Thursday, September 30, 2010

** A Wondrous, Waggish Thursday **

Today was a glorious day. I sat on our deck for a few brief moments in the warm, bright afternoon sun. Tiger had wanted to go out and so I joined her, thinking it would be good to soak up a little Vitamin D. After running around the yard and rolling in the grass, she stretched out on our back driveway and watched the world go by. I swear, just about every single thing that dog does, makes me smile or laugh.

(This obviously isn't an outdoor photo, but this is what Tiger did outside in the grass today!)
The wind rustled the leaves, still green and clinging to the tall tree limbs. The chimes swayed and tingled, making me smile all the more. What a wonderful life, I thought to myself.

After going back inside the house, I decided to take a couple of pictures of the chimes, right through the screen window in the kitchen. This window is right over my kitchen sink and I've written before about how much I enjoy seeing and listening to the chimes, and the birds or squirrels, and the beautiful trees.

Notice the "action" photo I got on this one! The movement of the weight & chimes, swaying in the wind!
You can also see part of our back driveway I mentioned. The brownish grass is on a large, steep hill that goes up into the corner of our yard. Not enough rain and too much heat this summer!

All of the fencing and trees that are shown are not ours...they belong to our neighbors behind us. We live at the end of a cul-de-sac, which means we have a pie-shaped yard: tiny front yard, but very large back yard. In this picture, I was trying to get more of the trees, which I did, but I missed the weight hanging at the end of the chimes! Oh all know that it's there! As you can probably see, some of the trees are evergreens, and the others turn the most beautiful shades of yellow, gold, red, and orange. Every autumn, I take pictures of them, and I'll be sure to post some of those when the time comes.  

Also, I'd like to say Thank You and Welcome to my 3 newest followers: Colie's Kitchen, Dave, and L.E. Neighbour! Please feel free to comment anytime you wish!

"Happiness is an attitude.  We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong.  The amount of work is the same."  ~Francesca Reigler

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

** Happy Birthday, Big Brother! **

No...not the TV Show!! Over the past few years, whenever I see my older brother, Mike, I always hug him and say, "Hello, big brudder!" ...In the way that Sally refers to her brother, Charlie Brown!

(photo courtesy:

I looked for quite a while, hoping to find an image or video of Sally saying that to Charlie, but I couldn't fine one. Instead, I found this darling picture of the two of them, most likely walking to my favorite time of the year.....Autumn!

My brother, Mike, is 15 months older than I am. We were born in the early 1950's, back in the days of cloth diapers, washing & sterlizing glass baby bottles, etc. (Good thing our mother had two teenage daughters to help out. We've been told many times, that they didn't mind helping out one bit. They loved and spoiled Mike and me like crazy!)

In honor of Mike's birthday, please click the link below for a little dancing and singing by the Peanuts Gang.

*I turned off the automatic start on my Play List, so you won't have dueling music when you click the link! *

"Birthdays are good for you.  Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest. " ~Larry Lorenzoni

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

** Tuesday's Tidbits **

An extra special Thank You goes to Sue at Sue's News, Views 'n Muse! After reading yesterday's post, Sue realized I was most likely referring to a memoir she glowingly reviewed recently. She even listed the link in her comment: The name of the memoir is "Let's Take the Long Way Home," by Gail Caldwell. I was practically jumping for joy when I realized Sue did have the information! But, now, I have a quandry. Should I still read "The Condition" first, before mailing it to Bookie/Claudia? It's a BIG book.....Hmmm...I think I'll go ahead and mail it to Clauida with her other winnings. I hope my library has Gail Caldwell's book, since I already own a gazillion books, and haven't even read a large number of them, yet! Ahhhh...So Many Books. So Little Time!
I don't know if I've mentioned a newsletter I receive about once a month that is full of literary magazines and contests and calls for submissions, etc. I've posted some of the information about them, but not the newsletter itself. The website is: Poets & Writers. It's full of wonderful information. Sign up for the newsletter and you'll be kept in the loop!
You know all that irritating junk (snail) mail that fills your mail box practically daily? For years, I opened everything, realized it was junk and threw it away. Then someone mentioned to me about the great Buy One Get One Free restaurant coupons they received, or the Save So-Much when you spend So-Much kind of coupons. So, I started opened up junk mail again. Good thing I did, because recently I received a nice little rebate check in a blank-looking envelope, that almost got tossed before I opened it. And the coupons are worth going through, even if you only find one that you would use. Okay....I told you all that, so I can tell you this: I wanted to send something special to my sister now that she's home from the hospital, but I couldn't think of anything other than a cute homemade card. WELL, yesterday while going through stacks of junk mail that I'd let pile up in my office, I came across one for $4.00 off an Edible Arrangement! Voile! The perfect special gift! They're rather pricey, but I got a small one, since it's just Marian and her husband. She called me today to thank me and was so pleased and surprised and feeling quite "special"!

"When you urgently serve others, attack problems, enact solutions, and express your sense of family and friendship, the rewards will come back to you with equal speed." -- Pat Croce

Monday, September 27, 2010

** Memoirs, I Love Memoirs **

First of all, I called my sister this evening and we talked for quite a while. She sounded really good, even though she said she was obviously very tired. Hopefully, she can finally get lots of sleep and rest, being at home and in her own bed! All is well in the world!
I finished reading The Midwife; A Memoir of Birth, Joy & Hard Times, by Jennifer Worth. I REALLY enjoyed it! It was such a different book from what I normally read and at first I didn't think I'd like it, but I really did. I read every night until my eyes were too blurry to see! I will now mail it to a blog friend who asked to read it when I was finished.
Now, I've begun The Condition, by Jennifer Haigh. It's the one Bookie-Claudia chose as her extra prize in my 100 Word Contest. I demanded asked politely if I could read it before I sent it, and she graciously agreed!
Speaking of books, I've been racking my brain trying to remember what blog I was at, not too terribly long ago, where the Blogger was raving about a memoir she had just read. I think we commented back and forth a bit and she said she was sure I would like it. Now, of course, I don't remember where it was!! I've gone through my blog roll of my favorites, and nothing looked familiar. HELP! If anyone reading this knows what blog or book I'm thinking of.....please leave a comment or e-mail me! All I remember is that it was a woman's memoir. That ought to do the trick, don't ya think? DUH! Aaacckkkk!!

