Saturday, June 30, 2012

I Love Candy

My husband once told me an easy way to tell if a woman is cray-cray. It's directly proportionate to the number of rings on her fingers, and/or the number of cats she owns.

Well, I don't have any cats.


But I do have a butt-load of rings! I am working on one for every finger....which Carl finds very disturbing, and yet he encourages this addiction by purchasing me more of these gorgeous rings.

I have a collection of "candy rings" by Luna Felix, a wonderful artist in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Each one of them is very symbolic for me, and has been purchased to acknowledge important events in our lives. The very first one was to commemorate the baby we lost many years ago. And then he got me one before the adoption of our son, our daughter, a special birthday, a special anniversary, and to celebrate getting published.

This latest one (the middle ring on the right) is a moonstone, which symbolizes love, good luck and new beginnings. I got a second chance at life following my heart attack, and a new beginning with my husband and my children.

It's the perfect birthday gift.

Someday I'll have a ring on every finger. And probably a dozen squealing weenie dogs.

But no cats! So I'm good!

Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Weekend to You!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Beard of the Day

Even though I didn't like The Avengers, there was one part of the movie I did like. And that was Jeremy Renner. He looked adorable clean-shaven. And he looks even more scrumptious with beardage.


Jeremy with just a hint of scruff. Ruff!

Jeremy in The Avengers. No beard, but look at those arms!

Look at that scruffy chin! And he has killer eyes.

Oh geez. He looks cold here. Somebody better warm him up!

Scruff + Chest Hair = Penny Passing Out


Happy Beardy Friday,

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bumbles Bounce!

File Under The Heading......No, Thank You

1. Report card after kid develops XBOX addiction.

2. Airline cancelling your flight to Hawaii and not telling you.

3. Daughter deciding tonight is a good night for her first sleep-over party.

4. Dog eating dead bee carcass and puking her guts out for 20 minutes. On my sisal rug.

5. Birthday present being shipped to Maine (ME) instead of Massachusetts (MA).

6. Seeing a sweet old gentleman with tears in his eyes at the vet's office...he just put his dog down. (I sat in my chair and cried for five minutes).

7. Finding a library book that Natty lost 5 months ago, and I had to pay for.

I sure hope bumbles bounce, because I feel like the Abominable Snow Monster who just lost his teeth. 

*eyes rolling*
*gnashing my gums*
*falling into a pit of despair*

Waiting for some good luck to come my way,

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Royal Statement

I get a huge kick out of the lovely, extravagant and festive hats that the Queen of England wears for different occasions. Hats are the greatest fashion statement ever, and the Queen's are superb! Here are a few for your viewing pleasure. (I adore the hat above---lavender with the gorgeous silk roses! Want it!)

Yellow Wedding Cake Hat

Violet Straw Hat

Adorable Turquoise Hat

Jaunty Hot Pink Hat

Easter Bonnet

The Ultimate Hat: The Royal Crown!

I especially love the glasses and crown combo. Excellent!

All my best,

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Like Sandwiches As Much As The Next Guy....

...but enough already!

For some reason, I've been reading about a lot of sandwiches lately.

No, I'm not reading menus.

No, I'm not reading cookbooks.

I'm reading a lot of mysteries and romances that seem to be obsessed with inane details like what sort of sandwiches the characters are eating for lunch. Every single meal. In the entire book. No matter what else is going on in the story. (Bad guys trying to kill them, falling madly in love, etc). Doesn't matter....we're hearing about sandwiches.

Here are times it's OK to talk about sandwiches in a book....

1. The hero owns a sandwich shop.
2. The heroine owns a sandwich shop.
3. The hero/heroine is a caterer, chef, culinary master.
4. The details about the sandwich are critical to the story...for example, the hero feeds a sandwich with anchovy paste to the villain, who has a severe allergy to anchovies, thereby dying a horrible gruesome death, and the hero saves the day. Something like that.

I don't need to know every time the characters eat a meal.

Or what they are eating.

Does it tell us something important about the character or the story?

For example, let's say the heroine is a super-model, and she sits down with the hero for a meal. He expects her to order a small salad and water. Instead she orders a huge cheeseburger and fries and a beer. That might tell us something about her, and intrigue him.

Another example....the hero is a rancher, but he orders a vegetarian meal. The heroine is shocked. Does this give us some insight about his feelings toward his job/family?

