"...IF YOU FOLLOW YOUR BLISS, DOORS WILL OPEN FOR YOU THAT WOULDN'T HAVE OPENED FOR ANYONE ELSE." - Joseph Campbell

"SOMETIMES ON THE WAY TO YOUR DREAM, YOU GET LOST AND FIND A BETTER ONE." - Lisa Hammond

"IT IS POSSIBLE AT ANY AGE TO DISCOVER A LIFELONG DESIRE YOU NEVER KNEW YOU HAD." - Robert Brault


"IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO BE WHO YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN." - George Eliot

"WE DID NOT CHANGE AS WE GREW OLDER. WE JUST BECAME MORE CLEARLY OURSELVES." - Lynn Hall

"GO CONFIDENTLY IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR DREAMS! LIVE THE LIFE YOU HAVE IMAGED." - Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

** Definitely Trying **

As Janel recently informed me when commenting on a previous post, "you can write anything, including fiction, if you try".....I'm finding that to be true! Yes, I wrote my little heart out yesterday, last night, early into the a.m. this morning, and just now e-mailed my story for the Gemini Magazine short story fiction contest! Yay! I did it! And no matter what, I'm darn proud of myself and of my story, and nobody can take that away from me! Woo-Hoo! It's quite exhilarating dahhhlings! And if nothing else, what a fabulous writing lesson.
The contest ends TODAY, but I think it's a great one to go for. The entry fee is only $4.00 and the rules are wide open. Head on over to their site and submit something!

In the midst of all this and while taking a break, a twelve-word story popped into my head for the Dirty Dozen Contest and I sent that off, as well! I'm on a Fictional Roll.....And if I know me, and I really, really do....I'd say that roll has cinnamon sugar on it! : D









Okay, you gotta remember, I haven't slept much in the past 12 hours!!





"Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep." -- Fran Lebowitz

** Well, What Did I Tell Ya? **

Just verifying that it is now 1:30am, Wednesday morning, March 31st....and I'm still up, due to writing!

I've just finished, for tonight....uh...for this morning, a short fiction piece I've been working on. I'm so proud of myself, because I always say, I DO NOT WRITE FICTION, but I'm actually kind of happy with this. The deadline is today, but I do have a few more hours to get it "edited, completed, finished" and e-mailed!

Now...I think I'll call it a night...or, you know...whatever!

"Rewriting is like scrubbing the basement floor with a toothbrush."-- Pete Murphy

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

* Various Thoughts On a Tuesday Night *

Part 1)  Yesterday, I received the two fabulous blog prizes I recently won. One arrived in the mail and the other was delivered by Fed Ex. The large box that came by mail contained the two exquisite pillows I won from Kathy at Oregon Gifts of Comfort & Joy. They are so beautiful. And in addition, Kathy tossed in a couple of new note cards she obviously made. They both have lovely landscape photos on the front, of....I'm assuming areas near her home. Thank you again, Kathy! I'm so pleased with them all.

The Fed Ex item was the book I won from C. Hope Clark's blog. I wrote about it earlier this month...probably the day I won. It's called: The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide, by Becky Levine. And, hey, if it's written by someone named BECKY, it's gotta be great, right?! I can't wait to get into it, especially since I just recently joined a critique group! Thanks again, Hope! I am thrilled with my prize.
Although it felt like Christmas-time, receiving gifts at the front door, I'm sure glad it isn't....weather-wise! Spring has definitely sprung here!

That reminds me of a silly poem my dad taught me when I was just a little bitty thing:
Spring has sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder where
The flowers iz.
Thanks, dad! That never fails to make me smile!

Part 2)  I've noticed on other blogs who have a Play List installed, it's on the side column instead of at the bottom, like mine. There's a few things that puzzle me about having it there. For one thing, half the "player" is missing and therefore I can't scroll down and read all the songs on their play list, or click on them to listen, or even mute it if I'd like. I just wonder what the reasoning is for having it on the side like that. Please leave comments and let me know!

Part 3)  Just a reminder to check out my friends on My Blog List. You never know what you might learn! Most of them pertain to writing: contests, calls for submissions, our own thoughts, etc.
I also have a few that pertain mostly to decorating, but you'll meet such interesting people. And as we all know....one blog leads to another and another and another...etc!

Tonight, I'd like to highlight one of those blogs: "Six Questions For....." by Jim Harrington. Almost every other day, Jim interviews a different editor, by asking six questions that "list, in excruciating details, all that each editor desires in his/her stories." AND, Jim even states that he'd be happy to accept suggestions. Go to his blog and read all about it. Plus, he has two other blogs, which I plan on following, too!