Martha's Way: Place a slice of apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it.

Maxine's Way: Brown sugar is supposed to be soft?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

** A September Sunday Night **

I experienced some Big Things today.

                                      I enjoyed autumn-like weather! Yay!      

My St. Louis Rams WON a football game!! Woo-Hoo! 

I told my publisher I wouldn't have my book completed before the end of this year and she was perfectly okay with that! Whew!

My sister was released from the hospital and sent home! Yippee!   

Notice I posted these in the opposite order of importance....although my sister and my publisher were hard to choose between...Just Kidding!!   BUT, I've been struggling, AGAIN, with staying focused, slipping in and out of The Zone, feeling inadequate....all those writer issues. I know it happens to ALL writers, famous and/or totally unknown, but it hadn't happened to me in quite a while. So, I finally "gave myself permission" to take a break from writing. I haven't spent more than a fleeting second or two even thinking about my book. I've turned to other interests that I hadn't been paying any attention to...making some greeting cards AND reading more! I also want to enter some writing contests (look out Sioux here I come!) and submit to all kinds of other publications. THAT should really help get my creative juices flowing again.

I still haven't talked to my sister, but have been kept up to date talking with my two adult nieces. I'll definitely call Marian tomorrow! If she says she wants me to come and stay awhile, you can bet I'll be hopping on a plane to Atlanta! Look out all my Atlanta-area blog friends!! I may be giving you a call, too!

Have a fabulously, blissful week y'all!

"Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open." ~ John Barrymore

Friday, September 24, 2010

** Friday Night Announcements **

** I've made the decision to attempt to respond to everyone's comments via e-mail. (I realize I've said this before, but hopefully I will follow through this time!) After my day or two of "commenting like crazy", an idea came to me. I want to make it as easy as possible for anyone who takes the time to leave a comment for me, to see if I have acknowledged them! Because, how can we all remember where we left comments? And THEN, go back to those blogs to see if our scathingly brilliant comments received a comment back from the blog owner?! Too much time! Too crazy! And none of us need any of that, do we? SO, I'm definitely NOT discouraging leaving comments. No, please do! I read every one of them and they...and you....all mean so much to me. This way, you just won't have to stop back by unless you want to read something new, etc.

** I stumbled across another (new to me) blog this evening.  Here is the blog of Lynda Schab's "On the Write Track".  She has many publishing credits, and also provides links to various writing sites. Those of you who are interested in Christian writing, she has links for those, too. She is having a 12 Books of Christmas Contest/give-away, beginning this coming Monday! I'm definitely not one to rush Christmas, and reading about this contest didn't make me feel that way whatsoever. It just perked me up and made me happy! More books! More books! Oh and guess what? She has the books background that I had until I recently changed to my autumn leaves. SO, she must be a wonderful gal, don't you think?

** I heard absolutely no news concerning my sister today, so that tells me she must be okay. I'll definitely call tomorrow to see what the latest information is. Thanks for all your kind comments and e-mails. I so appreciate all of you.

** Have a wonderful, blissful weekend!

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." -- Leo Buscaglia

** It's Friday...Again, Already? **

** Comment Like Crazy (Wednesday) went fairly well....although I only made it to about 1/5 of the blogs I follow! I visited quite a few more yesterday and hope to finish up today. I think my next Comment Like Crazy Day will be a week from Sunday, the 3rd of October. That should work out just about right! It was great fun catching up on so many fabulous blogs! Gee, that must be why I follow them! (Oh, BTW, I'm going through them alphabetically, so I don't lose track as to where I've been I'm sorry if you're at the end of the alphabet.

** My sister, Marian, who lives in the Atlanta area had surgery this past Tuesday. It was supposed to be one of those "routine" surgeries, but there were some frightening complications. She's still in the hospital and I'm not sure when she'll be released. I've talked to my brother-in-law and both (grown) nieces, so they are keeping me up to date. I just wish I didn't live so far away. She hasn't been able to, or in the mood to talk on the phone to anyone yet, but she knows her long-distance family members have made multiple calls to find out how she's doing, etc. I'm hoping she'll be much better by later today.

That's it for now. It's way past midnight and I still have some reading to do. Until later........♥

“The house does not rest upon the ground, but upon a woman” -- Mexican Proverb Quote

Thursday, September 23, 2010


According to 123 Greetings, today is Chocolate Day!!  I find this little bit of news particularly verrrry interesting....because just last night, when I was at the check-out lane in Target, a Hershey Bar called my name! Indeed it did. It said, "Hey, Becky! Over here. You know you want me, so just give in and indulge." And since I'm at a stage in my life where I have absolutely no willpower, (hopefully this too shall pass) I grabbed that chocolate bar and threw it on the converyer belt along with my few necessities: printer ink, diet coke, yogurt, and yellow zingers! See what I mean?? At least I bought some yogurt and DIET soda!

Anyway, I have not eaten the Hershey Bar yet....ta-dah! So, here is my gift to everyone, on this special day.

The Hershey Bar is real. The other items are stickers from my greeting card/sticker collection.
Consider this your E-Card for the day!!

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

"Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces." -- Judith Viorst

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

** Comment Like Crazy Wednesday **

Hey Everybody! It's Comment Like Crazy Wednesday!  The fabulous TK Richardson, of My Writing Masquerade, came up with this wonderful meme, as a way to keep up with blog reading and commenting! She asked if I'd like to join along and I said "Sure"!

