Wednesday, March 30, 2011

* Contest & Cardinals *

Don't forget my contest ends at midnight (CDT) Friday, April 1st. You have until then to leave a comment on the post about the DVDs of "Joan of Arcadia". No other rules! You don't have to be a follower or link me to your blog, etc. Just leave a comment!

Also: If you live in the St. Louis area, you can listen to JC Corcoran's annual program for the St. Louis Baseball Cardinals Opening Day on the radio at 550 AM, or if you live anywhere in the world....other than Outer Space, you can listen online at KTRS. Just click on "Live Listen Now." Why am I telling you this?? Because JC e-mailed me the other day, saying he's going to open his show with the bit about ME winning 2 tickets to a Play Off fall of.....1996!! FIFTEEN YEARS AGO! I happened to call in to the radio show, and talked about Mark, who was only nine years old at the time, and how we watched the games on TV together.The Ronald always kidded me about how I kept stretching my Fifteen Minutes of Fame.....but neither one of us every dreamed it would last for 15 YEARS! JC and I have stayed in touch all these years, too. Be listening by about 8:50 am, CDT, because it's supposed to be played at 9:05 am.

"I see great things in baseball. It's our game - the American game." -- Walt Whitman

Sunday, March 27, 2011

* The Life Sherpa Guy Really Knows His Stuff *

From what I've heard through the grapevine and read on some of today's blog posts, I'd say our Guest Speaker yesterday at Saturday Writers was a Huge Hit! I haven't written much about our meetings on my personal blog, because I write about it on its own blog.

Joe Holleman
(photo: courtesy Sheree Nielsen)

Whenever someone books a speaker for a presentation, the outcome isn't guaranteed. You choose people you either know well and/or admire greatly, make the request, and go from there. Yesterday's speaker was a well known reporter from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. His name is Joe Holleman and he writes a humorous column, Life Sherpa, in the Life & Style section, which can be read online at the link provided. I hadn't met Joe or knew anything about him, other than reading his column. It occurred to me that he'd most likely give a great presentation on writing, and in particular, writing for a newspaper. I e-mailed with my request and voile'... he accepted. He did not disappoint us. He energized everyone with his presentation. He educated us, entertained us, and answered questions.

Being the president of any group takes quite a bit of time and work, but I am loving every minute of it. I titled my latest column in our newsletter: Work + Great People = Fun.That's the way I look at most things in life. If something requires a lot of work, then I want to be able to enjoy it and the people I work with.

These past three months have been great. Our board members are awesome, hardworking individuals. A few of them have been on the board in the past, which is so helpful to me. Whenever I have questions, I can turn to them. Our new board members are also very helpful. Because they are new, they particularly have enthusiastic ideas.

I'd like to publicly thank them, plus the previous years' board members. Saturday Writers is an awesome writers' group, because of hard work, innovative ideas, great speakers, educational workshops, and talented members. If is wasn 't for all of you, Saturday Writers wouldn't be what it is today.

Joe also shared some of his favorite writer quotes with us. The following is one of my top choices!

"My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: When you write, try to leave the stuff out that people don’t read." – Elmore Leonard

Thursday, March 24, 2011

* Thursday's Tidbits *

Things I've forgotten to do or say:

  My friend who fell from his deck a couple of weeks ago is doing really well. He had/has a couple of broken cheek bones that will just heal on their own, very sore ribs (still), and the stitches he had on/around one of his ears have disintegrated. I saw him briefly Tuesday night and he was much more mobile and just looked better. No more black eyes, either! Thank goodness he didn't get hurt much worse. He's a heck of a nice guy. Addendum: He was in Vietnam, he's a retired policeman, and I think he must have an angel on his shoulder. 

  I'm finishing up my "Pay It Forward" gifts. It's taking me longer than I thought it would, but hopefully I'll still have the rest sent by March 31st.

