Welcome to Mary Laudien's Blog

Books - it is our memory concept

Welcome to my Author Blog Site!  I am so pleased to have you participating in the contest and visiting all 79 of our sites between April 7th at 6:00 am EST through to April 16th at midnight EST. You have 10 days to visit each and every site and leave a comment and email address to qualify for the GRAND PRIZE  (a Kindle Fire and a $25. eBook gift card) or a SECOND PRIZE (a $25. eBook gift card).


You have 10 days to visit each of the author blog sites that are listed and linked at the end of each contest blog sites, for your convenience. When you visit each site, you’ll be able to pick up gardening tips (from the talented green thumbs) and/or recipes (from the foodies).  As well, if you leave a comment and an email contact at each site, you have opportunities to win give-aways and you’ll be entered in the Grand Prize Draw for a Kindle Fire or Nook (winner’s choice) and a $25. gift card for eBooksPlease don’t forget to leave a contact email in your comments so that the Rafflecopter can choose the Grand Prize winner and  individual authors/bloggers can contact give-away winners.  We will want to mail your prize/s out to you ASAP. Remember:  In order to qualify for the Grand Prize and Second Draw prizes, you must visit all 79 sites.

(Of course, after perusing my humorous blogs that serve as samples and tips for writing entertaining blogs, you may even wish to subscribe to my blog: http://twocandobooks.wordpress.com. I’d love that!)

Win a FRENCH BULLDOG IPAD COVER ($20. value) as my site give-away prize. Any participant in Canada or the US is eligible for the draw at the end of the blog hop.  You may be asking why an IPAD cover?  Well, the picture of the Frenchie on the cover reminds me so much of one of the puppy characters in my Frenchie TWEEN series.  Everyone needs a cover for their eReaders and whenever the winner uses this cover, they will think of Pierre from my 3 novels: Frenchie’s Best Friend- Follow the Blog, Frenchie X2- Follow the Blog and the latest published – Frenchie Diva- Follow the Blog.  Hopefully, your tween/s (daughter, son, grandchild) will enjoy these madcap novels about humorous pet ownership, teen-age angst, and pursuing the possibilities. They are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. Check out my website for more information about my books and author visits/ blog writing workshops: http://www.twocandobooks.com  

iPad 2

You KNOW you want this iPad cover make sure you leave a comment with your contact email (and maybe even subscribe to my blog-YES!)  And never hesitate to forward my site to any Middle Grade reader, parent, or grandparent, or simply anyone who is “gaga” over their pets for some fun, humorous reads!


I don’t have a gardening tip, but I do have a quote from an exceptional novel that I believe has inspired me to want to garden.  Read BLACKBERRY WINE- A NOVEL by Joanne Harris (author of Chocolat).

“The kiss of the sun for pardon,

The song of the birds for mirth,

One is nearer God’s heart in a garden

Than anywhere else on earth.”  (P. 313)

Since I don’t pretend to think of myself as a knowledgeable gardener, I am providing you with 2 recipes, instead. Don’t forget to copy these recipes:

The Tabbouleh comes from COOKING SCHOOL MEDITERRANEAN.  We are fond of quinoa and the veggies and herbs in this make a refreshing  salad. It serves 4.

generous 1 cup quinoa , juice of 1/2 lemon

2 1/2 cups water , 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

10 vine ripened cherry tomatoes, halved , 4 tbsp chopped fresh mint

3 in. piece of cucumber , 4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

3 scallions, finely chopped , 4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper


The Key Lime Pie recipe is from Weightwatcher’s 50th anniversary cookbook. I often travel in the US and love sampling the Key Lime Pies of the Southern States. Last year’s piece was superb in Charleston and 2 months ago, the tart taste in Key West was a welcome joy on a blistering hot day!

Crust: Combine 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs with 1/4 cup melted butter. Press on bottom of 9 in. springform pan.

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (smaller key limes from Florida Keys are preferable)

2 tsp unflavored gelatin

1 (14- ounce) can sweetened condensed mill (I use the light.)

2 tsp grated lime zest

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

1 small lime, thinly sliced.

(I like my pie super tart and limey, so I add about 1/4 cup of lime curd to the mixture.)

1. Pour the juice into a small bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let stand until the gelatin is softened, 5 minutes. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring, until the gelatin dissolves.

2. Stir in the condensed milk and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes longer (do not boil). Remove from the heat and let cool 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and refrigerate 30 minutes, or until the mixture starts to set.

3. Whisk the thickened filling until creamy and smooth ; stir in the lime zest (and LIME CURD, if you want it). Using a a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped topping until combined. Pour into the pie crust and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Garnish with the lime slices just before serving.


