Monday, December 14, 2015

Three Rules Of Ghosts

Ghosts can appear in three different forms and only these three forms.

1) They can appear to you as they died.
2) As they were right before what ever illness or accident caused their death.
3)They can appear to you the way they think they should look.

That is the basic rule of my new fantasy series, The Ghost Protector Trilogy.

When I started writing the series, I set up the rules because I believe that every world should have rules. What is the fun in reading a series or watching a movie where the rules keep changing to suit the narrative?

No, rules are important.

What I was not expecting was to find the rules actually gave me ideas later.

I'm working on book three now and I have a spirit that exists solely from these rules. I started thinking about the rules and came up with an idea for a spirit that hadn't occurred to me before.

I'm actually finding the rules are helping me be more creative. 

Who says rules are made to be broken?

(Book one of the trilogy will be out on December 25, 2015. Book two is being edited now and will be out in March 2016. I'm working on the final book of the trilogy now.)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sometimes It Just Takes Time

I'm working on a book and it's not going great. I'm sure you've experience something similar. Not necessarily a book but you have an inspiration or a great idea and you jump right in; only to stumble.

The work in progress is book three of a paranormal trilogy. Books one and two went well. Book one is done and book two is percolating before I go back to rewrite it. (I find it helps to put the first draft away for a month or two before going back through to rewrite it.)

Book three I know how I want to start and I know how I want to finish but that pesky middle is thwarting me.

I'll get through it but in the mean time, it is going to drive me a little crazy. I'm spending more time staring at the keyboard than I am actually typing on it. (Did you know my letter E is worn off my laptop?)

I think part of the problem is it is the end of a trilogy and that means (to me anyway) that it should be big. It should be the epic finale. (In my head, finale is in a reverberating voice like a wrestling announcer.) This is a lot of pressure to put on one poor little manuscript. I'm asking it to epic and it's only the first draft. It's like asking it to be in a beauty contest when it just rolled out of bed, hungover and with a sleep crease and bed hair. I'm asking it to be perfect when it has not even been written.

I need to ease off and take some pressure off it. I need to distract that little critic inside my head long enough to get words on the screen. I need to be okay with it not being good on the very first draft. But I'm not.

I want it to be good. I want it to make sense and entertain and just be right. I want the words to flow and the sooner I accept that some times they don't, the sooner I'll probably feel better. In the meantime, please excuse me because I have a manuscript to stare at.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Taking A Chance With Kindle Scout Book Submission

     A few days ago, I sent the manuscript for my latest book, Ghost Of A Chance, to Amazon for inclusion in their Kindle Scout ebook publishing imprint. If you are not familiar with Kindle Scout, this is how it works.
     Readers vote to nominate books for publication. If the book wins, everyone who nominated the book gets a free copy of the ebook. Don't worry if you don't have a Kindle. You can download the free Kindle app and read it on any computer, phone or tablet.
     I just got an email saying that my book passed the first test and is being added to their site for readers to vote on it. If I get enough votes and the people behind the scenes at Amazon like the book, then I get a publishing contract with Amazon's Kindle imprint.
     I am in a strange place emotionally. I am hopeful but trying not to get my hopes up. I am wishful and trying to be realistic. I worked hard on this book and everything that went with it. It feels like handing Amazon a piece of me and telling them to vote on it.
     I'm telling myself that there is very little down side. It's like this. Ghost Of A Chance is the first book in my new paranormal fantasy trilogy. I have finished the first draft of book two and I am working on book three. If Amazon picks up this first book, I will be dependent on their publishing schedule for the next two in the trilogy. If they don't pick it up, then I have put everything on hold for a month and a half for nothing.
     Still, what's a month, really? If this works out, it will be worth the delay and if it doesn't, all I've really lost is time. I was already going to work hard on these books. I was already going to write book two and book three. Now I'm just going to do all that while patiently waiting until after the votes close on November 20th.
     So are you interested in a free ebook? Want to see how I am doing? You can check out my Kindle Scout nomination here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Hard Work Is Often The Early Indicator Of Good Luck

"I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it." This quote is generally attributed to Thomas Jefferson but many believe it was actually author Coleman Cox that came up with this line. Whomever it was, they were very wise.

Luck, coincidence, fate; whatever word you chose, there are definitely things beyond our control. We can not predict the bus breaking down or the washing machine hose letting go and flooding us with water. We can not tell the exact right time to be standing in front of that building to bump into the one person who can make all of our dreams come true.

