Tuesday, August 31, 2010

** Another Month Bites the Dust **

It occurred to me today, that I haven't had my August Contest yet!! Hey, Miss Cathy C....where are you when I need you to help remind me??!! I haven't even thought about what kind of contest to have, or my prizes....So...we'll just skip a month and I'll have a September Contest! I'll post about that in a day or two. (IF I can remember!)

(courtesy: irvinehousingblog)

I, for one, am thrilled to welcome the month of September! Fall is my favorite season and I cannot wait for cool, crisp days and nights....leaves turning beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and red. Of course, here in the St. Louis area, we can still have hot and humid days right into October, with cooler temps tossed in for a tease. However it happens, I'm ready for it.

“My favorite poem is the one that starts 'Thirty days hath September' because it actually tells you something.” -- Groucho Marx                                               

Sunday, August 29, 2010

* Sunday Night News *

I've had a really great weekend, and hope all of you have, too! (I have other topics I also wanted to write about tonight, but I'll save those for another time. One is about my daughters-in-law. One is about the lovely treasures I received from Linda at Ala Carte, and another is about the little gift I sent to Nancy of Nancy's Notes, for being my 100th Follower!)

Yesterday was another fun and interesting Saturday Writers meeting. Our speaker was Sylvia Forbes, who besides being an award winning freelance writer (of over 600 publications!), is also the publisher of Snowflake Press, which publishes the wonderful Bylines Calendar every year. If you're not familiar with it: Bylines Writer’s Desk Calendar includes essays on writing and a variety of helpful tools for writers, too many to mention!
(courtesy Bylines website. The 2010 cover is a replica of Will Rogers' desk.)

I know a couple of my blog writer friends have been highlighted in past issues! Check out the Bylines website, because Sylvia said she is now accepting essays for the 2012 calendar. She will be announcing sometime very soon, the writers who've been chosen for the 2011 calendar.....I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that one!
During her presentation, Sylvia gave great advice and tips on how to get into the various freelance markets. There are thousands of magazines, for one thing, that most of us would not even think of. I took a large page full of notes and hope to venture into that....someday!

I am SO happy and proud to announce that today I wrote almost 2000 words in my book!! And, the night is not over, so the number I end up with, will most likely be over 2000! I have to say that most of it has to do with everyone's supportive comments from today, and most especially from Sioux, who said "We're all cheering you on. Remember one of the most important pieces of writing advice: BIC (Butt in Chair). Park your rump at your desk and get writing!"  Well Sioux, I took your advice, and by golly it worked!

Thanks again to all of you. I couldn't do it without the support and camaraderie of my friends and family. Thank you Sylvia for your kindness and encouragement. Thank you Lou Turner, from High Hill Press, my publisher and awesome cheerleader. I'm going to make it, because of all of you!

And to borrow a quote by the late, great Mr. Will Rogers (taken directly from Bylines Calendar!).....I thought this was THE perfect quote to end this post:

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I'm so pumped up about marketing my book, and I'm not even finished writing it yet! I have all kinds of things "semi" lined up for when the books are stacked up and ready to sell. Of course, I've talked to various local places about book signings, and will be contacting out of town and out of state venues next. I also have other ideas up my sleeve that I'll share at a later date!

Recently I received an e-mail from Vista Prints stating they had numerous FREE products. A few months ago I ordered return address labels from them that are very nice, so I checked out their website again. I couldn't wait to share all these fantastic personalized items I bought for practically nothing!

Okay, this baseball cap was not free, but I just had to have it!

I ordered it personalized with my first & last name, the name of my book, and the image of a stack of books. I plan on wearing it at my book signings, and maybe even in my car as I drive cross country!

I also ordered these new business cards. They have one image on the front and a coordinating one on the back. They were FREE for 250 cards!

I also ordered the (72)  personalized round stickers which I'll put on the outside of any book I sign.
And lastly my order also included 140 return address labels with a similar book image.

I got all of the above: personalized baseball cap, address labels, business cards and autograph stickers, for $33.72. The business cards and shipping were FREE! Every item is very nice quality. I was really impressed with the baseball cap.

As I've mentioned before when I "promote" a website, or writer, or any product, I am not getting paid one cent for this. It's just my opinion and I want to share good things with all my blog buddies!

Also, they have hundreds of images to choose from or you can upload your own. Oh, one more thing. I ordered this online on August 25th. I received everything today, August 28th. How's that for service?

Okay, it's back to my book. Otherwise none of this stuff is going to do me any good, is it?!

"You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want." --Margaret Young

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

** Celebrations on Tuesday **

It's Tuesday and I have things to celebrate!

First of all: I owe Miss Cathy C. a huge apology. Cathy is one of my bestest blog buddies, and she bestowed a very sweet and special award upon me last Friday, the 20th. I thanked her in her comment section, but that's all I did. I forgot to post the adorable award on my blog or even mention it. So, better late then never, as the saying goes. Here is my award: The Circle of Friends Award! Isn't it cool? Thank you again, oh scathingly brilliant, Miss Cathy C.! I celebrate your friendship!