Visit each author on the list for the Authors in Bloom Hop! And don’t forget to leave a comment and your email contact on each site to qualify for the Grand Prize Raffle and individual author give-aways! Thanks for the visit!

1. Dianne Venetta ~ Cozy Mystery/Romance (US) 41. Stacey Joy Netzel
2. Rose Anderson 42. Deb Sanders
3. Alexa Grace 43. Janette Harjo
4. Katharina Gerlach, YA Fantasy author 44. J.L. Campbell
5. Jennifer Lowery 45. Lorraine Paton (INTL)
6. Catheirne Chant (US) 46. Amy Saunders, Chick-Lit Mysteries (US)
7. S.D. Bancroft 47. Jencey Gortney
8. J.D. Faver ~ Bad Girls Need Love Too…(Intl) 48. Sandra Cox
9. Tara Manderino (Intl) 49. Alisia Compton
10. Judy Baker, Cowboys and Indian Romances 50. Cate Dean
11. Sharon Kleve 51. Lisa Lickel
12. Sara Walter Ellwood (US) 52. Iyana Jenna
13. Anna Patterson 53. Jesse Kimmel-Freeman (INT)
14. Karl Fields (Intl) 54. Sheila Seabrook
15. LENA HART 55. Rose Cooper
16. Janice Seagraves, author 56. Halimah bint David
17. Lakisha Spletzer 57. Grace Peterson
18. Gemma Juliana 58. Nancy Pi-Sunyer
19. Victoria Adams 59. Elena Williams
20. Daryl Devore 60. Scandalous Stories
21. Jeana E. Mann, New Adult Romance 61. Lisa Orgler
22. Not Neccesarily In That Order 62. L.A. Sartor
23. Brenda Maxfield’s Smart and Sassy Teen Reads (INT) 63. BloominThyme
24. Elizabeth McKenna 64. Margarita Matos (UF & Romance)
25. H. A. Somerled 65. Lisa Chalmers
26. Susana Ellis 66. Diane Burton
27. Aileen Fish 67. Rebecca J. Clark
28. Cheryl Bolen 68. Victoria Pinder
29. Elizabeth Rose 69. Zelda Benjamin
30. L. Alison Heller 70. Liz Allen (US)
31. Eleanor Moran 71. Stacy Juba’s Characters at a Crossroads
32. K C Maguire 72. Jennifer Conner Romance Author
33. Patricia W. Fischer 73. I Am A Reader
34. Mindy Hardwick, Author 74. Darcy Flynn (US)
35. Melanie Macek 75. Joanne Jaytanie
36. Karen McCullough 76. Cassandra L Shaw
37. Michelle Abbott 77. Janette Harjo
38. Mary Laudien 78. Louisa Mack
39. Aubrey Wynne 79. Tiffany Schlarman
40. Kimberly K. Comeau

Books - it is our memory concept

Get ready for some fun, tips, and prizes!  You’re invited to participate in an Author Blog Hop.  The tour begins on April 7th at 6:00 am EST and finishes on the 16th at midnight EST, so mark your calendars!

Readers will have 10 days to enter each author’s individual contest (giveaways) and submit their entry for the GRAND PRIZE (a KINDLE FIRE or NOOK and a 25 dollar gift certificate for eBooks). Visiting 7-8 author sites per day and leaving comments and your email address will enter you in author site give-aways and also provide you with 79 chances to win the Grand Prize and Second Prize (a 25 dollar gift certificate for eBooks). Only those visitors who visit EACH and EVERY stop are eligible for the grand prize ereader and gift card As well, each author site (79 in total) will also post a giveaway and either a gardening tip or a recipe. (I know I’ve got my recipe all ready for you, and you won’t want to miss it!)

It’s going to be a blast getting acquainted with all 79 participating authors and bloggers and YOU may just finish the contest by winning the GRAND PRIZE!

Please forward this message on email or retweet to anyone who you think would enjoy gathering recipes, gardening tips and competing for giveaways and the Grand Prize.

           Mary’s Blog: http://twocandobooks.wordpress.com


Book Mary Laudien for Morning/ Afternoon Author Workshops 

Author Picture DSCN2250a

Mary Laudien is a retired International Baccalaureate World School principal from West Vancouver, B.C. She now divides her time between writing her Middle Grade Frenchie Series and volunteering as an International Baccalaureate Recognition Ambassador. Mary’s life long passion for KidLit makes entertaining readers with her own humorous novels such fun! Missing the day-to-day contact with students, author visits inspiring students to write powerful blog posts is an added treat. Mary believes in making a difference and encourages schools and book stores to fundraise with her novels to support their local SPCA.