We can work hard to help get us to that correct place. We can check that washer hose in advance to make sure it is not worn out. We can check the bus schedule so we have a better idea of when to leave. We can work hard to make sure we are practicing our skills and getting our name out so some one has a better chance of finding us.

If you want a better job, work on developing your skills. Send out those resumes. Get on to networking sites. If you want to be a writer, than write. Dancers should dance even if it is in a small production. Take the time to make the contacts; to do the work. Work hard and there is a much better chance that the rest will follow.

Working hard without seeing results can be frustrating. You may find yourself wanting to quit. Before you do, make sure you truly have done the work you need in order to get lucky. If you are just waiting for blind luck, you are a pretty small target in a universe of possible places to land. If you are doing the work and putting in the time, you make yourself a bigger target and that may make all the difference.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sometimes You Have To Move To Move On

Any one who has ever been told to just let it go or to get over it knows that it is not nearly that easy. Some times you are faced every day with reminders. You see your ex at the grocery store or the person who got your promotion every day at work. The adult grown up thing to do is get over it but inside we are all children in some way.

Some times the most adult responsible thing is not what you need to do to heal and move on.

Some times you need to do the childish thing and get away from it.

Maybe your ex invited you to their wedding. You don't want to seem bitter or like you are not over them so you force your self to go. Don't do it. There is nothing wrong with refusing to put yourself through it.

Maybe you live in a small town and the object of your misery crosses your path constantly. If it hurts you, then there is nothing wrong with leaving.

You can change gyms, change jobs or even addresses if that is what your heart needs. I'm not saying to screw up your future by leaving a good job or your dream home. I am saying to think about whether you are happy there. Do you really like that gym or have you just always gone there? Does that job suit you or is it just a paycheck?

Maybe you need to look for another job or another apartment. Maybe you need to give yourself permission to move where you are in your life so you can move on in your heart.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Promise Should Always Be Kept

I have a big problem with broken promises. I admit it is partly my own personal history so some may say that I bring my own personal baggage to it but I don't think that it makes a broken promise any better.
If you promise to do something, you should do so with the full intention of carrying through. If you only think you can do it, than say so. If you have no intention of doing it, then say so.
"I promise" should be a sworn oath. It should mean something. It should stand on its own and stand tall.
Things happen sometimes. Life intrudes. Mistakes happen and sometimes through no fault of your own, you can not complete or keep your promise. That is different. That is understandable.
What drives me to distraction is those people that use promise when they mean maybe or say promise but then break that promise because they just did not feel like following through or because there wasn't enough in it for them. Whether the promise is flat out spoken or heavily implied--for example, yes, I will do that or yes, you can do that--it is still a promise.
Don't break you promise.
Don't be that person.
Don't be that inconsiderate, selfish, obnoxious person.
Be the kind of person that your word is solid. Your word has weight and meaning and depth. Let your grave stone list you as a person who could always be relied upon. I can think of no better epitaph than to be a good person who could be relied upon.

Friday, July 31, 2015

I Don't Believe In Soulmates

The idea of a soulmate is wonderful. The idea that the Lord has put this one perfect person on the Earth created just for you; it is intoxicating really. You are so important that there has been a perfect partner created just for you.
I have a problem with the idea of one perfect soulmate for several reasons.

What if you miss them?
What if there is one perfect person out there for you and you are having a bad day or feeling bruised from a prior relationship or they just aren't as tall as you thought they would be and you miss them? Does this mean you never get another chance at being truly happy?

If they are meant for you, then you will not miss them.
So I have no control over my life? I don't get to decide if I want to be with someone? They are already chosen for me and my free will means nothing? What other decisions do I make that I think are mine but are really just me acting out my role as puppet? Is it only the big stuff or is even my breakfast choice predetermined into the master plan?

What if they die?
I've been to too many funerals not to wonder what happens if your soulmate dies. Does this mean you never get to be truly happy ever again or do you get a second one? And if you get a second one then how is there one perfect soulmate? Are there levels--the perfect one, the almost perfect one, etc.?

If you think you are destined to be together, you may not work on the relationship. Relationships are hard work. Even with someone you love desperately there are conflicts and compromises and accommodations that must be made. The idea of soulmates makes it sound easy and it is not. My spouse and I know that our relationship is worth the work and that taking care of each other and our marriage is important.