Think about the details you are including in your book. Are they important/critical to the story? If it's a foodie book, then hell yeah, include details about the food. If it's a regular novel and their meals HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE STORY....AT ALL!...PLEASE, I am begging you, leave out the sandwiches.

I especially see this a lot in mysteries. If the details are building a picture about the character--he's a burger and beer sort of guy, she's addicted to sweets, he drowns his sorrows in junk food, she's super anal and refuses to eat, etc etc--then it makes sense to include some of these details. But letting the reader know that the characters are getting sandwiches (or any kind of generic food) for breakfast, lunch and dinner is totally unimportant, slows down the narrative, and needs to be edited out of the book.

Please. I am freaking begging you.

And don't even get me started on potty breaks. (File under the heading Sh*t We Don't Need To Hear About In A Book).

ETA: I'm at Julia Barrett's blog today discussing a very important topic....The Never-Ending BJ. Stop by to say hi! (If you dare).

Jonesing for a smoked turkey sammie,

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Whole Lotta Evil

1. Demi Lovato's outfit. It's evil. From Hollywood Life

2. Stinging nettle. Evil. Extremely evil. Yesterday, as I was weeding my veggie and herb garden (without gloves on...I know...I'm an idiot), this bastard plant totally kicked my unsuspecting ass. And I have a botany degree---I should know better. But I was so worried about the jimson weed, which is highly poisonous and also causes contact dermatitis, that I wasn't paying attention to this malicious plant. It has hollow stinging hairs which act like a hypodermic needle and shoot histamine and other chemicals onto your skin. It hurts like a bitch and causes big welts, itching and pain. A lot of pain! And swelling. On to-do list....get gardening gloves.

3. Arachnoquake. Cheesy movie on Syfy about giant spiders that shoot fire. Evil spiders! This movie was actually total crap (not even close to as funny as Jersey Shore Shark Attack), but there was one scene that was brilliant! The shout-out to Deep Blue Sea, one of my favorite cheesy horror movies with Samuel Jackson, Thomas Jane and LL Cool J.

There is a motley crew of survivors on a trolley bus with a bunch of evil spiders approaching. The one lone nice black guy (of course) jumps on top of a fence and starts giving a rousing speech about how they have to stick together....and I knew what was coming. It was a brilliant shout-out to Samuel Jackson's speech in Deep Blue Sea, right before he gets chomped by the evil shark. The poor black guy in Arachnoquake gets attacked by a giant spider, and everyone gasps. Fabulous bit of writing there. Too bad the rest of the movie totally sucked. I DNFed it.

Nat (my 9 year old daughter) is now addicted to crappy Syfy movies and watched it to the bitter end. Her hilarious commentary is the best part. When Tracey Gold started the dissection and removed the slimy organs from the giant spider, both Natty and I screamed "EWWWWW!!!" at the same time. And then we laughed hysterically.

4. The DNF Brigade. This past week I DNFed books because of horrible head-hopping, jumping right into sex without knowing the characters, no chemistry between H/h, repeating same old dialogue and ideas from previous books, inane paragraphs of description about sandwiches, cheating, exploitative and idiotic BDSM descriptions, and introducing too many characters on the first page of the book. I don't really think any of these things are evil, but they sure as hell don't encourage further reading. I have never DNFed so many books in one week. Maybe I'm choosing poorly, or just getting pickier. Not sure.

5. Fruit flies. Squirmy, disgusting and evil. When my daughter adopted a praying mantis as a pet, I asked her what they eat. For some reason I thought she was going to say grass or leaves. But noooooooooo.......evidently praying mantises enjoy eating wingless fruit flies. So, Nat and I head over to Petco to get a jar of insects. Twenty five years ago I was a biology major and I did countless labs with fruit flies. Nevertheless, I screamed like a little baby when Natty brought over the jar of hundreds of squirming, foul, gross fruit flies. Screamed! "NO! I refuse to buy those things! No! No! No!" Nat and the check-out girl laughed at me. Finally, after about 10 minutes of me totally freaking out at the Petco cash register, I relented. Natty promised to NEVER EVER EVER EVER bring the jar into the house. EVER.

Fruit flies are evil.