I believe many people struggle with issues about trying to write something on their blog every day or every other day. Some maybe don't have much going on at the moment that seems "Blog Worthy", or in most cases, don't have the time! SO, instead of struggling, trying to write something to post, how about taking the day off, and go visit your blog buddies....Read...and.... Comment Like Crazy!

(I'm not sure yet if Comment Like Crazy will be a weekly feature on my blog, since this is my first one, so I'll see what happens! TK said she will be doing it weekly, but not necessarily every Wednesday.)

 Here's how it works:

1. Instead of writing my normal blog post for (maybe) one day of the week, I will Comment Like Crazy on your blogs! (sounds simple, huh?)

2. The purpose of Comment Like Crazy is not to gain more followers, but to connect with those who follow me and those I follow. After all, how will you know I've read your blog if I don't say something?

3. It doesn't matter which day of the week I choose as long as I Comment Like Crazy when I do! So, this week it's Wednesday. Next week who knows?

4. I encourage all of you to grab the Comment Like Crazy button, and join in. The "rules" are simple and you'll be interacting with one of the best communities out there - bloggers! It's like hanging a "Gone Fishing" sign on your blog....only you won't be fishing! Readers will know you'll be back the next day, with one of your "scathingly brilliant" posts! (Thanks, Cathy C. for letting me borrow one of your/my favorite expressions!..and thanks to The Angels!)

Blogging takes a lot of time, energy, and thought. We put more into our blogs than people realize, and when we leave comments it gives us the fuel we need to keep on trucking - er, I mean blogging!

Thanks again to TK Richardson for suggesting this fun, interactive meme!

Ahhh, the pressure is off for today. No fabulous post to write. No photos to search for and download. I get to do one of my very favorite things: Visit my blog friends and let 'em know I was there! I can't wait!

"Time goes by so fast, people go in and out of your life. You must never miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you.” -- Unknown

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

** Tuesday's Tidbits **

*Contest Entrants: I'd like to acknowledge everyone who entered my contest and include links to their blogs; partly to showcase their beautiful blogs and various talents, but also because at least one of them that I know of, is hosting her own contest right now!

Barb Hodges, Donna Volkenannt, Nancy Olson, Kathy Matthews, Myrna R., Jennee Thompson, Janel G., OJ, Sioux, Bookie-Claudia, Susan W., and last but not least.... June Freaking Cleaver!

Honorable Mention goes to: Tammy Goodsell. Tammy wrote a hilarious story, but alas...the word count was over the 100 word limit.

*Newest Followers: I'd also like to acknowledge my 15 newest followers! I was so thrilled when I reached the magic number of 100, which seems like just a week or so ago. In the past couple of days, that number has somehow risen to 115. I appreciate every one of you...from the very first one, to the 20th, 40th, and so on. It's wonderful following "old" friends, AND meeting new blogger friends.

*Blog Highlight:  Now, I'd like to introduce you to one of my three lovely daughters-in-law, Sara. My (bonus) son, Matt, and Sara have 8 beautiful children, ranging in age from 13 years old to 1 year old. She is an amazing mom!! I am delighted to be part of their wonderful family! Please check out Sara's blog. I love the title of it: 8aplenty. I think you'll enjoy reading about a "typical" day in their household and seeing photos of all the kids! (Sara is my only daughter-in-law who has a blog, so don't think I'm playing favorites!)☺

"The best part of life is when your family becomes your friends, and your friends become your family."- Danica Whitfield

Monday, September 20, 2010

** Thanks Again **

Thanks again to everyone who participated in my 100 Word Contest. As I said in my comment in the previous post, it really was hard to make the decision and choose just one winner! All of you are winners in my mind! And thank you for the compliments and congratulations given to Bookie/Claudia!

Bookie/Claudia has chosen The Condition, by Jennifer Haigh, as her extra bonus gift! (And as I spelled out in the fine print....she has to wait until AFTER I read it, before I will mail it to her!) 
As you can see, I played around with my blog background last night. I think I've got it to where I'm happy with it, except for one thing. I was able to change font sizes and colors everywhere except in the area at the top where I posted a few quotes. If anyone can tell me how to make those letters larger, please let me know.

Tomorrow's post will highlight a certain blogger I know, AND say a little something to my newest followers!

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort." -- Herm Albright

Sunday, September 19, 2010

** And The Winner Is....**

We've all heard how hard it is to judge a writing contest, or to select the best of the best for an anthology, and believe me...that is so true.

I received twelve submissions for my writing contest, based on a photo prompt. All the stories were so unique and had their own individual voice. I barely glanced at them when I received each e-mail, because I didn't want to begin judging while the person's identity was fresh in my mind.

Tonight after I printed each story, I cut out any name or e-mail address, and gave them to The Ronald to read. After he made some decisions, I read all of them and made some of my own decisions. A little discussion began and then I was the one who ultimately made the final decision. (By the way, The Ronald was really pleased to be part of this and took it very seriously!) Thanks to all twelve who took the time to write a story and submit it. I really appreciate it and I thought it was lots of fun, hopefully for you, too.

THE WINNER IS: BOOKIE - CLAUDIA!  Coming in at exactly 100 words.  Below is her story:

Addy swung her worn boot into the truck, brown leather faded white from work. She drove down the bumpy lane’s fresh wash outs, bouncing with a bronc rider’s grace. As she passed the Winston place, she saw an autumn scarecrow waving. None of that fall frippery for their place, only work.

When she pulled into the farm store, she saw a painter’s palette of robust hues. The uninhibited colors took her breath away. Pumpkins nestled among mums like perfect harvest moons, something she hadn’t witnessed in years.
Driving away, her cargo included orange and yellow mounds.