4)  Speaking of Calls for Submissions: Chicken Soup for the Soul has quite a few right now, and some with deadlines that are very near. Somewhere along the line, I signed up to receive a newsletter from  Poets & Writers Magazine that is just full of great information. Some people have asked where I find all these sites, and my answer always is: Google!

5)  Hey...Don't forget my contest ends tomorrow, March 31st, at midnight!!

Well, I hope I haven't lost everyone by now!....Probably y'all nodded off to sleep, right?! I won't be doing that for awhile, because I'm trying to read about 4 different books right now, while also working on my book, while also working on a couple of things for submissions!!

One more thing....a special THANK YOU to a couple of new blog buddies: Lynne at Lynne's Gifts from the Heart and Speedy Cat at Speedcat Hollydale. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving comments! I really do appreciate it and please come back!

" 'Friendship,' said Christopher Robin, 'is a very comforting thing to have.' " -- A.A. Milne

Monday, March 29, 2010

* If I'm Awake, It Must Be Monday Morning *

I had a very busy and productive weekend. In fact, I've been on such a roll, I thought it was still Sunday night, until I noticed that it is now 2:15 AM Monday morning! OMG! Just typing those words made me yawn!

Later gators......

"Nothing cures insomnia like the realization that it's time to get up." -- Author Unknown

Friday, March 26, 2010

* A Day of More Ups Than Downs *

Today was a beautiful, sunny day! Although it was on the cool side, temperature-wise, it was so welcomed!

I received a couple of unexpected e-mails from friends that brought joy. I got a couple of much needed errands taken care of. (For one thing, poor Tiger had run out of her Milk Bone dog treats!)

I had a great time at Saturday Writers first Open Mic tonight! And I'm looking forward to tomorrow's monthly meeting. I love being with my writer friends. I'm always so much more motivated after spending time with them. They're all a great bunch of people!

There were only a couple of downers today. One was the discovery that a bill I owed was twice as much as I anticipated! And the other was a rejection e-mail on a story I'd submitted to a magazine. Ouch! Actually, it was a complimentary rejection. It just wasn't right for them at this time. Even at that, it still caused a few minutes of the usual array of emotions, but all is well tonight. I'm happy and confident and I can't wait to get back to writing my book......sometime tomorrow! Because it's kind of late, and I'm really tired, I gotta get to sleep! 'Night everyone! Have a fabulous weekend!

"It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes." -- Sally Field

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Some Days are Diamonds. Some Days are Stones.

All I have to say about today is the following quote I found:

"It was horrible, no fun at all. It was a really tough day -- it was windy, rainy and cold. I just wanted to finish and have a cup of coffee in the clubhouse.” -- Annika Sorenstam

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

** Whatabouts Wednesday **

I wanted to come up with a cutesy title for today's post. So I decided to find a unique word that began with the letter "W", to go with "Wednesday". After spending just a nano-second or two online, I came across a site called The Phrontistery. (definition: an establishment for study & learning.) What a fabulous discovery! Every writer or anyone interested in language and words, the origins of words, etc. will love this site! So, I chose the word:  Whatabouts. Noun; meaning: things with which one is occupied. Sounded great to me! Whatabouts Wednesday! I then looked it up in a couple of other "normal" online dictionaries, and neither one had that in their list of words. Oh well. I love it, and so I'm going to use it!! It sounds like an Aussie word, doesn't it?

Here are some of my Whatabouts:

* This afternoon I was interviewed by a young man who works for Vox Magazine. (I had received an e-mail from the Books and Endnotes Editor a couple of weeks ago, explaining they were doing an article about Missouri writers, etc. She asked if I would be interested, and I said, "Sure". The magazine is published by the Columbia Missourian and produced by magazine students at Mizzou. Vox was named the best magazine produced by college students in the entire country.) Anyway, I had totally forgotten about that......a normal ailment of mine....until "Nick" called today. He asked questions. I provided answers. I should find out in a couple of weeks if anything I said will make it to print!

* I took part in the Coffee & Critique group again yesterday morning, and this time I took something to read. I really like this group! They are all passionate writers, kind people, very giving of their knowledge and offer helpful hints. I get so much out of it, whether they are commenting on my writing or someone else's. I'm happy to be a member!

* Naturally, I'm very occupied writing my book. I'm moving along at a pretty good pace....most days/nights!

* I'll be attending the Saturday Writers first Open Mic this Friday, March 26th at Main Street Books in old St. Charles. There will be readings from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. (I plan on bringing something to read.) Also during that time, the famous Mr. Nick Nixon, will be playing the guitar and singing! It will be tons of fun! So, y'all come, ya hear?!