  I haven't had a "Contest Give-Away" in awhile, and I think it's about time, don't you?! There is only One Rule to this one. Shipping only to Continental US residents. I'm sorry, but postage is so expensive overseas and in Canada.  Just leave a comment. No need to be a follower, or post it on your blog, etc. But, of course, the more, the merrier! Winner will be drawn by random at midnight Friday, April 1st. She/he will receive the following:

  This brand new, never been opened, still has the shrink-wrap on it 6-Disc Set of the First Season of "Joan of Arcadia"!  Somehow I had 2 sets of this. I remember buying it as a Christmas gift a few years ago, but I don't remember where this other set came from!

  This show began in the fall of 2003 and only lasted 2 Seasons. When I first saw it advertised, I thought How dumb. How corny. Yeah, they live in a town named Arcadia and her name is Joan and she sees and hears God. Silly & Gimmicky. But you know what? The first time I watched it, it grabbed me. One of the coolest twists in the writing is that each time God appears to Joan, he is someone different. I don't remember any particular character, but it was always someone common. The bus driver, the janitor, a young child, etc. Amber Tamblyn (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1 & 2, and other movies.) was the main attraction, for lack of a better word. Her portrayal of 16 year old Joan Girardi was simply beautiful to watch. If you want to know more about the series, check out Amazon. AND, you don't have to be a "religious" person to enjoy this show. Everything is not always easy for Joan, her family and friends. There are conflicts, stresses, real life issues.

  Trivia:  Amber is the daughter of actor Russ Tamblyn, best known for his role as Riff in West Side Story.    

Hello and Welcome to my two newest followers: Melissa Ann Goodwin & Kathi at like a box of chocolates! Thanks so much and I hope you always enjoy your visits!                                                                      

Below is a short piece of dialogue. This is typical of Joan's sarcasism, and God's humorous replies.
Joan: "Let's see a miracle."
God:  "How about that?"
Joan:  "It's a tree."
God:  "Let's see you make one."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

* I Just Can't Help Myself *

Yep, I just can't help myself. I just have to post a few more pictures of sweet Vern!
This first one is a little blurry, so, NO, it's not your eyes!

This second one is Vern in the back seat of my car. I put an old quilt on it so he'd be more comfy!...And, also not get so much lovely, tan hair all over the place!
We'd just finished our walk in the park, and doesn't he look like he's smiling?!

Ahhhh, here he is at home, getting a good drink of fresh water.

And lastly, Vern stopping to chew on his rope, during a tug-of-war game.

He surely brightens my life!!

*Hello and Welcome to my newest follower: Carol! Thank you for your wonderful comment and I hope you always enjoy your visits!

"All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it." ~ Samuel Butler

Sunday, March 20, 2011

* Feelin' Comfy and At Home *

 Here's Vern lying in the kitchen, next to the patio door, basking in the sun. He only began doing this the other day which seems funny to me. It's as if, day by day, he's feeling more and more comfy, cozy and at home here....his new Forever Home.

He is such a joy. I couldn't have gotten a more perfect dog, even if I'd ordered him from "Perfect Dogs for Lonesome Empty-Nester Moms Dot Com." 

He loves to ride in the car with me when I go on quick errands. He LOVES to go for walks on his leash, which is a very good thing for me too, since I love to walk and definitely need to lose quite a few pounds.

Today is the beginning of his 2nd week with us and The Ronald and I are just crazy about him! So is our 23 year old son and his girl friend. They both want to come over and dog sit for us, which I'm sure we can arrange sometime.

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." ~ Roger Caras

Thursday, March 17, 2011

* Deadlines...Those Awful Deadlines *

I've always met my writing deadlines when it came to my newspaper columns. I submitted stories in time for contests and anthologies that I cared about. I continue getting my Searchlights & Signal Flares sent to Susan Bono as requested every month. SO, what is it with me and my self-imposed, complete-my-memoir deadline(s)??

Many times I've pondered this, talked about it with The Ronald, and discussed it with writer/blog friends. Last night while lamenting about it with a very good, non-writer friend, she spoke volumes of wisdom in just a few words. She told me I should be enjoying myself and having fun writing my memoir...make it a pleasure, not a burden. WELL! Although I've heard similar words of advice many times before, these really hit home. Sometimes it's the speaker and sometimes it's the listener, for the words to make sense and ring true at any given time.

