Monday, January 31, 2011

** It's Begun **

This is the little picture that my AOL Weather Box has on it for today. I've never seen so many different symbols for ONE DAY of weather before! I think the weather forecasters just may be right. It's already begun sleeting and freezing rain here. I'm all nice and warm and safe inside. Got lots of firewood, my little transistor radio, pens and pencils and paper, flashlights and candles. What more could a writer ask for?? Well, I also have water and diet soda....OH, and wine.....ooohhhh, I better make up a few pots of coffee and tea, and try to keep them warm, too...Just in case, ya know!  

Wherever you are.....Stay warm and safe and blissfully serene!

(And I feel the need to post the same quote as yesterday's. It just fits so well.)

"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness." — John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Sunday, January 30, 2011

* The Quiet Before the Storm *

According to every one of our local weather forecasters, and even The Weather Channel, a huge section of the country is going to get pounded with ice, sleet, freezing rain, thunder snow, wind, and blizzard conditions. And that includes where I live. The local guys and gals keep referring to the "Blizzard of '82", and that's 1982, which I definitely remember. And they've also mentioned the ice storm of 2006, which I obviously remember, too. (I'm not totally short term memory challenged!)

Anyway, I'm ready to be inside for the next few days. Writing. Blogging. Possibly cleaning house...but I doubt it. Maybe do a little laundry..maybe. But mostly, I'm going to WRITE. I am so into getting my memoir finished, and now that the Saturday Writers first meeting of the new year is in the history books, I can relax and least for a few days!! If you'd like to know more about Saturday Writers, please click on the link and you'll be at our new blog. I'll be updating it while our website is being revamped and brought up to date.

A big welcome and thank you to my two newest followers: Melissa Ann Goodwin & Kim Sloggett! Thanks so much for stopping by and wanting to come back from time to time!

Have a beautiful, blissful week everyone.....and stay warm and cozy...wherever you are!

"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness." — John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley: In Search of America)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

* Pay It Forward *

This evening, while scrolling through the list of blogs I follow, I found "Pay It Forward" on The Wright Stuff. What a wonderful idea!

~The Rules~

ME:  I will create something handmade to send to the First Five People who leave a comment on this post saying they would like to participate!

YOU:  To play along you must be willing to repost this and do the same, offering something handmade to five other people. (At this part of The Rules, it didn't say the five people must be the first five to leave a comment on your blog, but that seems to be the thing to do.)

ME:  So, I left a comment on The Wright Stuff and if I'm correct, I was the fifth person! Yay! That means I'll get something homemade from her!

YOU & ME, BOTH:  All handmade "gifts" will be sent sometime in 2011. Mine will be sent by the end of February...or else I'll forget! ☺

Here's how she describes herself in her Profile: "I am a writer, an artist and a dreamer. I am on a journey following my heart. It promises to take me to some incredibly exciting places. Won't you join me?"

Wow! Sounds like my kind of person!.....Except for that artist so much!
So what about you? Would you like to share your creativity with a few others? If you're not artistic (see above!) you could send a  handwritten poem or a handmade greeting card. I think it sounds like a wonderful, giving idea!

I was involved in a different Pay It Forward adventure a month or so ago, but I didn't blog about it because I didn't want it to look like I was bragging...but then something really cool happened a week ago...and I decided to share it. BUT, that will have to wait for another day, because this post is just about this particular giving of your time and talent to make someone else smile. Kind of a random act of kindness....which I so love....even if it's just to smile at a stranger in the grocery store....ya know?
"Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it." -- Anais Nin

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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

I wasn't surprised and I doubt if anyone else will be either....but the odds were in her favor. The winner is: Faith Hope Cherrytea! Congratulations and please e-mail me with your mailing address, so I can send your goodies!

Thanks to each and every one of you who commented and suggested book titles. Some of them are really very good, and I'm setting them aside in my "Possibility File." 

Hey, that reminds me of a movie that I just love. It's: Last Holiday starring Queen Latifah, 2006.
She's a lonely woman who doesn't do much of anything in life, except work, save money and DREAM. What made me think of it now was....She kept a large scrapbook of "possibilities"....where she kept news clippings, recipes, photographs.....of all her dreams. I'm not going to give it an entire review, but if you've never seen it, I highly recommend it!

Speaking of dreams.....You know what mine is..... Seeing my memoir on the Best Seller List!

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." --Anais Nin

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Words, Wonderful Words...And Music, Too

Since I don't drive in rush-hour traffic anymore, and most of my errands are taken care of near my home, I'm not in my car long enough to listen to CDs much. When I do get on a highway, though, I like to take some of my own music know, all those commercials on radio stations...they make me nuts! And, I don't have satellite radio, either.