I'm choosing to not pass it along to any particular blog friends, because all of you are very special and I wouldn't want to leave anyone out! So, if you are reading this and you'd like to be part of this wonderful circle of friends, please feel free to grab the award and post it on your blog, too! (By the way, Circle of Friends is one of my favorite Maeve Binchy books!!)

Second of all: I mercifully and thankfully was migraine-headache-free when I woke at 3:00 AM this morning. I had one of my worst ones in quite a long time, which lasted over 24 hours. I celebrate being pain free!

Third of all: although it's not 100% back to normal, at least my back is better! I celebrate that, too!

Fourth of all: Although my car has been parked in the garage for over a week because it needs yet more repairs after we just spent $$$ on it a month ago, I have wonderful friends who offer rides when they know I need them, plus a wonderful husband who will drive me just about anywhere, anytime....as long as it doesn't interfere with his JOB! I celebrate my friends and my hubby! (I think I'm going to start calling him The Mister, like June Freaking Cleaver refers to her husband, because I just like it!)

And finally:  I received an acceptance e-mail this evening about a story I wrote over a year ago for a newer anthology. I will share more information about that in the next day or so.
I celebrate my story acceptance!!

“Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, 'Here is an opportunity for you to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary.'” -- Anthony Robbins

Sunday, August 22, 2010


When I went to school, back in the OLDEN days....we didn't start until after Labor Day. When our last day of school was, before summer vacation began, depended on how many, if any, snow days we had during the school year. So, when I see and hear about kids being back in school in the middle or end of August, it just doesn't seem right, ya know?

I have such fond memories of fall days and evenings....shuffling along in dried, fallen leaves, smelling that one-of-a-kind scent of burning leaves.....BUT, I'm not going to write about that tonight. That will have to wait for another time.....when it's not so blasted hot and humid. I am SO ready for this heat to subside.

However, I DO have something to post in honor of "School Days". This cute collage hangs in our upstairs hallway, next to a guest room and right outside my office door, so I see it often. It holds Mark's school pictures from his first grade photo through his high school senior photo.

When I bought this, complete with the school motif and ruler frame, I think Mark was in the 2nd or 3rd grade. I remember thinking how it would take soooo long to fill in every empty place, waiting for the correct year's photo. Also, I agonized over the price of it! It couldn't have been more than $10.00 or so, but money was so tight at that time. I finally decided I just HAD to have it and I would regret it forever, if I didn't buy it. I still love it to this day. There, in one frame, I can see how my little boy grew up so fast, right before my eyes. How could it have gone by so quickly? I was a stay-at-home mom. I was there. I didn't miss out on anything. I had the presence of mind to cherish every moment, and not wish he was older......yet, the years did fly by and now he's almost 23 years old. As I've said before, sometimes I really miss that cuddly little boy, while at the same time I'm so proud of the man he has become.

All you younger moms out there.....cherish your children, because one day, all too soon, you will be thinking or writing these very same words.

Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older. When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty?  When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday when they were small? -- Lyrics to "Sunrise Sunset"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

** Tea Room? Did Someone Say Tea Room? **

There's a delightful little tea room near my home called Aggie's Closet & Tea Room. The owner's name really is Aggie and she's a wonderful woman.....and a friend of mine.

Aggie is looking for partner(s), with both time and finances.

                 There is a room for little girls' tea parties, which sometimes feature the American Doll style, or maybe a Fancy Nancy style!                                                                                                            
Plus the outside wine garden is open in the evenings, weather or season permitting. The tea room is doing very well, but has even more potential, and Aggie would love to have some help.

To find out all the details, contact Aggie at: Aggiestearoom@aol.com.

  9036 Veteran's Memorial Parkway, O'Fallon, Missouri 63366

Oh, by the way....the food and atmosphere is fabulous, dahhhhling! Tell Aggie that Becky sent ya!

"Iced tea is too pure and natural a creation not to have been invented as soon as tea, ice, and hot weather crossed paths." -- John Egerton

** Saturday Centus Time **

It's another Saturday Centus, from Jenny Matlock.

I haven't participated in this for a few weeks, but thought it was time to get back into the groove. Every Saturday, Jenny posts an "assignment" for anyone who cares to join. You don't have to be "an official writer". Just follow the rules and have fun!


Do you remember how during the first week back at school the teacher would make you write an essay about what you did over your summer vacation? Well, school has been in session almost two weeks here so I thought we'd try this for something different.

Your story must be written in first person AND must be exactly 100 words long. It can be fact or fiction.


Exactly 100 words, first person, fact or fiction...What I did over my Summer Vacation. AND What I did over my Summer Vacation is the title of your essay not to be included in the 100 words! Any questions? Go directly to Jenny's blog.