* And finally, here's news about my Blog Contest for April. My new Author Friend/Blogger Buddy, Miss Michael Lee West, has graciously accepted my request to provide an autographed copy of one of her books. I came across Michael's first book in 2006, while browsing in a book store. (imagine that!) The title was: Crazy Ladies: A Novel and it looked interesting. I flipped through the pages to read a paragraph or two, and it grabbed me enough right away to buy it! I loved it! (It's about "crazy ladies" in the South)  I'm sorry to say I didn't keep track of her new books, so I haven't read any since. But, that is going to change. As soon as I get finished with the 10 or 12 books I have stacked and waiting to be read, I'll get right on that!

I'm not sure yet which book Michael will provide for the contest, but you can be sure, whichever one it is, it will be a fabulous read! To be eligible to be the winner, here are the requirements:

1) If you live in the South, or were from there, explain what was wonderful about growing up there and/or living there now.
2) If you don't live in the South, tell why you might like to.
3) No matter where you live now, if you visited somewhere in the South that left you with a desire to go back or live there, tell where it is.
4) Name someone from the South, living or deceased, or even fictional, you'd like to have dinner with.

They don't have to be long, drawn out answers. It can be as simple as this:
1) fun
2) warm climate
3) Atlanta
4) Scarlet O'Hara

See? Simple! Winner will be chosen by random.org after midnight, a week from today, March 31st.

And, please ask your other friends, bloggers, followers, etc. to stop by and join in and leave a comment! There's so many reasons to stop by and see what's on my blog! Thanks so much! Looking forward to reading all your comments.

And oh, by the way.....since I've seen things on other blogs about interviews or give-aways, etc......I have not been paid to do this, nor have I been asked by Michael Lee West to do this, etc...etc.. (and the same goes for the give-away of Bread Alone!)

"Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say." -- Sharon O'Brien

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

** Writing, Photography and Lovely Treasures **

I've decided my new blog friend, Susan, of Writing Straight From The Heart, and I were separated at birth! Every time I go to her blog and read her newest post and look at her newest photos, I think to myself, I could have written this and posted these pictures! She and I are sooo much alike!

Especially in the past week or so, Susan has shared photos of darling bunnies, (not live ones!) and then now, a beautiful tea cup and saucer. I have a very small collection of both of these. Actually not even enough to refer to them that way. I have a couple of each!

And without further ado, here are a couple of my pictures to share not only with Susan, with all of you!
The darling ones on the left are from the Royal Albert pattern, Old Country Roses.The large mommy is a statue I got at Home Goods last year, for a ridiculously low price! So, then I went online to Ebay and got the matching salt & pepper shakers, because I thought she just needed to have a couple of little baby bunnies!

Next we have a cute bunny and a teeny-tiny turtle investigating each other! I don't remember where I bought them, but it wasn't very expensive, either. It's made out of some kind of plastic. On the bottom says: Garden Party ™, Russ Berrie and Co. Inc. Oakland, New Jersey.
Finally, this is one of my tea pots and tea cup sets. The tea pot came from Dillards, years ago, and says Windsor - Made in England, on the bottom. The tea cup and saucer are both No-Name and I'm pretty sure I got at a Shabby Chic re-sale shop, also years ago!

Susan, I hope you....along with everyone else....really enjoyed taking a peek at some of my little treasures!

Later tonight, information will be posted about my newest blog contest, happening in April!


* I added this picture today, March 24, specifically for Bill. This is a Royal Albert, Old Country Roses clock! I also bought it at Dillards, years ago, when I first began my tea pot collection. It was the first item I'd ever seen of the pattern that wasn't china plates, etc. Even with that, I was really surprised to find the darling bunny statue and S&P shakers, too! (oh and this was also in the picture I posted last month of the plates and half tea cup on my dining room wall.)

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." -- C.S. Lewis

** Terrific Tuesday **

I've got a busier day than usual planned for today. And since I've been up since 6:00 am, and didn't get to sleep until after 2:00 am, I think I see saggy, baggy, blurry eyes today.

Because of vanity, I wore contacts years ago.
Because of vanity, I'm thankful I wear glasses now.
   (to help hide all those saggy, baggy wrinkles)

Be back later with news and photos..........


"Nothing is worth more than this day". -- Goethe

Sunday, March 21, 2010

** Calling All Funny, Weird, Humorous Writers **

Ever since I first heard about this contest.....months ago....I really wished I could write poetry. And not even just poetry, but funny poetry! And with a name like Wergle Flomp, how could it be anything else??

