Monday, December 23, 2013

Heading Home for Christmas Was a Real Trip

I left home Saturday at 8:00 AM for a three-hour drive to Newport News to visit my family for Christmas, a trip I've made for many years without incident... until this time. This time was a nightmare. First, I missed an exit because of the heavy traffic, so I took the next exit and tried to find my way back onto the interstate. When I got back on the interstate, I was heading in the wrong direction, so then I tried to turn off onto one of those places the state troopers sit with radar. 

That was a BIG mistake. I lost control of my car, my brakes locked up, but I managed to come to a stop before running into traffic on the other side of the interstate. Then, my back tire must have snagged something when I pulled back onto the interstate, because a few miles down the road, doing 75-80 in heavy traffic (not knowing there was a problem), the tire blew out. 

Fortunately, other travelers must have seen this coming before I did, because I managed to pull off the road without crashing into anyone (or the guardrail). I dialed 9-1-1 and forty-five minutes later, a VDOT crew showed up. 

* I was told to stay in my car with my seatbelt on. That was the worst forty-five minutes of my life. Cars were flying by, and all I could do was pray that nobody crashed into me.

The two guys from VDOT helped calm me down, and then they changed my tire! So, I want to give a big shout out to the two angels sent to take care of me. These guys put their lives on the line every day helping stranded motorists. Bet you didn't know that.

Thank you guys!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Ice on the Ground and Out of Coffee

Well... I got some of the white stuff. Unfortunately, it's ice and not snow. Won't be building a snowman. Woke up this morning at 5:00 with the lights flickering and then total darkness. Bummer. Surprisingly, the power was back on after thirty minutes. Wahoo! I hate losing power, especially when it's this cold. Glad to have a wood stove for heat and gas stove in kitchen for cooking—not that I like to cook or anything—but I do like to eat. Stay warm folks, and I hope you don't lose power.

Oh, no! What's happening outside now? Is it sleeting again? Geez. I'm out of coffee and I'm going to the store to buy some even if I have to ride one of the donkeys to get there. Oh... that's right... that's not going to happen. They won't come out of the stable this morning. Can't blame them. And... they're still mad about that harness thing. Tom Mullen and Andy the farrier put a harness on each one a while back (that lasted about a day or so), and they'll still snubbing me like it was all my fault. Guess that's why people call them stubborn asses. If the hoof fits....

Donkey—Yeah, that's his real name.

Belle, our precious little donkey will be a year old December 17th.

 Stubborn or not, I still love them!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Something to Make You Smile

I just love this photo. It warms my heart to see Belle showing love for her mom, Sable. It doesn't get much better than this.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How Much Is Too Much?

It was thirty degrees yesterday, the exterminator was coming, and I had to vacate the house for three hours. So what was I going to do for three hours? Hang around outside? No way. Not only that, but what was I going to do with the dog? I could find plenty of errands to run, but I couldn't go off and leave Coal outside. 

I could build a campfire, but it would take a mighty BIG bonfire to keep us warm for that long.

I decided I would take Coal with me (as I knew I would). He's always been real good about riding in a car, so I figured we'd be all right. I could go across the mountain and make a few stops, while Coal waited in the car. Sitting in my car would be a lot better than sitting outside in the freezing cold.

Yeah, we'd have fun and the three hours would fly by! As I drove, Coal sat quietly in his seat, just as calm as could be. What a great dog! He admired the scenery and behaved himself so well. I was really proud of him. Oh, he'd bark occasionally, but that was only when I got out of the car.
Coal loved the scenery.

We stopped at McDonald's in Elkton. Coal liked the caboose.

Two and a half hours had passed and we were on our way home, but I had one more stop I wanted to make. I pulled into the GreatValu parking lot, parked the car and then looked over at Coal. I promised him this would be our last stop.

Well... I guess he'd had as much fun as he could take. Yeah, you guessed it—he threw up in the car. (Fortunately, I had covered the seat with a sheet and a blanket.) I cleaned up the mess, patted him on the head, and then brought the poor guy home.