6. I have come to a startling conclusion. Tumblr is evil. It's naughty, it's distracting, and it's the biggest time suck since re-runs of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

This is going to be a busy week for me. I'm packing for Hawaii, revising my Lumberjack story, and celebrating my birthday on Saturday. And even though some folks think birthdays are evil, I don't. I'm embracing my wrinkles, my white hairs and all of my quirky old-lady eccentricities.

Hoping to avoid evil spiders, outfits, plants, fruit flies, Tumblr posts, and books.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Bug Eyes

Dragonfly---Photo taken by my son Cristian

Julia Barrett's recent run-in with a cool dragonfly inspired me to post this totally rockin' photo my son took at summer camp a few years ago.

It's Friday! It's hotter than hades in Boston. The kids are finally having summer vacation. I'm trying to finish up my revisions for Lumberjack in Love before we leave for Hawaii.

So, I think I'll be doing a summer schedule for the blog over the next couple of months. Not sure what that means exactly. I will definitely post a lot of photos when we get back from Hawaii....mid-July.

I'm taking the weekend off! Hope everyone has a great weekend and stays cool!

All my best,

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chill Out

The next couple of days are going to be extremely hot in Boston. Swelteringly hot. Too hot to cook!

I decided to try a recipe for a cold fruit soup. I found this fun Mix and Match Melon Recipe from Martha Stewart. It looks refreshing, fairly healthy (with the yogurt) and I think the kids will like it.

Recipe (from Mix and Match Melon Soup, Martha Stewart)....

1/2 large honeydew, cut into chunks
2 t. fresh lime juice
1/4 c. sparkling wine or ginger ale (they recommend Moscato d'Asti)
1/4 c fresh mint leaves
1/2 t salt
1 cantaloupe, cut into chunks
1/3 c. creme fraiche or plain yogurt
2 T honey
1 t fresh lemon juice

Put honeydew, lime, sparkling wine, mint and 1/4 t salt in food processor and blend until smooth. Chill.

Next batch! Put cantaloupe, yogurt, honey, lemon juice and 1/4 t salt in food processor and blend until smooth. Chill.

To serve...put honeydew soup in a bowl, and spoon some of the cantaloupe soup on top, and vice versa. I would garnish with pretty edible flowers, too.

Can't wait to try this....yum!

Stay cool,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Giddy Up, Cowboy! A Review of All Jacked Up by Lorelei James

All Jacked Up by Lorelei James

The Rough Rider Series by Lorelei James is one of my favorite erotica guilty pleasures. A bunch of alliteration-inspired cowboys (Cord, Colby, Cash, Kade, Colt, Cameron, and on and on....) have all sorts of kinky, naughty, wild adventures on the ranch, in the barn, on the dining room table, against a wall. You get the idea. James has tapped into a winning idea with this series....a tight-knit family and all of their friends (so you get tons of awesome secondary characters) dealing with real-life troubles (lots of good conflict) get to exhibit their Neanderthal alpha male tendencies with the sassy gals who are leading them on a merry, merry chase (super hot sexy times). Some of the books have M/M relationships, and some have multi-partner groups, etc. I like my cowboy sex old-fashioned and simple: One man, one woman, and some fringe-y chaps.

Anyhoo, this book was a total winner. James has created some very unique characters in this story...Keely is a bad-girl on the outside, but a hard working, ambitious gal on the inside, and tired of living with her over-bearing family's constant interference. She has a dream and she's willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it. "Whatever it takes" is entering into a fake engagement (one of my fav themes) with Jack Donohue, a super competitive and sexy workoholic "suit" who might not be wearing a cowboy hat, but his alpha-male dominating personality is just as crazy as the rancher boys. Unlike some erotica that skimps on the character arcs and storyline, this book has it all. The story is solid, and I love how both of these characters come to terms with their own shortcomings and needs, as well as falling in love (and lust) with each other. The huge black moment fight-from-hell scene at the end is one of the best I've read, and the follow-up between Keely's brothers and Jack is fantastic.

There is snappy dialogue, perfect pacing, incredibly hot sex scenes, and even an evil villainess in high-heeled pumps. My only beef with the story is that the bitchy villainess doesn't get what's coming to her (I'm a vengeful gal, and I like to see pay-back), and the epilogue was sort of lame, IMO. Otherwise, this book is close to perfect. Sexy, funny, and satisfying.

Giddy up, cowboy! Lorelei James has created another winner.

Grade: A

Ready to lasso a beardy cowboy,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What's Sexy?