The Official name is: The Wergle Flomp Poetry Contest.  Catchy, isn't it?!  (I keep hearing that old song and lyrics in my head: "Let's all do the Bristol Stomp") 

There is NO ENTRY FEE. Entries have been accepted since August 15, 2009, and they end on April 1, 2010. So that leaves about 10 days to get your crazy, wacky, hilarious,  and to use one of their own phrases: "Inspired gibberish" entries submitted. The prize money is....to use one of MY favorite words: Fabulous! Winning entries and Honorable Mentions will also be published on Winning Writers.

Go to their website for all the guidelines and pertinent info. But hurry. You only have until April 1, 2010.


*Creativity & Lies -- Is It Politics or Is It Memorex?*

Thanks to the lovely Lisa Ricard Claro for bestowing upon me the "Creative Writer" Blogger Award. As I understand it, this great honor is a license to be creative which, as all writers know, can sometimes lead to outrageous lies! (Think of those recent infamous "memoirs")

( I was kind of dreading this "award", but I had a blast and hope everyone else will, too! )

Rules of acceptance require me to list up to seven wild and wacky little known facts about myself, at least one of which must be true. It's then up to you, the reader, to decide for yourself which, if any, of the facts below are crazy truths or creative fiction.

1) I've always been fascinated with airplanes. One day when riding my bike home from school, I heard a "funny" engine noise up above. While concentrating so much on watching the bi-plane, I rode my bike right down into a concrete rain ditch.....and only got one scratch near my eye. I have the scar to prove it!

2) Speaking of airplanes....I've flown across the Atlantic Ocean more than 5 times.

3) I graduated Sumo Cum Lardo Wrestler from HACC. (Harvard Area Community College)

4) I can whistle through my fingers.

5) After the birth of my first son, and weeks of semi-recuperating, I was forced to sign papers stating I wasn't holding the hospital or any of the doctors, etc. accountable...blah, blah, blah....

6) I once rode in an elevator that was going up so fast I was thrown down to the floor with 3 other people.

7) I've only fainted once in my life and that incident involved a crowbar.

Hey...this was way more fun than I thought it would be! I didn't think I could come up with any non-truths, but I did and it was a great writing exercise!

*Okay, here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who gave this to you. (Thanks, Lisa!)
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link the person who nominated you.
4. Tell up to 6 outrageous lies about yourself, and at least one outrageous truth. (The key here is the "up to" and the "at least." Some people are just born liars!)
5. Nominate up to seven "Creative Writers" who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.
6. Post links to the seven blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on the "up to" seven blogs you nominate, letting them know you nominated them.

I nominate Tammy, Karrie, Janel, and Daisy. I know all of you will do fabulously! I can't wait to read all of them! I'm off now to leave my comment on your blogs.

"Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use." -- Mark Twain

Saturday, March 20, 2010

** Odds & Ends on a Saturday Night **

On March 12th, I mentioned four upcoming topics I wanted to write about. I've already written about two of them: Tiny Lights and the Erma Bombeck competition.

The other two are: Songs on my Play List and my upcoming contest in April.

Here's my thoughts on my Play List. I love listening to a wide variety of music, and because each play list only holds about 200 songs, I now have more than two that are completely full. Many people find the music distracting and may immediately hit the mute button when they arrive at my blog. I can totally understand that. Most of the time when I'm "really" writing...working on my book, or contests or other submissions, I can't listen to it, either. I have a couple of CD's that I can listen to, and write to, and I even feel like they help soothe me and help me to write better! They are both "easy listening" instrumentals. And I do have my "Starting Song", which is Moonlight Serenade, played only by the Glenn Miller Orchestra! That may seem really strange, since I'm not 80 years old....but it was one of my mother's favorite songs, and always makes me feel kind of bittersweet, which is great for my memoir writing.

So, I have these questions: Do you like listening to music when you write?  Do you have a "Starting Song"?

"Music is what life sounds like". -- Eric Olson

Thursday, March 18, 2010

** I Won a Book on Hope Clark's Blog **

I've been a follower of Hope Clark's blog for over a year. She always has interesting contest information to share, plus book reviews, etc. Today, I won a book because I left one of the first 3 comments. I am thrilled because this particular book is about critique groups and I just joined one this past Tuesday. The book is called, "The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide-How to Give and Receive Feedback, Self Edit, and Make Revisions", by Becky Levine. I cannot wait to receive it! Thanks again, Hope!

I also receive newsletters from Hope from her website Funds for Writers. You can subscribe to receive 3 different newsletters there: Funds for Writers, FFW Small Markets and Writing Kid. Tell her Becky Povich sent ya!