All in all, the day worked out well. Coal didn't freeze to death, and I learned not to push my dog to the limit.

Arf! Arf!

It's a Dog's Life

I'm sure everyone's heard that after taking the same medication for a long time, it can stop working. Well, I've just discovered that can also apply to pets. We've used and relied on Frontline to protect our dogs and cats from fleas and ticks for many years, but this year, it let us down. By the time I noticed the dog scratching himself and then found a flea on my sock, it was too late. The cat and the dog had fleas and so did my house!
Frontline didn't work anymore, so I asked around and found out that others have had the same problem and had switched over to K9 Advantix II. I made my way to the vet and bought some.
And then, I did what most folks do—I set off bombs (that was soooo nasty and a waste of money).
Two days later, I called an exterminator. Prices ranged from $225 to $295. And then Brown Exterminating Company called me back and their price was $145! I've used them before (many, many years ago) and was glad when they called back and that their price beat all the others.
George Foley came out when he said he would, did the job, and charged exactly what he had quoted. I was still finding a FEW fleas like he said I would, but five days later, I was still not flea-free! So... I called him back and he came out again and sprayed again at no charge. He said he wanted to take care of the problem and would do what it took to make us happy—unlike some companies who do the job and move on.

So, if you live in my area, give George a call! Don't try to tackle the job yourself. It'll give you a headache.
 Brown Exterminating Company

cell: 434-531-8076 

Saturday, November 09, 2013

For You This Weekend

Hello everyone out there in reader land. Got a big promo going on this weekend. Get the 1st five books in my Jesse Watson Mystery series FREE. Also FREE, my collection of short stories, LUNCH BREAK SHORTS.

Cozy mysteries. I kill off bad guys and try to make you feel good about it.

Just click Here and help yourself to all my free books today & tomorrow, Nov. 9-10.

I hope you enjoy! And as always, please consider leaving a review.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Stop By Sometime

If you're ever in my area, you'll want to check out Noon Whistle Pottery on Main Street in Stanardsville. (Ladies this is mostly for you.) What a treat! Best craft/pottery store I've come across. They have unique stuff you'll love. Here's a picture of me checking out their handmade hats.

So, come on by and check them out. You won't leave empty-handed. You can't miss the shop. It's a converted, old-time gas station. Pretty cool. huh?

Noon Whistle Pottery
Main Street
Stanardsville, Virginia

Monday, October 21, 2013

Nothing Like Taking A Break

Sometimes you just have to take a break.
Go outside, work in the yard, or play with the kids.

Belle likes to get up close and personal.

 My friend Danielle Kresky feeds apples to the donkeys.

Tom hung up kale for the baby chickens.

 Nothing like going through a bag of clothes.
Don't all friends exchange clothes?

James Kresky is always ready to help out on the farm.

                  Tom having a chat with mama Sable and baby Belle. Wonder what they were saying.

 Enjoying a day with friends James & Danielle Kresky.

And friends surprise each other with gifts.
Thanks Danielle for the chicken basket filled with homemade jellies. I love it!

Yep, we all have work to do, but we also need a break every now and then. So... walk away from the keyboard and do something fun. You deserve it. We all do. Now I have to make a run to the dump. Some things just have to be done. But after that, I'm going to take a break and do whatever...

Enjoy your day!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Bamboo Mirror by Faith Mortimer

The Bamboo Mirror
by Faith Mortimer 5 Stars
Title: Very Good.

I really enjoyed The Bamboo Mirror. The short stories were well-written and each had a good twist at the end. Very refreshing. I particularly liked The Cast Party. I thought Linda was going to get fired, but instead I was surprised to find out… well, you’ll have to read the story for yourself. No spoilers here.

Enjoy the five short stories. They’re well worth the read. Entertaining!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

An Extraordinary Read

A Luminous Future
by Teodor Flonta 5 Stars
Title: Extraordinary read!