1. Building sexual tension is sexy.

2. The word "womb" isn't sexy.

3. Creating sexual anticipation is sexy.

4. The word "anus" isn't sexy.

5. Getting inside your characters' heads and connecting with their emotions is sexy.

6. An 85-page sex scene isn't sexy. It's boring. It's tedious. It's like watching a never-ending porno movie.

7. Holding hands is sexy.

8. Reading a paint-by-numbers sex scene, now step one, now step two, now stab me in the eye please, isn't sexy. It's dry, flat and boring.

9. A really incredible kiss is sexy. Sex-ay, Baby!

10. Too much inane graphic detail isn't sexy. I read something recently that talked about the "left side of her clit." The left side. Not the right side. Cause that's super important, I'm sure.

11. Touching a character's face is sexy. Hands are sexy.

12. "Drenched pussy" is not sexy. (I hope my mother isn't reading this post).

13. Love is sexy.

14. The word "labia" isn't sexy. Just saying.

15. Romance is sexy.

16. Describing body parts like a medical professor teaching a reproductive organ class isn't sexy.

17. Lumberjacks are sexy.

18. Humping before we get to know the characters is not sexy.

19. Beards are super sexy. (You knew that one was coming, right?)

20. The word "gland" isn't sexy.

Interestingly enough, one of the sexiest scenes I've ever read was only one page long, had nothing explicit, the characters had almost all of their clothes on, and the heroine was a virgin.

You don't need a lot of graphic description for a sex scene. Sometimes just the opposite is more effective.

"I didn't know.....when you....and then I....I didn't know we could do.....what we did....I didn't know."

(Who remembers what book this quote is from? :^)


Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Morning Updates

1. Nat's soccer team lost the finals, 0-2. But Nat was on fire! She had an incredible game and played with the older girls on the starting line-up. I was super proud of her. Which she exploited immediately by saying "Don't you think I played great? I want a pet praying mantis." We are going to the pet store today after school. (I know. I know.)

2. I finished Sondrae Bennett's book Worth Fighting For. I enjoyed this friends-to-lovers fox shapeshifter book.

3. I started reading Linda Howard's Now You See Her. Very intriguing beginning to this book. Can't wait to see what happens. (It has a "I See Dead People" thing going on).

4. Finished a beta read for RJ Silver, which made me laugh out loud so much my family kept asking what I was reading. And started a beta read for critique partner Sam Wayland (about a sexy hockey player) and it's phenomenal. Great reading weekend!

5. TODAY IS THE LAST FULL DAY OF SCHOOL! I'm doing a quick revision on Lumberjack in Love before all hell breaks loose at my house for summer vacation.

Hope everyone has a great Monday,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!

I love this photo of my husband and daughter fishing together. It's at The Black Point Inn in Maine.
Hubs is totally geeked out in special fishing shoes, rod, fanny pack, and all the accessories he needs.
Daughter is wearing a sequin mini-skirt from Justice For All.

That pretty much sums up our family in a nutshell.


Lots of love to my hubby for being a great dad.

Happy Dad's Day!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Soccer Weekend!

My daughter's 3rd and 4th grade soccer team has just steamrolled themselves into the finals. They had shut-outs in all the tournament games, and have been crushing the competition. Nothing like little girls throwing elbows to get the parental pride pumping!

Hope everyone has a great weekend. We are heading down to Newport, Rhode Island this afternoon for a spot o' fun.

Happy Day,

Friday, June 15, 2012

Beard of the Day: Penelope Finally Gets The Armitage Thing

Armitage looks like a homeless guy.

For years, I kept hearing about "Richard Armitage"-this and "Richard Armitage"-that, and "Oh, he's so hot!" and "Oh, he's so swoony!" and I'm all "What the hell? I don't get it."

See photos below as evidence....

Armitage looks like a dork.

Armitage looks sort of slimy.

Armitage looks like a dweeb.

Armitage.....meh. Wha?

And then one day, I was perusing some photos on Tumblr, and I was all.....WHOOOOAAAAAA! What is this? And I discovered, it was Armitage. With Beard!

Schwing! Armi-Buddy-Baby!


I surely hope he's thinking "I'll never shave again."

Which just goes to show....Sometimes the beard really does make the man.

And sometimes Penelope could possibly maybe momentarily be wrong.

