Wednesday, July 14, 2010


image I was destined to write romance.  To prove it to you, I’d like to share a brief snippet of prose:  “His kiss was tender, yet passionate.  Passionate, yet tender.  Neither dominant over the other.” No, that isn’t a passage from my October release THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME.  I wrote those words in my diary when I was 11 years old, and I’m embarrassed to admit that the object of my somewhat chaste passions was none other than...Donny Osmond. 

image I’ve been in love with being in love for as long as I can remember.  When I was 5 years old, I would dress up in one of my mom’s discarded outfits, spread a blanket in the middle of the living room floor, and spend all night pretending I was at the movies with a date.  It was the best sort of movie theater--the kind that showed endless runs of THAT GIRL, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, I DREAM OF JEANIE and THE MONKEES.  Whenever me and my neighborhood friends played “let’s pretend”, almost every one of our games had a secret romantic thread that unwove only in my mind.  What fun is playing “cowboys” and “Indians” if your tough-talking, six-shooting cowgirl can’t win the heart of that savage Indian?  And why play “school” if you can’t be Laura Ingalls waiting for Almanzo Wilder to brave the blizzard-swept plains and rescue you from a frozen schoolhouse?  (That’s the real Almanzo in the pic to the left.  Not bad, eh?) And you can ask J Perry Stone about my fantasy where I was kidnapped by the Monkees (that would be THE MONKEES, not the MONKEYS!) and all four of them fell in love with me.  (Well, except for Peter...Peter was always more of a brother figure, don’t you think?)

I started writing my first historical romance when I was 12.  It was called THE PIRATES OF ROCKLON HILL and featured an intrepid pirate captain named (of course!)...Sir Donald Osmond.  In a scene eerily identical to the abduction scene in the first PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, he and his crew stormed my heroine’s mansion, her heart, and her unassailable virtue.  (I wasn’t exactly sure what virtue was back then, but I knew it was supposed to be unassailable.)

Of course I had my own romantic role models.  My parents were never shy with their hugs and kisses--either with me or with each other.  They both loved music and you never knew when they might break into a slow dance in the middle of the living room floor to Leo Sayer’s WHEN I NEED YOU.  My dad served in Vietnam for two years and he and my mother wrote letters to each other EVERY SINGLE DAY of his deployment.  Those letters were so full of unrequited longing and scorching passion that I’m still not allowed to read them.  They’re kept in a locked suitcase that’s to be opened only in the event of their deaths.

image Despite my five-year Donny obsession, he wasn’t my first love.  I remember quite distinctly falling in love for the first time when I was six years old.  He had electric blue eyes, wavy brown hair and a pair of dimples that rivaled my own.  The movie was THE COMPUTER WORE TENNIS SHOES and the star was a Disney staple and teen actor named...Kurt Russell.  I still get a little warm and fuzzy when I see Kurt.  It probably doesn’t hurt that he turned out pretty good.  The eyes are still electric blue, the hair is still thick and wavy and there’s no denying the charm of those dimples and that smile.  And hey--he’s even a great family man and director!  (TOMBSTONE anyone?)

image So do you think people who read and write romance tend to be more romantic by nature?  How old were YOU the first time you “fell in love”?  And who was YOUR very first celebrity crush? 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Teresa Asks “Where Do You Like To Do It?”

image I know Russell Crowe is supposed to be a voracious reader but I’m not sure if the pic to the left is intended to promote reading or be a cautionary warning against smoking in bed.

I will say that it did get me thinking about where I like to read. Unlike some of you, I’m not coordinated enough to read in the bathtub. If I tried, I’m afraid the only result would be a very wrinkled me and a swollen, sodden mass of wood pulp that used to be a book.

image In the summer I love to curl up on this divine divan in our sun room. I’ve coveted a divan ever since I was a little girl and I saw an illustration in LITTLE WOMEN of Jo March reclining on her attic divan on a rainy day, eating a juicy red apple and reading a novel. (Unfortunately I’m more likely to be stuffing my piehole with a bag of dark chocolate M&M’s.) It’s so relaxing to be reading with a gentle breeze drifting through the windows or the rain pattering down on the metal roof. Of course the real challenge is resisting the temptation to lay the book aside and snuggle down for an afternoon nap!

image In the winter I nest in this oversized chair in the corner of our living room away from the TV. It was the wall-to-wall bookshelves that sold me on this house. There’s something terribly comforting about glancing up and seeing all of those other books glowing softly in the light--some already well-read and much-loved, others just waiting to be discovered. And the best thing about this chair-and-a-half is that there’s exactly enough room for me and at least half a cat! (Or one cat and half of me.)

