All I want for Christmas is a goat

goatYes, it’s true.  All I want for Christmas is a goat.  I’m hoping someone will buy it for me through World Vision.  Their gift catalogue offers a number of unique gifts you can purchase in someone’s name:  Clothing for 25 families, solar panels for a school or clinic in a third world country, a dairy goat for milk and income for one family.  Check it out:

If you live outside of Canada, and want to view the catalogue for your own country, you can find it here:

Happy Christmas shopping!

Winner of November’s E-muse newletter contest: $50 Amazon

christmCongratulations to Phyllis Hart, the winner of November’s 50.00 gift certificate from Amazon.  Everyone who subscribes to my E-muse letter is eligible to win.  Last month’s contest asked: What is your favorite opening line of a novel?  I twittered the entries so will only post the top three:

“The whole room smelled of men.”

It really evokes some imagery!

Barbara Phinney
Suspenseful, inspiring stories you’ll love!

From the May Queen by Kate Evans

“Sitting cross legged on the orange industrial carpet, I pulled my blouse over my head.”  Chelle Cordero, Author   Chelle Cordero Website Chelle’s Online Portfolio

From Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger: It’s dark in that awful way that allows you to make out objects but not the

black spaces behind them.  gratefulgirl

December’s contest question: What is your favorite thing about Christmas? 

To enter simply subscribe to E-muse by contacting me at:

Unsubcribing is painless.  All information remains private.  I hate spam too!

What is my favorite thing about Christmas?  I’ll text that on Twitter tommorrow. Just look for the Twitter icon on Myspace profile page.  It’s coming a lot sooner than you think…Christmas that is.

Where do stories come from?

herbs1Rosemary: Antioxidant, immune system booster.


Thyme: Fights colds and flu, immune system support.


The title for the short story “Rosemary’s Thyme” in my book “Roads Unravelling” was inspired by my love of herbs.  On my daily walks along the river, I noticed something growing in the eaves trough of an old house by the shore. I began to imagine the kind of character who might pick that unusual spot for a garden on purpose.  A quirky grandmother emerged in my mind’s eye, but her granddaughter, Rosemary, quickly elbowed her way to the front of the stage.


It’s sad to see the garden disappear as the last of the leaves fall from the trees.  But I still enjoy the harvest through the winter via the herbs I gathered and dried in the fall: Bee Balm, cat mint, lavender, thyme, sage, mint.  There’s nothing nicer than catching a whiff of a dish in the slow cooker seasoned with fresh herbs:


Stuff a small roasting chicken with:

2 garlic cloves

3 sprigs of rosemary

1 lemon sliced


Place breast down over 3 cubed potatoes and 4 cubed carrots in a slow cooker.  Cook on low 6-8 hours until juices run clear.


It’s interesting that cat mint, which gets our feline friends revved up, has the opposite effect on humans.  In fact, Herb of Herb’s Herb Farm in Cambridge Narrows, tells me that just stripping cat mint leaves off the stalks for drying puts his wife to sleep. Nature’s remedies are full proof.


Starting in December, I’ll be posting excerpts from some of the stories in “Roads Unravelling” starting with “Rosemary’s Thyme.”  So fill up the slow cooker, sit back in your favourite chair and enjoy.

Review for Roads Unravelling

roadlHow nice to read reviews for “Roads Unravelling” on Chelle Cordero’s blog for the Friday book offering:

Drop by and leave a comment for Chelle.  She’s amazing.


Author James Patterson and irony

booksI had to chuckle when I read the recent issue of “People Magazine” and discovered that author James Patterson, who has published 150 million copies of his thrillers, had trouble getting his son to read.  Apparently young Jack was total uninterested in picking up a book. Is this ironic or what?

James started a web site to help parents develop a user friendly lbrary for thier kids.  It’s a great site and I applaud anything that will turn kids to reading.  I’ve gotten so much pleasure from books.

I also learned that Patterson has a dozen outlines of his novels going at once, and that he farms them out to collaborators.  He says, “I wake up every morning wanting to write. It’s not a job.”  I know exactly what he’s talking about.  My editor and I are editing “Let the Shadows Fall Behind You” and I’m so energized; shaping, refining, playing with words.

You can read more about James Patterson in this People Magazine article:,,20105322,00.html