Happy Beardy Friday!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sick As A Dog

Excuse me while I sip this hot tea and read Sondrae Bennett's story Worth Fighting For (which I'm enjoying very much).

I'm croaking like a frog. Hopefully I'll get my voice back soon. And the will to live. This sickness is killing me!


Sipping tea and honey,

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Importance of Being Naughty

When you're young, it's easy to be naughty. Sneaking a drink, or a smoke, fooling around, or taking your parents' car out for a joy-ride.

Then, you get older. You get married. Have a couple of kids.


You exercise. You eat healthy foods. No more french fries at McDonald's. No more drinking binges like college. You drive a mini-van. You wear mom jeans. You recycle.

But somewhere, deep inside that super-responsible, mini-van-driving doofus is a naughty girl just wanting to break free. Be bad. Let loose.

And then someone tells you.....hey, check out this "mommy porn"'s naughty!

What a delicious way to be naughty! No calories! No carcinogens. A cheap, easy way to be naughty, with characters who you might know. Might even be you.

What a delicious way to be bad!

I don't think the latest fad in fiction has anything at all to do with books. Or the quality of the writing or the story.

It's all about The Importance of Being Naughty.

Never underestimate it,
Penelope (sipping her cocktail)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review of The Mammoth Book Of Ghost Romance

Mammoth Book Of Ghost Romance, Edited by Trisha Telep

Why did I read this book?

1. I liked the cover (I'm easily swayed by nice packaging).
2. Carolyn Crane wrote something in here.

Yep, I'm pretty easy.

This anthology is a collection of ghost stories. Some of them are excellent, and some are less than stellar. From an editing perspective, there is a good mix of romantic, historical, funny, serious, intense and contemporary. I thought the flow was good from one story to the next, although it is sometimes tough to transition from a reality-based contemporary to a sci-fi or steampunk. But in an anthology you need to mix it up. On the other hand, I found some of these novellas to be very polished, professional pieces, and others to be amateur-quality writing. That's not too easy to gloss over in an anthology like this.

The anthology starts out strong with Anna Campbell's The Chinese Bed, a lovely paranormal story about two different couples, separated by time, but both under the evil influence of some malevolent forces which threaten their love. Campbell's novella is very romantic and satisfying.

Next up is Carolyn Crane's hilarious and quirky contemporary story Old Salt. It's no secret that I am a huge fan of CC's writing, and this story really showcases her talents. I could not stop laughing out loud at the toilet flushing scene (you had to be there), but what always astonishes me about Crane is that she manages to successfully mix the humor, a well-crafted story, interesting characters, and romance. This one's a winner. (✯ Favorite)

Some of the stories didn't hook me right away, but others I loved.

Here are the high-lights for me.....

I really enjoyed Hat-Trick by Gwyn Cready, an appealing contemporary story about a hockey lover ghost and the woman he falls in love with.

The Lovers by Julia London, about a couple whose rocky marriage is revived in an old, haunted house, was a well-written piece that jumps from a historical POV to a contemporary POV. I loved the ending.

(A favorite) A Single Girl's Guide To Getting Ahead by Liz Maverick, is an absolutely hysterical piece that had me in stitches (and ready to read more books by this author). Her voice is fabulous, and the humor is spot-on.

(A favorite) Jonquils in the Snow by Annette Blair, is another favorite. I totally fell in love with this gorgeous novella. Like her other Amish story I've read, it is very emotional, intense and romantic. I adored it!

The Heart Thief by Cindy Miles is a super romantic tale set in Scotland, with an intriguing ending that hints at more to come (I'll be reading).

(A favorite) Ghost in the Machine by Dru Pagliassotti, is an incredible action-packed steampunk novella. Really outstanding. The world Pagliassotti creates in this short story has fantastic imagery and a very satisfying story. This was a great introduction to this author.

Ghost of a Chance by Caridad Pineiro packs a whole murder mystery into a short piece. The setting is atmospheric, the cast of characters intriguing, and I love how the mystery is solved and the romance develops. Cool story.

In His Hands by Sara Reinke is another favorite. It's a sexy, well-written, well-crafted story with a very cool mythological bent and a great ending.

The last couple of stories were the weakest. With some head-hopping POV issues, a major plot hole in one of them (power is out, the heroine puts bread in the toaster), weak storyline in the last one. I didn't think the writing was nearly as strong in these novellas as the others.