"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." -- Chinese Proverb

** Reading, Writing and Dancing! **

While I was sick the past 2 weeks, every single piece of paper, junk mail, bills, magazines, and coupons that arrived in my snail mail, have apparently been busy multiplying! Don't you just hate it when that happens? Oh well, I know what's really important in my life and my priorities are firmly set. Writing comes first! Along with the "actually typing of words on my laptop" kind of writing, I've discovered there are different ways of writing. I love to browse through various "helpful" and "how to" books, some of which I recently picked up at the library. Other times, I'll read something online that really makes me stop and think, Wow! I never thought of that!

* If I wrote today, but deleted most of it, I still wrote!
* If I had zillions of ideas, but only got as far as jotting down notes, I still wrote!
* If I edited some of my writing, I still wrote!

Somewhere, I also read practice saying outloud, "I am a writer."
Say it while sitting in your chair. Say it while walking around the room.
I've chosen to sing it opera-style, while I dance around the room!

Whatever you do today, take care of your self!!

"If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse." - Jim Rohn

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

** Fun Discoveries on a Tuesday **

First Fun Discovery: I had a really great day! Went to a critique group that meets every Tuesday and I enjoyed it. I already knew most of the members from Saturday Writers, and I'll definitely be going back.

Second Fun Discovery:  Here's another one of my Twilight Zone moments! Just yesterday I wrote about deleting my "writers competition rant" because I didn't want any Bad Karma........Well, today I received my Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop Newsletter, and would you believe they actually printed the following?:

ERMA'S LEFTOVERS?
With the announcement of the writing competition winners comes the realization by other entrants that they are, as 2010 workshop attendee Anna Lefler puts it, "winning-adjacent." What's a writer to do with that oh-so-close submission? Post it, of course, as did Joanie Buettgen, Anna Lefler, and Ann Imig. 

I'm only showing the link to Anna's because I liked her story the best. It is SO Erma!! And her writer friends all felt the same way we did! Remember that popular goofy character a few years ago, Where's Waldo?".....Aren't we all saying, "Where's Erma??!!"

Oh well....to paraphrase what I wrote yesterday......Whatever!!

I'm not sure how the Erma refrigerator thingy works, but it looks like fun! Anyway...go check out Anna's blog and let her know that Becky sent ya!

Happy Writing!

"In two decades I've lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet." -- Erma Bombeck

Monday, March 15, 2010

** No Time For Bad Karma **

Since my rant the other day concerning a certain writing competition, I've evolved into a new me. Actually, that's not correct because I haven't become new. I'm continuing on in my usual optimistic, cheerful way of thinking. My criticism was a minor step backwards, but my attitude about life won't allow me to remain so negative.

Therefore, I have deleted that entire post.

Don't Worry!  ♪♫♪   Be Happy! ♪♫♪     Write On!

“Happiness depends more on how life strikes you than on what happens." -- Andy Rooney

Sunday, March 14, 2010

** My Muse Is Back **

It was 2 weeks ago today that I felt like I was catching a cold, and it was all downhill from there. But, I am pleased.....no, I am thrilled to announce that I AM BACK!

I feel great and I've been writing like crazy. The best kind of writing....when it just flows, and I'm in The Zone, and hours pass.....Ahhhh....Bliss!

And, because of my newly, rediscovered joy and passion for writing, I probably won't be posting on my blog as often. I may not be reading all my usual favorites as often, either, but you can be sure I'll be thinking of y'all. Please send some good writing vibes my way, to help keep me going!!

"And remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That's why it's a comfort to go hand in hand." -- E.K. Brough

Saturday, March 13, 2010

** Tiny Lights: A Journal of Personal Narrative **

 Tiny Lights - The newest Searchlights & Signal Flares are posted. The question for the month was: "Where does your mind go when it wanders?"  I wish more of you would enter something for these! Some months the questions are really a challenge. (You'll find me posted there!) It's an excellent opportunity to submit serious or humorous thoughts and be published online. There is no fee, no word count. You can also post your website, blog, and/or e-mail address. I can confirm that people have found my blog because of this. Below is a portion of the description from Tiny Lights:

"Searchlights & Signal Flares" is an opportunity to support and be supported by a community of writers, to let a flash of your own light be seen and shared. You are invited to respond to the following questions (deadlines in parentheses), and if your answers adhere to the posted guidelines, they will be published on the website-no fuss, muss or editing.

If that isn't enough to wake up those sleeping ideas in your head, here's another area of Tiny Lights you'll want to check out. Flash in the Pan: a Quarterly Posting.