When I was a child, my dad used to cook a big breakfast for us every Saturday morning. And my official job while he cooked stay in bed and read! I still remember how cozy it felt to be tucked into bed reading HALF-MAGIC or THE PRINCESS BRIDE while the sound of my daddy’s whistling and the succulent aroma of bacon wafted up the stairs.

There are some books you always remember because of WHERE you read them. (Hospital waiting room, anyone?) I first read THE HOBBIT on a sunny Saturday afternoon while sitting cross-legged at the very top of a fire tower at Pennyrile State Park with the forest stretched out below me as far as the eye could see. (I could almost see the Eagles come swooping over the horizon to save the battle and the day!) I read ROOTS when I was 13 during a long car trip to Disney World. And I finished Stephen King and Peter Straub’s THE TALISMAN on the way home from a vacation in Massachusetts with Phil Collins singing, “Take Me Home” as the perfect accompaniment to the final moments of both the trip and the book.

So where do YOU like to read? Is there a special chair or couch that makes it easier for your imagination to make the leap into another world? Pop on over to my Facebook page at to share your favorite spot!

Friday, October 30, 2009


Being a witch comes naturally to some—no, not the Witch Political, the old fashioned caricature. You know.  Wicked Witch of the West. The cackling hag. The hook-nosed, green skinned, wart covered old bat that pokes out newts’ eyes for her diabolical soups...Oops. Sorry. I got carried away. Anyway, my point is that I possess a natural bent towards such witchiness and all things Halloween that my husband doesn’t. So, of course, when our kid (Doodah) started making the trick or treat rounds Daddy got nominated to trudge dutifully behind her as I gleefully remained home, ohing and awing at the various ghouls and monsters and politicians (and yes, that grouping was purposeful) that showed up with hands out stretched and bags at ready. 

But soon, oh-ing and ah-ing palled and I began to yearn to partake more fully in the festivities and the first thought that came to min was that I could be a witch. Mind you, this was long before the explosion of Halloween as a commercial industry. People carved pumpkins and doled out candy and sometimes stuck an animated 14” tall, moon-walking Frankenstein in their front windows but that was pretty much it. The first year I dressed up I put down as my rehearsal and while fun, it wasn’t as much fun as I had envisioned it being. Somehow, opening my suburban door dressed in black dress and wearing a wig failed to strike awe into the tender little breasts of my neighbor kids. Which , of course, was my goal. Children today are too sophisticated. Even the three year old from down the block could see through my disguise – or maybe she just didn’t think there was enough difference between what I opened the door in and my usual muck-about-the-yard garb.

The next year I decided to go for broke. Oh, mind, I wasn’t about to dump tons of money we didn’t have into the project but with a little ingenuity and some really dim lights, I made out. I donned my navy blue bathrobe, floor length with a zip front, bought a pointy hat at JoAnne Fabrics, and liberated Doodah’s karaoke machine (complete with vibrato special effects) from the attic where it had been banished until Doodah could carry a tune (still waiting for that.) Then, just after the dinner hour, I climbed out onto the faux balcony above the garage with a bag of mini-snickers bars, turned the karaoke machines’ volume and vibrato up full blast, and peeled forth with the witchly cackle to end all cackles. I have it on good authority that as many as three blocks away strong men paled upon hearing my witchly bell canto. And when flocks of little goblins came tripping up to my front door I would peer over the eaves and cackle, “Hey kiddies! Want a treat or would you rather I had one....?” Oh. I’m giving myself shills. Not as many as I gave the neighborhood kids who clutched each other and screamed in a rhapsody of delighted terror as I lured them forth in my karaoke enhanced voice, “Here, kiddie, kiddie. Here kiddie, kiddie.” As soon as they reached the porch, I’d lean over and toss down their candy to them. And a good time was had by all.

So began my blighted career as the Balfanz Witch.

I am humbled to admit that I was an instant hit with the sub-ten crowd.  As the years went by my notoriety grew. People would walk for blocks to come to the house just so I could rain snicker bars down on their kids –and just what does that say about parents of today, anyway? Then one cold, blustery Halloween night it all came to an end. Hubris and my own ignorance of the average thirteen year old’s capacity for revenge were my undoing.