I believe that in this world there are many wonderful people that suit you; many more that would make for a perfectly nice relationship. There are hundreds of possible good relationships. I believe you should wait for a person that you love, some one with whom you are compatible; someone that understands and values the relationship and most importantly, that it is not some one you are trying to change or for whom you are willing to settle. I'm not saying settle; never settle. I am saying do not be so consumed with looking for the perfect match that you miss the almost perfect one that is willing to work hard to make you happy. I don't believe in soulmates but I believe in life mates.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Getting To Audio

     After weeks of back and forth--months if you count picking a narrator--I clicked the final submit button on the audiobook version of Things Every Goddess Should Know. The final audio is off to ACX for approval. This is my first attempt at an  audiobook so I have no idea how long this process will take or what to expect from them. The website says it will be anything from 3 to 10 days for approval and then 10 to 15 business days until the audiobook starts showing up on places like Audible or iTunes. It makes it hard to decide on things like asking reviewers to listen to the book. ACX is going to give me copies to pass out to reviewers but not until everything is settled and I don't know when that will be.
     In many ways, this is a giant experiment. Can my book capture the attention of audiobook audiences? I am proud of it and believe it is full of great advice but will anyone else think so? Will they like my choice in narrator? Is it worth putting my other nonfiction titles on audio? Should I focus instead on getting my fiction books into print? And by focus, I mean get them ready to be released at all? I currently have 4 fiction manuscripts in the draft stage in my computer and/or desk drawer and I am working on another one. It drives my husband a little crazy that I have not done much of anything with them.
    I guess I just have to wait and see on the audiobook and whittle away at the fiction books. I like to know things though. I like time tables or rough estimates. I like to know what is coming and what is expected of me. If someone could show me the path, I would follow it but it seems instead that I will continue to stumble forward, metaphorical flashlight in hand waiting to see what is coming.

The audiobook was sent back by ACX as not meeting their requirements for sound quality so it is back to my narrator/producer to correct.
I'm not big on uncertainty so it can be hard for me to wait in limbo for an answer but I know that some times waiting is just a part of life so wait I will. Hopefully not for long.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Farm Share Dessert

We got two Fuji apples in our farm share this week and Hungry Girl's newsletter included an "Apple Pie Bites" recipe that called for Fuji apples. It seemed like the perfect pairing so I had to do it. It was quick to make and pretty tasty. The fillo shells have a definite crunch to them and the apples are soft and just a little sweet. My husband and I ate the whole 15 pies ourselves even though it says that makes five servings. I would absolutely do them again. Here is the link directly to Hungry Girl (just scroll down) and I have pasted their recipe below.

Hungry Girl Recipe
Hungry Girl's Apple Pie Bites
Apple Pie Bites 1/5th of recipe (3 bites): 58 calories, 1g fat, 26mg sodium, 11.5g carbs, 1g fiber, 4g sugars, 1.5g protein -- PointsPlus® value 2*

Teeny-tiny apple pies with HUGE flavor… Who knew these could be so easy to make?Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
15 frozen mini fillo shells
1 1/4 cups Fuji apple (or another sweet apple) chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar (not packed)
Seasonings: cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place shells on a baking sheet, and bake until lightly browned and crispy, 3 - 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium-large microwave-safe bowl, top apple with brown sugar and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. Stir to coat. Cover and microwave for 2 minutes, or until apple has softened.

Fill shells with apple mixture.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Continuing Adventures In Farm Shares

We once again have a working oven so the farm share adventures continue. This week we got cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, more beets, naval oranges, fuji apples, collard greens and an eggplant as well as two lemons.

We repeated the earlier cabbage and chorizo recipe the first night as well as roasted the broccoli.

Roasted Broccoli
Chop up a head of broccoli
Toss it in a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

It is an easy and straight forward recipe that seems to work well with a lot of vegetables.

The brussels sprouts were brand new to me. I have never had brussels sprouts before so I went with something that would provide extra flavors if the brussels sprouts proved too bitter.

We did not have Parmesan so we used Romano cheese which made it a little sharper. We quartered the brussels sprouts and I think we would cut them smaller in the future. Over all not a bad side.