Teodor’s memoir of living in Romania during the Communist era was so gripping and well told that I could almost feel his pain. I say almost because I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to live the life he has lived. The effect of Communism was brutal, and how he survived at all is amazing. The suffering his family endured was heart breaking, but just goes to show that a family’s love for each other can survive just about anything, even the worst cruelties imaginable.

Sometimes I laughed, but at other times I wanted to throw my Kindle against the wall after reading about the way he was treated, the hardships and misery he faced.

An excerpt from the book (something his father told him) still sticks with me:
“… a regime that talked to people as if they were stupid or blind, always telling lies, did not have a future. No amount of rifles and bayonets could stop people from rising against it eventually.”

I was glad his father lived long enough to see the fall of Communism.

A Luminous Future is a very descriptive account of Teodor’s life, and was a compelling read that I just couldn’t put down. There’s too much to this book to summarize further in a review, so I’ll just say thank you Teodor Flonta for sharing your life with us. Your book is one I might go back and read again—something I never do. It was extraordinary.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013


I always visit my mother on her birthday. She lives three hours away, but distance doesn't matter. I'm going to be there to help her celebrate. This year she turned eighty-three. 

My sister Jan, me, and Minnie my mom   
Happy Birthday and many more, Mom.

Monday, August 19, 2013

One Always Tries to Get Away

Never put all your eggs in one basket, or in this case—chicks.

One always tries to get away.

The same can be said for life. Something to think about.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Seven Chicks Just Waiting

Seven chicks to add to the roost.
Tom and I have been trying our hands at hatching eggs, and the outcome has made us very happy. 

The first set of incubated eggs only produced three chicks, but the second time around we had seven that hatched.

*In the pic, the chicks look smaller than they really are, but I'm sure that has something to do with the operator. My camera skills need to be updated, or maybe I just need new glasses... 

My very talented husband has built a second coop to house the ten chickens. The first three are already living in it, and the remaining seven will be ready to move out of their wooden box in a couple of weeks. I'm sure they'll be glad to live in a bigger home and be able to breathe the fresh mountain air.

Rooster Cogburn (who hates me) and our grown hens are Americanas. Their off-springs are beautiful. Thanks, Rooster Cogburn & ladies. I can't wait to see the babies full grown! 

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Here's What I Think

I've read several books lately, and here's my opinion of a few of them—and as I always say—it's just my opinion.

Her Cracked Heart
by P.A. Estelle 5 Stars
Title: Charming!

A woman loses her husband and daughter, goes into seclusion, finds another man, and then starts all over again. A typical story that could’ve been boring, but it wasn’t. It was sweet, charming, and drew me right in. I especially liked it when the little girl told Stephanie she had a cracked heart. Can’t wait to read more by P.A. Estelle!

Cold Feet
by Jess Butcher 3 Stars
Title: Good

I enjoyed this story, but I was confused at the end. I felt as if there was a missing paragraph or something that would explain the ending better. Up until then, I loved the tale, but the ending left me shaking my head.

Short Cuts
by Erik Bowman 4 Stars
Title: I liked it!

This collection of short stories was a very good read. The writing is outstanding and kept me glued to the pages. Erik Bowman has a wild, vivid imagination that draws the reader in and doesn’t let go until the very end.

However, there were a few glitches in some of the storylines, but all in all it was well worth the time I spent reading the book. Good work, Erik Bowman!

American Goddesses
by Gary Henry 5 Stars
Title: Brilliant!

I really enjoyed this book. I also love a good comic book, and this story reminded me of one. Super powers and control—who, in the real world, wouldn’t want that?

The writing is excellent, making this book a fun and delightful read. And, I love a happy ending. I highly recommend Gary Henry’s American Goddesses. I didn’t know what to expect, but this book turned out to be a real page-turner. Brilliant! 

Shadow People
by Jo Robinson 5 Stars
Title: Very good!