One more thing. Those of you that entered the essay contest last month will be pleased to know the winners are due to be announced April 10th!

"The two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light." -- Jonathan Swift  (The Battle of the Books)

Friday, March 12, 2010

** Tidbits of Upcoming Posts **

I have different topics I'm anxious to write about, but since it's getting late, I'll just share a few words:

* Tiny Lights newest Searchlights & Signal Flares *

* Erma Bombeck Contest *

* Songs on my playlist *

* Next contest coming up in April *

"I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning." -- Joseph Priestley

Thursday, March 11, 2010

* The Much Anticipated Interview With Judith Ryan Hendricks! *

Following is a question and answer session with Judith Ryan Hendricks, author of four fabulous books, all of which are favorites of mine.  Besides being an amazing writer, Judith is such a warm and generous woman. She donated an autographed, first editon copy of "Bread Alone" for my contest last month. Kathy Matthews was the very excited winner. Thank you Judith for everything!  *Note: After reading the congratulatory comments, I realized I didn't word this correctly. I did not compose these questions! Judith was kind enough to share the questions from a previous library interview. She gave new, up-to-date answers, though. I'm sorry for the confusion. I didn't deliberately try to deceive anyone!

1. While your first novel, Bread Alone, stands on its own as a story, it also has at its heart, the world of food, preparation, sustenance and eating. What made you add this element to the novel? What function does food play in your writing?

Food serves multiple functions in my stories. First of all, it’s a touchstone for my characters, which is how I feel about food in my own life. So many of my memories seem to be linked to a particular meal or dish or food experience. I guess that’s why I can never remember where I put my sunglasses, but I have perfect recall about the carrot cake I shared with my mom in a little cafĂ© in LaConner, WA twenty years ago. Second, food is a metaphor for love, for sharing, in many cases for work, and even for life itself. Since I love to cook and eat, alone as well as with friends and family, it’s inconceivable to me that I might write a story that doesn’t include food in some way.

2. Your female characters possess a certain “edginess.” They’ve been cheated on, given up for adoption, left pregnant, work long hours and multiple jobs for low pay, they have been divorced, yet none of them seem bitter and they remain vulnerable to love. Is that a deliberate choice you make to characterize? Do your narrators echo your own worldview? Do you think it’s possible for a writer to distance herself from her main character, or do the boundaries blur?

Bitterness is an interesting trait—destructive and closed, which doesn’t make for much reader sympathy. However, characters like Avery James in Isabel’s Daughter and Sunny Cooper in The Laws of Harmony take on bitterness as a protective coloration. In reality they’re not so much bitter as wary. On the other hand, it’s often more interesting when a character acts differently than her true self.


I have to distance myself from my main character because in the service of the story they have to make a lot of choices that I wouldn’t make. However, I feel strongly that every one of my characters shares at least one of my traits. I love the way Milan Kundera (Unbearable Lightness of Being) says it: “The characters in my novels are my own unrealized possibilities.”

3. What steps take place between your first full draft, your rewrite and the published book?

Well…after I finish the first draft I take my husband out to dinner to celebrate. In the middle of dinner, I say…we’ve got to go home; I just thought of something I left out of chapter 2 that could change the entire outcome of the story. Next I give the manuscript to one of my good writer friends and she reads it and says. I really love this. I say, but what? She says, But nothing. I really love it. I say, what should I change? She says Nothing. I really love it. I go over the pages three more times trying to figure out what she’s not telling me. Then I send it to my agent, who tells me what my writer friend would not. I rewrite the novel and send it back to my agent. She calls me and says, I think C---really likes it. She’ll let us know when she gets back from the holidays.


I sweat out Christmas and New Year’s, going over the ms three more times. After the holidays the editor calls. She says, I love this book. I say, Thanks. That’s great. She says, I just need you to change the ending so that the boyfriend doesn’t die. We discuss certain changes. I make some, but not all. It goes to the copy editor. I proof read the galleys. They send me cover art. I hate it. I call my editor. She makes them re-do the cover art so it doesn’t look like the character is fifteen years old and about to commit suicide. In order to maintain my sanity I start on the next book. And suddenly one day a package arrives in the mail…my Advance Reader Copy! I’m so happy I take my husband out to dinner to celebrate. During dessert I say, oh, God, why did I make that change in Chapter 2?

4. How has moving to New Mexico affected your writing?

The only real difference between writing here and writing in L.A. is that I seem to have more time. Santa Fe is so compact I can be anywhere in town within 15 minutes. Also life is a bit simpler. I don’t expend as much energy just on the details of daily life.