Here is the recipe I used; just remember to cut the bitter ends of the sprout first.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Adventures In Farm Shares--Week Two

Week two got off to a pretty rocky start. We got the new bunch of vegetables from the farm share box on Wednesday. That night we chopped up kale, red chard, red cabbage and onions and sauteed them with garlic. Meanwhile, I was going to roast beets. I had everything ready to go and set the oven to preheat. Only it never did.
The igniter on our stove died.
We ended up sauteing the beets into the rest of the vegetables that my husband was frying up. The beets were not cooked enough. It had a deep rich flavor but was hard to chew.
The next night we opened a can of chili and mixed the vegetables in. It actually was pretty good. It tasted like the usual can of chili for the most part with some extra crunch mixed in.
We are not getting a new stove for a week and a half so we are restricted to what we can do on the stove top. If the weather decides to improve, maybe we can grill but it is snowing now.
We got potatoes and broccoli and beets this week; all of which cry out to be roasted. Here are the recipes I had planned to try.

Instead we are sauteing what we can and I baked a potato in the microwave to go with my chicken for lunch yesterday. It is not the week we wanted and I think we will just be sauteing things together all week so they don't go bad. Not very exciting but at least we are still eating vegetables. Our new stove is an unexpected expense but hopefully we will get years and years of use out of it. The stove is dead. Long live the stove.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mushroom Asparagus Risotto

In my last post, I mentioned that we had tweaked an old mushroom asparagus risotto recipe. I do not remember where we first got the recipe or what changes we have made along the way but here is what we do.

2 tsp butter/margarine or oil (one early/one late)
2 cloves garlic (fresh or equivalent minced)
1 cup of white rice (We do not use Arborio as it is expensive)
1/4 cup of white cooking wine
32 oz stock (veggie or chicken)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
chopped baby bella mushrooms
chopped asparagus (bottom of stock removed)

Put stock in a sauce pot so it starts to heat up. In a separate large pan, melt 1 teaspoon of butter over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes to get flavor going. Add cup of rice. Toss it so the butter/garlic mixture coats it thoroughly. Add the white cooking wine and stir and heat until wine is mostly absorbed.
Slowly add the stock to the rice mix about 1/2 cup to a 1 cup at a time allowing it to absorb. Continue this until you have about a cup of stock left. This takes 20 to 25 minutes. Stir regularly.
Add the asparagus and mushrooms along with the last cup of stock. Stir until stock is almost all gone. Turn off heat. Mix in last teaspoon of butter until melted and then add the parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

We do not measure the asparagus or the mushrooms. We simply chop as much as we feel like adding. We have also been known to add chopped bratwurst or chicken when adding the vegetables. If you leave out the cheese and use oil, it easily converts to a vegan meal.

Makes dinner for 2 or sides for 4-6. 

Recipe is easily doubled. Stirring in stock will end up taking about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Adventures In Farm Shares--Week One-Day Six

We still had cabbage and celery left so for lunch, we took an old mushroom asparagus risotto recipe and swapped out the mushroom and asparagus for cabbage and celery. We have been using the recipe for so long that I don't remember where we got it. We bought a house years ago and it came with an asparagus plot so we learned to do it as a way to use all that asparagus.

As for the cabbage and celery risotto, it did not go at all well.

The cabbage and celery are not even visible since they became translucent with cooking. It was a pretty tasteless mess. It was excessively chewy from all the cabbage with no flavor to back it up. I would consider this one to be the only real failure of this week.

Dinner went much better.

For dinner, we used the last sweet potato to make sweet potato fries. Here is that recipe. This went very well. We sliced them on the thin side so they looked like fries. They had a sweet taste to them so they definitely are not like regular fries but tasty. We would do this one again. Here is the picture of that.

Husband sautéed up the last onion in some olive oil for a side as well. I took that one lemon and made lemonade. We used both the fries and onions as sides and pan fried some veal I had defrosted as the main entrée.

We now only have one grapefruit and some celery left so I doubt we will do anymore experimenting this week. Two days until our next farm box and it will supposedly contain "Dino Kale-Rainbow Chard-Red Cabbage-Yukon Gold Potatoes-Celery-Onions-Tangelos-Beets-Broccoli-Grapefruit+Lemon". We will see what we get.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Adventures In Farm Shares--Week One--Day Five

(You can find earlier posts here.)

Today I went with the chorizo and cabbage recipe that I found at It was a snap to make. A little chopping, some sautéing and done. This would definitely make an easy and quick weeknight meal.