Okay....Here's my story for this week, coming in at exactly 100 words, not counting the title.

** Big Oops!! It appears as if I've made a blunder! I didn't realize everyone's title was supposed to be the same: "What I Did Over My Summer Vacation". Sorry! As you can see, I titled mine with the date.....

June 6, 1968

I sat alone in the dark living room, although it was hot and sunny outside. The drapes were kept closed in an attempt to keep the heat out, since we had no air conditioning. I watched the terrible events unfold on the television, as regularly scheduled programming was interrupted.

Robert F. Kennedy had been assassinated. I will never, ever forget those black and white images appearing on the screen. I will never, ever forget my fear, my dread, my sadness. I cried. I cried for the world.

A fifteen year old girl shouldn't start her summer vacation feeling so hopeless.

Friday, August 20, 2010

** Friday Night Tails....uh, Tales...**

Our wacky weather is at it again. Waves of fierce storms blowing through; three or more just today. The trees bending sideways, the rain raining sideways. An hour after the first one, bright sunshine and dry pavement. Tonight, we even had tornado sirens blasting. That is one sound I truly dislike! I'm the first one to head for the basement and Tiger usually follows along without any discussion. Husband is always Mr. Stay Cool (or in my opinion: Mr. Wrong)...but fortunately the latest storm blew over and it's now quiet again...for now.

Another fortunate incident: Last night, I got the bright idea to fix a little bed for Tiger in our bedroom. Duh! It seems like such a simple answer to her desire to be near us, or ME, in general. I really didn't think of it before, because she's never been a dog that slept in any of our bedrooms. She had her various places she liked.....on the landing at the top of the steps....or near the front door.....or in the hallway, etc.....but never in our bedrooms.
(image courtesy gottoast.com)
So, last night, I called her into our room, showed her the old comforter and pillow that I put on the floor in the corner for her bed. She circled it for a moment, layed down for a second or two, and then wandered back out into the hallway. BUT, she saw that she was Welcome and that we had begun our new Open Door Policy! I'm pretty sure that tonight will be a good night......because even if it does begin to storm again....no sleeping on the couch required!

(Tiger in the family room)

"We derive immeasurable good, uncounted pleasures, enormous security, and many critical lessons about life by owning dogs." --  Roger Caras, A Celebration of Dogs

Thursday, August 19, 2010

** This 'n That Thursday **

Good Morning Everyone! In spite of the fact that:

I slept most of the night on the (saggy) couch...again, because of my beloved dog, Tiger....and my back hurts off and on....sometimes not so much, sometimes very much....ouch!....I am happy today! Why? You may ask? I have no solid answer.....I just AM!

Okay....here's the little bit of This 'n That:

1)  Did you notice I changed my Play List to just one song for today? It's a mix of two songs, really. The first part, I'm Yours, was a huge hit for Jason Mraz a few years ago. The second part, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, is the whimsical tune Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole, a Hawaiian singer/songwriter, sang a few years ago. (I just love the way it's done....not as "sad" as the original Judy Garland version.) AND, it all comes together beautifully when sung by the fabulous a cappella group: Straight No Chaser. I hope you enjoy it!   (If you don't know any of the history of Iz or the guys in Straight No Chaser, just click on the links I've provided.)

2)  Last Sunday on CBS Sunday Morning, I watched a fascinating segment about a man who has invented and engineered numerous stunning water fountain displays. I couldn't get the video thing to work here, but I do have the link to You Tube, for you to visit. This is the Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas, just one of many others. Be sure and have your volume turned on because it is water choreography at its best! (Oh, and you'll have to click on the little mute button on the Play List part of my blog, in order to not have "dueling music"!)

3)  I've been a litte busy and/or preoccupied since receiving my 100th Follower, Nancy!
     Thank you, Nancy! Because of this, I'll be mailing a little prize to her sometime in the next few days.

I've come to the conclusion as to why I'm happy today, or at least a partial conclusion.......
Just being able to see and hear the beauty that I witnessed while searching out songs and videos....How could I not be happy? I'm continually amazed as I follow by bliss........

“It's good to be just plain happy, it's a little better to know that you're happy; but to understand that you're happy and to know why and how and still be happy, be happy in the being and the knowing, well that is beyond happiness, that is bliss.” --  Henry Miller

Monday, August 16, 2010

Writing & Marketing 101 - by a Writing Novice

I am so pleased that my posts about my parents inspired some of you to share a bit of your history. That's what I strive for in my writing....that it will touch people, either humorously or poignantly. Thank you again for your comments and e-mails.

I've written quite a bit today, in spite of my back acting up again. I guess cleaning out the cabinet underneath the kitchen sink over the weekend didn't help. Fortunately, my chiropractor's office is about a mile from my house and my car knows the way by heart. (No, it doesn't have or need a GPS.) Another fortunate thing is that my office chair is an old wooden kitchen chair. It's the best thing for a bad back. I'm forced to sit up as straight as possible and can use my ice pack without any problems.

