my curly-haired grandbaby?
What’s the most interesting fact about YOU? Please leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of SISTERS, my tales of two sisters…mostly because I never had any LOL.
Please join us in welcoming Debbie Costello to the Junction today! Debbie will give away a copy of one of her books–Shattered Memories or Sword of Forgiveness–to one lucky reader. (Signed print book in continental US; ebook in other locations.) Let’s all say howdy to Debbie!
Thank you for having me on your blog today! I’m excited to be here. And though I haven’t published any westerns (yet) all of my stories whether medieval or 19th century have horses in them. I love horses. They are my passion as well as my husbands. So since I don’t have any westerns published I thought I’d share some things about horses today.
Have you ever been reading a book and the writer gives you a description of a horse that means absolutely nothing to you because you don’t own a horse or have ridden one? Sometimes we as authors have done so much research on a subject we talk about horses like everyone should know what we mean. Before my husband and I owned horses, much of the equine talk meant absolutely nothing to me. I’m still far from an expert! I learn things every time we are around our trainer or friends who were brought up on horses. Today I thought to give you a quick lesson on horse colors, facial markings, saddle equipment, and age terminologies.
Something that I didn’t know until I started searching for pictures is that according to geneticists every horse starts out either a chestnut or black which are the two base colors. The Bay color is when the Agouti gene (it can produce the black pigment on the mane, tail, lower legs, and ear tips) works on the black. The large range of all the other coat colors are created by additional genes’ action upon one of these three coat colors. This is a bit over my head since science is not my strong point.
I’ll start with the base horses. The first picture is a Black (obviously). And if you’re interested in breeds, this is a Friesian—beautiful horses.
And the colors go on and on.
Facial markings are another description often put in books. I’m only going to use the ones that are frequently used.
Moving on to saddle and riding apparatus. I had to use my boy Trigger again for an example. He’s such a good boy!
Bit – metal piece that goes in horse’s mouth. There are several kinds. Snaffle, curb, straight, etc.
Blanket- This goes under the saddle and gives cushion between the horse and saddle.
Bridle- Head gear that holds the bit in the horse’s mouth.
Cantle- back roll of the saddle seat. Nice to hold on to in a gallop!
Girth- This is the thick strap that goes under the horse and holds the saddle onto the horse.
Gullet- The area under the pommel.
Halter- There is no halter on Trigger but a halter looks much like the bridle except it doesn’t hold a bit. It is used a lot when doing ground work with a horse.
Horn- The knob that rises on the front of the saddle. (Another great thing to hold on to!)
Pommel- The roll on the front of the saddle that the horn is attached to.
Reins- The long ropes/leather straps hooked to the bridle and used for steering the horse.
Seat- The place where you sit.
Stirrup- The place to rest your feet and they do help keep you in the saddle.
Tack- Equipment used for horses.
Riding a horse bareback truly takes skill. You have nothing to keep you on the horses back except for your leg muscles, stomach muscles and balance.
And last is the termonology for the different ages of horses.
Colt- A male horse under the age of 4.
Filly- A female horse under the age of 4.
Foal- A male or female horse less than a year of age.
Gelding- A male horse of any age that has been castrated.
Mare- A female horse four years or older.
Stallion- A male horse four years old or older that has not been casterated.
Suckling- A nursing foal.
Weanling- A foal tht has been weaned.
Yearling- A male or female horse that is between the age of one and two years old.
Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children’s director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, She and her husband enjoy camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses. Visit Debbie Lynne at her website, Blog, Facebook , Google + and Twitter
Olivia Macqueen wakes in a makeshift hospital, recovering from a head injury. With amnesia stealing a year of her memories, she has trouble discerning between lies and truth. When her memories start returning in bits and pieces, she must keep up the charade of amnesia until she can find out the truth behind the embezzlement of her family’s business while evading the danger lurking around her.
Doctor Drew Warwick frantically searches through the rubble left by the Charleston earthquake for the lady who owns his heart. He finds her injured and lifeless. When she regains consciousness, the doctor’s hopes are dashed as he realizes she doesn’t remember him. But things only get worse after he discovers she believes she’s still engaged to the abusive scoundrel, Lloyd Pratt. Now Drew is on a race with the wedding clock to either help her remember or win her heart again before she marries the wrong man. Amazon
I love writing about the old west. That was when men were men and women were women, but a cowboy wasn’t a cowboy unless he was wild, woolly and full of fleas. Of course the heroes we write about are more likely to be tall, dark and handsome, which may be a bit of a tall tale or whizzer. But as far as the lingo goes, there’s no reason to stretch the blanket —and yes-siree-bob, that’s part of the fun.
Today’s language seems rather dull compared to the colorful expressions and words of yesteryear. Can you think of more mouth-pleasing words than hornswoggle, caboodle or skedaddle? Or what about fiddlefooted, ranktankerous, rumbumptious or splendiferous? A latte may be the haute cuisine of coffee, but give me an Arbuckle’s any day.
A know-it-all has a saddle to fit every horse, and if someone called you a drowned horse it meant you had a bloated ego. And when was the last time you heard the weather man describe a dust storm as Oklahoma rain? Cowboys didn’t just work together they were in cahoots, and if you want to ride your horse fast, you will either have to burn the breeze or ride a blue streak.
The rebellious part of me delights that my characters can use such words as “ain’t” and “druther” without being cut down. My eighth grade English teacher would have had a fit. Of course, back in the 1800s, she’d be more likely to have a conniption (any way you call it, it serves her right for branding me with an F).
Today’s nicknames seem rather tame compared to Old Fuss and Feathers, Rattlesnake Dick, Cattle Annie. and Crazy Horse Lil
When a cowboy said “hell on wheels” he wasn’t talking about no bikers (double negatives welcome). He was talking about movable towns that followed the building of railroads.
Job hunters could take a lesson from an old buckaroo who claimed to be born in a hurricane and could handle anything that came his way. A cowboy didn’t have work experience but he sure did have wrinkles on the horn. He was also a firm believer that every bull should carry its own tail. Think you’re right for the job? I’m your huckleberry meant I’m your man. Write that on your resume.
Want to impress someone with your courage? Tell them you know how to die standing up. Someone dallying too long in the chow line? Yell at them to fire and fall back. Fallen off the straight and narrow? What you need is a fire escape (a cowboy’s name for a preacher). Feeling spooney? You haven’t lived until you’ve lallygagged on a sparking bench with your beau.
Criminals were called gangs, and a bad guy was a desperado, cattle thief, gunman or roughneck. Anyone caught messing with the sheriff was escorted to the hoosegow immediately, if not sooner.
Finally, a word of wisdom to all you greenhorns out there. Get a wiggle on and chew the cud but stay away from conversation fluid (whiskey) Tell us your favorite cowboy expression and you’ll make us as happy as a dog with two tails.