What would John think?

I chose this one because the story took me along with it. I was right there with Addy, as if I was riding along in the passenger side of the truck....and smiling silently as she headed home with her somewhat forbidden cargo! Great job, Claudia! Please e-mail me and let me know which book you'd like to add to your prizes.

"I try to leave out the parts that people skip." ~ Elmore Leonard

** Sunday Synopsis **

* The twelve (12) contest entries have been printed. I cut out names and/or e-mail addresses, so when I sit down to read them, I truly won't remember who wrote what. Then I'll turn them over to The Ronald to read. After he gives his opinions, I'll read them again, and then.....voile'....the winner will be announced! That will happen most likely later tonight.

* A few days ago, I mentioned a Call for Submissions I received in an e-mail. But the information didn't make sense with what I saw, and didn't see, on the web site. (I couldn't find anything about Flashlight Memories!) I haven't heard back from them, but decided to go ahead and post the link:

This is what the e-mail said: Flashlight Memories Silver Boomer Books is seeking poetry - 23 lines or less (this includes the spaces between lines and/or stanzas) - for the upcoming anthology themed Flashlight Memories. Flashlight Memories recounts memories experiences with reading, which produced lifelong readers.

Please submit your work according to the guidelines found at
Poetry deadline: October 5, 2010  

(Good luck and let me know if any of you figure this one out!)

* Speaking of anthologies......I have an announcement that is huge to me! I have just been notified that a story I began working on in April of 2009, has been accepted by Kiwi Publishing for an upcoming Thin Threads Anthology. Woo-Hoo!! Doin' the Happy Dance! I cannot tell you how much this means to me. The story I wrote and submitted was the first one I've ever written that wasn't about my own life. It was an "As Told By" story of a Hurricane Katrina survivor, her struggles and her eventual joyful life. She came from Mississippi to this area and I was fortunate enough to interview her and become her friend. To find out the rest of the story......well, you know what you have to the book when it comes out in November! I'll even autograph my chapter!  (Thin Threads accepts inspirational, true stories. Click on either link above and check them out.)

* One more thing. Just yesterday morning. (♫♪ okay, who just heard James Taylor's voice in your head ♫♪)
 The quote at the end of my post was, "So many books, so little time." (one of my absolute favorites!) THEN, last night I was at the mall, just kind of wandering and looking. And I found, tried on and bought THIS:
Isn't it adorable?? This white sweatshirt is so soft and comfy.

I couldn't get a good close up. The books say: Who's Who, Give a Hoot, Book of Wisdom, and under the steaming cup of coffee or tea, one of the books says Night Owl.
Is that too cute, or what??
I only wish it would've come in other colors. I'm afraid I'll have trouble keeping it clean! ☺

"The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things." -- Henry Ward Beecher

Saturday, September 18, 2010

** Contest: ADDITIONAL PRIZE! **

Just a quick post about the contest that ends tonight at midnight CDT.

I have 10 Entrants so far: If you entered and you don't see your name here, than I didn't receive it. Please e-mail and resend.

And the rest of you out there....You've Got Plenty of Time!! Give It a Try!

AND, I'M ADDING ONE MORE ITEM TO THE PRIZE LIST! I WILL INCLUDE ONE OF THE BOOKS I PURCHASED AT BIG LOTS! ......The Small Print: If you don't mind waiting until I've read it! Whichever one is chosen, I will read right away and then send it, but the other prizes will be sent asap!!
Barb H.
Donna V.
Nancy O.
Kathy M.
Jennee T.
Janel G.

*Note: As of 11:00 pm, I have 2 more entrants: Susan W. and June Freaking Cleaver! Good luck to everyone, and if I receive any more before midnight, I'll post about them tomorrow.*

"So many books, so little time" -- Unknown

Friday, September 17, 2010

** Fantabulous Friday **

I don't know if you've noticed or not, but I love to use the words fabulous and fantastic (and marvelous!) In fact, I use them quite often, so my title for tonight combines at least two of those words. I could've squeezed a portion of "marvelous" in somehow, but I didn't want a Fabrication Friday!

I really don't have much else to write about tonight, other than to share my feelings of what kind of week I've had. It's been a weird one. Some of what I've learned or experienced first hand, I may blog about later. I'm not sure yet. Please forgive me if I sound mysterious or dramatic, because that's not my intention at all. It just hasn't been my "normal" kind of week, and here I am, late on a Friday night, and the title of my post is Fantabulous Friday. The good has totally outweighed the bad, by far.

One of my firm beliefs is that no matter what the day's like the weather: It will always change! And part of that change can truly be controlled by me. I can choose to change my attitude. I can choose to turn around and make a difference. I can choose to let things get me down, or I can concentrate on the wonderful, fantabulous parts of life.

For my quote tonight, I'm going to post something I just heard this morning and it really grabbed me. It will probably end up as one of my main quotes! It's part of the lyrics from a song called "Anthem" by the fantabulous Leonard Cohen.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in. -- Leonard Cohen

** There's Still Time to Enter Contest **

Hey everyone! Please remember to enter my 100 Word Contest I posted on September 11th. You have until midnight tomorrow (Saturday) night CDT. Come on, give it a try! It'll be fun! NO entry fee, and you just might win. You don't even have to be a "writer". Just look at the photo I posted and write a little story about it, 100 words or less.

And remember, The Ronald is helping to judge. I'm going to print the submissions, without any names listed and he'll read them like that.

You don't know what you can do, if you never try! Join in on the fun!!

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little." -- Edmund Burke

Thursday, September 16, 2010

** My First Cloche -- Fall Decor **

Hey Everyone, I'm joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for her Fall Cloche. This is my very first attempt at decorating, using a cloche. I had never heard of them until I saw summer ones at Marty's beautiful blog!
Definition of a Cloche: Glass bell jar, first used by the French to protect an early garden plant. Who Knew?!