Fantasy/Sci-fi/Paranormal, this one has it all. It was well written with very good character development, and it held my interest all the way through the book. A heroine who turns into a dynamo is always a good thing. I will be looking for more of Jo Robinson’s books.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Always Sign Out

Most people don't bother to log out on Facebook, Twitter or their blog, but after finding a video that had been added to my latest post, you can bet I will from now on. I don't know what the video was about since I couldn't get it to open, but I'm willing to bet it wasn't nice. Hackers don't post good stuff on your site.

Shut down, log out, and sign off to keep hackers at bay.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Reviewer Gets Slammed

 Grams wrote a review of Corpus Christi—The Legacy Chronicles, giving it one star and saying she hadn't read the book.

And then all hell broke loose.

Folks pounced on the reviewer. All have asked the same question: "How can you give the book one star when you haven't read it?"

They also let Amazon know the review should be removed because it was inappropriate and unfair to the author. I even put in my two cents' worth.

But then I started thinking about something. Perhaps Grams felt compelled to write a review right then, not realizing that even though Amazon sends out emails asking people to rate a book, you don't have to do it right then. You can and should wait to post a review until after you’re read the book, or at least given it a try. There’s plenty of time.

After reading the review a couple of times, I think this might be the case here. The review seemed rushed as if Grams felt she had to say something.

I’m not taking up for Grams. I’m just saying she might need to be told how important a review is and that she doesn’t even have to post one unless it’s an honest review of a book she’s actually read.

And we all know it’s not mandatory to post reviews.  

Any way you look at it, Amazon should do the right thing and pull the review.

Read the review and comments:

Note: Amazon has removed six comments (one of them being mine). I shouldn't have commented in anger. I was ugly, and I do feel bad about it, so in reality, Amazon did me a favor.

Has your comment been removed?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

We Love Our Hats

If my mother knew I posted this picture of her on the net...

I laughed at the hat. She loved the hat. I laughed harder when I found out she was serious. I love her, so who cares about the hat?

The mother in my books is my mother in real life, Minnie Crumpler a.k.a. Minnie Watson. If you've read my books, I need say nothing more, but I would like to ask—do you think Minnie Watson would wear that hat?

And what do you think my mother thought of my hat?

Note: She's too much of a lady to laugh.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Just My Opinion

I write, but I also love to read. Here are a few books I've read and my opinion of them.

Fosgate’s Game
by David C. Cassidy 5 Stars+
Title: Tops my list for best writing!

The storyline was interesting and I really enjoyed it, but I was most impressed with the author’s writing ability. Mr. Cassidy’s writing was so tight it was as if he chose every single word with great forethought. There were no useless fillers in this tale.

The setting was perfect—a stormy night with two men sitting around playing a game that not only is evil, but deadly. Sounds like a tale straight out of a Stephen King or Dean Koontz book… only the writing was much better.

I believe David Cassidy could write in any genre and have you glued to the pages. His talent is that amazing.

Thanks for such an enjoyable read. I’m ready for the next one!

Deadly Money
by Anthony Kinner 1 Star
Title: Needs a proofreader!

I really wanted to like this book. I met the author a couple of weeks ago, and he’s such a nice guy, but after a few pages, I had to put the book down. I can’t even tell you what the story was about. The writing was awkward, choppy and riddled with spelling and grammar errors.

I overlook a few mistakes, but this was just a mess. Please fix. I gave him one star for effort.

Mouth of the Rat
by Peggy A. Edelheit 5 Stars
Title: Another excellent read!

As usual, Ms. Edelheit does not fail to entertain. I love Samantha Jamison and her kooky friends. Who says little old ladies can’t be fun? I was sucked right in from the start and enjoyed ever twist and turn. Fun, entertaining, and well-written.

Terrific! Can’t wait to read the next one.

The Witch, the Princess and the Dragon
by S.T. Matthias 5 Stars
Title: Very good.

This was a cute, simple fairy tale complete with your typical characters—a princess, dragon, witch, King and Queen, and lots of knights. It was a good read for its target audience.

Closing Costs
By Jess Butcher 4 Stars
Title: Good!