SO, today, I had the pleasure of driving along Hwy 270, 40, 364.....(those numbers make me want to either shout "Hike"...or WOW, those are the measurements of a huge, strangely built woman!)

While be-boppin' along, trying to stay as near as possible to the speed limit, I listened to my Jason Mraz CD, "Mr. A-Z". When I finally got my mind to quit wandering up and around, and in and out, about all the things I was concerned about, I began to really hear the lyrics. If you're not familiar with Jason Mraz...oh my gosh... he writes amazing songs. Below is just part of the lyrics about him leaving a message for his girl friend. The song's title is: "Did You Get My Message?"

..."Do you ever wonder what happens to the words that we send
Do they bend, do they break from the flight that they take
And come back together again with a whole new meaning
In a brand new sense, completely unrelated to the one I sent"...

Those words just captured me today. I sang along and felt so alive and happy.
Beautiful words.....beautiful music...

"It takes some silence to make sound
It takes a loss before you found it
And it takes a road to go nowhere
It takes a toll to make you care
It takes a hole to make a mountain" from the song "Life is Wonderful" by Jason Mraz

Monday, January 24, 2011

* Contest Prizes! *

Hey Everyone. Don't forget to enter my contest! Do so before midnight tomorrow (Jan 25)

I realized I didn't make it clear when I announced the prizes. There will not be 4 winners. There will be just ONE WINNER. Winner takes all!!

Tomorrow at midnight CST, I'll do the random drawing for the winner of my Name My Book Contest. If you don't know about it and want to enter, or already entered and want to do so again, hop on over to this post and leave a comment. There are NO RULES! You DO NOT have to be a follower. Enter as many times as you want, but each time must have a title suggestion for my memoir. *As I mentioned on the originial post, the winner will be chosen by random drawing. The book title suggested is not guaranteed to be used, it is just a suggestion for the contest.*

Now, here's what everyone's been waiting for. The announcement of the PRIZE(S) to be awarded!

1) Three votive candles from Yankee Candle: Lilac Blossoms, Home Sweet Home, and Ocean Water.

2) Cheery pink & green note card set, complete with envelopes & matching pen.

3) A 7 x 7 hardcover book: Great Kisses...and Famous Lines Right Out of the Movies, compiled by Timothy Knight

4) A 8 x 10 hardcover book: Home Rules, Transform the Place You Live Into a Place You'll Love, by Nate Berkus

~~ Some fabulous prizes to help you get through another winter month! Plus, candles...and a romantic book of onscreen kisses, with comments and quotes....What could be better for next month's Valentine's Day? And I say...give them as gifts to yourself!! You don't need no steenking Valentine....Be your own valentine!! ~~

Hugs and happiness to you all today....wherever you are....Find and Follow your Bliss!!

"Always serve too much hot fudge sauce on hot fudge sundaes. It makes people overjoyed, and puts them in your debt." -- Judith Olney

Sunday, January 23, 2011

* Freelance Opportunities *

Yesterday I attended the Patch Freelance Forum that was held in St. Louis County. What a fantastic and unique online news source. One of the things that makes it so unique is that it focuses on communities, small towns. For instance, there is no "Patch St. Louis City". Their belief is that the news media already covers events in large cities, but there is no depth of coverage in the smaller towns.

I was there to learn more about Patch, meet people I already communicated with through e-mail, and hopefully get hired as a freelancer. 2 out of 3 so far! I'll definitely post the news when I get an assignment!

(Click on the link and see if your state and town is currently up and running. If not, it will be sometime in the future. Patch is very new and has only been in my area a few short months.)

By the way....why the name "Patch"? I happened to ask that question yesterday and here's what I was told: Think of where you live as your little patch of land. (See the little clump of grass at the bottom of the "h" in their logo? See?)... Ahhhh, now I get it!

"To me, journalism is, ah, like a hangover. You can read about it for years, but until you've actually experienced it, you have no conception of what it's really like." -- Dr. Hugo Pine, in the 1958 comedy movie, Teacher's Pet, starring Clark Gable and Doris Day (two of my favorite actors!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

* This 'n That on a Friday Night *

I got a kick out of this comic strip. Click on it to make it larger to read.

More candle wax art. How about that smiley face?!

I received this amaryllis for a birthday gift from son Scott and his wife. It's been so much fun to watch. They're really amazing flowers!

Happy Weekend! Stay comfy cozy wherever you are!

"My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living." -- Anais Nin

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Wow! Look at our deck furniture! Isn't it funny? And the cones of snow on the poles?
I took this picture around 8 o'clock this morning.