Besides not making my deadlines, each time I would feel more foolish for writing about it here. I felt that besides letting myself down, I was letting all of my followers down, as well. That won't be happening any longer. I vow to enjoy writing my book and anything else I want to write, from now on.

Therefore, I will not be announcing any more book deadlines on this blog! I may share news of chapters being completed, or I may just wait until it's been sent off for galleys.

My apologies, too, for not getting around to blogs and commenting as much as I used to (try to) do. I know I haven't answered e-mails as promptly as before, either...or many missed replying at all sometimes. My mind has been in a fog, but like this beautiful spring weather we're experiencing today, I'm starting to bud and sprout again. Soon, I'll be blossoming!

(Photos from my front "garden" in 2008)

"You can't turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again." -- Bonnie Prudden

“Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

* To Tell The Truth *

Okay, I'm going to fess up today. I think I'm really supposed to wait a bit longer, but since I may have mislead people on Number 2, I feel the need to clear things up.

1) Yes, this happened.

2)  Yes, this happened, too. Long story short: I cried when I was in the exam room, the nurse gave me kleenexes and looked scared, herself, telling me to please not cry. The "big, mean-looking dentist" came in and when I wouldn't quit crying, covered my mouth with his hand, pressing hard and kept telling me to shut up!! Can you imagine?? He was a pediatric dentist, and supposed to be so good!

3)  Yes, this happened. Another LONG story, but while playing in the basement of the apartment building we lived in at the time, the old neighbor lady had an old stove stored down there. Another friend and I played in the basement and pretended we cooked on the stove, etc. Somehow, a heating element was missing and she accused ME of taking it. Like I had a use for THAT! Another tearful episode...

4)  NOPE! I did bowl for many years and loved it, but never got a 300. My highest game was something like 225.

5)  Yes, this happened, too. We were trolling for fish in my brother-in-law's boat, and a huge barracuda just happened to get hooked onto my fishing pole. It was really exciting and scary, both, and he had to do most of the work because I wasn't strong enough to reel him in!

So, there you go. I had a difficult time with this, especially after reading some of the others. I'm amazed at the adventures and/or scary things that happened to my friends!

*Hello and Welcome to my three newest followers: Patricia Preston, Deb Chitwood & Virginia Grzech!Thank for your wonderful comments and I hope you always enjoy your visits!

"I am such a bad liar. I would like to lie, though." -- Natalie Imbruglia

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

* Well, I Guess I CAN Write Fiction *

Thank you to blog friend, real-life-in-person friend, writer, and humorist: Sioux...for bestowing this award upon me. I must tell 4 truths and 1 lie about myself and you, dear readers, can guess which one is the lie. I've been fretting over this ever since I received this prestigious honor, for several reasons. One is the fact that I've shared so many things about my life, I'm having a difficult time coming up with things that aren't already known. The other problem is that I always say I can't write fiction, although I have been able to do fairly well on micro and flash fiction stories. So, here goes. Four Truths and One Lie:      

1)  When I was 12 years old, I rode a Greyhound bus by myself from St. Louis to Columbus, Ohio for a vacation with relatives. On the trip back home, I was so busy browsing in a stop-over gift shop that I missed my bus. When I finally realized what happened, I cried and cried. I had to wait for the next bus going my way, and got home four hours later than scheduled.

2)  When I was 5 or 6, I was molested by a pediatric dentist. * I feel the need to say I didn't mean a sexual molestation....It was more of a physical abuse. Sorry if I mislead anyone.* (added at 9:06pm & 10:30pm)

3)  When I was 10, an old neighbor lady accused me of stealing something from her stove.

4)  I was on various bowling leagues for many years, and I bowled a perfect game (300) once.

5)  I caught a 5 foot long barracuda, when fishing in the Florida Keys.

I'm also supposed to pass this award along to other blog friends, but you know what? I really can't do that! I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and/or award it to someone who doesn't care to participate. SO, if anyone else wants to join in.....please do! Just leave a comment here, so we'll know where you find you.

I'm also supposed to post a photo of myself blogging....that will appear later.....!