However, overall I found this anthology to be an entertaining read. I'm really glad I discovered some new author voices that were so superb, and I'm looking forward to reading more of their books. Which is really what a good anthology should do.

Overall Grade: B

Have a ghostly day!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Morning Updates

Photo of flowers from my garden.

1. There are officially 6 and 1/2 days left of school.


2. I have been sick as a dog. Fever, chills, and my throat hurts so badly I want to rip it out and fling it off a bridge.

3. I snuck off one day last week to watch a matinee of The Avengers. Based on the trailer, I was expecting an amazing film. What I got....

* Volume level so loud that I had to stuff toilet paper in my ears to avoid a hospitalization.
* Pacing so slow and uneven I had to stab myself in the eye to keep from nodding off.
* A storyline so ridiculous and confusing, I got the feeling that 14 different people tried to edit the film.
* Teeny tiny bits of excellent and snappy dialogue. Interspersed with hours of boring-ass stuff. Including the action parts! How do you make action sequences boring? I don't know, but they did it.
* 10 million close-up shots of Scarlett Johansson's booty in black leather. Zzzzzzzzz........
* I walked out before the movie was over. I kept waiting for it to get better, but it never did. No amount of special effects (or money) will save a film if the pacing is bad, there is no cohesion, and superficial characterization.
* Avengers final grade: DNF, huge disappointment

Oh look! It's Scarlett Johansson's butt. Again. Snooze!

4. Syfy has finally figured out how to deal with the fact that their made-for-television movies are jokes.

They made them a joke.

Jersey Shore Shark Attack was brilliant! A hilarious spoof on Jersey Shore and all the asinine shark movies made by Syfy. The dialogue was hilarious. The characters were hilarious. The "bad guys" were hilarious....I especially loved the Preppy Boys with their upturned collars! The sharks were super-fake and fantastic. And Joey Fatone got eaten by a shark. Another favorite scene was "Nookie" smacking the fake shark's head with a wooden oar. OMG.....excellent!

Grade: A for Awesomely Cheesy and Hilarious!

5. Yes, I just gave The Avengers an "F" grade and Jersey Shore Shark Attack an "A." You got a problem with that? (said in New Jersey accent)

6. I DNFed a lot of books last week, but I finally found a winner. The Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance, an anthology, is fabulous. I am almost done with coming soon.

7. Thanks to everyone who tuned in for my zombie series last week. This week I'm working on the weenie dog book. Slight change of pace.

Hopefully I'll be feeling better soon and get to a review for the ghost is a really fun and entertaining read.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Zombies V Nun: Chapter Six

Zombies V Nun: Chapter Six

The Final Chapter


Pearl whispered a prayer of gratitude as she and Caleb entered the vintner’s courtyard. Thanks to a gated drawbridge and moat, the poor, unfortunate undead people had avoided this area of the convent. It was lucky that Caleb had picked up a pitchfork on the way. He needed it to impale Sister Lucia Leonard, who’d been hanging gleefully on the gate with Sister Alessandra’s head. Now both of them were at the bottom of the pond.

“Oh my goodness,” said Pearl, shaking her head sadly. “What are we going to do?”

Caleb wiped his bloody hands on his apron. “Don’t think any amount of bleach is going to fix this mess.”

Both of them stared at the screeching zombies on the other side of the moat.

“Uh, Caleb, how long do you think we can fend them off? I sure hope we don’t have another dry season, like last spring. If the water in that moat disappears….” Pearl paused dramatically.

“…we’re zombie amuse-bouche. I get it.” Caleb grabbed Pearl by the arm, pulled her against his bloody clothes, and kissed her passionately.

“Caleb! Have you lost your mind? I’m a nun!”

“For Christ’s sake, Pearl, if you haven’t noticed, we’re pretty freakin’ close to being zombie brunch. It’s not gonna matter if we fool around and drink some of Sister Rosetta’s wine collection now. Our days are numbered. The end is near. We’re gonna be taking a dirt nap. There’s no hope….”

Pearl rolled her eyes. “Enough! I get it. We might as well have a glass of wine and wait for our undead destiny.”

“Yeah. If I’m going to get eaten by Sister Roberta, I damned well wanna be off-my-rocker, puking-my-guts-out, bloody, bloomin’ stinkin’ drunk.”