When I think of this story, I have visions of a slicing machine being used to cut up the annoying bad guy. What a way to close a deal. Way to go, Jess Butcher! Can’t wait to check out what else you have for me to read.

**Feel free to tell me what you think. I welcome your opinion.
Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How You Like Me Now?

I bought this Lincoln Town Car from our friend Bill Kerr (who owns Camryn Limousines in Charlottesville, Virginia) when he switched over to Cadillacs. All I can say is—how you like me now? You dumped me for a Caddy, but that's okay because I found a good home. Even got a little sprucing up! Now I have a name!

Thanks for a job well done, Performance Signs—Ruckersville, Virginia

Hey, if David Hasselhoff can do it, so can I!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Recess Time

Took the babies out to play yesterday and they were very well-behaved. Now if I can just find a stroller for them...

We all need a good laugh, and I thought that was funny. What do you think?
Just being myself...

Friday, July 05, 2013

Three Chicks

When I said three chicks, I bet you thought this post was going to be about three women. Well... it is in a way. Kinda. Unless these chicks turn out to be roosters. Heaven forbid! What will I do with three roosters? I already have one, and one's enough.

One man around the house is all a woman needs.

Peep Peep!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

One More Mouth to Feed

Our first egg hatched this morning and now we have a baby chick.  Three more scheduled to hatch today. So excited!

Lots of chirping going on from such a little creature. Life is good.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Two of a Kind

My pony met a handsome Mustang in the grocery store parking lot. 

The green one is mine.

Friday, June 21, 2013

You Can Always Tell

You can always tell how good a man is by the way animals love him.

Donkey just loves Tom Mullen. Me... ah... not as much. What's that all about? I'm a good person and a good donkey caregiver. Just ask Belle and Sable.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Need a Ride?

When it comes to our kids, as parents, we'll do almost anything for them... even carry them on our backs if we have to. This pic was on the front of the Father's Day card our son gave his dad. I think it pretty much says it all.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Review of The Marionette Heart Poetry

The Marionette Heart Poetry
by Jane Walsh 5 Stars
Title: Excellent!

Before I bought The Marionette Heart Poetry, I checked out the author, read the reviews, and clicked on the book to read a sample chapter of poems (like I always do). Knowing this was a collection of poems from a survivor of child abuse, I expected a lot of despair, hopelessness, and many visits to dark places.

Well, I got that and more—the pleasure of getting to know a strong woman who survived it all. Good for you, Jane Walsh. Your poetry is sad, but beautifully written. I almost cried at the dedication page. What does that tell you?

Sunday, June 09, 2013

We've Crossed Over

That's right. We're now offically farmers. Tom and I raise donkeys and chickens and now we're growing more chickens. We borrowed an incubator and we'll have baby chicks in twenty-one days.

The incubator was in the dining room, but it was too hot by the window for the eggs, so we had to move it. They're doing well. I can't wait to see what happens when the eggs hatch. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Are You Paying Attention?

Just checking.
Now... onto the heart of this post. I've read quite a number of books on Kindle (and have a whole lot more to go), but I haven't posted reviews. Sorry for being such a slacker. I'm working on it. Here are three reviews I've written. This is my opinion and you might not agree with me, but that's okay. After getting my first bad review, I can now handle almost anything. Well... almost anything. Just don't talk bad about my donkeys.

June 7, 2013.

The Adventures of Mrs. Browning
by Marcia Carrington 5 Stars
Title: I love it!

I love Mrs. Browning and her double life. She’s a widow by week, and on Fridays, she’s a different person. This was a terrific short story with interesting, believable characters, and was well-written. Formatting was good. No spelling or grammar errors. Perfect.

Hint to Mrs. Browning: Give up your day job of being a widow and make every day a Friday. But then, if you did, there goes your double life. I can just imagine all the things you could get into.

Well done, Marcia Carrington! Give us more of Mrs. Browning. I’d gladly pay for another tale about her secret life.