"What is a friend? I will tell is someone with whom you dare to be yourself." -- Frank Cane

Saturday, March 12, 2011

* IT'S A BOY! *

We added a new member to our family today. We adopted an 8 year old sweetheart from the Heartland Humane Society. He's a Lab mix and his name is VERN! He is the sweetest, laid back dog and he's perfect for what we wanted! Yes, he likes to get up on the couch and yes, we let him! (*We found out a little later that Vern is actually 9-1/2 years old, but that's okay, too!*)

It will be 3 months ago tomorrow that we had to say good bye to Tiger-Gal. I've missed her so much and I'm so glad I finally was ready to accept another dog into my heart and home. Can you see me smiling while I type these words?!

"Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well." -- Bonnie Wilcox 'Old Dogs, Old Friends'

Friday, March 11, 2011

Book Blurb Friday #2

I'm participating in a brand new meme, Book Blurb Friday, hosted by Lisa Ricard Claro over at Writing in the Buff. Lisa supplies a photo to be used as the book cover of an imaginary book. Those who participate are to give the book a title and to write a blurb of 150 words or less, in an attempt to entice readers to purchase the book.This is Week Two and I had a lot of fun taking on this challenge!

Unfamiliar Gleams

Alone, frightened, and feeling lost among the shadowy trees, Barb felt perspiration trickle down her back. What made her think a walk in the woods would clear her head? The only result, so far, was her realization that she had no navigational skills. She should stick to what she enjoys and what she's good at….sitting and reading.

As she continued to wander, so did her mind, analyzing her last conversation with her dad. Why had he said those things? What did he hope to prove?

Barb stumbled over a small, rotting log, barely keeping her balance. She began to cry, out of fear and anger and hurt. After steadying herself, she looked ahead and noticed sun rays streaming through the leaves. Running toward the dazzling light, joy and relief spread through her body like ripples in a stream. There in the brightness stood her dad.
(145 words)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

All Things Writerly

On Sunday's post, I mentioned attending a writers workshop the day before. One of the best tips I came home with was to find a Writing Buddy, someone who would help me stay motivated, on track and keep me accountable. I asked my good friend Sioux if she would do that for me and fortunately she said yes. I won't go into all the particulars yet, because we just started, but I can tell you that it has already helped my immensely! (And no, despite rumors you may have heard, she didn't threaten to take away all my diet soda, hand lotion or chapstick if I didn't reach my daily goals!) Another bonus of that afternoon was meeting three new writers, which reminds me, I need to e-mail those lovely women.

(photo courtesy: google)

A few days ago, I asked one of my male writer buddies to critique one of my memoir chapters. All I can say is "Wow." Having other people....who you trust, and who aren't your family your work and then say what they liked and didn't like, plus offer suggestions and ideas....It's THE BEST!

Monday night, our writing group Saturday Writers, hosted its first "Meet & Greet." Usually we members only get together once a month, which is at our meeting and is more of a class room atmosphere. It was great to just talk with other members and find out what's going on with them, etc.

Which brings me to a post I want to share with everyone, written by blog buddy Paul Joseph. This is SO true and funny and insightful and semi-sad and, did I say "SO TRUE"? This is why I LOVE to hang out with writer friends, and realizing that it doesn't matter what age we are, whether we're male or female, what genre we write...."we are writers"....and we "get each other"!! Happy, happy. Joy, joy! You keep on keepin' on, Paul Joseph! You are one cool guy!

** Oops. I forgot to say Hello & Welcome my newest follower: Thisisme! Thank for your wonderful comment. I'm happy to hear you love the you can tell, I LOVE quotes! I hope you always enjoy your visits! ** (added at 11:25pm)

"The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day that your life really begins." -- Bob Moawad

Sunday, March 6, 2011

* This 'n That on a Sunday Night *

A very busy, productive weekend, but not enough time to give it justice right now. In short.....