The last two survivors of the Holy Sisters of Saint Matthew sat down on a bench, opened up the 2009 Merlot, and proceeded to get totally shit-faced. Sister Pearl had to admit that when the zombies finally figured out how to fling their surprisingly flexible limbs over the moat, she was feeling no pain.

As Sister Roberta roared toward her, with her bloody gnashing teeth, Pearl stood up in her revealing mini-skirt ensemble and faced her unflinchingly. Just as the undead nun leaned in for a snack, Pearl flung her glass of wine at the hideous face and yelled “Take that, you horrible monster!”

Roberta stilled, licked her remaining lips, and said, “Hmmm. Excellent bouquet.”

“Holy crap! The wine! It’s the antidote! The shitastic wine!” Caleb grabbed an armful of bottles and raced to the moat. He cracked them against the stone wall and splashed the zombies with a mixture of zinfandel, pinot grigio, and cab. The undead horde smacked their oozing lips together and grumbled in satisfaction. Soon, the lot of them were sitting in a stupor by the moat, guzzling bottles of wine.

Sister Roberta patted Pearl on the back. “Well, you saved the day, my dear. I fear we have a rather big clean-up on our hands.” She looked down and realized both of her hands were missing. “Oops! Guess I’m getting out of clean-up duty.”

Pearl, Caleb and Roberta chuckled as the Zombie Apocalypse came to a wine-soaked conclusion.



Yes, it's true. Penelope penned a zombie apocalypse story with a happy ending. Did you expect anything less from this romance-lover? Puh-leese!

For those of you who missed the beginning of this long-winded and bloody saga, here are some links....

Hope you enjoyed the story!

Time for a nice glass of wine,

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Zombies V Nun: Chapter Five

Zombies V Nun: Chapter Five

Who Needs A Horse When You've Got A Vespa?


The courtyard reminded Pearl of the old joke…What’s black and white and red all over? Only the punch line wasn’t “a newspaper.” In this instance, the punch line would be “a bunch of undead nuns.”

Staggering about the courtyard like a gang of drunken undead sailors wearing nun habits covered with blood and guts, the sisters turned viciously towards the Vespas.

“Gun it, Pearl! They smell fresh blood!”

Caleb and Pearl tore madly through the courtyard, rolling over limbs and intestines and other items that Pearl didn’t want to identify.

They had almost cleared the lot when Sister Helena Beauregard Bacon stumbled into their path. Sister Helena weighed a good three hundred and fifty five pounds alive. As an undead person, with Sister Genevive’s leg wrapped around her beefy neck, she easily weighed an even four hundred. There was simply no way the Vespas would get by her. She looked pissed. And hungry.

Pearl pulled the chain-saw from her cute wicker basket, fired it up, and grabbed it left-handed. (Luckily for Pearl, she was ambidextrous). She held the saw in front of her like a Knight of the Round Table wielding a sword and mowed down Sister Helena in grand fashion.

Caleb gave an admiring whistle as they flew down the road to the vintner’s cottage.

“I never knew you had it in you, Pearl! Nice hacking!”

Pearl blushed and tucked the bloody saw into the basket. She wondered fleetingly how to clean stains off wicker.


Last chapter tomorrow. Will there be a happy ending? What will happen to Pearl and Caleb? Will the blood stains come off the wicker basket? Stay tuned for Chapter Six - The Final Chapter.

Older episodes....
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four

I want a Vespa,

Friday, June 8, 2012

Zombies V Nun: Chapter Four

Zombies V Nun: Chapter Four

Pearl Learns To Use A Chain-Saw


…..into a hedge of boxwoods. Luckily, boxwoods were fairly cushy shrubs, although they also offered a bit of support. Caleb and Pearl stood up, brushed themselves off, and sprinted towards the garage.

Caleb flung open the doors and Pearl saw the sweetest sight of her life.

A shiny, cherry red Vespa with a little wicker basket on the back. If it hadn’t been for the gnarled hand sticking out of the basket, it would have been just perfect!

“Urggggggh! Urrrrrrgh! Uuuuuuurgh!” Father Thomas reached for her with his stump of an arm. Pearl whipped the potato masher from her belt and slammed him across the forehead. She never really liked Father Thomas very much.

“Take that, you….you…Heathen!”

Caleb chuckled. “We need to work on your cuss words, Pearl.” He swung his knife at Jimmy the Toilet Bowl-Brusher, and decapitated the poor, slobbering undead hired hand.