I bought this cloche at Hobby Lobby and the wooden stand at Michael's Crafts.
I think the bird is a pheasant!
The other decorations are from my storage box, plus a couple of new items.

I realize already that I should've staged this much better....pretty doilies, different table, etc. I'm almost embarrassed to post it, but I was so excited about doing this......I promise to do better next time!

* P.S. I forgot to mention that I also bought the beautiful bird at Hobby Lobby. It was one of the 50% items of the week....of course!
* I guess I didn't explain it correctly that Marty at A Stroll Thru Life, posted some gorgeous examples of cloches on her blog, to give everyone ideas on how to do this! After reading everyone's sweet comments this morning, I wanted to make it clear that I would've never thought of this myself!! Please go to Marty's and click on some of the other participants' cloches! Every one of them is unique and beautiful.
"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." - George Eliot

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

** It's a Waggish Wednesday **

I just discovered a new word I like! Waggish. Depending on which dictionary or thesaurus you use, it has various/similar meanings, but most are: cheerful, humorous, amusing. I'd say that sounds a lot like me!

Just a few short things this early morning: My blog friend, Mollye at is having a Clearance Sale on a lot of lovely craft items; lace, scrapbook paper, wallpapers, yarn, rubber stamps, ribbons, etc. If you're at all interested, please jump on over to Mollye's, because, She's A Doozy!

Because of the many comments about receiving a used book as a contest prize, being acceptable, that's what I'll do in the near future. I'll give away one or more of the many books I've already read. Details will follow when the time comes!

NPR Three Minute Fiction Contest  Have you heard about this contest? Click on the link and check it out. If your story wins, it will be read on NPR -- National Public Radio! Wow! Talk about a major listening audience!

I received an e-mail about a Call for Submissions for an anthology (Not Chicken Soup for the Soul). It didn't quite make sense after I got to the website, so I don't want to post it yet. I'll let you know what I find out.

And with that, I say Adieu!

"A good friend is a connection to life - a tie to the past - a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world." -- Lois Wyse

Monday, September 13, 2010

** It's Monday ... "Car 54, Where Are You?"

Don't ask me where THAT title came from because I have NO idea! It just popped into my head, the way most things do that I write about!  Yeah, I know... scary, isn't it?!

I completed another little task today pertaining to marketing of my book. (I'll be so glad when I won't feel like I'm doing everything backwards...and The Book is OUT THERE!) This was one of the things listed on the "Pre Published - Lay the Foundation" Parts 1 & 2 that I mentioned the other day. Gosh, I wish I could remember where I read that, because I'd love to thank the writer and give her/him recognition. This was #5 on the list: "Invest in a P.O. Box at your local Post Office. You will be mailing promotional items....."etc. I thought that was a great idea and would be much more professional, especially when those checks start rolling in! 

I told the clerk I probably won't be getting any mail in it for years and then added, "I guess I'll have to mail myself something", and she just cracked up. I also bought a page of the new Katherine Hepburn 44¢ stamp. What a fabulous actress she was!

Okay... I didn't mean to ramble on so much. NOW, I want to tell you about those 5 books I bought last week at Big Lots. I am so excited about them! Especially because the very first one I chose to read is SO good! I wasn't sure if I'd like it, but I really, really do. It's called "The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times", by Jennifer Worth. I also discovered it's part of a series of three or four books, so Yippee! I'll have more to read by Jennifer.

The other books I bought that day are: "Hardly Knew Her", by Laura Lippman. This is a book of short stories.

"The Condition", by Jennifer Haigh. I'm familiar with this author. I read "Mrs. Kimble" a couple of years ago and really liked it, so I was thrilled to find this new novel.

This is "Homestead", by Jane Kirkpatrick. It's a memoir about "Modern Pioneers Pursuing the Edge of Possibility". Sounds intriguing!

And lastly, another memoir, "The End of the World As We Know It", by Robert Goolrick. It's about his life growing up in the 1950's. (Hmmm, that's one of my eras!)

You know what "they" say.....Writers should read the same genre that they write. Or something like that. I love memoirs anyway, so that certainly isn't a chore for me to do!

If I can get myself to part with any of these after I read them, I may include one or more in another contest. Would y'all mind reading used books? I'm pretty sure I know the answer to that!

"Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has figured it out." -- Michael Burke

Saturday, September 11, 2010

** September Contest **

It's time for my September Contest! Begins today, September 11th. Ends September 18th at Midnight CDT.

Using this picture as your writing prompt, write a story about this scene, using 100 words or less. (I took this picture in September 2008, when I was visiting relatives in Iowa. It is a garden shop, but you can make it be whatever you want. It's YOUR story!) Only one entry per person, so make it a good one, because instead of a random drawing this time, I'm asking The Ronald to help me choose the best story! You do not have to be a follower. Please e-mail your story and do not put it in the comment section. 

I have set up a separate e-mail account just for contests, so mail your submission to:

So, what is the prize? I think it's pretty nice, but I'll leave it up to you to decide!

It's these 5 things. They are all brand new and have just been waiting in my "gift stash", for the right time! The kitchen towel has a crocheted button-top for hanging over hooks or knobs. I got it at a craft fair.

One pair of authentic Chicken Soup for the Soul, Comfy Cozy Socks!

This is a cute pink, shabby chic birdie tea-light holder.

This is a Pampered Chef, small serving tongs

This is the back of a tiny (about 1" square) pewter Christmas ornament.
It says: "8th in a Series of Historic St. Charles Ornaments, by Holiday House"
And then: "School House/Collier Cottage 1830"
I bought a few of these a couple of years ago when the series was ending and they were On Sale!