I was sitting on my roof about to call it a night. It was late, the four to seven year old crowd were long gone and the eight to eleven year old surge was pretty much over, too. All that was left were the twelve to fourteen year old stragglers. You know them. The older brothers and sisters of the darling tykes dressed up as Tinkerbelle and Pound Puppy? The age bracket that is too cool to dress up but are still young enough that the idea of a bag of free candy is irresistible? The stage of life where they are just perfecting the sneers that will pretty much carry them through the next half decade? Yeah, those kids. Anyway I was just about to call it a night when four females showed up. They were about thirteen or so and all four had turned their jackets around and wore hand printed envelopes that read “Backward Girl.” And to think all the years I’d been ashamed of Doodah’s cheapo ghost bedsheet…

They couldn’t see me; The lights were on over the front porch which made me, hovering on the rooftop overhead, invisible. They shuffled around at the bottom of the drive a few minutes and I could hear them talking. I have to admit that the only bit of charm this quartet showed that night was their speech. It was a weird synthesis of 80’s Valley Girl vocabulary with a Fargo-esque accent.

“This is that house where that lady dresses up as a witch,” said Backward Girl #1.

“Oh, fer lame,” said Backward Girl #2.

“Duh,” Backward Girl #3 agreed –at least I think that was meant as an agreement. “What-ever.”

“It’s like way stoo-pid,” said Backward Girl #4. “Who’d be scared of some old witch dressed up like some old witch?”

There ensued hoots of laughter at this penultimate example of pubescent wit.

“Totally,” Backward Girl #1 said when the hilarity died down. “It’s like so sketchy. ‘Look at me! I’m a scary witch!’ It’s like totally lame.”

“You betcha, er, I mean, totally,” Backward Girl # 4 agrees.

“So, then, let’s go and get our candy,” Backward Girl # --oh, hell who cares which girl said what? They were like totally interchangeable anyway.

Now, I am not proud of what happened next but I was a trifle offended by these aspersions on my ability to strike terror into kids’ hearts so, in a truly uninspired moment, I decided to have a little “fun” with the girls. As they started up the driveway, I crept out off the balcony and onto the roof, lurking just out of the sight at the edge of the eaves.

They milled about on the porch a few seconds before one of them pushed the doorbell as another said, “I am so scared I can hardly stand it.” At which point, I popped out over the eaves, just above their heads and shout, “Heya girls!” in my best-cracked, wicked witch voice.

Their reaction was all a defamed witch could want. They jumped at least a foot in the air, shrieked like banshees, and clutched each other like, well, like little girls. 

“Want some candy?” I cackled.

They did not want some candy. Their terror was, of course, over in a matter of seconds, and I reckoned they’d just stomp off in a teenage huff. I reckoned wrong. I know. Stupid. In my own defense, all I can say was that Doodah was little yet and I didn’t yet know that the absolute worst thing in the world you can do to a thirteen year old girl is embarrass her in front of her peers and that if you do, you do so at your own peril.

“Get her, girls!” Backwards Girl Whatever shouted as with a cry of young female rage (the most fieresome kind), the girls fell to the ground and started scooping up windfall crabapples.
I squatted on the roof, mouth gaping, as the little bi—er, witches started hurling crabapples at me. Lots of crabapples! And I’m going on record today to say I think at least a couple of those girls must have ended up on the Olympic fast pitch softball team because those suckers HURT!

Now, I was not in a good position being stuck on a steeply sloping roof as I was, so I started a quick retreat, crabapples whacking my hat askew and making way too many directs hits on the undoubtedly too easy target of my giant bathrobe encased bum. By the time I scrambled back onto the balcony, I was ready for some payback –I did mention this maybe wasn’t my finest moment-- but I didn’t have any crabapples. What I did have was mini-snickers bars. Lots of ‘em,

The ensuing battle raged for a good ten minutes, volleys of dozens of crabapples countered by my own sniper-like accuracy with one candy bar at a time. We fought grimly, mutely, and in earnest, the silence punctuated by little “Uffs!” and an occasional “Ow!” and quite a few expletives (and these weren’t from me.)

Alas, despite my valiant last stand, ultimately there could only be one outcome: there were, after all, five crabapple trees down on the front lawn and only two bags of candy on the balcony with me, and I know when to quit. So, pitching my last snicker bar, I raised my fist and shook it at the sneering girls below, then made as regal an exit as through a small window as one can while wearing a witch hat and a bathrobe. The girls hooted in mockery.