The Christmas Exhibition
by V.T. Vaughn 5 Stars
Title: Not my kind of book, but if it was…

This is not normally my kind of book, but I just wanted to check it out. Graphic, hard-core sex written to please readers of true erotica. If this is what you’re looking for in a book, then this one is definitely for you. The writing is very good and leaves the reader with some mighty powerful visual images.

I might get up the nerve to read another book by V.T. Vaughn, just to see if Jill and… never mind. I’m still blushing. This was my first erotica novel and I’m still recovering from the intensity.

Thanks, Mr. Vaughn, for giving me a glimpse into your world of writing. Your talent shows through on every page.    

Miss Nancy: June 5, 1964 to September 13, 1964
by Dallas A. Dixon 5 Stars
Title: Never a dull moment.

I have to agree with everything the other reviewers said. This book moved right along, has believable characters, and keeps one’s attention. There’s never a dull moment if you enjoy soft erotica with a lot of sex scenes, while following the mystery in the story. If you’re not into that, look somewhere else. Lots of sex going on.

My only complaint about this book—the formatting for proper ebook conversion wasn’t done, the content being uploaded in MS Word. Shame on the publisher! I don’t blame the author for their sloppy work.  

Good work, Dallas A. Dixon. 

That's it for now folks. Stay tuned. More to come. Please feel free to leave a comment or email me at  

Did you notice my sweatshirt had my website on it?  Been thinking about getting a decal (with my website on it) for the bumper of my Town Car. David Hasselhoff has one on the bumper of his Corvette. Really! I probably spelled his last name wrong, but who cares? If he can do it, we all can.

Happy reading and don't forget to post reviews. They mean so much to an author.

My Regards,
Ann Mullen
Land of the Happy Donkeys & Fox Chasing Chickens
Afton Ridge Publishing

Friday, June 07, 2013

Oh My How Fast They Grow

Belle was born one week before Christmas. Here she is at two days old, weighing in at about 50-75 pounds. Tom said she weighed 100 pounds, but I wasn't so sure about that. I could've been wrong... I'm not real good at guessing weight.

Sable and her newborn, Belle.
Here she is now, five months later. I'm still not good at guessing weight, but when she stepped on my foot yesterday, I could've sworn she weighed five-hundred pounds. I could be wrong...

Sable in the back. Belle, front and center.
Warning: Never wear flip-flops around large animals.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Out For the Kill

A fox killed three chickens, so now we're out for the kill. We're determined to rid ourselves of that pesky critter. Chickens on the loose and hunters in place... but it didn't happen today.

Tom Mullen with his shotgun.

James Kresky with his AR-15.

Maybe next time.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oklahoma Needs Our Help

My heart goes out to the victims of the deadly tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma. How awful it must be to lose loved ones and then have to face the struggle of rebuilding a life without them. I can't imagine what it's like and hope I never have to.

As Americans, it's times like this that brings out the best in all of us. Argue as we do, when it comes to joining together and helping out in a natural disaster, we're there.

For those of you who want to do something, I say donate money. It always helps, and you don't have to send a lot. $5 or $10 makes a big difference when a lot of people do it. Contact the American Red Cross 800-733-2767 and tell them you want to send money. They'll be glad to help you out.

Donate blood. I bet you're thinking that's a silly idea. "What good will that do?" you ask. "I'm here, and they're in Oklahoma." The answer: The American Red Cross will collect and send your blood to Oklahoma. That's what they do. That's their job.

Did you know that one pint of blood can save three lives? Visit and find a place in your area to donate your pint of blood. An hour out of your life can mean so much to those in need.

Let's do what we do best—help others.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Growing Like a Weed

Photo by James Kresky
 Our precious baby Belle is almost five months old and has grown like a weed after a rainy day. That's her in the center—mama Sable on the right.

Can you imagine what it would be like if humans grew that fast? We'd be full-grown in no time.

I don't know about you, but I don't want my baby to be a teenager in just a few short months and having children by the age of two. Now wouldn't that be a trip? And who would want to give birth to a thirty-pound baby? Yikes! Ah... the animal kingdom. Don't you just love it?