Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Coming Soon:


Book Blurb:

Recipe for Thanksgiving Dinner:

Start with sixty-two year old politically incorrect, chain-smoking, hard-cussing curmudgeon.
Add fifty-nine year old sexually-repressed busybody in pearls.
Throw in beer can-turkey, a battle for horticultural supremacy, and nudist next-door neighbor.
Serve on paper plates, garnished with garden gnome.
Tastes like happily ever after.

Penny Watson presents an over-fifty romantic comedy novella. 21,000 words. Story includes copious profanity, botanical references, and old people.

Have a nice day,

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Camp Chlorophyll!

Today's Project!

As most of you know, I'm a plant geek. I went to school for botany/plant taxonomy/horticultural science, followed by floral design school, followed by years of working as a florist and gardener.

I decided to try a new project for 2014...each month I'll do a botanical tutorial: design, holiday decor, gardening stuff, indoor plant collections, etc.


Not those kinds of plants!

For January 2014, I thought it would be great to start off with a really fun, simple, colorful and festive way to usher in the new year. It's a table centerpiece you can make at home with a plate, candle, hunks of oasis, and colorful flowers.

Step 1

Pick up some bright flowers with sturdy stems. I got roses, stock, and hydrangeas at Trader Joe's. You don't need to spend a ton of money for this project. Just getting some basics at the grocery store will work. If the weather was better, I would putter around outside and collect some branches and flowers from my garden to use.

Step 2

Soak the oasis (green foam blocks you can buy at a craft store, florist, or sometimes grocery shop).

Step 3

Condition the flowers. Recut the bottoms of the stems and soak in lukewarm water. You can add the packet of preservative if you want to.

Step 4

Get a nice big chunky candle and place it on a sturdy plate. NOT good china!

Step 5

Take the oasis and cut it into pieces that will fit around the candle.

Step 6

Cut flowers and foliage into pieces, make sure bottom of stem is stiff, not flimsy, or it won't pierce the oasis effectively.

Step 7

Start making a "nest" with foliage pieces.

Step 8

After inserting greens, start adding flowers. Make sure stems are in contact with oasis so they will absorb the moisture.

Step 9

Pack on flowers until all the oasis is hidden. 


Step 10

Spritz flowers with water to keep them fresh.


Light candle and order take-out for dinner since you're now too exhausted to cook.

Gorgeous! You have now completed Task #1 at Camp Chlorophyll. Congrats!

Until next month,

Stay Green!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Are You Feelin' Social?

Authors have an opportunity in 2014 they didn't have 10 or 15 years ago.

They are able to chat daily with readers.

Sure, readers could write fan mail in the past, and possibly meet a favorite author at a book-signing. But these days, due to the prevalence of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and Goodreads, they can actually find out what their favorite author had for breakfast.

(Peanut butter toast).

This is a good thing and a bad thing.

The good thing is that readers love the interaction with their favorite authors.

The bad thing is that sometimes readers hate the interaction with their favorite authors.


GOOD: Reader gets on Facebook and finds out that her favorite author is writing a novella with some awesome secondary characters, and is having a give-away. Cool!

BAD: Reader gets on Facebook and sees writer get rude and snarky with a critical fan and finds out favorite author is a douchebag.

Social interactions can have both positive and negative effects on your brand, your sales, your peace of mind.

If you're a super social person, you may love chatting it up with fans. As long as you are professional and don't waste 24 hours a day on social media, this can be a great thing.

If you're an introvert and resent time away from writing, or are generally a cranky bastard and can't help telling folks to f*ck off when you get angry, this could be a bad thing.

Which leads us to...


1. Are you social? Do you love chatting with fans? GO TO STEP 4

2. Are you anti-social? Do you hate people? Do you despise social media and want to hack Facebook and make it disappear off the internet? GO TO STEP 3

3. Skip social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and focus on your website (non-interactive) and newsletter. Minimize social interactions with readers. You may want to work on advertising spots and other non-social forms of publicity.

4. Do you have a limited amount of time to spend on social media a day, and need to maximize this time? GO TO STEP 6

5. Do you enjoy taking frequent breaks during the day and chatting with other authors and readers? GO TO STEP 7

6. Get a Facebook account. If you only have a limited amount of time a day to spend on social media, this is the #1 way to connect with readers, colleagues, spotlight your books and releases, and brand yourself via dialogue/comments. It is essentially a low-maintenace blog where you can post book covers, pictures, links, excerpts, make announcements, and most importantly, chat with readers and answer questions. Skip Twitter which is real-time and a big time-suck. Also avoid message boards and other sites that require lots of time/energy/up-keep.