This is a little blurry, but I thought it was pretty. I took this from inside (with no flash)
around 6 o'clock this morning. The bright light is the street light. We live at the bottom of a cul-de-sac and you can barely tell where the road is and where our front yard is. Can you see the "snow cones" on top of the 2 bird feeders?!

This was also from around 8 o'clock this morning. Another angle of the deck and neighbors' pretty trees.

The snowfall totals really vary around the St. Louis area. This looks like at least 8 inches of snow to me and we're supposed to get MORE! This is really unusual for us. The past few winters we might get snow five or six times, but only 2 or 3 inches at a time.

I plan to enjoy looking out, while I write and clean and maybe bake another apple pie! (Paul Joseph, did you read that last part?!)

*Also, Welcome to my Two Newest Followers: Jan and Darlene! Thank you so much!*

“Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together.” -- Vesta M. Kelly

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Times They Are a-Changin' ..with 2 add'l notes!

Changin'? Oh yeah! After discussing the sample of my cover today with Lou Turner, my publisher, she and I both envision a new direction....for both the cover....and the title! Instead of humorous...we're going to go with a nostalgic look.

I can't even remember how many years it's been since I chose the title for my memoir: That Crowbar Changed Everything! I was so sure IT was the one and only title I would ever want....Hmmm....just goes to show you (and me!) that sometimes what seems like THE only way to do something....ISN'T.

So, here's the fun part. I was thinking about what kind of contest I'd have for January....and now I know! Please help me with a new title for my memoir! I may not choose any of the suggested titles, but for each one, you'll be entered in the contest. The more titles, the more chances of winning. You don't even have to be a follower. Just leave a genuine possible title. The time frame of the book is from the 1950s til present, and it's both humorous and bittersweet.

I'll choose the winner a week from today, at midnight CST on January 25th, by The winner will win prizes yet to be determined! (My book title will not necessarily be the one suggested, either.)

Oh, and this little detour has not slowed down my determination or my happiness. In fact, I'm even more excited than I was yesterday! I just hope I can sleep tonight!

**Note: Added Wednesday, Jan 19th, morning. Thanks for all the suggestions already! This is so much fun! I wanted to mention that yesterday before I posted this, I looked on Amazon to check if there were any books already "out there" that had titles I was considering. And guess what?? There were some with the exact titles, and some with similar ones. I then looked just in the memoir section, and there were some that I thought had really strange or just plain bad titles! So, what did that teach me? I'm not really sure yet! But I think when THE title hits me.....I'll know it!!

**2nd Note: Added Wednesday, Jan 19th, afternoon:  It occurred to me that maybe I should provide a little more information about myself and my memoir, too! (I really didn't think that up myself. Someone e-mailed and asked!) So, here's a brief summary:

It will be short stories, in no particular order, about instances in my life....both childhood and adult. Some humorous, some sad...and maybe a little of both in the same story. Childhood vacations at grandma and grandpa's in Iowa. Schools. Jobs.Watching old TV shows in the 1950s & 60s. Parents. Siblings. First marriage "issues". Pet dog stories. My sons. The Ronald. Bus rides. Train rides. You know.....just life!! Oh, and my dad left us when I was about 8 years old. It was very devastating and it was honestly due to him that I became a my late forties!!

How's that?! I've had this all in my head and on paper for soooooo long, that I forget that not everyone knows all about it, or all about me, etc!
(image courtesy:

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

Sunday, January 16, 2011

* Dreams - Real and Otherwise *

Dreams. That one word conjures up so many images. Those real dreams we have when we sleep. Those real dreams we have in our waking hours....those dreams of success and accomplishments and triumphs.

Anyone who's been reading my blog for awhile knows about my dream of being a best-selling author. I've been talking about, and writing, my memoir for way too long. This is my year. All I have to do is finish it. I've already got the publisher. In fact, she has a sample of my book cover that I get to see this Tuesday! I'm positive that by seeing it, I will catapult myself into "awesome writer mode" and complete it before the end of March! (my new deadline!)

That particular dream is so close to becoming true I can see it. I was at Barnes & Noble the other evening and grabbed another book by Cynthia Kaplan, which was located in the Biography & Memoir section. While I was there, it occurred to me to stroll down the aisle to the place where MY book would be shelved. Since they're placed in alphabetical order by the author's last name, I saw that in that particular store, my book would be right next to one of Colin Powell's. Not a bad place to be, I don't think!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, "Look out world! Here I come!"

"The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do." ~Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, 1996

Friday, January 14, 2011

* Various Thoughts on a Friday Night *

I've had a very productive week, in spite of negative things being thrown my way, testing my fortitude. My optimistic, bliss-following self disappeard for awhile, but I'm baaaccckkkk, stronger than ever! Look out world, I'm ready to kick some butt! (and I mean that in the nicest, kindest way possible!)