Pearl continued to smack Father Thomas with her whisk and potato masher, but it wasn’t having the desired effect.

SLAM! Pearl slashed his head with the whisk.

“Uurrrrrgh!” Father Thomas rubbed his forehead in a bewildered manner and lunged again.

SMACK! Pearl banged the potato masher against his bloody, pus-filled crusty ear.

“URRRGGGGH!” Father Thomas yanked the kitchen utensil from her hand.

“Darn it, Caleb. I need some more effective weapons. These kitchen tools just aren’t cutting it!”

“Nice pun, Pearl!” Caleb lifted a shovel, chain-saw and pitch-fork from pegs on the wall. He fired up the saw, tossed it handle-first to Pearl, and egged her on. “Let ‘er rip, baby.”

Pearl ignored the rude term of endearment, swung the chain-saw around, and made quick work of Father Thomas’ ghastly noggin.

Her skirt was tattered, her shiny shoes were covered with bile and bits of flesh. Her veil had fallen off in the boxwood bushes, and her pristine habit was now speckled with blood. But Pearl didn’t have time to ponder her embarrassing appearance. She and Caleb dashed to the Vespas, turned on the ignitions, and roared out of the garage.

And straight into Hell.


Oh, Pearl! You are a bad-ass nun!

And tomorrow, Chapter Five....Who Needs A Horse When You've Got A Vespa?

Happy Reading,

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Zombies V Nun: Chapter Three

Zombies V Nun: Chapter Three

Pearl Gets a Mini-Skirt


As Pearl and Caleb raced to the tower steps, Pearl became aware of an extremely loud ruckus. It was an odd mix of snarls, screeches and shockingly bad harpsichord music. The music room, which was right next to the dormitory, had legions of zombies hanging from the windows. Young nuns, old nuns, fat nuns and skinny nuns. Attempting to play the triangle. Stab things with flutes. Smashing guitars against the stone wall. And it looked like they were eating Mrs. Humperdink (the choral director)’s brains. Frankly, Pearl was surprised that Mrs. Humperdink had any brains. She had placed June Atkins in the mezzo-soprano section, when she was clearly a contralto. Nevertheless, her choir-leading days were now over.

“Good God!”  yelled Caleb. “Sure doesn’t look like The Sound Of Music anymore, does it?”

Sister Anna Johnson flung a clarinet out the window and screeched at the top of her now-dead-and-decaying lungs.

Pearl cringed. “Um, Caleb, I hesitate to point this out….”

Caleb shot her a stern look. “What is it, Pearl? Time’s a-wasting. We need to hurry.” He grabbed her hand as they rushed down the steps.

Pearl pointed to the bottom of the stairs. “I think we have company. And they look hungry.”

Sure enough, at the bottom of the spiral stairs was a horde of snarling zombies clamoring up the tower.
“Shit!” Caleb yelled dramatically and they stopped half-way down the steps and reversed direction. “Run, Pearl, run!”

Pearl’s heart nearly stopped as she felt a cold, clammy hand pinch her ankle. She looked down and Sister Amelia’s pudgy green fingers were snagged on the bottom of her skirt. Pearl screamed and walloped the undead sister with her whisk.

“Let….me…..go!” As Pearl wrenched herself free from the gurgling nun, she heard a loud ripping sound. She continued running up the stairs, but Amelia did not let go of her skirt. By the time Pearl made it to the top of the spiral staircase, all she had left of her lovely habit was a barely-there mini-skirt.

Caleb raised a brow in appreciation. “Nice gams, Pearl.”

Pearl smacked him on the shoulder with her potato masher. “Really, Caleb!”

He snickered, but sobered quickly as the zombies approached the top of the staircase. “We gotta get out of here. I have an idea!”

Pearl slipped the potato masher and whisk into her black wool belt and followed Caleb through a window.

“What are we doing?” Pearl whispered hoarsely as they stood on the edge of a balcony overlooking the courtyard.

Caleb pointed to the garage at the other side of the square. “We’re heading there. If we can grab a couple of Vespas, we can make it to the vintner’s cottage. Ready, Pearl?”

She nodded.

And then they jumped……


Oh my God! What's going to happen? Hee hee......

To read Chapter One, go here.
For Chapter Two, go here.
Chapter Four (Pearl Learns To Use A Chain-Saw) will be up tomorrow.