Since I was such a novice when I began this whole writing-a-book process, I think I've pretty much done almost everything 'a**-backwards', as the saying goes! Cases in point:

1)  A publisher agreed to publish my book before I'd written more than a couple of chapters.
2)  I've got contacts lined up with different medias for promotion of my book, when the time comes.
3)  I'm getting closer to having the book cover chosen.
4)  I've got some well-known friends/acquaintances who said they will write a blurb for my book cover.
5)  I'm beginning to set up Blog Interviews and Book Signings for my book.

So, it looks like all I have left to do, at least for now is.....finish the book!

I'm not sharing this information because I want everyone to think how smart I am, or lucky, or a big show off! No! I'm sharing what I have learned, because maybe it will help YOU achieve your dreams!
I submitted my writing without fear. If they didn't like it, what were they going to do? Come to my house and beat me up?! Heck no! I can take rejection. (I learned how to do that when I was in school!)

When my first Chicken Soup for the Soul story was accepted, they provided great marketing info. They are the ones who taught me to be confident, and how to go about contacting the media, etc.

Something else I've done is e-mail authors whose books I've read and admired. I tell them how much I enjoyed their writing and that I'm a writer, too, etc. Sometimes I hear back from them, and sometimes I don't. But you'll never know, IF YOU DON'T TRY!

"Do not judge yourself until you're done. And if you judge yourself a failure, you're not done." - Robert Brault

** Bits & Pieces About My Mother **

As I said last week, I posted a lot of memories and photos for my (deceased) dad's birthday, but I kind of just skipped right past my mom's and I certainly didn't intend to do that. She was born on August 6th, 1915. (If you noticed the date of my dad's birth, she was nine years older than he was.) She would've been 95 years old! Happy Belated Birthday, Mom!
Mother was a true homemaker in the 1950’s kind of way.
(courtesy: countryinthetown. blogspot)

She cooked homemade meals and made wonderful baked goods. She always let me help, too, even if I really was more of a hindrance. I couldn’t have been happier for those first few years of my life, but then my carefree days came to an abrupt end when my dad decided to leave.

(Mid 1950's - summer vacation)
She had already endured the loss of one husband. Her first husband was killed in World War II. And then, her second one decided he didn’t want to be married to her anymore. I know she was devastated by both losses, but probably more so by my dad, because he chose to leave. She never did get over that. I remember feeling sad and helpless sometime because I couldn’t do or say something that would make her happy again.

Looking back on it now, I'm sure she suffered from depression. There wasn't a whole lot of joy in our house from that point on. There weren't the kinds of medications to help then, either.

There's so much more to the story, but that my dear friends, is all for now. The rest is in the book.....

**After reading the first few comments, I decided to post the link to the story I wrote about my parents, that was accepted and published in Chicken Soup for the Soul; Divorce & Recovery. I've mentioned it before, but many readers may not have seen it.  It was also chosen to be published on Belief Net.

"I was very mad at my father and I wanted him to die so I could remember him the way he was before he left us, not what he had turned into." -- Written by a nine year old in www.divorceandkids.com

( I can remember thinking the same kinds of things....It took me many years to forgive him.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

** Happy Saturday Evening **

I positively couldn't believe what I saw when I opened my blog this evening. I have 100 Followers!

(image from aol.com)

When I began this blog I didn't really think I needed one, but some of my writer friends urged me to give it a try, and thank goodness they did! I have learned so much through blogging. There are always posts to read about upcoming writing contests, calls for submissions, writing prompts, memes, and blog contests, etc. I've "met" some wonderful people, too. Some are writers, some are artists, some are decorators and collectors, some live in the US, some in other countries. I'm truly amazed by it all.

Besides learning all kinds of information, sharing photos of some of my little treasures, searching for just the right quote to end a post, I have recently realized that blogging for almost 2 years has made me a better writer. Although I've felt at times that I spend too much time blogging, I know that the book I'm writing would not be the quality it is now, if I hadn't been writing posts almost daily. It's all been a work in progress. I needed this time and practice and knowledge to hone my writing and hopefully make my book worth reading.......by millions of people! : D

If anyone is interested, here is the link for my first post in November 2008.

I can't thank everyone enough. I truly appreciate the comments, the friendship, and the camaraderie.

"For memory has painted this perfect day with colors that never fade, and we find at the end of a perfect day the soul of a friend we've made." -- Carrie Jacobs Bond

* Happy Saturday Morning & The Winner *

Although I spent another night of minimal sleep, I'm feeling bright and cheery this morning.....and in spite of a slight headache! Why, you may ask? I really don't know! I'm just in one of my I'm so happy to be alive moods!

Oh, the minimal sleep was due to:
A) Trying to catch up on reading my blog buddies' posts and commenting on them. I've still got lots more to read this weekend.
B)  Another night of thunder storms that scared Tiger, so I slept on the couch in the family room, because that's the only place she wants to be during those times.
C)  So many ideas going through my head that I want to write about!