* I sat in my local Bread Co. for a while one day and got a lot of editing done on my book.
* I totally de-cluttered and cleaned up our spare bedroom.
* I cleaned out closets and drawers of clothing that hasn't fit me in at least 2 years, and I know never will again! I have a bagful to donate to Goodwill and a bagful to donate to a friend.
* I started the de-clutter and clean up of our loft, which had turned into a large junk room.
* I baked a homemade apple pie today.
* I worked quite a lot on some Saturday Writer stuff. (one of the local writing groups I belong to. I'm the president for 2011, so there's been a lot to do before our first meeting this month)
* I've been reading a memoir by Cynthia Kaplan called Leave the Building Quickly. This book has really helped me zone in on my own writing style and voice. Parts of it are truly "laugh out loud" funny! Just tonight I used up the last of a Barnes & Noble gift card I got for Christmas, by purchasing her first book, Why I'm Like This,  another memoir.

Oh, one more thing. I had a light-bulb moment the other day and decided that I will purchase one book a month, from my blog writer friends who have a book published! My first one, for January, is Katie Gates' The Somebody Who. Katie has posted chapters from it on her blog from time to time and I know it'll be a great book.

I have a note around here somewhere, with the names of two or three others whose books I want to buy, but I can't find it at the moment! Don't worry, I'm sure it will turn up before February rolls around.

Happy reading and writing everyone! What books are you reading now? What are you writing?
"I am not the only person who uses his computer mainly for the purpose of diddling with his computer."-- Dave Barry

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

* Writer Information & Candle Wax Art *

Hello and Happy Tuesday, January 11, 2011, otherwise known as 1/11/11, AND my sister's birthday!

I've got some writing information to share, so no time to waste. (Sorry guys...I didn't intend for this to be entirely for and about women writers, and memoir type essays at that, but it just kind of fell into place!)

1) If you're not familiar with Terri Spahr Nelson, you're missing out on knowing a generous and unique woman! She writes, edits, answers questions, mails out "loaner" books to writers contemplating submitting stories to her anthologies, etc. Click on any or all of the three links below and see what Terri needs for upcoming books.

Writer/Editor Terri Spahr Nelson,  

Reflections From Women website,

Reflections From Women Blogspace  

2) If you're a woman and writing your memoir, or interested in writing snippets of your memoir, then Womens Memoirs is a blog you'll want to follow. There's always great info posted and they're also hosting a monthly contest  (for eleven months. They're giving everyone a one-month break.) I don't remember if there's any payment involved, but check it out, because if a story is chosen, it at least gets published on their blog..

3) The National Association of Memoir Writers is having a Call for Submissions for a "How to write about family" anthology. The first thing you need to do is submit 2-3 possible topics you would like to contribute, each described in a few sentences and a 65-75 word bio. They want that information by January 31st. Check out the website for more info. A complimentary book is payment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~          ~~~~~~~~~~~~        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~         ~~~~~~~~~~~

Now for my Candle Wax Art! During the Christmas holidays, instead of having a fire in our fireplace, I had it decorated with greenery and white candles. Today, I took everything out so we can burn some logs during our very Brrrrr....cold spell! Here's the wax that had melted and I gently pulled up......

 The shape at the top right looks like a flying duck to Daffy Duck! See his bill and head and body? I guess his legs are tucked out of sight!
Isn't that funny? I think the shape at the very left of this one looks like a kangaroo! See her feet(foot) at the bottom, her tummy with pouch, her face and her ear(s)??

Hope you enjoyed the pictures and I wish you much success with your writing! I am definitely making 2011 MY YEAR for publications....especially my memoir!

Monday, January 10, 2011

* Micro Fiction Monday *

Susan at Stony River hosts this meme every week.

Welcome to Microfiction Monday, where a picture paints 140 characters, or even fewer. "Microfiction" means the shortest of short stories. Think Aesop's fables, comic strips, or even jokes: complete stories that can be told in under a minute. For this game, the limit is a tweetable 140 characters or fewer.

Here's my take on this week's photo, right at 140 characters:

“I see you have on your blue rain coat."

“Yes, I said I’d wear a school color of blue or yellow,
 but did you have to wear yours as a diaper?”

Saturday, January 8, 2011

* Go See Cathy C. *

My blog buddy, the scathingly brilliant, Ms Cathy C. Hall, is having a contest. If you like to read funny musings, find out info about writing contests and calls for submissions, or any variety of interesting tidbits about life, you will love Cathy C.! Please go visit her blog and see what'cha think. If you become a follower, you're in the drawing for a $20.00 Barnes & Noble gift card!