1)  Attended a writers workshop: Got some good tips & ideas, met new writers, saw writer friends.
2)  Did quite a bit of editing and some new writing.
3)  Actually made a dent in the mountain of laundry (for only 2 does this happen?)
4)  Stopped and looked at dogs for adoption. Haven't found THE ONE yet, but at least I'm feeling ready to really open up my heart and home...again.
5)  Did a little singin' and dancin' around the house....just because it's fun and I love it! (and great exercise!)
6)  Bought some cool things at Michael's Craft Store for my Saturday Writers Door-Prizes-Goodies-Bag!
7)  Oh, one distressing incident: A very good friend of ours fell from his deck while working on it Saturday afternoon. Long story short, but he has broken bones in his face, extremely sore ribs, etc. Please keep him and his wife in your thoughts or prayers.....whichever you believe in.

Have a wonderful, blissful week everyone!

Hello and Welcome to my two newest members: Madeleine & Dominic! Thank for your wonderful comments and I hope you always enjoy your visits!

"Each friend represents in us, a world possibly not born, until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." -- Anais Nin

(I consider a friend both the 2-legged and 4-legged kind!)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Book Cover - Title - Blurb

Book Blurb Friday #1 

I'm participating in a brand new meme, hosted by Lisa Ricard Claro over at Writing in the Buff. I'm pretty sure I understood this correctly, but if not, Lisa please let me know ASAP!

Lisa supplies a photo to be used as the book cover of an imaginary book. Those who participate are to give the book a title and to write a blurb of 150 words or less, in an attempt to entice readers to purchase the book.

Book Title: Beauty for Dummies

How would you like to have beautiful, long and lustrous eyelashes? What about perfect eyeliner and arched eyebrows? Beauty begins with the eyes and with the proper techniques and products, you can have those glamorous, celebrity-like eyes you've always dreamed of.

This book will show you, step-by-step, in easy to read directions, with photos and sketches, just how to get that particular LOOK you want. 

Chapters include: Where to buy colorful contact lenses. How much mascara to use for one special evening. What shade of foundation goes with your new eye color. How many layers of eye shadow should you apply.

These tips and MORE are included in this fabulous book, written and published by none other than make-up genius, Ms. Rocky Preston.
(123 Words)

* Calls for Submissions & Contest *

Whispering Angel Books is still accepting submissions for its latest inspirational anthology, "Nurturing Paws." It celebrates the physical, emotional and spiritual healing power of animals in our lives. You may submit poetry or short stories of no more than 1,500 words.

Each piece should be uplifting, inspirational and based on a true event. Stories about all animals are accepted; they do not have to have paws.

They are also now accepting submissions for its first manuscript contest.  Entries should be powerful and life-affirming stories, poems, or essays demonstrating the resilience of the human spirit over adversity. It is open to any subject matter

See their website for complete guidelines and submission details.

A big Welcome and Thank You to my newest Follower: Carol.
Thank for your wonderful comments, Carol. I hope you always enjoy your visits.

"If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves." ~Thomas Alva Edison

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

* If I Think it's Thursday, It Must be Tuesday *

It's deja vu, all over again. Sorry, but I just couldn't help myself! All day long, I kept thinking; What day is it? Wednesday? Thursday? It can't possibly be only Tuesday! boldly show my true, kooky self....I'm thinking this before, after, and DURING the weekly, EVERY TUESDAY coffee and critique group I attend! Yikes! Are ya worrying about me yet?!

I need an office assistant. A Samantha or a Jeannie. Someone who could just twitch her nose, or bop her head, and poof everything would be filed in the proper place, dust would vanish, the carpet would appear vaccumed, every e-mail, note and schedule for Saturday Writers would be completed, and my book would be finished, with the most amazing title!

I used to wish for a "Hazel." But I'm beyond needing housework and laundry help. I need magic. And fortunately, I do know that the only magic happening here is what comes from within ME. I'm plugging along as best I can and I have faith and confidence in myself. If I don't believe in myself, who will?

A big Welcome and Thank You to my newest Follower: Julie! Thanks for your wonderful comments, Julie. I hope you always enjoy your visits.

AND, a big Thank You to Alice L. for always "being there" for me. (I liked the title suggestion, too!)

“Our dreams are made of real things, like a shoebox full of photographs.” --  Jack Johnson