All Middle Years Author Visits (appropriate for Grades 5, 6 and 7) include a prompt to provide a personal connection to her books, sample blog readings from her three novels, a discussion/video of what inspires her writing, tips on writing entertaining, powerful blogs, an interactive blog writing challenge/ contest, and answering questions regarding the writing and publishing process. Her student workshop is presented over 50 minute blocks.

As an educator, Mary is happy to present to combined grade groupings (e.g., 4/5′s, 5/6′s or 6/7′s). She is flexible and would be willing to run 2 or 3 workshops in the half day.

She charges only $150. per half day to cover her expenses and encourages the students to raise funds for their local SPCA by giving back 15% of all sales. (This must be well-communicated by the school, in advance of her visit, so that students come prepared and know that they are raising funds for a worthwhile cause.) There are a couple of chapters in Frenchie X 2 that deals with school fundraising through the Kielburger’s initiative of “ME to WE as a motivating connection for students.

Mary’s paperbacks are reasonably priced so that they are affordable for all. Her first book is priced at $7.50.

Frenchie X 2 and Frenchie Diva are priced at $8.99.

14549732_Frenchie Diva Cover JPG( 4341595 ) copyFBF without SpineFrenchie X2 Cover

Mary is setting up local bookings on Vancouver Is. and the North Shore (West Vancouver and North Vancouver) for April & May, 2014. Contact Mary by email to set up your author visits.

Email: mlaudien@telus.net

Website: www.twocandobooks.com (Discussion Guides available for novels #1 and #2)

Blog: http://twocandobooks.wordpress.com (Examples of humorous blog posts and blog contests.)


Books - it is our memory concept




The annual Author’s in Bloom Blog Hop is coming soon (April 7-16).



With 80 authors and bloggers participating, you will have the opportunity to visit each site and collect a gardening tip or recipe. As well, by leaving a comment, you are eligible for a site draw at the end of the Blog Hop (I’m not telling what my site prize will be… but you will want to enter the draw; I know you will!). Those that visit each and every stop will be registered for the GRAND PRIZE: an eReader (a Kindle Fire or a Nook – winner’s choice and $25. gift card). A 2nd PRIZE of a $25 gift card will also be awarded.

Flowers 1photo

It’s a fun way to get introduced to new authors and bloggers, while collecting great recipes and gardening tips. As well, the chance to win a GRAND PRIZE and SITE GIVE-AWAYS is an added bonus. Go to http://www.twocandobooks.wordpress.com on April 7th to begin your 10 day blog hop adventure.


I can’t wait to read your comments, after visiting my blog during the AUTHOR’S in BLOOM BLOG HOP. And if you feel like leaving a comment today, after reading my post, I’d love to hear what you think about the upcoming BLOG HOP!


child bookcaseThe benefits of getting the appropriate number of hours of zzz’s is getting ample air time these days.  If it’s not news reports, it’s articles written in newspapers or magazines.  Most of these studies are related to the needs of children and the career crowd below “FREEDOME 55″.  What is NEVER mentioned or commented upon is the menopausal woman’s angst over sleep deprivation.

That’s right people, we women who have raised families, worked incessantly throughout our careers, and are just settling into our blissful stage of relaxing retirement, are probably the most sleep deprived age group of all. It’s true! Regardless of our ability to call our own shots regarding our waking hours versus snoozing hours, we can’t get enough sound sleep! BUT (and that’s a BIG BUT!), no one ever mentioned that retirees don’t actually sleep the sleep of the dead.  Oh no, the reality is that they must grab snatches of it whenever they can.

 clock sleeplessness 2                                                                                                     tired woman

Unfortunately, the road of life keeps moving along and suddenly you realize that you haven’t had a solid, uninterrupted sleep in over a week. So what’s causing the problem?  The list of causes can vary with each of us. Here’s mine:

·      having a husband snoring loudly towards my side of the bed, blowing air at me, and rocking the bed with the force of his snorts (Did I write that?  I better not let husband Ryan read this post!)

·      constantly needing to run to the washroom (But we’re supposed to drain 8 glasses a day, aren’t we?)

·      watching Netflix or reading eBooks on my iPad in bed tends to re-energize me, rather than make me drowsy. (It’s so hard to be disciplined and turn them off!)

·      carefully monitoring caloric intake throughout the day with small portions,  resulting in the “GROWLIES” setting in around midnight. (I really need to eat that banana!)

·      knowing I shouldn’t get up and wander the house while my fatigued partner is blissfully snoring (I mean sleeping …) beside me, holds one prisoner, counting backwards and breathing deeply from 300 (And still no zzz’s!)

·      re-arranging all my pillows to get the exact perfect indentation to ensure more wrinkles don’t sprout overnight and finally settling in, just to have “snortface” roll over and face me… OMG!