And thus ended my career as the Balfanz Witch. The blue bathrobe returned to being just a bathrobe, the wig has long since been bequeathed to a new generation of witches, and the karaoke machine sits in the attic gathering dust. And Me? I learned a valuable lesson, one that I’m afraid I needed to learn over andover again when Doodah reached puberty: Never, ever underestimate the retaliatory response of an embarrassed teenage girl.

I’d like to say I was disheartened by my experience, that the fun of dressing up just wasn’t there after that night, but the truth was I didn’t dare go out the next year. Or the next. I was afraid they’d come back and next time they’d be packing regular-sized apples.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I know what you're expecting. A lot of suggestions that contain the words "moon", "june" and "croon" along with instructions for sprinkling fresh rose petals on your sheets and taking long walks on a moonlit beach. But having been married 25 years now (Yes, I live in Kentucky. I COULD have married when I was 12 just like I COULD have written my first book when I was 5.), I'd like to give you some more practical advice. Whether you've been married 3 years, 33 years, or have just spotted the guy you think you'd like to marry sitting in front of you in your freshman English class, I hope you can put these tips to good use.

1) Lower your expectations and accept responsibility for your own happiness. This may very well be the key to happiness in ALL things in your life. How many times have we wailed, "He/My Job/My cat just doesn't make me happy!" Well, guess what? It's not anyone else's responsibility to make you happy. You're not perfect and neither is he. But if you can learn to embrace his flaws and teach him to find yours endearing ("She snores like a freight train. Isn't that adorable?"), then happiness will be within your grasp.

2) When you first get married, try to put a 100 miles and at least one river between you and both of your families. This isn't always possible but if it is, it will give you a chance to establish your identity as a couple and a "family" without well-meaning interference from either set of in-laws. It also helps you learn to depend on each other instead of running home to mom and dad whenever you have an emotional or physical need to fulfill.

3) Practice the 3 C's--caring, commitment, compromise. Without these 3 qualities, it's difficult to have any sort of successful relationship. My husband and I learned a lesson about commitment the very first year of our marriage. (You'll never have worse or stupider fights than your first year of marriage! We once threw our Precious Moments wedding cake topper into the garbage can to "symbolize the destruction of our marriage".) We were having one of those utterly ridiculous fights when one of us tossed out the dreaded "D" word. It scared us both so badly that we vowed to never again speak of divorce, no matter how bitter the disagreement. If you know you're committed to working through every problem that arises, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. (Of course there are special dispensations for infidelity, abuse or other transgressions of trust.)

4) Never stop dating. Ah, this is where the rose petals and moonlit walks on the beach come in! I know it can be hectic if you're both working and there are small children and not a lot of money, but a simple Friday night movie or dinner date (even if it's 5 for $5 night at Arby's!) can help to remind you of why you fell in love in the first place. There's nothing more painful than two people with empty nest syndrome who suddenly realize they've become strangers over the past 20 years.

5) Make your kids the spokes of your marriage, not the hub. If you think of your marriage as a giant wheel, picture you and your husband at the center of the wheel with the kids revolving around you. There's no greater gift you can give your children than two parents who love and respect each other.

6) Never stop laughing either with each other...or at each other. This is why it's so important to marry a man with a sense of humor. Marriage can be great fun, especially when you're married to your best friend. I still giggle when I remember how my husband forgot to reverse the blade on his beard trimmer and accidentally shaved off half of his eyebrow. (It wasn't the mishap that was so funny, but his reaction--"Don't look at me! I'm hideous!" You'd have thought he was the Elephant Man!)

7) Ask for help when you need it. This is a tough one for men. It's usually a lot harder for them to commit to seeing a counselor without coercion or threats. (Don't be ashamed to use either!) The common mantra is "it takes two to improve a relationship" but the truth is that we each have tremendous personal power to effect change so don't be afraid to seek help for yourself if he goes all caveman on you.

8) Be aware that you can still get "crushes" after you get married. There should be a red flag next to this tip. The trick is to recognize the difference between "infatuation" and "abiding love". My heart still lights up every time my husband walks into a room but it's very easy to believe that once the initial "sparkle" of your first attraction deepens to a glimmer that you've "fallen out of love" or "grown apart", which can make you prey to the attentions of that cute guy in your office. If this were true, we'd all have to change mates every 6 months just to keep the adolescent thrill alive. If you find yourself experiencing a "crush" that seems irresistible, then be ruthless about removing yourself from the situation, even if that means changing jobs. I can promise you that 6 months down the road (about the time you'd start noticing your crush's back hair and his annoying tendency of talking through his nose), you'll be glad you did!