Here's the "rules" taken directly from Cathy's blog:

Introducing the Big Bang B & N Followers Contest! Here's how it works: You tell your followers about Cathy C. 's Hall of Fame and her brilliant contest. They scurry over here and follow me, telling me who sent them (and leaving contact information). One lucky NEW follower will win a $20 gift card from Barnes and Noble! And there's more...the faithful follower who sent them ALSO wins a $20 gift card! YAY! I'm ending the contest on January 24th; new followers can post a comment on any post during that period, as long as they fill me in. So spread the word, my faithful friends and followers. I'm in a hurry to bang out my goal of getting over 100 followers. (Cathy)

Speaking of followers, I'd like to welcome my two newest ones. Holly and Paul Joseph. Welcome!! Thanks so much for stopping by and becoming a follower. I'm obviously doing something "write" here! ☺

"I've got the most scathingly brilliant idea!" -- Mary Clancy (from the movie The Trouble with Angels.)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

* Mutual Birthdays! *

♫♪ They say it's your birthday. It's my birthday too, yeah. They say it's your birthday. We're gonna have a good time. I'm glad it's your birthday. Happy birthday to you! ♪♫
by Lennon/McCartney

 Yes, today is my birthday and it's been a great one. Why? Did I receive lots of expensive gifts? No. Did I receive at least ONE expensive gift? Nope. But I did receive thoughtful, perfect gifts, loving hugs, birthday cards in the mail, tons of birthday wishes on facebook, e-mails and texts. Oh, and a phone call or two. What could be better? Thanks to all my family and friends!
This is my friend "K" and I at a tea room where we had our birthday lunch today. We've met for lunch on or near our birthday just about every year for many years!

I have other friends who share my birthday, too. There is "C" who used to be a neighbor of mine in our old neighborhood. There's "W" who's an (old!) high school pal. He and I went on one date in high school. It was a Girl-Ask-Boy Dance. And, I just realized this evening that a blog friend, Rachel Cotterill, is also celebrating her birthday today! Happy Birthday!

(Here's some celebrities born on January 6th, too. Loretta Young, Danny Thomas, Carl Sandburg and Bonnie Franklin. That's just a few of many, but they are my favorites.)
(google image)
"A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip."  ~Author Unknown

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mark Twain Censorship?

When the local news was on TV last night, I wasn't really paying attention until I heard the words Mark Twain and censorship in the same sentence. That made me take notice and turn up the volume. The story reported was about the publisher New South Books.

They have decided to change a couple of words in two of Twain's books, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and offer them in one volume, without the "n" word and the one considered hurtful to the Native Americans.

I am not a racist and was brought up to believe that all people are equal. Nobody in my family ever used the "n" word. NOBODY. Did I know that word existed? Of course I did. I grew up in the 1950's & 1960's. I knew all about the Civil Rights Movement, race riots, marches, etc. News about that and the Vietnam War was splayed on TV every day and night. Vietnam was horrible in so many ways, and I was also upset to see so much suffering and injustice in my own country.

But I don't intend on making this a huge political statement. I just think it is WRONG to change words in classic books!! Yes, we all "get it" that there are words that aren't "nice" and that most likely offend some/many people....but we can't go around changing every single word in every single book that offends people!! That's just nuts. Think about it this way....Uh oh! There are words in Gone With the Wind that need to be "updated". They might upset someone! Then there's some in Catcher in the Rye. Oh, and what about Fahrenheit 451, Catch-22, etc.

I Just Don't Get It.

"Don't let schooling interfere with your education." -- Mark Twain

“When you reread a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than there was before” -- Cliff Fadiman

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy Monday!

I'm feeling happy and productive today! The "happy" part is usually a daily thing for me, although it waned a little with the passing of my sweet dog last month. The "productive" part has been missing for quite some time, due to various reasons. As of this past weekend, though, I began living.....not a "new" me...but a "renewed" me!
The Ronald bought this coffee cup for me as a Christmas gift after I saw it in Borders.
The outside was cute enough with its curved shape, large handle and Christmasy decor.

But when I looked inside and saw what it said, I just had to have it!
It is SO ME!

I received other pretty coffee cups this year, too, and a cute tea pot-tea cup gift set. I'll post photos of them some other time. I just wanted to say a quick Hello for today and to wish everyone a joyous, blissful day!

"There is no try. There is do or do not." (I heard Tommy Smothers say this on a PBS special the other night, but when I looked it up just now, to give proper credit to it, it's attributed to Yoda, from Star Wars!)