·      and if you read my MICE CSI post, you’d know that although the mouse problem has been resolved, there is just a tad of paranoia hanging on that keeps me feeling held captive in my dark, dark bedroom, on the bed, with my husband, just in case …

Middle Age Woman with InsomniaI’ve only scratched the surface of the challenges the menopausal woman experiences in her attempt to get a good night’s sleep.  How about you share some of yours with me?  I’d love to hear what’s keeping you up at night.  Just add your comment at the end of the post.  I know you’ll have lots to share …

The less people know about how sausages and

laws are made, the better they’ll sleep at night.

 Otto Von Bismarck quotes 


I shall need to sleep three weeks on end to get

rested from the rest I’ve had.

 Thomas Mann quotes 

Attention Contemporary Middle Grade Fiction Writers:

Enter the 14th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest. This is a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. If you’re writing contemporary middle grade fiction, this contest is for you! (The contest is live through EOD, March 18, 2014.)

This is a chance for agent judges to  discover your talent as a writer and even get signed with an agent. And the best part is that your submission is free! (You KNOW that doesn’t often happen.)

The submission guidelines and contest details are  available  on Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents Blog.   His Twitter handle is @chucksambuchino.

Remember, the agent judges will only look at COMTEMPORARY, MIDDLE GRADE FICTION! This means any middle grade  set in our present world and time- mainstream, thriller, romance, mystery, adventure, humor, etc.  (NOT: sci-fi, fantasy, historical, steampunk)

Come on Middle Grade Authors- show your stuff and submit your first 200 words of your novel to:

Email entries to: dearluckyagent14@gmail.com

Winners will be notified within 3 weeks. Top 3 winners all receive:

                 1. a critique of the first 10 double -spaced pages of your work, by your agent judge,

                 2. A free subscription to WritersMarket.com ($50. value)



After returning from a relaxing Caribbean Cruise to their pristine NW Pacific home following a cold snap; there was an unwelcome surprise awaiting Mary, and it wasn’t a belated birthday gift, either!

In the flurry of getting home after five weeks away, there was the unpacking, laundry, calls, food shopping, and all, to address. The fact that husband Ryan noticed some evidence of mice activity in the garage, didn’t phase her one bit.  That’s the GARAGE, right? WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

By the third day of their return, husband Ryan headed back to Vancouver for a work day on an insanely early ferry.  Retired Mary snuggled deeper under the covers and emerged from the bedroom – somewhat later.

Turning the corner into the Great Room, checking emails on her iPhone, she caught something tiny, black, and furry scurrying past her towards the pantry.  (Yes, the same pantry that she had laboriously cleaned and left spotless the week before vacationing.)  Let’s just say, Mr. Ryan was in deep, deep DOO-DOO when he didn’t answer SOS texts and arrived home extremely late that night. (Sensitive husband Ryan decided to have a leisurely dinner with a friend on the mainland, catching the last ferry home… BAD, BAD DECISION!)

In the meantime, Miss Scaredy Cat had spent the entire day scouring the house for evidence of mice, constantly scanning for the little black monster (the source of her angst), watching You Tube videos on how to set traps, and running into town to buy all the paraphernalia needed.  By the time husband Ryan walked in, his creeped-out wife was found barricaded in their lit up bedroom, sitting on the bed with a big glass of red wine de-stressor (it was necessary) and whacking tools beside her in case BLACKIE showed up.

Of course this event set off a week’s worth of MOUSE CSI – trapping, poisoning, and searching out evidence for days.  Two were caught in the laundry room (thankfully, one was BLACKIE) and two more in the garage.  New weather stripping has been installed everywhere (including the garage doors) and tubes of silicone and boxes of steel wool have filled anything resembling a crack.  Of course, the entire house is spotless after gallons of bleach.

mouse trap 3 Mouse Trap 1

Miss Mary is finally settling down, since nothing more has shown up in the dozens of traps and no poison has disappeared for days now.  She thinks they caught it all in time, before they reproduced. Chances are that the mice came in through the laundry room door when the suitcases were unloaded through the garage entrance. (That’s her theory, anyways, and she’s sticking to it!)

Finally, she’s had a full night’s sleep after a week of creepiness. But truthfully; Miss Mary isn’t taking any of her usual middle of the night wanders. Is that an indication that she remains completely FREAKED OUT?


I’m sure all of us have had a mouse incident (or something worse) at some point or other.  Although it is highly stressful, there is something humorous in the telling.  Please share your stories with me by clicking on the Leave a Comment button below.  I enjoy sharing life’s trials and tribulations with all of you, please take a couple of minutes and share your tales.  I love to hear from you!!

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