And, speaking of writing, I have the winner of the PDF copy of Margaret Norton's book, When Ties Break.
It's June Freaking Cleaver!! Yay!

(courtesy: www.philebrity.com)

June, I will e-mail the PDF to you right away!

Thanks again to Margaret for her very insightful interview! I look forward to meeting her in person when she's in town for book signings!

I have so much more I want to blog about, but that will have to wait until later.......

"A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her." ~David Brinkley

Thursday, August 12, 2010

** This 'n That on a Thursday Night **

A little of this and a little of that.

Don't forget to comment or ask Margaret a question on today's earlier blog post. They can be left until midnight tomorrow night. (Friday, August 13th) One person will win a PDF copy of Margaret's book, by random drawing. From the portion of the book that I've read so far, it's definitely a page turner. If you don't win the free copy, let's help Margaret as much as possible by either passing the word around and/or buying the book! Thanks to all participating, and hopefully y'all will support me when my book comes out!

When I wrote about my dad yesterday on his birthday, I felt a little guilty that I hadn't written much about my mom on her birthday which was just last week. Unfortunately, it was the same day as another scary day concerning Scott's health, and also my frustrating ranting about AOL and my e-mail problems. Sorry, Mom! I'll post more about her this weekend.

I want to apologize for not getting around to all the blogs I usually read and comment on. I don't know where the time goes, but somehow I'm losing it! ....in more ways than one! Please know I try and I certainly do not forget about any of you. You're all always in my thoughts.

While driving to my see my chiropractor today.....yes, my back is a lot better, but not totally 100% yet....I happened to hear the end of a radio interview on NPR with legendary long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad. The host was taking phone calls and somewhere in the conversation, Diana talked about the word "Commitment"....about how important it is in life to actually "commit" to something significant, whether it's swimming a long distance, finishing the task of writing a book (yeah, she had just spoken to a woman in her 50's and I missed that part!), or being the kind of parent that is devoted to raising their children. I had one of those light-bulb moments. While I drove, I grabbed my ever present pen and notepad and scribbled the word Commitment. At the stop light, I added: A commitment to my writing -- to finishing my book. It's not as if I haven't been committed to completing my book, but hearing those words from someone else, and in the way Diana said them....it was magical. I can't express how wonderful I feel and how much I've written this evening.

One of my favorite musicals, Fiddler on the Roof, has one of my favorite songs, Tradition. I am now singing it, replacing Tradtion with Commitment!!

"The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work. " -- Oprah Winfrey

Blog Interview With Author Margaret Norton

Hello Everyone! Today, I'm having a blog interview with writer, Margaret Norton, about her memoir, When Ties Break (A Memoir about How to Thrive After Loss), which also includes a Give-Away!

1. What made you want to write this memoir?

Initially I did not plan to write a book. I started journaling in 2005 at the suggestion of my counselor as a way to deal with grief I was experiencing from eight deaths the previous year. I shared this with a few people and their reaction was "that's good, you should write a book." I was working away from home and living in a hotel at the time with lots of free time on weekends. Not really knowing where all this would take me I started turning my journal into my life story.

2. How difficult was it to recall and reveal some of the tragic things that happened to you?

It was difficult but also healing. I don't think I realized the connection to all the events in my life until I wrote the book and took a good hard look back. It was difficult admitting that I had made mistakes and some of my misfortune was my own fault. I experienced a range of emotions - feeling sorry for myself, angry with myself, beating myself up, etc. It was especially hard when I wrote about my children and having to come face to face with the reality that my decisions had also profoundly shaped their lives.

3. Did you have to get permission from the people in your life who you included in your book?

I struggled with this for a long time and sought the advice of several published authors. Since I was writing my story I did not ask for permission from anyone but I did change everyones name. People that know me will know who I'm talking about. I did this out of consideration to the people in my book. Even though I was writing my story - which often involved them - I was very aware that some of them did not want their story shared with others. By changing the names people that knew them could read the book without knowing who I was talking about. I wasn't trying to get even with anyone and I didn't make anything up. In fact, I left some things out that I felt were just too personal to share with the whole world. It has generated some interesting conversation from my family and friends.

4. What are some of the major themes you explore in When Ties Break?

Divorce, Adultery, Step Parenting, Single Parenting, Death, Grief, Abuse - physical, emotional, financial & sibling, financial loss, loss of faith in God and family estrangement.

5. How long did it take you to write it?

I wrote the book in six months but then spent one year revising and editing it.

6. What are some of the struggles you've had to overcome in your life that led you to write this memoir?

The struggles that I've overcome are the major themes listed in question #4. Those were all big, major events but I think the real struggle for so many years was to find, understand and like myself. I was insecure as a child, married young to an abusive partner and suffered terribly from low self esteem. As my self confidence increased and I learned how to set boundaries and take care of myself the struggles changed. In some ways they became easier. When I was younger I took everything personal - it was all my fault because I was a terrible person. Now that I'm older my perspective is totally different.