This is the front of this adorable building that still stands today on Main Street in Old St. Charles, Missouri.
Until not too many years ago, it was the site of Main Street Books! I loved to shop there and bought many books, CD's, book marks, note cards, you-name-it! Main Street Books is now located in a much larger store, but it is still on Main Street....just a few blocks down! I still buy quite a few items there. I always try to support small businesses and obviously a book store is one of my favorites!
P.S. I obviously remember what this date in recent history means to all of us. I'm not ignoring it. I just chose to not post anything about 9/11 today, mostly because I knew countless others would. I may at a later time, share some of my thoughts and emotions from that day, and how I feel about it all now.
"Why do writers write? Because it isn't there." - Thomas Berger

Friday, September 10, 2010

** Friday Night Lights **

No, not the television show. Just a random title. Because I have De-Light-Ful tidbits to share!

* First of all, I want to mention Ellie Garratt's competition! Check out Ellie's blog and read all about her exciting publication news. In honor of that, she is having a contest which goes until September 21st. (And if her blog looks similar to mine, it's because we both have the same background...Books!

* When going through some papers on my credenza today, I came across a couple of pages I had printed some time ago. They have very good book marketing info, but I have no idea where I found them! I forgot to include the writer/blogger's name. AND, I have Parts One and Two, of a Three Parter! The title is: Pre Published - Lay the Foundation. Sound familiar to anyone??, I did one of the things that was suggested. I joined Goodreads and Library Thing. They are both free. I didn't post much info, but will from time to time, I guess. The important thing is what the author of this article says: "You may not think you have the time, but if you drop in once a week for a few minutes you'll learn the ropes and meet people." ALSO, "Once you have the "go ahead" and your book has its final title, go to Goodreads and apply for an author page. They must approve it, but it's pretty easy."  I loved getting these tips, because although I think I'm pretty good at marketing, I hadn't heard of these and there's always new things to learn!

* Does your keyboard have letters that are practically worn off? Or have nicks, dents or scratches in them? I noticed recently that my laptop has 3 keys which are really nicked, due to my finger nails: "A", "S", and the Left Shift Key. Obviously, I use them a lot! I find it strange that I don't have the same condition on any of the right hand keys. Obviously, it must have to do with the way my fingers hit the keys!

* I have found that since being in The Zone, I almost feel compelled to rewrite 75% of my book! I read some of the older stuff, and think, "Wow, is that ever bad!" We shall see what happens.....At this moment, I'm just going to keep going from where I am! Forging Ahead!

Tomorrow I'll post about the 5 books I recently purchased AND give the details of my September Contest!

"We don't know who we are until we see what we can do." - Martha Grimes

Thursday, September 9, 2010

** Every Day is a Variety of Life **

I have so much to do and write about today, but it will have to wait until much later.

For now, I want to share a quote I came across earlier this morning. When I read it my mind went boing!

"It's not who you are that holds you back. It's who you think you're not." -- Unknown

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

** Wednesday's Words **

I had a really great day today! And surprisingly, practically none of it had anything to do with writing....but had a lot to do with house cleaning! Yeah, crazy, huh?! I didn't even know that's how my day would go, either. It certainly wasn't planned. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that my back is finally in really good shape, and that my house was a pit! (The Ronald isn't very helpful when it comes to vacuuming or dusting or laundry....but he does help with the dishes.)

So, anyway, I was Miss Becky-Homecky today and thoroughly enjoyed myself! I get that way sometimes. Turn on some great music and just have a good old time! I also put out a few of my fall decorations on the mantle.  Photos still to come later!

Oh, I have an "Oops" to confess. When I wrote about the 6 new hardcover books yesterday, I was mistaken. When I opened the bag, there were 5 books, and only 3 of them were hardcover! Oh Horrors!! I'm so sorry! More about the books later, too!

Tonight I want to be sure and mention Clara Gillow Clark's blog. She highlighted author/illustrator Lindsay Barrett George. Please go to Clara's blog and read all about Lindsay and the contest Clara is having. Do it quickly, though, because the drawing is in one week!! Her newest book is about an adorable dog named Maggie. I certainly left a comment or two, so I can be in the drawing. The winner(s) doesn't just get a book, there's way more to run on over to Clara's and check it out!

That's it for tonight! It's midnight already and I still want to do some reading!

"Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?" -- Henry Ward Beecher

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

** It's Tuesday & I'm Confused! **

As usual, when a holiday lands on a Monday, I'm really messed up the rest of the week. I'm sure that happens to many people, but I just thought I'd throw that little tidbit in, to begin this evening's post.....which is going to be a short one. (I totally forgot about Tea Cup Tuesday, but at least I remembered Coffee & Critique today!)

I didn't get much sleep last night, but not because of any aches, pains or Tiger issues! No, it was because after reading and commenting on blogs, replying to e-mails, and writing some in my book, my mind wasn't ready to shut down. I kept thinking about some of the things I'd just finished writing in my book and what the next few chapters will be, and what photos I want to include, etc.etc. It's hard to hang that "Be Back Tomorrow" sign when I'm not really ready to quit. The mind was willing, but the body wasn't!

One more thing: I stopped by our local Big Lots today. I hadn't been there in years, but I keep reading about all the wonderful decorating items some of my blog buddies find there....And find things, I did. Cha-ching! But, gosh, how could I pass up such fabulous bargains?! My most exciting "find" was the six hardcover books I bought that were only $3.00 each! I'll list them tomorrow and am considering maybe using one or more of them for my September Contest! Bet'cha thought I forgot about that, huh?!

Nighty Night Y'all. I'm going to bed early tonight, so I can begin to read one of my fabulous finds!

(photo courtesy capitolhillbooks - NOT my bath room, OR Big Lots!)