5. In The Laws of Harmony, your story begins about the sudden loss of love when Sunny’s boyfriend is killed, but the story ends up being about a different kind of love altogether. How do you see this book by comparison to your earlier work? Are you changing territory, widening your narratives? Or does each book suggest its own particular context and story while you write it?

Yes to all of the above. Each book definitely has its own trajectory and each one changes you. You are not the same person at the end as you were when you started. The story in The Laws of Harmony went its own way at the end—not at all what I originally planned—and it also changed me as a writer, definitely broadened my perspective. It was like once I finished, I sat back in my chair and said, Well. Where did that come from? I don’t think I look at stories in quite the same way any more.

6. Are you superstitious when writing a book? Do you keep the story close to your chest while you’re generating, or do you feel free to talk about it?

I absolutely believe that it’s best not to talk too much about what I’m working on. First of all everything changes during the course of the writing and you could be talking about a storyline that ends up on the cutting room floor. Also, I think if you talk about something while you’re in the process of creating it, then a lot of the creativity just dissipates, and the story’s energy gets spent on talking about it instead of writing it.

7. How has publishing four novels changed your life?

Now when I meet someone at a party and they ask what I do, I have something to tell them.


“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” -- Ashley Smith

** I Know It's Thursday.....But What Month Is It? **

I have so much I want to write about. So many different topics. AND, I have Judith Ryan Hendricks' Question & Answer Session to post. Plus, I have so much to catch up on in my other life...you know, those annoying duties such as going through the mail, paying bills, putting away clean clothes & towels, filing all the junk I kept stacking on the floor in my office, while telling myself I'd feel so much better tomorrow, but tomorrow never came.....

Well, a funny thing happened while I was writing this post. I decided to complain about a couple of things that really bothered me, even though I knew that wasn't my usual style, not the real me. After typing away and writing for what seemed like an endless amount of time, I "saved" my work, while I decided which quote to post at the end. When I came back to this, the only part that was "saved" was the above first paragraph, and one line of the new paragraph...."I have a couple of things I want to complain about."

I think I just experienced serendipity! I wrote it. I got it out of my system. 'Nuff said!

"The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose." -- Anonymous

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

** IF IT'S TUESDAY, I MUST BE BETTER! **

The last couple of days, I've begun to feel a little better. It's been a slow process, and seems especially slow because I have such a low energy level in the first place. But, I am definitely on the mend! Last night, I even broke into song a couple of times, and my husband gave me that "look". The one where he pretends to appear as if he thinks I can't sing!! Then he smiled and said, "You're on your way back, aren't you!?" Yep, he's gotta take the bad with the good!

I've been rearranging the look of my blog a little bit. Just the right side part. I removed quite a few things, moved others, and shortened the list of blogs appearing in the main area of my Blog List. I chose to only show 10 on the first page, and they are listed in order of newest posts at the top. After you scroll down to the end of the 10th one, you can click on "show all", continue scrolling and see the rest. I used to list them alphbetically, but when I realized I could show them by newest updates, that seemed to make a lot more sense. So, the more you blog, the more you'll be seen!

Poor Tiger! Since her hearing isn't what it used to be, my coughing and using hundreds of Puffs Plus tissues, has interrupted a few of her naps! And I'm not even talking about loud old honking noises! The poor thing will raise up her tilted head, look over my way with one ear flopped, and have a look on her face like Hey! What the heck was that? Did you do that?! And I, always remembering my manners, even with my dog, will say out loud, "I'm sorry, Tiger! I didn't mean to scare you!" *Side Note: I am not being paid by Procter & Gamble to keep talking about Puffs tissues!! But, hey, if anyone from P&G is reading this.....have your people call my people!

“If I could reach up and hold a star for every time you've made me smile, the entire evening sky would be in the palm of my hand.” -- Unknown

Sunday, March 7, 2010

** Various Thoughts on a Sunday Night **

It's Oscar night. I've loved watching this gala on TV for as long as I can remember, even those years when I hadn't seen a single movie that had any nominations!....which is usually the case. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the results tonight. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were pretty funny. All in all a nice evening of entertainment, especially since I've been sick and haven't felt like doing much of anything for quite a few days.

It's hard to believe I didn't even feel like reading, writing or blogging: three of my favorite things! I've just layed around on the couch, watched TV, slept and ATE!