I substituted mixed Italian seasoning for the sage as I had none on hand. I admit I did not really measure the cabbage. I simply chopped up one chorizo sausage and added as much cabbage as seemed good.

adventures in farm shares, chorizo and cabbage, things every goddess should know
My husband's reaction was, "Yum" followed by asking when we could make it again. Definite hit on this one. The cabbage is relatively tasteless but the sausage has a little kick to it so they complimented each other really well.

I would absolutely do this one again; probably on a weeknight when I was pressed for time.

We are getting low on things at this point. We have some cabbage left, some celery, 1 sweet potato, 1 lemon, 1 onion and 1 grapefruit. Next box comes on Wednesday so being low is not the worst thing in the world.

Next we are doing risotto with the left over chorizo sausage, cabbage and celery.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Adventures In Farm Shares-Week One-Day Four

(You can see day one here and day two here.)

It occurs to me that I still have a head of cabbage that I have not touched. Time to find some cabbage based recipes. There is always coleslaw. I would need to buy carrots and use low fat mayo to try to ease the calories. Easy to do and something my husband would eat but I'm not a big fan of coleslaw so I would rather find something else.

Breakfast was grapefruit from the farm share box. We ate it straight. It was fine. Nothing worth writing home about.

We made kale chips with the last of the kale. Recipe from found here. I forgot to take a picture. It was nothing like a potato chip. It was very crunchy but seemed to fall apart on your tongue. I would eat them again but with less salt.

Hubby sautéed himself one of the onions in olive oil with the last of the bok choy and ate that straight. Not to my taste but he is both using vegetables from the farm share and not eating something horrible so I consider that a win.

I ate some left over soup from day two and we both had some of the leftover chicken from the rotisserie chicken I bought for day two.

Really the only thing we did new was the kale chips. As I said, I would try them again. I still need to find a use for the cabbage. I am leaning towards a cabbage and chorizo dish and hubby is leaning towards coleslaw. We will see tomorrow.

Of the original farm share from Wednesday, we have 1 lemon, 2 onions, 1 sweet potato, 1 grapefruit, some celery and a head of cabbage left.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Adventures In Farm Shares-Week One-Day Two

(You can find day one here.)

For day two, I wanted to use as many of the different vegetables in my shiny new farm share box as I could. After googling combinations, I went with this Chicken, Sweet Potato & Kale soup from Here is a picture of my final result.

It calls for celery, sweet potatoes, onions and kale; allowing me to use four of the veggies in my box in one meal.

It was a big success. I would absolutely do this one again. I did make some changes in order to make it easier to do on a work night. The recipe calls for raw chicken to be cooked in the broth for 20 minutes. I grabbed an already cooked rotisseries chicken from the grocery store and rough chopped the breast meat and just skipped that part entirely. I also used the spices I had on hand which did not include a jalapeno or cilantro.

I sauteed the chopped onions in oil in my Dutch oven before adding the celery. After about 5 minutes, I add minced garlic along with salt, pepper and Italian spice mix and some ground chili powder I had. In about another 3 minutes, I added in the chicken broth and the shredded breast meat from the rotisserie chicken along with the kale and sweet potatoes. I put the cover on and left it on medium low heat (about 4 on my dial) for 30 minutes; stirring half way through.

It was delicious. I will definitely be going back to to check out some other recipes. We both ate and we still had about two bowls worth for left overs for later.

For dessert, I chopped up those 6 strawberries we got and served it with a couple of spoons of whipped topping.

Result: I used onions, kale, sweet potatoes, celery and the strawberries. All I bought was the rotisserie chicken and my husband is already planning on eating the drumsticks for lunch tomorrow. This one was a definite success. The soup was fairly filling and had a sweet and savory taste to it. Tomorrow night my in-laws are taking us out to dinner for my husband's birthday so no experimenting tomorrow. I have already started looking for Saturday's meal though.

Adventures In Farm Shares-Week One-Day One

Today is the first day of our first attempt at joining a farm share. There are only 2 of us so we went with the small share.

Here is what we were told to expect:
Kale   Grapefruit     Sweet Potatoes     Lemons
Onions     Eggplant    Strawberries    Cabbage   Celery
We received:
1 bunch of Kale    2 Grapefruit  2 Sweet Potatoes
1 Lemon     4 Onions    No Eggplant     6 Strawberries
1 head of Cabbage     1 bunch of Celery and 2 small Bok Choy

Right off my husband was disappointed in the lack of eggplant and I could not help but feel we got a token amount of the grapefruit, kale, lemon and strawberries at best. We have the most onions of anything and I don't like onions. Again, we did order the small share but at $30+ a week I guess I had expected it to not be quite so small.