"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

Sunday, September 5, 2010

** Sunday Night Ponderings **

It's been a very restful weekend so far, and that's my favorite kind. The Ronald and I are not big on going out and partying. Our idea of a great time is staying home, watching TV, and/or reading, while we lounge in the family room! Today, we actually did go to Margaret Norton's book signing that I mentioned previously. It was nice to meet her in person and talk for awhile. I bought her book, of course, and can't wait to get into it. (I began to read the PDF file I received last month and it was really good, but I just can't sit and read A BOOK on a computer screen! I want to hold the book in my hands, turn the pages, smell the paper, lie in bed, etc.!)

Which brings me to my philosophical question of the day: How will book signings be handled in the future, when everything is an e-book?????

Speaking of books, have I mentioned that I've really been in THE ZONE lately, in regard to my writing?? I'd been told about THE ZONE by a few writer friends, but never quite "got it" until I "had it"! Wow! All I can say is, it's like having magical fingers, typing fabulous stories and dialogue, while the hours fly by!

Speaking of THE ZONE, I think I've discovered something else that "works" for me. When I'm here in my office, writing in my book, I light a new jar candle I recently bought at Hobby Lobby. It's Harvest Home, Autumn Collection, Cinnamon. I can't even see it, either, because it's behind me, but somehow I believe that candle is helping me. Hey, whatever works, right? 

And, more note about candles: Yankee Candle is having their Labor Day Sale, which I assume lasts through tomorrow. I stopped by the store at my local mall today, because I had a coupon I'd received in the mail a long time ago. It was save $10.00 on a purchase of $25.00 or more. Now, that's a good coupon! They had various jar candles and other items on sale, plus all the votives and tarts were on sale for $1.00 each. So, I kind of stocked up on those, too. I normally like tea-lights much better....not as much clean-up, but for the price, I decided it was worth it.

I love scented candles. I seem to write well while burning candles. Two wonderful reasons to buy them, especially when they're on sale, and/or I have a coupon!

"My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - it gives a lovely light!"  -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Friday, September 3, 2010

** Writing Updates **

Last night my husband Ron (to be known from here on as: The in "The Donald") and I went to a fellow writer's book signing. It looked like he had a really great time, plus sold quite a few books! That is just one of the benefits of belonging to a great writers group.....We all support each other. We cheer each other on. We buy each others' books. I feel so fortunate to be a part of Saturday Writers. I feel I truly belong there. It's the right fit for me. If you belong to a writers group and you don't feel that way, maybe try a different one, or start your own! Having camaraderie is so important.

This Sunday, I'm going to attend another book signing. It's at Rendezvous Cafe & Wine Bar in O'Fallon, Missouri (for those of you that live nearby). Margaret Norton will be there to sign her book When Ties Break. Some of you may remember I held a blog interview with Margaret last month. Her book is a heart-wrenching memoir. Here's Margaret's full schedule for this weekend:
Wired Coffee in Sunset Hills is Saturday from 10 to 12 noon
Main Street Books in St. Charles is Saturday from 1 to 3
Rendezvous Cafe in O'Fallon is on Sunday from 11 to 1

My newest essay at Tiny Lights is now online. Look on the left side bar and click on Lights Online, Searchlights & Signal Flares. Then click on Latest Question: When an unexpected memory comes calling, who answers? (8/15/10) Every month, editor (and all around fabulous person) Susan Bono posts a thoughtful question, and any and all of you may submit your answer. Even though, it's not a paying publication, I say.....Hey, it's a publication! And it's online for thousands (millions!) of people to read! You never know where one connection will lead. Sure, I totally agree about not "giving away" your work, but I believe that in some cases, networking and marketing can add up to lots of dollars in your writing future!

Here's a cool contest I found, from Gotham Writers' Workshop. "Hint Fiction: a story of 25 words or fewer that suggests a larger, more complex story." There is NO ENTRY FEE and a few different prizes, one of which is $100.00. Entry deadline is: October 11, 2010. Put that thinking/writing cap on and enter!

One more contest. This is from Women's Memoirs. There is no entry fee and "The winner of our KitchenScraps Holiday Contest will receive one of these special Thai Silk Writer’s Journals." (click on link to see) This site is one of those I can just get lost in for hours, going from one great link to, beware!

"Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along." -- Hugh Allen

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

** Contests & Give-Aways **

No, I'm not talking about my upcoming September Contest. (Fooled ya for a minute, though, didn't I?!)

I wanted to share the darling items I won last month from Linda at A La Carte. It was one of those randome drawings and I just happened to be the lucky winner! Linda is a sweetheart and has a beautiful blog! She drove to and participated in The World's Longest Yard Sale, and spent some of her own money to buy me some darling goodies while she was there! I didn't know what I was going to receive until I opened the box. It was like Christmas!! What fun! I hope I took photos of everything....and if I missed something, Linda, please forgive me!

Two of the items are the adorable milk-glass hen, and the pink & green doilie. They look so cute on my mantel!

This angle shows the hen and doilie again, plus another lovely milk-glass bowl at the other end.

I know it's time to change my decor from spring/summer to fall, but I just had to put these out right away and they looked so cute there.

Ahh, and how about this beautiful tea cup?! The picture doesn't really do it justice, either. My camera is just about ready for the recycle bin, I think! But, isn't this pretty?? It'll definitely be highlighted on a Tea Cup Tuesday, if I ever get back to those again!

This picture shows the tea cup, a darling white tea bag holder, with a new package of tea, a burgundy placemat and a green/white/lavendor placemat. (All from Linda!)

This is an adorable "Mini Kirbee". He's about 2 inches tall! He's hanging on my bulletin board over my desk, to help give me inspiration! (To learn more about "Larger Kirbee", go to Linda's blog!)

And last but not's little Bunny Wabbit, who sits on a decorated box of pens and paper, and watches over me. She also gives me inspiration to write!! (She's a little blurry, because she was so excited about getting her picture taken, she could barely sit still!)