9) Never take each other for granted. One of the fundamental tenets of cognitive therapy is that "feeling follows action", also known as "fake it 'til you make it". My husband never goes off to work without a little note tucked in his lunch that says, "I love you" or "You're my hero" or "You're my forever love." Not a day goes by that he doesn't send me an e-mail that simply says, "I love you" or "I missed you". Sometimes we tend to treat strangers with more kindness and courtesy than we treat those who share our homes and our lives.

10) And along those same lines, Recognize and cultivate romance in the small things. I'll never forget an Ann Landers letter I once read. A woman was writing to tell Ann her husband was never "overly affectionate". He didn't reach out for spontaneous hugs or hold her hand in public or say "I love you" with any regularity. But he made sure her car had regular tune-ups and every single week without fail, he brought her a bag of her favorite candy. It wasn't until after 35 years of marriage and his death that she realized that every time he handed her that bag of candy, he was saying, "I love you." I thought of this at the Star Trek convention a couple of years ago when I was sitting in a cold, drafty convention hall and my husband showed up with two things--my sweater and a bag of dark chocolate M&M's. I just smiled up at him and said, "I love you, too."

So how about you? Can you share your wisdom with us? What is the best (and the worst!) relationship advice you ever got?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Teresa Picks A Hero by Any Other Name

image First of all, let me begin by saying that I have read some absolutely wonderful romance novels with heroes named Harry (Connie Brockway’s AS YOU DESIRE anyone?), Bill (Charlaine Harris’s ”Sookie Stackhouse“ series), and Jack (Lisa Kleypas’s hero of SUDDENLY YOU certainly gives me a craving for fresh raspberries!) But I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for those nobleman blessed with such swoonworthy monikers as Gabriel, Sebastian and Tristan (with an occasional Damien thrown in for devilish effect). 

Character names have always been very important to me because I usually come up with my hero and heroine’s names before I know anything else about their stories.  I was fascinated to learn after the fact that the name “Gareth” (SHADOWS AND LACE) and the name “Gerard” (THIEF OF HEARTS) both mean “staff”.  Hmmm...wonder if there was something Freudian going on in my subconscious when I wrote those books?

I also have a fondness for outlaws so it’s my personal opinion that all western heroes should be named “Billy” or “Jesse”.  When I wrote Billy Darling in NOBODY’S DARLING, his name told me everything I needed to know about his character.  And lest someone should suggest that my names aren’t realistic enough, I’ll have you know that right after I finished my most recent novels AFTER MIDNIGHT and THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME featuring brothers Adrian and Julian Kane, I received a note from my German translator telling me that her sons were named Adrian and Julian!  She wanted me to give her third son his “own book” but alas, his name is “Fabian.” A gorgeous name but a shade too close to “Fabio” for my comfort. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to “Simon.” He’s a very naughty hero and he needs my guidance wink

So what about YOU?  Does the hero’s name affect your perception of him?  Do you prefer the more realistic names or the sweeping romance archetypes?  And what is your favorite hero name of all-time?

Visit Teresa’s website

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Teresa Confesses, “I’VE GOT A SECRET”

image As many of you already know, me and my fellow Squawkers were friends for years before we started SQUAWK RADIO.  Which made me start thinking about the charm and the intricacies of female friendship.  I know that most men view us as gossipy, chatty creatures.  We can become lifelong friends with another woman while standing in the grocery line for fifteen minutes while men can be “best friends” for twenty years and not know any more about each other than the number of cylinders in their engines or their favorite football teams. It’s no accident of nature that the average man speaks around 12,000 words a day while the average woman speaks 24,000.  By the time a man comes home from a day of work, he’s probably already used up his daily quota of words.  (Ever ask “How was your day, honey?” only to have him reply, “Fine”?) Let’s face it--if women didn’t talk to each other, we’d have no one to talk to!

Contrary to what most men think, we’re not swapping gossip; we’re building relationships.  Information is the currency women use to buy intimacy with each other.  The secrets we share about ourselves (and yes, occasionally others) is the glue that binds us together.  In some ways, we’re still those little girls whispering to each other in the dark at the slumber party.  Everyone knows that the best secrets (our deepest wishes, our darkest fears, which boy we adored the most) were always shared after the lights went out.  Some of my most rewarding friendships have begun with the words, “I know I shouldn’t be telling you this but...” It’s all a matter of building trust.  If I can share the worst thing I ever did and trust that you still love me, then I’ll know I’ve found a friend for life.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go call one of my fellow Squawkers so I can begin the conversation with, “I know I shouldn’t be telling you this...”