Tuesday, August 3rd was the official release date of Margaret's book. It is available from Amazon, major book stores, from her publisher or autographed copies directly from Margaret.

Attached is the link to Tate Publishing which will take you directly to Margaret's book.

This is a very exciting time in her life, which I can totally relate to!

A little more information about Margaret.  When she lived in this area she was a member of Saturday Writers, which is a marvelous writers' group, and not only because I'm also a member! Now that she lives in North Carolina, she has joined several groups:

Writers' Group of the Triad, Editorial Freelancers Assoc, NC Writers' Network, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and Story Circle Network.

Margaret states: "Being a new writer I'm eager to meet as many people in this field as I can and soak up some of their knowledge."

Below are numerous ways to contact Margaret.
Margaret Norton
Personal Life Coach, Writer, Speaker
314 956-2588
To schedule your FREE Consultation
call 314 956-2588 or email me at margaret@margaretnortonlifecoach.com.




Follow me on Facebook, too!

** Okay, here's the part about the "give-away".  Everyone who leaves a comment or question for Margaret, will be placed in a random drawing to receive a PDF file of this book! I started reading it right after I downloaded it, and I can assure you it is a great read! I couldn't wait to read more of it. I've also been told that PDF files of books can be read in some e-readers such as Kindles. Who knew?? Not me!

** Let's do the time for comments and/or questions from Thursday, August 12th at 12:01 am, CDT, until Saturday, August 14th at 12:01 am, CDT.  I'll do the random drawing and announce the winner sometime during the day on Saturday.

I'm very excited for Margaret and I've never even met her! Margo Dill asked if I would like to do a blog interview for her and I agreed. I'm so glad I did, because just from e-mailing back and forth with Margaret (after we got the e-mail goblins to go away!) we've learned that we have quite a bit in common!

Don't be shy! Please leave some comments and/or questions for Margaret!

"Life gives us many chances to start over again, like a cat with nine lives." -- Margaret Norton

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

* Remembering My Dad on His Birthday *

Today, August 11th, was my dad's birthday. He was born in 1924 and if the math portion of my brain is working at all this morning, that means he would've been 86 years old, but he died on November 30, 2002.

Those of you who've read my blog for awhile, know that my dad left us when I was a young girl. I have many memories, both happy and sad, but I won't go into any of the sad ones today.
This is how I remember my dad in the early 1960's.

I want to highlight his intelligence: His years as a student at Parks College in Cahokia, Illinois, and his years of teaching there, immediately following his graduation. He taught kinetics, which I had never heard of until last year when my husband, Ron and I attended Homecoming at SLU. Parks College has always been part of SLU- St. Louis University, but was in a separate location across the Mississippi River in Illinois, until 1997.  
(photo I took of a wall of memories in the Timeline Exhibit)
(This probably isn't "kinetics", but most math problems look the same to me: a foreign language!)

Parks Air College, as it was known in the beginning, has a wonderful, rich history of aviation.
I'm pretty sure it is still the place to attend for aeronautical studies....in the entire world.

This is my favorite photo from our visit last September. There are several walls covered with former and current professors' and other employees' pictures. I provided this one to be placed on the wall. (That's me, crouched down and pointing at it. I was thrilled to see my dad included among so many. This photo was placed in two separate areas and I was so glad neither was too high for me to see!)

Today, Parks College is known as: Parks College of Engineering, Aviation & Technology. It has such a rich and interesting history. Besides the fact that my dad, James G. Lewellen, attended and taught there, the very famous Gene Kranz of Apollo 13 fame, also went to Parks around the same time as dad.

I took this photo of a huge poster of Gene Kranz.
Ed Harris played Mr. Kranz in the movie, Apollo 13.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Although we spent many years apart, if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here today. I wouldn't be the person I have become. I wouldn't be a writer. I wouldn't be me.  

"In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them." -- Johann von Neumann

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I just totally threw my back out. I accidentally deleted my previous post. I'm going back to bed.......

Sunday, August 8, 2010

♪ Those Lazy,Hazy,Crazy Days of Summer & Wind Chimes ♪

** Thanks to the comment left by Sioux, I changed my previous music for this particular post, to one that makes much more sense! Wind Chimes! Hope you enjoy! **

I don't know if I've ever written anything on my blog about my love of wind chimes.........

But, ever since I was a little girl, I've been mesmerized by them. I especially love to listen to these shell-like ones. They are delicate and have a soothing, summery kind of sound. As you can see in these photos, I have two sets hanging on a floor lamp. The lamp occupies a corner of my upstairs office, which gets really hot in the summer, so a couple of years ago, my husband put in a window air conditioner for me. The lamp stands near the window and when the a/c is on, the air blows toward the chimes ever so gently, and they make just the slightest of tinkling sounds. I find it so soothing. It takes me back to other times in my life and brings me great joy. Isn't it wonderful when something so simple can be so life effecting?
Can you see the shells swaying in this photo?
Can you hear them, as well?!