I emailed the farm share that my husband was disappointed in the lack of the promised eggplant as it is his favorite and would there be eggplant in the future? They responded that it is difficult to predict how much produce they need the first week since many people sign up at the last minute so 14 boxes got different supplies than the rest and we must have been one of them. They said there would most likely be eggplant in the future, they gave us lots of lovely bok choy and we would not have to worry about things spoiling. Basically, it sounds like they ran out of stuff and we got what was left. But hey, now we don't have to worry about any veggies going bad! How kind of them.

Week 1 so far off to a poor start in my opinion.

Things Every Goddess Should Know blogBut since we got bok choy, I am making stir fried bok choy and kale fried rice for dinner. Here is the recipe I am using.

We did have the bok choy/kale stir fried rice for dinner.  Here is a picture of the finished product. I burned the first batch of garlic that it required. They are not kidding about it only taking a few seconds to cook. I tossed that one out and started over.

The final result was not bad. It was all I had made for dinner. It made enough for one serving for me and two for my husband. No leftovers. It was very chewy as both the kale and the bok choy seem to be chewy vegetables and it was very garlicy. I would do it again but I would cut back on the garlic. I would also think about adding some protein like chicken (and I would watch the pot better).

Friday, February 13, 2015

Outside Review of Things Every Goddess Should Know

I was ego surfing and I came across a review of my Things Every Goddess Should Know book that completely warmed my heart. The reviewer absolutely got what I was trying to say.

Review can be found here

Here is a quote from the review:

"The book also shatters the myth of perfection and being perfect, instead telling readers to pursue excellence. To search for colors in every person instead of their sunset is again another piece of inspiring advice and reiterates the fact that all us can make a difference to the world."

Thank you, Reviewer. We have never met but right now I feel very close to you. I feel as though you have reached across cyber space and said, "I get you." I love hearing that you found something of value in my book because my book is a part of me. I wrote it tell other women that we are all valuable.

In many ways, being a writer is rather like standing by yourself on a hill and whispering to passersby to please take this piece of me. Sometimes they do; sometimes they don't. Sometimes they don't like it and sometimes they do. And sometimes they make you feel like they get it, they value it and that makes it all worthwhile.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Why I Can't Afford To Win The HGTV Dream Home

HGTV is giving away another dream home. This year it is in Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  According to the website:

"The grand prize includes:

  • A 3-bedroom, 3 ½-bathroom, approximately 3,200 square-foot Cape Cod-style getaway located on Martha's Vineyard
  • Luxurious furnishings from Ethan Allen
  • A 2015 GMC® Acadia Denali
  • $250,000 cash prize provided by national mortgage lender Quicken Loan"
You can enter to win here:

It sounds beautiful. It looks beautiful. Here is the official picture from their website.

As soon as I saw it, my brain turned to thoughts of how nice it would be to have a vacation home like that. We could rent it out on off weeks and have the family down and  . . . and . . .

But I am nothing if not a practical woman. I can't afford to win this house.

First, the price has a value of approximately $2,265,000. Here in the US, the federal government is going to consider that income which means you get to pay income tax on almost $2.3 million. The $250,000 in cash is just a down payment on the taxes you will need to pay. Then 45 out of 50 states also charge income tax. Between the IRS and your local state, you can expect to have to pay 40 to 50% of the value in taxes. That is anywhere from $700,000 to $1.1 million dollars you have to pay out.

You also have to worry about property taxes. Edgartown is currently $3.80 per thousand. On a $2 million property that is about $76,000 every year. You will need home insurance. That will probably cost you $5000 to $7000 a year as well. Do you need to get a burglar alarm or hire a service to take care of the house while you are gone?

Between the upfront taxes and the upkeep, there is absolutely no way I could afford to win this house. It hardly seems fair that it should cost so much to win something but that is how taxes work here in America.

Fortunately, HGTV has an alternative.The winner can decline the prize and instead take a cash sum of a little over $1 million. Even with giving half of it to the government, you can still have a lot of fun with what is left. So yes, I still entered. And if I win, I will always be a little sad that I could not keep that beautiful house but I will console myself with my hundreds of thousands of dollars.