My wonderful husband, Ron, has been doing things around the house for me, as he does even when I'm not sick. Today he went to the grocery store and picked up a couple of items I said I desperately needed......more Puffs Plus with lotion, and granola cereal! AND, he bought me the cutest, sweetest, Get Well musical card. He said he listened to quite a few before he opened this one and knew this was it!
(He knows I love Mary Poppins and the song, a spoonful of sugar. That is what this card plays when it is opened....and by none other than Mary Poppins herself, Julie Andrews!!) Awww! Isn't he a sweetie? The top picture is the front of the card. The bottom one is a cropped version of the inside, because I didn't want the whole world to see what he wrote! And I must say, that shortly after opening it, listening to the fabulous song and reading his lovely words, I really did begin to feel a lot better! 


♪ Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.... ♫ ♪

Thursday, March 4, 2010

** Think I Need Another Therapeutic Thursday **

I don't catch normal colds like normal people do. I usually start getting that itchy throat feeling and in about a day or two, Boom! I have a sinus infection, or sometimes a little later: bronchitis. Fortunately, this usually only happens about once or twice a year. Anyway, I'm into day 3 and feeling quite droopy. The worst thing about this kind of "illness" is that even though I'm not what I would describe as sick, I don't feel like doing a darn thing....not even writing, or making my cards, or reading! I just want to lay around and try to stay snuggly and warm. BUT, I had to at least open up the old laptop and read a few blogs. I also decided to post a little something today, or people would wonder where I am....Hopefully, you would!

Until next time, I've got my box of Puffs Plus Lotion ( a MUST), my heating pad for my cold little tootsies, bottled water, a cup of (temporarily) hot tea, chapstick, Afrin nasal spray.....and I think I may have to order in pizza for an early dinner! No fever here, so I better start feeding this bug with lots of calories and carbs! That's what Linda O. did and she felt better fast. Sounds like a great experiement to me! :)

If you're going to catch a bug, there's only one I recommend .........

"Happiness is contagious...when you reflect happiness, then all others around you catch the happy bug and are happy, too." -- Jennifer Leese

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

** Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! **


Today is the anniversary of Dr. Seuss' birthday. He was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts.  How many of us have read his books?....either to ourselves, our children, and maybe our grandchildren. What a remarkable man.

Here is the official Dr. Seuss website.

*When I first posted this, I forgot to mention that it was my niece, Tammy, who alerted me to the fact that today is Dr. Seuss' birthday. She lives in Georgia and is a kindergarten teacher, so she knows all about these things! She e-mailed yesterday and said today was going to be a "Cat in the Hat" kind of day in her class room! Thanks, Tammy for keeping me informed!
(photo courtesy: http://www.wtps.org/)

Monday, March 1, 2010

** This 'n That on a Monday Morning **

*  Happy March 1st everyone! I feel quite "springy" this morning. The weekend weather was lovely, the birds are chirping, the coffee is finished brewing and all is well in my little corner of the world.
 *  My terrific writer friend, Tammy, has a fabulous contest on her blog! She is giving away some "Chicken Soup for the Soul; What I Learned from the Dog" books!! Go to her site, read all about it, and leave a comment!!

* Don't forget about my upcoming interview with Judith Ryan Hendricks. I should be posting that in the next week or so. It's going to be really interesting and informative!

* I have 2 more contests in mind, too, that I'll be posting soon.

* Random thought: Have you ever stood close to a large mirror, looked into it to observe the room you're in, and feel like you're looking at a totally different room? Like Alice in Wonderland? I remember doing that as a young girl, and it still happens today! The room might look larger or prettier. I might notice the little things in a different light. Just wondered if I'm really weird (although, I already know the answer to that!) or if any of you have experienced the same feelings. It's looking at it in a totally different perspective. Maybe that's why I'm happy most of the time. Maybe I notice all the little things and appreciate them so.

* Speaking of beautiful rooms, 2 of my blogger buddies have exquisite homes. One is Susan of Between Naps on the Porch and the other is Michael Lee West of Designs by Gollum. They both are fabulous ladies!In addition to being a superb designer, Michael is also a fantastic writer! I bought her first book, "Crazy Ladies; A Novel", when it came out and just loved it.
     * In honor of decorating, I'm posting a photo of a wall grouping I did in my dining room. A couple of the plates were my maternal grandmother's and some were just fun finds at various gift shops or flea markets. The tea pot clock is a Royal Albert, Old Country Roses design I bought at Dillards years ago. The "half" tea cup is a real favorite of mine! It's so pretty and unique. I bought it at a gift shop in old St. Charles on Main Street, also a few years ago, and I've never found another one like it.


* Well, that's all my thoughts for the moment. I've got a zillion things to do today, and I've already used up quite a few zillion minutes. Have a fabulous day, everyone!

"There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it." -- Edith Wharton