"Simplicity, clarity, singleness: these are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy." - Richard Halloway

Friday, August 6, 2010

** Fractured Friday **

How many remember the Fractured Fairy Tales? It was a segment on the Rocky and Bullwinkle TV Show, in the 1960's. That cartoon show was a classic! I guess it was meant to be geared toward children, but the humor was really hip! Each one was loosely based on a "real" fairy tale (isn't that an oxymoron??), but was slighty fractured!

That's what popped into my mind when I thought of a title for today's post. Yeah, my mind works in funny, fractured ways sometimes....groan!

Today was fractured because:

a)  My son, Scott, spent another night in the hospital last night, due to pains and swelling in his abdominal area. I didn't know much for over 24 hours and was quite frantic, to put it mildly. Turns out it's still issues from his ruptured appendix and resulting surgery in June. More tests were done, and so I (guess I)  feel better about it all.....for now, anyway.

b)  Today was my mom's birthday. She's been deceased since 1989. I'm so glad she was able to see Mark a few times before she died. She lived in Iowa and we drove there a few times and she traveled here a time or two, also. She would've been 95 years old today.

c)  I'm really perturbed at AOL. It seems they have decided to LIMIT some of the e-mails we AOL users can send, in a given amount of time! I first noticed it yesterday, when I tried to send an e-mail, I received the following error message: You are blocked from sending email messages. See KW:RATE LIMITS for details.  And, of course, I immediately thought, Huh?...Well, that's obviously a mistake. I'm not on any kind of rate limit on my Aol account. But, when it continued, I put my mail in the "Send Later" folder. After a while, I could go into that folder and click "Send" and off it went.  BUT, this evening, after attempting to send 5 different e-mail.....mostly my "thank you for your comments on my blog" e-mail,  I decided to see if I could find the "rate limits" info. Long story short.....(I know, it's already too long)......It has to do with some kind of spam problems associated with Aol Instant Messaging and Chat Rooms. (which I don't even use)  I then contacted AOL through their Live Chat System and after the usual niceties was told, quote: "Meantime, if you really need to send mail I strongly suggest to use the AOL webmail.On the Internet Explorer address bar please typehttp://mail.aol.com/lite
Sign on with your AOL screen name and password to send the E-mail."

WHAT?? If I wanted to send mail that way, I wouldn't have AOL! Acccckkkkk!!!  I have a new abbreviation for them......SOL

“We have no reliable guarantee that the afterlife will be any less exasperating than this one, have we?” -- Noel Coward

Thursday, August 5, 2010

** If It's Thursday -- Part 2 **

Just a couple other things I wanted to mention.

1)  I'm probably going to begin responding to your comments by e-mail, whenever possible, instead of in the comment section. It seems like the logical thing to do, because I can reply faster and directly to the lovely person!

2)  Are you one of C. Hope Clark's blog followers? If you're a writer and you're not reading her blog often, you are missing out on lots of great information. She always has info about Calls for Submissions, Contests, the rights and wrongs of writing, etc. She is also going to be one of the key note speakers at the MWG (Missouri Writers Guild) Conference, in St. Louis next spring.

3)  Another interesting Call for Submissions I came across, and I honestly do not remember where, when or how I saw it....but it's called Shaking Like a Mountain. (And if I've already posted about this, please forgive me, because as you all know, I'm losing my mind!)

4)  And, the ever famous, Chicken Soup for the Soul, has Call Outs for 4 books right now. They pay well, give free books in addition to the money, and it's a quality name that everyone knows and respects.

"There comes that mysterious meeting in life when someone acknowledges who we are and what we can be, igniting the circuits of our highest potential." -- Rusty Berkus

** If It's Thursday, I'm Way Behind On My To-Do List **

Okay! Here are various interesting tidbits, in no particular order.
Nick Nixon: Writer, singer, song writer extraordinaire, is on a local radio station every first Friday of the month. That would be tomorrow. KWRE, 730 ON THE AM DIAL. 3:00 to 5:00PM, CDT. I checked out their website yesterday. They are not streaming online yet, but it's coming soon. You'll definitely want to listen when it's available. And if you live "here", you can listen on your radio and enjoy Nick's easy going ways, good natured jokes, and beautiful singing. Nick is a memeber of Saturday Writers and the Coffee & Critique group. I'm proud to know him and call him my friend. Following are 2 links from the late 1970's (I'm pretty sure!): One is of Nick singing and the other is Barbara Fairchild singing "The Teddy Bear Song", a song Nick wrote. Even though I wasn't a big country music fan at that time, I certainly remember hearing it.