7. If you need frequent breaks during the day, Twitter is the way to go. It's real-time chat, so you can pop in any moment of the day or night and find someone to talk to. Readers, agents, editors, bloggers, authors. Just beware: it can turn into a big time-suck.

8. Do you love making visual collages, collecting images for inspiration? Try Pinterest.

9. Do you want a place to connect with other readers and feel part of a community? Try Amazon message boards, AAR message boards, Goodreads, Shelfari, Booklikes, etc. Reading social sites. BEWARE: There may be special rules about promotion for authors.

10. Just remember, keep it light and friendly with readers/fans. You may want to avoid topics like politics/religion, etc, if you are unable to discuss these topics without erupting like a volcano. Also, as difficult as it may be, you need to present a professional public persona and be cognizant of your behavior on-line at all times.

You want your readers to say "I'm so glad I got to talk to Penny today! She's the best."


"Penny is a d-bag. I hate her."

Good luck out there!


Friday, January 10, 2014

Adrien Brody of the Day

So I was having a chat on Twitter with some folks, and I suddenly realized a horrible, awful thing.

I forgot to watch Predators 3!

I've seen Predator (1) about a million times...

I've seen Predators 2...

And of course I saw Alien V Predator...

But I TOTALLY FORGOT there was another Predator movie. Ack! And just as I was searching for the DVD on Amazon, I realized that this film was on F/X, right at that moment! (How weird is that!)

And so I watched it.

And I discovered something.

I've got just one word for you.




(OK, that's actually 3 words).

I thought he was sort of a skinny dude. Didn't think much of him.

And then I saw this...

And this...

And this...

And I didn't even care that he doesn't have a beard!

Evidently, Adrien Brody gained 25 pounds of muscle mass for this film.


I see a Predator Marathon in my future....

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Coming Up: Cool Books, Opera, and Shen Yun

Cool reads and events coming up on Penelope's horizon...

1. A long time ago (B.C.--BEFORE CHILDREN), my husband cultivated an interest in opera. We decided to rekindle that hobby with a trip to the Boston Lyric Opera this spring. We're getting tickets for Rigoletto, an opera by Giuseppe Verdi. My husband has already started listening to opera music again, much to my children's everlasting delight.

2. Next event...we're taking the whole family to see Shen Yun this year. It looks like an incredible show that combines Chinese culture, music and dance.

3. I'm reading my Christmas stash of books...

I just started reading Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. So far it is HILARIOUS and I can't stop laughing. My mom sent me this for Christmas.

Next I'll be reading Mud Season by Ellen Stimson. My hubby got me this book about a city slicker who moves to Vermont. It sounds right up my muddy alley.

Finally, hubby got me this adorable cocktail book called Storied Sips. I'm thinking of doing a new year's resolution where I try every single cocktail recipe in this collection before the end of 2014. This is sort of the antithesis of all those healthy resolutions. I like it!

I'll leave you with the recipe for a mai tai since I'm dreaming of a tropical island at the moment. Here you go....the MAI TAI recipe from Storied Sips...

2 oz. aged dark rum
1/2 oz. orgeat (almond) syrup
1/2 oz. Cointreau
1/4 oz. simple syrup
Juice from 1 lime (fresh)

Put all ingredients in a shaker, shake it up, pour into a lowball glass and garnish with mint. Pretend you're in Floria in the sunshine!

Hope everyone is well and staying warm and dreaming of a tropical island...


Thursday, January 2, 2014

What Will 2014 Bring? Here's Hoping...

Green Heron
1. Trip to Sanibel and Ding Darling for most awesome birding!

Weenies at Westminster
2. 2014 Westminster Kennel Club Show in NYC. Yipppeeeee!

The return of Lucy The Wonder Weenie
3. A new addition to the Wonder Weenie series. Hint: Santa might stop by for a visit!

Chihuly Glass
4. I'm hoping to make it to Seattle or Phoenix to see a Chihuly exhibit.

Year of the Lumberjack
5. Planning on writing 2 novellas, one about a lumberjack in Vermont.
One about a lumberjack in the North Pole who happens to be Santa's son. 
That's a lot of lumber.

New decorating scheme: Red and white combo
6. For some reason, I am obsessed with red/white decor, 
and now I want to redecorate my whole house. 
Here are some more ideas for this...

I'm going to keep at this until my husband notices and asks "Why is our house turning red and white?" 
Hopefully, that won't happen until I'm done.

7. This is my gardening goal for 2014...a dahlia collection. All different colors!

I hope all of you have something fun and exciting and new planned for 2014, too!



Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Happy 2014!

Cheers to a merry new year!

All my best,