So what’s the most unusual beginning you ever had for a female friendship?  (I met one of the best friends of my life when I was 11.  She was the new girl in the neighborhood and I was making fun of her for playing kickball in a skirt.  Since she was a forgiving soul, we’ve now been friends for almost 30 years.)

Friday, May 04, 2007


image Fortunately for your eyes and my cellulite, this isn’t a story like Connie’s legendary water-skiing blog.  As you guys have probably noticed from the time I spend hanging out here in your charming company, I don’t really do that much internet surfing.  Oh, there’s the occasional Ebay binge and the ritualistic and masochistic reading of my Amazon reviews, but overall, there are probably only 5-6 sites I visit on a regular basis.  So I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you.  (And I’m sure you won’t be surprised to discover that most of them are entertainment-based.)

image The Internet Movie Database
This is an amazing site that will put an end to so many heated arguments between you and your spouse.  Say you’re watching an episode of LAW AND ORDER and a familiar face pops up.  You insist that the actor is the red-shirted security guy who got the life sucked out of him by an alien entity from STAR TREK: Episode #12,517.  Your husband insists that he just happens to look like your second cousin Earl (last seen floating face down in a bathtub full of hooch at the family reunion) and that’s why he looks so familiar.  If you check the credits for his name, then rush to the computer and put him into the IMDB search engine, you’ll get a complete record of EVERY role the actor ever played on television or the big screen.  This can result in a great amount of gloating on your part.  (Or on your husband’s part if he has an incredible memory for faces and voices like my husband does.) You can also track backward by looking up a movie or TV show and getting a list of the cast.  (

image Rotten Tomatoes
If you’ve spent any time at all on the internet, you know that it’s now impossible for you to form your own opinion about a movie/book/CD without someone else telling you what you’re supposed to think of it.  Once you get bored with reading my Amazon reviews, head over to Rotten Tomatoes.  It’s the place to go AFTER you’ve seen a movie, not before.  The site features reviews from major critics and minor ones, all gathered together on one convenient page.  (

image Television Without Pity
And who wants to watch TV anymore without an accompanying dose of snark?  Television Without Pity features message boards and forums for all of your favorite shows, especially those firmly embedded in the current pop culture like 24, LOST, HEROES and SMALLVILLE (and your favorite soaps!) It’s pretty much a free for all but the posters tend to be smarter and funnier (and slightly more profane) than those on other message boards.  (A recent recap of a 24 episode made me spew Diet Coke out of my nose.) (

image Despair, Inc
I’m sure many of you have heard of that inspiring mall and catalogue staple Successories, where motivational prints with pictures of sailboats at sunset assure you that if you’ll just buy this overpriced print of a sailboat at sunset and hang it on your office wall, you’ll somehow be motivated to succeed (or at least work hard enough to afford a sailboat you can sail at sunset.) Despair, Inc.’s slogans are: “Motivation.  The Futile Quest” and “Discover the Power to Be Your Worst.” At Despair, Inc., you can buy a print of a salmon swimming upstream...directly into the mouth of a bear with “The Journey of a Thousand Miles Sometimes Ends Very, Very Badly” as your new inspirational slogan.  And with graduation right around the corner, one of my personal favorites is a picture of a bag of French Fries with the logo: “Not Everyone Gets To Be An Astronaut When They Grow Up.” Could there be a better graduation gift for your deadbeat nephew or niece?  (

image Victorian Trading Company
I decided we should finish up today with a touch of class and this shop has it in spades.  If you write historicals, I highly suggest you go to this website and sign up for ALL of their free catalogues because just looking at their merchandise inspires me.  You can buy period furnishings, clothes, greeting cards and tons of gorgeous doodads.  My personal favorite--you can get your own tiara and sceptre for only $29/apiece.  So now when my husband and I are arguing about who appeared on episode #34,567 on LAW AND ORDER, I can just point my sceptre at him and command him to pretend I’m right.  (

So how about YOU?  We’d love for you to share some of your favorite and quirkiest websites on the net?  (Besides Squawk Radio, of course.) Where do you like to visit and why?

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