Robert Brault has a new post on his blog and saying it has been worth the wait doesn't do it near justice! Jump on over there as fast as you can and see what I mean. I read and reread every quote and just savored them all. Thank you, Robert, for sharing your wondrous thoughts and words.

June Freaking Cleaver e-mailed me this morning to notify me of her very first acceptance, anywhere! And what's even better is that this was the first time she ever submitted anything, anywhere! Yay for June! I kept telling her how talented she was and how much I loved her writing, and that she should submit something....somewhere! And gosh, she actually took my advise! Go over to June's blog and congratulate her! I think it's just the start of an awesome writing career.

Patchwork Path has story call outs. I received an e-mail yesterday from the editor about this, plus the news that Treasure Box is being edited and due out this November, as scheduled. (That's the one I have a story in. I'm really looking forward to seeing it.)

Okay, that's going to be all for now. I don't want to make this too long and scare everyone off!

Thanks again to everyone who reads my blog, has become a follower, especially recently. It took me about a year and a half to just reach 50 followers, which was May of this year. In less than 3 months, the number has almost doubled! I am truly in awe of that, and I am touched and honored. Thank you!

And you know I must end with one of Robert Brault's newest quotes:

"Who does not wish to be beautiful, and clever, and rich, and to have back, in old age, the time spent trying to be any of them." -- Robert Brault

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

** Wonderful Wednesday **

Originally I was going to post a lot of different information this evening, but time got away from me (how does that happen, exactly?) One reason is that our electricity was out for some time, most likely due to all the air conditioners running on TILT!  It went off around 7:55 pm and came back on at 9:30 with a blast of lights and TV noise! I rather enjoyed the quiet and candle lit rooms for awhile. I even have a little transitor radio I listened to for a short time, but that, too, got old....

So, I'll wait until tomorrow to share various tidbits of news. Until then, wherever you are, I hope you are staying as cool as you possibly can.

(photo courtesy: savagechickens.com)

“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance” -- Jane Austen

** AND THE WINNER IS....... **

JENNEE!! Congratulations to my July Contest winner, Jennee, from Cheap Therapy.

I really enjoyed having this contest and reading all the resourceful reasons why everyone wanted to win. As I said, though, it was purely a random drawing contest.

As soon as I hear back from Jennee with her mailing address, her goodies will be on their way!

(photo courtesy: history.utah.gov)

Now...I just have to come up with another inventive contest for August. And don't worry, oh fabulous Miss Cathy C......I'll try to get my act together and post it before the end of the month! 

"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about." -- Charles Kingsley

Monday, August 2, 2010

** The Dog Days of August Are Upon Us **

I've had so much going on the past few days, and all of it's been great.....well, except for that car repair bill, which made me go: *BOING*

Just a few of the highlights.

Our Saturday Writers meeting yesterday was a fun-filled, action packed, marvelous event! I could write volumes about it, but luckily for you, I don't have time. I'm sure Donna will post lots of information on the site soon, telling more about it...and other upcoming meetings, contests and events. (Speaking of Donna, I've been a follower of her personal blog ever since I met her. I don't remember exactly when or how we met, but she is a wonderful writer, critiquer, and friend!)

I received a very favorable e-mail from Susan Bono at Tiny Lights pertaining to my book!! Still doing dances about that one! (If I could do cart wheels, I'd do them, too, but I never could perform any gymnastic type feats. There's a lot I can't do, and couldn't do as a child. I always thought I was born without any talent whatsoever. I didn't realize until I was 40-something that I could at least do a little writing!)

I also received an e-mail from Stacey Battat at Kiwi Publishing. She e-mailed just to reconnect and said a story I submitted last year for her Thin Threads anthologies was still in the running. I really hope that story makes it, but regardless, I will include it in my book.

I found out today that I won a fabulous blog prize! Linda at A La Carte hosted a very unique contest. Click on over there and read all about it.

I'm probably forgetting people or events that I wanted to write about tonight...which is now Monday morning.....But you know me....I'm sure I'll have plenty to write about at a later time.*

*Addendum: 7:00 AM Monday is now a "later time":
I forgot to mention something else about Saturday Writers....its President, Lou Turner. She is probably the most energetic, hard working, intelligent writer-gal I've ever met! Anyone who knows her, believes that her day must consist of 48 hours, instead of our measly 24. She gets more accomplished in that period of time than anyone else I know! How she can include being President of our writers group into her life is beyond me.   And I'm not just saying that because she is my publisher, either! Lou has been a world of help to me and other writers near and far. Check out High Hill Press and learn more about it. There are contests to enter, calls for submissions, etc.

Don't forget to Follow Your Bliss, (and that my contest ends tomorrow, Tuesday, August 3rd at midnight, central daylight time) and have a wonderful week!

Tonight's quotes....2 from the Mahhhhhvelous Maxine!

"Ever feel like you've had too much coffee? Me neither."

"Fashion magazines are society's way of saying 'If you don't feel inadequate already, read one of these!'