Thank you, Linda A La Carte, once more, for taking the time to shop, and wrap and mail all these lovely things. They are all so special to me!!

** One more NOTE about give-aways. Please take a moment to visit Nancy's Notes. Nancy was my "100th Follower" and so I sent her a little gift. In one of her previous posts, she wrote about loving and collecting cookbooks; how she enjoys going through them and reading them, etc. I AM THE SAME WAY! SO, I thought a unique cookbook would be a nice "prize" for her.

"Plant a seed of friendship, reap a bouquet of happiness." -- Lois L. Kaufman


Chicken Soup for the Soul; New Call Outs 

O Canada ;101 Stories Celebrating The Country and the People

If you are Canadian,*SEE BELOW* we are looking for stories from you! This book, scheduled for publication in the fall of 2011, will be written by and for Canadians. Chicken Soup for the Soul is very popular in Canada and it is once again time for a Chicken Soup for the Soul book by Canadians for Canadians.

Send us your inspirational, humorous, or heartwarming stories. They don't have to specifically be about Canada -- they just have to be Chicken Soup for the Soul stories that take place in Canada or are written by Canadians. If you are not Canadian but you have a great story that took place in Canada (examples would be American college student at McGill, stranded travelers in Newfoundland on 9/11, great vacation stories) that is fine too.

Your stories or poems need to be true and about your personal experiences or those of someone close to you. We prefer stories written in the first person and no more than 1,200 words. This book will be published in English so please submit stories in English. Stories should not have been previously published by Chicken Soup for the Soul or other major publications.

Here are some suggested topics, but we know you can think of many more:


Growing up in Canada

Living and working in Canada

Moving back and forth between Canada and other countries

Food and culture of Canada

Holidays unique to Canada


Parenting in Canada

Being a teenager in Canada

Vacations: Traveling in and around Canada

Olympic Adventures



Any inspirational Chicken Soup story on any topic as long as it is *WRITTEN BY A CANADIAN OR TAKES PLACE IN CANADA*

If your story is chosen, you will be a published author and your bio will be printed in the book if you so choose. You will also receive a check for US $200 and 10 free copies of your book, worth more than $100. You will retain the copyright for your story and you will retain the right to resell it.

SUBMISSIONS GO TO Chicken Soup for the Soul
Select the Submit Your Story link on the left tool bar and follow the directions.

The website also shows other books accepting submissions:

Brides and Weddings

You are engaged! How lucky you are to have found that one person you want to share the rest of your life with. We are looking for stories about this very special experience in your life. From the proposal, to the planning, to actual wedding day events – both touching and hilarious - these stories will capture your heart and your emotions. Stories from the groom or the proud parents would be great too! Please share the memories that were created during this special time in your life. The deadline date for story submissions is April 30, 2011.

Devotional Stories for Times of Trouble
Life has always been filled with trials, including illness, job loss, grief, addictions, and much more. God never promised that our earthly lives would be without difficulties, but he assured us that he will always be with us to share our burdens. If you have a brief true story (up to 500 words) that shows God’s presence during a time of trouble, please share it along with an applicable Bible verse and a 2-3 sentence prayer. You will receive $100 for each published devotion. ($100 due to the shorter word count than our regular books.) The deadline date for submissions is February 28, 2011.

Marriage and Married Life
Whether you are newly married or have been married for years and years, the stories in this book will capture your imagination, inspire you, make you laugh and touch your heart. We are looking for stories that will celebrate the commitment two people make when they say their vows. Tell us about your relationship. What makes it work? How did the comfort of your mate guide you through challenging times? What is the most important thing in your relationship? How did you try to change your mate? Did it work?! The deadline date for story submissions is May 30, 2011.

Mothers and Daughters
Mothers and daughters… they are, at the same time, very similar and also completely unique. Mothers show daughters who they will become. Daughters live out mothers’ dreams. Through birth, childhood, teen years, adulthood, grandchildren, aging, and every step in between, this relationship can be the best, the hardest, and the sweetest. The deadline date for story submissions is December 31, 2010. This title will not publish until 2012.

The preteen years – those years from nine to twelve can be rough from both a physical and emotional perspective. You are not a kid anymore but you are not yet a teen. There are so many issues to deal with and sometimes it feels like you are all alone. You are not! The stories in this book – almost all of them written by preteens just like you – will prove that to you. We are looking for stories that will inspire you, make you laugh, make you think and let you know that life is not as bad as it might seem. The deadline date for story submissions is October 31, 2010.

A completely new book on one of our most requested topics – TEENS. The stories in this book, written almost entirely by teens, will be stories that you will want to read again and again. They will serve as your guide on topics such as the daily pressures of life, love, school, friendships, parents and much more. We are looking for stories that will encourage you, inspire you, make you laugh, make you cry and show you that, as tough as things can get, you are not alone. The deadline date for story submissions is December 31, 2010.

Young at Heart
So, you’ve crossed that magic age and you are ready to retire or start a second career. But you’re not ready to stop living! You feel energetic and young and there is still so much to see and do and enjoy. We are looking for stories that will share with our readers humorous and fun adventures from those who are actively enjoying their "senior years!" Tell us about your new careers, your volunteer work, your sports and sports cars, your new love interest, your travels, your families and all of those things you always wanted to do that you are finally doing now that you have the time. The deadline date for story submissions is December 31, 2010.


Okay, all you writers out there!! Here is your biggest and best chance to be published in books that are known world-wide! You get a nice check, plus free books, and you're a published author! Sharpen up those pencils, recharge those batteries....(both in your computers AND yourself!)....and get writing! No Excuses!
Let's keep track and see how many of us will get at least one story submitted! E-mail me or leave a comment on this post, after you've sent one in!

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection."  - Anais Nin